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Alex Carnevale

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Kara VanderBijl

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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 Lost (20)


In Which A Bear Is Merely A Trifle To This One

What He Really Thinks Of Women


Thrones. "We're very complicated, you know. Pleasing us takes practice." Finally the truth, what GRRM really thinks about women. They can't be pleased or sated. They spend all their time in the nude, writing letters to their mother. They can't defeat a simple bear with a wooden stake. A dwarf defeated an army with some moonshine, but the largest female soldier I've ever seen can't defeat the bear from The Hotel New Hampshire and the David Mamet movie where Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins fall in love after the black guy from Lost stabs himself in the leg in the most racist scene in modern cinema?

The Edge was not a satire, or maybe it was, I haven't read the court transcript from either David Mamet's first divorce or his future one. Men who say women are simple are as devastatingly stupid as men who say women are complicated. It's not a man's place to say anything reductive about a woman, unless that women is permitting Simon Cowell in her bed. Then there's just one word for her.

theon greyjoy's nightmare is king joffrey's most carnal dream I can speak for men, however. Our first view of the opposite sex is usually determinative. It was Halloween, and I saw a girl I liked dressed as a hobo. She had red hair, and her parents moved her to North Carolina before school started again the next year. I never did tell her how I felt about her, but I did mail her a picture of Theon Greyjoy's penis.

brb one sec gotta gchat with someone in House Martell, you don't know this person
This week's episode began with verifiable proof that Robb Stark had one of those. In an elaborate postcoital scene in which his wife faked over three orgasms, the boy king kept going on and on about how his wife should put some clothes on lest he "attack" her. I guess he was trying to be playful? Since he never actually copulated with her again, he sounded like Renly Baratheon fawning over a woman so he would not actually have to go through with the more difficult work of maintaining his arousal.

let's just snuggle here forever and talk antibiotics; penetration is for lannisters

It almost made me empathize a little with Robb's wife that his pale, wrinkled mother disapproves of her, but we all know what's coming so it is best to focus on the Stormborn when looking to approve of a very tan woman from across the narrow sea.

P.S. If this sea is so narrow why don't they go visit the naked woman's mom right now? Hannukah is coming.

these gold bars are filled with eyeshadow
Daenarys' idle threats to a slave culture that precedes her entire civilization remains entertaining. Still, it's not a role that offers her a lot of chances to do anything other than free slaves. Spartacus is a similarly boring character. If I was the slaver with this eye-shadow, I would have just knelt. Someone will have to explain to me the economy of Astapoor and the yellow city. Real clever George, the yellow city.

Mama Stormborn's skin was looking a bit mottled, but I guess she's been crossing CGI for days at least.

You were no Dwight Schrute

As this episode was written by GRRM himself (thanks for taking time from your strenuous schedule of caviar and writing long passages about the Greyjoys that no one could give two fucks about), it had more than its fair share of YKNJS. Ygritte was not so fantastic in this episode; possibly Jon Snow's grimacing "you'll die when you fight a bunch of guys wearing black" took her down to his level. I miss Craster. The only thing less believable than their ongoing honeymoon beyond the wall is the idea any lord would apologize to a woman he compensates for sex.

jesus, doesn't anyone sit down and have dinner anymore
In the books we can actually believe Tyrion might care about this Shae, but in the cold light of King's Landing (soon to be renamed Hot Pie's Landing) we can see quite clearly that this is the last conversation he wants to have with this woman. Reassuring someone that you love them constantly is never fun, since slowly but surely you stop believing your own words. I think Shae's expectations are also a little out of whack; he offers her a house and clothes and she's like, "But what about an inground pool?" Just move on little guy, if she won't even do something with her hair now, it's only going to get worse.

that is one splendid fucking jerkin there bronn five stars

As ever, Bronn is the finest man alive. Why GRRM is putting out a ball-achingly embarrassing collection of Tyrion's "finest" "quotes" while Bronn's solid advice is diminished in contrast, I don't know.


