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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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Entries in dick cheney (148)


In Which We Replace Our Phone And Our Prostitute

This Is Heaven


creator J.J. Abrams, Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy

Evan Rachel Wood wakes up at the beginning of every episode of Westworld having slept in her clothes. At some time later, the android she portrays will be questioned extensively by a human being, usually in a droning voiceover. Every conversation with Wood is a Turing test of sorts, and soon it becomes obvious that all the robotic hosts in the theme park of Westworld are coming fully alive. That this happens already in the first episode of the show makes for a long and boring slog to revolution.

Where they pissed away hundreds of millions on this show, I have no idea. If androids could be created that had this kind of flexibility and intelligence, the fact that they could be used in a lifelike recreation of the Old West would be similar to using a cure for cancer on dogs. All of the so-called newcomers who arrive at Westworld are very eager to ejaculate inside of the women and sometimes men, who are both called hosts. There is not a lot of concern as to whether they have been cleaned or anything.

The coming rise of androids seems more of a private matter. Think of all the things Donald Trump could use an android for – it wouldn't have to be just locker room talk. Androids are actually quite useful in a number of professions besides sex toys. They make wonderful teachers, perfect security guards (they're a bit expensive for soldiers) and excellent organ donors.

Ed Harris plays a rich patron of Westworld who wants to get involved in the park on a "deeper level." He scalps one android and finds a weird maze-like map on his scalp that intrigues him greatly. Harris keeps shooting every robot he comes across, alarming some of the park's staff, who suggests to their director of safety that "He just took out a posse!" I am completely unclear on what significance this could have for anyone.

It all seemed a bit fake and disingenous when prominent Republicans began pretending to be offended by the things Trumper said to Billy Bush. There was a story weeks ago about how the man asked for all the overweight women working at his resorts to be fired. Isn't employment discrimination a bit more serious than whatever bullshit the man comes up with on a tour bus? Like, really, did you hear any of the things Trump said about Megyn Kelly months ago?

So every time Hillary Clinton doesn't want to answer a question, is her plan to state that Michelle Obama is her good friend? She sounds nowhere near as authentic as the madam portrayed by Thandie Newton on Westworld, whose number one line to her newcomers is, "In this New World, you can be whoever the fuck you want." I don't know who is more likely to be an android — probably Anderson Cooper.

Anthony Hopkins plays the creator of this mess, channeling John Hammond. In tandem with Jeffrey Wright (pretty sure none of these characters have names but I'll check IMDB later), he is responsible for the programming of the androids. As they usually do, the writers give Hopkins these weird extended monologues of supposed profundity. Listening to him and a Westworld storyboarder argue over the meaning of what the park is actually made me feel like I was losing brain cells.

The androids aren't controlled by anything as foolproof as an off-switch. They are made to respond to verbal shut-down commands. It is unclear of the what the point of adding all these auditory cues is – isn't it simply more convenient to have a kill-switch? Engineers and programmers are taught that things are bound to go wrong. Samsung recently replaced a smartphone which regularly caught on fire with another smartphone which regularly caught on fire, and they tried to cover it up.

That's a phone battery, though. Once an android starts telling you he's about to make your life a living hell, as one informs Anthony Hopkins, I suspect you would begin to reassess your entire project. In the original Westworld, which was also quite terrible while costing significantly less money, humans had lost total control of the means of production. Androids in some cases were constructed entirely by other androids and human beings simply did not know how they operated.

If we ever actually feared something from living machines, an electromagnetic pulse would probably do wonders. A key moment in Westworld occurs when Evan Rachel Wood murders a fly that has settled on her neck. It seems far more likely she is simply imitating human behavior she has seen. This is how most living things learn how to act.

The casting of Evan Rachel Wood is the one great masterstroke practiced by J.J. Abrams, whose forays into television have not been as financially profitable as his films. Wood's slightly uncanny looks are made all the more attractive in this context. It is hard to understand why she is not the biggest star in the entire world; she is even a substantially minor part of Westworld, involved as she is in a relationship with another android (James Marsden).

I would watch Evan Rachel Wood do anything. I wish that there still existed extensive tapes of her relationship with Marilyn Manson. What did they talk about? Probably her, a lot.

The only interesting direction Westworld could take is outright war between humans and androids. I am deeply skeptical of this, considering how much the show has already spent on Western sets and costumes. Abandoning that in order to bring the production into a futuristic society is just not on the menu. It is far more likely all the creators of this theme park will be locked inside where they can talk to each other for hours on end, and reveal that, sigh, some of them are actually robots, too.

At that point, Abrams will demand the writers institute his favorite narrative device — the flashback. What will it take to make Abrams retire from film and television, please? I guess I shouldn't be mad since having him spend most of his time slightly remaking the Star Wars movies with the exact same plots as the originals is like having a sociopathic murderer wandering around a deserted island in the middle of the ocean. How much harm can he really do? I miss Vinyl.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.


In Which It Took Us An Hour To Get There

Night on the Hudson


There is a scene in Steve McQueen's 2011 sex addiction movie Shame that I think about a lot. Michael Fassbender has absconded to a lovely hotel on the Hudson with a co-worker. He actually cares for her, so he is unable to maintain an erection during sex. You see, his erotic imagination is only enlivened by subjugation; with a real woman, he is powerless. Afterwards, she tells him that it's all right. He cries anyway.

The morning after the debate I walked down Fifth Avenue. Donald Trump owns a $350 million dollar corner store that he rents to Gucci for $16.5 million a year. Since they pay the rent, they hired some terrible graffiti artist to paint dumb shit all over the facade. When tourists walk by, they think some crazed individual is trying to make Trump look like a fool. I guess little do they know he already did it himself.

In a New York City cafe, various people discussed the previous night's events. "Nuclear containment is a serious issue," a man in a black suit opined. His hair looked plastered on, an up and coming look. Lynne says that Trump combs all the hair on his head forward to create his signature look. I don't even remember what it was like to have hair.

About two hours earlier in Miami, Florida, a band played an odious instrumental version of a terrible song, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." The New York Mets hugged the Florida Marlins since a Cuban pitcher on Saturday night rammed his 30 foot boat into a jetty, travelling at a speed of 60 miles per hour. His body and those of his friends were destroyed on impact. It sounded like a word problem.

It takes great skill to make complicated things into simple things, and this is the reason that I think we never give our politicians enough credit. Hillary Clinton was brilliant enough to gain entry to Yale Law School. I don't understand why she doesn't show it. Barack Obama never lets you forget that he is a lawyer and a professor. What would we do if we ever realized who Hillary Clinton actually is?

Jose Fernandez, the Cuban pitcher I mentioned, was scheduled to pitch on Sunday afternoon at one o'clock, in a game that will never be played. "Jose was supposed to pitch tonight," explained a Marlins radio broadcaster, but this was not really true. The team had moved his appearance to Monday so that he could throw against the Mets; the owner of the Marlins, art dealer Jeffrey Loria, is a native New Yorker who always loves sticking it to his hometown. Because he did not have to pitch Sunday, Jose had a free Saturday night. It was his last night of any kind.

By percentage, Tulsa has half as many African-Americans as Charlotte. Both candidates expressed their regret at the various shootings that occurred this week. There were no questions about any other shootings, or any other communities. Hillary made sure to explain that there were a lot of positive things happening in low-income areas and it would be poor form to lose sight of that. Okay.

After the debate, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta told Chris Matthews that perhaps Trump would want to back out of the next two debates, the first of which is scheduled for St. Louis, the same county where Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer. Brian Williams interjected almost immediately, asking Podesta where he has heard that Trump was not interested in participating in another debate. Podesta cackled like a rabid hen; he resembles the Grim Reaper and is quite literally desiccating in front of our eyes. You have to understand one thing about all these people: winning is the only thing they care about. They would love to be the president of anything.

News of the separation of Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts hit me the hardest, if I am being honest. I always imagined that his dick was huge and he gave it to her a lot. A couple in their late forties is the most important type of couple that we have. When Lynne and I were in our late forties, I was so attentive to her every need. I brought her a glass of milk every morning. She never drank the fucking thing, but I liked her knowing it was there.

In my wildest dream, I imagine Hillary Clinton falling in love. I know she does not love her husband, he pats her on the back like I stroke my iPad in bed. How long has it been since she has felt the embrace of a man who is committed to her and no other? Even if she does not always desire this intimacy, it is reassuring to know it is possible. Liev Schreiber just wanted a woman who was happy to be with him in New York; their first date was at Magnolia Bakery. Hillary could have someone who loves being with her, anywhere, anytime.

Sometimes Liev Schreiber gets upset. When he feels angry, he is at his most lonely. I would love to hear two people debate that in front of the world, because it is probably as important as a trade agreement. I love the idea of renegotiating everything we know about each other for a more favorable deal. But I suppose on some level when we hear Donald Trump say that, we know it could be so much worse.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.


In Which We Start Things Up With Adam Brody Again

The FK


creator Ben Ketai

Adam Brody's girlfriend Taylor (Ashley Grace, Topher Grace's real-life wife) is the kind of woman who feels that because she loves someone it is okay to put down certain parts of him. During sex, she demands Adam Brody put on various Enya-sounding music while he fucks her. She asks, often, whether or not this or that is "OK" in the bedroom, and tells him that he doesn't have to go down on her, like it is some kind of imposition.

Adam Brody is the kind of man who enjoys sex with Topher Grace's wife at the end of a hard day. You can feel he has a general angst that he is exacting on her during intercourse. Adam Brody is focused on acting very mature during his new series StartUp because at the end of the day there is really no reason he could not be playing a high school student. His face and body have barely changed at all in ten years, whereas Jason Priestley looks like he was run over by a truck.

Adam Brody is a white man living in Miami. He is completely unhappy with his job at an investment firm. He meets Izzy (Otmara Marrero), a Cuban woman who went to Stanford. She has created a currency called GenCoin — maybe she was unaware BitCoin already existed? Everyone is like, haven't you heard of BitCoin...? but only Adam Brody is stupid enough to believe this is a new, revolutionary idea. He gives her two million dollars that his dad gave him.

Before her big break, Izzy was living in the Florida Keys with a man she described as a "key rat"; she had debatably consensual intercourse with him because he paid her electric bill. There is a lot of sex on StartUp, most of it completely cynical, because without these tiny little expressions of emotion there would be absolutely nothing exciting about this story.

I had to look up what a key rat was, because the only time I've ever been to South Florida was with my eyes closed. According to my internet sources, a key rat is "someone who lives anywhere on Key Biscayne except the Grand Bay or the Ocean Club, attended KBCS, smokes the chronic, is generally an undesirable character, likes Budweiser, and has spent excessive time at the skihole." This led me to look up what a skihole was. I never did find out, because I got distracted by Lynne asking me whether I thought Taylor Swift had breast enhancement surgery.

Substantially more interested in Adam Brody than his girlfriend is Phil Rask (Martin Freeman). Martin Freeman is doing an American accent that is top of the line. He is introduced on StartUp running on a treadmill, and Martin's new body is absolutely phenomenal. Phil Rask is a federal agent of some kind who has an ex-wife who looks like an underwear model and he goes around South Florida like every single person in his path is nothing more than a hurdle to be surmounted. I immediately loved this man.

When Phil Rask meets Adam Brody, he says, "Huh?" a lot and generally makes him feel uncomfortable. They talk about how much Adam Brody loves to fish, which is a strange topic of conversation, given that there is no way Adam Brody has ever caught a marlin in his entire life.

On the plus side, StartUp features a very ethnically diverse cast. On the negative side, none of these actors seem to be very comfortable with one another or share any emotional connection at all. StartUp is so derailed by Adam Brody stammering through various scenes that Martin Freeman's evil agent becomes a protagonist-in-waiting.

In order to cleanse the taste of this Crackle original series from my palate, I took a trip down memory lane this week and started watching some episodes of The O.C. For people who had never seen Beverly Hills 90210, The O.C. was somewhat watchable until Josh Schwartz' writing became painful. Adam Brody was a better actor in 2003 than he is now. Martin Freeman is the kind of versatile performer who can play anyone, Adam Brody should only play a self-effacing rabbi in a Coen Brothers movie if he wants to reinvent his career, because this is not it.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.