From the Couch Hole: The Calendar on Your Wall Was Ticking the Days Off

Previously on FTCH, last week the eclipse was just a jade in the shade in the New Empire. The Baja Point Break was full of Spring Breakers who won’t hold you back from the English Toffee creamer. The week got off to a great start with the full eclipse here in Texas. It was better than I expected, even a little emotional. The rain later in the week couldn’t dampen the excitement of Michigan Hockey playing in the Frozen Four. This week the Shogun says, “Tomorrow is tomorrow but this is the day.” In the zone of interest, there is a rise of the planet of the apes, which isn’t a real dream scenario. Remember, FTCH is alive with pleasure!

Pop Culture Ephemera

“I wasn’t really paying attention… I was too busy thinking how I would gas everyone in the room.” – Rudolf Hoss
  • Zone of Interest (2023) (Directed by Jonathan Glazer): “The life we enjoy is very much worth the sacrifice.” – Rudolf Hoss. There have been many powerful films about the Holocaust. The stories like Schindler’s List (1993) and The Pianist (2002) makes us care about characters who suffer because of the atrocities committed by the Nazis. This film asks you to look at the doers of evil. You hear the evil deeds and you see the lack of remorse on the people who commit them. As viewers, we are dared not to see some parts of ourselves in these people. It’s a fine line, and Glazer tiptoes it nicely. Rudolf Hoss (Christian Friedel) is the Commandant of the Auschwitz camp. He lives next door to his work with his wife, Hedwig (Sandra Huller), and family. The attempts to “cover up” and clean the home life shows a level of dissonance to his work. Rudolf wears white, cleans himself and his clothing at every turn, and the house is kept immaculate and free of weeds (to the point of using the ashes of the victims in the yard). There’s a coldness that resembles the storytelling of the nuclear families of the ’50s in films. The lack of exterior emotion is where the actors excel because you know there are gears turning underneath the surface. The magnitude of the Holocaust doesn’t lend itself to anything other than the overwhelming atrocity of the acts, but there’s an additional lesson in how we sanitize history for our own sanity, and that there are stories happening just beyond the walls of our own homes that we ignore at our own peril.
Buy The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis
  • Shogun – “Tomorrow Is Tomorrow” (2024) (S.1 E.3) (FX): “We think pillowing is necessary to good health. In fact, some say the moments of the clouds and the rain is as near to heaven as they can get.” – Lady Mariko. I didn’t plan on reviewing this show episode by episode, but here we are with them putting out episodes that expand and fuel the story with acting and story development. The attempted assassination of Blackthorne last episode has set much into motion. Toranaga must get everyone out of Osaka. The action is well choreographed. The machinations keep tightening the stories. Cosmo Jarvis as just getting his legs under him a John Blackthorne. He has to be strong, and he still has to let the strong characters around him drive his fate. That role is shared alternately between his increased relationship with Lord Toranaga and the burgeoning love with Lady Mariko. This is my favorite new show of 2024, so far.
Buy The The – Soul Mining CD
  • The The – “This Is The Day” (1983) (from Soul Mining): “You’ve been reading some old letters / You smile and think how much you’ve changed.” I’ve been a fan of Matt Johnson and The The since this Soul Mining album dropped in 1983 (very likely I purchased it in 1984, but still). I was jazzed to see it show up in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 as one of Rocket’s favorite songs. The song fits that adolescent view of the future. The group has a number of excellent songs, but this has come to be the one that defines them. That’s not the worst thing.
“This is the day, when things fall into place.” – Matt Johnson
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) (Directed by Rupert Wyatt): “I love chimpanzees. I’m also afraid of them. And it’s appropriate to be afraid of them.” – Caroline. A year before James Franco would play his most unique role in Spring Breakers (2012), he would help shepherd us into a new generation of the Ape franchise that threatens to outdo the original in terms of number of movies and scope of story. The ape animation is another level of advancement (thank you, Andy Serkis, for making me question what is or isn’t CGI) that paves the way for what we will see in the Monsterverse with Kong. The story of Caesar doesn’t reboot the Ape story from the start. Instead, this is more of a chronological story reflective of the final few original films. It was refreshing to revisit this after a decade. The script doesn’t care to give the humans much to do other than give the apes a reason to bond together and escape. The apes only get as far as across the Golden Gate Bridge, but the “Ape Virus” is spreading as of the end credits. I am an unabashed fan of the original franchise and this was the redemption that I have always wanted.
Cinema Sentries
  • Dream Scenario (2023) (Directed by Kristoffer Borgli): “I don’t want to be some culture-war person. I don’t want to be controversial.” – Paul Matthews. There’s quite a concept in telling a nuanced story about the fleetingness of fame in our society and to sneak in a backstory of Jungian philosophy when you think they are just goofing around. Paul Matthews (Nicolas Cage) is an evolutionary biologist who inexplicably starts having a walk-on role in everyone’s dreams. As soon as he tries to take advantage of his viral fame, his life takes a turn for the worse as his appearances become more violent. The way that society acts upon the other, instead of being acted upon, reminded me of Beau Is Afraid (2023) thematically. The Michael Cera influencer character he hooks up with feels right out of that film. There are plenty of uncomfortable laughs, but ultimately the supporting characters like his wife and daughters aren’t given enough to do. It’s enough for a small-budget film like this to make some important observations about fame and controlling our likeness, but there’s not the commentary on how it relates to very Jungian views of self that I thought was going to be part of the conclusion.

Best of the Rest

  • The first decade of the 2000s produced some oddball ads for M&M’s. This 2007 ad didn’t stick around for long, but it’s the first time I can remember The The’s “This Is The Day” showing up in a mainstream advertisement.
“Your life will surely change.”
  • Turning The The’s “This Is The Day” into an Alt Rock single is something that wouldn’t have occurred to me. But I’m not the Manic Street Preachers who always went to the beat of their own drum. This cover from 2011 is actually pretty interesting. Most bands couldn’t pull this off.
“You pull back the curtains . . . “
  • The least surprising news is Denis Villeneuve is working on a Dune 3 film. I think I’m more disappointed that it’s being termed as the “completion of the trilogy.” The next book might bring a semi-logical conclusion to Paul’s story, but as I’m a few chapters into Children of Dune now, the more interesting stories are still another book away.

Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback

  • On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 10/12/2008, the miserable football continued with Michigan losing to Toledo, Little Elm remaining winless, and North Texas losing again on Saturday. My #38 Favorite Film of All-Time was Dr. Strangelove (1964). Of the films on this list, so far, this might be the one that would end up in the exact same spot if I ranked them again. Peter Sellers is just nothing short of amazing in his roles. It’s less and less of a satire as each year passes. Fringe (Fox) has surpassed Heroes (NBC) as my favorite genre show. I was enjoying True Blood (HBO) and wondering about the U.S. remake of Life On Mars (ABC). My Top Ten list of the week is another that has changed as my tastes have evolved and worth another look.
      • 10. Strawberry Daiquiri: About once a year, I get a hankering for one. Then it takes 365 days to get the sugar out of my system.
      • 9. Pina Colada: Once again, about once a year it sounds good.
      • 8. White Russian
      • 7. Jager Bomb: As I once told Matty, “One more and my heart will explode.”
      • 6. Jack and Coke
      • 5. Screwdriver: The classic is about as good as it gets.
      • 4. Kamikaze: Simple yet effective.
      • 3. Lemon Drop: Done correctly, these can get me to sing karaoke.
      • 2. Bacardi and Coke: Captain Morgan is an acceptable substitute. Bacardi was my first though.
      • 1. Vodka and Tonic: Grey Goose or Absolt Citron as the vodka of choice.
      • 10. Vodka Martini: Don’t skimp on my olives.
      • 9. Manhattan: I used to think this was an old man’s drink until I became an old man and developed a taste for it.
      • 8. Mojito: The classic or with blackberries.
      • 7. Whiskey Sour: I prefer it without the egg white, but I’m good either way.
      • 6. Mai Tai: I am picky about my rum drinks these days. This needs a sweet rum to hit the spot.
      • 5. Vodka Tonic: These days it has to be Tito’s or get out of here with it.
      • 4. Moscow Mule: Did we even have these at the average bar in 2008? So refreshing.
      • 3. Old Fashioned: My love of bourbon grew exponentially in the past decade. This is a wonderful choice to judge a bartender’s skills.
      • 2. Bloody Mary: I drank them for a year for a reason. I’ll have one any time of day or night. Keep it on the slightly spicy side, and give me olives and maybe a pickle.
      • 1. Jack and Coke: I can get it almost anywhere and it is consistent. Just don’t try to put a Pepsi over on me.
    • The 2008 list is such a portrait of my drinking habits of those days. There were infrequent trips to the bars and gatherings with friends. I rarely had much alcohol in the house. That list looks like a forty-year-old trying to drink with the twenty-year-olds. I liked Jager Bombs? My liquor of choice is bourbon, scotch, and whiskey. I didn’t have that on my lips back then. I’ve lost the taste for too-sweet drinks. I’m also still not a margarita guy. I’ll have one, which is a huge change from 2008, but it’s still not something I seek out.

1974 in Review

“This wedding will NOT take place!”
  • April – Amazing Spider-Man #131 (Marvel): Written by Gerry Conway. Art by Ross Andru. “I need some sleep. I’ll think about Petey tomorrow. Yeah. Like Scarlett O’Hara said . . . Tomorrow is another day.” – Mary Jane Watson. Peter is still recovering from the death of Gwen Stacey and he has to stop the wedding between Doctor Octopus and Aunt May. He finds time to fight with Hammerhead in between all of this.
  • April 6 – The California Jam was held at the Ontario Motor Speedway outside of Los Angeles. The lineup included The Eagles; Emerson, Lake & Palmer; Deep Purple; Earth, Wind & Fire; Seals & Croft; and Black Oak Arkansas. It was MC’d by Don Imus. There were 250,000 in attendance (Tickets $10 in advance, $15 at the door).
  • April 15 – Stories include Henry Aaron ending his “ordeal” with breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record on April 8th vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Philadelphia Flyers’ playoff run about to start with Bernie Parent in goal, and the World Football League making a splash by signing Csonka, Warfield, and Stabler.
Hank Aaron homers off Al Downing for #715 (April 8, 1974)

What the Hell Did I Put in My Mouth?

Takis: Chippz Classic

There are no more rules in the chip game. Takis, known for their spicy flavors, has released their decidedly very normal chips with no sign of heat. They are essentially Lays with a hint of Pringles flavor. I guess we just wait patiently for the Lay’s Taki Classic spicy chips. They have good flavor, if not a bit on the salty side. I just don’t know why you wouldn’t save the money and buy a bag of regular Lays. These have been around since last fall; that’s how little my interest is these days in Takis releases.

Spindrift: Nojito

Recently I tried the Lime and Mint equivalent of this from LaCroix. It was terrible. It was probably their worst flavor with an overwhelming lime flavor with a hint of mint aftertaste. This more expensive sparkling water usually has good fruity taste. This Nojito is no different. I really enjoyed this flavor. It’s the right mix of lime, generic citrus flavor, and mint. This will be a summer staple on road trips and picnics.

Pop-Tarts: Crunchy Poppers – Frosted Brownie Crunch

A new snack for people who like the crust of the Pop Tart without all of the tasty frosting and inside goodness. Even though they aren’t completely terrible, it’s hard to get over the doggy treat look to them. They are in pouches, so obviously meant for a lunch bag snack. I just don’t see why a Pop Tart itself isn’t a lunch-bag snack. Lastly, the word “Crunchy” is too featured for a snack that doesn’t have any more crunch than a regular Pop Tart.

“You could have done anything, if you wanted
And all your friends and family think that you’re lucky
But the side of you they’ll never see
Is when you’re left alone with your memories
That hold your life together, like glue” – Matt Johnson

Stay Hard


Shawn Bourdo

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