Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

If it's even close to as hot and humid where you are as it is where I am, then consider binge watching some series on Netflix Streaming during the long Fourth of July weekend or your summer staycation. Three of them earn The Janie Junebug Seal of Most Super Highest Approval, but they're for adults only.

I want to warn you now, don't think that you can watch any of these shows by starting with the most recent season. You must watch from the beginning or they won't make sense.

First, from Halifix in England, we have Happy Valley, a gripping and intense police drama. Two seasons are available on Netflix.

Happy Valley is an ironic name for the area in Yorkshire where Police Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) solves crimes and kicks criminals' arses. She also has to deal with plenty of personal drama.

Cawood must raise her grandson Ryan, whose mother was raped by evil Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton). Ryan's mother committed suicide soon after he born, which left Catherine bereft.

All of the actors in this show are great, but I reserve a special commendation for Lancashire.

Second, from the Florida Keys, we have Bloodline, which also involves criminals and mysteries and family drama. Two seasons are available.

The black sheep of the Rayburn family, Danny (Ben Mendelsohn, the breakout star of the show), returns to the Rayburn's posh inn in the Keys after a long absence and brings memories of childhood tragedy with him along with drugs and threats.

One member of the family who stands in Danny's way is his brother John (Kyle Chandler), who happens to be a detective in the sheriff's department. John and his siblings are not opposed to taking any means necessary to protect their family and their inheritance from Danny's machinations.

Bloodline has a stellar cast, which includes Sissy Spacek, Linda Cardellini, Sam Shepard, and--oo la la--Chlöe Sevigny.

Third, from fictional Litchfield Prison in the U.S., we have Orange Is The New Black. The show's fourth season was released recently.

When OITNB began, I thought it would focus on Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) alone, and it does for a while (she's never completely out of the picture). Chapman is sentenced to fifteen months in prison because ten years ago, she delivered drug money to her dealer girlfriend, Alex Vause (Laura Prepon).

Chapman may be a graduate of Smith, but she's not always so bright in the hierarchical world of Litchfield. She begins her stint in prison without food because she insults the culinary skills of Red (Kate Mulgrew), the Russian prisoner who runs the kitchen. But Piper figures out a way to gain Red's forgiveness, which might not last very long with Red's hair-trigger temper.

After the initial plot point about Piper and Red, the show shifts to include backstories and prison stories for other inmates and some of the guards. The entire cast is outstanding. It's difficult to stop watching, so don't say I didn't warn you when you think I know it's two in the morning, but I'll quit after one more episode.

I've loved Orange/Black since the first episode, but Season Four is the best so far. Litchfield is now an overcrowded for-profit prison. A certain Little Miss Nosy Britches manages to ignite a race war, fueled by the new guards, who make the prison a war zone. The penultimate episode, in my heart, recalls the tragedy of Lady Sybil's death on Downton Abbey. The season finale is so taut with anger and the prospect of violence that I don't know how I'll wait until 2017 for season five.

OITNB has been renewed through season seven. Praise God!

A special aspect of the fourth season includes a perfect song for each episode to play with the closing credits. I'll treat you to my favorite after we deal with all that la la infinities of love.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

This is Folk Uke, which consists of Cathy Guthrie and Amy Nelson. Here, they're joined by their famous fathers, Arlo and Willie.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I write this blog post to help you understand certain rules followed by publishers of books. You need to know the rules in case you want to break them. Our source is the bible of the publishing industry, The Chicago Manual of Style, Sixteenth Edition. 

Beloved bloggers: Carry on as you were. It I understand your post, then it's fine.

He asked, "What time is it?" 

She replied, "Look at the damn clock if you wanna know."

Let's try again. Maybe she won't be as cranky the second time around.

She replied, "It's four-twelve a.m. and don't wake me up again, you f&*#@!."

What did I do wrong? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?

Ferris is absent––again––so I'll answer the question myself (note the correct use of myself).

