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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 star trek (6)


In Which We Are On The Fringe Of Things

The Edge of Good


Occasionally a television show gets everything right but botches all one or two large decisions. This happened with Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman's show Fox show Fringe. They made a litany of awesome title sequences; they reminded one of a return to one of the great series of the last decade, The X-Files, they have solid writing when it doesn't verge on melodrama, but the casting is awful.

why is plaxico in jail while josh jackson walks free?Heterosexual man's hatred of Joshua Jackson goes back to his days as Pacey. Do you even understand how much less action I got in high school because of that? Pacey was a dick. All you needed was a mop of blonde hair. Paceys were fucked. Now Jackson enunciates every dreadful line of dialogue and sounds like a foggy horn. He doesn't look all that great either, kind of what a poppy bagel might look like as a person. Let's deport him back to Canada where he and Michael Moore can increase in size quietly together.

His would-be paramour (in one episode they went undercover together!) is the officious Anna Torv. She's probably the best actress on the show, but she's cold and icy and frankly, boring. Gillian Anderson is turning over in the grave she occupies with the career David Duchovny took from her. (Amazingly, Gillian Anderson is 64 years old and David Duchovy is 26. Who knew?) Torv's seriousness is ungainly and her hair looks as bad as her boss's.

Why do I feel like J.J. Abrams had a steamy night on the set of Lost with the bald former Dharma drone who ruins every single scene he's in? Lance Reddick is the worst actor on television besides Reba McEntire and Tyler Perry. Every single sentence is conveyed in this cold, unnerving grizzle. It's off-putting, and it gives his co-stars nothing to play off of.

trusting your career to j.j. didn't work for matthew foxThe only thing the show can find for a young black FBI agent (Jasika Nicole) to do is babysit criminally insane former human engineer. Torv whirls about radiantly, doing "work" when it suits her, double-timing the agency which she purports to represent. At the end of last season's finale, she met William Bell, the show's central MacGuffin. It was Leonard Nimoy, and I was not amused. The finale showed Bell in another universe where the World Trade Center didn't exist and Kanye stayed in college and was still interning for Louis Vuitton.

As intellectual or visual fodder, the concept of parallel universes doesn't really make any sense. Unlike serious science fiction, another universe draws no basis in reality from human experience. If there's more than one universe, then there are billions, and none of us mean very much. This isn't a very enlightening way to believe in the world.

Lost had the good fortune to become a jovial comedy, and Fringe seems to be aping this goal so far in season two. Here messy science fiction clichés combine with Pacey to create the show's only relief from the drudgery of weird science. What's missing is the wonder of discovery; the pattern that was created by universe splitting need not be an awful fate for those who must investigate it. Properly done, such a happening should free us from ourselves.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here.

"Living the Blues" — Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash (mp3)

"I Threw It All Away" — Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash (mp3)

"Guess Things Happen That Way" — Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash (mp3)


In Which It Was Another Generation

After the Cold War, A Long Trek


In difficult times we harken back to that which brings us life. The success of America's aims abroad had peaked when we sent the monstrosity known as the Soviet Union packing. The Russia people were beginning would eventually be ruled by Vladimir Putin and the mob. America triumphed in a new age of interstellar peace and happiness. Basically we were these guys.

A lot of us were discovering things about ourselves. The decade of the 1990s would spawn a number of such well-intentioned malcontents, Pauly Shore and Bob Saget to name a few. But the good people were the space people.

The generation before had been marked by the constant monotone of war which found a perilous future in time and space, along with profound moments (like those in the songs of whales) that allowed us to remember what we'd lost. Captain Picard didn't want to blow anyone's face off. He wasn't quick to the gun. He was never even kind of a dick.

The technology that surrounded these peaceful warriors had a relatively negligible effect on its denizens, whose mental processes largely weren't different from 20th century norms. In the character of Data, Star Trek: The Next Generation made an artificial human into humanity and went in depth to prove a machine was, in fact, still a man.

Although men could find whatever drink or food they desired transported to their room, this did not dim their enthusiasm for conquest. Relationships were short-lived, they were as real as they had been before: only more fleeting in their duration. The quickening of life did not quicken the souls of these peacefaring folk.

It can be said that the point of this exercise was to chronicle the fate of man as he adapted himself to the stars, but whatever development would have been made along those lines, Wesley Crusher was a weak-minded syphocant, the symbolic lovechild of a mentally ill Picard. Others failed to adapt as poorly as Wesley — Troi nearly went insane once per season, and Riker always had a little Stephon Marbury in him.

In the Emmy-winning episode "The Inner Light" a probe broadcasting the dying wish of a destroyed civilization attached itself to the handsome Picard. Jean-Luc Picard's dream was of a pretechnological civilization, and he himself adheres to the aims of the age — a promised benign future for him and his family, and obedience to whatever God he chose. In contrast, Data was the far more complex thinker.

Man and machine are destined to become entwined together in bondage, and Star Trek: TNG's plan was to bring that out of hiding, see how the old values held up in a world where you could beam down to a planet full of evil dwarves. This was how we could decide whether technology would overwhelm us entirely.

Among the alien landscape, these figures embodied the older perspective, the West as it was in the world. The Borg became Picard's biggest enemy, the perversity of technological advancement, the hive mind that will abide no other. We were always in greater danger from some casual vicissitude of modernity, like sacrificing whales or changing the timeline. Man's environmental indulgence slowly became the larger symptom of his fate.

Before this period, we imagining ourselves living on the moon, exploring Mars. Then Star Trek came and reminded us that despite this, we were very much alone in the universe.

Is this a future we would want? A lifetime of policing galaxies may be too much to ask from any starfaring race. In the real world, America would of course have her own foreign policy adventures against Communist enemies both real and imagined. The Klingons and the rest disappeared, they were pacified by the entreaties of the Federation. If mankind (America) had to stand atop the galaxies, would he have to also lose his mind and sense of purpose?

Star Trek: TNG was a phenomenon on its debut. After a clumsy first season they soon got to Data and what the rest of it meant by the second season. In the middle seasons the show would abandon the alien-of-the-week concept and expand the purview of the show.

By the seventh season it had been one time travel episode too many and Data had a ho in every city so things were backtracking fast. Picard was looking extremely fatigued, and the lines under Riker's eyes made viewers sad and nostalgic for the last of the exultants.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here.

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star trek: first contact storyboard

"Snails" — The Format (mp3)

"The Compromise" — The Format (mp3)

"Dead End" — The Format (mp3)


In Which It's Not Something I Would Recommend But It Is One Way To Live

The Week In Review

Obama gives his graduation speech at Notre Dame today, where students are protesting. I saw a picture of some dude wearing a "Don't Ruin My Graduation" tee-shirt. This was relatively ironic since he had already attended Notre Dame. They should have been forced to have Charlie Weis give the graduation speech. I wish there were more protests at my graduation, then I wouldn't have had to eat three pizzas because I was so anxious. In fact I think the protestors are simply helping the binge-eating population relax, because they know the attention will be elsewhere. OK here's what we posted this week:

In more serious news, my little brother graduated from college, so congratulations to him. He already has a job, which is more than I can say for most people. My brother is a charming person; his name is Danny but all of his college friends call him Dan. You don't really realize what the problem with college is until you see someone else go through it.

My grandfather didn't even finish high school, so this is an impressive achievement in our family. As a gift, I peed on a flower and gave it to my brother. Good luck Danny. The first thing my brother said to me when I saw him was, "Did you hear the new Dave Matthews single?" All I could feel was utter joy that he has not been ruined by the vagaries of the world we live in, and is focused on the important things, like getting laid at DMB concerts. And to be honest with you dog, I really liked the new single.

It's good to have a family, I'm glad I have one. I just wish they read the internet more, so that my jokes would seem a lot funnier in context. We stayed at a Marriott, and now the homepage on every computer in the business annex of the hotel is This Recording. You should read this blog all the time, and think of us when you're not reading it.

You can find last week's week in review here.

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"Do The Nurse" — Animal Collective (mp3)

"Young Prayer #2" — Animal Collective (mp3)

"Ice Cream Factory" — Animal Collective (mp3)

from the new box set