Sunday, July 14, 2019

GWEN VERDON AND THE FOSSE YEARS (PART I)

Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon are played by Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams
in the FX series Fosse/Verdon


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Following Gwen Verdon's success in Can-Can, she won the 1955 Tony Award for Best Actress In A Musical for Damn Yankees. In 1957, she won the Tony Award For Best Actress In A Musical for New Girl In Town. In 1959, she won again for Redhead.

Four Tony awards in less that a decade, along with parts varying from small bits to starring roles in numerous movies.

Gwen Verdon might have met Bob Fosse in passing before he choreographed Damn Yankees. She definitely knew him well when he choreographed and became a first-time director for Redhead.

Fosse was married to his second wife, dancer Joan McCracken, when his relationship, which wasn't limited to dancing, began with Verdon.

McCracken's career came to a halt because of her type I diabetes––not as treatable as it is now. During her marriage to Fosse, she had a heart attack in 1955 and then had a lengthy stay in the hospital because of pneumonia. Doctors told her that her career as a dancer was over.

After encouraging her husband to become a choreographer and promoting his career, Fosse rewarded McCracken by divorcing her in 1959. He married Verdon in 1960.

Joan McCracken died in 1961. She isn't widely remembered.

So let's pause the Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon story here to honor Joan McCracken with "Pass the Peace Pipe" in Good News, 1947.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug




Thursday, July 11, 2019

HOPED TO CONTINUE GWEN'S STORY IN THIS POST

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Sorry, but you still have to wait for more about Gwen Verdon. I had a bad dental experience today.
Thanks for asking, but I don't want to talk about it.

I watched Damn Yankees. It's cute, but not the best musical I've ever seen. I imagine it's better onstage. "Whatever Lola Wants" is definitely the highlight.

To see Gwen at age 16, fast forward to 1:20 in the movie below. She's Ballerina Gwen.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

HELLO, JOE: IT'S ME, LOLA!

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I'm not done writing about Gwen Verdon, but posts will be sporadic. I did something crazy on Monday: I went back to work.



Yes, I probably have quite a few emails to read, along with regular training that we do. I don't know yet. I can't access anything on my computer. It took quite a while for my supervisor, my manager, and a nice lady named Linda who called me "young lady" (of course I told Linda that I love her) to figure out how to re-activate my account. When next I work, I hope I'll be able to actually work.

I've been kinda hanging out and getting paid for it. Don't tell but on Monday, I took three lunches. I had my lunch, and then I kept two friends company when they had their lunches at different times. On Tuesday I only took two lunches.

I was nervous about returning, but when I went in the building, I felt comfortable right away. Then I saw on my colleagues' computers that many of our systems have changed. Furthermore, I didn't recognize most of my colleagues. All but one are new! They seem very nice.

For now, I'm the only "original" on my team, which means that I was part of a team that went through training together 18 months ago and then worked with the same supervisor and manager. People dropped out pretty quickly. One left at the end of the first week of training. I think we started with 22. Two other originals should be returning soon. For now, though, I delight in my original status all by myself.

It's difficult to become accustomed to sitting in a desk chair again. The chairs are fine; however, nothing at work can match my chair where I sit right now, with my feet up, next to Penelope, who is next to Franklin.

The bright, brighter, brightest overhead lights bug me, too. My eyes are very sensitive to light (it triggers migraines), and when I'm back on the computer, it will be worse. So last week I had my eyes checked and ordered computer glasses and sunglasses. I'll pick them up tomorrow. I'll let you know if they help. A lot of people have tired eyes from working on a computer so much of the time.

I'll blog as I'm able to do so. Gwen Verdon deserves our attention. I was able to order Damn Yankees on DVD from my good friends at Netflix. I started to watch the movie, and I'm pleased to report that Gwen Verdon has top billing.

I also have an author friend's book to read and edit. That makes me happy.


Love,
Janie

Who remembers flower power? This performance is from The Carol Burnett Show, sometime in the late '60s. It's not Gwen at her most brilliant, but she was always a pleasure to watch.


Monday, July 8, 2019

WE INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM FOR STATION IDENTIFICATION

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

If you're as old as I am––and I'm old––perhaps you remember when an announcer would say that a TV show had to be interrupted because of a breaking news story or simply because the TV stations had to have a chance to say, This is WIBW in Topeka, Kansas.

For now, we interrupt the story of Gwen Verdon because I have to do some stuff. It seems unhappily appropriate that we have a delay now as we reach the part of Verdon's life when she became known as Bob Fosse's wife.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Gwen Verdon, Bob Fosse, and Gwen's son Jimmy



Friday, July 5, 2019

THE VERDON IN FOSSE/VERDON

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

In 1942, teenager Gwyneth Evelyn "Gwen" Verdon was in her bedroom while her parents gave a party (this account is based on bits and pieces of the story of her life that Verdon told her daughter Nicole, that are then portrayed in the FX series Fosse/Verdon, no doubt with some embellishments). An older man named James Henaghan came into the room and forced himself on her. Later in 1942, Verdon's parents forced pregnant Gwen to marry their friend Henaghan.

