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Photo by Bob Gentry ©2001 Stanyan Entertainment

A Thought for Today

Always try to get back in the ring while you are still bleeding.

 

Here are some comments brought on by Flight Plans from the past couple of weeks.

FEEDBACK: RIVERTON

Dear Rod, Hello from Stacey in Montana. I hope your day is going well. I've written to you before about my suicide attempt in late July 1999. Your poem "Kearny Street" was one of the first things that I could remember as I began to regain my memory. It just stuck in my head for some reason. I'm doing much better with absolutely no thoughts of suicide. 

Anyway, I am making plans to attend your concert in Riverton on July 21. My husband Randy will be along as well. It will be the first time either of us has had the chance to see you perform. We'll be traveling from home (Great Falls, MT) to get to your concert. The next day we'll see the Rockies play the Dodgers in Denver. My husband has never been to a major league baseball game. He is excited to see his favorite team, the Rockies, play. (I was at Coors Field last year and have been to numerous MLB games.) 

This will be our vacation for the year. It just might be the best I've ever had! We've got most of it planned already, except for acquiring the tickets to your show. It would be a great honor if
we were able to meet with you for a picture and maybe to have you autograph a book for me. The book would be my torn and tattered copy of Alone. If we were able to meet you, I'd ask you to autograph the last page of "Kearny Street" for me. You can't imagine the pleasure that would bring me. 

Thanks again for all you do for your fans. And an even bigger thank you for giving me the opportunity to see you live! You can't imagine how much I look forward to it! Sincerely, Stacey L. Morgan


Dear Stacy, I’m happy to hear you’re feeling well and I have to thank you again for sharing your experiences with readers of the Flight Plan. Your letter and your frankness about your condition and how you set about overcoming it was an inspiration to me; and judging from the feedback it generated you helped a lot of people who battle depression on a daily basis.

Your vacation plans are right on the money, something you want to do and something special for Randy. I envy your husband seeing his first ball game, there’s nothing like it. Linda Becker, who is taking care of all the concert plans, has sent me a big folder of interesting and unusual places to visit in and around the great state of Wyoming and I’ll be detailing some of them in future Flight Plans. 

My hope is that while in Wyoming for the Riverton Rendezvous and the concert, a lot of folks will take the chance to explore the Grand Canyon and other nearby natural wonders in what is truly one of the most spectacular areas in all of America. 

Incidentally Rand McNally and Mopar Autoparts have put together a great trip planning software CD and Mapbook for Windows. It details scenic routes, camping information, hotels etc. that should be of great help to anyone setting up a summer vacation or a road trip this year. It’s available free from any Chevrolet dealer. 

As for us meeting and my signing your dog-eared copy of alone, no problem. Anyone who’s been to one of my concerts will tell you that I’ve been known to come out to the lobby after the show for a visit with the audience, for me it’s part of the evening. If I have anything to say about it you’ll never hear a “Rod has left the building” announcement at one of my concerts. My lobby visit might be a little shorter than usual since there’s a fireworks display planned for later in the evening and I don’t want anyone to miss it.

See you in Riverton. Luv, Rod

FEEDBACK: DANCING IN THE KITCHEN

About a million years ago, when my daughter was small (she is now the mother of two) we would "dance" every night to "I'm Not Afraid." This record was on the turntable constantly; it was our daily ritual.

In a move, I lost the record, and the memory of that time would nudge me, but I could never remember even a phrase of the song to try to locate it. All I could remember was that it was danceable with a toddler, and there was a "catch phrase" in it.

So you can imagine my delight when it showed up in today's flight plan and brought back the memories even stronger. It was great to finally get the words to the song...

I am so very glad that you are back in concerts. Had the privilege of seeing you in Detroit about the 70's and you were fantastic. Two of my favorite songs by you are "Before the Monkeys Came" and "Round, Round, Round". And I DO remember the words to both.

May I also compliment you on your message board? Everyone there is friendly and helpful; it just adds a smile to my day to read it. Sincerely, Jacqueline Ward


Dear Jacqueline, Webmaster Ken Blackie printed the lyrics to “I’m Not Afraid” as part of his weekly Wednesday feature “This One Does it For Me.” If there’s any other song lyric or poem of mine you’d like to see, write him at ken@mckuen.com letting him know your reasons and I’m sure he’ll print it.

