Friday, March 28, 2014

MAY I HAVE A MOMENT OF YOUR TIME?

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Brandon Ax made me very happy yesterday when he announced on his blog that I am now his editor. He's a great guy and such a cute, young hottie (don't tell him that I drool over him, and keep your cake hole shut around Willy Dunne Wooters). I hope you'll stop by to see his adorable drawing at http://baxwriting.blogspot.com/2014/03/editor-wanted-editor-found.html. It portrays Brandon and his dragon presenting a manuscript to me, and, of course, the boys. How could I edit without Harper and Franklin? I admit it: They're the brains behind this operation.

A couple of sucky things have happened this week. My dishwasher is broken. I'm washing dishes by hand. Try not to faint. I realize it's shocking.

Why in the name of all that is good and holy is she smiling?
I certainly don't smile when I was dishes. *shudder*
Insipid woman.
I looked online for dishwasher repair instructions (the dishwasher won't drain) and made an effort to fix it myself. Yes! It is I, fixer-repairer person extraordinaire. A lot of people online said that some pieces in the bottom of the dishwasher might be clogged. That was not the problem.

To put the icing on the poop cake, I hurt my back by contorting my body in strange ways so I could reach inside the dishwasher. If I had to hurt my back, why couldn't I have been doing something fun, like playing Naked Twister with Willy Dunne Wooters?

But at least I tried to fix the dishwasher -- something I wouldn't have dared to attempt once upon a marriage. The effort felt good; I'm proud of myself.

I think the problem is the motor that pumps out the water, which is beyond my Ms. FixIt skills. I'll be on the hunt for a new dishwasher very soon. I was not born to wash dishes. I was born to love punctuation.

Something far more important than a broken dishwasher is on my mind, however.

It's Rita's birthday!

Please stop by SoulComfort's Corner to wish Rita a happy birthday. Rita is da bomb. 

Happy Birthday, RitaPitaPan! 


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, March 24, 2014

WE INTERRUPT THIS REGULARLY SCHEDULED POST FOR AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Okay, so it's not really such an important announcement, but I wanted to say that it is. Remember when TV shows used to be interrupted for unusual news events? I don't think that happens much anymore because now we have cable channels with nothing but news.

My news is that I'm taking a blog break. I have editing to do (that's good); I want to write (that's good); I want to read (that's good); and I want to kiss Willy Dunne Wooters (that's very good).

Since I don't participate in the A - Z challenge, April is an excellent time for a blog holiday.

In my world, April starts right now. I'll try to check in with you at least a few times, and you might even get some MOVIE WEEKEND posts out of me.

I'll see you early in May.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, March 21, 2014

DING DONG FRED PHELPS IS DEAD

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I've always been the kind of person who refuses to condemn someone to hell. I always say every so sweetly that we can't know what's in someone's heart, so we should never assume that someone has died and gone to hell. I'm breaking my rule today. I'm 99.99% sure that Fred Phelps has gone to hell.

I hope he found redemption and didn't go, but that would be quite a stretch.

On May 30, 2011, I wrote this post about the Phelps family and Westboro "Baptist Church". I think today is a good time for a re-run.

Here's MEMORIAL DAY: AFTER THE FALL:


Memorial Day, for most of us, is a day to honor our fallen heroes. But for a particular hate group in my home town of Topeka, Kansas, every day is a day to despise our fallen heroes.

Yes, you may have heard of them before: It's Fred Phelps and his family, who use their Westboro Baptist Church as a front for their campaign against the people they call fags. According to the Phelps, 9/11 was caused by the fags because God was showering his wrath on the people of the United States. And people who serve in America's military are fags, and I'm a fag, you're a fag, everyone except the Phelps family is a fag, fag.

(By the way, they call their church Baptist, but they are not recognized as such by any other Baptist churches.)

I'm not going to provide a link to any of the Phelps' Web sites. You can find their crap if you want. I write this to call attention to their activities in case you are not aware of them, and because my dad served in the military and died on Memorial Day. I know my parents detested the behavior of the Phelps.

The Phelps like to protest. They go out with their signs and call people fags and blame the fags for everything that's wrong. Worst of all, they protest at the funerals of our fallen soldiers. Because of them, President George W. Bush signed a law that prohibits protests within a certain distance of military cemeteries before, during, and after a funeral. But that doesn't stop them from protesting at other cemeteries and it doesn't stop them from protesting at other venues and it doesn't stop them from protesting at other times. They also protest at the funerals of gay people. They were there for Matthew Shepard's funeral, as if his family hadn't already suffered enough.

