Friday, February 27, 2015

THE CEPHALOPOD COFFEEHOUSE: SOPHIE WRITES A LOVE STORY

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

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

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

My book for February is Sophie Writes a Love Story by our blogger friend, Linda Kay. You can find Linda Kay at Senior Adventures.




I'm quite fond of this book, and proud of it, too, because I can claim editorship. You can purchase Sophie Writes a Love Story on Amazon at http://goo.gl/N3hgYI.* Sophie is the second in a series of books that Linda Kay is writing in memory of her mother and grandmother.

Sophie Writes a Love Story is just plain charming. I can't think of a better word to describe it. Yes, it's a romance, but I won't call it a conventional romance. Linda Kay keeps us in suspense and finds ways to surprise her readers. This book is an adventure/romance. Perhaps that helps portray it.

Sophie has recently become a widow. She considers selling the family home and moving to a smaller place. As she looks over items stored in her attic, they bring back a "flood" of memories. When you read the book, you'll know why I put flood in quotation marks.

Here's Sophie perusing items in the attic:

Her wedding gown was sealed in a plastic bag, but the years had taken their toll. The gown was yellowed, and the lace was almost a coffee color. She removed the fragile garment from the bag and held it in front of her, twirling around in a slow waltz, closing her eyes and thinking of Carl. An old white, leather-bound album of wedding pictures was complete with a small music box at the top that played the wedding march. Carl was so handsome in his suit. The black-and-white pictures didn't do justice to those brown eyes that had captivated Sophie all those years ago. A lump caught in her throat. She flipped the pages and wondered about all the friends who had been a part of the wedding. Where were they all now?

Isn't that beautifully written? And the question about old friends becomes an important part of the book.

Sophie Writes a Love Story earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval. Linda Kay, I'm so happy for you. You are an accomplished writer.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


*Linda Kay very graciously gave me an autographed copy of this book because I edited it, but I want to make it clear that I'm not receiving any remuneration for this review. I am not paid based on the number of books that sell.   




Thursday, February 26, 2015

MOVIE WEEKEND: WHIPLASH

Salutations! Glad you drug yourself over to read a movie review.

Whiplash is a WOW movie (2014, Rated R, I watched it on a DVD from Netflix [I have a subscription]).



Are the two main characters in this film brilliant, or are they insane? Andrew (Miles Teller [who or whom--I can't decide if it's subjective or objective], who or whom I like so much in The Spectacular Now) is a drummer at a prestigious school of music in New York. Teacher and conductor Terence Fletcher (J. K. Simmons) invites Andrew to play with the core jazz band. Fletcher reels in his catch with kindness and won't let the student off his sadistic hook.

I've loved J. K. Simmons for a long time. He's hilarious with Tom Hanks in The Ladykillers. He's excellent as the father of the titular* character in Juno. I didn't know he had a Terence Fletcher in him. He plays supporting parts, and for this movie, he won a number of Best Supporting Actor awards, including the Academy Award. But is this really a supporting role, or was it pushed as a supporting role because his win would be a sure thing? And what about Miles Teller**? If Simmons is best supporting actor, then why isn't the actor he supported sporting a Best Actor Academy Award in his trophy case? Teller wasn't even nominated.

Written and directed by Damien Chazelle, he has stated that the movie is partially based on his experience as a band student in high school, and the intimidation factor he felt with his instructor.

The question we face here is the following: How far can a teacher go to turn a promising student into a genius?

Terence Fletcher: There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job. . . . I was there to push people beyond what's expected of them. I believe that's an absolute necessity. . . . I never really had a Charlie Parker. But I tried. I actually fucking tried. And that's more than most people ever do.

As the parent of two brilliant oxymorons, and yes, I know I brag a lot about the kiddles, I can tell you that if one of my kids had a band teacher like Terence Fletcher, the man would wear a trombone around his neck and a trumpet up his ass. But then, I paid attention to my children. I still check on them. Andrew's family does not support him, though his father improves somewhat. 

However, I know some teachers pushed my kids to be great. I'm not a pusher. I'm filled with pride, and I encourage the people I love. My children probably upped their game because of pushing from teachers. 

I don't want to reveal too much. I understand the end of the movie. We all have different life experiences that will contribute to our impressions of Whiplash. Whiplash earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval, although I don't know if many of you will agree with me. In addition to Best Supporting Actor, Whiplash won the Academy Awards for Best Sound Mixing and Best Editing. It was also nominated for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture. I think you will love it, or you will hate it. 

This movie is not for children. Handle with care around teens. 

One scene I feel I can discuss without spoiling the movie is when the bus breaks down on the way to a jazz band competition. This experience is real for me because of children in my family. One of my nieces went on a band trip. The bus broke down, and the kids slept in a McDonald's parking lot. Most of them didn't have enough money to get something to eat. Favorite Young Man went from Maryland to Florida for a band competition. When it was time to go home, the bus would only run in reverse. They couldn't go backwards from Florida to Maryland, so they were delayed while the company got another bus.

I feel this movie. I feel it strongly. I understand if you don't.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

*I like the word titular because it starts with tit, and I feel smart when I use it.
** Miles Teller is in every scene in this movie. He does much of his own drumming. Some of the blood you see on the drums is his.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WHEN SHE'S NOT SINGING ON THE ACADEMY AWARDS

Long live Queen Stefani!


TONIGHT

Tonight is right.
Tonight is the night.
I have you in my site.
Your glow is oh-so-bright.
Your work I will cite,
or I won't.
You should feel fright,
but you don't.
Stand still there under the light.
Enjoy the power of my might.
Tonight is the night.
Tonight is right.

NOW

I READ THE MOST HORRIBLE WONDERFUL SENTENCE

Dear Tired and Poor,

I watched a Great Performances show about Judy Garland on PBS. I wanted to know what happened to the guy she was married to when she died, so I Googled him. What in the hell else would I do?

His name was Mickey Deans. He was her fifth husband and was married to Judy for about two seconds before she died. Here's the sentence from a Huffington Post article/blog that made me laugh:

He [Mickey Deans] could also be found selling Judy's clothing out of the trunk of his car around the West Village, a practice that he continued up until the time of his Death on eBay.

HE DIED ON EBAY! 

I almost died on overstock.com. Which shopping service has tried to kill you?

People talk about movies that should or shouldn't have won Academy Awards. I think the greatest rip off ever was that Judy didn't win Best Actress for A Star Is Born.




Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug





Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I'M GAGA OVER GAGA

Dear Atheists, Agnostics, Believers, Don't Carers, and Beliebers (oh my god I'm gonna throw up),

I've been trying out some different salutations. I need a change occasionally, and yes, that includes my panties. If you have a salutation you'd like to suggest, then go to hell let me know what it is, and I might try it. You get an extra one hundred points if you can include "drug" in the salutation where it should be "dragged," because replacing dragged with drug drives Andi Filante crazy. She blogs at delusions of ingenuity. She's very funny, and I think it will be hilarious if we use drug right now to make her so crazy that her husband, Philly's Done Hooters, will have drug her away to the mental hospital by midnight to get some real drugs.

My birthday was yesterday. I am 26. Oh, God, what will I do when I turn 30? I might as well die because I'm so old.

The Hurricane called yesterday to wish me a birthday happy. She gets everything backasswards. Interesting that she's 28, and I'm 26. People used to think I was her older sister. Maybe I am. Hmmmmm.

Now, let's Gaga, as in Lady. I've admitted before that I had to ask The Hurricane what a Lady Gaga was. She explained "more performance artist than just singer." I liked the Gaga, as in Lady. Her name is Stefani, and she's really into it's okay to be different. Rita Pita Pan of SoulComfort's Corner likes her, too. Recently I heard that Gaga, as in Lady, wasn't hot anymore, that her career was going down the toilet. I was shocked. Someone also said that Madonna is finally losing her popularity. I don't care about that, but I don't want Gaga to go away.

Then Gaga, as in Lady, performed at the Academy Awards on Sunday night. She sang a 50th anniversary tribute to The Sound of Music, and she knocked my fucking socks off. Here's what I can get online:




We have a new Julie fuckin' Andrews, but with tats. Thank you, God.




Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

P.S. I've tried to include a few Gaga videos from the Oscars because I'm afraid they'll take them away.



Monday, February 23, 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO . . .

I just realized that since it's after midnight, it's my birthday. I could ignore it and not say anything, but some people know and it's on my Facebook page. I am 85. I'm very spry for 85. Oh, that's because I'm 56. Don't bother to ask what Willy Dunne Wooters gave me for my birthday because he doesn't do holidays and gifts. It's okay because he's generous all the time. God bless my Willy.

I'm going to take my sad depressing shitty joyful birthday thoughts to bed and sing happy birthday to me. I bet Franklin will join me.




A birthday alone is a little depressing. I don't know if it's more or less depressing than my first birthday alone. I can't remember that birthday because it's when I turned one.

I think Neil Patrick Harris was a mediocre Academy Awards host.

Please tell me in your comments what you think of his performance.

If you want to wish me a happy birthday, you can use the paypal account associated with my dumpedfirstwife@gmail.com email address. If you aren't sending money, then just forget the whole thing.