Thanks for the kind comments concerning The Message Board. Its success is due to Dwight Michaels who moderates it and the many interesting people that post there. I have no official connection with it or The McKuen Message Center, which is run by Melinda Smith and Jay Hagan. They too provide an active forum for those interested in my activities. Thanks again, Rod

FEEDBACK: TIME OF DESIRE

Dear Rod: You never cease to amaze. Reading this on a late evening, I became so entranced, that I felt as if was everywhere you were writing about. Thank You. John.

###

Rod: Seeing “Time of Desire” in print was more than I could have hoped for. I have the original LP on Hi-FI and the version re-issued on Stanyan. Will it ever be released on compact disc? MaryLou Swenson


Dear John & MaryLou, “Time of Desire” was designed to be a spoken word album only and never intended for print. Thanks for your kind letters. There are no plans at the moment for “Time of Desire” to be released on CD. Sincerely, Rod

FEEDBACK: THE ASPTL BOOK & CD SET

When are the ASPTL books and CD's getting in the mail? I am anxious to send Charlie and Vicki their belated wedding gift. Rita

Dear Rita, the first several hundred orders went out yesterday. I worked with Dwight for three days straight to get them signed, packaged and in the mail. On Mondays FP I’ll publish a list of all the poems in the book and the tracks on the CD’s. As ever, Rod

PASS IT ALONG

Round up the usual Friday subjects and suspects.

WORDS OF WISDOM FROM BARBARA JOHNSON

This short and sweet list comes courtesy of Jack Goodwin.

DEAR DIARY

Blessed are they who clip coupons for they shall be redeemed.

When I die, I want to die peacefully like my grandfather did, in his sleep....not screaming, like the passengers in his car.

Things to do today:
1. Get up.
2. Survive.
3. Go to bed.

Dear God, please give me longer arms or put my feet higher, so I can take off my shoes without feeling as though I'm about to give birth.


OH NO!

This week Scoutmaster Wes sent me a pun so bad it was virtually unprintable. This one from Nicky Williams is almost as bad but here it is anyway. (A PS to Wes: I forwarded it to Steve Spielberg with your home address.)

OH YES!

An Essex girl is involved in a nasty car crash and is trapped and bleeding. The paramedics soon arrive on site.

Medic: "It's OK, Miss, I’m a paramedic and I'm going to ask you some questions”

Girl: "OK."

Medic: "What's your name"

Girl: "Sharon"

Medic: "Okay Sharon, where are you bleeding from?"

Girl: "Romford"


NOW THIS IS A BAD DAY

Jane of Ark passes along this downer

A GUY WALKS INTO A BAR

There's this guy at a bar, just looking at his drink. He stays like
that for half-an-hour. Then, this big trouble-making truck driver
steps next to him, takes the drink from the guy, and just drinks
it all down.

The poor man starts crying. The truck driver says, "Come on
man, I was just joking. Here, I'll buy you another drink. I just
can't stand to see a man cry!"

The man replied, "No, it's not that. This day is the worst of my
life. First, I fall asleep, and I go late to my office. My boss, who
is furious with me, fires me. When I leave the building, to my car, I found out it was stolen. The police said they could not do a thing about it. I get a cab to return home and when I leave it, I remember I left my wallet and credit cards there. The cab driver just drives away. I go home, and when I get there, I find my wife in bed with the gardener. I leave home, and come to this bar. And just when I was thinking about putting an end to my life, you show up and drink my poison.


TRUE STORIES FROM “THE WE CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP” FILES

A deep bow to Sharonann Sewell for the following items. The headlines are mine.

REAL LIFE DILBERT QUOTES

A magazine recently ran a "Dilbert Quotes" contest. They were looking for people to submit quotes from their real-life, Dilbert - type managers. Here are some of the submissions:

WILL THERE BE A COMPANY PICNIC? 
As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building using individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday and employees will receive their cards in two weeks. (This was the winning entry; Fred Dales at Microsoft Corporation)

SOUNDS REASONABLE
What I need is a list of specific unknown problems we will
encounter. -Lykes Lines Shipping

UNTIL HE WORKS THE BUGS INTO IT, STUPID
How long is this Beta guy going to keep testing our stuff?
-Programming intern, Microsoft IIS Development team

