Daily Archives: August 5, 2015

Pop Culture Mysteries – Fan Dime Drops – For the 3.5 (Part 1)

By:  Jake Hatcher, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Private Eye

BQB Editorial Note:  3.5 readers, as the Spanish might say, “mi private dick es su private dick.”  If you have questions about pop culture, put Hatcher on the case.  Drop a dime to @bookshelfbattle on twitter or in the comments below and I’ll engage Ms. Donnelly to deliver them to our resident gumshoe posthaste.

Because he’s a busy man, it might take Hatcher awhile to get to it, but sooner or later, he will.  Here’s his first Fan Dime Drop Report.

It was the answer to my prayers. The man upstairs had finally gotten tired of kicking me in the keister and dropped a big win in my lap.

Moolah was involved. Lots of moolah. And it was all about to be mine. All mine.

Dear Sir or Possibly Madam as the Case May Be,

Greetings!

Congratulations are in order, for you have been identified as the long lost distant cousin of my client, Prince Matombo of the Blessed Land Known as Nigeria.

Perhaps you have heard of the passing of our King and that he has bestowed all of his wealth, a sum of one hundred million American Dollars, upon the Prince.

Alas, banking laws in my country are so ruefully complicated that it is impossible to transfer this fortune to His Highness directly.

However, the Prince has stated to me, his advisor, that he trusts you, for you are his distant relative. If you provide me with your bank account number, I shall be happy to transfer the 100 million to your account.

It is then requested that you forward 90 million back to the Prince, but for your troubles, His Majesty has agreed to allow you to keep 10 million of your very own and hopes that you will enjoy it in good health.

Please provide me with your banking information right away so that this transfer may begin.

Sincerely,

Jerome Jakande
Advisor to His Highness, the Most Regal and Just Prince Mutombo of Nigeria

“Hot digity damn!” I shouted.

Everyone in the computer class turned around. I put my head down and went about my business.

Best to remain on the down low when that much scratch is involved.

Imagine it. Ten million smackers. That’s a whole helluvalot of do re mi. My own mansion. A fleet of fancy cars. A yacht.

Agnes the Librarian.  She thinks Hatcher's a dick, but not the private kind.

Agnes the Librarian. She thinks Hatcher’s a dick, but not the private kind.

I could fill it up with buxom broads, head out to sea, and finally put my trash heap of a life behind me.

Agnes’ shrill cake hole horned in on my fun. Blast her incessant yammering.

“Class, last week we learned how to set up e-mail accounts,”  the old librarian said from the front of the library’s computer classroom.  “This week we’re going to learn how to write a short, concise e-mail and how to send it out.”

“Agnes!” I whispered

“Now the e-mail you write doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a few words…”

“Psst! Agnes!”

“Maybe you can write about what you did today, what you had for breakfast this morning, or just write a bunch of gibberish, it really doesn’t matter because we’re just getting a feel for what all the different functions do….”

“HEY AGNES!”

“Oh for the love of…”

Agnes marched over to my beep boop station and looked at me like I’d just stuck my finger in her pudding.

“What is it?!”

“Keep your voice down,” I said quietly.

I looked around to see if anyone was looking.  Agnes’ “Intro to Computing” course was full of a bunch of geriatric fogies who could barely contain their drool, let alone work a beep boop machine.

Not that I was any better at it than they were

“Do you see this?” I whispered as I pointed at the screen.

“Huh,” Agnes said as she grabbed the pair of spectacles dangling around her neck on a chain and lifted them up to her eyes.

“I didn’t even know I was part-Nigerian,” I said. “Think it’s a mistake? God, I hope not. I sure could use an extra family member right about now.”

“Jake,” Agnes said. “This is a scam.”

“What?”

“A trick,” the old gal said. “This person doesn’t know a Nigerian prince. Whoever this is, he just wants you to send him your bank account number so he can withdraw all your money and keep it for himself.”

Boy, talk about letting the wind out of my sails.

“Are you sure?” I asked. “I can usually spot a grift from fifty paces and this Prince Matombo character doesn’t seem like such a bad fella.”

“It’s the biggest scam going on the Internet,” Agnes said. “Just click the X button at the top of the window and close it out.”

“Joke’s on him then,”  I said.  “I haven’t got two plug nickels to rub together.”

“I know dear,”  Agnes said as she patted me on the back.  “I keep telling you that you really need to work on that.”

Agnes returned to her podium and left me high and dry.

A con job. A bamboozle. A flim flam.

And to think I, Jake Hatcher, infamous investigator extraordinaire, came dangerously close to getting caught up in it like a fat tuna trapped in a fisherman’s net.

I clicked the X.

I wasn’t sure what depressed me more.  Losing the ten million or learning I had a relative only to have the rug pulled out from under me.

Maybe that was a sign I was lonelier than a weasel trapped in a burlap sack.

But not for long.

Tap.  Tap.  Tap.

Someone was rapping on the glass window near my work station.  I was too engrossed with the Matombo fiasco to pay attention.

“Now class, maybe you’ll want to add an attachment to your e-mail.  Maybe it could be a nice photo of your family that you want to send to your friends.  All you do is…”

Tap.  Tap. Tap.

“…click on the paper clip button and…”

Tap.  Tap.  Tap.

Agnes grew visibly annoyed.  For some reason, she always looked that way whenever I was around.  I don’t know why.  Maybe she was just one of those people with a bad attitude.

“Jake,”  Agnes said.  “That blonde woman at the window is trying to get your attention.”

I turned around to find an angel in my presence.  It was the woman of my dreams, Delilah K. Donnelly, no doubt arrived to deliver yet another missive from our mutual client, Mr. Bookshelf Q. Battler.

“Yes,”  I said.

I stood up and put my hands up.

“Carry on, geezers,”  I said.  “No one go dying on me while I’m gone.”

From the looks of Agnes’ students, that was probably too much to ask for.

I stepped out onto the main floor and greeted my visitor.

“Ms. Donnelly,”  I said.  “So wonderful to see you.”

“The pleasure is all yours, Mr. Hatcher.  Is there somewhere we can talk?”

Copyright 2015 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 7) (Conclusion)

PREVIOUSLY ON POP CULTURE MYSTERIES…

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6

AND NOW THE POP CULTURE MYSTERIES CONTINUE…

“Where the hell I was I?”

I was all alone, sitting in front of the library’s beep boop machine.

The lights switched off.shutterstock_71510056

“Oh thank God,”  Agnes said.  “You’re conscious again.”

“What happened?”

“I don’t know,”  the librarian replied.  “You were making me look up Nicki Minaj’s tweets and then you drifted off somewhere deep in thought, humming a song about someone named, ‘Honey.'”

“Ag, wanna help me wrap this mystery up?”

“Library’s closed,”  Agnes said as she pointed to the door, giving me the bum’s rush.  “Time to find a shelter, rummy.”

There was nothing I could do to convince Agnes that I wasn’t just one of an assortment of street people who wandered into the library all day seeking free shelter and wi-fi, constantly harassing her to cater to their every need and whim as if she was some kind of city employed maid instead of a trained researcher.

She handed me a stack of papers on the way out.

“Print-outs of everything else I found on the Nicki Minaj snub,”  the old lady said.  “I still think you need to find something better to do with your time than waste it on pop culture.”

“There’s 3.5 readers who disagree with you, doll.”

I pocketed the papers and shuffled my way out of the building, down the street aways until I found an all-night diner.

“How much for a water, sweetheart?”

“It’s complimentary,” the waitress answered.

“Then keep ’em coming.”

“Wow.  Big spender.”

I laid out the file full of info Agnes printed out for me.

The tacks were brass and it was time to get down to them.

1)  Was Nicki’s “snub” race related?

I understand I’m the wrong color to be saying that race relations have improved over the years.

However, I am the right age.  Though I stopped aging sixty years ago, I’m ninety-five and can tell you there was a time when interracial marriage was a sin, black people were denied access to basic opportunities taken for granted today.

I’ve seen black people shooed to the back of the bus, out of restaurants, chased away with dogs from the voting booth, you name it.

Society kept Peaches and I apart and that will always be a sore spot for yours truly, seeing as how society’s opinion was never asked for in the matter.

But, as an open-minded private dick, I get the flip side.  That folks aren’t openly treated like garbage just because of the color of their skin is all well and good, but the aftershocks of slavery and past oppression are going to be around for a long time.  Will black people ever feel truly welcome in the world?  Are there white people who hold certain biases, some of whom may not even realize it?

The President put it best:

It is incontrovertible that race relations have improved significantly during my lifetime and yours, and that opportunities have opened up, and that attitudes have changed.  That is a fact.  What is also true is the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, you know, that casts a long shadow and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on.  We’re not cured of it.

– Barack Obama on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast

By the wayside, if any of you yahoos can explain to this gumshoe WTF a podcast is, it’d be appreciated.  All I gather is everyone and their brother has their own show now thanks to the wonders of modern technology.

Did MTV decide not to nominate Nicki for a couple extra awards because of the color of her skin?  Doubtful.

Could Nicki’s complaint be seen as a preamble for a discussion for a greater need for diversity in the entertainment industry?

Of course.

In my day, black singers were considered novelty acts.  Today, they’re widely accepted.

Still, you don’t see as many movies where the protagonist, i.e. the lead guy or gal, the one all the action is centered around, is black.  There’s some, but not many.

You’ll see a lot of supporting black actors.  I suppose that’s progress from my day, where if you were a black actor you were typecast as the maid, the butler, or some hoodlum the cops were rousting.

To paraphrase the Prez’s summation, things are better, but they could also get better.

2)  What about body-type-ism?

Hollywood is all glamour and pizazz.   Heavy on the style, hold the substance.

If you’re fat, or ugly, or you’ve got a crooked nose, or shingles, or a weepy eye, or facial fungus or any host of bodily issues, there’s a better chance of finding you on the Moon than there is in the next blockbuster.

Is that right?  Is that wrong?  Maybe that’s just how the cookie crumbles.

People listen to music and watch the boob tube to escape reality.  Average Joes and Josephines want to pretend their someone greater than they are and it’s hard to do that when the guy or gal on the screen looks like you.

But then again, perhaps that’s an indictment of today’s looks-conscious world, one that assumes the not hot folk have nothing to offer.

I’ve observed this problem since waking up.  You’ve got that Meghan Trainor gal and her All About That Bass song.

Not to scandalize you, 3.5 readers, but as a trained investigator, I’m able to read between the lines and I’m fairly certain “All About That Bass” is double-talk for Meghan’s corpulent posterior.

Therein lies the point.  The gal has an impressive set of pipes and can sing like all get out, but she’s a bit on the chunky side, so she has to address that fact in a song.

If you ask me, people should be able to appreciate a good voice and not give a toot about the size of the singer’s caboose.

To that end (no pun intended), Nicki might be onto something.

I feel sorry for today’s musical entertainers.

Do you know what a singer needed to make it big in my day?  A pretty dress and a fine set of vocal chords.  That’s about it.

I remember sitting in a grand hall, listening to Peaches fill it up, feeling blessed just to have known her.

She didn’t have to wiggle her butt to a beat like Nicki, or put on an Egyptian Princess outfit like Katy, or a meat dress like Lady Gaga or pretend to be an action movie star like Taylor.

Peaches sang.  The audience cheered.  That’s it.

Today, people have more choices on how to be entertained than ever before, and while that’s led to more artists working, the negative byproduct is that it also requires most of them to engage in some kind of goofy gimmick.

Alas, the music gets lost in the pageantry.

I see the manager is about to kick me out for ordering nothing but complimentary water, so I’ll close with a final observation.

Conclusions

It’s all about the evidence, ’bout the evidence, no speculation.

I see nothing that proves Nicki was snubbed due to race or body-type-ism and let’s face it.  Three out of five nominations is nothing to sneeze at.

However, in a world where people are often cast aside because of what they look like, there’s always room for a conversation about how that trend can be curbed.

Personally, as one of the most handsome and modest bastards around, I think that’s big of me to say.

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Copyright Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015.

All Rights Reserved.

Images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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