Lamb of God Rocks Our World While Giving Us Causes for Concern, by Mark Erickson

I went to my third Lamb of God concert a couple of days ago. They are a pure American metal band from Virginia who met at Virginia Commonwealth University at least 20 years ago. In 2003, I flew from Chicago to a municipal airport in Creighton, Nebraska for work. I had a nursing . . . → Read More: Lamb of God Rocks Our World While Giving Us Causes for Concern, by Mark Erickson

Let’s Get Serious and Start Helping Syrian Refugees, by Mark Erickson

On Christmas Eve, before eating the roast beast, my family reads the Nativity story found in Luke. Verses 1-2: “At that time Emporer Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire. When the first census took place, Quirinius was the governor of Syria.” Matthew 2 explains King Herod felt threatened that . . . → Read More: Let’s Get Serious and Start Helping Syrian Refugees, by Mark Erickson

Do We Really Worship the Same God? By Mark Erickson

Wheaton College is a nondenominational evangelical Christian institution located in the Western suburbs of Chicago that maintains a special relationship with the Reverend Billy Graham (currently 97 years old). Wheaton operates the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism, The Billy Graham Museum and Archives, and the Billy Graham Scholarship Program. According to a website called . . . → Read More: Do We Really Worship the Same God? By Mark Erickson

Chi-Raq: As in Chicago and Iraq, by Mark Erickson

“16 shots, 14 months. 16 shots, 14 months. 16 shots, 14 months.” I attended a protest rally on Black Friday that was easily attended by more than 5,000 people. The protest closed down Chicago’s “Mag Mile”, which is the high-end downtown shopping mecca. We congregated at the majestic Chicago Tribune building and proceeded north. . . . → Read More: Chi-Raq: As in Chicago and Iraq, by Mark Erickson

After Paris: Is War the Answer? by Mark Erickson

In the wake of the recent bombings and killings in Paris, I offer this. But first, I must step back. Shortly after 9/11, I opined in a pre-Twitter universe to a creation similar to Twitter, something called “xnpc”, that the United States had stoked hostility by imposing sanctions and a killing machine upon Iraq. . . . → Read More: After Paris: Is War the Answer? by Mark Erickson

With No Salary Cap, Major League Baseball Salaries Continue to Rise, by Mark Erickson

Daniel Murphy’s success against the Cubs was not repeated in the World Series.

Wrigleyville and Wrigley Field were deathly quiet when I arrived at Game Four with the Mets leading 4-0, no surprise. Then the Mets’ hero of the Divisional Series, Daniel Murphy, turned to a goat in the World Series (pun intended). Now . . . → Read More: With No Salary Cap, Major League Baseball Salaries Continue to Rise, by Mark Erickson

The Pope, Pig Manure and Minnesota Water Quality, by Mark Erickson

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

Army Spends $500 Million to Train Syrians, 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

My Weekend, Die Kreuzen, Mars Williams, by Mark Erickson

Die Kreuzen

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

Thank you, Mr. Bugliosi, and God Bless, 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

The State of Music in Midwestern Baseball, by Mark Erickson

Within the last decade or so major league baseball stadiums have piped in player-selected songs when the batter approaches the batters box. The practice then spread to the high school level. When my son played varsity ball as a junior I noticed to my chagrin that all but two of the players chose a . . . → Read More: The State of Music in Midwestern Baseball, by Mark Erickson

Ministry rocked my world last weekend… 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

BAND-MAID – I’ve Gotta Be On My Way, 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

Wrigley Field: Billionaire’s Playground, 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

Champion Cheaters, 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

Meshuggah – Bleed and BEST MASHUP EVER With Lady Gaga, 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

Flashpoint: Ferguson, 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

A Die Hard Vikings Fan’s Take on Adrian Peterson, 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

From Church Pew to Daley Plaza, the Tragic Descent of Chicago’s Troubled “Sign Guy” 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

Goat and Meshuggah Live in Chicago, by Mark Erickson

Goat

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