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Rod and Bruce Pivic at The Riverton Rendezvous, July 2001. 
Photograph courtesy Jerry Lonn.

A Thought for Today

Nobody ever works too hard at what they enjoy doing.

 

Those of you lucky enough to have the long weekend off, I hope you had a good time without going overboard, figuratively and otherwise. I had dinner with friends on Saturday night, slept in on Sunday and Monday but later answered mail far into both nights. Here’s some more of your mail I had a look at.

SEA-SAW

Hi Rod----Just ordered your CD of " The Sea” had it on a 33-----really enjoyed that--could not fine "home to the sea"

Can you answer a question that has been debated--What year where you born-----I say the 30's---am I right------Your wonderful poems will live forever-----Thank you for them-------Nancy


Dear Nancy, You managed to find a CD that’s supposed to be out of print, proving nearly anything can be turned up – providing it was printed in the first place. .

As for my age, you win again. I was born April 29th, 1933.
Warmly, Rod

IT’S NOT EASY BEIN’ JOE RAPOSO

I enjoyed your poetry that Frank Sinatra sang on his album long ago. My favorites are: I HAVE BEEN, A ROVER.......IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN......A MAN ALONE...... How can I get the CD for the album..."A MAN ALONE”, by Frank Sinatra? Please tell me how. I will Forever Love this album. At 43, It's unforgettable! It's Not Easy Being Green....is..so.....ME. You know how to express ones inner most feelings, fears and
openness. Thank you for being you. I hope my request will be answered. M A H A L O !, Kalua Grace.

###

Hello Rod, My name is Mel Webb. I am 73 years of age and live retired in Las Vegas NV. for the past 5 years. My daily pleasure is composing music with one of my computer music programs, named Band In a Box.

I taught myself how to operate a computer at age 60. At age 62 I taught myself how to use the computer music program. I am not a professional musician. I don't play any instrument, nor do I know how to read a music sheet. I have just loved music all my life.

Many years ago I read a story about you and your poetry in the old Life Magazine. (I don't remember the year now) I was impressed with your sensitivity with words and your way of arranging them into something thoughtful and beautiful. I fell in love with one of your earlier recordings of one of your poem/tunes, named....IT ISN'T EASY BEING GREEN...............I think that it is one of the best things you have done. ( my goodness! they are so many to choose from! )

In the past 2 years now, I have taught myself how to compose my own tunes with my music program. I have about 200 or more now on file, and some are posted on my web site for playing. Last year I composed about a dozen tunes and I grouped them together on my site under the name of 'Colors'. One of the tunes is named as sort of a salute to you and your tune IT ISN'T EASY BEING GREEN. I named mine. IT'S EASY BEIN' GREEN. ( you say it isn't, I say it is ) of course with tongue in cheek ;-)

I love your website, please visit mine if you care to and sign my guest book.. Thanks, Mel Webb


Dear Kalua and Mel, I’ve written many songs in my life, hundreds in fact, but I’m sorry to say “Bein’ Green” isn’t one of them. That meaningful gem was written and composed by the late Joe Raposo. Joe was one of the later half of this century’s most talented songwriters. His initial fame came from being the resident composer on “Sesame Street.” My all time favorite Raposo song is “There Used To Be A Ballpark” as performed by Sinatra.

“Bein’ Green” isn’t on the “A Man Alone" album, but it can be found on Frank’s 1971 album “Sinatra & Company,” (Reprise 1033). After a very short retirement FS recorded “There Used To Be A Ball Park” for his 1973 return to record “Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back, ” (Reprise 2155).

“Someplace Green,” “Pastures Green” and “Blessings in Shades of Green” are among the songs I did write during my green period.

Congratulations Mel on learning how to write music on a computer, that’s something I haven’t tried yet. I’m looking forward to checking out your Web site. For information on where to buy the CD “A Man Alone,” Kalua, read on. Luv to you both

A MAN ALONE

Rod - I have loved your raspy voice since 1969. I haven't heard much about you in many years. I hope you are doing well and will continue to publish music and books for a L-O-N-G time!

Meanwhile I need to get caught up with more recent recordings. I have several of your poem books - especially love Stanyan Street. The World I Used to Know is one of my favorite songs. I am going to try to locate some of your more recent works.

Is the Sinatra sings McKuen available in CD? All of your music I have is on LPs! Sincerely, Mary Lou Roark


Dear Mary Lou, Frank Sinatra’s “A Man Alone” CD is technically out of print in the United States but the last time I checked Collectors Choice Music has copies of the French pressing you can order. Here is their web address:

www.collectorschoicemusic.com

They are a great source of all kinds of music and being on their catalog mailing list is a must.

The Double Fold LP of “A Man Alone” is still in stock at Stanyan By Mail. And they also have the 2 CD set “Platinum” that includes “The World I Used to Know.” All the best, Rod

I've been a fan of yours for over 30 years (giving away my age, aren't I). I just bought the CD, A Man Alone, with Frank Sinatra doing your songs. It's absolutely incredible. I've heard all the songs before, and still think you do them the best, but I've also been a fan of Franks for years, too, and he runs a high second to you in performing your work. Also, I love "An Appreciation" on the CD. What a wonderful tribute to your friend.

Next I plan to get my copy of A Safe Place to Land. Just wanted to say thanks for your work over the years. It's meant so very much to me, both when I was up and when I was down. Lots of times, it gave me reason to go on when I thought I didn't have one. Lana Lee


Dear Lana, Thank you. I miss Frank very much. He was and still is a very important part of my life. Hard to believe that it’s been over three years since he left us.

