Thursday, January 28, 2016


Oh, my. No, no, no. That's Rick Watson from Life 101. I don't know how to fish.

I'm taking a bit of a break because of some health problems. I felt better yesterday. Today I feel worse.

I will survive and return to you as soon as possible. Franklin and Penelope take good care of me.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. I've lost more followers. You shouldn't leave me, especially when I'm sick. I also promised to read books for someone, and I can't remember who it is. The books are here. I'm not well enough to read them yet, but I WANT to read them. About all I can handle now is chicken noodle soup and Downton Abbey.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


On January 27, 2010, author J.D. Salinger went toes up. This post is one I wrote about him soon after he died:

And so, Gentle Readers, we bid farewell to J.D. Salinger, the man who finally proved he would stop at absolutely nothing in his quest to escape his fans.

Allegedly, he ate a rather strange diet and drank his own urine. He also died at home of natural causes, which can mean all sorts and varieties of deaths in my active imagination.

Jerry goes to kiss his considerably younger wife. "You ain't kissin' on me no more Pee Mouth," she hollers. And so it's only natural that she strangles him.

By the way, that was her nickname for him - Pee Mouth - affectionate at one time but not so much after the many years of frigid New Hampshire winters spent in hiding with the One and Only, the Great and Powerful.

The man who was said to be obsessed with a hatred of phoniness and desired getting at the absolute truth . . . hmmmm . . . he doesn't seem to have been so genuine and sincere. Jerome "Jerry" Salinger took a dump on a number of women during his life. Read Joyce Maynard's "At Home In The World" and Margaret Salinger's "Dream Catcher." I recommend the books. They are interesting and well written and probably more genuine than the man.

It's been many years since I last read "The Catcher in the Rye." My favorite younger man told me recently that he thinks it's his favorite book. I'll have to reread it and see what I think (Note: I've never gotten around to re-reading it.). Will the star dust have faded or will I still think it's good? I certainly never considered it my favorite, but it has legions of fans. It made the Top 100 list of greatest novels of the last century, coming in at #64, according to the males-only board of Modern Library.

Salinger also supposedly wrote a number of novels, which he locked up in a safe at home, after he stopped writing for public consumption. If those novels are released, how can they ever live up to his rep?

So, Salinger, maybe you reveled in the attention you attracted by hiding in plain sight. Maybe your writing wasn't so hot anymore and you knew it and you kept your star shining by refusing to release your work. You let people speculate about you when you could have allowed your readers to get at the truth of you. You could have shed light on your writing and your process. You could have taught, but maybe you were so weird you were afraid nobody would have you. Or maybe you thought you were too good for the rest of the world. Easier to dazzle naive young women with your fame and with fake promises. Keep a woman at your beck and call. Engage a town in hiding you. Your own little world revolved around you.

The citizens of Cornish, N.H. admitted they got sick of all those people coming to town looking for Salinger, so it was only natural that somebody finally came after him with a shot gun?

This poor, sad post had twenty-three page views and zero comments. It has no self-esteem.

Monday, January 25, 2016


I wrote this post on January 19, 2010. It had thirty-four page views and zero comments. Maybe you can help ease it out of its loneliness.

Musings(or ravings?) of an itchy 6 a.m.

The alarm goes off. The neighbor's car, parked so close to my bedroom window that I feel it is inside me, roars to life.

The candles are missing.

They were - are - the perfect candles for the candle holders. You remember - the wood candle holders on the mantle?

I put them away when I decorated the mantle for Christmas. The candles and antique holders and old family photos in frames all went in the same cabinet. Everything there last night except the candles, the perfect candles, short, fat, ivory, perfect on the mantle. Replaced for a few weeks by a gold garland and multi-colored twinkling Christmas lights.

I put the decorations back in their boxes two days after Christmas but left the mantle bare until last night. Everything there, except the candles, the candles that should be in the wood holders, one at each end of the mantle, next to the old faded photos in frames, one under the antique plates from Norway, one under the tiny water color of the Mathematics Bridge at Cambridge University in England.

