Saturday, November 30, 2013

A George Orwell Christmas


A totalitarian Christmas scene. A concrete, public square, as friendly as a rat warren. Dirty snow. Christmas shoppers, bent with burdens of consumption. Santa glares down from a huge poster above them. The caption reads: SANTA IS WATCHING YOU.

SANTA'S HELPERS float above the crowd in anti-grav platforms, machine guns at the ready.

Down on the street, a line of posters on the wall repeat a bespectacled MAN's face.

We see that MAN in the crowd.

The MAN is trudging his way along, trying to look inconspicuous.

A sad-eyed, beaten-down WOMAN passes him, walking in the other direction, clutching a burden of packages.


The SANTA'S HELPER looks down at the scene. Simultaneously, his computer scanner shows a graphic of the crowd. It clicks on one face. PAT-REC MATCH. CITIZEN 427456.DOUBLEPLUSUNJOLLY!


Warning claxons. Spotlights flood down on the man. A loudspeaker booms.

SANTA'S HELPER: (on loudspeaker) Citizen 427456! Citizen 427456! Cease moving! You are on Santa’s Naughty List for crimes against the spirit of Christmas! Drop all packages now! Kneel and interlock your hands behind your head. Now!

MAN: Aw, crap. OK…

He obeys. Hovering SANTA'S HELPERS descend on their anti-grav platforms, converging on the man in a whirring circle. He puts his hands behind his head, resigned to his fate.

Time slows.

The SAD-EYED WOMAN suddenly drops her packages and whips out an AK-47. She blasts the SANTA'S HELPERS. One falls from the sky like a rock. The other's anti-grav platform stars spinning insanely, then crashes into the Ministry of Cheer and explodes. 

SAD-EYED WOMAN: (reaching out her hand to the man) Come with me if you want to live.

She grabs him by the hand and pulls him into an alley.

Pandemonium erupts. Alarms, gunfire, loudspeakers proclaiming, “ALL SANTA'S HELPER'S CONVERGE! ALL SANTA'S HELPERS CONVERGE! VIOLATIONS OF CHRISTMAS

The MAN and WOMAN run through the concrete maze of streets, pull up a manhole cover, descend.

The noises above become muffled.

The WOMAN leads the MAN into a secret underground chamber filled with shadowy figures we don’t identify at first.

MAN: OK, OK. What the hell is going on?

WOMAN: It’s Christmas, OK? It shouldn’t be like this.

MAN: No shit.

ELF and ELF #2 emerge from the shadows.

MAN: Who are you people?

ELF: We're the revolution! You too, right?

WOMAN: (raising rifle) Right.

MAN: (wiping spectacles) I dunno. I just hate shopping. Just to be clear, revolution against ...

ELF: Santa, OK?

ELF #2: Who do ya think, dumbass?

ELF: He’s changed, I tell you. He used to be jolly ..

ELF #2: But now he's a real asshole.

ELF: Yeah, but we're gonna save Christmas! We got help, see? Y-you'll help us save Christmas ... and these guys too, right?

The GRINCH and SCROOGE emerge from the darkness. SCROOGE is holding a very, very large cane, O my brothers. He smiles with a smile worthy of Alex ...

SCROOGE: No. I don't think so. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dalai Lama. Dalai Asshole.


The Dalai Lama and his entourage enter on a mission of peace. Photographers surround them. He approaches the front desk. The clerk is on the phone.

CLERK: No, no ... hurricane season has been really ...

DALAI LAMA: (snapping fingers) Hey! Do you know who I am? 

CLERK: Sir ... If you'll just ...

DALAI LAMA: I want this man fired! I'm the freaking Dalai Lama, OK? I don't have to put up with this crap!

CLERK: Sir ...

DALAI LAMA: "Sir" my ass! You wanna make trouble, asshole?

He sweeps the front desk's floral arrangements and bland ceramic vases onto the marble floor. 

DALAI LAMA: 'Cause I'm here to make trouble! I'm here to ruin your !@@#$ life! You will never work again, dick! Not in this life! Or any other life! I'm the !#$ Dalai Lama, dig? You just pissed off the wrong person!!

The Hotel Manager walks into the scene.


DALAI LAMA: "Sir," again?

HOTEL MANAGER: Is there a problem?

DALAI LAMA: Is there a problem?

He punches the Hotel Manager in the face.

DALAI LAMA: Yeah, there's a problem! You better believe there's a !@#$ problem! I'm his Holiness the Dalai Lama, asshole! Not "sir." You don't !#$% address me as "sir" ... got it?

HOTEL MANAGER: Y-yes your holiness.

DALAI LAMA: That's better. You --

Somebody takes a photograph.

DALAI LAMA: You !@#$# kidding me?

He smashes the camera to the ground and kicks it. The Photographer runs.

DALAI LAMA: Yeah, run! Run you !@#$ ...

The Hotel Manager edges away.

DALAI LAMA: Hey! Where the !#$ are you going? I'm not done with you!


DALAI LAMA: Not as sorry as I am.

Slaps him in the face.

DALAI LAMA: Listen, you !@#$ non-entity. You wanna keep your job? You wanna keep your !@#$ job?

HOTEL MANAGER: Y-yes your holiness.

DALAI LAMA: Great. Here's how you keep your !@#%$ job, OK? I want the finest "Escort" and a bottle of Cristal in the penthouse suite. You got five minutes. Got me?

HOTEL MANAGER: Yes your holiness.

DALAI LAMA: That's better.

He smiles beatifically.

DALAI LAMA: (through clenched teeth) Now you can take pictures, you !@#$ idiots. Take the !@# pictures.

The cameras start snapping. 

CRAVEN DISCLAIMER:  This is a joke. I dig the Dalai Lama. I think he's a cool guy. He's not like this. Seriously. That's the joke, heh-heh. Just wanted to make that clear. I don't wanna come back as a stink beetle or something. Thanks.

Friday, March 15, 2013


Let the word be made clear. If you have any artistic pretensions whatsoever, the knowledge of Zen is a slap in the face. Because it ain't no knowledge. See, that may sound like I'm trying to be mystical, but I'm not. If you are a writer or a cartoonist or a comedian or a dancer or a poet or a freaking cake decorator or whatever, there is that one shining moment where the riff or the gag or the whatever the hell it is just pops into your head from NOWHERE. It's like free money on the sidewalk, man. Some crazy phrase, some guitar line, whatever. It flows through you -- the first time -- like an electric spark. The line goes down on paper. The words come out of your mouth. Oh, damn. It's so fresh and free and good. Zen. Yeah. And then you do it a second time. And you discover you are imitating yourself. Where before it was the free ecstatic dance of a being of light, now it is a corpse-puppet you're moving around on strings. An echo. A dead imitation. Going through the motions. But, living in this world of published books and gigs in bars, you are not free (if you want to eat) to say to hell with that, I will never repeat myself, I will never go anything twice. No. And, to turn the screw even tighter ... You can take that blinding illumination that flashed through your head like lightening -- and in a mental feat of prestidigitation -- you can do it a second, third, fourth, fifth time ABSOLUTELY FRESH. You can trace the line and it can still be alive. You can speak the line again and it can still be alive. Sure. You can be spontaneous on purpose. Because, you know, everything else is really dead. A corpse on strings. A whited sepulcher. You can fool some of the people, but you can't fool yourself. The good stuff is free. The good stuff pops into your head without any credit card debt. And that's the only good stuff there is. It's the reason you is. But you can't control it. That's the rub baby. You can't make the monkey dance. So ... For that one Absolutely Free flash of mental freedom ... You have to play Limbo. You have to play Twister. You have to catch the lightening in a bottle. It can be done. Sure. But it's very, very easy to kill that fair, fragile butterfly of light. Like me, for example. Trying to find a sanguine conclusion to this insight from above. Which is far, far higher than the normal processing power. Of this pitiful monkey brain.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Great moments in the history of Bluegrass

Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith noodles away at the banjo. The tune he plays? “Dueling Banjos.” British director John Boorman appears.

Boorman: Hello, mate.
Smith: Hey.
Boorman: Nice tune.
Smith: I guess.
Boorman: Say. Ever read Deliverance...? Splendid novel by that James Dickey fellow. Poet, normally. But it's quite the ripping yarn.
Smith: Uh. No?
Boorman: Splendid. Well. To get straight to the point, I should like to buy the rights to your jolly tune. For filmic purposes.
Smith: Beg pardon?
Boorman: I wish to make “Dueling Banjos” the symbol of forcible male buggery for all tiime.
Smith: What? Sorry. I didn't catch that.
Boorman: I'll pay you a great deal of money to use your song in my next film.
Smith: Oh. Well, that's OK, man. Sure.
Boorman: Here's a check. See? I'm writing it.
Smith: Thanks, man.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Out of the blue and into the black dept.

Tony Soprano watches the Superbowl. Suddenly, the picture goes black.

Tony: Aw ... what the ...? Aw, @@#$ no! The picture goes !@#$ing black? No, come on! !@@$ me! This is a !@#ing cheat! I wanna know what@#$ing happens!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Rufus the Dog vs. the Evil Redneck Trucker

OK, this is a dog story. If that's too cute and cuddly for you, move on. But it's a story about Rufus the Dog. And Rufus truly was a cool dog. He was, of course, my dog.

To describe him? His head was, basically triangular. It had a groove running down the top of it, as if somebody had tried to cut his skull in half with a machete and not quite managed the job.

Rufus liked to chase cars.