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Where Is the Love?

The lack of voice continued on.  And so did I… at work.  I started the day with moderate voice, but it quickly descended into squeaky whispers.  8 hours of talk can do that to you.  My big joke to the kids was this: “I’ve been without my voice all day, and there’s a big reward for finding it.”  Most people thought that was cute.  Others stared at me, with a look that I am more than used to at this point in my life.

Even though I was not with full voice, the rest of me remains intact.   I guess that’s a good thing.

A gentleman walked up to me at the greeter position of the bumper cars today, all proud and excited, with his little girl in tow.   “My little girl is going to ride the bumper cars!,” he exclaimed.  He followed that with, “She is definitely tall enough.”  I reminded him that I had to check her height first, no matter what he asserted.  Sure enough, she was at least two inches under the 36″ marker.  I told him, as I have to do all the time, that I could not let his little girl ride.  His enthusiasm turned to disgust.  Before leaving to go elsewhere, he leaned over to me and said, “I hate you.”

Now, I have had insults of all kinds tossed at me at work — it’s just something you have to deal with sometimes.  And, of course, all I can do is smile and say “thank you” in response.  To that individual who “hates me,” all I have to say is Where Is the Love?

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I can sleep!

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Under the Weather, But Getting By

I have a bit of a cold now, unfortunately. I can’t really speak (which some might count as a blessing), and that throws off my idea of shooting a new video for my page. I was still working yesterday, speaking in front of crowds, when my throat started to give out. I was saying, “You should call me a Shetland pony, because I’m a little hoarse!” Thank god for my cough drops… and the gift of two days off to recoup.

When I am in any state of unwellness, I eat lots of garlic, in any form possible. Raw, cooked, it makes no difference. Garlic is one of those marvelous natural healers that give you tremendous benefit, yet cost you almost nothing. I normally chew raw garlic bulbs, after swigging them down with copious amounts of water, to alleviate the burn. Or I make my garlic broth, where I sauté at least an entire bulb of peeled and chopped garlic, cook that down in chicken broth, then add lemon or lime juice at the last for that vitamin C zing. Oh, it’s a marvelous thing.

Today I stumbled upon a recipe for a garlic soup where you peel two entire bulbs of garlic, then cook the cloves whole in chicken broth until they are tender, then you whisk in an egg at the end to give it added richness. I tell you, the flavor of the garlic mellows out tremendously, and it made a really fine, nourishing tonic for my aching innards. I have a new soup to add to my sick-time garlic routine!

But as smart as I am with picking foods, I’m pretty stupid with picking movies. I tend to choose films randomly, where my condition only seems to intensify. I chose to watch La Grande Bouffe, where four friends decide to lock themselves up in a villa, and proceed to eat themselves to death. While fascinating, this French/Italian oddity did no wonders for my spirit. I recalled the time several years ago when I was broke and despondent, and was desperately needing something to entertain me, so I waddled down to the public library to borrow a VHS tape for the evening, and all I could find was The Grapes of Wrath. Needless to say, my condition intensified. And watching Ugo Tognazzi have a heart attack whilst consuming an obscene amount of pate’, as he was being stimulated in the lap by a woman of loose morals, wasn’t any better. When under the weather, I should just stick with watching Tootsie and Groundhog Day.

But I am a fighter, and these little things won’t get me down! The garlic is surging through my veins now, and soon I will bounce back, more adorable than ever! Take that, Ugo Tognazzi!

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Tuesday Stuff

Not only did Anne Francis die on Sunday, so did Pete Postlethwaite, the craggy-faced actor from such films as The Usual Suspects and In the Name of the Father. He was a remarkable actor who brought in a very serious, tense quality to all the projects he was involved with.

Bill Erwin
And if you believe in the whole “dying in threes” thing (as a lot of people do), the lesser known of the three would be long-time character actor Bill Erwin, who had a career going way back to the 1940s and seemed to be on every TV show out there for several decades. He appeared in two episodes of The Andy Griffith Show (most prominently as George Sapley), which is enough to get my respect. Most people of the “now generation” might remember him for his appearance on Seinfeld in the early 1990s. I fondly recall him as Santa Claus on Highway to Heaven, where he claimed to have actually been Mr. Kringle, himself. But the sentimentalist that I am, I will always think of him as Arthur, the hotel caretaker, in the exquisite and moving Somewhere in Time. If Arthur doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, then you ain’t human. Erwin lived to a ripe old 96, which is amazing to me, since he looked like he was 96 twenty five years ago!

Thank you both for what you brought to the world.

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It Has Already Started

Thus far, I am finding 2011 to be quaint, though not earth-shattering. I am not frolicking in my youthfulness like Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez on the beach (yes, I saw the photos – I don’t live in a cave), but I am what you might deem content. This ain’t a bad thing.

We have had our first celebrity death: Anne Francis, who I know (and adore) best for her saucy role in the Don Knotts comedy The Love God?. I can’t exactly forget who she is, since I have a poster from that film hanging on my wall (signed by Knotts), with her name glaring at me each and every day. I was hoping to get her to sign it at a celebrity autograph fair a few years ago, but she pulled out at the last moment. Now all I can do is stare at the space I had saved for her on the poster until the day I die. But, if that’s the worst thing that happens to me all year, I am doing just fine!