Where are the candles? Searched Search Searching Will Search

They have gone to the place called "Lost."

The mantle not right without them.

Suddenly, nothing right.

"I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong."

The candles, the perfect candles, purchased so long ago from the woman at the crafts fair, cannot possibly be replaced.

Note from the present: I never found the candles. Sometimes the one thing that works goes away and can't be recovered.

Friday, January 22, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's Friday, so it's time to respond to a grammatical question. This week our conundrum comes from the beloved Pickleope of Strictly Naked (and he is: I've seen photos):

Pickleope states: Okay, oh Vicar of Vocabulary, where do you stand on ending a sentence with a preposition? I often do it, much like I'll start a sentence with "and" or "but" and I'd like to know if I should be doing the gymnastics to avoid those situations? Also, I've heard both, "you shouldn't use 'he/she said' after quote," and "you should only use 'he/she said' and not some nonsense like 'he/she exclaimed.'" As an editor, which of those statements is right?

I'll do my best here, Pickleope: 

  1.  Prepositions--if you're writing something informal or writing your blog, which I hope is for fun, then I don't care if you end a sentence with a preposition. I do it sometimes, but not often because it scares me (The Grammar Goddess might slap me down, and she outranks The Queen of Grammar). If you have to write something for professional reasons, then I recommend doing the cartwheel on the balance beam to avoid the preposition at the end. It's not difficult for me because I do it all the time. I also think this is one of the rules that we're losing.
  2. Beginning a sentence with "and" or "but"--This rule is also changing. Some style books will tell you not to do it, but I learned in college that starting a sentence with one of these short conjunctions (that is, using the word as a transition) is okay, especially if you want to call attention to the beginning of the sentence. If you use it professionally and it pisses off someone, then use more accepted transitions, such as "however," "moreover," or "additionally."
  3. He said/she said--I don't like he said/she said. I rarely use it. I don't know why it would be used after a quotation. Can you give me an example? Here's some information from The Essential Handbook for Writers to help you avoid he said/she said in sentences: The construction he/she . . . is awkard and objectionable to many readers. The better choice is to use he or she, to recast the sentence in plural, or to rephrase. For instance:  
After the infant learns to creep, he or she progresses to crawling. 

After infants learn to creep, they progress to crawling.

After learning to creep, the infant progresses to crawling.

My thoughts: The first sentence is okay. The second sentence is much better.  The third sentence is okay, but it's passive voice. 

My favorite solution is to make the number plural and then use they or them or whatever. My second favorite solution is to alternate between he and she. Example: When the chemist finishes the experiment, she must clean the equipment. A few sentences later--To clean the equipment, he must make sure it's no longer hot.

I hope you find the answers you need in this post. 

If you would like help with a grammatical question or concern, would like to point out something odd you've noticed, or would like to share a grammar tip with us, then please email me at

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Provided by none other than fishducky.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

The song is Old Man. The contenders are Neil Young v. Neil Young (Jimmy Fallon).

I've had some very close results of late, and today I have a tie. The results are

Neil Young         13
Jimmy Fallon  13

Neil was ahead by one. I cast my vote for Neil/Jimmy as I intended to do all along, so we have a tie.

But because Neil Young wrote the song and has been a star for so long (twice inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), let's listen to him sing another of his brilliant compositions.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

You have until midnight tonight, Wednesday, January 20, 2016, to vote in my current Battle of the Bands. Please click HERE to find the battle and vote in your comment for Neil Young or Neil Young/Jimmy Fallon.

The song is Old Man, which Neil Young wrote when he was young and newly wealthy. These are the lyrics:

Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.

Old man look at my life,
Twenty four
and there's so much more
Live alone in a paradise
That makes me think of two.

Love lost, such a cost,
Give me things
that don't get lost.
Like a coin that won't get tossed
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life
I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that's true.

