Thursday, August 28, 2014

MOVIE WEEKEND: LABOR DAY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I'm so glad I can present an appropriately titled movie that I like very much. It's Labor Day (2013, PG-13, Available On DVD).


Adele (Kate Winslet) is depressed. Her husband left her because he couldn't stand to be around her sadness anymore (poor him). She lives alone with their son Henry (Gattlin Griffith), who I think is about twelve years old. Adele seldom leaves the house, but once a month she and Henry shop for supplies. During a shopping trip on the Thursday before Labor Day, a man approaches Henry, who is looking at comic books. Frank (Josh Brolin) requires assistance. He is wounded and bleeding some. With his hand on Henry's neck in a possessive manner, Frank insists on going home with Adele and Henry. Frank (Josh Brolin) has escaped from prison.

Is Frank a threat, or is he Adele and Henry's salvation?

I didn't know much about Labor Day. As I watched the opening credits and discovered it was based on a novel by Joyce Maynard, I took it as a good sign. I'll add the novel to my Amazon wish list because the screenplay is so good.

I'm impressed by Josh Brolin's performance because he's tender, yet frightening. He keeps the audience guessing about Frank's true intentions. He's also smoldering. I don't think I've seen him sexier, and I did not think Josh Brolin could be sexier. Kate Winslet is excellent, as always. Adele is needy, off-kilter, but strong enough to confront a challenge. I like a character that grows and changes, as Adele does.

I read on the Internet Movie Database that quite a few people don't like this movie because they think Adele is stupid and weak for doing as Frank tells her. Rather, I say she's confused and frightened, but willing to do what she thinks is necessary to protect Henry.

Labor Day earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval with The Gold Star for Sexy and a Blue Ribbon for Poignant.

Please pardon my blogging absence of late. I wanted to read a particular book with particular care. I'll review this particular book tomorrow (Friday) for The Cephalapod Coffeehouse blogfest. Prepare for my review because this book makes my brain sizzle, kinda like when I stood in the puddle of water and touched the back of the leaking refrigerator, which you can read about HERE just in case you missed that particular adventure.

I have also been taking advantage of my Affordable Care Act health insurance (thank you, President Obama; I love you). I lost my colonoscopy virginity on Monday. I don't know why the preparatory drink is called Golytely when it should be called Goshityerbrainsout, but drinking the stuff and having a colonoscopy is better than finding blood in your poop and learning you have late stage colon cancer. I apologize for being so graphic. You really don't want colon cancer, though, and if you have it, it's better to find out as soon as possible. The colonoscopy itself was nothing. Apparently, I have quite the comely colon.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Sunday, August 17, 2014

SEE YOU SOON



Quiet, please.

I am reading.

Tiptoe away to avoid trouble.

But first, please enjoy this offering from fishducky:




Friday, August 15, 2014

THE FIELDS MEDAL! THE FIELDS MEDAL!

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I titled my post THE FIELDS MEDAL! THE FIELDS MEDAL! because of the sequence in Good Will Hunting when Sean (Robin Williams) chastises his former college roommate, Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard), for pushing Will (Matt Damon) to be what Lambeau wants Will to be.


Lambeau: You're angry at me for doing what you could have done; but ask yourself, Sean. Ask yourself if you want Will to feel that way, if you want him to feel like a failure.
Sean: Oh, you arrogant shit! That's why I don't come to the goddamned reunions, 'cause I can't stand that look in your eye. Ya know, that condescending, embarrassed look. You think I'm a failure. I know who I am, and I'm proud of what I do. I was a conscientious choice, I didn't fuck up! And you and your cronies think I'm some sort of pity case. You and your kiss-ass chorus following you around going, "The Fields Medal! The Fields Medal!" Why are you still so fuckin' afraid of failure?

I can't remember if it's in Good Will Hunting or something that I read––maybe A Beautiful Mind––that The Fields Medal is described as the Nobel Prize for mathematics, only it's so much more important that it's only awarded every four years.

This week has been a hard one. Sad for many of us. But at least one cool thing happened: for the first time ever, a woman won The Fields Medal.



Maryam Mirzakahni, 37, is a professor at Stanford University. She grew up in Iran, so she is also the first Iranian to win The Fields.


I hoped The Hurricane would be the first woman to win The Fields Medal, but it's okay by me that Maryam Mirzakahni paved the way.

You kick mathematical ass, chicky baby. Congratulations.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, August 14, 2014

MOVIE MOVIE WEEKEND: PARKLAND & JFK:ONE PM CENTRAL STANDARD TIME

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today's first movie is Parkland (2013, PG-13, Available On DVD).


Many of you will recognize this name immediately because it's the hospital in Dallas where President Kennedy was taken after he was shot.

President and Mrs. Kennedy arrive in Dallas. Abraham Zapruder (Paul Giamatti) takes his place along the motorcade route with his motion picture camera, and then takes his place in history. Doris Nelson (Marcia Gay Harden) is a nurse at Parkland Hospital who remains calm while everyone around her, at first, is too shocked to take action. Robert Oswald (James Badge Dale) faces the shame of his brother Lee Harvey Oswald's actions. Their mother, Marguerite Oswald (Jacki Weaver), revels in the attention heaped on her family. A host of other well-known actors also appear in the movie, including Billy Bob Thornton, Zac Efron, Colin Hanks, and Jackie Earle Haley.

All of these characters come together to portray the assassination of a president on November 22, 1963. This movie isn't about conspiracy theories or solving crimes. It's about chaos.

I felt quite touched by Paul Giamatti's performance. Zapruder is reluctant to allow anyone to see the footage that depicts the actual shooting. Marcia Gay Harden is also quite good. She's the kind of take charge nurse I like.

I am a bit amused, however, by the disclaimer at the conclusion of the movie. From the Internet Database: Although based on a true story and depicting real-life people the end credits state: "All characters in this film are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental."

Although we see President Kennedy in news footage from that day, an actor is credited as portraying the president. I guess the actor plays the corpse.

Parkland is not a brilliant movie, but it's interesting and moving. I don't think I'd show it to children––it would be too confusing for them––but I would definitely watch it with teens and be prepared to explain the action and to talk about the ubiquity of the question among multiple generations: Where were you when you found out President Kennedy had been shot?

Parkland earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Approval.

Our companion documentary is JFK: One PM Central Standard Time (2013, TV-PG, Available On DVD and Netflix Streaming). Narrated by George Clooney, this show should be available from multiple outlets.


The photo representing this movie on Netflix says "PBS." The above photo, from the Internet Movie Database, states that it's part of the "Secrets of the Dead" series, which is on PBS. IMDb also notes the following: Shown in Britain on 22 November 2013 as a one-off special under the title "JFK - News of a Shooting" to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination. Whence it came, it's an interesting documentary that, similar to Parkland, is about chaos. But in this case, the chaos revolves around reporting what had occurred in Dallas, with a special focus on CBS News and Walter Cronkite.

The documentary is filled with fascinating details; i.e., Walter Cronkite had to make the initial TV report that the president had been shot from a radio booth because no camera was available in the newsroom. After the camera was obtained, it took about 30 minutes for it to warm up so Cronkite could go on the air. The show his report interrupted was As The World Turns.

Cronkite had been a wire service reporter. He absolutely would not report something unless it was confirmed by official sources. His behavior was so different from that of today's so-called television journalists and all their speculation. They seem to be hired, for the most part, for their affability and good looks, or sometimes their anger with the totality of humankind.

Thus, in spite of information coming in from reporters on the scene, including Dan Rather, Cronkite began his stint on the air by stating that three shots had been fired at the presidential motorcade (see news clip below). Cronkite gradually released more information as he received it. 

Quite a few journalists who were in Dallas that day present their recollections. One woman (I'm sorry; I don't know her name) says the press car arrived at the hospital before the president's car. A Kennedy aide revealed immediately that President Kennedy was dead. (In Parkland, doctors discover a faint pulse that leads to a desperate attempt to resuscitate the president.)

Priests were called in to give the president the Last Rites. As they left, they revealed that Kennedy was dead. Finally, a spokesperson for The White House held a press conference to confirm that President Kennedy was dead. After that confirmation, Cronkite reported the president's death.






At the news conference, the time of death is set at 1 p.m., although no one actually knew what time Kennedy "officially" died.

Again, I don't recommend this film for children, but if you are so inclined, then you should watch it with teens. You may be astonished by some of the details you learn.

JFK: One PM Central Standard Time earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval and Appreciation for Disseminating Information.

I am tempted to watch Dead Poets Society this weekend, but I don't know if I'm ready for it yet.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug
















Wednesday, August 13, 2014

ROBIN WILLIAMS AND DEPRESSION

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Monday evening I learned that Robin Williams died, apparently because he decided it was time to go. Newspaper articles state he suffered from severe depression and had, on and off, been more than a dabbler in the use of drugs and alcohol.

I felt numb when I found out. I wasn't without feelings, uncaring. I felt as if I were in a bubble and nothing could touch me.

You see, it could have been me––except I wouldn't get all this publicity, thank God.

I started to feel the loss on Tuesday when I read a headline that said something to the effect of the following: Robin Williams needed to know that depression is temporary and that people who are suicidal should ask for help.

The problem with all these platitudes and "it's gonna be okay if you ask for help," is that depression isn't necessarily temporary. I've been depressed for as long as I can remember. Yes, I truly think I was depressed even when I was a small child.

As for asking for help, let's not go there because I don't want to discourage anyone from asking for help. And by writing those words I've probably just discouraged someone, so I'm going to go ahead and say that asking for help isn't easy and that people who ask for help don't always get it.

I wasn't a big Robin Williams fan when I was young. I never watched Mork and Mindy. I think it was on at the same time as The Waltons, and I was a John-boy fan. Loved the whole family. I didn't want a boatload of kids, but I knew I wanted my family to be close and loving.

So I pretty much ignored Robin Williams. In about 1984 or so, we watched a Robin Williams stand-up comedy show. I'm pretty sure we saw it on videocassette because we didn't have cable TV. It was a miracle we had a VCR.

X thought that Robin Williams impersonating Nadia Comaneci with a high voice and silly accent was hilarious. Robin Williams moved from one character or joke to the next without stopping to catch his breath. I didn't think he was that funny. I wondered what was on the other side of that mania. He had to come down sooner or later.

Then he started making movies. Some of the movies were silly, but some of the movies were lovely. I don't know how many times my kids and I watched Dead Poets Society. I discovered I liked Robin Williams, the actor playing the part of a teacher who inspired his students. I especially liked the quieter moments in the film, when he quoted poetry.

And then along came Good Will Hunting. Robin Williams won the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, and he deserved it. Every time The Hurricane came home from college on break, she watched Good Will Hunting. I don't think she watched it to see Robin Williams. She watched because of the relationship between the professor and Will, and because of the math. But we didn't have any complaints about Robin Williams. He was great.

I know I've seen him in movies since then, but none of them thrilled me. It's enough for me that he made Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting because those were two heartbreakingly beautiful parts.

It was good knowing you, Robin. I don't know why I'm here, and you aren't. It's not because I'm a stronger person than you are. I'm sorry you're gone.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

CONVERSATION OVERHEARD

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I can't remember if someone was talking about a writer's love of eavesdropping on a blog or on some writers' forum-type thingy. But I definitely love to eavesdrop. I learn so much from it, and it gives me ideas. I especially enjoy listening to conversations in Spanish. I think, Those people have no idea that I know what they are saying. hehehehehe

What? They just called me a "fat whore" in Spanish? Well, that's not very nice.

But insults don't make me give up the listening addiction, and sometimes listening gives me a blog post.

Willy Dunne Wooters arranged for me to use the pool in his very nice apartment complex. One day last week, two young women, probably about twenty years old, were prancing around the pool in their bikinis (WDW is not allowed to go to the pool without me now that I know about the bikini-clad girls.)

One girl said to the other chicklet, My mother is so stupid. We went to a restaurant that had a sign that said 'free wi-fi.' She wanted to know where the wi-fi was. She actually thought you can see wi-fi.

The other girl shook her head and said, Old people and technology.

Yup! That's me, and everyone else older than . . . 50? 40? We are such idiots.

Then my two chicklets started talking about Facebook. I'm sick of everybody not knowing how to spell, one of them said. They keep spelling awesome wrong. It's a-w-s-o-m. Why do they, like, put in extra e's, ya know?

The other girl shook her head and said, Nobody knows how to spell anymore. I'm glad I learned, like, ya know, how to spell.

Me, too, ya know, chicklet. Like, me, too.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, August 11, 2014

THE REFRIGERATOR THAT THOUGHT IT WAS A SHOWER . . . OR MAYBE A WASHING MACHINE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

A while back I told you I had a problem with my refrigerator. Many . . . A number of you . . . Some . . A couple of you wanted to know what happened. I said I would tell you after we finished the BULLY FOR YOU series, so now, here is the story of the refrigerator that thought it was a shower or maybe a washing machine.

Here is a photo of Frigidaire:



If you look to the left of Frigidaire, you can see he's the kind of refrigerator who dispenses water and ice.

He is also a depository for magnets and some postcards, such as Leda and the Swan, which The Hurricane mailed to me from Italy when she was in high school. I think she'd been home for two or three weeks before the postcard arrived. She sent this particular card because I read Yeats' poem to her.



Leda is covered with a magnet because she is bare ass nekkid.

Frigidaire also boasts the postcard from the donkey sanctuary The Hurricane visited on her eighteenth birthday. To the right of the donkeys are two of my favorite girls in the whole world. They are Middle Child's two oldest children.



So you can see Frigidaire keeps quite busy giving me ice and water and holding cards and photos. Oh! and Frigidaire is covered with tiny words on magnets. Anyone who visits my house is allowed to rearrange the magnets, even if what the person creates with the words is considered naughty by some other people who are prudes.

The problem with Frigidaire began one weekend when I thought I heard water running in the kitchen. I looked around. No leak under the kitchen sink. No water to be found. I told Willy Dunne Wooters that I heard water running. He said, I don't hear anything. (Well, what in the hell did you expect him to say? He's as deaf as a post.)

On Monday I spent more time wandering around the kitchen. The noise was coming from the refrigerator. I looked in the freezer. Nothing. No puddle coming from under the refrigerator.

By about 7 p.m. that Monday, the noise was really getting on my nerves. What was going on?

I decided the sound came from behind the refrigerator, so I decided to pull out the refrigerator in case I could spot a problem. Before I pulled, though, I looked at the water pipe that's behind and slightly to the left of the refrigerator. I'm sorry it's kind of hard to see in this photo, but there wasn't anything to see at the time because no water was coming from the pipe:




So putting my puny muscles and bad back to work, I pulled on the refrigerator. I pulled Frigidaire more and more. I could feel that he was going over some small bump as I pulled. Suddenly he jumped over the bump, and water began to squirt out of the plastic tube that carried the water from the pipe to the refrigerator so I can have my water and ice. The bump had been that tube. I realize it's difficult to see the water coming out of the shower head, but it was a lot like this:



Water wasn't pouring out. It was spurting out, streaming out, gushing out, spewing out, shooting out. I hope that gives you a general idea of how much water was coming out of the tube, and how it was erupting.

It seemed that Frigidaire had been sitting on his own tube for a long time. He had finally worn a hole in the tube. When I moved Frigidaire off the opening, the kitchen became very, very wet in a very, very short time. Eek! I squealed.

I ran to grab a stack of old towels, which I scattered in the deepening pool, and I tried to turn off the tap.

Of course, it wouldn't budge.

So I stood on top of the hole in the pipe, like the little boy who kept the damn dam from bursting by putting his finger in the hole. I texted Favorite Young Man. No response. I emailed Willy Dunne Wooters. No response. (We'll talk about that lack of response more on another day.)

I couldn't just stand there forever. I ran to my closet as quickly as one runs in sopping slippers, and grabbed my sandals. I ran next door and knocked. Then I knocked again. Sweet Young Allison opened the door.

Eek! I said. Water! Eek! Is Anthony home? (She doesn't know that I call him Hot Young Anthony.)

Sweet Young Allison said that (Hot Young) Anthony was on his way home and asked if she should send him over when he arrived.

Eek! I squeaked. Please!

I ran home and went back to standing on the hole in the tube. I called Tony the plumber man and left a message for him. I accidentally touched the back of the refrigerator and felt a snizzle. I am standing in a pool of water with an electrical appliance, I thought. This is not good, I thought, though my brain felt quite foggy from the emergency.

I unplugged Frigidaire.

Just then Hot Young Anthony, my beloved savior, ran in the front door. I turned off the water to the house, he said. What happened? he asked.

I showed him.

Hmmmmmm, he said. Just then the phone rang. It was Tony the plumber. He already knew what was wrong although my message had mostly consisted of me squealing, Eek! Water! Hole in tube!

Tony said he was on another job and couldn't get to my house for at least 90 minutes.

He started to tell me what to do and what not to do. I said, Anthony is here. Please tell him.

And I turned the phone over to my deliverer. (Tony the plumber is also Hot Young Anthony's plumber. I found Tony because Anthony told me that Tony is the best plumber ever, and Anthony knew of what he spake.)

Anthony said, Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Okay.

He gave the phone back to me.

Hot Young Anthony said, Tony said to go to Lowe's and get a steel cable. He said it's easy to hook it up.

That's easy for you to say, I thought.

I must have looked more than my usual crazy because Hot Young Anthony started wiping up the water with the towels. Then he offered to go to Lowe's to buy the cable.

Yes, please, I said.

He returned a few minute later (Lowe's is very close). He took off the old plastic tube, and put on the new steel cable. He went outside and turned on the water to the house. Everything worked, and water no longer spurted.

I thanked Hot Young Anthony about a million times and asked if he wanted to get laid. No. I would not really do that. He is married to Sweet Young Allison, and I am in love with Willy Dunne Wooters. But I sure felt like making the offer.

Hot Young Anthony said, It was no trouble at all. We're always glad to help.

He said that the good thing about what had happened was that now the kitchen floor was clean. I felt a tiny bit embarrassed about the amount of dog hair that had been behind and under the refrigerator, and then I got over it.

Everything was fine. I have the best neighbors ever and the best plumber ever. Tony called back very quickly after I left my Eek! message. Although it was a Friday evening, Tony was willing to come here to take care of the problem, and he was even more willing to save me a good bit of money by telling Anthony what to do. The cable cost $16.

I would have preferred to fix it myself, but I was in Eek! mode so I was very grateful to have a rescuer.

I have saved a life here and there and written newspaper articles on stuff that came up twenty minutes before deadline, but squirting water overwhelmed me.

And that is the story of the refrigerator that thought it was a shower, or maybe a washing machine.

Mr. Frigidaire has been on his best behavior since that night.

And so have I, because I don't want God to have a reason to punish me. Not that He would do that.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug