31 Zombie Authors – What Questions Do You Have?

The authors of zombie books or “zombie authors” are starting to express interest.

As you recall, this October, Bookshelf Battle will briefly become “Spookyshelf Battle” and if all goes to plan, 31 authors of zombie books will provide me with daily advice on how to escape the zombie apocalypse that will descend upon East Randomtown due to a Dr. Hugo Von Science experiment gone awry.

What questions do you have for our esteemed zombie author guests, oh wise 3.5 readers?

BEHOLD!  THE FACE OF THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE:

Guten Tag, Herr 3.5 Readers!

Guten Tag, Herr 3.5 Readers!

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Spookyshelf Battle (Or, 31 Zombie Authors)

bookshelfbattle:

Calling all zombie authors! (Humans who’ve written a book about zombies even better!) Bookshelf Q. Battler needs your help this October to survive the Zombie Apocalypse!

Answer his questions about zombie survival, entertain his 3.5 readers, and plug your books and blogs!

Originally posted on Bookshelf Battle:

Happy Thursday, 3.5 Readers.

Egads!  A zombie outbreak in East Random Town! Egads! A zombie outbreak in East Random Town!

Is it too early to start talking about Halloween?

Not when you’re as big a fan of that holiday as I am.

And not when you’ve got a big idea in mind.

Today, my main squeeze Video Game Rack Fighter and I took a walk, did some shopping, and we stopped by a fortune teller who’d set up shop and was predicting futures at five bucks a pop.

VGRF talked me into it and, much to my shock, this mysterious gypsy lady with a kiosk next to the Orange Julius stand at the East Random Town Mall prognosticated the following:

That on October 1 of this year:

  • VGRF, Alien Jones, myself, and possibly The Yeti will take in a scientific demonstration by my mentor, the esteemed Dr. Hugo Von Science.
  • That Dr. Hugo, through his gross incompetence, will…

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Pop Culture Mysteries: Case File #004 – Snubbed (Part 2)

Previously on Pop Culture Mysteries…

Part 1

And now the Pop Culture Mysteries continue…

It was a full moon and like a werewolf, I was ready to howl.

Ms. Minaj’s Anaconda featured a bevy of bodacious booty, so much so that I couldn’t tell if it was a music video or a proctology doctor’s highlight reel.

shutterstock_225997429

“Do pick up your jaw, Mr. Hatcher,”  Delilah scolded.  “I dare say you run the risk of drooling into your ice water.”

Like an adorable blonde bunny rabbit, Delilah munched on a salad.  It must be hard to be a dame like that, barely eating anything just to keep a trim figure.

I skipped lunch and asked for a glass of H20.  I was hungrier than a bear after hibernation, but I had fifteen smackers in my pocket earned by solving three cases for Mr. Battler and my manly pride mandated that I not allow Ms. Donnelly to pick up the check this time.

I handed Ms. Donnelly’s phone back to her.

“I have no idea how to work these damn beep boop machines.  Play it again, will you?”

Delilah scoffed, seized the phone, and tucked it into her designer handbag.

“You’ve already watched it seventeen times, Mr. Hatcher.”

“I’m nothing if not a thorough investigator, Ms. Donnelly,”  I said.  “There’s a clue hiding amidst all those hineys.  I’m sure of it!”

“You’ll have to review it on your own time.  I won’t allow my mobile device to be used for your perversions any longer.”

Delilah passed me a manilla envelope.  I opened it.  A letter from Mr. Battler.

Hatcher,

The Video Music Awards.  They’re a yearly opportunity for ridiculously wealthy superstar musicians who get paid insane gobs of cash to sing songs and prance around in absurd outfits to pat each other on the back for their accomplishments made over the past year.

Naturally, pop culture junkies like myself gobble the spectacle up like rocky road ice cream.

But there’s trouble in paradise.

Pop-rapper Nicki Minaj, whose videos, what with their vivid colors, imaginative premises, and, well, yes, butts, butts, and more butts, was shunned.  Forgotten.  Cast aside.

Some might even say, “snubbed.”

Nicki was none too pleased and took to Twitter with her complaints, charging racism and body type-ism.

Not to be left out of the spotlight, songstresses Katy Perry and Taylor Swift stuck their schnozolas into the mix as well.

Review the tweets, conduct copious research and above all else, inform my 3.5 readers whether or not Nicki Minaj’s snub complaint is valid.

Sincerely,

Bookshelf Q. Battler

Blogger-in-Chief of the Bookshelf Battle Blog

I folded up the note and tucked it into my pocket.

“What on God’s green Earth is a Twitter?”

“It’s a social media website…”

Ms. Donnelly stopped, noticed the dumbfounded expression on my mug, and took an alternative tack.

“People like to talk a lot on their ‘beep boop machines’ as you call them.  They share virtually every last mundane detail of their lives with one another.”

“Are you serious?” I asked.

“Very much so,” Delilah said as she pulled out her phone and snapped a photo of her lunch.

“I can’t believe that,”  I said.

“Yes, just one of the things you’ll have to get used to I suppose.”

Delilah’s dainty fingers typed something on her phone.  Under her breath, I heard her mutter, “Hashtag Worst Salad Ever.”

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE:  Have you eaten a salad worse than Ms. Donnelly’s?  Share it on #WorstSaladEver.

“People have gotten lame if you ask me,”  I said.

“I did not.”

“Sharing a bunch of photos of nonsense,”  I said.  “I’ve never heard of anything more boring.”

“To each their own,”  Delilah said.

“Hell, it used to be if a yahoo tried to show you his photo album, you’d run out of the room like your feet were on fire.”

“Times,”  Delilah said with perfect diction.  “They are a-changing.”

The waitress dropped off the bill.  Delilah reached for it.

“Nothin’ doin,”  I said as I forked over my three fivers.

“Oh honestly, Mr. Hatcher,”  Delilah said.  “I don’t mean to be a braggart but I make so much more money than you.  You parting with the meager compensation provided to you by Mr. Battler is the last thing I want.”

Dames making more than men.  You know what I’m going to say, 3.5 readers.

I’m not against the idea.  I’m just not used to it.

“I won’t hear of it, Ms. Donnelly,” I said and then to the waitress, “Keep the change, dollface.”

“Hooray,” the waitress said as she twirled a finger around in the air as if she were throwing a sarcastic party.  “A whole quarter.”

$14.75 for a lousy salad and a glass of wine.  What a racket.

Ms. Donnelly dropped a fiver of her own on the table.

“I said I’ve got it.”

“It would be tres blaise to leave such a pathetic tip, Mr. Hatcher,”  Delilah said as she stood up.  “You may not care about your reputation but I have built a proper one that I must guard zealously.”

We walked outside the restaurant and stood there for a moment.  I waited for Delilah to unlock the door to the ’55 Caddy but instead, she got on her beep boop machine and did some beep booping.

“Ringing your gentleman caller?”  I asked.

“Not that that would be any of your concern but no,” Delilah said.  “I’m calling an Uber.”

“A what-er?”

“An Internet based car service,”  Delilah explained.  “A company that retains the services of drivers who are treated like independent contractors, thus rendering the need to pay for worker benefits unnecessary.”

“I think I just heard Jimmy Hoffa roll over in his unmarked grave.”

Yeah, I know Hoffa didn’t disappear until the 1980s but what can I say?  I’d been visiting old Agnes the librarian a lot, utilizing her books to bone up on everything I’d missed while I was pulling a Rip Van Winkle.

“Why call a cab when you’ve got wheels?”  I asked.

“I don’t,” Ms. Donnelly said.  “You do.”

The debutante tossed me the keys and I caught them without a hitch.

“I don’t get it.”

“A gift from Mr. Battler.  He figured that if you’re going to solve one-hundred pop culture mysteries for him, you’re going to need a reliable means of transportation.”

Like a cat in a canary cage, I was overjoyed.

“I thought you said the nerd doesn’t have much moolah.”

“He doesn’t,”  Delilah said.  “And though notoriously stingy with his own funds, Mr. Battler and his magic bookshelf do have a certain rare ability to…make things happen when they need to.”

“Magic bookshelf my eye,”  I said.  “I still say our boss is nuttier than a fruitcake.”

“You’re free to think whatever you wish, Mr. Hatcher.”

“I think I’m not going to look a gift horse as sweet as this one in the mouth,” I said as I opened up the driver’s side door. “Cancel your car, Ms. Donnelly, I’ll gladly give you a lift home.”

“That’s quite all right.”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive.”

Huh.  Another piece to the Delilah puzzle.  She obviously didn’t want me to see her digs and I was overcome with a desire to find out why.

But I knew if I pressed the issue, she’d snap up tighter than a Chinese finger trap.

So I did the only thing a gentleman could do.  I waited until her Uber picked her up and then tooled all over town with my fancy new set of wheels.

I used to have one just like it and was touched that Mr. Battler went through the trouble to find a replica.

Maybe my boss wasn’t such a dope after all.

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

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Ask the Alien – Pandora Spocks – Who is Jon Snow’s Mother?

Greetings Earth Losers!

The Esteemed Brainy One

The Esteemed Brainy One

Before I begin this week’s edition of “Ask the Alien,” the only column that allows Earthlings to consult the wisdom of a higher species in an effort to make your world a smarter place, my Supreme and Unquestionable Overlord, the Mighty Potentate, has asked me to repeat an announcement he made earlier this week:

Our planet, whose name is none of your business, is not Kepler 452-b.  There is no life on that planet and no, there are not really aliens who live there who have been instructed to turn off all the lights until your satellite leaves.  Also, stop using the satellite to beam reality television programs into this planet’s air waves.  If anyone lives there, they are most likely an asexual race and thus have no use for your Kim Kardashian.  

In summation, nothing to see here, so moving along.

I mean there.  “Here” would mean I’m transmitting from there and haha, that’d be most unlikely.

Now then.  On with the show!

This week’s question comes from Pandora Spocks of the “Adventures in Date Night” Blog.

Ahh date night.  What a lovely concept.  As mentioned above, my species is asexual, but we are each assigned a government mandated life mate by the Mighty Potentate’s administration.

It’s more or less a glorified buddy system.  Cloning is expensive so each alien has another alien to keep track of.  Lose track of your buddy and, you guessed it, you’ve got a date with the vaporizer.

Not as romantic as locking eyes with that special someone across the dance floor for the first time, but when Clone #9847611XR9 rolled off the assembly line, I knew there was something special about him, more so than the millions of other clones who looked and acted just like him.

He was given a traditional name, one like mine that you’d have to tie your human tongue in knots to pronounce, but for purposes of this blog, I’ll refer to him as Alien Rosencrantz.

Yes, Alien Rosencrantz and I try to keep our relationship fresh.  No matter how busy our schedules are, we always make time on Saturday night to analyze specimens with a billionth power microscope.

Never turn put your own relationships under a billionth power microscope, 3.5 readers.  Sometimes some aspects of amore just need to remain a mystery.

By the way, this “he” word.  The aliens on my planet?  Words like “he” or “she” don’t apply.  Alas, your primitive language doesn’t have a word to refer to someone whose neither a male or a female other than “it” and since Alien Rosencrantz and I are greater than mere objects, I suppose “he” will have to do.

Now then!  Onto Ms. Spocks’ inquiry:

Who is Jon Snow’s mother?

Ahhh!  A true question for the ages!

First, any of the 3.5 readers who wish to remain SPOILER free should exit the blog immediately.  Actually, don’t exit it all the way.  Click on some of the other links and buttons to get Bookshelf Q. Battler’s hit rate up.  I really need to get the Mighty Potentate off my ganderflazer.

As you might recall, I briefly appeared in BQB’s work of fanfiction, A Game of Yetis.  

The premise was that Lord BQB of House Bookshelf takes on Lord Yeti of House Yeti over the theft of BQB’s Dew of the Mountain.  The story was supposed to end with the Khaleesi and I flying to Yetifell and burning up all those smelly snow-squatches with the assistance of dragonfire, but alas there was this transmission:

Alien Jones!  Tell BQB to cease that insipid fan fiction immediately!  If there’s anything I despise more than reality television it’s fan fiction!

– The Mighty Potentate

P.S. Do my bidding or its the vaporizer for you, and I’m not talking about that device the humans use to breathe in eucalyptus when they have colds.

He was talking about the device he has that turns disobedient aliens into a fine mist.  Anyhoo!  660 words in, let’s get to Ms. Spocks’ question.

What the show has told us thus far:

  • Ned Stark, whilst facing a battle he was unlikely to come back from, ignored his marital vows to Lady Catelyn and engaged in the hokey pokey with a random hussy.
  • Unexpectedly, he returned from battle in a most glorious manner with baby Jon Snow, “Snow” being the name given to bastards in Winterfell.  Things have gotten better since olden times.  It’s less proper to just randomly refer to an out of wedlock child as a bastard.  Alas, for poor Jon, it’s “Hello bastard” and “What do you want, bastard?” and “Did you forget you’re a bastard?” every five seconds.
  • Ned promised to one day tell Jon the truth about his mother, but alas, his head was chopped off.  (Hey, I warned about the SPOILERS.)

That’s why (SPOILER!) Jon Snow’s death at the end of last season was so upsetting.  After all, since we were informed there was something more to be told about Snow’s mother, it’s kind of a massive plot hole if that question remains unanswered.

The prevailing theory in Game of Thrones fandom is as follows:

  • Robert Baratheon, who Ned’s sister Lyanna had been promised to, believed Rhaegar Targaryen (son of the then king) had kidnapped Lyanna and was so angry about it that he led a daring rebellion that caused the Mad King to be overthrown.
  • Ned’s sister Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen were actually in love and Lyanna ran away with Rhaegar willingly.
  • Lyanna and Rhaegar did the hibbitty dibbitty and baby Jon Snow was the result.
  • Lyanna Stark died in childbirth.
  • Rhaegar died when Robert Baratheon knocked the snot out of him with his mighty war hammer, sending a spectacular spray of jewels from Targaryen’s fancy armor everywhere.
  • Ned Stark was left with a difficult burden.  Of course, he wanted to save his dear nephew.  And of course, the most respectable character in the whole series would never have cheated on his beloved Catelyn.
  • But, Robert Baratheon is kind of an angry dingus and would have had Jon Snow killed.
  • Thus, Ned lied, made up a story about a random hussy he knocked boots with, and had to endure Catelyn hating him for strange on the side that he never even got in the first place!

Could this theory be accurate?  Who knows, but there’s a scene in Season 5 where Littlefinger hints to Sansa that her aunt Lyanna may not have been kidnapped after all.

There you have it, 3.5 readers!  And thank you to Pandora.  May you continue to regale us with tales of your date nights and inspire couples across the cosmos to take time to add spice to their romance.

Alien Jones is the Intergalactic Correspondent for the Bookshelf Battle. Do you have a question for the Esteemed Brainy One? Submit it to Bookshelf Q. Battler via a tweet to @bookshelfbattle, leave it in the comment section on this site, or drop it off on the Bookshelf Battle Google + page. If AJ likes your question, he might promote your book, blog, or other project while providing his answer.

THE ALIEN JONES GUARANTEE: If you don’t like his response, just let him know and he’ll file it into the recycling bin of his monolithic super computer. No muss, no fuss, no problem.

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Movie Review – Southpaw (2015) – Special Guest Reviewer – Jake Hatcher

By:  Jake Hatcher, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Private Eye

BQB EDITORIAL NOTE: A special treat for you, 3.5 readers.  If you’re following Pop Culture Mysteries, then you know that the Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Private Eye, Jake Hatcher, was once a formidable pugilist.  His fists of fury brought down a number of vicious opponents, not to mention the Third Reich.

Thus, I decided to take a powder for this review and allow “The Jersey Jabber” to take over.

Jake Hatcher, Guest Movie Reviewer

Jake Hatcher, Guest Movie Reviewer

Another Saturday night and no dame to while away the hours with.  I was lonelier than an injured dog with one of those safety cones around its neck that renders it unable to lick itself.

To my surprise, I stepped into my office and found an envelope on my desk.  Inside?  A movie ticket for the film Southpaw and the following note:

See a movie on me, Hatcher.  It’s the least I can do for the man who keeps my 3.5 readers entertained with tales of daring-do.

Sincerely,

Bookshelf Q. Battler

Blogger-in-Chief for the Bookshelf Battle Blog

Huh.  Delilah must have dropped it off while I was at the liquor store.

Did I say liquor store?  I meant to say while I was putting in a hard day of sleuthing.

Much appreciated, Mr. Battler.  Though honestly, the least you could have done was pony up the dough for two tickets. Hell, you could have even talked that looker of a lawyer of yours into accompanying me.

Dim lights.  Emotional flick.  Perfect atmosphere to sneak in a little smooch-a-roo but oh well.  Who am I kidding?  I’ve got a better shot at stealing the Queen of England’s crown jewels than I do at stealing a kiss from the delicious dish Delilah K. Donnelly.

You know, 3.5 readers, in my day films were only shown for a limited time.  If you missed it, it was tough titty said the kitty. Thus, if some turkey gobbled up the action that you missed, you’d allow him to give you an earful and you’d thank him for it, because by and large, word of mouth was the only way you’d find out about the story you missed.

Things are different today.  Miss a film in the theater?  Just watch it on your television.  Or your phone.  Or those damn i-Whatevers.  Big phones basically.  Watch a movie on your toaster, your toothbrush, your refrigerator, your cuisinart.  If it’s a beep boop machine, then you can watch a damn movie on it.

And you can watch it whenever you want too.  On the can, in line at the delicatessen, at the dentist’s office while your teeth are getting drilled, while you’re pretending to give two shits about whatever it is your dumb friend is saying, it doesn’t matter.

Bottomline – I’m supposed to warn you that this review has more SPOILERS than Ms. Donnelly has beauty, so if you haven’t taken it in yet, then take a walk, Jack.

Movieclips Trailers – Southpaw

Mr. Battler, all complaints about your cheapness aside, I do thank you for giving me the chance to watch this movie.  It brought the good old days of my boxing career back to me faster than a Maserati with a brick on the accelerator.

So this fella, Jake Gyllenhaal.  I take it he’s the cock of the walk in Tinsel Town these days.  I’m not light in the loafers or nothin’ but I can tell a handsome man when I see one so I imagine the broads go gaga over this galoot.  Guys like that have their choice of roles so it’s to his credit that he chose this one, since it’s not exactly a glamorous one.

Gyllenhaal plays Billy Hope, an ironic name to be sure because this cat becomes utterly hopeless.

At the start of the picture, Hope has it all.  A mansion the Sultan of Brunei would be happy to call home.  A swimming pool you could sail a battleship through.  More friends than he can shake a stick at.  An adorable daughter and a wife who’s hotter than a bowl full of jalapenos.

(I just have to say that to entertain the 3.5 readers, Ms. Donnelly.  You know she’s got nothin’ on you.)

Have you folks taken a gander at this Rachel McAdams broad?  All I can say is I’ll see your “Hubba Hubba” and raise you an “Awooga!”

That gal is easy on the eyes, let me tell you.  For most of the first part of the movie, she runs around in a skimpy dress that really shows off her dynamic derriere.

Not that I want to pay attention to stuff like that, but I am a private detective.  It’s my job to notice these things.

Anyway, you don’t need to listen to me flap my yapper all night, so let me give you the straight skinny.

Hope’s world comes crashing down when Miguel Escobar, a rival for the heavyweight belt, makes an inappropriate comment about Mrs. Hope.  The champ gets madder than a box full of boll weevils, a fist fight ensues, and both fighters’ entourages join in the melee.

A gun is drawn and fired, Mrs. Hope takes a bullet and croaks like a frog on a log and yours truly is left to suffer without McAdams’ keister to gawk at for another hour and a half.

Again, I was just doing my job.

Luckily, there was plenty of other action to make up for the lack of McAdam’s marvelous mangoes.  I won’t rat out the details but the whole mess causes Hope a whole heap of financial and legal problems, see? He loses his house, his money, his kid and hits rock bottom, a place this gumshoe knows only too well.

It’s up to down and out trainer Tick Wills (Forest Whitaker) to give Hope some hope and bring him back from the brink of self-destruction.

Curtis “50-Cent” Jackson plays Hope’s conniving manager Jordan, a real slick type who drops Hope like a bad penny when the going gets tough.

As if there wasn’t enough irony in this film, 50-Cent is the fella that springs the bad news to Hope that he’s got less cash than a check-out register at a discount dime store.  Word on the street is that 50, or “Fiddy” as I hear folks call him, just filed for bankruptcy and his nickname has become more than apt.

Can anyone explain to me what a rapper is?  I woke up a year ago after a 59-year nap and like a kangaroo with a sewn up pouch, I’m confused.  All I can gather is they talk fast in rhyme to a beat.  It’s like being a real smooth Lord Byron I suppose.

Whatever rapping is, the film is accompanied by a soundtrack that rap aficionados will want to check out.  Fiddy is featured on the album, and another fella called Eminem offers up a diddy called, Phenomenal.

It’s catchy.  You should listen to it.  I hummed it for awhile after I got home until Ms. Tsang kicked me out of her kitchen because she couldn’t stand to listen to me anymore.

Can’t say as I blame her.  Sometimes I’m not the best company.  Just ask the three ex-Mrs. Hatchers.

I tip my fedora to Gyllenhaal.  The key to great acting is to transform into someone the audience doesn’t recognize, and Jake does that here.

(Try not to get confused, 3.5 readers.  The star’s name is Jake, but my name is also Jake.  Two Jakes, no waiting.)

Hope is a mumbling, bumbling fella, a punch drunk palooka who’s taken one too many smashes to the cranium.  He’s a powder keg full of rage and ready to see the slightest provocation as the match needed to set him off.  Gyllenhaal plays him to a tee.

Acting isn’t an easy gig.  When I first arrived in LaLaLand, I gave the old thespian routine a go and was laughed at by the entertainment industry power brokers like I was a clown in a pair of polka dot pants.

I try not to think about that though.  Sometimes when you fail, all that really happens is you come that much closer to figuring out what you’re good at.

Me?  I have two skills:

1)  Sleuthing.

2)  Punching dangerous desperados in the face.

Word has it Mr. Battler will even help me regale you 3.5 readers with the tale of how I became so good at the latter.  All I’ll say for now is I wish I’d never allowed that scumbag Mugsy McGillicuddy to force me to take a dive.  It cost me my chance at fame and fortune but even worse, my sweet, sweet Peaches.

If you want my recommendation, this film is worth your time.  It’s a gut wrenching story of loss and redemption.  The moral of the tale?  Appreciate what you’ve got and don’t stoop to the bad guy’s level or else you’ll lose it in an instant.  Sometimes the bigger man is the one who walks away.

Mr. Gyllenhaal, keep at it.  I think this acting thing of yours is going to work out for you.  And again, just because I pointed out that you’re a man of dapper visage doesn’t make me some kind of switch hitter for the Oakland Athletics.

Finally, I’d just like to say if my courtship of Ms. Donnelly doesn’t work out, you’re welcome to stop by Tsang’s Hong Kong Palace and eat my special egg roll, Ms. McAdams.

That’s not some kind of inappropriate innuendo.  Ms. Tsang shared her recipe with me and I make a mean plate of those delicious appetizers.  We could share a meal and shoot the bull was all I was trying to say.

Is it hot in here or is it just me?  Must be this damn trench coat I’m wearing in July.

Jake Hatcher is a hardboiled film noir style detective who fell asleep in 1955, woke up in 2014, and was recruited in June of this year by Bookshelf Battle Blog Lead Counsel Delilah K. Donnelly to solve 100 Pop Culture Mysteries.

If you have a question about movies, music, TV, books, or other forms of entertainment, drop a dime to Bookshelf Q. Battler by tweeting @bookshelfbattle and he’ll put Hatcher on the case.

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Case File #004 – Snubbed

By:  Jake Hatcher, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Private Eye

Pop Culture Mystery Question: Are Nicki Minaj’s claims of a VMA snub justified?

“You never should have come here.”

Women drivers...

Women drivers…

A granite slab doesn’t make for a good pillow, but I was exhausted and it was the only thing around to rest my head on.  I leaned back and stretched my legs over the green grass, noticing the tiny flecks of dew forming on the blades.

“I wish you’d of listened to me, kid,”  I said as I took a pull from the forty-ounce not so cleverly disguised by a brown paper bag.

Yes, I was one of those people who drank during the day.  Morning, afternoon, night.  Time doesn’t matter when you don’t age.

“All this town does is put stars in the eyes of young dopes too stupid to know any better,” I said.  “‘Shoot for the stars and you’ll land in the clouds,’ the dreamers say. They forget to tell you about the part where you might bypass greatness altogether and crash into the ground harder than a Mack Truck aimed at a brick wall.”

Crash into the ground.  

Poor choice of words.

I ran my fingers over the engraving that marked the head stone:

Roscoe J. Hatcher

1925-1952

“You thought I didn’t want you in LA,”  I said as I took another swig.  “That I didn’t want you cramping my style.  I was just trying to keep you away because this place is a haven for weirdoes and I didn’t want you to end up a two-bit bum like yours truly.”

I sat and sulked for awhile, interrupting my kid brother’s dirt nap with a one-sided conversation.

Suddenly, the sound of a finely tuned engine filled my ears.  I looked up to see a cherry red 1955 Cadillac winding its way through the lonely cemetery access road.

The sporty little number came to a halt in front of me.  Inside?  An even sportier little number – the object of my misplaced affection, Ms. Delilah K. Donnelly.

“Are you lost, ma’am?”  I asked as I sprang to my feet and pointed to the right.  “Rodeo Drive is that-a-way.”

“Apologies for interrupting your lunch, Mr. Hatcher,” Delilah said as her baby blues stared at the brown bag in my hand in a most disapproving manner.

I attempted a save.

“Can you believe degenerate winos use this place to get smackered?”  I asked as I threw the bottle into a trash can.  “Found this lying on the ground and Ma Hatcher always taught me if I see litter I should pick it up.”

“I’ll pretend not to notice your rampant alcoholism so that we might steer our attention to a most pressing matter,”  Delilah said as she popped the door lock.

“The nerd has another question?”  I asked as I sprawled out in the passenger seat.  It was nice.  Comfortably and roomy.  Not like the crap boxes they try to squeeze you in nowadays.

“Precisely,”  Delilah said as she drove away.  “And might I add a further apology for interrupting your mourning time.”

“No need,”  I said.  “Roscoe wasn’t much of a conversationalist anyway.”

As we hit the open road, Delilah turned on the radio.  A nice classic station.  Oldies all the time.

Legendary Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald brought my mind back to the good old days.  There was a gal that didn’t need a gimmick.  Just a sweet tune about love and a set of superb vocal cords.

There’s a saying old, says that love is blind.
Still we’re often told, ‘Seek and ye shall find.’
So I’m going to go seek a certain lad I’ve had  in mind.

Looking everywhere,
Haven’t found him yet.
He’s the big affair
I cannot forget.
Only man I ever think of with regret.

– Ella Fitzgerald, Somebody to Watch Over Me, Pure Ella (1954)

“You have good taste, Ms. Donnelly.”

“I’m aware, Mr. Hatcher.”

“How’d you find me?”

“Ms. Tsang said you’re known to visit your brother’s grave know and then.  Perhaps it isn’t my place to pry…”

Ahh, here we go.  Once again, Delilah acts like she doesn’t care, but then cares enough to ask.

“But I’m surprised you’d visit your brother at all…after what he did to you.”

I closed my eyes and enjoyed the breeze as air rushed all around me.

“People say there are some things that can never be forgiven,”  I said, “But to them, I say they just haven’t lived long enough.”

“Time heals all wounds?”  Delilah asked as she took the highway onramp.

“No,”  I said.  “Time just gives those wounds more of a chance to fester.  But given enough time, you lose your ability to give a shit about them.”

“I’m not so sure I concur.”

Delilah sure had a lead foot.  She steered us into the passing lane and floored it.  It was like being chauffeured like a female Mario Andretti.

“I’m sorry,”  I said.  “Ma Hatcher taught me never to swear in the presence of a lady.”

“It’s quite all right,”  Delilah said.  “In fact, your obscenity reminds me of our next case.”

Delilah adjusted the radio dial and the following lyrics invaded my ear drums:

This one is for my bitches with a fat ass in the f*%king club
I said, “Where my fat ass big bitches in the club?”
F%$k them skinny bitches,
Fu&*k them skinny bitches in the club
I wanna see all the big fat ass bitches in the motherf*%king club…

– Nicki Minaj, Anaconda, The Pinkprint Album

I lit up a cigarette and shook my head.

“I don’t get it,”  I said.  “The nerd has me looking into pornography now?”

“Pornography?”  Delilah asked.  “This is one of the top songs of the past year.”

I choked on my own smoke.

“Get outta’ town.”

Anaconda and Somebody to Watch Over Me are Nicki and Ella’s songs, respectively.

The rest is Copyright (C) 2015 Bookshelf Q. Battler.  All Rights Reserved.

Image courtesy of a shuttestock.com license.

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Movie Review – Pixels (2015)

Hey parents!  Remember all those video games you loved as a kid?

Well, they’re so old that they’ve become quaint!

Bookshelf Q. Battler here with a review of Adam Sandler’s action movie for kids, Pixels.

Even Pac-Man couldn’t gobble up the oncoming SPOILERS fast enough.

Movie Trailer – Pixels – Sony

Sometimes it’s hard to be Adam Sandler.

He wowed people in the 90’s with hits like Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison.  Those are two films that are still quotable today.

(You’ve never told someone something they just said made no sense and everyone is now dumber for having heard it?)

But then he made a slew of lesser films that fell flat and now he’s the point where everyone expects his movies will suck.

To his credit, this one didn’t.

If you’re looking for highbrow entertainment, then you’ll probably think it does.

If you’re a parent looking for a movie to bring your kids to that won’t bore you to tears, then you’ll enjoy it.

As kids, Sandler (Brenner), Kevin James (Cooper), Josh Gad (Ludlow), and Peter Dinklage (Eddie) once competed in a 1980’s video game tournament.

Back in those days, the lads thought the world would one day be their oyster.  Alas, they find life pretty disappointing as adults.

Brenner, who once dreamed of becoming a tech genius works at a Best Buy-esque home TV installation company.  Ludlow has become a wacky conspiracy theorist who still lives with his grandma and Eddie?  I won’t spoil it for you.

The only one who had life go his way was Cooper, but I won’t spoil that for you either.

Needless to say, the buddies who once believed their video game skills were useless in the real world become the world’s only hope when aliens attack using video game warfare.

Turns out, aliens aren’t that bright.  (Don’t tell Alien Jones).

Footage of the video game tournament was sent to outer space as an example of Earth culture in the hopes that friendly aliens would discover it.  Alas, the aliens take it as a challenge and develop real life versions of 1980’s video games to attack Earth.

Completely silly I know, but you’ll enjoy the special effects as Brenner and friends take on Centipede, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and so on.

There’s plenty of celebrity appearances.  Brian Cox plays a cranky American general and Sean Bean plays his British counterpart.  Michelle Monaghan plays Brenner’s love interest/Army inventor of anti-alien video game technology.

Josh Gad steals the show with his antics until Dinklage steals it from him with his obnoxious, egotistical character.

Q-Bert becomes the Jar Jar Binks of the film but that’s besides the point.

Will you, as once said to Happy Madison, be dumber for watching this movie?  Maybe.  But if you suspend disbelief and silence your inner critic, you’ll be entertained.

But if you can remember a time when arcades were fun and popular, then you might want to skip it because you’ll be left feeling old…unless you’re feeling nostalgic.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.

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Pop Culture Mysteries Gets Back to Basics

Read the Fine Print Whenever Ms. Donnelly is Involved.

Read the Fine Print Whenever Ms. Donnelly is Involved.

Happy Friday, 3.5 Readers.

Bookshelf Q. Battler here.

Among my many roles as Blogger-in-Chief of a blog read by 3.5 readers, I’m the boss of Pop Culture Detective Jake Hatcher, a hardboiled 1950’s private eye who sniffs out the answers to my questions about Hollywood and the entertainment industry.

Jake and I have never met in person.  Rather, I prefer to dispatch all my inquiries through Attorney Delilah K. Donnelly, Lead Counsel for the Bookshelf Battle Blog.

It’s kind of a Charlie’s Angels situation.  I ask the questions.  Delilah delivers them.  Jake hunts down the answers.  By keeping Delilah as a buffer, I’m able to retain Jake’s services and he’s not able to strangle me until I spill the beans to the secrets I’m keeping from him:

How did he fall asleep in 1955 and wake up in 2014 and more importantly, how can he get back to his own time?

Yes, I can help him with both questions, but I’m stringing him along until he’s solved 100 cases.

Feel free to thank me, 3.5 readers.  Sure, many bloggers put in a lot of work for their fans, but few are willing to extort a 1950s private investigator for your reading pleasure.

He’s gotten a bit carried away lately.  He’s starting writing down recollections of his adventures of a gumshoe.  I think they’re all interesting and worth sharing.

Two of his ideas in particular I hope to turn into self-published books, the profits of which I’ll keep because, you know, when Attorney Donnelly hands you a contract, you’d better read the fine print before signing.

Sorry Jake.

Anyway, the core concepts of this series:

1)  I have questions about popular culture.

2)  Referring to those questions as, “Pop Culture Mysteries” is funny.

3)  A 1950’s hard-boiled film noir style detective complete with trench coat and fedora tracking explaining the answers to these questions in traditional/stereotypical noir style (i.e. longwinded exaggeration and lots of ridiculous comparisons) is funnier.

Planning of novels set in Jake’s world are underway, but before the noble trio of Jake, Delilah, and myself do anything, we need to get a few more Pop Culture Mystery Questions answered and into the can.

Jake needs a fan base before he writes a couple of novels.  Otherwise, who’d buy them?

And how could I cut Jake out of the deal and use that sweet, sweet Amazon moolah to buy myself a Porsche?

Ah, don’t worry, 3.5 readers.

Behind that ice queen exterior, Attorney Donnelly often serves as the moral compass of this blog.

I’m sure she’ll twist my arm and convince me to share some of those book profits with our resident sleuth.

(I’ll need to keep some of it though just to pay Delilah’s latest legal bill though.  Sheesh!  Talk about billable hours!)

Don’t worry.  Jake will get back to regaling you all with The Wrong Guy, the story about how he tracked down the killer of his buddy Lou the liquor store owner.

But first, I need to put him on a more pressing case:

The Nicki Minaj Video Music Award (VMA) Snub – Does Her Complaint Have Merit?

Before Jake pounds the pavement on the trail of this caper, I’d like to take an informal poll:

What say you, 3.5 readers?  Is Nicki right?  Did she lose out because, as she tweeted, only certain “kinds” of artists get recognized?  Or, you know, should she just take all the money she made off of Anaconda and be happy?

Sour grapes or a star treated badly?

And what do you think about Taylor Swift and Katy Perry jumping into the fracas?

You tell me, 3.5.  You tell me.

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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The Mighty Potentate Responds to the Discovery of Kepler-452b

By:  The Mighty Potentate, Alien Jones’ Boss and Supreme Overlord of a Planet the Name of Which is None of Your Damn Business

Alien Jones' Boss, the Mighty Potentate.

ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY POTENTATE!

Greetings, Pitiful Humans!

Alien Jones’ boss, the Mighty Potentate, here to respond to rumors vis a vis this fiasco:

Yes, your Earth scientists, who think they are all big and brainy but in actuality are about as witty as a Banji Beast’s Butt Burst compared to the legion of geniuses under my command, claim to have discovered an Earth-like planet, one potentially capable of sustaining life.

Let us address the question that has no doubt entered your minds:

Is this Alien Jones’ home world, the one I, the Mighty Potentate, rule over with an iron fist?

THE ANSWER:  NO!

Muah ha ha!  Foolish hairless apes.  You really thought it would be that easy to locate a planet under the control of a being with a brain as copious and learned as mind?

Hilarious!  The notion brings nothing but laughter to me.  Ha.  Ha, I say!  Ha.

No, this is not my secret planet and therefore, your degenerate Hollywood executives should, UNDER NO MEANS:

1)  Use this telescope contraption to beam your insipid reality television programs to my, er, this planet’s media viewing devices.

2)  Build spacecraft capable of long range flight to deliver reality television stars to this world.  I mean, it’s not mine, but seriously, no planet deserves an influx of reality TV.  Keep it to yourself.

3)  Develop more obnoxious reality TV programs in the hopes of selling them to the residents of this planet.

4)  Don’t just start calling it a random name like Kepler-425b.  Perhaps this planet has a much cooler name.  I don’t know what it’s name is.  Why are you asking me?  I wouldn’t tell you if I knew it’s name anyway.  It’s none of your business, losers.  Seriously, just showing up to a place already inhabited, acting like you own it and can just move in, ignoring the beings that already live there.  You humans have a bad habit of doing that, you know.

Whoever the inhabitants of this mysterious planet may be, rest assured had they wanted you poking your big noses around, they’d of invited you to do so long ago, pathetic humans.

Whoever the inhabitants of this planet are, maybe all they ever wanted was to kidnap and probe a few of you to find out what makes you tick (specimens were surely given right back) and make crop circles as practical jokes.  No doubt a wise ruler put an end to those practices long ago, though some of his dumber subjects probably don’t listen.

What?  I’m talking about some other planet.  Stop asking questions.

In closing, REMOVE THE OFFENDING TELESCOPE CONTRAPTION FROM MY ORBIT IMMEDIATELY OR PREPARE FOR INTERGALACTIC CONQUEST!

Er, I mean, or don’t.  I don’t care.  Because that’s totally not my planet.

CEASE PUBLIC TRANSMISSION.

PRIVATE TRANSMISSION.

Not to be shared publicly with the worthless humans.

ALIEN JONES!  You were ordered to keep the humans away!  First, it’s this damnable satellite!  Next, my TV will have nothing but “Bowling Alley Disco Makeover” and “Who Wants to Be a Barracuda Farmer?”

Double your efforts towards launching BQB’s writing career, Alien Jones!  He and the self-published authors promoted in your Ask the Alien column are our only hope!

Fix this immediately, or it’s Welcome to Vaporization City: Population You!

End of Private Transmission.

Alien Jones is the Intergalactic Correspondent for the Bookshelf Battle. Do you have a question for the Esteemed Brainy One? Submit it to Bookshelf Q. Battler via a tweet to @bookshelfbattle, leave it in the comment section on this site, or drop it off on the Bookshelf Battle Google + page. If AJ likes your question, he might promote your book, blog, or other project while providing his answer.

ALIEN JONES’ GUARANTEE:  If you don’t like AJ’s response, just let him know and he’ll file it into the recycling bin of his monolithic super computer. No muss, no fuss, no problem.

Alien image courtesy of openclipart.org

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Spookyshelf Battle (Or, 31 Zombie Authors)

Happy Thursday, 3.5 Readers.

Egads!  A zombie outbreak in East Random Town!

Egads! A zombie outbreak in East Random Town!

Is it too early to start talking about Halloween?

Not when you’re as big a fan of that holiday as I am.

And not when you’ve got a big idea in mind.

Today, my main squeeze Video Game Rack Fighter and I took a walk, did some shopping, and we stopped by a fortune teller who’d set up shop and was predicting futures at five bucks a pop.

VGRF talked me into it and, much to my shock, this mysterious gypsy lady with a kiosk next to the Orange Julius stand at the East Random Town Mall prognosticated the following:

That on October 1 of this year:

  • VGRF, Alien Jones, myself, and possibly The Yeti will take in a scientific demonstration by my mentor, the esteemed Dr. Hugo Von Science.
  • That Dr. Hugo, through his gross incompetence, will botch his experiment, thus causing a zombie outbreak to sweep over my hometown.
  • VGRF, Alien Jones, and myself will be left with no choice but to fight our way through the undead hordes until we reach the safety of the Bookshelf Battle Compound.
  • Perhaps we’ll even come up a cure for the zombie epidemic in the process.

But to get through this, we will need the assistance of 31, count em, 31 Zombie Authors.

ALIEN JONES:  Zombie authors?!  That’s ridiculous!  They can’t even hold a pen.

BQB:  No, I mean authors who have written self-published books about zombies.  Though, hey, if there’s an actual function zombie who is an author, I’ll gladly talk to him as long as he promises not to bite me.

Every day, as a new part of the story unfolds, a self published zombie author will take a question from a member of our merry band of unlikely heroes.

Questions will mostly come from me, but Alien Jones and/or possibly the Yeti might have some inquiries.  Maybe even Dr. Hugo will participate.

I’ve also heard rumors of this thing called “Women’s Lib” so hell, Video Game Rack Fighter will have some questions too.

Examples:

DAY 1 – We need some supplies.  Author Fred Fredman of Super Scary Zombie Book, can you tell us the essentials of what a zombie apocalypse survivor needs to fend off the undead masses?

DAY 2 – The Yeti was just bitten by a zombie.  Author Kate Katerson of Incredibly Frightening Zombie Book, do you know if zombie bites affect animals?

DAY 3 – We’re holed up in an abandoned shack and the TV’s working.  Author Annie Annerson of You’ll Crap Your Pants if You Read this Zombie Book! Which zombie movie do you recommend we watch to pass the time and why?

I don’t know.  Just some initial questions off the top of my head.

Heck, you non-horror authors could get in on this too.  Submit questions you’d like to know about how to survive the zombie apocalypse and maybe one of the members of our survivor party will pass it along to an interested zombie author.

ANTICIPATED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS IDEA:

1)  Just self-published horror authors?

Not necessarily.  If you’re a traditionally published zombie author, I’d love for you to participate as well.  If you have a zombie blog or are some other kind of zombie writer, let’s talk.

Hell, if you’re George Romero, you can just take the blog over.

2)  You do a lot of interactivity on this blog.  Why a story?  Why not just a straight-up interview?

In today’s rapid information age, anything fun is going to be checked out more than a traditional approach.

Take all the late night talk shows these days.

Long ago, all the stars would just sit on the couch and shoot the bull with Johnny and Ed.  It was boring as hell.

We love stars but their stories about their acting method or the lunch they ate that gave them a tummy ache or whatever?  Who cares.

Jimmy Fallon does hilarious bits with his guests instead.  Be honest.  Do you want to listen to Scar Jo babble about how hard it was to pretend to be whoever she just pretended to be, or do you want to see her play a rousing game of “Box of Lies” with Jimmy?

NBC – Box of Lies – The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

I loved that.  There you go.  Scar Jo’s latest movie promoted.  I’m left thinking she’s a ball of fun and I wasn’t bored with a story about her acting process.

“Let’s Promote Ourselves with Fun” is what I’ve been going for with Alien Jones’ “Ask the Alien” Column, and that’s what I’m going for with this idea as well.

3)  So what are you looking for?

Your choice of length to an answer posed by myself or one of my buddies.  I’d say 500 words or so sounds decent, but more if you’re willing.

We could come to an agreement on what question would be best for you.  If you have one in mind you want to be asked, that’s possible.

4)  Are you going to make me look stupid?

Your books, blogs, reputation as a writer, they’re all important to you, as they should be.  I fully understand.  Hell, I’ve put so much work into my persona as”Bookshelf Q. Battler,” I’d be unhappy if someone besmirched BQB.

I’d envision the post with:

A)  A quick synopsis of what happened today (day of post) with BQB’s friends vs. the zombies.

B)  A quick overview of you, the author, including links to your books and or blogs and or Amazon page (or wherever you’re selling them)

C)  An answer YOU WRITE that I’m not going to change.  They’ll be your words, so you can’t go wrong.

5)  I’m still skeptical.

I don’t blame you.  I’m a guy claiming to own a magic bookshelf and also that I’m an alien’s friend.  It’s understandable that you’d want to kick the tires on this one.

To that end:

A) Alien Jones has had 17 satisfied customers in his Ask the Alien column so far.  I’ve never received a complaint from an author who participated yet.  Usually they’re pleased enough that they retweet or share AJ’s witty commentary on their own blogs.

ALIEN JONES’ MOST RECENT COLUMN – Here, you can read on as Alien Jones and a self-published author mix it up.

B)  Alien Jones has a “Don’t Like it and It Gets Taken Down No Problem Guarantee.”  If it turns out you don’t like the post, let me know, and it’ll come down.  If we can fix it to your liking, that’s great.  If not, no hard feelings.  I get that writing is a business and you have to do what you have to do.  No muss, no fuss, no problem.

But luckily, no author has asked for that yet.  And I believe that’s a sign that when you take part in this, you’re in good hands with me and my alien.

6)  Keep talking.

At present, I have 1,250 (approx) WordPress followers, 5,400 Twitter followers, and over 500 Google Plus followers.  All will be notified of your awesomeness.

7)  I’m not one of your 3.5 readers, so I’m not up to speed on your blog and therefore unsure if I could respond to one of your friends’ questions.

No problem.  Here’s the lowdown:

Bookshelf Q. Battler = the owner of a magic bookshelf where small versions of literary characters come to life and fight over limited shelf space.

Video Game Rack Fighter = Bookshelf Q. Battler’s girlfriend and author of a video game review column hopefully coming soon, if she ever comes up for air from playing Arkham Knight.

Alien Jones – The Mighty Potentate, ruler of an undisclosed planet, is displeased with the growing popularity of reality television.  He’s a fan of scripted media and feels promotion of fiction authors is the only hope to stem the reality tv tide.  To that end, the MP has dispatched his emissary, Alien Jones, to answer questions from self-published authors and in the process, make Earth a smarter place one question at a time.  Alien Jones truly believes in this mission, and isn’t doing it just because the Mighty Potentate has threatened to vaporize him if he abandons his assignment before BQB’s writing career is off the ground.

The Yeti – An international war criminal and fuzzy snow monster, The Yeti is currently imprisoned deep in the bowels of the Bookshelf Battle Compound.  However, BQB isn’t completely heartless and allows the big lug out once a week to watch Scandal.  Alien Jones brings the bean dip.

Dr. Hugo Von Science – A distinguished professor of science at Science University, Dr. Hugo is this blog’s science correspondent and holds patents on over a bazillion inventions.  We’re fairly certain he might be plotting a global conquest in his spare time, but his generally goodnatured demeanor covers up his underlying intentions well.

There you go.  That’s the blog in a nutshell.  It’s a labor of love for me, and it’s enjoyed daily by 3.5 people, one of whom is my Aunt Gertrude.

(There are some subsidiary, occasional characters.  Uncle Hardass, the ghost of my grumpy uncle, shows up once in awhile to tell me to give up all of my hopes and dreams of becoming a writer and get a job at the salt mines.  The Funky Hunks are a rap group I used to belong to and they show up now and then too.  Oh, and a whole slew of tiny book characters live on my magic bookshelf).

Don’t get me started on Bookshelf Q. Battledog.

I don’t believe the subsidiaries will get involved but you never know.  31 days means I need to come up with a lot of ideas to keep a story going.

8)  You had me until you said you have 3.5 readers.  Doesn’t seem worth it.

“3.5 Readers” is an ongoing, inside joke for this blog.  In the beginning, I really did only have 3.5 readers.  But I pressed forward and now I have more.  Like any blog, I have up days and down days.  I’d say on a good day I get anywhere around 30-70 hits.

Views are often double, sometimes triple, the hit count and I believe this is because people who do find this blog like it enough to stick around and read some more.

At any rate, I’ll do what I can to make this a fun, month long Zombie fiesta.  On my own, I’m going to be writing about The Walking Dead and the new Fear the Walking Dead and overall, if this works out, it’s just going to be 31 days of zombies.

9)  What’s in it for you?

Cross promotion, basically.  If you enjoy what you see here, I hope you’ll do want you can to point folks to my ramblings.  Not required, of course.  That’s about it.

10So now what?

At this point, I’d just like to get the ball rolling.  I’m starting early because to recruit 31 people to respond to a daily ongoing story is going to be like herding cats.

Right now, I’d just like to see who’s interested enough to let me know.  If you want in, Tweet me @bookshelfbattle or tell me in the comments here.

You can send me a private message on Twitter too. Just tweet me to let me know you sent it so it doesn’t get lost in the mass of spam I get from folks trying to sell me timeshares, miracle ointments, and **Cough cough*** self published books.

I’d say by mid-August, if I can wrangle enough authors to be interested in this, then I’ll be able to see who’s who, what’s what and come up with better questions that would apply to various authors.

If it’s a go, I’d like to get questions to you late August, or September and have 31 posts in the can by the time October rolls around.

But then again, this could be a dumb idea.

If it fizzles out and goes nowhere, then hey, I tried.  You’ve got to try, right?

Feel free to share with anyone you think would be interested.  If I see enough interest, I’ll start getting in touch with folks with formal instructions at the end of the summer.

Leave me your thoughts, 3.5.

Until next time, this has been Bookshelf Q. Battler and Video Game Rack Fighter, signing off:

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