What you have to respect about Tywin Lannister is that he has never even tried to please a woman since his wife died in childbirth. His tact with his grandson further revealed the depths of his political skill. The cliche of him having to tower over Joffrey on his Iron Throne was a little heavy- handed, but the Lannisters are so far and away the best characters and actors on the show that you sympathize so much more with them than you do in the books.

Bran was literally there yesterday

Jaime's transformation from incest participant into the lion with a heart of gold I guess was a slow process. His sudden authority over his own life is all the more shocking. It's fun to watch someone change, even if they did not hate the person they were before. Changing yourself is loving yourself, because you care enough about it to do better or be better.

Is it wrong that it bothered me than Bran and Jaime were on the exact same set? I guess he did take the little lord's legs. I hope you're eaten by the biggest dragon in Westeros Bran.

Genry, you will be very happy now. Hot Pie, you will not.

GRRM wants you to think we are watching men and women save each other, as they must. But really, his underlying belief is that no one can be saved, which is something of a nihilistic attitude. Many times he has told us that his wife will not allow Arya to die. This knowledge ruined his creation, just as all fan service inevitably corrupts the original inspiration. If no one can be saved, then neither can Arya. Treating her differently than Hot Pie is misguided at best, sexist at worst.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording. He deleted at least five inappropriate jokes about Catelyn Stark from the preceding. You can find an archive of his reviews of Game of Thrones here.

"Grind or Die" - Eve (mp3)

"Mama in the Kitchen"  - Eve ft. Snoop Dogg (mp3)


In Which We Hate The Way We're Speaking To Each Other

Post Mortem


It's not polite to say who died on Downton Abbey. Most people don't even know. Their lives haven't changed as a result. We love people, especially wealthy individuals, in the specifics, since we sense we may become them. In the abstract, they disappoint us.

this guy

My other favorite show is Sons of Anarchy. Except for the Exorcist-like horror involved in watching Gemma Teller (Katey Segal) have sex scenes with Jimmy Smits, who plays a pimp on the show, it's fantastic. I spent the entire hour flexing my knuckles and lamenting that I'm too old to get on a bike. It would probably end more like this:

The first rule about Fight Club is that you never get on a motorcycle with someone wearing a Duke t-shirt. But we were talking about the death of Opie.

It's impossible to connect the phenomenon of a maudlin young motorcyclist (Ryan Hurst) dying in prison to save his boyfriend with the economy, except to say that watching the members of the MC mourn their large, closeted friend, all I could think of was how much money they saved on the funeral by having it themselves.

basically, your father is an idiot Lady Mary

I was gchatting with someone the other day who was telling me how boring they find scripted television. I explained that was probably because they couldn't see the sychronicity between Branson putting his wife between himself and the British government, and the president doing the exact same thing with Hillary Clinton.

She signed off in a huff and e-mailed me the entire Supreme Court opinion on Roe v. Wade. Having friends on the other side of the aisle is like being married to Lady Mary (tell me when you tire of these comparisons). Everything they think of is completely without regard for the economic realities of the world.

I can't even imagine what it would be like to gchat with Matthew Crawley, probably like sucking on a tootsie roll pop that has asparagus at its center.

branson, you disgust me

No one has done more to diminish the cause of Irish independence than Julian Fellowes. I haven't been this mad since South Park eclipsed the boundaries of bad taste and did a storyline making fun of how Bane sounded in The Dark Knight Rises.

Sorry, my mind is wandering a lot lately. It's a function of old age, and the relentless attacks on Mormonism in the mainstream media. I really don't understand this. One group of people believes in a supernatural human being who is supposed to return to Earth and save the world, and another believes a slightly different version of this myth, but is absolutely crazy for thinking this way.

The only thing worse than that is how many times I'll be writing, "The only thing worse than that" in this essai. The only thing worse than that, though, is how every single joke on Mike & Molly is still about how fat the male in the relationship is. It's bullying, and I find it disgusting. That's his natural build.

buy a large bed please

Doesn't it feel like they're making the bed look especially tiny? My only real problem with scripted television is that every single person on it is completely caucausian. Last night I found myself rewinding the trailer for Alex Cross just to interject a little diversity in my existence. The idea of Tyler Perry as a hardboiled cop hunting Jack Shephard from Lost is beyond my dreams. It makes me think of a Jhumpa Lahiri short story, that's how completely amazing it is.

the answer to Lost was a bright light coming out of a cave. Never forget.