Her 2000 obituary in The New York Times stated that she eloped with Henaghan at age 17 because she was in love. "During a 1983 interview for the public access show Spotlight, Verdon laughed when the interviewer noted that she had married at that time because she was in love and it was the 'proper thing to do.' Verdon said with a laugh, 'I did not think it was the proper thing and I was not in love.'" (source: Bustle)

James Henaghan, Jr., known as Jim or Jimmy, was born in March, 1943. The marriage was already a struggle. Henaghan was a drinker and a gambler who wrote for The Hollywood Reporter. When he disappeared on a drinking binge or whatever he felt like doing, Verdon wrote his column and filed it. She left her husband on New Year's Eve, 1943; they divorced in 1947.

Gwen Verdon was a young girl with a child to support. She turned to her roots in dance to do the job.

When Verdon was two years old, she had rickets, which left her with knock knees. Her mother, who was a dance teacher, took her little girl to class to make her legs stronger. By age six, she danced on stage. At age 11, she had a solo dance in a movie.

After the divorce, she asked her parents to take care of Jimmy so she could work as much as possible. Verdon assisted choreographer Jack Cole for five years, and performed specialty dances in movies. She also taught numerous starlets their steps.

Then she turned to Broadway. In 1953, her breakthrough came when she had the second-lead in Can-Can. With Verdon receiving great reviews during out-of-town performances, the star of the show, Lilo, demanded that Verdon's numbers be reduced to two. Yet Verdon's Garden of Eden performance stole the show. She won her first Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in  Musical.

In 1955, Verdon starred in Damn Yankees, choreographed by Bob Fosse. She went on to play her role in the 1958 movie. How could Fosse, with his love of turned-in toes and legs, not adore the girl whose childhood knock knees allowed her to perform his moves so perfectly?

Dance for us, please, Miss Verdon.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Movie of Damn Yankees: "Whatever Lola Wants (Lola Gets)" 




Could she be cuter and funnier?

(additional sources: Vanity Fair, Town & Country, Wikipedia)

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

DOIN' IT FOSSE STYLE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Perhaps you already recognized elements of Bob Fosse's choreography before I started writing this series of posts, or you might have noticed certain moves in the sequences I've posted from Damn Yankees and Cabaret.

Here's what Fosse Style is to me:

rounded shoulders

hip rolls

thrusts, considered quite sexually suggestive at the time

tiny movements filled with meaning

pigeon toes

smooth, including the snapping of fingers

looks simple but it ain't

precise

the tiny movements suddenly become gigantic--huge kicks, big turns, jumps

jazz hands or cupped hands

intense stare

sensuous

sideways shuffle

sometimes white socks revealed noticeably above black shoes

HATS--preferably bowlers

If you noticed something that I missed, please tell us in your comment.

Now, take a look––if you like––at Ben Vereen and cast performing "Glory" in Pippin:



Bob Fosse directed and choreographed Pippin, which premiered in 1972. Fosse won Tony Awards for Best Direction of a Musical and Best Choreography.

Something else about Fosse style: Each move has to do with the plot and the character. If you've seen the entire movie of Cabaret, you know that every song and dance interspersed between the characters' actions has something to do with them and their story.

Now I'd like to show you one of my favorite numbers. From the 1957 movie The Pajama Game, Carol Haney performs "Steam Heat" with Buzz Miller and Kenneth LeRoy:



"Steam Heat" introduced America to Fosse style when he choreographed it for the stage in 1954––his first job as a choreographer, for which he won the Tony Award for Best Choreography––and he recreated the choreography for the film. *see note

When Bob Fosse died in 1987, his widow, Gwen Verdon, and his partner, Ann Reinking, kept his work alive.

When I started this series on Fosse and Verdon, Birgit of BB Creations pointed out that we can still see Fosse's influence in Michael Jackson's dancing. We should also include BeyoncĂ© and Single Ladies.

Michael, you were creepy, but I ask that you dance us out today so we can see how Fosse style evolved in your work.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

*note: Carol Haney was ill and had to be hospitalized while making the film of The Pajama Game. Supposedly, her work wasn't up to par. If she wasn't at her best in that movie, then I can't even imagine what her best looked like.




Monday, July 1, 2019

SOMETHING TO ENJOY UNTIL I WRITE A REAL POST

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

In 1972, Bob Fosse choreographed and directed Liza with a "Z": A Concert for Television. I did not see it when it was on television originally, but a few years ago I asked Netflix if they would please send me the DVD of the concert. They obliged; I was enchanted.

I love the song that I'm asking Liza to sing for you today. She managed to go back in time and recreate a performance from her youth.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Take it away, Liza!





Sunday, June 30, 2019

THE WORST WEDGIE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I saw this photo on the news today:


This car is wedged between two buildings at a retirement home in Pennsylvania. No information yet on how it happened.

I feel sorry for the owner of the car. It must have been quite a shock to have one's car end up this way.

I hope to get back to writing about Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon tomorrow, but this week is a busy one, packed with appointments.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, June 28, 2019

WHY I'M SAD

I'm sad about some friends' problems and so much of what's in the news breaks my heart. All those children--and adults--in detention centers (or concentration camps) makes me sick. Little kids are trying to take care of toddlers, who don't even have diapers. They're cold and they don't have decent food. In one of the adult centers it's so overcrowded that people can't lie down. They sit, packed in together, or they stand. It's so bad that some people stand on toilets to get out of the crowd. Then that causes problems for the people who need to use the toilets. People, especially children, are sick and even dying. I weep as I write this. 

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you, Donald Trump and your minions.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

MORE TO COME

I'll be back with more Fosse and Verdon in a day or two. I am tired and distraught by a lot of bad news.

Let's have another number from Cabaret. Watch the dancers' movements and start to become aware of the Fosse style, if you aren't familiar with it already.





Wednesday, June 26, 2019

THE WOMEN . . . and Fosse

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Bob Fosse lusted after women, and he harassed women to get what he wanted. Lots of women.

He was married three times and had a long-term partner. He wasn't faithful to any of them. “Bob grew up around strip clubs. Women were his hobby,” [Gwen] Verdon once reportedly said, according to Winkler. “He’d even cheat on his mistress. Part of him felt guilty, another part was ecstatic.” (source: The Oprah Magazine https://www.oprahmag.com/entertainment/a27056228/bob-fosse-gwen-verdon-true-story/)

Wife #1: Mary Ann Niles––his dance partner, married in 1947, divorced in 1951
Wife #2: Joan McCracken––dancer, married in 1952, divorced in 1959
Wife #3: Gwen Verdon––dancer, married in 1960, separated in 1971, never divorced, had a daughter named Nicole Fosse in 1963, Verdon was with Fosse when he died
Partner: Ann Reinking––dancer, with Fosse from 1972 to 1978, Reinking and Verdon were friends
Other Women: too numerous to know, but during the 1970s he seems to have been involved with 
Jessica Lange on and off

I could write all sorts of trash about the ways Bob Fosse used women (each wife helped him reach greater heights in his career), but it's too damn depressing. That's why I didn't finish writing this post last night. I couldn't continue to write about a man who treated women so badly.

However, I have been tweeting and posting on Facebook about another man who mistreats women. This particular man's defense against the allegation that he raped E. Jean Carroll is "she's not my type."

It made me wonder if my friend's 90-year-old grandmother who was raped was her rapist's type. And how about my patient in a nursing home who was in a vegetative state and was raped? Was she her rapist's type?

Rape is not a crime of lust. It's a crime of anger, domination, and control.

I don't want to watch Bob Fosse dance today. I'd rather ask Liza Minnelli to do one of her brilliant numbers from Cabaret, the movie that earned her the Best Actress Academy Award in 1973. Joel Grey won Best Supporting Actor. Bob Fosse won Best Director, even though he was up against Francis Ford Coppola, whose The Godfather won Best Picture.

Cabaret had ten Academy Award nominations and eight wins, a record for a movie that didn't win Best Picture. It also won numerous BAFTAs, Golden Globes, and other awards.

Thank you, Liza, for performing for us today.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug









Tuesday, June 25, 2019

BOB FOSSE WAS A USER

A note for you, Dear Ones: I can see from your comments on Monday that I'm not the only person who loves classic films and musicals. If you would like to write a guest post about your favorite musicals, whether on stage or on film, and especially your favorite Fosse and Verdon moments or your other beloved stars in musicals, please email me at dumpedfirstwife@gmail.com. If you don't have so much to say that you want to write an entire post but you have a couple of paragraphs about your favorites that you'd like to share, then please send them to me, also at dumpedfirstwife@gmail.com. I can combine shorter bits of writing in a few posts. I don't think we interact as much in the blogosphere as we used to do. I hope to do my small part to change that.

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Bob Fosse was a big-time user. He was a heavy drinker and smoker. He took prescription drugs (uppers) to keep him going. I don't know if he always obtained them legally.

He also used women and could be very nasty. If #metoo had existed when he was alive, he would have been talked about all over it. Plenty of women had good reason to complain about him. As a choreographer and director, he expected dancers to have sex with him. If a woman declined, she might find herself without a job, or at least she'd be threatened. He also used his wives. Each of his three wives helped him move up in his career and he treated them like shit.

But oh my god! how the man could dance. And his choreography was amazing. He directed some excellent Broadway shows and movies, too.

Bob Fosse was born in 1927 and by the time he was 13 he was dancing in bars and burlesque houses. As he grew older, he moved to New York. He wanted to be the next Fred Astaire.

We all know that the world has only had one Fred Astaire and we'll never see another one, but Fosse was very successful in his own way. He started out dancing in some Broadway shows and appeared on television. In 1953 he got a contract with MGM. He appeared in films such as Give A Girl A Break and The Affairs of Dobie Gillis. His choreography for a dance sequence that he performed with Carol Haney in Kiss Me Kate called attention to his abilities.

Then he started choreographing Broadway shows, including The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees. 

1960––choreographed and directed New Girl In Town
1961––choreographed How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying
1966––choreographed and directed Sweet Charity
1973––won a Tony for Best Direction of a Musical for Pippin
1975––choreographed and directed Chicago
1986––choreographed and directed Big Deal and won the Tony for Best Choreography

In between Broadway shows and sometimes while he was working on Broadway shows, he directed movies. Here's his Filmography as it appears on Wikipedia. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for Cabaret, a huge success––and a movie that I love––that won many awards. Cabaret is currently available on Netflix streaming.


He died from a heart attack when he was 60 years old. Not a big surprise with the drugs, the drinking, the smoking, and the overwork. 

Wow! This post will be ridiculously long if I start telling you about the women in his life and "the Fosse style." So we'll start with this information, and learn more about Bob Fosse tomorrow (I'll try for tomorrow).


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Fosse

Of course, we have to watch him dance. Bring on your best, Bob. The sequence I chose is "The Competition Dance" from the movie My Sister Eileen (1955). Appearing with  him is Tommy Rall (no slouch himself). When the sequence begins, Fosse will be on your left. He wears the darker suit and the gray hat.

Ladies and Gentlemen, coming to you directly from YouTube, it's Bob Fosse:






Monday, June 24, 2019

FOSSE/VERDON

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I mentioned Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon not long ago because I watched the mini-series about them on FX. If you missed it, you can Google Fosse/Verdon to find places where you can watch it.

Sam Rockwell is very good as Fosse and Michelle Williams gives a great performance as Gwen Verdon.

As I watched the eight episodes, I was concerned that if people didn't already know that Fosse and Verdon were icons of American musical theater that they wouldn't really understand their importance by watching a limited series.

So let's see what we can learn about Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon this week. If you ever had the good fortune to actually see Gwen Verdon perform onstage, then please tell us about it in the comments, or if you have a long story about her, a guest post would be welcome. You also might know her from movies in which she didn't dance, such as Cocoon.

Some of you have probably seen Bob Fosse dance without knowing it (he's in some older musicals but isn't the star), and you've probably seen at least one movie that he choreographed or choreographed and directed.

Let's start the Fosse/Verdon info with one of their performances together. Let me sign off, and then you take it away, Bob and Gwen.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

This number is "Who's Got The Pain" from the film version of Damn Yankees (1958). If Bob and Gwen can't cheer you up on a Monday, then I don't know if anything can. I've watched this clip many times. I always spend the rest of the day singing and dancing around the house while Franklin and Penelope stare at me and wonder, Who does she think she is today?

Friday, June 14, 2019

SOCIAL SECURITY SCAM CALLS

A warning to you, Dear Ones: When I awoke this morning, three messages were on my voice mail telling me to contact the Social Security Administration at 415 960 1223.

I was skeptical, but I called the number just in case it was legitimate. It wasn't.

The guy who answered the phone was difficult to understand. He had quite a strong accent. He asked for my name, which I provided. He said he needed to check my records, and then came back on the line saying that they had a different name for me. It was my first name and my last name from when I was married. Why would Social Security have the wrong name for me? I changed my name with them years ago when I got a new Social Security card.

The man went on to tell me that my Social Security number was suspended immediately because of numerous cases of fraud in Texas. Have you ever been to Texas? he asked.

I said, I want to talk to your supervisor. He said that it was difficult to get a manager on the phone and would take some time. I said, I want to talk to your supervisor.

He put me on hold for about 10 seconds and then the same person came back on the line and said he was the manager and wanted to know what the problem was. I said, This is a scam. Don't call me again.

I hung up and contacted the real Social Security Administration. Their recording said that phone calls are being made by people pretending to be from Social Security and to report it immediately if identity theft occurred.

I have no reason to think they've stolen my identity because the point of the call is to get people to reveal their social security numbers and/or banking information.

As I've gone about my morning, I've received myriad calls from 415 960 1223. It's always a message on my voice mail telling me to call them immediately because I'm in biiiiiig trouble.

So I called them again--and again--and again. Every time someone answered the phone, I shouted, WHAT'S YOUR NAME? Only one person gave me a name (Agent Jacob Johnson and a badge number), which of course is invented. I told him in very firm terms that they were not to call me anymore and that I had reported them for harassment. I called the number three or four more times and did the same thing.

The robo calls kept coming in.

So I blocked their stupid asses. We'll see what they come up with next.

When I checked online, I saw that these calls are a common problem. For more information, you can Google "scam calls from Social Security." If you're receiving repeated calls from the same number, you can also Google "how to block calls on my iPhone or Android phone (whatever the case may be)."

Online sources state that the scam calls might also come from the Social Security Hotline. Keep in mind that Social Security will never call you from their hotline and will never ask you to "confirm" information such as your Social Security number or bank information.

Best wishes and may the force be with you.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Update: It turns out that the only thing yelling at the scammers did was give me a sore throat. They've called me this afternoon from 414 662 5625 and 415 960 1223. I don't answer. As soon as I hear their familiar message, I block the number. They can come up with as many numbers as they like. I'll keep blocking.

Go ahead: Use another number to keep calling me. You'll find out that I'm not in a good mood today.





Monday, June 10, 2019

TROOPING THE COLOUR 2019

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's time for our annual (I call it annual but I might have skipped the last year or two; I can't remember) post recalling Saturday's Trooping The Colour,  the official celebration of Queen Elizabeth's birthday. This commemoration of her birth is always held in June, although Her Majesty was born in April.

However, we had a little problem this year. The Queen was traumatized by her visit from Donald Trump and it was difficult to get the lovely old lady out of the palace. She was afraid he hadn't really left and would start that crap again . . . you know, how he tries to claim the throne. What if he grabbed her pu . . . never mind started mouthing off again and saying that she was born nowhere near Great Britain and had to produce her birth certificate and then kept saying it wasn't a real birth certificate? She's already damned sick and tired of that shit.

The entire family chided Her Majesty for inviting the Trumps to dinner. Here, she tells Kate, BUT I DIDN'T INVITE HIM! I LEARNED HE'D BE HERE WHEN I READ IT ON FACEBOOK!


Then she came up with a great idea: Send Prince Philip to pick up Donald at the airport because Philip is the best driver in aaaaallllll of England.


Unfortunately, Philip forgot his task and the Trumps arrived safely, so the next step in her plan was to give Donald a book––an obvious bit of sarcasm since the man can't doesn't read. But he didn't take the hint and leave, so everyone had dinner together. Her Majesty couldn't stop thinking about how nice President Obama looked in his tuxedo when he visited, while Donald's tux obviously came from a rental shop at the last minute and didn't quite fit.


Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis were upset, too. Here they are at the window of the palace. The looks on their sweet little faces tell the whole story: PLEASE LET US OUT!


 You can't see it in the photo of Charlotte and Louis, but this is what was behind them:


Can you blame them for being frightened?


The Queen felt pretty nervous after hosting the Trump family, and who can blame her? No one can do anything if The Donald walks into Buckingham Palace and kills her or grabs her pus . . . never mind that last part. We know it's true because he said he can commit murder on Fifth Avenue and get away with it and he said he can grab certain female body parts, and the true King of England never lies.



When every single footman and everyone in the family assured her that the Trumps were gone, AND she saw it on Facebook, she agreed to come out for Trooping The Colour. As always, the celebration included a lovely parade.



Beatrice and Eugenie, or Eugenie and Beatrice, were there. It's never too late for braces, girls.


Here are Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie. Edward looks pretty darn full of himself because someone told him he could wear his special hat that turns into a helicopter (he's the one they keep in a shed in the backyard).



Then along came Kate, Camilla, and Meghan. Kate and Camilla raised their hands when they were asked, What is 2 + 2?



Well, the joke was on the Duchess of Wessex and the Duchess of Cambridge because they said the answer is 3, which is what William, Kate, and Harry were before Meghan came along. Now all the ladies are humiliated, but Harry stared straight ahead and pretended he didn't hear the question.


After hours of parading, it was time for the balcony scene. Wait a minute! Harry and Meghan are kind of squished in there behind Prince Andrew, but I don't see Baby Archie.



Oops! I guess it will be a long time before we see Archie again. If ever. No wonder Meghan held onto her belly while she was pregnant.



According to all the reliable click bait sources, everyone in the royal family does nothing but feud with each other. Here, they look up to avoid looking at each other. Only Kate is weirded out enough to look at Louis. She's afraid his head might fall off and that would create quite the mess.


A few minutes later, Camilla was peeved when Louis damn near slapped her in the face, but we know it's something that everyone has wanted to do for years. Prince William had to hold back his laughter.



Prince George let the world know that it's time to end Trooping The Colour for 2019,


so let's bring this celebration to a close by saying


Happy Official 93rd Birthday, Your Majesty. You are older than dirt, but you look a lot better. (Watch out for Charles. He's pretending to be your right-hand man, but he really wants your job. For him to get it, you have to die.)



Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug








Friday, May 31, 2019

FRANKLIN FRIDAY: WE ALL HAVE TO VISIT THE VET SOON

Hi Every Buddy. It's me, Franklin. This is me, in case you forgot what I look like:



Yeah, I know I'm handsome.

Mom says we have to visit the vet as soon as she can take us. Penlapee needs her yearly check-up. I need my half-year blood work. I eat special prescription food because I'm in the early stages of kidney disease. I dunno what that means. I feel fine.

Mom is also kinda worried because she was petting me and found a lump in the middle of my chest. She doesn't remember it being there before, but Mom forgets stuff all the time.

Maybe the vet can do something good to Mom. She probably needs vaccines and should have her poop and pee checked, like the vet does to us.

Sorry I'm not in a very good mood. It's hot and I don't like to go to the vet, but he does give me cookies because I am so good at sit and shake hands and some other stuff.

I am an agreeable dog.

Okay I love you bye bye.

This is my perfect sit that earns cookies.
Penlapee only sits when she feels like it.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

MODERATION IN ALL THINGS

Dear Hearts and Gentle People,

I might have to go back to using comment moderation.

My most recent post attracted spam. I looked through the three previous posts. They all had dumb comments that I removed. Grrrrrrrr. I don't leave spam on other sites.

I suppose asking to respect my blog is too much.

I got my cpap today. It's supposed to help with my sleep disorder so I won't be tired all the time. I find the device a bit daunting, and I admit that I'm going to wait until tomorrow to use it for the first time. My brain has to build up to the idea of having something strapped around my head and sticking in my nose. I know Penelope will find it disconcerting and might jump out of the bed.

Then I definitely won't sleep.

I wonder if anyone has been watching Fosse/Verdon on FX. It's quite good, but do many people remember who Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon were? How about you, you, and you? What do you know about Fosse and Verdon?



Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Monday, May 27, 2019

WILDFIRE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Perhaps you've seen something about the wildfire near Jacksonville, Florida, and thought, Hmmmmm, isn't that where Janie Junebug lives? I wonder if it's close to her.

On Friday I told Favorite Young Man that I would pick him up that evening and he said I'd better check online to make sure 95 was open. Part of it had been closed because of a wildfire.

Wildfire? What wildfire? My lack of awareness should assure you that I'm not threatened by the fire.

It turned out that a little stretch of 95 was closed from Thursday afternoon until Friday morning. When I drove through that area a bit of ash fell on my car. It looked like snow flurries. I couldn't smell smoke.

The fire did cover 600 acres but according to a headline yesterday, firefighters have 50 percent contained.

I read an article about the reasons we have more wildfires in these here United States. Because of improved engineering, people can locate buildings/houses in "wild" areas not used in the past. These buildings and their landscaping provide brand-spanking-new fuel for fires along with new opportunities to start fires because of people in the area who do things such as light charcoal grills or burn leaves or start bonfires or whatever it is that folks do. It's also been pretty dry here (no precipitation for 12 days), and the humidity is low.

No one knows how this fire started, but I heard speculation about a spark from a train because the fire started near some tracks. We've also been warned not to toss lit cigarettes around. If I ever start smoking (not gonna happen), I'll make sure I put out my cigs in an appropriate container.

The temperature was 101 yesterday when we shopped for groceries. It won't cool off for months, but sooner or later, our summer thunderstorms will start and it will rain almost every afternoon.

Or not.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



I've lived in "ON FIRE," "NIGHTMARE TORNADO ZONE," "SNOW-COVERED MOONSCAPE," and "AIR MADE OF HOT SOUP" with a side of "HURRICANE TERROR AREA." How about you?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

YOU DON'T HAVE TO HOLD UP THE BABY!

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I wish someone would explain to the Duchess of Sussex that she doesn't need to hold the baby up all the time.



Megs, darling, hasn't anyone explained to you that the baby won't just fall out in between your legs and land on his or her royal head?


Are you confused about how babies are born, or is "cradling the bump" a sign that you'll be one of those super clingy mothers who breast feeds until the kid is ten and follows him (or her) around the playground constantly to make sure no royal knees get scraped? Will you be cradling that very large baby when it's time to go to college? If you are, I assure you, your child will be desperate to escape.


Listen to me, Dear Duchess: you only need to hold onto the baby if your water breaks while you have a sudden, mighty contraction, and Harry lies on his back, looks between your legs and says, OH MY GOD! I CAN SEE THE HEAD AND YES, THE HAIR IS RED! (that will be followed by a sigh of relief on Harry's part because he'll be sure that he really is the baby daddy and you did not sneak off for a nookie night with older brother William but Harry's suspicion is the cause of this falling out that William and Harry have allegedly had and then Harry will rush into his brother's arms and shout WHAT A FOOL I'VE BEEN. YOU'RE THE BEST BROTHER IN THE WORLD AND I'LL NEVER COMPLAIN AGAIN ABOUT GIVING YOU MUMMY'S ENGAGEMENT RING FOR KATE.)

If all of that happens, Duchess of Sussex, then you should hold onto the baby until someone is ready to catch that right royal rug rat.

But for now, please let go. The baby will stay in place until you have serious contractions and start acting out your birth plan, whatever it is.

And although I think the Duchess of Cambridge is lovely, please don't go out wearing full make-up and high heels to show off the baby ten minutes after the birth. It makes all the other women of the world feel inadequate. Or even more inadequate than usual.

Let go.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, April 18, 2019

THROWBACK THURSDAY: REMEMBERING PENELOPE AND THE NEW BARK

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I first published IN WHICH PENELOPE LEARNS TO BARK on Sept. 2, 2016, as we awaited a hurricane. Her writing was not yet the model of perfection that it is now. Her bark was brand new. She barks more now, but I don't mind if the dogs bark. They let me know when strangers are near or if something is not right. If they bark a lot in the backyard, I call them in so they won't bother the neighbors, but I take a look around to make sure everything is okay.

I appreciate my pups.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Hello. It is I, Penelope.

Mom Mom and Human Brother say Hurricane might visit. Hurricane's name is Hermine. Mom Mom and Human Brother purchased treats for Hermine to eat. Perhaps I shall receive a treat?

Soon it will be a year since I got in Mom Mom's car and came to live with her and Nice Brother Franklin.




I smile more. I also learned to make noises. Mom Mom inquired of me, When will you start to bark, Penelope?

I thought, Bark? It is on trees. I am not a tree. I am a lady dog.

Then a few weeks ago, our daddy, Willy Dunne Wooters, came in the front door without announcing his presence. I was startled. A noise came out of my throat. Mom Mom said it sounded like a cough, but she thought I attempted a Bark.

I thought more about Bark and decided it is the noise my Nice Brother Franklin makes when he chats with Daisy the dog next door or when Jehovah's Witnesses ring the doorbell. I tried to make the same noise. It would not come out of me.

Human Brother came to our house when I did not expect him. (I do not understand all these uninvited guests: Daddy Wooters, Human Brother, Hermine. House is Mine with Mom Mom and Nice Brother Franklin.) Suddenly Bark came out of me and it grew and grew and before I knew it, Mom Mom said, Why, Penelope! You can Bark and Growl. You will scare away bad people if they come to our house.

I do not know how I make Bark and Growl but somehow I have learned to make Bark and Growl and Mom Mom is pleased. Human Brother does not understand. He thinks I do not like him. I love Human Brother. He helped rescue me when I came to live here and I did not know how to go inside House.

