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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 donald trump (3)


In Which We Forget What We Know

Think Like A Hermit


Curb Your Enthusiasm
creator Larry David

Why isn’t Curb Your Enthusiasm funny anymore? I was browsing through the nether regions of my DirecTV package the other night and I flipped on the Clippers game against the Suns. Suddenly, the enterprising director went to a close-up on Larry David. He looked his usual mix between alarmed and disoriented, only perhaps even more so, since the comedian celebrated his 70th birthday this past summer.

Seventy used to be a grand old age, but now it is basically reverse adolescence, filled with a similar set of painful indulgences. When I turned seventy in 2011, I remember buying and eating an entire cantaloupe at first light, and spending most of the evening attempting to figure out the name of a movie where Helen Hunt befriended a zebra. Unsurprisingly and somewhat disappointingly, the film I remembered never existed.

This was not so different from how I was occupying my time sixty years ago, except I had a non-gastrophysical reason for purchasing a cantaloupe. Naivete is an asset when experience is so easily disregarded, so Larry David wanders around a cleaner version of Los Angeles, dabbling in all of the city’s richest parts. The show’s long awaited upgrade to true high definition now makes every scene look like the memorable season finale where Mr. David went to heaven, the joke being that he is the only man who could find hell there.

It was always painful to watch the awkward improvisations that made up David’s life on Curb, but this season is particularly unwholesome because Larry has nothing positive in his life that is sacrificed by his miserable attitude. His ex-wife Cheryl Hines has moved on with Ted Danson, although like most of Larry’s relationships with people, their quintessential dynamic is never altered.

Still, this gets us no closer to finding out why Curb Your Enthusiasm has become a turgid collection of dated blunders, attempting to relive a time when some of us could actually bother to give a shit about what white people were going through. Whenever I look in the mirror, I honestly have a thought in my mind that there is a chance a creature visually similar to Clarence Thomas will look back.

It used to be that nostalgia could free us from the uncomfortable newness of the present. But Larry has already cycled through his various reunion storylines, and we definitively learned that there is no bringing Seinfeld back at this point — the only thing left would be infants cryogenically preserved in the frozen winter of their discontent. The reunion didn’t work, and Curb does not work now, because everyone except Richard Lewis is forced to play the straight man to Larry, and the comedic talents of the surrounding cast inhabit humorless, monotone versions of the characters they usually play. (See Cranston, Bryan).

Anyway, the parallels to our president are too obvious to explore. In time, Mr. Pence will be our new leader, and I will write thematically fascinating essais about how Karen Pence takes her thinspiration from Gilda Radner and her smile from a mountain lion. The question will be as repetitive as it always is: how much we permit ourselves to tolerate what other people bring into our lives. Not to be cynical, but it might be worthwhile to think about how much they take.

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 Have A Woman To Thank

Tramp Stamped


creators Martin Gero & Greg Berlanti

A crazed Asian man with only cursory weapons training has completely subdued FBI agent Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton). Some trampish looking woman (Jaimie Alexander) he has thrown a bulletproof vest on before heading up to the top of the Statue of Liberty saves him by shooting that disturbed Asian, who is so disconcerted at his mission that he is panting and crying. NBC's new tonedeaf TV series Blindspot is most disappointed by the Asian people of the world: as bad as fanatical Muslims are, at least they never weep when they hold you hostage.

Every other word was censored except for murder. Think about that, or better yet, don't.

The week before, Weller learned this Jane Doe was in a duffel bag, nude in the middle of Times Square, tattoed from head to toe with his name across her back. A lot of people have asked me what I thought of this last Republican debate, besides the utterly obvious response of being embarassed for the people CNN hired to moderate it.

My second answer was that except for Ted Cruz, who is a gorgeous looking lawyer-type, everyone looked especially unappealing. Looks are everything, don't let anyone tell you there are not. I mean Jennifer Aniston gave Justin Theroux several million dollars and he still refers to her by the not-so-gentle nickname of Madam. You have to look your best.

Since you can't look over your shoulder in the mirror because of reasons, we've photographed this tattoo for you
and entered it in the permanent record.

Given that Donald Trump looks like his face was run over sometime during 1997, I'm not sure where he gets off on commenting on the physical appearance of others. The rest of the group was similarly unappealing: John Kasich looked to be having some kind of potentially dangerous stroke, Marco Rubio just reeks of being super cranky, Jeb Bush looks like Mrs. Doubtfire, and Scott Walker reminds me of a paperboy. Rand Paul seems like he checked out of Earthly existence sometime in 2007, and none of us would be surprised if it turned out Mike Huckabee was the Antichrist. This is a motley group.


The FBI and CIA have apparently realized the importance of having beautiful people involved in their operations. Every CIA agent I ever met looks like Larry David's fat cousin, but on television they are all impossibly thin waifs with time to do several layers of makeup before being found in a paper bag. (Have you seen the previews for ABC's Quantico? I immediately called the ADC and asked what they planned to do about this after the NAACP remained silent on Empire.)

It subsequently becomes clear that Jane Doe chose to forget her past as a part of a mission for the FBI. She never remembers even what kind of food she likes, just sobs in the mirror looking at her tats and kills Asians when the time comes for that important duty. Not a single person asks this Jane Doe the all important question: who put on your foundation?

He's very inconspicuous with that walkie-talkie hookup.

Alexander is a wretched actress with two key strengths: the ability to look constipated/uncomfortable and disturbingly deep blue eyes. Fortunately show creator Greg Berlanti (Everwood, Arrow) allows the events of the show to play somewhat along her strengths. Arrow is a boring mishmash of serially unlikely events, and Blindspot chases its sister show down those same lines. Each tattoo on Jane Doe's back somehow leads to a different crime being set in motion by some disavowed FBI agent.

Based on what's on her hand, could we be dealing with Spiderman?

Blindspot is reflective of all of NBC's recent drama efforts. It has the same absurd overuse of close-ups, making the series feel like a bargain-bin Law & Order without ever giving us a broader sense of the locales in which it intends to capture.

Its plot and general tone is adopted from the bizarre success achieved by its creatively bankrupt predessor The Blacklist, which remains slightly watchable only by dint of the tangentially amusing performance of its star, James Spader. He is not in evidence here, and there seems to be no reason anyone would watch Blindspot other than for the enterprising work of the makeup artists who have to apply Alexander's body art before shooting.

So, you went out for the role of disturbed Asian terrorist? And you got it?

There is a broader, important lesson about the limitations of imitation. Yes, Friends was a success, but no one wants to watch it anymore except for maybe Kyrie Irving. So many of the Republican candidates seem like echoes and imitations of politicans of the past. In a world full of fakes, there exists an even more intense longing for a genuine article, which is why Trump sounds off on Megyn Kelly and the like. We do not want someone who is afraid of saying anything to be our president. This is such a fundamental aspect of humanity is amazing that the political advisors gainfully employed on rival campaigns never took its measure.

Ted Cruz will be my candidate, not just because he appeared to have the IQ of all the rest of the candidates combined. At one point Jeb Bush was asked whether his brother made a mistake appointing Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Cruz interjected and explained why Bush did that in the first place. There was no political point to doing so; he was just man enough to educate the American people on why certain people are chosen as Supreme Court Justices and some aren't. "It's largely based on how much makeup they are wearing," he said, and waited for the next question.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

"Map of the World" - City & Colour (mp3)

"Lover Come Back" - City & Colour (mp3)