Friday, December 30, 2016


Happy New Year this weekend. Sorry I signed up for The Cephalopod Coffeehouse and don't have the post.

My eyes have been extra sensitive to light lately, which has brought on the dreaded migraines.

To add injury to insult, I dragged Penelope into the shower with me because she stunk. I almost fell and caught myself by hitting the shower wall with my right hand and thus seem to have sprained my wrist.

I'm typing with my left hand alone, which is weird and uncomfortable.

I shall return.

No comments today, Dear Hearts and Gentle People.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Thursday, December 22, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Who remembers Eddie the Eagle from the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary? He was the British guy who came in last in ski jumping but had the best time doing it.

Now we have a movie about him that you can watch with your (older) kids: Eddie the Eagle (2016, PG-13, Available On DVD).

Michael "Eddie" Edwards (Taron Egerton) longs to be an Olympian, and he'll do whatever it takes to become one. With his mother's support and his father's discouragement, he tries one sport after another and fails. He sees his chance to go to the Olympics when he learns that Great Britain hasn't had any ski jumpers in competition since 1929.

As quickly as he can, he learns to ski jump, and even finds a coach in a failed American ski jumper, Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman). Eddie has to fight elitist British Olympics officials to be a team of one, but he makes it to Calgary, where his antics make him a favorite with the crowd, and he earns the nickname of Eddie the Eagle.

Eddie the Eagle is very loosely based on reality, and sure, it's formulaic and a bit silly, but it's fun. You have to decide if your children are mature enough to see it. I probably would have allowed my kids to watch it when they were younger than thirteen, but I would have used it as a learning opportunity. For example, when Eddie's teammates urge him to get so drunk the he misses the Opening Ceremonies at the Olympics, it's a good time to talk about not succumbing to peer pressure.

I watched Eddie the Eagle on Showtime or HBO (don't remember which), but it's available on DVD. I remember Eddie and wanted to recall the happy times at the 1988 Olympics.

Eddie the Eagle earns The Janie Junebug Highest Flying Seal of Approval.

I urge you to look up Eddie's true story. He really was a man who would do anything to achieve his dreams.

Happy viewing!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, December 16, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I purposely wrote the title of this post as if it's a fake news story that you might find online, but I really was surprised––and pleasantly so––when I signed up for my 2017 health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Premiums were lower.

I swear to you it's true. It might not be the same for everyone else, but if it's true for me, then it must be true for some other people, too.

After hearing all that bombast during the election about the cost of "Obamacare" going up, I went to with trepidation, only to find that the plans most similar to the one I've had throughout 2016 were about $200/month less in cost.

BUT (there's always a butt) they didn't allow me to keep my doctor. So I used the filter on the site that would show me which plans would keep me seeing my beloved Dr. Lacroix and his loyal assistant Holly (I LOVE HER; SHE GOES THE EXTRA MILE FOR ME AND SAYS SHE'S JUST DOING HER JOB).

I found a plan that costs about $20/month less than I've been paying, and it has a much lower deductible. My insurance cost wouldn't have gone up unless my income had gone up significantly, or I'd ordered a super fancy plan.

If you're not familiar with Affordable Care Act plans, they are marked as Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

Platinum costs more that $1,000 a month and has features I don't need. I've been in a silver plan every year, but in 2017, I move up to Gold.

Until Donald Trump takes my insurance away from me and I join the ranks of can't afford to go to the doctor and I can't get no prescription medications satisfaction.

Bah, humbug!

Thank you, President Obama.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thanks, fishducky!

And while I have your attention, here's a book recommendation:

I admit I haven't read Mommy Tried To Kill Me yet, but it's waiting for me on my Kindle. I know I'll love it because Suzy Soro is hilarious. I loved her first book, Celebrity sTalker. 

It's not too late to hop over to Amazon to order a book by Suzy Soro (the actress who got the last chocolate babka on Seinfeld) as a Christmas gift for yourself and to give to someone else who enjoys a good laugh.

A sarcastic laugh, kinda like the way I'll laugh on Inauguration Day.

With my friend Jim Beam in my hand.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Not a Christmas movie to watch with the kids: I hope you enjoy War Dogs (2016, Rated R, Recently Released On DVD).

Based on a true story––and I don't know how true it is, but "true stories" usually bear a vague resemblance to the truth––two childhood friends encounter each other at a funeral after years apart. Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) has started a small business to bid on military contracts. He claims it's going well and invites old pal David Packouz (Miles Teller) to work with him.

Antics ensue.

David Packouz: [Narrating] They called guys like us war dogs. Bottom feeders who make money off of war without ever stepping foot on the battlefield. It was supposed to be derogatory, but... we kind of liked it.