AND THERE’LL BE NO DRINK, PROSTITUTION OR PUTTIN’ ON AIRS ON COMPANY PROPERTY 
E-mail is not to be used to pass on information or data. It
should be used only for company business. -Accounting Manager, Electric Boat Company

DROP EVERYTHING . . . ON HIS FOOT. BUT WAIT TILL HE GETS IT OUT OF HIS MOUTH
This project is so important; we can't let things that are more
important interfere with it. -Advertising/Marketing Manager, UPS

PSST . . HERE COMES THE BOSS, LOOK BUSY
Doing it right is no excuse for not meeting the schedule. No one will believe you solved this problem in one day! We've been working on it for months. Now, go act busy for a few weeks and I'll let you know when it's time to tell them. -R&D Supervisor, Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing/3M Corporation

COULDN’T YOU HAVE DONE IT ON A TYPEWRITER? 
My boss spent the entire weekend retyping a 25-page proposal that only needed corrections. She claims the disk I gave her was damaged and she couldn't edit it. The disk I gave her was write-protected. (CIO of Dell Computers)

GET WITH THE PROGRAM
Quote from the boss: "Teamwork is a lot of people doing what ‘I’ say." -Marketing executive, Citrix Corporation

BUT DID HE SEND FLOWERS? 
My sister passed away and her funeral was scheduled for Monday. When I told my boss, he said she died so that I would have to miss work on the busiest day of the year. He then asked if we could change her burial to Friday. He said, "That would be better for me." -Shipping Executive, FTD Florists

THE PHONES ARE DOWN 
We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going to discuss it with the employees. -AT&T Long Lines Division

ATTENTION! THIS IS A BETA FIX 
We recently received a memo from senior management saying, "This is to inform you that a memo will be issued today regarding the subject mentioned above." -Microsoft, Legal Affairs Division

WHAT PART OF SUBMIT DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND? 
One day, my boss asked me to submit a status report to him concerning a project I was working on. I asked him if tomorrow would be soon enough. He said, "If I wanted it tomorrow, I would have waited until tomorrow to ask for it!" 
-New Business Manager, Hallmark Cards)

THERE MAY BE A LITHONIAN OR TWO HERE TOO! 
As director of communications, I was asked to prepare a memo reviewing our company's training programs and materials. In the body of the memo, one of the sentences mentioned the "pedagogical approach" used by one of the training manuals.

The day after I routed the memo to the executive committee, I was called into the HR Director's office, and was told that the executive VP wanted me out of the building by lunch. When I asked why, I was told that she wouldn't stand for "perverts" (pedophiles?) working in her company. Finally, he showed me her copy of the memo, with her demand that I be fired, with the word "pedagogical" circled in red.

The HR Manager was fairly reasonable, and once he looked the word up in his dictionary and made a copy of the definition to send to my boss, he told me not to worry. He would take care of it.

Two days later, a memo to the entire staff came out, directing us that no words which could not be found in the local Sunday newspaper could be used in company memos. A month later, I resigned. In accordance with company policy, I created my resignation letter by pasting words together from the Sunday paper. -Taco Bell Corporation


A SHAGGY BEAR STORY

Sharron sent this to me with the following message:

“Been there, done that."

SHOOTING GALLERY

A man meets a gorgeous woman in a bar. They talk, they connect, and they end up leaving together. They get back to her place, and as she shows him around her apartment, he notices that her bedroom is completely packed with teddy bears.

Hundreds of small bears on a shelf all the way along the floor, medium sized ones on a shelf a little higher, and huge bears on the top shelf along the wall. The man is kind of surprised that this woman would have a collection of teddy bears, especially one that's so extensive, but he decides not to mention this to her..... it's probably a "woman" thing.

He turns to her...they kiss... and then they rip each other's clothes off and make love.

After an intense night of passion, as they are lying there together in the afterglow, the man rolls over and asks, smiling, "Well, how was it?"

The woman says, "You can have any prize from the bottom shelf."


SMILES

Rose defines smiles.

THE GRIN SEASONS

When a teenage girl smiles at a boy, he tries to decide what makes him so sexy.

When a young lady smiles at a man in his fifties, he turns around to see who's the handsome dude behind him.

But when a female of any age smiles at a man of 80, he looks down to see if he's unzipped.


A LIMOUSINE LIBERAL?

It’s not even the Dog Days of spring and along comes this shaggy item from Jane Hernandez.

DRIVE MY CAR

The Pope had just finished a tour of the Napa Valley and was
taking a limousine to San Francisco. Having never driven a limo, he asked the chauffeur if he could drive for a while.

Well, the chauffeur didn't have much of a choice, so he climbs in the back of the limo and the Pope takes the wheel. The Pope proceeds down Silverado, and starts accelerating to see what the limo could do. He gets to about 90 mph, and suddenly he sees the red & blue lights of CHP in his mirror. He pulls over and the trooper comes to his window.

The trooper, seeing who it was, says, "Just a moment please, I
need to call in." The trooper calls in and asks for the chief. He tells him that he’s got a REALLY important person pulled over, and how should he handle it.

"It's not Willie Brown again is it?" replies the chief.

"No Sir!" replied the trooper, "This guy's more important."

"Is it the Governor?" replied the chief.

No! Even more important!" 

"Is it the PRESIDENT?

"No! Even more important!" 

"Well WHO HELL IS IT?" screams the chief.

"I don't know Sir." replies the trooper, "but he's got the Pope
as his chauffeur."


AND FINALLY

Here’s a letter from an old friend and a great singer. In the late 1950’s we both lived in New York City and crossed paths often. She already had a career going and did wonderful demos on some of my first songs. I’m printing a note she just sent me because she’ll be appearing in Los Angeles Monday Night at the famed Jazz Bakery. It’s a rare chance for you to see and hear one of the best and most unique singers I’ve ever known and you’ll ever hear.

ANNE PHILIPS AT THE JAZZ BAKERY

Rod, I just saw something about this site on Songbirds. How are you? If you can, come see me at the Jazz Bakery on Monday April 23rd. I have two CDs out- re-issue of Born to be Blue (1959) and a new one - all my own tunes. 

Roger Kelloway, Chuck Berghofer and my husband, Bob Kindred will be with me - Steve March Torme as special guest is singing one of my tunes. Great time of life. If you want to catch up go to my site,
www.annephillips.com. Hope you can come - it would be great to see you! Love, Anne

Dear Anne, I’m on deadline with this Flight Plan so I haven’t had a chance to check out your Website yet, but I will later on this morning. Meanwhile, I hope I can make it Monday night. I’ll give it my best try. And, I’m glad to pass this information on to my friends and readers and I urge those in the LA area to come runnin’. You know how I feel about your great album, “Born to be Blue.” I love it and I love you. Rod 

Join me tomorrow for some ‘Saturday Stuff.’ Sleep warm.

                         RM 4/19/2001 Previously unpublished.

Summer concert just announced! Details can be obtained via the link below:

Rod McKuen Concerts & Appearances

notable birthdays Carmen Electra o Nina Foch o John Eliot Gardiner o Adolf Hitler o Clint Howard o Jessica Lange o Joey Lawrence o Harold Lloyd o Don Mattingly o Joan Miro o Norman Norell o Ryan O'Neal o Tito Puente o Bram Stoker o Debbie Sweeney o Johnny Tillotson o Luther Vandross o Elena Verdugo
Rod's random thoughts The best friend genius has is order.

I think the older seasons envy Spring.

Few starve on the way to God.

ENTRY: APRIL 27, 1983 
Written for Edward’s 54th Birthday

Today is Edward's birthday.
Two days from now is mine
Though I am three years older
           we think as twins.
I wanted to buy him
something I could not afford
                       something extravagant
because I could not afford to be
                                  without him.

What does brother give to brother
that has not already been offered
or been given back -
Surely there are new inventions
one might pass to another
who was and is more than kin.

I give him all my troubles
he listens and gives comfort.
I go on interrupting his life
                 with my own
he does not frown at such intrusion,
not in front of me at least.

He runs ahead of me
smoothing out the rough spots in the road
                         before I get there.
When love has pinned me to the wall
                   and left me dying
or seeks to trample me with heart beasts
he revives me.
When I am too ill tempered
              to be half a brother
he becomes the brother in us both.

A gift for Edward.
There must be something.
I will not call on him for anything
                                today
not absolution or a favor.
My gift to him will be the day without me.
                 The whole day off.

     
                              -from Folio #39, Spring, 1983
© 1984, 1988, 1999 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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