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       ASK ROD

Photo by Bob Gentry 2001 Stanyan Entertainment

A Thought for Today

Our faults are usually our fault.

 

The weekend is close enough to see but not close enough to touch. Here's the mailbag.

BAH HUMBUG!

Hi, Spent the whole 3-day weekend taking the Christmas lights down. I'm thinking of converting to Judaism so I don't have to do it again next year. Nitey nite, Ann, Bakersfield California

Dear Ann, I know exactly how you feel, I woke up New Years Day, looked around, fed the cats, took a cup of coffee into Edward and told him "If this is what 2001 looks like I'm going back to bed. Wake me when the year rolls over."

Actually it was a beautiful day but I still went back to bed inspired by the stacks of the year 2000 work still waiting to be completed. 

I think converting to Judaism is a bad move, Jews have as many holidays as Christians do . . and, they are LONGER. With some of them you don't get any food (ah, but the ones where the food is bountiful more than make up for it.)

I think your best bet is to become an Atheist. As far as I can tell they have nothing to celebrate. As ever, Rod.

PS: With the electric rate hikes coming to California I wouldn't worry about having to put up all those lights next year. You'll be living in a shelter and dining by candlelight like all the rest of us.

THE CRACKED ALBUM

Rod, I have an album of yours, which was made from Harmony Stereo, a product of Columbia Records. The cover is a picture of your face, with blond shortish hair combed back, and your handwriting covering the whole album front jacket. The title is "The Poetry That Is" with a small mention on the front cover formerly entitled "In Search of Eros".

There are 21 tracks starting with Eros, The Gentle Touch, Brownstone etc on the 1st side, and, The Love Seeker, Jimjann, Encounters, clocks etc on the 2nd side of the album. The album I have had all these years is cracked and I have been looking to find a tape or a CD with the same tracks. but with no luck. 

This album was the most touching and deeply heart felt wording I had ever listened to, in my younger years. I am now 51 years old, but still remember this album. I purchased it sometime between 1969 and 1972. Can you please tell me where I might find a copy. I would like to pass this on to my 12 year old son, Scott. Thank you and Merry Christmas from an old fan. Yours Sincerely, Ted Shook 


Dear Ted, I've only heard of this illegal re-titled album of "In Search of Eros." Would love to have your cracked copy. I'll make you a deal, send me the album and its packaging and I'll give you your choice of a brand new LP of "In Search of Eros" or a cassette version. A CD is not yet available, but I'll even throw in something extra that I know you don't have.

You can send it to me at Box 2783, Hollywood, CA 90028, USA.

Glad you like it so much and want to pass it on to your son Scott. That means a lot to me. Warmly, Rod.

SAY GOODBYE

Dear Mr. McKuen, This is kind of an unusual question, I'm sure
considering the relative obscurity of the film, but when I was in seventh grade, I saw a movie in science class called " Say Goodbye". 

Our teacher was a huge fan of yours, and I have never forgotten either her or the film, which was a heartbreaking series of
segments showing animal murder and abuse. Are you the same man who narrated this film or was it someone by the same name? If you were the narrator, I want you to know that you have a beautiful voice. Blessed Be!! Autumn

Dear Autumn, "Say Goodbye" was produced by the great documentarian David Wolper. The film, which showed baby seals being clubbed to death for their pelts, created quite a sensation when it was broadcast on NBC.

It received a Peabody Award and was nominated for an Academy Award in the documentary field. Because of the violence toward animals it was a tough film for me to narrate, but I consider it an important piece of work that I'm glad to have been involved with. Thanks for remembering. Sincerely, Rod.

ALMOST

Don't know if you'll get this in time but anyway here goes. (and yes I know it hasn't been five or ten years since my last post... just can't stay away from the site!) I was really glad to see that ROD MCKUEN'S CHRISTMAS IN NEW ENGLAND has finally been put to video! It got me thinking back to all the times I "almost" got a chance to view you on TV. 

Many many years ago, one evening, I was in my next-door neighbor's back yard tasting his whiskey when my sister-in-law poked her head out the back door and said "Your mom said you should come home for a minute... there's someone on the TV she thinks you'd like to see." Oh, who I said. After she tried to confirm the name she said "Some Ron guy. Just a minute. (back in, back out) some folk singer." "Ron MacKinnon... yeah I think that's his name." To which I said "I don't know any singer by the name of Ron MacKinnon." 

My whiskey sippin friend said maybe she means that guy from the states Ron McKuen. Suddenly the light came on! (Duh?) I rushed home as fast as I could to catch the tail end of "Jean" (I think) on the Tommy Banks show. That was it! 

A couple of years later it was "Don't miss Rod McKuen tonight on the Merv Griffin show." Which I said I won't! Now in eastern Canada The Merv Griffin shows were anywhere from one week to three years old! Anyway that evening I prepared the room for my Rod fix and it just so happened that about 15 minutes before the show a rain storm raging outside blew the TV antenna off the roof! No lie! I was so pissed off that even my shadow was swearing!

Zoom ahead a few more years to when our community finally got cable TV and what appears in the TV guide but "ROD MCKUEN'S CHRISTMAS IN NEW ENGLAND"! Once again I prepared the room for what promised to be excellent Christmas fare and about 8 !!*##%^+# minutes into the program the Bangor station went off the air!! They just wanted to test the new feed into Canada or they wanted to scrape ice off their microwave or something wasn't just right! I don't know what the heck it was but if I'd have been behind the guy who made that decision... (calm down that was many years ago) 

So now you know why I'm glad to see "Christmas In New England" on video. A few weeks ago I threw out a few hints to my partner Wanda about how it would make a perfect gift. I don't know if she took the bait or not but my birthday is in Jan. so I'll have another try at it. I WILL have it eventually! My only fear is that the courier van will burst into flames with the driver just escaping with his life or something. Wow what a Christmas story. 

At any rate this is my brief history of viewing Rod McKuen on TV. Anyway to you and all your friends and family I wish you a very Merry Christmas and all the best in the coming year Mr. Rod McKuen. (if that IS your REAL name) and to all the Ron MacKinnons out there please accept my apologies for using your name in such a feeble wheeze! -Love- Dave MacDonald

P.S. I'm going out to sing at a Celtic Christmas party tonight! Wish you were here Mac.


Dear Dave, What a story. The God's must not be crazy, just censoring your TV fare. Lets see, as best I can remember here's what you missed; there was a flood during the Tommy Banks Show that destroyed his set and swept me out to sea halfway through "Jean."

On Merv Griffen a quickie marriage between me and Zsa Zsa Gabor (later annulled) was performed. Merv sang "Oh Promise Me."

Not to worry, though, because if "Christmas in New England" has arrived you'll note that the part where I set fire to Santa has been cut. 

Maybe if we can tear you away from Canada long enough you'll attend one of the stateside March concerts. Hope to see you then. One word of warning, though, they won't be televised. Luv, Mac

TOGETHER AGAIN

I know you have not been lost, but I think I have been. I fell in love with your writings in high school, 22 some odd years ago. Purchased your books and they were well worn when I put them in storage. Coincidentally, I just ran into an old high school flame who asked me..." who was that guy who wrote the poetry you loved so much?". 

That question only a week ago has enflamed my heart for the feelings and emotion I miss so much from reading your work.
I have torn my attic apart looking for that one box with my books in it, and I'm sure I'm close to finding it. I can't wait to get there. I am so glad I found this site and will do whatever it takes to get tickets to ONE of your concerts you mentioned today for next spring. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to write to you .... Happy Holidays! Cathy Ware


Dear Cathy, I think it's neat that we found each other again too. Hope the attic yields more than moths, cobwebs and a bat or two.

Thanks for caring all these years, Luv, Rod.

CD INSERTS & SOUNDTRACKS

Rod, Several months ago, in early October or maybe late September, I mailed a package to your PO Box in Beverly Hills. The envelope contained a number of CD inserts from my personal collection which I was asking you to sign for me and return as you had done in the past. Since they have not been 
returned I was wondering if there was a problem this time.

If for some reason you do not want to sign them would you please return them to me in the postage paid envelope I included? I do want my CDs and the artwork to remain together. And I do hope you will consider my request to sign them. Your music has always meant a great deal to me.

I keep wondering when we will see a reissue of "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" on CD. Any plans for that or for anything else from the back catalog? I believe I have just about everything you have released on CD....and most of the vinyl also. I even find myself buying additional copies of the CDs and LPs when I find them around.

I'm hoping you are doing well. I have dealt with depression for 
decades. I often wonder what it would be like to be in Capri in July but most of the time I find myself more like catching trains and looking out windows for Sloopy. Life must be meaningful but often does not feel that way. Too many sad things in the past keep me from moving on as I ought to do. Don Stout Fair Oaks, CA


Dear Don, Until we're finally able to let go of it 'the past' can be our worst Albatross. Sometimes it isn't easy. But you have to learn to move on. None of us know how many days we are allotted so to waste even one thinking how it could or should have been is counter productive. Still you seem to be handling your depression well. Hang in there, it takes work and vigilance.

I'm in negotiations for the re-release of several of my soundtracks including "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" on CD, hope to have some news regarding that soon.

As to the CD inserts, I've been unable to turn them up. That doesn't mean they aren't here. I often put things aside for special attention and 'aside' turns into boxes and boxes of stuff. With all the work I've been into this year I have quite a number of such boxes. Be patient, if they ever arrived I'll find them.

Your only mistake might have been sending them to my box G address. A better bet is to send things c/o of Dwight at Stanyan By Mail. He doesn't let anything out of his hands till I've dealt with it to his satisfaction. I hope they turn up. All the best to you, Don and thanks. Warmly, Rod.

THE T SHIRT PROJECT

Hello again, Just checking in to see if there is progress on the Tee shirt project. With my 58th Birthday coming up this New Years I was hoping to be able to wear one to impress my friends and family. If there is any way I can help speed the project on, I am still willing to help make it happen. I know many fans are awaiting their availability.

I guess I could make a sandwich board out of the Carnegie Hall posters, but that would be a bit drafty, and probably a bit more revealing than I wish to be.

Took a ride by Edgar's tomb for old times sake. The Baltimore neighborhood has changed drastically, but the memories live on. I pictured us there for a short moment, and remembered. Hope to see you soon on the concert circuit. What better way to use up those frequent flyer miles. My best to you and Edward this Holiday season. Lou Jordan

Dear Lou, not much new on the T Shirt front, I'm afraid. It's all in Dwight's hands and while I know he has some things on the drawing board, he's been up to his ears in filling orders for the "Christmas in New England" video. With the debut of "Platinum" the double CD import from Korea I think he'll have his hands full all over again. So, I'm not sure when the T's will become a reality. 

My hope is that we'll have "T's" in time for the concerts, but I wouldn't bet on it. I'm sure this letter will prod him along though.
Thanks for the holiday wishes, we had a quiet holiday season but a very nice one. As ever, Rod.


Time isn't just flying, it's floating by too fast to deal with. Imagine, in a few days we'll be into the second week of the year. See you tomorrow with some news on the new CD and the usual (unusual) Friday Pass It Along. Sleep warm.


                       RM 1/3/2001 Previously unpublished

Details of Rod's upcoming concerts and appearances can be obtained via the link below:

Rod McKuen Concerts & Appearances

notable birthdays Sorrell Booke o Louis Braille o Grace Bumbry o Dyan Cannon o Patrick Cassidy o Everett Dirksen o Dave Foley o Matt Frewer o Tito Fuentes o Jacob Grimm o Sterling Holloway o Lionel Newman o Sir Isaac Newton o Julia Ormond o Floyd Patterson o Barbara Rush o Charles "Tom Thumb" Stratton o Michael Stripe o Jesse White o Jane Wyman
Rod's random thoughts Celebrate yourself - but the universe first.

Computers won't replace a handshake.

Without darkness, there is no illumination.

A FIST FULL OF SNOW
or Jerry Dehring

I need familiars
your bowels and brains have to be
as sure for me as both your eyes.
Passing through the sheets
and climbing down inside of you
                  even though
you give back one for one
         and maybe more
I sometimes wonder if I haven't
traversed or gone climbing down a shaft
so new that none, not even me
     had charted it.

Did you take a turn that I missed,
      did I go somewhere else?
Was there a curve we didn't
              go around together? Worse -
has someone else been hiking
down your highway.
Not to worry, change is change
unaccountable but surprising
     if you like surprises.
It's just that I had hoped
        all our surprises
would be together - planned.

There is some silence now
like dead wood in the forest
moving only when it's prodded.

And I stand here waiting
with a fist full of snow.

       
- from "The 1975 McKuen Animal Concern Calendar & Datebook"
1968, 1969,1975, 1988, 2001 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander o Poetry from the collection of Jay Hagan o Coordinated by Melinda Smith
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