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





Tuesday, September 26, 2017

TIP TUESDAY: SO TO SPEAK BY THE SILVER FOX

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Today I present The Silver Fox, who blogs at The Lair of The Silver Fox (where else could he possibly blog?), with his tips for writing dialog. Considering that The Silver Fox writes the best dialog of any blogger I know, I hope you'll take his thoughts to heart, and I hope you'll follow his blog. Even if you aren't interested in comic books and dead celebrities––he writes some killer short stories, too––I recommend that you read his blog every time he posts something because he's a great writer. We can all learn from the greats.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug




Today's post is a "simulcast" of sorts, due to be posted on my blog and on Janie Junebug Righting and Editing, the blog of "Janie Junebug." That's all you need to know, I guess.

*  *  *  *  *

People who've read stories that I've written have often complimented me on the way I write the dialog -- or "dialogue," if you prefer -- between my characters. Janie asked me several months ago if I would be interested in writing a guest post for her blog. Typically, I procrastinated, but finally, here it is.

In the guise of presenting this as a cohesive article, I'm just going to give you a bulleted list of random thoughts on the subject of dialog, in no real order.
  • The most important thing is to make your dialog sound real, "real" being defined as true to how the individual character would speak.
  • This may sound painfully obvious, but one of the most important parts of writing good dialog is to listen to people, and the way that they talk. Since I'm a nosy little cuss anyway, this has never been a problem for me. I've "overheard" a lot of conversations in my time.
  • Keep in mind that people rarely speak correctly. Even educated people will not necessarily talk the way that they write. (This is a case of first learning the rules, and then knowing which rules to break, and why. Don't be afraid to use improper grammar in your dialog, but don't overdo it.) 
  • Even a Grammar Nazi like myself, who cringes at the way some folks speak, will often say "can I" when I should really say "may I," or "I don't feel good" when we all know I should say that "I don't feel well" instead. How often do you hear someone say "I will" instead of "I shall," "who" instead of "whom," and "I could care less" when the correct term is "I couldn't care less?" Quite a bit, right?
  • Having said that, if your character is a college professor or someone similar, he or she might very well speak using proper grammar. Let me repeat that you should always use dialog that's appropriate to its speaker. When I had a writing partner, we shared a blog on which, among other posts, we had an ongoing serial featuring characters which were idealized versions of ourselves. I usually had to re-write the dialog he'd written for the character based on myself, because his dialog just didn't sound like me. To list just two examples: Once, he posted a supposed email I'd written, in which I used the popular abbreviations "LOL" and "ROFL." Well, I never use either of those (although I do occasionally use "IIRC," and "btw" for "by the way"). And in another post, his original version of my dialog had me using the expression "goddamn," which I absolutely never say. But I digress...
  • Even people with an extensive vocabulary don't always utilize said vocabulary when they speak. Personally, I've found that using so-called "big words" in a conversation can often derail the conversation itself if and when the other person or persons speaking to each other didn't understand some word that I used. I once used the term "disparage" when talking to someone who interrupted me to ask what the word meant. I began using the word "motivation" rather than "impetus" for the same reason. I used to get a lot of funny looks when I used the word "impetus." Maybe they thought I was saying "impotent." Anyway, there's also the fact that using certain words might make people think that you're trying to impress them, and they'll resent it. I once heard Jon Stewart use the word "vituperative" not once, but twice, during a single week of broadcasts on The Daily Show. Although it would have been easy enough for someone to discern the meaning of the word from its context in these two examples, I don't think I'd dare use "vituperative" on an everyday basis.
  • Real people use contractions. Constantly. Of course, if the character whose dialog you're writing is an uptight, stuffy, pain-in-the-ass kinda guy (or woman), an absence of contractions in his or her speech may be just the thing you're looking for to convey the character's stodginess to your readers.
  • Have you ever prepared for a confrontation by planning in detail what you're going to say to your employer, boyfriend/girlfriend, or someone else the next time you see him or her? It almost never worked, right? That's because you may have written a "script" for yourself, but you can't do it for the other person, too. In effect, that means that they're ad-libbing to your script, and they'll interrupt you, or change the subject slightly, or misunderstand something you said and question you about it. Anything might happen, and recognizing that may help you to write an interesting and realistic exchange among your characters.
  • Remember that in real life, nobody likes to feel that they're listening to a speech, so one person will often interrupt another, even if the interrupter in question only says things like "uh-huh," "right," "I see," etc.
  • People don't always finish their sentences. Sometimes they can't put their complete thought into words, and their voices just trail off.
  • No matter how many times you've read that proper grammar dictates that you should never end a sentence with a preposition, people do it all the flamin' time when they converse. In fact, I just did it purposely in my previous bullet point.
  • People split infinitives frequently, even though you're not supposed to ever do it. Heh.
  • Somewhere along the line, most people got it into their heads that the word "me" should almost always be avoided. That's why you hear things like "The police came to question her and I," when "her and me" is correct. On a related note, I've often heard people begin a sentence with "Her and I," as in "Her and I went to the store." Is that an incorrect usage? Of course it is. The correct expression would be "She and I." Do people make that mistake all the time in conversation? Sure they do.
  • With the exceptions of characters who primarily used contemporary slang -- like "Say, what kinda hooey are you tryin' to hand me?" -- actors and actresses in movies of the 1930s and 1940s were often given lines that one would never use in a real conversation. To list only one example, in Now, Voyager, Bette Davis said "Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars." That's a great, memorable quote, but who the hell would actually say something like that in the real world? Try to avoid things like that.
  • I'm going to wrap this up by telling you one of my little tricks, and it applies not only to my dialog, but to a lesser extent, my narration. I use italics to stress certain words. Using italics pretty much forces your reader to read the sentence in the way that you want it read. And the placement of that stressed word is often very important. For example? "Hey, that's my wife!" means something akin to "Hey, I know that woman over there! Boy, do I ever!" And then there's "Hey, that's my wife!" which probably means something to the effect of "Don't kiss her. Go home and kiss your own wife." And "Hey, that's my wife!" no doubt means something like "I'm not married to any of those other women. I'm married to that one." My former writing partner had a tendency to stress words at random, and that frequently made for some awkward reading. Try that sentence this way: "My former writing partner apparently stressed random words, and that frequently made for some awkward reading." Just doesn't sound right, does it? I sure had my job cut out for me when I worked with him!
I'm sure there are several other points that I should have mentioned and didn't, but I think this'll do for one post!

Thanks for your time.

Janie Junebug here: Thank you, Silver Fox, for enlightening us. I love your writing! And I think you'll like knowing that I do use "vituperative" in my everyday life.

Monday, September 25, 2017

I WAS PHISHED AND I NIBBLED ON THE BAIT

Before we get into today's subject, please remember that tomorrow we have a TIP TUESDAY post by The Silver Fox (who blogs from The Lair of the Silver Fox) with his suggestions for writing good dialog. His characters are such smooth talkers that they could charm me right out of my pant . . . never mind. But I know you won't want to miss his post, which will be on his blog and mine.  

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

As you might recall, I was without electricity for a little while and without the internet for a longer while after Hurricane Irma blew through town.

When my internet returned, it took quite a while for me to get through all my emails. Last week I discovered quite the interesting email in my inbox at my other email address––the one I use when I'm not Janie Junebug. It had arrived the day after the storm.

You also might recall that I've been job hunting. What I don't think I've mentioned is that I use indeed.com to search for jobs. My financial adviser recommended indeed to me. One of his other clients used it to find a job.

Anyjob, here's the email I received:

Sas Institute near you is now hiring for a Freelance Content Writer/Editor. We are looking for a Content Writer/Editor, who will report directly to the Director of Marketing, to efficiently deliver high-quality website content that serves as compelling advertising copy while also leveraging proper SEO principles. The ideal candidate has a strong understanding of how to create informative copy within the confines of SEO principles and can edit content to meet quality and accuracy standards with the ultimate goal of providing accurate, informative and engaging content.


Duties may also include:

Check content for accuracy and errors.
Edit content for proper grammar and punctuation.
Edit content for clarity and readability.
Proofread, edit and review content for quality, value and uniqueness.
Review content to ensure effective SEO keyword density
Meet deadlines and Adhere to deadlines.
Write technical content, how-to articles, sales copy and blog posts based on research.
Brainstorm article topics for new & existing web projects.



BENEFITS:

Medical/Dental/Vision plans, and paid vacation and personal time off.
We pay you $48/hr.
Monday -Friday , Part time & Full time flexible hours daily.
You can even work remotely.



Indeed.com forwarded us your contact email so if you feel you are qualified for this position, please submit a resume or portfolio to (I removed the link because you shouldn't click on it) to apply.  

Would you take the bait? I did. 

I emailed a beautiful cover letter, my outstanding résumé, and the Web address for my writing portfolio to "William George." 

I'll tell you what happened next after we've enjoyed TIP TUESDAY by The Silver Fox. In other words, to be continued . . . . 


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Willy Dunne Wooters prays
that my leap at this job doesn't break my bones.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

MOVIE WEEKEND: THE BIG SICK

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

The Big Sick is a quietly funny movie with an interesting history (2017, Rated R, Recently Released on DVD).

The movie stars Kumail Nanjiani, a stand-comedian who plays himself, and was written by Nanjiani and his wife, Emily Gordon. It's loosely based on their real-life relationship.


Pakistani-born Kumail and his family have lived in the U.S. for years, but Kumail's parents still expect him to follow Pakistani traditions, such as having an arranged marriage. They also want him to become a lawyer.

Instead, Kumail has become a stand-up comedian, and he falls in love with an American girl named Emily (Zoe Kazan). Their relationship falters, though, when Kumail refuses to introduce Emily to his parents. He can't even bring himself to inform his parents that he has a girlfriend, and that he's not interested in any of the Pakistani women to whom they introduce him.

Then the big sick occurs. Emily is sick––so dangerously ill that it's life threatening. Will Kumail choose his relationship with Emily or his relationship with his family, or will he find a way to have both?

I like this movie a lot. It has some poignant moments, but ultimately, everything works out (I say this for those of you who need to know that the movie won't depress you and there's a  happy ending, but I don't think it's really a spoiler because I already told you that Kumail and Emily are married and they wrote the movie together; you should also take a look at the closing credits because they include some photos of Kumail and the real Emily, and Kumail's parents).

Kumail's difficulties with his parents are funny because Kumail can find the hilarity in them. Emily's parents are played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano. I love Holly Hunter. I always think that Ray Romano is playing Ray Romano, but he's okay, too.

The Big Sick earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval. This is a movie I'll want to see again when it turns up on HBO or Netflix streaming. For my first viewing, I watched a DVD mailed to me by my friends at Netflix and delivered by my friendly neighborhood mail carrier.

Happy viewing! Beck, will you sing us out, please? Devils Haircut is part of The Big Sick's soundtrack.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

TIP TUESDAY: LET'S TRY TO GET THIS ONE RIGHT

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Here's an error I see all the time, and it bugs the heck out of me:

Let's try and go to the grocery store tomorrow.

What?

Tomorrow you're going to try (at something, I don't know what), and after you try, apparently you want to go to the grocery store.

What you want to say is the following:

Let's try to go to the grocery store tomorrow.

Please don't think I'm singling out anyone because of this error or that I don't want to read your blogs because of it. It's a mistake that's all over the place.

I have good news for you. Next week's TIP TUESDAY will feature a guest post by the man who doesn't write guest posts.  He's The Silver Fox, who blogs at The Lair of the Silver Fox, and he's going to try to help us learn how to write better dialog. His dialog is mighty smooth.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Thanks, fishducky!

Monday, September 18, 2017

IRMA, YOU WERE A LOUSY GUEST

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Here we are, a week after Hurricane Irma, and all is well.

I have some Irma-related photos for your viewing pleasure.

Favorite Young Man read after the storm was over and we were without electricity:



We grilled delicious steaks:




This branch fell on the deck with quite a thud:


The backyard after Irma: 

The water wasn't as bad as it looks. It's almost dried up now.

The steps to the deck:



A neighbor's tree blows in the wind:

You can't see it in the photo, but the tree split in half at the top.

The pile of debris I created in the front yard:


That's not my car, but you can see that my leaves-and-branches sculpture is longer than the car. I still have plenty of leaves to rake in the yard.


Thanks to all of you who tried to stay in touch with us during the storm and expressed concern for our well-being. I'm sure you can see why I keep saying that it could have been a lot worse:

This is not my house, but it's nearby:



I'm very sorry for the people who have to deal with such damage, but no one died here.

The suffering caused by Irma in some areas is beyond anything I have ever experienced.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Friday, September 15, 2017

PENELOPE DISHES ABOUT IRMA

Hello. It is I, Her Royal Highness The Princess Penlapee, I mean Penelope (that damn Franklin makes me forget my own name).

We had a big storm. Mom Mom forced me to take potty breaks in the rain. I was angry.

I got back at Mom Mom yesterday. I sneaked out to the living room to take a potty break there. Ha ha, Mom Mom.

When Mom Mom criticized me for making a puddle, I went outside and buried my paws in the mud. Then I came inside, went in the bedroom, and wiped the mud off on the quilt on our bed. I don't mind a little mud on the bed, but Mom Mom hates it. Ha ha again, Mom Mom.

I hated Irma. She was ugly and mean and she hurt many people, but not us. That is because I made her go away. I huffed, and I puffed, and I blew Irma away.

Now I have ordered Human Brother to pet me.

That is all. Goodbye.


I am soft and cuddly.
Human Brother adores me.
Everyone adores me.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

CAN'T BRING ME DOWN!

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

At last, I'm back online.

I've heard on the news that my city of Jacksonville, Florida, is experiencing historic flooding, but I haven't seen it. I'm not one to go out sight seeing after a disaster.

Irma was different from last year's Hurricane Matthew. The wind was worse (hence the branches strewn all over the yard), but the rain wasn't as heavy––at least not in my neighborhood. Lake Junebug has some water, but not enough for a swim. If you've made reservations at The Lake Junebug Resort, please don't cancel. You can watch Netflix (through the window--you didn't think I was letting you in the house, did you?) now that the internet has been restored, and you'll still receive your gourmet meals. The exercise program has been improved with the addition of yard cleanup.

Franklin is distressed. Since the storm ended, he has wanted to spend all his time in the backyard. He seems to feel that he has to guard the piles of debris. I wish he'd stop and allow someone to steal it.

We were without electricity for 24 hours. Not the end of the world. We read while it was light. Then Favorite Young Man read by flashlight, and I read on my tablet.

Others have suffered far more than we have. It's still difficult to find items such as bread and milk in the grocery stores, but we're fine. Favorite Young Man went back to work on Tuesday. He says some businesses are open. Some remain closed.

I'll provide photos of the crime scene after I finish the book I'm editing and send it back to its author.

And to the man who sent me such interesting text messages during the storm, thanks for the entertainment. We'll keep our little tryst a secret from Willy Dunne Wooters.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Saturday, September 9, 2017

WAITING FOR IRMA

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

My policy continues to be the following: do not worry.

We are prepared. We have tons of water and food. We are NOT in an evacuation zone. The only people in Jacksonville (northeastern Florida) who have been told to evacuate are those living in mobile homes and manufactured houses (I suspect people who live at the beaches will receive a mandatory evacuation order at some point). My house has been here since 1940, and it's not likely to go anyplace now.

Jacksonville has six shelters open; two are "pet friendly," but the pets have to be in crates or cages, and owners must have the animals' vaccination records.

Although the national news programs are screaming about Irma––and yes, she has behaved abominably––she's supposed to tire out some before she gets to us. She's been one busy lady. She will need a rest.

A lot of businesses are closed or closing early––only fair to their employees. Some gas stations are running low on fuel, or are closed. Liquor stores appear to be doing a brisk business. I suspect the neighborhood bars will remain open.

I'll try to keep you updated throughout the storm. My main concern is the possibility of losing power, but the propane tank for my grill is full so if we must, we'll cook on the grill when the storm is over. We might cook on the grill anyway. We have steaks.

My lovely friend who lives in Atlanta tried to convince me to pay her a visit, but Favorite Young Man and I don't want to spend hours in the traffic when it doesn't seem to be necessary. If we do have problems, we can always decamp to the apartment of one Mr. Willy Dunne Wooters. I told my friend that he never loses power. She asked why.

My response: he lives in a gated community and the storm gods don't know the code.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Yeah, that's my Willy.



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

NOT TO WORRY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Tourists are being evacuated from the Keys. Later today, residents of the Keys will probably be evacuated. There's talk of evacuating Miami.

If Irma makes her way to Jacksonville, it won't be until late in the day on Sunday. Even if she dies down, she should bring enough rain to fill Lake Junebug again.

Oh, goody. 

The Sunshine State is not fooling around. This is our governor, who has promised to respect Irma in the morning:


His name is Skeletor. I know I said I wouldn't make up nicknames for people without their permission, but I did not come up with this name for him. Besides, I think he knows that people call him Skeletor.

Okay. His name is really Rick Scott:


He just barely got elected.

Anyway, don't worry about us. If we're in an evacuation zone, which is not likely, Favorite Young Man will carry us all to safety.

Or at least he'll carry Penelope. She's his favorite


It's time for a Hurricane Preparation Nap now.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

EDITING & IRMA

Dear Hearts and Gentle People,

I am busy editing as I prepare for the arrival of an unwanted guest at Lake Junebug Resort. Her name is Irma. You can learn more about her HERE, but don't worry too much about Florida. Although the governor has already declared a state of emergency, that link is to CNN, which means it is fake news. Sad! How easily the governor of Florida has been fooled by the lying media.

We have plenty of dog food. We'll be sure to stock up on water and cookies. Everything is better with cookies.

In place of TIP TUESDAY, please enjoy the chart below.

I'll see ya when I see ya.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Thanks, fishducky!








Thursday, August 31, 2017

MOVIE WEEKEND: A MAN CALLED OVE

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

A Swedish film, En man som heter Ove, which in English is titled  A Man Called Ove, is the perfect movie to watch this weekend to cheer you up, whether you're sad about Hurricane Harvey, worried about North Korean missiles, sick of the 45th president, or all of the above (2015, PG-13, Available on DVD and free on Amazon Prime Streaming). This movie is in Swedish with English subtitles.


Ove (pronounced oo-vay and portrayed by ) is a man alone. His beloved wife Sonia has died. He's being forced into retirement. He's the Grumpy Gus of his neighborhood, where he demands that everyone follow the rules.

He visits Sonia at the cemetery regularly, where he promises her he is going to join her. Ove then sets out to commit suicide, but what could be tragic turns comedic as one thing after another interrupts his attempts. The worst interruption of all is by his annoying new neighbors from Iran, who do nothing but cause him grief.

As the movie progresses, we see flashbacks to Ove's boyhood and his youthful romance with Sonia that help us to understand what kind of person he really is: a man with a heart of gold who goes to great lengths to help those in need in spite of the personal cost.

A Man Called Ove earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval. It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2017 Academy Awards and is based on the novel of the same name by Fredrik Bakman. I haven't read the book, but I certainly want to do so now. Its overarching theme is my favorite––the interconnectedness of humankind.

Happy viewing!


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

MY ASTUTE OBSERVATIONS RE: HURRICANE HARVEY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Have you noticed that in spite of the devastation in parts of Texas and Louisiana that quite a few people are pretty calm and relaxed in places where insanity could easily reign? (I'm not saying that some people aren't upset and in tears, and they have a right to be.)

What I see on my TV is a city that's pretty much in ruins, but people aren't panicking the way they did during Hurricane Katrina.

I see two major differences with Hurricane Harvey:

1. People can connect with others on Twitter, Facebook, whatever. People have even used social media to get out the message that they need to be rescued. Having some kind of a connection with the world instead of feeling totally alone means a lot.

2. I see people being rescued with their pets. Cat carriers are loaded into boats. Dogs ride on their daddy's or mommy's shoulders. During Hurricane Katrina, if I remember correctly (and if I'm wrong you can set me straight), people were told they couldn't bring their pets to shelters. They had to leave their beloved animal friends behind to die. Do you think I'd climb into a boat and float away without Franklin and Penelope?

If your answer is HELL NO, then you're correct.


One rescuer spoke of picking up a family that included a bull mastiff who weighed well over one hundred pounds.

It's a well-known fact that having a pet can bring down blood pressure, along with having other health benefits, especially relief from depression and anxiety. If I were dragged away from my pups, I'd scream and cry non-stop. They are my family.

Additionally, when people reach the shelters, they seem to have supplies on hand, the supplies that the people of New Orleans lacked: water, diapers, food, clothes, blankets.

Not everyone will survive Hurricane Harvey. Some people have already died, and no doubt, some pets have died and will die.

But I see a greater spirit of camaraderie during this hurricane. At first I thought that not having a mandatory evacuation of the city was insane. Then I learned that when they had an evacuation in the past (not sure when it was or what the emergency was), that people panicked and more were killed in the evacuation than in the rest of the emergency.

Not evacuating also leaves a lot of people there who have boats and are willing to use them to save others.

I also don't see news reports about African Americans who are looters, but white people who do the same are simply seeking out supplies. I see white, black, and Hispanic people working together. It's a world away from the hatred we saw in Charlottesville.

Let's keep the spirit of togetherness going.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Here's a bit of presidential trivia:

When Hurricane Betsy hit New Orleans in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson went to the city and visited evacuation centers, as reported HERE and in numerous other places:

"On September 10, 1965, the day after Hurricane Betsy plowed through southeastern Louisiana, President Lyndon Johnson flew to New Orleans.  He went to the people, to shelters where evacuees were gathered, to neighborhoods all over the city.  There was no electricity and, so that people could see and hear him at one shelter, he took a flashlight, shined it into his face and said into a megaphone, "My name is Lyndon Baines Johnson.  I am your president.  I am here to make sure you have the help you need."

And that's exactly what he did.  He cut through bureaucratic red tape and, before he'd even left the city that day, he saw to it that the wheels were set in motion for the city's recovery.
Those who remember Betsy will always be grateful to President Johnson for his decisive leadership, his critically needed comfort and his determination to bring timely help to the area, and to immediately start rescuing, recovering and rebuilding."



Monday, August 28, 2017

NICK NAMES ARE ONLY COOL IF . . .

the person to whom you give the nickname likes it, Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell.

In THIS POST that I wrote last week, I chatted about giving nicknames to people. Some of you pointed out in your comments, and they were wise comments, that we have to be careful about nick names (The High Guy who works at Target doesn't know that I think of him as The High Guy and he never will, nor will anyone else know except for all of you out there and Favorite Young Man, and FYM doesn't even know which person I'm talking about because he's never seen The High Guy).

Fundy Blue, a.k.a. Louise of Standing Into Danger (one of my favorite blogs, not that all the rest of you don't also write my favorite blogs), made the following comment:

Funny post, JJ! I admit to occasional mental, not-uttered, nicknames for certain people in my life. And I've been collecting various nicknames for our leader which is hilarious fun. 

As a second and third grade teacher, I had to spend time dealing with conflicts and hurt feelings over nicknames. This age group has a heightened sensitivity of what is fair and what is not. The topic of fairness cropped up all the time. Young kids can be creatively cruel with nick names. So we would have class meetings every year, sometimes multiple times, over the issue of names and nicknames and the fairness of using them. 

The worst brouhaha occurred when one of my white boys whispered to the black girl sitting next to him (during a spelling test) that she had lips swelled up like a pufferfish. So for several days she was "Pufferfish," and what a time I had dealing with the fallout and stamping out the use of that nickname! 

Who would suspect that a science word I added to the spelling test for bonus points could lead to meetings with the principal, the social worker, the psychologist, and outraged parents on both sides of the racial divide, not to mention having to rearrange the seats in my classroom? 

I would always share that I had multiple nicknames when I was a kid based on both Myrtle and Louise, as in variations of "Myrtle the turtle lost her girdle" and "Weasel" and that those and other nicknames I was plagued with really hurt. So there was a lot of emphasis on learning what name each child wished to use and learning its correct spelling.

I don't have a problem with nicknames now, and I [sic] always happy when I get a big hug from my brother and he whispers, "I love you so much, Weasel." LOL


Thank you for sharing this story with us, Louise.  A nickname is never cool if it's shared publicly and it hurts the person who has been given the name. Many of us are already self-conscious enough.



When I was a medical assistant in a doctor's office, the other underlings and I had nicknames for each other. The second medical assistant was Neesie; the x-ray tech was Teeny; the receptionist was San-Pan; and I was June––for June on Leave It To Beaver because I was thought to be the kind of person who would vacuum my house while wearing a dress and high heels. June gradually morphed into Junebug, which is how I became Janie Junebug.

But we also had a second part-time receptionist. I nicknamed her Marge for the police chief in the movie Fargo. I think I called her Marge two or three times before she said, Please don't call me that.

That was the end of that nickname. Never used it again.

And that's the way it should be, unless a nickname is so unkind that it should never be uttered at all. In fact, I should have asked her if it was okay to give her that nickname. That's my policy from now on, unless I don't ever call the person by the nickname.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

MORE WORD PARTS

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

In THIS POST, we talked about prefixes, suffixes, and root words. To date, that post has had more than 1,400 page views. I have no idea why it was so popular, but let's see if we can break that record by discussing more meanings of word parts (I'm not telling Willy Dunne Wooters about the 1,400+ because he'll say it's spambot; I'm sticking my tongue out at you, WDW).

According to our source, Vocabulary for a New World by Linda J. Palumbo and Frank J. Gaik, "learning the building blocks of words can help you to figure out and remember the meanings of many new words you encounter."

Palumbo and Gaik point out in one section of the book how the root "patri or pater, for father, spawns several related words."

Patri plus archy, which means rule gives us

patriarchy = rule by the fathers

Patri plus mony, which means wealth gives us

patrimony = the wealth of the father

and

patrimonialism = a system of authority based on inherited wealth

The suffixes -ic, -al, and -ous mean "made of or characterized by" and can be "used to turn some words into advectives."

poetic = in the form or spirit of a poem
porous = having pores
aquatic = of the water 

Do you recognize these word parts related to forms and measures?

morph
plasty
meter
macro
micro
chron

Neo, of course, means new, as in neo-Nazi, but I'd say a Nazi is a Nazi is a Nazi.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug



Thanks, fishducky!






Monday, August 21, 2017

DO YOU INVENT NAMES FOR PEOPLE?

But I don't mean obscene names for the president, Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

We've always been big on nicknames in my family. My mother used to call a young woman with short curly hair who lived in her neighborhood "Betty Boop." It became so popular that everyone who lived there started calling the woman Betty Boop––sometimes to her face.


But I also invent names for people based on certain facets of their personality or their behavior (not cruel names).

A few months ago I shopped at Target and no matter what I said to the cashier, he replied, oooookey doooookey. Based on the way he emitted his okey dokeys, I suspected he was as high as the sky.


Naturally, his name is now "the high guy." I have no idea what his real name is.

And how about those name tags some cashiers wear that say

GEORGE
7 YEARS

I know it means that the person has been working there that long, but I always want to ask, If you've been George for seven years, then who were you before that?


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug




Friday, August 18, 2017

I AM IN A BAD MOOD . . .

And you do not want to deal with a Junebug in a bad mood, Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

When Donald Trump was elected, I was shocked. I didn't turn on the news until late in the afternoon on that fateful day. I looked at the available returns and polls and knew: She will win the popular vote, but he will win the electoral college.

For the next two weeks, I cried every day. But I was also in denial. I told myself and my friends, It's going to be all right. Somehow it will be okay. We'll be fine.

Then I looked at the glass in my hand and realized it was half-empty. I accepted reality.

Now we've had a tragic clash in Charlottesville, with bad people on both sides, according to the president. But why did people who don't even live in Charlottesville gather there to hold their White Nationalist shindig? The side with the Tiki torches may have had a permit to gather, but they didn't have a permit to incite violence. With a group like that, however, a gathering amounts to inciting violence. That's what these good ole' boys are all about, and Charlottesville was not prepared to deal with their numbers.

As each day passes since that event, I haven't learned to feel calm and at peace about it. I haven't said, This too shall pass. I haven't let it go and moved on.

Rather, as I learn more about what occurred from people who were actually there, my anger grows. I'm beyond being able to say, Let's find something to laugh about.

Favorite Young Man and I watched quite a bit of news on Saturday and Sunday. He expressed surprise that such a thing would happen in Charlottesville, a liberal university town.

I told him that Charlottesville has long been a town divided (no doubt town officials disagree with me), and, thus, ripe for the picking by the KKK, Aryan Nation, alt-right––whatever they call themselves, "they" are those who come in hatred.

I went on to explain to Favorite Young Man that white descendants of Thomas Jefferson wouldn't consider allowing the black descendants of Thomas Jefferson to join their organization until the black descendants took DNA tests to prove their lineage, and even then the descendants of the Jefferson-Hemmings union were invited to attend the white descendants' meetings as guests, not as full-fledged members. This occurred in spite of the fact that historians began writing about the children of Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemmings, in the 1970s. This occurred in spite of the long-known "open secret" in Charlottesville that if one saw a light-skinned black person with red hair, then that person was likely to be a Jefferson family member. This occurred in spite of the knowledge that Sally Hemmings and her siblings were of mixed race and were half-siblings to Jefferson's wife. Hemmings' children were of mostly European descent. But one drop of so-called black blood? They're not the real thing, apparently.

I doubt if the white descendants ever had to take DNA tests to prove their status.

This refusal to acknowledge ALL of Jefferson's direct descendants is an emblem of the division in Charlottesville, a town that is predominantly white. And Southern.

Sadly, my theory about the town has been confirmed by some articles I've read and by comments from citizens of Charlottesville. One African-American woman stated that the master in Monticello had been looking down on them in the town for far too long. That doesn't mean we should knock down Monticello and disavow Thomas Jefferson as one of the founders of our country, but it does mean we need to recognize his role in the misery that was slavery. It does mean we need to recognize his second family.

We can acknowledge the grief and the mistakes of slavery in museums. We do not need statues of Confederate leaders in parks and city centers. To ask "where will it stop?" and suggest that statues of George Washington will be pulled down next is to demonstrate one's ignorance. Yes, George Washington owned slaves, but he wasn't a traitor to his country who suggested that the Union of States be divided.

I also heard someone say on television that having a statue of Robert E. Lee certainly wasn't as bad as having a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Aren't they all traitors to the Union?

Plus, until a few years ago, my own city had a Nathan Bedford Forrest High School. It took many years to remove the name of the man who founded the KKK. Now, let's change the names of all schools named after Confederate leaders. We don't need Jefferson Davis High School any more than we need Robert E. Lee High School. Let's name our schools after peacemakers and heroes, not losers.

Yes, I am one angry Junebug, and I don't picture myself getting over it anytime soon.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


public domain photo

"Let us reject any among us who seek to reopen old wounds and to rekindle old hatreds. They stand in the way of a seeking nation. Let us now join reason to faith and action to experience, to transform our unity of interest into a unity of purpose. For the hour and the day and the time are here to achieve progress without strife, to achieve change without hatred—not without difference of opinion, but without the deep and abiding divisions which scar the union for generations."

Friday, August 11, 2017

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: A FINAL EVENING ON LAKE JUNEBUG

Gentle Readers . .  and Maxwell,

I first published A FINAL EVENING ON LAKE JUNEBUG on October 6, 2014. It's had 232 page views, but it won't complain if more people look at it. I think it's a good time to read it again, or read it for the first time, because Lake Junebug overflows from daily thunderstorms.

A unique feature in this post is the appearance of the late, handsome Harper––a smooth collie/malinois mix. Harper plays two roles. First, he is the "wildlife." The he returns as the suave, dignified guest, Monsieur Malinois. Exactly the kind of dude you meet during a vacation on Lake Junebug.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug, proprietor



Many of you have written posts about the arrival of autumn. It's still warm here in Northern Florida, but it's pleasant. The humidity is tolerable. While the weather is nice, I recommend you take one last vacation for the year. You need an evening on Lake Junebug.

My prices are low (however much I owe the IRS so about $4,000 and that can be a group rate if you want to bring some pals or the whole family). It's rained a great deal lately so the lake is full. Notice the trees reflected in the beautiful clear water:



Architecture buffs will enjoy attractions such as the steps that lead down to the lake:



Look at the beautiful vegetation right next to the lake:



You'll feel as if you're visiting the Galapagos. Wildlife surrounds Lake Junebug:



Monsieur Malinois, I presume? You meet the elite when you vacation on Lake Junebug:



The dining area, where our chef prepares gourmet meals on the grill:


Another lovely view of the deluxe amenities:



The fence guarantees privacy should you want to indulge in a little skinny dipping:



I haven't set up the hammock yet, but it's a hammock for two. Romance guaranteed. If you bring the kids, they can sleep on the deck itself. They'll be thrilled by this outdoor adventure.

Be sure to book your trip soon. If you wait too long, the party will be over.