Sunday, March 5, 2023


 Sunday morning in my neighborhood:

When Franklin finished, the chihuahuas next door yapped about their dad giving them a bath. They thought they would freeze to death because the temperature was only 80°.

The two Labs who live behind us said they were starving but their mom wouldn't give them any treats.

The dogs of this neighborhood suffer mightily.

Franklin was so tired after he vented. He needed a nap.

We miss you all. We aren't around much now because work is hopping. My brain is exhausted at the end of the day. I also avoid my computer/phone screen during the evening because my eyes are sensitive to light, which can cause migraines.

But we love you, and we'll drop in here as often as we can!

Monday, February 6, 2023


 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

At last the time has come for The Mantel Gang to share what they did over the holidays. First, they moved to their holiday headquarters––a secret location known as Top Shelf of Bookcase.

 They took the time to attend some public events, however, starting with their attendance at a Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

Following the parade, they buckled down and got to work, but someone new joined them to monitor their health. It's Dr. Fauci!

He's so diligent that even in  retirement he doesn't want his friends to get sick.

Their next public event was The National Tree Lighting Ceremony.

After working very hard throughout most of December, everyone took a break just before Christmas so they could enjoy the holidays.

They gathered in a new location––Top of Armoire––where they went walking in a winter wonderland.

Then President Biden wanted to attend church. He invited them all to join him. Suddenly everyone was busy. They claimed they had plans with their families or had already accepted other invitations.

Don't tell Joe, but they actually gathered around the Christmas tree to play some drinking games, led by Justice Ginsburg and Nancy Pelosi, who raised their gavels in unison.

Hillary imbibed a little too much and started to sing, which almost broke up the party. 

Here you can see she holds out a glass of liquid refreshment for Barack, but he preferred to smoke his holidays away.

The action figures haven't decided where they'll gather next. Do they want to move back to The Mantel, where they're on display all the time, or would they prefer a more secluded spot? I can tell you they've done a lot of whispering about classified documents. Shhhhhh!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, February 2, 2023


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

When I feel devastated and discouraged––as I do now––I often turn to Mama Carol for wisdom and advice.

 After Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd, I texted Carol: I hope police officers will think more carefully before they brutalize Black people. Carol responded: I don't think anything will change. There is something inherently wrong in a person who acts that way.

She was right, of course. 

So now we deal with the murder of Tyre Nichols. I asked Carol if she had watched the video. Yes, I saw it. It is awful. I think everyone should see it so we don't become complacent with the number of these kinds of events. I don't ever want to "get used to it."
I also asked her to help me understand what had happened. She wrote: The only thing I can think of is that this country was built on greed and lack of concern for others. Police across America have shown this mentality over and over. 

If you watched the video or read about it, you know the events of the night did not take place as the police reported them,

I'm sorry the police report has "the cussing pastor" across it. The person who shared it is known by that name. 


Because the proceedings were captured by cameras, we know Tyre Nichols ran from the police only after they attacked him.

The "officers" punched Nichols, kicked him in the head, pepper-sprayed him, and hit him with a baton WHILE HE WAS RESTRAINED. It destroys me to hear him calling for his mom. I can't begin to imagine what this young man's family is going through. That's a pain no one should have to experience. 

The officers talked, laughed, tried to get their stories straight, with Nichols propped up against the side of a car. It took 23 minutes before an ambulance showed up. Some EMTs had already arrived, but they didn't do anything for him. 

He died in the hospital, three days later. 

I'll leave you with this image of a 29-year-old man who was stopped for alleged reckless driving near his mom's house. He was a dad, a skateboarder, and an aspiring photographer.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, January 24, 2023


In case you haven't seen them yet, here are the nominations for Academy Awards. What are your choices or predictions?

I haven't seen all the nominated films, but I admire Elvis,  All Quiet On The Western Front, and Everything Everywhere All At Once.

Best Picture

All Quiet on the Western Front

 Avatar: The Way of Water 

The Banshees of Inisherin 


Everything Everywhere All at Once 

The Fabelmans 


Top Gun: Maverick

Triangle of Sadness

Women Talking

Best Director

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — Everything Everywhere All at Once