Lullabies, look in your eyes,
Run around the same old town.
Doesn't mean that much to me
To mean that much to you.

I've been first and last
Look at how the time goes past.
But I'm all alone at last.
Rolling home to you.

Old man take a look at my life
I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that's true.

Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.
Old man look at my life,
I'm a lot like you were.

Wikipedia provides the following information about the song:

"Old Man" is a song written and performed by Neil Young on his 1972 album Harvest. "Old Man" was released as a single on Reprise Records in the spring of 1972, and reached # 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for the week ending June 3.
The song was written for the caretaker of the Northern California Broken Arrow Ranch, which Young purchased for $350,000 in 1970. The song compares a young man's life to an old man's and shows that the young man has, to some extent, the same needs as the old one. James Taylor played six-string banjo (tuned like a guitar) and sang on the song, and Linda Ronstadt also contributed vocals.

Let's see if we can find another good Jimmy Fallon number:

On Thursday, Jan. 21, I shall announce the winner of Neil Young v. Neil Young/Jimmy Fallon.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Writing sometimes must follow conventions, and that doesn't mean it travels out of town, gets drunk, and wears a funny hat.

plural noun: conventions
  1. 1.
    a way in which something is usually done, especially within a particular area or activity.
    "the woman who overturned so many conventions of children's literature"

When I went to work as a reporter at a newspaper, I didn't know nothin' bout no Associated Press Stylebook. I had taken a Journalism 101 class, and all of a sudden, I found out that I was supposed to follow the conventions of journalism.

When one follows AP style, the conventions include no Oxford comma; spokesman (not spokesperson); and Kansas is abbreviated as Kan., not KS.

When I started editing books, I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I continued to follow AP style (I apologize to the authors whose books I edited during that time, but it's not as if I stole their hard-earned money; I received little to no remuneration, and the books weren't widely read and spanked for not following the rules).

It didn't take long for me to learn that the bible of the publishing industry is The Chicago Manual of Style. My very large and heavy copy is always within reach as I work.

The conventions for writing books include using the Oxford comma; writing numbers in particular ways (10 a.m. or ten o'clock--ask Chicago to learn the answer); and God forbid that you place punctuation marks outside quotation marks, as in "I need a drink". It's "I need a drink."

BUT, these conventions are for the United States. The United Kingdom is different. The loonies across the pond put punctuation marks outside of quotation marks, and their quotation marks are a single ' instead of our U.S. " . Oh, dear Lord, help me. I've just put a period outside of a quotation mark. Surely I shall go to hell for this transgression.

When I was in college, I wrote essays according to the Handbook of the Modern Language Association (MLA).

Other styles and handbooks exist for various realms and reams of writing.

It is good to be connected. Connect with the conventions you must follow for the writing task at hand. You might have to connect with the person who assigns the writing to you to learn which style to follow. You might find answers online.

Dear Google,

Please tell me some curiously strange conventions to follow that I can inflict on Linda Kay to drive her even crazier than I already have.


Janie Junebug, Beloved Editor

I've had the pleasure of editing two books for Linda Kay: Sophie Writes a Love Story, and the recently released Out of Darkness To Accepted Love.

I've never met Linda Kay, but I adore her. In the acknowledgements for Out of Darkness, she writes: "Janie Goltz, your editing was such a great benefit to those who will read these words, even though you made me crazy."

I knew that if I drove Linda Kay crazy, then I had done my job. It's because I made her follow the conventions.

Linda Kay, put on your funny hat, and let's have a frozen margarita––with a sugar rim.

Ya done good, lady.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, January 18, 2016


We can't allow this day to end without honoring the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King.