I like this movie. It's funny in a uniquely weird way. Probably not everyone's cup of tea. At first, Efraim's freakish laugh made me want to punch the TV and grab him by the throat. Then I decided it was a good tag for his nut-job character.

A couple of days ago, Jonah Hill earned a surprising Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy. He's not going to win, but the nomination demonstrates that I'm not the only person who thinks the acting in this movie is good.

I've been a Miles Teller fan since Whiplash, and Bradley Cooper shows up as an excellent hard-assed bad guy. I loves me some Bradley Cooper.

DirecTV On Demand offered me a free movie. I chose War Dogs, and I'm glad I did. I had it in my Netflix queue anyway and was looking forward to it.

War Dogs earns The Janie Junebug Highest Seal of Weird Dark Comedy Approval.

Efraim Diveroli: Jordanian customs seized our Berettas.
David Packouz: What? Why?
Efraim Diveroli: I don't fucking know, David! I dropped out of high school before they covered international diplomacy!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Fake news stories are all over the news these days––in more ways than one.

A friend who will remain nameless (and I'm not talking about fishducky's daughter whose name really is Nameless) said to me a few weeks ago, Did you know that Donald Trump has a secret daughter?

I saw this headline online and knew what it was about. I said, If you mean Tiffany Trump, then she's never been a secret. She's his daughter with Marla Maples, who was his second wife. When they divorced, Marla and Tiffany moved to California. Tiffany graduated from college earlier this year. She didn't make a lot of campaign appearances, but that doesn't make her a secret. It was all over the news when The Donald had an affair with Maples while he was still married to his first wife.

Oh, my friend said.

So let's talk about how to spot a fake news story:

  1. Don't look at the headline without reading the attached story. Sometimes the story has nothing to do with the headline.
  2. Is the story from a reputable news source? (I realize some of us disagree about which news sources are reputable.)
  3. Is the story written in standard English, or is it full of typos and strange syntax?
  4. If you're not sure if the story is true, look up some background information. I rely on to debunk fake stories.
  5. Does the story seem as if it could be true, or does it sound as if it could be someone's fantasy? 
Here's a good example of a crazy fake news story that has caused serious trouble and no doubt has a lot of idiots writhing in condemnation:

FAKE NEWS, REAL CONSEQUENCES An armed man with an assault rifle entered a D.C. pizza restaurant to investigate fake news claims that Hillary Clinton was running a pedophile ring there. [Marina Fang, HuffPost]

"The restaurant has been the subject of death threats originating from a false right-wing conspiracy theory alleging that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and campaign chairman John Podesta ran a child sex trafficking ring in the back of the restaurant."

No matter how much you hate Hillary Clinton, do you really and truly believe that she ran a child sex trafficking ring? If you do, then I wanna sell you some real estate and a bridge.

Some of the fake stories also appear in emails that continue to be forwarded for years. I used to receive an email regularly that claimed Mr. Rogers had been a military sniper who wore his sweater to cover up his many tattoos. 

I never forwarded the email. It didn't seem "right" to me, so I looked into it. Mr. Rogers was never in the military. He went to the seminary and chose children's television as his ministry.

Other stories are "spins" perpetuated by large companies. When a woman spilled McDonald's coffee in her lap and was so severely burned that doctors weren't sure if she would live, the McDonald's spin machine went into overdrive and had people thinking she was an old fool who opened her coffee while she was driving, got burned, and wanted to become rich from it.

I call bullshit! The woman wasn't driving. Her nephew was, but the car wasn't moving when the two of them opened their cups of coffee. The coffee was so ridiculously hot that the woman's burns really were life threatening.

I've debunked this story a number of times. So have other people. The real story is also told in a documentary.

Yet I still see references to "the world has gone to shit because you spill a little coffee in your lap and sue somebody."

What's gone to shit is our ability to empathize with the person who was harmed, along with our desire to question authority––especially faux authority.

Please don't pass around emails or links to stories that could be fake. Do your homework and let the buck stop with you.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thanks, fishducky!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

In last week's TIP TUESDAY I urged you to vary your reading as a way of improving your writing.

Now I'd appreciate it if you would tell us what books have influenced your writing. My answers to the questions are in italics. Have you learned from a particular author or authors? I learn a lot from Anne Tyler's writing. I learned from F. Scott Fitzgerald that I will never be "the next" F. Scott Fitzgerald. I don't have it in me.

Do you fall into a rut and read books by the same authors in the same genre, or do you consciously seek variety? I tended to read the same kind of books until I started editing. Editing led me to read about zombies, vampires, and all sorts of paranormal goings on. What's your favorite genre? Literary fiction, but I also read a lot of non-fiction. Is it the same genre in which you write--if you write? I hope my writing is literary fiction, but I don't know if it's good enough to qualify.

