Monthly Archives: May 2016

Daily Discussion with BQB – Should the Cincinnati Zoo Have Shot Harambe the Gorilla?

Good morning 3.5 Readers.

Are you all refreshed after the long Memorial Day Weekend?

It goes by too fast, doesn’t it?

Anyway, have you been following the news story about the Cincinnati Zoo?

If you haven’t heard about it, a four year old boy somehow managed to fall fifteen feet into the zoo’s “Gorilla World” exhibit.

Harambe, a seventeen year old gorilla, found the kid and at one point, grabbed him and rather violently dragged him through the water.

Zoo keepers had to act fast and decided to shoot the gorilla dead.  They have explained that it was the only option.  They say a tranquilizer dart would not have acted fast enough and may have even angered the gorilla and caused him to become even more violent before it kicked in.

Faced with taking a chance that they could have somehow saved the boy without harming the gorilla or shooting the gorilla, they chose to shoot him.

A lot of people are complaining that the zoo didn’t do the right thing. There’s an online petition, a hashtag #gorillalivesmatter and the usual armchair quarterbacking.

Personally, I think the zoo had to do what it had to do. I don’t think anyone wanted to kill the gorilla.

And you can’t really blame Harambe because he’s a frigging gorilla.  Gorillas attack stuff. That’s what they do.

Some complainers point to a part of the video where it looked like he stands the boy up and looks like he wants to protect him.

I mean, maybe but maybe he was also thinking about the best way to crack the kid’s head open like a coconut.

Let’s be honest. Had the zoo not shot the gorilla and the gorilla had killed the kid, everyone, literally everyone, even the same people protesting the gorilla’s death, would be demanding to know why the zoo put a gorilla’s life over a boy’s.

Animal life over human life, you got to save the human.

I don’t want to immediately rush to judgment and start ragging on the family because I don’t know the full situation.

I suppose if there’s one lesson, it could be that zoos might review their exhibits and see if there are any holes that could be shored up, any little spaces where a little kid could conceivably squeeze through.

But at the same time, yeah, if you’re an adult, you’ve got to be keeping an eye on your kids.

I have no idea if the adults involved here weren’t paying attention and their kid wandered away, or maybe they were and the kid just got away from them, but I don’t know…people just need to be more careful, but at the same time zoos should review their exhibit security in light of the fact that we live in a world where literally on ne takes any responsibility for anything anymore.

RIP Harambe.

And kid, you’re 4 years old so I can’t blame you either. Hope you’re recovering well from the whole ordeal.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Movie Review – Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016)

Pbbbbbhhhhhhhhtttt.

Is that the correct way to type a raspberry?

BQB here with a review of this stink fest.

Where to start?

So much suck. So little time.

The film revisits Mac and Kelly (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne) the couple terrorized by the rowdy frat led by Teddy (Zac Efron) that set up shop next door to their home in the first film.

It’s not that the first Neighbors movie had much in the way of redeeming quality either, but at least it relied on a bevy of gross out stunts that made you cringe until you gave up the laughs.

This one’s just sort of “meh.”

Mac and Kelly have tentatively sold their home and the buyers have thirty days to go through or nix the deal.

And…uh oh…Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) and friends start their own rowdy sorority house in the house next door to Mac and Kelly, renting out the house once occupied by Teddy’s frat.

The film redeems itself a bit by pointing out the perils of being a female college student. On campus sororities aren’t allowed to throw parties (the movie informs you’ll find out it is true if you Google it) so their only chance to party is to visit a frat, and frat parties tend to be, well, all about demeaning women.

Shelby and Co. can’t party on campus, can’t have too much fun in their dorm without their RA throwing a fit, so their own off-campus house is their last ditch effort.

Other than that, the whole plot is either stupid or non-existent, take your pick.  The adult couple conspires to kick the girls out. The girls conspire to get their revenge against the adults.

There are some scenes where you’re left if any thought was put into them.

At one point, and in case you care I’ll say SPOILER ALERT, the girls tinker with Mac and Kelly’s cell phones and in so doing, send them messages to convince the other has left them.

Mac and Kelly flip out and go on a rampage to find one another but uh, for some odd reason, neither looks through the house they both live in where they both are when they get the messages first.

Mac is fooled into going all the way to Australia to look for Kelly where we see Seth Rogen in what is clearly a bad green screen shot of himself outside the Sydney Opera House.

Kinda makes you wonder why the studio couldn’t have just sprung to send Rogen on a trip to the Sydney Opera House.

Teddy is crowbarred in – he helps the sorority, he helps the adults – he’s more or less there just to remind you that Neighbors One existed.

Eh…I mean you could tell me that I’m just an old bastard and thus the movie just wasn’t my cup of tea but I don’t know. I did laugh a lot at the first one and that’s why I was willing to give this one a try.

I love movies. I watch a lot of them. Rare is the occasion when I go to a movie and end up looking at the time and debating whether to just walk out or to stay through the end and continue to waste time.

This one did that for me.

The concept itself isn’t that bad.  Differing perspectives on life and all. The kids just want to have fun.  The adults never really stopped wanting to have fun but they have responsibilities and jobs to tend to and can’t be bothered to deal with crazy parties all the time.

But overall, it stunk.  Big time stink fest.

The sad part is there are many good actors and actresses in the film. You’re just left wondering why with so much talent involved, no one ever stopped to ask if this flick wasn’t a waste of their time.

 

STATUS: Not shelf-worthy.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Have You Ever Used Another Blogging Website?

Hey 3.5 Readers. You’re in luck.  A second Daily Discussion.

Obviously, you all use WordPress, but I was wondering if anyone out there has ever used another blogging website?

I don’t believe I’ll move Bookshelf Battle off of WordPress.  Too many of my 3.5 readers use it and I would lose them.

But for other websites, I have been thinking about branching out to see what other blogging sites might have to offer.

For example, I am thinking about creating a website that has information about my zombie western book and proposed zombie western book series.

I have my eye on Wix.  They have many pre-made templates, plus the ability to create your own.

They say it is “drag and drop” and they explain that means what it says.  Drag what you want to the place on your site where you want it to appear and voila it appears on your site.

If that actually works, it could save me a lot of hassle.  I hate to knock WordPress because I understand that sometimes it might be my lack of knowledge, but there are times when it won’t do what I want it to do.

WordPress has many nice themes but you are limited to that theme’s layout.  For example, I feel like I could get more Facebook/Twitter hits if I could put my Facebook/Twitter info at the top right of the blog but instead, this theme puts it at the bottom of the blog and few people scroll down that far.

My concern about Wix or another site is I don’t know if they come with the built-in audience that WordPress has.

My readership mainly comes from other bloggers.  If it weren’t for WordPress’ ability to let you tag your posts so they show up for people interested in those tags, I wouldn’t even have 1.5 readers.

Wix will allow comments, but you do have to comment through Facebook or Disquss.  I’m not sure how Disqus works but I know with Facebook you have to identify yourself and I understand many people understandably don’t want to so that could limit your comments.

So it seems there are some trade offs.  I suppose I might investigate more to see what capabilities the other websites have, but due to the built-in audience, I’m not about to leave WordPress anytime soon.

By the way, I’m told (and have seen it myself) this site doesn’t come off the best when you read it on a tablet or a smart phone.

Do you find that is the case?  I think the issue is on a tablet or smartphone people really want your menu to come up as a little button they can push and scroll down through that.

I have mixed feelings on that.  I think when the site is viewed on a laptop, the best option is to have your menu right at the top of the screen, all the choices laid out right there for you.

I have noticed there are some themes that split the difference.  When you view them on a laptop, it is all laid out right there, but then go on a mobile device and the menu turns into the button.

I’m not sure I want to abandon the theme I have now anytime soon.  Frankly, it is what gave me the idea for “Bookshelf Battle.”

When I started, I knew I wanted to blog, I wasn’t sure what about or what I’d call the blog, then as I looked through themes I saw this one with the ability to put a picture right at the top and I was like, “Huh. Well I don’t have much in the way of a graphic design department, but I suppose I could take pictures of my action figure collection and put them at the top and then I could call it umm…Bookshelf War? Huh no, Bookshelf Battle?”

I know. How more women don’t throw themselves at a guy who takes pictures of his action figures is beyond me.

Anyway, I like this theme because of that and also I just feel like it looks very comic-booky.  Add in the silly shutter stock photos and it feels, to me anyway, like you’re reading an online comic book.

So I don’t want to lose the theme anytime soon but I know in the long run I will have to resolve the mobile device issue.

Honestly, I know my menu sucks anyway as I have never really decided what to put up there and I am never able to figure out how to get it all organized.

Long story short, if you can think of an alternate WordPress theme that would fulfill BQB HQ’s needs, let me know.

Further, I have not yet given up on Pop Culture Mysteries.  It is just on hold a bit until I figure out how to streamline it a bit more.

I have been thinking that I need to rework that formula.  In many of Jake’s case files, he’s asked to solve a mystery – so example, if he’s asked something about Star Wars, he’ll start out by hitting on and getting rejected by Ms. Donnelly, then he’ll opine for a long time about some sad memory in his life, then he’ll walk through the neighborhood and complain about how the world has changed, then he bullies Agnes the Librarian into doing the research for him and THEN he’ll finally get to the answer.

I’m thinking the case files need to be shorter – ask the question (Why did Luke do X in Star Wars) then give the answer right away (He did it because…) and then I can take all of Jake’s life story stuff and work it into an ongoing online story.

At any rate, here’s what Pop Culture Mysteries looks like know. I like this theme because it looks like all the posts are files coming across Jake’s desk.

It does not have the “menu turns into a button on mobile devices” option that I suppose could be an issue, but I looked at it on my mobile device and thought it looks good and the menu bar stayed the same, it didn’t move around unlike how Bookshelf Battle’s menu does.

Anyway, give me your opinions on a) my current themes b) alternate themes and c) alternate blogging sites.

Also, give me cookies.  You know you have cookies. Stop holding out on me.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Happy Memorial Day – Favorite Book/Movie About the Military?

Happy Memorial Day, 3.5 Readers.

Favorite book about the military?  Hmm.  I read Flags of Our Fathers about the soldiers who raised the flag at Iwo Jima, written by one of their sons, and thought it was pretty good.

It stands out to me because I remember a part where the author did some research and determined that few humans are able to comprehend death.  We are aware that everyone dies and we know it will happen to all of us one day, yet all we know is life so our brains keep telling us that we’ll make it through somehow – i.e. despite the evidence to the contrary, many soldiers believe they won’t be killed.

I have no idea if that’s true or not.  I imagine many people in a bad situation (say, being ordered to storm Normandy) know the odds of making it out alive aren’t good but they do it anyway.

But in theory I get it.  When all you know is life, not being alive is difficult to comprehend.

I think about death sometimes but then it makes me so sad I convince my mind to change the subject. I feel like that’s probably what most people do. It’s not that we don’t believe it’s coming, but rather we do our best to avoid thinking about it for as long as we can.

Favorite movie? There have been a lot of good ones. I’d say the one that stands out in my mind is We Were Soldiers (2002) starring Mel Gibson. Learned a lot about the Vietnam War and particularly how it was the first war that depended on helicopters.

Anyway, Happy Memorial Day 3.5 Readers. If you are or were in the military, a guy with a website dedicated to the entertainment of 3.5 readers thanks you.

And which books/movies do you recommend?

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Game of Thrones Recap -Season 6, Episode 6 – “Blood of My Blood”

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Hey 3.5 Readers.

What a great holiday weekend. Got some burgers on the BBQ. Got some brews. Got some Game of Thrones.

SPOILERS!  SO MANY SPOILERS!

This show does excel at making you think one thing will happen then something else happens entirely.

For example:

  • Sam and Gilly – I thought Sam was just going to let Gilly be dissed because he had to attend Maester school and there was nowhere else for the Gillster to go but then out of left field he swipes the family sword. That’ll fetch a pretty penny but they’ll be on the run for the rest of their lives.  Still, with so many beautiful power couples on TV, it is nice to see a couple of dorks find love.
  • High Sparrow Shenanigans – When the High Sparrow said there wouldn’t be a need for a fight then started looking at Margery ominously, I thought he was going to kill her or something. I’m not sure I understand this “Crown and Church” partnership. I thought they already had one but it sounds like Tommen was talked into sharing more power with the church.
  • Bran – Looked like he was about to buy the farm but Uncle Benjen to the rescue. But that the hell?  Is it possible to be half a white walker now?
  • Arya – Seemed like she was on board for killing Lady Crane but she grew a conscience at the last minute.  I’m not sure I understand. I thought the place she was working for was like this band of assassins who assassinate bad people in the name of justice but apparently they can just take jobs to kill people for money for any old reason.
  • Khaleesi’s Big Ass Dragon Speech – Daeny is batting a thousand with her crowd inspiring speeches this season.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 105

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Inside the engine room, the fire inside the furnace glowed redder and hotter with every scoop of coal the werewolves shoveled. King Zeke, back in human form, tipped the back of his chair against a wall and attempted to get some shut eye.

His rest was interrupted when the scent of two intruders entered his nostrils.

Zeke’s boots clanked across the metal floor as he left the engine room. With two werewolves in tow, he marched to Blythe’s personal cabin and knocked on the door.

“Yes?” Blythe asked as he poked his head out of the door.

“Trouble a-brewin,’ Hoss,” Zeke said.

“Slade?” Blythe asked.

“Yup,” Zeke said. “I’m picking up his stink. And the boy werewolf.”

The vampire nodded. “Dispatch the boy posthaste will you? And bring Slade to me.”

“Gonna cost ya,” Zeke said.

Blythe grimaced. “Put it on my bill,” he said as he slammed the door.

Zeke busted out of his clothes, morphing into his gray wolf form. He and his two henchwolves took off.

Inside the cabin, Blythe massaged his head and mumbled a litany of complaints to himself.

“Blasted werewolves always nickel and diming me,” Blythe said as he sat down on a couch. “Does anyone care about a job well done anymore?”

The muffled screams of the captive woman lying on the couch next to him interrupted his train of thought.

“I’m sorry my dear,” Blythe said. “I suppose the last thing a person in your predicament needs is to hear me carrying on about my problems.”

Blythe’s prisoner was wrapped up from head to toe in a white bed sheet, with chains wrapped around her arms and legs. She screamed but her words were unintelligible.

The vampire brushed his hand over his prisoner’s head through the sheet.

“Hush now. This will all be over in a moment.”

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Which State Would Be the Best (or Worst) to Ride Out a Zombie Apocalypse In?

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Happy Sunday 3.5 Readers.

Your old pal BQB here.

Out of the 50 United States (and feel free to add the territories into the mix if you like) which one would be the best to ride out a zombie apocalypse in?

Alternatively, which one would be the worst state to battle the undead in?

I suppose thanks to The Walking Dead we know Georgia is a good zombie battleground.  Lots of trees to hide under. Lots of rednecks who’ve been practicing their shooting skills on squirrels in their backyards in the hopes that some shit like this would go down.

But I think I will go with Hawaii.  Theoretically, I could put my back to the ocean and at least have one area where I know I don’t have to worry about protecting.

Then again if zombies swarm the beach, I’m left with nowhere to run.

I assume there will be coconuts, macademia nuts, and pineapples I can feast on though.

The worst state I think would be Alaska. Indeed, there will also be many helpful rednecks and rugged outdoorsmen to lend a hand.

However, it’s cold as shit and dark all the time so that makes for an unpleasant zombie fighting environment.  The cold and the dark would eventually wear you down, whereas they would not have any effect on evil hideous zombies.

What say you, 3.5 readers? Best state and worst state to be in during a zombie apocalypse.

Other Possibilities:

BEST STATE – California. Head to LA, for there will be plenty of zombie costumes to grab from studio wardrobes.  Put one on and blend right in. Also, so many people filled with silicone parts and botox the zombies might spend all day trying to chew through them to no avail allowing you ample time to escape.

WORST STATE – Vermont. Too many hippies. They’ll want to befriend the zombies and invite them to their next protest.

Or feel free to do cities:

BEST CITY – Detroit.  From your 90 year old grandma to your friendly neighborhood street gang, everyone is already packing like 12 guns, so there will be plenty of weaponry to spare. Caveat – the humans might shoot you before the zombies get to you.

WORST CITY – New York, although it depends on which part you’re in. Brooklyn and/or Bronx residents will give the zombies what for.  Meanwhile, if you’re in Manhattan, it’s mostly tourists and people dressed up as off brand cartoon characters.  Some bum dressed up like Schmelmo (instead of Elmo) in the hopes you’ll give him a dollar to have your picture taken with him will not be much help during a zompoc.

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Movie Review – Joy (2015)

You wouldn’t think the story behind the invention of the self-wringing mop would be all that interesting but as it turns out, it is.

Inspiring too.

BQB here with a review of Joy.

SPOILER ALERT – the movie’s less about the mop than it is about the burdensome road one must go down in order to achieve a dream.

Joy (Jennifer Lawrence) started out as a very intelligent child, dreaming up new inventions in her room. She assumes life will be great but as the years go on, she eventually finds herself divorced, caring for her kids, her elderly father (Robert DeNiro), her mother who hides from life by watching soap operas all day (Virginia Madsen), and ironically, her ex-husband who she’s still friends with (Edgar Ramirez.)

Bradley Cooper rounds out the cast as the QVC executive that gives Joy her big break during the television shopping industry’s infancy.

“I feel like I’m in a prison” sums about how she (and most people feel) when they’re stuck in a rut.  We all have dreams but day by day, as the time ticks off the clock and the day to day struggles of earning a living preoccupy our time, those dreams fade away.

Supposedly, we’re all free to do as we please but when you factor in all the obligations of life, the average person is not free at all.

The pressure to throw your hands up, forget all about your dream and just live out a boring, hum drum existence is strong – for Joy and well, let’s face it, for us too.

But when Joy cuts her hands on a mop filled with broken glass, she develops the idea for a self-wringing mop, one that you can wring without even touching the mop head.

Sounds simple enough but once she goes into the mop making business, she quickly learns the downside to following her dream.  The path to success is not easy.  Price gauging suppliers, crooked businessmen, mounting bills, and family jealousies all stand in her way.

Is that mop that interesting? No. But watching the movie is an exercise in self-forgiveness.  We all have our own self-wringing mop, that pie in the sky idea we always wanted to follow.

But we also have people who depend on us, financial woes, etc.  Forgive yourself if you aren’t living the life you wanted. Most people aren’t.

There are many times in the movie where Joy has the chance to give up and walk back to the hum drum life or double down on her mop making enterprise, potentially pushing her deeper into debt and misery if it doesn’t work out.

Many people in her shoes would have given up and, at least from my perspective, the message of the film is that you should forgive yourself if you didn’t pursue your dream because at the end of the day, the deck is stacked against you.

Living a realistic boring life doesn’t make you a bad person, it just makes you normal. On the other hand, if you follow Joy’s lead and keep plugging away at your dream it may very well come true.

FYI – Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for an Academy Award for playing Joy.  At the time, I assumed it might have been a case of  Hollywood blowing smoke up J-Law’s butt (I like her a lot but is there anyone else out there deserving of accolades since she’s already had so many?)

Turns out I was wrong. She was very deserving of the nomination.  Joy made me laugh. She made me cry. She made me visualize myself in her shoes, this damn blog with 3.5 readers as her self-wringing mop, and all the people telling her that her mop is dumb as the people telling me this blog is dumb.

Eh. They’re right. This blog is kinda dumb. I should just quit and go eat cookies.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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Video Game Rack Fighter’s Video Game of the Month – May 2016 – Halo 5

By: Video Game Rack Fighter, Official Bookshelf Battle Video Game Reviewer

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Ms. Video Game Rack Fighter – World’s Number One Car Thief Mayhem Champion; BQB’s Love Interest Until She Can Find a Man with a Blog That Has 7.5 Readers

Happy Memorial Day Weekend, 3.5 readers.

The Master Chief is at it again and this time he’s run afoul of UNSC (United Nations Space Command) in Halo 5.

Gotta level with you.  This game came out in October, so it’s a bit lame that I’m only now getting around to review it.

Then again, it’s equally lame that that nerd BQB only let me have a column in April.

Halo.  What a franchise. What a series. For at least 16 years or so, it’s been the number one reason why you need to have an X-Box.

There’s an intricate back story involving intergalactic intrigue, but if you don’t care about it, you can always just have fun turning aliens into go.

No offense, Alien Jones.  I’m not talking about good aliens.  I’m talking about douche aliens.

Aliens like the species who have formed the Covenant, an organization dedicated to wiping out humanity.

The Master Chief has come a long way and he’s still going. This time he’s disobeying UNSC command.  Throughout the game, you go back and forth, sometimes playing as the Master Chief, sometimes playing as Jameson Locke, the Spartan soldier ordered to bring the Chief in.

The Arbiter (an alien on the UNSC’s side) returns with Keith David lending his voice.  Meanwhile, Nathan Fillion of Firefly and last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer gives his voice and likeness to create a Spartan soldier on Locke’s team.

Halo really upped the video game ante back in the day.  Perhaps there are video game historians with better memories than mine but I believe it was one of the very first (some might even argue the first) game where a character could run around, or jump in a vehicle, or ride in a vehicle while a computerized character drives.  Essentially, the entire battlefield is immersive and along the way, you choose the best weapons, vehicles and overall approach that fits your strengths and weaknesses.

Do you need to have played the previous five? You’ve missed out if you haven’t but no, you’ll still catch the plot. If you don’t catch it, just shoot some aliens and keep running.

Or climb in your Warthog and drive in an epic race towards safety. No Halo game is ever complete without an epic Warthog chase.

STATUS: Rack worthy.

 

 

 

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How the West Was Zombed – Chapter 104

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Run?” Miles thought to himself. “No thanks. I’ve done enough running.

The young werewolf galloped along the left side of the last box car, jumped towards it, then dug the claws on his left paw into the metal. With his right paw he punched a hole in the box car, then used both paws to rip the steel apart until there was an opening big enough for him to jump in.

Inside, the box car was pitch black. That didn’t matter to Miles. He could still see.

But the smell of all that rotten zombie fleshed packed into that giant rectangular can was ungodly.

Groans and demands for brains filled Miles’ ears. He struck wildly, his claws ripping off zombie heads, limbs and other parts.

Like ants converging on an unattended sweet, the undead swarmed on the werewolf, knocking him down, biting and scratching at him.

“Brains…ugh…urgh…brains…”

Every wound the undead opened on Miles’ body instantly closed. The werewolf stood up and shook the undead off of him.

Miles bent his knees and, as if he were spring loaded, hurtled himself through the roof of the box car.

Slade was just about to step forward when Miles emerged from the twisted steal, his fur covered with zombie guts.

“I thought I told you to run!” Slade said as he looked up at the young werewolf, who was now towering over him.

All Miles could do was growl in response. Had he been able to communicate with Slade, he would have shared what he was thinking.

Run? I’m tired of running. I’m a Goddamned werewolf. People need to start running from me.”

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