Friday, November 28, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's time for The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, hosted by The Armchair Squid.

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers.

To join the blog hop or to see the list of other participants, please visit The Armchair Squid.

My choice for this month is the first of three volumes about Teddy Roosevelt by Edmund MorrisThe Rise of Theodore Roosevelt.

When the book was published in 1980, it won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. The Modern Library thence named it one of the top one hundred non-fiction books.

The work deserves these accolades. It is exquisitely written and, no doubt, the definitive Rooseveltian biography. I shall recognize Teddy Roosevelt the very second I see him in Heaven:

His ample mustache does not entirely conceal a large, pouting underlip, on the rare occasion when that lip is still. Mostly, however, the mustache gyrates about Roosevelt's most celebrated feature––his dazzling teeth. Virtually every published description of the President, including those of provincial reporters who can catch only a quick glimpse of him through the window of a campaign train, celebrates his dental display. Cartoonists across the land have sketched them into American folk-consciousness, so much so that envelopes ornamented only with teeth and spectacles are routinely delivered to the White House. 

Although the book begins with a description of Roosevelt during his presidency, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt is appropriately titled. We learn about his poor health as a child; his worshipful love for his father; his Southern mother's loyalty to the Confederacy; his early love for hunting and taxidermy; his marriage to Alice Lee, whose death devastated him; his escape from grief as a cowboy in the wilds of the Dakotas; his writing career; and his early forays into political life. 

Theodore Roosevelt was a man who––most of the time––felt absolutely certain of his decisions, yet he struggled with himself. He did not believe that a man should remarry. No matter that Alice Lee Roosevelt was deceased. She was his wife forever. He argues with himself, castigates himself, before he gives in to his desire to marry his second wife, Edith. T. R. held himself to a higher moral standard than most men.

The book is meticulously researched and presents the necessary bibliography and a plethora of notes. 

I enjoyed learning the minute details of the President's early life. He was quite an unusual figure. During his presidency, he would wade naked into the stream in Rock Creek Park, followed by his cabinet, no matter how cold the weather. Now that I would like to see. 

Favorite Young Man read this book before I did. He feels quite enthusiastic about The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, which earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval. 

Thank you, Mr. Squid, for hosting this bloghop. I enjoy learning about the books other bloggers are reading, and I look forward to reading Morris's next two books about Roosevelt: Theodore Rex and Colonel Roosevelt.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug, who will not leave the house on Black Friday

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

My oldest sister (she's older than God and I say so because she'll probably read this) sent me this obituary recently. I have her permission to publish it here:

It was a dark and stormy night --------

Actually it was a cold, icy night in February, almost fourteen years ago,  I found a little white puppy on the street out in the country.  Her fur had gotten wet and had frozen on her body and she looked like a little white porcupine.  I took her home, thawed her out and appropriately named her Snowball.

She grew up to be a beautiful dog, loving the country life, a little aggressive towards some of her siblings, well, really all of her siblings.  She loved sleeping outside in the winter, loved sleeping  inside right under an open air conditioning vent in the summer.   Whenever someone spent the night, she always slept right outside their room.  Don’t know if she thought they needed protection, or if she was protecting me, in case they would roam the house during the night. 

This past six months or so hasn’t been the best time of her life.  She developed arthritis and had muscle atrophy and couldn’t get around so well – but she still had total control of “her” food dish (and everyone else’s) --- a single growl could send everybody ducking for cover. 

Last Friday morning was a normal morning – we all had our morning snacks and went for a walk all over the back yard.  When I arrived home Friday evening, Snowball was down – she couldn’t get her legs to co-operate and get herself up.  I gave her some pain pills thru the night and by morning she was sleeping so I decided to let her get some rest (all of us needed some sleep) ‘cause when Snowball ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!!!  The day went on and still she was in pain and couldn’t get up. 

K. came out that evening and we rigged up a makeshift gurney to get her to the car. Emergency clinic vet said there wasn’t anything they could do to make her walk again or to even be comfortable.  So Snowball is running around in heaven now with all her buds and she isn’t in pain anymore.   I sent kisses with her for everyone already there ---

Isn't it nice to know that Snowball took kisses to Harper and all of her friends who went to Heaven before her? 

I'm grateful that Snowball had so many happy years living with my sister. She probably thought she had gone to Heaven when my sister took her home.

Infinities of love and wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving,

Janie Junebug


Tuesday, November 25, 2014


A cold front moves in. The rain pours. More rain than we've had in months. Will Lake Junebug fill up?

Franklin and I are alone. What's the song--every night when the sun goes down, there's not another living soul around?

I miss Harper's large, furry presence.

It's as lonely as marriage. I always wished X would spend time with me on holidays, but he wanted to play games. First, it was board games that had to do with wars. He got rid of all the games, said it was a "problem" that he played them. (It was. He spent more time with the games than with his family.) He didn't give up games. He played at war on the computer.

The phone rings. The voice of the Wooters man raises my spirits: I called to check on you.

We are okay, I assure him. No leaks so far.

The delivery man brought the final items needed for Thanksgiving dinner. He played with Franklin, and asked where the other dogs are.

They died, I said.

Did I tell you I adopted a dog? he asked.


Someone saw this guy throw a puppy through a plate glass window. The dog was all cut up and had burns on his stomach. The guy went to jail for a week. The puppy went to the humane society.

The guy got out of jail. They gave the puppy back to him. Our friend saw the puppy outside on a big choke chain. He could move around some, but his food and water were just out of reach.

Our friend called the humane society. They said they had done all they could do unless they had evidence of abuse. (My thought: Not being able to reach food and water isn't abuse?)

So our friend took the puppy. Went over there and took him. She called me and said, Come get this dog.

We love him, and he's a friend to our older dog.

He dashes into the rain to finish his deliveries.

Ah, the interconnectedness of dog kind. Faulkner trained Harper. Harper trained Franklin. I look at a couple of Web sites with collies to adopt, but don't see the dog who needs us--yet.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Here's a once in a lifetime opportunity to read MOVIE WEEKEND on a Monday. With Thanksgiving and its long weekend about to arrive, I'm sure you need a movie the entire family can watch.

That movie is Million Dollar Arm (2014, PG, Available On DVD).

Million Dollar Arm is a pretty conventional Disney movie: nice story, a little suggestiveness but nothing graphic, opens the door to another country and way of life, a little romance, a family feeling among the characters, a learning experience.

J. B. Bernstein (Jon Hamm) is a sports agent who wants to make his own agency successful, but his deals fall apart at the last minute. His partner in failure is Aash (Aasif Mandvi). Aash is Indian, and he likes to watch cricket. It relaxes him. One evening J. B. is watching TV. He comes across Britain's Got Talent, and specifically, Susan Boyle's performance. He decides to hold a contest in India called "Million Dollar Arm" to find cricket players who can learn to be major league pitchers.

After a long, difficult search, he returns to Los Angeles with two young Indian men who are not cricket players, but he believes they have the potential to learn how to pitch. At first he's disappointed in their progress, but then he learns that he must be their family away from family and provide them with a home away from home.

Million Dollar Arm is based on a true story. The closing credits include photos of the real people. As usual, I'm sure the movie is loosely based on a true story. Reality is never good enough for Hollywood.

I like the story. The screenplay and acting are fine. One aspect that bothered me is that Jon Hamm sounds as if he has a cold/sore throat throughout most of the movie. He's hoarse, but it's no big deal. The young men from India are pleasant enough actors.

The movie is fairly predictable, but sometimes predictable is good. Great Grandma can watch Million Dollar Arm with a kindergartner and not be upset or shocked. Some drinking goes on, and it becomes fairly clear (maybe not to children) that J. B. has a sexual relationship with multiple women before falling in love with a doctor played by Lake Bell.

Some of the comments on the Internet Movie Database complain that the movie is racist because the Indians are treated as stereotypes and made to be the butt of jokes. I felt that way a little bit, but some Indians on IMDb observed that much of India is not as developed as the U.S. and it's natural for the Indians to be surprised by many facets of American life.

I don't think the movie is racist, and I stand by my belief that it's an enjoyable story.

Million Dollar Arm earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval. During a different week, it would be the seal of approval, but this is a time to present a movie that you can watch as a family. If you don't hang out with family on Thanksgiving, then I'm sure you can look at previous MOVIE WEEKEND posts and find something to watch.

Happy Viewing!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, November 21, 2014


Hi! Hi Hi Hi Hi Hi, Every Buddy! I'm Franklin the Bordernese, and I'm excited because I did something new yesterday. Mom was so proud of me that she told my friend Willy Dunne Wooters about it with the little telephone box.

Me and Mom went for our afternoon walk in the neighborhood park. Two little kids were there, a boy kid and a girl kid. They were playing with a ball.

The girl kid asked Mom, Can I pet your dog?

Mom said, You can try. He's afraid of children so you need to walk up to him very slowly. He's also afraid of balls.

The girl kid took the ball from the boy kid and tossed it aside. That helped me feel better. They weren't bad. They wanted to be nice.

I decided to let them pet me. The boy kid scratched my back. The girl kid stroked my head.

The boy kid said, He's soft. The girl kid said, He's pretty.

I felt good. I didn't get scared and try to run away.

When Mom used the telephone box to talk to my friend Willy Dunne Wooters, she said I'd had a first. She said it was a milestone.

Mom was happy because I'm a brave dog.

When I see my friend Willy Dunne Wooters this weekend, I just know he'll say that he's proud of me, too.

Mom said to tell you that on Monday she'll try to write a MOVIE WEEKEND post so you know what to watch after Thanksgiving.

I love Thanksgiving. I get a little turkey with my kibble.

I'm tired now. I need some rest.

Okay I love you bye-bye

Franklin the Bordernese

Monday, November 17, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Last week I posted this photo of Fishducky:

She said that one is an old photo, and she now looks like this:

Thanks, fishducky! You can also find fishducky at fishducky, finally!

Last week I reviewed the Netflix Original Series/Norwegian show, Lilyhammer.  Click HERE to read the review.

However, I must update the review and tell you that Willy Dunne Wooters and I have entered a not-so-crazy about Lilyhammer phase. We are up to season two, episode six.

We have not enjoyed the last two episodes. The show has become difficult to follow, and we're not sure who some of the characters are. All Norwegians look alike. Everyone knows that.

Now I say farewell for a few days. I must disappear to edit.

I'll be back.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, November 14, 2014


Hi, hi Every Buddy. It's Franklin the Bordernese. I hope I don't make you sneeze.

Mom and I are getting used to living without Harper, but I still miss him. Mom said maybe it would make me feel better if I talk about him some.

Harper was a smooth collie and a Malinois. Malinois is a fancy way of saying Belgian Shepherd.

Harper never acted much like a collie. He didn't want to herd anyone. The truth is that he liked to kill smaller animals if he could get his paws and teeth on them. He especially liked to kill birds.

I think he liked attacking critters because he was part Malinois. The Malinois is important to the security of our country.

When SEAL Team Six went to kill Osama bin Laden, they had a Malinois to lead them.

A Malinois guards The White House, too. When that guy jumped over the fence at The White House, the Malinois would have gotten rid of him, but nobody told the Malinois what happened. I think the people who work there were so surprised that they forgot to tell the Malinois. Every Buddy should always remember to tell the Malinois when there's a problem. 

Here's a Malinois in action:

I feel proud because my best friend was the kind of dog who helps protect our soldiers and our President. Harper never bit anyone, but he was super good at jumping. That's why he could catch birds.

The problem is that I miss him so much. I don't have anyone to play Chase Around The Big Bush In The Backyard with me. I don't have anyone to bark with me when I see a cat or a stranger. I tried to teach Mom to bark, but she's not a good barker.

