Thursday, April 22, 2004

I heard this song on the radio on the way to work Wednesday morning. I was merrily singing along having a fine time until I got to the last two verses. Danged if I didn't get all misty eyed!

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

Together they would travel on 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 flags when Puff roared out his name, oh

CHORUS

A dragon lives forever, but not so little boys
Painted wings and giants's 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 lifelong friend, Puff could not be brave
So, Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave, oh

CHORUS

By Peter Yarrow and Leonard Tipton On Peter, Paul & Mary's
MOVING, IN CONCERT, and 10 YEARS.
Copyright 1963 Pepamar Music.

I grabbed the beater guitar I keep at my office and worked through the song a couple of times and I still got misty before Puff could slip into his cave. I don't know why. Perhaps it is because my own dragons have lost their painted wings. Perhaps it is because my children are now young men and I don't get to play with them in the dirt with stuffed animals. It is soccer balls, mountain bikes, and kayaks, instead, and though that works too, it is not the same.

It's not a song about pot, by the way. (I can hear some of you snickering) Here's what the guys that wrote it had to say about that urban legend:

http://www.snopes.com/music/songs/puff.htm

I get fairly irritated when I hear someone talk about environmental extremists. Earth day is tomorrow and I happened to hear the term used by a local conservative radio jock. I was at a gathering in Atlanta on the very first Earth Day. We listened to speeches and music and swore we wouldn't let the world continue to die like it looked like our parents had. We have done some good., but not enough.

Water quality is better today, although it has gone well south in areas downstream of CAFO's. Those are factory farms that dump huge quantities of animal waste into our streams. People get sick and die downstream of them, but hey, that's "BIDNESS". Remember Pfisteria? The evil organism that showed up in North Carolina coastal waters that was infecting people as well as fish? Some of those infected will never recover. The water is still unhealthy years later even though the CAFO's are now so heavily regulated that they have run to Alabama, taking the problems with them. They are jumping from state to state trying to stay ahead of the locals who don't know any better and welcome them in to their counties as "Economic Development".

Here in Tennessee we have managed to let corporations steal the very air we breathe. It is unhealthy to go up into the Smoky Mountains and breathe. Now let me ask you who is the extremist, the environmental activist or the corporate CEO that chooses to let his business poison the air we all must share rather than commit to paying the price to keep it clean? We make the metaphorical pact with the devil to take pieces of our health away in the name of economic development without taking the time to face reality. There are only so many pieces that can be taken before we die. Worse than that, we let our leader make choices that will destroy some one else's health. The coal fired generating plant in Kingston makes lots of electric power and the emmisions go up a 1000 foot smoke stack and float away to somewhere else. Where? The first stop is the Smoky Mountain National Park.

Great courage is required by a leader to face his constituency and tell them he will make a choice to keep them healthy instead of allowing a few people to get richer. Courage is not something we see in politicians. Yeah, lots of them are my friends and they know I think they are pussies! That is a kind word for coward. That's just the honest ones. An oxymoron? Honest politician? I actually think there are honest elected officials. I know a few. We have to help them be strong and can help them make that choice. It takes work and eternal vigilance. There is always someone who can rationalize your health against his bank account. I have lost too many battles because I was not willing to keep the fight going all the time.

Dennis Hayes organized the first Earth Day in 1970. He has kept the fight going for a long time. I urge you to read what he has to say. It is your children he is trying to protect.


http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2001909054_earthday22.html

The Magic Dragon has lost his cave. That's where we put the Nukular waste now.

Peace,

Steve


PS: I still have my ponytail. My hair cut was put off until next Tuesday. Pictures then.

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