Wednesday, August 31, 2016

DOCUMENTARY WEEKEND: WEINER

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Who remembers Anthony Weiner? Show of hands, please.

In case you've forgotten or live in another country where the Weiner story wasn't covered, Anthony Weiner was a seven-term Congressman from New York. Then all hell broke loose when he texted photos of a certain part of his body to quite a few women. Weiner resigned in 2011.

His wife, Huma Abedin, is a longtime close adviser to Hillary Clinton.

Weiner tried to make a comeback by running for mayor of New York City in 2013. Someone made the decision to allow documentary filmmakers to cover Weiner's return to politics. The result is Weiner (2016, Rated R, Recently Available on DVD).


As I recall Anthony Weiner before the scandal broke, he was a politician who showed great promise. But he couldn't keep the promise because he was too busy ruining his political life and his family life.

The saddest part of the documentary is watching Huma Abedin's face. She's humiliated, and even when she and Weiner are "alone" with the documentary cameras rolling, he belittles Abedin with nearly every word he speaks to her. She's by his side as he campaigns, and he treats her like shit.

Of course, catastrophe ensues. That's what makes it Weiner.

It's a well made documentary that will probably leave you shaking your head in bewilderment. Why do people with talent and power throw it all away? Why does his wife tolerate one minute of his insanity? *Note: She left him three days ago after more lewd photos surfaced, including one in which their four-year-old son is in bed with Weiner while he sexts.

Weiner earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Idiotic But Fascinating Approval.

Britney, will you sing us out please?


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Oops! I did it again.
I played with my dick. 
I'm a narcissistic idiot.






Typical expressions on Huma Abedin's face during the documentary:




And the possibilities lost:

Monday, August 29, 2016

A LITTLE MORE WHICH WAY HOME THAT WILL PROBABLY BE DIFFERENT EVERY TIME YOU LOOK AT IT BECAUSE I ALWAYS SEEK THE PERFECT WORD

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Yesterday I read an article about William Styron and how he wrote The Confessions of Nat Turner, a beautiful though controversial book. He wrote in pencil on a pad of paper, six hundred words a day. Then he gave the paper to his wife, Rose, to type. He seldom revised because he sought the right word in every sentence he scribbled out.

I want the perfect word every time I write. Sometimes I can't find it. But you will find that when I publish a bit of what I've written, if you read it again in a couple of days or a couple of hours, it will probably be different. It's not that I change the plot. I change the words because I want the exact word. Every word.

I appreciate your kind comments on my writing, but I appreciate your suggestions, too. I take them seriously. Something that I don't want to change when you suggest it might change in a month or a year.

Thanks for reading.

Love,
Janie


Prologue

You've heard people say their lives changed overnight, right? They woke up and heard the lottery numbers and knew they were millionaires. They fell in love at first sight. 

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 in jail while she awaited the loss of her head. 

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 a life to be transformed. Most of the time, it happens in one or two seconds.

I bet Marie's hair betrayed her during a few seconds of a nightmare when she saw the guillotine's blade slice through her own milky neck.

How many seconds does it take to purchase that lottery ticket or to decide to stop someplace for 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 of the blade in the sunlight can be so bright it nearly blinds you. 

Chapter One

Clue

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 hanging on for dear life to her left hand.

She shook free of El's sweaty grasp so she could pull the paper out from under the wiper and unfold it. "ASSHOLE" it said, printed neatly in red letters on a scrap torn from a legal pad.

"Mom!" Elliot pawed at her, as Ruth Ann's head drooped onto Aggie's shoulder. Aggie stood rooted to the asphalt next to the car so she could check out the area. What had she done this time?

White painted lines of parking spaces, empty now, spread out across the parking lot like whitecaps on the ocean. White, white, white, except around her car, where she now saw yellow lines. Two yellow lines on each side of the van and an arrow underneath it that marked the route to exit the lot. The only route between the parking spaces.

Drivers must have woven around her van for hours before the lot cleared out. Tire tracks in the mud provided evidence that they ran her blockade by driving off the asphalt and into the landscaped border along the sidewalk. Flowers and juvenile trees had been flattened.

Aggie pictured the line of vehicles and hated herself. The waiting cars stretched for miles. An imaginary driver, his face contorted in righteous indignation, jumped out of his Volvo with a legal pad in his left hand and a red pen in his right hand. Angry lawyer. Furious lawyer. Late for an appointment, and it was all her fault. He held the pen in the air, a sword that dripped bloody ink, chose the perfect word, wrote it, and jammed the note in its place.

Then sedans, sports cars, and pickup trucks careened over the sidewalk and curb as pedestrians dragged their terrified children out of the way. Jam-packed cars held drivers and passengers drawn as if cartoons. "ASSHOLE" filled every balloon above their mouths because they all knew what she was. Not one could be fooled into thinking she might be a polite and pleasant person who would never park in the EXIT lane on purpose.

"I am an asshole." She was the only person who heard herself. El stood right next to her, but couldn't hear a word over his own cries, the kind of cries that came out of his mouth when he wasn't hurt anymore but still wanted to make noise.


That's it for now. As I wrote, a migraine danced before my eyes. I don't know if I'll be here tomorrow. At least I have migraine meds now. Thank you, Dr. Lacroix.


Friday, August 26, 2016

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: DIVORCE BITES THE BIG ONE

Michael D'Agostino of A Life Examined hosts a bloghop called Flashback Friday––a time of the month when 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, Flashback Friday occurs on the last Friday of every month.

My Flashback Friday post for August is titled Divorce Bites The Big One, so I guess you know what I was up to when I published it on February 15, 2010 (my third month of blogging). The post has had fourteen page views and zero comments. I want to re-publish it because I like my idea for a "divorce surrogate."



Gentle Readers,

Today I had an "Oh My God I'm getting divorced and will it ever end" day.

Divorce, unless you've been married two minutes and have no community property, drags on forever.

The lawyer can't find my affidavit of income and expenses and I have to do another one. Why wasn't the first one filed months ago, and why oh why didn't I make a copy of it?

I still don't have my computer and some of the information I need for the affidavit is on the computer.

The lawyer has used up the entire retainer and already wants another $432 and my husband, who said he would pay my legal expenses, is balking at giving up more of his vast fortune. The richest people are the cheapest.

The lawyer also wants copies of all my medical records, so I have to write to all my doctors giving them permission to give the copies to the lawyer, then wait for them to tell me how much the copies cost so I can pay them and then they will send the copies to the lawyer.

I have already spent a small fortune copying documents for this damned stupid moronic divorce. It's so easy for my husband. He can make all the freaking copies he wants for free.

So, I have come up with a solution to my problems: Men used to hire substitutes to serve in the military for them. I want a sub to go through the rest of the divorce for me. I will hire her to deal with everything that needs doing, she can be miserable and cry for me, she can fight over money, and I will just relax.

Don't you think that's a good idea?

In the middle of my misery today, and oh by the way I did get the house super clean even though I had to stop from time to time to cry, I remembered something that happened a couple of weeks ago that made me laugh.

We couldn't let our dogs out in the fenced in back yard because one of the little devils, who weighs 80 pounds, broke one of the barriers that keep the dogs from going under the deck, then under the house, and trotting out to freedom.

So the dogs who are not trustworthy, and that's most of them, had to be walked around the front yard on a lead or be chained in the back yard. The 80 pounder who started all the trouble would not poop when he was chained or on the lead.

After a couple of days, obviously he was getting pretty desperate. My favorite younger man left his bedroom door open and Mr. 80 Pounds sneaked into the bedroom, hid behind the door, and took a gigantic dump.

I mean, really, you can imagine the poop that would come out of a dog that big who hadn't gone for a couple of days. I had to use the pooper scooper to clean it up.

Ah, well, that's life with dogs and divorce. Somebody's always takin' a shit on ya.

We used to have a blind dog. When we took him for a walk on a lead, which he handled very well in spite of not knowing where he was going, he did the most hilarious thing. When my husband would bend down to tie his shoe, the dog would pee on him - just the same as if he were a stop sign post.

I guess my husband didn't think it was as funny as I did. Toughski shitski, as the Russians say.

Tomorrow I might write about a famous Olympic dumper, and may God grant that my computer will be back with me.

Oh, and I thought of something I forgot to tell you about the L word yesterday.

In the romantic tradition, it was believed that love entered through the eyes. Thus the saying Love at first sight.

I have only experienced love at first sight with my children, my dogs and my favorite younger man's dogs.

Love,

Dumped First Wife

Tomorrow is another day, Miss Scarlet!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

MOVIE WEEKEND: RICKI AND THE FLASH

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today's movie wasn't a blockbuster at the box office and it didn't garner another Academy Award nomination for its star, Meryl Streep, but I love it. It's something different for Meryl. She's the lead singer in a not-very-successful band called Ricki and The Flash (2015, PG-13, Available On DVD).


Once upon a time, a woman named Linda was married to a man named Pete (Kevin Kline). They had three children. But Linda left her family so she could live her rock and roll dream. She becomes Ricki, who as an older woman has never achieved stardom, but Ricki and The Flash are the house band at a small bar. Ricki also works as a cashier at a Whole Foods-type store. Her band mate, Greg (Rick Springfield), is her lover. She's estranged from her now-adult children.

Then Pete calls Ricki and asks her to visit because their daughter Julie (Mamie Gummer, who is Meryl Streep's daughter and a successful actress in her own right) has suffered a crisis. Pete's wife Maureen (Audra McDonald, a singer of great fame on Broadway who does not sing in this movie) has been a devoted step-mother, but she's out of town.

Ricki reluctantly returns for an uncomfortable reunion with her children. She connects with Julie, but Ricki's sons openly resent her and look down on her. Maureen returns and makes it clear that Ricki is not needed nor wanted.

Can this disparate group of people form a family of some sort?

I can't say that Jonathan Demme's direction of this movie is brilliant, nor is Diablo Cody's writing a revelation. I like the general plot, although it's rather predictable.

It's Meryl Streep and Mamie Gummer who make the movie worth watching. Gummer's Julie is heartbroken. One look at her face shows it. The relationship that develops between Ricki and Julie helps Julie "walk on." Streep has a beautiful voice, though some wouldn't agree with me after Mama Mia!, but she proved it long ago in Postcards From the Edge. In Ricki and The Flash, Streep speaks and sings in a lower register. It's fun to see The Iron Lady and The Devil [who] Wears Prada as the odd woman out because of her rocker sensibilities.

I also like the relationship between Ricki and Greg. I would not kick former heartthrob Rick Springfield out of my bed for eating crackers.

Ricki and The Flash earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Coolness and Approval. It's not for children. I don't know if it would interest older teens.

My neighborhood postal worker who doesn't always pick up my mail delivered this DVD to me on behalf of Netflix.

Happy viewing!

Rick, will you please sing us out?

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Meryl Streep as Ricki


Meryl Streep and Rick Springfield

Mamie Gummer and Meryl Streep

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

BOOK NOOK: ORPHAN TRAIN BY CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Many of us who live in the United States today are unaware of the phenomenon known as "orphan trains." From 1854 to 1929, children's aid societies sent more than two hundred thousand children from New York to less populated parts of the country, most often the Midwest. Some of the children truly had been orphaned. Others were abandoned or homeless.

Chaperones accompanied the children on the trains, which stopped at towns where a farmer might want to take in a boy to help with the heavy workload, or a couple might want a girl to help with their younger children. Some children were adopted and became true family members. Many were nothing more than indentured servants.

The children were known as "train riders." When they left the train to be considered by the townsfolk, a child might find his teeth checked by a dirty farmer's hand. Babies and older boys who appeared strong were usually the first to be adopted. Some children might get off the train at one stop after another, only to return––unwanted–– to an orphanage with the chaperones. A number of children also landed in multiple "homes" before they found a place where they were wanted and loved.



I haven't discovered any train riders still living, but it's believed they left behind as many as two million descendants.

In Orphan Train, Christina Baker Kline pieces together the intricate fictional story of a 1929 train rider with that of a Penobscot Indian girl in 2011 who is about to age out of the foster care system. Together they create the quilt of an elderly woman who wants her attic cleaned out. Or does she?



Nine-year-old Niamh Power and her family leave Ireland in search of a better life in New York City, but Niamh is alone after a devastating fire in their apartment.

There is no adult on this side of the Atlantic who has reason to take any interest in me, no one to guide me onto a boat or pay for my passage. I am a burden to society, and nobody's responsibility.

Niamh becomes a train rider in search of a home. During her journey, she befriends a young man named Hans, known as "Dutchy." Niamh and Dutchy vow to find each other someday.

Molly Ayer is an unwanted seventeen year old who lives in a foster home.

Through her bedroom wall Molly can hear her foster parents talking about her in the living room, just beyond her door. "This is not what we signed up for," Dina is saying. "If I'd known she had this many problems, I never would've agreed to it." 

Molly attempted to steal a library book and has been sentenced to fifty community service hours. Her boyfriend, Jack, asks his mother if Molly can fulfill the service requirement by helping the wealthy lady for whom she keeps house clean out her attic––a large task that Jack's mother doesn't want to undertake.

