Friday, November 12, 2004

David Milch presents: The Traveling Wilburys

In 1985, four music legends banded together. The legends were George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Ray Orbison and Tom Petty. The band was The Traveling Wilburys. Sadly, no footage survives from their rehearsal sessions. David Milch, the creator of HBO's "Deadwood," imagines what their unique, creative collaboration must have been like.

The lads are sitting around, all giving the stink eye to a defiant Bob Dylan, who stands, arms folded. George, Ray and Tom don't look too happy. Whatever just came out of Bob's mouth has clearly pissed them off.

George Harrison: What do you mean you ride by on a bicycle?

Bob Dylan: You heard what I said. At the end of the video, I ride by on a bicycle.

George: That sort of implies you're better than us. Set apart, as may be.

Bob: Who the fuck are you?

George: I'm a Beatle.

Bob: I'm an aphid.

George: The band, mate.

Bob: Oh, the band. Yeah, the British invasion. That whole scene. I vaguely remember. Right. OK. There's the cute one, the rebel and the ugly drummer with rings. You're the other one. The one nobody remembers.

George: Hey ...

Bob: Oh, OK. You sucked Maharishi's cock or something.

George: I played the sitar. Cock-sucking was never involved.

Bob: You say so. John played the ... It's a goddamn banjo from India. It's not that fucking hard.

George: I think you're a bitter person.

Bob: I think ... (turning head - to Roy Orbison) You just fart or something?

Roy Orbison: No. Well, maybe.

Bob: Goddamn. Can somebody please explain to me why this cat is alive and Elvis is dead?

Tom Petty: You got a negative attitude, Bob.

Bob: Me? You stole my fucking songs. You stole my fucking hat. I guess you can afford to be positive.

Tom: I won't back down ...

Bob: No. I tell you to fucking back down, you'll back down. You got a problem with that?

Tom: Me?

Dylan: No. Jeff Lynne. That fucking Irish cocksucker over there.

Jeff Lynne: I don't want to make trouble.

Dylan: Of course you don't. You got balls the size of bee-bees. That'd be a bad idea.

Jeff: Sure.

Dylan: "Sure." You fucking pussy. You ever stood up for yourself? In your whole fucking life?

Roy: Jeff's not ...

Dylan: Was I talking to you? Was I fucking talking to you?

Roy: No.

Dylan: No. Fuck no.

Jeff: I wasn't... OK. (smashing bottle) Fuck this shit, all right?

Dylan: At last. A real fucking cry from the soul.

Jeff: I'm going to bleeding kill you, mate. Who's with me?

George: Me, I suppose.

Jeff: You bloody well suppose or you bloody well are?

George: In for a penny, in for a pound.

Jeff: That's the bleeding spirit. Look! There's bowler hats!

George and Jeff put on bowler hats. Opening theme from "A Clockwork Orange."

Bob: And bowie knives! You know how to handle one of these?

Tom: Meh-heh-heh-heh.

Roy: (picking up knife) I guess it's like riding a bicycle.

Jeff: Right!

Door opens.

Bob: Ah, shit. It's the photographer.

Photographer: Smile, boys!

They smile.

*Credit where credit is due dept. This material draws on an improv comedy sketch performed with Su Byron on a disorienting journey.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


ANNOUNCER: You're hungry! You wanna eat, and you wanna eat now! But some restaurants make you wait ...



Man waiting impatiently at table.

JOE BLOW: I could eat a freaking horse! I can’t wait for waiters!


Man waiting at serving line.

JOE SHMOE: Agghh! This line is taking forever!


Woman at table, frowning at a plate of food.

JANE ROE: I'm starving! Who has time for plates?

ANNOUNCER: Who indeed? Hey! Stop waiting, people! Come on down to Troughs! There's no waiting at Troughs! Just plenty of food, and lots of it!


A giant restaurant with four giant troughs. An endless stream of food emerges into the troughs. People, on their hands and knees, stick their faces in the troughs and eat.

JANE ROE: Wow! The food just keeps on coming!

ANNOUNCER: You said a mouthful, sister. That's the Troughs! difference. No waiters! No waiting! No plates!

JOE BLOW: (lifting head up from the swill) Hey, what's the catch?

ANNOUNCER: There's no catch!

JOE BLOW: Come on! How much can I eat?

ANNOUNCER: As much as you want! Other restaurants say, "All you can eat." At Troughs!, we mean it! You can eat all you want!

Jane grabs for a chunk of meat in the trough.

ANNOUNCER: Ah, ah, ah. Haven't you heard the jingle?

JANE: The jingle?

ANNOUNCER: Yeah, dumbass. The jingle.

JINGLE: (Andrews Sisters-type harmony) You can eat all you want! But you can't use your hands!

ANNOUNCER: That's the Troughs! difference. Come on down to Troughs! (beat) God, I hate myself, but I need the money. I used to do Shakespeare now I'm doing this ... Hey, they pay me a lot of money to do this shit. I'm going to drink myself into a stupor tonight. You're not recording this, are you?

Friday, April 30, 2004

We're Americans

A timely sketch. This ain't exactly funny. But here it is anyway ...

TITLE: 1944


The detention center is a reconditioned Victorian prison, ugly but functional. An unsmiling MARINE is leading a shuffling line of German POWs down a metal-grated catwalk on the second floor. The POWs aren’t permanent guests. After brisk initial processing and paperwork, they’re continually rotated out to POW camps in the USA.

One prisoner looks particularly nervous. HORST.

MARINE: Hands on the rail, numbnuts! Hands on the rail!

HORST realizes the MARINE is talking to him.

HORST: Hands … Vas …?

Another prisoner translates.

KARL: Hände auf der Schiene.

HORST: Ah. Der Shiene!

HORST gingerly holds the rail. But he still looks worried.

HORST: (whispering to KARL) Vas est … “numbnuts” …?

KARL: Betäubte Testikel.

HORST: Testikel? Mein testikel?

HORST reflexively grabs his balls and pitches forward on his face down the metal stairs. The POWs laugh. It’s the first entertainment they’ve had in weeks.

MARINE: Jesus, stop laughing , you stupid Krauts! (slaps the nearest POW – they stop laughing) Sadistic Nazi bastards. I’m trying to help you here – and I don’t even like you! (looks over the rail.) Aw, crap. (blows whistle) Medic! We need a medic here!

View of HORST, up-angle of his slack face, open mouth. He’s unconscious. Extremely foreshortened, there’s a large white pill a few inches away from his mouth.


HORST slowly wakes up in bed. His arms and legs are in casts and hoisted up with pulleys. He comes back to consciousness—and panics. He jerks from side to side, trying to reach an arm to his mouth. Can’t. Works his tongue around the inside of his teeth. Nothing.

The following dialogue is in German with subtitles --

OSS OFFICER: Looking for this?

He holds up the pill. HORST sees it and panics.

HORST: No, no …

OSS OFFICER: Calm down, OK?

HORST: I want …

OSS OFFICER: What do you want?

HORST: I want to be a good German.

He starts crying.

OSS OFFICER: That’s great. Good German. Good Nazi. You ask me, they’re two different things.

HORST: I want to be a good soldier!

OSS OFFICER: Good soldier, dead soldier. Again that’s two different …

HORST: (shouting) My name is Horst …

OSS OFFICER: Yeah, yeah. Name, rank and serial number. We know all that crap. Save it.

HORST starts weeping again.

OSS OFFICER: Stop blubbering!

HORST: I hate pain. I can’t take pain.

OSS OFFICER: That’s why it’s pain, stupid. If it felt good, you’d put your hands on hot stoves and shit.

HORST: P-please don’t torture me.

OSS OFFICER: Oh, please? Your mommy taught you manners?

HORST: Please!

OSS OFFICER: Pretty please with sugar on top?

HORST: Yes! With sugar!

OSS OFFICER: Jesus, Horst. I’m sick of this conversation, let me tell you.

Pinches his cheek like a proud grandparent. HORST screams.

OSS OFFICER: Coochy-coochy-coo.

HORST: Agghhhhhhh!

Lets him go.

OSS OFFICER: We’re not going to torture you, stupid. (gets in his face) We’re Americans. We don’t do that.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

There's no place like home

Let’s face it. The rest of the world lives in a shack.

