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Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

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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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Entries in dick cheney (102)


In Which We Start Our Own Record Company With Money From Drugs


Can't Touch This


creator Lee Daniels & Danny Strong

The moustache of Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard) resembles a meaty little caterpillar. He loves his sons. He loves music. He loves a nice mug of cocoa at night. He loves rap music, R & B music. He loves his gay son, his impatient son. He loves his ex-wife Cookie (the completely perfect Taraji P. Henson) and offers her a salary of three million dollars per year after she is freed from her 17-year stay in prison. She demands five.

Other people might have a tough adjustment period after such a lengthy time in jail, but this is no problem at all for Cookie. Every scene she is in fills me with a vigor I have not felt since the early 1950s. Throughout her time in the big house, Cookie focused on the positive side of her incarceration - when it was over, her ex-husband would be giving her three million dollars a year.

A leopard had to die for Cookie to live.

It is unclear whether or not Howard harassed Cookie like he did all his wives IRL, but I would expect he did not, since she only hurls the mildest of insults at his Cayman-Islands-born current squeeze. Back in their early days in Philadelphia, Cookie and Lucius used to sell drugs. Empire depicts these scenes in a grainy flashback where the principals involved are all wearing hats to make them look substantially younger. Empire was already off the rails by its first episode when Howard put a bullet in his bodyguard for daring to refer to him as a thug.

It is unclear why all the super-talented people involved in Empire would want to make such a ridiculous soap. My heroes Lee Daniels, Ilene Chaiken and Timbaland are all heavily involved in Empire, and yet there is not only not a hero of any kind in this ludicrous setting, some of the heroes are murderers.

A party is always 10x better when it takes place on a boat. History proves this.

The actual subject matter of the show is the frighteningly trivial music industry. "This magazine cover makes it seem like they poached him!" Howard squeals about an artist they let go because of irreconcilable differences. It is impressive he is able to focus on business given that a doctor has given him only three years to live, the most unlikely diagnosis in the history of television.

The best thing about Empire is the new musical talent the show introduces, and the numbers they perform. They probably should have made Empire even more of a musical - two or three songs an hour isn't enough with the talent available to Timbaland. The Terrence Howard music videos are perfect in every way from a satirical point of view:

Serayah McNeill and Jussie Smollett as Howard's gay son are both utterly amazing singers and performers, and the rest of the cast is filled with serious talent and ability. It's a shame that Gabourey Sidibe is wasted on the thankless role of Howard's secretary, but at least she is portrayed as capable and intelligent. If you see a bad actor on this show, you can be relatively sure they will be killed off by the end of the episode.

Well, except for Howard's son Hakeem (Bryshere Gray), who is the spoiled one. He never learned how to act, he never visited his mother in jail and he constantly initiates scenes where three or four people in sequence scream "Don't touch me!" All is forgiven though, as his interest in older women means the show will feature deep morning-after conversations between a 20 year old and Macy Gray. I cannot even tell you how long I have been waiting for this.

Terrence Howard's Master Acting Class: "You see, my little white friends, acting is actually just looking bored."

In one scene, Hakeem pulls out his penis in a restaurant. The white patrons are so disgusted that they stand up and leave the premises. As he lectures them about their hypocrisy, he launches into a lengthy, detailed critique of the Obama administration. There are other forms of protest besides walking down the street. Complaining on the internet, for example.

Get it? Do you get it?

One of the best things about Empire is how even in its ridiculousness it displays the full spectrum of how black people are different from one another. Some of the black actors on Empire have Latin American or European backgrounds, others feature different ancestry; many are personal friends of Timbaland, and in a few select cases, Justin Timberlake.

Empire shows how reductive broad labels are in the obvious face of meaningful differences in class, gender and geography. Being African-American is not determinative, it cannot mean only one thing. A single token person can never represent an entire ethnic group, unless that person is Rosie Perez.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

The suspicion that you may actually be drinking Lucius Lyon's urine never leaves you.

“Warriors” – Dawn Richard (mp3 “Projection” – Dawn Richard (mp3)


In Which The Timeliness Of This Nightmare Continues

Something's Missing


creator Emily Fox

Becca Brady (Laura Ramsey) is a deeply unhappy person. She is going to be married to a beautiful and considerate man with a good job. She lives in a magnificent apartment overlooking Central Park West and her nether regions have yet to require homeopathic rejuvenation of any kind. What exactly could be so bad about her life that she wants to return to 1995, sent there by the magical interference of a magical black person, the first one she has presumably ever met?

VH1's new deeply offensive series displays a plantation mentality at almost every turn. Every single other person in it is white, including Becca's entire bridal party and - gasp! - her mother! Hindsight not only takes Becca back to the days in which the size of Bill Clinton's penis was still an open question, it melts the entire diverse smorgasbord of New York City diversity down to the Aryan Brotherhood and one non-threatening black man (Don Cheadle).

This was trash fashion in any decade there Becca

I am just kidding about the Don Cheadle part. He could not take this role because he was previously committed to portraying a drag queen who sends Ryan Gosling back to the 1890s period in London.

Nostalgia goggles have taken over - people now think the 1970s was a fun time to live in. Trust me, it was not: things were every bit as racist as they are today, and you never knew how many calories were in any of your food. When Becca goes back to 1995 through the fantastic involvement of Gabourey Sidibe (still joking) very little is actually different about society.

if this looked any more like a set there would be a boom mic

Cell phones were slightly smaller back then, and played better games. Otherwise things appear to be roughly the same, if a bit more prosperous overall. The biggest thing Becca notices is that she is able to smoke in bars again. It seems like we're stretching if the major advantage of a time period is the greater ease with which we are able to give people cancer.

The past is always glamorized beyond all reasonable recognition. Some few, lucky people were able to be happy because they didn't know any better. A lot of people have been asking me lately what I was doing in 1995, and I told them the same thing I will tell you: I was preparing to go to war with Iraq.

That hairstyle remains as relevant as Steve Harvey

We are always at war with Eastasia, and Becca is always let down majorly by some white brah with a haircut that look perilously anachronous given that it is supposed to be the 1990s and Matthew Perry's head looked like a mop for the duration. I honestly could not tell the difference between some recent episodes of Seinfeld I watched and the Curb Your Enthusiasm where Larry David went to heaven. (Neither had a person of color present in any serious role.)

We don't know why Becca runs away at the altar from her disappointing Australian husband Sean (Craig Horner), but she is off to make some slightly different decisions, like asking for a promotion at her job and never getting sucked into the admittedly original premise of Lost. Her friend Lolly (Sarah Goldberg) is available for hangsies or whatever in 1995, but the pair doesn't even speak in the present.

a college sweatshirt?!? this must be the past, although a penn state reference would be more timely

Everyone in Becca's life is pretty much intolerable. There is her overly controlling Mom, her weak sauce brother, her cousin whom she resents because the woman made the decision to have children in her twenties - instead of waiting for a supermodel boyfriend to come along so she can have someone new to go meh about.

1995: before they eliminated the menstrual cycle

There is a certain kind of woman there is no pleasing. January Jones, Golda Meir, the younger daughter on Modern Family. They will always find fault with something in you and mitigate the critique by pretending it is something awful in themselves as well. Maybe if Becca had more diverse friends and acquaintances, she wouldn't be so completely overwhelmed and shocked by meeting a black person to the point where her only way to abjure the difference was metaphysical travel through time-space dilation.

I always turned my head to the side and closed my eyes to stifle tears during this period.

Ryan Gosling goes back in time and discovers that he himself was actually Jack the Ripper, and the prosts he killed were all serial killers themselves. He spends the majority of the movie being like, "Maybe you kids shouldn't be so trusting of Father Michael, he's looking kind of pervy lol" and screaming, "There's no telephone here? WHAT? How do we order pizza? What."

Then he realizes he can pretty much make a fortune by predicting the outcome of the 1899 cricket championship. Gosling retires to 2008, so he can cuddle with Eva Mendes without being annoyed and relive the enthusiastic optimism of electing our first black president. After that, he can travel to 2015 to help us find him.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

"Cat Food (instrumental)" - Aesop Rock (mp3)


In Which Katherine Heigl Totally Redeems Herself

Shonda's Necklace


State of Affairs
creator Joe Carnahan

"Can we get dinner this week?" a young man Katherine Heigl has used for sex suggests from her bed. "I'll call you," she patters back. "But you don't have my number," he protests as she walks out the door. We flash back to their time together: Katherine drags him into an alleyway, and chooses to face the wall as they have wintercourse. She does this so she can pretend he is her now-deceased fiancee:

He enjoyed making love to her from behind almost as much as the rando she brought home did.

The sorrow patterning the man in bed's face now looks like an emoji. Katherine's apartment is so bizarrely lavish for a civil servant that it more resembles the bedroom of the Ayatollah.

Look away, look away, look away... (It's a Being John Mallkovich reference. OK ttyl)

Later that day, on NBC's new Homeland tribute/parody State of Affairs, Katherine - who goes by the name Charleston, presumably after the chew - flirts with a fellow CIA analyst. She's moved on, clearly. Watching her totter around the Oval Office, looking like a piece of gluten, it's hard to feel sympathy. That is until we discover her dead husband was also THE PRESIDENT'S SON.

In a nod to Mrs. Doubtfire, Heigl also portrays her own therapist.

For some reason, even though she is merely an analyst, Charlie commands shock troops targeting suspected terrorists overseas. These troops call her at the most inconvenient times - when she's at the gym, when she is taking it from behind in an alley, when she is having extended Benghazi-esque flashbacks to the perishing of the man she loved. Heigl gets this screwed up look on her face, like, "You're calling me about this now?!"

Bret Easton Ellis should look into a lawsuit, I'm pretty sure this exact scene was in 'Less Than Zero'

In almost every single review he wrote, Roger Ebert would grandiously quote Truffaut's maxim that all war movies end up making war look like fun. This is completely stupid; almost no war movie even did this. Truffaut was an idiot, did you see his later films? I might possibly be confusing him with Godard; ever since my quadruple bypass I'm a tad shaky on the French New Wave. If I wanted to watch the work of a communist, I'd go see Interstellar.

Shonda Rimes trembles with anger every time a male showrunner puts a woman in a pearl necklace. My source is Nikki Finke.

Movies about the intelligence community all seem tremendously boring actually. It's funny to watch State of Affairs momentarily cut to an action scene like they are apologizing for taking us away from the central, important drama of whether or not Heigl is getting along with her therapist this afternoon. "Good doesn't have to come, I do," she tells her shrink, explaining why she was so willing to do it doggystyle while outdoors.

This show badly needed David Cross as her love interest.

Art imitates life I'm pretty sure - wasn't that mentioned in the video where Ariana Grande was wearing those svelte boots? Obama's political innovation, besides adding an uh to every sentence imaginable, is making what used to be captivating, boring. Chris Matthews used to tremble with excitement each time President Clinton made potty; now the Secretary of Defense gets exiled to Antarctica because he criticized the school lunch program and accidentally revealed he didn't know the capital of Uzbekistan, and the collective reaction was, "Gee, Katherine really has lost weight!"

We live in profoundly unserious times. Pauly Shore has a new show where he portrays the British Prime Minister, and it's not a comedy.

Alfre Woodard was cast as the president of the United States and the mother of Heigl's dead fiancee. You could be forgiven for thinking this sounds like either a fascinating story in itself, or a chance to take subtle shots at Shonda Rimes. Neither occurs, no one even tiptoes around Heigl even though the president is basically her mother-in-law. For fuck's sake her own boss at the CIA orders her detained. (He is fired and, predictably, an actor from Lost takes his place.)

Next time, I hope they cast her as a killer-for-hire/wedding planner.

Heigl has no friends, just work acquaintances and casual fucks. Bobbing around from sit down to sit up, she sort of comes across like a buoy on a windy day. No one catches her, challenges her or even touches her other than with their penis or a folder of documents. Everything is exactly as it should be.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. Have a great holiday with your family and friends. Make us feel like we destroyed an indigenous people for a reason.

"Some Kinda Angel" - Owen (mp3)

"Girl In A Box" - Owen (mp3)

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