Friday, February 24, 2017

THE CEPHALOPOD COFFEEHOUSE: M TRAIN BY PATTI SMITH

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,



Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the works they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun. This blog hop is hosted by The Armchair Squid. Click on the link to sign up and join us.

I admit I didn't finish M Train by Patti Smith during the past month, but I've wanted to share this book with you for a while. I'm also not good at following rules––unless they're grammatical.




I have a thing for Patti Smith. It's the kind of love that began slowly and then grabbed me by the throat. She's so . . . Patti Smith. Poet, performer, songwriter, winner of The National Book Award for Just Kids, photographer, High Priestess of Punk, mother, widow.

In M Train, Smith allows us to travel with her as she has the honor of photographing artist Frida Kahlo's belongings in Mexico, attends the meeting of an Arctic Explorer's Society in Berlin, buys a falling down cottage in Far Rockaway that is alone in surviving Hurricane Sandy, and visits the graves of other artists who are important to her, including that of Sylvia Plath (a pilgrimage I've long wished to make myself).  


As she writes and drinks coffee wherever she goes, it's apparent that the death of her husband, Fred Sonic Smith, is never far from her mind. Her images are so hauntingly elegaic that they break my heart. 

But as is turned out I could barely read on the plane. Instead I watched the movie Master and Commander. Captain Jack Aubrey reminded me so much of Fred that I watched it twice. Midflight I began to weep. Just come back, I was thinking. You've been gone long enough. Just come back. I will stop traveling; I will wash your clothes. Mercifully, I fell asleep, and when I awoke snow was falling over Tokyo.

Patti Smith makes me long to just be, and to feel less ashamed of my tears. Loss is such a big part of life, but so is gain.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Thursday, February 23, 2017

I'M BACK!

Hi! I'm sorry I haven't been around to visit blogs, but I suspect you will forgive me.

I was one sick Junebug. I ended up in the hospital. Favorite Young Man brought me home today. It's also my 58th birthday.

I am the same age as Madonna. I once asked The Hurricane why Madonna looks the way she does, and I look the way I do. The Hurricane wisely responded, She has a personal chef and a trainer.

It will take me a little while to finish recovering, but I'll be vising your blogs again soon.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug




Friday, February 17, 2017

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: CONNIVING CANINE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell.

I've decided to make today



Friday.

This story about the late great smooth collie Faulkner is one of my favorites. I posted it on December, 28, 2011. It's had ninety-four page views.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


On a cold winter evening I like to have a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows.

The first winter that Faulkner consented to live with us, he was a little more than a year old, and the first evening that was chilly enough to send me to the kitchen for cocoa, I returned to the family room with it, sat down in a comfy green chair, and placed my cocoa, complete with marshmallows, on a tea table.

As luck would have it, Faulkner chose that moment to announce that he wanted to go out to his fenced-in yard. He did this by standing at the door to the garage, which was in the family room.

So I got up to let him out. When I reached the door, he made a mad dash for my cocoa and ate the marshmallows off the top.

And I have to admit that the very next night he fooled me in exactly the same way.

That's how Faulkner taught me not to leave my cocoa and marshmallows.

Faulkner's middle name was Boo for Boo Dogley, a play on Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird. Boo evolved into numerous nicknames such as Boodles, and he answered to every nickname, including Sir. His name was Joe when we adopted him. He wasn't a Joe, and he paid absolutely no attention to that name.

Faulkner was the King of Collies.

What a dog. Every time Favorite Young Woman and I talk about him, we end up at the marshmallow story, laughing and missing him.

The dog of my life.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

MOVIE WEEKEND POSSIBILITIES

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

When I wasn't blogging much, I watched quite a few movies. I don't know why, but when I have a migraine, I can still watch TV. Thank you, God!

Here are some possibilities for your MOVIE WEEKEND. These are all movies I watched on DVD, delivered by my nice mail carrier and sent by Netflix for a small fee.

Hell or High Water This movie could be as much of a cliché as its title, but in spite of being formulaic, it's gripping. A Texas Ranger scheduled to retire and his Native American partner investigate a series of bank robberies committed in small towns. You'll be as interested in the robbers as you are the Texas Rangers. Has four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Jeff Bridges as the Texas Ranger who has to survive long enough to get that retirement pension. Earns The Janie Junebug Seal Of Hell Yeah You Should Go Ahead And Watch It Approval.

