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May 2008 - Chris Schuette

R.I.P. Harvey Korman

May 30, 2008 | By | One Comment

I just learned the sad news that Harvey Korman passed away yesterday. He was 81 years old; it only seems like he was funny for a lot longer than that.

Some of my earliest memories from the 1970s were hearing my dad laughing while watching Harvey Korman and Tim Conway on The Carol Burnett Show. Later, I saw him in movies like High Anxiety, and my personal favorite of his, Blazing Saddles. He wasn’t the star of these movies, but as this clip shows, they wouldn’t have been the same without him.

Weekly Thing #2: Iron Chef 1

May 28, 2008 | By | One Comment

This is part of my continuing project to post a piece of original music each week until I run out of ideas or coffee. So far, I’m not running short on either.

This piece is for a project I’ve recently become involved in. I don’t think I can go into details…mostly because I don’t have all of them yet. I was asked to come up with approximately 30 seconds of “dark, before-the-battle music,” so sorry, but no ukuleles or slide whistles on this one. Maybe next week.[powerpress]

Crankmeister C?

May 24, 2008 | By | No Comments

A friend of mine (who shall remain jobless…lousy beatnik) referred to me as a “curmudgeon” the other day. Obviously this was meant as a compliment, but I can’t say that I agree with this. First of all, “curmudgeon” seems to suggest someone slightly older…and bearded. At 37, I think that I’m too young to be a curmudgeon. On the other hand, I’m much too old to be a “punk-ass.”

My Mom suggested I might be a “humorist,” but I couldn’t disagree more. First of all, “humorists” have real talent that transcends the times they live in. You know, folks like Mark Twain, Marilyn Manson, Will Rogers, Kevin Kling, or Garrison Keillor, if that’s your thing. They have a folksy demeanor that softens their message. In other words, they’re NOT writing about the time their dog ate a pile of dirt and barfed sand clouds for three days. (Yeah, real subtle writing there.) I’ve also never “softened a message” in my life…which might explain why no one showed up for my birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese last November.

I guess I’ll just stick with what my uncle used to call me: “sarcastic little freak who can’t hold his liquor,” which actually doesn’t sound like a compliment, now that I think about it.

Weekly Thing #1: 70s Cop Show

May 21, 2008 | By | No Comments

All right, as I said in my previous post, I’m going to try posting a musical piece every week. I know, the title kinda sucks, but I’m a writer, not a “genius!” I’m open to suggestions.In the 1970s, my parents used to watch shows like Columbo, Barnaby Jones, Starsky & Hutch, and for some reason, Mannix. As a result, I heard a lot of “1970s Cop Show” music. There was always a scene where the hero is covertly following the bad guy, usually played by William Shatner. Here is my small little take on that particular sound. This is about a minute long and contains surprisingly little swearing.[powerpress]

Write Much?

May 20, 2008 | By | No Comments

It recently occurred to me that I have not been writing much lately. The complete absence of that typing sound was my first clue. This is surprising, since anyone who knows me, knows that I rarely stop talking about anything…even when asked politely. I’ve also noticed that some of my favorite bloggers have been in the same funk lately. Blogger, Merle Kessler (who would probably hate being referred to as, “Blogger, Merle Kessler”) recently noted that he’s been finding it “harder and harder to find anything funny in this stupid world.” I haven’t gotten to that point yet, but we’ll see how the rest of the day goes.

I think what I really need is a swift kick in the…er, I mean, what I really need is something to focus on (in addition to family and dog-related wacky misadventures.) I realized that even though I talk about posting some new music, I never really seem to get around to it. The truth is, I never feel that anything is ever really “done,” so I’m hesitant to post it here. Well, starting tomorrow, I’m going to put up a new piece of music every week.

