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Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Senior Editor
Brittany Julious

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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In Which Ted's Behavior Reaches A Critical Turning Point

Outlet Shopping


Ted 2
dir. Seth MacFarlane
115 minutes

At the beginning of Ted 2 the title character is living in a two-room apartment with his wife Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). The two have slowly been growing apart. After examining their credit card bills, Ted determines that his wife has spent $120 on clothing at Filene's Basement, an amount he deems excessive for an outlet store. He lashes out at Tami-Lynn, asking her why she needs nice clothing for work when her job as a grocery store cashier demands she wear an apron over it.

Due to drug use, Tami-Lynn's ovaries have been corrupted into a black fugue. Because they cannot have a child together, and no agency sees them as fit adoptive parents, Ted considers their marriage effectively over. This is the single most offensive notion in Ted 2, although it is not the first time that fertility issues have let directly to divorce.

The rest of Ted's jokes aren't terribly offensive at all. They are scaled back a lot from MacFarlane's long-running animated series Family Guy, where some of the things said about blacks, Jews, women and Frank Sinatra are downright disrespectful. Ted 2 is tame in comparison - most of the humor is about ejaculation and blowjobs. Seth at least had the dignity to hire African-American actors to say the really wretched things.

In order to get Ted certified as a person and not a material good, he and his friend John (Mark Wahlberg) hire a lawyer named Samantha (Amanda Seyfried). MacFarlane spends most of the movie making fun of Seyfried's disturbingly prominent eyes. Despite enjoying Ted's favorite pasttime — marijuana smoking — Samathana is deemed not as cool as a 40 year old guy wearing what appears to be a hairpiece and a stuffed teddy because she has never seen Rocky 3.

Ted 2 was begging for a road movie where MacFarlane could really examine America up close and make jokes about people the elites on the coasts secretly suspect are inbred racists who believe in omnipotent supernatural beings.

Instead Seth targets most of his jokes here at the elites themselves, since most of these one-liners, except the one involving Wahlberg being coated in semen, can only be understood with a college degree or by Good Will Hunting-esque prodigies.

Ted 2 starts to get exceptionally dreary and dull in its second act, when a long courtroom scene slows the comedy to a devastating crawl. Neither Wahlberg or Seyfried is good at anything much escept being a straight man. This would normally be fine, but Ted is just a despondent, rather depressing individual here and even his normal joie de vivre would not be enough to carry material this dull. This Ted is not wild or funny at all, just sad that no one respects his choices or personality.

The rest of the movie is not much better, as Ted's depression leads him to walk around Comic Con where a vendor is selling his clones for $40, and a Hasbro employee named Donny (Giovanni Ribisi) tries to analyze him for science.

Ted 2 reminds one of the serious turn taken by John Landis' worst movie, Beverly Hills Cop 3. Beverly Hills Cop 3 would never have been released today. Someone would have seen it for what it was — a dramatic version of a comedy series predicated on Eddie Murphy's wild improvisation. He refused to do any of that in the production of Beverly Hills Cop 3, thinking this wacky kind of behavior did not fit an older, more mature detective. He may have been right, but no one wanted to see it.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.

"The Starting Line" - Matt Pond PA (mp3)

"A Second Lasts A Second" - Matt Pond PA (mp3)


In Which Allegory Is The Only Proper Form Of Argument

Poldark Times


creator Debbie Horsfield

What remains of National Review magazine after William F. Buckley expired and left the reins to a bunch of cranky weirdos who loathe homosexuals presented a symposium this week. The topic was the Supreme Court's legalization of gay marriage. None of their regular writers were included in the symposium — besides opinion pieces by presidential candidate Ted Cruz and columnist Kevin Williamson, no one wrote at length on the decision. "The Editors" did weigh in, explaining that it was super unfair that gays could marry... for reasons.

It is hard to think of a good argument against gay marriage; most of the "people" in National Review's symposium cited polygamy as the motivating factor in their advocacy against it.

The slippery slope extends far further than that. I was forced by my wife Lynne to watch a BBC series called Poldark in which a man marries his servant. I am unsure whether or not this is historically accurate — I know the Downton Abbey sex tape girl made it with her driver, but I thought that was a bit of a grey area. It isn't as if he was cleaning her toilet, after all.

To be fair, she was a fantastic maid.

I composed an elaborate Modest Proposal parody concerning how no one should be allowed to marry their servant, but I replaced it with the impassioned broadside that follows. You can thank me later.

The title character of Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) fucks his maid exactly once, although on another very symbolic occasion she baked him an apple pie. After an intense night that the producers of Poldark show alarmingly little of, the ginger maid Demelza (Eleanor Tomlimson) resolves to wander away from the Poldark estate, which looks something like a penis:

After you lose a war to Americans, you build homes like this as emotional shelter I guess.

I recently received a few scandalous electronic mails suggesting that I am obsessed with seeing penises where they are not. One even threatened that if I expressed regret at never seeing the Mountain's member one more time he would traitorously start reading the wretched Game of Thrones recaps on some other website. I wrote him back, saying, "Methinks the lady doth protest too much" and included a gif of Catelyn Stark being murdered.

In some ways Poldark is basically a Cateyln Stark prequel, which should horrify every thinking person.

You can't help but see penises on Poldark, even if they are not veiny or fleshy. The main character lives in a penis, and he has a scar running from his left eye to his jaw that looks like a long, stringy phallus. Turner's acting is a little overdone, and his main quality is an overwhelming handsomeness. He works very hard nonetheless, and he does take his shirt off an awful lot to make up for the lack of visible genitals. Instead of bidding farewell to Demelza, Ross Poldark decides to make her his wife.

The only thing missing from Poldark is any individual of color, and any homosexual. Downton Abbey got us used to expecting extensive gay storylines full of unrequited love and sexually transmitted diseases in our British period dramas. Poldark has none of that — the National Review crowd can enjoy it as good Christians enjoy the Bible and, apparently, denying citizens equal protection under the law.

None of these people can marry.

One article I read from a guy named Rod Dreher was particularly pernicious, and deserves special mention. Christians don't like being called hateful, he explained, without explaining why he does not want gays to be able to commit to one another for life. Given the decision, he went on to say, it is now Christians who are the righteous minority. He seemed to take a certain disturbed pleasure in this. Naturally he finished his column with the most inane sentence in all of op-ed dom: We live in interesting times.

The wedding was sold to US Weekly for six million shillings.

After Poldark marries his servant, he immediately puts a bun in her oven. She and the baby get sick from an illness that is going around Poldark's copper mine. It is never cleared up why he can't get a more honest occupation, like that of columnist for the Dallas Morning News, with which to provide for his family. Instead he subjects the working class of his region to his penis manor, his slighter-higher but still pretty low wages, and the diseases of the copper underground, the one he inherited from his now-deceased father.

Digging in the earth himself is beneath his own dignity. As a veteran of the American War of Independence, he is finished doing the dirty work, even if it is his own dirty work. Instead his child is the one who suffers, perishing from the contagion. This is irony, only semi-tragic and not humorous. Gay marriage should have been a tremendous victory for conservatives who championed the importance of the family unit as the standard grouping of civilization. Instead they made a mess of things.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. His conscience is massive at this point, and expanding every day. He grows larger in our appreciation of him. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.

"Sitting On My Dream" - Friska Viljor (mp3)

"Painted Myself In Gold" - Friska Viljor (mp3)


In Which We Are On The Carpet For Over A Week



Morgan Fuller is the first girl I meet in my unfinished housing development the year we move to Colorado Springs, the year 1995. We are close and express that we “like” each other. The boys in the neighborhood tease me because Morgan has heavy, dark hair on her arms. I don’t notice this, I notice she’s smart and shiny and we ping-pong our jokes. But now I notice this. I ride my bike to her house and tell her we can’t hang out anymore. I ride back, my stomach in a twist by the time I get to Bow River Drive. I don’t come out to play for a week, I lie on my carpet learning shame.

Jason Cannerberg’s father hanged himself before he knew him. He brings a framed service photo of his father in his Navy uniform to Show and Tell. He is my best friend for one year. One day, dusty and hot, we walk from the playground to the indoor bathrooms. In the foyer, a gust kicks up a whirlwind of sticks and leaves, empty Frito bags. Jason shrieks and runs outside. When I ask him what happened he says, “I saw my father’s face.”

Kyle and Joseph are two years older than I am and live in my housing tract. Joe’s dad, Tim, is a big-bellied, dirty joke telling, denim jacket wearing, George Thurogood humming, abusive, and happy man. We know where he keeps his weed. Joseph saw it once, in a small wooden box in the back of the walk-in closet. Joseph’s parents have just divorced and we are unsupervised Monday through Friday from 3:05pm to roughly 5:30pm. We gingerly remove the box from the musty, flannel flanked closet and set it upon his father’s bed. We open it and see marijuana crumbs, wisps of tobacco, a mangled pack of Zig-Zags, and two Polaroids, face down. Kyle reflexively snatches the pictures and flips them over. There’s Joseph’s father sprawled out on the very bed we stand before, his penis flopped up on his heaving stomach, grinning wildly. The next, a flash-bright close-up of Joseph’s mother giving a sweaty blowjob. My throat hitches. Joseph slowly takes the photos from Kyle, places them back in the box, walks the box into the closet. As we shamble down the stairs Joe says, “let’s go smoke this weed you fucking pussies.” We never speak of it again.

Lauren is just Lauren, I never learn her last name. I never learn where she lives. We both wander the wide streets of Briarwood aimlessly and often run into each other. She will be quiet for a long time and then say something like, “Washing the dishes makes me horny.” She describes the hot water on her hands and the butterflies I don’t know about. That same week she walks me to the side of my house, back against the vinyl siding, and pulls up the front of her purple-striped shirt to show me her boobs. I stare at them blankly until she puts the shirt down and goes home. I’m rushed but paralyzed, the excitement all getting stoppered by that look-over-your-shoulder feeling of doing something capital W wrong. Later, walking down my street at dusk, I run into one of the Stone sisters, severely Christian and without a television, she says to me, “My dad saw that girl flash you earlier today.” I turn on my heel and walk quickly home; my guilty peek behind the curtain witnessed, judged, worried the burning in my face will never extinguish.

Jamison Leffler has shaggy blonde hair, is skinny like me, and wears “actually funny” t-shirts, not “joke shirts.” We are both unnoticed and laugh entirely too loud. At lunch we have a good section of table on the lower level where we play Magic: The Gathering undisturbed. We are almost always talking about Metallica, girls, and the guys who are trying too hard. The next semester a girl I have a crush on, who occupies a table with higher social value, invites me to sit with her and I accept. I make new friends. My interactions with Jamison become limited to a single head-nod from across the cafeteria, and even that fades. When he looks at me I am wearing a mask. I think about Jamison no less than six times a year for the rest of my life.

Jennifer Maars is my first “girlfriend” and my first real kiss. Her friend’s coin her a nickname: Maars Bar. She writes me intricately folded notes in gel-pen that I keep for at least eight years. After school, I walk her home and she asks me to turn around when we are two blocks from her house. Two weeks later we are talking on the phone when her stepfather comes on the line. “Who is this?” he barks. I tell him. He says, “Jennifer’s isn’t allowed to talk to boys. Don’t call here anymore.” He hangs up but immediately calls me back. “If you were planning on going to the band concert tonight you aren’t anymore, understand?” I hang up. A year later Jennifer and her mother move to Des Moines to escape his anger, and the things he was doing to Jennifer at night. 

The car is packed as my father shakes Joseph’s father’s hand in the street. We are moving to Kansas and the neighbor’s have all just said goodbye. The day is bright and quiet as we drive off. I stare out the window watching 5952 Fossil Drive fade out of view. My father, annoyed, wants to know why I’m crying. But I don’t know why. And this isn’t the first time.

Alan Hanson is a contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in Los Angeles. This is his first appearance on these pages. He tweets here and you can find his website here.

"Art Of Letting You Go" - Tori Kelly (mp3)