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Christmas Eve 2001: Photo by Edward McKuen. ©2001 Stanyan Entertainment Group

A Thought for Today

You will grow taller if you travel with giants.


I’m wearing my old Santa cap today for this holiday edition of Pass it Along and I’ve rounded up the usual elves as contributors and co-conspirators.


Nicky Williams, our staff-reporter from England (more a lioness than a cub) just sent this frightening dispatch.


Watch yourself this Year (It's a jungle out there).

31 Brits have died since 1996 by watering their Christmas tree while the fairy lights were plugged in.

19 Brits have died in the last 3 years believing that Christmas
decorations were chocolate.

British Hospitals reported 4 broken arms last year after cracker pulling accidents.

101 people since 1999 have had to have broken parts of plastic toys pulled out of the soles of their feet.

18 Brits had serious burns in 2000 trying on a new jumper with a lit cigarette in their mouth.

A massive 543 Brits were admitted to A&E in the last two years after opening bottles of beer with their teeth.

5 Brits were injured last year in accidents involving out of control Scalextric cars.

3 Brits die each year testing if a 9v battery works on their tongue.

142 Brits were injured in 1999 by not removing all pins from new shirts.

58 Brits are injured each year by using sharp knives instead of

And finally......... In 2000 eight Brits cracked their skull whilst throwing up into the toilet!


Coral D, our intrepid and slightly dazed (from opening all those boxes and baskets on Boxing Day no doubt) Bureau Chief from Down Under, filed this report from the local psychiatric ward where she in under medication. But singing.


1. SCHIZOPHRENIA: Do you Hear What I Hear?

Disoriented Are

3. DEMENTIA: I Think I'll Be Home for Christmas

4. NARCISSISTIC: Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

5. MANIC: Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and
Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Busses and Trucks and Trees and Fire Hydrants and. . . .

6. PARANOID: Santa Claus is Coming to Get Me.

7. PERSONALITY DISORDER: You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll never tell you Why.

8. DEPRESSION: Silent Anhedonia, Holy Anhedonia, All is
Flat, All is Lonely....Pass the Mars Bar.

9. OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER: Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jungle, Jungle, Jungle Tiger, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Southwestern Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Pringles Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Great Ball of Fire, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bingle, Dingle Stone, Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Hell's Bells, Hell's Bells, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Jungle Rock, Sissors...Paper, Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock ....... ....(better start again)

10.PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE PERSONALITY: On the First Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me (and then took it all away)

Thoughts of Roasting you on an Open Fire.

If you do my mistletoe I'll do yours.


J. Wendt has also been hanging with doctors over the holidays.


A young doctor had moved out to a small community to replace a doctor who was retiring. The older gent suggested the young one accompany him on his rounds so the community could become used to a new doctor.

At the first house a woman complained, "I've been a little sick to my stomach." The older doctor said, "Well, you've probably been overdoing the fresh fruit. Why not cut back on the amount you've been eating and see if that does the trick?"

As they left the younger man said, "You didn't even examine that woman. How'd you come to your diagnosis so quickly?"

"I didn't have to. You noticed I dropped my stethoscope n the floor in there? When I bent over to pick it up, I noticed a half dozen banana peels in the trash. That was what was probably making her sick."

"Huh," the younger doctor said, "Pretty clever. I think I'll try that at the next house."

Arriving at the next house, they spent several minutes talking with an elderly woman. She complained that she just didn't have the energy she once did. "I'm feeling terribly run down lately."

"You've probably been doing too much work for the church," the younger doctor told her. Perhaps you should cut back a bit and see if that helps."

As they left, the elder doc said, "Your diagnosis is almost certainly correct, but how did you arrive at it?"

"Well, just like you at the last house, I dropped my stethoscope. When I bent down to retrieve it, I noticed the preacher under the bed."


It had to happen dept: Ellen has discovered the ultimate holiday phallic symbol.


1. A Christmas tree is always erect.

2. Even small ones give satisfaction.

3. A Christmas tree stays up for 12 days and nights.

4. A Christmas tree always looks good - even when it's lit.

5. A Christmas tree is always happy with its size.

6. A Christmas tree has cute balls.

7. A Christmas tree doesn't get mad if you break one of its balls.

8. You can throw a Christmas tree out when it wears out.

9. You don't have to put up with a Christmas tree all year.

10. You only have to feed/water it once a week.

11. It's always there to light up your life.

12. It gets turned on only when you want it turned on.

13. It always smells nice and doesn't pass gas.

14. If it needles you, you can toss it out.

15.It doesn't ask you to have little Christmas trees.


What a plot! Rita Bartlow must think she’s writing for a sitcom.


The Smiths were unable to conceive children, and decided to use a surrogate father to start their family. On the day the proxy father was to arrive, Mr. Smith kissed his wife and said, "I'm off. The man should be here soon."

Half an hour later, just by chance, a door-to-door baby photographer rang the doorbell, hoping to make a sale. "Good morning madam. I've come to.........."

"Oh, no need to explain, I've been expecting you," Mrs. Smith cut in. "Really?" the photographer asked. "Well, good! I've made a specialty of babies."

"That's what my husband and I had hoped. Please come in and have a seat." After a moment she asked, blushing, "Well, where do we start?"

"Leave everything to me. I usually try two in the bathtub, one on the couch and perhaps a couple on the bed. Sometimes the living room floor is fun too; you can really spread out!" "Bathtub, living room floor? No wonder it didn't work for Harry and me."

"Well, madam, none of us can guarantee a good one every time. But if we try several different positions and I shoot from six or seven angles, I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results."

"My, that's a lot of.......gasped Mrs. Smith. "Madam, in my line of work, a man must take his time. I'd love to be in and out in five minutes, but you'd be disappointed with that I'm sure."

"Don't I know it", Mrs. Smith said quietly.

The photographer opened his briefcase and pulled out a portfolio of his baby pictures. "This was done on the top of a bus in downtown London." "Oh my god!!!!" Mrs. Smith exclaimed, tugging at her handkerchief.

"And these twins turned out exceptionally well when you consider their mother was so difficult to work with." "She was difficult?" asked Mrs. Smith.

"Yes, I'm afraid so. I finally had to take her to Hyde Park to get the job done right. People were crowding around four and five deep, pushing to get a good look." "Four and five deep?" asked Mrs. Smith, eyes widened in amazement.

"Yes", the photographer said. "And for more than three hours too. The mother was constantly squealing and yelling - I could hardly concentrate. Then darkness approached and I began to rush my shots. Finally, when the squirrels began nibbling on my equipment, I just packed it all in."

Mrs. Smith leaned forward, "You mean they actually chewed on your,"

"That's right. Well madam, if you're ready, I'll set up my tripod so, that we can get to work." "Tripod?"

"Oh yes, I have to use a tripod to rest my Canon on. It's much too big for me to hold very long. Madam? Madam?.........Good Lord, she's fainted!"


Hugs & Molly offer ‘The Coda,’ and not a moment to soon.


"Father, it has been one month since my last confession. I have had sex with Nookie Green every week for the last month."

Nookie Green seems to be very popular with my male parishioners the priest thinks. Then, he tells the sinner, "You are forgiven. Go out and say three Hail Mary's."

Soon, another man enters the confessional. "Father, it has been two months since my last confession. I have had sex with
Nookie Green twice a week for the last two months."

This time the priest has to ask, "Who is Nookie Green?" "A new woman in the neighborhood," the sinner replies. "Very well," says the priest. "Go and say ten Hail Mary's."

The priest leaves the church wondering, who in the world is Nookie Green? The next morning in church the priest is
preparing to deliver his sermon, when suddenly a gorgeously tall woman enters. All the men's eyes fall upon her, as she slowly sashays up the aisle and sits down right in front of the priest. Her dress is green and way too short, with matching shiny emerald green shoes.

The priest and alter boys gasp, as the woman in the matching green shoes and dress, sits with her legs slightly spread apart. The priest turns to the alter boy and asks, "Is that Nookie Green?"

The alter boy's eyes are popping out of his head, as he replies, "No, I think it's just the reflection off her shoes!"


Coral’s heart is in the old west . . . Western Australia that is.


In the days of the Wild West, there was a young cowboy who wanted more than anything to be the greatest gunfighter in the world. He practiced every minute of his spare time, but he knew that he wasn't yet first-rate and that there must be something he was doing wrong.

Sitting in a saloon one Saturday night, he recognized an elderly man seated at the bar that had the reputation of being the fastest gun in the West in his day. The young cowboy took the seat next to the old-timer, bought him a drink, and told him the story of his great ambition.

"Do you think you could give me some tips?" he asked. The old man looked him up and down and said, "Well, for one thing you're wearing your gun too high. Tie the holster a little lower down on your leg."

"Will that make me a better gunfighter?" asked the young man.

"Sure will," said the old-timer. The young man did as he was told, stood up, whipped out his .44 and shot the bow tie off the piano player.

