Pop Culture Mysteries – Hatcher’s Personal Files – The Wrong Guy (Part 2)

PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…

Part 1 – Hatcher stops by the Pack N’ Sack Liquor Mart, where even the owner thinks our resident gumshoe has a problem.

AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE….

The kid was packing a semi-automatic pistol.  He turned his attention away from me and pointed his weapon at Lou.

“Empty it!”  the punk commanded as he pointed to the register.

Beads of sweat dripped off of Lou’s barren cranium, but he stayed cool.  He nodded and without making a fuss, took every last bill out of the register and shoved them into a paper bag.

Booze - it always gets Hatcher into trouble one way or the other.

Booze – it always gets Hatcher into trouble one way or the other.

“Son,”  I said.

The youngun ignored me.

“Son, I think you need to take a long hard look at what you’re doing here.”

The gun was back in my face again.  The kid’s hand was shaking like a leaf being blown around in a swift breeze.  He was more nervous than a hen at a fox convention. 

Clearly, he was not a pro.

“SHUT UP!”

“Why don’t you put that thing away before someone gets hurt?”

The kid’s eyes were filled to the brim with fear. 

“This is your first rodeo, isn’t it Jack?”

“Hatcher,”  Lou said as he slid the bag of money across the counter.  “Will you shut the hell up before you get us both killed?”

The gun was in Lou’s face again.

“DID ANYONE ASK YOU?!”

“Whoa,”  Lou said as he shot his hands up into the air.  “Easy.  No problem.  That’s all yours.  Anything you want.”

“I think if he was going to use that thing he’d of clipped us both by now,”  I said.

And once again, I was staring down a barrel.

“GIMMIE YOUR WALLET!”

I laughed.  “Oh if it’s a payday you’re looking for fella, you’re barking up the wrong tree with yours truly.”

Lou went ballistic.

“HATCHER WILL YOU STOP SCREWING AROUND WITH THIS GUY AND DO WHAT HE SAYS?!”

Spooked by Lou’s fat cake hole, the kid spun around again, but this time I grabbed his forearm and slammed it down on the counter’s hard edge.  He fired a shot that shattered one of the bottles on the shelf behind the counter, spraying a good year scotch all over the place.  What a waste.

The pain forced the perpetrator to loosen his grip on his heater, which allowed me to take it from him.

I hauled back and smashed the scumbag’s nose with the butt of the gun, causing the him to hit the floor like a sack of potatoes.  I brought my wingtip down on the guy’s ribs a few times for good measure, only stopping when I heard one of them crack.

Keeping my foot on the crook’s chest, I used my right hand to hold the kid’s own gun on him and my left hand to search around inside his jacket pocket.

“Now then,”  I said as I pulled out the yahoo’s wallet.  “Let’s see who you are.”

My captive spit a mouthful of blood all over Lou’s nice, clean linoleum floor.  I flipped the wallet open and found myself staring at the suspect in custody’s driver’s license.

“Hello there, Craig Henneman,”  I said.  “Whaddya know, whaddya say?”

“I think you chipped my tooth.”

“Least of your problems,” I said.  “The first one being you’re the only criminal I’ve ever met dumb enough to bring his identification along on a heist.  Get on our feet.”

Like a fish in the bottom of a canoe, the kid flopped around on the floor until Lou finally came around and hoisted him up.

“Craig, I want to tell you a story.  It’s called, ‘The Wrong Guy.’”

“Hatch,”  Lou interrupted.  “Let’s just call the cops, huh?”

I ignored my alcohol selling friend and carried on.  The kid didn’t look like he was all that interested, but he didn’t have much of a choice but to listen since I was the one with the gun.

“You see my friend here,”  I said as I pointed to Lou.  “He did what most people would do.  He gave you what you wanted.  Most guys will do just that.  Most guys aren’t looking for trouble.  As much as most guys like to  complain about how exhausting they find life, when faced with the possibility of taking the long dirt nap, they quickly discover they aren’t as tired as they thought.”

Lou returned back behind the counter.  The kid clutched his aching chest and leered at me like he wanted to tear me apart.

“But then there’s the wrong guy,”  I said.  “The wrong guy is usually a real piece of work.  He’s a guy who’s taken a wrecking ball to his existence.  He’s given up on ever being loved by a woman after a lifetime of heartache.  This guy has tossed his dreams into the trashcan where they belong and frankly, he’s taken so many lives that one more won’t matter a hill of beans to him.”

I pressed the cold steel right between the degenerate’s eyes.  He closed them.

“You see son, the wrong guy doesn’t have anything to lose.  You might think you’ll be able to spend your whole life pushing people around and taking what doesn’t belong to you but one of these days you’re going to meet the wrong guy and mark my words, when you meet this miserable excuse for a human being and get between him and his bottle, the last thing he truly gives a flying rat’s ass about in his cold, depressing life, he will not hesitate to take your gun away from you like the sissy mary that you truly are, beat you to a bloody pulp with it then blow your brains out all over the place.”

“Get it over with,”  the kid muttered.

“Oh,”  I said as I stepped back.  “We’ve got a miscommunication here.  Sorry to scare you my boy, but I’m not the wrong guy. I’m pretty close to being the wrong guy, but I’m not quite there yet. You see, I’m haunted by the face of every man I’ve put in the ground, even though every last one of them deserved it.  It’s a helluva thing taking a life.  It causes a torment to brew in your gut that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  You’d of felt it one day had you greased me or my friend over there.  Sadly, you’re probably too stupid to realize that you should thank me for sparing you from the misery that comes with taking a life.”

“If I thank you will you let me go?”

“I don’t give the Pope’s pointy hat about it,”  I said.  “I just don’t need to be kept up at night with your butt ugly mug dancing around in my brain when there’s already a bunch of slimeballs taking up that valuable real estate.”

The three of us just stood around staring at each other like a trio of idiots.

“What now?”  the kid asked.

“Take a walk,”  I said as I put the gun in my coat pocket, not far from where Betsy was resting her in holster.

The failed stick-up man didn’t waste any time in making a beeline for the door.

“Kid,”  I said.  He stopped but didn’t turn around.

“This is a second chance,”  I said.  “They’re few and far between in life, if at all.  Use it.  Pull yourself out of the gutter before you do meet the wrong guy.”

The door bell dinged and the hood was gone.  Lou bolted for the door and locked it, then returned to the counter.

“What the hell is wrong with you?  You could have gotten us both killed ya’ moron!”

“By who?”  I asked.  “That wimp?  Please.  Rule number one of being a criminal is don’t pull a piece unless you’re ready to use it.  One look at that kid’s eyes told me he wasn’t ready.”

“Yeah well, maybe not all of us want to take that risk,”  Lou said as he pulled out his little beep boop phone machine.

“What’re you doing?”  I asked.

“Ordering a pizza. What do you think jackass?  I’m calling the cops!”

I took Lou’s phone out of his hand, hanged it up, and set it on the counter.

“Last thing the world needs is one more life lost to the clink,”  I said.  “Probably just some loser down on his luck who never had an adult in his life willing to teach him right from wrong and thought this would be a good way to make a quick buck.  Don’t worry about it.  I scared that kid straight.”

“You scared a skidmark into my undies is what you did.”

Lou opened up the biggest paper bag he had, put the tequila I’d purchased earlier into it, then added a couple extra selections.

“A reward for the conquering hero,”  Lou said as he handed me the hooch.  “Go home and celebrate.”

“Will do,”  I said as I headed for the door.

“But Hatcher?”

“Yeah.”

“I still want to see you in that meeting Saturday night, mi amigo.  Now I’m convinced there’s something worth saving in you more than ever.”

“Go wash your undies, Lou.”

Copyright Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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How To Tell If Your Date Is A British Spy

bookshelfbattle:

This dude has one of the funnier blogs I’ve read on wordpress.

And to think, all those women hitting on me were undercover redcoats the entire time.

I think Victoria Gloria is on the up and up, but let me know if you see her do anything British.

– Bookshelf Q. Battler

Originally posted on The Return of the Modern Philosopher:

bad dateHappy Independence Day, Modern Philosophers!

Many of you will be celebrating the Fourth of July at parties, where you will meet new people, and maybe make plans for a date.

It’s time for another Dating Tips posts to make sure you’re safe when you go on that first date with the someone special you meet on Independence Day.

There is a chance your date could be a British spy.  Sure, we’re allies with England now, but they’ve never really gotten over the Revolutionary War and the whole Declaration of Independence thing.

As a result, they have sent hundreds of sleeper spies to become part of American society, marry us, and then turn our half British offspring against us.

The following tips will help you to discern if your date is a British spy.  As always, since I am a man who dates women, the date in this post will be…

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Pop Culture Mysteries – The Wrong Guy (Part 1)

By:  Jake Hatcher, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Private Eye

BQB Editorial Note:  Jake Hatcher has lived an extraordinary life.  Sometimes I’ll let him set aside the pop culture questions entirely and regale my 3.5 readers with tales of cases he’s worked on, both past and present.

Three faces of Abraham Lincoln sat on the counter, ready to emancipate me from my own hellish reality.

“Fifteen smackaroos,” I said after plunking them down.  “What’ll they get me, Lou?”

Hatcher recounts his life and times as a super sleuth right her on the Bookshelf Battle Blog

Hatcher recounts his life and times as a super sleuth right here on the Bookshelf Battle Blog

Lou Ramos was the owner of the Pack N’ Sack Liquor Mart just down the street from Tsang’s China Palace. 

He was a walking conundrum, big and small at the same time.  He was so short he barely rose higher than the cash register in front of him, yet sturdy enough that he looked like he could knock your block off if he wanted to.

We chewed the fat once in awhile.  Nothing too deep or serious.  Idle chit chat mostly. 

I hadn’t had much interest in exploring the new world around me, but Lou was peddling the one thing I couldn’t stand to be without.

“Wow,”  Lou said.  “Mr. Big Spender.  What’d ya’ roll over a little old lady for her lunch money or something?”

“Saved up three jobs’ worth of pay.  Time to celebrate.”

With a Hawaiian shirt unbuttoned at the top, gold medallion buried in a sea of chest hair, and the worst attempt at a comb-over this gumshoe had ever seen, Lou wasn’t exactly in danger of winning a male model competition.

“Three jobs and all you have to show for it is a lousy fifteen bucks?”  Lou asked as he put a bottle down on the counter.  “Your boss must be a real tightwad.”

“Tell me about it,” I said.

I picked up the bottle and examined it.  It was big, heavy and the liquid inside was a lovely shade of amber.  Bright red letters spelled out “La Orina de Serpiente” across the label. 

A drawing of a snake started at the top of the label and curled around down to the bottom.  It had a menacing face, like it wouldn’t mind swallowing me whole.  Made sense.  That’s what the concoction inside would do.

“New shit just in,”  Lou said.  “Nicaraguan tequila.  Snake Piss.”

“Any good?”  I asked.

“I assume it tastes like the water you’d get after ringing out a moldy dish rag,”  Lou said.  “But it’ll get you blotto.”

“You’re a helluva salesman, Lou.  Ring ‘er up.”

Ding ding.  The bell hooked up to the store’s front door rang as another customer walked in.  It was almost ten o’clock at night, just a few minutes shy of closing time. 

It was a young fella, somewhere in his early twenties.  He wore a leather jacket and the hood of his sweatshirt was pulled down over his face.

Lou tossed the devil’s juice into a brown bag and handed me my change.  Ninety-five years spent in this world and all I had to show for it were $2.05 and a $13.95 bottle of South American sadness medicine.

And we all know how long that bottle was going to last.

“Hatch,”  Lou said.  “I don’t know how to say this.”

“What’s up?”  I asked.  “You look like a cat stuck on a hairball.”

“You think you could find another booze joint to frequent?”

“What?  My cash ‘aint green enough for you?”

“Nah man,”  Lou said.  “It’s not like that it’s just…”

The young guy moved closer to the counter.  He looked around the shelves, finally picking up a bottle of wine.

Wine.  Never cared for it myself.  Too snooty.  Wine is for people who like to get drunk but want to pretend like its some kind of educational experience.

Lou leaned over the counter.

“You’re killing yourself.”

“Pardon?”

“Every time you got a little money in your pocket you’re in here buying up the joint, probably going home drinking yourself silly and falling asleep in a pool of your own drool and piss, am I right?”

He was right.

“You’re wrong,”  I lied.  “I don’t know what you think you know but I’m not some kind of Terry Teetotaler who can’t hold his liquor, see?”

I unscrewed the cap and took a pull.

“I see you can’t even wait until you’re home to take a taste,”  Lou said.

“What’s it to you, bub?  You’re one to talk.  You peddle this poison for a living.”

Lou reached into his shirt and pulled out another medallion, smaller and less flashier than the one more prominently displayed around his neck.

“Ten years sober,”  Lou said.

“No foolin?”

“I swear on my saintly tia’s grave,”  Lou replied. 

“Quite a place to work when you’re a recovering booze fiend,”  I said as I screwed the cap back on.

“I know,”  Lou said.  “Pretty ironic but my old man left me the place and I wasn’t about to turn away a chance to run my own business….but yeah.  There are times when I want to drink this whole place dry.”

“You’re a better man than me,”  I said.  “Holding out against all the temptation around you and all.”

“I go to a meeting every Saturday night at St. Anthony’s.  Come with me.”

“Meeting?”  I asked.  “Nothin’ doin.  Those are for weirdoes with a problem.”

Lou stared at me as if to ask if I had really just said that.

“You know you’re going to go bankrupt if you keep trying to talk people off the sauce,”  I said.

“Most people who come in here are beyond helping,”  Lou said.  “They don’t buy from me they’ll go somewhere else so I figure it’s not my place to get involved but I don’t know, Hatcher.  I think there’s something about you that seems like it might be worth saving.”

I popped a cigarette into my mouth and smiled.

“If you think that then you’re probably knocking back the hard stuff more than you’re letting on.  Goodnight, Lou.”

“Goodnight, Rummy.”

I turned around and barely took one step before the youngster pulled a piece and stuck it in my face.

“NOBODY MOVE!”

Copyright (c) 2015 Bookshelf Q. Battler.  All Rights Reserved.

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license. 

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Hatcher’s Next Case

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Welcome to July on the Bookshelf Battle Blog, where it’s going to be Pop Culture Mysteries all month long.

Next up – Hatcher takes a break from pop culture and solves a modern day mystery in 2015.  A stick-up gone bad leaves a liquor store owner pushing up daisies.  Will our resident gumshoe crack the case?

Tomorrow on Pop Culture Mysteries: The Wrong Guy.

Got a Pop Culture Mystery?  Tweet your questions about movies, music, TV, books, celebrities and entertainment to @bookshelfbattle and he’ll dispatch his attorney, Ms. Donnelly to deliver your inquiry to Detective Jake Hatcher.

Copyright (c) 2015 – Bookshelf Q. Battler.  All Rights Reserved.

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Case File #003 – Relationships (Part 4 – Conclusion)

PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…

PART 1 – A late night visit from Ms. Donnelly

PART 2 – A later arrival by Ms. Tsang

PART 3 – Once again, our resident gumshoe has Agnes the Librarian do his homework for him.

AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…

The pages of research that Agnes had printed out for me sat on my desk, pieces of of a puzzle that I needed to sort and put together if I was ever going to make heads or tails of this mess.

Bookshelf Q. Battler’s question needed to be answered:

How did Doc Brown and Marty McFly know each other in Back to the Future?

THE CHARACTERS

Doc Brown and Marty McFly weren’t two individuals who would hang out together under normal circumstances, that’s for sure.

“What’s a jiggawatt?”

DOC BROWN – Elderly wild haired scientist.  A genius to be sure and yet not all of his brain cylinders were firing at once when it came to mental stability.  What kind of a man makes a deal to build a bomb for Libyan terrorists with the intention of hoodwinking them and stealing their plutonium to use for his time machine?  I haven’t decided if that move made him certifiably bonkers, the owner of a big pair of brass cajones, or both.

MARTY MCFLY – Popular 1980s kid.  Liked trucks, music and his pretty girlfriend.  Doesn’t actually appear to be all that interested in science.

WHAT THE MOVIE TELLS US 

Not much.  The first film begins with the two already knowing each other.  Marty’s family don’t appear to know much or care about his relationship with Doc Brown.  There’s never any indication or clue as to how a teenage boy came to be the acquaintance of a mad scientist.

THE POSSIBILITIES

#1- They Were Friends

It may be hard to believe for a generation that’s glued to their beep boop machines, and their Facebooks and Twitters and social netwhatevers but there was a time when people actually walked around their neighborhood and got to know one another.

Even harder for you to believe is that there was a time when people actually gave a crap about each other.  You ever heard of the saying, “It takes village to raise a child?”  Used to apply.  Back in the day, parents would get reports on their kids from the teacher, the bus driver, the milk man, the barber, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, literally everyone who spotted the kid walking around town would notify the parents if the kid was acting like a jerk.

And more surprising to you folks is the fact that the parents would usually punish the kid appropriately rather than sue the adult reporter for offending them.

Times sure have changed.  There used to be a day when a kid could walk around with reckless abandon but today a youngster who does that risks having his face end up on the side of a milk carton.  (What, they don’t do the milk carton thing anymore?)

In simpler times, kids would knock on the neighbor’s door to say hello and they’d actually come back alive and well.  There were whole television shows about it.  Dennis the Menace was a late 1950’s/early 1960’s show about a boy who kept pestering his curmudgeonly neighbor Mr. Wilson, only for the lonely and childless Mr. Wilson to occasionally note that he appreciated the young lad’s friendship despite the hijinx that transpired whenever Dennis was around.

Hell, there used to even be a show on Nickelodeon called Mr. Wizard in which random kids would just stumble into a scientist’s house and conduct experiments with him.

And Mr. Rogers? He began each show by inviting the neighbor kids into his house with a “Won’t you please, won’t you please, won’t you be my neighbor?  Hi neighbor.”

And you know what happened back then?  Nothing.  Dennis the Menace returned to his parents no worse for wear, Mr. Wizard’s students returned to their homes with minds full of knowledge and Mr. Roger’s neighbors returned to the neighborhood, their heads full of stories and wonder.

Shows where kids and adults befriend each other have understandably gone extinct due to a multitude of news reports about adults doing evil, unspeakable things to children. As a lawman, I understand.  I trust no one and if I had a kid, I wouldn’t let it out of my sight for a second, let alone allow it to form a friendship with some random adult person.   There’s just too many freaks and weirdos out there today.

But keep in mind the 1980’s, like my own time in the 1950’s, was a less suspicious time period and it would not have been out of the ordinary back then for a teenager to befriend a mad scientist.  Today, Marty’s parents would probably call the cops on Doc Brown and file a restraining order.

Doc and Marty were pals to be sure, but that can’t be the end of it.

#2 – Employee/Employer

Could Doc Brown have hired Marty to help him out?  He was working on a lot of complicated experiments. Building a time machine isn’t a one man job.  It dawned on me maybe Doc gave Marty a few bucks to help him tote his plutonium and lug his capacitors and so forth.

The smoking gun that put this case to bed was right in front of my nose.  In an article on movieline.com, it is reported that Back to the Future co-writer Bob Gale has stated there was a backstory that never made it into the films.  Apparently, when Marty was 13 or 14, after hearing rumors that Doc Brown was a lunatic crackpot, Marty snuck into his lab, was in awe of all the gadgets and gizmos he found and Doc Brown decided to give Marty a part-time job helping out with the experiments.

Conclusion

I’m going to go with #1 with a side of #2 (coincidentally, my favorite order at Tsang’s China Palace.)

Marty was Doc Brown’s employee.  We don’t know how much moolah Marty made off the gig, but it makes sense.  Marty wasn’t a nerd and since nerds weren’t that accepted long ago, the movie probably would have tanked had Marty been some kind of geek who actually enjoyed learning about science from Doc.  Instead, Marty was presented as a cool kid, the kid that kids watching the movie wanted to be like.  A kid like that is only going to get interested in science if there’s money involved.

Still, there’s no doubt that a friendship was there as well.  Doc and Marty save each others’ hides throughout the film trilogy and a person doesn’t usually stick his neck out for another fella unless he cares.

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Copyright (c) Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license

Got a lead on a Pop Culture Mystery?  Drop a dime.  Tweet to @bookshelfbattle  #popculturemysteries or leave it in the comments on this blog.  BQB will dispatch Attorney Donnelly to deliver your inquiry to Detective Hatcher posthaste.

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Ask the Alien – 7/05/15 – Higgs Boson

By: Alien Jones, Intergalactic Correspondent

Greetings Earth Losers.  Alien Jones here, once again helping Bookshelf Q. Battler’s blog, purely out of a desire to help this nerd get his writing career off the ground and not because the Mighty Potentate has threatened to vaporize me while my government mandated life mate watches.

Ahh, that Mighty Potentate.  What a card.

Alien Steve hard at work on the Potentate Particle

Alien Steve hard at work on the Potentate Particle

As you 3.5 readers are aware, I have other commitments.  I’ve been busy trying to quell a brewing civil war in the Kovire system. Something to do with a scandal involving one of the ruling dictator’s 10,000 wives.  I’ll spare you the sordid details.

Suffice to say I’ve been busy, so my apologies for getting to this question so late. Author K.D. Rose whose works include The Brevity of Twit: Poetry in 140 Characters asks:

June 22.  Welcome to the Bookshelf Battle Blog, where our motto is, “We get to your questions before the next Ice Age.”

Ahh yes, Higgs Boson.  You adorable humans think you’ve unlocked the secrets of the so-called “God Particle.”

Here’s a NY Times explanation presented in a manner easily understood by the delicate human brain.

Watching humans work on science is like watching a monkey try to open up a can of beans, except sooner or later the monkey actually accomplishes the task.

While Earth scientists have done their best in this area, my colleague, Alien Steve, the most revered scientist on my home planet, made this discovery eons ago.  Dubbed, “the Potentate Particle,” Alien Steve determined through carefully conducted scientific analysis that the field in which particles are located is made out of microscopic grape jelly particles.

It makes sense when you try to wrap your mind around it.  Grape jelly holds things together, whether it be two slices of bread or many, many particles.

Of course, Alien Steve named his discovery in honor of our beloved Supreme and Undisputed Overlord, the Mighty Potentate, because of his love and admiration for our illustrious benefactor and not out of fear of vaporization.

I mean, legally we’re required on our planet to tell you we do everything out of a sense of love and admiration for the Mightiest of Potentates, but that law is silly.  We’d do it anyway because we love and admire the guy so much.

Thank you for question and please continue tweeting your poetry to the twitterverse.

Alien Jones is the Intergalactic Correspondent for the Bookshelf Battle Blog, on a mission to raise Earth’s collective intelligence levels one question at a time. Do you have a question for the Esteemed Brainy One? Tweet it to @bookshelfbattle on Twitter, leave it in the comments on bookshelfbattle.com, or stop by Bookshelf Battle on Google Plus. If he likes your question, he might even promote your book, blog, other project in his answer.

Green alien image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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A Brief History of the American Revolution

Happy 4th of July, 3.5 readers!

May your day be filled with fireworks, revelry, and delicious barbecued wieners.

Bookshelf Q. Battler here to kick the holiday off in style with a brief history of the American Revolution.

“Tax that tea so that I might purchase more elaborate coats!” – King George III

Frankly, kids these days, what with their addiction to the Interwebs and what not, have no idea how their country got started and it’s high time someone educated them.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

The colonials loved their tea.  All day long, they’d sit around the hearth and say, “‘Ello guvna, I fancy a spot of tea I do!”

They found tea exceptionally delicious and drank that shit morning, noon and night.  The only time when you’d never see a colonial with one tea cup in his hand is when he’d have two tea cups, one in each hand.

The King of England, a foppish nancy boy if there ever was one, hated the colonials and decided to get their goat good.

“I’ll tax the shit of the colonials’ tea!” he declared and tax the shit out of the colonials’ tea he did.

In fact, the original act began as follows:

A PROCLAMATION BY THE KING TO TAX THE SHIT OUT OF THE COLONIALS’ TEA

Be it hereby resolved that:

  • The colonials love their tea.
  • I hate the colonials because I’m the King and I’m a super sized a-hole.
  • That the colonials should have to pay out the wazoo for their hot beverage of choice.

Riots ensued and British tea merchants were placed into cannons and shot into the stratosphere.

Finally, it all culminated in the Boston Tea Party, an event in which colonials dressed like Native Americans and hurled tea crates into the watery depths of Boston Harbor.  So much tea was tossed into the harbor that even today at high tide passersby often are known to remark, “Holy shit this whole place smells like camomile!”

Yes, those colonials were so steadfast in their anti-tax beliefs that they were brazen enough to cause a great financial loss to the King’s tea merchant associates, yet still wanted to preserve the ability to say, “Hey, it wasn’t us!  It was those damn Injuns!” if called on it by the Crown.

The Continental Congress

“I totally bagged more French chicks than Jefferson.” – Ben Franklin

The Continental Congress is one of the oldest political institutions in America.  Among the more relevant points deliberated:

  • Jefferson or Franklin – who gets more French chicks?
  • Should we call ourselves the Independent Republic of Suck it, King!
  • Who will supply our wig powder if trade ties are cut with England?
  • How serious are we about this “all men are created equal” hullabaloo?
  • I mean, we’re just paying lip service to equality right?
  • Should we actually make a list of all the people that should be treated equally or should we just allow subsequent generations to duke that shit out over the next several hundred years?

The Declaration of Independence

Our founding fathers, fed up with the King’s d-baggery, enlisted Thomas Jefferson to pen the Declaration of Independence.  The first draft was nothing more than an engraving of a giant middle finger.  The second draft simply stated, “Suck it, King!”  (“Suck it King” was the unofficial companion slogan to the more well-known “Don’t Tread on Me.”

Here’s the third draft.  It too was inevitably left on the cutting room floor:

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

Be it resolved that:

  • The King has poopy pants.
  • And further, that the King should suck the proverbial “it.”
  • Seriously, we can’t stand that guy.  He smells bad and he taxes our tea so that he can purchase elaborate coats and commission portraits of himself wearing them.
  • All we’re trying to do is drink some reasonably priced tea and chill the F out without damn redcoats being quartered in our houses.

The American Revolution

As stated in the “Official British War Manual,” the rules for the Royal Army were as follows:

“Surely we shall prevail for our uniforms are the brightest and fanciest!” – Lord Cornwallis, British General

  • All soldiers shall wear extremely bright red coats.  If possible, please draw targets on them, or failing that, simply write the words “Shoot here” over the heart and various vital organ regions.
  • When entering the field of battle, all men must march side by side in a straight line directly towards the source of the enemy gunfire, preferably in as conspicuous a manner as possible.
  • It is required that a drummer boy shall bang constantly on the drum to announce the Royal Army’s arrival.  If a drum is unavailable, shouting, “ATTENTION ENEMY!  BE FOREWARNED THAT WE HAVE ARRIVED!” shall suffice.

Yes, since time immemorial, it had been a longstanding tradition for armies to march straight toward each another, announce, “WE’RE HERE!” and then shoot and hack each other to bits in an orderly fashion.

However, General George Washington, the Revolution’s keen military commander, advised his troops to deviate from typical strategy in two important ways:

1)  Hide behind various trees, bushes, and shrubberies

2)  Wear dark clothing that blends into the outdoor habitat

These changes led to the Redcoats’ having their clocks cleaned.  One battlefield historian took notes on the British Army’s reaction:

REDCOAT #1 – I say!  Their coats are dark in color and difficult to focus our fire upon!  The nerve!

REDCOAT #2 – Quite right, quite right.  And these scallywags aren’t even announcing their presence at all!  Highly unsportsmanlike if you ask me!

The End of the War 

The American Revolution came to an end when George Washington sailed all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, walked right up to the King’s palace and challenged George III to a best two out of three roundhouse kick to the face competition.

This announcement of the competition is located in the Museum of Fake History:

HEAR YE, HEAR YE!

Know all ye that:

GENERAL WASHINGTON, COMMANDER OF THE REVOLUTIONARY ARMY

DOTH CHALLENGE

HIS ROYAL MAJESTY, KING GEORGE III

To a Competition of Roundhouse Kicks to the Face.

Each party shall take turns in attempting to land a kick to the opposite party’s face.  A point worthy hit shall only be noted by the judges if the kicker’s boot heel lands squarely in the middle of the kickee’s face.

Cheek or chin hits shall be registered as unacceptable.

Whoever reacheth two out of three kicks to the opposing face shall be declared the victor.

Should King George III win, he shall have the right to rule over the Colonies Across the Ocean and to Tax the Shit Out of their Tea Until the End of Time.

Should General Washington win, the Colonials shall obtain the right to start a new nation, one that they will likely screw up themselves anyway.

Yes, many minstrels and poets have memorialized in written verse the epic bravery displayed by George Washington when he planted not one but two round house kicks to the face of George III, who never landed one on his opponent.

Our hero's face, unkicked and preserved on the quarter as a final

Our hero’s face, unkicked and preserved on the quarter as a final “up your nose with a rubber nose” to those pesky crumpet chewers.

America was set free and a capital city, a state, a monument, and a damn high school every hundred miles or so were named after Washington in honor of his badassery.  His face (unkicked) was even emblazoned on our currency as a reminder to the British that our hero’s mug was left unscathed.

Gen. Washington’s roundhouse kick to the face victory would not be recreated until 2015, when Bookshelf Q. Battler and the Yeti met on the field of battle to resolve their a struggle over control of the Bookshelf Battle Compound.  BQB totally beat that smelly yeti.

Aftermath

Having relieved itself of British oppression, America expanded westward.  Many American leaders stated, “So much land, just ripe for the taking!  Surely no one will notice!”  To wit many Native Americans replied, “Dudes, we can totally hear you.”

Over two hundred and some odd years later, America, though it isn’t without its share of problems, is a land of opportunity, one where freedom of speech is protected, even if you’re a lowly nerd blogger with a pitiful showing of 3.5 readers.

Ironically, a nation that began as the result of a tea tax dispute has levied more taxes than King George ever could have dreamed up.  You’ve got your Federal tax, State tax, property tax, estate tax, excise tax, tax tax (that’s when you get taxed on your tax), sales tax, gas tax, passing gas tax (a surcharge on your discharge, as it were), and last, but not least, a cornucopia of fees that you have to pay whenever you want the clerk at whatever government office you’re visiting to stamp whatever damn form you happen to be filing at the moment.

In a double twist of irony, tea is more reasonably priced than ever, but no one drinks that shit anymore.

In All Seriousness

There isn’t a country I’d rather live in than America.   There are many reasons, but the top one is that I can post this diatribe without fear of reprisal.

(I mean, I could anyway, because it’s not like more than 3.5 people are reading, but still, it’s nice to have freedom of speech as well).

Happy 4th of July,

Bookshelf Q. Battler

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Movie Review – Max (2015)

I think Aloha might have some competition when it comes to the worst film I’ve seen in 2015.

(Although that could change if I ever bring myself to sit through Mortdecai.)

Bookshelf Q. Battler here with a review of the furry family film Max.

OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING

Movieclips Trailers – Max 

Before I go on a tangent, let me begin by saying I get it.  I’m not this movie’s target audience.  It was meant as a family drama – a dog that the kids can root for combined with action that parents might prefer over listening to a resounding chorus of Elsa’s “Let it Go” for the 1,000th time.

To the film’s credit, it raises public awareness of the risks taken by military dogs and their handlers by pointing out the statistic that since 2003, 26 dogs and 25 handlers have died in combat.  A montage of real war dogs and their handlers starting from World War I, up through Vietnam and all the way to modern wars is heartwarming and sad, so much so that I debated whether or not to make fun of this film at all.

But what the hell, I’m going to.

The movie starts off with a noble premise.  Dog handler Kyle dies in an explosion in Afghanistan.  Prior to his tragic end, we witness Max’s ability to sniff out guns and bombs and to even engage in recon (the furry guy marches ahead of his human companion to check out whether things are safe.)

After returning stateside, Max is having a hard time without his handler.  He’s violent towards everyone except Justin, Max’s younger brother.  The military wants to put Max down but instead, Justin and his parents take the pooch in.

Ultimately, the first half of the film is a glorified Hallmark Channel movie.  Kyle’s family is having a tough time being without their lost son/brother.  Max is depressed without his buddy.  Together, family and dog bond and learn how to fight the pain that’s come their way.

Not really a blockbuster idea for a movie, but I’m not about to begrudge a film that brings the hardships of deceased soldiers’ families (and their dogs) to the forefront of a public that often forgets how tough service men and women have it.

But then the film takes an odd turn.

I don’t know how it happened, but in my mind, I picture a Hollywood suit saying something like, “We need to liven things up here!”

Enter the bizarre subplot that takes over the whole film.

As it turns out, Tyler, a soldier who was Kyle’s friend during the war, has been stealing enemy guns (found by military dogs), bringing them to America and selling them to Mexican cartel gangsters.

Because if there’s one thing family films need, it’s an international arms dealing conspiracy.

Somehow Max is aware of this and growls at Tyler whenever he’s in the room though the rest of the family just embraces him as Kyle’s beloved friend.  (I have no idea how Max, who you might recall, is a dog, figured out that Tyler’s dirty.  Maybe the military investigators kept him in the loop.)

Not to be outdone, Tyler treats Max as an enemy that needs to be dispatched before his ill gotten misdeeds are discovered.  At one point, Tyler slanders Max to Justin and Kyle’s father, Ray, telling Ray a fib that Kyle died because Max botched his duties as a military dog (when in fact, Max was totally a pro the entire time, not to mention the best actor in the whole film, which isn’t saying much.)

In what quite literally may be the dumbest moment in cinematic history, Ray, after hearing Tyler’s deceit, pulls a gun on Max in the manner of how, say in a cop movie, one cop might draw on someone who’s betrayed him.

I was left sitting there, wondering why I wasted money and time on this stupidity, fighting back the urge to yell at Ray, “Dude. It’s just a dog!”

Other notable dumb moments:

#1 – A military man, upon turning over top secret government information to Justin states something like, “I shouldn’t really be giving this to you.”  Don’t worry, military man.  I’m sure army dudes always turn over top secret info to plucky teenagers with no security clearance all the time

#2- Chuy and Carmen – Justin’s best friend, Chuy, and Chuy’s cousin Carmen/Justin’s love interest form a trio of kids who take down the international arms dealing ring.  In my mind, they actually prove to be two of the more enjoyable characters in the movie.  However, there was a not so subtle effort to get the point across that these are a couple of hispanic kids hanging out with a white kid.  It almost reeked of, “HEY!  HEY EVERYONE!  LOOK!  THIS MOVIE IS DIVERSE!  A WHITE KID IS FRIENDS WITH HISPANIC KIDS!”

Don’t get me wrong.  I think it’s great if kids of all races hang out and become buddies.  But then there’s abysmal dialog like this.  (I might not have it exactly down but here’s close to it):

CHUY:  You’re in love with the white boy.  You’re a traitor to your race.

CARMEN:  Mexican isn’t a race, idiot!

I…I don’t know where to begin with that one.  Oh, and then Chuy and Carmen have like a dozen dogs living in their house.  Oh and the gangster facilitating the deal between Tyler and the Cartel is a relative of Chuy and Carmen because…oh God I don’t know, I guess someone somewhere assumed there couldn’t possibly just be a nice hispanic family and a hispanic gangster residing in the same town unless they’re all related.

#3 – There were some cool 80’s style kids on bikes scenes.  (The 80’s were infamous for kids’ movies in which kids rode to glory and saved the day on their bikes.)  Usually, bikes aren’t exactly a match for international arms smugglers though.

(But seriously, all fun aside, Chuy and Carmen are the only characters that make the second half of the film watchable (barely).

#4 – Tyler and one of his cronies pull a frame job on Max, convincing authorities that Max was the perpetrator of an unjustified attack, just to get the canine out of the picture because…I don’t know.  I guess Tyler’s concerned that Max will woof to the police or something.  (It’s a dog!!!)

In short, I am a movie buff.  I have seen thousands of films in my life, some spectacular, some not so much and others just in the middle.  Once I’ve plunked down my cash and started watching, I stay through the end.

I stayed through the end of this one, but this was literally the first film I’ve watched where I just kept checking the time and saying to myself, “Please God, let this be over.”

In short, no I’m not a family looking for something to do over this holiday weekend.  If you are, you and your kids might very well enjoy this film.  Personally, I think it should have stuck with the “sad family adopts angry dog and they all learn and grow together” angle because the international arms dealing conspiracy is where it truly jumped the shark.

STATUS:  An A+ for educating the public about the important role played by military dogs and their handlers, only to denigrate into D- territory once the gun running plot is introduced.  Your kids might like this one, but please keep it off my shelf.

PS – It’s kind of too bad because, taken seriously, a movie in which soldiers and their dogs kick ass and take names on the battlefield, if done correctly, has all the potential for an awesome blockbuster.

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Case File #003 – Relationships (Part 3)

PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…

Part 1 – Attorney Donnelly visits Jake at an ungodly hour.  Ms. Tsang and Ernie arrive a little after that.

Part 2 – How do Jake and Ms. Tsang know each other?

AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…

“I don’t get it,”  I said as Agnes switched off the library’s movie playing thingamabob.

“What’s not to get?”  Agnes asked.  “It was a movie.  It was fun.  Now it’s over.”

It’s a movie.  It was fun.  Now it’s over.

Agnes the Librarian, Champion Shusher

Agnes the Librarian, Champion Shusher

That’s the way I used to feel about entertainment.  That’s the way most people feel about it.  We all have so much going on in our own lives that there’s just not enough hours in the day to devote to examining the finer points of cinema and yet three cases in and I was becoming as obsessed as Mr. Battler.

And it wasn’t just a movie.  Agnes and I watched all three movies in the library’s media room.

(Not for nothing but I was a little concerned about Agnes’ work ethic.)

“So this kid goes back and time and boinks his mother?”  I asked. “That’s disgusting.”

“They didn’t boink,”  Agnes replied.  “Marty’s mother was young.  She assumed Marty was just another boy to make moon eyes at.”

“And yet when she grows up and gives birth to Marty, she never once finds it odd that her kid looks exactly like this Calvin Klein fella that she met when she was in high school?”

“I don’t know,”  Agnes said.  “Do I look like a movie expert or something?”

“And what kind of a guy just leaves his girl sleeping on a porch unattended?”  I asked.  “Ma Hatcher would jump out of her grave and beat me with a rolling pin if I ever did anything like that.”

Agnes ignored me and put away the movie discs.

“Have they invented hover boards yet?  And why is Biff such a horse’s ass?”

I followed Agnes out onto the library floor.

“It’s the end of my shift,”  Agnes said.  “I need to go check on Herbert.”

“All right,”  I said.  “Just one more question.  Did you happen to notice if there was ever a hint as to how the kid and the doctor knew each other?”

“What?”  Agnes asked with a sour looking expression.  She always made a face like she was sucking on a lemon whenever she was frustrated with me.

“Doc Brown and Marty,” I said.  “They’re the two main characters in these damn pictures and yet there’s not one line that mentions how these two met.  That’s a plot hole you could drive a dump truck through, isn’t it?”

The librarian threw her arms up in the air.

“WHO CARES?”

“Well,”  I said.  “If you’re going to be that way about it…”

Agnes rubbed her temples then put a hand on my shoulder.

“Young man,”  she said.  “I have to say, you have me a bit worried.  You come in here all the time reeking of hard liquor.  You’re unshaven.  You look depressed and frankly, you’re not taking very good care of yourself.  I don’t mean to pry, but do you have a job?”

“I’m a fully licensed and bonded private investigator, ma’am,”  I responded matter-of-factly.

“And you expect me to believe that?”  the old gal replied.  “Son, you need to get a job.  If you want to come to the library, that’s great.  You’re more than welcome.  But don’t waste your time here watching movies.  I can help you look for gainful employment.”

She wanted to help me find work.  The idea intrigued me.

“Think there’s anyone who needs a man who’s handy with a P58 Schotzenhauer?”

“I don’t know,”  Agnes said.  “Is that some kind of tool or something?”

“Not exactly,”  I said.  “But it sure did come in handy during the war.”

Agnes’ expression turned more solemn.

“Oh,”  she said as she covered her mouth.  “Oh you poor man.  That explains everything.  Say no more.”

I’d said too much.  Most WWII vets were either dead and buried or on their last legs.  I was the only one who was strutting around like a prized peacock.

“You know, there’s a support group for veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq that meets here twice a month,”  Agnes said.  “You should sign up for it.”

I didn’t correct her.  Why blow my cover?  Besides, wars are wars.  The shit is the shit.

“I’ll think about it,”  I said.

“You do that,”  Agnes said.  “But I expect you here next Wednesday for computer class.  I’ve already signed you up and you’ll never get a job when you don’t even know the difference between a mouse and a keyboard.”

I gave the broad a light, playful punch in the shoulder.

“You’re a good egg, Ag,”  I said.  “Don’t ever change.”

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE:  I’m starting to think I should just fire Jake and hire Agnes.  Why go through the middle-man?

Copyright (c) Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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BQB and the Meaning of Life – Intro and Parts 1-6

Bookshelf Q. Battler.

Bookshelf Q. Battler, a Poindexter of World Renown

Bookshelf Q. Battler, a Poindexter of World Renown

His 3.5 readers know him as a World Renowned Poindexter, Reviewer of Books, Movies and Assorted Cultural Happenings, Champion Yeti Fighter, and Blogger-in-Chief of the Bookshelf Battle Blog.

But few are aware that this gregarious geek has also discovered the answer to life’s most vexing question:

Why do they always forget to put the sauce in your bag when you buy fast food chicken nuggets?

Ooops.  Wrong question.  Here it is:

What is the meaning of life?

True understanding of mankind’s purpose doesn’t come easy.  Behold, here’s how our illustrious hero’s dorktastic adventures began:

Intro – BQB explains why he wrote this story.

Tessa Fireswarm, one of the more unruly characters inhabiting BQB's magic shelf.

Tessa Fireswarm, one of the more unruly characters inhabiting BQB’s magic shelf.

Part 1 – A Toaster Pastry Too Far – As caretaker of a magic bookshelf where small versions literary characters come to life and fight over limited shelf space, BQB’s life isn’t easy.  Most of his free time is spent keeping these pint sized protagonists from burning the Bookshelf Battle Compound down.  Our tale begins when Young Adult Fiction Star Tessa Fireswarm wakes BQB up in the middle night by firing arrows at a copy of Tales of the Lost French Children. Unable to get back to sleep, BQB devours a lightning infused toaster pastry and croaks on the toilet whilst trying to expel it from his nether regions.

(And you thought that story you crumpled up and threw in your trash can was far fetched.)

Part 2 – Twenty-Three Skadoo – Our noble nerd finds himself in an afterlife speakeasy straight out of the 1930’s.  In fact, a waitress who bears a striking resemblance to a beloved female celebrity from his generation who died too soon insists on keeping him soused to the gills so as to keep him from freaking out, as most newcomers to the afterlife tend to do.  A refined British gentleman with balding hair and a codpiece takes a seat.

Part – 3 – A Place Between Heaven and Hell – William Shakespeare explains that he’s BQB’s spirit guide. We learn more aboutthe waitress.

Part 4 – God’s Waiting Room – The man upstairs puts famous dead celebrities on rotating shifts to hang out in an afterlife speakeasy, thus making people sound crazy when they tell their story after they’re allowed to return to the land of the living.

Part 5 – The Return Kiss – Bookshelf Q. Battler has a hard time thinking up anyone who’d miss him if he remained croaked. When he finally thinks of someone, the waitress sends him back with a smooch.

The Waitress Who Bears a Striking Resemblance to a Much Beloved Female Celebrity from Your Generation Who Died Too Soon (Who does she look like to you?)

The Waitress Who Bears a Striking Resemblance to a Much Beloved Female Celebrity from Your Generation Who Died Too Soon (Who does she look like to you?)

Copyright (c) 2015 Bookshelf Q. Battler.  All Rights Reserved.  

Images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

Attorney Donnelly notes that BQB’s magic bookshelf characters are meant for parody purposes (poking fun at literary characters both classic and modern.)

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