The Man From Atlanta
 by G.L. Wallace 
(reprinted with the permission of Carol Wallace-Conner)

When the man from Atlanta passed through the portals of
Ebenezer Baptist Church, into the harsh blinding
light of America's racist reality,

Rosa Parks took his hand;

And there a people made a stand that set a whole nation
into motion from the streets of Montgomery, Alabama;
They did a slow dance together; it was hard in the 

beginning because they had forgotten the steps and
had trouble learning the tune;

But they danced and they danced, and they were winning soon,
and there evolved a whole new Black wave of dancing and
singing that had been lost in the centuries of chains

weighing on the feet of bondmen;

Hope took over from fear and let a new people appear, proud
and determined, they turned a nation around, to look in
the mirror of itself, and relisten to the pseudo-sick-sweet

words of liberty and death, uttered with faltering breath;

When the dancer's feet slowed with fatigued-progress, they
asked, "How long?" and the man from Atlanta said, "Not long,
no lie can live forever;" When they thought they heard

him wrong and they asked again, "How long?"

"Not long, even a nation shall still reap what it sows; the moral
arm of the universe reaches out but it still bends
towards justice;"  justice, way down yonder in the land

of cotton, where the very word had been forgotten and

An age old regime of disenfranchisement lay preserved in
Mississippi mud; the dancers came to Mississippi on
winds of change so profound, that they brought the

governor's mansion crumbling to the ground;

Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York state;
let freedom ring from the snow capped Rockies of Colorado;
let freedom ring from Pennsylvania's Alleghenies and

Look Out Mountain in Tennessee;

And a great gathering there will be when Black and white,
Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, shall join
hands and sing in the words of that old spiritual from

the past: Free at last, free at last;
thank God a'mighty I'm free at last;

Oh to be a dancer and sing all sorts of songs! at Selma Bridge,
Ain't Nobody Gonne Turn Me Around; by the dogs of Birmingham,
We Shall Not Be moved; in Washington D.C.,

We shall Over Come;  "Are you tired sister?" marching along 
beside me, seventy years old and Black;
She says, "My feets is tired, but my soul is rested."

Oh, to be a dancer and sing all sorts of songs; when I must
meet the most common denominator of us all, to dance my
final dance and sing my final song, don't say too many

words over me, please don't talk too long

Of plastic prizes, and planetary awards and degrees of education;
for I've been to the mountain top, and I've seen the promised
land; so when you speak of me after I'm gone try to make

them understand -- that I loved somebody;

That I could study war no more, but will beat my swords into
plowshares and spears into pruning hooks; if they ask the
meaning of my life, and you must give an answer, say that

I labored in the vineyards of the Lord as a singer and a dancer;

For an assassin's bullet in Memphis can not kill a dancer;
an assassin's bullet will never pierce the armor of his
soul; an assassin's bullet will never touch the spirit of

the dancer moving in our hearts, cleft as the rock of ages
to hold him;

Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin? I been kind of
missin' him lately; can you tell me where he's gone?
Birmingham, Chicago, Jackson, New York, Memphis;

he freed a lot of people, but the good they die young;

When the man from Atlanta stepped from the hallow sanctuary
of Ebenezer Baptist Church, a troubled world grasped his
hand; he sang with them, danced with them, prayed with them,

freed some folks, LOVED SOMEBODY,
then we just looked around and he was gone. 

*Not to be reprinted or distributed without the permission of the copyright holder, Carol Wallace-Conner.


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's the middle of January. The final season of Downton Abbey is in full swing, and I enjoy it while at the same time I dread the finale of the show. Rita at SoulComfort's Corner and I have loving arguments about certain plot points and characters; i.e., I love Lady Mary because she's a bitch; Rita hates Lady Mary because she's a bitch.

For Christmas 2014, the cast of Downton Abbey acted in a fundraising video that was a hoot.