Do you want to write but never get around to it? What keeps you from writing? I've been writing, as you know if you've read Chapter One of Which Way Home (incomplete) on my blog. Fear of rejection keeps me from writing, but the larger problem is my lack of experience with writing fiction. I was a newspaper reporter so I'm accustomed to sticking to the facts. I used to write a newspaper column sometimes, too. The columns were usually sentimental family stories or humor, but they were based on reality.

Whether or not you write, what one book do you wish you could say you wrote? I can't limit myself to one choice: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dinner at The Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler, Emma by Jane Austen, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

After this post, TIP TUESDAY will be on hiatus until January.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thanks, fishducky.

Friday, December 9, 2016


Hello. It is I, Penelope.

Mom Mom is upset. She acts as if I'm to blame, which is not possible. I sympathize with her, but the trouble is not my fault.

After I decided to live the royal life with Mom Mom and Franklin, Mom Mom accused me of leaving wet spots on the rug when she left the house. Not true, of course. It was Franklin.

Mom got a prison for me and made me go inside when she is away. It's true that the prison has a comfy bed. I also get my red Kong when I'm in prison. The Kong has cheese and peanut butter in it. It is quite delicious and makes for an excellent chewing experience.

Mom Mom said that the wet spots went away when I was in prison. Bah, humbug!

In spite of the soft bed and my yummy Kong, I do not like prison. I do not belong there.

Someone else agreed with me––I know not who it could be––and decided to destroy my prison. First, Someone chewed on the front of the prison so it had holes in it and sometimes, if I happened to be in the mood, I could open the metal door myself and greet Mom Mom when she got home.

Mom Mom put something that tasted bad on the prison. Someone stopped chewing on it.

But today, Mom Mom went to the post office. While she was gone, Someone decided to remove the metal side of the prison.

Of course, I departed through the opening. When Mom Mom came in the front door, she said (in quite a disdainful manner), What are YOU doing here, Penelope?

Then she found the metal piece on the floor. Here's the metal piece. Mom Mom put it on top of the prison.

Mom Mom was quite pleased to find that I Franklin did not create wet spots on the floor. However, she was quite unhappy when she discovered that Someone had chewed on the Martha Stewart bedspread that she thinks is so pretty.

Can you see that the Martha Stewart bedspread is a bit torn? It also has a small hole in it. Mom Mom was so irritated that she did not bother to photograph the hole.

No matter. It is a small hole.

Obviously, I shall no longer be in prison when Mom Mom goes away. HA!

Franklin had better not leave wet spots on the floor.

I guess you know that Stella girl lives here now. I ignore her. Even when she sleeps in my chair with me. Even though it is quite cozy and cuddly.

I am Her Royal Highness The Princess Penelope. That Stella girl probably wants to be royalty, but I do not believe it is possible for her to have a title.

That is all. Goodbye.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I present for your viewing consideration the movie Genius (2016, Rated PG-13, Available on DVD), which focuses on the relationship between Scribner's editor Maxwell Perkins (Colin Firth) and author Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law).

As the man who discovered and helped to develop F. Scott Fitzgerald's talent, Maxwell Perkins is probably the most famous editor in America, and most likely the only editor whose name is well known to book lovers (other than da Junebug). Besides editing Fitzgerald's work, Perkins served as editor for Ernest Hemingway (Fitzgerald recommended Hemingway to Perkins), Erskine Caldwell, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Alan Paton, and James Joyce, among others.

But in Genius, it's Thomas Wolfe who bursts onto the literary scene and becomes almost a son to Perkins, who was the father of five daughter with his wife Louise (Laura Linney).  The problem is that Wolfe has logorrhea. Perkins struggles to get Wolfe to cut his epic tomes because he is a man who is in love with words and thus has a fear and loathing of cutting a single line. Perkins gets Wolfe to cut some pages. Wolfe writes eighty more. It's a battle for the ages, but it results in the bestsellers Look Homeward, Angel and Of Time and The River.

Genius has a stellar cast, with Nicole Kidman as Aline Bernstein, the woman eighteen years older than Wolfe who fell in love with him, left her husband and children for him, and financed the beginnings of his writing career. Laura Linney and Colin Firth are always good, but it's Jude Law as the manic Wolfe who stands out. I wasn't even sure that the actor onscreen was Law until the credits rolled. He was that lost in the role.

I was most pleased to hear Perkins tell Wolfe what I know to be true as an editor––that the book belongs to the author and it is the editor's job to get good books into the hands of the reading public.

