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
I have not been able to follow the logic of the government shutdown. Clearly, America has divided government. One faction(s) has sought repeatedly (>41 times by Congressional vote) to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is approved legislation and upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Personally, I do not . . . → Read More: America Needs to Significantly Decrease Military Spending, by Mark Erickson
During Sunday’s Viking/Bear debacle, the network aired a commercial/PSA that reminded viewers to remember 9/11, honor the troops stationed abroad, and that the United States has troops stationed in 175 countries. Parenthetically, the United States has over 800 bases located throughout the world. In today’s Wall Street Journal, Andrew Browne wrote an article about . . . → Read More: U.S. Should Not Re-Establish Military Bases in the Philippines, by Mark Erickson
Rep. Barbara Lee (CA), one of a select few Honorable Members of Congress who opposed 43’s illegal invasion of Iraq, has written a letter concerning Syria to 44 in the last 24 hours. Here’s the letter.
– Mark Erickson
Dear Mr. President:
We join you and the international community in expressing unequivocal condemnation . . . → Read More: Rep Barbara Lee Cautions Obama on Syria Involvement, by Mark Erickson
In April 2013, The White House accused Syrian President Bashar Assad’s shi’ite forces of using sarin gas, a deadly nerve agent banned by international treaty, on a “small scale” against rebel sunni factions. Russia denounced the allegation of sarin gas use, calling the evidence “unconvincing.” Retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former chief of . . . → Read More: Why is the United States Now Arming Al-Qaeda? By Mark Erickson
I am disappointed by President Obama’s forays in the Middle East, failure to close Guantanamo, and use of drone “missions” that create more hatred than peace. The following lyrics come from a Dead Kennedys song called “Kinky Sex Makes the World Go ‘Round,” which was part of the 1987 release, Give Me Convenience or . . . → Read More: The Dead Kennedys Were Both Poignant and Prescient, By Mark Erickson
I was never a rabid fan, just a casual one. However, I’d love to see these guys in concert (not at a festival). I can’t believe they dissolved over 20 years ago. Man, I am old!
– Mark Erickson
HOW THE REPLACEMENTS SAVED ME FROM THE LEDGE, by Claude Iosso
This Swedish band, Goat, is from Korpilombolo. There were in Chicago two days ago. I should have gone. Drat! Sweden produces great music these days… Opeth and Meshuggah are very different from Goat.
– Mark Erickson
. . . → Read More: GOAT live at Truckstop Alaska, Gothenburg, By Mark Erickson
Passage from Escape From the Planet of the Apes.
Zira: I should have said that chimpanzees had no part in the destruction of Earth. Only the gorillas and the orangutans.
E.2.: What’s the difference? You’re all monkeys.
Cornelius: Please do not use the word ‘monkey.’ We find it offensive. As an . . . → Read More: The Minnesota Starvation Experiment: Their Conscience Drove Them to Starve, By Mark Erickson