Chicago wants us to use numerals with a.m. or p.m., and yes, Chicago prefers lowercase for a.m. and p.m. Therefore, her answer should be, "It's 4:12 a.m. and . . . " I'm sure you get the idea except this time she changes up the profanity. What do you think she calls him?

It's especially important to use numerals with a.m. or p.m. when you need an exact time: My plane leaves at 4:22 a.m.

However, Chicago prefers that you spell out the number if you're writing about the time of day on the hour, half hour, or quarter hour. If you use "o'clock," always spell out the number.

It's five o'clock. I am so f*&^%$! ready to go home, but I won't get out of here until at least a quarter to eight or maybe even nine thirty.

Wow! Makes me glad I don't have a job.

Chicago does not like numbers if it's noon or midnight. Chicago likes noon or midnight.

Get it? Got it? Good!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, June 27, 2016



You've heard people say their lives changed overnight, right? They woke up and heard the lottery numbers and they were millionaires. More often, the change is bad because one day everything is fine, and the next? It is all fucked up. 

I read once that Marie Antoinette's hair turned white overnight while she was in jail, waiting to lose her head. 

I bet that hair went white during the few seconds of a nightmare as she saw the guillotine's blade slice through her own milky neck.

What people don't think about is that the overnight device is a saying. Nothing but a cliché. It hardly ever takes that long: eight hours, twelve hours, or however you define overnight––for life to change so completely. Most of the time it happens in one or two seconds.

How many seconds does it take to purchase that lottery ticket or to decide to stop someplace to eat ice cream? These decisions may be part of a change that's a long time in the making, but when the hair whitening attacks, it happens in a flash. 

And the flash can be so bright it nearly blinds you. 

Chapter One


The yellow piece of paper on the windshield of Aggie's black minivan stood out like a beacon in the dusky evening light as she left the urgent care center. She waddled along with a purse and diaper bag slung behind her right shoulder, Ruth Ann perched on her right hip, and a still sobbing Elliot holding on for dear life to her left hand.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I love a movie with an uplifting conclusion, and Learning to Drive has exactly that (2014,  Rated R, Available on DVD and Amazon Streaming).

Patricia Clarkson is a great actress. I don't know if I first saw her in The Station Agent or Lars and the Real Girl, but she won me over right away. She can play sweetness and light or tormented or persnickety. You need it, Patricia Clarkson can do it.

In Learning to Drive, she's joined by no less than Sir Ben Kingsley, who plays Darwan, a Sikh Indian taxi driver and driving instructor who is troubled by his new, arranged marriage. Clarkson is Wendy, a book critic who is troubled by the sudden end of her longtime marriage and, perhaps even more important, her inability to drive.

Wendy lives in New York. Not driving has never been an issue because if her husband couldn't take her where she needed to go, she could take cabs or the subway. But then her daughter Tasha (Grace Gummer) wants Wendy to visit her at the farm where she has taken a temporary job, and where she has fallen in love. Wendy must learn to drive so she can make the journey to see her daughter.

Clarkson and Kingsley work together so well that they don't need to speak a great deal. Their emotions can be conveyed with a look or a few words. Learning to Drive, especially the relationship between Wendy and Darwan, never seems predictable to me. Instead, their emotional connection is touching, poignant, and amusing. Both characters need to learn to make other connections: Darwan with his new wife and Wendy with her daughter.

The movie also has a funny sexual escapade when Wendy goes on her first date after her marriage
breaks up, and she experiences Tantric sex. Oi!

Watch Learning to Drive for the screenplay and for the acting.

This movie is definitely not for children. I have no idea if it would interest older teens. I know Favorite Young Man wants to see it, but he's way past his teenage years. Perhaps I should dub him Favorite Older Man.

Learning to Drive earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval. I first watched it on a DVD from Netflix. I'll watch it again on Amazon Prime Streaming.