Once I was in a country club where the hazing ritual involved watching all of the Madea movies in chronological sequence while you kept getting messages on your phone saying, "They passed another tax on capital gains!" The fact that no one finds it the least bit strange that Matthew Fox could convincingly play a serial killer should tell us something.


The mere idea of Lost usually reduces me to tears. To cheer myself up I watch this show Brickleberry, which takes place in a national park. The point of Brickleberry is to be offensive, and make jokes about subjects that other shows won't touch. In theory this is an interesting concept but (1) Family Guy has been on the air for over two decades and (2) 90 percent of the jokes are simple racism. (The black character is named Denzel. Haha. Get it? If you don't, you're a fucking square.) (The other ten percent of the jokes are about women and gays.)

You start to understand why my liberal gchat friend hates scripted television. That is, until you watch the finest show airing on any network, The Thick Of It.

Malcolm Tucker and Rebecca Front on "The Thick Of It"

You know how Parks & Recreation pretends to be a show about politics, but is really just a larger forum for the writers of the show to copy down all the funny jokes they read on the internet and have comedians act them out? I can't believe they did an entire election storyline with Leslie Knope, and then occupied her time with solving the obesity problem in Pawnee and feuding over a bathroom. Not even I have that little faith in government.

Ben and December

Here is what all the punchlines on Parks & Recreation revolve around: Leslie is energetic, Ron eats free-range meat, Chris is depressed, Andy is stupid, April is a bitch, Adam Scott has a large head for his body.

You know, it's okay to have a person who has more than one aspect to his personality. It's called a fully-fleshed out character; the show's writers might have seen it in passing during the ninety seconds a day they peel their heads away from their iPhones. The only thing more embarrassing than this season of Parks & Recreation is having to read pathetic Emily Nussbaum essais about how much she worships Amy Poehler or how she doesn't want Parenthood to get canceled. Grow up.

Peter Mannion's aides on 'The Thick Of It'

I guess now that I am "retired", politics just bores me. Art lasts for a substantial duration, blog posts slightly less long. Does anyone remember the Whigs? Or what a dick Andrew Jackson was? I can't muster the energy. It's easier to just look to television for escape. That's why there is no better place to rest your head than the considerable problems of the British.

Unfortunately, most of middle America can't understand a single word said in Malcolm Tucker's Scottish accent, so they watch The Walking Dead instead.

The only thing worse than that is. There are people everywhere, when I wake. I have no right to judge them. Wake me up after the election.

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. He last wrote in these pages about intercourse between Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley.

"Fear Is A Man's Best Friend" - Field Music (mp3)

"Heart" - Field Music (mp3)


In Which The Past Is Dead To Us



Magic City
creator Mitch Glazer

The pilot of Magic City ends with a corpse floating through the ocean, perhaps the dumbest cliché in crime fiction. That the offending dead body is the head of a powerful labor union is no panacea on this insult to my intelligence. I lived through the sixties twice, well, three times if you count the four hour brunch I had with George Lucas where he said "In those days" over 450 times.

Nostalgia for the past permeates almost every aspect of society. It is the defining characteristic of a declining civilization, and it is all the more pervasive in the midst of technological or industrial revolution. I hate this attitude, that things were better before x, unless the x you're referring to is the HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones. Thankfully, Starz's new series Magic City is so completely overwhelmed with ridiculous cliches that it's difficult to imagine anyone wishing to return to the Miami of 1959.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan's ever-expanding neck (on loan from Tom Hanks, who presumably no longer requires the device) portrays Isaac Evans, the manager of Miami's Miramar Hotel. His backer Ben Diamond (Danny Huston) is a member of organized crime, and the remaining details are copied verbatim from Martin Scorses Casino.

Isaac has two sons and a daughter by his first wife Molly, and he remarried a Gentile woman his daughter disapproves of and his son creepily observes sunbathing in the nude. Since there is no XBox, his eldest son spends the vast majority of his time having unprotected sex, In the pilot alone there are three blowjobs received, all by men. Actually, it is grammatically correct to refer to a blowjob as a "bowjob" if the sexual act in question has occurred thirty years or more in the past. Once in Magic City a woman tries to give another woman a bowjob, but it all goes so predictably wrong.

the ice queen

It gets to the point where you're actively praying for a powerful female character to enter the mix, with the brains and bravado of my wife Lynne and the prominent forehead of an Angelina Jolie. It happens near the end of the second episode, and when you find out she's a tall, icy blonde you just sigh. After striking union members toss Isaac's wife's poodle off a hotel balcony, he doesn't even even respect her enough to tell her the dog died. He just replaces it with a new snarling poodle. This is what amounts to comedy in Magic City.

the abused mob wife

I made a list of the show's clichés so they can fix them:

- Cranky old man with a secret heart of gold

- Bowjob while driving a convertible and the car crashes

- Purportedly religious politician is actually a corrupt buffoon

- Witness has to be intimidated but ends up killing himself anyway

- Young girl has a bat mitzvah and chooses a Judy Garland theme

- Insensitive rich woman can't hold onto a man to save her life, they don't "deserve her"

- Vicious and heartless mob boss uses elaborate metaphors copied from episodes of Bones to suggest depth of field (watching him relate the story of the Frog and the Scorpion with a straight face was more painful than getting a new heart)

- Peggy comes up with a campaign and Don takes credit for it

- Girl tells boy not to call her by pet name, later reveals she prefers the nickname

- LeBron James is afraid of commitment

Don Draper was able to ever so briefly be interesting because of how ridiculous every single word out of his mouth and woman he slept with was. The writers of Magic City have tragically misunderstood the fact that he is meant to be ironic. The officious Isaac is never funny, he does not joke, he simply ribs, like the backup quarterback on a football team. He has no friends, not even his boss or his wife. He gets along with his father, but only because he needs help disappointing the labor unions of the world.

Don's shame at his mysterious origins was obviously a light parable of the Jewish self-hatred of Matthew Weiner, and of course Don really had nothing to fear. Isaac, who is an agnostic Jew, endures slurs and various difficulties related to his ethnicity, but he himself and his family make Ace Rothstein look like David Ben-Gurion. There should an inset displayed during the show of Jeffrey Dean Morgan's circumcised penis as verifiable proof he is what it seems he isn't.

the maid

Isaac's younger son, law student Danny, is infatuated with one of the hotel's maids. As Frank Sinatra prepares for his New Year's Eve concert, Danny sends his intended the gift of a lavish red dress. (Her massive eyebrows are nicely set off by the gown's elaborate fringe.) Women are either servants or whores, and there are about 20-25 prostitutes in the pilot alone. It's a woman in 1959, what else could she be?

Isaac's eldest son Stevie Evans starts an illicit affair with Ben Diamond's tragically abused wife Lily Diamond. At first the sex is completely unprotected and fun, but after the fifth time, she says, "Can you please just hold me Stevie?" To kill time takes a bunch of indecent photos of them having sex. Over seven times she asks, "Did you burn the photos?" If I have to tell you the answer, you don't yet understand the familiar appeal of Magic City. It's like slipping into the second asshole where David Chase forced Terence Winter to put all his bad ideas.

Alex asked me to review the second season of Game of Thrones ("You won't believe what happens to Tyrion!" Fuck you.) I said no. He asked me to review The Hunger Games. I said no. He asked me to review Magic City, and I said, "Only if I can use the word shiksa over twelve times." I must simply be getting old. The past and the future both seem equally boring. All around me in the real world I see things that have never existed before, that are never described in our art or media. I turned this disaffected feeling into a screenplay titled Vaginal Space Program. It has a huge part for Holly Hunter and it was purchased by a savvy executive at Paramount. Look forward to that. What else is there to look forward to?

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

a prostitute

"Four Hours Away" - Young Prisms (mp3)

"Runner" - Young Prisms (mp3)

"Outside" - Young Prisms (mp3)