One Faith Many Paths: John Baer

This time around, I have another interview with a member of my family! Here’s my cousin, John Baer! John has been a good friend of mine for as long as I can remember. He’s a wonderful man with a great sense of humor and an easy-going temperament.  I always enjoy spending time with him at reunions.

295565_10104144051085294_445243778_n
1. What is your favorite Bible verse?
John 15:13
2. What is your current job?
Working as a legal analyst for a law firm in DC.
3. Who is your favorite Biblical figure besides Jesus or God?
John the Baptist.
4. What evidence can you give for God’s existence?
The fact that the universe exists is to me a strong indication of a creator beyond our human understanding.
5. What was your childhood like?
I grew up in Fredericksburg, Va and was raised a Presbyterian. I have always loved music and would perform in church, school and for fun.
6. Is there anyone in your life who makes you want to be a better person or you feel inspires you?
My Dad is a constant inspiration and I feel makes me want to be a better person. He is a wise, patient and incredibly kind man, and I’m very blessed to have him as my dad. Everyone else who knows him is also blessed to be able to spend time with him.

Sandman Retrospective Part 10: The Wake (Finale)

The Wake book cover
The Wake book cover

“Only the phoenix arises and does not descend. And everything changes. And nothing is truly lost.”

I started this series of posts to talk about one of my all-time favorite comic books, The Sandman. It’s been interesting going through the volumes, as the first time I got into the series, I never really finished it.  I love to come into stories fresh, with no pre-conceived notions about what will happen. I may make cursory glances at Wikipedia, but for the most part, I always try to avoid spoilers. But now we come to the ending volume, The Wake. This is the grand finale to what I feel is truly one of the all-time greats.

In the previous volume, Dream was hounded by the Furies and lost his life.  Thus, Hippolyta’s son, Daniel, is chosen to take his place.  Many characters come to pay their respects, both ally and adversary.  Even Desire, who had sought to reign over the realm of the Dreaming, mourns her brother’s passing. “The bonds of family bind both ways. They bind us up, support us, help us, and they are also a bond from which it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to extricate oneself.” Despair, often Dream’s cohort, says this of Dream. “He was a creature of hope, for dreams are hopes and echoes of hopes, and I am a creature of despair.” They may have been allies or enemies, but they are still the Endless. For better or worse, they are still family.

Continue reading “Sandman Retrospective Part 10: The Wake (Finale)”

The Temple Grandin Movie

thC48JA1K8

When I borrowed My Autistic Awakening by Rachael Lee Harris at my local library (review coming next month!), the librarian asked me if I’d ever seen the Temple Grandin movie. I said no, so she put me down for it. Two days later, it came in for me. Now that I’ve seen it, here are my thoughts.

First of all, I have to say this about Claire Dane’s performance as Temple–she was excellent. She captured being an autistic perfectly.  She was timid around loud noises, she didn’t maintain eye contact, she didn’t realize how loud she was around people–it was great!

I liked how the movie showed us how Temple Grandin’s mind made more sense of the world. If a person used an idiom, the movie showed a visual pun that took the idiom literally, not as a way to mock her, but to show this was how she interpreted what was said.  As she said at the beginning of the movie, she thinks in pictures. The best part was the scenes that showed her analytical mind. They would show her figuring out things out by an animated blueprint, showing her visual mind at work.

Continue reading “The Temple Grandin Movie”

Jason’s Jukebox: Creedence Clearwater Revival

The members of Creedence Clearwater Revival
The members of Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival is one of my favorite bands from the late 60’s. Although their career wasn’t as long as some of the other significant bands of that decade, they still made a big impact.  The quartet was on the Woodstock bill.  Many of their songs, like “Fortunate Son” and “Bad Moon Rising” are iconic of that era. They had seven albums, and I’m going to rank and review each one in this post, on a scale of 1-5, 5 being the Magnum Opus rating. The band’s members are:

  • John Fogerty: lead vocals, guitar
  • Tom Fogerty: rhythm guitar
  • Stu Cook: bass
  • Doug Clifford: drums

 

the album cover for the debut album
the album cover for the debut album

Creedence Clearwater Revival (1968)
Rating: *** Singles: “Susie Q”, “I Put a Spell on You”
CCR found their niche right away, blending swamp rock with blues riffs. This is a great debut, mostly for “Susie Q”, one of my favorite CCR songs. (I love the solo towards the end, especially the way John keeps altering it)
Fun Fact: Prior to CCR, the band was known as the Golliwogs. “Walk on the Water” and “Porterville” are leftovers from that period.
Best Songs: “Susie Q”, “I Put a Spell on You”

Bayou Country album cover
Bayou Country album cover

Bayou Country (1969)
Rating: **** Singles: “Born on the Bayou”, “Proud Mary”
This is a great follow-up, with not a single sign of sophomore slump. It’s one of the three CCR albums in Robert Dimery’s 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (The others are Green River and Cosmo’s Factory.) This includes their first big hit, “Proud Mary” which was later remade by Tina Turner (as much as I like Tina Turner, I prefer the original version of the song) It should be noted that despite the influence Louisiana had on their sound, no member of CCR is from Louisiana. They are actually from San Francisco, California. However, you don’t necessarily have to be from an area to appreciate its musical sound. Of all the albums, this is the one that celebrates Louisiana the most.
Best Songs: “Born on the Bayou”“Proud Mary”, “Keep On Chooglin”

Green River album cover
Green River album cover

Green River (1969)
Rating:*****, Magnum Opus Singles: “Bad Moon Rising”, “Green River”, “Lodi”
In 1997, John Fogerty said this was his favorite album. I agree, and I think it’s one of their two best albums. When you have a title track like “Green River”, you know you have a classic. It also contains their most famous song after “Proud Mary”, “Bad Moon Rising”. So many good songs on this album, I had a hard time narrowing down three that were worth checking out.
Best Songs:Green River”, “Tombstone Shadow”, “Bad Moon Rising”
Fun Fact: Sonic Youth also has an album called Bad Moon Rising.
Continue reading “Jason’s Jukebox: Creedence Clearwater Revival”