I haven't even felt like playing Doggy Toy Sneakery.

Mom tries to help me feel better. She says that in a way, Harper will live forever because he taught me how to be a good dog, and I help teach dogs we meet at the park. I show them how I walk next to Mom and do what she says. Maybe another dog will come to live with us, and I'll teach him, and he'll teach younger dogs.

Faulkner, The Original Dog, taught Harper. It's nice that we doggies can help each other.

Mom has been taking me for lots of long walks to help me feel less lonely, but I think my heart will always miss my best buddy Harper.

Okay I love you bye-bye.

Franklin the Bordernese

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have a series on which you can binge, if you so desire. It's Lilyhammer (2012 - present, Two Seasons Available on Netflix Streaming and A Third Arriving Nov. 21, Also Available On DVD).

Lilyhammer is a Norwegian TV series that has moved on to Netflix Streaming and is also available on DVD. Steven Van Zandt is one of its creators, writers, and producers, in addition to starring on the show as Frank Tagliano.

Frank testifies against a Mafia boss who killed Frank's dog, Lily. When he enters the witness protection program, he opts to start a new life in a place he remembers from the Olympics, Lillehammer, Norway. The title is based on his dog's name and his mispronunciation of the city's name.

Willy Dunne Wooters and I think Lilyhammer is highly amusing. It parodies The Sopranos, The Godfather, Breaking Bad, and probably some other mob-inspired movies of which I'm unaware.

When Frank arrives in Lillehammer, he learns quickly that to deal with Norwegian bureaucracy and enjoy a lavish standard of living, he has to employ his old mafia techniques. He finds Norwegians who are willing to learn from him, in spite of his orders to commit acts of violence.

I liked Steven Van Zandt on The Sopranos, and he's good in Lilyhammer. Transplanting the mafia to Norway works well as a basis for a series. The Norwegians are mostly portrayed as not the sharpest knives in the drawer. I don't know if Norwegians are offended by the show. According to Wikipedia, the premiere of the show drew a record number of viewers. My mom was a first-generation American. Her family is Norwegian. I'm not offended by the show. Having lots of Norwegian relatives adds to my enjoyment of Lilyhammer.

However, I have no idea if Norwegians really drop the F-bomb as frequently as the characters on the show do. If you don't like profanity, even if it's in Norwegian, then you won't want to watch Lilyhammer. It's definitely not a show for children. I don't know if it would appeal to teens--if you are willing to let them watch.

Lilyhammer earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Approval and The Willy Dunne Wooters Seal of Highest Approval. Yes. He likes it more than I do, but we have fun watching it together. It's something to occupy us while we wait for the conclusion of Mad Men and the next season of Orange Is The New Black. I look forward to Downton Abbey and Call The Midwife, too, but these shows do not interest the Wooters man.

Whatever you decide to watch, I wish you happy viewing!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Fishducky of fishducky, finally! thinks she can seduce Willy Dunne Wooters by rubbing it in that I'm The Queen of Grammar, and every now and then, I might correct someone. Thus, she sends me funny grammar-based cartoons. She knows WDW will see them and think about all the times I've mentioned his grammatical errors.

Don't worry, Willy Dunne Wooters.
I won't let the rich lady touch you.

the real fishducky

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Fishducky sent me this cartoon. I love it! 

Exactly how I feel, Willy Dunne Wooters.

You can find fishducky at fishducky, finally! Not you, WDW. Keep your hands off the ducky.

Monday, November 10, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Willy Dunne Wooters and I decided to watch Moonstruck Saturday evening. It's a movie I love, and WDW had never seen it.

He took a shower before we watched. He came into the TV room draped in two towels, and lay down on the floor to hug Franklin.

The two lovers were right in front of me, and I noticed that WDW's little pink bottom was partially exposed. I leaned over and goosed him.

He was surprised. I laughed and said, You mooned me. Que bella luna!

