From the Couch Hole: See the Lights Do a Long Slow Fade

Previously on FTCH, Arthur reminded us “The best that you can do is fall in love with Churro Kit Kats.” We were Connecticut Yankees and some unidentifiable flying oddball who likes habanero chips and tangy ketchup chips. This week I’m writing this a bit earlier than usual as I’m enjoying some Chicago time with my daughter on Saturday and flying back to Texas this afternoon. The Heat Dome was making Texas unbearable before I left. This week the Sandman reminds us that the show goes on. It’s the time of year for the brotherhood to celebrate with beef, patriotic cupcakes, and maybe a side of soylent green. Remember, choosy mothers choose FTCH.

Pop Culture Ephemera

“It was constructed to hold people captive”
  • Lars Kepler – The Sandman (2012) (Vintage): “…it wasn´t the people who were buried who were being punished, but those left behind.” Even more than the previous book, I can say, this is a book for people who like chapters. You get almost 200 of them in under 500 pages. Mikael Kohler-Frost wanders out of the forest after being missing for 13 years. All he knows is that he was held by The Sandman. Now it’s up to Joona Linna and Saga Bauer to locate Mikael’s sister before she dies. This book serves to close up all of the backstory from the past three books. It’s even darker than the previous entries and brings to mind Silence of the Lambs in many elements. Saga Bauer is our Clarice trying to get information from serial killer Jurek Walter who is being held in a high security mental institute but is working with an accomplice on the outside. This was one of the better books of the series because it does pull together multiple threads. My complaint, while small, is that the epilogue feels the need to explain how everything happened like a middle school English teacher. I’m not sure where we go with Joona now but I’m probably going to follow.
  • The Bear – “Beef” (S.2 E.1) (FX) (2023): “So there’s a hole in the wall.” – Carmy. I knew this would be a decent show just based upon the pedigree. I didn’t know that last year it would become one of the shows that I kept thinking about over and over. It ended the first season showing off a heart that few shows can pull off. The second season starts with Carmy (Jeremy Allen White), his brother Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), Sydney (Ayo Edebiri), and crew trying to renovate and reopen the restaurant. The season starts in the freezing February of Chicago. The initial scene of Marcus trying to warm his ill mother’s hands before heading to work is a great way to ground us at the start as Bruce Hornsby’s “The Show Goes On” plays over the cold Chicago streets. The rebirth/renovation of the restaurant has some delicious symbolic moments already and I’m sure that will increase as the season progresses. The burglar alarm going off as they ask Oliver Platt’s character for more money is a pure Mark Twain moment. This show is well acted, superbly written, and as Carmy’s Sharpie sign says at the end as they work towards their opening, “Every Second Counts.”
  • Bruce Hornsby & The Range – “The Show Goes On” (1988) (from Scenes from the Southside): “Time is passing, slowly passing you by / You better try to find it before it passes you by” – Bruce Hornsby. The first album from Bruce Hornsby & The Range hit it big in 1986. The second album in 1988 came with the pressure to duplicate that success. This long song had the feel of “we’re going to do what we want, not what the label wants us to do.” Bruce is able to include one of his best piano solos in the middle of the song and there’s noticeable guitar work that is impressive. It’s easy to read the lyrics as about death but there’s a light in the piano that makes it feel like the energy of a lost love and a broken heart. It’s not about being afraid or sad but just how time passes.
“Some rush into things, some stand and wait their turn” – Bruce Hornsby
  • Soylent Green (1973) (Directed by Richard Fleischer): “I know, Sol, you’ve told me a hundred times before. People were better, the world was better…” – Detective Thorn. Director Fleischer is one of those men who worked through many eras of Hollywood and kept just under the radar while making such quality works as Fantastic Voyage (1966), 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954), Conan the Destroyer (1984) and even Amityville 3-D (1983). In the bleak future of 2022 in New York City, Detective Thorn (Charlton Heston) finds himself and his friend Sol (Edward G. Robinson) trying to solve the murder of a board member of the dominant food company, Soylent. The investigation keeps turning up more and more corruption until the “shock ending”. The film is so much more than that detail. The dystopian future is all about haves vs. have-nots and the way these two societies exist parallel to each other (a world where Det. Thorn doesn’t ever get to shower and “furniture” in Chelsea Towers gets to shower with hot water). The plot is structured as a hard-boiled detective story. It feels like it could have been written by Phillip K. Dick. The future look of New York City might not be spot on, but it’s easy to see how the economic differences are not too far from our future. A vote for Santini is a vote for Soylent Green!
Soylent Green Poster on display of the website
  • The Brotherhood of the Bell (1970) (Directed by Paul Wendkos): “I’m not going to use it but there are those that will.” – Prof. Patterson. Originally aired as a CBS Thursday Night Movie, this film has lived on with the reputation of one of the best made-for-television films. In his college days, Andrew Patterson (Glenn Ford) becomes part of a secret society called The Brotherhood of the Bell. Later in life, now a professor, Andy is given instructions by the powerful secret society to fulfill a mission. His reluctance sets a series of events into motion. Filled with great television character actors like Dean Jagger, Will Geer, William Conrad, and Dabney Coleman, this does live up to its reputation. The way Prof. Patterson’s life starts to unravel as he turns on the secret society is really well handled. Glenn Ford is perfectly cast. His actual life and his character in this film mirrors the Rick Dalton character in Once Upon A Time . . . In Hollywood (2019) including the quote in the film that he starred in a made-for-TV film directed by Paul Wendkos. This film should have a bigger audience.
“How many times have the roots of your life been torn up.” – Dr. Horvathy

Best of the Rest

  • A show titled We Might Regret This is probably something said by every network spending money on a television show these days with all the declining viewership. The show from the Stath Lets Flats (BBC) producers has some promise. Freya is a tetraplegic who is moving from Canada to London with her best friend, Jo, as her personal assistant. The quirky take on the Canadian out of water in London is always fun but the added uncomfortable humor of the producers typical fare puts this to the front of my anticipated shows.
  • Happy 30th Birthday to the “More You Know” series of public service announcements. This Helen Hunt one touting the importance of teachers is one of the first that I remember.
The more you know . . .
  • Monster Snake on Roof of House After Escaping Dubbed “Stuff of Nightmares” Let’s dissect that headline a bit. First of all, if you describe anything as a “monster snake”, I don’t think it’s ever going to be the “stuff dreams are made of.” Then you’ve indicated that it “escaped” from the “roof” of your house. That would suggest that you don’t have it under surveillance any longer. Once again, “nightmare” should be assumed. It turns out to be a red-tail boa that can grow up to 13 feet long. Luckily, they mention that it was captured and returned to the owner, not roaming the wilds of NW Wisconsin.

Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback

  • On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 1/13/2008, I was getting ready to head into my busy week of January Back-to-School. My #72 Favorite Movie of All-Time was Blues Brothers (1980). That’s an accurate ranking and my debate is always that it’s termed a comedy but I view it as a musical. The music drives every aspect of this picture and the comedy is always subject to the whims of the songs.
  • I did a quick list of my favorite R.E.M. songs that I won’t go into much depth because it’s an accurate list. My three favorite then . . .
    • 1. “Losing My Religion”
    • 2. “Man on the Moon”
    • 3. “So. Central Rain”
  • My list today . . .
    • 1. “So. Central Rain”
    • 2. “Nightswimming” (#4 in 2008)
    • 3. “Fall on Me” (Unranked in 2008)
  • There were shows starting back up like American Idol and other reality crap like Scott Baio Is 46 . . . And Pregnant (VH1). My shows like Prison Break and Friday Night Lights were back in action but there was a new show that I had just decided to watch.
    • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – “Pilot” (S.1 E.1) (FOX) (2008): “Would he still reach for you if the only dream you’ve ever shared with him was a nightmare?” – Sarah Connor. Taking place a couple years after Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), set in 1999, Sarah Connor (Lena Headey) and her son, John (Thomas Dekker) have relocated to New Mexico. When a Terminator shows up at school to kill John, his friend Cameron (Summer Glau) reveals that she has been sent to protect him. As expected in any “Pilot”, the exposition is a little heavy but the action sets forth expectations for the series. This won’t just be one long battle scene each week. These actors are great at the non-action scenes. I remember being very skeptical of the series based upon the title but the casting convinced me to try it. This would win me over and it would become one of my favorite shows of 2008. It’s still a fun episode today.

1973 in Review

“And I’m going to make you pay!!”
  • July – Avengers #113 is written by Steve Englehart with art by William Robert Brown. A hate group called The Living Bombs are against the relationship of the Scarlet Witch and Vision.
  • July 2 – Match Game ’73 (CBS) debuts with guest stars Michael Landon, Jo Ann Pflug, Richard Dawson, Jack Klugman, Vicki Lawrence, and Anita Gillette. The successful reboot of the old game show is now hosted by Gene Rayburn.
  • July 7-13 – Another great Bob Peak cover, this time of Dick Cavett.
Some talk shows bite.

What the Hell Did I Put in My Mouth?

Hostess Patriotic CupCakes

These yellow cake and blue frosting cupcakes were first out last year, to my knowledge. I’m not going to guarantee that the ones I purchased were made with that batch. The cake itself isn’t bad but the frosting is a bit congealed and hard to the bite. I’ve never found the Hostess Cupcake to be a satisfying snack. These aren’t terrific nor as patriotic as promised.

Kit Kat Cereal

You will have to work hard to convince me that these aren’t Cocoa Puffs with just a hint of Golden Grahams. They are a pleasant cereal for chocolate lovers (like me!) but in now way do they taste like any Kit Kat bar that I’ve ever had. I did really enjoy these but don’t be fooled by the name. And don’t expect a chocolate-flavored milk when you’re done; all the chocolate stays on the cereal.

Little Debbie Cookies & Creme Brownies

The new innovation in Little Debbie brownies is to add an ice-cream-influenced, cookies-and-creme frosting to the brownie. The Little Debbie brownie has always had a strong chocolate flavor and there’s just not enough cookie-and-cream flavor here to alter the flavor much. I’d suggest crushing up your own Oreos to mix in with this or add it to your favorite vanilla ice cream.

“The show goes on, as the autumn’s coming
And the summer’s all gone
Still without you, the show goes on” – Bruce Hornsby

Stay Hard.  

Shawn Bourdo

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