Monthly Archives: July 2015

Free Promo Friday (With a Catch)

Attention Pitiful Humans,

Know ye, Earth creatures, that I, the Mighty Potentate, declare the following:

  • This Friday, July 31 and this Friday only…
  • You may plug whatever you want to plug in the comments section below.  Books.  Blogs.  Whatever.
  • Bookshelf Q. Battler reserves the right to not allow it, especially if you’re book is titled “Hooray for Hitler!”
  • Share a link to your books, blogs.  Share a blurb what it’s all about…

BUT – THE CATCH…

At the end of your comment, you must swear fealty to the Mighty Potentate.

A simple, “ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY POTENTATE!” shall suffice, but feel free to get creative.

ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY POTENTATE!

ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY POTENTATE!

For those 3.5 readers just tuning in, the Mighty Potentate is the Supreme and Unquestionable Ruler of A Planet the Name of Which is None of Your Beeswax.

He of Great Potentostitude is the boss of Alien Jones, author of “Ask the Alien.”  The MP has declared Bookshelf Q. Battler to be the chosen one, the individual whose exceptional fiction writing skills will surely prevent reality television from sweeping across the universe.

Boy howdy, does the Mighty Potentate hate Reality TV.  Don’t even get him started.

Thus, the MP has assigned AJ to aid BQB in the promotion of his blog.  Alien Jones cannot rest until Bookshelf Q. Battler is a famous writer.

So go forth, promote your stuff in the comments below, and remember, you have to say, “All Hail the Mighty Potentate” or some reasonable facsimile thereof.

Remember, a column that plugs you as an author and your books and blogs is possible if you ask Alien Jones a question.

Image courtesy of openclipart.org

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Case File #004 – Snubbed (Part 5)

PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3    Part 4

AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…

“Daddy!”

Hettie threw herself at her father, his brittle bones barely able to resist the collision, but the smile on his face showed he didn’t mind at all.

“Are you mad?”shutterstock_225997372

“What?  Oh, no no, Hettie May, you know better than that.”

“Hello Jeb,”  Pa said to the new arrival.

“Gus.  I suppose you’ve tried to talk these youngsters out of this expedition already?”

“To no avail.”

“Let me give it a go, then,” Jeb said to Pa and then to Hettie, “I’m gonna’ borrow your beau for a minute, darlin’.'”

The Good Reverend Jebediah Blodgett.  Many a Sunday Hettie dragged me to listen to his sermons and to his credit, he was the liveliest speaker I’d ever seen, able to make you feel good about yourself and yet fearful of eternal hellfire and damnation all at the same time.

That’s a gift.

He didn’t much care for me.  I didn’t take it personally.  Like most fathers, he was convinced there wasn’t a man alive that was good enough for his daughter.

In retrospect, he wasn’t wrong.

Jeb and I walked a few feet down the platform.  He grabbed me by both my shoulders.  For a doddering codger, he had a good grip.

“Son, I’m going to guess this was your damn fool idea, takin’ an old man’s only daughter into the belly of the beast without so much as a how do you do?”

I looked down at my shoes, afraid to look Jeb in the eye.  “Yes.”

He let me go.

“I see,”  he said.  I could tell he was going somewhere with this.

“So then, when I’m all alone on my deathbed, I can thank you for stealing away my last living relative, the only one I’ve got to take care of me?”

“Jeeze,”  I said.  “When you put it like that…”

“How else am I supposed to put it?”

I looked up with renewed vigor.  I had an angle to play.

“Your daughter sings like a songbird from heaven,”  I said.

“I know,”  Jeb said.  “And I know she won’t be happy here neither.”

I felt the sting of a boney finger poking into my chest.

“But YOU’RE the one who decided to drag her off to Los Angeles behind my back.  She’d never try such a dumbfounded notion on her own.  Boy, do you know that city is nothin’ but a steaming cauldron of sex, drugs, prostitution and a bunch of felonious perverts who wouldn’t know what to do with a bible if you threw one at their damn heads?”

“I’ve heard rumors, yes.”

“You gotta’ protect her now, Jake.”

“I will.”

“I mean it.”

“I know.”

Suddenly, there was a slight, playful slap on my cheek.

“That’s a good boy,”  Jeb said.  “And you know, it ‘aint easy to tell you this but…”

“It’s ok,”  I said.  “I know we’ve got your blessing, Reverend Blodgett.”

Jeb’s face scrunched up like he’d just sucked on a lemon.

“BLESSING?  You think I drove my ass all the way to the train station to give you my blessing to live in sin with my baby girl?”

Boy, was I in for it.

“Son, what I’m tryin’ to tell you is this.  If I EVER catch wind that so much as a hair gets misplaced on my baby’s head so help me, Jake Hatcher, the last thing I will do on God’s green Earth is drive all the way out to LA and turn your face into a pile of raw hamburger with my shotgun.”

He probably didn’t mean it.

“Oh, I mean it, boy,” Jeb said.  “I’m old.  I’ve lived my life.  I’ve done every single last thing I ever wanted to do in this world.  And if I’ve got to spend the last year or two I’ve got left wasting in away in a jail cell to avenge my baby’s honor then so help me, I’ll do it!”

I swallowed a gulp hard.

“Duly noted.”

“All right, then.”

Jeb quickly returned to the sweet old man routine.  He walked back to his truck and returned with a black, leather bound book and a cardboard box.

“Hettie, look at you,”  Jeb said.  “Lookin’ more and more like your mama every day, God rest her soul.  I figure this train ride will be so long that you’ll get hungry so I brought you a peach pie.  I made it the other day with her recipe, but my stomach’s been doing so many backflips I don’t have the gumption to eat it.”

I got a death threat.  Hettie got a pie.  Hardly seemed fair.

The waterworks started, and how.

“Oh Daddy.”

“Now I know it won’t taste half as good as your mama’s but I hope you’ll make one for yourself when you get where you’re goin’ and think about how mama’s smilin’ down on you from Heaven when you do.”

Jeb handed me the book.

“And Jake, this is for you, some reading to keep you busy.”

On the cover?  “Holy Bible.  If lost, return to Ophelia Blodgett.”

“Make sure you see Hettie gets that when you’re done.  It was her mama’s.”

“I will.”

“And make sure you pay close attention to the pages I marked, especially the ones that spell out how fornicating before marriage will earn you a spot at the devil’s side and so on…”

“Daddy!”  Hettie said.

The piercing sound of a train whistle interrupted our goodbyes.  The cross-country express arrived, passengers started boarding, and a portly, bespectacled conductor hopped out to make an announcement.

“Now boarding the six a.m…

“At 7:30,” I thought.

“…train, westward bound with stops to include New York City, Cleveland, Chicago, Omaha, Salt Lake City, and Los Angeles, end of the line!  ALL ABOARD!”

Copyright Bookshelf Q. Battler.  All Rights Reserved.

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Case File #004 – Snubbed (Part 4)

PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…

Part 1      Part 2    Part 3

AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…

June 15th, 1938shutterstock_239019775

Bayonne, New Jersey

Two crazy kids sat on a bench, holding hands and waiting for a train that would whisk them away to a city they’d dreamed about all their young lives.

Fame.  It was an obsession that began brewing in their hearts ten years earlier, when they would swipe their parents’ pocket change and spend all day long at the movie house taking in the likes of Greta Garbo, Eddie Cantor, and the Marx Brothers, just to name a few.

The girl could sing.  The flock at her father’s church who gave her a standing ovation every Sunday was proof positive of that.

The boy thought he could act.  Overly polite townsfolk who gave him a pat on the back after his school plays just because they didn’t want to be rude filled him with a whole lot of undeserved hope.

After years of sitting out under the stars, talking about the lives they’d have one day as a Hollywood power couple – the houses they’d buy, the fancy cars they’d drive, the high class folk they’d hob knob with, they decided to make a go of it as soon as they came of age.

Needless to say, they did so against the advice of all of the adults in their lives.

The girl was Henrietta “Hettie” May Blodgett, though if any of you 3.5 readers happen to be a Jazz fan, you definitely know her by a different name.

The boy was yours truly, Jacob R. Hatcher.  You know me as a private dick for a blog with 3.5 readers.

Hard not to point out that Hettie walked away with the long end of the stick in this plan, but that’s a story for another time.

Perhaps “boy” and “girl” are the wrong words to use.  We were both eighteen.  Legally, I was a man though looking back on it now, I don’t believe I came anywhere close to understanding what that meant back then.

We were in our Sunday best, me in a moth eaten hand me down suit from my father, Hettie in the same black and white polka dotted dress that she wore to church.  Back then, people used to dress up all the time.  It’s not like today where people walk around all day long in their pajamas and nobody cares.  Whether you were going to the movies, the drug store, or clear across the country, people gussied up.

“It’s late,”  Hettie said.

“Sure is,” I said as I checked my pocket watch.  “Should of been here over an hour ago.  That whole ‘We’re Always On Time’ slogan they’ve got is a bunch of malarkey if you ask me.”

“We should have said goodbye,”  Hettie said.

“They’d of just tried to stop us.”

“Can you blame them?”

“I wouldn’t blame your pops, doll,”  I said.  “You’re surely something worth hanging onto.  Me?  I’m doing the old folks a favor.”

“I need to write Daddy a nice long letter as soon as we get there,” Hettie said.

“I left my folks a note,”  I said.  “They’ll clue old Jed in.”

“Yeah,”  Hettie said.  “‘Gone to LA.’  You’re a real poet, Jake.”

“Short.  Sweet.  To the point.  It works,”  I said.  “Hell, had I known our train was going to take a detour to Waikiki, I’d of nixed it.  If it doesn’t get here soon they’re liable to…”

Speak of the devil.  My old man pulled up in his studebaker.  Pa, Ma, and my little brother Roscoe, 5 years my junior.  It was a veritable Hatcher family reunion before there was even a parting of the ways.

Pa was in his oil soaked overalls, stains fresh from the filling station he owned.  He was a serious man with a weary face, one that looked like it’d seen too much and was ready for a rest.

Ma was a bit of a hefty gal, though she had a sweet face and old family photos indicated to me she once was a real head turner until Roscoe and I folded up her insides worse than an origami swan.

Roscoe, that little twerp, he was my spitting image.  One look at him and I saw my former thirteen year old self staring back at me.

Thirteen.  Such a lousy age.  You want to be grownup before the world will let you, but your mind still gravitates sometimes to childish things like toys and comics and all sorts of stuff that adults will remind you you’re too big for.  Utter confusion all around.

“Hettie,”  Pa said.

“Mr. Hatcher.”

“Son,” my father said as he put his arm around me and walked me back to the car.  “Let’s have a word.”

“Nothin’ doin!”  I protested loudly.   What a jerk I was.  “I’m a man, see?  And a man’s gotta’ make his own decisions and this one is mine!”

“I know,”  Pa said.  “We’re not here to talk you out of it.  We’re just here to say goodbye.”

“A family that monologues together stays together.”

That was an expression my father used to say.  I wish it was true.  I wish we had stayed together.  But if there’s one thing I inherited from the Hatcher clan, it’s my penchant for speaking in long, drawn out monologues rife with overly exaggerated similes, metaphors, and other assorted comparisons.

Don’t even get me started on the cliches.

“Son,”  Pa said.  “They say that the grass is greener on the other side but I’ll tell you I saw a lot of this world in the Great War and no matter where I went, it was just as green as ever.  I’ve seen brown grass and less green grass but I’ve never seen grass more beautiful than what’s growing on the ground right here in Bayonne.”

I checked my watch.  This was going to be a long one.

“You love the moving pictures,”  Pa continued.  “Of course you do.  I love them too.  They’re a good distraction from the real world but that’s all they are.  A distraction.  There’s nothing real to them and the people who want to be in them?  Why, there’s nothing real to them either.  Each and every wannabe actor out there will step over you and gut their own mother if it would bring them closer to earning a part in one of those pictures and that, my boy, is what you’re going to be competing with.”

“I can hold my own.”

“I’m sure you can,”  Pa said.  “But for the life of me I don’t understand why you’d want to try.  Jake, I’m no fortune teller.  I don’t have a crystal ball.  I know I’m your father and I don’t wish you any ill will.  When that train comes, if you step on it, I hope it will be the start of a course of events that ends with you starring in the best Hollywood picture there ever was.  You know your mother and I will be there on opening day with our ticket stubs in hand to cheer you on.”

Mother of God.  Is that what I sound like?  You can thank Pa Hatcher for that, 3.5 readers.

“But son, I’m a man of reason.  I’m a careful, calculating man.  I don’t like to play the odds.  ‘Slow and steady wins the race,’ I always say.  And I wouldn’t be much of a father if I didn’t point out to you that the odds aren’t in your favor here.  Yes, I hope the name, ‘Jacob Roscoe Hatcher’ goes down in history as the greatest actor there ever was, but I fear the odds are more likely that the Sodom and Gomorrah of the West Coast better known as ‘Los Angeles’ will chew you up, spit you out, and leave you a bitter, angry, shell of your former self.”

What’s that phrase people say now?  “Spoiler Alert?”

“I can’t talk you out of this,”  Pa said.  “I know that.  If I try to get in the way of your dream, you’ll despise me the rest of your life and always sit around and sulk, wondering what could have been.  Kids are like baby birds and sooner or later they have to be allowed to fly out of the nest and if they fly too soon and land on their head, well, there’s nothing Ma and Pa bird can do but be there to pick the little guy up and dust off his feathers.  And that’s all I want you to take away from this, son.  If this LA foolishness of yours doesn’t work out, you’re always welcome to come straight back home to your mother and I and you’ll never once hear us utter so much as an ‘I told you so.’  We’re your family, no matter what.”

