Previously on FTCH, there was adventureful imagination with one hoot, two Cheerios. and three cheeses. We elevated with King, got paranoid with Legends, and hung out with Mon Oncle. After you watch the Big Game tonight, keep your television tuned to NBC afterwards for the Ice Dancing Free Dance and cheer for my niece, Madison Hubbell, and Zach Donahue in the last competition of their careers. This week we cover the Fantastic Planet, fantastic birthday cookies, and a fantastic mystery. I ask you to hold on for the sleeping beauties and the same old song. Remember, FTCH would like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.
Pop Culture Ephemera
- Stephen King / Owen King – Sleeping Beauties (2017) (Scribner): “Another part of getting older: you forgot what you wanted to remember, and remembered what you wanted to forget.” – King. With so many novels and stories over the past 50 years, it’s fun to read new stories that become almost mash-ups. This long novel written with his son, Owen, has elements of The Stand, Under the Dome, Rose Madder, The Green Mile, and (not his story but culturally important) The Walking Dead. What happens to the world if all the women who fall asleep are covered in cocoons and never wake up again? We are treated to an interesting scenario with a group of characters, not so good and even less good much like our two groups in The Stand. The world quickly devolves quickly and that lets the authors tell the stories of many characters and have an alternate take on the devolving world of The Walking Dead with elements that I enjoyed in Under the Dome of people using the crisis as a point in which to change their lives. There are lots of Easter Eggs for fans of Stephen King’s writing. The book will make the bones for a possibly great TV show (but I said that about Y: The Last Man too). My only reservation is that a story about Sleeping Beauties should probably have had more women as fleshed-out main characters. Instead, it is really the story of two men and how they handle the tragedy.
- Nancy Drew – “The Spellbound Juror” (S.3 E.11) (2022) (CW): Yes, I’m still talking about this show. This show will probably be cancelled and a distant memory in a few months. This episode is illustrative of how this show stands heads and shoulders above other CW shows. After a season of multiple storylines, they are all coming together thread by thread. The stories of murders, Gettysburg ghosts, multiple love relationships, and a trial all find their way into this episode. There’s even a callback to “The Legend of the Murder Hotel” from Season Two. This episode would be a terrible place to start watching but for those that have hung in for multiple seasons, there’s a payoff that rarely happens in current shows. Even superhero shows that tell season-long stories don’t reward attention to detail the way this show does.
- John Lennon – “Hold On” (1970) (from John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band): “Hold on, world / World, hold on / It’s gonna be alright” The same man who pleaded with us a few years before to “Help!” is still in touch with his emotions in 1970. Lyrically, this album is John really opening up himself for us. It’s about recovering from drug use and the personal tumult of the breakup of the Beatles. His personal experiences are reflective of what is going on in the world as we enter the ’70s and are a couple years removed from the hope of the Summer of Love and Peace. This song is about knowing that things are “gonna be alright”. It’s also about taking a break (the dual meaning of “Hold On” as in a grip and “Hold On” as in take a break) and live in the moment. It’s reflected in the way Ringo’s drumming starts and stops within the short song. You can’t downplay the comfort provided by John’s doubled harmony too.
- Columbo – “A Stitch In Crime” (S.2 E.6) (1973): As I approach the end of the Second Season, I come across one of the best episodes yet. Leonard Nimoy is awesome as a conniving and dangerous surgeon with a plan to botch a surgery to kill his colleague and then a nurse figures out his plan. This episode contains one of the most emotional killings of a character we are cheering. And it is the rare Columbo episode where he loses his cool at the end with the sheer depravity of the killer. Nimoy as Doctor Mayfield is a perfect casting. Add to that Anne Francis, Will Geer (grandpa on The Waltons), and Nita Talbot (the cute Russian spy on Hogan’s Heroes) and you have a recipe for an episode that far outdoes anything else this season.
- Fantastic Planet (1973) (Directed by Rene Laloux): What if I watched and enjoyed a film and just didn’t even know how to start talking about it? It is a product of the counterculture science fiction of the era, mixed with a clever cut-out animation style and overtly political symbolism. The Oms (humans) are enslaved by the Draags (giant blue inhabitants of the planet Ygam). The Om, Terr, has been a slave since birth. He grows up to join a radical group that opposes the rule of the Draags. At the base of the story is the relationship of the Soviet Union with Czechoslovakia in the 1970s. The larger symbolism is our treatment of less advantaged people than ourselves and the need to understand that might does not equal right. Viewed today as a cautionary tale of how we treat the environment, it’s still a fascinating and powerful story. I saw this first as a teenager and didn’t get any of these references other than the psychedelic animation style. There’s so much more to it than those initial reactions.
Best of the Rest
- Another early favorite of mine for today’s Superb Owl game is Hellman’s Mayo hiring Jarrod Mayo (in a not so subtle wink to Terry Tate the “Office Linebacker”) to help tackle food waste. The payoff being my favorite line of the year so far when Pete Davidson says, “I am very hittable.”
- One of the ads that people often list as one of their favorite Super Bowl ads was a Super Bowl Weekend commercial but not technically a Super Bowl ad. The “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” came out of nowhere to create one of the most successful branding ads of all-time. If you remember the dark days of 2010, Old Spice was mere months from discontinuing all of their brands once they got rid of all the body wash they had in their warehouses. It was your grandpa’s scent. This ad plus the YouTube campaign of responding to comments put Old Spice not just back on the map but for years, the top-subscribed brand on YouTube.
- I blame all of you dedicated readers for me missing the story of the two LAPD officers who were too busy playing Pokemon Go that they didn’t respond to a robbery. For some reason I am so tickled that NPR included the detail that they “set off in pursuit of a Snorlax”. Their stories fell apart when one officer said the suspect was a Bulbasaur and the other claimed to be on the trail of a Munchlax.
Sunday Morning Tuneage Flashback
- On the Sunday Morning Tuneage of 9/10/2006, I’m reminded how my weekends were dominated by youth football. Big Brother All-Stars was coming to an end, Prison Break was rolling along, and The Simpsons were starting a new season and I refuted the “it isn’t funny anymore” label (which I still do 16 years later. Not much to revisit other than my ranking of my Top Five Tupac songs on the 10th Anniversary of his death.
- “Same Old Song” (#1 in 2006): This is still my favorite 2Pac joint. Even though he debuts with only a single verse, it’s a funky jam with Digital Underground and he lets us know that he’s someone to keep on our radar.
- “Dear Mama” (#5 in 2006): “I finally understand / For a woman it ain’t easy trying to raise a man.” As the years have passed, I’ve really come to appreciate the lyrics and the way he really crafted the words in this song. Always going to love songs that pay tribute to the mothers of the world too.
- “Keep Ya Head Up” (Unranked in 2006): “So will the real men get up? / I know you’re fed up, ladies, but keep ya head up.” This celebration of black women is also another song that plays against Tupac’s reputation. Another song with lyrics you can appreciate with multiple listens.
- “How Long Will They Mourn Me?” (Unranked in 2006): Warren G. produces and Nate Dogg adds vocals and it’s just a bit too spot-on for what would become his life soon afterward.
- “I Get Around” (#2 in 2006): Another joint with Digital Underground when it just sounds like 2Pac is having a really fun, chill time in life. I love that dichotomy of his persona that bounces back and forth between party and serious ghetto life.
Left off the current list “Brenda’s Got a Baby” (#3) and “California Love” (#4). Not bad songs but haven’t aged as well for me.
Flash From The Past
What the Hell Did I Put In My Mouth?
Oreo 110th Birthday: Chocolate Confetti Cake
Happy Birthday, world’s best-selling cookie. Birthday Cake is a flavor that can go wrong very quickly. I’ve had a couple Oreo flavors in this family of tastes that didn’t hold up so well. This one is much closer to Birthday Cake flavor and the confetti is a nice touch. There are two layers of creme like a Double Stuf. One is chocolate (the cake flavor) and the other is a buttercream (the frosting). It’s a solid offering and being limited, you should pick some up while you have the chance. Pick up some vanilla ice cream to go with them while you are at it.
Cocoa Puffs Popcorn
Let’s get the obvious question out of the way — YES! They do taste like Cocoa Puffs on popcorn. I expected a pretty generic chocolate popcorn flavor, especially after reading “with cocoa glaze” on the package. Am I cuckoo for these? No. But they did a wonderful job of making them taste like the cereal and still maintaining the taste of having a popcorn snack. Pretty good mix of sweet and salty that could have leaned into salty a bit more. Worth a bag for the uniqueness of the flavor.
Dulce de Leche Toast Crunch
I have seen this floating around much of last year but didn’t pull the trigger on it until recently. On the surface, I’d be hard pressed to distinguish this from “regular” Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The caramel flavor ends up being a bit like pouring maple syrup on Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It’s a little more sweet but with milk I couldn’t separate out the flavors as much. Not worth too much of your time to track down unless your sweet tooth is really cranked up this month.
“Well you get things done,
Like they never been done,
So hold on,
Hold on.” – John Lennon