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A Thought for Today

To be original, be yourself.


The weather in Southern California still bounces between awful and sorta awful. Grim, might be the operative word. It isn't spring, summer or any season I'm familiar with. It wants to rain, but doesn't. The sun threatens to shine but always ends up crying "wolf." It's gloomy and cool every morning, but the nights make up for it by hovering just above freezing. Complain? Who me? It could be worse or maybe it couldn't.

Still, I whistle while I work and it's nice to be working. Had a lot of mail and phone calls over the holiday about a show I didn't see, though a tape of it is on its way to me.


Rod, Please clear up a bit of confusion for me. I saw a VH1 show where Terry Jacks said he wrote Seasons in the Sun. I have always been under the impression that you and Jacques Brel wrote this song. What is correct? Thanks, Tom Dieudonne.

Dear Tom. Ann, on the message board thinks Terry may have spent too many seasons in the sun without a hat. .For the record, Jacques wrote "Le Moribond" in 1962. I adapted it to "Seasons In The Sun" three years later. It was an international standard in both French and English thanks to recordings by The Kingston Trio, Nana Mouskouri, Bud & Travis and even Pearls Before Swine before Terry Jacks recorded it in 1974 for Poppy Family Productions. He had a big hit with it and I've always appreciated the royalties his recording brought me, they helped pay for a new roof on my house. Oddly enough his follow-up single was "If You Go Away," another Brel-McKuen collaboration. Alas, Lightning did not strike twice.

I'm not sure what Terry's been up to lately. I know he once wrote a song called "The Concrete Sea," it's on his "Seasons In The Sun" LP. I've always thought he was a terrific talent. Thanks for the query, Tom. Rod

Dear Rod, If Terry Jacks wrote "Seasons In The Sun" in the seventies, as he clamed on VH1's One Hit Wonders, how come it's the title of your 1963 album and it's also on your 1969 Carnegie Hall Birthday Concert record? Funny thing, when the camera showed the label it said (McKuen-Brel) under the title. Sherilee.

Dear Sherilee, Er, eh, mmm, we backdated the albums? Alas Jacques isn't able to defend himself, but I think VH1 owes me some equal time. Anybody know if they have a website? Thanks, Rod


I saw this item for sale at eBay, the world's largest personal trading community, and thought that you might be interested.

Item Description:        
Seller:    sapp@gru.net
Starts:    04/30/99, 21:10:00 PDT
Ends:    05/07/99, 21:10:00 PDT
Price:    Currently $8.27

Rod, Does this item ring a bell for you? Don't see it listed by Jay. Thinking about bidding. Thanks. Wes

Dear Wes, Based on the auction dates listed above I'm a little late in answering this. Old Boot is one in a series of Stanyan Books that were marketed through Random House. I found "Old Boot" in an English comic strip called "The Perishers" It is a wonderful series drawn by Dennis Collins and written by Maurice Dodd. I brought it to the U. S. in hopes of making Boot, the Old English Sheepdog, a success in our daily and Sunday papers. I didn't have much luck, but "Boot" became a Stanyan mascot and appeared on our calendars and in issues of The Stanyan News. We still love him around here. Check with Dwight, I think he's selling whatever stock we have left of "Old Boot's Private Papers" at around $5,00 a copy, Rod


I've been thinking of "Melinda" lately because she's written several times about the availability of videos, hope to have some positive news concerning them soon, . Meanwhile I've printed one of her favorite poems to end today's flight plan . . . . Interesting thought, today Chuck Barris and The Marquis de Sade share the same birthday. . . . Best current Y2K story; Consumer Reports tells about the new Sanyo iron that is "Y2K Compliant" and comments 'so are pencils and paper.' As The 2000 Scare continues, send me any of the absurd Y2K stories you come across, maybe we can get a feature going here . . . . New recordings I like: Moisture's "Bastard" CD; Intelligent rock, reasonable roll. I'm really enjoying the series of soundtracks that the enterprising Ryko Records have rescued from the MGM/UA vaults Johnny Mandel's "I Want To Live," Henry Mancini's "The Pink Panther Strikes Again." Andre Previn's wonderful "Elmer Gantry" and "Irma La Duce." Most of these packages include music never released on the original LP's and have been enhanced for CD-ROM with original trailers and scenes from the films. Others in this series include Burt Bachrach's legendary "What's New Pussycat," Alex North's "The Misfits" and of particular interest Billy May's driving score for "Johnny Cool," which came out for about five minutes when MGM Records was going down the tubes. It includes two Sammy Davis Jr. vocals. I'll be reviewing several of the series in a new flight plan called Words About Music later in the month. . . . Mail is stacking up again so I'll get to some more of it tomorrow, meanwhile have an easy evening.

                              - RM 5/2/99 Previously unpublished.

notable birthdays Chuck Barris o Diana Canova o Sir Edward Elgar o Ben Grauer o Gary Grimes o Marvin Hamlisch o Thomas Hardy o Hedda Hopper o Stacy Keach, Jr. o Sally Kellerman o Jerry Mathers o Barbara Pym o Jon Peter o Marques de Sade o Charlie Watts o Johnny Weissmuller
       Happy 25th Wedding Anniversary Joy and Mark Gutis
Rod's random thoughts To love, it is more important to learn the needs of others than to dwell upon our own.

Love doesn't call for caution as life does not depend on one man's way of living it.

I could be saved by hearing you say no as surely as salvation lies on the velvet forehead of yes. Not knowing is a nod toward damnation.

EIGHT / Pushing The Clouds Away

Clouds are not the cheeks of angels you know
they're only clouds.
                  Friendly sometimes,
but you can never be sure.
If I had longer arms
I'd push the clouds away
or make them hang above the water somewhere else,
but I'm just a man
          who needs and wants,
mostly things he'll never have.
Looking for that thing that's hardest to find--

I've been going a long time now
along the way I've learned some things.
           You have to make the good times yourself
take the little times and make them into big times
and save the times that are all right
        for the ones that aren't so good.

I've never been able
        to push the clouds away by myself.
                     Help me.


                         - from "Listen To The Warm," 1967. Also used in
                           "The Sea" as "Pushing The Clouds Away." 1967

1984, 1988, 1999 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander
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