I've seen some news clips about various ways people deal with the Phelps. And don't think the Phelps are just a Topeka problem. They show up all over the place. In one town, the Phelps obtained permission to picket on a certain corner. So, many people in town showed up and parked their vehicles near the corner so the Phelps would have difficulty getting a place to park their bus, and then the townspeople took over the corner and left no room for the Phelps, who actually gave up and left. When they protest at a funeral, sometimes motorcyclists show up and form a ring around the family and rev their engines to drown out their noise.

Yes, the Phelps family is entitled to freedom of speech. But families should be entitled to bury their loved ones in peace.

I recall Fred Phelps mostly from his days as a lawyer, when I was growing up in Topeka. His antics were always in the news, and eventually he was disbarred for unethical conduct. Some of his 13 children have become lawyers and they now fund the protests with the money they earn from the family law firm, according to an article I read in the Topeka newspaper. Although Topekans hate what the Phelps do, one person admitted that if you want to win your case, you go to the Phelps. It's a shame Kansans don't boycott the firm in a shared commitment to dry up their money.

Recently I watched a documentary about the family called Fall From Grace: Westboro Baptist Church. It was  made by a young man named K. Ryan Jones, first as a short film for a film class he was taking at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, and then it became a full-fledged documentary. As Jones himself says in a DVD extra, he had to try very hard to be fair to the Phelps because "everybody hates them."

As I watched Fall From Grace, there I saw one of the boys, now in his fifties just as I am, but with the same face he had when we were in the seventh grade together. And I saw one of the girls, who was in the ninth grade. I sometimes saw the girl in the ninth grade laughing and talking with other kids, but the seventh grade boy seemed to stick pretty close to his brother, who was in the eighth grade. Those boys looked so sad, and I have never forgotten the miserable and embarrassed silence that fell over the school cafeteria the day those two boys came to school with their heads shaved. Guys did not shave their heads then, and we felt so sorry for them.

Other students who had known the Phelps for years explained to me that Fred Phelps had shaved his sons' heads to punish them, just as they were punished by having to run to Lawrence from Topeka and then back home again. They also had to sell candy for hours after school to support the church. One of them came to our door once, and my mother said NO immediately. She mentioned afterwards that she knew the money went to the church so she wouldn't buy anything from the Phelps.

What I didn't know was that the children and Mrs. Phelps were severely abused, according to two of the children who have left the family. One of them, Nate Phelps, writes a thoughtful and intelligent blog that I suggest you check out. Nate is interviewed by telephone during the documentary, and he recommends ignoring his family if you should encounter one of their protests. They are definitely attention whores, so cut them dead (figuratively of course). Don't engage them in an argument; don't give them what they want so desperately.

Why do they do what they do? Who knows why such evil lives in the hearts of humankind? Fred Phelps is a sick man and his sickness has infected most of his children. And now his grandchildren, right down to the youngest ones who are barely understandable when they speak, parrot what they hear from their parents and their grandfather, although it's obvious they don't know what they're saying. They are already brainwashed and if someone doesn't help them, it will only get worse.

I found it fascinating that in the documentary one of the Phelps daughters says, My father had 13 children. Hmmmm . . . did he become pregnant and give birth? Mrs. Phelps is never mentioned, I think because her husband's control over the family is so complete.

Thus, I recommend the documentary; I recommend Nate Phelps' blog; and I recommend ignoring the Phelps family if you should ever have the misfortune of seeing them in your town. They have fallen. Don't let them take you down with them.



Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, March 20, 2014

MOVIE MOVIE MOVIE WEEKEND: UNUSUAL CONCLUSIONS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

That's right: This week, and this week only, you get three movie reviews for the price of one. The price of one is zero, zip, nada, and 3 x 0 = I spend too much time watching movies.

I put these three movies together because they all strike me as having unusual conclusions, as in we kinda don't see the actual conclusion, but we have hope for a happy ending. Obviously, I can't tell you what the conclusions are. You have to see them for yourself.

The first movie is All Is Lost (2013, PG-13, Available On DVD).


The man, a guy, some sailor -- we don't know his name, but he sure looks like Robert Redford to me -- is out at sea on his 39-foot yacht. He awakes to find he's collided with a shipping container. The title tells you what the rest of the movie is about, but it's worth watching because it happens to be very good for a film with virtually no dialog.

All Is Lost is beautifully made, and Redford is perfection.

The second movie is Prisoners (2013, Rated R, Available On DVD).


Two little girls disappear. Their parents are Keller (Hugh Jackman) and Grace Dover (Maria Bello), and Franklin (Terrance Howard) and Nancy Birch (Viola Davis). The families begin the search for the two six year olds, but quickly call in the police and tell Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) that an RV with someone inside it had been parked on their street earlier in the day. Keller Dover, frantic with worry and grief, searches for his daughter himself when the police find nothing.

