The state with the prettiest name, #2436

Only in Florida would thirty-three-year-old Bryan Deneumostier dress as a woman, lure straight men to his Homestead home, and record their sex for porn purposes:

Deneumostier, known by the screen name “susanleon33326,” pleaded guilty to two counts of illegal interception of oral communications before U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga. He faces up to 10 years in prison at his sentencing on Nov. 29, though he is expected to receive less time. As part of his plea agreement, three related charges will be dropped by federal prosecutors….

…Deneumostier was arrested in July on charges of making unlawful recordings of commercial sex acts for an adult website. An indictment, filed by prosecutors Cary Aronovitz and Mona Sedky, lists three victims related to his operation of “StraightBoyz.” The site promised gay men videos of real straight men being conned into accepting sex acts, all while blindfolded or wearing blacked-out goggles.

Investigators believe Deneumostier helped operate the subscription-based adult site, which featured about 620 video hookups, over the past four years. Although the website is no longer in operation, many of the videos can still be viewed on other porn sites.

“The site offered for streaming approximately 619 ‘hook up’ videos that depicted sexual activity between Deneumostier and other men,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “The defendant had surreptitiously made audio and video recordings of the sexual encounters, without the victims’ knowledge or consent. He later sold the ‘hook up’ videos to a third party located overseas and caused them to be posted onto the website.”

To be clear, straight men all over the world want to be deceived, but we Floridians have the entrepreneurial spirit.

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Ranking Hüsker Dü albums

Read Ten Thousand Saints if spotted at your local library. A vivid reconstruction of the eighties hardcore scene, Eleanor Henderson’s 2011 novel doesn’t shirk from reporting the gay sex among and between members and fans, respectively. I couldn’t get Hüsker Dü out of my mind when reading it, nor did the possibility of a Tommy Stinson-Paul Westerberg liason.

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Heist film ‘Museo’ weighs the worth of cultural history

Thanks to increasing production in the petroleum industry the previous decade, the Mexico of the 1980s could flex its muscles internationally and intrastate. Nationalism is to a large extent the projection of a cultural identity. For his second film, Alonso Ruizpalacios (Gueros) examines how the Christmas Day 1985 theft of Mayan artifacts from Mexico City’s Anthropology Museum re-awakened the country’s outrage over several century’s worth of cultural looting. Museo functions as heist film and social comedy; its last third is pure absurdism. It confirms Ruizpalacios as a director to reckon with. Continue reading

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Ranking Replacements albums

Sixteen months ago I wrote the following about Paul Westerberg’s Replacements achievement:

Uninterested in anything as banal as an arc of a career, Westerberg hid behind a melodic talent he was at pains to roughen, for those melodies conveyed the sentimentality of a coarse alcoholic losing the ability to entertain himself; the point of sentimentality is to impress as many spectators, reluctant and otherwise, with its self-deluded world-historic importance.

I wouldn’t change this bit. What has in the last twenty years is my affection for those pre-Let It Be. I still by my disinterest in Don’t Tell a Soul and All Shook Down, the former one of the most enervating of sellouts — a word I don’t often use.

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‘When can we go back?’

As the remains of Florence dissipate in the northeastern United States, residents in towns like Garland, North Carolina reckon with their second bout of record-breaking flooding in two years. The Barnes family, for example, barely crawled out of Hurricane Matthew:

On Tuesday, Mr. Barnes, 42, and his wife, Brandy, 41, sat parked on what was now the water’s edge of Lisbon Bridge Road in Garland, some 60 miles inland from where Hurricane Florence had slugged ashore four days earlier.

They had lived in the house, just across the field from Mr. Barnes’s father, since 1996 and had never flooded out until Matthew. Mr. Barnes didn’t think twice about rebuilding after the 2016 storm, even though he said his flood insurance only covered about $25,000 of the damage. He paid out of pocket to get county approvals to raise the house and even put on an addition.

Mr. Barnes said he was denied a low-interest construction loan through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, so he borrowed money and drained the savings his family had built up after several good years running a local repair business.

“I replaced everything,” Mr. Barnes said.

Now, as he looked out at the waters and talked about boating home to check on the house, he said they did not know what to do.

Raising the house yet again would cost thousands. They had raised a son and a daughter there and did not want to leave. Their 16-year-old son, Mason, had been killed in a car crash just before Matthew. When the family had to flee again this month, the first thing their 11-year-old daughter asked her mother was: When can we go back?

Garland is about fifty miles southeast of Fayetteville; my North Carolinian friends will correct my geography. It’s inland. Yet these towns are no worse off for being away from sea level rise. Storms are getting bigger. They’re slowing down. They linger. No one is safe anymore.

And there I was thinking about investing in the beaches of Gainesville in 2075.

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Ranking The Police albums

Their logic tied us up and raped us. They’re meaningless and all that’s true. They send out an SOS. The Police are responsible for so many proverbs that they rendered the Old Testament irrelevant. Continue reading

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‘The Land of Steady Habits’ finds no drama in the male midlife crisis

For twenty years writer-director Nicole Holofcener has specialized in films about women whose ideas about living are subject to constant revision. Their emotional geography is precise. Why the Netflix production The Land of Steady Habits fails is so baffling that the only explanation I stumble is on is the casting of Ben Mendelsohn as a middle-aged divorcee. Where previous Holofcener protagonists like Julie-Louis Dreyfus, Jennifer Anniston, Brenda Blethyn, and especially Catherine Keener got to show their intelligence and avidity in ways they rarely did onscreen, Mendelsohn acts like the straight man in an 1930s comedy. It’s also possible that Holofcener is a more acute observer of women than men. Continue reading

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Ranking Drive-By Truckers albums

Between 2010 and 2015 they released three perfectly okay albums that did nothing for me. But goddamn were they good in the early Bush years. Get this: I’ve never seen’em live. Continue reading

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“Why am I surrounded by racists?”

He’s not a racist, he just keeps popping up in places where race grifters and white supremacists gather. Continue reading

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Strange stirrings

I don’t read Josh Marshall much these days because of his histrionic tendencies and his way of signing off posts with the equivalent of a hastily scrawled, “I don’t know, we’ll see.” But I agree with his conclusion of how the Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations won’t shake the Senate GOP at all:

The chance of letting that opportunity slip through their fingers is unthinkable.

The White House and Senate Republicans are likely thinking that regardless of the credibility of the claim or what they think of it, Kavanaugh absolutely positively has to be confirmed. Because it’s not just about Kavanaugh. If he’s not confirmed it opens up the possibility that they won’t get the chance to replace Justice Kennedy and secure the fifth vote on the Court at all. Given that the Garland seat was stolen, should Democrats reclaim the chamber, I don’t think they should approve any nominee from President Trump. That’s unlikely. But Democrats won’t give the President the opportunity to nominate a maximalist right wing judge the way Republicans are now. That’s a big difference.

Ever since Harry Blackmun wrote the majority opinion for Roe v. Wade, giving the New Right the means by which to command a dormant voting bloc (i.e. evangelicals), modern conservatism has spent millions creating political action committees and weirdly named Pinterest groups; modern conservatism’s reason for existing has been to deliver a Supreme Court majority sufficient enough to send abortion back to states where it is legal, condemning millions of poor women to coat hanger procedures because they lack the wherewithal to travel while conservative wives themselves pay for clandestine abortions. Despite Jeff Flake’s protestations and Susan Collins’ finely calibrated mewlings of ambiguity, I can’t imagine more than forty years of effort yielding, not when gutting the Fourteenth Amendment

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Ranking Funkadelic albums

1. Standing on the Verge of Getting It On (1974)

How do I argue that “Jimmy’s Got a Little Bit of Bitch in Him” is not homophobic, but, rather, uses the language of homophobia to praise an outsider? George Clinton liked those. Soupy and inexorable, Standing on the Verge of Getting It On can play for hours in a car, especially with “I’ll Stay” wanking in the background.

2. Funkadelic (1970)

I prefer George Clinton’s men at their chonkyiest, and for me they never surpassed the fetid forward motion of their debut. If they’d never released anything but “I Bet You” we would remember them as strange voices from a distant star that Earth was unfortunate enough to never orbit.

3. Maggot Brain (1971)

The march at a good pal’s wedding? “Can You Get to That.” Fit George Clinton in any context and he triumphs. The title track is what every fan says it is. “Super Stupid” is not better than Sabbath.

4. The Electric Spanking of War Babies (1981)

Hard to find until the new millennium’s batch of reissues, Funkadelic’s last album for almost fifteen years had to settle for being a single disc after the label balked at Clinton’s ambition. The label was probably right. Anyway, “Oh, I” shakes its ass at Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster,” “Icka Prick” creates its own disgusting multiverse, and in “Funk Gets Stronger” Sly Stone delivers his most awake performance since the Ford era (his best, period, after the Ford era, depending on what you think of his Jesse Johnson collaboration). Koan: “You can walk a mile in my shoes/But you can’t dance a step in my feet.”

5. Let’s Take it to the Stage (1975)

When I want to get off my ass and jam.

6. Uncle Jam Wants You (1979)

Home of “(Not Just) Knee Deep,” sampled by De La Soul. To demonstrate that a disco backlash had begun, consider this: it peaked at #76 while topping the black and disco chart. I find Uncle Jam a giddier album than the zealously lauded One Nation Under a Groove; even the tunelets (“Holly Wants to Go to California”) impress.

7. Free Your Mind… and Your Ass Will Follow (1970)

“Funky Dollar Bill” is the easy entry. Dig into the rest of this double album for material like “Friday Night, August 14th,” boasting Eddie Hazel’s most frenzied playing. When the singers proclaim, “The kingdom of heaven is within!” on the title track, I don’t believe a word. Secular at the cost of quotidian coherence, George Clinton believes, to quote a later descendant, that the world moves on a woman’s hips. This album is the valentine.

8. One Nation Under a Groove (1978)

Besides the defensive “Who Says a Funk Band Can’t Play Rock?!” and titanic title groove, the greatest approximation of Fela’s ebb-and-flow in American popular music, I don’t get the acclaim for this one. They did better before and right after.

9. Music For Your Mother (1993)

A 45 rpm single collection so total that I imagine its nineties purchasers had no need of the studio album. Inspirational Koan: “If you don’t like the effect, don’t produce the cause.”

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Singles 9/14

Doja Cat sounds like a delightful person, so it’s no surprise she does better when singing and rapping about farmyard animals in the week’s most memorable track. In one of those serendipitous moments in which The Singles Jukebox specializes, “Mooo!” rubs up against Cardi B and Kehlani’s “Ring” and its homoerotic undertones.

Click on links for full reviews.

Doja Cat – Mooo! (8)
Cardi B ft. Kehlani – Ring (7)
Old Dominion – Hotel Key (6)
Lele Pons – Celoso (6)
Tessa Violet – Crush (4)
Jess Glynne – All I Am (4)
Calvin Harris & Sam Smith – Promises (4)
Regi ft. Jake Reese – Ellie (3)
Train ft. Cam & Travie McCoy – Call Me Sir (2)
Isaac Gracie – Running On Empty (2)

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