Monday, April 14, 2014

SAD BADFINGER

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Please note that ellipsis are three spaced periods.

Recently, I finished watching all the episodes of Breaking Bad. I watched it again because of my love for it, and because I wanted to introduce Willy Dunne Wooters to it. He'd never seen it. Quite shocking, I know.

When Baby Blue by Badfinger played at the end of the final episode, WDW said, Oh, that's the perfect song. I felt the same way both times I watched the finale.



Watching the show together led us to research Badfinger. We were shocked at the tragic tale of this talented group. Their two main songwriters committed suicide (not at the same time). An unscrupulous manager cheated them out of most of the money they earned. The majority of the group died believing they were failures.

If you want more sad Badfinger, you can read about them HERE or HERE.

Now, I must ask you to think about something, and I don't care if you are in the middle of the A - Z Challenge. Do you remember the series I did on love and intimacy? Quite a few people wrote very interesting guest posts that presented their thoughts and feelings on a topic I don't understand.

You don't remember? It doesn't matter. I'm always starting over on something new and different because I write the story of my life.

Now, I want to do a series about bullying. It will start around the middle of May. I'll write the first post, and the series will conclude with an expert on the subject giving us tips on how to deal with bullies. In between, I need you.

I need you to tell your stories of being bullied, how your children have been bullied, how you dealt with bullies, how you bullied someone. Whatever you want to share.

You might as well volunteer to write guest posts because if you don't, then I'll knock on your door and you know it's difficult to turn me down. I want guest posts to start arriving by May 12th.

Here's another Badfinger song. Willy Dunne Wooters says that Day After Day has always been one of his favorites.




One more piece of Badfinger trivia: they wrote Without You. It wasn't a hit for Badfinger, but it made Harry Nilsson huge, and I read that Mariah Carey did well with it recently.

I can't download the video because of copyright issues, but once upon a teenagerhood, I loved Harry Nilsson's dramatic rendering of the song. Click on the link to hear it:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bQGRRolrg0

By the way, Harry Nilsson did not use backup singers. He would lay down a track and then harmonize with himself to lay down another track. Harry died relatively young, too, after a rather wild and difficult life. He spent too much time with John Lennon during John's timeout from Yoko Ono.

Yes, Yoko made John sit in a corner. He wasn't allowed to watch TV, nor could he play with his toys or smoke pot.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, March 28, 2014

MAY I HAVE A MOMENT OF YOUR TIME?

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Brandon Ax made me very happy yesterday when he announced on his blog that I am now his editor. He's a great guy and such a cute, young hottie (don't tell him that I drool over him, and keep your cake hole shut around Willy Dunne Wooters). I hope you'll stop by to see his adorable drawing at http://baxwriting.blogspot.com/2014/03/editor-wanted-editor-found.html. It portrays Brandon and his dragon presenting a manuscript to me, and, of course, the boys. How could I edit without Harper and Franklin? I admit it: They're the brains behind this operation.

A couple of sucky things have happened this week. My dishwasher is broken. I'm washing dishes by hand. Try not to faint. I realize it's shocking.

Why in the name of all that is good and holy is she smiling?
I certainly don't smile when I was dishes. *shudder*
Insipid woman.
I looked online for dishwasher repair instructions (the dishwasher won't drain) and made an effort to fix it myself. Yes! It is I, fixer-repairer person extraordinaire. A lot of people online said that some pieces in the bottom of the dishwasher might be clogged. That was not the problem.

To put the icing on the poop cake, I hurt my back by contorting my body in strange ways so I could reach inside the dishwasher. If I had to hurt my back, why couldn't I have been doing something fun, like playing Naked Twister with Willy Dunne Wooters?

But at least I tried to fix the dishwasher -- something I wouldn't have dared to attempt once upon a marriage. The effort felt good; I'm proud of myself.

I think the problem is the motor that pumps out the water, which is beyond my Ms. FixIt skills. I'll be on the hunt for a new dishwasher very soon. I was not born to wash dishes. I was born to love punctuation.

Something far more important than a broken dishwasher is on my mind, however.

It's Rita's birthday!

Please stop by SoulComfort's Corner to wish Rita a happy birthday. Rita is da bomb. 

Happy Birthday, RitaPitaPan! 


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, March 24, 2014

WE INTERRUPT THIS REGULARLY SCHEDULED POST FOR AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Okay, so it's not really such an important announcement, but I wanted to say that it is. Remember when TV shows used to be interrupted for unusual news events? I don't think that happens much anymore because now we have cable channels with nothing but news.

My news is that I'm taking a blog break. I have editing to do (that's good); I want to write (that's good); I want to read (that's good); and I want to kiss Willy Dunne Wooters (that's very good).

Since I don't participate in the A - Z challenge, April is an excellent time for a blog holiday.

In my world, April starts right now. I'll try to check in with you at least a few times, and you might even get some MOVIE WEEKEND posts out of me.

I'll see you early in May.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, March 21, 2014

DING DONG FRED PHELPS IS DEAD

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I've always been the kind of person who refuses to condemn someone to hell. I always say every so sweetly that we can't know what's in someone's heart, so we should never assume that someone has died and gone to hell. I'm breaking my rule today. I'm 99.99% sure that Fred Phelps has gone to hell.

I hope he found redemption and didn't go, but that would be quite a stretch.

On May 30, 2011, I wrote this post about the Phelps family and Westboro "Baptist Church". I think today is a good time for a re-run.

Here's MEMORIAL DAY: AFTER THE FALL:


Memorial Day, for most of us, is a day to honor our fallen heroes. But for a particular hate group in my home town of Topeka, Kansas, every day is a day to despise our fallen heroes.

Yes, you may have heard of them before: It's Fred Phelps and his family, who use their Westboro Baptist Church as a front for their campaign against the people they call fags. According to the Phelps, 9/11 was caused by the fags because God was showering his wrath on the people of the United States. And people who serve in America's military are fags, and I'm a fag, you're a fag, everyone except the Phelps family is a fag, fag.

(By the way, they call their church Baptist, but they are not recognized as such by any other Baptist churches.)

I'm not going to provide a link to any of the Phelps' Web sites. You can find their crap if you want. I write this to call attention to their activities in case you are not aware of them, and because my dad served in the military and died on Memorial Day. I know my parents detested the behavior of the Phelps.

The Phelps like to protest. They go out with their signs and call people fags and blame the fags for everything that's wrong. Worst of all, they protest at the funerals of our fallen soldiers. Because of them, President George W. Bush signed a law that prohibits protests within a certain distance of military cemeteries before, during, and after a funeral. But that doesn't stop them from protesting at other cemeteries and it doesn't stop them from protesting at other venues and it doesn't stop them from protesting at other times. They also protest at the funerals of gay people. They were there for Matthew Shepard's funeral, as if his family hadn't already suffered enough.

I've seen some news clips about various ways people deal with the Phelps. And don't think the Phelps are just a Topeka problem. They show up all over the place. In one town, the Phelps obtained permission to picket on a certain corner. So, many people in town showed up and parked their vehicles near the corner so the Phelps would have difficulty getting a place to park their bus, and then the townspeople took over the corner and left no room for the Phelps, who actually gave up and left. When they protest at a funeral, sometimes motorcyclists show up and form a ring around the family and rev their engines to drown out their noise.

Yes, the Phelps family is entitled to freedom of speech. But families should be entitled to bury their loved ones in peace.

I recall Fred Phelps mostly from his days as a lawyer, when I was growing up in Topeka. His antics were always in the news, and eventually he was disbarred for unethical conduct. Some of his 13 children have become lawyers and they now fund the protests with the money they earn from the family law firm, according to an article I read in the Topeka newspaper. Although Topekans hate what the Phelps do, one person admitted that if you want to win your case, you go to the Phelps. It's a shame Kansans don't boycott the firm in a shared commitment to dry up their money.

Recently I watched a documentary about the family called Fall From Grace: Westboro Baptist Church. It was  made by a young man named K. Ryan Jones, first as a short film for a film class he was taking at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, and then it became a full-fledged documentary. As Jones himself says in a DVD extra, he had to try very hard to be fair to the Phelps because "everybody hates them."

As I watched Fall From Grace, there I saw one of the boys, now in his fifties just as I am, but with the same face he had when we were in the seventh grade together. And I saw one of the girls, who was in the ninth grade. I sometimes saw the girl in the ninth grade laughing and talking with other kids, but the seventh grade boy seemed to stick pretty close to his brother, who was in the eighth grade. Those boys looked so sad, and I have never forgotten the miserable and embarrassed silence that fell over the school cafeteria the day those two boys came to school with their heads shaved. Guys did not shave their heads then, and we felt so sorry for them.

Other students who had known the Phelps for years explained to me that Fred Phelps had shaved his sons' heads to punish them, just as they were punished by having to run to Lawrence from Topeka and then back home again. They also had to sell candy for hours after school to support the church. One of them came to our door once, and my mother said NO immediately. She mentioned afterwards that she knew the money went to the church so she wouldn't buy anything from the Phelps.

What I didn't know was that the children and Mrs. Phelps were severely abused, according to two of the children who have left the family. One of them, Nate Phelps, writes a thoughtful and intelligent blog that I suggest you check out. Nate is interviewed by telephone during the documentary, and he recommends ignoring his family if you should encounter one of their protests. They are definitely attention whores, so cut them dead (figuratively of course). Don't engage them in an argument; don't give them what they want so desperately.

Why do they do what they do? Who knows why such evil lives in the hearts of humankind? Fred Phelps is a sick man and his sickness has infected most of his children. And now his grandchildren, right down to the youngest ones who are barely understandable when they speak, parrot what they hear from their parents and their grandfather, although it's obvious they don't know what they're saying. They are already brainwashed and if someone doesn't help them, it will only get worse.

I found it fascinating that in the documentary one of the Phelps daughters says, My father had 13 children. Hmmmm . . . did he become pregnant and give birth? Mrs. Phelps is never mentioned, I think because her husband's control over the family is so complete.

Thus, I recommend the documentary; I recommend Nate Phelps' blog; and I recommend ignoring the Phelps family if you should ever have the misfortune of seeing them in your town. They have fallen. Don't let them take you down with them.



Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, March 20, 2014

MOVIE MOVIE MOVIE WEEKEND: UNUSUAL CONCLUSIONS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

That's right: This week, and this week only, you get three movie reviews for the price of one. The price of one is zero, zip, nada, and 3 x 0 = I spend too much time watching movies.

I put these three movies together because they all strike me as having unusual conclusions, as in we kinda don't see the actual conclusion, but we have hope for a happy ending. Obviously, I can't tell you what the conclusions are. You have to see them for yourself.

The first movie is All Is Lost (2013, PG-13, Available On DVD).


The man, a guy, some sailor -- we don't know his name, but he sure looks like Robert Redford to me -- is out at sea on his 39-foot yacht. He awakes to find he's collided with a shipping container. The title tells you what the rest of the movie is about, but it's worth watching because it happens to be very good for a film with virtually no dialog.

All Is Lost is beautifully made, and Redford is perfection.

The second movie is Prisoners (2013, Rated R, Available On DVD).


Two little girls disappear. Their parents are Keller (Hugh Jackman) and Grace Dover (Maria Bello), and Franklin (Terrance Howard) and Nancy Birch (Viola Davis). The families begin the search for the two six year olds, but quickly call in the police and tell Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) that an RV with someone inside it had been parked on their street earlier in the day. Keller Dover, frantic with worry and grief, searches for his daughter himself when the police find nothing.

With the first movie, I simply watched as one thing after another was lost until all was lost. Prisoners, though, is the kind of movie that has me wanting to see what happens next, but dreading it at the same time. Paul Dano (as Alex Jones), who is so funny as the son/Olive's brother in Little Miss Sunshine, scares the bejabers out of me in this movie. Hugh Jackman is outstanding.

This movie is great, but I warn you: It's frightening. It originally received an NC-17 rating. Some scenes were cut to get the R rating, but you know what that means, right? If you don't, it means they put stuff in the movie knowing it would get cut so they could keep scenes they really wanted and were afraid they'd have to cut if they didn't have sacrificial lambs.

The third movie is the Coen brothers' latest, Inside Llewyn Davis (2013, Rated R, Available On DVD).


Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a Greenwich Village folk singer we follow during one week in 1961, ends up thinking all is lost. His former singing partner has killed himself. Llewyn is broke and has no place to live. He begs to sleep on friends' couches. At one house, he accidentally lets the owners' cat escape. They aren't too happy with him. Another friend (Carey Mulligan) doesn't feel so friendly toward Llewyn. His sister is pissed off at him. He leaves New York for a brief sojourn to the Midwest, where he stops to see his father in a nursing home. He plays his guitar and sings for his dad. I can't tell you what his father's response is.

Maybe all is lost for Llewyn, and maybe it isn't. I have one, and only one, clue for you: The name of the cat is Ulysses, the Roman name for the Greek Odysseus, who travels so far and for so many years before he finally reaches his home.

The ab-fab Juli at Surviving Boys told me she'd heard from a friend that a movie was "cerebral". I can't remember if she said it was Dallas Buyers Club or Captain Phillips. Juli, Inside Llewyn Davis is the movie that's cerebral, but it's worth watching and pondering. Oscar Isaac is excellent, and I always love Carey Mulligan.

The thing about Inside Llewyn Davis is that it's a Coen brothers' movie that doesn't quite seem like a Coen brothers' movie. Nobody is murdered. No bodies get put through wood chippers. We don't see a single glimpse of a pregnant police chief in North Dakota. But it's still a Coen brothers' movie, so it's intelligent and beautifully made.

All Is Lost, Prisoners, and Inside Llewyn Davis all earn The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Approval.

Sorry I rushed through this post. Does it feel rushed? I need to edit some more.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

GRATITUDE TUESDAY: THE FIRST PALMETTO BUG OF SPRING

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Spring has sprung in Florida. I know we've not yet reached the official day, but spring is here in spite of the calendar.

Remember the flower in the backyard that Franklin showed me on Friday?


But it wasn't the flower that convinced me spring has arrived. It was a palmetto bug. I hadn't seen one of those bastards mo-fos SOBs God's creations in months. Oh, how I have missed the palmetto bugs during our unusually cold winter. I haven't seen a single lizard, either. Not yet.

Anyway, Willy Dunne Wooters and I were watching Breaking Bad on Saturday night. We're almost done with season three. WDW has never seen it. I'm careful not to tell him what's going to happen.

No, not Baking Bread. Breaking Bad.



I headed for the kitchen to get some water and there was a fucking pissy shitty palmetto bug in the hall right outside my bedroom. Remember the little darlings?


I screamed. Then I screamed at Willy Dunne Wooters, Bring a shoe! I wanted to smack the hell out of God's creation. WDW, not hearing too well, dashed out with a napkin.

I screamed. WDW said, Jesus, Janie, don't scream in my ear. Do you have to take away the little bit of hearing I have left?

I screamed. I told WDW, Don't tell me what to do. It's a palmetto bug.

I screamed while WDW tried to crush the palmetto bug in the napkin, but he couldn't grab the sonuvabitch because Mr. Palmetto was too fast. The palmetto bug ran out into the dining room and hid under the china cabinet. He was nowhere to be seen. I grabbed the bug spray and squirted some under the cabinet. Mr. Palmetto ran out and headed back toward the hall.

I screamed and continued to squirt him. He didn't even slow down. Then I remembered I didn't need a shoe because I was wearing slippers with fairly hard soles. I stomped on Mr. Palmetto, laughing with glee. I lifted my foot AND HE WAS STILL ALIVE AND RUNNING STRAIGHT TOWARD ME.

I screamed. Willy Dunne Wooters, my hero who is not allowed to tell me what to do -- especially when it comes to palmetto bugs and screaming -- stepped forward, caught Mr. Palmetto in the napkin, and flushed him down the toilet. No doubt he is running and playing in the sewer and will reemerge, stronger than ever because you can't keep a good palmetto down.

Now, I need to remember why I'm grateful.

Oh, yeah, it's spring. With warmer weather, we have palmetto bugs. It's just a fact of life. But we'll also have walks to the park with Franklin, doggies lounging on the deck, and eventually, swimming in the pool at Willy Dunne Wooters' very nice apartment complex. I bought a swimsuit, and I don't care how I look in it. I'm wearing it. Do you think yellow is a good color for me?




I'm also grateful because Willy Dunne Wooters is enough of a manly man to flush a gigantic palmetto bug. After the flushing, Willy Dunne Wooters picked me up in his manly man arms.


Willy Dunne Wooters always makes me quiver with delight.




Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug