From the Couch Hole: Just Afloat On The Sea

Previously on FTCH, there was a Stargirl and a Sugar Free Space cola. I included an hombre, a prophet, and a belle. Spring Break started on Thursday afternoon for me. One of the nice things about working in the college environment is that you still get excited for Spring Break. A little travel on the schedule but I’m dedicated to my faithful readers and you won’t be shorted a Couch Hole. This week there’s a world party and a moon city. There are evil of Daleks, outlaws of Gor, and battles of Algiers. You never would believe where FTCH comes from; it’s written by little elves in a hollow tree.

Pop Culture Ephemera

“And like all good plans, it required a crazy Ukrainian guy.” – Jazz
  • Andy Weir – Artemis (2017) (Crown): “I might have been on the run for my life, but I wasn’t willing to go without e-mail.” – Jazz. Andy Weir set a high bar with The Martian. There was an almost perfect blend of thriller, science fiction, and science fact. In Artemis, the setting is the only city on the Moon, Artemis, in the late 2080s. There is more theoretical science to be explained and the plot is more complex. Our narrator, Jasmine (aka Jazz), is a free spirited, anti-authority, bootlegger. She finds herself involved in a conspiracy between factions trying to take control of the city. The results are mixed. I liked Jazz but found some of the supporting cast underdeveloped. The plot wasn’t too hard to follow except when the most exciting moments got bogged down in the science of keeping the proper air pressure on the Moon city. Weir created a wonderful setting here and too often it felt like the story was catered towards film or television adaptation. In fact, this setting is ripe for multiple stories and I’d like to revisit it with a different plot.
  • Doctor Who – “The Evil of the Daleks, Part 2 of 7” (S.4 E.38) (1967) (BBC): Doctor: Patrick Troughton. Companion: Jamie (Frazer Hines). This is the ninth story of the fourth season that originally started with the First Doctor. The Second Doctor started with the “Power of the Daleks” story and ends with what has often been voted as the best Dalek story. The animated version of this mostly lost story (only this Part 2 exists) came out at the end of 2021. Starting from the end of “The Faceless Ones”, Jamie and the Doctor are transported from 1960s London back to 1866. The first two episodes of the story are the Act One of a three-act story. We learn that the Daleks are experimenting with putting human brains in Daleks to “humanize” them so they won’t defeated so easily. Jamie is taken prisoner and we meet Victoria (Deborah Watling) who will become the new companion. The story is off to a great start and the animation has improved with each story that has been done.
  • World Party – “When You Come Back To Me” (1994) (from Reality Bites soundtrack): “You know as I ride along / There’s a memory of a song / About you / And where you’re meant to be”. I’m always fooled by the first fifteen seconds of this song that it’s Bowie’s “Young Americans”. Karl Wallinger had left The Waterboys back in 1986 to form World Party and instantly had the minor hit “Ship of Fools”. It’s hard to separate this soundtrack and song from a breakdown of the issues of Reality Bites. For a film playing off the Grunge Era, the soundtrack isn’t exactly cutting edge with The Knack, U2, and Crowded House. Props to Lisa Loeb’s breakout single “Stay (I Missed You)” and Ethan Hawke can actually rock on “I’m Nuthin'” and the cover of “Add It Up” (Violent Femmes). World Party fell off the musical map after this but it’s a pretty decent sayonara song.
“I’m going to tell you the answers” – World Party
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 – “Outlaw (Of Gor)” (S.5 E.19) (1993): “I hate this movie already” – Crow. The riffed film is a true mess. It’s a 1989 sequel to Gor and stars Jack Palance. As I continue through a random rewatch of this show, I bounce back and forth between Joel and Mike episodes. This Mike episode is one that I’ve been through a few times because it just keeps on giving. You have to recall that Jack Palance was a big deal in 1993. The riff line “I crap bigger than this movie.” is a funny reference to “I crap bigger than you.” that Jack said in City Slickers and again during his Oscar acceptance speech. The host segment where Mike and the bots sing their original tune “Tubular Boobular Joy” is one of the best moments of the Mike era.
  • Battle of Algiers (1966) (Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo): “We aren’t madmen or sadists, gentlemen. Those who call us Fascists today, forget the contribution that many of us made to the Resistance. Those who call us Nazis, don’t know that among us there are survivors of Dachau and Buchenwald. We are soldiers and our only duty is to win.” – Col. Mathieu. It’s not a completely parallel to current events. Watching this film for a second time in the span of a couple months and I’m struck by the power of it. It’s the story of the Algerian Liberation Front that fought for independence against the French occupation government (they themselves former French Resistance fighters). What happens when the resistance becomes the governors? What is the responsibility of duty versus freedom versus order. In a world where both sides increasingly resort to violent acts against the other, where does the viewer find a thread to hold onto? Filmed in documentary style, this isn’t meant to be a strictly historical lesson; it’s meant to be thought provoking. The street scenes are mostly without any score and then there is a military themed score by Ennio Morricone that adds to the terror and tragedy of the circumstance. I would recommend this as a counterpoint to thoughts on current conflicts in the world.
“The basis of our job is intelligence. The method interrogation. Conducted in such a way as to ensure we always get an answer.”

Best of the Rest

  • Ask and you shall receive? In my comments on Stephen King’s The Outsider, I lamented the end of that story and my love for the Holly Gibney character. And just a few weeks later, King relents and writes me a novel called Holly, due in 2023. With Fairy Tale coming out later this year and this one on deck for 2023, my Stephen King Project is still alive and kicking.
  • It was 1992, a year after Nirvana defined what Punk was in the Nineties. Now it was time for up-and-coming actor Jeremy Davies (Lost, Saving Private Ryan) to tell us why the Subaru Imprezza is like Punk Rock.
  • The Pop-Tart movie is happening. Or as the headline says “The Jerry Seinfeld Pop-Tart movie”. It’s called Unfrosted and based on his line of jokes about the creation of the rectangular snack pastry. There’s too much to unpack here for a single blog. So expect follow-up posts as details emerge. Will it compete with a Jim Gaffigan Hot Pockets film? If we are officially done with board game films and moving on to snack-based filmmaking, will there be a crossover with Eggo: Fallen Kingdom? Wait. Wait. Further down the article it says that Eva Longoria is working on Flamin’ Hot about Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. I can’t even get out a single smart aleck remark before irony is dead.

Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback

  • On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 10/8/2006, we were deep into football as we were in those days with Christian playing and me working North Texas games. I was excited about the Detroit Tigers playing in the ALCS the upcoming week. I was excited after the first episode of Friday Night Lights and was really entertained by the new Doctor in Doctor Who. Mr. T was debuting a new show, I Pity The Fool. There was a documentary that sounded great that I didn’t watch at that time.
    • Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (2006) (STARZ): At the time I asked a question that I still ask today, “When was the fall of the slasher film?” In one form or another, the gory concept is still alive and well. This Starz documentary is a really good primer for the early days of the genre. What really helps are the interviews with Sean Cunningham, John Carpenter, and Wes Craven among others. If you have any interest in the genre, keep a pad and pencil handy for ones that you haven’t seen.

Flash From The Past

So biologically superior that there’s no way you could get lung cancer.

What the Hell Did I Put In My Mouth?

Cheetos Popcorn Cheddar Jalapeno

The combination of Cheetos and Cheddar Jalapeno has already shown up in multiple locations. You may recall an earlier review of the Cheetos Cheddar Jalapeno in Mac ‘n’ Cheese. It’s a good flavor in crunchy Cheetos too. I like that this is a flavor that exists in the region between regular and flamin’ hot. There’s just a tiny bit of heat here and that’s just how I prefer my popcorn flavors. Unfortunately, you are going to need a parcel of napkins to get through this bag.

Fritos Flamin’ Hot Bar-B-Q

Bar-B-Q Fritos disappeared from the snack aisle at some point in 2018. They were the best of the non-plain flavors and my Fritos purchases since then have been rare. I wouldn’t say that the “flamin’ hot” is nearly as hot as some of the Doritos and Cheetos flavors. It’s a solid corn chip but from a stained fingers point of view, these might have worked best in their twist format instead of the chip.

Dunkin’ Iced Coffee Flavored Jelly Beans

I am an outspoken fan of the Dunkin’ Donuts chain. I’m a big fan of jelly beans. I’m not sure that the combination works that well. It’s an interesting time of year to do an iced coffee theme of jelly beans for Easter which is typically a candy for children holiday. Of the five flavors, two are great. I really like the French Vanilla and the Caramel Latte. The Toasted Coconut and Butter Pecan just don’t work well in combination with the others. My biggest issue is that eating a handful of them from the bag is the worst way to consume these distinctive flavors. It was much better when I poured them out and only picked similar colored beans. These were first released last year at this time and it’s the same assortment this year.

“Love will catch us. Every time
I hear you call, I will run.
And if the magic of the adventure overcomes
We won’t cry because it could be fun.” – World Party

Stay Hard.  

Shawn Bourdo

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