“Home.” A four-letter word that says so little. Calling this grand residence “home” is almost an insult. This place is more than that. Much more than that. Much, much, more. It’s your home in the Florida sun.

Yes. Yours.


That also is an understatement.

Strictly speaking, it’s a mega-mega-mega mansion. But so much more. Words fall short. This glorious manse is literally indescribable. But we will try.

First impressions are always so important, are they not? Here, it’s an impression an Impressionist would kill to paint.

Your expansive residence towers against the eastern sun like the Rock of Gibraltar, blocking the waterfront view of area residents for miles around and making that view exclusively yours.

Welcome home, it seems to say. Toss the keys to your Lamborghini to your fawning valet and come closer. You own me. Enter me. I am yours.

The implied seduction draws you closer.

The grand portico towers above you at the elegant Entranceway Transition Space. A cudgel-wielding giant could walk through those massive mahogany doors. A giant could live here. You could be that giant. It’s entirely possible.

And thus you enter.

Inside, you experience a light-filled, oxygen-enriched space of luxury and tranquility. It’s a graceful simplicity that’s simply graceful. The understated elegance makes a grand statement. The ambiance is second to none. It is truly a realm of the senses and a holiday in Rio for the mind.

Such details. Such texture. Such suchness.

A cut-glass chandelier as large as a Buick. Bold lines, vaulted ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and polished porcelain floors lend an air of drama and splendor. The word “openness” comes to mind. Just drink in the view. And take a deep breath. Ahhhh. Yes. There’s room to breathe here. Room to grow, to live, to feel. And there are many rooms in this roomy expanse. It’s a spacious residence with more interior cubic feet than the Vehicle Assembly Building.

So many possibilities. The helpful GPS displays and helpful guides at every turn are always there to help.

Why not go up in the world?

An excellent choice.

Today, your homecoming journey to your own Shangri-la begins on your private elevator to your rooftop retreat where, through custom-designed arched doors, you realize you’ve come to a very special place indeed. A Master Bedroom that’s truly worthy of the name. Stroll boldly to the open patio doors as your personal penthouse chef gleefully roasts a whole lamb on the giant roaring hearth. The terrace of the Palazzo Patio Porch Exterior Viewing Area affords a contemplative sanctuary of heart and mind. The waters of Sarasota Bay splash below, on the charming, shell midden of a former Indian burial ground. One of your many pools sprawls right next to it, directly above Billy Bowlegs' grave. It’s actually larger than Sarasota Bay.

A charming window seat awaits for tranquil moments of reading or meditation. Take your time, count the roses and savor the delicious smells. The chef has caught on fire and is screaming in Greek, but you've hardly noticed. The deep feeling of peace surrounding you is that profound.

Now let’s return to the Great Room, which is right next door to the Not So Great Room, which in itself is greater than most people’s homes. Stroll through the massive granite lintel recalling the ancient temple of Hammurabi, a replica only and certainly not looted. You’ll quickly agree: This Great Room is great indeed.

Herein, you enter a stultified yet exquisite tomb where ancient kings and Native American shamans are buried. Sheep stand grazing near the floor-to-ceiling windows. Muted sounds waft through the air as an undocumented Arabian boy flutist plays the lilting melodies of Jean Pierre Rampal from the adjoining Music Room, submerged in a two-meter layer of dead rose petals. A lone trapeze artist awaits in your bubbling hot tub.

Miss the old farmstead? The Florida Cracker Farm Room greets you with the sweet aroma of hay tossed by the pitchforks of sturdy native farmers, toiling silently in the fields awaiting their turn to be fed. Your exquisite palazzo harbors three acres of authentic "Florida" farmland, complete with farmers, tractor, grazing cows and meth lab.

Did we mention the 50-foot indoor Olympic-sized pool filled with water filtered from pristine Tibetan streams? It’s literally an Olympic pool. The American swim team is training there even now. But you can shoo them off at any time. The Dali Lama himself serves as your personal lifeguard.

Enjoy constant games of living chess amidst the cavernous Even Greater Room which can also be modified for enjoyable and educational Civil War reenactments. And the sheer, granite walls are ideal for rock climbing!