Happy viewing with a happy ending!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, June 24, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Michael D'Agsotino of A Life Examined decided to start a new bloghop. It's called Flashback Friday––a time of the month where you can republish an old post of yours that maybe didn't get enough attention, or that you're really proud of, or you think is still relevant, etc. 

If you'd like to join us, we've decided to make this happen on the last Friday of every month. Enter your blog's name into the Linky List below and grab the code so you can put the list on your page and spread the word.

And Summer Will Not Come Again first appeared on my blog on June 12, 2010. You might recognize the title, as it's the same as that of a well-known short story by Sylvia Plath. Get a tissue to wipe your eyes a bit after you read this one. It's about Robin, a foster dog who lived with me briefly during the spring and summer of 2010.

Robin has come here to live.

Robin has come here to die.

Robin is some sort of bulldog mix. She has had I don't know how many litters of puppies. She has a terrible limp. She has a scar around her neck from being chained. Her ribs are sticking out.

And she has cancer. About four months to live, according to the vet.

My son's young lady love wants her to know what happiness is before she dies, and I think she already has it figured out.

Happiness is curling up in a chair in the family room and getting your tummy scratched.

Happiness is regular meals.

Happiness is a fenced in back yard where you can run with the other dogs and feel free but safe.

Happiness is batting at Mom's arm when she's reading to make sure Mom doesn't forget you for one second and you don't get in trouble for wanting attention.

Happiness is getting into Mom's bed at night and cuddling up as close to Mom as you can get.

I named her Robin because it is still spring. Summer will arrive soon, but right now, at this moment, it is still spring and the robins return in the spring.

So Robin has come to us during the spring. We will see her through the summer and care for her and give her all the love she wants and needs.

Then when fall arrives and it is time for the dying that precedes winter, we will see Robin through her death and we will make sure the death is as calm and gentle as possible.

Robin, you are loved.

Robin, this is what happiness is.

I am so glad you are here.

The first time I post Robin's story, it received four comments. It's gained more attention since then. It's one of my favorite posts, so that why I use it today. I still miss Robin.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Please join us!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

This blog post is intended to help authors understand certain rules used for the publication of writing in a book. You need to know the rules in case you want to break them. Our source is the bible of the publishing industry, The Chicago Manual of Style, Sixteenth Edition. 

Beloved bloggers: Carry on as you were. It I understand your post, then it's fine.

Today we talk about time. An event occurs in your book during the 1950's. What have I done wrong?

It's the 1950s, or the fifities, or the '50s, but not the 50's. You can learn this by asking what the 1950's possesses? Does it have a xylophone or a row of duckies in the bathtub? Probably not, so get rid of that lame apostrophe in 50's.

As important as writing the time correctly is knowing that an apostrophe is not used when we write a plural, unless we intend ownership.

Margarita's are 2/$2.00. No, no, no, no. Why add the possessive to the plural of margarita? Who owns the maragita that I want?

Margaritas are 2/$2.00. Yes, I like that price.

Frozen strawberry with a sugar rim, please.

We'll talk about time more in upcoming TIP TUESDAYS.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

From the moment I awake in the morning:

Monday, June 20, 2016


You've heard people say their lives changed overnight, right? They woke up and heard the lottery numbers and knew they were millionaires. More often, the change is bad because one day everything is fine and the next day it is all fucked up. 

I read once that Marie Antoinette's hair turned white overnight while she was in jail, waiting to lose her head. 

I bet Marie's hair changed color during the few seconds it took her to seen her own beheading in a nightmare  That  hair probably went white in the same time it took the nightmare guillotine's blade to slice through her milky neck.

The thing people don't think about is that the overnight device is just a saying, a cliché. It hardly ever takes that long: eight hours, twelve hours, or however you define overnight––for life to change so thoroughly. Most of the time it happens in one to two seconds.

How many seconds does it usually take to purchase that lottery ticket or to make the simplest decision to stop someplace to eat ice cream? These decisions may be part of a change that's a long time in the making, but when their hair whitening change attacks, it truly happens in a flash. 