Martin McDonagh — The Banshees of Inisherin

Todd Field — Tár

Steven Spielberg — The Fabelmans

Ruben Östlund — Triangle of Sadness

Best Actor

Austin Butler — Elvis

Colin Farrell — The Banshees of Inisherin

Brendan Fraser — The Whale

Paul Mescal — Aftersun

Bill Nighy — Living

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett — Tár

Ana de Armas — Blonde

Michelle Yeoh — Everything Everywhere All at Once

Michelle Williams — The Fabelmans

Andrea Riseborough — To Leslie

Best Supporting Actor

Brendan Gleeson — The Banshees of Inisherin

Judd Hirsch — The Fabelmans

Barry Keoghan — The Banshees of Inisherin

Ke Huy Quan — Everything Everywhere All at Once

Brian Tyree Henry — Causeway

Best Supporting Actress

Angela Bassett — Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Kerry Condon — The Banshees of Inisherin

Jamie Lee Curtis — Everything Everywhere All at Once

Stephanie Hsu — Everything Everywhere All at Once 

Hong Chau — The Whale

Best Original Screenplay

Todd Field — Tár

Tony Kushner and Steven Spielberg — The Fabelmans

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — Everything Everywhere All at Once

Martin McDonagh — The Banshees of Inisherin

Ruben Östlund — Triangle of Sadness 

Best Adapted Screenplay

Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie from a story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks — Top Gun: Maverick

Kazuo Ishiguro — Living

Rian Johnson — Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Sarah Polley — Women Talking

Edward Berger Ian Stokell Lesley Paterson — All Quiet on the Western Front

Best Cinematography

Empire of Light 



All Quiet on the Western Front 

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths

Best Film Editing

The Banshees of Inisherin 


Everything Everywhere All at Once 


Top Gun: Maverick

Best Original Song

“Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman

“Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick

“Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

“Naatu Naatu” from RRR

 “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Music (Original Score)

All Quiet on the Western Front 


The Banshees of Inisherin 

Everything Everywhere All at Once 

The Fabelmans

Best Visual Effects

All Quiet on the Western Front 

Avatar: The Way of Water 

The Batman 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Top Gun: Maverick

Best Production Design


The Fabelmans 

Avatar: The Way of Water 


All Quiet on the Western Front 

Best Documentary Feature Film

All That Breathes 

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed 

Fire of Love 

A House Made of Splinters 


Best Documentary Short Film

The Elephant Whisperers 


How Do You Measure a Year? 

The Martha Mitchell Effect 

Stranger at the Gate

Best Animated Feature Film

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio 

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish 

The Sea Beast

Turning Red

Best International Feature Film

Argentina, Argentina, 1985

Belgium, Close

Germany, All Quiet on the Western Front

Ireland, The Quiet Girl

Poland, EO 

Best Live Action Short Film

An Irish Goodbye 


Le Pupille  

Night Ride 

The Red Suitcase 

Best Animated Short Film

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

The Flying Sailor 

Ice Merchants 

My Year of Dicks 

An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It 

Best Sound

All Quiet on the Western Front 

Avatar: The Way of Water 

The Batman


Top Gun: Maverick

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

All Quiet on the Western Front

The Batman 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 


The Whale

Best Costume Design

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 


Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris 


Everything Everywhere All at Once 

Friday, January 20, 2023


 Hello. It is I, Penelope, most adorable doggy in the world. Here I am on my couch, where I rule the living room.

It has been about a million years since Kissmas and I haven't gotten to tell you about my presents from Santa Paws because Mom Mom has been hogging the computer. Her selfishness knows no bounds.

Of course, you already know about one of my gifts––if you had enough sense to pay attention to me before Kissmas. I have my beautiful hoodie costume.

Santa Paws brought the hoodie because he knows I am THE CHOSEN ONE who will star in a new movie about the adorable reindeer who can fly and his friend, the pink polka-dotted elephant. I will play the elephant in this costume, of course, and in the new movie, mine will be the starring role.

Santa Paws also brought something very special for us on Kissmas Eve. 

My big brother Franklin and I each get our very own Bark Box every single month for forever. 

Mom Mom said, YOU get a Bark Box and YOU get a Bark Box. Everybody gets a Bark Box.

She seemed to amuse herself by making this ridiculous statement so I tolerated her silly behavior.

The first Bark Box had yummy treats and some toys. This is my dragon:

My dragon makes squeaky noises. He is funny. I removed one of his ears. I think he wanted me to chew on him a bit.

Mom Mom asked me, Do you want to be a surgeon, Penelope?

Sometimes Mom Mom says the most pointless things.

I cannot be a surgeon. It is my destiny to be a movie star.

Franklin also had a dragon in his Bark Box. If Franklin wants to play Doggy Toy Sneakery, then he can take his dragon outside for Mom Mom to pick up and bring back inside. He is not allowed to touch my dragon. I want my dragon in my house.

All right. I have said what I came to say. Goodbye. That is all.