With the first movie, I simply watched as one thing after another was lost until all was lost. Prisoners, though, is the kind of movie that has me wanting to see what happens next, but dreading it at the same time. Paul Dano (as Alex Jones), who is so funny as the son/Olive's brother in Little Miss Sunshine, scares the bejabers out of me in this movie. Hugh Jackman is outstanding.

This movie is great, but I warn you: It's frightening. It originally received an NC-17 rating. Some scenes were cut to get the R rating, but you know what that means, right? If you don't, it means they put stuff in the movie knowing it would get cut so they could keep scenes they really wanted and were afraid they'd have to cut if they didn't have sacrificial lambs.

The third movie is the Coen brothers' latest, Inside Llewyn Davis (2013, Rated R, Available On DVD).


Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a Greenwich Village folk singer we follow during one week in 1961, ends up thinking all is lost. His former singing partner has killed himself. Llewyn is broke and has no place to live. He begs to sleep on friends' couches. At one house, he accidentally lets the owners' cat escape. They aren't too happy with him. Another friend (Carey Mulligan) doesn't feel so friendly toward Llewyn. His sister is pissed off at him. He leaves New York for a brief sojourn to the Midwest, where he stops to see his father in a nursing home. He plays his guitar and sings for his dad. I can't tell you what his father's response is.

Maybe all is lost for Llewyn, and maybe it isn't. I have one, and only one, clue for you: The name of the cat is Ulysses, the Roman name for the Greek Odysseus, who travels so far and for so many years before he finally reaches his home.

The ab-fab Juli at Surviving Boys told me she'd heard from a friend that a movie was "cerebral". I can't remember if she said it was Dallas Buyers Club or Captain Phillips. Juli, Inside Llewyn Davis is the movie that's cerebral, but it's worth watching and pondering. Oscar Isaac is excellent, and I always love Carey Mulligan.

The thing about Inside Llewyn Davis is that it's a Coen brothers' movie that doesn't quite seem like a Coen brothers' movie. Nobody is murdered. No bodies get put through wood chippers. We don't see a single glimpse of a pregnant police chief in North Dakota. But it's still a Coen brothers' movie, so it's intelligent and beautifully made.

All Is Lost, Prisoners, and Inside Llewyn Davis all earn The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

Sorry I rushed through this post. Does it feel rushed? I need to edit some more.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

GRATITUDE TUESDAY: THE FIRST PALMETTO BUG OF SPRING

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Spring has sprung in Florida. I know we've not yet reached the official day, but spring is here in spite of the calendar.

Remember the flower in the backyard that Franklin showed me on Friday?


But it wasn't the flower that convinced me spring has arrived. It was a palmetto bug. I hadn't seen one of those bastards mo-fos SOBs God's creations in months. Oh, how I have missed the palmetto bugs during our unusually cold winter. I haven't seen a single lizard, either. Not yet.

Anyway, Willy Dunne Wooters and I were watching Breaking Bad on Saturday night. We're almost done with season three. WDW has never seen it. I'm careful not to tell him what's going to happen.

No, not Baking Bread. Breaking Bad.



I headed for the kitchen to get some water and there was a fucking pissy shitty palmetto bug in the hall right outside my bedroom. Remember the little darlings?


I screamed. Then I screamed at Willy Dunne Wooters, Bring a shoe! I wanted to smack the hell out of God's creation. WDW, not hearing too well, dashed out with a napkin.

I screamed. WDW said, Jesus, Janie, don't scream in my ear. Do you have to take away the little bit of hearing I have left?

I screamed. I told WDW, Don't tell me what to do. It's a palmetto bug.

I screamed while WDW tried to crush the palmetto bug in the napkin, but he couldn't grab the sonuvabitch because Mr. Palmetto was too fast. The palmetto bug ran out into the dining room and hid under the china cabinet. He was nowhere to be seen. I grabbed the bug spray and squirted some under the cabinet. Mr. Palmetto ran out and headed back toward the hall.

I screamed and continued to squirt him. He didn't even slow down. Then I remembered I didn't need a shoe because I was wearing slippers with fairly hard soles. I stomped on Mr. Palmetto, laughing with glee. I lifted my foot AND HE WAS STILL ALIVE AND RUNNING STRAIGHT TOWARD ME.

I screamed. Willy Dunne Wooters, my hero who is not allowed to tell me what to do -- especially when it comes to palmetto bugs and screaming -- stepped forward, caught Mr. Palmetto in the napkin, and flushed him down the toilet. No doubt he is running and playing in the sewer and will reemerge, stronger than ever because you can't keep a good palmetto down.

Now, I need to remember why I'm grateful.