And the flash can be so bright it nearly blinds you. Then comes the long wait until you get another so-called overnighter that changes your life again.

I know. I'm seen it. I've been through it.

And if you think about it, then you'll remember it's happened to you, too.

What do you think of my adverbs? Overdone? Appropriate? More adverbs needed? hahahahahaha

Sunday, June 19, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I can answer my own question: Joy Mangano is the inventor of the Miracle Mop along with dozens of other products. She wrings out mops on TV because it has made her a millionaire.

On Thursday I wrote a review of the movie Joy and promised I would return to tell you about the real Joy, so here I am.

I warn you that if you have not yet seen the movie Joy and intend to do so, then you will find spoilers in this post. 

Let's begin by watching Joy and her Miracle Mop in a 1996 infomercial:

The Miracle Mop was Joy's first big seller on television, but when you watch the movie Joy, you'll discover that her last name is never uttered, and Joy, portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence, spends only a couple of minutes demonstrating her mop on TV. Joy Mangano and director David O. Russell state that about fifty percent of the movie tells the story of the real Joy.

So how is Joy like Joy, and how is it different?


Joy was a struggling single mom, who had dozens of ideas. When she finally learned how to build and patent them, she was off and running.

She was the caretaker in her family who was strongly influenced by her grandmother, a waitress.

Joy made the prototype for the mop in her father's garage (a business, not simply a garage for a car).

The Miracle Mop did not sell well at first. Joy insisted on demonstrating it herself on QVC, which was about to drop the product.

Joy's best friend is named Ronnie, not Jackie, but she really called in during Joy's first appearance on QVC (without revealing she was Joy's friend) to help her sell the Miracle Mop.

Joy sold 18,000 mops during her first hour-long pitch on TV, although some sources state the mops sold in 20 minutes, and others say 30 minutes.

At the end of the movie, Joy leaves QVC in 1999 for HSN when they bought her company, Ingenious Designs LLC. One of her inventions, Huggable Hangers, is HSN's biggest selling item.


Joy has two children in the movie. She actually has three.

Joy does not have a half-sister named Peggy. She doesn't have a half-sister, period.

The invented QVC executive played by Bradley Cooper asks Joy to have 50,000 mops ready in one week. The number was 1,000.

To create her product, she received some financing from her father and (maybe) some of his wealthy girlfriends, used her own life savings, and took out a second mortgage on her house, but she also asked friends and other family members for money.

Her ex-husband is not a Venezuelan failed singer. He was her classmate at Pace University (she did not give up attending college to help her parents through their divorce). Joy hired him to work for her company because he's a good businessman and because she wanted him to spend more time with their children, who are now adults. Two of them work for the company, too. The third has her own Web site and is a model.

Joy's mom, Terry, is a composite of characters. The soap opera she watches is not a real show.

Joy Mangano and Jennifer Lawrence

About the time the movie Joy was released (Christmas, 2015), Joy re-imagined the Miracle Mop and sells it for the same price as the original: $20. She holds at least 100 patents.

Joy is not a struggling single mom anymore. She remains unmarried, but very close to her children. She owns at least two mansions––one in New York and one in Florida when HSN has its headquarters.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Joy, second from left, with her three children:

Thursday, June 16, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I thought Joy was a straight up biopic about entrepreneur Joy Mangano. It's true that the original script was about Mangano. Director David O. Russell became involved with the project and re-wrote the script so that it's loosely based on Mangano's life, but more important, he made Joy a paean to strong women (2015, PG-13, Available On DVD).

Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) has the weight of the world on her shoulders. She works as an airline reservations clerk; she has two children with her ex-husband Tony (Edgar Ramírez), who lives in her basement; she takes care of her mother Terry (Virginia Madsen), who had a breakdown when she and Joy's farther divorced so she stays in bed all day watching soap operas; she does the books for her father Rudy's (Robert De Niro) poorly run business, and Rudy's most recent love interest dumps him so he moves into Joy's basement with Tony; and she contends with her nasty step-sister Peggy (Elisabeth Rohm), who always has something unkind to say to or about Joy, especially to Joy's children.