But there are different forms of athleticism.

Indulge in your spacious Hot Chicks Room as seen on the Upright Citizens Brigade. Containing hot chicks, of course. Or anything you want. Your personal Pimp will assure you of that. The room is elegant, by the way. And exquisite.

David Bowie will be your guide through your exclusive personal Labyrinth just next door. Do you dare? You do. How daring!

You stride confidently out from the maze several hours later. A helpful, trained dwarf appears in an instant, preventing your fall into a perfect circular shaft in the middle of the travertine marble floor.

What is it you ask? A well? Well, no.

Other manses boast lap pools. Your luxe dwelling also boasts an exclusive, Vertical Diving Pool an elegant shaft driven 100-foot deep below the surface of the earth to provide relaxing home spelunking at any hour of the day or night. Or dive into a world of entertainment!

Your spacious haven in the sky houses a high-definition, surround-sound Media Room unlike all others. Real Hollywood stars serve you in the privacy of your own vaulted estate. Ask DeNiro to pass the popcorn or Michelle Pfeiffer to whip up your favorite milkshake. Or make them fight! There's no star too famous for the owner of this supreme residence. Not in the mood for filmic fun?

Pretend to be God in the Overweening Hubris Room. Rain fire on highly realistic miniature planets in a convincing 3-D environment. Laugh omnipotently as the “virtual” inhabitants curse you and die.

Such creature comforts don’t mean the practical details have been neglected. Oh no. Far from it. You can take our word for it, we assure you. Architect Zoltan Zbarro and builders Carl and Carl Conrad of Carl and Carl Conrad Construction Company assure you as well.

Storage space is endless. Literally a wormhole created at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. If it becomes unstable, it could destroy the fabric of space and time itself. In the meantime, there's plenty of room for your prized collection of vintage Rolls Royce Silver Clouds and unused board games. Thanks to Zbarro's relentlessly efficient design, there’ll be plenty of time for more fun and games!

Or fine dining.

If feeding your face is the feast that you need, you’ve come to the right place.

This is a house that says indulge yourself.

This is a house that says eat. Eat. EAT!

Ethnic chefs from every country are creating colorful native dishes in every room. And of course there’s a state-of-the-art, high tech, cutting-edge Gourmet Master Kitchen.

Why settle for a walk-in freezer? Your personalized Walk-In-Antarctic-Ice-Station provides both endless cold storage and a chance to re-experience the chilling thrills of Amundsen's South Pole expedition of 1912.

Why settle for a Wolf stove? The Gourmet Master Kitchen offers authentic Arctic wolves who will attack and kill their prey before your delighted dinner guests. After a short and bloody battle, your fearless chefs will then cook what they kill over the endless bonfires, burning outrageously in your Grand Salon Brasserie and Survival Station.

Or you can wear the chef's hat! Cook up a storm if you feel like it. But, seriously, why? All of the chefs on the food channel await your every command. It gets noisy but you eat well!

And if you do indulge too much, don’t worry. Your personal physician is ready to administer liposuction at any time.

What to eat? Anything you want. Where? The possibilities are literally endless.

Your grand dining table makes Citizen Kane’s table look like a fucking picnic table. In an al dente mood?

Outside, the sprawling Family Activity Area is ideal for intimate tête-à-têtes or regulation soccer matches. And it comes supplied with its own authentic Family and Trophy Wife of your choice! Enjoy early sunset cocktails by the pool — or spread a blanket alongside the razorwire-topped sea wall and enjoy the drama of natural Florida unfolding before your eyes as your helpful security staff chases away dirty, noisy Florida-native boaters approaching your perimeter. A few efficient warning shots, and the all-pervading quiet returns like a shroud.

But even a glorious day such as today must end. God will not punish you for your sins, we assure you. You can take it with you. Relax, and go to bed.

Finally, as you bow down for evening prayers, Leonard Cohen, from his IRS-imposed isolation chamber, croons unrequited love songs through the air conditioning filters of the state-of-the-art, LEED-certified HVAC system. His mourning wails create a delightful addition to the elegant ambiance of your distinguished residence in the sun. As a great entrepreneur once said, “The World is Yours.”

Enjoy it.

You’ve earned it.