Oh, yeah, it's spring. With warmer weather, we have palmetto bugs. It's just a fact of life. But we'll also have walks to the park with Franklin, doggies lounging on the deck, and eventually, swimming in the pool at Willy Dunne Wooters' very nice apartment complex. I bought a swimsuit, and I don't care how I look in it. I'm wearing it. Do you think yellow is a good color for me?




I'm also grateful because Willy Dunne Wooters is enough of a manly man to flush a gigantic palmetto bug. After the flushing, Willy Dunne Wooters picked me up in his manly man arms.


Willy Dunne Wooters always makes me quiver with delight.




Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, March 17, 2014

THE GREAT RACHEL THOMPSON GIVEAWAY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,


No, we're not giving away Rachel Thompson, but she is having a great giveaway. Rachel is a columnist, blogger, poet, and social media maven. I have the pleasure of being on her "street team" (I've never been in a gang before, and I feel so cool. I wonder if we're going to have a secret handshake). As part of Rachel's team, I'm delighted to present her giveaway, which runs through April 3rd. This information was organized by  of Like a Bump on a Blog.

Take it away, Amberr:

Bestselling Books by Author Rachel Thompson, $50 Amazon GC and $25 Amazon GC Giveaway (2 winners!)




Welcome to the pre-spring giveaway, in which two winners will receive bestselling books from successful author Rachel Thompson. In addition, one winner will receive a $50 Amazon gift card, and the second winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. I'll share a little information about the author and her books, and then we'll move on to the fun part!

Author Rachel Thompson:



About the author: Rachel Thompson is the author of the award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She also owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in the San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, bitrebels.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self Publishing Monthly. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.

Check out this amazing trailer for Broken Pieces, and you'll most certainly want to read the book . . .




Broken Pieces will be signed by Rachel Thompson and sent in paperback form, and the other two will be gifted by the author electronically. If an entrant outside of the US and Canada is one of the winners, that person will receive an electronic copy of Broken Pieces in lieu of the paperback version.





Now to the giveaway part! This giveaway is open to entrants worldwide, so if you're ready to enter, do so via the Giveaway Tools form just below. Good luck and happy winning!!

Please share this post with others who'd like to learn more about Rachel Thompson and her books!


Janie here again: Thank you, Amberr. I read Broken Pieces. It's impressive. I hope to bring you a BOOK NOOK interview with Rachel and a review of Broken Pieces before the giveaway ends.

I follow Rachel's blog, Rachel in the OC. I find a lot of great social media advice there, and she presents great posts -- some that she writes, and some by guest authors. I urge you to visit her.

Happy Winning!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, March 14, 2014

FRANKLIN FRIDAY: I'M BIZZEE

Hi hihihihihihihihihhihihi I love typing like this. It's me it's me it's me mememememememememe there I go again. It's ME! Franklin the Bordernese.

I'm so bizzee today I don't have much time to write a post. The sun is shining and it feels so good outside. First, I played run in circles around the bush with Harper.

Then I got a big drink of water.

Then I took Mom outside.


I needed to show her this:


Isn't it just so very very pretty?

Now I have to get Mom to hold on to the lead so I can take her for a walk around the whole neighborhood.


Okay I love you bye bye.


Franklin the Bordernese

Thursday, March 13, 2014

MOVIE WEEKEND: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I present for your consideration another movie based on a true story. It's Captain Phillips (2013, PG-13, Available On DVD).

I'll address the truthiness, or lack thereof in this movie, in a post following this one. You might not want to read the truthiness post until you've seen the movie because it will have some spoilers, though I think most people know how this story turns out.


Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) takes command of the Merchant Vessel (and thus, unarmed) Maersk Alabama during 2009. Somali pirates come after the ship. Phillips and the crew do what they can to keep the pirates from boarding the vessel, but the pirates succeed. Eventually, they leave the ship in a lifeboat, taking Phillips with them. A major feature of the film is the cat and mouse game between Phillips and the pirates' leader Muse (Barkhad Abdi). Who is the Captain now?

This movie had me on the edge of my seat even though I watched two documentaries on Netflix Screaming about the Alabama and knew what was going to happen. I also recall news accounts from the time, yet I feared for Phillips and other crew members. Captain Phillips is an action/adventure feast, with outstanding performances by Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi. I don't know why Tom Hanks wasn't nominated for an Academy Award, but if he had been, who would have been left out? Although I love Jared Leto's Academy Award winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club, Abdi was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, too. Abdi actually outshines Leto. Abdi goes toe-to-toe with Hanks all the way.