The one person who encourages Joy is her grandmother Mimi (Diane Ladd), who also narrates the movie. However, her advice to Joy was to get an education, get a job, get married, and have children. Mimi doesn't quite see how talented Joy is.

Joy is filled with ideas for inventions, such as a self-wringing mop, and she has the smarts to design and create her inventions. When she starts her own business, how can she become a success when so many people in her life bring her down?

The main thing Joy has going for it is Jennifer Lawrence's performance. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for this film. Did she deserve that nomination? That I can't answer, but in spite of Joy allowing so many people to take advantage of her, she comes to epitomize the strong woman who carries on no matter what. In that sense, the performance is good.

Other members of the cast, especially Robert De Niro––who has become a caricature of himself––do not live up to Lawrence's performance.

I like the movie because of Lawrence and her character's experiences. I love people who are persistent for the right reasons, so I like the plot. The screenplay could be better; it might have made the other performances stronger. At times, Joy comes off as a fantasy. Which parts of it are true? I'll try to tell you about Joy Mangano tomorrow.

Joy earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Pretty High Approval. I doubt if it would interest your kids, but you might invite your teenage daughters to watch it with you. I would want to talk about the good and bad points of Joy's character. I'd also warn young women not to go out on their own, as Joy does, to confront shady people engaged in bad business practices.

If you feel any interest in Joy, then I say, give it a chance. Happy viewing!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

When I write a TIP TUESDAY post with information about correct grammar and ways to improve your writing, some of you say, Oh, I'm guilty of that. It's all over my blog.

I feel bad when you write that in your comments. TIP TUESDAY is intended to help writers who want to publish their work. You should have fun with your blogs––use them as a creative outlet or as your therapy or to provide a learning experience.

I've mentioned a few times that I don't intend TIP TUESDAY as a criticism of your blogs. It's not even a criticism of writing you want to publish. It's information. That's all.

Incorrect grammar in a blog only bothers me if it causes confusion.

So should I continue TIP TUESDAY, or let it go?

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. Just want to mention that my son's friend and former roommate Nic was in Orlando at a club across the street from where the tragedy occurred. I'm grateful that Nic is okay, and I send my love and prayers to all who are suffering. We don't recover from some things. All we can do is carry on.

Monday, June 13, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 90th birthday over the weekend. She was really born in April, but at age 90 she can be told she was born in June and she says, Oh, lovely. Cake!

 It was quite the celebration. The royals spent a lot of time showing off on a balcony. In this photo, the Queen holds up her hand to indicate that her subjects must rise up to protect her because Voldemort can be seen just behind her shoulder. Prince Charles looks up, wondering if the old lady will ever die so he can have his turn. He also thinks that if he doesn't look at Voldemort, then he can't be expected to help his mommy.

 In this shot, poor little Prince George claps his hand to his head as he wonders, Do I really have to do this shit for the rest of my life?

Here, Charles looks at his grandson and wonders if that damn little boy will get the throne before his grandpa.

A whole big bunch of Royals. That's Camilla in the big white hat. She wears it to try to hide because she knows I always call her horse face (a horse's face looks great on a horse but not so much on a person). And why are they all looking up? Maybe because it rained. The people down below had their umbrellas taken away from them by security guards. Probably afraid the loyal subjects would poke royals in the butt with their brollies during a walkabout. 

Oh, dear. One of the guardsmen fainted. And he seems to have eyes in the back of his head. He must be a mom.

At least he provided Her Majesty with a spot to cop a squat.

But Tin Lizzie did not like this guy grabbing her attention, so she got rid of him. Good shot, ma'am!

As the unemployed, the elderly, and the sick became restless during Queenie's celebration, she finally called out, Let them eat cake! 

Then she realized who was accused of saying those words long ago and asked for a do-over. 

Prince Harry thinks, I'll never have to work a day in my life, but I'm still rich as fuck.

To make our Monday brighter, let's look at a better photo of Harry. Oh, yeah. Harry.

Happy Birthday, Your Majesty! May you have many more because no one wants Charles to be king except Charles. Oh, Lord, if Queen Elizabeth dies, we'll have to look at horse-faced constipated Camilla more often.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

I hope I haven't offended my British friends. After the tragedy in the U.S., I thought we could use a bit of a larf.

Friday, June 10, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Yesterday I reviewed the movie Woman In Gold, which stars Helen Mirren. I promised more information about Maria Altmann's fight to have her Nazi-plundered artwork returned by the Austrian government, so here it is.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the movie yet and don't want to know the complete story, then stop reading NOW.

Let's begin with a photo of the late Mrs. Altmann with a prized possession, a portrait of her aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer, by famous Austrian painter Gustav Klimt:

Now you know that the movie ends with Mrs. Altmann getting her family's paintings back from Austria, whose government argued that they should be allowed to keep the artwork stolen by the Nazis.

Maria Altmann grew up in Austria as Maria Bloch. Her aunt was Adele Bloch-Bauer, who modeled for some of Gustav Klimt's most famous paintings. Adele Bloch-Bauer died in 1925 when she was forty-four.

Maria married Fredrick "Fritz" Altmann in 1937. In 1938, the Nazis annexed Austria. They sent Fritz to the Dachau concentration camp as a means of extorting his brother, who had already left for England, to hand over his successful textile factory to the Nazis. He did so, and Fritz was released. The couple escaped from Austria and settled in Los Angeles.

Before Adele died, she asked her husband to leave their valuable paintings by Klimt to the Austrian National Gallery. Ferdinand Bloch-Bauer died in 1945 and left his estate to his nephew and two nieces, one of whom was Maria Altmann.

Adele's request became an important point in the Austrian Government's argument that they should keep the five stolen Klimts in their possession. However, Adele made her request many years before the Nazi takeover of Austria, and in fact, the paintings belonged to Ferdinand.

During the 1990s, the Austrian Green Party helped pass a law that paved the way for greater transparency regarding the country's Nazi past. A crusading journalist named Hubertus Czernin learned that Ferdinand did not leave the paintings to the National Gallery.

Armed with this information, Maria Altmann tried to negotiate with Austria for the return of the Klimt landscapes owned by the family. She said they could keep the two portraits of Adele. The Austrian Government refused, and a large filing fee made it impossible for Maria to sue the government.

In 2000, Altmann filed suit in the U.S. Her lawyer, Randol "Randy" Schoenberg, argued the case before the United States Supreme Court. Their decision was that Altmann could sue Austria. However, because such a suit could take years,  Schoenberg suggested that they submit the case for binding arbitration.

In 2006, a panel of three Austrian judges decided that the paintings had to be returned to Ferdinand's heirs. It became the largest return of Nazi-stolen artwork, as the paintings were estimated to be worth $150 million.

First, the paintings were displayed in Los Angeles. Then they went on the auction block at Christie's. Ronald Lauder, son of the late cosmetics magnate Estée Lauder, purchased Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (known as Woman In Gold) for $135 million, at that time the largest amount ever paid for a painting.

Since then, it has been on display at Lauder's Neue Galerie in New York.

The other four Klimt paintings sold for a total of $192.7 million. The proceeds were divided between several heirs. Maria and Fritz Altmann had four children and a number of nieces and nephews.

Altmann told the New York Times: “You know, in Austria they asked, ‘Would you loan them to us again?’ And I said: ‘We loaned them for 68 years. Enough loans.’ ”

Maria Altmann died at age 94 in 2011. She could rest safely with the knowledge that her Aunt Adele was in the hands of an art lover in New York, for Lauder has pledged to keep the painting on display there.

