Daily Archives: July 5, 2015

Hatcher’s Next Case


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

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

Tomorrow on Pop Culture Mysteries: The Wrong Guy.

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

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

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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


PART 1 – A late night visit from Ms. Donnelly

PART 2 – A later arrival by Ms. Tsang

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


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

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

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


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

“What’s a jiggawatt?”

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

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


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


#1- They Were Friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#2 – Employee/Employer

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

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


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

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

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


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

Images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license

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

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Ask the Alien – 7/05/15 – Higgs Boson

By: Alien Jones, Intergalactic Correspondent

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

Ahh, that Mighty Potentate.  What a card.

Alien Steve hard at work on the Potentate Particle

Alien Steve hard at work on the Potentate Particle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Green alien image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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