Would that I could hop in a time machine and tell my past self to hug that man.  Instead, I just gave him a paltry handshake.

It was Ma’s turn.

Unlike Pa, Ma didn’t let me go without a hug.  She squeezed the ever loving giblets out of me.

And of course, there was another monologue.  I wonder if all hardboiled private detectives have a family like mine?  Maybe that’s why we all sound the same.

“Son, to tell you life in the big city isn’t easy would be the understatement of the century,”  Ma said.  “Now, I know there are a lot of folks out there who are ignorant.  Pa and I love Hettie.  We think she’s a real sweetheart.  And lord knows we know that life is so short that if you meet someone you love who loves you back then it makes less sense than a three-legged dog on a ferris wheel to not be together just because you’re two different shades of people that God put on this Earth to share and share alike with one another in the first place.”

Ma spit into a handkerchief and wiped a smudge off my face.  I hated when she did that.

She made a motion for Hettie to come over and join us.

“Now, I know Bayonne isn’t some kind of den of forward thinkers, but here, you’ve got your family and friends. There are at least some people who accept you two being together.  True, there’s plenty of not-so-nice folk here that will try to keep you apart but at least you’ve got people here that will stick up for you.  Once you get on that train, it will be you two against the world with no one to rely on but each other.  You need to promise me that you’re going to look out for each other, or else I’ll sleep less than an insomniac squirrel with a coffee addiction.”

I’m just going to confess, right here and right now.  Most of the time, we Hatchers just pull these oddball comparisons out of our backsides.

Hettie and I promised and it all degenerated into a three-way hug/blubber fast.  Not me.  Of course not me. Just the women folk.

It was little Roscoe’s turn for a speech.

“Brother,”  he said.  “I want you to know that what you’re doing here stinks worse than a rotten egg in a skunk farm.”

Ma was none too pleased.

“Roscoe!”

“No, Ma,”  Roscoe said.  “Jake, you and I are brothers and last time I checked, that’s supposed to mean something.  We’re meant to be the bridge that will carry this family into the the future, only now you’re being selfish and leaving me behind.  So now I don’t even have a future.”

Hate to admit, but I hadn’t even considered how Roscoe would fare without me.  I should have.

“You’ve got dreams?”  Roscoe asked.  “Bully for you.  Run off to the land of sun and beauty while you leave me to take care of Ma and Pa all by my lonesome.  They aren’t getting any younger you know.  While you’re out west being a pathetic phony, I’ll be stuck back here filling cars with more gas than a flatulent door to door salesmen and rubbing a pair of old geezers’ bunions until I’m old and gray myself.”

“Roscoe,” I said.  “It’s not going to be all that bad.  As soon as I hit the big time, I’ll send for you and you and Ma and Pa can all live in my mansion.  Why, I’m gonna’ buy the biggest spread around and…”

“Ahh, stuff your dreams in a sack, toss ’em in the river and see if they float,”  Roscoe said.  “Either way, you’re all wet.”

I attempted to shake Roscoe’s hand but he pulled his away, stormed back to the car and slammed the door.

“Roscoe Jacob you get back here right now and apologize to your brother!”  Ma commanded.

“Nothin’ doin’!”

“Roscoe, you don’t want your last words to be unkind…”

“It’s ok, Ma,”  I said.  “He’s stubborn.  Probably gets it from me.”

To clarify, I should explain to you 3.5 readers that Ma’s father was Roscoe, and Pa’s father was Jacob.  Both grandfathers were so revered by my parents that they named both their boys after them.  Twice.  I’m Jacob Roscoe.  My brother’s Roscoe Jacob.

Maybe we Hatchers skimp on creativity when it comes to baby names because we’re saving our imaginations for our monologues instead.

“Mrs. Hatcher,”  Hettie said to my mother.  “Can you tell my father where I am?  I don’t want him to worry.”

With perfect timing, a rickety, rust bucket of a pick-up truck pulled up and an old-timer wearing a pair of suspenders stepped out.

“I already did, dear.”

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

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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All Hail the Mighty Potentate!

Pitiful Humans!

The Mighty Potentate, always so happy.

The Mighty Potentate, always so happy.

The Mighty Potentate here, commanding you to address your inquiries to my emissary, Alien Jones!

“What’s in it for me?”

Ah yes!  The first thing any human asks!  Right after, “Can I take a selfie?”

Ask the Alien a question, and if he likes it, he’ll plug your books and blogs in his answer on this most irreverent of sites, bookshelfbattle.com

BQB will tweet it with his @bookshelfbattle handle and on his Google Plus page.

18 authors assisted so far.

Will you be next?

Do not allow the vile forces of reality television to win!  Help Bookshelf Q. Battler push his and your fiction to keep all of our collective televisions free of absurdly produced, low quality unscripted programming such as:

1.  Tuba Wars – Have you got what it takes to be the best tuba player in the world?

2.  Falafel Truck Nightmares – A leading falafel vendor helps others bring their falafel businesses up to speed.

3.  Narwhal Makeover – The ugliest half-whale/half-unicorns (they really exist!) consult with beauty experts.

4.  Who Wants to Be a Chicken Wrangler? – Self explanatory.

5.  Cooking with Preppers – Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to make a stew out of a boot?  Find out.

Don’t be shy, lowly humans.  Ask the Alien a question today and Bookshelf Q. Battler’s 3.5 readers can be yours!

Image courtesy of openclipart.org

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Case File #004 – Snubbed (Part 3)

PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…

Part 1     Part 2

AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…

It was time to review the evidence.  The tweets themselves.  I stopped by the library in my fancy new ride and asked Agnes to pull them up for me.

This one from MTV stuck out at me like a sore thumb on the hand of man who’s been scratching himself all day:

“I don’t get it,” I said as I stared at the screen of one of the library’s beep boop machines.  “The media’s made it out like this gal was left out in the cold but here a reputable source like Music Television indicates she WAS nominated.”

“I don’t care, Jake,”  Agnes said.  “Music hasn’t gotten any better since Danny Kaye if you ask me.”

I felt a ba-bump in my heart and grinned like an idiot.

“What’s with that look?”  Agnes asked.

“Don’t ever change, Ag,” I said.  “Hell, if your face didn’t look more worn out than the first baseman’s glove during Game Seven of the World Series, I’d propose right here and now.”

“Whatever,”  Agnes said.  “I just wish the city would do something about all the transients who wander in here all day and make me look up nonsense for them.”

I’m pretty sure she was talking about somebody else.

Moving on, I asked Agnes to look up all of the VMA award nominees.  Here’s what I saw:

BEST FEMALE VIDEO

Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”

BEST HIP HOP VIDEO

Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”

BEST COLLABORATION

Jessie J + Ariana Grande + Nicki Minaj – “Bang Bang”

“She was nominated three times,”  I said.  “Agnes, can you believe the snow job the press is trying to pull here?”

“Uh huh,”  Agnes said as she pulled up a website called “Jobs-A-Plenty.”

“Let me see if I kind find something for you.”

“Go back to Tweeter,”  I commanded.

“Here we go,”  Agnes said.  “Dishwasher.  Minimum wage.  Will train.  This has your name written all over it.”

“I’m on the job right now, woman!  Will you put the blasted Tweeter-ma-bob back on already?”

“Ugh,” Agnes said as she complied.  “I swear society just doesn’t do enough to help the mentally unstable.”

“There!”  I said, tapping my finger on the screen.  “Right there!”

“So what?”  Agnes asked.  “What is so important about this that you’re interrupting my coffee break?”

This caper had become what I like to call a “Kaleidoscope Case.”  In other words, with every angle, there’s a new point of view.

Some of the ones I’ve heard so far:

  • Minaj is super rich and ultra famous.  Few people ever sniff that rarified air.  A lot of folks who have seen their dreams go bust would love to be in a music video and you wouldn’t hear them complaining about only getting three nominations.
  • Her biggest video is just a bunch of posteriors flapping in the breeze.  (That reminds me, I need to review it again for research purposes.)  Is it really deserving of any award?
  • But then again, she never said she wasn’t nominated at all.  “Nicki Got Snubbed” is just one more example of press hype.
  • What does “different kind of artist” mean?  Is she talking about race?  That she has a little more junk in the trunk than the skinny waifs that dominate the entertainment industry?  Both?
  • Forgetting about the butt content of her video, is it possible to see her tweet as a springboard to a conversation about racial and body type diversity in the music industry?

So many questions.  So little time.  And at the end of the day, I was only going to get five bucks.

I understand the “she’s too rich to complain” argument.

I even get the “Anaconda is just a bunch of butts wagging around and has no artistic merit” argument. (Though I might have to watch it again just to make sure.)

But as for race and body type diversity – I suppose there’s always a need for that conversation.

3.5 readers, you might think things are hunky dory these days, but it’s always a good idea to talk about the past so that it doesn’t get repeated.

Let me tell you about the racism I witnessed in my day.

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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)

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!

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…

View original post 1,912 more words

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.

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“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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