The scenes in the lifeboat (which was a model built to scale) are claustrophobic and terrifying. The sight of the Navy SEALs parachuting in is overwhelming. I had tears in my eyes. The SEALs deserve more attention in the film. They played a vital role in the mission, but I understand that the focus is really on the tension between Phillips and Muse.

The one thing I wanted to see in this movie that didn't occur was a volleyball floating by he ship and Tom Hanks shouting, WILSON! I'm just kidding. (Not really. That could have been the very best part.)

Captain Phillips is beautifully made. It earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

I wouldn't allow young children to watch this movie, but teenagers, yes. As always, I urge you to watch the movie before allowing your kids to watch.

Happy Viewing!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

BEHIND THE STORY: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS

SPOILERS AWAIT YOU HERE. YOU MIGHT WANT TO WATCH THE MOVIE BEFORE YOU READ THIS POST. MY REVIEW OF CAPTAIN PHILLIPS IS IN A SEPARATE POST.

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I was disappointed to learn that Captain Phillips is yet another case of a movie that's supposed to be true, but it's fabricated for the most part.

Why can't the truth ever be enough?

I understand that everybody wants Richard Phillips to be a hero, but he isn't. The guy is not too bright. He was warned repeatedly to take a course farther away from Somalia, yet he insisted on being only 250 miles out because it would save time. He said later that it wouldn't have mattered if they were 600 or 1,200 miles out -- that the pirates were determined to catch them no matter what. I find it difficult to imagine that a greater distance wouldn't have been helpful.

At least Phillips himself has insisted that he is not a hero, that the media made him into one. He's right about that. So then, why did he write a book about the experience? The script for the movie is based on his book, and Phillips attended the Academy Awards ceremony and didn't stand up to shout, THIS IS A FARCE. I SCREWED UP!

A number of crew members from the Alabama agree that Phillips is a jerk. One said that nobody wanted to sail with him. Some of them are suing Phillips and the owners of the ship because Phillips didn't obey warnings to take the ship farther out from Somalia. I'm not sure where the suit stands now, but it's probably the sort of thing that will drag on for years.

Phillips is shown taking over a ship on which procedures are lax, but in reality, he didn't follow a number of important safety precautions. In the movie, they're having a safety drill when the pirates approach. In fact, they were having a fire drill and Phillips insisted on continuing with the drill.

The movie's fast cuts make it seem as if everything happens pretty quickly. Most of the crew members followed procedures and were in hiding in 130 degree heat for 12 hours. Phillips seems to be on the lifeboat for a day or so. He was there for five days.

The U.S. spent millions of dollars on the mission to save this guy's life. I'm not saying he shouldn't have been rescued. I am saying it never should have been necessary. At the least, Phillips should have tried a lot harder to make it difficult for the pirates to board the ship.

The Internet Movie Database states:

In real life, Phillips never offered the pirates to take or shoot him instead of his crew. He was held in the lifeboat for five days and was psychologically tortured by the pirates who even conducted mock executions with him as the victim. He never got any pen or paper during his captivity in the lifeboat and never tried to write a farewell note to his family. He didn't ask to go outside to urinate before attempting his escape. He saw from his seat one of the pirates urinating outside and used that opportunity to jump the lifeboat. His reaction of absolute shock after being rescued by the SEAL team never happened in real life. He was hit by what happened only after he tried to go to sleep for the first time after being rescued.

Here are links to some articles I found interesting:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maersk_Alabama_hijacking

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2013/10/11/captain_phillips_true_story_fact_and_fiction_in_tom_hanks_and_paul_greengrass.html

http://nypost.com/2013/10/13/crew-members-deny-captain-phillips-heroism/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/11/captain-phillips-real-story_n_4084669.html

If you read these articles, then you'll see that a disagreement exists regarding the Navy SEALs. They are supposed to have killed the three pirates still on the lifeboat with three simultaneous shots. Some claim far more shots were fired. The movie and many points in the articles disagree -- sometimes the articles disagree with one another. I don't even know if The Huffington Post and The New York Post and Wikipedia are reliable sources. How does one ever learn the truth? Maybe it will never be known. The truth disappears, just as the $30,000 did that Phillips gave to the pirates from the ship's safe.

I'm not trying to ruin the movie for you. I think it's a great movie, BUT IT'S A MOVIE. It's not reality. I hope you can enjoy it for what it is.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

WHAT? WEDNESDAY: SMOOTH CRIMINALS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I've been writing some posts about infamous criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, and Clyde's older brother, Buck, and his wife Blanche, which you can read HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Today's question is What is it about criminals that fascinates people?

In this case, is it because of Bonnie And Clyde, released in 1967 and starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway?


Some people probably didn't know about Bonnie and Clyde until the movie came out and glamorized them, but a lot of folks were interested in Bonnie and Clyde long before 1967. Any memorabilia connected with them sells for big bucks. The car in which they were shot to death by Texas Rangers is on display at a casino in Las Vegas.



But what's glamorous about this?


As soon as people in the nearest town heard that Bonnie and Clyde had been killed, souvenir hunters headed out to the spot and surrounded the car. They cut off blood-soaked pieces of Bonnie and Clyde's clothes. Someone tried to cut off Clyde's left ear. Reportedly, a man offered to buy Clyde's corpse.

My answer to today's question is that I like history, especially learning the true story behind a trumped-up story told in a movie. I'll read about Bonnie and Clyde, and then I'll move on to learning about someone else. I read a lot of non-fiction, especially about U.S. Presidents. I like biographies of writers who interest me, or their memoirs.

I simply cannot imagine running out to see a car in which two people had been killed and trying to get pieces of their bloody clothes.

And what about serial killers from more recent times? While Ted Bundy was on Death Row, he received numerous letters from women who wanted to marry him. John Wayne Gacy took up painting while he was on Death Row. Following his execution, some of his paintings reportedly sold for thousands of dollars.

Why would anyone want to marry Ted Bundy? Who wants to own a painting by John Wayne Gacy?

So, what do you think? What is it about criminals that fascinates people?

As always, I eagerly await your responses. Based on your comments, I think you're all interested in the Bonnie-and-Clyde story behind the story. But do you know anyone who seems to have what we might consider an unhealthy interest in a criminal?


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

BLANCHE BARROW BLEW A FUSE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Please forgive me for foregoing GRATITUDE TUESDAY, but I'm on this Bonnie and Clyde kick and I simply must continue with Blanche Barrow's story.

You saw a bit of Blanche yesterday in FUN TIMES WITH BONNIE AND CLYDE, but let's go all the way back to Blanche's birth in 1911. Her father was 40; her mother was 16. They divorced when Blanche was young. I wonder why.



When Blanche was 17, her mother forced her to marry a much older man, who is alleged to have treated her very cruelly. She divorced John Callaway in 1931 and married Buck Barrow. They honeymooned right here in lovely Jacksonville, Florida. After Blanche and Buck joined Bonnie and Clyde in 1933, Blanche had only four months left with her second husband.



When last we saw beautiful Blanche (in this post), Buck had died of wounds received while running from the Laws, and Blanche went to prison, where she maintained that Oh, no, she didn't want to be with those awful people and she never helped with any crimes.

Blanche with a posse member who helped capture her.
He looks so pleased.

Blanche washing her hands after being fingerprinted.

Sentenced to ten years, she got out in a little less than six. She wrote her memoirs while in prison. At first, she stayed with her father. In 1940, she married a man named Eddie Frasure in Rockwall, Texas (my oldest nephew lives there -- it's a small world after all). Blanche tried to keep her notoriety a secret, but she had to check in with authorities every time she moved and had to seek permission to marry Eddie.



For the most part, Blanche and Eddie lived in Dallas. During 1965, they adopted a 12-year-old boy named Rickey. Eddie died from cancer in 1969, but before he went, he got to see his wife portrayed on the big screen in Bonnie And Clyde.

Warren Beatty, who played Clyde and was one of the producers of the film, paid Blanche for permission to use her name and likeness in the movie. He would stop by to see Blanche sometimes while working on Bonnie And Clyde. Blanche loved it when Warren played the piano and sang to her.

But then the movie came out. When Blanche and Eddie went to see it, she said she nearly died of embarrassment because it made her look like "a screaming horse's ass". Estelle Parsons, who played Blanche, won the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in 1968.

The lovely Estelle Parsons in Bonnie and Clyde

Occasionally, Blanche would tell a close friend about her wild days with Bonnie and Clyde, and she left her scrapbook, important papers, and other mementos to relatives when she died from cancer on Christmas Eve, 1988.



She was estranged from adopted son Rickey because he had served time in prison. Blanche's mother outlived her. The memoirs Blanche wrote in prison were published in 2004 as My Life With Bonnie and Clyde.




Well, I think that's about enough chitchat regarding Blanche. One of these days maybe we'll talk some more about other gang members, and we'll dish about Bonnie and Clyde again.

Moral of Blanche's story: Crime doesn't pay. Today, of course, she'd be all over The National Enquirer and on every talk show, making a fortune. She was known as a snazzy dresser, even when she was in prison.

Bye-bye, Blanche.





Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Monday, March 10, 2014

FUN TIMES WITH BONNIE AND CLYDE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Last week I told you TEN FUN FACTS ABOUT BONNIE AND CLYDE. This week I'll give you a taste of what it was like to run from the "Laws" with the Barrow gang. (What I would say as Bear-oh seems to be pronounced as Bear-uh by many Texans. I learned this from some homemade videos.)

I imagine the most well-known members of the gang besides Bonnie and Clyde were another Barrow, Marvin -- known as Buck -- and his wife Blanche. Buck was Clyde's older brother and is widely credited with leading Clyde into a life of crime.


Buck had been married and divorced twice and had three children when he met Blanche. They married in 1931. After Buck finished serving a prison sentence in 1933, the two joined Bonnie and Clyde. They were with the gang for all of four months.

Between April and June, Buck and other gang members killed three officers. On July 19, 1933, police had a shoot-out with the gang at a tourist court (the precursor to cheap motels) in Missouri . They shot Buck in the head and wounded Blanche, but the gang got away. Blanche had glass shards in her eyes from the windows of the car being shot out. She ended up blind in one eye. A mere five days later, a posse caught up to the gang again, shot Buck in the back, and captured Blanche.

In this rare action photo, Blanche screams at officers not to shoot the dying Buck again:


Blanche also cried out, Don't die, Daddy. Yes, she called Buck "Daddy". I think it's safe to say that Blanche had daddy issues.

Buck was hospitalized in Iowa. Police visited to interrogate him. He lived another five days -- long enough for his mother, Cumie (pronounced Coomie), and her youngest son, L.C., to make the drive from Texas to be with Buck during his last hours. Buck died July 29, 1933. Here's Buck in the hospital:


Dept. of Justice files read: "Due to the lack of medical attention, the wound in Barrow's head, gave off
such an offensive odor, that it was with utmost difficulty that one could remain within several feet of him."

Blanche was extradited to Missouri for participating in the shooting of an officer and sentenced to ten years. Here's Blanche's mug shot:


Blanche served six years. The entire time she was in prison she maintained that she had not participated in any crimes and was with the gang against her will. The pose helped her gain the early release. Although it seems to be true that Blanche didn't want a life of crime, she definitely worked with the gang, which she admitted later.

I don't want to bore you with an overly long post, so I'll tell you more about Blanche, definitely one of the most interesting members of the Barrow gang (probably because she managed to live longer than the rest) on another day.

Gene Hackman played Buck in the 1967 film that starred Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Here's some Bonnie and Clyde movie trivia from Internet Movie Database:

Gene Hackman was on the set one day when he noticed a guy standing behind him and staring. The man said, "Hell, Buck would've never wore a hat like that." Hackman turned around and looked at him and said, "Maybe not." He looked like an old Texas farmer. The man introduced himself and said, "Nice to meet you - I'm one of the Barrows."

I don't know how you feel, but being aware of Blanche and Buck's four-month sojourn with Bonnie and Clyde leads me to believe that joining a gang of criminals is not a good idea.

More about Blanche and other gang members on another day! Woo-hoo! Let the good times roll.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug, who can't sleep though it's very late on Sunday night because she's all messed up by DST and spending too many hours asleep earlier in the day, cuddled up next to the extraordinarily cuddly Willy Dunne Wooters

Friday, March 7, 2014

MORE ABOUT DALLAS BUYERS CLUB

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

If you don't want to know more about the reality of the Dallas Buyers Club until you've seen the film, then hold off on reading this post.

Our good friend Pickleope made a very important comment about my review of the movie (which you can read HERE):


It's a good movie, but it's problematic. They gloss over the fact 

that the very drug he was fighting against, AZT, was 

effective once adjusted for human consumption (the reason 

scientists have no choice but to do human trials) and is one of the 

real reasons that people with HIV/AIDS are living longer. They 

didn't know to cut the dosage in half back at the beginning. But 

thanks to their trials, they do now. 


And the main character, Ron Woodruff, they make out to seem 

like a good-ol-boy homophobe who comes around to be gay-

friendly. But there are differing accounts between friends of 

Woodruff and his biographer

. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/10612550/Dallas-Buyers-Club-The-not-so-straight-truth.html Who knows which account is true?


The depiction in the movie of him as a homophobe creates the

 issue of the message being that gay people needed the benevolent

heterosexual to save the poor, Aids-stricken gays. It undercuts all

the hard work of the gay community in elevating themselves.

It's not to say Woodruff and his story doesn't matter. His struggle

 mattered. He was one of the many Aids sufferers who fought 

against persecution to bring attention to the plight of what was 
called "the gay disease". He was frustrated at the system and 

being marginalized. That, the movie got oh so right. But he was a 

self-aggrandizing opportunist. It doesn't mean it negates 

everything he did. It's just a lot more nuanced than the movie 

leads you to believe. Damn, I'm long-winded.