Although this film is well made with a sepia overcast that seems appropriate for New York in the 1930s, I do not know if it would be of interest to the average movie goer. I do think it will be loved by writers, editors, and people who have any interest in classic literature.

Genius earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Writerly Approval. At the very least, I think it will make you want to learn more about Thomas Wolfe and about Max Perkins and the relationships he had with the authors whose works he edited. I do not think this movie would be of any interest to children.

I must admit I have never read anything by Thomas Wolfe. I'm going to add Look Homeward, Angel to my Amazon wish list.

I watched Genius on a DVD very kindly sent to me by my friends at Netflix.

Happy viewing!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Maxwell Perkins and Colin Firth

Thomas Wolfe and Jude Law

Wolfe died from tuberculosis of the brain at the age of thirty-eight. When Perkins learns of Wolfe's impending death, he states:

Maxwell Evarts Perkins: The surgeon said his brain was filled with tumors. A myriad of tumors. That's the word he used, "myriad." I think Tom would like that. The plural of "myriad" is "myriads," by the way.

Even when we are grief stricken, we editors do not forget correct word usage. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,


Stella yawns.
"I'm so tired of people fawning over me."

You might have noticed that I've mentioned Stella on my blog several times recently. For example, she was here during Hurricane Matthew:

"If I hide my face between my paws,
the hurricane won't see me."

Stella has been Favorite Young Man's favorite dog for many years. She has developed some health concerns (don't we all as we get older?) and needs more time and care than he can give her.

So Stella has joined our pack.

We're not sure how old she is, but she's 10+ years. She is mostly boxer, maybe with a little American bulldog.

She has difficulty walking because of a problem with a disk in her back. She tends to drag her back legs and fall frequently. 

Stella and I have visited kind Dr. Chick twice. She's on two medications to improve her motor function, but they come with a price. They are damaging her liver, so we're going to pick up another medication to help with that.

The medicine will shorten her life, but improve it for the time being.

Sunday was a beautiful day. The weather was ideal. Willy Dunne Wooters and I were in the backyard with the dogs. Franklin and Penelope frolicked and chased each other. To my surprise, Stella joined them--very briefly. Then she ran to me, stood on her hind legs, and put one front paw on my leg.

Stella still has a lot of spirit. We're happy to have her in spite of a little pee-pee problem with the living room rug.

She stays close to me. When Penelope sits in the chair next to me, Stella often hops up to join her so they can nap side-by-side. I'd like to take a photo of them, but Penelope is so camera shy that she moves the second she sees I'm about to "capture" her image.

But now we are a party of four.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

When I took the class required to become an accredited writing tutor, our professor told us that people don't learn to write by diagramming sentences (thank God for that because I don't remember how to do it).

Instead, people learn to write by writing.

I want to go one step farther: People learn to write by reading.

I've heard many professors and writers say that the best way to learn to write is by reading the great stylists. Of course, they meant Thackeray.

I don't think you have to read Thackeray, but I do think you need to read great writers and read a variety of genres.

Are you in love with mystery novels? Then put aside your mysteries for a few months to read Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler.

You read every vampire story that bites you? Try Lolita by Vladimir Nabakov.

Read widely. Read something to which you've never been exposed. Never read The Great Gatsby? Check it out and know what it is to write lyrically.

Expand your book horizons. Soak up Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.

How many books have you read from the Modern Library's choices and Readers' Choices for The One Hundred Greatest Novels?

It's not that I want you to stop reading your favorite books. It's that I don't want you to become stuck in a rut. And although imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, don't try to write like your favorite writer. Learn from writers of so many genres and styles that you're able to write like yourself.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

How I approach writing:

Thanks for sharing the chickens with us, fishducky.

Friday, December 2, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have a feeling you'll want to check out Sluggy's Boring Blog Box Giveaway. It includes chocolate!

If you follow Sluggy or if you mention the giveaway on your blog, you can have three entries instead of one. I'll do almost anything for some chocolate.

Thank you, Sluggy! You are most generous with your giveaways.

That reminds me: I haven't had a giveaway in a long time. Maybe I should have one after Christmas in case Santa doesn't bring you everything (or anything) you want.

Thinking about Donna's wonderful homemade soap as part of my giveaway, and maybe a pretty little necklace. Hmmmmm . . .

I think you can still order soap from Donna at The Poor Farm and get it in time for Christmas. Only $5 a bar, plus a little for shipping and handling.

And thank you to four of my followers for becoming Donna's followers.

Some of Donna's lumguscious soap.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, December 1, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

You already know what I did on Black Friday. Went shopping.


I watched all four episodes of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life on Netflix Streaming. It pretty much made my year.