Parallel lives intertwine when Molly meets Vivian Daly.

I believe in ghosts. They're the ones who haunt us, the ones who have left us behind. Many times in my life I have felt them around me, observing, witnessing, when no one in the living world knew or cared what happened.

I am ninety-one years old, and almost everyone who was once in my life is now a ghost. 

Orphan Train touches on the theme of writing the story of one's own life, but delves mostly deeply into the theme of loss––including the loss of family, but moreover, the loss of ancestry, the loss of a culture. The coming together and separation of people who long to see each other again, but might not ever do so.  I tend to dwell on the many losses in my life, but then a book such as Orphan Train reminds me that loss is offset by gains, perhaps more gains than the losses we experience.

As a book I could hardly bear to put down, Orphan Train earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Very Highest and Greatest Approval For Beautiful Writing and Enchanting Characters.

Happy reading!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

You can learn more about the orphan trains at The National Orphan Train Complex Web site: http://orphantraindepot.org/




Tuesday, August 23, 2016

TIP TUESDAY: ALLOW MYSELF TO INTRODUCE . . . MYSELF.

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

What's the deal with "myself"? I hear it all the time:

Myself and Bocephus went to the bar for a snootful. 


Here I sit, judging myself.

The problem with "myself" in the snootful sentence is that it should be a reflexive pronoun. Reflexive pronouns end in -self and refer back to the subject of the sentence or clause.

Maybe this explanation is simpler: Myself is a pronoun. Pronouns take the place of a noun. Example: Henry's dead, and he don't look so good.

"Henry" is the noun. "He" is the pronoun.

As a pronoun, "myself" needs to take the place of a noun. Example: Ah'm fixin' to fix myself some popcorn to eat while I watch the best movie ever, Walkin' Tall. 

"Ah'm" (a.k.a. I'm) is the noun. Thus, "myself" is the reflexive pronoun that refers to I.

No more using myself all by itself because its feelings are hurt when it's alone and lonely. It has to be paired with a noun.

Would anyone like to have some fun writing a sentence with the correct or incorrect use of "myself"? Be as creative as you like.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Thanks, fishducky!

Monday, August 22, 2016

WHICH WAY HOME REVISED (AGAIN) PROLOGUE & A FEW GRAPHS FOR CHAPTER ONE

Prologue

You've heard people say their lives changed overnight, right? They woke up and heard the lottery numbers and knew they were millionaires. They fell in love at first sight. 

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 in jail while she awaited the loss of her head. 

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 a life to be transformed. Most of the time, it happens in one or two seconds.

I bet Marie's hair betrayed her during a few seconds of a nightmare when she saw the guillotine's blade slice through her own milky neck.

How many seconds does it take to purchase that lottery ticket or to decide to stop someplace for 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 of the blade in the sunlight can be so bright it nearly blinds you. 

Chapter One

Clue

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 hanging on for dear life to her left hand.

She shook free of El's sweaty grasp so she could pull the paper out from under the wiper and unfold it. "ASSHOLE" it said, printed neatly in red letters on a scrap torn from a legal pad.

"Mom!" Elliot pawed at her, as Ruth Ann's head drooped onto Aggie's shoulder. Aggie stood rooted to the asphalt next to the car so she could check out the area. What had she done this time?

White painted lines of parking spaces, empty now, spread out across the parking lot like whitecaps on the ocean. White, white, white, except around her car, where she now saw yellow lines. Two yellow lines on each side of the van and an arrow underneath it that marked the route to exit the lot. The only route between the parking spaces.

Drivers must have woven around her van for hours before the lot cleared out. Tire tracks in the mud provided evidence that they ran her blockade by driving off the asphalt and into the landscaped border along the sidewalk. Flowers and juvenile trees had been flattened.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

LOGGINS & MESSINA TELL THE DIRT BAND, YOUR MAMA DON'T DANCE AND YOUR DADDY DON'T ROCK AND ROCK

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

You turned out in droves to vote in the August 15 Battle of the Bands. The song was House at Pooh Corner, written by Kenny Loggins as he faced the prospect of his high school graduation and leaving behind all that was familiar to him.

It might seem to be a children's song, but it if you listen carefully, it has more of a loss of innocence vibe, as does the last chapter of The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne when Christopher Robin's carefree days of childhood end.