"That's terrific!" said the cowboy, "Got any more tips for me?"

"Yep," said the old man, "cut a notch out of your holster where the hammer hits it. That'll give you a smoother draw."

"Will that make me a better gunfighter?" asked the younger man.

"You bet it will," said the old-timer.

The young man took out his knife, cut the notch, stood up, drew his gun in a blur, and shot a cufflink off the piano player.

"Wow!" said the cowboy, "I'm learnin' somethin' here -- got any more tips?"

The old man pointed to a large can in a corner of the saloon. "See that axle grease over there? Coat your gun with it."

The young man went over to the can and smeared some of the grease on the barrel of his gun.

"No," said the old-timer, "I mean smear it all over the gun, handle and all."

"Will that make me a better gunfighter?" asked the young man.

"No," said the old timer, ". but when Wyatt Earp gets done playin' the piano, he's going to shove that gun up your ass, and it won't hurt as much..."


Today it belongs to SharonAnn.

“It was the day after Christmas at a church in San Francisco. The pastor of the church was looking over the creche when he noticed that the baby Jesus was missing from among the figures. He hurried outside and saw a little boy with a red wagon, and in the wagon was the figure of the little infant Jesus.

He walks up to the boy and asks, "Well, where did you get your
passenger, my fine friend?" The youngster replies, "I got Him at church."

"And why did you take Him?"

The boy says, "Well, about a week before Christmas I prayed to the little Lord Jesus and I told Him if He would bring me a red wagon for Christmas I would give Him a ride around the block in it."



When I write music to accompany a poem I score it the way I would a scene in a film. “Bethlehem BC” is more reportage than poetry and so it lends itself to this form very well.

The orchestra is The Royal Philharmonic again and this track was arranged and conducted by Arthur Greenslade. This is from my 1975 “New Carols of Christmas” LP & the CD of the same name released in 1995. Both are out of print. I produced the music track in London and Wade Alexander produced my vocal overdub in Los Angeles.


Bethlehem BC

You could hear
the flapping of their wings
for some distance -
not a sudden rush
         or panic made by masses
but a slow coming together
quietly in the air.

Then, following that yellow highway
that the star provided
into Bethlehem they came.

Slow. Slow. Quietly.
like snowfall making up it’s mind
before a winter downpour

And winter it was.

On the ground
we huddled - first in awe,
         then in fright
thinking it miracle enough
that our important lives
should be interrupted
by creatures on a winter’s eve
who flew above us and beyond us,
to settle in the barnyard
         at the other end of town.

(We make up miracles to suit ourselves
and so we knew these winged persons
had been sent for our amazement,
and not to please the cattle
in an unremembered farmer’s barn.)

Were you there?

But file into the barn they did
while some kept vanguard in the air
as though imagining they guarded
some important person
living there.

Some of us went home,
having seen them with no ill effect.
In the morning there’d be stores to open,
pigs to feed
and stories to enlarge upon
concerning what had happened
on the night before.

Were you there?

Words & music by Rod McKuen © 1967, 1971 & 1975 by Rod McKuen & Stanyan Music


(A simple left-click on the above link should start the download automatically. If you're having problems, try right-clicking on the link and select "save target as....".)

I’ll be back tomorrow with something for Saturday and Download #5. Sleep warm.

RM 12/27/2001 Previously unpublished

notable birthdays Cliff Arquette o Lew Ayres o Dorsey Burnette o Kelly Fitzpatrick o Don Francisco o Malcolm Gets o Joyce Haber o Earl 'Fatha' Hines o Hildegard Knef o Stan Lee o Sam Levenson o Martin Milner o Johnny Otis o Otar Roszinski o Roger Sessions o Maggie Smith o Denzel Washington o Woodrow Wilson o Edgar Winter
Rod's random thoughts Morality is essential to everything.

Faith dignifies humanity with the promise of immortality.

Sometimes if you stop to weigh love, you find the scales completely empty.


Thank you for kissing me
in the elevator last night.
Holidays meant little
when I was young,
only supper at separate tables
               from the grown-ups.
So thank you for the flowers
and the snow this morning
and for jam from the delicatessen
                       and for loving me.
Thank you for this one-room world.
(All I need
when you are here.)

Today while lying face to face
                          with love again
I closed my eyes to seasons and to skies
and I was younger than I've ever been.
                                      Thank you.

- from "Love's Been Good To Me", 1979

© 1967, 1971, 1975, 1979, 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 o Sound & Fury Dr. Eric Yeager o Webmaster Ken Blackie
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