Here's my summary of the episodes, followed by my review. No spoilers.

Winter. Coffee. I smell snow. La la la la la la. Lorelai. Rory. Lane. Rory. Cabbage. Lorelai. Kirk. Ooo-ber. Lorelai. Rory. Paul or Pete or Somebody. Luke. Lifetime movies. Grandpa. To absent friends. Coffee. Taylor. Emily. Berta. Paris. Surrogates. Rory. Logan. London. Rory. Lane. Paris. Zach. Red dress, full skirt, lucky outfit. Therapy. Town troubador. Paul Anka. No. Gypsy. Lorelai. Emily. Spring. Lorelai. Angry Emily. Sorry. Rory. Naomi. Book. Dragonfly Inn. Michel. Rory. Logan. Lorelai. Luke. Eraserhead. Emily. Luke. Franchise. Chilton. Rory. Paris. Headmaster. Rory. Teach. New York. Wookiee. Editing. Sandee Says. Sandee says no. Summer. Pool. Lorelai. Rory. You're back. I'm not back. Lorelai. Luke. Stars Hollow Gazette. Lorelai. Michel. Stars Hollow Musical. Babette. Gypsy. Sophie. Rory. Jess!!! Cemetery. Rory. Lorelai. Book. Rory. Lane. Kinky Boots. It's never or now. Luke. Lorelai. Kitchen. Wild. The book. Fall. Motel. Lorelai. Backpack. Jess. Luke. Rory. Logan. Colin. Finn. Robert. I'll be damned.  I get by with a little help from my friends. Scotch. Rooftop. Hit golf balls. Dancing. Lorelai. Trail. Rory. Logan. Lorelai. Trail. Emily. That day he went to the mall. Lorelai. Luke. Emily. DAR. Because it isn't home anymore. Dean!!!!! Rory. Sookie!!! Lorelai. Cakes. Rory. Lorelai. Drop the the. Jess. Luke. Rory. Jess. (I cry.) Rory. Lorelai. Michel. Luke. Lane. Final Four Words. La la la la la la.

There now! I bet that piqued your interest, and if you've already watched the shows, you know I pretty much covered everything.

My review:

Bad--Tries to get in everyone ever on the show but doesn't have nearly enough Sookie. We barely see Christopher, and he's one hot dude.

Good--Pretty much everything else.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life earns The Janie Junebug Highest and Most Biggest Amazingest Seal of Happy Approval, especially because I am the real Lorelai Gilmore so I make a lot of money from my show. And now that I know the Famous Final Four Words, I know we must have more episodes, or at least one movie.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

This sequence is from the final episode. It's the only part of this post that might be considered a spoiler. If you don't want to see Rory with her "friends" from Yale--Robert, Colin, Finn, and Logan--then don't watch.

Now that I've worn out, I've worn out the world . . .

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I love to brag about the cool people I meet online and the great things they make. Today I want to introduce you to


Donna very kindly gave me
permission to use photos from her blog.

who lives and blogs at The Poor Farm.

Once a month, Donna features Saponification Saturday on her blog, when she has her soap for sale, and let me tell you, it is the God-blessingest-best soap ever (if you don't remember "saponification," think about that darn chemistry class you had to take).

These are not some namby-pamby, teeny-tiny bars of soap that cost a fortune and are gone in a week. No, these are serious bars of soap that will last you a good long while and are a steal at $5 a bar, plus shipping and handling.

In fact, I hope that people who receive Christmas gifts from me are not reading this post, but if you are reading, now you know that you will open your gift on Christmas morning to find soap made with all-natural ingredients.

Currently, Donna has these soaps available (she'll sell out fast, so hurry up and order while you can by emailing her at peppermint, lavender/Geranium Rose, eucalyptus, and coffee.

When I ordered some peppermint soap, the mail carrier left the box on my front steps. As soon as I opened the door, I could smell the peppermint. It is luscious.

This soap makes a great, unique gift.

I wish you Happy Soap Shopping at The Poor Farm.

And if you receive a Christmas box from me, please forget that you read this post and act surprised when you open your gift!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. I didn't receive anything in return for writing this post. I wrote it because Donna makes way cool soap.


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Instead of giving you a tip today, I request your assistance.

My story about Aggie, which some of you have been reading a bit at a time as I add to it, says

The yellow piece of paper on the windshield of Aggie's black minivan stood out like a beacon in the dusky evening light as she left the urgent care center. She waddled along with a purse and diaper bag slung behind her right shoulder, Ruth Ann perched on her right hip, and a still sobbing Elliot hanging on for dear life to her left hand.

A few of you have commented that you think waddled is out of place, that it seems kind of comical in a sad story.

Robyn suggested trudged as a replacement. I like trudged, but the reason I chose waddled is that I want to convey that Aggie is overweight.

The Super Thesaurus has these synonyms for waddle:

walk like a duck

I don't think any of these are right.

Synonyms for trudge:

drag's one feet

What do you think about replacing waddled with slogged? Not comical, but still conveys that she's loaded down with kids and she's overweight?

I always seek the perfect word. Which word is perfect in this case?

And am I too wordy? Should I make cuts? For example,

Elliot hanging on for dear life to her left hand

Is hanging on for dear life trite? Instead it could read hanging onto her left hand. Is hanging by itself enough?

I always warn my clients to avoid wordiness. I need to listen to my own advice.

I long to read your opinions.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

A new possibility:

The yellow piece of paper on the windshield of Aggie's black minivan stood out in the evening light as she left the urgent care center. She slogged along with a purse and diaper bag slung behind her right shoulder, Ruth Ann perched on her right hip, and a sobbing Elliot hanging on to her left hand.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


Dear Hearts and Gentle People,

Today is my last post––for a while, not forever––and I want to use it to recommend a new book for children. It's Dirt by Jamie W. Mitchum, and it's illustrated by our friend, blogger Brandon Ax of Writer's Storm.

Dirt is a boy who happens to be a worm, but his experiences are universal to those of children. He has a crush on a girl. He gets embarrassed in front of her. For a while, Dirt can't be with his family, so he has to learn to make decisions on his own. He meets all sorts of creative characters on his journey through young wormhood.

It just so happens that this book was edited by your very own Junebug, and I enjoyed the experience very much. You can purchase Dirt on Amazon at

Dirt makes a good chapter book for young readers, or you can read it aloud to children, your dog, or yourself.

Dirt has The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest and Happiest Approval. A visit to Amazon to purchase Dirt will make your Christmas shopping easier, and you'll make a child and a new author smile.

Congratulations, Jamie!

And if you haven't already done so, it's time to 

Infinities of love and see you soon,

Janie Junebug

Monday, November 7, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

The song was Faith. The contenders were George Michael and Limp Dicksit.

I thought it would be a shut-out, but the pretty much hated Wimp Bisquick managed to get a few votes.

George Michael  18
Limp Bizkit         3

Jeffrey Scott asked in his comment if I'd heard Weird Al's version of Faith. I hadn't, and sadly, I couldn't find it. But I did find Marcus J. Freed, so let's ask him to sing us out.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Michael D'Agostino has decided to continue The Question of the Month, although he won't participate himself. He's a busy, busy guy.

"When was your first kiss?" is Michael's question for November.

Ah, Michael, I think I was thirteen or fourteen. I liked a boy who had kind of long blonde hair and blue eyes. What a shock when I learned he liked me, too.

I invited him over to my house. Of course, my parents were at home. When we had a moment alone, he leaned over to kiss me. But he stuck his tongue in my mouth!

I didn't know what to do. It was my first kiss, and this boy's tongue explored my tonsils.

I think I gagged a bit before I bit his tongue. You bit me, he said.

Ahhrmuhbah, I replied.

We talked on the phone almost every evening for a few weeks. I went to his house once. The parents were not at home. His sister, older by only one or two years, sat in a circle with her group of much-older friends. They passed around a joint. Ash fell on my shirt and burned a hole in it.

I don't know how it happened, I told my eagle-eyed mother when she noticed.

Our romance was brief. He liked me more than I liked him. Besides, I still didn't know what to do with someone's tongue down my throat.

I broke up with him. We never spoke again, but I had plenty of tongues enter my mouth over the years, and I learned what to do with them.

Our class had a reunion several years ago. The list of the deceased included the boy with the long blonde hair who gave me my first kiss.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, November 4, 2016


On Monday I'll have a Question of the Month post for you along with the results of my Battle of the Bands (obviously, the winner will be George Michael, in case I don't get around to it).

Then I need to take a blogging break.

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Yesterday I reviewed Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder and edited by Pamela Smith Hill.

Pioneer Girl was to be a story for adults, but no publisher picked it up. Later, it became the basis for the Little House series of children's books.

One of the stories told in Pioneer Girl that was too adult for the Little House books––although supposedly I'm an adult and it scares the crap out of me––is that of the Bender family.

You must keep in mind that not all of Wilder's recollections about her childhood can be traced as fact, but she remembered that as a little girl living with her family on the prairie in Kansas, Pa had to make the long trip to Independence more than once. On his way home from such a trip, he considered staying at the Benders. Kate Bender asked him to have supper there and spend the night. He felt it was better to hurry home.

Wilder writes: One night just about sundown a strange man came riding his horse up to the door on a run. Pa hurried out and they talked a few minutes. Then the man went away as fast as he had come, and Pa came into the house in a hurry. He would not wait for supper, but asked Ma to give him a bite to eat right away, saying he must go. Something horrible had happened at Benders.

It seems the Benders welcomed travelers loaded down with goods to eat with them and stay the night. The travelers sat with their backs to a curtain. The "guests" were attacked from behind the curtain, killed, and buried. Of course, the Benders kept their possessions.

Then Pa said, "They found a little girl, no bigger than Laura. They'd thrown her in on top of her father and mother and tramped the ground down on them, while the little girl was still alive."

It was easy for the Benders to carry on their grisly business because settlers who came to Kansas were out of the reach of their families. It was difficult to so much as send a letter.

Wilder also wrote that when she was older, she spoke to Pa about the Benders because he had been one of the vigilantes who had ridden after them. Pa assured her that the Benders would never be found.

As frightening as this story is, according to the annotations, it's not likely that Charles Ingalls would have stopped at the Benders. It wasn't close enough to the route he took. Wilder stated in a Book Fair speech that her family stopped at the Benders for water, and she saw Kate Bender in the doorway. But the Benders did not yet live in Indian Territory when the Ingalls family arrived.

Moreover, Wilder was two years old when they arrived in Kansas and four when they left. The terrifying stories of the Benders may have confused her, or perhaps she wanted to associate her family with a notorious name in order to excite interest in her work.

At any rate, the Benders existed; they had an inn and grocery store; and eight to eleven bodies, including a young girl, were found buried in the orchard behind the Benders' cabin––although some newspaper accounts placed the number of bodies higher.

The name Bender becomes a very frightening one because of the realistic way in which Wilder tells the story.

Kate Bender
The Bender family consisted of an older couple and
a younger one, who were thought to be brother and sister
but might have been married.

For another account of the Bloody Benders, see

I don't know how much of this information is correct, but it will give you a post-Halloween fright. Pretty obvious why the story didn't make it into the Little House books.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Whether you're a fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books or interested in the evolution of a manuscript into a series of autobiographical novels, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder is a beautifully conceived and carefully researched book.

As the book states, "The Pioneer Girl Project is a research and publishing program of the South Dakota State Historical Society, working since 2010 to create a comprehensive edition of Laura Ingalls Wilder's Pioneer Girl." The editor of the book is Pamela Smith Hill, but it involves the contributions of an untold number of people.

When I was growing up, my favorite books were those in the Little House series. I read Laura Ingalls Wilder's books over and over. I admired Laura's strength and sympathized with her fears. I cried when Jack the brindle bulldog died. I was shocked when Laura's sister Mary became ill and lost her sight. I sighed with joy when she became engaged to Almanzo Wilder and allowed him to kiss her goodnight. Every episode, every moment in the books, was a treasure to me.

When I was twenty-two years old, I visited the home the Wilders built in Mansfield, Missouri. I'm not sure when I learned that Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote a manuscript titled Pioneer Girl. It was intended for adults, and in spite of a great deal of work on it by Wilder and her daughter––Rose Wilder Lane, who was already a successful author––Pioneer Girl was never accepted for publication.

However, Pioneer Girl led Wilder to write her famous series of children's books, and perhaps it was twenty years ago when I learned that I could purchase a copy of Pioneer Girl from The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library, which houses a collection of Rose Wilder Lane's papers. I had to have that manuscript.

When it arrived in the mail, I read it with fascination. It included so much information that Laura Ingalls Wilder [LIW] did not use in her books because the stories were not appropriate for young readers or because facts were eliminated to further promote the books' overarching theme of independence.

Now we have this annotated version of the autobiography. It is a work of art––a large hardcover book with a beautiful illustration on the cover, illustrations from the Little House books throughout, and best of all, the scholarly annotations that illuminate the choices LIW made when she wrote her books.

One of the most interesting examples to me is that the Ingalls family did not live alone during The Long Winter. A young couple and their baby lived with the family. The man of this family was quite unpleasant. Rose Wilder Lane argued that they should be included in the book to provide a greater variety of characters. LIW decided they would be eliminated because it was important for the family to face the elements alone, even though they moved from their claim shanty into town. Living in town served little purpose. It was the Ingalls family against the blizzards, the howling winds, and the need for food.

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Greatest and Highest and Amazingest Approval.

I must warn you that the annotations are in sidebars and they are numerous. It took me many hours to read this book, but they were hours filled with delight.