Recently, I came across the 2015 fundraising shoot. It's never too late to find Santa Claus. I hope you enjoy the search:

In case you didn't see the 2014 Downton Abbey fundraising shoot or have forgotten it, though I don't know how you could when it features George Clooney,  then here's George Clooney in Part I:

Here's George Clooney in Part II (I love Downton Abbey, but when George Clooney visits the set, then how can I think of anything else?):

I have two problems at the moment: 1) My editing allows me only a little time to read your blog posts. I shall try very hard today to listen to your Battle of the Bands posts and cast my votes, and 2) When Downton Abbey ends, then what will Rita and I argue about? I certainly can't say--Oh, ick, you have a sticky little grandchild, when I'm dying for a sticky little grandchild of my own--because then she'd say, You're jealous of my sticky little grandchild. Poo Poo on you.

That will defeat me: a poo poo on you from Rita, the winner and still champion.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. I feel a fit of frivolity coming on. Imagine your Junebug sings while she works:

Branson you can drive my car
We'll hurry off to the bar
Branson you can drive my car
Straight into my bedroom.
Beep Beep Beep Beep Yeah!

I know Tom Branson isn't the first choice for most of us, but I heard that George Oceans Gravity married himself some fancy schmancy lawyer. So I call dibs on BRANSON!

Friday, January 15, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

As I gradually make my way through the grammar questions you're asked me on TIP TUESDAY, I remind you that you are welcome to email me with questions at

Of course, if you want to know what to wear to the Bar Mitzvah, then you should ask fishducky. I shall accept questions and concerns that have to do with grammar.

This comment is from my beloved Birgit, who blogs at BB Creations:

Too funny:) Asshat-hahahaaaa. I think what you are giving to the writers of the world is great! I am still wondering about to/too. I know to go to...and that is too much but what about if I say "me to" or is it me too? In other words...when I end the sentence with to/too?? I think it is to but not sure. OK now I will read what you wrote the day before:) 

I realize Birgit's question/comment might not make sense because it's taken out of context, but who doesn't like the word asshat?

Birgit wants to know if she should end a sentence with me to or me too when she is in agreement with someone or has done something the other person did, and it better be something nice, Birgit, you bad girl.

The answer to your question, Birgit, is me too.

  1. 1.
    to a higher degree than is desirable, permissible, or possible; excessively.
    "he was driving too fast"
    synonyms:excessivelyoverlyover, unduly, immoderately, inordinately,unreasonably,
     extremely, exorbitantly, very;
    "invasion would be too risky"
  2. 2.
    in addition; also.
    "is he coming too?"
    synonyms:also, as well, in addition, additionally, into the bargain, besides,furthermoremoreover, on top of that, to boot, likewise
    "he was unhappy, too, you know"

It's the second definition that's of concern to you, Birgit; however, I must add a caveat. It's not always "me too." It can be "me, too."

This situation is one of those iffy times when you get to choose whether to use the comma.

I usually use the comma because I believe it adds clarity.

I prefer

I, too, enjoy carpool karaoke.

I think it's clearer than

I too enjoy carpool karaoke.

Me, too. 

As much as I want to visit all the Battle of the Bands tonight, it's not going to happen because I'm tired. I shall try to visit tomorrow. 

Because my battle features Jimmy Fallon, and because we've had too much sadness this week, let's enjoy Jimmy Fallon again, and if you don't like it, Pickleope, then say so nicely. No snide remarks allowed.

I laugh, wildly and hysterically, every time I see this video.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's time for the January 15, 2016, Battle of the Bands.

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 even more fun than usual! Our song is Old Man by Neil Young.

The question becomes, who makes a better Neil Young singing Old Man?  Neil Young as Neil Young or Jimmy Fallon as Neil Young?

This BOTB is just for fun, and something I can't resist. I hope you enjoy the video. I don't know about you, but I can use a laugh after losing David Bowie and Professor Snape during the same week.

Please vote for Neil Young or Neil Young/Jimmy Fallon in your comment. I'll announce the winner on January 21st.

Visit Stephen T. McCarthy to get the complete list of participants in the Battle of the Bands.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

When you see the title of today's movie and look at the cover of the DVD, you'll probably think oh, hell no. I ask you to give it a chance because it's not what it appears to be. The movie is Manson Family Vacation (2015, Not Rated, Available on Netflix Streaming and DVD).

I saw this movie on a list of "must see" films for 2015--the same way I found The Wolfpack on a list of must-see documentaries for the year.

You must know upfront that this is not a Helter Skelter movie with re-enactments of the killings committed by members of "The Manson Family." The movie has basic details about the murders, and the locations at which they took place. Only one actual place involved--the restaurant where Sharon Tate and her friends ate dinner the night they were killed--is used. The soundtrack includes some of Manson's music.

The true theme of this movie is the need for acceptance and to have a family, and the lengths to which some people will go to achieve that need.

Manson Family Vacation was funded by a Kickstarter campaign. It's pretty well made for a low budget film. I like the acting by the main characters, and the realizations they reach.

Nick (Jay Duplass) is a lawyer with a wife and son. They appear to have a pretty comfortable, conventional lifestyle in Los Angeles. Nick's father died recently, and his brother, Conrad (Linas Phillips), didn't come to the funeral. Now he arrives to visit Nick and his family, but Conrad has a hidden agenda.

He wants to visit the locations of the murders committed by the Manson Family, and see the ranch where they lived. Conrad was adopted by his parents, who thought they could not have children. Then his parents had Nick, and Nick became everything to their parents, especially their dad. Conrad is considered kind of a strange guy, who is pretty much cast aside by Nick.

Nick gives in to Conrad's request to visit the locations. Conrad seems unusually interested in Manson, and wears a Manson t-shirt. Then Nick learns that Conrad is in touch with Manson and remnants of his followers.

Manson Family Vacation earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Pretty High Approval Once You Get Past the Strangeness of the Idea. It's not for kids, unless you decide to watch it with older teens. I wasn't all that shocked to learn that tours exist to take people to the Manson sites, and Manson himself receives thousands of letters every year--many from admirers.

Now I want to toss in spoilers, so if you don't want to read the spoilers but you want to get to the comments, then press on the "down" arrow with your eyes closed. You'll get to the bottom of the page in a few seconds. You'll open your eyes, and you'll go back up to the comments but not as far as the spoilers. If you want to read the spoilers, then scroll down a bit.

SPOILERS: Conrad is one of Manson's biological children. His adoptive family never knew this pretty big piece of information. When Conrad goes to the prison to visit Manson, Nick realizes that he and his father mistreated Conrad. He tells Conrad that he loves him, but Conrad continues toward the prison.

I don't have a creepy interest in Charles Manson. I'm not so sure he's really human--or at least he's not all there mentally. Maybe he's not there at all mentally. What I do find interesting is this concept: What if you found out you are the child of a serial killer or some other infamous person?

I'm not sure how many children Manson fathered, but supposedly he impregnated a number of the young women in his family. When family members were arrested, children were removed from the ranch.

When Aileen Wuornos was a young teenager, she gave birth to a baby who was given up for adoption. I watched some news show once that included a story about a woman whose father was a serial killer.

In 1983, Diane Downs wanted to get rid of her three children. She shot them, grazed herself with a bullet, and went to a hospital to claim they had been carjacked and shot. One child died. The other two survived. When one of the children regained the ability to speak, she testified against her mother.

In the meantime, Diane Downs got pregnant and gave birth to another girl, who was seized by the state and given up for adoption. I also saw her on TV. She learned who her biological mother was and got in touch with her. She said that after a while, Diane Downs' letters became so upsetting that she ceased communicating with her.

I've seen some documentaries about the elderly people who at one time were the children of Hitler's highest henchmen. The BTK Killer had kids. The Green River Killer had a son.

Please don't think I have an obsession with creepy people and serial killers. I do think it must be difficult to live with the knowledge that you have a parent who committed horrible acts. Far more important to me is what I consider to be the major theme of this movie: the need to belong.