Thanks for being there all these years, Lana. Affectionately,
Rod

PAGE FOURTEEN, PARAGRAPH ONE

Rod, Many years ago I fell in love with your writing and your songs-and used them to judge every man that I would meet. Most had no idea who you were, but I kept looking. One night -- in a bar- a man that I had seen many times but had never spoken to, came up to me handed me a piece of paper. On it was written “Stanyan Street and Other Sorrow--Page 14-- Paragraph one.”

Well, to make a long story short-we will be celebrating our 30 Th. Wedding anniversary in November. I guess I just wanted to thank you and Glen Yarbrough for giving me one hell of a courtship and a great husband, and many years of great of reading and listening pleasure. Lucinda


Dear Lucinda, Congratulations to you both and thanks for sharing the story of your courtship. The next time anyone asks me why I continue to do what I do, I can point to your letter. Luv and happy anniversary. Rod

WHAT’S NEW?

Hi Rod, been with you for years. I even got a Christmas card.
Any new books? Keep traveling thru life. Later, Stan Delejewski


Dear Stan, Thanks for your company on the journey. It’s been one hell of a ride and shows no signs of slowing. The newest book, titled after this website, “A Safe Place to Land” was published in April and is available from Stanyan by Mail. Happy trails and travels, Rod

SOMETIMES

Rod, I'm and old fan and I'm trying to get the words to the song “Sometimes”, if you can provide with that I would be most grateful. I'm glad to hear your still touring. Thanks, Patottie

Dear Patottie, It’s not a song but a set of words to be read aloud that I asked Mort Garson to write the music for. Here they are courtesy ‘Of all things McKuen’ guru Jay Hagan. Jay reminded me that it’s never been included in one of my books, perhaps that’s because it was written to be spoken not read. Kindest regards, Rod

Sometimes

Sometimes I think
if there’s one more river I have to cross
or one more hill to climb
I’ll give up trying.

And sometimes
when friends die or move away
or leave you... for whatever reason
I wonder what it’s about.

I mean... you try to give everything
and so... something should come back.

And sometimes... when it’s dark
and there’s no one around for miles
              who seems to care
or even know about you
or even know that it’s dark
I wonder why we try so hard.

The beating of the heart can stifle anything
jack hammers and jack-in-the-boxes
                      anything.

And sometimes... the heart beats so fast
                and nobody hears it
that you find yourself wishing it would stop.

But then... someone new moves down the block
and things are different... sometimes.

-words by Rod McKuen, music by Mort Garson from the album, “Rod", 1968

SHORT & SWEET

Rod, What can I say. Thanks for the poetry, the music and expressing what I never could. Roger Smith

Dear Roger, Thanks to people like you I have a platform to say the things I care about. All the best to you, Rod

“GLAD YOU’RE STILL ALIVE” - ME TOO

At age 50, I begin to wonder 'whatever happened to you....’. The 'web' is like the Wizard in Oz and can answer lots of those questions. Nice to hear you're still here; looking forward to reading you! Nancy Dolan

Dear Nancy, Welcome to “Oz,” I hope you’ll make it a daily visit. I’ve been away two months myself and it’s a little difficult getting back into the swing of a daily Flight Plan. Cheers, Rod

THE FINAL WORD

Today it belongs to Nicky Williams who writes:

“Marine Corps General Reinwald was interviewed on the radio the other day and you have to read his reply to the lady who interviewed him concerning guns and children. Regardless of how you feel about gun laws you got to love this!"

TWO SHAY!

This is a portion of a National Public Radio (NPR) interview between a female broadcaster and US Marine Corps General Reinwald who was about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop
visiting his military installation.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: So, General Reinwald, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?

GENERAL REINWALD: We're going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery, and shooting.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?

GENERAL REINWALD: I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the rifle range.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?

GENERAL REINWALD: I don't see how. We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm.

FEMALE INTERVIEWER: But you're equipping them to become violent killers.

GENERAL REINWALD: Well, you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not one, are you?

The radio went silent and the interview ended.

Now that we are back on schedule, Ken Blackie arrives tomorrow in this space with a brand new “This One Does It For Me". Join me as I join him to see what’s up his sleeve this week.

On Thursday, I’ll continue catching up on the around the world e-mail box. Sleep warm.

RM 9/3/2001 Previously unpublished

Details of Rod's next appearance can be obtained by following the link below.

"Tap Your Troubles Away" - the music of Jerry Herman

notable birthdays Anton Bruckner o François De Chateaubriand o Frederick Curzon o Thomas Eagleton o Henry Ford II o Jason David Frank o Dawn Fraser o Leonard Frey o Mitzi Gaynor o Paul Harvey o Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs o Judith Ivey o Darius Milhaud o Dan Miller o Howard Morris o Paul Osborn o Mike Piazza o Carlos Ponce o Mary Renault o Jennifer Salt o Ione Skye o Bill Stout o Sandi Tucker o Tom Watson o Damon Wayans o Richard Wright o Dick York
Rod's random thoughts To deny the freedom of the will is to make morality impossible.

To those who go ahead of us, we owe not just the ceremony of a proper farewell speech, but a skeleton key that opens all the locks. Just in case.

It's impossible to be in love, sensible, dignified and have balance of thought all at once.

DAYLILY BLOSSOMS

Borning
in the middle night
opening at dawn.
A single day
        of brilliant bloom
then slipping, aging, gone.

Ah, but what a perfect life,
a metaphor for lives
        of every kind;
busy morning,
        shining mid-day,
               languid afternoon.
Then pollen swollen sunset
deepening into darkness
       and the ever after.

Daylily blossoms
        dancing out
across a thousand Junes
are all the proof
       we need of God,
and Nature singing
       His own songs,
His rumble-tumble tunes.

from “The Illustrated Guide to Daylilies,” 1981

 
© 1968, 1981, 1984, 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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