Captain Fantastic Oh, Viggo Mortenson, I've loved you since the moment I first saw you in A Walk On The Moon. I still want you to make love to me under a waterfall. Well, that was then, and this is now. In Captain Fantastic, a man and his large brood of children live off the grid and constantly practice their survival skills. A tragedy changes their way of life. One Oscar nomination: Viggo for Best Actor. Earns The Janie Junebug Seal of I Like It A Lot But Don't Let Your Kids Watch It Approval.

The Witch A family in colonial America is cast out by the community. When their baby disappears and their corn rots, they begin to accuse one another of signing the devil's book. Amazing, amazing acting, but it scared the crap out of me. Earns The Janie Junebug Seal Of So Good It Might Make You Brown Your Drawers Approval. Not for children!

The Fits A group of young girls practice their moves every day for their award-winning dance team. First one girl and then another and another experience mysterious fainting spells. It seems at first glance as if it could be a modern companion to The Witch, but it's really more about trying to fit into a group. Earns The Janie Junebug Seal Of It's Interesting But Not A Great Movie So Kinda Sorta Approval.

The Birth Of A Nation Not so long ago, this movie was the darling of Sundance and received a record breaking 17.5 million dollars from Fox Searchlight Pictures for the rights to the story of Nat Turner's slave rebellion (not historically accurate in all of its details). Then the public learned that writer and director Nate Parker, who also stars as Nat Turner, had been accused of rape when he was in college. He was acquitted, but the young woman's family revealed that she never recovered from the experience and committed suicide. If it hadn't been for the scandal surrounding Nate Parker, I feel quite certain that this movie would have some Academy Award nominations. Nate Parker is luminous as Nat Turner, and Armie Hammer is crazy drunk nasty as his owner who was once Nat's childhood playmate. A boycott The Birth Of A Nation movement began because of the accusations against Nate Parker. If you don't want to see it because the man was accused of a crime, then don't pass judgment on whether it's a good or bad movie. It's an excellent movie, though not for the fainthearted. Earns The Janie Junebug Seal Of What Might Have Been Approval.

Happy viewing!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Oh, Dowager Countess, how I do miss thee.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

BELATED BRAGGING ABOUT MY COOL CHRISTMAS GIFTS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I didn't blog much during January, but here I am, full strength, and still full of shit thanks for the great Christmas gifts I received.

Let's start with my favorite flowers: tulips!

My sister who wrote this blog post sent me a bulb garden. Before long, this is what grew in my little garden:



After the first blooms died, I moved the pot to my deck, where more tulips now bloom:


Another sister gave me


You can never go wrong when you give a book lover an Amazon gift card. My first purchase was Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. I HAD to read the book after I saw the movie.

Adorable Andrea at Maybe it's just me . . . blogged about making Christmas candy to give away to any friends she happened to bump into. I commented that I wished she would bump into me, AND SHE SENT ME SOME CANDY!

Photo? Uh, no. The candy kept calling me back to eat more of it so I couldn't even get out the camera to photograph it. Silly candy.

My beloved blog child, Rachel, of When A Lion Sleeps, Let It Sleep, said she intended to spoil me with Christmas gifts, and did she ever. She sent tons of my favorite vanilla-scented tea lights, but they aren't all plain vanilla. She managed to find Vanilla Bourbon and Cinnamon Vanilla. They really help cover up the dog pee odor that emanates from the living room rug. (Penelope says that everybody has accidents sometimes, and I shouldn't call attention to her peeing in the living room, which she has not done for a long time a while a few weeks.



Now here's quite the gift. See this big package next to the tree? The one that's too big to go under the tree?


Some of you may recall that I won The Chubby Chatterbox's giveaway. Sir Chatterbox, a.k.a. Stephen Hayes, sent the promised painting––complete with a lovely frame––well before Christmas. But I didn't open it until Christmas. Stephen is quite the artist, and I always enjoy his blog posts about art and about his own work. Stephen's work now hangs in my office, where I can enjoy it every day. Franklin and Penelope are ignoring the bastard cat have not noticed the pretty kitty in  the painting.



If you don't follow The Chubby Chatterbox, I urge thee to get thy ass sweet self to his blog right now. He's an excellent writer. His recollections of his childhood can be poignant and hilarious at the same time.

Last, but certainly not least, is the big large huge excellent something that Willy Dunne Wooters slipped to me before Christmas dinner.

Photos lost. Oh, darn.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

TIP TUESDAY: BEWARE OF USING TRADEMARKED OR COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL IN YOUR WRITING FOR PUBLICATION

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I'm sure you already know that when you write a book or story for publication that you can't "lift" the words from someone else's writing.

But what about items that are trademarked?

The Chicago Manual of Style tells us:

"Brand names that are trademarks––often so indicated in dictionaries––should be capitalized if they must be used. A better choice is to substitute a generic term with available." 

Thus, your characters should not drink a Coca-Cola or even a Coke, but they can drink cola or a soda or pop. They can make love in a whirpool bath, but not a Jacuzzi. When they get out of that tub, they can dress in jeans, but they can't put on their Levi's.

As for copyrights, watch out. Chicago states:

"Whenever a book or article, poem or lecture, database or drama comes into the world, it is automatically covered by copyright so long as it is 'fixed' in some 'tangible' form and embodies original expression. The term tangible applies to more than paper and traditional media; it includes things such as electronic memory. A copyrightable work is 'fixed' as long as it is stored in some manner that is not purely transitory. Thus an e-mail message that is stored in the sender's computer is fixed and copyrightable, but an extemporaneous lecture that is broadcast without being recorded is not."

Don't let your admiration for someone else's writing lead you to violate copyright law. Don't even use the words from someone's email improperly.

But what if your character is listening to a song on the radio that she likes and she wants to sing the lyrics? Don't use lyrics in your writing unless you have permission from the holder of the copyright or the words are in the public domain.

A way to solve the problem would be to write your own lyrics for your character to sing.

Or make up the title of a book that your character reads.

Last week, I read online that titles of books are not copyrighted. However, Chicago says titles such as Gone With The Wind and The House At Pooh Corner, in their fame, remain trademarked as long as they are copyrighted.

For more information, check out http://www.copylaw.com/new_articles/titles.html.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Bad, bad sign's.
Thanks, fishducky!

Monday, February 13, 2017

TAXES SHMAXES AND SOME OTHER STUFF THIS JUNEBUG HAS ACCOMPLISHED

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

First, thank you for welcoming my sister to my blog last week. She said the post was her fifteen minutes of fame. I disagreed. I think she's far more lauded for the long and successful career from which she retired recently.

Now on to the taxes. Yes, I finished. Yes, I shall receive a small refund. I hoped for more. I thought that a major home improvement (my new roof) was deductible. However, the IRS does not smile upon a new roof unless it is a particular kind of roof with the blessing of Energy Star, and even then the IRS kind of smirks for thirty seconds before returning to its 🙍.

Still, I don't owe any money so things could always be worse.

Our little family misses Willy Dunne Wooters, who is sick and tired––literally. He has  a bad cold and has to work six days a week for an indefinite period of time. The last time he was here, though, we started watching season one of Girls on HBO On Demand. I'm sure Girls isn't everyone's cup of opium pods, but it has the kind of quirky humor that works for us.

When the Wooters man feels better, I look forward to more Girls and more Willy.



Where were we? I feel a little hot and bothered now.

Oh, yes. The next subject is postcards. I follow Joanne Noragon at Cup On The Bus. Joanne is major league. She's a woman who took on the task of raising three grandchildren. Only Laura remains with her now. I love it when Joanne writes about Laura's activities because Laura's interests remind me of my daughter.

Joanne is a devoted grandmother, employee, blogger, and all-around-good person. She suggested not long ago that sending postcards to our senators, representatives, and other folks in government is even more worthwhile than signing online petitions.

I decided to follow more than Joanne's blog. I followed her lead with the purchase of postcards. Then I thanked Elizabeth "Nevertheless, she persisted" Warren. I reminded my senators, representative, and anyone else involved that I need my Affordable Care Act insurance. Without it, I'm on my own.

I've protested Cabinet nominations. I've asked that the people who represent me behave as if they represent me and the other people who voted for Hilary Clinton because we are in the majority, and no, potus, that didn't happen because of voting by illegal aliens. When you were elected, all the illegal aliens hopped back on the mother ship and went home to Venus or whatever planet they called home because they didn't want to read your tweets.

I've written to folks in our government about alternative facts and the Bowling Green massacree (misspelling intentional just as the accusation that the media didn't cover the massacree is intentional). Kellyanne Conway said it was a mistake; she misspoke.

But she said it more than once, along with other alternative facts that are repeated.

Thanks to Joanne, writing and mailing postcards has become part of my life, but I'll continue to sign online petitions, too.

I'm also in touch with Rita of SoulComfort's Corner. She's had the first of her eye surgeries. It's difficult for her to read and write online, but at least she can watch TV to pass the time. Rita hangs in there with good spirits and aplomb. Please remember her in your prayers or send good thoughts to her through whatever universe your mother ship flies.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. Supposedly, one-third of Americans do not know that the Affordable Care Act and Obama Care are the same thing. That frightens me.

Now, let's lighten up!

I'm a violator!
Tow me to my $50, please.

Monday, February 6, 2017

A DRIVE IN NEW JERSEY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

As I continue to slog through receipts and crawl toward finishing my taxes, I offer for your reading pleasure a post that my sister, Linell Goltz Gieser, wrote for Facebook. She gave me permission to share it with you.

And as my nephew Gabe Goltz said, his Aunt Linell is a badass.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug




Today I needed to drive from my home in southern NJ to the northernmost part of NJ for a couple of appointments. As I drove through NJ I saw rusted out factories, gangs running amok in our cities, mothers and children living in poverty, evidence of gang led crime, and young children robbed of good educations..............wait a minute I didn't see any of that. I saw communities where people clearly care about their homes. I did business today with two small companies that are clearly prospering (both of which I have been a customer for over twenty years). I saw an America that is already good if not great. Maybe our new President should communicate that he wants to make sure that all of America is great instead of implying that none of America is great. That America should be great for all Americans including our LGBTQ family and friends. That America should look at health care as a right not a privilege. That our public schools are a tremendous resource that should be nurtured and treasured. That our role in the world should not be as isolationist. Then maybe all of us could feel hopeful about the next four years instead of scared shitless.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

MOVIE ANYTIME: HIDDEN FIGURES

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I'm avoiding the work on my taxes in such a constructive way: blogging!

This will probably be hard for you to believe, but I went to a movie theater last week because Carol and I couldn't wait to see Hidden Figures (2016, PG, Still In Theaters).


Hidden Figures, based on the book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly, tells the true story of black women who worked as mathematicians at the Langley Aeronautical Laboratory in Hampton, Virginia. The movie focuses on three of these highly skilled women: Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae), and Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson).

The three deal with segregation, such as a long run to get to the "Colored Girls" restroom and having a separate "colored" coffeepot (and I don't mean the pot was red or blue), yet do their part to help the U.S. reach outer space. Katherine Johnson's analytical geometry skills were particularly important for John Glenn's historic flight.

Carol and I thought this movie was the best we'd seen in a long time. We were thrilled when it won Best Cast at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night. This movie is one you should definitely see with your children, perhaps age ten and older. Hurry before it leaves theaters and you have to wait for the DVD release.

Octavia Spencer is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and Hidden Figures is nominated for Best Picture. When Carol and I left the theater, I told her that my only complaint is that Taraji P. Henson isn't nominated for Best Actress.

Hidden Figures earns the Janie Junebug and Her Pal Carol Seal Of Highest Reach-For-The-Stars Approval.

We're reading the book now, so I'll let you know how it is when I'm done. Reading makes a great distraction from those darn taxes, which I must force myself to face.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. Katherine Johnson is still alive. At ninety-eight, she is said to be sharp as a tack. She saw the movie and loved it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

STARS IN THE NIGHT SKY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Last night I joined Franklin and Penelope outside. While they concentrated on the Earth, I looked to the stars. I turned to look at more and more until I was dizzy. They were so beautiful. Here, in the middle of this big city, in the middle of my backyard, I was at the base of the universe and I could see the soul of infinity.

I know I haven't blogged much lately, and I probably won't blog much for a while because I have everything I need to do my taxes. It takes me a while. I have to make sure I find every deduction. Although I've already made a substantial payment to the IRS, every year I wonder, will they owe me money or will I owe them money? I shouldn't owe them money. I'm not supposed to owe them money.

Yet I worry that I've made a mistake and will somehow end up needing to send them a check.

Too bad I'm not "smart" like the president so I don't have to pay taxes.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

I don't think I know any disabled elderly pregnant children, do you?
Thanks, fishducky!