From the Couch Hole: It’s Time to Bring This Ship Into the Shore

Previously on FTCH, Frankie went to Hollywood in a Ferrari during a purple rain. The crime story was about the power of love, Muppets, and a mango fruit bar. This week we bade goodbye to the Dallas Mavericks season, and unfortunately, it feels like the Texas Rangers are next to done too. The midweek holiday added an odd flow to the week. I’d much rather have a Monday or Friday off. This week we can’t fight the feeling we had as hindsight about Wolverine’s origins. Deadpool listens to the Police for once over some Nashville Hot pretzels. Remember, FTCH is the place with the helpful hardware folks.

So many birds, so little time.

Pop Culture Ephemera

“First thing tomorrow.” – Zora
  • Tuesday (2024) (Directed by Daina Oniunas-Pusic): “Promise promise.” – Zora. In The Seventh Seal (1957), Death is the hooded figure that plays chess on the beach. Fast forward to 2024 and Death is a macaw who raps Ice Cube’s “It Was a Good Day” (1992) (“Thinking, ‘Will I live another twenty-four'”). Julia Louise-Dreyfus is Zora who is having to confront the impending loss of her daughter, Tuesday (Lola Petticrew). This film addresses mother-daughter relationships and acceptance of death in the exact opposite way of a film like Terms of Endearment (1983). The mother and daughter are in different stages of grief, and that is the cause of much of their conflict. It’s an imperfect story about imperfect characters. There is little to no backstory, which works for the parrot but leaves me wondering more about the father and Zora’s childhood. Learning to accept death as a natural process is a tough subject and it’s handled deftly here. There are plenty of fable elements including a reliance on some Alice In Wonderland motifs. There is something missing in the final analysis; which makes sense when you walk away thinking that the bird (Arinze Kene) deserves an Oscar nomination.
Buy Wolverine & the X-Men Blu-ray
  • Wolverine & the X-Men – “Hindsight Part 3” (2009) (S.1 E.3) (NICK): “A man with metal bones should have more sense than to break into my house.” – Magneto. The conclusion of the initial story has the team finally coming together with the addition of Emma Frost as they raid Genosha looking for the missing Professor Xavier. The series started with an explosion that demolished Charles’ institute. Jean and Professor Xavier have been missing and Logan gets together a team of X-Men to find his missing comrades. This episode sets up the story that will be told the rest of the season of the group locating Charles who is stuck in a post-Apocalyptic nightmare 20 years in the future. I was surprised that as late as 2009, the dominant animation style was still as angular as it was and that most characters (male and female both) spoke with as much bass in their voices as they did (this was the dominant format for animated Batman in the same decade). The story started slowly, but by this third episode, especially with the addition of Emma Frost to play off of Wolverine, the action is finally well balanced against the character building.
Buy REO Speedwagon – Wheels Are Turnin’ CD
  • REO Speedwagon – “Can’t Fight This Feeling” (1984) (from Wheels Are Turnin’): “My life has been such a whirlwind since I saw you.” This third 1984 song in a row goes in a different direction but with similar themes. Corny and cheesy and totally impossible for me to not sing along with when it plays. Everything about this unrequited love, confess a long lost love, song is over the top. Yet I completely love it. I think we just loved these type of ballads in 1984. There was probably a special slow dance at the Prom that has imprinted on my brain for this song too. The band had two #1 hits, both treacly ballads that have endeared themselves to us as a culture, the other being “Keep on Loving You” (1981). This song would be featured on their Live Aid set. Bring on the cheese.
“And even as I wander / I’m keeping you in sight.” – Kevin Cronin
  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) (Directed by Gavin Hood): “We’re going to make you indestructible – but first, we’re gonna have to destroy you.” – William Stryker. The story of the transition from James Logan (Hugh Jackman) to Wolverine is almost stolen by Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds). The future Deadpool gets the best lines in the first quarter of the film before being dispatched (or is he still alive?) offscreen. While telling us the origin of Wolverine, it becomes ostensibly a Wolverine vs. Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber) film. The story is told quickly, it’s easier to gloss over plot points that don’t make logical sense, and it looks good. There are glimpses of other X-Men stalwarts who may or may not get their own origin films (not likely, with hindsight now). Wolverine is a character that is put through the ringer unlike any other Marvel hero. His story is one of constant loss of loved ones and pain and torture. The pain is part of what creates the silent anger that fuels Logan. The story ends with Wolverine getting amnesia and forgetting everything that happened in the movie we just watched. I think the same will happen for me, as this doesn’t appear to be current continuity based upon the Deadpool post-credits scene.
  • Deadpool (2016) (Directed by Tim Miller): “A fourth-wall break inside a fourth-wall break? That’s like, sixteen walls.” – Deadpool. I have never had a good feel for the X-Men Film Universe. This origin of Wade Wilson (not the long suffering Minnesota Vikings quarterback, Wade Wilson) as Deadpool is at least the one that we will see in the upcoming Deadpool & Wolverine (2024). Revisiting this for the first time since theaters in 2016, I’m struck by how much it isn’t like any of the other superhero films while being a film just like all of the other superhero films. Imagine if they made Airplane! (1980) and while it still had all of the jokes, there was still an Airport (1970) style plot. I guess that’s a bit of what the Rob Leifeld character was in comics for years. This is a Ryan Reynolds film first and foremost despite a solid supporting cast of actors. The self awareness and breaking of the fourth wall is endearing at first. Then it isn’t any longer. The action moves along at a decent pace, even though most of it is told as backstory. It’s just that in the final analysis, they tried to create a relatively familiar superhero story with a character who had set himself up as very anti-superhero to start the film. I still enjoy the film but there was so much room to deconstruct the superhero genre while it was still at its heights. It wouldn’t feel the same today to poke fun at a genre on the downhill side of popularity.

Best of the Rest

  • The 2019 John Lewis Christmas advert was one of their first that the cover didn’t strike me as an improvement on the original for the commercial. The cover of REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling” by Bastille just doesn’t flow well with this story of Edgar the Dragon who ruins Christmas for a town. The end is cute, but this is likely my least favorite of their ads to date.
“Excitable Edgar”
  • Sometimes it’s not just that something got made. It’s the final result. But what we’re missing is the how. How did the marketing company convince the Kentucky Fried Chicken folks to commit to this artsy, bold ad? It’s catchy and hard to not watch at least twice. “Believe in Chicken” is likely to make my year-end list of Best Ads. Watch it now or wait for December.
“What can we even believe in anymore?”
  • Stephen King has seen it and given it his blessing. He says it’s pretty good. We were supposed to get a theatrical release of a new Salem’s Lot film in 2022, then put off to Spring 2023 and eventually removed from all calendars. Now it’s on the radar again. The current schedule has it coming directly to MAX in the near future. It’s an important part of any future Dark Tower franchise that people know this story. Warner Bros. has a bad track record lately, pulling Batgirl and Coyote vs. Acme so I’m inclined to take this with a grain of salt at this time. It’s a great book that might need another read for me soon.

Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback

  • On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 12/21/2008, it was my last SMT of 2008. We were coming off a week where we got snow and sleet and then ended with 70-degree days. The family was leaving for Michigan in 36 hours. My #15 Favorite Film of All-Time was It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). Frank Capra hit upon the right story with the right actors at the right time. The story of renewal in life hits just as soldiers are returning from war. The film still has the ability to give me goosebumps at the end with my yearly viewing. This is a fair ranking and it would probably fall in a similar range today. Over the next two weeks was the predictable year-end shows that summed up the year (when they used to do these) and New Year’s specials. My list covers one of my “perfect” groups, and I’m not sure I’ve changed my taste much. Let’s see.
      • 10. “Roxanne” (Outlandos d’Amour) (1978): A favorite sing-a-long in the car or shower.
      • 9. “Walking on the Moon” (Regatta de Blanc) (1979)
      • 8. “I Burn for You” (Brimstone & Treacle Soundtrack) (1982): It borders on being a Sting solo song, but they were definitely a band at this time.
      • 7. “Tea in the Sahara” (Synchronicity) (1980)
      • 6. “So Lonely” (Outlandos d’Amour) (1978): The live versions are awesome.
      • 5. “Driven to Tears” (Zenyatta Mendatta) (1980)
      • 4. “Wrapped Around Your Finger” (Synchronicity) (1983) : Lots and lots of teenage memories around this one.
      • 3. “Invisible Sun” (Ghost In The Machine) (1981) : First time through the album and I was blown away by this song.
      • 2. “Synchronicity II” (Synchronicity) (1983)
      • 1. “Spirits in the Material World” (Ghost In The Machine) (1981): Perfectly illustrates the rock/ska/reggae influences that I love about this band.
      • 10. “I Burn for You” (Brimstone & Treackle Soundtrack) (1982): A slow burn of a song that Sting wrote for his previous band, Last Exit. It sounds like the future for Sting.
      • 9. “Synchronicity II” (Synchronicity) (1983): A man is upset with his home life and it awakens the Loch Ness monster. That is the type of content that I am missing from the group.
      • 8. “So Lonely” (Outlandos d’Amour) (1978): A beat that could have been written by Bob Marley (or at the very least stolen from him). It is their most reggae song with just a touch of Punk for good measure.
      • 7. “Invisible Sun” (Ghost in the Machine) (1981): Sting’s anti-war imagery is top notch. This one actually borders on a happy ending.
      • 6. “King of Pain” (Synchronicity) (1983): Sting’s first divorce showed him a little black spot on the sun today. The Weird Al cover almost ruined it for me, but today both stand strong.
      • 5. “When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around” (Zenyatta Mendatta) (1980): Their best bassline has me dancing every time I hear it.
      • 4. “Bring on the Night” (Reggatta de Blanc) (1979): This song consistently shows up on my Spotify most-listened-to lists, so there’s something to this Reggae Fusion sound.
      • 3. “Message in a Bottle” (Regatta de Blanc) (1979): This song about loneliness and isolation is as timeless as they get.
      • 2. “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” (Ghost in the Machine) (1981): One of their biggest hits is also one of their best. It’s overplayed and yet I don’t get that feel about it.
      • 1. “Next to You” (Oulandos d’Amour) (1978): They have their Reggae influence. They turn to New Wave darlings later in their career. Then it makes perfect sense that my favorite (right now) is their best Punk Rock single. The first song on the first side of their first album is my current favorite. The guitar work here is a jam.
    • The band came together from pretty disparate sources at the beginning of the Punk scene. It would have been easy at first to see them as Sting’s band. Quickly the three melded their talents and for the next six years were about as good as any other band of the era. The problem was that they ended up hating each other. They have been a Top Ten band of mine since I first heard “Roxanne.” I thought I might come up with a similar list today as in 2008, but it’s funny how my listening habits have changed. Catching some of these tunes as I made this list, I’m still a huge fan.
“I can’t stand it for another day / When you live so many miles away.” – Sting

1974 in Review

“This is the Day Of The Destroyer!”
  • June – Thor #224 (Marvel): Cover art by John Romita, Sr. Written by Gerry Conway. Art by John Buscema. The big development of this book isn’t the return of Destroyer. The revelation of Thor’s human identity to Hercules is an important turn for the series.
  • June 22 – The Sears Tower (now The Willis Tower) opens. At 110 stories, it is the tallest building in the world at the time.
  • June 3 – Time V.103 #22: Feature article on the amazing run of the Oakland A’s that would last through the Fall Classic and their owner Charlie Finley is featured. Lots of Watergate news, a spotlight on Duke Ellington, and a glowing review of The Black Windmill movie starring Michael Caine.
“One-Man Wild Bunch.”

What the Hell Did I Put in My Mouth?

Jell-O: Mango Sabroso

I am going to cover the three flavors of 2024 today. First up is mango. It shows up in fruit bars and even Doritos. It’s a zero sugar and not exactly a pudding consistency. I liked the mango flavor because it was more smoothie style and less candy sweet. In fact, it could probably benefit from a bit of sugar. I guess that would blow the Zero Sugar label. All in all, it’s a refreshing snack and has some of the best mango flavor I’ve had this summer.

Heinz Pickle Ketchup

The Summer of the Pickle is still kicking in. It has shown up in potato chips and on drinks at Sonic. I appreciated the clever ads for this pickle-sweetened ketchup from Heinz. They asked people to imagine what it would taste like before ever having it, and then it did taste like that. Power of suggestion? I can attest that it tasted like I wanted it to taste. It is a good dip but would be best on a burger. The pickle taste is subtle, closer to a pickle juice. This is a winner in the flavored-pickle category.

Snyder’s Pretzel Pieces: Nashville Hot

The hot-honey movement has stayed mostly in the salty-snack aisle. The most popular usage has been on pretzels this year, after some potato-chip appearances in the past. Not that I’m waiting for the ice cream or coffee creamer options. Snyder’s is the gold standard of pretzels in the market. Add to that the crunch and sweet heat of these pieces and you have a big winner. They are hot. They aren’t miserable hot, but they will get your attention. I’m sick of most heat snacks, but these are a welcome addition to the hot honey salty snacks this year.

“I tell myself that I can’t hold out forever
I said there is no reason for my fear
‘Cause I feel so secure when we’re together
You give my life direction
You make everything so clear.” – Kevin Cronin

Stay Hard


Shawn Bourdo

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Search & Filter