He laughed. We enjoyed the movie.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Old Man: La bella luna! The moon brings the woman to the man. Capice?

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

This week's movie is an unusual one that I like very much: Begin Again (2013, Rated R, Available On DVD).

I don't think this movie received much attention. (Okay, now everybody tell me that of course you've heard of this movie and you can't believe I didn't know about it instead of telling me you've never heard of it the way you usually do.)

The fact that Mark Ruffalo is in Begin Again attracted me to it. I used to have trouble remembering which actor is Mark Ruffalo and which one is Paul Rudd.

Mark Ruffalo

Paul Rudd

I have now memorized which is which. Although I think Paul Rudd is very funny, Mark Ruffalo is the superior actor. He can do drama and still do stuff that's funny. Begin Again is a drama, but thanks to Mark Ruffalo, it has some funny moments.

Ruffalo plays Dan, who started a record label with a friend but hasn't signed any new talent in seven years. He also sold his ownership in the label, so he's a nobody even when he bothers to go in for business meetings. Dan is an alcoholic whose wife, Miriam (Catherine Keener), had an affair, so he moved out of their home and into a not-so nice apartment. Dan and Miriam have a daughter named Violet (Hailee Steinfeld), who has absolutely no respect for her father. And why should she? He does stuff like take her to a bar with him where he downs some beers and then realizes he doesn't have money to pay for them. They run for it and when they get around a corner, he thinks they're safe. Then the bartender comes up behind him and tells Violet to look away while he smacks Dan. 

Dan: Don't you know anything about your father?
Violet: Yeah.
Dan: What?
Violet: I do. I know what mom says.
Dan: What does mom say?
Violet: She says you're a pathetic loser.
Dan: She says that affectionately.

But then magic happens. Dan goes to a bar and hears Gretta (Keira Knightley) sing and play the guitar. We see bits and pieces of this sequence in different ways. My favorite rendering is when Dan is so caught up in his love for Gretta's song that he imagines instruments coming in on various parts. The instruments are on the stage. No one is there to play them, but in Dan's mind, they move because he's re-imagining the song. 

Gretta is in New York because her lover and songwriting partner, Dave Kohl (Adam Levine), has suddenly become a big hit. Now, instead of being Dave's partner, she does stuff like fetch coffee for everyone in the recording studio. All of a sudden, he's a big deal, and she's nobody--like Dan. At first, Dave tries to keep Gretta involved in the record he's making, but then he lets go, enjoys his own ride, and leaves Gretta in the dust.

Dan convinces Gretta to record an album that he produces. She plays outside, all around New York, in a celebration of the city. 

Greta: Are you really an A & R man? You look more like a homeless man.

Violet gets involved and plays guitar on a song. Gretta teaches Violet some life lessons, and Violet's relationship with her father improves. Dan and Gretta spend a night re-enacting something he and Miriam did when they first met. I thought Dan and Gretta would fall in love, but no. It's better than that. It would have been a cliche if Dan and Gretta ended up in love.

I can't tell you what happens with Gretta's record because that would spoil the movie, but it's a happy ending for everyone, except maybe Dave, and I just say that because he's a jerk to Gretta; but he's a commercially successful jerk.

Keira Knightley learned to play the guitar for this movie. She lip syncs to a recording of her own voice, which is kind of breathy, but sweet. The problem is that the lip syncing isn't done very well. It always bugs me when the sound of the movie doesn't keep pace with the movements of the actors' mouths.   
Overall, this movie is great: good acting, with the exception of Adam Levine, who seems creepy to me; solid screenplay; and best of all, magical moments.

Begin Again earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval.

Obviously an R rated movie is not for children (at least I hope that's obvious; if it's not, you have some issues). You need to decide for yourself about teens. Begin Again has a lot of profanity, drinking, and drunken behavior.

Happy viewing!

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Thanks to all of you for the advice you provided yesterday (click HERE), and thank you for the kind wishes you sent to my friend. He's a nice young man. I think he'll be a good trainer. I've passed along your suggestions to him. If you think of anything else I should let him know, then please feel free to say so.

Now, I am going to edit. See you tomorrow for MOVIE WEEKEND.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I know someone who wants to start a business training people. He will teach them sit and stay, among other commands.

No. He wants to help people reach their fitness goals. He has questions about setting up a Web site for his business. I said I would ask all of you because someone will have brilliant answers.

I suggested that he use Blogger or WordPress for his site because they are free. He doesn't like the templates. Where should he set up his Web site?

He wants to make a video with him speaking for about a minute at the beginning and then it will cut to someone exercising. How can he do that without spending an arm, a leg, and a kidney?

Do you have any other advice for him, you entrepreneurial types?

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. I'm not the woman in the photo. I'm more the sit/stay type.

Monday, November 3, 2014


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today we must conclude the Spanish Inquisition because I need to edit. For the first four parts of the inquisition, click HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE. Now here we go with # . . . 

36. Favorite food?

frosted sugar cookies

37. Place you want to visit?

England--I know I've said it before, but I must say it again: I want to wander the moors like the Bronte sisters and then die dramatically from tuberculosis. I also want to go to Heptonstall to visit Sylvia Plath's grave. I must pay homage to her.

38. Last place you were?

In bed with Willy Dunne Wooters. Really didn't want to get up. Not ever. But Franklin needs love and attention, too.

39.  Do you have a crush?

Johnny Depp

40. Last time you kissed someone?

I kissed Willy Dunne Wooters when he arrived yesterday. I might have kissed parts of him since then. I've definitely kissed Franklin, who kisses on command. 

41. Last time you were insulted?

Gosh, I don't know. Why would anyone insult me?

42. Favorite flavor of sweet?

frosted sugar cookies--especially at Christmas

43. What instruments do you play?

I used to play a pretty mean penis. I mean I'm a pianist. I also sing so beautifully that I call my voice "The Instrument." It has a life of its own.

44. Favorite piece of jewelry?

I had this silver cuff bracelet I got in The Hurricane's neighborhood (she lives in the Bay Area). It was stretchy and covered quite a bit of my arm. I loved it. People commented on it all the time. I wore it every day for a year or so. Then one morning I took it out of my jewelry box, and it fell apart. It's still sitting in the jewelry box, taunting me. I have another silver bracelet with gold stars on it. I like that a lot. I also like just about anything with diamonds.

45. Last sport you played?

Fetch Franklin's food.

46. Last song you sang?

You don't own me.
I'm not one of your many toys.
You don't own me.
Don't say I can't go with other boys.
'cause you don't own me.

47. Favorite chat up line?

What is a chat up line? I usually tell people they don't know how to speak English. Then they stare at me like I'm crazy, and I realize I should speak Spanish with them because they really don't know English.

48. Have you ever used it?

Spanish? Yeah, sure. Sometimes I speak French instead, but I have to be careful because The Hurricane told me not to speak French because my accent is terrible. I always obey The Hurricane because she's a killer. Did you notice what she did to New Orleans? They still haven't recovered.

49.  Last time you hung out with anyone?

I'm hanging out with the Wooters man and Franklin right now. Carol and I went out to lunch last week. This week we're going to have afternoon tea near the beach, and we'll attend a showing of Glory because it's the 25th anniversary of its release. Looks as if I hang quite a bit for a recluse.

50. Who should answer these questions next?

The Silver Fox at The Lair of the Silver Fox is quite a raconteur (read liar). I think he should answer these questions. What about the boys at A Beer For The Shower? They're quite amusing. Oh, yes, and Kianwi at kinley dane.

You might want to go to Andi's blog, delusions of ingenuity, to get the questions because she has all of them in one post instead of breaking them up into twenty posts the way I did.

I must say that as I tap away on my laptop that WDW is staring at the desktop computer because he's enlarged the drawing of me as a Pickleope (see HERE). WDW has discovered that the cartoon is quite pornographic. He can't get enough of it. God help me. Please. 

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug