Friday, December 15, 2017

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: IL EST NE LE DIVIN ENFANT

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's December 15th, so it's time for this month's Battle of the Bands, hosted by Stephen McCarthy at STMcC Presents 'Battle of the Bands'I urge you to visit his blog to see the complete list of participants in the battle and to check out their battles.


Here's the deal: I usually present two renditions of the same song, but because Christmas is coming up and I feel generous, this month I'm giving you three choices. In your comment, you vote for the one you prefer, and if possible, tell us the reason for your choice. You have until midnight on December 20th to vote. On December 21st, I'll tell you who the winner is.

Our song for Christmas is Il est Ne, Le Divin Enfant (He Is Born, The Divine Child), a traditional French carol I've loved since I sang it with a church choir more years ago than I care of remember.

Here's the English translation, as taken from Wikipedia (our choir sang the chorus in French and the verses in English––our choices don't sing all the verses, and neither did we):

Chorus: He is born, the Heav'nly Child,
Oboes play; set bagpipes sounding
He is born, the Heav'nly Child.
Let all sing His nativity.

'Tis four thousand years and more,
Prophets have foretold His coming,
'Tis four thousand years and more,
Have we waited this happy hour. Chorus

Ah, how lovely, Ah, how fair,
What perfection is His graces,
Ah, how lovely, Ah, how fair.
Child divine, so gentle there. Chorus

In a stable lodged is He,
Straw is all He has for cradle.
In a stable lodged is He,
Oh how great humility! Chorus

Jesus Lord, O King with power,
Though a little babe You come here,
Jesus Lord, O King with power,
Rule o'er us from this glad hour. Chorus


Now, here are the possibilities. I've selected three that have very different sounds.

Choice #1 is The Trapp Family Singers:






Choice #2 is Edith Piaf:





Choice #3 is Annie Lennox:





I look forward to seeing your choices and reading your comments.

Happy listening!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

BATTLE OF THE BANDS COMING UP!

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

My Battle of the Bands post is delayed as I continue to chase the elusive job. I must complete certain "tasks" to possibly, maybe, land the job.

I hope to have my battle up later today . . . certainly no later than tomorrow . . . or the day after.

I appreciate your understanding and all the support you've given me as I've job hunted and applied.

See ya soon!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, December 8, 2017

PENELOPE SPEAKS: DOES THIS JACKET MAKE MY BUTT LOOK BIG?

Hello. It is I, Penelope.

Sometimes it is cold here in Florida. Franklin wears a big, furry winter coat all the time. I have short hair, so Mom Mom got a jacket for me to wear on cold days.

At first, I did not like the jacket. I had never worn such a thing. So I hid behind a chair and had big scaredy eyes.


Then I started to think the jacket was soft. It felt warm, kind of like wearing a blanket. Franklin said, Come out, Penlapee. You look good in your jacket.



I went outside. Mom Mom took photos of me because I look so beautiful. The bright red jacket looks nice with my black-and-white fur. The jacket has a snowflake on it, too, although I do not know what snow is.



But wait a minute! I don't like the way that Franklin is looking at my butt! Does this jacket make my butt look big?



Franklin said, I was NOT looking at her butt.



Look at Franklin sit so perfectly as if he's a little angel.



But then Franklin said, I'm sorry I looked at your butt, Penlapee. It doesn't look big. Let me give you a kiss because you are my sister and Kissmas is coming.




That took my by surprise. It was quite nice of Franklin.



I like this photo of me in the jacket. I look long and lean.



Is my butt still back there? Yes, it always follows me, but Mom Mom has assured me that I have a pretty bottom.



It is chilly and rainy today. I like my jacket a lot. Thank you, Mom Mom.




That is all. Goodbye.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

MY 2018 AFFORDABLE CARE ACT INSURANCE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

In my post on Monday, I invited you to guess how much I'll have to pay for my 2018 health insurance that I have because of the Affordable Care Act. Most of you said you had no idea how much it would cost, but I saw a couple of guesses for around $500 a month. I'm happy to say that it's not nearly that expensive.

For 2017, I've had a gold plan that cost a little more than $400 a month. It had a low deductible, which I thought was a great idea, but it didn't help me much. I didn't reach my maximum out-of-pocket expenses until the end of November. I've gotten to fill a few prescriptions for free, but that's it––unless I manage to break a bone or get sick before the end of December, which I don't intend to do.

I decided to try a different tactic for 2018. I chose a bronze plan that has a higher deductible, but the co-payments for doctor visits are less than I've paid this year. The prescription plan is also good. I have one non-generic prescription that will cost some serious money, but that payment will be offset by the monthly premiums for the plan because my payment will be

$0.00

Yes, you read that correctly. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Keep in mind that this health insurance if for me and me alone. I don't have a spouse or dependent children. It doesn't include eye care or dental insurance. I have to pay $35 to see my primary care physician, make a co-pay for prescriptions, and pay for any other treatments I receive, although all plans include certain basic service that are free––including mammograms.

Of course, I'm on a fixed income, too, and I have to live with the constant fear that the Republican congress, led by the president, will take away my benefits.

I still hope to get the job. I'll let you know when I hear about it.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Monday, December 4, 2017

THE NEWS FROM MY MICROCOSM

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I have an update on the package-stealing thieves who were in our neighborhood on Thursday (click HERE to see my post about the incident). After a while, the police moved the thieves' truck closer to my house so I got a better look at the contents. The two pieces of furniture in the back provided camouflage for the children's bicycles that were also in the truck, along with large black garbage bags that probably held the stolen packages. The police took a number of photographs of the truck and its contents. They weren't fooling around.

Yesterday I went to see my newest neighbor, a very nice young lady, to alert her to what had happened because I knew she was at work when the police were here. I told her I had seen an officer go to her door. It turns out she is missing a package. She's going to call the city to find out if they're holding it.

I put up my Christmas tree and set out a few decorations. The items I like to put on the mantle and the tree skirt are wedged in the attic. I can't get them out and Favorite Young Man has gone away for a while. I can live without the stuff in the attic and take delight in what I do have.






Last weekend was beautiful and sunny. Penelope has never learned to walk well on a lead, so I took Franklin for a shorter walk than usual and returned to prepare Penelope for a walk of her own. She has to wear a harness because she slips out of her collar. We went out the door and  Penelope showed me that I had put the harness on wrong when she walked right out of it on the front steps. But did she take off and run? No, not my Penelope. Instead she turned to go back in the house, where I put on the harness correctly.

Who's a good Penelope?


I haven't heard anything about the job (I had trouble submitting the forms for the background check, but the company received them on Friday), so I signed up for a new year of Affordable Care Act insurance in case I don't have that beautiful benefits package. This year I had a gold plan with a low deductible. I found that the low deductible didn't do me much good because it was only at the end of November that I reached my maximum out-of-pocket expenses. For 2018, I have a bronze plan with a higher deductible but lower co-pays. And guess what my monthly premium is! Go ahead! Guess in your comment.

I think I'm done Christmas shopping. It's time to wrap and mail!

That's all the news that is news from my microcosm. See you soon.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, November 30, 2017

FRANKLIN SOUNDED THE ALERT: THIEVES ARE ABOUT!

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Franklin launched into his "something is wrong" bark a while ago. I went to look out the living room window and expected to see a cat. Instead, I saw three police cars and a dilapidated truck stopped in the road only a few yards from my palace.

I spied with my little eye a police officer going door-to-door, so I went outside to try to find out what was going on. An officer told me that they had caught "the group" with the truck. They had stolen the stuff in the back (furniture, from what I could see) from "around the corner," and then they were going around stealing boxes left by UPS at houses in the hood. The police did not have any packages with my address on them.

I am not going out to take photographs. I don't want to get in the way of what appears to be an ongoing investigation.

I'm grateful to Franklin for informing me about this bad behavior. He probably saw the whole thing.

All I can tell you is that this business of stealing packages seems to be gearing up along with the holidays. Watch out!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

TIP TUESDAY: THE INTERNATIONAL PHONETIC ALPHABET

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Several years ago, a friend came to stay with me for a few days. He perused a page on Wikipedia and wondered out loud about some marks following the name of the subject he was reading about. I told him that the marks were symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet. He said, Well, they don't do any good if people don't know what they are.

He was right––as he is occasionally. So today I'll clue you in on the IPA so when you come across it, you know what it is.

The IPA consists of symbols that resemble letters in the English language. It's based on Latin. Each symbol represents a sound in oral language. It's used by linguists, lexicographers, and a variety of people who want to learn how to pronounce words or names, whether in their own language or any other language. It can even be used to represent unrecorded languages.

I learned the IPA long ago when I took a class on linguistics. I don't remember all the symbols, but I still get the general idea of a pronunciation when I see it written in IPA.

Let's take the example of Milo Ventimiglia, who stars in the popular NBC show This Is Us, which I started watching because my good friend Rita at SoulComfort's Corner recommended it. Ventimiglia also played Jess on The Gilmore Girls, a show I adored because it's about my daughter and me.

Need I remind you yet again that I am the real Lorelai Gilmore?


So if we look up Milo on Wikipedia, we see this after his name: /vɛntɪˈmljə/ That's the pronunciation of Ventimiglia in IPA symbols. 

You can find the entire IPA chart with its symbols and sounds online. It looks like this:



Yes, I know it's too small to read. Don't start complaining in your comments. Look it up online if you want to see a larger version of it. You can do it. You can also find helpful information HERE.

So now you know what those funny symbols mean when you happen across them, even if you don't know how to read them. But you can learn the IPA if you like, or pick out your favorite resource for the symbols and use it as a reference guide.

You're welcome.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Monday, November 27, 2017

BOOK NOOK: BETWEEN BREATHS BY ELIZABETH VARGAS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Although I don't watch 20/20, the show that Elizabeth Vargas currently co-hosts, I've seen her on TV many times over her long career and have always admired her for her intelligence and poise.

I had no idea that she has suffered from severe anxiety for as long as she could remember and that she had turned to alcohol to self-medicate until I read Between Breaths: A Memoir of Panic and Addiction.

If you've ever said, I don't understand these people who claim they have panic attacks, then this is the book for you. Vargas writes this description of the anxiety she experienced during her childhood:

When you are anxious in the way that I was, fears begin to feed on themselves. The feeling is so unpleasant that you start to notice everything, wondering if it is going to make you want to jump, wondering if you should run. I was poised at all times, it seems, to flee the bugs, the snakes, or a patch of marshy soil that looked like it might melt into quicksand. Even little things that normally don't bother people can send an anxious person up a wall My brother was exposed to the same terrors as I was, but to me at least, he seemed to glide through, unperturbed.

As a young adult, Vargas turned to alcohol to alleviate her anxiety. In this book she describes her eventual treatment in rehab, relapses, divorce, and continued efforts to change her life.

Even if you already have empathy for people who have panic attacks, I think you'll find Vargas's memoir of interest and enjoy her success that hasn't come to her without very hard work.

Between Breaths earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Appreciative Approval.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Note: This review is a fair and impartial one, not affected by my receipt of the book from a Goodreads giveaway.

Friday, November 24, 2017

PLACES IN THE HEART

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Yesterday was dreary and rainy, but the weather couldn't dampen the scent of the turkey and all the other good food I had prepared.

As the turkey spent its time in the oven, I watched a favorite movie from 1984 on Turner Classic Movies: Places In The Heart. It stars Sally Field (she won her second Best Actress Academy Award and gave that often misquoted speech), Danny Glover, and John Malkovich.

Every time I see the final sequence, I have tears in my eyes. Yet I have always wondered about the presence in the church of characters who have died or gone away. Edna Spalding's (Sally Field) late husband is there, next to the man who accidentally shot and killed him and was lynched for it. Moses (Danny Glover) appears, although he's had to leave the Spalding farm because of an attack by the KKK.




But yesterday, as the characters took Communion, I finally realized that all are in place because in the end, nothing is left but love and forgiveness.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: SIMON & GARFUNKEL V. PIGPEN THEATRE CO.

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Wow! This Battle of the Bands was a close one. I'm not voting because it won't change the outcome.

The winners are

Simon & Garfunkel with 17 votes

while PigPen Theatre Co. finishes with a respectable 15 votes.

Thank you for voting, and I wish the rest of you in the U.S. a blessed Thanksgiving.

I'll ask Simon & Garfunkel to sing us out with one of my favorite songs.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug




Monday, November 20, 2017

PIGPEN THEATRE CO.

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

This is your last day to vote in BATTLE OF THE BANDS: THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK. The contenders are Simon & Garfunkel and PigPen Theatre Co. I'll announce the winner tomorrow.

I want to give you as much information as I can about PigPen Theatre Co., but all I know can be found on their Web site HERE. Wikipedia doesn't even have a page about them.

They are seven guys who met in 2007 during their freshman year at Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama in Pittsburgh. They wanted to create original plays, but they didn't have any money. They found that one way to make their creations work was to add music.

In 2012, they began releasing albums. In addition to their Web site, you can learn more about them by watching their TEDx talk:



It's only 11 minutes long, and it's very enjoyable. What I know now is that I'd love to see them in person.

I appreciate it that you've been willing to open your ears, hearts, and minds to them. I happened upon their cover of The Only Living Boy In New York on YouTube and knew I had to use them for my battle. Thanks to you, they're making a respectable showing. I thought Simon & Garfunkel might blow them away.

How about if we ask them to play us out today with their original song, Bremen, and with another of their covers?

See ya tomorrow with the battle results.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug







Sunday, November 19, 2017

BEHIND THE LYRICS OF THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

The lyrics of The Only Living Boy In New York are copyrighted, but you can find them online if you can't understand them when they're sung. I think they're easier to hear than a lot of lyrics, such as "there's a bathroom on the right."

Of course, the song is my choice for the current Battle of the Bands. My contenders are Simon & Garfunkel and PigPen Theatre Co. If you haven't voted yet, I hope you'll do so at BATTLE OF THE BANDS: THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK.

Paul Simon wrote this song. Although I've cautioned my readers many times against thinking that the poetic persona is the poet (or songwriter), in this case, Paul admittedly addresses Art.

But he begins by calling Art "Tom." As you might recall from my post yesterday, A BRIEF HISTORY OF SIMON & GARFUNKEL, the duo had their first success as Tom & Jerry when they were in high school. Art was Tom.

So why does Tom fly to Mexico? He has a part in the 1969 movie Catch-22, directed by Mike Nichols. Nichols gave Simon & Garfunkel's career a big boost when he used their music for the soundtrack of his hit movie The Graduate in 1967.

Art wanted to try to have an acting career, but Paul was left behind. They would have gone to Mexico together for the movie because Simon had been offered a role, too. The offer was rescinded when Nichols cut the part. That left Simon as the only living boy in New York. Losing something that had been in his reach must have been painful for Simon.

I can't imagine that Nichols wanted to break up Simon & Garfunkel, but the split recounted in this song foreshadows their break-up as a musical pairing, which occurred the next year. Garfunkel, however, did not have a big career in movies. He played Jack Nicholson's friend in Carnal Knowledge. That and Catch-22 were his biggest accomplishments. As a singing solo act, Garfunkel had some success, but nothing compared to that of  Rhymin' Simon.

The lyrics of The Only Living Boy In New York are wistful and lonely, but Simon wishes Garfunkel well. In the future, the two often did not wish each other well.

The Only Living Boy In New York wasn't one of their big hits, but it's been covered many times. Simon & Garfunkel also gave Zach Braff permission to use the original in his 2004 film, Garden State. 

It's a beautiful and deceptively simply song.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Now that we've chatted about Simon & Garfunkel's association with Mike Nichols, how about if we listen to something from The Graduate?



Saturday, November 18, 2017

A BRIEF HISTORY OF SIMON & GARFUNKEL

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Now that we're finished with the silly distraction of the potential job, we can get back to what's really important: Battle of the Bands.

As you may already know, the song for my current battle is The Only Living Boy In New York. The contenders are Simon & Garfunkel and PigPen Theatre Co. If you haven't voted yet, please visit THIS POST to do so.

The history of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel can be summed up as making beautiful music together, splitting up, taking verbal jabs at one another, reuniting, splitting, not speaking, and reuniting.

The duo discovered they could harmonize in 1953 when they were in the sixth grade in Queens. They continued to sing together as high school students. In 1957, they recorded a composition of their own called Hey, Schoolgirl as Tom & Jerry. It was a modest success, and they appeared on American Bandstand.



Their next attempts at recording together failed. College beckoned. Simon majored in English and went to Brooklyn Law School. Garfunkel studied art history at Columbia University and then earned a master's degree in mathematics. Both made attempts at solo singing careers, with Simon spending some time in England. When he returned to the U.S., the two recorded some songs together again, but weren't successful. One of these was The Sound of Silence.

Then a remix of The Sound of Silence hit in 1965––and it hit big. No more stage names. They were Simon & Garfunkel, folk rock duo. In 1966, they had three successful albums that produced four big singles. They became one of the most popular groups in the world during the remainder of the decade, but both wanted to make some changes. Paul Simon wanted to become a solo recording artist, while Art Garfunkel embarked on an acting career in movies. Both have said they only wanted to take a break from each other for a couple of years. The break became more or less permanent (in spite of some television appearances and their hugely successful free concert in Central Park in 1982) when an album that they were to record together instead turned into a Paul Simon solo project.

Creative differences? Sick of each other? Hurt feelings? All probably apply to the end of their recording career.

In 1990 when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Garfunkel thanked Simon for "enriching his life." Simon's response was "Well, Arthur and I agree about almost nothing, but it´s true: I have enriched his life quite a bit now that I think about it." 

Garfunkel has referred to Simon's short stature over the years in disparaging terms and said that he spoke to Simon in high school because he felt sorry for him.

From 1993 to 2003, Simon and Garfunkel rarely spoke. In 2001, Simon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. In his acceptance speech, he stated, "I regret the ending of our friendship. I hope that some day before we die we will make peace with each other [long pause]. No rush."

Yet in 2003 they began to perform together again and have toured regularly, although Simon insists he'll never record with Garfunkel again. Garfunkel has also experienced problems with his vocal chords that have sometimes limited his ability to sing. They are 76 years old.




They have 10 Grammy Awards. Their last studio album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, was released in January, 1970, and became the best-selling album of all time until Michael Jackson released Thriller in 1982.

In my next post, we'll talk about the lyrics for The Only Living Boy In New York.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


From The Concert In Central Park, with 500,000 in attendance:


Thursday, November 16, 2017

I'M EXCITED AND TERRIFIED!

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

My posts about the background of The Only Living Boy In New York and the histories of the two contenders in my Battle of the Bands (Simon & Garfunkel and PigPen Theatre Co.) will be delayed or might not happen at all, but I'll certainly return on November 21st to announce the winner.

At long last, I'm in the final stages of getting a job. I can't tell you what it is, but it involves an extensive background check. I have a lot of forms to fill out. There's so much I don't remember about my own work history, such as starting and ending dates. It's probably going to take me a while to get through all the paperwork.

Please say a prayer for me, send positives vibes toward Florida, cast a happy spell, and wish me well. If everything works out, it will mean a new job for me in the new year.

In the meantime, if you haven't voted yet in my BATTLE OF THE BANDS: THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK, I hope you'll listen to the two versions of the song and tell us which one you prefer.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug





Wednesday, November 15, 2017

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It's November 15th, so it's time for this month's Battle of the Bands, hosted by Stephen McCarthy at STMcC Presents 'Battle of the Bands'. I urge you to visit his blog to see the complete list of participants in the battle and to visit them.


Here's the deal: I present two renditions of the same song. In your comment, you vote for the one you prefer, and if possible, tell us the reason for your choice. You have until midnight on November 20th to vote. On November 21st, I'll tell you who the winner is.

Today I present a competition . . . well, I'll let T. S. Eliot tell you what I'm thinking through the voice of the poetic persona in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:

"And indeed there will be time / To wonder, 'Do I dare?' and, 'Do I dare?' . . . Do I dare / Disturb the universe?"

For I have known them all already, known them all––
Have known the evening, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
     So how should I presume?

I did not think, Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell, that I dared make anyone compete against Simon & Garfunkel, performing a song that Paul Simon wrote to/for Art Garfunkel. Paul and Artie are icons of American music.

I am one who would say, Of course I shall vote for Paul and Artie. I cannot do otherwise. But I dare disturb the universe because I heard a cover of The Only Living Boy In New York that gave me chills although I adore the original.

But how should I presume? Even if this battle is a blowout in favor of Simon & Garfunkel, then at least I will have introduced you––if you do not know them already, as I did not––to PigPen Theatre Co.

In the days to come, I'll also write posts about the meaning of The Only Living Boy In New York and the histories of Simon & Garfunkel and PigPen Theatre Co. If you cannot vote today, it's okay. You'll learn and you'll listen more and you'll come back from a farther room to vote another day.

We participants in the Battle of the Bands often ask our followers to ignore videos of the bands if we use them, but I shan't do that today, for music can be more than aural grandeur.

We begin with Simon & Garfunkel:




And now PigPen Theatre Co.:




Thanks for joining me in this battle. I hope you enjoy The Only Living Boy In New York.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, November 10, 2017

PENELOPE SPEAKS: I AM IN CHARGE HERE

Hello. It is I, Penelope.


Mom Mom does not feel well. She keeps dashing off to the bathroom to sit on her white throne. Do not worry. I am tending to her.

That is all.

Friday, November 3, 2017

FRANKLIN FRIDAY: SOME BUDDY HAS BOOTIFUL ROCKS IN HER HEAD

HI! Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi, every buddy! It's me me me me me me, Franklin the Bordernese, and I wanna show you some pretties that will please.


Me and Mom know a very cool blogger named Low Rainy Day, and she . . .

What?

Oh.

Her name is Lorraine, says The Queen of Grammar who always has to get stuff just right.

Now let's see if I can continue without more interruptors.

Lorraine blogs at We are:Clamco. Me and Mom have liked Lorraine for a pretty long time, but we got even more interested in her when she started painting pretty things on rocks. Yes! Fur real rocks, like you find outside.

Lorraine even sells the pretty painted rocks, and we gots some. I can't show you pitchers of them because they're going to be Kissmas presents. You know how I love Kissmas.

But Lorraine said we can use some of her pitchers to show you her rocks.

Looky here:







Lorraine's rocks are so bootiful that she has sold most of them, but if you wanna see what she has left so you can buy me a Kissmas present, you can look at her Facebook page. She has a photo album there with lots of rocks she's painted. You can ask her which ones are still left and how much they cost.

Some of them are sins of omission, which means . . .

What now?

Oh.

They're commissions, which means that people ask for them and Lorraine paints what they want on the rock.

But if you don't wanna buy rocks, it's okay. Me and Mom hope you will visit Lorraine because we think you will like the pitchers on her blog of her painting and then she shows us how the rocks turn out.

Mom actually said something pretty smart about the bootiful rocks. She said, Franklin, sometimes people say "dumb as a rock" or "stone deaf." Suck phrases suggest that a rock is as dead as anything can be. But when Lorraine turns a rock into art, then it lives because art is alive forever.

Don't you think Mom is rotund?

Oh.

Mom says she's not rotund and that the word I should use is profound. snicker snort

Mom is kinda rotund. snicker snort snicker snort

I wonder if I can hold a paintbrush in my paw.

Penlapee! Do you wanna take a nap?


Here she comes.

Okay I love you bye-bye.


Friday, October 27, 2017

FRANKLIN FRIDAY: WE RUNNED THIS MORNING

Hi! It's me! It's me! It's me! Me me me memememememememememe! I'm Franklin the Bordernese! When I run I'm as fast as a hurricane's breeze!


Early this morning when it was still dark and Mom was asleep, me and Penlapee came up with a plan. We wanted to go outside to run and play, but we knew Mom wouldn't want to get up.

So I paced up and down next to the bed and whimpered a little bit to make her think I needed a potty break real bad. Sure enough, we fooled her. She got up and we went out in the backyard.

What Mom didn't know is that we weren't coming back. When Mom called us, Penlapee kept running in circles and I hid behind the garage. Mom acted all sweetie sweet and said, Come on now. Let's go back to bed, darling puppies.

Ha! I came out from behind the garage so Mom thought we would come inside. Instead, I ran over and hid under the big bush.

Mom came out on the deck and said in a way that was kinda stern, Now that's it. Get in here. It's time to go back to bed.

Penlapee was still running in circles (I don't know where she thinks she's going), and I hid behind the garage again. Mom started to get kinda mad. She said, Get in this house right now!

Nope! Not us.

Mom went inside. I thought she'd go back to bed and we could play as long as we wanted, but that's not what happened. Mom is a tattletale. She really went inside to get Big Human Brudder. He gave me a bath with the hose a few days ago and he squirted my butt. It was so embarrassing.

Big Human Brudder came out. The jig was up. He said, Come inside.

We went. We have to do what he says cuz he can pick us up and move us wherever he wants us to be. We hate that.

Mom said, This is ridiculous. It's five a clock in the morning. Now let's all go to bed.



And that's what we did.

But only because Big Human Brudder was there.

Okay I love you bye-bye.

This happened to me once.
Thanks a bunch for the cartoon about it, Mrs. Ducky.



Saturday, October 21, 2017

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: NINA SIMONE V. BILLIE HOLIDAY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Thank you for your interest in my return to the Battle of the Bands, hosted by Stephen McCarthy at STMcC Presents 'Battle of the Bands'I appreciate the time you took to vote and read my posts about the song for my battle––Strange Fruit.

And the winner is

Billie Holiday with 18 votes

while

Nina Simone finishes with a respectable 13 votes.

After spending so much time on a song about lynching and writing about the connection between its author, Abel Meeropol, and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, I had a nightmare Thursday night that I was fighting with someone who was trying to kill my daughter in the electric chair. I didn't sleep well the rest of the night. 

I mentioned the nightmare to my son and told him I would also be opposed to his execution in the electric chair (or by any other means).

Isn't it strange that the man who wrote with such eloquence about lynching went on to adopt the sons of people who were, in essence, lynched by their own government?

On a happier note, it's a bit cooler here. Franklin and I have resumed our walks to the neighborhood park. While we often meet other dogs who are walking their people, last time we met a horse. She was beautiful, and was accompanied by her human friend, who had stopped to give her a break from her trailer.

That's the first time we've come across a horse in the park. Franklin was curious about her and seemed unafraid, but when we returned to the path, he was in a hurry. She had four legs, but she was the biggest dog he'd ever seen.

I'll leave you with another song by Abel Meeropol, whose pseudonym as a songwriter was Lewis Allan in honor of his two stillborn sons with wife Anne. Sing us out, please, Ole Blue Eyes.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug




Thursday, October 19, 2017

WHAT HAPPENED TO MICHAEL AND ROBERT ROSENBERG?

If you want to read my posts for this week in sequence, please start with BATTLE OF THE BANDS: STRANGE FRUIT. The contenders are Nina Simone and Billie Holiday. You have until midnight on Friday, October 20th, to vote. I'll announce the winner on Saturday, the 21st.

My posts that expand on information about Strange Fruit are the following (in order):

THE ORIGINS OF STRANGE FRUIT
WHO WAS LEWIS ALLAN, THE AUTHOR OF STRANGE FRUIT?
THE STRANGE CASE OF JULIUS & ETHEL ROSENBERG

And now for today's post:

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today we finally get to the connection between Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and Abel Meeropol, who wrote Strange Fruit.

Michael and Robert Rosenberg, known as Robbie, went through hell when their parents were arrested, tried, and executed. Michael, who was ten at the time of the execution, remembers their parents better than Robbie, who was only six.

Here the boys are escorted by their grandmother to visit their parents in prison a few days before the execution:



Although the boys spent some time with each of their grandmothers, no relatives wanted to keep them. Everyone was afraid to be associated with the convicted criminals. Michael himself recalls denying that he had any association with his parents.

They ended up in an orphanage, where they were abused.

Their parents' will named one of their lawyers, Emanuel Bloch, as the boys' guardian. Bloch found a home for the two with none other than Abel and Anne Meeropol, who had never met the Rosenbergs but were sympathetic to their cause.

Abel and Anne adopted the boys, who are still known as Michael and Robert Meeropol.

Here are Michael and Robbie with Abel Meerepol:



The two credit the Meeropols with saving their lives. Both grew up to have their own families, successful careers, and to acknowledge their identities as the sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

In fact, for many years they fought to clear their father's name. As more information became available to them, they accepted his guilt, but continue to believe that what he provided to the Soviets was useless.

They asked President Obama to exonerate their mother before he left office, which he did not do. They are ardent believers in their mother's innocence. She was convicted because of her own brother's false testimony.

When he consented to an interview with 60 Minutes in 2001, David Greenglass stated: "I would not sacrifice my wife and my children for my sister. How do you like that?" He still insisted on having his face and voice disguised. 

Thanks to all of you who have followed this series of posts that began with the song Strange Fruit.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Michael Meeropol


Robert Meeropol

If you'd like to read more about Michael and Robert Meeropol, I suggest https://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-brothers-rosenberg-cold-war-spying-2/, where you can read the transcript of their interview with Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes. I also recommend Ivy Meeropol's documentary, Heir To An Execution. Ivy is Michael's daughter. The documentary is available on HBO Now, can be purchased from Amazon, or is available on DVD from Netflix.







Wednesday, October 18, 2017

THE STRANGE CASE OF JULIUS & ETHEL ROSENBERG

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

As we continue with connections to my current Battle of the Bands song, Strange Fruit, I have a summary for you of the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, which is so complicated that I can't possibly unravel it in a blog post. However, many sources are available online for further reading.

In 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, a married couple with two young children, were convicted of espionage for leading a spy ring that provided atomic bomb information to the Soviet Union. On June 19, 1953, they were executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York––first Julius and then Ethel. Julius was 35, and Ethel was 37.



Calling the case "controversial" is quite the understatement.

Were they guilty? Were they victims of anti-communist hysteria in the U.S.? The answer to both of these questions is yes.

During the two years between the conviction and execution, and in the decades since, their supporters have argued that they were innocent, that they were framed, and finally, have been forced to acknowledge that they bore some guilt. The execution seems to have been an insane overreaction.

Here are the basic facts:
  • The U.S. did not share information about the atomic bomb program with their allies during World War II, the Soviet Union. 
  • In 1949, the U.S. government was shocked when the Soviet Union tested an atomic weapon.
  • In 1950, the U.S. learned that a physicist and German refugee working on the Manhattan Project gave information about atomic weapons to the Soviets throughout the war. Fuchs said his courier was a man named Harry Gold.
  • In May, 1950, Harry Gold was arrested and confessed. He identified David Greenglass as another participant in the scheme. Greenglass was a machinist in the U.S. Army who was assigned to the top-secret Manhattan Project at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
  • In June, 1950, David Greenglass was arrested and confessed to giving secrets to Gold, who passed them on to the Soviet Union. 
  • David Greenglass also identified Julius Rosenberg, an electrical engineer who was his sister Ethel's husband, as the person who persuaded Greenglass's wife, Ruth, to recruit him and said that Julius Rosenberg gave atomic secrets to the Soviets. 
  • Rosenberg's Soviet contact agent was Anatoly Yakovlev, to whom Rosenberg provided numerous documents and drawings connected with atomic secrets.  
  • Morton Sobell, another accused conspirator, took off for Mexico City. He was extradited to the U.S. and was tried with the Rosenbergs for conspiracy to commit espionage.
So what was the case against Ethel Rosenberg? Not much, but she became part of the ploy to convict Julius because the idea of a very stiff penalty against both of the Rosenbergs was supposed to make Julius confess. David and Ruth Greenglass, in exchange for charges against Ruth being dropped, changed their testimony from David passing secrets to Julius Rosenberg on a street corner in New York City to David passing secrets to Julius in the Rosenberg's apartment, which Ethel then typed up in their living room.

The ploy didn't work the way that government prosecutors thought it would. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were called to testify before a grand jury and were indicted along with David Greenglass and Anatoly Yakovlev. During the grand jury hearing and at their trial, the Rosenbergs never implicated anyone else. They refused to incriminate themselves. The judge in their trial sentenced them to death for conspiracy and blamed them for American deaths in the Korean War. They were the only two people to be executed for conspiracy during the Cold War.

Up to the last minute before their executions, Ethel was told she could save herself by admitting that her husband was guilty, but she wouldn't do it.

Jean Paul Sartre said the executions were a "legal lynching."

And what happened to others who were accused?

Harry Gold was convicted and served 15 years.

Klaus Fuchs was convicted in Great Britain and served nine years and four months.

Martin Sobell was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He served 17 years and nine months. In 2008, he admitted he was a Soviet spy.

David Greenglass was sentenced to 15 years in prison, served 10, and went home to his wife Ruth. They lived under assumed names. In 2001 he recanted his testimony against his sister and admitted that he lied to spare his wife and their children. Ruth died in 2008 at age 83. David died at age 92 in 2014.

Yes, Julius Rosenberg was guilty, but Sobell and other sources have claimed that the information Julius Rosenberg passed to the Soviets was of little value.

Ethel was probably guilty of hiding money for Julius. She also allegedly asked her sister-in-law Ruth to convince David to join Julius in the spy ring. All four, along with Martin Sobell, were members of the American Communist Party.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg could not possibly have deserved the punishment they received.

When they were executed, their sons Michael and Robert were ten and six years old.

Next time, what happened to Michael and Robert and how is the author of Strange Fruit involved?


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

If you haven't voted in my Battle of the Bands, please check it out at
http://dumpedfirstwife.blogspot.com/2017/10/battle-of-bands-strange-fruit.html. The song is Strange Fruit. The contenders are Nina Simone and Billie Holiday.











Tuesday, October 17, 2017

WHO WAS LEWIS ALLAN, THE AUTHOR OF STRANGE FRUIT?

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

We're on the subject of Strange Fruit, the poem that became a song, which is featured in my current Battle of the Bands. Click HERE to listen to two versions of the song and cast your vote for Nina Simone or Billie Holiday. It's a close battle because both renditions are so good.

My post for yesterday is THE ORIGINS OF STRANGE FRUIT. It touches on the history of lynching and reveals that the author of the poem, and subsequent song, used the pseudonym "Lewis Allan."

Lewis Allan was Abel Meeropol, an English teacher and member of the American Communist Party (which he later left). His poem, first known as Bitter Fruit, appeared in a teachers union publication. Meeropol added music to his words, and with his wife, Anne, and a singer named Laura Duncan, began to perform it as a protest song.

A couple of different versions of the story about how the song made its way to Billie Holiday exist, but she began to perform it regularly as part of her live act and recorded it in 1939 and 1944. She claimed in her autobiography that she helped write the song along with two other people, but numerous sources state definitively that words and music are by Lewis Allan, a.k.a. Meeropol.

In 1999, "Time" magazine named Strange Fruit the best song of the century.

The Meeropols were also less well known for their link to an unusual event: the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.

Abel and Anne


Yes, the Meeropols and the Rosenbergs were all Communists, but they didn't know each other.

Coming up next: more about the Rosenbergs.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug





Monday, October 16, 2017

THE ORIGINS OF STRANGE FRUIT

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

If you visited my blog yesterday or today, you know that I've re-joined the Battle of the Bands and that my first competition is between Nina Simone and Billie Holiday. The song is Strange Fruit.

The lyrics to Strange Fruit made their way into the world in 1937 in the form of a poem by "Lewis Allan," a New York City teacher who put his thoughts into an extended metaphor after seeing a photo of two African-American men who had been lynched.

The lyrics of the song are copyrighted, but they're quite easy to understand in either of the recordings posted HERE for my Battle of the Bands. (If you haven't voted yet, I hope you'll do so after listening to Simone and Holiday.)

Now, where do I go from here? Do I tell you about the man behind the pseudonym Lewis Allan, or do I write about lynching?

I guess I choose lynching, with information about the writer of the song soon to follow.

I won't include any photos of people who have been lynched. If you want to see them, they're not difficult to find. It was common for the murderers to photograph their accomplishment, and even to put the photos on post cards.

"Lynch Law" means a punishment without trial. For black men in the U.S., a lynching meant being accused of some fault or crime, being dragged from their homes or pulled off the street by a mob––often members of our oldest hate group, the Ku Klux Klan––and then hanged. Sometimes these human beings, thought of as sub-human by white supremacists, were tortured and their bodies burned. In addition to making the photos into post cards, the killers sometimes kept body parts as souvenirs of their great triumph.

How many people have been lynched? Probably upwards of 4,000, but I can't give you an exact figure. Black people aren't alone in being the targets of such hatred, although they are the largest group. Jews, immigrants, Catholics, and gay/lesbian people can be included as common targets of hatred.

To learn more about lynching, please visit HERE to see a map of the United States that shows where lynchings took place between 1835 and 1964. This site also has more information about mob violence. Another good source of information is the Southern Poverty Law Center.

It's well past lunch time, but for some reason, I have no appetite.

I guess we know why Lewis Allan felt compelled to write Strange Fruit.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug










Sunday, October 15, 2017

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: STRANGE FRUIT

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Welcome to my return to Battle of the Bands, hosted by Mr. Stephen McCarthy, who blogs at STMcC Presents 'Battle of the Bands'.



On the 15th of each month, I'll present two versions of the same song. You vote for the one you prefer in your comment, and I'll tell you the winner on the 21st. Voting remains open until midnight on the 20th.

Our song for this month is Strange Fruit. The "strange fruit" to which the song refers is that of "black bodies"––victims of the horrific practice of lynching.

I wasn't going to use Billie Holiday's rendition of the song for the battle because she made the song famous, but I find Nina Simone's singing so compelling that I decided to let the two compete against each other.

This week on my blog I'll provide more information about the song and its composer, who played a role––probably unknown by most people––in the story of a family torn apart because of the execution of the parents by the U.S. government.

Here's Nina Simone:





Here's Lady Day:



Now I turn the question over to you. Do you vote for Nina Simone or Billie Holiday?

 Please visit STMcC Presents 'Battle of the Bands' to find the list of participants in this bloghop.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thursday, October 12, 2017

I SPAT OUT THE PHISHING BAIT

To read the first part of this story, please go to I WAS PHISHED AND I NIBBLED ON THE BAIT.

To read the second part, please go to WHEN I NIBBLED THE BAIT, IT DIDN'T TASTE THAT GREAT.


To read the third part, please go to I CHOKED ON THE BAIT WHEN I WAS PHISHED.

All right, Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Let's finish this damn story no matter how long it takes. I'm sick of it.

Here's how I figured out that I absolutely, positively was being phished. I went to the Sas Web site and took a look at their employment information. It said that recruiting emails and job information would only come from sas.com verified email addresses.

William George, Jessica Julious, and Dexter whatever his last name was all had gmail addresses.

I informed Willy Dunne Wooters, who said if I had set up the Google Hangouts interview with Dexter, that is when he would have asked for my birthday and Social Security number under the guise of performing a background check so they could give me this great job. Fortunately, when the bait didn't taste right, I didn't swallow it.

It occurred to me that this experience was a lot like the fake news stories that are online (and I'm talking about actual fake news and not the real news that the doofus in the White House claims is fake because it tells the truth about him). The stories might seem interesting, but if you read them, any sensible person can tell that the "news" isn't real. The source isn't respectable and known. The stories are often badly written. The whole thing doesn't make sense.

Sas also had an email address in the employment section of their Web site, so I sent them the fake emails. I received a very nice note in return from an HR person––with an sas.com email address–– who confirmed that it was a scam. She also said she'd forward the emails to their legal department to keep them informed because they try to prevent Sas's name from being used in this way.

A couple of days later I received a recruiting email from a business that's not too far from my home. I know it exists. I know where it is.

But I didn't apply for the position until after I called them, asked for HR, and spoke to someone who confirmed that the job was real and they were recruiting me. It hasn't led to an interview––yet. Maybe it will. I try not to lose hope.

In other news, I'm returning to The Battle of the Bands on a once-a-month basis. Each month on the 15th, I'll present two versions of the same song. You can vote in your comments for the one that you prefer. I'll announce the winner on the 21st.

The 15th of October is this coming Sunday, so be there (here) or be square.

I've already chosen the song for my return. It's hauntingly beautiful and its composer played an unusual and rather interesting part in history. Yes, Silver Fox, you know what it is, but don't reveal the title, please.

See you all soon. Thanks for sticking with me throughout this story. Maybe it will help you avoid being phished.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug





Monday, October 9, 2017

I CHOKED ON THE BAIT WHEN I WAS PHISHED

To read the first part of this story, please go to I WAS PHISHED AND I NIBBLED ON THE BAIT.

To read the second part, please go to WHEN I NIBBLED THE BAIT, IT DIDN'T TASTE THAT GREAT.


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

It wasn't right. I knew it wasn't right. Why would I send my résumé and cover letter to Sas one day and receive an email from them about an interview the very next day? Why did the first email come from "William George," while the second came from "Jessica Julious"? Both names seemed suspicious to me.

I got in touch with Willy Dunne Wooters to ask him about Sas.




He said that Sas (pronounced sass) is a real, high-end company, and I should be prepared to sound tech savvy in my interview.

But I'm not tech savvy, I said.

I mean that you should be able to tell them that you know they do data analysis instead of saying you don't know what they do, WDW explained.

His final remark was, Just be careful you aren't being phished.

I already suspected I was being phished.

Sas is in the data analysis business. I'm not a technical writer. If you read the second part of this story and saw the comments, then you know that the email asking me for an interview was filled with errors. Besides, what kind of high-end company does interviews on Google Hangouts?

When Favorite Young Man got off work that day, I told him the story. He was like me. At first, he wanted to believe it was true. Forty-eight bucks an hour to work from home? (Sas does not have an office in my city. I learned that in my research.)

Want to believe it's true = It's too good to be true

We went back to the Sas Web site. That's where I found the definitive answer to my question. I'll tell you what I learned when I continue this never-ending saga on phishing.

Except we will have an end.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, October 6, 2017

FRANKLIN FRIDAY: MOM WANTS ME TO CHEER YOU UP

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.

Oh.

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.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

WHEN I NIBBLED THE BAIT, IT DIDN'T TASTE THAT GREAT

To read the beginning of this story, please click on I WAS PHISHED AND I NIBBLED ON THE BAIT.

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

After I sent my cover letter and résumé to "William George" of Sas, which is a real company that has a beautiful, professional Web site, I was surprised to find another email from Sas in my inbox the very next day.

This time "Jessica Julious" wrote:

Hello, 


        Sas Institute has approved your application for the position of a Content writer/Editor after careful review of your resume/portfolio and we want to arrange you for an immediate interview with our Human Resource hiring Manager Dexter Jackson ASAP.

        To begin the process you need to get a Gmail account and install Google Hangout on your PC or phone and add Dexter on his hangout ID then send him a message on hangout to communicate with him, you can do the hangout chat interview either on your computer or mobile.

        We look forward to hearing back from you asap and i wish you best of luck with your interview.
         

Human Resource,
Dexter's Hangout ID: I removed the link because I don't want you to click on it

Interview code: Saswriters007.

I had already started to suspect that the job was too good to be true. When I received the second email, "scam scam scam scam" wouldn't stop running through my brain.

What is it about the second email that you think tipped me toward believing it was a phishing expedition?

Once again, to be continued . . . .


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug