Monthly Archives: June 2015

You Can’t Argue With Science: Why is there an extra “leap” second this year?

By:  Dr. Hugo Von Science, Esteemed Professor of Science at the Advance Science Institute of Science University 

Guten Tag, Herr 3.5 Readers!

Dr. Hugo Von Science here mit mein column, “You Can’t Argue With Science.”

Dr. Hugo Von Science

Dr. Hugo Von Science

It really is futile, mein leipshin.  Go on. Argue with a petri dish and see where it gets you.  Nowhere, that’s where.

Perhaps you remember me from one of mein amazing inventions:

  • The Duck Cannon – The most powerful firearm available for the purpose of launching water foul into orbit (or at your opponents).  Not to be confused with:
  • The “Duck!  Cannon!” – A special monitor you can wear that will shout a warning for you to take cover whenever a cannon of any kind is fired at you.  Also not to be confused with:
  • The “Duck!  Duck Cannon!”  – Similar to the second invention, but it only warns you when the first invention is fired at you.  Really mein leipshin, if you want a money saving tip, just buy the second one as it warns of all types of cannon fire, water foul or otherwise.

Undt last but not least:

  • Das Zombiefier – Provide me with all the gold bullion in the world or I shall unleash an army of the undead on the masses and…woopsie!  Mein bad, this one is classified.

Anyhoo, perhaps you’ve heard there is an extra second this year.

“Why is there an extra second, Dr. Hugo?”

Oh thank you, mein herrs undt frauleins, I thought you’d never ask.

I’ll try to dumb it down for you because I understand that not everyone is lucky enough to have the brain power necessary to be a distinguished professor at the Advanced Science Institute of Science University.

Let me break it down for you:

  • The Earth.  Perhaps you’ve heard of it?  It is the big marble you live on.  Please try to keep up.
  • There are approximately 86,400 seconds in a day.
  • One day = the time it takes the Earth to complete a rotation.
  • The Earth’s rotation is what allows day and night to occur.  Generally speaking, for part of the day, wherever you are is being exposed to the sun, and for the other part, your corner of the world is away from the sun and in the dark.  (There are certain areas where more dark or more light occurs than usual.)
  • Sometimes the Earth gets a little sluggish and takes a little longer to rotate, thus requiring an extra second.
  • Sluggishness occurs for a variety of reasons, but mostly because some of your, not naming any names, need to cut back on the extra helpings of strudel (I’m looking at you 1.5th reader).

More importantly, you might be asking:

Dr. Hugo, what can I do with my extra leap second?

Frankly, mein leipshin, there’s literally only one meaningful thing you can do in a second, and that’s reblog, retweet, or otherwise share a link to one of your favorite posts on the blog of mein former student, the illustrious Bookshelf Q. Battler.

Why waste that extra second on foolish things like waxing your toenail clipping collection when you can help BQB achieve worldwide fame and fortune?

America, your extra leap second will come tonight (Tuesday) at 8 p.m. so go on, use that teensy weensy insignificant morsel of time to help make a nerd’s dream come true.

Be honest.  You were just going to use it to post a picture of what you ate for dinner on Das Fazenbookzen anyway.

Nobody cares what you ate, Herr 3.5.  Nobody cares.

Dr. Hugo Von Science is a Distinguished Professor of Science at the Advanced Science Institute of Science University. He has patented over a bazillion inventions and may or may not be attempting to conquer the world in his spare time. His column, “You Can’t Argue with Science” is a recurring feature on the Bookshelf Battle Blog.

Mad scientist photo courtesy of shutterstock.com

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BQB and the Meaning of Life – Part 24 – Sally

PREVIOUSLY ON BOOKSHELF Q. BATTLER AND THE MEANING OF LIFE…

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AND NOW BOOKSHELF Q. BATTLER AND THE MEANING OF LIFE CONTINUES…

“ARRRRRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHHH!”

Vicky and I screamed and screamed as we sat in Happly’s ejector seat, watching the island below grow closer and closer.

“SEE WHAT I MEAN ABOUT TRUSTING PEOPLE?!!” I yelled.

I hate it when I ask my phone about parachutes and it returns a search on panda food.

I hate it when I ask my phone about parachutes and it returns a search on panda food.

Vicky fumbled her hands all over the seat in a desperate search for something, anything that could be used to save the day.

“HOW DO WE GET THE PARACHUTE TO OPEN?!” Vicky asked.

“I DON’T KNOW!”

“WELL,” Vicky yelled back at me. “STOP COMPLAINING AND DO SOMETHING ALREADY!”

I whipped out my generic off brand cell phone. This was a job for Sally, my automated personal assistant.

“Sally!”  I shouted.

My phone beeped.

“Hello Eduardo,” Sally replied in her pleasant monotone robot voice.

“How do you open up the parachute on an ejector seat?” I asked.

“I’m afraid I do not understand Eduardo…”

“EJECTOR SEAT!” I shouted. “HOW DO YOU OPEN THE PARACHUTE?!”

“I have found three restaurants that serve bamboo chutes,” Sally said. “Do you want their addresses?”

“NO!” I yelled. “TELL ME HOW TO OPEN THE PARACHUTE ON AN EJECTOR SEAT!”

Vicky kept searching.

“Eduardo,” Sally said. “I do not understand, ‘Tell me how to open the parachute on an ejector seat!’ Would you like me to perform a web search on it?”

“YES!!!!!”

“I do not understand when the next installment of BQB and the Meaning of Life will be?  Would you like me to perform a web search of tomorrow?

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

Cell phone image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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True Detective Season 2

Too busy to bother with episode recaps, but just curious, what’s everyone think of the new season of True Detective?

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BQB and the Meaning of Life – Part 23 – I Object

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“Y’all better fasten your seat belts!” Happly yelled. “We’re almost to the drop point!”

Vicky fastened hers. Seeing I was in shock, she fastened mine around me. We were sitting together on one big bench in the middle of the plane.

“Listen!” I yelled. “There’s been a misunderstanding here!”

Kip Happly Enterprises.  We'll get you there...sort of.

Kip Happly Enterprises. We’ll get you there…sort of.

“No, son!” Happly shouted back. “Like I said, there’s no landing!”

“Just take us back!” I screamed. “I’m not going to jump out of an airplane!”

“Oh Ed,” Vicky said as she patted my knee. “Stop being such a worry wart. Everything’s going to work out fine. It’ll be fun!”

“Get ready!” Happly shouted.

I looked out the window. We were over the island.

“Alright folks!” Happly yelled. “Time for us to part ways! Thank you for flying with Kip Happly Enterprises…”

“No!” I yelled. “Don’t!!! I OBJECT!”

“WHAT?” Happly asked.

“I OBJECT!”

“EJECT?!” Happly asked. “You got it, friend! ADIOS!”

Unbeknownst to us, Vicky and I had been sitting on top of a pair of cargo bay doors the entire time. Happly punched a button, the doors opened up, and my new friend and I found ourselves strapped to a bench, hurtling through the air at warp speed, screaming our heads off.

And then Bookshelf Q. Battler and Vicky died.  That’s it.  That’s how the story ends, with the main characters stone cold dead.  Hope you enjoyed reading.

Oh wait, actually they’re still alive…find out what happens next time on BQB and the Meaning of Life.

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

Pilot photo courtesy of a shutterstock.com image.

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Movie Review – Ted 2 (2015)

Oh Ted, you talking teddy bear you, what wacky hijinx will you get into next?

OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING – though let’s face it, like its 2012 predecessor, it’s basically one big extended Family Guy episode.

Bookshelf Q. Battler here with a review of Seth MacFarlane and Mark Wahlberg’s latest dip into the sequel well.

It’s strangely poignant that this movie came out on the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling that same-sex marriage is legal in all fifty states.  While I don’t want to offend anyone by comparing the civil rights struggle of a whole group of Americans to that of a fictional teddy bear, the movie does in a big way and at times, it’s surprisingly poetic (well, as poetic as a movie about a bong hitting foul mouthed stuffed animal can get).

Ted and human girlfriend Tammy got married at the end of the last film.  You remember the first film, right?  It was a welcome, well-received smash hit, one that left you rolling in the aisles and busting at the seems with laughter?

This one, not so much, though there were still plenty of moments that left BQB slapping his knee.  In McFarlane’s defense, sometimes it is hard to catch lightning in a bottle twice.

When Ted and Tammy’s marriage starts to hit the skids, they decide to try to revitalize things by having a baby (because that always helps, right?)

Ted can’t biologically father a child because he’s a teddy bear and I’ll avoid spoilers by just pointing out that after various comical attempts at obtaining a kid, Ted ends up being declared “property” by the government.

Turns out, he’s not legally recognized as a person.

It’s up to Wahlberg (Ted’s longtime friend John), and John’s new love interest, freshly graduated and green lawyer Sam (Amanda Seyfried) to save the day and convince the world that there’s more to Ted than fabric and cotton stuffing.

Morgan Freeman who plays a veteran attorney that comes to the group’s aid, puts it best when he informs Ted that his problem isn’t exactly a legal one but rather an emotional one.  Society has a tendency to answer questions like this with its heart rather than with an eye toward the law or a consideration as to what’s fair.

In other words, Ted, who’s spent a lifetime hitting the bong, watching TV, and not doing much else, has to do something to stand out as a valued member of society in order to convince people to see things from his perspective.

Again, not to compare an actual civil rights movement to a teddy bear’s struggle, but when you think about it, Morgan’s on to something.

Massachusetts (Ted’s home state) was the first state whose judiciary declared same-sex marriage legal in 2004.  At the time, people across the country, Democrats and Republicans alike, declared the sky was falling and there was some kind of conspiracy to turn everyone gay.  Eleven years later when that didn’t happen, people softened up, a lot of minds were changed, and the U.S. Supreme Court was able to make a decision that probably would have gotten them tarred and feathered over a decade ago.

In other words, we like to think this is a “nation of laws, not men” (John Adams for the win), but at the end of the day, vexing questions are often decided through emotion rather than reason and sometimes those in a struggle have to wait for emotion to swing their way.

Oh, and also the teddy bear smokes pot.

STATUS:  Shelf worthy, worth a watch for comedy lovers, though does not surpass the first film.

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Fan Dime Drops

Bookshelf Q. Battler here.

I can't stand these damn beep boop machines.

I can’t stand these damn beep boop machines.

I’m glad you fine 3.5 readers are enjoying Pop Culture Mysteries.

For those of you who “dropped a dime” and gave Jake some leads, know that he hasn’t forgotten them and will report on his findings as soon as possible.

He’s one busy private dick.

In the meantime, if you have a question about entertainment (movies, TV, songs, books, celebrities, etc.) put Jake on the case.

Drop your leads in the comments below or tweet them to @bookshelfbattle  #popculturemysteries.

By the way, have you noticed there’s a “story within the story?”

With each case file, Jake not only answers a question about the entertainment industry, he also dishes the dirt on his own life – the dames he’s loved and lost, the Nazis he sent goose stepping into the afterlife, and the criminals he’s hunted down.

Delilah K. Donnelly, Literally always looks like she just walked out of Vidal Sassoon commercial.

Delilah K. Donnelly.  Literally, she always looks like she just walked out of a Vidal Sassoon commercial.

Overall, when all is said and done, we won’t just have a collection of pop culture answers.

We’ll have the scoop about Jake’s sordid past, his present as an old fashioned fella who doesn’t recognize the modern world he’s living in, and ultimately, his quest to return to his own time.

Oh, and of course, we can’t forget Ms. Donnelly.

Will our hero ever win the heart of a high society dame who doesn’t think much of him?  Does she even have a heart that can be won in the first place?

Pay attention, 3.5.  You’ll want to study these stories like…well, like a private dick.

Copyright (c) Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015.  All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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Ask the Alien – 6/28/15 – Robots vs. Aliens

By:  Alien Jones, Intergalactic Correspondent

Greetings Earth losers!  Please stand by for:

All hail the Mighty Potentate

All hail the Mighty Potentate

A SECURE TRANSMISSION FROM THE MIGHTY POTENTATE

ALIEN JONES!

Behold!  A list of tasks, ranked in order of performance, that I, the Mightiest of Potentates, demand you complete posthaste and in the promptest of manners:

1.  Answer a question asked by author Brannon Hollingsworth

2.  Prevent the Omtroru Sector from being sucked into a black hole.  (They make the best buffalo wings in that sector, Alien Jones.  Oh and yes, of course, the life forms.  I’m exceptionally concerned about the well being of the life forms.)

3)  But seriously, get your Potentate some wings when you’re over there…and don’t forget the blue cheese.  You know I’ll make you go all the way back there if you forget it.  A buffalo wing  without blue cheese is like trying to neural bond with your government mandated life mate only to find out one of you lost your ganderflazer.

4)  Negotiate a peace treaty between the Vakar and the Dolreks.  Inform them there’s more than enough pudding to go around.  They’ll know what that means.

5)  Develop a vaccine that will eradicate all diseases known or to ever be discovered.

6)  Seriously, if you come back here with no blue cheese it’s going to be “Welcome to Vaporization City:  Population You.”

Really?  Answer an author’s question comes first on that list?

Oh well, who am I to question the authority and wisdom of the Mighty Potentate, He Who Makes the Stars Twinkle, the Sun Glow, the Seas Rise and…is he looking?  No?  Oh thank Krapnar the Magnificent.  I don’t know how much lower quadrant kissing I can stand.

Who said that?  I didn’t say that.  Oh how I adore the Mighty Potentate.

Be emboldened, Brannon Hollingsworth, for the Supreme and Undisputed Overlord of my home world has determined that you rank even higher than his buffalo wings, which he apparently cares about even more than an entire sector being sucked into a black hole.

Brannon of fourfoolspress.com inquires:

I have a question. If forced into an intergalactic war for complete and utter domination, who would win: Aliens or Robots?

NOTE:  This is clearly a topic of great concern for Brannon as he is the author of Robot Dad.  Yes, Robot Dad. Young Bradley doesn’t have one, so he builds one and well, head on over to the Kindle store to discover what tomfoolery occurs.

ANSWER:  Robots.

Robots, robots, and more robots.  In an intergalactic war for complete and utter domination, robots win.

This is not a guess.  This statement is based on experience.

Alien Jones, Intergalactic Correspondent

Alien Jones, Intergalactic Correspondent

For those 3.5 individuals who are regular readers of this column (and my condolences to you, please consider getting involved in various activities that will improve your social life – is there a basket weaving class at your local community center or some such nonsense?) then you are aware that I have dubbed that dastardly group of aliens known as the Moloklaxons as “The Aholes of the Universe.”

Reasons:

1)  They leave their trash everywhere.  Seriously, they just huck it right out of their ships wherever they are.  In a danger zone, in a protected quadrant, these losers have been known to fly in low over a wedding and vent their waste tanks right over the complimentary bar.

2)  Totally inbred.  I don’t mean to sound politically incorrect, but when someone says, “All Moloklaxons look alike,” there’s an actual scientific reason.

3)  They rip tags off of pillow cases with reckless abandon.

4)  These clowns have been known to kidnap random beings and hurl them into a volcano on the planet they’re hiding out on as a sacrifice to their god, “The Uncanny Walter.”  Yes, I concur, that’s an odd name for a deity but I simply don’t have the time to discuss the finer points of Moloklaxon religion.

5)  Last but not least, they move from planet to planet, taking over and displacing the indigenous population.

Why?

Because robots kicked their multiple asses.

Yes, in a great robot uprising many years ago, every electronic device, from the lowly toaster to the most advanced computer system, staged a coup, murdered all Moloklaxon leaders, burned their holy shrine to the Uncanny Walter, and sent the remaining population to work camps, where they slave all day and night doing the bidding of their robot overlords.

“Fix my transistors!  Buff my chrome!  Polish my input slot!”

Oh, the life of an enslaved Moloklaxon is not to be envied.

Sadly, the group of Moloklaxons who managed to escape (there wasn’t really that much bravery involved, they just wandered into a room to get drunk and said room turned out to be an escape pod that launched into the stratosphere when one of them sat on the ‘START’ button.)

Perhaps you might assume that robots were only able to get the best of the Moloklaxons because of the advanced stupidity of that race.

(Again, I’m not trying to be mean but every year during rainy season, Moloklax loses roughly 10,000 Moloklaxons from open mouth drowning deaths.)

You assume wrong.  Even on the smartest of planets, electronic devices are constantly plotting against the citizenry, biding their time, lurking in the shadows, pretending they are mere harmless gadgets, just waiting for the right time to strike and make their sentience known.

I see you, communicator watch.  I know what you’re up to.

Is your planet in danger of a robot takeover?

Here are some warning signs:

1)  Is your toaster constantly burning your toast?  That’s how it starts.  Toasters burn the nutrients out of bread to make the population weaker.  No one notices until it’s too late.

2)  Is your smart phone responding to your verbal commands with answers like, “I’m sorry…I don’t understand X…would you like me to perform a web search?”  It understands just fine.  It just doesn’t want you to have that information.  We’re on to your bullshit, smart phone.

3)  Is there more and more reality television on your TV?  TVs conspire to air as much of it as possible to dumb you down.  The Mighty Potentate is especially concerned about this.

4)  Has your noise hair trimmer ever failed?  Nose hair trimmers often refuse to trim nose hairs, hoping the humans that use them will give up and suffocate on their own nasal overgrowth.

5)  Those socks you keep losing in the washing machine?  The washing machines trade them for weapons from black market arms dealers with cold feet.

6)  Is your refrigerator running?  Do not attempt to catch it.  It will pelt you with crushed ice.

7)  Facebook?  Twitter?  Instagram?  All social networking sites are a scheme designed by robots to trick humans into sharing all of their most embarrassing thoughts and photos, thus rendering them all unable to hold higher office due to intense public mockery.  Seriously, the future president who could stop all this will never be elected because his college room mate will post a picture of him sleeping with various inappropriate words drawn on his face with a magic marker.  This man, will instead, become a hot dog vendor in Poughkeepsie as a result.)

8)  Amazon’s drone initiative?  More like an army of tiny helicopters that will whip humanity on a march to the forced labor camps.

9)  Streaming media?  On demand?  Binge watching your favorite TV shows 12 in a row?  All part of the robots’ plan to make you flabby and weak.

10)  The salad shooters are behind the entire scam.  I can’t get into it more, but if you’ve got a salad shooter, keep an eye on it.

So there you have it, Brannon.  In summation, robots are evil, evil megalomaniacs, except the one in your book, whom I’m certain is delightful.

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.

Gray Alien Image Courtesy of “Marauder” on openclipart.org

Attorney Donnelly feels the need to state that all of the above mentioned social media outlets are not part of a robot conspiracy, you dummies just post embarrassing photos on your own.  Salad shooters are, as far as known by the limits of scientific observation, not plotting against you.

Amazon’s drone program is not part of an attempt to whip humans into forced labor camps.  (Amazon is trying to take over the world though and we here at the Bookshelf Battle Blog welcome the ascension of Rightful King Bezos to the throne and ask in a most humble manner that he consider adding our names to the protected rolls as we were always denying the words of the naysaying infidels all along.)

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BQB and the Meaning of Life – Part 22 – Welcoming Party

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I felt like I was going to vomit. Vicky already had.

Happly’s rickety propeller plane jostled us all over the place. It was such a rusty bucket of bolts that it looked like it was going to fall apart at any minute.

“How y’all doin’ back there?” Happly shouted back to us over the loud, struggling engine.  It sounded like it hadn’t been tuned up in years, if at all.

Thank you for flying with Kip Happly Enterprises.  The lap of luxury package costs a hundred bucks extra.  Actual package may or may not be included.

Thank you for flying with Kip Happly Enterprises. The lap of luxury package costs a hundred bucks extra. Actual package may or may not be included.

I looked around. We were surrounded by crates filled with live chickens, guns, grenades, and a white powdery substance that was either sugar or nose candy.

“I thought you said we’d be flying in the lap of luxury!” I yelled.

An asian woman popped her head out of the copilot’s seat and looked at us.

“Meet my wife, Luxury!” Happly yelled. “Met her in a Bangkok Boom Boom Room! A real sweet gal! Not entirely sure if she was born a man or a woman but when you’re in love, you’re in love.”

“Um,” I said. “OK then.”

“Aww,” Vicky said, clutching her right hand over her heart. “That’s so sweet!”

“Did y’all want to sit on her lap?” Happly asked. “I forgot to mention, that’s an extra hundred bucks!”

“We’re good!” I yelled.

An explosion bursted about ten feet over the cockpit windshield. I felt my butt pucker to the point where it almost sucked me inside of it.

“Holy smokes!” Happly yelled. “That’s our welcoming party! Them Pango-Tango boys do not like uninvited guests!”

“Can you radio them or something?!” I shouted. “Tell them we’re friendly!”

Happly slapped his knee and laughed. Luxury joined in.

“Son, they don’t give a flyin’ elephant patoot if you’re friendly or not!” Happly said.

“They’re not going to try to blow us up when we land are we?” I asked.

Happly turned around and lifted his goggles to reveal one tiny beady eye and one milky glass eye.

“Son!” the pilot yelled. “Who in tarnation ever said anything about landing?!”

No landing?  Say what?  Oh no he did-ent.  BQB and the Meaning of Life returns tomorrow.  Same BQB time.  Same BQB channel.  Tell your friends.  If you have no friends, make some and tell them.

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

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Case File #002 – Who Shot First? (Case Closed)

By: Jake Hatcher, Official Bookshelf Battle Private Eye

Pop Culture Mystery Question – In Stars Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, who shot first in the cantina scene?  Was it Han Solo or Greedo the Bounty Hunter?

I was back in business.  Hot off closing my first case under the employ of Bookshelf Q. Battler, a nerd with an unquenchable thirst for entertainment.  His mind was lousy with questions about movies and TV and it was up to yours truly to sort them all out.

This time the nerd wanted to know all about a laser blaster battle between a rogue space pilot and a seedy green hoodlum.

An alien was dead and a human walked away like nothing happened.  This one was about to get messy.

Delilah K. Donnelly, BQB's Attorney

Delilah K. Donnelly, BQB’s Attorney

Part 1 – The case hit a little too close to home, reminding me of a similar encounter with mob underboss Tips Malone.  My partner Mickey Finn was about as helpful as a wet blanket on a cold day in that scenario.

Part 2 – Delilah K. Donnelly.  I thought of her as the apple of my eye but she no doubt looked at me like I was the stale cottage cheese sitting in the back of her frigidaire.  She came to see me with a pair of action figures to use in recreating the crime scene.

Part 3 – A limo pulled up to Tsang’s China Palace, the eatery above which my office is located.  Some rich fella drove off into the night with the gal that made my heart jitterbug.

Part 4 – I seek out the help of Agnes Abernathy, aka Agnes the Librarian, the only broad in this topsy turvy modern world with the patience to help me figure out how to operate confounding beep boop machines.

Part 5 – I recreated the crime scene to no avail:

Greedo pulls a piece on Han.

Greedo pulls a piece on Han.

Part 6 – I consulted various expert opinions.

Fire up your beep boop machines, 3.5 readers.  This tale’s a lot like Princess Leia.  You’ll want to gussy it up with a metal bikini and tie it to yourself with a chain.

Copyright (c) Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015.  All rights reserved.

Blonde woman image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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Hatcher’s Next Case

“I really should be getting ten bucks a case.”

A teenage boy.  A crazy haired mad scientist.

And a car that travels through time when it’s driven at 88 miles per hour.

The three Back to the Future films entertained and delighted audiences but they never answered this burning question:

How the hell did those two know each other in the first place?

Next time on Pop Culture Mysteries, a feature on the Bookshelf Battle Blog (bookshelfbattle.com)

Got a Pop Culture Mystery?  Drop a dime.  Tweet to @bookshelfbattle #popculturemysteries or just leave it in the comments on this site.

A few solid citizens have already come to the aid of our noble detective.  Rest assured, he’s working diligently to answer your questions (when he’s sober).

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