Friday, May 26, 2017

THE CEPHALOPOD COFFEEHOUSE: STATE OF WONDER BY ANN PATCHETT

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 SquidClick on the link to sign up to join us.

The best book that I finished this month is State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.




State of Wonder begins: The news of Anders Eckman's death came by way of Aerogram, a piece of bright blue airmail paper that served as both the stationery and, when folded over and sealed along the edges, the envelope.

Anders Eckman's research partner, Dr. Marina Singh, receives this news at the pharmacological company in Minnesota where the two researchers shared a lab for seven years. Eckman died when the company sent him to Brazil to find Dr. Annick Swenson, the leader of a research project funded by the company.  Dr. Swenson has long held a prominent position in Dr. Singh's memory as the professor whose criticism ended Dr. Singh's medical career.

Now Marina Singh departs for the Amazon to learn where Anders is buried and to tell Dr. Swenson that she must end her research, which has gone on far too long. Soon, Marina finds herself in a state of wonder, where she befriends a deaf boy named Easter and discovers a world quite different from any she has encountered before:

Easter and Marina liked the river best at six o'clock when the sun was spreading out long across the water and the birds had just begun to make their way home for the night. They sat on the damp banks, as far away as they could from the heat of the Lakashi's fire. It was too early to eat and still she wanted to leave the lab for a while, stretch her legs and roll her neck. Sometimes she would sit for twenty minutes, thirty minutes, and other nights she would stay until it was dark. 

In this state of wonder, Marina encounters poisonous insects, rescues Easter from the grasp of an anaconda by using her medical training, delivers a baby, deals with the Dr. Swenson of the present and the past, and learns the truth behind Dr. Swenson's mysterious research with the women of the Lakashi tribe.

Ann Patchett writes so beautifully that I almost couldn't bear to put down this book and deal with my own dull life. I was much happier in the jungle with Marina Singh.

State of Wonder earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Truth And Beauty Approval.

Happy reading!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, May 25, 2017

MOVIE WEEKEND SNIPPETS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's been a long time since I reviewed a movie for you. Because I've seen quite a few movies, I'll give you "snippet" reviews.

I saw all of these movies on DVDs sent to me by my friends at Netflix.

Lion Carol and I watched this one together. We loved it! Dev Patel is great, and he is a sexy man.

Paterson Paterson's last name is Paterson. He lives in Paterson, New Jersey. He drives a bus. He goes home every night and eats the dinner cooked by his wife. Then he takes her dog for a walk. The dog sits outside while Paterson goes in a bar and drinks one beer. Then he goes home. But into Paterson's mundane existence we insert the fact that he writes poetry--beautiful poetry. His wife expresses her artistry by painting everything in sight and deciding she wants to be a country singer. She also loves her husband's poetry. I love this movie. Art can be where we least expect it. By the way, Paterson's favorite poet is William Carlos Williams, who was from Paterson, New Jersey.

Jackie Dull, breathy-voiced debutante grieves after her husband's assassination. How could Natalie Portman be nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award? Watching this movie led me to Google more info about Jackie Kennedy, though. I didn't realize that Caroline Kennedy allowed her mother's oral history recorded for the JFK Library to be released much earlier than Jackie Kennedy had decreed. Did you know Jackie called Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson "Colonel Cornpone and His Little Porch Chop"? Now, that made me laugh.

La La Land I thought I didn't like this movie because my expectations were too high. Then I discovered that some other bloggers didn't like it, and Favorite Young Man said he knows a lot of people who didn't think it was that great. This movie won Best Director and Best Actress at the Academy Awards? Not okay. I realize that the actor who looks so much like Willy Dunne Wooters is in this movie. He's fine. He's always fine. He rises above the material.

Deepwater Horizon Big disaster.

The Light Between Oceans Sweet and sad.

The Infiltrator Dull character study that only gets interesting at the end.

Demolition Love, love, love, love it! Go, Jake Gyllenhaal! His character's strange reaction to his wife's death in a car accident makes for a great movie. Give Jake an Academy Award already.

You'll learn more about two nine-year-old boys on Tuesday. Tomorrow is The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, so I have to tell you about the best book I read this month. Monday is Memorial Day, so I have to memorialize my favorite vet. Oh, wait! Tuesday is TIP TUESDAY. The boys might not be back until Wednesday.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

WHAT DO NINE-YEAR-OLD BOYS DO WHEN THEY'RE HOME ALONE?

This post is Part II of a series that began with TWO NINE-YEAR-OLD BOYS.


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

What do two nine-year-old boys do when they're home alone?

They scream and climb on things. Then they shout and climb. Then they yell and climb.

It's noisy; get the point?

The climbing includes climbing trees and climbing on whatever happens to be in their backyard that allows them to look in their neighbors' windows. They are such climbers that I can see them from the waist up above my privacy fence, which is seven-feet tall.

not my adorable little neighbor

Their worst climbing is when they clamber up on the crappy shed in their crappy backyard, jump to the roof of my garage (which has asbestos shingles so just wait until you learn about mesothelioma, boys), and then drop down in my backyard. I did not witness this particular climb. My neighbor saw it, and I don't know how they got out of the yard because my gate was still chained and the ladder was not removed from its spot in the garage.

Remember No Country For Old Men?
"MY" nine-year-old boys will grow up to be this guy.

They also like to throw things. Throwing started with them tossing toys into my backyard. I thought the toys had come over the fence by accident when they were playing, so I tossed them back. A few hours later, the toys would be in my yard again. So I gave up on that and let the dogs chew on the safe toys. Unsafe toys went in the garbage can.

"My" nine-year-old boys can be food-throwers at times. I guess this happens when they have something for supper that they don't like, although God only knows who prepares their meals since no adults live in the house. One evening I found numerous slices of fresh cucumber in my backyard. My brilliant mind deduced that their meal had included cucumber in a salad. I don't want the dogs to eat the food because it might be poisoned, which I think could be true because if I cooked for those kids I would poison their food.

So I cleaned up the cucumber. The next evening the cucumber magically replaced itself in my yard. Left-overs for supper, I thought.


The two-nine-year-old boys don't limit themselves to throwing toys and food. They have become more aggressive, perhaps because of the lack of cucumber in their diets. They throw things AT the fence. The largest items appeared to be big, clunky pieces of firewood.

That made quite the smacking sound, which frightened Franklin and Penelope. I wouldn't be worried about what two nine-year-old boys do when they're home alone except for these three reasons:


  1. They might injure themselves on my property and their non-existent parents could blame me and even sue me. Because they are home alone, if I saw that they were injured, I would feel as a reasonable person that I should use my prodigious first-aid skills to help them by handing them band-aids and screaming at them to go call an ambulance for themselves.
  2. I'm concerned about property damage. Sooner or later, they will throw something at the fence that damages it and breaks it down. Then Franklin and Penelope will not have a secure yard, and I'll have to make a big fuss to get the damage repaired.
  3. They scare Franklin and Penelope. Franklin barks at them, which leads to them barking back at him because they aren't really nine-year-old boys; they are feral dogs. Although Franklin makes a valiant effort to protect his yard, they frighten him. So he runs inside and doesn't get to enjoy his yard during rare nice weather. Poor Penelope is terrified of her neighbors to the point that she won't go out if they are out. This problem leads to hours of Penelope crossing her legs because she needs to pee. She trembles, hides behind my chair, and turns into a pitiful sight.
Penelope crosses her legs much tighter than
Mona Lisa after four drinks and does not look this relaxed.

Now the question becomes: what does one do about two nine-year-old boys who are at home alone?



Here come the words you adore: to be continued, but you should blame yourself for this to-be- continued-thing because so many of you read my to be continued stuff about the dentist who stopped accepting my insurance. So there.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

TIP TUESDAY: THERE & THERE'S

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

You didn't really think I'd continue the story of the two nine-year-old boys today, did you? No way. You have to wait. The world needs TIP TUESDAY.

I'm not editing now, so I have time to blog. I like blogging, but someone please send me a book to edit. I'm available for a reasonable price. Ask Willy Dunne Wooters. I'm what's known as a cheap date even if the invitation is to edit.

All right. That's enough self-advertising for now.

First, we discuss there. If I've edited anything for you, then you know I'm prone to telling my clients that there makes a poor subject for your sentence.

Example: There are police officers all over that crime scene.

Let's change it to Police officers are all over that crime scene. 

Can you think of a way to make it even better? I bet you can. How about using a stronger verb?

Second, let's talk about there's. There's makes me crazy because I see it used incorrectly all the time.

THERE'S = THERE IS

Example of use that makes me crazy: There's hikers climbing the mountain.

Is is singular. Hikers is plural. If you insist on using there as your subject, then please get your there's correct. How would you improve our sample sentence?

Okay. I think I've fussed enough for today. Somebody hurry up and hire me.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thanks, fishducky!

Monday, May 22, 2017

TWO NINE-YEAR-OLD BOYS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Two nine-year-old boys live in the house behind mine. They probably think I live in the house behind theirs, but nope! I was here before they were. My dogs have peed in the backyard enough that I can definitely claim this as OUR territory.

They're not identical twins,
but let's say they both look like this.

Now you might have noticed that I didn't mention that adults live in the house behind mine––because I swear to God no adults live there. It's the two nine-year-old boys.

I have seen a carousel of adults revolving around the house. They go in and out of the doors and talk on their cell phones in the yard behind MY backyard and blow cigarette smoke toward my house. I do not believe for one second that any of those adults live in that house. They just keep revolving and smoking and talking into cell phones.

Now, how do I know that the boys are nine years old, you might wonder. It's because they drove me so crazy one day that I yelled at them. I screeched, Where are your parents?

Er potter's nert ahm, they seemed to say. I'd heard everything else they'd been shouting for hours but when I asked them a question, suddenly they couldn't be heard.

I went over to the very tall privacy fence that somehow does not protect me from nine-year-old boys. I asked again, Where are your parents?

After three or so attempts at understanding them, they finally spoke loudly enough so I could hear them say, Our father's not home.

I used to be a newspaper reporter. I can conduct an interview with the best of them.

How old are you? I screamed.

Eventually their whispers wafted through the ether: We're nine years old.

Nine years old and they're at home alone on a school day––or what should have been a school day.



The words you dread as much as I dread nine-year-old boys: to be continued . . . 


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, May 19, 2017

PENELOPE DISCUSSES THE LIVING ROOM RUG

Hello. It is I, Penelope.

Mom Mom edited two books, so she ignored you and she ignored Franklin and me. We have not been fed or petted in weeks. Or perhaps months.

Mom Mom neglects me.
She treated us even worse during February when she went on a vacation to a place called the hospital. I do not know what she did on this vacation, but when she came home she was very tired. I think she went to that place to drink frozen margaritas. (So selfish!) It is true that Human Brother was here and he stroked my beautiful fur for hours, but Mom Mom has no reason to ever go away from us.

When Mom Mom came home, she said that she and Willy Dunne Wooters could not stand the odor emanating from the area rug in the living room. She and Daddy Dunne Wooters told me that the ammonia coming from the rug made their eyes burn and it was MY fault. I did not and still do not know what this statement meant.

This is what I say to Mom Mom
and that Daddy Dunne Wooters.

Get over it, Mom Mom.
And I tell you that Mom Mom is NOT the real
Lorelai Gilmore.
Daddy Dunne Wooters rolled up the living room rug to take it outside. A neighbor said he would like to have it. Mom Mom asked him how he could stand the odor. (Smart Ass Mom Mom!) He said that he had been in an accident and does not have a sense of smell.

I am glad the rug went to live in another house. It was ugly. (And Cheap. So Cheap!) (Bad Taste!)

Now the floor in the living room is made of wood. Sometimes when Mom Mom goes out, she comes home to find a puddle. Mom Mom says if I continue to leave puddles on the floor, I will have to go in the prison cell while she is gone.

I think I shall make two or three puddles the next time Mom Mom is gone because when I go in the prison cell, I get my Kong. It is always frozen and has peanut butter inside. (Delicious! So Delicious!)

Ha ha on Mom Mom.

That is all. Goodbye.

Mom Mom is The Queen of Grammar,
but I am The Queen of This House.

Monday, May 8, 2017

MY GIRL SAM FOUND HER BIRTH FAMILY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Sam, who cares for my golden tresses, found her birth family. I didn't even know she was looking.

I'm going to see her tomorrow, so I hope she'll tell me more about the search.

For now, here's the link to a story that ran on a local TV station: https://goo.gl/FXU1Jq

I continue to edit!


Love,

Janie Junebug