From the Couch Hole: If There’s Anything That You Want

Previously on FTCH, Mad Max said, “One day I’ll fly away. So talk to me.” The Sympathizer stocked the house on the bayou with Red Bull and Pepsi Peach. This week was a mixture of rain and sunshine. It’s been some late nights as I keep up with the playoff runs of the Mavs and the Stars. Next week when you read your FTCH, my son Christian will be here for a baseball adventure with me. This week the Road Warrior was going to adopt a highway. The Earth Mama said, “From me to you, I’m on a ghostwatch for root beer floats.” Remember, at FTCH, feed your wild side.

Take the dog inside

Pop Culture Ephemera

“The only one who can walk in these shoes is me.”
  • Earth Mama (2023) (Directed by Savanah Leaf): “Nobody can feel what I feel or see things from my point of view.” Gia is pregnant and already the mother of two children who are in foster care because of her drug use. This low-budget, documentary-style film doesn’t have any easy answers. It doesn’t even have any complex answers. Set in the late ’90s, to reflect the experiences of the filmmaker, the issues haven’t changed much. The System with a capital “S” is hard to escape once you are inside of it. Economics, education, and race all play a part of the struggle. Gia works at a photography studio that takes family photos which adds a nice layer to how we view the family unit. There’s a use of the old forests of Northern California as a symbol of how these problems run across generations. These old trees continue to grow no matter how much the world around them changes. Gia’s life is a struggle to make an impact on the lives of her children. It’s a powerful film that doesn’t judge the moral dilemmas that face these women. A great debut by director Leaf.
Buy The Blair Witch Project Blu-ray
  • Ghostwatch – “Ghostwatch” (1992) (S.1 E.1) (BBC): “We don’t want to give anybody sleepless nights!” – Michael Parkinson. The recent Late Night With The Devil (2024) tries to do what this TV-movie did organically in 1992. This notorious show was aired once in 1992 and never again. I have read reviews, and it has been passed around at conventions with multi-generational VHS recorded off-air before a later, limited DVD release. Now it’s available on Shudder. This show fits somewhere between mockumentary and found footage (although the “found footage” genre didn’t exist as we know it back then). It’s brilliantly played seriously and uses real TV personalities of the day who might host a show like this. This is a lesson on how to let creepy horror build organically. At this time there were no Ghost Hunting/Adventure shows and we were still years away from The Blair Witch Project (1999). You can’t recreate stuff like this on purpose. Color me super impressed. Watch out for “Pipes” in the dark.
Buy The Beatles 1962-1966 CD
  • The Beatles – “From Me to You” (1964) (from Twist and Shout): “I’ve got everything that you want / Like a heart that’s oh so true.” One of the early singles that was the next generation after the initial “Love Me Do” and “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” singles. It shows another level of influence of the American Blues artists, and the falsetto that would dominate the next era like “Twist and Shout.” I’ve always felt that it need a bit more oomph in the production. The harmonica is nice, but it could benefit from some more McCartney bass under the beginning of the song. Not that I would ever tell Lennon-McCartney how to improve a #1 hit.
“Just call on me and I’ll send it along / With love.” – Lennon / McCartney
  • Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981) (Directed by George Miller): “My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos… ruined dreams… this wasted land.” – Narrator. To be clear, this is the first time that I’ve referred to this film as anything except The Road Warrior. Much like adding A New Hope to Star Wars took me decades to mentally hurdle. I’m struck this viewing at how much of a Western / Samurai film this sets up as. Max (Mel Gibson) is no longer the rogue cop role of the first film. He is the traveling loner who will help needy “villagers” for his own selfish needs (in this case, fuel). The budget is probably doubled from Mad Max (1979), and they used all of it on explosions. If you need dialogue in your films, this isn’t the film for you. The final third of the film is a chase scene that is part Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and part final battle of a War film. There’s very little of what you would call a moral to the film, but it’s a great blueprint of how action films would be structured for the next 40 years.
  • Adopt a Highway (2019) (Directed by Logan Marshall-Green): “And you don’t have an e-mail address?” – clerk at Internet cafe. Ethan Hawke is Russ Millings, who has just been released from 20 years in prison over a third strike for an ounce of marijuana. He is untethered and lacking an anchor in life. He has lived in the prison system, now emerging to a world that has been taken over by the Internet, and his parents have passed away. He finds an abandoned baby, Ella, in a dumpster behind the diner where he works, and he starts to find a purpose in life. Much like Earth Mama (2023), this is a film that shows the frustration of getting into the system and not being able to escape it. Ethan does a great job of showing the non-verbal clues of someone scared to break even the most basic of rules. The film doesn’t provide any answers but illustrates the complexity of the issues. It has the feel of a short story that wants to become a novel. The film more peters out than comes to an end. Ethan Hawke makes the film watchable and thoughtful.

Best of the Rest

  • This early John Lewis Christmas advert from 2008 was before they hit upon the sentimental ads that hit me in the feels these days. This was just cute and simple. The cover of the Beatles “From Me to You” was done by John Lewis employees from what I have read. I can see why people who were younger when this first aired are nostalgic for it.
“Just call on me.”
  • The Lawrence Welk Show wasn’t exactly known for doing current hits. But when they finally decided to do one they picked this “modern Spiritual.” I mean, it does talk about “sweet Jesus.” I’m sure that Lawrence could be convinced that a “toke” is form of prayer and worship. The next day, “Lawrence, I swear I thought it was about catching a train.”
“Sittin’ downtown at the railway station / One toke over the line.”
  • To turn a phrase, Apple usually crushes it in their ads. This “Crush!” ad will be quickly wiped from the Internet before most people have a chance to view it. File under “Didn’t think it through,” Apple wanted to show how they’ve condensed so much into their new iPad Pro. What they didn’t take into account is that the crushing of pianos, pens, books, etc. symbolizes a crushing of creativity by machinery. It didn’t go over well and the ad has been pulled. It’s notable as such a rare misstep for a company that like Nike or Gatorade has such a great track record of creative wins.
“All I ever need is you”

Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback

  • On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 11/16/2008, football season was over for the boys but I was just a couple of weeks away from coaching basketball for both boys, which meant four practices a week and games starting in December. Christian and I were going to see Quantum of Solace (2008), which would finish our Bond Project. I lamented that he would have to go through at least 30 Bond Films with his child someday. My #39 Favorite Film of All-Time was On the Waterfront (1954). While I enjoy the Brando film, it isn’t a #39 level type of film and probably wasn’t for me then if I really thought about it. Maybe not even a Top-100 movie in the scheme of things. I was enjoying True Blood (HBO) and Friday Night Lights (DTV). The list of the week is near and dear to my heart and worth a second look.
      • 10. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
      • 9. It Was a Short Summer, Charlie Brown
      • 8. He’s Your Dog, Charlie Brown. I loved this one but it doesn’t air on television any more.
      • 7. Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977) (Film)
      • 6. A Boy Named Charlie Brown (Film)
      • 5. You’re a Good Sport, Charlie Brown
      • 4. Snoopy Come Home (1972) (Film)
      • 3. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)
      • 2. The Complete Peanuts 1960-2000 (Fantagraphics)
      • 1. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
      • 10. It’s Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown (1977): It’s nice to see Charlie succeed despite himself sometimes. He’s the escort for the Homecoming Queen, the Little Red-Haired Girl (named Heather in case anyone cares).
      • 9. Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977) (Film): The gang heads to Camp Remote.
      • 8. The Peanuts Movie (2015) (Film): The digital animation was a turn-off before I even got started. Once I gave it a chance, I was won over because the story understands the love we fans have for these characters and treated the source materials with respect.
      • 7. Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown (1975): It’s no surprise that Charlie Brown isn’t getting a Valentine. It’s more of a series of vignettes. Sally gets some of the best lines, and I love that.
      • 6. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973): This might be a surprising rank for a show that everyone knows I enjoy. I’ve come to appreciate the Snoopy portions but tire of some of the rest.
      • 5. Charlie Brown All-Stars (1966): This one of many baseball-themed specials. This set the precedent for having a special that is not much more than adapted comic strip stories. It helps that they chose some of my favorites of the early stories.
      • 4. Snoopy Come Home (1972) (Film): I can’t watch this without being close to tears, especially Snoopy’s going-away party. I sing the songs to my pets almost daily.
      • 3. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965): It would be here just for the soundtrack. The story hits all of the emotional points for the characters. I would cheat here and pair it with It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown (1992). This is a series of vignettes in the spirit of the original strips. And once again, Sally gets the best lines.
      • 2. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966): Sally gets the best speech of the special. It’s hard not to identify with Linus who just wants sincerity to win out in life. I find myself listening to this soundtrack as much as the Christmas one. It means fall to me.
      • 1. The Complete Peanuts 1950-2000 (Fantagraphics): Every single newspaper strip reprinted in the correct format, two years per book. I own them all and I’ve read them all. I refer back to them in a loving way almost monthly. It is almost embarrassing how much I read these over again.
    • Since I made this list in 2008, I’ve taken a deep dive into the world of Peanuts. I’ve watched all of the specials and movies. I’ve read all of the strips. I’ve read most of the Schulz biography. I don’t have a “worst” special. Good grief, I love these stories.
“We’re the best of buddies. Me and you.”

1974 in Review

“To become an Immortal!”
  • May – Marvel Spectacular #7 (Marvel): A reprint of Thor #136 written by Stan Lee and art by Jack Kirby. Same credits for the reprint of Journey Into Mystery #122.
  • May 12 – The Boston Celtics won their twelfth NBA Championship over the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games. It would be the swan song for Oscar Robertson for the Bucks.
  • May 1 – Dock Ellis hit three consecutive batters and walked another in the 1st inning of a game against the Cincinnati Reds. He was upset that his team was intimidated by the Big Red Machine. He hit Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Dan Driessen to start the game. He attempted to pitch to Tony Perez but walked him. He threw two more pitches at Johnny Bench that missed his head before being removed from the game.
Dock Ellis tossed a no-hitter in 1970 while on LSD.

What the Hell Did I Put in My Mouth?

Rold Gold Selects: Pretzel Twists – Garlic Parmesan

I praised the Dill Pickle version of the Rold Gold Twists last week. I’m here this week to tell you that these put those to shame. This is about as addictive a pretzel flavor that there is out there. Utz makes a Garlic Butter pretzel that I previously thought was the best use of garlic in a pretzel format. I’m just warning you that this big bag might not be big enough.

H.E.B. Wavy Potato Chips – Bread and Butter Pickle (Sweet & Spicy)

H.E.B. has had a thin chip that is dill pickle flavored that I’ve been partial to previously. It’s a good sandwich companion. This summer there’s a Bread and Butter Pickle Wavy Chips release. Their actual bread and butter pickles are available in the refrigerated section and are wonderful. The flavor didn’t translate as well as I would like. It’s pickle flavored but the spicy aftertaste loses what I like about the actual pickles. I’m not going to have problems finishing the bag, but I’m a bigger fan of the dill chips.

Blue Bell Ice Cream: A&W Root Beer Float

Starting with Blue Bell Vanilla Ice Cream is a recipe for success. Their vanilla is in the top tier of best vanilla offerings out there. Add to that a very accurate A&W Root Beer-flavored sherbet and you have an ice cream that should be in my freezer all summer. Their Dr. Pepper Float release last year set the tone for this version. I found the slightly melted bowl to have the perfect consistency of a Root Beer Float. I might even drop a couple of scoops into a mug of A&W Root Beer just to amp it up.

“I’ve got arms that long to hold you
And keep you by my side
I’ve got lips that long to kiss you
And keep you satisfied (oh)” – Lennon / McCartney

Stay Hard


Shawn Bourdo

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