Greta Thunberg — Simply Amazing

I have written before about the young Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, and in fact she was one of my ‘good people’ one Wednesday last December.  Sometimes an activist will start like gangbusters, and then after a few months you hear nothing more about them, but not so Ms. Thunberg.  I see her name in the news at least once a week, and she has been inspirational to many young climate-conscious groups around the world.

Today, she is back in the news, and in a big way! A couple of big ways, actually.

Greta-Thunberg

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and The 1975’s Matty Healy pose for a photo. (Photo: Jordan Hughes)

The first is that she is featured on the first track of the forthcoming album of British pop-rock band The 1975.  In the track, Greta delivers a speech about the global climate emergency, against an instrumental background by the band.  Now, I have never heard of The 1975, but I give them two thumbs up for this effort, as well as the fact that all proceeds from the track will be going to the climate action group Extinction Rebellion.

The full text of Greta’s speech on the track is at the end of this post.

In an interview with The Guardian, Greta said …

“I’m grateful to get the opportunity to get my message out to a broad new audience in a new way. I think it’s great that The 1975 is so strongly engaged in the climate crisis. We quickly need to get people in all branches of society to get involved. And this collaboration I think is something new.”


The second thing is that Greta has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this year.  She was nominated by Freddy Andre Oevstegaard, a parliamentary representative in Norway …

“We have nominated Greta because the climate threat may be one of the most important causes of war and conflict.”

greta-2.pngThe Norwegian Nobel Committee will announce its latest laureates in October, and those selected will receive their prizes in December.  I do so want to see her win it!


And the third thing that has put Greta in the news this week is that she will be coming to the U.S. next month to attend a United Nations summit meeting on global warming in New York!  Now, you may remember from my previous post about Greta that she does not fly on airplanes because of the CO2 emissions, so you may be wondering how she plans to get here.

“Good news! I’ll be joining the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York. I’ve been offered a ride on the 60ft racing boat Malizia II.”

Malizia-2

Malizia II

Malizia II, is outfitted with solar panels and underwater turbines to generate electricity. That should make the entire trip possible without burning any fossil fuels.

Boris Herrmann, who will skipper the boat, said the voyage would not be the luxury cruise that a high-tech yacht might conjure in the popular imagination. The Malizia II is built for speed, not comfort. It has no kitchen, refrigeration system, air-conditioning or showers.

Think about this one for a minute, folks.  This young woman is so committed to saving our planet that she is willing to spend two weeks on a small boat, eating mostly freeze-dried and vacuum-packed meals, in order to do her part to save the environment.  Greta is sixteen years old … most kids her age are attached at the hip to their cell phones, ipods, laptops, and wouldn’t dream of missing a shower or a hot meal, let alone spend two weeks in a small boat on choppy seas!

Greta will be accompanied on the trip by a filmmaker; her father, Svante; and Pierre Casiraghi, the head of the Malizia II racing team who is also the grandson of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and the American actress Grace Kelly.

Greta is, with her parents’ approval, taking the year off from school to campaign against climate change, also plans to attend the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks in December in Santiago, Chile.

I was impressed by this young woman when I first wrote about her eight months ago, but today … the only word I have is “WOW!!!”  She puts us all to shame, and particularly those who would “deny” climate science in order to justify their own greed.


I would like to end with a quote that was sent to me tonight by a very special friend:

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” – Helen Keller

Ms. Thunberg is doing something that she can do … let’s all try to do just one thing more that we can do to help heal and protect our home, planet Earth.


Full text of Greta’s speech on The 1975 track:

We are right now in the beginning of a climate and ecological crisis.

And we need to call it what it is. An emergency.

We must acknowledge that we do not have the situation under control and that we don’t have all the solutions yet. Unless those solutions mean that we simply stop doing certain things.

We admit that we are losing this battle.

We have to acknowledge that the older generations have failed. All political movements in their present form have failed.

But homo sapiens have not yet failed.

Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around. We can still fix this. We still have everything in our own hands.

But unless we recognise the overall failures of our current systems, we most probably don’t stand a chance.