He startles me. Startle makes the Bark and Growl grow in me. 

Perhaps I have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Dr. Psychiatrist should be consulted.

Now I choose to nap until Hermine goes gone.





Thursday, April 11, 2019

THE FIRST PALMETTO OF THE YEAR

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I walked out of the office and down the hall toward my bedroom, and it was there on the floor. Alive. Extra large. Not moving.

I stomped the hell out of it and somehow didn't kill it. It ran into my bedroom and underneath the dressing table.

Disappeared.

I Usain Bolted to grab the buy spray in the hope that I could flush it out. Squirt . . . squirt . . . squirt . . . under and behind the dressing table. Behind the wardrobe.

It didn't come out. I got a flashlight and lowered myself to my knees to look under the furniture.

Nothing but dust bunnies and dog hair.

Penelope came in to take a look. She's still looking. She must remember the time she killed a palmetto bug in the office.

Has Penelope become a great black-and-white palmetto hunter? I hope so.

May God be with you on your quest, Penelope.

I'll let you know if we find . . . it, or another of its ilk.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, March 14, 2019

MOVIE WEEKEND: THE FAVOURITE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's been quite a while since I reviewed a mouvie for you. I'm glad that I can recoummend The Favourite (2018, Rated R, Available on DVD, On Demand, or to rent from Amazon Prime), although you might nout like it unless your sense of humour is as dark as mine.


The Favourite is weirdly wonderful. It has three women playing the leads, although it was Olivia Colman as Queen Anne who won the Best Actress Academy Award, along with a number of other awards. Rachel Weisz as Lady Sarah and Emma Stone as Abigail were nominated for supporting actress Oscars. I don't know how one would decide that one of these actresses alone was worthy of Best Actress consideration, but I also don't know how they managed to say some of their whip-shot wicked lines without falling down laughing:

Harley: Might I remind you, you are not the queen.
Lady Sarah: She has sent me to speak for her. She is unwell.
Godolphin: What says she?
Lady Sarah: That Harley is a fop and a prat and smells like a ninety six year old French whore's vajuju.

This historical dramedy is set during the reign of Queen Anne (early 18th century). Anne is not the brightest crayon in the box. She has experienced many tragedies. Foremost among them is her 17 pregnancies that ended in miscarriages, still births, and dead children.

Because Anne is not exactly interested in the affairs of state and does not care to learn, Lady Sarah runs the country for her. Anne and Sarah have been friends since childhood. Only Sarah can get away with telling Anne the truth, such as "Sometimes, you look like a badger."

But then Sarah's cousin Abigail, whose family has fallen on hard times, arrives at Anne's palace to ask for a job. Sarah favors Abigail with work, very hard and ugly work, but Abigail seeks ways to ingratiate herself with Anne.

Who will end up as Queen Anne's favourite? And is it worth the cost?

I wish I knew about camera lenses and angles so I could understand how this movie was shot. The Director of Photography manages to exaggerate the size of their surroundings so that the characters look very small, which they are––at heart. The cameras also show the characters moving in curved spaces. Like the ducks they race, they move through the maze of the palace without ever reaching a worthwhile destination.

The class system is very important in this movie, whether it's Queen Anne over Lady Sarah and Lady Sarah over Abigail, or Abigail as a servant being shat upon by the more experienced servants.

I don't want to reveal the conclusion, but I read a review that said the final sequence was an arresting image and what did it mean? I think it indicates that the favourite, whoever she may be, is trapped and held tightly by Queen Anne in her whirling, selfish world.

I know some of you are already dealing with the terrible blizzard that's cutting across the United States. I hope your electricity stays on. I watched The Favourite on a DVD sent to me by my friends at Netflix, but if you're able to go out, you should be able to get the DVD from one of those Redbox kiosk thingies. You can also order it On Demand or through Amazon Prime streaming.

If The Favourite doesn't interest you or if you need more than one movie, which you probably do during a blizzard, I recommend BlacKkKlansman; Juliet, Naked; and Operation Finale. I adore A Star Is Born and sobbed over it as if I were a two year old whose ice cream fell off the cone and landed in the dirt. I watched Green Book, too, and wasn't wild about it, but a lot of people seem to like it.

These movies are NOT for children. As always, I suggest watching the movie yourself before you decide if it's okay for your teenager to watch.

Please stay safe and stay warm.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug




Monday, March 11, 2019

PENELOPE SPEAKS: IT'S ABOUT TIME

Hello. It is I, Penelope. Mom Mom has been so selfish with the computer that I've never gotten to write about my Christmas presents.

Mom Mom is lazy, too. She claims she's been sick. She doesn't do a thing unless I arrange it. I get in the bed and roll around to leave my fur on the sheets to force her to put on clean sheets. I even have to leave little puddles around the house to make her clean the floors. What an embarrassment!

My work is never done.



Thank heavens I didn't have to rely on Mom Mom for my Christmas gifts. Santa Paws was good to me because I am a good girl.

Here is my very best gift:

 

I have my own couch. It is in our office, where I work on the computer when I can get it away from Mom Mom.

My couch is soft and cozy, especially on chilly days. I love curling up on it.

Santa Paws also brought me new clothes to keep me warm:


This is my fuzzy red robe. I am beautiful in it––even more beautiful than usual. Red looks nice with my black-and-white fur.



I wear my robe when Mom Mom wears her red robe and her jammies. I don't have jammies. Maybe Santa Paws will bring me jammies next Christmas. It pleases me that Mom Mom and I have matching robes.  If Mom Mom has something, then I should have the same thing.

Santa Paws also gave me a denim jacket. It pleases me because Mom Mom has a denim jacket.


My jacket says "I Believe" and it has thread pieces that look like a piece of candy and a snowflake. Mom Mom does not have such nice pictures on her denim jacket.

I will not wear my clothes much longer. Soon it will be warm enough that I will be fine with just my fur.

I certainly hope Mom Mom continues to wear her clothes. She does not have lovely fur. She looks kind of strange and pink under her clothes.

Perhaps you remember that my brother Franklin got a big bed from Santa Paws. He still calls it the not-a-doughnut and won't sleep on it.

What an idiot.

That is all. Goodbye.



Tuesday, March 5, 2019

I, MARY BY LINDA KAY CHRISTENSEN

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Linda Kay Christensen has a new book out, and I absolutely love it (I also edited it).

I, Mary can be a quick read, but you might want to linger over its warmth and beauty as Mary tells her story in the first person. It's the simple tale of a teenage girl who must suddenly deal with the unexpected news that she will give birth to the Savior.

Linda has outdone herself this time. I'm glad I, Mary is available in time for Lent. It will make a great Easter gift, and be sure to get a copy for yourself.


I, Mary is available on Amazon at https://goo.gl/DbLd7S. Congratulations on your excellent work, Linda Kay.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Sunday, February 3, 2019

PEGGY SUE GOT MARRIED NOT LONG AGO

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Sixty years ago on this date, a small airplane took off from Mason City Municipal Airport (Iowa). About five miles away from the airport, it hit the ground at full speed near Clear Lake, Iowa, in a cornfield.



The pilot, Roger Peterson, and his three passengers––Charles Holley*, Richard Valenzuela, and J.P. Richardson––were all killed on impact.

Buddy Holly, died at age 22

Ritchie Valens, died at age 17


The Big Bopper, died at age 28



The three musicians were on a tour across the Midwest called the Winter Dance Party. They finished their show in Clear Lake at about midnight. Their flight took off around 1 a.m.


Holly chartered the plane because the troupe's two tour buses were unheated and kept breaking down. His drummer had to be hospitalized because of severe frostbite. He was tired, no one had been paid, and he wanted to get to the next venue in Minnesota ahead of time so he could get some rest and do his laundry.

He planned on taking the two remaining members of his band with him, but his guitarist, Tommy Allsup, agreed to flip a coin with Ritchie Valens for a seat on the plane. Valens "won" the toss.  Waylon Jennings, who played bass for Holly, gave up his seat to Richardson because The Big Bopper had the flu.

Don McLean wrote and recorded a hit song, American Pie, that led to the tragedy being memorialized as "the day the music died." However, McLean has said that the song is about more than the deaths of the three performers; it's about the loss of America's innocence (something we supposedly lose on a regular basis with each new tragedy).

And of course, the music most certainly did not die because of the influence the musicians had––especially Buddy Holly.

The Big Bopper was primarily a radio disc jockey who had a hit with the novelty song Chantilly Lace. He also wrote some successful songs recorded by other artists. He left behind a wife, a daughter, and a son who was born two months after he died.

Valens had a brief career. He had recently dropped out of high school because of his newfound success. He's considered to have started Chicano and Latino rock. He influenced Los Lobos and Carlos Santana. He left behind his mother, several siblings, and a girlfriend named Donna, about whom he had written a hit song. Among his effects was a silver bracelet with her name attached.

And then there was Buddy Holly, known as a rock and roll pioneer. A certain band called The Beatles chose their name because Buddy Holly's band was called The Crickets. Paul McCartney owns Buddy Holly's song catalog. Two nights before Holly died, a young Bob Dylan saw Holly perform in Duluth, Minnesota, and has cited Holly as an important influence in his development as a musician. Mick Jagger also saw Holly perform, albeit not in Minnesota but in England. Other performers who name Holly as an influence include Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, and The Clash.

Holly was already such a prolific songwriter and had recorded so many songs that his record label was able to release "new" Buddy Holly music for 10 years after his death. He left behind his parents, three siblings, and a pregnant widow, Maria Elena Santiago-Holly. Her miscarriage the day after learning of his death by hearing it announced on television is allegedly the reason that deaths are no longer broadcast until family has been informed.

Buddy also left behind his trademark horn-rimmed glasses. The farmer who owned the field found them after the snow melted. He gave them to the authorities, who stored them in a courthouse for years before realizing what they had and returning them to his wife.


They're on display at The Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, Texas.

Today is the day that three musicians died in a plane crash, but they didn't take the music with them. Sing us out, please, Buddy.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug





*The correct spelling of the musician's name is Holley. A recording contract misspelled his name as Holly. That's the spelling he used for the rest of his life, but the marker at his grave uses the correct spelling. His nickname had been Buddy since childhood.

Feature films have been made about Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. Both are filled with inaccuracies, but are entertaining.