From the Couch Hole: So Glad That You’re Here Again

Previously on FTCH, there was a murder at the end of the world on Dune. The messiah asked for black and white Oreos and said, “Only you,” when told about cumin lamb potato chips. The week was just what I’ve come to expect from the doldrums of late February. It isn’t March Madness, hockey playoffs have started, and baseball is just in the first stages of Spring Training. Below is my latest grand-kitty, Mabel, who has found a furever home with Christian and Brianna in Minnesota. This week the Lord of Light came in on his midnite cruiser and said, “Welcome home, Franklin.” The NASA moon landing was the color purple thunder on Dune. Remember, many FTCH readers had itch relief and rash improvement as early as two weeks.

Pop Culture Ephemera

“I’m very gullible when it comes to my own words. I believe everything I say, though I know I am a liar.”
Buy Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
  • Roger Zelazny – Lord of Light (1967) (Harper Voyager): “No word matters. But man forgets reality and remembers words.” I’m starting to question my resolve to follow through with my science fiction exploration. This was a highly ranked book by a well-respected author in the genre. I know that it takes place on a planet that former inhabitants of Earth colonized. They now rule the planet as the (actual?) Hindu Gods. After that, I have no idea. I pushed through and finished it with no real idea of what I just read. I enjoyed a few elements of the philosophical discussions (which is roughly 75% of the book anyways). I’m confident I could understand more upon a second read, but I can’t imagine that happening anytime soon. It’s a heavy subject for 250 pages. I’m more entertained by the ancillary role this book plays in the Iran Hostage Crisis with the CIA developing an immersive story revolving around location scouting a movie called Argo that was based upon this book.
  • Snoopy Presents: Welcome Home, Franklin (2024) (AppleTV+): “Do you know how the ocean says ‘hello'” – Various. Introduced in the comic strip in 1968, Franklin Armstrong finally gets his origin story finally in 2024. This special is quite adorable. The old specials didn’t have Billy Preston or Stevie Wonder songs, but this feels in the same spirit as those shows. They borrow equally from references to older and newer generations. There is a moment that Charlie Brown and Franklin are listening to John Coltrane in the Armstrongs’ garage, and then the vocabulary of the children references a “newbie.” This isn’t the Franklin of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973) where Franklin sits on a side of the table all by himself. This Franklin is accepted by Charlie Brown from the start. His struggles are those of a new kid in town, not because of his skin color. Eventually, he becomes part of the gang. It’s fun to see him given his spot in the group.
Buy Steely Dan – Can’t Buy a Thrill CD
  • Steely Dan – “Midnite Cruiser” (1972) (from Can’t Buy a Thrill): “The places we used to go / Familiar faces that ain’t smilin’ like before.” This excellent Steely Dan song stands out for the exceptional vocals by Jim Hodder, drummer, who rarely got a chance to step forward with lead vocals. His voice gives the song a hybrid feel of a country song crossed with the soft rock sound of a Carole King. It’s the ache of opportunities lost. I bought this album for “Dirty Work” and in the end fell the most for this song. It’s still on frequent rotation.
“I am another / Gentleman loser” – Steely Dan
  • Dune (1984) (Directed by David Lynch): “I’ll miss the sea, but a person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing him to grow. Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.” – Duke Leto Atreides. I’ve watched this film at least 25 times and in at least three different versions (including the Alan Smithee version), but this was my first theatrical viewing of the film. It’s hard to know how to take a film that even the director has distanced himself from. The public sentiment has gone from “it’s bad” to “it’s not that bad” to now the general theory that it’s “flawed but pretty good.” I can report that it’s equally interesting and a total mess. The script is too much of a jumble. It picks and chooses parts of the plot without regard to telling the political-revolution story or the messiah-themed story. As much as I love the choices in the current film, I can see why I found this so indecipherable. I’m more and more convinced that this story will never be correctly told in less than a 12-hour miniseries.
  • The Color Purple (2023) (Directed by Blitz Bazawule): “So when a man raises his hand. Hell no!” – Sofia. Alice Walker’s novel from 1982 novel was turned into one of Steven Spielberg’s most beloved films in 1985. I appreciate that this film version of the musical isn’t just a remake of the previous film. While not a criticism necessarily against Spielberg, this film turns the feminist novel into a film about women’s empowerment. The women of the film are held back by their skin color and their gender but the men aren’t given the screen time of the previous film. The song’s are wonderful, especially “Hell No” and “I’m Here.” The problem is that they too often mess with the pacing of what is a generational story that needs to play out relatively quickly to cover all of the dramatic turns. I don’t have many complaints except for that. It might have taken a three-hour version to smooth out the rough edges of the pacing and plot that was left aside in order to allow the songs their time to shine.

Best of the Rest

  • This 2005 Audio Bullys song samples Steely Dan’s “Midnite Cruiser” very effectively. I knew of this UK group with their smooth beats but was unfamiliar with this particular tune until recently. There’s such a 2005 groove to it that I expect it played at a ton of skate parks. I can envision the skating videos of the day to this song. Just keep on moving . . .
“I love them days / So I look back again.” – Audio Bullys
  • It was five years after the Nancy Sinatra song “Bang Bang” got a new life in Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (2003) that the Audio Bullys did an electronic remix of sorts on the song. It’s hard to call it “an original” since it relies so heavily on the original. This was why I had the album in the first place but I guess I only really ever played this song and didn’t know the next track “Keep On Moving”. This song is still a great listen.
“Until this day sometimes I cry” – Nancy Sinatra
  • I talked last week about my love for Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her comedic work. If this film is half as good as the trailer, I don’t know that I will be able to emotionally handle it in the theater. This has moved into my must-see film list for 2024.
“I don’t know who I am without you.” – Julia Louis-Dreyfus

Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback

  • On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 8/24/2008, I was working the Mean Green Fling before classes started at UNT. My super busy week was ahead. My #64 Favorite Film Of All-Time was 12 Angry Men (1957). Henry Fonda and an incredible supporting cast made this one of the first “classic” films that I fell in love with. I saw it last year again and it holds up well enough to deserve this ranking. The Olympics were over and there was the last bits before college football. There was the Little League World Series and a Democratic National Convention that was going to nominate a young man named Obama. The cable channels offered some good alternatives including this episode that still fascinates me.
    • MythBusters – “NASA Moon Landing” (S.6 E.10) (2008) (Discovery): I consider the Moon Landing Hoax as a 1A/1B ranked conspiracy theory along with the JFK Assassination. Jamie and Adam focus first on the shadows in the moon photos. Myth busted that there had to be two light sources. Kari, Grant, and Tori take a look at the flag waving in the wind that the theory contends that can’t happen in a vacuum. I love the detail they put into recreating the scenario. It’s another busted myth. Conspiracy theorists best not watch this episode.

1974 in Review

The wrath of the Spectre
  • February – Adventure Comics #431 (DC Comics): “Stare deep into my eyes, evil one . . . and we will walk into the Valley of Death together.” – Spectre. Cover art, interior art, and written by Jim Aparo. Although I rarely read Spectre comics, it was his version that I always had in my mind. This issue also features an Alex Toth story called “Is a Snerl Human?”.
  • February 18 – Col. Thomas Gatch took off in the balloon, Light Heart, from Harrisburg, PA to be the first person to cross the Atlantic in a hot air balloon. He was never seen again and to this day, the remains have never been found.
  • February 25 – The makers of Time magazine debut a lighter fare weekly to focus mainly on celebrities and interesting stories about non-celebrities. People Weekly debuts for 35 cents with Mia Farrow on the cover from the upcoming The Great Gatsby (1974) costarring Robert Redford.
Palm Beach Whirl: The parties, pets and personalities.

What the Hell Did I Put in My Mouth?

Mountain Dew: Purple Thunder

This isn’t my first rodeo with Purple Thunder. Previously exclusive to Circle K on fountain and in bottles, Purple Thunder has arrived in cans nationwide. It still doesn’t disappoint. It’s not Pitch Black, still one of the best flavors out there, but the Berry Plum comes across as a blackberry derivative. It’s a tad on the sugary tasting side, but it’s good with a sandwich for lunch.

H.E.B. Ridged Potato Chips: Pepperoni Pizza Rolls

These made their first appearance in 2022. They are back and I remembered liking them so they made their way into my basket again. I’m not sure what makes these Pepperoni Pizza Rolls and not just Pepperoni Pizza. It could be the marinara sauce flavoring which does recreate a late night snack of pizza rolls. I love the crunch of their ridged chips, and it’s hard to ruin a salty meat and sweet tomato sauce flavor. These are equal to my memory, and I might need another bag.

Goldfish: Elf – Maple Syrup Grahams

Based upon one of the Elf major food groups, these go overboard on the maple syrup instead of the grahams. I finally got into this bag and wow, the first thing is that the scent is overwhelming. The second thing is that I had these a few hours ago and the smell of them is on my hands and in my clothing now. Not in a good way. A little too sweet to taste and to smell for me. These won’t be a Christmas Classic like the film.

“For one more time
Let your madness run with mine
Streets still unseen we’ll find somehow
No time is better than now” – Steely Dan

Stay Hard


Shawn Bourdo

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