Pope Francis has landed at Andrews Air Force Base for his first visit to the United States. There’s a lot of speculation about what he might say, especially when he addresses Congress Thursday morning in light of first visiting Cuba. I am hopeful that he will discuss American capitalism’s flaws, a theme he has . . . → Read More: The Pope, Pig Manure and Minnesota Water Quality, by Mark Erickson
Last night while watching neutral Al-Jazeera TV, I saw a clip about the US Army having committed $500 million to train Syrians to fight ISIL. The clip was a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing chaired by Senator John McCain. General Austin testified about the program that strove to train 15,000 Syrians to fight. General . . . → Read More: Army Spends $500 Million to Train Syrians, by Mark Erickson
The 8/28 edition of the Chicago Tribune contained a gushing article by rock critic Greg Kot about Naked Raygun, a local 1980s “punk-rock band” that appeared on the bill with Foo Fighters, Urge Overkill, and Cheap Trick at Wrigley Field last night. The piece included snippets from Dave Grohl, former Nirvana member . . . → Read More: My Weekend, Die Kreuzen, Mars Williams, by Mark Erickson
Manson Prosecutor and Prolific True-Crime Author Vincent Bugliosi, born in Hibbing, Minnesota in 1934, is best known for his prosecution of Charles Manson and his hippie cult followers. During the year-long trial, Bugliosi used vicarious liability and aiding and abetting theories to convict Manson. This skilled prosecutor described Manson as a “dictatorial maharajah of . . . → Read More: Thank you, Mr. Bugliosi, and God Bless, by Mark Erickson
As an opponent of the militarization of American society, I always oppose the Pentagon’s continuous bloated budget and wasteful spending. In December 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported that in 2013, “the Pentagon’s top 85 major-defense acquisition programs experienced overruns of nearly $411 billion.” According to the same WSJ article, the F-35 Joint Strike . . . → Read More: Ministry rocked my world last weekend… by Mark Erickson
The ladies in this five piece formed their band in July of 2013 and the rest is J-rawk history. It’s not clear why they chose to appear in this video dressed like the luscious lasses on St. Paul Girl beer bottles, but it’s a catchy rock’n roll tune.
Crunching guitars with licks, commanding . . . → Read More: BAND-MAID – I’ve Gotta Be On My Way, by Mark Erickson
The current owner of the Chicago Cubs, the ultra-wealthy Ricketts family, defied an existing legal contract signed by the former owner of the Cubs, i.e., the Chicago Tribune Company, with Wrigley rooftop businesses by significantly expanding bleacher space in right and left field. The expansion also includes the addition of video screens. These improvements . . . → Read More: Wrigley Field: Billionaire’s Playground, by Mark Erickson
As a father of two boys, I devoted much time with them in the back yard and at the park playing baseball. When I constructed a flower box in the back yard, I also built a pitching mound. Since my boys and I loved baseball, I was delighted to be involved with them not . . . → Read More: Champion Cheaters, by Mark Erickson
[Updated 01/27/2015] San Dunn wrote and directed a series for VH1 called “Metal Evolution.” In the series, he traces various subgenres of metal, e.g., Nu, Black, and Progressive. So Mr. Nunn starts his exploration into prog metal by tracing roots to Yes, Genesis and King Crimson. He then tracks to Rush; specifically, Caress of . . . → Read More: Meshuggah – Bleed and BEST MASHUP EVER With Lady Gaga, by Mark Erickson
On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, an unarmed 18 year old African American citizen of Ferguson Missouri, was shot multiple times in cold blood during daylight hours by a white police officer. The teen’s body laid in the street for FOUR hours because police labeled the shooting a crime scene instead of sending the . . . → Read More: Flashpoint: Ferguson, by Mark Erickson
I was born and raised in Minnesota, and despite having lived more than half my life in Illinois, I still bleed purple. In my childhood, the Minnesota Vikings absolutely dominated their division throughout the 1970s. Bud Grant, Alan Page, “Benchwarmer” Bob Lurtsema, Chuck Foreman, and Sir Francis Tarkenton were household names. Tommy Kramer, Anthony . . . → Read More: A Die Hard Vikings Fan’s Take on Adrian Peterson, by Mark Erickson
This is a sad story about life and mental illness in the great city of Chicago.
Approximately 15 years ago, Pastor Arthur A. R. Nelson invited an Iranian immigrant, Farhad Khoiee-Abbasi, to worship at North Park Covenant Church, located in Chicago, Illinois. Farhad, an engineer by training, became a Christian and an active church . . . → Read More: From Church Pew to Daley Plaza, the Tragic Descent of Chicago’s Troubled “Sign Guy” by Mark Erickson
After some deliberation on my part, e.g., Silver Apples at the Bohemian National Cemetery under a full moon, and the trading of a work shift of one son, I ended up attending two separate concerts by two very different bands from Sweden: Goat and Meshuggah. Goat released its debut album, World Music, in . . . → Read More: Goat and Meshuggah Live in Chicago, by Mark Erickson
Popular Cub Jose Cardenal and his feisty coiffure won over fan’s hearts without ever winning a championship in Chicago’s Wrigley Field.
The Chicago Cubs will celebrate the 100th anniversary of playing at Wrigley Field this year! Think of the historic events. Babe Ruth’s “called shot.” Kid K’s breakout game. Harry Caray. The collapse of . . . → Read More: The Chicago Cubs are Headed for 100 Losses in Wrigley’s 100th Year, By Mark Erickson
Thirty years ago today, March 2, 1984, the film This is Spinal Tap was released. This rockumentary, or mockumentary, directed by Rob Reiner, featured Christopher Guest (Nigel Tufnel), Michael McKean (David St. Hubbins), Harry Shearer (Derek Smalls), and a bevy of actors and actresses in guest spots. Numerous actors filled in the role of . . . → Read More: Spinal Tap: It Was 30 Years Ago Today, by Mark Erickson
I watched the Sochi Opening Ceremony. Kyrgyzstan had a cool flag, and I learned that Nepal has the world’s only nonrectangular flag. I was surprised that Iceland had only five athletes. Mexico had one out of a population of 118 million. By contrast, Sweden had 111 out of a population of less than 10 . . . → Read More: Sochi and the Heroes of Telemark, by Mark Erickson
According to the liner notes of Black Box, WaxTrax! Records moved from Colorado to a storefront on Chicago’s North Lincoln Avenue in 1978 after being “fueled by the punk revolution.” WaxTrax! issued its second single in 1981, featuring Divine of Pink Flamingos and Polyester fame. Also, in 1981, the record store and recording studio . . . → Read More: From Beer to Eternity, Ministry’s Final Release, May Be Band’s Best, By Mark Erickson
A treestone at Bohemian National Cemetery.
During one furlough day I had to break from my massive deck project to rest my bones from all the bending, lifting, and stooping. I choose to do something I had never done in my 25 years of living in Chicago: I toured the Bohemian National Cemetery located . . . → Read More: Touring Chicago’s Bohemian National Cemetery, by Mark Erickson
David Bowie is a staple on classic rock radio, and deservedly so. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (and my Rykodisc extended version) is clearly a four-star album. I am also quite fond of Outside (1995) and Earthling (2007), among other releases. Bowie has had duds. I listened . . . → Read More: David Bowie’s Reading List, By Mark Erickson