If you decide to watch this movie, I will love to hear what you think of it. If you want nothing to do with it, then I understand completely.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Our film today won The U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. It's The Wolfpack (2015; Rated R; Available on Netflix Streaming, DVD, and for a price on Amazon Prime).

A man in Peru, Oscar Angulo, who is a follower of Hare Krishna, marries an American traveler named Susanne. They move to New York and have seven children. The boys are Mukunda, Narayana, Govinda, Bhagavan, Krisna (Glenn), and Jagadesh (Eddie), and their sister is Visnu.

Oscar believes the streets of New York are a prison. Work is a prison. He locks up his family in an apartment on Manhattan's Lower East Side. They live on welfare and a stipend their mother receives for homeschooling them. Their father allows them to leave the apartment in carefully supervised outings with him, during which they are not allowed to speak to anyone. Sometimes they leave the apartment several times during a year. One year, they don't leave at all.

Most of their view of the world comes from the five thousand movies on videocassette and DVD their father accumulates. The boys type scripts for their favorites. Then they re-enact the movies and film them. They seem particularly fond of Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, and Martin Scorsese movies. They make their own costumes and prop guns.

Visnu is not a participant. She seems ill or disabled in some way.

It all changes one day during 2010, when Mukunda disobeys his father and leaves the apartment. He walks around the neighborhood. Soon, all the boys begin to experience the world. 

Then a recent film school graduate named Crystal Moselle spots the boys, aged eleven to eighteen, as they walk together in New York. They wear matching black suits, black Ray Bans, and have waist-length black hair.

She becomes the first person they invite to their apartment, and she makes The Wolfpack.

To watch it, in parts, is to see what grown-up babies feel the first time they touch sand and go in salt water and feel the sun on their skin.

The boys, now young men, seem unusually pleasant, attractive, and intelligent. You need to see the documentary to learn more.

I watched The Wolfpack on Netflix Streaming. I will do something I don't think I've ever done before. I grant this film The Janie Junebug MUST SEE Seal of Approval.

Don't expect to be told what to think about this family. Moselle maintains her position as a documentary filmmaker--not a commentator. You must form your own opinions. I've done some research on the family today. If you want to Google them, then I suggest you watch the movie first.

Strange and amazing viewing!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Here's a sentence structure I see frequently in manuscripts: The president tried to impose immigration restrictions, shutting down the borders.

What's wrong with this structure?

Nothing in particular--until I've seen it two hundred times in two hundred pages. If you think I'm picking on you and your writing, then maybe I am. I don't have a particular author in mind. I happen to see this structure A LOT in the books I edit.

Vary your sentence structures, please, unless you have a creative reason to repeat a structure. Your readers will thank you.

Using the same structure over and over and over and over and over . . . well, it's boring. Wake me up with your writing.

Consider this possibility: Write a paragraph with a few sentences that are about the same length, and when you reach an important point or a concept that's a surprise, write a sentence that's two words.

He strolled by the table as I ate my dinner. "You're fat," he said.

"I might be fat, but I can lose weight. You can't lose stupid."

I didn't see the knife behind his back until it was too late.

Blood ran.

Use some long sentences, too. In the future, we'll work on punctuation that makes sentences easier to understand.

If you like the sentence structure I used at the beginning of this post, go ahead and use it. But perhaps you can avoid using it in one paragraph after another.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thank you, fishducky.

Monday, January 11, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

How about a book that's funny and sad, but uplifting? You want it. You got it.

I promised you a good book today, and here it is: Woman on the Verge of Paradise by our friend, Robyn Alana Engel, who blogs ever so hilariously at Life By Chocolate.

My purchase of this book represents the only time I've ordered (I shop online; I'm a recluse in real life) a book because I thought the cover was amusing:

Then the mail carrier deposited the book in the box nailed next to my front door, where I can't fence in the front yard or I have to move my mailbox all the way out to the curb, which is like ten miles away, and I looked inside the book and learned the cover was designed by Bryan Pedas of A Beer for the Shower, so, duh, it's no wonder the cover is great. I like the back of the book even better, but you have to buy the book to see the photo of our author, who appears to be in pain because she has something in her eye. Maybe a contact lens.

Engel describes her work as "creative non-fiction" or "memoir-ish." She also does not recommend the book for

1) Children
2)The Narrow-Minded or
3) Martha Stewart

Boy, am I glad I'm not on that list because I happen to love Woman on the Verge of Paradise, which henceforth I shall refer to as Paradise because it's where I live: Paradise, Florida, with palmetto bugs, rats, feral cats so well fed they watch the rats stroll around, gigantic locusts, and my own private Lake Junebug when it rains enough.

When Engel refers to her book as memoir-ish, I think it's because she changed some names to protect the guilty; i.e., I don't believe she was married to a man named Justin Case.

Pardise begins with the kind of sex dream I wish I had, and gets even better when the author awakens and wants breakfast:

"Food." I like food. "Must eat."
I find myself in the kitchen attempting to pour Kashi in a bowl, but realize I neglected to open the box. So I open the box. 
Milk is needed. The microwave doors swings open, seemingly by my own hand. Oops.

Of course, Paradise has more to it than Engel's sophisticated culinary skills. She takes us on her journey through life--so far--including her mom's death from cancer, a marriage that maybe had great potential but didn't quite work out, and a lot of dates with a lot of men. Good men. Bad men. In-between men. Creepy men. Weird men. Men so weird they're scary, and men so weird they're funny.

One date shows her his hot wax vat and his birds. Best line in the book: To my credit, I didn't touch his cockatiel.

Ultimately, what I love the most about Paradise is that Robyn Alana Engel learns that the pumpkin will not turn into a coach, glass slippers would hurt like a bitch, and she is not Cinderella and doesn't need to be Cinderella. Robyn Alana Engel is a complete person, not in need of a man, though she'll take a good one if he should happen to come along.

Woman on the Verge of Paradise earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval. I purchased my copy from Amazon at

However, Ms. Engel has informed me that she will give you a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review. If you would like to read and honestly review Woman on the Verge of Paradise, please email me at, and I'll pass along your most personal information to the author (remember to include bank account numbers, but that's just for me).

Or you can email the author herself at

Happy reading!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, January 8, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

When I started my TIP TUESDAY feature, I promised I would answer your questions about grammar. Some of you asked questions immediately, and I want to provide grammatical healing now that we've recovered from the holidays.

Well, most of us have recovered.
On the first TIP TUESDAY, Andrea at Maybe it's just me commented . . .

This sounds like useful fun! (Perhaps that was the desired effect? Affect? Um, can you tell me a handy way to keep those straight?) Fozzie says being a dog is truly exhausting even at a basic rest 

Obviously, Fozzie understands how the puppy in the photo feels. Fozzie understands me, too.

Yes, Andrea. I can tell you a handy way to keep effect and affect straight.



Examples: Lady Mary had quite an effect on Mr. Pamuk. 

Lady Mary affected Mr. Pamuk in ways she never thought possible!

Notice a small but important difference between the two sentences. The noun has the word "an" in  front of it. An is an article. You used effect correctly in your comment, and I know it's correct because you used the article the. The noun is sad and weak, and needs a little article to prop it up. 

English articles are 




By thinking in terms of “the effect,” you can usually sort out which is which, because you can’t stick a “the” in front of a verb. While some people do use “effect” as a verb (“a strategy to effect a settlement”), they are usually lawyers, and you should therefore ignore them if you want to write like a human. (source: copyblogger)

So if you use an article, Andrea and Gentle Readers, and you have to choose between effect and affect, the correct answer is effect.

I'll try to continue to answer at least one grammatical question each week. I have a couple of others in the original TIP TUESDAY comments. If you have other concerns, please email me at

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thank you, fishducky.
P.S. It's been a while since I reviewed a book. I'll have a good one for you on Monday.