Christopher Robin was going away. Nobody knew why he was going; nobody knew where he was going; indeed, nobody even knew why he knew that Christopher Robin was going away. But somehow or other everybody in the Forest felt that it was happening at last.

Of course, Christopher Robin will go away to school, and he tells Pooh, "I'm not going to do Nothing any more." But we're left with the knowledge that "in that enchanted place on top of the Forest, a little boy and his bear will always be playing."

Personally, I'm not ever going to reach that silly point of not going to do Nothing. I shall always do Nothing in my enchanted place.

I have promised Penelope and Franklin.

Now for the winners of the Battle of the Bands:

Loggins and Messina           23

The Nitty Gritty Dirty Band  6

I didn't vote because it's quite a decisive victory.

Loggins and Messina were a successful pop/rock duo from 1970 to 1976. After they split up, Jim Messina pretty much disappeared, while Kenny Loggins became a huge draw during the '80s. Didn't we all cut Footloose?

Thank you to Mr. McCarthy for hosting our Battle of the Bands. I enjoyed all the other battles. 

I'll be back on September 1 with another battle, but I hope to see you before then so we can learn new grammatical skills together. And perhaps we'll get in a book and a movie review here, there, and everywhere.

Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina, will you please sing us out with something cheerful?


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug, who remains in her Enchanted Palace, guarded by Franklin and looked askance at by Penelope




Monday, August 15, 2016

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: THE NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND V. LOGGINS & MESSINA

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's time for the August 15, 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 righty, then. Let's have fun!

Our song today is House at Pooh Corner, one of the first songs Kenny Loggins wrote while he was in high school.


 "(I was) going on graduation in high school, and for some reason, I was thinking about that last chapter in The House at Pooh Corner," Loggins explained to The Tennessean. "It was the first book I ever read."

"The last chapter is where Christopher Robin is leaving the Hundred Acre Wood, and he's telling everybody goodbye," he continued. "I felt like that was akin to what I was going through in high school. Some part of me knew that I was leaving my childhood behind. I didn't really think it through like that. It just sort of came through."



The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band heard the song, loved it, and recorded it in 1970 for their album Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy (an album that continues to reside in my record cabinet). That's when I heard the song for the first time and fell in love with it.

The next year, Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina, who joined in a brief partnership, recorded House at Pooh Corner for their album Sittin' In. According to Wikipedia, "It has since become one of Loggins' most popular and beloved compositions, and it remains a staple of his live performances."

Our first contender is The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, because they recorded the song first:





And now, Loggins & Messina:



I chose this song because it's been wild times at my house lately. I want a song that's sweet and soothing––a song in which the biggest problem is a honey jar stuck on the nose of a bear.

Please vote for your preferred version of House at Pooh Corner in your comment, and if you can, tell us your reason for your decision. I'll return on August 21 to count the votes and declare a winner. I hope you'll visit Stephen T. McCarthy to vote in his battle and to find the list of other participants so you can visit them. We welcome you to join us.

Mr. McCarthy, this Battle of the Bands is dedicated to you.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Saturday, August 13, 2016

THE STORY BEHIND THE LADY IN THE VAN

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

My most recent MOVIE WEEKEND DVD review was of The Lady In The Van. Because the lady was a real person and the man whose driveway she inhabited is a real person and a writer, I want to give you some background on Miss Shepherd.

If you haven't yet seen the movie and don't want to encounter possible spoilers, then please don't read this post.

The Lady In The Van began as a 1999 play by Alan Bennett. Maggie Smith played Mary Shepherd--as she does in the film--who parked her van in Bennett's driveway and ended up staying for fifteen years. Bennett, played by Alex Jennings in the movie, adapted his play for the 2015 film.

Bennett gradually learns that Miss Mary Shepherd is actually Margaret Fairchild, who had been a gifted concert pianist. She tried to become a nun but her confessor told her she was not allowed to play the piano. She had a breakdown, was committed to an institution by her brother, escaped in her van, which was hit by a motorcycle, but she thought the accident was her fault and she fled. From then on, Fairchild believes she's hiding from the police, and she's regularly fleeced by a retired police officer played by Jim Broadbent.

In reality, it was only after "Miss Shepherd's" death in 1989 that Bennett learned from her brother who she was. He allowed her to move her van from the street into his driveway because she was often terrorized by passersby, though he admits that the move was because of his own selfishness; that is, the bother to Miss Shepherd interrupted his work. After her van was in the drive for a time, she took up squatters' rights and would not and could not be moved.

Bennett first wrote her story as a long article, then a novella, and then the successful play. Behind the relationship between the comical timidness of the Alan Bennett character in the movie and the often hilarious pushiness of the Miss Shepherd character lies an indictment of Great Britain's failure to care for the homeless and the mentally ill.

As quoted on the Internet Movie Database, "At the Hay Festival on 27 May 2015, screenwriter Alan Bennett said 'The story told by this film took place 40 and more years ago and Miss Shepherd is long since dead. She was difficult and eccentric but above all she was poor. And these days particularly the poor don't get much of a look in. Poverty is a moral failing today as it was under the Tudors. If the film has a point, it's about fairness and tolerance and however grudgingly helping the less fortunate, who are not well thought of these days. And now likely to be even less so.'"

The film was shot in and around Bennett's former home. The one character in the film that Bennett acknowledges to be fiction is Underwood, the former police officer who threatens to reveal Miss Shepherd's whereabouts and thus demands bribes from her so she loses the bit of money she has.

Bennett also admits to inventing Miss Shepherd's inner life of the mind.

I like the movie very much, although it has some strange moments that, of course, did not occur. For example, when Miss Shepherd dies, she is resurrected for her ascension to Heaven. I haven't seen that happen to anyone in quite some time.

Perhaps I'll be next. Prepare for liftoff.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Maggie Smith with the real Alan Bennett



Friday, August 12, 2016

FRANKLIN AND PENELOPE SAY "ROOF ROOF"

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

The roofers did not show when expected. They delayed.

They have been here since early this morning. It is now 7:07 p.m. The pounding on the roof stopped a few minutes ago. The pounding in my head continues.

Franklin and Penelope have been calm all day, except when one of the workmen sang in Spanish. They barked and howled. I thought I would have to open the door and say in Spanish, No more songs. The dogs think they're bad.

But the man stopped singing before I had the great good pleasure of telling him in my lovely Spanish that the dogs didn't like it.

As I feared and predicted, I did not write a post on the backstory of The Lady In The Van (reviewed for MOVIE WEEKEND here). I shall try to provide backstory soon, whether you want it or not.

Let me check my email for a funny from fishducky of fishducky, finally! to make up for the lack of the post.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thanks, fishducky!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

MOVIE WEEKEND: THE LADY IN THE VAN

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

We've grown accustomed to the sight of the titular lady in our film as the Dowager Countess of Grantham––Her Ladyship indeed. As a lady of a different sort, she continues to engage with her talent. Maggie Smith portrays The Lady In The Van (2015, Rated PG-13, Available On DVD).


Miss Shepherd lives in her van. It's the sort of van that when Miss Shepherd chooses a neighborhood in which to park, the residents might offer some kindness––which Miss Shepherd disparages even when the kindness involves something she wants to eat––but they pray Miss Shepherd will move on.

The van is . . . how shall I put it? . . .  unattractive, and foul smelling, as is Miss Shepherd.

Playwright and recipient of Miss Shepherd's largess because she parks the van at his house, Alan Bennett, begins the film this way:


[first lines]
Alan Bennett: [typing] The smell is sweet, with urine only a minor component, the prevalent odor suggesting the inside of someone's ear. Dank clothes are there, too, wet wool and onions, which she eats raw. Plus, what for me has always been the essence of poverty, damp newspaper. Miss Shepherd's multi-flavored aroma is masked by a liberal application of various talcum powders, with Yardley's Lavender always a favorite. And currently it is this genteel fragrance that dominates the second subject, as it were, in her odoriferous concerto.
[walking down the hallway]
Alan Bennett: But as she goes, the original theme returns, her own primary odor now triumphantly restated and left hanging in the house long after she has departed.

Flashbacks appear throughout the film so we learn why Miss Shepherd lives in a van, and why she believes she's on the run for a crime she committed.

I particularly like the "split" personality of Alan Bennett. He is two characters: Alan Bennett the writer who sees a possible story in Mary Shepherd, and Alan Bennett who lives in a house and wavers between kindness to Miss Shepherd and disgust at the way she lives, which includes an elaborate system for dealing with urine and feces.

The two Alan Bennetts (both played Alex Jennings) chat and argue with one another. 

The Lady In The Van is filled with clever dialog that makes me chuckle:
Rufus: Sorry, you can't park here.
Miss Shepherd: No, I've had guidance. This is where it should go.
Rufus: Guidance? Who from?
Miss Shepherd: The Virgin Mary. I spoke to her yesterday. She was outside the post office.
Rufus: What does she know about parking?

Jehovah's Witnesses: [at the front door] Good afternoon. Does Jesus Christ dwell in this house?
Alan Bennett: No. Try the van...

Because the real Alan Bennett is a writer and he shares in this film the story of his "relationship" with Mary Shepherd, I shall try to write a bit tomorrow to fill you in on what is described as "mostly a true story." If you want to see the movie before learning backstory, then forego tomorrow's post––but that assumes I write one and I might not because I'm expected to undergo the thunderous rage of workers who hammer a new roof onto my house so I'll probably toss aside my laptop in favor of a shriek as I dash away with Franklin and Penelope.

Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings are lovely in The Lady In The Van, which earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval in spite of the anticipation of shelling out thousands of dollars for a new roof when the current one doesn't leak and according to Carol's son does not need to be replaced, but the homeowners insurance company has me by the short hairs and they can force me to replace the roof when it's reached the end of its supposed lifetime or they will ever so happily cancel my insurance.

Hence, a new roof will be had, and so shall I.

I watched The Lady In The Van on a DVD sent by Netflix and delivered by my sometimes somewhat pleasant mail carrier.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Market Trader: Isn't it an especially lovely day sweetheart?
Miss Shepherd: Don't sweetheart me! I'm a sick woman. Dying possibly!
Market Trader: Chin up love. We all got to go sometime.
[under his breath]
Market Trader: Smells like you already have.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

ROY ORBISON & LINDA RONSTADT TIE FOR THE GOLD BOTB

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have the results of the August 1, 2016, Battle of the Bands. The song is Blue Bayou.

It's a tie!

Roy Orbison       15

Linda Ronstadt  15

I knew it was close. I suspected it might be a tie. My son and I had lunch together. I told him about the battle. He said if he had to break the tie, he would vote for Roy Orbison.

I love Linda Ronstadt, but I agree with my son: I break the tie with a vote for the one and only Roy Orbison.

Sing us out, please, Roy, with my favorite of your songs.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug







Linda, you deserve your place in the Junebug sun, too. Sing for us again, please.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

MOVIE WEEKEND: HELLO, MY NAME IS DORIS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Hello, my name is Janie, Janie Junebug, J-U-N-E-B-U-G, and I want to introduce you to Hello, My Name Is Doris (2015, Rated R, Available on DVD).


Doris (Sally Field) is a sixty-plus woman with a lot of problems. She has spent her entire adult life in her family's home so she could care for her ill mother, while her brother started a business and a family of his own. Their mother has died, and Doris has difficulty letting go of the past, which is symbolized by a bad case of hoarding.

As an older woman, she's also a pariah where she works until a new guy joins the office as the Art Director. Doris falls hard for John (Max Greenfield). Her friend Roz's (Tyne Daly in a fine performance) granddaughter helps Doris set up a Facebook account with a fake name so she can "Friend" John.

But at the office, John sees past Doris's age and becomes her friend. He introduces her to his friends, who are equally accepting of Doris. Suddenly, Doris's quirkiness is fun and enjoyable.

I don't want to spoil the movie for you, but I promise you that the changes Doris goes through during her new experiences with the younger crowd ultimately lead to change in her own life that will make her happier.

Sally Field is great in this movie. She's an excellent actress who can portray Doris's strangeness that maybe isn't so strange after all. Doris needs to move forward. She's worn herself a groove in her home and at her job, but she jumps out of the groove with all the feistiness of Norma Rae or Forrest Gump's mama.

Gosh, it's nice to see indie films that don't have anything to do with comic book characters! Hello, My Name Is Doris earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Yes We Are Getting Older And We Want Movies That Appeal To Us Approval And This One Is Outstanding.

I watched Doris on a DVD delivered to me from Netflix by my somewhat friendly neighborhood mail carrier. This film deserved more attention than it received. Doris may be older, but she's a person with feelings and ideas. Respect the Doris and the Junebug.

Happy viewing!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, August 1, 2016

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: ROY ORBISON V. LINDA RONSTADT

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,


It's time for the August 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 legends singing a much-loved classic, Blue Bayou. This song makes me think of a languid summer day.

We'll begin with The Man Who Wrote the Song (with Joe Melson). It was an international hit for Roy Orbison in 1963.




I love Roy Orbison!

Later, Blue Bayou became Linda Ronstadt's signature song. She also had an international hit with the song in 1977.



I love Linda Ronstadt!

Now the question is, do you prefer Roy Orbison or Linda Ronstadt? Give me your vote in your comment, and I'll return on August 7 with the winner.

Please be patient with me. I'll visit the other battles as soon as I can. I'm editing something by our good friend Robyn Alana Engel, who blogs at Life By Chocolate. Her writing makes me guffaw so I told her she'll be able say that someone died laughing while reading her upcoming book, and that someone is moi!

Happy listening!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Please use this list to visit other battles, and don't forget to check out what our fearless leader, Stephen T. McCarthy, has to offer. You can also join in the fun. Sign up at Mr. McCarthy's blog.


@ ‘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 SOUND OF ONE HAND TYPING' by clicking HERE.
@ 'DCRELIEF - BATTLE OF THE BANDS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' by clicking HERE.
@ 'CHERDO ON THE FLIPSIDE' by clicking HERE
@ 'ANGELS BARK' by clicking HERE.
@ 'JINGLE JANGLE JUNGLE' by clicking HERE.
@ 'JANIE JUNEBUG, RIGHTING & EDITINGby clicking HERE.
@ 'J.A. SCOTT' by clicking HERE.
@ 'QUIET LAUGHTER' by clicking HERE
@ 'REINVINTAGED' by clicking HERE
@ 'EVIL POP TART' by clicking HERE.

QUESTION OF THE MONTH: FAVORITE BEACH

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's the first Monday of the month so it's time for the Question of the Month bloghop,  hosted by Michael D'Agostino of A Life Examined.

Michael's question for August comes from Jemima Pett, who wants to tie the question to a giveaway on her blog. When I find out who Jemima Pett is, I'll provide the link to her blog in case you want to enter her giveaway.

I found Jemima! No one evades the Junebug for long. Go to http://goo.gl/FK9du3 to enter the giveaway and read Jemima's post.

This month's question is “What’s your favourite beach?”

I'm not a beach person, although I live in Florida. However, when we lived in Maryland, we took a short vacation to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, where part of the trip involved sunning, swimming, and sand castle building. My children were probably five and eleven.

Chincoteague is the site of the famous Pony Penning Day, when volunteers who live in the town drive wild ponies from Assateague through the shallow water to Chincoteague, where the ponies are auctioned off and depart to live a life of luxury, or sometimes are purchased and returned to Assateague, which is a National Seashore and thus preserved from development.

Although Assateague has signs that warn the wild ponies might bite and kick, I never saw the ponies do anything except pose for photos and sign autographs. 

Pony Penning Day took place not long before our arrival on the Chincoteague, so we saw a few ponies still in the pens (ponies who suffer the humiliation of not being sold return to Assateague with their heads hung in shame, but they perk up when tourists return to pet them and give them apples and other treats, which of course is not allowed). I loved the wild ponies because my mother gave me Misty of Chincoteague and other Marguerite Henry books when I was a youngster.

I longed to see the islands, the ponies, and the ocean. I never thought I would. Because that trip made my dream come true, the beaches of Chincoteague and Assateague are my favorites.



Pony Penning Day


If a pony is too small or weak to make the swim,
the pony makes the trip to Chincoteague on a barge.


Here are ponies as I have seen them on Assateague Island.
Part of Assateague Island is in Maryland, and part of it is in Virginia.


The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department owns the ponies on the Virginia side of Assateague. They hold Pony Penning Day as a fundraiser.

The ponies who choose to reside in Maryland are separated from the Virginia ponies by a fence. Maryland keeps its pony population under control through the use of birth control. Maybe condoms?

Marguerite Henry also wrote books about Misty's descendants. Misty lived on Beebe's Ranch when she wasn't residing in Marguerite Henry's home, where she chatted with Henry, shared a smoke, and enjoyed a cocktail or two. Henry and Misty kept this aspect of their lives a secret from the more strict Beebe family. But once during a terrible storm when the Beebes had to evacuate the island and leave Misty behind, she spent her time alone in their house, munching on what she found in the refrigerator.




Here's Misty, pretty as a picture:



I won't show you Misty as she looks now. She died quite sometime ago. She is stuffed.

And I don't mean she ate too much.

Thanks for hosting the bloghop, Michael, and thank you to Michael and Jemima for this opportunity to remember a great visit to the islands.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug