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Entries in almie rose (26)


In Which We Drink the Clean Draught of Mad Men

Dark Waters


Male. Female. Shallow. Deep. Lie. Truth. These are some of the conflicting themes boldly represented in last night's tonight's episode of Mad Men.

Mad Men is like a John Updike piece and a New Yorker cartoon formatted into a television show. It's not so much a television show as it is a culturally significant piece of art that I am lucky to bear witness to.


In these episodes we witness the eternal struggle between the opposites listed in the aforementioned lines. We watch as Pete tries to balance being a boy with being a borderline rapist. When Pete's wife goes out of town the first thing young Pete does is remove his shirt and tie all in one fell swoop. Pete's shirtlessness speaks volumes about nudity in madmen. Or the lack thereof. Which reminds me of something Kafka once said, but as viewers of Mad Men, I'm sure I don't need to tell you what.

As we watch young Pete grapple with the tower of responsibility we see Betty trying to climb a similar Jenga tower of her own; the one of womanhood. Betty and her female cohorts try to save the reservoir but Betty decides to enlist the help of a craggy looking man of political power. The question is, does Betty save the day, or does Betty's male friend save the day? Water, like gender, is a complex issue.

Don's shirt is white.

Pete's comely German neighbor stains a pink poofy dress, a garment that Pete is all too quick to sweep off of her hands. Pete, the man-child who was previously watching cartoons while eating cereal on the couch, is now trying to juggle the delicate and complex dynamic of gender issues. He wanders like a lost soul, or a poet, in the female clothing department. ("Republic of Dresses" as he refers to it, in his crisp and manly manner.)

Notice how he bows again to Joan who is always taking on the role of the eternal grandmother. Thus Pete is able to return from the department store not with a Chip N Dip, not with a rifle, but with an evening gown. This speaks volumes about the roles of men and women in the 1960s and foreshadows the women's movement. But then Pete basically rapes his female neighbor.


Betty is tackling a similar gender bend in which she tries to navigate the male dominated field of politics. She does so by kissing her reservoir savior. Later she and unknowing husband Don have the following exchange about something completely unrelated:

DON: "That's real politics."
BETTY: "Well you know, when you don't have any real power, you have to delay things."

Oh we know, Betty. We know, but can the women's movement be delayed? No, it cannot. The times are a-changing and a magic bus is pulling into its stop. All aboard the magical mystery tour and get off of my cloud. Betty's suit is pink. I think we all know what that means.

When even hinted at infidelity by Pete's starry-eyed wife, much like Lot's Wife, she falls into a pillar of Salt when Pete stumbles and in silence, confesses what his guilt cannot say. In this way, Pete's silence speaks volumes about his infidelity.

Trudy made a variety of cold salads.

And what of Betty's exterior compared to her interior? Betty's hairdo is exquisite. It's like sculpture, much like the fine city of Rome in which she is vacationing. In this way her hair echoes her suroundings, reminding us that Betty is always in style. "You think because of the way I'm dressed I'm shallow?" she asks Don, harkening back to the ever present reservoir theme. When Don later undresses her, we see that Betty is thin, but her hair is fat. This speaks volumes about the 1960s in so many ways. At least four.

They say that still waters run deep. But no water is still in Mad Men. These are churning waters rife with strife. These are waters that cannot be filtered into a reservoir, for no matter how many times you purify the waters of Mad Men, they will never be clean enough to quench your thirst. Bottled water is better for that.

Almie Rose is the contributing editor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. She blogs here, and she twitters here. She last wrote in these pages with tips for gentlemen.

"Where or When" - Diana Krall (mp3)

"I'll Hang My Tears Out To Dry" - Diana Krall (mp3)

"Too Marvelous for Words" - Diana Krall (mp3)


In Which We Give You 10 Rules For Dating Worth A Damn

To the Gentlemen


Gentlemen. I sense a dating crisis among our generation. The movies have lied to us. Nobody dates anymore. I'm not ready to give up on the movie dating montage we all want so here are some suggestions to help you along:

1. Zachary Braff, stop following me.

This is the 2nd time in 6 days that you and I have been in the same place. Oh I know: you didn't mean it, it's an accident, you don't know who I am, blah blah blah.

This one is important:

2. Gentlemen: If you are on facebook and you are in a relationship you need to put that shit on your profile. If you have a girlfriend you need to click the little button that says "In a relationship." 

It takes two seconds and saves heartache. You don't even need to put the name of the person you are in a relationship with. But you need to declare it. To not declare it is tacky. And weird. I've had guy friends who counter that with, "I don't want people to know about my personal life on facebook." Are you serious? Really? Really Charlie? Then don't get on facebook. Get on linked-in or get your own website where you can put whatever the fuck you want.

3. If you have my number and are texting/calling me for the first time to see me, please suggest dinner.

I am worthy of dinner. Drinks = please take off my skinny pants and do things to my genitals on my couch while "Who's The Boss?" plays in the background. I don't want to speak for all women, I really don't, but I know that most of us appreciate being asked on a real date. And look, there are times when all I really want to do is get into your skinny pants with the TV on for background noise. But if you don't invite me out to dinner then you will never find out. Now if you're taking me out for drinks at a jazz club or something, that's different. But if you ask me to meet you at the bar where they serve free hot dogs, then have fun with yourself and Tony Danza. Even Patrick Bateman took his women on dates.

4. I always say that with a great number comes great responsibility.

I'm not joking. I mean, I am kind of joking when I say it because to say that with a serious tone of voice would make me sound like a tool, but the sentiment behind it is real.

5. If you ask me to dinner, don't try to sneak past the dinner hour and then text me.

Do you think I'm not going to realize that you're texting me at 11 instead of 7? Do you think I just don't get hungry? I love to eat. I'm like a little kid, I love going to restaurants. They're magical. Take me to In-N-Out, just own up to the dinner date.

This one is for the ladies:

6. Ladies, if you are in a relationship, you need to put that on your profile too.

And if you're going to name names, under "in a relationship with..." then you need to put the name of your real boyfriend. Not the name of your best friend, not Christopher Walken, not "art and beauty", but your boyfriend's name. I have a friend who thinks it's hilarious to put her best friend's name...even after she got into a serious relationship. Her best friend is a guy, so that made the whole situation confusing for everyone. Let's all just make facebook easier on each other.

7. No one has an answering machine any more.

If you really wanted to reach me, you had several ways of doing so: cell, text, email, facebook message, twitter, robots or some shit, etc. So if you didn't contact me I know it's because you really didn't want to. It's not like you left me a really lovely long message on my answering machine about how you can't wait to take me out for dinner at Dorsia but I didn't hear it because I was in the shower. No. This is not a Meg Ryan movie. Welcome to 2009.

8. Don't ask me out if you have a girlfriend.

Honestly, I'm surprised that this even needs to be said. But if this happens, if you do ask me out and I find out that you have a girlfriend, then I have every right to be steamed like Seymour Skinner's steamed hams. Once a guy asked me out and then wouldn't add me on facebook (which is suspicious, it really is) because I later found out he didn't want me to see all of the lovely photos of he and his girlfriend on it. I don't blame him, if I were him I wouldn't want me to see that either. But if I were him I wouldn't ask me out in the first place.

9. If you're throwing a party and you invite me, that can count as a date.

Just don't invite me if you're already bringing a date. If you do invite me to your party, please introduce me to your guests; it's rude not to. But if you do introduce me to your guests and then take their camera, take a picture of me, give them their camera back, and say, "This is for you to masturbate to later", that's worse. Maybe I'm just old fashioned.

10. Be a gentleman.

I'm going to stop here because if I go any further then my head may explode. This is why my relationship with Sven is so good. Imaginary boyfriends are the best kind of boyfriend.

Almie Rose is the senior contributor to This Recording. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. She is the creator of Apocalypstick. She last wrote in these pages on the AMC drama Mad Men.

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"Quicksand" - Tim Buckley (mp3)

"Martha (Tom Waits cover)" - Tim Buckley (mp3)

"Peanut Man" - Tim Buckley (mp3)


In Which We Plan To Advertise in Ebony

Wading Through The Fog of Mad Men


Don Draper is the Kanye West of the 1960s. They’re both creative man-children who get pissy when they don’t get their way. They also look great in shades.

Last night’s episode of Mad Men, aptly titled "The Fog" because the whole thing was a foggy mess, began with The Drapers at a parent-teacher conference in which Don takes the only available chair, leaving his pregnant wife to find her own goddamn chair. Don Draper is not a butler; he does not need to offer his chair to anyone. That’s such a slick Kanye thing to do.

Oh yeah so Sally is acting up in school and Betty has to pee. While she leaves the teacher gets all flirty with Don saying, “It’s going to be a beautiful summer.” Don gives her a look that says, “Yeah, for me to do you in.” Betty comes back in what has to be the shortest pee break in human history.

Back at Sterling Cooper Don gets pissy at a meeting and leaves, like Kanye at an awards show. The British dude tries to talk to Don and Don gets all pissy. Then Don goes home and no one is there to answer the phone and Don gets all pissy.

Don is so angry he could break his Mac Book Air!!!!

Then all of a sudden Duck Phillips appears on the screen and I gasp and do a Snoopy dance of joy. My God how I’ve missed Duck Phillips. But Pete Campbell’s being a total downer about it. If Don is the Kanye of the 60s then Pete is definitely the Pete Wentz of the 60s. Though Pete does have his share of Kanye moments, like when he threw his chicken dinner out the window. Gosh those were great times.

The teacher calls Don and tries to get him to reveal his soul or something and Don’s basically all like, “I got to return some video tapes” and shoots her down. For now, at least.

Then Betty goes into labor. God, it’s always got to be about you, Betty, doesn’t it? At the hospital the nurse is acting all Twilight Zone, being aloof and cold, but does offer Betty a complimentary enema.

Don, who looks a lot like Cary Grant in this episode, waits in the waiting room and starts talking to another expectant father. They reveal things about their lives, or something. I think this guy is a prison warden but I’m not really sure, because Dick Whitman’s Old Timey Tales are kind of dull.

In the delivery room, Betty has a drug induced Technicolor dream. Her acting is not that different from when she’s not supposed to be in a zombified dream state. Upon waking from the dream, Betty asks the nurses to leave her alone saying, "I’m just a housewife." It’s times like these when Mad Men really misses the mark on subtlety.

Then Lady Gaga won best new artist and accepted the award with her face covered in red lace. Then when I came back to Mad Men, Don Draper looked sad. I think I missed something.

This episode is more Lynchian than usual.

Betty gives birth without a hitch and wants to name their baby boy after her dead dad. Don is a dick about it but does not break his Mac Book Air!!!

Duck, meanwhile, borrows a plotline from Friends or Three’s Company in which he invites both Pete and Peggy to a business lunch without telling either one that the other one will be there. That’s so Duck Phillips!!! He’s such a rascal! Pete gets all weird and leaves. That’s so emo!

Duck tries to court Peggy into leaving Sterling Cooper for his agency and Peggy has her doubts. But Duck is wearing a slick turtleneck so it’s going to be really hard for her to turn him down. Peggy asks Don for a raise and Don gets all Kanye about it. Duck Phillips looks pretty awesome now, doesn’t he, Peggy?

Meanwhile Pete talks about "negroes" and makes an ass of himself with Hollis, the elevator operator. Pete thinks it would be a good idea to exploit the black demographic for an ad campaign, but the clients are appalled, because it’s 1963 and no one cares about black people. Roger does another blackface routine to smooth things over.

No, he doesn’t, but he does get angry at Pete and yells, "Are you aware of the number of handjobs I’m going to have to give?"! Seriously, he really says that! After that I kind of tuned out because all I could think about was Roger’s handjobs. I really wish he had gone into detail. Exactly whom would you need to give these handjobs to, Roger? And how? Could you describe it?

The episode ends with the baby waking up Betty from her sleep and she seems kind of bummed out by it. Don of course does not wake up. Don, how could you be so heartless?

Almie Rose is the senior contributor to This Recording. She writes here, and twitters here. She is a writer living in Los Angeles. She last wrote in these pages about hot places in L.A.

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"Kitchen Stove" — Henri Almond (mp3)

"Wolves and Laundry" — Henri Almond (mp3)

"Trois Ans Avec" — Henri Almond (mp3)