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Classic Recordings
Robert Altman Week

Thursday
May222008

In Which Thursday Links Say Sorry Like The Angel That They Thought Was You

I Need Links Like A Heart Needs A Beat

by Alex Carnevale

This is kind of a sad day, as nothing will ever be as awesome as George Michael was singing "Prayer for Time" on American Idol last night. I have not found something this amusing since $240 worth of pudding.

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Amazingly this was one-upped by a performance earlier in the show by David Archuleta and OneRepublic. This was basically the Jon Lester no-hitter but with a pop song:

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=3YNKA07dWuM]

That whole evening made me want to write a Timbaland biography. Here are your links, don't say I never did anything for you.

If you don't read Camille, are you really living?

Dustin Hoffman just can't help himself

McCain's probable running mates.

Love in Iraq.

Spencer Pratt's advice for dudes.

Mmm, delicious power pop.

Who will go first in the MLB amateur draft?

The best song off the new Portishead album gets a video.

What happened to all the ladies' men?

why do I feel like this is an animal representation of Obama and his running mate?

Artists and designers and the Obama campaign.

Top five vestigial organs

HBO signs Frank Rich, it is only a matter of time before BET signs Molly

Gregg Easterbrook is a tard

from here

Song by Toad discovers a hot new act

Javascript Super Mario Kart

Paul Johnson on Rousseau:

Rousseau was one of the greatest grumblers in the history of literature. He insisted his life had been one of misery and persecution. He reiterates the complaint so often and in such harrowing terms, that one feels obliged to believe him…It is true he always had trouble with his penis. In a letter to his friend Dr Tronchin, written in 1755, he refers to the ‘malformation of an organ, with which I was born.’ His biographer Lester Crocker, after a careful diagnosis, writes, “I am convinced that Jean-Jacques was born a victim of hypospadias, a deformity of the penis in which the urethra opens somewhere on the ventral surface.”

In adult life, this became a stricture, necessitating painful use of a catheter, which aggravated the problem both psychologically and physically. He constantly felt the need to urinate and this raised difficulties when he was living in high society: ‘I still shudder to think of myself,’ he wrote, ‘in a circle of women, compelled to wait until some fine talk had finished…When at last I find a well-lit staircase there are other ladies who delay me, then a courtyard full of constantly moving carriage ready to crush me, ladies who are looking at me, lackeys who line the walls and laugh at me. I do not find a single wall or wretched little corner that is suitable for my purpose. In short I can urinate only in full view of everybody on some noble white-stockinged leg.’

Talking to the dude who is the Playboy Adviser

Women artists win!

Worst headline for a NYTimes story ever

Singlehandedly justifying your decision to start a tumblr

FOUR SONGS TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE

"Cold Beer and Cigarettes (acoustic)" - David Bazan (mp3)

"Shine (acoustic)" - Anna Nalick (mp3)

"The Music of the Night" - David Cook (mp3)

"Swimming Pool" - The Submarines (mp3)

there is nothing we love more in the world than the new submarines album

new video from Spore

smokers give up in groups

I can't get these images of Topanga out of my head, what can I say?

The only thing scarier than that betch is these pics of the chick from House.

We're pretty psyched for the Brit sex tape

Kobe Bryant doesn't want yr love

Best of baseball quotes

Rove on Obama.

Speaking of Karl, McCain has a VP choice coming up. This prompted Adam Nagourney to write the following misleading and racist sentence about Bobby Jindal:

Jindal, who was born a Hindu but converted to Roman Catholicism as a teenager, won 54 percent of the vote after campaigning as a social conservative, opposing human embryonic stem cell research and abortion in any form and favoring teaching "intelligent design" in schools as an alternative to evolution.

The condescension in Nagourney's jab about Jindal's Catholicism is disgusting. Actually Jindal's campaign was not really "about" any of those things. This brand of "objective journalism" is a lot like writing about Barack Obama by being like,

Obama, who is probably a Muslim, won 54 percent of the vote after campaigning as a peacenik hippie, promising to meet with terrorists, raise taxes and oppose gay marriage.

You should be embarrassed if you read the Times. In any case, I do not think it will be the 36-year old Jindal. There's no reason to tarnish the biggest rising star in conservative politics with a national role in what will be a losing campaign. All evidence is that it will be Romney, and Mitt is a fine man. You can trust Mormons.

[youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=LKIs7CkSHxE]

Hot handsome furs track

Encounters with Paul Siegell

Jenny McCarthy = horrifying

Visualizing stuff

New from Ugly Duckling:


Bon Iver on Jools Holland

Bodies left in Janet Malcolm's wake

Jonathan Lethem on Philip K. Dick

J.J. Abrams' new show looks pretty sweet.

Top five ways to score with hot mileys

Against millennials

Don't forget TR tumbles hard now

Shia LaBoeuf in GQ hot

Jed Perl hates on Rauschenberg

The Republicans are falling apart writes Peggy Noonan

I can't get enough of Tall Firs

Man with f'd up hairdo

What Hillary did wrong

a Kim Kardashian photoset to make you cry

Measuring the Senate

lou reed at a wedding

John Cale, from Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk:

Nico would say things so Lou Reed couldn’t answer back. You see, Lou and Nico had some kind of affair, both consummated and constipated, during the time he wrote these psychological love songs for her like, “I’ll Be Your Mirror” and “Femme Fatale.”

When it fell apart, we really learnt how Nico could be the mistress of the destructive one-liner. I remember one morning we had gathered at the Factory for a rehearsal. Nico came in late, as usual. Lou said hello to her in a rather cold way.

Nico simply stood there. You could see she was waiting to reply, in her own time. Ages later, out of the blue, came her first words. “I cannot make love to Jews anymore.”

Hipster Runoff gets vulnerable

She throws herself at men

Lost writer Brian Vaughan's comic book Runaways will be a movie

The new issue of Jacket

Ron Silliman on how to run a journal

Rules for mileys

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

WE CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT THESE SITES

Radiobutt

Setting the Woods on Fire

karen allen is due to die any day now

Sarah Spy is our girl in BK

The Petite Sophisticate

Truck Spills

Tumbledore

Fong Songs

The Late Greats

The Rising Storm

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

The glory of Audrey Hepburn.

Molly wolfed her teamster sub for you.

A dog took my face and gave me a better face to change the world.

PP 4 life

Wednesday
Mar262008

In Which Wednesday Links Are Here And There For You

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The House That I Built and Other Links To Soothe Hard Feelings

by Alex Carnevale

Sketches of the new Yankee Stadium hit the news yesterday. I felt some satisfaction in knowing that I paid for some of it.

Amazingly Rudy Giuliani, representing the city of New York as a lame duck mayor, agreed to pay half of the stadium's construction tab. For what reason I have no idea. The team wasn't exactly threatening to move. Bloomberg then came in, and to his credit, used an escape clause to back out of the deal. At least one New York politician did one thing right.

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I call spaces like the above "nonsense spaces", the Yankees call them luxury suites

Taxpayers will pay some $70 million just for parking garages which the city will operate to gouge the people still further. I really gotta get on the right side of the law, it is extremely lucrative. Were that not enough:

State taxpayers, through money that has accumulated from the MTA's budget since the 1980s, will also pay all of the costs of a train station on the Metro-North commuter railroad.

Just so people from Connecticut can come to the game? This is the world of sports teams and municipalities. For my non-sports readership, this situation is also coming to a head in Seattle with the Supersonics.

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nothing like replicating one of the ugliest historic sightlines in baseball in your new stadium. tradition!

In the case of the Sonics I feel a lot more sympathy for the corporation. The NBA isn't as profitable as pro baseball, and the lease the Supersonics got locked into at the Key Arena is a joke.

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a luxury suite which I will never see the inside of, food is free, but alcohol ain't

The bill to the taxpayer is thus:

All told, the Yankees and the taxpayers can each expect to pay about $450 million, and the Yankees will cover the remaining costs from diverting revenue sharing payments that would have been paid to the other baseball teams.

$450 million? Shouldn't the recording industry be looking for government subsidies at that price?

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this is what accounts for innovation in new york stadium building: escalators

From this verifiable photographic evidence, the new Yankee Stadium looks to be as ugly as the out-of-date behemoth that preceded it. I really don't know why the two best teams in baseball need to have the two biggest shitholes to play in. It boggles the mind.

The Yankee team, fresh off giving a mint to retain Alex Godriguez as their third baseman, are expecting a down year as young pitching matures and a new drill sergeant manager humbles every one by forcing them to eat their own vomit.

Read a saner assessment by my homeboy Neil deMause. Neil's writing in the Village Voice on this subject has been terrific, to the point where when the Voice finally goes bankrupt, he may be the only one with marketable skills.

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LINKS TO AMUSE AND CHALLENGE YOUR CONSIDERABLE INTELLECT

Bill Richardson kinda does look like Judas

History's ten most terrifying contraceptives.

Top 50 schools by looks

George Clooney interview

My take on the Yellowstone controversy: Fuck Yellowstone.

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The Xbox Digg scandal is great

The Afro-American Hills

I dig Bell

Why is prostitution illegal?

Gorilla vs. Bear on a new San Fran duo

Molly's adolescence entry gets funnier by the day, but if she disses me in another blog post, I'm going to go medieval on her.

do not diss me on my own site lambert, i will kill your cat Keatons AGAIN

The internet is a gift that keeps on giving.

The distinguished editor of our Poets Off Poetry series has poems in Sawbuck.

Students ignore their retarded school administrators.

MUSIC MAKES THE BOURGEOISIE AND THE REBEL

"Sky Holds the Sun" - A Band of Bees (mp3)

"Yankee in a Chip Shop" - The Matches (mp3)

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"I Could Be Nothing" - Great Lakes Swimmers (mp3)

"Paint the Rust" - The Dodos (mp3)

MORE LINKS TO FILL IN THE SPACES

I don't like the new Bauhaus album, Pitchfork is more optimistic

I want to get this album

The V Festival in Toronto is lookin' sweet

Richard Kirk on Liberal Fascism

Goosebumps is back:

If celebs moved to Oklahoma.

Reactions to small penis

God loves a Teddy Bear

Some kid gets beat up a lot, Times has no idea why.

Another dumb article from the Times.

Clothing of the future

Melissa on Amy Bloom, we like her too

from this dude's badass flickr

Demi Moore's daughter looks older than her

Hidden ocean underneath Saturn's moon

David Brock is such a d-bag, this book is ridiculous

The sad death of a comments thread

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

TUMBLRS WE FIND OURSELVES INSIDE OF FROM TIME TO TIME

Yumwatch

Thoughts for Food

Glamorous Whimsy

When in Doubt, Seduce

My NY Life

One More Time With Feeling

Alexis Hyde so hot right now

Asimko

Erin Crumpacker

This is BK

caramel*tumblr

Aziz is Bored

Every Day I'm Tumblin'

Garfield Minus Garfield

PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Things that make us madder than poverty.

William Carlos Williams in the quiet times.

We like to relive Scorsese week from time-to-time.

Thursday
Mar062008

In Which Don't Be Afraid It's Only Love

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Ah...those salad days. When women and African-Americans weren't running for the White House, and more men were graduating from college than women.

We publish in its entirety Leonard Michaels' short story about his life in the 1950s.

In the Fifties

by Leonard Michaels

from his second collection of short stories, I Would Have Saved Them If I Could

In the fifties I learned to drive a car. I was frequently in love. I had more friends than now.

When Khrushchev denounced Stalin my roommate shit blood, turned yellow, and lost most of his hair.

I attended the lectures of the excellent E.B. Burgum until Senator McCarthy ended his tenure. I imagined N.Y.U. would burn. Miserable students, drifting in the halls, looked at one another.

In less than a month, working day and night, I wrote a bad novel.

I went to school—N.Y.U., Michigan, Berkeley—much of the time.

I had witty, giddy conversation, four or five nights a week, in a homosexual bar in Ann Arbor.

I read literary reviews the way people suck candy.

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Personal relationships were more important to me than anything else.

I had a fight with a powerful fat man who fell on my face and was immovable.

I had personal relationships with football players, Jazz musicians, ass-bandits, nymphomaniacs, non-specialized degenerates, and numerous Jewish premedical students.

I had personal relationships with thirty-five rhesus monkeys in an experiment on monkey addiction to morphine. Thy knew me as one who shot reeking crap out of cages with a hose.

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With four other students I lived in the home of chiropractor named Leo.

I met a man in Detroit who owned a submachine gun; he claimed to have hit Dutch Schultz. I saw a gangster movie that disproved his claim.

I knew two girls who had brains, talent, health, good looks, plenty to eat, and hanged themselves.

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I heard of parties in Ann Arbor where everyone made it with everyone else, including the cat.

I knew card sharks and con men. I liked marginal types because they seemed original and aristocratic, living for an ideal or obliged to live in it. Ordinary types seem fundamentally unserious. These distinctions belong to the romantic fop. I didn't think that way too much.

I worked for an evil vanity publisher in Manhattan.

I worked in a fish packing plant in Massachusetts, on the line with a sincere Jewish poet from Harvard and three lesbians; one was beautiful, one grim; both loved the other, who was intelligent. I loved her, too. I dreamed of violating her purity. They taked among themselves, in creepy whispers, always about Jung. In a dark corner, away from our line, old Portuguese men slit fish into open flaps, flicking out the bones. I could only see their eyes and knives. I'd arrive early every morning to dash in and out until the stench became bearable. After work I'd go to bed and pluck fish scales out of my skin.

I was a teaching assistant in two English departments. I graded thousands of freshman themes. One began like, "Karl Marx, for that was his name…" Another began like this: "In Jonathan Swift's famous letter to the Pope…" I wrote edifying comments in the margins. Later I began to scribble "Awkward" beside everything, even spelling errors.

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I got A's and F's as a graduate student. A professor of English said my attitude wasn't professional. He said that he always read a "good book" after dinner.

A girl from Indiana said this of me on a teacher-evaluation form: "It is bad enough to go to English class at eight in the morning, but to be instructed by a shabby man is horrible."

I made enemies on the East Coast, the West Coast, and in the Middle West. All now dead, sick, or out of luck.

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I was arrested, photographed, and fingerprinted. In a soundproof room two detectives lectured me on the American way of life, and I was charged with the crime of nothing. A New York cop told me that detectives were called "defectives."

I had an automobile accident. I did the mambo. I had urethritis and mononucleosis.

In Ann Arbor, a few years before the advent of Malcolm X, a lot of my friends were black. After Malcolm X, almost all my friends were white. They admired John F. Kennedy.

In the fifties, I smoked marijuana, hash, and opium. Once I drank absinthe. Once I swallowed twenty glycerine caps of peyote. The social effects of "drugs," unless sexual, always seemed tedious. But I liked people who inclined the drug way. Especially if they didn't proselytize. I listened to long conversations about the phenomenological weirdness of familiar reality and the great spiritual questions this entailed—for example, "Do you think Wallace Stevens is a head?"

I witnessed an abortion.

I was godless, but I thought the fashion of intellectual religiosity more despicable. I wished that I could live in a culture rather than study life among the cultured.

I drove a Chevy Bel Air eighty-five miles per hour on a two-lane blacktop. It was nighttime. Intermittent thick white fog made the headlights feeble and diffuse. Four others in the car sat with the strict silent rectitude of catatonics. If one of them didn't admit to being frightened, we were dead. A Cadillac, doing a hundred miles per hour, passed us and was obliterated in the fog. I slowed down.

Leonard Michaels, 1996

I drank Old Fashioneds in the apartment of my friend Julian. We talked about Worringer and Spengler. We gossiped about friends. Then we left to meet our dates. There was more drinking. We all climbed trees, crawled in the street, and went to a church. Julian walked into an elm, smashed his glasses, vomited on a lawn, and returned home to memorize Anglo-Saxon grammatical forms. I ended on my knees, vomiting into a toilet bowl, repeatedly flushing the water to hide my noises. Later I phoned New York so that I could listen to the voices of my parents, their Yiddish, their English, their logics.

I knew a professor of English who wrote impassioned sonnets in honor of Henry Ford.

I played freshman varsity basketball at N.Y.U. and received a dollar an hour for practice sessions and double that for games. It was called "meal money." I played badly, too psychological, too worried about not studying, too short. If pushed or elbowed during a practice game, I was ready to kill. The coach liked my attitude. In his day, he said, practice ended when there was blood on the boards. I ran back and forth, in urgent sneakers, through my freshman year. Near the end I came down with pleurisy, quit basketball, started smoking more.

I took classes in comparative anatomy and chemistry. I took classes in old English, Middle English, and modern literature. I took classes and classes.

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I fired a twelve-gauge shotgun down the hallway of a railroad flat into a couch pillow.

My roommate bought the shotgun because of his gambling debts. He expected murderous thugs to come for him. I'd wake in the middle of the night listening for a knock, a cough, a footstep, wondering how to identify myself as not him when they broke through out door.

My roommate was an expensively dressed kid from a Chicago suburb. Though very intelligent, he suffered in school. He suffered with girls though he was handsome and witty. He suffered with boys though he was heterosexual. He slept on three mattresses and used a sun lamp all winter. He bathed, oiled and perfumed his body daily. He wanted soft, sweet joys in every part, but when some whore asked if he'd like to be beaten with a garrison belt, he said yes. He suffered with food, eating from morning to night, loading his pockets with fried pumpkin seeds when he left for class, smearing caviar paste on his filet mignons, eating himself into a monumental face of eating because he was eating. Then he killed himself.

A lot of young, gifted people I knew in the fifties killed themselves. Only a few of them continue walking around.

I wrote literary essays in the turgid, tumescent manner of darkest Blackmur.

NYC from Jersey, 1950.

I used to think that someday I would write a fictional version of my stupid life in the fifties.

I was a waiter at a Catskill hotel. The captain of the waiters ordered us to dance with the female guests who appeared in the casino without escorts and, as much as possible, fuck them. A professional tummler walked the ground. Whenever he saw a group of people merely chatting, he thrust in quickly and created a tumult.

I heard the Budapest String quartet, Dylan Thomas, Lester Young, and Billie Holiday together, and I saw Pearl Primus dance, in a Village nightclub, in a space two yards square, accompanied by an African drummer about seventy years old. His hands moved in spasms of mathematical complexity at invisible speed. People left their tables to press close to Primus and see the expression in her face, the sweat, the muscles, the way her naked feet seized and released the floor.

Ann Arbor

Eventually I had friends in New York, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Berkeley & Los Angeles.

I did the cha-cha, wearing a tux, at a New Year's party in Hollywood, and sat at a table with Steve McQueen. He'd become famous in a TV series about a cowboy with a rifle. He said he didn't know which he liked best, acting or driving a racing car. I thought he was a silly person and then realized he thought I was. I met a few other famous people who said something. One night, in a yellow Porsche, I circle Manhattan with Jack Kerouac. He recited passages, perfectly remembered from his book reviews, to the sky. His manner was ironical, sweet, and depressing.

I had a friend named Chicky who drove his chopped, blocked, stripped, dual-exhaust Ford convertible, while vomiting out the fly window, into a telephone pole. He survived, lit a match to see if the engine was all right, and it blew up in his face. I saw him in the hospital. Through his bandages he said that ever since high school he'd been trying to kill himself. Because his girlfriend wasn't good-looking enough. He was crying and laughing while he pleaded with me to believe that he had really been trying to kill himself because his girlfriend wasn't good-looking enough. I told him that I was going out with a certain girl and he told me that had fucked her once but it didn't matter because I could take her away and live somewhere else. He was a Sicilian kid with a face like Caravaggio's angels of debauch. He'd been educated by priests and nuns. When his hair grew back and his face healed, his mind healed. He broke up with his girlfriend. he wasn't nearly as narcissistic as other men I knew in the fifties.

I knew one who, before picking up his dates, ironed his dollar bills and powdered his testicles. And another who referred to women as "cockless wonders" and used only their family names—for example, "I'm going to meet Goldberg, the cockless wonder." Many women thought he was extremely attractive and became his sexual slaves. Men didn't like him.

I had a friend who was dragged down a courthouse stairway, in San Francisco, by her hair. She'd wanted to attend the House Un-American hearings. The next morning I crossed the Bay Bridge to join my first protest demonstration. I felt frightened and embarrassed. I was bitter about what had happened to her and the others she'd been with. I expected to see thirty or forty people lke me, carrying hysterical placards around the courthouse until the cops bludgeoned us into the pavement. About two thousand people were there. I marched beside a little kid who had a bag of marbles to throw under the hoofs of the horse cops. His mother kept saying, "Not yet, not yet." We marched all day. That was the end of the fifties.

Leonard Michaels died in 2003. He was one of the most talented writers of the short story in the form's history. He also wrote novels, including The Men's Club, a brilliant satire, and Sylvia, about his first wife, Sylvia Bloch.

THINGS REALLY WERE BETTER THEN

"Surprise" - Gnarls Barkley (mp3)

"Who's Gonna Save My Soul" - Gnarls Barkley (mp3)

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PREVIOUSLY ON THIS RECORDING

Becky reviewed Knocked Up here.

Electronic music and gchat just make sense together.

We are as decadent as golden diamonds.

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