From the Couch Hole: I’ll Never Find a Better Prize

Previously on FTCH, Deadpool couldn’t fight the feeling that he liked the Police and Nashville Hot pretzels. Wolverine’s origin came in hindsight on Tuesday with mango pudding. This week is one of those dregs of summer weeks here in Texas. Every day is sunny, clear with a low about 82 and a high at or near 100. A quick midweek visit from Caleb helped the week go better. As we hit the mid-point of the year, I’m going to celebrate a long 4th of July weekend and the third anniversary of FTCH with a week off. I’ll be back stronger than ever with a July that will include an end of month trip to San Diego for Comic Con. This week the Wolverine and Deadpool met with the children of Dune during the night of the Sentinels and they were all together in their electric dreams of Star Wars Oreos. Remember, FTCH is not from concentrate.

The cat loaf you ordered is ready.

Pop Culture Ephemera

“The gift of words is the gift of deception and illusion.”
  • Frank Herbert – Children Of Dune (1976) (Putnam): “The future remains uncertain and so it should, for it is the canvas upon which we paint our desires.” I was warned about the diminishing returns if I kept reading this series. After Book Three, I am acknowledging that this is likely going to be the case until I find my breaking point to give it up. That may or may not be after this book. Seven years after Dune Messiah (1969), Herbert returns to the planet nine years into the future. The story is about the rise to power of Paul’s twin children, Leto II and Ghanima. I can pinpoint the main problem being that Herbert has created an overly complicated story with themes and symbols on top of themes and symbols. He created all of this and populated it with characters that I just can’t force myself to care about. The characters spend the 450 pages thinking and giving us the minutiae of their lives while telegraphing all the plot developments before they happen. There is a bit of resolution in the end, so I’ll pause for now but can’t promise I won’t start the fourth book in a moment of weakness.
Buy Frank Herbert’s Dune Saga 3-Book Boxed Set: Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune
  • X-Men: The Animated Series – “Night of the Sentinels Part II” (1992) (S.1 E.2) (FOX): “Those mutants were willing to sacrifice their lives to destroy your files. Did they have good reason to be threatened?” – Madame President. This episode was released in late 1992, but it takes me specifically to the spring of 1994 when I worked at Gen X on Saturday mornings and added the newest episode of the series to the current VHS tape of episodes that I would watch at least 2-3 times the rest of the week. This series had ’80s level animation (not the brilliant look of Batman: The Animated Series [1992-1995]) and voicework typical of other Saturday morning FOX shows. What it had was a quick introduction to the characters, a character death (poor Morph), and youthful character, Jubilee. These first two seasons had more or less a single ongoing storyline which made it stand out from other previous superhero adaptations. It works well as nostalgia today for those of us who watched it on first run, but I’m not sure it would hold much interest for those familiar with the superior animation of more current series.
Buy X-Men: Volume 1 DVD
  • Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder – “Together In Electric Dreams” (1984) (from Original Soundtrack to Electric Dreams): “Though you’re miles away / I see you every day.” Oakey was a hot commodity in 1984 as the creative force and lead singer of Human League. Moroder was an in-demand producer also known as “The Father of Disco.” They combined their talents to make a pretty great song to a completely forgotten film. Our fourth 1984 song of the month shows the variety of tunes that were making the Top 40 radio play in this era. This synth pop song doesn’t have the same electronic sound as Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and the lyrics are even more desperately hoping for a happy ending than REO Speedwagon. It makes for a sappy song that still makes me smile today.
“Because the friendship that you gave / Has taught me to be brave.” – Oakey and Moroder
  • The Wolverine (2013) (Directed by James Mangold): “A man who has nightmares every night of his life is in pain.” – Yukio. In what for my simple brain is the second of the Wolverine Trilogy (movies that specifically star Wolverine as the hero), we start with the atomic explosion at Nagasaki, but then we are in present day where we will spend a majority of the film in Japan also. The film’s plot is decidedly uncomplicated compared to other X-Men films and especially next to the Origins fiasco. This is a family business thriller where Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is dropped in the middle to reluctantly serve as the detective/bodyguard of Mariko (Tao Okamoto). What works for the film is that it becomes an existential film where Logan has to choose between being an immortal and having his powers removed and living a “normal” life. As he sees his old Japanese friend trying to choose immortality, Logan finds a way through the pain to choose life. The film is a huge improvement and would be one of my favorites if it wasn’t for a disappointing last act with a sorry excuse for a super villain in Viper and a disappointing CGI baddie with the Silver Samurai. Those were not the parts taken from the Chris Claremont and Frank Miller comics that this is in theory adapted from.
  • Deadpool 2 (2018) (Directed by David Leitch): “You’re so dark. Are you sure you’re not from the DC universe?” – Wade Wilson (Deadpool) to Cable. Imagine that first meeting with the new director, Leitch, and the studio gives him a slip of paper, “Here’s everything that audiences liked about the first movie. Please just do them all again.” The addition of John Connor crossed with Terminator character, Cable (Josh Brolin) is interesting. The character was once hugely popular in the X-Men Universe, but that was 20 years ago. I did enjoy Domino (Zazie Beetz) as a Greek chorus to offset Deadpool’s more numerous fourth-wall breaks. It’s hard to complain that a movie gives you just what they think you want. It works hard to prove worthy of the R rating every few minutes like clockwork. The issues here are the same as the first film. It’s good when it’s breaking rules of the genre, and it’s at the worst when it tries to tell a serious story within the genre. Bing Crosby and Bob Hope (along with Bugs Bunny in his cartoons) perfected the fourth-wall break in their Road films. I’d love to see how clever these films could be without this easy humor tool.

Best of the Rest

  • The 2021 John Lewis Christmas advert went back to the well of covering a song from 1984. Something about that year led to excellent Ambient covers. Lola Young does the cover of the Oakey/Moroder song and it fits the innocent love story of the commercial. These ads do their best when they focus on long distance love/friendships. When the holidays represent bringing together people across the distances is probably why I love Holiday ads the best. This one falls into the “it’s just cute” category.
“I only knew you for awhile.”
  • Two years before the John Lewis ad, the song had a callback as an “everyone knows the lyrics” bar song with a band called the Freshman Guitars. It’s a tribute to the songwriting that the song worked well as a hit in 1984 as a man falling in love with a computer, as an acoustic sing-a-long at a bar and as an Ambient cover with the romantic youth crush between a boy and an alien. That’s flexibility.
“We’ll always be together.”
  • For those of us who enjoy a candy bar or two as a treat, the news from Nestle isn’t good. Prices of cocoa have risen 4x in the past year and the maker of bars like the Kit Kat say that the pricing hasn’t hit the retail market yet. Candy bars are already on the outside edge of cost/enjoyment ratio. I fear what double or tripling the price will do for my favorite snacks.

Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback

  • On the Sunday Morning Tuneage it was time for Best of 2008, I was on vacation and left behind my annual breakdown of the previous year. It was a single post (can you imagine?) before I started charting absolutely everything. There will be a time when I revisit this era in more depth. I have only watched two of my Top Ten Movies I Missed In 2008. My favorite television shows were The Office (NBC), Lost (ABC), and Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles (FOX). My most missed of the year included Paul Newman, Charlton Heston, and George Carlin. My best albums of the year were TV on the Radio’s Dear Science, The Raconteurs’ Consolers Of The Lonely, and Girl Talk’s Feed the Animals. There was one list that I did want to take a second look at a little more closely.
  • BEST MOVIES OF 2008 (2008)
    • 10. Bolt: My most surprising addition. I would not have guessed that I would find this pup and his friends so entertaining.
    • 9. Indiana Jones & The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: I’m not going to apologize for having fun at an Indiana Jones film. See it with a 12-year-old and you will appreciate it even more.
    • 8. Quantum of Solace: Daniel Craig pulls together a movie with less plot than most Bond films. Casino Royale (2006) is better but this is a worthy addition.
    • 7. Kung-Fu Panda: Seriously? Yes. I see lots of “family films,” and rarely do I laugh out loud like I did with this one.
    • 6. Tropic Thunder: And then Robert Downey Jr. steals the show as Kirk Lazarus just to show us that 2008 is his year.
    • 5. Iron Man: Robert Downey Jr. never went away in my mind, but this put him back at the top of the heap. This is a hugely entertaining film.
    • 4. The Bank Job: There’s so much to like here. The haven’t made films like this since the 1970s. It’s tense and surprising at each turn. Lots of credit for feeling like it’s set in 1971 but not calling attention to being set in 1971.
    • 3. Slumdog Millionaire: The blocks of narrative problems do not diminish the great acting and directing. Director Boyle takes portions of his previous films and similar films about poor children and he makes me feel all the love for his work.
    • 2. The Dark Knight: The least subtle storytelling of the year. And I couldn’t turn my eyes away. The only thing holding it back was a terrible sound mix. There was so much bass in Batman’s voice that I could barely make it out while my fillings were shaken loose.
    • 1. Wall*E: I love movies for a lot of reasons, but maybe the most for the subtle way that moving pictures can tell a story that speaks to my soul like this one.
  • BEST MOVIES OF 2008 (2024)
    • 10. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: Not at the elite David Fincher level of films but still pretty entertaining. The aging effects were pretty good for the day.
    • 9. Rachel Getting Married: This was when Jonathan Demme tried his best to be Robert Altman and almost succeeded.
    • 8. Happy-Go-Lucky: Mike Leigh finds a way to tell great stories from the lives of what seem like mundane people. Sally Hawkins does a great job of playing the happy woman of the title in an ultimately sad film.
    • 7. Kung-Fu Panda: I did like this one. Little did I ever imagine that this franchise would outlast all the others of 2008.
    • 6. Vicky Cristina Barcelona: This is the last Woody Allen film that I can recall enjoying. Now I appreciate it for the Barcelona scenery as much as anything.
    • 5. In Bruges: It took me until 2022 to catch up with this well-reviewed film. It was totally worth it. I don’t know that I could have appreciated the stellar performances of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson until knowing their future roles.
    • 4. Slumdog Millionaire: Danny Boyle is so good at telling stories that have the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. They are often only moments apart.
    • 3. The Dark Knight: It’s still my favorite of the Batman films. I don’t know if it has aged well, but I think fondly of the cast and how it has influenced all superhero films after it.
    • 2. Iron Man: Upon reflection, this film moved forward the genre in ways that only 16 years later are starting to wear thin.
    • 1. Wall*E: The further we get away from it, the more I realize what an incredible science fiction film this turned out to be. There are so many subtle digs (and some not so subtle) at our current society that are spot on for a future that seemed like a parody at the time. This is one of those films that will resonate for another few decades.
      • There are still so many films from this year that I haven’t given my full attention to that probably would make the list like Let the Right One In, Milk, and The Wrestler. Below is my favorite commercial of 2008.
“Derek Redmond didn’t finish in first place . . . ” – Morgan Freeman

1974 in Review

“Mister, you just said the Magic Words!”
  • June – Fantastic Four #147 (Marvel): Cover by Rich Buckler. Written by Gerry Conway. Art by Rich Buckler. That Sub-Mariner never seems to give up on Sue Richards. “I love the Sub-Mariner and I’m going to stay with him forever!” – Sue Richards. Is this the time it works out for good?
  • June 27 – The 61st Tour de France starts with time trials won by Eddy Merckx of Belgium, the greatest rider in the history of cycling. He would go on to win the Tour de France later in July.
  • June 26 – Emmanuelle (1974) is a French softcore pornography film that was released in France. It would be released in the United States to general theaters by Columbia Pictures. It would gross $11.5 million in the United States.
“X was never like this.”

What the Hell Did I Put in My Mouth?

Little Debbie: Apple Cinnamon Donut Sticks

Nothing says summer like apple and cinnamon. Wait. Why are these out now and not in the fall? These would go best with apple cider, although they aren’t too bad with coffee. It’s a good flavor and a relatively thick donut but just out of season. Let’s hope Wal-mart doesn’t wait too long to turn this into one of the Little Debbie ice cream flavors.

Eggo Fully Loaded: Strawberry Delight

The results aren’t going to be surprising if you read my review of the Fully Loaded Chocolate Brownie Eggos. These are functionally good strawberry waffles. They don’t taste loaded with anything different than if they made a simple Strawberry Eggo. I’ll finish the box because I do enjoy a Strawberry waffle. Just don’t be sold on a loaded anything from Eggo at this point.

Oreo: Star Wars – Dark Side vs. Light Side

The thing I like about Oreo is their playful side. They aren’t expecting a Sour Patch Kid’s cookie to be your favorite, but they want you to have fun with them. They had Star Wars characters on their cookies last year. There were characters to seek if you cared to collect them. This year the package is simply either all Dark Side with red creme or Light Side with blue creme. I purchased a package that turned out to be Dark Side. The cookies aren’t breaking any new ground. They have the crunchy sugar crystals is all that has changed since last year. Not different, just fun. Also, look at that great Greg Hildebrant artwork on the cover.

“We’ll always be together
However far it seems
(Love never ends)
We’ll always be together
Together in electric dreams” – Oakey and Moroder

Stay Hard


Shawn Bourdo


  1. Gordon S. Miller on June 30, 2024 at 6:07 pm

    We also got the Dark Side Oreos

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