From the Couch Hole: Looking from a Window Above

Previously on FTCH, Dr. No met Jim Dandy in their past lives in Babylon. From May to December, we had chips with craft beer and cocoa puffs with cream. The end of basketball coaching came with a nice send off with awards for the players and a sweet card for me from them. This week there’s a murder at the end of the world and the dune messiah says it’s only you. The response was “You hurt my feelings” and a fruit splash was opened. Remember, FTCH is dishwasher safe.

Pop Culture Ephemera

“Reason is the first victim of strong emotion.” – Scytale
  • Frank Herbert – Dune Messiah (Dune #2) (1969) (Putnam): “Empires do not suffer emptiness of purpose at the time of their creation. It is when they have become established that aims are lost and replaced by vague ritual.” – Muad’dib. We’ve moved forward 12 years since the first book ended. The long adventure story of young Paul in the first book has been replaced by a more mature Paul Atreides. It’s the story of a mature dynasty and machinations of heirs. It’s the story of a ruler who is seen as a religious Messiah. It’s not a well-loved book, but I enjoyed it despite a not so subtle distancing from the original themes. Paul doesn’t play as big a role in this book. Much of the plot takes place without him even in the room. Once his journey was completed to become ruler, the machine takes over and Paul admits that he is pulled by Fate. The story is that of ruling and rulers and dynasties. It feels like a short break until the next generation gets their chance at new adventures.
Buy Dune Messiah book
  • A Murder at the End of the World – “Crime Seen” (S.1 E.6) (2023) (FX): “The killer was the result of faulty programming.” – Bill. The penultimate episode is a trip backwards in order to move forward. The cliffhanger of Episode 5 is solved quickly and most of the rest of the episode is flashback. We learn a key backstory to Lee (Brit Marling) and her relationship with Andy (Clive Owen). Darby (Emma Corrin) revisits the key scene from the first episode of her and Bill (Harris Dickinson) discovering the Silver Doe Killer. She does this through the gimmick of her reading the passage in her book about it to Lee. These two flashbacks can’t be random, considering we are going into the last episode. Bill’s reaction to the Silver Doe Killer that it was “faulty programming” is also a large clue to what we are likely to find in the last episode. I’ve really enjoyed watching Emma Corrin shine as Darby and her meeting of the minds with Clive Owen (even if he doesn’t end up being the guilty party) is award worthy.
Buy Yaz – Upstairs at Eric’s CD
  • Yaz – “Only You” (1982) (from Upstairs at Eric’s): “I’m moving further away / Want you near me.” You wouldn’t necessarily pair Alison Moyet and Vince Clarke as one of the most important duos to come out of the early ’80s. Vince showed his chops on those early Depeche Mode albums. Alison could have spent a career just being a deep voiced blues singer at pubs throughout England. Together they offered the perfect balance of synth dance and strong vocals. It’s a song that I worked into all the high-school dances that I DJ’ed for in high school. It’s still one of the songs that epitomize that era for me when I was in my first wave of musical discovery.
“It’s getting harder to stay / When I see you” – Yaz
  • Dune (Part 1) (2021) (Directed by Denis Villeneuve): “The mystery of life isn’t a problem to solve, but a reality to experience. A process that cannot be understood by stopping it. We must move with the flow of the process.” – Jamis. I had started and stopped this book a number of times from 1985 until just after watching this film in 2021. Last year, I finally picked it up again and got engrossed in the world of Arrakis. I was able to catch it last week on IMAX and that took the film I had enjoyed previously to a whole new level. I feared that I would be more critical of it with my expectations raised with my knowledge of the book. I found myself appreciating this version even more because of the choices that Villeneuve made and not despite them. It’s equally a political thriller, religious parable, and environmental-warning story. It’s also exposition. Lots and lots of exposition that is hard to skip over without completely confusing the audience. Lynch had a hard time weaving that into his script in Dune (1984). Denis is smoother about making it part of the dialog and not just telling us. The experience of the upcoming Dune (Part 2) (2024) might be better if you’ve seen this one a couple times. This isn’t a “you know these characters” type of Marvel film. This is Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) that has to introduce you to a new set of characters and define the rules of the Universe.
Cinema Sentries
  • You Hurt My Feelings (2023) (Directed by Nicole Holofcener): “You know, ‘nice’ is not a nice word.” – Alice. Beth (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is a longtime novelist who overhears her husband (Tobias Menzies) telling a friend that he doesn’t like Beth’s new novel. This starts a series of events causing Beth to question her marriage. It’s a fun little movie that is helped by Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ stellar comic timing. The plot might sound simple, but it hits upon a key point of our society. We exist with all these little niceties. What happens when we think we want the truth, but we can’t handle it. The supporting characters are well cast, especially David Cross and Amber Tamblyn as a couple in therapy who finally tell the truth. The dialog never varies too far from the main theme in the slightly over 90-minute film. It’s sad that smart comedies like this don’t tend to find much of an audience.

Best of the Rest

  • Take away the synthesizer and the female voice. Add a soft, tender male vocal and let an acoustic guitar do the musical work. This Joshua Radin cover throws away any possible meanings of Clarke talking about his days with Depeche Mode and puts it squarely into the love-song genre.
“And all I ever knew.”
  • The Super Bowl didn’t blow me away with the ads this year. There were a number of “pretty good” and luckily there weren’t many in the “what the hell was that?” category. The Dunkin’ commercial wasn’t my favorite but it was a Top Ten. That is until I found the four-minute extended version. He channels Batman at times and then I don’t know what some of the other personas are but I love them. “Who is Tik Tok?” Now it’s a Top Five entry for 2024.
“The Boredest Man In The World”
  • I have previously stated that dogs, grandparents, and fathers with sons are all going to give me a need for tissues. The really off limits should be fathers with daughters. I knew I was in trouble when I saw that the post-halftime commercial was Cetaphil’s “Dads and Daughters.” The friendship bracelets, the #13 jersey (Taylor’s favorite number), and her smile at the end all got me. I understand there was some concern that this was stolen from a Tik Tok. I can see that thematically they are similar, but you didn’t need a Tik Tok to see that this story played out all over America this season. Predictably, I needed a moment before checking back into the game.
“Let’s celebrate that game time glow.”

Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback

  • On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 8/17/2008, I was getting ready to work one of the four or five Sundays that I used to work in the year. Temps were going to be below 100 for the first time in months. I had gone to Tropic Thunder (2008) the day before and found it to just be merely okay. My #8 Favorite Film of All-Time was Planet of the Apes (1968). That’s a little high, I know. I love the series and it gets a high ranking because of what it meant to me as a child every time it aired on television. It’s still probably a Top-25 film. It was the second week of the Olympics and there was some diving, BMX racing, and lots of people running around. My list wasn’t super interesting, but I’m going to think about it again.
      • 10. Ronald Reagan (1981-1989): Ended the Cold War.
      • 9. Bill Clinton (1993-2001): Way to ruin it at the end, Bill.
      • 8. Harry Truman (1945-1953)
      • 7. John F. Kennedy (1961-1963): Thanks for the Space challenge.
      • 6. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
      • 5. George Washington (1789-1797)
      • 4. Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (1901-1909): Trust busting and committed to conservation in a way that Al Gore can only dream about.
      • 3. Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809): Gave us State’s Rights. Doubled the size of the United States by fleecing France (as a bonus).
      • 2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945): The President for forever and leading us out of the Depression and through WWII.
      • 1. Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865): Freeing the slaves and getting the Union back together are pretty impressive, for sure.
      • 10. James K. Polk (1845-1849): The last few innocent years before the country starts falling apart, and Polk helps the United States finish the push to the Pacific Ocean.
      • 9. Bill Clinton (1993-2001): The first Baby Boomer President. He brought back the Dem party to the Big Time for the first time in a generation.
      • 8. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921): Led us through WWI and had Progressive views on Foreign Policy.
      • 7. James Monroe (1817-1825): How many other Presidents have a Doctrine named after them? The man led us through a huge growth era and world peace.
      • 6. John F. Kennedy (1961-1963): That Cuban Missile Crisis could have gone wrong quickly. We came through that. The man brought the importance of the media to the Presidency too.
      • 5. Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (1901-1909): The most interesting non-Presidential life of any President. He was only 42 when he took the Office.
      • 4. Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809): We look at him differently now, but we enjoy so many of our freedoms because of ideas that came out of his brain.
      • 3. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-1945): I find it interesting to study that 1932 election and how FDR garnered so much Republican support.
      • 2. George Washington (1789-1797): I’m fascinated by his early-life adventures. It’s odd that we haven’t had a superior biopic on the man.
      • 1. Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865): It’s hard to knock the man out of this perch. The abolition of slavery is pretty cool. It’s a testament that the man’s life has made the best films and a bunch of them.
    • The worst list starts with Andrew Johnson (1865-1869), Franklin Pierce (1853-1857), and James Buchanan (1857-1861) are all here because of the policies that they implemented or ignored that led directly to the Civil War.
James Monroe’s colossal nose . . .

1974 in Review

Hell Hath No Fury . . .
  • February – The Man-Thing #2 (Marvel) A beautiful Jim Starlin cover. Written by Steve Gerber. Art by Val Mayerik. Man-Thing is a startling Swamp Creature but definitely not the Swamp Thing (for copyright reasons).
  • February 17 – Richard Petty won the Daytona 500 for the second year in a row and his fifth overall. The race was 450 miles long because of the Energy Crisis.
  • February 28 – Rolling Stone #155 is about as 1974 as you can get with Hunter S. Thompson writing about the Super Bowl, Vietnam stories, a story about the rise of “fern bars,” and William Burroughs interviews David Bowie.
Ali Again

What the Hell Did I Put in My Mouth?

Lay’s Roasted Cumin Lamb Skewer Chips

(Courtesy of Mallory Bourdo) The last of my salty presents from my wonderful cousin was this flavor based upon the popular Asian street food. Cumin is an interesting flavor that you don’t get much in American snacks. Don’t judge these chips by the smell when you open the bag, which is vaguely locker room-ish. The savory flavor is much better than the scent. I enjoyed the unique flavors that come across as a variant on American Barbeque chips. A lovely finish.

Canada Dry: Fruit Splash

There have been other Cherry Ginger Ales. At a bar, I love to have a bit of cherry added to a Ginger Ale and bourbon. They call this Fruit Splash although it says Cherry Ginger Ale underneath. There is a hint of some other citrus fruit that cuts the cherry. I’m a big fan of the results. I’ve been sipping at these during my work days recently and it’s a very refreshing change of pace.

Oreo: Black & White Cookie

Bringing the black and white together is very admirable. Even if it’s just in a cookie, we have to start somewhere. The black side is nicely bittersweet as the chocolate should be. The white side isn’t like the white creme of a regular Oreo. It’s vaguely vanilla but not, if that makes any sense. Something is just off with these. It’s disappointing because this should be a wonderful cookie. I’m not saying that I didn’t finish the package quickly, only that I wanted it to be one of the best cookies of the year.

“All I needed was the love you gave
All I needed for another day
And all I ever knew
Only you” – Yaz

Stay Hard


Shawn Bourdo

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