We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people. And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.

Solving the climate crisis is the greatest and most complex challenge that homo sapiens have ever faced. The main solution, however, is so simple that even a small child can understand it. We have to stop our emissions of greenhouse gases.

And either we do that, or we don’t.

You say that nothing in life is black or white.

But that is a lie. A very dangerous lie.

Either we prevent a 1.5 degree of warming, or we don’t.

Either we avoid setting off that irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, or we don’t.

Either we choose to go on as a civilization or we don’t.

That is as black or white as it gets.

Because there are no grey areas when it comes to survival.

Now we all have a choice.

We can create transformational action that will safeguard the living conditions for future generations.

Or we can continue with our business as usual and fail.

That is up to you and me.

And yes, we need a system change rather than individual change. But you cannot have one without the other.

If you look through history, all the big changes in society have been started by people at the grassroots level. People like you and me.

So, I ask you to please wake up and make the changes required possible. To do your best is no longer good enough. We must all do the seemingly impossible.

Today, we use about 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground.

So, we can no longer save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed.

Everything needs to change. And it has to start today.

So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.

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2nd Amendment Run Amok

You’ve most likely heard about the big gun rally planned at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond on Monday, but perhaps you don’t know all the who, why, and what-for of it.

Why?

You mean, apart from the fact that a handful of gun nuts care more about their right to own an arsenal than they care about their own children?  Well, pull up a chair, my friends.  After the 2018 elections when both chambers of the Virginia legislature flipped from a republican majority to a democratic one, one of the priorities was to pass some meaningful gun legislation.  Now, it wasn’t as if they were banning assault weapons, or taking away people’s guns.  The proposed legislation has only three parts:

Two things should be noted … First, 80% of the people in this country support gun regulations such as these, and Second, these are only common-sense measures … nothing that requires gun owners to give up their currently-owned guns, nothing that stops people from buying guns … simple, common-sense measures that might actually save a few lives.

But …

A group calling themselves ‘Virginia Citizen’s Defense League’, a misnomer if ever I’ve heard one, has taken umbrage.  And thus, they are planning a rally at the State Capitol that has attracted the riff-raff and gun-toting scum in and outside of the state.  The rally has drawn the attention of militia groups from as far away as Nevada and Oklahoma, including those tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

Others vowing to attend include individuals associated with the Light Foot Militia, some of whom were banned from Charlottesville after the “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, which ended in the death of a counterprotester. Richard B. Spencer, a prominent white nationalist who is among 24 defendants in a lawsuit over the rally in Charlottesville, also said he might attend.

So far, Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam has declared a ‘state of emergency’ and banned guns from the capitol building and grounds, and the FBI has arrested three neo-Nazis linked to the ‘Base’, a group that aims to create a white ethnostate.  Chatter picked up on Facebook and in chat rooms by the FBI indicates that various extremist organizations are calling Monday’s rally the “boogaloo.” In the lexicon of white supremacists, that is an event that will accelerate the race war they have anticipated for decades.

These people, folks, do NOT represent the population of the United States.  They are an extreme minority, and yet …

“They are fanning the flames for this event.  They want chaos.”

The three bills will almost certainly pass the legislature, and Governor Northam has already promised to sign them into law, and yet these gun-loving people (and I use the term ‘people’ loosely here) are determined to bring chaos into the capitol.  If I had to guess, I would guess there will be violence and there will be injuries, if not deaths.

Let me quote for you the text, word for word, of that 2nd Amendment they so love …

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Twenty-seven words.  Nowhere does it say that every household should have the right to own a gun.  Nowhere does it say that people have the right to own high-powered, automatic weapons that can mow down hundreds within minutes.  Nowhere does it say that people have a right to keep an arsenal in their garages.  The framers’ language was vague, but their intent was not.  Their intent was not for John Doe to have the right to carry a gun into the grocery store and start shooting, nor for a family in the suburbs to keep a loaded pistol in their home.  People have so broadly interpreted this that any law that has the word “firearm” in it automatically riles the gun-lovers.  If I were given the task of making revisions to update the Constitution, the 2nd Amendment and the electoral college would be on the chopping block.

Now, to add insult to injury, the fool that sits in the Oval Office felt a need to ring in on the subject.  Now, as president, he might have used his office to call for calm, to call for the rally to be canceled, or to urge people to keep the protest peaceful, right?  But noooooo … he tweeted …

“Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away. Republicans will win Virginia in 2020. Thank you Dems!”

This from the so-called “president” of a nation of 330 million people.  Keep your eye on Virginia tomorrow, my friends, because this may well be a harbinger of things to come.

A Few Mini-Rants …

I am growling today.  Every headline I read raises my hackles and makes me wish I had never heard of the United States, let alone have to live here.  Typically, I blame 90% of it on Donald Trump, and certainly he deserves the lion share, but I also have to blame the blind 40% of this nation that still … STILL … after the corruption, the childish temper tantrums, the shredding of the Constitution and the ill will he’s brought from our allies … they STILL effing love him!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …


Ditch the veggies – give the kids burgers instead!

Donald Trump’s main mission in life, it would seem, is to attempt to erase President Obama from the annals of history.  It must be miserable to be so jealous of one man.  Granted, Obama was far wiser, much better looking, had integrity, dignity, spoke well, and had a genuinely beautiful family … all those things that Trump lacks.  But, his envy is costing us in so many ways.  First, there was the rollback of all the environmental regulations that had been put in place during Obama’s tenure to try to do our part to combat climate change.  Then, there was the rollback of law enforcement oversight to try to better screen and train law enforcement officers as we hoped to reduce the tragic shootings by police of unarmed black men.  Then there was the utterly ludicrous pulling out of the Paris Accords and the terrible decision to leave our allies holding the bag on the Iran nuclear deal.  And all for one reason and one reason only:  because he is jealous of President Obama.  But this latest …

You may remember that Michelle Obama’s key initiative during her time as First Lady was fighting childhood obesity and providing better nutrition in school meals.  A worthy endeavour, indeed.  Well, that’s the latest thing being rolled back.  Yes, pick your jaws up off the floor, but the USDA Deputy Under Secretary Brandon Lipps proposed new rules for the Food and Nutrition Service that would allow schools to cut the amount of vegetables and fruits required at lunch and breakfasts while giving them license to sell more pizza, burgers and fries to students.

Why, you ask?  Well, the gobblety-gook explanation Mr. Lipps gave was something about having to provide students with two bananas to meet dietary guidelines.  Okay … sooooo … bananas are cheap … what’s the problem?  Well, the real problem is that it was under Obama that we began taking school nutrition seriously, and both Obamas were instrumental in providing more healthy foods and less fat to kids in school.  Can’t have that now, can we.

Another likely reason is the potato lobby that has been pushing for this change, and that the potato industry was behind a change that happened quietly last March making it easier to substitute potatoes for some fruit in weekly breakfast menus.  Once again, corporate profit over the well-being of people.  Sigh.


Senator Martha McSally, bitch extraordinaire

The incident in and of itself was bad enough.  A CNN reporter, Manu Raju, asked Senator McSally a legitimate question …

Raju: Senator McSally, should the Senate consider new evidence as part of the impeachment trial?

McSally: You’re a liberal hack. I’m not talking to you.

Raju: You’re not going to comment, Senator?

McSally: You’re a liberal hack, buddy.

Whoa!  McSally is quite a step down from her predecessor, the late Senator John McCain.  McCain once interjected when, at a campaign event while he was running against Barack Obama, a fan was being critical of Obama, calling him an “Arab” among other things.  McCain did not let the woman finish, but took the microphone from her and said, “No, ma’am. He’s a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that’s what this campaign issue is all about.”  And here is his successor calling a reporter a ‘liberal hack’ simply because he asked a very valid question.  Yes, that would have been bad enough, but …

McSally was so proud of her behaviour that she put a video of the incident on Twitter.  And, McSally’s re-election campaign is already using the incident as a fund-raising tool!