Lately, I have been on a low-caffeine kick. I have been partaking in small amounts of my cherished Postum hoard, when the mood strikes me, without a shred of regret. But I only venture into those waters when I really have to, since Postum is no longer produced and is now as precious as gold (going for $75.00 and upwards on the internet!). A solid and delightful substitute for Postum is Cafix, which comes from Poland. If you were even remotely curious as to what Postum was, Cafix will give you a pleasant window into that extinct beverage.

I’m just trying to do things slow and simple lately, so I can get better in tune with myself. I am working on a brand new cartoon, which will hopefully be done by early spring. To be completely effective as an artist, I have to streamline my life. That means buying less, and appreciating what I have. And if there’s anything I have that I don’t need, it is tossed out to the wind (or the Goodwill truck). “Less is more”, as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said, is one of the sayings that I come to over and over again in life.

I have had several folks express interest in doing the pen pal scene with me. I encourage you to join the bandwagon. All you have to do is holler!

The soundtrack to Tron: Legacy (awesome stuff, kids!) is on the hi-fi, serving as the backdrop that will whisk me off to the rest of my day.

Let’s hope 2011 is great for all of us.

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Happy 2011

I am spending my last moments at home in 2010 listening to the melancholy voice of David Gates, packing my bags and getting ready for an evening of adventure. It’s not going to be your standard night, and it can’t really be described as “partying,” either, for I will be working at the Disneyland Resort, welcoming families to It’s a Bug’s Land. But, I will have my brass bell on hand, continuing Maurice Noble’s tradition of ringing in the new year. It won’t be traditional, and I won’t have Dick Clark to hold my hand, yet I will be quite happy, in my own way.

And 2011 will see me doing the same darn thing: taking what is there, and making the very best of it. You don’t really have a lot of choice in the matter, do you? It’s all about perception, anyhow. If you choose for things to be positive, then they will be. Money isn’t even a part of the equation. I am more content sitting on a stump watching a butterfly than I am buying flashy clothes, or drinking $75 cognac. 2011 will see me sitting on that stump a lot, with a goofy smile on my face.

I am starting a letter writing group called the Happy Time Correspondence Club. I hope you will all join me on my mission. Basically, I want to bring back the lost art of the pen pal. Will you join me in my mission? If so, all you have to do is contact me here, and I will be more than happy to furnish you wish my address.

I also am going to valiantly try to update this web site every two days, and get a little more positive momentum going in my life. My world is already pretty positive, but it can always be much more so. You can never have enough goodness!

Speaking of goodness, please check out the amazing web site by Ruth Reichl. She will gladden and inspire you in a hundred different ways! What a lady she is. She is definitely one of the people I would love to meet and have a meal with. If only!

And in only one month, we will have the pleasure of hearing Gilbert O’Sullivan’s brand new CD, Gilbertville. I can’t wait!

2011 will be SMASHING!

My love and best wishes to you all.

– Kurt

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A Raft of Birthdays!

It’s December 1st. So easy to remember a few birthdays in my world. See, it’s my sister’s birthday, Gueren’s birthday, Carl’s birthday, as well as Woody Allen’s, and Gilbert O’Sullivan’s.

Speaking of Gilbert O’Sullivan, his new album coming out on January 31, 2011. And I will be part of another animated project for him, to be completed in the next few months. I have long looked up to Gilbert, who does what he wants with his art, no matter what anybody says. His music just keeps getting better and better. To work for him, in any capacity, is at total thrill. He’s one singer-songwriter who is just ripe for a major comeback.

It’s a happy day, indeed, and I wish you birthday kids the very best day, no matter how you all choose to celebrate it.

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Where Have I been?

Well, friends, as you probably know, I do my very best to always follow my bliss. Sometimes this leads me to great success, and sometimes a brick wall, where I need time to repair and heal. I guess you could say the last year has been a mixture of the two. Good and bad combined in equal portions.

That being said, I am not here to discuss the bad. (What good will that do you, or me?) Instead, I will simply talk about the good things, for there is certainly more than enough of that to ride upon for several lifetimes.

I am at my old wood desk, which belonged to my father. It dates back to the 1930s. I call it my “Andy Griffith desk,” because it resembles the one Andy had in the courthouse on The Andy Griffith Show. And here I have produced some of my best work, be it music, writing or animation. We have been reunited after a few years apart. I feel it’s a definite step in the right direction for me.

The windows are open, with fresh air trickling in with its health-fortifying properties. A pot of chili is on the stove in my classic cast iron Dutch oven. The Hanson Christmas album — Snowed In — is on the hi-fi. I will soon shower and shave, and head out into the world to make magic.

I’m going to start writing here more often. A few times a week, for my own good.

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Mr. Kurt Nielsen – Friendly Talk #22

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Mr. Kurt Nielsen – Friendly Talk #21

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Mr. Kurt Nielsen – Friendly Talk #18

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