Category Archives: Discussions

Is it OK to Hug Your Dog?

Actually, I did think of something.

It has been in the news the past couple of days that scientists are saying it is bad to hug your dog. They say that even though the dog might look happy, he or she is feeling intense stress over the hug.

Personally, I try not to hug Bookshelf Q. Battledog as he is a vicious man eating beast who has devoured 951 intruders on BQB HQ premises.

BQBD

Bookshelf Q. Battledog is too f&*king manly for hugs.

 

But what do you think?  Dog hugging – bad or good idea? Needless to say I mean dog hugging within normal limits.  All you people who were spooning your dog and dancing the waltz with your dog were weird to begin with.

I’ve been known to pat BQBD on the head while watching Scandal Thursday nights on ABC with Alien Jones, the Yeti and of course, Video Game Rack Fighter, who brings Video Game Rack Fighter Cat.

Now that I am writing this, I have questions. Do they mean never hug your dog ever?  Or are they talking about weirdoes who hug their dogs for hours and hours?

Because honestly, maybe after like a 24 hour dog hugging session the dog ends up feeling like a furry hostage or something.

Maybe he wants space. Maybe he wants to see other owners.

I don’t know. I’m not a dog scientist.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

 

 

 

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Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker

e59d1b66c3aa6c9bc9e4613b3fde1414d00e6da18c099b3bf5d3d9f8eaa4d26dHey 3.5 brothers.

BQB here.  Have you read the news that Hulk Hogan won $115 million dollars in his lawsuit against Gawker?

Here’s a CNN article about it if you want to catch up.

The brief rundown – Hulk Hogan was caught on tape having sex with a friend’s wife. Gawker somehow (I haven’t cared enough to find out how) got ahold of it and put a clip on their site.

We could probably debate all day long about whether or not the Hulkster is a good guy or an a-hole.  If you’re an 80’s kid, chances are you spent a fair amount of time watching him go toe to toe against the Iron Sheik and you probably have some fond memories of that nonsense.

But then again, he’s had his share of scandals and inappropriate behaviors.

Let’s not get into that.

Instead, let’s get into what this suit means…we are bloggers after all…not at the level that Gawker is at but still, we have to remember to watch our P’s and Q’s lest we end up with a lawsuit of our own.

I’ll bring it down to a debate question – Do you 3.5 readers think a sex tape is newsworthy or does it qualify as something private and not necessary for the public to see?

Personally, I fall on the latter side of this question.  No one needs to see the Hulkomaniac go at it, brother.

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RIP Harper Lee

The author of To Kill a Mockingbird has passed away at age 89.  She gave us Atticus Finch, a sequel that came out last year, and she was Truman Capote’s homie.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Do Rom-coms Create Stalkers?

Hey 3.5 Readers.

I read this column, “The Dark Side of Rom-Coms” on the CNN website by Julia Lippman, a post-doctoral fellow in communication studies at the University of Michigan and thought it would make for a good discussion here.

Go read it.  The gist is basically those romantic comedies might not be harmless as you think.  A guy who stands outside a girl’s window holding a boom box in the air a la Say Anything is weird.  A guy who hires a private investigator to track down his prom date thirteen years later a la Something About Mary is even weirder.

Though in the context of movies, we laugh and have fun, men might be taking cues to relentlessly pursue or even stalk women…that they might get it in their heads that their persistent advances on uninterested women aren’t bad behavior but rather, charming displays of romance a la Lloyd Dobler.

Hmmm.  Well, here’s my first observation:

I am a man and I have zero interest in romantic comedies.  Romantic comedies are made for, geared towards, and primarily marketed to women.

There’s Something About Mary isn’t really a good example.  That’s more of a raunchy comedy that just happens to involve romance.  I liked that one, but any other romantic comedy?  No.  No interest.

I’ve never seen a commercial that went like this…

He was a guy down on his luck. She was the girl who had it all.  This summer, Hunky Guy and Hot Girl in Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah.

…and was like “OMG I MUST SEE THIS!”  No.  Never.  I’ve never seen a rom-com on my own.  Any time I’ve seen one involved seeing it because someone else wanted to see it.

Are there all different varieties of men?  Yes.  Are there some men who like romantic comedies?  Sure.

But I don’t like them and while I don’t know if there’s been a study commissioned on this, I’d dare say the lion’s share of men aren’t spending their days thinking “Oh my God I want to see She’s My Gal or Love in the Time of Love or whatever dopey title the latest romantic schlock is called.

So in my opinion, don’t worry.  Men aren’t going to become stalkers because of rom-coms because we’re too busy watching super hero movies.

Why?  That leads us to my next observation:

As a man, I prefer action movies, super hero movies and so on.

Here is the plot of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron:

A billionaire in an iron suit, a Norse God, a scientist who turns into a green rage monster when he gets mad, an invincible WWII veteran, a Russian assassin and an expert arrow shooter join forces to stop an evil robot.

I loved it.  I enjoyed it.  And do you know why?  Though it was sheer, utter fantastic nonsense, it was more believable than any rom com ever written.

Why?  My next observation:

Love rarely works out as perfectly as it does in the movies.

It really, really doesn’t.  Which leads to another observation:

Personally, I believe if there is any “risk” involved in rom-coms, it is that they encourage women to yearn for highly unlikely Hollywood generated scenarios that could never happen in real life, all the while ignoring what’s around them.

I’m just going by personal experience.  Over the  years, women have basically trained me to treat a first date like a job interview.  What are the job interview rules?

  • Don’t sneeze.
  • Don’t burp.
  • Don’t fart.
  • Don’t scratch.
  • Make a little eye contact but not too much.  Don’t talk about anything controversial.
  • Don’t say anything that resembles your thoughts, opinions, hopes and or dreams.
  • Ask questions and provide a general sense of interest.  However, not too much interest.  Don’t inquire about anything deep or meaningful.  Stick to the weather.  “Nice weather we are having” will prove that you are alive and have a pulse but cannot be construed as being too intimate.
  • Don’t be yourself at all.  You are horrible.  Wait to be yourself until you’re hired and then it is too much of a chore to replace you.

I mean that’s pretty much what dating has become now, thanks in large part to Hollywood convincing women through romantic movies that they should expect pure, unadulterated perfection out of men at all times or bust.

Men can follow all those rules and still be rejected when women jump to conclusions based on harmless stimuli:

MAN SCRATCHES HEAD.

WOMAN THINKS: He scratched his head sixty seven minutes into the date.  That’s a deal breaker.  I’ll be damned if I’m going to be saddled with a head scratcher!

MAN DROPS HIS KEYS.

WOMAN THINKS: He dropped his keys.  Clearly has reflex issues.  I’ll be picking up his keys until the end of time.

MAN SHOWS UP EARLY.

WOMAN THINKS: Must be obsessed with me.  Clearly thought about me all day.  Probably slept over in the restaurant parking lot all night and day just to be here five minutes early.

MAN SHOWS UP LATE

WOMAN THINKS:  What a self-absorbed psychopath to make me wait five minutes.

You laugh!  You laugh, but this is what men are facing now.  Thanks to handsome, hunky men in romantic comedies who always say and do the right thing, we have to deal with women who aren’t happy unless we’re jacked up and all muscly, picking them up on our white horses with the wind blowing our luxurious hair and we never make a mistake or do anything wrong.

I mean, holy shit, if you’re an average man and you’ve got a wife that Hollywood has trained to think you should look and act like early 1990’s Hugh Grant, then good luck to you if you forget to rinse off your dish before you go to bed one night as she’s going to divorce you, take half your shit and go off in search of Mr. Romantic Comedy Man, who does not exist.

And if you have a pimple, or some minor bodily flaw?  Jesus Christ, forget it.  Just forget it.  Wait for the scientific community to invent robot girlfriends because you’re never getting a human girlfriend when Hollywood is telling women to hold on because Bradley F$%King Cooper is going to swoop in and whisk them away any second.

BQB, this column is getting a little one sided.  Surely there are movies that mess with men’s minds too.

There are.  There are probably dudes who see hot actresses and expect that women who have jobs and commitments should look like they spend 24 hours a day working on their bodies the way actresses do.  There are probably even dudes who like rom coms and expect a woman to be perfect like the rom com leading lady.

Anyway, those are my main observations.  Lippman did end her column by pointing out that she isn’t in favor of banning rom coms or anything.  And she does note, as I would point out too, that only an idiot would take love advice from a movie.

And if you take the rom com part of it out, the more debate worthy topic might be when does pursuit cross the line into stalking?

Everyone probably has a different idea on that.  My general argument would be if you like someone and know your friend is a friend of that someone and said friend is throwing a party and you ask to come so you can chat up the person you’re interested in, that’s just an attempt at kindling amore.

But if you know none of those people and just followed a person you saw walking down the street to a party and you spent the whole night in a dark van waiting to catch a glimpse…yeah, you might be a stalker.

All joking aside, if you like someone, be cool, give it a respectful try, but once rebuffed, realize that there are other fish in the sea, so plant your hook elsewhere.

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Let’s Talk Making a Murderer

Thanks Netflix.  Thanks a lot.

Got no work done this weekend, ended up binging on Making a Murderer instead.

SPOILERS!  SPOILERS!  SPOILERS!

Don’t read on if you haven’t watched it yet.  This post is meant to be a discussion for people who want to talk about the series…WHO HAVE ALREADY WATCHED IT!!!

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: I have no idea if any of the crap I am about to say is accurate.  I am just opining on the show.

So here we go.  BQB’s thoughts:

 The First Case – Penny Beernsten

So it’s clear Steven Avery is innocent here.  Testing that occurred years after his conviction due to advances in DNA testing methods indicated that the culprit was in fact Gregory Allen, a guy in the area who physically looked like Avery (same hair color, body type).

Allen, according to the documentary, had been known to local law enforcement, so much so that they kept him under surveillance.

Did the police act with malice?  (i.e. did they intentionally try to put Avery behind bars because they didn’t like him?)

There was the argument that one of the deputies was friends with a woman that Avery had run off the road and so on.

Personally, I think the issue might have been more about negligence – i.e. they found a suspect, they made it stick, and it was just too much of a pain in the ass hassle to go after someone else.

Is negligence better?  Well, it’s not great, and it thoroughly sucks that someone was wrongfully convicted.

At any rate, its impossible to deny the wrongful conviction.  The court set the conviction aside, Avery was released, even the victim acknowledged the mistake.

The Second Case – Teresa Halbach

A tougher case.

First, as the documentary starts to get into it, your gut begins to tell you maybe something’s up.  What are the odds of a guy wrongfully convicted of a crime being accused of another major crime?

  • Avery had become a public hero and a symbol for a justice reform.
  • The state legislature had been in the process of working on a bill that would compensate him $450,000.
  • A civil case was underway that’d likely have gotten him millions.

BUT…as much as the wrongful conviction sucks…people who have had sucky things happen to them don’t get a free pass or an excuse to commit a terrible crime.

In other words, your gut, or at least mine, began to tell me to keep an open mind on both sides:

  • Yes, it is odd a wrongfully convicted person got convicted again but…
  • It isn’t impossible for someone to be not guilty of a first crime and then be guilty of a second crime.

The Frame Defense

Hmmm.  This was a tough one.

This is where some may disagree with me but…

I don’t believe the officers framed Steven Avery.

Why?

  •  You see a hole in Avery’s blood vial from his first case.  You, like Buting, start to think, “Oh well, maybe that could have been used to put Avery’s blood in Teresa’s RAV4.”
  • OK…BUT – what about the fire pit with all the bone fragments?  And the barrels with all the bone fragments?

Someone tell me if I’m wrong but for the police to have framed Avery, they would have had to…

  • Dig into Avery’s life until they discovered that a photographer for Auto Trader was coming to the Avery property on a regular basis to take car photos.
  • Kill her.
  • Plant Avery’s blood in the car
  • Dump her car on the Avery property without the Averys noticing.
  • Burn her body somewhere else but then scatter bone fragments in a pit and in barrels on the Avery property, AGAIN without the Averys noticing.
  • Plant Avery’s DNA on the car key and plant it in Avery’s room.

BUT – Could someone else have killed Teresa and the police just took advantage to railroad a guy they didn’t like?

In my opinion, where the “Frame Defense” gets weak is the bone fragments.

Did the police have access to Avery’s blood? Yes. However, the FBI did run a test that showed some of the blood in the car did not have the testing chemical that would have been in the stored blood sample.

But ok.  Say you still think they planted the blood in the car.

How did the bone fragments get onto the property then???

I think if you accuse the cops of planting the blood, then you practically have to accuse them of planting the bone fragments too because if Avery didn’t do it then how else would the bone fragments have gotten there?

You could argue well some mysterious other murderer did it, then dumped the car and the fragments on the Avery property and then the cops were like “Yahoo!  We hate Avery so lets plant some shit to make this stick” but between accusations of cops planting a RAV4, putting blood in the RAV4 and then ANOTHER party dumping bones and making it look like a burning took place in the back yard…

…well, with all that happening I have to feel like the Averys might have noticed.

Was there a civil case?  Yes?   Were two cops deposed?  Yes?  Does that mean they’d go to the lengths of framing a guy?  I find that doubtful.  Cops, public officials, office holders, etc are sued all the time.

I’m sorry, but I just can’t envision cops being worried about a lawsuit enough that they’d frame a guy, plant evidence and somehow manage to either sprinkle the victims bones on the Avery property or benefit from some mysterious evildoer who did so.

So what the hell happened?

What made us all agree Avery was off the hook in the first case was the identification of another perpetrator.

Here, no other alternate suspect was found.

Brendan Dassey

Well, here’s where the case gets really complicated.  There’s another suspect and I suppose that means there’s room for theories that a) Avery did it and the nephew’s just a sap that got roped into it b) They did it together as the state alleged or c) maybe the nephew did it and Steven didn’t and well…while never Steven or Brendan came across as rocket scientists, I’m not sure Brendan could have pulled this all off on his lonesome.

The confessions are troubling.  Perhaps there should be a rule that kinds under 18 should always have a lawyer present during police questioning no matter what.

As a cautionary tale, if you’re a parent and your kid gets charged with something, insist you be there for any interviews and insist a lawyer is there too.

As for – is Brendan innocent?  I mean, he made statements he did it, and that he didn’t do it. He was clearly, for lack of a better description, not the brightest bulb, so yeah, he was probably manipulated into confessing and certainly the part where his own lawyer’s investigator is badgering him into confessing is troubling.

From the documentary itself, just as a pure question of whether or not he did it, I can’t tell.  What makes it hard for me is at one point he tells his mom something like he had to because Steven was stronger than him and then at another point he tells his mom basically that he just said what the cops wanted him to say.

In other words, in a very cloudy mind, his statements to his mother seem to provide the most insight into his head, and he made conflicting statements to his mother.

So who did it?

I think the bones on the property is the piece of info I can’t get away from.    The RAV4 on the property, the key in the room, the bullet in the garage, explain them all away but I just fail to see how the bones could have gotten there otherwise.

Does the documentary reveal a lot of things that law enforcement can do better? Yes.

But…absent evidence that someone carted a bunch of bones and spread them around Avery’s backyard, my gut tells me he did it.

Anyway, keep in mind I’m no expert and I’m just shooting my mouth off on a series.  Don’t take anything I wrote above to be accurate or correct.  Watch it yourself.

What are your thoughts?

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Hillary Clinton Says Earth May Have Already Been Visited By Aliens

No surprise to me, since I’ve been buddies with Alien Jones for about a year now.

Meanwhile, the Mighty Potentate is constantly backseat driving me. Don’t tell him I said that. I don’t want to be vaporized.

Anyway – I’m pretty sure Hillary was just joking but what say you, 3.5 readers? Do you think aliens exist?

An article in The Hill for more info.

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Discussion – Tina Fey Won’t Apologize

Tina Fey declares she will not apologize for jokes, that there’s an “apology culture” on the Internet and she’s opting out of it.

Should comedians apologize to someone offended by their jokes or should they stand by their jokes?

Discuss.

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Discussion – Bookshelf Q. Battler’s Future

POINT: The idea of a fictional blog or blog is super dumb. People barely read at all. They won’t read stories on a blog. You’re wasting time that could be spent on novels.

COUNTERPOINT: I (or the “Alleged Man” behind all this blogging) don’t feel I’m at a point in my life where I can write with reckless abandon using my real name. Ergo, invest some time in producing the Bookshelf Battleverse on Bookshelf Battle and Pop Culture Mysteries. Develop BQB’s persona as a writer who must write to stave off invasion by the Mighty Potentate and BQB can put out books as BQB.

FILE UNDER: Nerd problems.

DISCUSS

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Same Sex Marriage Ruling – Impact on Books/Entertainment

Bookshelf Q. Battler here.

As my 3.5 readers are aware, I avoid getting political on this blog.  I feel my goal is to entertain and I don’t want to alienate anyone because honestly, I’m kind of shooting for a “everyone love me no matter who you are and please buy my book if I ever write one” kind of a vibe.

If you want actual analysis of world events and important issues of the day, you should talk to someone whose best friend isn’t an alien.

ALIEN JONES:  “Best” friends might be pushing it a bit.

Bah.  Thanks a lot Esteemed Brainy One.  (By the way, AJ has a backlog lately.  If you’ve asked him a question, he will eventually get to it, though it might take a week or two.)

Still, the Supreme Court ruling is such a landmark event that it seems odd not to mention it and since this is a blog about writing and books (but also yetis and nerds), I thought this might be a good discussion question:

What’s the impact on the entertainment world?

If same-sex marriage is allowed in all 50 states, will we see more same-sex couples in books?

If so, will they be presented by authors in a “HEY EVERYONE!  LOOK AT ME!  I’M A DIVERSE AUTHOR!  THERE’S A SAME-SEX COUPLE IN MY BOOK!” type of manner?

Personally, I think if the world’s walking down an equality path, the better approach might be to present these characters just as anyone else.

I’ll point to John Scalzi’s Lock-In as an example.  In that book, there’s a same-sex (male) couple who play a pivotal point in the plot.  There’s no discussion of it or attempts to overtly point it out.  They’re just worked into the mix like every other character.

Perhaps this is a dumb discussion.  Gay characters have appeared in books, TV shows, movies etc for awhile.

But, will this change that?  For example, will we see a Hollywood summer blockbuster where the lead character is gay?  Could you ever envision say, a San Andreas style action movie where the lead is a gay dude trying to fight his way through a disaster and bring his husband to safety?

Maybe I have no idea what I’m saying.  Hell, maybe I’m just trying to bring more clicks to this blog by discussing a prominent issue on everyone’s mind.

(By the way, click a few buttons while you’re on this site, will you?  My stats are lower than the ratings of a network television show.)

Whatever your thoughts on the issue, keep it to the impact on entertainment and try to be courteous and respectful to everyone.

After all, this isn’t one of those cable shows where all the talking head pundits shout over each other.

This is a nerd blog, where all nerds of all kinds with all different points of view are welcome.

(But seriously nerds, please buy my book if I ever write one.)

And click a few buttons so the Mighty Potentate doesn’t fire Alien Jones (out of a cannon or otherwise).

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Favorite Literary Fathers

Happy Father’s Day 3.5 readers!

Just a quick discussion topic – who is your favorite literary father?

I’m going to go with Jean Valjean from Les Miserables.  He may not have been Cosette’s biological father, but he sure did go through a lot to protect her, thus illustrating to the reader that biology isn’t the only thing it takes to be a dad.  Dedication and love are more important.

Remember, Cosette’s biological father got out while the getting was good, so he wasn’t exactly a dad to write home about.

What say you, 3.5?

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