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Alex Carnevale

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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 (108)


In Which We Take A Pass On Cersei Lannister's Cheekbones

Springtime for Tyrion in Germany


Game of Thrones
creators David Benioff & D.B. Weiss

There is this scene in Bluebeard where he's casually drawing this detailed sketch of his kid, and his wife is like, why don't you just draw like that all the time, instead of this abstract expressionist business? He says, "Because it's just too fucking easy."

Cersei Lannister has fought for the people of King's Landing.

I could go on and on about Cersei Lannister/Hillary Clinton concordance. I could tell you about the specific alterations to their facial structure that both women have achieved through extensive plastic surgery. But no one cares about the Lannisters anymore; Nikolaj Coster-Waldau looks like he is about to qualify for the early bird breakfast at Perkins, Tyrion's down-on-his-luck act is the drizzling shits, and the only penis I saw during the return of HBO's Game of Thrones was my own.

I guess they forgot Tyrion's nose makeup this season. I'm not complaining.

There is a huge difference between how we view the people who make things happen and people who have things happen to him. I wasn't sure how much I could take of Cersei lounging around in her robes, drinking bad pinot noir and giving Margaery Tyrell stifling looks that remind me of how I once made eye contact with a fey German Shepherd I called Dry Bones.

She has a bright future portraying Carole Lombard in the Lifetime biopics to come.

The time of the Lannisters has come to an end. In their place is the Dragon Queen, who sadly did not use that all important off time between Thronesings to take acting classes. Emilia Clarke's facial expressions consist of the following: consternation, awe and bad gas. Her sad underground visit to prove how even her closest dragons have abandoned her is meant to clear the deck for new friends: I understand she has hired a young, hot campaign director to sell her no-fighting pits platform to the people of Pentos.

Even the showrunners can't keep track of the factions across the narrow sea hahahahahahahaha

Politics used to be the currency by which a Thronesing was properly judged, but now it's just a matter of who has the largest war machine, and also who has that sexy beast Jon Snow on his side. Snow (Kit Harington) actually has improved his acting during these past few months. Instead of sounding like an elephant coughing, he has changed the lilt of his voice so that his accent is tolerably easy to understand.

Kit also never appeared in public, ensuring that no one would find out that the bastard of Winterfell is 5'2" in socks. Hopefully he and Suki Waterhouse can get together in Costa Rica when this show wraps up in 2026.

And that boy grew up to be David Muir.

Unfortunately J. Snow has adopted that annoying George Clooney affectation where he is always looking up at people through his brow. Snow's affection for Mance Rayder was also weak balls, and the sound of the arrow into Mance's heart was roughly synchronized with David Benioff and D.B. Weiss throwing the utter pablum that is A Feast for Crows into the garbage.

It was time to move on and rewrite this into something better. Sure the psychic scene in flashback makes no sense whatsover, but at least we can begin mulling over possible casting choices for Lyanna Stark. (Rumer Willis? Grimes? If she can be black, Angela Bassett?)

The burgeoning romance between Brienne and Podrick will involve so much tickling.

We've received solid word that there will be no Bran in this already cursed season. To HBO's consternation, episodes of the show leaked to the internet from review copies. (Unfortunately they were in standard definition and thus useless for masturbation.) Sure Bran sucked, but he did have a really nice, woodsy smell. That handicapped son-of-a-b always was redolent of pine, peanut shells and B.O.

So we've come to the end of the road. And I can't let go. It's so natural.

It is hard to know which deceased characters the show will really start to miss. Ending the intra-Lannister feuds takes something away for sure. With the entire Iron Islands storyline being shuttled to the GoT spinoff entitled I'm Reek, we have so much more time to spend with Samwell Tarly, an thinspiration to the romantic chances of overweight teens everywhere.

Gilly you're going to be a superstar girl. Somehow knowing you were the victim of incest makes me feel that much more deeply for you, baby.

I have written a GoT/50 Shades crossover where Samwell demands that Gilly stay in a separate bedroom and reveals to her that he is a dominate. His costume will be that of the hamburglar.

Littlefinger loves a good boyfight.

I'm getting to my point. One thing that Game of Thrones had in all the little corners of Westeros was a magnificent penchant for disguise. Certain invididuals were more talented than others at seeing things as they are. By uncovering deception, they kept themselves alive in a difficult world. Now it seems only Arya can walk in dangerous places without fear, and the rest might as well be wearing a big target that says 'Kill me.' We demand mystery in all things; even in our leaders. Also we need them to be a smidge over 5'2".

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

I was paid nothing for this cameo.

"Last Light" - Zero 7 ft. Jose Gonzalez (mp3)

"Crush Tape" - Zero 7 (mp3)


In Which We Ride For Years On The Bloodline

We Never Said That


creators Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler & Daniel Zelman

I have spent a lot of time in Florida over the years. Remember when Al Gore tried to steal an election there? At the time, people were really upset about Al Gore losing, even though they didn't realize that his marriage best resembled the relationship between Bob Odenkirk and Michael McKean on Better Call Saul and that the main words in his vocabulary were 'solar' and 'lockbox."

It was honestly amazing that Gore got that far.  The Clintons all hated him, he was wacky as fuck, sweat a lot and talked with a weird lisp. The character of Daniel Rayburn on Netflix's original series Bloodline is based on Gore, and the show's storyline is actually a long metaphor for Gore's position in the Democratic party.

Daniel (Ben Mendelsohn) has a long history of squandering his family's goodwill as the black sheep. Once he arrives back at the family's hotel in the Florida Keys for a ceremony honoring his parents, shit starts to go south very quickly. He enters into a sex relationship with Chloe Sevigny, always a critical mistake, and learns some things about his childhood that drive him kind of crazy. Because he is broke, he begs to be accepted back by his family. Instead of saying no, his father demands the other children vote on it.

Al Gore had a far worse haircut, but other than that, twinsies.

His two brothers John (Kyle Chandler) and Kevin (Norbert Leo Butz), and his sister Meg Rayburn (Linda Cardellini) are a bit aghast to see him back in the fold. Chandler is the local sheriff, and he gets most of the screentime in Bloodline. Chandler vacillates between an asexual angst and a pent-up Steve McQueen-esque burning.  He never touches his wife during Bloodline except for some chaste kisses, treating her more like a sister he has to protect than an equal partner.

This relationship model is inherited from his parents Robert and Sally, portrayed by Sam Shepard and Sissy Spacek. The two run Rayburn House, a beach-situated hotel, and yet spend most of their days apart. They also have a weird distance between them and their children. "We never say that in this family," John explains to his sister Meg at one point. "What?" she asks. "I love you," he replies, and he adopts an expression that resembles the meme face afterwards.

Sam Shepard and a dark past go together like juicy juice and Empire

It's apparent from the show's opening episode that something very untoward has happened to Danny Rayburn/Al Gore. By the time ten episodes later that the circumstances of this depravity are actually explained and put in context, any sympathy we might have for Danny has completely evaporated. His main complaint about his life is that he was blamed for the accidental drowning of his sister thirty years ago.

the flashback glow needs to be retired ASAP

This dark moment is relived in flashback, although the particulars of the day seem sort of besides the point. The soon-to-be dead daughter caught her hand in a coral reef; Danny was unable to pull her out and was blamed by his father, who beat the hell out of him. He could have done much worse; when George W. Bush was caught drunk driving, I hit him with my car.

Paul Feig created you and he can destroy you.

Linda Cardellini plays Meg against her nervous, shuffling type, exhibiting massive dimples that do an astonishing job of conveying at once who she used to be and what she is. She is cheating on her boyfriend of five years when Bloodline opens, and when Danny finds out about this, he threatens her with the information as a means of inserting himself into his father's will. She becomes grateful for the threat, because it prevents her from marrying a man she does not love.

She ruined Mindy Kaling's life, and yet still finds gainful employment. What...a world.

Danny's not done. He gets involved in smuggling immigrants and heroin. Then he hires someone to beat the shit out of his brother Kevin after he seduces Chloe Sevigny one tortured Florida night. Kevin uses the beating as the motivation he needs in his business and marriage. When he finds out Danny is the culprit, he is no more angry than he was before. People tend to believe they deserve the bad things that happen to them.

Between these moral dilemmas are wide shots of the interlocking bridges that take vehicles out to the Keys, but most of Bloodline seems to have been shot elsewhere, and whatever holds it together as a place is never clear except this: you do not want to go to there. There is only one nice person in the entire show, and he gets the hell out of Southern Florida as soon as he can.

He'll always be my coach

Money is always flowing in and out of the state precisely because it is so electorally important. Gore did not win Florida, but his votes there allowed him to easily attain the popular vote. There really is no reason a popular, mandatory vote should not occur. This small matter has been forgotten over the last fifteen years, but how it must have hurt Al, knowing that 500,000 more Americans actually wished him to be what he almost was.

This slim frustration rankles more than a massive slight for Danny. He can accept that his father wants him gone from Rayburn House, because at least he isn't hiding his true feelings for the boy. It is Danny's siblings who really anger him, who pretend to care and then in that same moment treat him like a stranger.  We all want to know where we stand.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

"Nothing's Fair In Love and War" - Three Days Grace (mp3)

"One Too Many" - Three Days Grace (mp3)


In Which We Jenga For Days In The Dark Recesses Of Our House Of Cards

Spoilers for the third season of the Netflix series House of Cards appear in the following essai.

Douglas Stamper's Romper Room


Doug Stamper (Michael Kelly) saw that movie where Jennifer Aniston complains a lot about being in pain and took it to heart. Lynne calls Doug Stamper 'Stampsies', and every time he does something that requires a questionable amount of moral integrity, such as squirt whiskey into his mouth with a syringe or pitch a crying fit in the oval office, she cries out, "Oh Stampsies, what will you do next?!"

This season of House of Cards oscillates from utterly boring to bald-head-to-the-wall fascinating in mere seconds, which makes it a difficult show to review in my inimitable style. The point of this constant temperature change is to echo the real pace of politics, which most of the time consists of sleepy policy proposals and pseudo-scandals about Hillary Clinton chucking her hard drives into the Chesapeake Bay or you know, lying about the murders of American ambassadors.

It's disgusting that Jon Stewart could give a shit whether or not he is lied to. All politicians lie, he moans between clips of the man he is dangerously obsessed with, Bill O'Reilly. You can judge someone pretty much completely by the types of people they take seriously. Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) doesn't take anyone seriously except his wife - and that abiding belief is erased by the events of House of Cards' third season.

At times in his rise to power, Underwood had various crises of faith and through her officious and cold decision-making, Claire Underwood (the stunning yet vaguely asexual version of Robin Wright) pulled her husband past the crisis. That he is unable to save her the way she has done for him is the through-line here.

To obtain the presidency, Frank had to do a lot of messed-up, implausible shit. Now that he is the president, he has to do a lot of moaning, spinning around in a chair, and gripping the throats of women with his non-masturbating hand. Frank is no longer the asynchronous terror he once was, and this season of House of Cards has been accused of being dull, watered-down, and excessively foreign policy focused.

The last charge comes with a new antagonist, Russian president Viktor Petrov (Lars Mikkelsen). Featuring the real-life situation of the suddenly disappeared Russian president in the real world hews a bit too close to home, making us realize there are tyrants far worse than Frank Underwood. That an aging and more sympathetic Frank comes across like a weak baby in comparison to the strong Russian president is an easy irony, but it doesn't really help the narrative of the show. House of Cards has not lost the breakneck pace or compelling, theater-esque characterization that propelled it to success, but this season does seem to be missing a lot.

Spacey has aged precipitously since the last Cards ended with the Underwoods' ascent to the Oval Office. His virility has dissipated more quickly than any of us could imagined. I know the feeling: I lived it. At one point in my life I had hair, and then I didn't. (Likewise, Putin has returned from his sabbatical, where he received medical treatment to restore his low testosterone, but he will never really be as threatening to the West again.)

In order to sell the public on his brilliant American Works program that would employ every person currently sitting around during the day watching House of Cards on Netflix, Frank hires a novelist (Paul Sparks) with whom he has a weird, ambiguously sexual relationship after admiring a video game review the man wrote about iOS smash Monument Valley.

This entire threadline is setup for what will surely be played out in the show's fourth season, reminding us how much we lost, character-wise, from the first two. Peter Russo was a gentleman and a scholar; Zoe was a witch but at least she was our witch; Christina had a certain something I once saw in a young Courteney Cox before her smile became frightening; Claire's ex-boyfriend who she reverse cowboyed was a terrible photographer, but at least he provided something in the way of relief. It can't be all-Underwood, all-the-time. That's the mistake the Democratic Party made before the 2000 election.

Even in this season characters which might have been further fleshed out or reappropriated - like Benito Martinez's savvy and handsome Hector Mendoza or Derek Cecil's disturbingly manipulative Seth Grayson - don't get much in the way of screen time. If you measure it out, more than half the show's scenes feature Claire flipping her hair or being subtly disgusted by her husband's misogyny. A hammer can only pound a nail so many times. Ask Lynne.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in an undisclosed location. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.

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