McSally-tweet

Now, McSally faces re-election later this year, as she was only appointed to finish the term vacated by reason of John McCain’s death.  She ran for the other Senate seat from Arizona in 2018, but lost to Kyrsten Sinema.  And, she wasn’t even Governor Doug Ducey’s first choice to fill McCain’s seat … he initially chose Jon Kyl, but Kyl resigned due to health concerns.  With such low values as she has shown, I don’t care if it’s Moe from the Three Stooges running against her, I hope she loses big-time.  Where is the decency in politics today???  Oh … I guess she’s just following this example …Trump-mocking-reporter


A great bunch of people … NOT!

Yesterday, Trump announced that Alan Dershowitz; Ken Starr, the independent counsel during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial; former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi; as well as  Robert Ray, who succeeded Starr at the Office of the Independent Counsel during the Clinton administration; and Jane Raskin, who helped defend Trump during the Mueller probe, would join White House counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow in defending the president on the Senate floor.

I don’t know much about some of them, but let me share with you what I do know.  For one thing, Dershowitz, Starr, and Ray have made roughly 300 appearances on Fox News in the past year, which should tell you something about their integrity right there.

Ken Starr was named the 14th president of Baylor University in Waco in 2010 and chancellor in 2013. After the mishandling of campus sexual assault allegations, he was ousted as president in 2016 and resigned as chancellor and law professor shortly after, cutting all ties with the university.

Alan Dershowitz defended Trump’s ol’ buddy Jeffrey Epstein in his sex abuse cases, and was himself accused by no less than three women.

Pam Bondi was Florida State Attorney General back in 2013 when her office was investigating the now-defunct Trump University on charges of fraud.  Donald Trump wrote a check for $25,000 to Bondi’s re-election campaign and suddenly there was no longer an investigation.

So, Trump has a fine, upstanding legal team.  Doesn’t matter, does it, since the jury reached their decision before there was even a case to try.  Welcome to the tinpot dictatorship of America.


I shall now retire to my dark tower to growl in private and practice howling at the moon.  Have a fine weekend, if you can.

♫ I’m In A Different World ♫ (Redux)

Tonight’s song by the Four Tops is a redux, but a special one to celebrate the birthday of our dear friend, David.  Now, I won’t tell how old David is today, but I am 68 and he is four-and-a-half months, or 139 days older than I am, so … put your math skills to work here.  But shhhh … don’t tell!

This song, written and produced by the legendary team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland Jr., is the final recording they did for the Four Tops before leaving the label due to royalty disputes with Motown.

Feliz cumpleaños … Penblwydd hapus … and Happy Birthday, David!

I’m in a Different World
Four Tops

In this world of ups and downs my dreams all fall through
Things just don’t work out, no matter what I do
Disappointment haunts me, through each lonely day
The world around I see, in only shades of gray

But when the love light shines upon my face
I’m in a different world
A world I never knew, I’m in a different world
A world so sweet and true, I’m in a different world

I’m no longer just another face in a crowd
Hey, look into my eyes, you’ll see I’m strong and I’m proud
You are all the sweetness of my life, you see
You have brought heaven right here on earth to me
No man of wealth, I know I’ll ever be
But I’ll be satisfied just knowing you love me

On the stage of life I’ve played a loser’s part
It seems like I’ve been down right from the very start
Every time I lift myself up off the ground
Something always happens to bring the curtain down

But when your love light shines upon my face
I’m in a different world
A world so warm and sweet, I’m in a different world
Now that you’ve been loving me, I’m in a different world

Each time you speak my name or put your hand in mine
The empty life I knew, I leave it far behind
‘Cause you gave me the love that I truly felt
Most of all you made me believe in myself
You’re more than a love to me, you’re my way of life
I’ll forever cherish you, more each day and night

Oh,
I’m in a different world

A world that’s warm, a world that’s sweet
A world that’s every bit complete
A world that’s real, you’ve made me see
All the beauty surrounding me
Oh, look what you’ve done for me
Oh, look what you’ve done for me
I’m in a different world, now that you’ve been loving me
I’m in a different world, and that’s where I want to be
I’m in a different world, now that you’ve been loving me…

Songwriters: Brian Holland / Edward Holland / Edward / Jr. Holland / Lamont Dozier / Lamont Herbert Dozier
I’m in a Different World lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Saturday Surprise – There Be Dragons!