Happy reading!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. Tomorrow I'll tell you about a frightening incident from Pioneer Girl that was excluded from LIW's children's books.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


Please forgive me if it takes me a couple of days to visit your blogs and especially you Band-Aids who participate in the Battle of the Bands.

I have a problem to solve and it requires a lot of attention.


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's time for the November 1, 2016, Battle of the Bands.

Our host, Mr. Stephen T. McCarthy, provides us with this information about the bloghop:

The whole thing is really quite simple: You select two different versions of the same song (versions  you feel might give each other some competition in the voting) and you post them on the 1st and the 15th of each month. On the 7th and 21st of each month, you add your own personal vote to the mix, total up all the votes and announce the winner on your blog.

Beyond that, just try to have fun with it and let your readers/voters have fun with it.

All righty, then. Let's have fun!

Do you remember this guy?

It's George Michael before he got into a
wee-wee bit of trouble.

Faith, from George Michael's debut album, was 1988's top selling single in the U.S. George Michael wrote the song, so he is our first contender: 

And now for something completely different, it's Limp Bizkit (my son told me to use this version so if you don't like it please blame it on him):

Limp Bizkit's version of Faith, with heavier drumming and guitar playing, was popular in their live performances, so they decided to include it on their 1998 debut album because they like to "cover cheesy pop songs."

Now it's your turn. Please tell us in your comment if you prefer George Michael's or Limp Bizkit's Faith, and why. I'll return on November 7 to add up the votes and announce the winner.

Please visit Mr. Stephen T. McCarthy to get a complete list of the participants in this bloghop so you can visit everyone. Perhaps you'll even decide to join us.

Now, do you know who this guy is?

Righty-roo, it's George!
He's younger than I am, but I'm
quite certain I look better.
He needs to get my Sam Sam to do
something to his hair.

Infinities of love and joy,

Janie Junebug

Friday, October 28, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Although Flashback Friday no longer has a host, I intend to flashback when I'm in the mood to do so, whether it's the last Friday of the month or every other day. After all, my current blog is the culmination of every post I've written in the past.

Can you believe it's been six years since Franklin came to live with me? He has become an indispensable part of our lives.

This post is the first one I wrote about him. I published it on October 28, 2010. It's had sixteen page views and two comments.

Here’s the story
Of a dog named Franklin
Who was living with some very lovely folks
But Franklin was too much for these older people
And he felt all alone.

Then on Sunday Franklin’s daddy met a doggy mommy
And Mommy knew that it was much more than a hunch
That Franklin should join her doggy family
And that’s the way we all became The Franklin Bunch!

The Franklin Bunch
The Franklin Bunch
That’s the way we became The Franklin Bunch!

And now together again for the first time on any blog, we present the stars of 
The Doggy Show

Our Cast

Lola (now Janie Junebug) as 


Scout as 


Harper Lee as


And Introducing


Back Story: Someone breaks into a woman's home. She has seen two stray dogs hanging out in a field, so she takes them home. She keeps one to be her watch dog and gives the other, a border collie mix, to her parents. They name him Franklin Jr. But Franklin Jr., who is only two years old, proves too much for this older couple to handle. Franklin Jr.'s dad announces at church that he's looking for a home for the dog. Mama raises her hand and says, "I"ve always wanted a border collie." And here's where our story begins.

Pilot Episode: Mama and her Favorite Young Man arrive at the home of Franklin Jr.'s parents. They go to the backyard to meet Franklin, who is so frightened that he flies over the fence. His dad has to go after him and bring him home, where Mama approaches him slowly and cautiously. Soon she and Franklin are acquainted, and he agrees to go home with her. F.Y.M., who serves as the show's Dog Wrangler, gets a nervous Franklin into the car, drives him to Mama's house, and carries him to the backyard. Franklin takes off faster than a speeding bullet to find a place where he can leap the tall fence in a single bound, but returns quickly when he discovers that Mama's entire fence is seven feet tall. Franklin is afraid to go up the steps to the deck, so Mama lets Scout and Harper outside. They encourage Franklin to join them on the deck and then in the house.

That evening, Franklin and Harper become fast friends as they run in and out of the house together. Soon, a Bromance develops between them.

Scout, who is a little jealous but accepting of the new guy in town, lets loose with an occasional growl (Scout secretly believes he is a grizzly bear cub).

Franklin is afraid of Mama. He starts every time she moves. Mama knows that Franklin had a hard life as a stray, so she speaks to him in a soft voice and moves slowly. She tells him how much she admires his rather large paws.

Before long, Franklin begins to relax. By the end of the evening, he has reciprocated by licking Mama's toes. Franklin goes to bed in his own comfortable crate on a soft bed with a bowl of kibble and a bowl of water. His new life has begun.

Good night, Franklin.