Tag Archives: cnn

Daily Discussion with BQB – Marco Rubio’s Epic Ivanka Trump Hug Fail

Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.  As you know, I avoid discussing politics on this fine blog, because whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, I think the most important thing everyone can do is to come together and buy my book and give my blog extra clicks so I can finally buy my long awaited beach house in Malibu and fill it full of women of ill repute and questionable moral character.

Anyway.  Regardless of your thoughts on POTUS 45, you’ve got to admit, the First Daughter is so hot that should could give a bad case of priapism to a eunuch.  (That’s when your little soldier stands at attention  for more than four hours.  Daytime TV commercials advise you to see a doctor at that point.)

Thus, I personally feel for Florida Senator Marco Rubio when he delivered this awkward hug to Ivanka:

Sure, your first instinct might be to think that Senator Rubio is a dope for not just going all in like a man on that hug (Lord knows Bookshelf Q. Battler has never been one to leave a lady unsatisfied in the hug department) but then consider:

  1. He’s a married man.  He probably didn’t want to linger too long and piss off his wife.  “What, dear?  No, I got zero enjoyment out of hugging one of the most beautiful women in the world.  Didn’t you see the photo?  I barely touched her.
  2. She’s a married woman.  You don’t want to get on the Kush’s bad side.
  3. He’s a politician.  Had he lingered too long the media would say he must be warm for Ivanka’s form.
  4. She’s hot so like every second of contact adds another second to the bad case of priapism I assume anyone gets when they come into contact with her – which is fine, under normal circumstances, but in the Senator’s case, he probably had important Senatorial shit to do after that meeting so it’s not like he can walk around all day with a bout of Ivanka inspired priapism.
  5. Ivanka kind of seems so hot that like, the average hug just bounces off her.  Like, you need to be more than just a Senator in order to land your hug because an invisible force field will just bounce your hug right off.  You have to be like the Emperor of Jupiter or an equally sized planet for your hug to go through.  Only hugs from ridiculously impressive men will land.

Later, Rubio lampooned the coverage, joking in a series of tweets that he was “investigating” the awkward hug allegations and Ivanka tweeted “Fake news! Marco Rubio is an excellent hugger.

Anyway, I don’t intend to start a whole political back and forth with this post.  I just thought the photo was funny and I could picture myself in Rubio’s situation, having no idea what to do and feeling like any move is going to get me lambasted so, oh well, here goes the awkward hug.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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Man Breaks Up Fight On Subway With Potato Chips (Or, Snack Man)

Hey 3.5 readers.

So, I’m about four years late in hearing about this which, I know, shocker, I’m such a pop culture guru.

But this one flew under my radar until I saw it recently.

In 2012, a fight broke out between a man and a woman on a subway train.  As you can see in this CNN video, they go after each other pretty good.  You can hear bystanders yell things like, “Hey! Whoa, whoa, whoa!” to no avail.

But then a man just nonchalantly walks between them and starts eating potato chips.

Somehow, this act deescalated the situation.  I’m no expert but my assumption is that when two people are angry at each other, emotion takes over and they focus on their anger and tune out the outside world.  The people telling them to stop become background noise and I have to assume that had someone tried to pull one of them away, he may have gotten hurt.

But “Snack Man” just walked through the scene, acting kind of obtuse, like he didn’t really know what the two were doing (so they couldn’t necessarily be mad at him) but also became a reminder to the two people that there were other people on the train that were witnessing them so they should chill out.

Eh, I mean, me personally, I wouldn’t advise anyone to put themselves at risk and even though the tactic worked in this instance, another attempt at being “Snack Man” could very well lead to a valiant potato chip eater getting the chips slapped out of his face, but otherwise, the video is an interesting social science experiment caught on film:

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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No One Wants to Buy Twitter

This CNN article explains it better but essentially, Twitter is looking for a buyer and Disney, Google, and Apple have said nope.

What’s up?  What do you think? Has Twitter reached its apex? Its zenith? Yikes, I’ve put a lot of time into it I hope its not going to go the way of Myspace.

What say you, 3.5 readers? Do you use Twitter? Do you like it? Is tweeting worth it?

Oh and shameless plug – follow me @bookshelfbattle

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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:


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!


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


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.


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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The Writer’s Battle – Are Readers In Control?

Happy Sunday, 3.5 readers.

Bookshelf Q. Battler here.


I just read this CNN article in which George Lucas says he’s “done with Star Wars.”

“You go to make a movie and all you do is get criticized,” Lucas told Vanity Fair. “People try to make decisions about what you’re going to do before you do it. It’s not much fun. You can’t experiment. You have to do it a certain way.” – CNN

ON THE ONE HAND – I see his point.  The great part of the Internet is that nerdy fans can comment and discuss their favorite movies, TV shows, books etc.

The downside is that its a great environment to make a lot of back seat drivers.  “No!  Those two characters can’t fall in love and WHAT?!  You’re going to kill off so and so and WHAT that guy changed his mind and he’s no longer a bad guy now?!”

Hollywood listens to all this mumbo jumbo.  Sometimes that turns out well when the fans know what they are talking about.  Other times it falls flat when a director or actor or someone puts the kibosh on an idea that’s a little out there, beyond the norm, that would have paid off big time but they didn’t want to draw the fans’ ire.

Probably the most recent example I can think of is the latest Avengers movie in which Black Widow kicked ass all throughout the film and fans were like “Joss Whedon’s anti-woman!  He didn’t give her enough to do!”  Boo.  Bad nerds.

ON THE OTHER HAND – The CNN article linked to above went on to say:

“The issue was ultimately, they looked at the stories, and they said, ‘We want to make something for the fans,’ ” Lucas said, presumably referring to Disney, which purchased Lucasfilm — including the “Star Wars” franchise — in 2012. “People don’t actually realize it’s actually a soap opera, and it’s all about family problems; it’s not about spaceships. So they decided they didn’t want to use those stories. They decided they were going to do their own thing, so I decided, ‘fine. … I’ll go my way, and I let them go their way.’ ” – CNN

Pbbbhhht.  Well, true – Star Wars does have a lot to do with that damn dysfunctional Skywalker family…BUT, did we really need that Sound of Music-ish scene in Attack of the Clones where Anakin and Queen Amidala prance around in love in the field?  No.  More lightsabers and space ships please.

Revenge of the Sith was pretty solid, and when I was younger, I enjoyed The Phantom Menace and Clones mostly because I was just happy to see Jedis back on the screen.

But let’s be honest, those films were more about loading up on as many quirky, merchandisable characters as possible just to sell kids toys.

There’s nothing wrong with that.  Bills need to be paid and that’s what these new films will do as well BUT I have a hunch that it will be done in a way that fans will be like “that was badass!” and “wow what a badass toy!”

The nerdy adults will be anyway.  If your kids are yelling “badass!” they probably need a time out.

I get Lucas’ frustration though.  It must suck to create this wonderful universe, bring it to the big screen, become the modern day father of science fiction and then be told by your fans that you, the creator of your own universe, are doing a bad job of running your universe.

That’s probably how Darth Vader felt when those pesky rebels started calling for rebellion.

SIDENOTE:  One other example of fans taking over that I’ve seen lately comes from The Walking Dead.


Did you notice there’s a spoiler alert in effect?  OK don’t say you weren’t warned.

Glenn may or may not be dead.  The writers of the show have made it look like he totally is, but also left it open to a possible interpretation that he might not be.

Fans have been up in arms on social media, complaining that they have to wait to find out, how dare the writers toy with their emotions like this and so on.

I’m going to channel my inner Uncle Hardass and say, “get a job, hippies!”  Hell, I love that show as much as the next guy.  I’ve invested a lot of time into it.  But when it appeared that Glenn died my reaction was “Awww, that’s too bad…*pause for 5 seconds* OK I better brush my teeth and get ready for bed.”

Seriously, who has time to worry about the fate of a fictional character?  JOBLESS HIPPIES WHO NEED A JOB AT THE SALT MINES, THAT’S WHO!!!

Wow.  I’m becoming an Uncle H. clone

What say you, 3.5 readers?  Who calls the shots, readers or writers?

Personally, it’d be a great problem to have.  I only have 3.5 readers and none of them have started calling the shots yet.

I suppose when I reach the point where people are like “We want more Yeti!” or “Alien Jones is like a hairless ALF, you hack!” then I’ll know I’ve made it.

Get bossier, 3.5 readers.  Actually, please don’t.


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40 Billion Earth-like Planets in the Milky Way Alone

According to Yale Professor Meg Urry in a CNN column, “When Can We Talk to Aliens?” astronomers estimate that there may be as many as 40 billion habitable planets in the Milky Way Galaxy alone.

That’s not even taking other galaxies into consideration.

Space – it’s really friggin’ big.

Does this mean those planets have intelligent life on them?  We don’t know.  But Urry states:

Intelligent life that can communicate via radio waves with other intelligent life is less than 100 years old here on Earth.

So while planets that develop simple forms of life may be a dime a dozen, the number that have sentient beings with whom to converse — even assuming they evolved as humans did, with ears and spoken language, or eyes and written language — is likely to be tiny. And life that can use radio waves has existed on Earth for only 0.000002% of the planet’s history — 100 years out of 4.5 billion. If the half dozen or so rocky, Earth-like exoplanets now known are similar, the odds of discovering humanlike life on them are about the same as, well, winning your state lottery with one ticket.

Of course, if there are 40 billion Earth-like planets out there, the odds improve quite a bit. If they all have histories like the Earth’s, there might be 1,000 planets in the Milky Way that could support communicative beings.

– Meg Urry, “When Can We Talk to Aliens?”  CNN.  April 2015.

Let’s break this down.

40 billion habitable planets – and that’s just in our galaxy.  However, habitability does not automatically mean life exists, or that intelligent life exists.

On top of that, if intelligent beings are out there, they will have had to have evolved to the point where they know how to communicate via radio waves in order for us to communicate with them.  We’ve only figured that out in the past hundred years, the blink of an eye given the vast expanse of human history.

Take that concern into consideration – 1,000 planets that could possibly have beings as intelligent as we are (and let’s face it, Alien Jones loves to remind us that we’re not exactly setting the intelligence bar high)

My mind is blown.  True, we have no idea of truly knowing that which we cannot confirm with our eyes.

However, statistically speaking…40 billion habitable planets…1,000 planets that could have possibly had a species that evolved to the point where they can communicate with technology of some kind.

There very well may be an alien on another planet that is a bizarro version of me, writing a blog that is only read by 3.5 readers, including an alien version of my Aunt Gertrude.

Amazing.  Simply amazing.

If you’re reading this aliens, we come in peace.  Let us learn from one another in the spirit of unity and harmony.

Also, please don’t invade our planet and eat our faces.

BOOKSHELF Q. BATTLER:  Alien Jones, why didn’t you tell me there might be 1,000 planets with beings as smart as we are?

ALIEN JONES:  Because they’re all smarter than you are.  1,000 planets and not one of them has reality television.  Zing.  Thank you.  I’m here all week.  Tip your waitresses.  Good night everybody.

Sigil of House Jones

Sigil of House Jones

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