Good morning, friends, and welcome to the weekend!  Thursday, as you know if you saw my music post that day, was ‘Appreciate A Dragon Day’, or AADD.  I hadn’t thought much about it at the time, other than playing PP&M’s Puff the Magic Dragon, but then Ellen piqued my curiosity in her comment, telling me about … well, you’ll see in a few minutes.  But first …

I want to wish a special 🎈Happy Birthday! 🎈 to our special friend, David Prosser.  Now, I’m not about to tell you how old David is, but I’ll give you a little hint.  If he had started counting his years backward in 1986, today he would be celebrating his 1st birthday!  And, today’s theme fits in with his birthday (sort of), for David is a Welshman and is rather fond of the iconic Welsh dragon!welsh-dragon

Penblwydd hapus


And now about those pocket dragons …

According to our friend Ellen, Real Musgrave met Muff (a nickname derived from a childhood moniker spun from Little Miss Muffet) whilst both were in college in Texas, he an art student drawing life size dragons at the time.real-muff-1

They married in 1968 and at some point, he began drawing small dragon pictures based on poses of their dog “Flower”, that fit into the pocket of his tweed coat, hence the name “pocket dragons”. The spirit of this little creature was, as Real said, as if the world was viewed from the view point of their little dog, Flower, and how Flower would respond to or interpret situations. The dragons took on aspects of Flowers persona from gesture to the floppy ears.

pocket-dragon-1              pocket-dragon-2

The flat artwork eventually led to figurines that Real sculpted and the first set of 27 figurines went on sale in mid-1989 after being produced in Stoke-on-Kent in England.

pocket-dragon-3pocket-dragon-4pocket-dragon-5pocket-dragon-6pocket-dragon-7

Real and Muff retained almost complete creative control over the growing line clear up to their retiring in 2005 to their home at Flower Mound, Texas and the retirement of the Pocket Dragon collection that became effective on December 31, 2006.

pocket-dragon-9                              pocket-dragon-10pocket-dragon-11                                        pocket-dragon-12

pocket-dragon-13pocket-dragon-14pocket-dragon-15pocket-dragon-16pocket-dragon-17

Dragons had provided a significant monetary income that allowed them to travel all over the world as they promoted their creations. As of 2006, thousands upon thousands of the over 400 different Pocket Dragons had been released and found loving homes around the world, as well as games, books and hundreds of other products.

dragon-1                    dragon-2                    dragon-3dragon-4              dragon-5

I hope you’ve enjoyed the pocket dragons today, and many thanks to Ellen for leading us down this fun path!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Discord & Dissension – Part ll – “How did we get here? – Part ll”

We proudly present the second part of this week’s ‘Discord and Dissension’ project … please feel free to comment and make any suggestions you may have … we want this project to make a difference! Thanks to all of you!

On The Fence Voters

Note to readers: This week’s post on our ‘Discord and Dissension’ project ended up being too long for a single post, and so it will be presented in two parts. The first part was presented earlier this morning, which you can read here. The following post is the second part. 

Bush v. Gore

The 2000 election was extremely close. In the end, it came down to the state of Florida. George W. Bush had a lead of only 500 votes over Al Gore, and a recount ensued. It was during this period where the partisan divide between the two parties was on full display. One of the closest and most contentious elections was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court when they settled in a 5-4 decision to halt the recount—a split decision which also reflected the conservative versus liberal ideological makeup of the court.

The fact that Al Gore ultimately…

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Discord & Dissension – Part ll – “How did we get here? – Part 1”

As we promised last week, here is the first part of our project. We welcome all comments and suggestions and we hope you find this to be of value!

On The Fence Voters

Note to readers: This week’s post on our ‘Discord and Dissension’ project ended up being too long for a single post, and so it will be presented in two parts. This is the first part, the second will follow this afternoon. It seems we have a lot to say, and this is likely to happen from time to time. 😉

As my good friend Jill over at Filosofa’s Word pointed out in her excellent intro to this project last Friday, Wake Up America! 2020 is here, and if you thought 2016 was bad, buckle up your seat belts. Campaign 2020 promises to be one of the most divisive in history. As we speak, the current president of the United States is about to go on trial in the Senate for two articles of impeachment.

And he’s not happy about it.

But beyond the current chaos in Washington, our political…

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There is a reason the US president does not want people reading evidence

There have been new developments in the impeachment case against Donald Trump, and our friend Keith has summed them up nicely for us. It is to be hoped that the testimony of Lev Parnas will be heard in the trial and that perhaps it will open the eyes of some of those republicans who have been wearing blinders. Thank you, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

In an editorial by Neal Katyal and Joshua Geltzer yesterday in The Washington Post called “Lev Parnas and Rudy Giuliani have demolished Trump’s claims of innocence” (see link below), it lays bare false reasons of the US president using strong-arm tactics in Ukraine. Per the editorial:

“Americans who have been wondering why President Trump has taken the extraordinary step of trying to block every document from being released to Congress in his impeachment inquiry need wonder no longer. The new documents released Tuesday evening by the House Intelligence Committee were devastating to Trump’s continuing — if shifting — defense of his Ukraine extortion scandal, just days before his impeachment trial is likely to begin in the Senate. These new documents demolish at least three key defenses to which Trump and his allies have been clinging: that he was really fighting corruption when he pressured Ukraine on matters related to the…

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Blame It On Nancy

I stumbled upon this last night, and thought you might find some wisdom and humour from it.

claytoonz

cjones01172020

Yesterday, A Canadian CEO blamed Donald Trump for the lives lost by Iran shooting down the Ukrainian airliner.

Iran was responding to the United States killing its top general while he was on his way to the airport in Baghdad. The general was killed after Donald Trump ordered his assassination. The CEO, Michael McCain, chief executive of Canadian food packaging company Maple Leaf Foods, says one of his colleagues lost his wife and 11-year-old son when the airliner was shot down.

Iran has taken responsibility for shooting down the plane a few hours after shooting rockets at bases in Iraq where American troops where stationed. Iran’s attack was a response to Trump’s ordered hit.

McCain, who’s probably going to incur Republican wrath for his last name alone, lashed out on Trump through Twitter, and not just his private account, but his company’s. He said the 57 Canadians killed in this…

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Keep It Personal, Please

Perhaps there is no single place where the concept of separation between church and state is as important as in our public schools.  There was good reason for Thomas Jefferson to call for a ‘wall of separation’ between church and state, and today there are even more reasons.  And yet, in recent years, most especially since Donald Trump took office in 2017, that wall seems to be breaking down.

Today it was announced that …

“The Trump administration is moving to strengthen protections for students who want to pray or worship in public schools and proposing changes that would make it easier for religious groups that provide social services to access federal funds.”

Now, I can hear you saying, “Okay, so what’s the big deal … if a kid wants to pray while in school, who cares?”  But here’s the thing … any kid who wants to pray in school at any time of the day is already free to do so.  Nobody is going to punish the child who closes his eyes and says, “Lord, please help me pass this test”.  But … to allow a child to force the entire classroom to listen to his prayer is an infringement on the rights of the other children.

Prayer should be a personal thing, not a group activity … and especially when not all the group believe in the same things.  In today’s public schools, we have Muslim children, Catholic children, Jewish children, and atheist children.  But, it is the evangelical Christians who are driving the decisions to include prayer in school.  Can you imagine the evangelical parents of little Johnny who comes home one afternoon and starts talking about Allah, because little Mohammed said his prayers in school?  Oh yeah … mommy and daddy would be at the school board office bright and early the next morning, probably with their lawyer in tow.

But yet, Mohammed’s parents are supposed to accept him being subjected to Christian prayers.  There is a time and a place for everything.  If you follow a certain religion, you and your children have every right to pray, but do it at home or do it at church … school is the place we send our children to learn, not to pray.

I would remind those evangelicals who would like to see mandatory prayer in schools that they have a number of options, including sending their children to a parochial school if they feel so strongly about their child praying at school.  What they don’t have is the right to force every other child in the classroom to listen to their child’s prayers.  Public schools are open to children of any or no faith.  Children are in school a maximum of eight hours a day … surely it isn’t impossible for them to go that long without vocal prayer?

I would also remind them that this is NOT a Christian nation, but rather a constitutionally-mandated secular nation where people of all religions are welcome, as are people who eschew any religion.  Religion is a personal thing … keep it personal, please … remember that our schools are funded by tax dollars paid by people of all and no denominations. school-prayer

♫ Puff The Magic Dragon ♫

I could have sworn I had played this before.  I went looking through my archives and found no reference to it, no song played … nothing.

Now, I actually had begun tonight’s music post as Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers, but then I saw a comment by our friend Ellen who reminded me that today is “Annual Appreciate A Dragon Day”, and she suggested a song I just played a day or so ago, the adorable John Lewis & Partners video with the Dragon in I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore, or else this one, Puff the Magic Dragon.  Now, I don’t mind redux-ing, as I have done so often of late, but to redux a short 7 days later is a bit much.  So, I went for Puff, which as I said, I know I already did, but apparently I didn’t index it properly.

PuffPeter Yarrow, the ‘Peter’ of Peter, Paul & Mary, wrote the song in 1958 before he joined the group. It started with a poem his roommate, Lenny Lipton, left in his typewriter …

“Lenny Lipton and I were at Cornell, and it was exam time. He came to my place in Collegetown, sat down at the typewriter, and wrote some poetic words – he had been thinking about Ogden Nash for a while. And he wrote part of what became the lyric. He actually left the piece of paper in the typewriter when he left because he was absorbed in getting to his exams. It was not intended to be a lyric of a song or anything – it was just something that he typed on paper, and I looked at it and loved it. I wrote the rest of the words to give it a song form and a dramatic arch, and the music to it.

Later, on the second album [Moving], when we were looking for children’s songs – we did some children’s songs on the first album, including ‘Autumn to May’ and ‘It’s Raining’ – I suggested ‘Puff, the Magic Dragon,’ and we put it on the album, without any thought that it might ever become popular in any important way. Yet, it happened spontaneously at some point, because a DJ somewhere in the Northwest started to play it on the radio, and it just took off, and it’s the song that it now is.”

A few years after this song became a hit, Yarrow found Lipton and gave him half the songwriting credit. Lipton, who was a camp counselor when Yarrow found him, gets extensive royalties from the song.

According to Lipton, Lipton was feeling homesick when he wrote it. One day, he was on his way to dinner at a friend’s house, and was a little early, so he stopped at the library and happened to read some Ogden Nash poems. The title of the poem that grabbed him was The Tale Of Custard The Dragon, which is about a “Really-o Truly-o Dragon.”

Lipton was friends with Peter Yarrow’s housemate when they were all students at Cornell University. On the walk from Cornell’s library to the friend’s house (where he was to eat dinner), he wrote the poem, which was about the loss of childhood. But no one was home when he arrived – there was some sort of mix-up about dinner. So he just went in and used Yarrow’s typewriter to get the poem out of his head. Then, he forgot about it. Years later, a friend called and told him Yarrow was looking for him, to give him credit for the lyrics. Lipton had actually forgotten about the poem.

And on that note, my friends, in honour of Annual Appreciate a Dragon Day, I give you … PUFF!  The Magic Dragon …

Puff the Magic Dragon
Peter, Paul and Mary

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal puff
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff oh

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee

Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on puff’s gigantic tail
Noble kings and princes would bow whene’er they came
Pirate ships would lower their flag when puff roared out his name oh

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane
Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave
So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave oh

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honahlee

Songwriters: Leonard Lipton / Peter Yarrow
Puff the Magic Dragon lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, BMG Rights Management