Tag Archives: acting

Daily Discussion with BQB – Geoffrey Owens Working at Trader Joe’s

Hey 3.5 readers.

Unless you’re old like me, you probably don’t even know who he is.

And honestly, even if you’re my age, you probably didn’t know his name.  All these years, I just knew him as “The Guy Who Played Dr. Huxtable’s Son-in-Law” on The Cosby Show.

Recently, Owens was spotted working at a Trader Joe’s in New Jersey. A photo was snapped of him with a gray beard and a Trader Joe’s name tag and cue the media nonsense that he’s a loser because he once appeared on a TV show and now he’s bagging groceries.

My first reaction is this sucks.  What’s that old saying?  “The best laid plans of mice and men…”

In other words, you pursue your dreams, but you also have to take what life gives you.  Sometimes that’s a role on a popular TV show you’re young.  Sometimes that’s ringing up produce when you’re older.

Look at what often happens to young celebrities.  They’re on a hit TV show when they are young.  Then that show ends and they assume they’ve made it.  The roles will come in, the money will come in but then, boom, for whatever reason, nothing.

Often, all this means is that people loved that person in this one role, but another good role was never found.  These young celebs often end up turning to drugs and alcohol. The idea of finding a straight job ends up feeling like something to be ashamed of.  Worse, if you’re still hoping for more acting work, rumors that you’re working a menial job probably don’t help.

So it sounds like one big crazy cycle of crap.

I can’t think of their names, but the actors who played Chunk on the Goonies and Paul on the Wonder Years strike me as good examples of young actors who knew when to hold em and knew when to fold em.  Both got out of acting and became lawyers.  Both understood that success in one role didn’t mean a ticket to stardom.  Both found something else to do.

In short, there was nothing wrong with Owens bagging groceries.  Really, what’s wrong with it?

Just talking about all actors in general, if you find that acting work isn’t coming your way, why not get a regular job?  Maybe you saved a lot of money from your acting days.  So what?  Get a job at a supermarket because, dude, seriously, what else are you going to do?  Sit on the couch?

Maybe you didn’t save your money, maybe you didn’t make as much as the public thinks you did, or maybe you were very responsible and careful with your money but dude, come on, money made decades ago won’t last forever….whatever.  Who cares?  If you’ve got the time and the acting gods aren’t being kind, then there’s nothing wrong with doing something else.

I guess what I’m saying is be nice to celebrities who get day jobs.  If you go through the drive-thru one day and spot an actor from a TV show you liked years ago, just smile and move on.

And hell, the economy isn’t what it used to be.  There just aren’t enough resources for everyone’s dreams and goals to pan out.  That guy who went to law school and is now bringing you your pancakes doesn’t need your disdain.  That dude who was a multimillionaire stock broker and is now cleaning your toilet doesn’t need your scoffery.

People have to make livings.  People have to keep their time occupied with productive work.  High levels of success aren’t always sustainable so don’t give people crap for doing what they have to do to keep bills paid.

Really, the only time you’ve lost is if you’re capable of doing work and yet you lay down, give up, crack open the bottle, and let all the naysayers keep you down.

And the good news is that Owens got a part in a Tyler Perry TV show though, I mean, just throwing it out there, it is a Tyler Perry TV show so, not gonna lie, a career at Trader Joe’s probably has longer lasting prospects.

Zing! Sorry. Can’t help myself.  No wonder this blog only has 3.5 readers.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Should Ruby Rose Play Batwoman?

Hey 3.5 readers.

Sigh.  Another ginned up social media controversy.

First, tweeters were angry that Jack Whitehall was cast as a gay character in Disney’s upcoming Jungle Cruise because he isn’t gay.

Now tweeters are mad about the idea of Ruby Rose being cast as Batwoman because she isn’t gay enough.

Whitehall is a straight fan and like yours truly, is a fan of snootch.

Ruby Rose is bi, so to borrow a line from that famous commercial – “Sometimes she feels like having some nuts….and sometimes she doesn’t.”

Crickets.

First, I’d argue that women looking to be empowered shouldn’t look to female superhero sidekicks, which is what Supergirl and Batwoman, formerly Batgirl, are.  Female versions of popular superheroes have always been cash grabs, ways for comic book companies to make more money by rehashing a popular character.  “Oh, you like Batman?  Well, what if Batman has a vag.”

Think about it.  How many Batgirl or Batwoman fans do you know?  The most popular female superheroes stand out on there own, i.e. Wonder Woman.  And no, no one has ever yearned to see a Wonder Man.

Second, I get why they wanted to changed Batgirl’s name to Batwoman, but I preferred Batgirl’s backstory.  Batgirl was Commissioner Gordon’s daughter and a librarian who dons a batsuit to fight crime.  Seems like a way to appeal to book nerds.

Batwoman is a policewoman by day and caped crimefighter by night.  Cool idea but seems redundant.  Seems like she could just work free overtime and leave the mask at home since she has the badge already.

Also, Batwoman is gay which is an interesting development and I, for one, support her right to fight crime and penis.

Crickets.

Third and most importantly, I wonder if people have ever heard of the concept of “acting.”  Yes, acting – that old art form where people get up and pretend to be people that they aren’t.

Have we retired that concept now?  Does every actor have to be exactly what a character is?  Ruby Rose likes vags and peens but she can’t play a woman who only likes vags?  Seems silly.

If we’re going that route, then fire Adam Driver because he can’t really use the Force to make objects fly around the room.  Fire Hugh Jackman because he really isn’t the Wolverine and steel claws don’t pop out of his knuckles in real life.  Fire Robert Downey Jr. because he doesn’t own an actual iron suit that he can use to fly and shoot missiles out of his hands.

I get some of the point.  There are gay actors and actresses who feel discriminated against and for all I know, they are.

However, sometimes moviemakers are privy to the ideas they have in mind and sometimes we don’t see the method to their madness until their work hits the big screen.

Examples?  The public at first widely rejected the idea of Heath Ledger as the Joker.  He was a serious, almost stuck up dramatic actor and surely a comedian was needed to play the clown prince of crime.  However, he had a vision of the Joker in mind and the people who cast him were aware of that and when the movie came out he was the best Joker ever.

People didn’t like the idea of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine either.  He was a Broadway show tune singer.  Surely, he was too happy go lucky to play such an angry man…but he nailed it.

How did a serious man play a funny man?  How did a happy man play an angry man?

ACTING!

In other words, I don’t think, at least in the case of Jungle Cruise and Batwoman, that studio execs are actively trying to discriminate against gay actors.  I think they have a vision of the role and have put in some work behind the scenes to see what certain actors or actresses can do and perhaps know more than we do about how those actors and actresses can fit that vision.

Neil Patrick Harris is gay.  He played one of the greatest womanizers of all time on “How I Met Your Mother.”  Acting, people.  It’s all about acting.

Discuss.

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Zomcation – Chapter 15

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A middle-aged man sat Indian style on the floor of his office with his arms spread out, his hands held with the palms up.

“In with the good,” he said in an Eastern European accent as he breathed in deeply.

“And out with the bad,” he said as he exhaled loudly.

The man’s head was bald save for a patch of blue dyed hair in the middle of his head that came down to a curl over his forehead. His boney, nearly nude body was covered by nothing but a pair of tight, white underpants and a floral patterned silk kimono.

“Yes, very good, Mister Reynaldo,” the man said, referring to himself in the third person. “And now in with the ying….and out with the yang.”

Mister Reynaldo stood up, stepped into a pair of floppy yellow crocs and put on a pair of red shutter shades, the kind with the slats that go right across the eyes that were popular in the 1980s.

“Oh Mister Reynaldo,” the man said as he gazed upon his less than impressive physique in a full length mirror. “You are looking so utterly fabulous. How you do not just stay in this room and have sex with yourself all the live long day I will never know.”

A fist knocked on the door.

“Who dares disturb Mister Reynaldo?”

“Kevin, sir.”

Mister Reynaldo sashayed to his door and opened it to find his young, sweater vest wearing intern Kevin waiting for him with a water bottle, a clipboard and a Segway.

“Hydrate me, darling,” Mister Reynaldo said as he clapped his hands together. “Chop, chop.”

Kevin, who’d clearly done this many times and knew the drill, held his hand up in the air with the water bottle pointed downward. Mister Reynaldo, much like a thirsty hamster, wrapped his lips around the spout and sucked away for a full minute.

“Ahh,” Mister Reynaldo said as he wiped his lips on his forearm then mounted his Segway.

Kevin shut the door to his boss’s office. Stenciled on the glass were the words, “Mister Reynaldo: Coordinator of Wombat World Performances.”

“Tell me of my schedule this fine day, darling,” Mister Reynaldo said as he took off on his personal conveyance.

“The Power Action Ninja Soldiers have stunt shows at ten, noon, and three,” Kevin said as he studied the notes attached to the clipboard and jogged just to keep up with his boss as he zoomed down the hall.

“Oh those has-beens,” Mister Reynaldo said. “All the jumping and punching and kicking. So blasé. What else?”

“Sal the Sloth’s Ridiculously Slow Hoedown is at one-thirty,” Kevin said as he broke a sweat.  “But the performer who usually plays Sal called in sick.”

“Sweet Streisand’s saggy knockers, Kevin,” Mister Reynaldo said. “I swear, no one is willing to suffer for their craft anymore. What’s he got?”

“A mild head cold, sir,” Kevin replied.

“Pshaw,” Mister Reynaldo said. “I once starred in the role of Lazarus Houlihan in an off, off, off, incredibly off broadway show of Sally’s Got a New Harpsichord with a severe case of pneumonia and a herpes sore on my lip the size of a pomegranate and not only did I not complain but the theater critic for Village Semi-Weekly Tattler wrote that my performance was among the best seventeen renditions of that role that he’d ever witnessed.”

“That’s impressive, sir,” Kevin said.

“Call this fool at once and tell him to drag his oily hide here this instant,” Mister Reynaldo said.

“I already called his understudy,” Kevin said.

“Ahh,” Mister Reynaldo said. “Even better. Give another actor a chance to breathe new life into the role of a hilly billy sloth who sings and dances country tunes in a ridiculously slow manner. What would Mister Reynaldo do without you?”

“I don’t know, sir,” Kevin said.

A.J, B.J, C.J, and Davey, the four shaggy haired members of Boyz a’Plenty walked down from the opposite side of the hall. Mister Reynaldo flew into a rage when he saw Davey chomp down on a candy bar.

“Davey!” Mister Reynaldo shouted as he screeched his Segway to a halt. “What is that?”

Davey balled a fist up around the candy bar and then quickly hid both hands behind his back. “What’s what?”

Mister Reynaldo tipped his Segway forward, which allowed him to stare Davey down until the boy band member started leaning back himself.

“Don’t take me for a nincompoop, darling,” Mister Reynaldo said. “I saw that unapproved chocolate treat that you were shoving in your gaping maw as if you were some kind of put of control gorilla with an insatiable appetite.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, bro,” Davey said.

Mister Reynaldo scoffed. “Swear on one of Liza Minelli’s nine thousand black dresses that you are not being a little piggy!”

“What?” Davey asked.

“Swear to me!”

“OK,” Davey said. “I swear!”

The coordinator looked the boy band over. “Weigh-ins are now twice a week.”

The boys groaned in disgust as they walked away.

“Damn it,” A.J. said.

“And I was going to have an almond on Thursday,” B.J. added.

Mister Reynaldo and his intern continued down the hallway.

“Was I too hard on them?” Mister Reynaldo asked.

“Not at all, sir,” Kevin said.

“I hate to be such a catty bitch but I like to think that one day those boys will be in movies and when they’re having the sexy sex with all the ladies they’ll thank me for keeping them from becoming little piggies,” Mister Reynaldo said.

“I’m sure they will,” Kevin said.

“I once lived on nothing but broth and storm drain water for an entire year while I played the role of a lean longshoreman in a high school production of Love on the Wharf,” Mister Reynaldo said. “The authorities eventually escorted me out of the building when they realized I was forty-seven but still, if I can suffer my art then those boys can too.”

“An excellent story, sir,” Kevin said.

“Oh Kevin darling,” Mister Reynaldo said. “Promise me you’ll get out of show business. The entertainment industry has become such a dirty whore in bargain basement pumps that I perish the thought of her getting her claws in another soul.”

“I promise, sir,” Kevin said.

A dozen very angry little people wearing medieval cloaks walked down the hallway towards the duo.

“Mister Reynaldo,” a little person said as he held up a pair of pointy plastic ears in his left hand and a stapler in the other.

“What?” Mister Reynaldo asked as he stopped his Segway. “Why are you vermin in Mister Reynaldo’s way?”

“I need a word with you,” the little person said.

“Fine, fine, Marvin darling,” the coordinator said. “But make it snappy, for Mister Reynaldo is busier than a one-legged prostitute on a pogo stick and he does not have all day to listen to your foolishness.”

“Would you care to explain why the wardrobe manager just informed us that the studio is no longer willing to spring for the non-toxic glue we use to fasten our pointy elf ears?”

Mister Reynaldo clutched his chest. “Surely you are pulling Mister Reynaldo’s leg!”

“No,” Marvin said. “And then we were told if we want to keep our jobs, we need to staple our elf ears onto our regular ears. We realize that most people are too ignorant to treat us with the respect we deserve, Mister Reynaldo, but its downright unconscionable for a multi-national corporation worth billions of dollars to expect us to maim ourselves just so they can save a few bucks on glue.”

“This is an outrage, darlings,” Mister Reynaldo said. “I shall not stand for this. I shall demand that ear glue be ordered posthaste. Ohh…”

“What?” Marvin asked.

“It’s just, when the children visit the elf grotto and don’t see any elves there…”

“We can still dress like elves,” Marvin said.

“Oh no, darling, no,” Mister Reynaldo said. “I appreciate the thought but you see without the pointy ears you are just teensie weensie little people that God took out of the oven too early before you were all fully baked and the children will begin to doubt whether or not elves are real and frankly, they might lose faith in Wombat World altogether.”

Marvin and the rest of the little people looked down at their feet in sadness.

“Gee Mister Reynaldo,” Marvin said as he looked up. “We wouldn’t want that.”

“I know darlings,” Mister Reynaldo. “But really, its fine. We must put your ear comfort above the hopes and dreams of baby children.”

“We’ll do it,” Marvin said as he led the little people off. “Come on, gang, it will only hurt for a minute.”

“Oh what wonderful tiny men you all are,” Mister Reynaldo said as the diminutive actors walked away. “I shall tell everyone they are wrong about little people. They have souls after all.”

“Should I order more elf ear glue, Mister Reynaldo?” Kevin asked.

“Are you kidding me?” Mister Reynaldo asked his intern. “I cut that shit out of the budget because it was either that or my morning espresso and we all know Mister Reynaldo can’t make the magic happen without his jolt of va va va voom.”

The pair pressed onward. As they turned a corner, the sounds of a girl fight filled their ears.

“Ally, you bitch!” Jess shouted. “Take that dress of right now or I will roundhouse kick you right in the cooter!”

“I’d like to see you try it, slutzilla!” Ally replied.

Mister Reynaldo gasped at the sight of Jessica and Ally, both clad in pink Princess Paulina dresses, blonde wigs, and crowns, locked in a rigorous slap fight.

“Ladies, ladies!” Mister Reynaldo said as he beeped the horn of his personal transport. “What is the meaning of this? You know that the only drama Mister Reynaldo wants to see is on the stage.”

“Mister Reynaldo,” Jess said. “Tell this psycho hose bag that I am Princess Paulina.”

“No, Mister Reynaldo!” Ally said as she stomped her foot. “You already gave this part to me.”

Jess’s nostrils flared. “What?”

Mister Reynaldo slowly backed his Segway up, then stopped. Jess confronted him.

“Is that true?” Jess asked.

“Darling,” Mister Reynaldo said. “Didn’t you get the memo?”

“What memo?” Jess asked.

Mister Reynaldo slapped his cheeks with both hands. “Sweet Mariah Carey’s underwire! You didn’t get the memo.”

“No,” Jess said. “I did not get a memo.”

The coordinator turned to his lackey. “Kevin! Why did you not send Miss Flynn a memo?”

“What memo?” Kevin asked. “I didn’t know I was supposed to send anyone a memo.”

Mister Reynaldo looked to the ceiling and rested the back of his hand over his forehead, took a deep breathe, then looked at the young man.

“Darling boy,” Mister Reynaldo said. “Whenever an actor or actress turns thirty they’re supposed to be sent a memo explaining official Wombat World policy which clearly states they aren’t able to play a human character anymore.”

“I’m so sorry sir,” Kevin said.

“Yes,” Mister Reynaldo said. “You really should be darling.”

“Are you kidding me?” Jess asked.

“No darling,” Mister Reynaldo said. “Yesterday, you hit the big three-oh so you playing Princess Paulina is now a no go.”

“But I’ve been playing this part for ten years,” Princess Paulina said.

“Ugh,” Mister Reynaldo said. “Don’t remind me darling. You’re not helping your case at all.”

The coordinator turned to the younger princess.

“Alyson, you are dismissed.”

“Hooray!” Ally said as she strutted away. She assumed a Princess Paulina voice. “Tra la la la la!”

“This is bullshit!” Jess shouted as she took her wig and crown off and spiked them both on the floor. “That is my ‘tra la la la la!’”

Mister Reynaldo’s lips pouted. “Oh you poor, precious thing. You’ve yet to wrap your little brain around the fact that you are aging.”

“I’m thirty,” Jess said.

“Oh please, darling,” Mister Reynaldo said. “Don’t say it so loud. People might hear you. Eat your fruits and vegetables and you might pass for an out of shape twenty-nine year old for at least two more years.”

“This…this…you can’t do this.”

Mister Reynaldo turned his conveyance around and started back the way he came.

“Walk with me, darlings.”

Kevin followed on his boss’s left. Jess took Mister Reynaldo’s right.

“My dear Miss Flynn,” Mister Reynaldo said. “An actress’s career is beautiful, yet tragically short. Like a daisy in a grassy field, she grows, she blooms, she dazzles, she inspires and then, BZZZT! She’s cut down by the lawn mower of time and a prettier, younger flower grows in her place.”

“Thirty is not that old,” Jess said.

“Oh darling,” Mister Reynaldo said. “If you insist on advertising your ghastly age to the world there’s little Mister Reynaldo can do to help you.”

“I can’t believe this,” Jess said.

“Darling,” Mister Reynaldo said. “Little boys come to Wombat World to ride Wombat Copters and dance the Willy Wombat shuffle but little girls? They come to dream…yes! Little girls dream of being beautiful, of being rich, of being famous, of being a princess married to handsome prince but do you know what they don’t dream of?”

“Having self-worth?”

Mister Reynaldo laughed. “Oh good for you, darling,” Mister Reynaldo said. “You made a funny. That, but also, little girls do not dream of being thirty. No one wants to age past twenty-ninee. Darling, Mister Reynaldo is fifty-two and he would slaughter a thousand adorable baby kittens with a rusty butcher knife and drink their blood if doing so would cause him to remain twenty-nine or younger forever.”

“Age is just a number,” Jess said. “Its how you feel, isn’t it?”

The coordinator laughed again. “Oh stop it darling! You shall have to try out to be a comedienne of the deaf comedy jams.”

“I’m glad my pain amuses you,” Jess said.

“It doesn’t, darling,” Mister Reynaldo said. “Mister Reynaldo also knows what it is like to be aged out of show business, to one day be twenty-nine, in the starring role of Bartleby Ashcroft in the Sheboygan Dinner Theater production of Bartleby’s Back from War to being thirty and being cast as random peasant number twenty-seven in an indie film about the dark ages produced by three college students. By the ring of Beyonce, so many people were naked on that set and…Kevin?”

“Yes sir?”

“When we’re done here Mister Reynaldo needs you to look into whether or not he might have accidentally starred in a pornography film.”

“Right away, sir.”

The trio entered Mister Reynaldo’s office. The coordinator parked his Segway, hopped off, took Jess’s hand and led her to the full length mirror.

“Do you know what I see, darling?” Mister Reynaldo asked.

“No,” Jess said.

“A beautiful butterfly that is aging slowly, gracefully, thanks in large part to good habits and excellent body maintenance,” Mister Reynaldo said.

“Well,” Jess replied. “I do work out.”

“Oh and it shows, darling, it shows,” Mister Reynaldo said as he placed his skeletal hands on Jess’s cheeks.

“What are you doing?” Jess asked.

“Such distinct features,” Mister Reynaldo said. “Such high cheekbones…such porcelain skin…”

“Umm,” Jess said. “Thank you?”

“But look!” Mister Reynaldo said as he pinched a bit of Jess’s cheek flesh between his left thumb and forefinger. “A wrinkle!”

“You’re making that,” Jess said as she watched the coordinator pinch her cheek in the mirror.

“Am I?” Mister Reynaldo asked.

“You clearly are,” Jess said.

“Oh,” Mister Reynaldo said as he took his hands away. “Aren’t you a smart one.”

“So that’s it?” Jess asked. “Ten years of working for this company and I get tossed out like a piece of trash because I’m not in my twenties anymore?”

Mister Reynaldo chuckled. “Oh darling, don’t be so dramatic. Just because you can’t be Princess Paulina anymore doesn’t mean you can’t still perform.”

“What did you have in mind?” Jess asked.

The coordinator wagged his finger in the air. “Wait right here. I have the perfect role for you.”

Mister Reynaldo opened the doors to a large, luxurious walk-in closet. Kevin and Jess stood in the office and watched as Mister Reynaldo threw all kinds of crazy garbs out of the closet and onto the office floor.

“Where is it?” Mister Reynaldo asked as a big, gray Ernie Elephant mascot suit came flying out of the closet, followed by a Zed Zebra outfit, a Ginger the Fox suit, and a set of leather BDSM gear complete with chains and a red ball gag.

“Woopsie!” Mister Reynaldo shouted. “That last one is Mister Reynaldo’s! Ahh! Here it is!”

Mister Reynaldo walked out of the closet holding a large, furry, googly-eyed Willy Wombat mascot head in his arms.

“No,” Jess said.

“Yes,” Mister Reynaldo said.

“Not happening,” Jess said.

“Darling, please,” Mister Reynaldo said. “You’ll be the star of the show! The character that everyone comes to see.”

“I refuse,” Jess said.

“I’m sorry, darling,” Mister Reynaldo said as he placed the mascot head down over Jess’s head. “But its either this or the unemployment line.”

Jess gagged as she sniffed the putrid, sweaty stink of at least twenty of the past wearers of the suit.

“Son of a bitch,” came Jess’s muffled voice from inside the mascot head. “Do you people even wash these things?”

Mister Reynaldo sighed. “Kevin, you’re not washing the funny animal character suits?”

“Umm,” Kevin said. “I was supposed to?”

Mister Reynaldo threw his hands in the air. “Mister Reynaldo needs an espresso.”

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Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 40

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From his veranda, Al enjoyed a smoke as he took in the show going on below.

Mortimer twirled the end of his mustache with his fingers as he regaled the crowd.

“And so, our hero made his way to the villain’s lair…”

A contingent of actors pretending to be unruly henchmen surrounded Bill.

“Wild Bill Hickok!” they shouted in unison. “That is very unfair!”

Shots were exchanged. All blank rounds. Each actor took a turn dying on stage as Hickok emerged victorious.

Mortimer continued his narration. “Hickok made quick work of Burly Bob’s gang, a gaggle of miscreants who were so sleazy.”

Bill addressed the audience directly. “It didn’t take much. It was really quite easy.”

The audience hooted and hollered.

An actor wearing a plaid shirt stepped out from behind the curtain. A cheap, poorly made beard had been glued to his face. He hammed it up for the crowd, taunting them and shouting out insults.

The crowd booed, prompting the actor to grab his crotch and reply, “Ahh, I got your boo right here!”

“Now ladies and gents,” Mortimer said as he held up a rotten tomato. “At this degenerate, your trash you may lob, for this man is none other than the vile criminal, Burly Bob!”

Mortimer hucked his tomato at Bob’s face, causing an explosion of disgustingly sour juice. The crowd followed suit, hurling all manner of expired fruits and vegetables and even, much to the poor actor’s chagrin, a few road apples.

“Hey seriously,” the actor said as he threw up his hands. “No shit and no rocks. I’m not making enough money to have shit and rocks thrown at me!”

The narrator leaned in and whispered into the actor’s ear. “You’re breaking character, imbecile.”

“I don’t care, Morty,” the actor said. “I should not have to get hit with a…”

Wap! It wasn’t the biggest rock, but it was big enough to stop the actor mid-sentence. He clutched his forehead and winced in pain as he continued to be pelted with produce and poop.

Seeing that the actor had taken enough abuse, Bill got the audience’s attention by firing a blank round into the air.

“Burly Bob!” shouted Bill. “Your reign of terror is through!”

The actor rubbed his forehead. “Damn it. That’s going to leave a mark.”

Mortimer leaned in to the actor’s ear again. “You’re on, dummy.”

“Huh?” the actor asked.

“Ahem,” Bill said. “I said, ‘Burly Bob, your reign of terror is through!’”

The actor looked around then adopted a deeper voice. “Oh yeah, Wild Bill? Well, I’ll show you!”

“Burly Bob” drew, only to drop his pistol and clutch his chest as Bill fired a blank in his direction.

The crowd gasped.

“Oh!” the actor cried as he staggered about the stage. “Oh Wild Bill, why did I not see? You are a better marksman than I and now you have…”

The actor plopped down on the stage and reached a hand up in the air. “…bested me.”

Claps. Cheers.

But the actor wasn’t done. “Oh sweat death! I feel your cold hand on my shoulder, escorting me to the afterlife…”

“What are you doing?!” Mortimer whispered.

The actor’s soliloquy continued. “And as you drag me down to the fiery depths of hell, I cannot help but dwell on the vast collection of poor decisions I made that delivered me to this lowly state. Oh if only I could turn back the hands of time and be a better man, that I could embrace a clean life and set an example for others to follow…”

“Die already!” Mortimer whispered.

“Eat a dick, Morty,” the actor whispered back. “I’ve played second fiddle in this troupe for five years now and I’m going to get my fame one way or the other.”

The actor raised his voice. “But change can never occur for a damned man such as I, for my fate is sealed and my torment will be eternal…”

“Fred,” Morty whispered. “You either die right now or I’ll pick one of a dozen actors who will be willing to take direction for half of what I pay you, you pathetic hack.”

“Fine,” Fred whispered. And then louder, “Oh! Oh! Bill Hickok’s bullet has pierced my guts and I am now dead!”

Fred crossed his eyes and stuck out his tongue.

“Yes,” Mortimer said. “Now little didst our hero know…”

Fred interrupted the narrator. “Ack! Stone cold dead am I…”

Mortimer lost it. “That’s enough!” he shouted as he kicked Fred in the ribs.

The narrator straightened his tie and pressed on. “Now little didst our hero know that a damsel in distress was waiting to be rescued…”

The curtains parted and what appeared to be a shapely maiden walked out. She wore a blonde wig and a veil covered her face.

“Fear not, ma’am,” Bill said. “Burly Bob has been subdued!”

Fred lifted his head up. “I’m so dead!”

“I don’t even give a shit now,” Mortimer said, breaking character. “You’re fired Fred.”

Bertha bounced up on stage. “Morty! Who is that? Is she someone new?”

Morty did a double take. “What?! Why my dear, I thought she was you!”

The veiled woman moseyed on over to Bill.

“Wild Bill,” Mortimer said. “Will you accept a kiss as a reward from this comely lass?”

Bill lifted up the veil to reveal the face of a man with an actual beard. It wasn’t just glued on. He batted his eyelashes and puckered up.

The gunslinger dropped the veil. “Ugh. No thanks. I think I will pass.”

Mortimer strolled to the center of the stage. “And…scene!”

The cast emerged on stage and joined hands as they bowed. Naturally, the most applause was reserved for Bill as he bowed.

When the cheers died down, Mortimer removed his hat. “Good people of Deadwood,” Mortimer said. “My hat I shall now pass around. Whether a shilling or a bill, with your generosity, you will astound. As you are aware, it is not simple to provide such merriment and mirth, so I pray you will fork over the cost of what you think this show is worth.”

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Undead Man’s Hand – Chapter 39

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Glowing paper lanterns hanged from wires that had been strung between rooftops, lighting up the street below as townsfolk gathered around a rickety stage.

A juggler warmed up the crowd, tossing oranges into the air, catching each them before they hit the stage and sending them just as quickly back into the air.

Kapow! The crowd “oooed” and “ahhhed” as a single golden firework launched into the air and exploded, lighting up the night sky.

First came the drumbeat. Then the trombone. The clarinet. The flute. Processional music as a band led a colorful cast of characters through the crowd and up onto the stage.

A man in a top hat held his face as close as he could to a torch he was carrying without melting himself. His visage was smeared with white makeup, his lips coated with red lipstick, his eyes had been outlined ever so darkly.

“Hush!” the performer said. The crowd instantly obeyed, ceasing all gossip and revelry. Their eyes were transfixed on the show.

“Wandering thespians are we,” the performer said with a flourish. “The Vagabond Players, to be precise. For the entertainment of the gentry, our time upon the stage shall surely suffice.”

The performer paced about the stage, never taking his eyes off the audience. “Mortimer Snodgrass ’tis my name and tomfoolery is my trade. But the star of our show puts me to shame and leaves me feeling quite dismayed.”

Wild Bill stood calmly behind a curtain, waiting for his cue.

A buxom blonde with a beauty mark on her cheek strutted up to Mortimer. “Tell us who it is, dear Morty, before another second ticks off the clock…”

“My sweetest Bertha, it is none other than…”

The crowd went insane as Bill stepped out and fired his guns into the air.

“…Wild Bill Hickok!”

Bill took a bow and smiled. Moments later, the applause died down.

“William!” Mortimer cried. “‘What tale shall we recreate first?’ is the question I now…ask ya’”

The juggler returned and got his oranges in the air again. Hickok put bullets through all three pieces of fruit, spraying the players with citrus. The audience cheered.

Bill holstered his pistols, rested his hands on his belt, and then surveyed the crowd. “Howsabout the time I shot the worst fiend in Nebraska?”

Deep within the crowd, a drunk off her ass Jane was having quite a time.

“Bravo!”

Jane whistled and slapped her hands together. As she did so, she swilled whiskey out of the bottle she was holding all over everyone around her, but she didn’t care.

“Bravo, Bill!” Jane shouted. “Goddamn it you’re the best fucking actor I’ve ever seen!”

Jane took a pull and nudged a very sullen looking Charlie in the ribs.

“Isn’t Bill acting the shit out of this, Charlie?”

Charlie kept to himself. That only made Jane nudge harder.

“Well,” Jane asked. “What do you think?”

Finally, the businessman gave in. “I think there’s nothing sadder than seeing the greatest gunslinger who ever lived yucking it up like a clown for pocket change.”

Jane tossed Charlie a look that was indescribably vile.

“Goddamn, Charlie,” Jane said. “Anyone ever tell you that you’re the turd in the moonshine?”

“All the time,” Charlie replied.

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Open Contracts

By: Jake Dashing, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Private Investigator

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Pop culture.  It’s a world that keeps Bookshelf Q. Battler up late at night, his spacious brain filling up with one question after another about movies, music, television, books, and more.

I’m not sure I can relate. When I lose sleep, its because I’m too busy picturing all the Nazis my country demanded that I punch to death with my bare hands. I suppose each generation has its priorities.

Battler’s got info I want and he’s not forking it over until I solve a whole mess of mysteries for him.  But this whack job thinks of questions faster than I can answer them, so here are the mysteries currently up for grabs.

Being a private dick is a fate I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, but if you want to try your luck at the sleuthing game, feel free to let Battler know you want to snatch one of these up:

MOVIES

In Star Wars, if the Death Star is supposed to be the size of an actual star, why is everyone able to walk around it and fly around it so quickly?

In Pulp Fiction, Harvey Keitel’s character, “the Wolf” is billed as a highly skilled fixer, one whose knowledge regarding the art of the cover up is so valuable that he simply erase all evidence of a crime, making it as if nothing ever happened….but then all he does is show up and tell Vince and Jules to spray the car down with Windex.  (Seriously, watch the movie.)  Was the Wolf that special?

TELEVISION

Did Tony Soprano live or die at the end of The Sopranos?  Was this a good or bad ending?

Why did the ending of Dexter both suck and blow at the same time?  Or did it?

On Gilligan’s Island, Gilligan and the gang go on, as the theme song says, “a three hour tour.”  How then, was it possible for everyone to become so irretrievably lost when they only strayed a mere three hours away from charted land?

On Married with Children, the running joke was that Al Bundy was disgusted by the idea of getting it on with his wife, Peggy.  Peggy wasn’t that bad looking though, even with her wacky beehive and leopard print attire.  What gives?

On Sons of Anarchy,  Jax Teller embraces a life of crime that provides very little return on investment.  Why is it that a scruffy bum who was lucky enough to win the heart of super hot doctor Tara didn’t just sit back and say, “Well, I’m going to sponge off my hot surgeon wife now, who no doubt makes a high salary because she’s a damn surgeon.  Hell, maybe I’ll even put my focus on turning the auto repair garage my father left into a profitable business.”  But instead, he just keeps making lousy criminal deals and then bumbles his way through them, often losing money on them and inviting a world of hurt.  Seriously, WTF?

MUSIC

Who put the bomp in the bomp sha bomp sha bomp and will this individual strike again?

Who let the dogs out?

What is a “hollaback girl” and why does Gwen Stefani go to great lengths to make sure you know she isn’t one?

To be sure, Sir Mix-a-Lot likes big butts and is unable to lie about this particular subject.  Why then, do the other brothers deny this truth?

VIDEO GAMES

What’s up with the hard sell?  Whenever you buy one they try to make you buy insurance, upgrades, and basically treat you like you’re trying to buy a fully loaded 2016 Toyota Tundra instead of a $60 fantasy experience.  What gives?

COME UP WITH YOUR OWN

That’s all Battler’s got for now but rest assured that loser will keep ’em coming.  That nerd has way too much time on his hands.  And if you’re a nerd with too much time on your hands, feel free to come up with a pop culture mystery of your own and raise it up the flag pole to see if Battler salutes.

For those of you who can’t translate hardboiled noir talk, that means tell him about it in the comments.

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Movie Review: Spectre (2015)

The name’s Battler.  Bookshelf Q. Battler.

And I’d like this review to be shaken, not stirred.

Aww who cares, only 3.5 people are going to read it anyway.

BQB here with a review of the latest James Bond movie, Spectre.

At the outset, let me just say this:

  1.  It wasn’t as good as Skyfall, but that’s only because Skyfall set the bar so high.
  2. But that being said, it was still pretty damn good.  A lot better than that Quantum of Solace nonsense.

I love James Bond.  Bond is the man every man wants to be.  I’d love to be able to charm the pants off of any woman I meet, beat the crap out of all my enemies and still make it to cocktail hour on time in a nice suit.

Sadly, that only happens in the movies.  Bond is so suave he can even charm top secret info out of hot enemy babes.  Meanwhile, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one day I’ll get a woman to make a sandwich for me.  Damn it Bond, you probably get all the sandwiches you want, don’t you, you bastard?

Anyhoo – OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING.

It hasn’t been easy for Bond in the post-9/11 world.  Since that fateful day, as well as after various tragedies since, people have been a lot more aware of the fact that illicit intercontinental activities can bring about grave repercussions.

Suddenly, the white cat stroking caricature Bond used to face just doesn’t cut it anymore, not when we’re fully aware there are real monsters in the world.

Casino Royale got the message.  It was lost in Quantum of Solace, which involved a plot to steal water.  Sorry Bond, but we’re done with outlandish, cartoonish plots.

Skyfall gave the series a reboot, giving Bond a team of compatriots to work with – a new Q, a new Moneypenny, a new M, new colleagues all around.  And this is the first film where we get to see them all shine.

The plot?  Bond must infiltrate the evil underground organization known as Spectre and take it down.  Its operated by a sinister ne’er-do-well aptly played by Christoph Waltz.  Waltz provides a great performance – never too emotional, speaking matter of faculty about significantly evil doings.

Wrestler David Bautista STEALS the show.  It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a good Bond henchman.  I’m not talking about the main villain but a lackey, a number two, a guy who does the villain’s dirty work.  Oddjob is the last one I remember.

Bautista hunts Bond and even though your inner voice reminds you that it is Bond’s movie so of course he can’t die, this guy leaves you thinking Bond might just end up drinking that shaken martini in the sky.

He doesn’t.  Don’t worry.  I don’t think that’s a spoiler.  You all know Bond lives at the end of these things, right?  That’s why they’ve made so many of these movies.

Ralph Fiennes, having replaced Judi Dench as Bond’s boss, M, is at the helm in this movie.  You end up feeling for the guy.  He’s plagued by red tape and bureaucracy.  He has to chew Bond out for ignoring protocol and generating bad press, even though its obvious he understands that Bond’s unorthodox methods have saved the world from ruin time and time again.

It sucks to be management.

One criticism is that there is a whole scene where the villain spills the beans to Bond as to how his whole sinister operation works.  I kind of thought these movies were pushing to get past those tropes but oh well, you have to have some, right?

Oh and I should point out, the villain does have a white cat, but he doesn’t stroke it.  Progress.

STATUS:  Shelf worthy.  Worth seeing in the theater due to great stunts, fights, car chases, special effects.

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