This is an experiment, and like all experiments, people are going to get seriously hurt. Don’t get too excited, some of the pieces will be really short goofy things, while others will be longer stuff I’ve been working on. A lot of you will ask, “why does this crap all sound like Leo Sayer?” I can’t speak to that, but I will be disciplined enough to put out something every week for an indefinite period of time. Not all of the pieces will be iPod-worthy, but if you have a Zune, you’ll be fine. I’m still working on what to call this li’l project. I was thinking of “Weekly Music Dealie,” or “WMD” for short. Hmm, maybe I WON’T abbreviate that. How ’bout “Listen, Dammit!” or “Disciplinary Audio Enjoyment Product (In Stereo!)

Yeah, I’ll keep working on that.

Are You That Other Guy?

May 7, 2008 | By | No Comments

Someone from Minnesota won the $180 Million Powerball thingie last week. I love it when Minnesotans win the lottery. Most of them plan to pay off their boat and maybe fix up their cabin if they can get time off from work. They look like nice people though.

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Good news: You have more money than you’ll ever need. Bad News: you kinda look like Les Nessman

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Speaking of my unhealthy obsession with old TV shows, I should probably admit that I used to rot my brain watching Gilligan’s Island. Hey, it was the 70’s and I was into some weird stuff, OK? Well, The Professor was played by an actor named Russell Johnson, who was also in like, EVERY Twilight Zone episode (OK, just two.) My cursory review of Mr. Johnson’s Wikipedia entry revealed the words no one wants to see in their bio:

Russell Johnson

On the one hand, you’re famous enough to have a Wikipedia entry. Unfortunately, some people were really hoping that you were slightly more homicidal. That has to be tough at parties; “Oh, you’re the actor, NOT the killer? Well, I knew I recognized you from somewhere. Yeah, I gotta go.”

I’m fortunate enough to have one of those names that is shared by relatively few people. A Google search reveals that my vaguely humorous name is shared by an actor, an attorney, a High School track star, and a whole mess o’ Germans. I’ve never heard from any of these people, but I bet we all hope that each of us behaves ourselves.

So far, so good, but I’m keeping an eye on that attorney.

Animals, Animals, Everywhere Animals

May 6, 2008 | By | No Comments

Sometimes Patty and I like to refer to the dogs as “Pooch #1” and “Pooch #2;” just to let them know who REALLY assigns the names around here. Lately, Bear has been acting a lot like #2. He was playing with a piece of string this past weekend while Patty & I looked on with resigned boredom or unbridled enthusiasm. (We’re Minnesotans and we frequently mistake the two emotions.) We turned away for exactly one minute and he actually swallowed the string. We know this because after I turned off my stopwatch, the string was gone.

[singlepic=62,320,240,,right]Well, I had no intention of removing string from an utterly horrible location at a future time…possibly while neighbor children looked on. So we figured it was time yet again to make a dog barf. I’ve had to do this once before with Indie, but Bear is a bigger dog. I led him outside and gave him several squirts of hydrogen peroxide to swallow. Quoting one of my favorite Futurama characters, I implored that he “barf like a freshman.” (Patty stares at me blankly when I say stuff like that; it’s a thing we have.) Soon enough, the string re-appeared and I performed the invigorating task of clearing away the awful barful remnants. Bear is fine, but still a little dumb.

We had another little animal-related incident in the house. Our cat, Jackson, who is the size of several old Volkswagens and twice as smelly, managed to do a little kitty demolition. The cat-room is a small closet underneath the stairs. There is a cat-door in the drywall which we typically lock at night to keep them from messing with our copies of the “Old West” series of books from Time-Life. (Did you know that John Wesley Hardin was so mean, he once shot a man just for snoring too loud?) Well, Jackson actually managed to push the cat door out of the wall. I’ll say that again ’cause it’s creepy: [singlepic=63,160,120,,left]”he pushed the cat-door out of the wall!” I’m sorry, but if we have cats that can burst through walls, we’re screwed! In his defense, I pretty much had the door connected with duct tape and spit, so I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner. I’ve reinstalled the cat door and reinforced the frame so Jackson the Wonder Manatee should stay where he belongs.

Some people would say I should keep a better eye on my pets. I still don’t know where the hell they get these ideas.