Saturday, March 26, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today is my favorite young man's birthday. I'm not telling you how old he is because it might lead you to suspect that I am very old.

I was an immature and not particularly good parent, but he continues to tolerate me.

The rest of this post is a newspaper column I wrote about my boy back when I was a reporter, about a hundred years ago. I posted this once before, I think.

When I took my little red-haired boy to preschool, we met the teachers and looked at the toys. We sang some songs. Then it was time for me to leave.

The boy threw his arms around my knees and cried, "But I want to stay with you!"

I reminded him that we had talked about going to preschool. I reminded him that he needed to spend time with other kids, that I would return soon and we would spend the rest of the day together.

He kissed me good-bye and went off to build a tower of blocks with his new classmates. I rushed out the door, thankful we had just taken the first successful step toward his independence. 

But the boy needed to learn to dress himself. Every morning, he sat down, pulled his pants over his legs and tried to stand up before they were over his feet.

"I'll have to go to college with him to dress him," I grumbled.

With practice, though, he learned to dress himself. Another step toward independence.

The boy went to kindergarten. I removed the training wheels from his first bike. He rode around the block alone. He stopped asking me to marry him. He learned how to read.

I stood on a basketball court for hours while he threw ball after ball up and toward the hoop. None went through. I passed the ball back to him and waited while he threw it again. One day the ball finally went through the hoop.

He played basketball with the other boys. He didn't need me to rebound for him anymore. I breathed a sigh of relief. More steps.

Fourth grade and he started to play the trombone. The sound hurt. I helped him learn to read music. I played the piano; he played along on the trombone. The sound improved. He didn't need my help with the trombone.

Middle school years, and someone on the school bus teased a girl. She blamed the boy and put gum in his hair. The bus driver gave the boy's name to the principal. We practiced at home so the boy knew how to explain to the principal. The principal let the boy go. I didn't have to visit the school. A big step.

High school: Clear the roads -- he's learned how to drive. I felt frightened, then happy. He didn't need me to be his chauffeur. I could go where I wanted, when I wanted.

But so could he. More independence for him and more worries for me.

He had his ears pierced -- six times. He seemed to have trouble pulling up his pants again but he didn't ask for help with his clothes or with anything else.

I fought to stay involved in his life. Could this independence thing really be a good idea?

"Aren't you glad you know I'm independent and I don't listen to you?" he asked me one day as I was trying to gain his cooperation in some endeavor such as cleaning up his bedroom.

"Yeah, I'm glad you don't listen to me," I answered. I laughed, but I really was glad. Wasn't his independence what I had sought all along? Wasn't it what I had raised him to seek?

I insisted he hold down a job and pay for his own car insurance if he wanted to drive. He played on basketball teams, chose his own clothes, spoke up for himself, even became a trombonist in a ska band. And he did it all without me.

We went to college orientation and picked up our name tags. "Students to the right; parents to the left," a young woman told us.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Students go to a meeting in the room to the right and parents go to a meeting in the room to the left."

They were splitting us up.

I threw my arms around his waist and cried, "But I want to stay with you!"

"You'll be OK with the other parents. I'll be back soon and we'll spend the rest of the day together," he reminded me.

He hugged me. Then he walked away to be with the other students. I went to the meting with the parents, but not to build a tower. I had already built one. It was six-feet three inches tall and had red hair. 

On Jan. 15, he stood at the altar of a church. He didn't hold my hand; I didn't hold his. He took the hand of the most beautiful bride I've ever seen and vowed to be her husband for the rest of his life. I sat -- an onlooker in the drama of his life, missing him, but grateful for his independence.

Note: Sadly, the marriage ended after ten years. His ex-wife remains my Facebook friend. I love her very much and will always miss her.


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

You are great with the reviews of Woman on the Verge of Puberty Ecstasy Slut Shaming Paradise by Robyn Alana Engel, my new partner in hilariousness.

Robyn wants fifty reviews on Amazon so Jeff Bezos will promote her book. He promised to do it himself. I asked him. He capitulated after a nice blow job (notice I never said I provided the BJ). If he doesn't come through with the promotion, we'll never shop on Amazon again.

That oughta scare him.

Here's the big news: Robyn is up to forty-eight reviews.

And more reviews are coming in.

Robyn will give you a copy of Woman on the Verge of losing her virginity Paradise in exchange for an honest review posted on Amazon.

You can find Robyn at her adorable blog, Life By Chocolate. Click on the link, if you dare, and request a book.

Thank you for making Robyn's dream come true.

I wish you a blessed Easter.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Listen up, book lovers. Our girl Robyn Alana Engel has a book out that's doing pretty well. Robyn blogs at Life By Chocolate.

Her memoir-ish book is Woman on the Verge of Paradise.

Please go to Life By Chocolate to request a free copy of Woman on the Verge of Paradise. Then pretty please with sugar on it, review the book on Amazon. Here's what can happen:

Robyn says "I need five more. Just five more reviews, til Amazon promotes my book. I can get five, right? Five is all I need. Do I have five volunteers to read - or pretend to read and love - my book and write an Amazon review? I only need five!"

Do this for Robyn, and when she and I replace Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as the Mistresses of Mirth, we will mention your name on an awards show. How cool is that?

And if you have the book and haven't reviewed it, come on. You can do it! 

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Dear Ones,

I learned that RWNJ means Right-Wing Nut Job. Does a similar doo-hickey exist for us liberals? Maybe something super obscene and profoundly profane that will make us laugh?

I challenge you to come up with a counterpoint to RWNJ. Share it in a comment on this post, and I'll love you forever if you can make me feel better for even two seconds.

I'm going through side effects from a new medication. I feel kinda barfy (don't care it's TMI), but worse, I have terrible body aches. I'll appreciate prayers and positive thoughts and something that makes me smile.

Love you all, including RWNJs (notice that the plural does NOT have an apostrophe),

Janie Junebug

For those of you who still think you want to watch Downton Abbey, get on with it. These photos and the video provide a guide to help you get started. Ya know, you can spend the entire Easter weekend watching Downton. I might make this weekend my third time through the show. No such thing as enough always-on-the-rag Lady Mary and the dead diplomat and Edith's long ode road to floy joy.

Take my word for it: Downton Abbey is not a snore, but I like this video:

Snore (Downton Abbey) - watch more funny videos

Thanks, Willy Dunne Wooters.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Sorry I confused you if you saw my earlier post.

I tried to do something creative to follow-up on my poem about a certain presidential candidate, but I messed it up and it didn't work.

Let's all be happy, happy, happy! We're not scared!


Hey, I know something cool! Remember Robyn Alana Engel who blogs at Life By Chocolate?

Remember that Robyn Alana Engel wrote a memoir-ish book called Woman on the Verge of Paradise? You can buy it on Amazon at

Go ahead. Go buy it. I'll wait for you before I write the rest of the post.

Time's up. Here's the something cool:

Robyn Alana Engel has an advert for her book in Kirkus Reviews!

Robyn Alana Engel quotes ME in the advert! I don't think I really said it, though, because it's such a good quotation. But if Robyn Alana Engel put me in the advert, then I must have said it or written it in icing on a sugar cookie.

Here's the link:

If you can't find the ad in the bottom right corner of the page, then go to Life By Chocolate to tell Robyn Alana Engel that you want to see my words in her shit stuff book advert.

Notice how I use advert most of the time. It's because Madonna and I are the same age, and she grew a British accent while she lived in England, so she probably uses British slang, too, and that means I do what Madonna does, except––get naked and have photos taken that I put in a book (okay, maybe once I had a naked photo taken but it is NOT in a book, just a magazine); pretend to be posh and British because I married a British director who now calls me a monster; think I can sing and dance when my dancing is simply striking a pose but kajillions of people watch me and pay the rent money for tickets to my show; and, last but certainly not least, wear a cone bra and hump the stage.

Robyn Alana Engel and I have also discovered we're a pretty good comedy team. We will replace Tina what's her name and Amy what's her name and host awards shows on TV and be on Saturday Night Live occasionally but only occasionally because we're so cool we've outgrown that crap and write books that sell a little bit more than Woman on the Verge of Paradise, which deserves more sales.

So there.


Janie Tina Junefey

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I keep saying I need a blogging break, but every time I take one, I end up blogging at least part time.

I said that for the rest of March, I would only post for Battle of the Bands. Did I stick to that vow?

Of course not.

Hi! My name is Jane Junebug, and I've been blogging when I said I wouldn't.

So, although today it's time for Battle of the Bands, I hereby do declare that I am not going to blog until early May, unless it's an emergency post. I don't know what might qualify as an emergency post. I guess we'll find out if I write one.

Franklin and Penelope say they'll sit on me if I attempt to write a blog post.

Look at how Franklin pretends to be unaware of what I do, while Penelope keeps an eye on me. She'll whisper in Franklin's ear if mom mom is up to no good.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

No comments. If you need to get in touch with me, please email me at As Franklin says, Mom has a megraine.

Monday, March 14, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have a great book for you today. It's the third in the series "Tales From the Other Side of Real" by A. M. Henry: Westley and the Witches.

Although I have more to say about Westley and the Witches, I can begin by summarizing the book in a single word: charming. The plot is suspenseful, exciting, and fun. The excellent illustrations by Laura Kitching add to the enjoyment of the book.

Young Westley Prince awakes one morning to learn that his even younger sister, Gemma, has disappeared. What is a Prince to do other than summon his fairy godmother and embark on a search for Gemma?

The "Tales From the Other Side of Real" are intended for middle grade readers, but I don't see why parents couldn't read them to younger children who are old enough to listen to the story. I also don't see why parents can't sneak the books out of their children's rooms and read them after their little darlings have gone to sleep or are away at school.

Call me weird, and many have before you, but I find the first chapter of the book amusing. It's called "Westley Really Hates Baseball" (oh, boy, do I know how you feel, Westley). As Westley warms the bench, he sees that "Terry Hughes––the scruffy-but-very-fast outfielder––looked a lot greener than he did thirty seconds ago." Instead of catching the ball that heads in his direction, Terry runs toward the dugout, makes a sharp turn, and "[a]pproximately eighteen inches away from the port-a-potty's blue plastic door, Terry Hughes lost his breakfast."

How can you not like a book that begins with a barfing kid? Especially because when I was a child ever-so-many years ago, I hated playing baseball or any other sport as much as Westley does.

Westley and the Witches earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval for the vomit alone.

Happy reading!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Please note that this book was given to me in exchange for an honest review. I don't think it gets more honest than puke.

Friday, March 11, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

When I answered the Question of the Month, I wrote about meeting author Pat Conroy. I had no idea he had died a few days before. I learned it from some of your comments on my post.

I didn't intend to be online today. I'm supposed to be on a blogging break so I can get mucho stuff done, but I remembered that for the umpteenth week in a row, I haven't answered a question about grammar.

So I hop online and learn that Mr. Conroy, who told me to call him Pat, who was so kind to me, who wrote such beautiful inscriptions in my copies of his books--he's gone.

In My Reading Life, he writes of his mother: Peg Conroy used reading as a text of liberation, a way out of the sourceless labyrinth that devoured poor Southern girls like herself. She directed me to every book I ever read until I graduated from the eighth grade at Blessed Sacrament School in Alexandria, Virginia. When I won the Martin T. Quinn Scholarship for Academic Achievement, Mom thought she had produced a genius in the rough.

On the title page of my copy of My Reading Life, he wrote

To Janie,
For the love of story,
Pat Conroy

I think it might have been the love of story that kept him alive. His youngest brother committed suicide. He often mentioned his depression. He grew up with a father who beat Pat until his blue eyes burned with hatred every time his father entered a room. [As] I live out a life too sad by half, he wrote. He thought of Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina when he was suicidal or in despair, and used the characters as a reminder that suicide wasn't the answer.

His mother pointed Pat in the right direction. Pat Conroy wrote of his mother's devotion to words, and her devotion to his reading and writing. She didn't finish college, but she read every book assigned to Pat in his high school and college classes.

Pancreatic cancer took his life.

I don't think I like a world without Pat Conroy.

Loss. So much loss.

And once again, you don't get a post with an answer to a grammatical concern because I have tears for Pat, for the famous artist who treated me as if he were honored to meet me, the man who shook my son's hand and thanked him for bringing me to, what was for me, one of the most magical nights of my life.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

I take it as an article of faith that the novels I've loved will live inside me forever--Pat Conroy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I'm a little late on getting to the Question of the Month, hosted by Michael D'Agostino of A Life Examined, so please forgive me.

Michael's question for March is
Have you ever met an idol/influence/someone you really admire? How did it go?”

I'd like to say I met Johnny Depp and he kissed me, but, alas, you'll have to settle for an author I admire. I've written about this encounter before on my blog.

A few years ago, Son of Junebug said, I'm coming home early from work to take you someplace. It's a surprise.

He arrived as promised, we hopped in the car, and after about thirty minutes he said, I want to tell you the surprise now because we're almost there. I'm taking you to hear Pat Conroy speak.

I burst into tears. Pat Conroy who wrote The Water Is Wide, The Great Santini, and The Prince of Tides, just to name a few.

Mr. Conroy was hilarious. He told so many funny stories. Then I bought a few of his books and got in line for an autograph. The line was long. It moved slowly because he spoke to every person and obliged everyone who wanted a photo with him.

Finally, it was our turn. I called the great writer Mr. Conroy. He said, Please, call me Pat.

I told him my son had brought me to see him as a special surprise. He immediately stood up and shook my son's hand.

We had a lovely chat. Pat was gracious, humble, and kind. I can't imagine a much better meeting with an idol, and now I have three books autographed by Pat Conroy in a prized position on my bookcase.

Recently, I received some dog bookends, so my favorite autographed books will move to my mantel to live between the dogs. You'd better believe Pat Conroy's books will be there.

Great question, Michael. Thank you.

Note: Starting now and ending when April comes to a halt, I'm taking time off from blogging. I must deal with a number of issues, including my taxes. Boooooo! I'll try to be here for the March 15 Battle of the Bands.

I'll miss you more than you'll miss me!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, March 7, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's after 6:30 p.m., and I woke up about thirty minutes ago. I'm a day tripper .  . . no, really, a day sleeper.

I had to search for my slippers when I got up. Franklin is a slipper sneak. One slipper was on the deck, and the other was in the yard.

Our March 1, 2016, Battle of the Bands song is The Star-Spangled Banner. Our contenders are the late Whitney Houston and the current Lady Gaga.

And now, the moment you've all be waiting for:

Whitney Houston  14
Lady Gaga            16

I voted for Lady Gaga, but she would have won anyway. I've watched her performance at the Academy Awards for the past week, and liquid leaks out of my eyes every time. 

These ladies are so great that I think we should have an additional performance from each of them.

Here's Whitney Houston with her first international hit, Saving All My Love for You:

Lady Gaga from the 2016 Academy Awards with the Oscar nominated "Til It Happens To You":

I'm late with The Question of the Month. I'll try to get to it tomorrow.

I feel so good about sharing Whitney Houston and Lady Gaga with you.

God bless you all.

Infinities of love,

Janie Gaga

Sunday, March 6, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

You have until midnight EST tonight, March 6, 2015, to vote in my Battle of the Bands. Please click HERE to listen to the songs and to vote in your comment for your preferred version.

The song is our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. Our two contenders have beautiful, powerful voices. They are Whitney Houston and Lady Gaga. I look forward to seeing your choice. Voting is pretty close.

I'll announce the winner tomorrow.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, March 4, 2016


As  my title says, it's the middle of the night. Son of Junebug left a little after midnight. We watched some stuff on Amazon Prime together. I've discovered that the combination of Amazon Prime and Netflix is not as good as a Valium, but it's almost as good as two Xanax.

Xanax is what I spilled a few minutes after Son of Junebug left. Little pink pills were under the dressing table, the wardrobe, the bed, and in the folds of my robe and comforter. I got the flashlight and got down on my knees on the floor, which nearly killed me, and hunted for pink pills. I think I found most of them. They have a lot of dog hair mixed in with them now, but what does it matter? I eat dog hair in my meals everyday.

Considering that Xanax is prescribed to lessen my anxiety, you might be able to imagine that I felt a bit of . . . anxiety (remember our lesson on ellipsis?). I intended to take my pills, sit down at the laptop in my office, and answer a follower's grammatical concern, which I haven't done lately. Thanks to my anxiety, I am over my desire to write that post. I can't think clearly.

Penelope, will you please help me?


hello it is i penelope

i feel better now i have my friend coco and my brother franklin

mom mom's friend cherdo drew the picture of us after mom mom adopted me in georgia

i have a new game

i already liked to run around backyard fast fast fast with big fence to protect me

now i have stalking game

i pretend to hunt in backyard in leaves like something there i must catch

i hunt and then i run a little

i hunt and then i run a little more

i take my hunting serious and I run fast fast fast

i play this game as long as mom mom stays outside to be my audience and say go penelope

i don't want to play without mom mom audience 

is fun to play

is fun to have brother franklin and human brother and mom mom and wooters man and know coco and cherdo love me from far away 

okay that is all

what now

mom mom always say help me please penelope

at least she say please

i love mom mom

i love everyone

time to get mom mom to bed

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

We went into the awards season 99.9% certain that Leonardo DiCaprio would win Best Actor for The Revenant, and he took home many statues, including Oscar Gold. It also seemed certain that director Alejandro G. Iñárritu would win. He did--second year in a row. Best picture? Pretty sure it would be Revenant

But as my son and I settled in to watch the Academy Awards on Sunday night, I said, Ya know, if the director of The Revenant wins, I think Spotlight will win Best Picture, or the other way around. 

Call it a hunch, a guess, call me the Cumaean Sybil. Don't breathe too hard around me. You might blow away my nose.

Spotlight won Best Picture (2015, Rated R, Available for Purchase on DVD and is on some streaming services; available on DVD from Netflix on March 22; DirecTV Cinema gave us a free movie, so that's how we watched it).

My son and I felt captivated by the film immediately. It's brilliant! we cried, in unison. We also cried in unison when he was born.

Spotlight is based on the true story of a team of reporters who undertake in-depth journalism projects for The Boston Globe. In the movie, the three major reporters--played by Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams--spend months during 2001 uncovering the Catholic church's complicity in hiding the identities of priests who molest children, and the shocking numbers of the abused and abusers.

The three reporters are backed by journalists who specialize in areas such as data analysis and a new managing editor, played by the always excellent Liev Schrieber. The director and crew seem to have done everything they could to make us feel we are there. This dialog-driven movie emphasizes the thrill of the hunt. (Note: As a reporter, I was never happy when something bad happened so I could report on it, but when I needed to investigate, I found it exciting.)

Spotlight also won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Josh Singer and director Tom McCarthy.

Ruffalo and McAdams earned, what seemed to us, undeserved nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Actress. I must say, though, that Ruffalo is one of my favorite actors. So is Benicio del Toro, who might have been nominated for the riveting but very violent Sicario. I'm not sure who I would have put in McAdams' place.

Good journalism is spellbinding for the reporters and editors who do the work, and informative for its readers. I despair as I see print journalism disappear, only to be replaced by bad television reporting, The Huffington Post and its many grammatical errors and stories lifted from other sources, and "news" Web sites and bloggers who report the latest rumor. 

I worked at the newspaper that broke Three Mile Island. I didn't work there at the time, but it thrills me to know that our small-town paper informed the Associated Press about the imminent danger in Pennsylvania. One of my most exciting moments came when the AP picked up one of my articles.

Thus and so, Spotlight earns The Janie Junebug and Son of Junebug Seal of Highest Approval. We also thought the awards show was great. Chris Rock couldn't have been much better. It was hilarious when he asked "typical" movie-goers if they'd heard of the nominated movies. Nah. What's Spotlight?

Now you have no excuse to say you don't know what Spotlight is. If you haven't seen it, I urge you to do so. It's not a movie for children. If you can get teens of about fifteen and older excited by the journalistic process, please watch the movie with them and explain what's going on. If you don't know what's going on, Google it, or ask me.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's time for the March 1, 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 right! Let's have fun!

Citizens of the United States of America, prepare to rise and put your hands over your hearts. My Battle of the Bands song is our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner--not the easiest song to sing because it requires a great range.

I didn't watch The Stupor Bowl, but I heard that Lady Gaga sang the anthem beautifully. I watched it on YouTube, and it was true. However, I recall that the late, great Whitney Houston sang the anthem with her usual power. I decided to pit these two ladies against each other.

Here she is, a singer who will forever be missed, Whitney Houston:

Wikipedia states: Her rendition was critically acclaimed and is considered the benchmark for singers. Rolling Stone commented that "her singing stirs such strong patriotism. Unforgettable," and the performance ranked No. 1 on the 25 most memorable music moments in NFL history list. VH1 listed the performance as one of the greatest moments that rocked TV. Following the attacks on 9/11, it was released again by Arista Records, all profits going towards the firefighters and victims of the attacks. This time it peaked at No. 6 in the Hot 100 and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Some criticized the Super Bowl performance because Houston sang into a dead microphone. Organizers explained that it was standard procedure because of background noise.

And now, from 2016, we have Lady Gaga, whose performance you must watch on YouTube because of NFL copyrights:

Lady Gaga (Stefani Germanotta) stated that her favorite performance of the anthem was Whitney Houston's. For me, Gaga's performance is the most moving and heartfelt. Reportedly, she sang The Star-Spangled Banner live.

Actress Marlee Matlin performs the anthem in American sign language. The song was followed by a Blue Angels flyover (Jacksonville's Naval Air Station is the home of the Blue Angels).

Please vote for your preferred performance of The Star-Spangled Banner in your comment, and tell us why you made the choice. Remember, you're not voting for whether you like our national anthem. You are voting to tell us who gave the better performance. I'll announce the winner on March 7.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Please visit the other participants in the Battle of the Bands:

Voice Your Vote @ ‘FAR AWAY SERIES’ by clicking HERE.

@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.

@ ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ by clicking HERE.

@ 'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS' by clicking HERE.

@ 'CURIOUS AS A CATHY' by clicking HERE.



@ 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' by clicking HERE.


@ 'ANGELS BARK' by clicking HERE.


@ 'J.A. SCOTT' by clicking HERE.

@ 'NOVELBREWS' by clicking HERE.

@ 'QUIET LAUGHTER' by clicking HERE

@ 'REINVINTAGED' by clicking HERE.

@ 'HOLLI'S HOOTS & HOLLERS' by clicking