An ABC News report on the recovery of the paintings:

And here is Adele Bloch-Bauer, as she looked in about 1910:

Does the movie Woman In Gold include every detail about the recovery of the paintings, and do so with complete accuracy? Of course not.

It does, however, capture Maria Altmann's tenacity in going after the paintings, which for years she believed belonged to the Austrian National Gallery. A plaque next to the painting said it had been donated by her aunt and uncle.

When she learned the truth, she went after what was rightfully hers and also drew attention to the way the Nazis stole art from the Jewish people. She told one newspaper that Austria prolonged the case as long as they could because they hoped she would die. She refused to do so, she said.

The movie is quite good at portraying the intricacies involved in the case against Austria and the inventiveness of her lawyer, who discovered the method for bringing suit in the U.S., although he had never before been involved in such a case.

In addition to Woman In Gold, you can find a number of documentaries about the case, and you can see Maria Altmann's interview with the Shoah Foundation here:

Happy learning!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Helen Mirren as Maria Altmann--excellent performance


Thursday, June 9, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I'm pleased to present an intelligent and beautifully made movie that I love: Woman In Gold (2015, Rated PG-13, Available on DVD).

Woman In Gold is based on the true story of Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren) and her quest to regain artwork stolen from her family by the Nazis. Altmann and her husband flee Austria after the Nazi Anschluss. In flashbacks, they leave behind family and possessions, including artwork painted expressly for Altmann's artistic and aristocratic Jewish family by Austrian artist Gustav Klimt.

The "Woman In Gold"––a portrait by Klimt of Altmann's aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer––hung in Austria's National Gallery after it was plundered by the Nazis in 1941 and was known as the Mona Lisa of Austria.  In 2000, Altmann, by then in her eighties, and her young lawyer, Randol "Randy" Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), sue Austria to regain the portrait and other paintings by Klimt that rightfully belong to Altmann.

I love this movie because it brings history to life and because of the relationship that develops between Altmann and Schoenberg, an aspect of the script that is clever without being sappy. The quest for the artwork also leads Schoenberg to learn more about his own family's heritage.

Woman In Gold earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest and Most Worthy Approval. I urge you to watch it with children who are old enough to understand the historical significance of the theft of artwork by the Nazis.

Other movies that can lead to a more specific understanding of the Nazis' relationship to stolen art include The Monuments Men, and even better, the documentary The Rape of Europa.

I want to tell you more about Maria Altmann and the paintings by Klimt, but to avoid spoilers, I shall wait until tomorrow. With a separate post available, you can read it when you are ready to do so.

Happy viewing! I hope you love and appreciate this movie, which I watched on a DVD delivered by my friendly neighborhood mail carrier from Netflix, with whom I have a close, personal relationship. The friendly neighborhood mail carrier, we're not so close.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Here is the spectacular portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer
by Gustav Klimt.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have the winner for the June 1 Battle of the Bands. I know how excited you must be.

Try to prop your eyelids open while I make the announcement and then you can sleep the rest of the day. Take time off from work. Tell your boss that The Queen of Grammar gave you permission.

The winner is

Usher          11
Sonic Youth 9

Sorry, Sonic Youth, but it's not as if Usher really whipped your butt.

Your reward for deigning to vote in this battle, or glance at it as you passed by, is to listen to what I consider the best version of Superstar.

Sing us out, please, Karen. And Richard, you do whatever it is that you do when you're not playing the piano.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Oh, wait a minute. Hold it, Karen. I forgot to vote. That means Usher ushed the win by one because I vote for Sonic Youth. Carry on now, Karen. I still miss you. When I am dead and gone, who will worship all those Carpenters albums in my cabinet?

Monday, June 6, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's time for the bloggiest of bloghops, Question of the Month, hosted by Mr. Michael D'Agostino, who blogs at A Life Examined.

Michael's question for June is

“Of all the places in the world that you haven’t yet been to, where would you like to go next?”

Oh, Michael! I'm afraid this is something I've whined about for years. I want to go to England. I was supposed to go in 2009 and didn't get to do so.

I majored in English. It seems to me that with all the Chaucer, Milton, and Shakespeare I've read that I should get to visit their country.

I want to do about a million things in London. Then I'll head to Yorkshire to wander the moors as if I'm one of the Bronte sisters. I'll end up in Heptonstall Churchyard to pay homage to one of my favorite poets, Sylvia Plath.

I hope I get to visit all of my English blogger friends, but it's probably not a good idea to tell them I'm on my way. They'll pretend they're not at home. I'll also sneak over to Wales to chat with John Grey of Going Gently

Dreams, dreams, such dreams there be.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

I hope you'll join the Question of the Month. I'd love to know where you want to go.

You are next... Click here to enter

Friday, June 3, 2016


I love the play I watched on PBS tonight: Act One, based on the memoir of playwright Moss Hart (please disregard the 1963 film of the same name that stars George Hamilton).

Without Googling his name, how many of you know who Moss Hart was?

Do you know any plays or screenplays he wrote?

I haven't yet found DVDs of Act One or streaming services that carry it, but it seems the entire play is available on this PBS site:

The production is well done, and the acting is superb. Oi! Such a set! I recommend Act One to you, especially if you have an interest in writing and enjoy the theater.

I've wondered about Moss Hart for years. When I was quite young--twelve? thirteen?--my father mentioned that when he was a pilot during World War II,  Moss Hart took my dad and some of his colleagues out for a beer because he wanted to interview them.

Did a play, or a scene in a play, come out of that meeting? I have no idea, but I wish I knew. Perhaps my father made some brilliant/amusing comment that became a line in a play. He was prone to making brilliant/amusing remarks.

I did a little research on Moss Hart and found him to be quite interesting, and not as suave and educated as his public face.

Here's Moss Hart with his wife, Kitty Carlisle, and their children, Christopher and Catherine.

Now here's another question: How many of you can tell me who Kitty Carlisle was without, of course, Googling her name?

Carlisle outlived Hart by many years.

I enjoyed learning more about Hart today.

But I wish I had a recording of that interview with the pilots.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's time for the June 1, 2016, Battle of the Bands.

Our host, Mr. Stephen T. McCarthy, provides us with this information about the bloghop:

The whole thing is really quite simple: You select two different versions of the same song (versions  you feel might give each other some competition in the voting) and you post them on the 1st and the 15th of each month. On the 7th and 21st of each month, you add your own personal vote to the mix, total up all the votes and announce the winner on your blog.

Beyond that, just try to have fun with it and let your readers/voters have fun with it.

All right! Let's have fun!

Today I present two very different version of a much-loved classic, Superstar

In the movie Juno, Mark Loring (Jason Bateman) introduces a new sound to Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page). She's familiar with Superstar by The Carpenters. That's also the version with which I grew up.  

Mark clues Juno, and thus me, into the existence of Sonic Youth:

Although we don't want to vote on the video, I love it that Sonic Youth pays tribute to The Carpenters.

And now for something completely different that I came across on YouTube, it's Usher:

Although we don't want to vote on the video, I love it that Usher pays tribute to Luther Vandross, who made Superstar a big part of his live performances.

Now, you do your part, if you please. Vote for Sonic Youth or Usher in your comment. Which one do you prefer and why?

I'll return on June 7 to give you the result in our Battle of the Bands. I hope you'll also visit other participants.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.
@ ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ by clicking HERE.
@ 'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'CURIOUS AS A CATHY' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' by clicking HERE.
@ 'ANGELS BARK' by clicking HERE.
@ 'J.A. SCOTT' by clicking HERE.
@ 'QUIET LAUGHTER' by clicking HERE
@ 'REINVINTAGED' by clicking HERE.
@ 'HOLLI'S HOOTS & HOLLERS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'EVIL POP TART' by clicking HERE
@ 'Booklover' by clicking HERE.