Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Tonight I was reminded what Pittsburgher Mr Rogers said in times like today: look for the helpers.
And tonight I want to instead say I'm looking for the Americans. The patriots who don't suffer anti-Semites. Ever. The Americans who don't think any Nazis are good people. The strong who don't hesitate saying the kind of filth who did this don't deserve to be in our midst. The believers in this nation who fought, and won at great price, a war against the frightened, narrow-minded cowards who live in the shadows until they feel emboldened to strike out.
I'm looking for the Americans.

(quotation from Dr. Karl, the foremost philosopher of the twenty-first century, written after the killings at the synagogue)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

During our previous TIP TUESDAY post, a couple of questions came up, so they must be answered.

Lovely Inger of Desert Canyon Living asked about the difference between complex and complicated.

My Roget's Super Thesaurus tells me that complicated and complex are synonyms for each other.

Both are adjectives and mean something intricate, so I think it's safe to say that they can be used interchangeably, based on the one you prefer at a given moment or the one that might sound a bit better.

Darling Martha of Plowing Through Life wanted to know when to use awhile or a while. This one irritates me––not because you asked, Martha, but because I see awhile all the time when it should be a while.

These two terms represent different parts of speech. The two-word expression a while is a noun phrase, consisting of the article a and the noun while (which means “a period or interval of time”).
The one-word awhile is an adverb that means “for a short time or period.” Although these definitions are similar (and although the terms can sometimes be used interchangeably), there are a few simple rules that are helpful in keeping them straight. (source:

Awhile is an adverb meaning for a while, and it only works where it would bear replacement with that three-word phrase. Where for a while wouldn’t work in its place, it is probably not an adverb, so it should be two words: a while. (source:

I think the information is more helpful, because for heaven's sake, what's the difference between "a period of time" and "for a short time."
My personal way of solving this problem is to use "a while" because it's what I prefer. I know, I know, normally it's the kind of thing I'd be all fussy about and say "if 'for a while' won't work then it should be a while." But as says, they can sometimes be used interchangeably.
I vote for using "a while." I think it looks better and makes more sense than awhile. Besides, I've also seen explanations of the two that say "a while" is correct and awhile shouldn't be used anymore because it's outdated. 
Can we all agree to use a while, or do some of you want to argue about it (in which case I will ignore you)?
See you in a while.

Infinities of love,
Janie Junebug

Friday, October 26, 2018


Hi! Hi hi hi hi! I first told this story about Mom back on Oct. 6, 2017. Doesn't that seem like a long time ago? Mom had me write it because she wanted me to make you laugh and cheer you up. I hope you laugh now.

HI! Hi! Hi! Hi hi hihihihihihihi Every Buddy! It's me. It's me. It's mememememememememe. It's Franklin the Bordernese and here in Florida we never freeze!

Mom says that lots of sad things have been happening in the world so it's a good idea for me to take over today. She thinks I'll cheer you up. She also says that next week she'll continue the story about how she was pissed.


She says it's phished, but that doesn't make sense to me because that's not a word but I know Mom is pissed a lot. We love her even though she's grumpy and always saying Chicago prefers, Chicago prefers. Who cares what Chicago prefers? I don't.

So anydog, this funny thing happened in the backyard. It was a super duper hot day. Penlapee was wandering around, sniffing every blade of grass before she could decide which one she wanted to pee on. Penlapee is like that.

I was getting hotter and hotter waiting for Penlapee and I noticed that there was a shady spot underneath Mom's nightgown. She hadn't gotten dressed yet because she says people who work at home get to work in their jammies, but I never see Mom do much of any work.

Because of the shady spot, I stuck my head under Mom's nightie. And you won't believe what I saw there. You really will not believe it. MOM WAS NOT WEARING UNNERWARE!

It was the funniest thing I've ever seen. snicker snort NO UNNERWARE! snicker snort Mom looks so funny under her nightie without her pink granny panties! I would describe everything to you but I'm snicker snorting so hard from remembering it that I don't think I can explain it. You have to take my word for it that Mom looks hilarious without unnerware. snicker snort

The man next door was out in his yard. He's nice and he likes me a lot. I thought he could use a good laugh so I took my head out from under the nightie and I barked to get his attention. I tried to say Hey! Come over here and look under Mom's nightie. She's got no unnerware, but I was snicker snorting so much that I couldn't tell him what there was to see. He said, Hi, Franklin, and he went in his garage. Boy, he missed his chance for a snicker snort. snicker snort

I'm so tired from telling this story and snicker snorting so much that I need a nap.

Before I fall asleep, would you like a kiss? Put your face down close to the box with the light in it, and I have my face up close. I'll give you all the kisses you need. I love to kiss, but I'm not kissing Mom under her nightie with no unnerware. Nope. I draw the line there. But you can have a big kiss on your cheek or smack dab on your mouth. Ask me for a kiss anytime. My kisses make every buddy feel better.

Okay. I love you. Bye-bye.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Last night I watched as Meredith Viera announced the winner in The Great American Read.

Various people read the countdown of the books, while Viera spotlighted the top five books without revealing which one would win. One of the five books was

and it struck me that this book would be the winner.

It was. I'm happy with that choice. This book is so moving. Viera said it was in first place from the beginning and stayed there throughout the five months of voting.

I only wish that Harper Lee and her older sister Alice were here to enjoy this triumph.

My beloved The Great Gatsby was #15. Not bad at all.

I had read everything in the top 20 except the book in second place: Outlander.

Visit this page to see how the voting turned out.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Voting for your favorites in The Great American Read ends at midnight Pacific Time on Thursday, October 18. Visit HERE to cast your final votes. Remember, you can vote once a day for each book, and sign in using your email address, Facebook, or Twitter.

PBS will announce the winner on October 23.

They've also been running a series of shows to highlight the nominated books. The shows should be available on your local PBS station and I believe you can catch them at this link:

When the voting began in May, I had read 43 of the 100 nominated books. I decided to make 50 books my goal by the time the voting ended. I'm not going to make it, but I'm not upset about it. It was a self-imposed deadline; I still have time to read.

I've voted consistently for my all-time favorite novel

The 44th book I read was

It's great.

The 45th book was 

Love it!

I'm reading two more books at the same time--but I'm also reading three or four other books, too. Can't limit myself when it comes to books.

The books from the list are 

I don't like it as much as The Cider House Rules and
Last Night In Twisted River, but it's still good.


So far I don't like it as much as I thought I would.

I also want to read A Confederacy of Dunces, Heart of Darkness, and The Call of the Wild.

I know this is a long post so feel free to stop reading now. I'm going to add a list of the other books that I've read and what I think of them. 

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

1984 -- read it years ago in school and found it creepily memorable.

A Separate Peace -- a very moving coming of age story.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn -- a book I have long adored. It's sad and funny and everything that a book should be.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer -- a good book but not a favorite of mine.

And Then There Were None -- memorable because it's frightening but I haven't read it in years.

Anne of Green Gables -- Oh, Anne! I love you so much. We must be kindred spirits.

Atlas Shrugged -- It's been so long since I read it that I barely remember it.

Beloved -- Sooo good.

The Book Thief -- Good but I didn't think it was great.

Catch-22 -- Hilarious and clever.

The Catcher In The Rye -- I don't remember liking this one very much. I preferred some of Salinger's short stories.

Charlotte's Web -- SOME PIG

The Chronicles of Narnia -- I love every single book in the series and I often give these books to young people.

The Color Purple -- So very good and moving.

The DaVinci Code --  Hated it.

Don Quixote -- Read it in high school and I think again in college and didn't like it either time, but I do like the word "quixotic."

Flowers in the Attic -- Weird.

Frankenstein -- Hated it. Absolutely hated it. Maybe I would have liked it better if I'd read it for a class that had a good professor.

The Giver --  Great.

The Godfather -- Smutty, but when I was a teenager I couldn't put it down.

Gone With the Wind -- I appreciate the sadness of this book more than I did when I first read it years ago.

The Grapes of Wrath -- So beautiful.

Great Expectations -- Has one of the best first chapters in a book ever, but overall, don't love it.

Gulliver's Travels -- Read it in high school. Booo-ring.

The Handmaid's Tale -- Margaret Atwood has a rare talent.

Harry Potter (series) -- Love every book and still want my letter admitting me to Hogwarts.

Hatchet (series) -- I'm counting this even though I haven't read every book in the series. The ones I read were good.

Invisible Man -- Very good.

Jane Eyre -- Oh, Jane, how you do suffer. I  long to wander Yorkshire with your creator.

Little Women -- This is a rare case of me liking the movies better than the book. I think the book is long and boring.

Memoirs of a Geisha -- So good.

Moby Dick -- I have a strange fondness for Herman Melville.

One Hundred Years of Solitude -- Excellent.

The Picture of Dorian Gray -- Wonderfully creepy.

Pride and Prejudice -- Although The Great Gatsby is my all-time favorite novel, Jane Austen is my all-time favorite novelist.

Rebecca -- Mrs. Danvers frightens me every time I read this book or see the movie.

The Sun Also Rises -- I'm not fond of Hemingway.

Tales of the City -- I didn't like it, but I have a feeling I didn't really get it.

The Help -- It's an enjoyable book, but as usual, the white person who wants to write is the most important character who makes it possible for the help to have some success, which they have to keep secret. It's called the help, dammit. The help should be the most important characters.

The Joy Luck Club -- Love Amy Tan.

The Lord of the Rings (series) -- Not that crazy about it.

The Lovely Bones -- Beautifully tragic.

The Outsiders -- Barely remember it.

Their Eyes Were Watching God -- The heroine is named Janie and her nickname is Alphabet.

To Kill A Mockingbird -- Who doesn't love it?

Wuthering Heights -- I'm glad we have two Bronte sisters represented.

I'm disappointed that nothing by Laura Ingalls Wilder is on the list. I would add These Happy Golden Years and/or The Long Winter.

Well, either I counted wrong before or I'm counting wrong now, but including the books I've read most recently, I get 49.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Although the air is so heavy with humidity that it's almost unbearable to be outside, we've had very little rain.

I don't want you to worry that Hurricane Michael will visit us. Although we're supposed to have heavy rain and high winds between midnight and 6 a.m. and no doubt will have plenty of branches to clean up afterwards, we will not get a direct hit. Michael will soon be on his way to Georgia and Alabama, where he'll be much rougher.

We had a tornado warning earlier today, but I have no idea where the tornado was supposed to be.

When it rains later tonight, Franklin will hide in my bedroom closet and Penelope will tremble next to me in the bed. The three of us will comfort each other.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

NPR photo from Panama City Beach, Florida
A photographer tries to retrieve his equipment.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Does it matter if you don't know the difference between a metaphor and a simile? Maybe not, unless knowing guarantees an "A" on a test or keeps you from feeling embarrassed during a conversation about literature.

Anyword, we haven't had a TIP TUESDAY in ages, so we'll go over some literary terms today:

  • Allusion--words that make a brief reference to something in history or literature. An allusion adds meaning to your reading if you know the reference. 
  • Anachronism--something placed in a time period when it doesn't yet exist.
  • Anagram--a word made out of the letters of another word. My favorite anagram is God and dog.
  • Anecdote--a little story or description of an incident that usually has some connection to the truth and might briefly describe something such as meeting a person who made a difference in one's life. I have heard anecdote pronounced as "antidote" a number of times and it bugs the heck out of me.
  • Apocalyptic--literature that predicts the future of the world (usually its ending).
  • Apology--its older meaning is defense but it doesn't have to be an expression of regret.
  • Aside--an actor on the stage addresses the audience but is not heard by the other actors. In a movie or TV show, it might be called "breaking the fourth wall" (an actor looks into the camera and speaks as if saying something directly to viewers).
  • The Great Awakening--usually associated with Jonathan Edwards, it's a period of very emotional religion in America that was at its most prominent around 1740-1745,
Now, it's your turn: can you provide an example for any of these terms?

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Source: A Handbook to Literature by C. Hugh Holman and William Harmon.