Short summary: Good movie, but calling it a true story does a

 disservice to the real and big picture of the story. Great acting,

 though, quite amazing.

A good summary:
 http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/feb/12/dallas-buyers-club-
accurate-matthew-mcconaughey
Sorry for pontificating, but everyone has one of those things that 
touches something within.

Pickleope, I don't see you as a pontificating, nor do you need to

apologize. I have pointed out in the past that a movie purported to 

be a true story or based on a true story may not have a particle of

truthiness in it. I should have said so when I reviewed Dallas 

Buyers Club.

No such person as Rayon (Jared Leto) existed. Ron Woodroof 

(Matthew McConaughey) hung out with gay men all the time and 

probably was not homophobic. In fact, some of his friends think he

might have had relationships with other men.

This is what the real Ron Woodroof looked like as the disease took 

its toll on him:



Also, I found this amusing video about the Dallas Buyers Club and economics:



So please keep in mind that Dallas Buyers Club is a great movie, in my opinion, but it's not entirely true. You can learn more about the real Ron Woodroof simply by Googling him.

For me, the story is important and I'm glad it was told because of the lack of reaction to the AIDS crisis when it began. It supposedly was a scourge gay men brought on themselves by sinning. If the lead character in this film were gay, I suspect the story might not have made it to the big screen. Remember Soderbergh's movie about Liberace that ended up on HBO?

Thank you, Pickleope, and Gentle Readers, please educate yourselves if you want to discuss the early days of AIDS and the lack of treatment. Don't cite facts based on what you see in Dallas Buyers Club.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug




Thursday, March 6, 2014

MOVIE WEEKEND: DALLAS BUYERS CLUB

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I present for your consideration a very impressive move: Dallas Buyers Club (2013, Rated R, Available On DVD).


It's 1985 and Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) -- an electrician and sometimes bull riding rodeo hustler -- uses coke, has unprotected sex, drinks heavily, smokes, and in general, lives a rough life. Injured at work, he's taken to the hospital, where doctors tell him he has HIV and only 30 days to live. Woodroof is a homophobic redneck who refuses to believe he's contracted a "faggot" disease.

Ron Woodroof: Let me give y'all a little news flash. There ain't nothin' out there can kill fuckin' Ron Woodroof in 30 days.

Before long, Woodroof has to accept that he's ill, so he researches HIV and AIDS and finds medications he believes can help him. But they're not FDA approved. He sets out for Mexico where he can receive alternative treatments, and brings the unapproved treatments back to the U.S., where with a transgender addict named Rayon (Jared Leto), he sets up the Dallas Buyers Club as a way of providing prohibited medicine to the people who need it the most.

I am so moved by this film. It's because of people such as Ron Woodroof that HIV is no longer an almost immediate death sentence in the U.S. Woodroof and others fought doctors and the FDA to improve treatments for HIV/AIDS patients. Dallas Buyers Club is based on a true story, but I don't know what kind of person the real Ron Woodroof was. In the movie, the character changes significantly, and for the better.

I mentioned in a post a couple of days ago that I didn't care for McConaughey. I've changed my mind. Susie at peaked in junior high assured me I would respect him after seeing this movie. She was right. This role is perfect for him. I admire him for going to such lengths to play Woodroof (he lost 47 pounds so he would look gaunt and ill). He deserved his Best Actor Academy Award.

I don't know if I'll like him in the future if he goes back to making silly rom-coms that waste his talent, but right now, I like Matthew McConaughey very much.

Jared Leto's inner beauty shines through in his role as Rayon. Rayon's presence teaches Woodroof that gay people are human beings. The Internet Movie Database states that Leto remained in character during the entire shoot, even going grocery shopping dressed as Rayon. Leto lost 30 pounds to play the part. Leto's commitment to the role helped him earn his his Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, which he richly deserved. Rayon breaks my heart.

The one false note -- at times -- during the film, is Jennifer Garner as a doctor named Eve. During the first part of the movie, she's kind of sickeningly sweet. Her character becomes tougher and more realistic as she fights to help her patients.

Dallas Buyers Club is filmed in a rough, raw style that's appropriate for the story.

This movie earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval. It absolutely is not for children. You might want to watch it with older teens so you can discuss casual sex and how AIDS patients were treated during the 1980s, before Magic Johnson announced that he was infected and all of a sudden, HIV wasn't quite so frightening anymore. But that doesn't mean we can be lax. There's no such thing as safe sex -- only safer sex.

I sit here in my little house, wondering how to express to you the feelings that I have just minutes after watching this movie. I think I can sum it up by asking, If I'm not here to show compassion and kindness for humankind, then why do I exist?

I wish you knowledge and a blessed viewing experience with this excellent movie.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug