The Tale of Custard the Dragon, by Ogden Nash

The Tale of Custard the Dragon
By Ogden Nash

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio little pet dragon.

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called her Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.

Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio trulio daggers on his toes.

Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
but Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,
Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,
They all sat laughing in the Little Red Wagon
At the realio trulio Cowardly dragon.

Belinda giggled till she shook the house,
And Blink said Weeck! Which is giggling for a mouse,
Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,
When Custard cried for a nice safe cage.

Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,
And Mustard growled, and they all looked around,
Meowch! cried Ink, and Ooh! cried Belinda ,
For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.

Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,
His beard was black, one leg was wood;
It was clear that the pirate meant no good.

Belinda paled, and she cried Help! Help!
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink strategically mouse-holed.

But up jumped Custard, snorting like an engine,
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.

The pirate gaped at Belinda’s dragon,
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
He fired two bullets, but they didn’t hit
And Custard gobbled him, every bit.

Belinda embraced him, mustard licked him,
No one mourned for his pirate victim.
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate,
Around the Dragon that ate the pyrate.

Belinda still lives in her little white house,
With her little black kitten and her little gray mouse,
And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,
And her realio trulio little pet dragon.

Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs.
Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.

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Coffee for Kids – Does it Really Stunt Their Growth?

Coffee for Kids – Does it Really Stunt Their Growth?
A cup of java may keep kids up at night, but it won’t affect their height.

In past Generations, parents didn’t allow their children to drink coffee, believing that it would stunt their growth. But today, kids are consuming coffee in record numbers and at younger ages. In fact, young people are now the fastest – growing coffee – drinking group in the United States.

Does this trend indicate a corresponding shrinkage in the younger Generations adult height? no, say researchers. There is no evidence that drinking coffee affects growth or a person’s eventual height. At one time there seemed to be a link between caffeine consumption and the development of osteoporosis, and that may be how coffee originally got blamed for inhibiting growth.

Early studies suggested that drinking lots of caffeinated beverages contributed to reduced bone mass. more recent studies have debunked that idea. Much of the preliminary research on caffeine and bone loss was done on elderly people whose diets or low in calcium. Other researchers have noted that even if caffeine does affect bone mass, its influence is minimal and can easily be counteracted with a sufficient amount of calcium rich foods.

The myth that coffee stunts growth was laid to rest by a study that followed 81 adolescents for six years. At the end of the study, there was no difference in bone gain or bone density between those who drank the most coffee and those who drank the least. In other words don’t worry about letting your kids have an occasional Cup of Joe, but unless you want to be up all night while they bounce off the walls, make sure they drink it in the morning.

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Native American Anti Litter Campaign A Crying Shame

A popular Public Service campaign from the 1970s featured a Native American man named Iron Eyes Cody who’s tearful visage implored people not to litter. In truth his heritage was fabricated.

“People start pollution; people can stop it”. Although the public service campaign was one of the most successful ever created, Iron Eyes Cody’s career encompassed much more than that particular spot. He appeared in an estimated 200 movies and dozens of television shows, typically playing a Native American. Off-screen, he worked faithfully and tirelessly on behalf of the Native American community. Throughout his adult life, Iron Eyes Cody claimed to be of Cherokee/Cree lineage. However the assertion was a lie; Cody was in fact a full-blooded Italian.

His story began in the tiny town of Kaplan, Louisiana, where he was born Espera deCorti in 1904. His parents Antonio deCorti and Francesca Salpietra, had emigrated from Italy at the turn of the century. Espera, who went by the name Oscar, was the second eldest of the couple’s four children.

In 1924, following their father’s death, Oscar and his two brothers, Joseph and Frank, moved to Hollywood, changed their last name to Cody and started working in motion pictures. Joseph and Frank managed to land a few jobs as movie extras, but eventually gave up their acting dreams and moved on to other careers. Oscar, however, had found his niche. He quietly changed his name to Iron Eyes Cody and started passing himself off as a full-blooded Native American.

At the time, no one had reason to challenge him. Cody had a distinctive Native American look, and he took great pains to embrace his new identity and false heritage. He married a Native American woman named Bertha Parker, and together they adopted several Native American children. Iron Eyes almost always wore his long hair in braids and dressed in Native American attire, including beaded moccasins.

In fact, it was Cody’s appearance that made his anti-littering Public Service Announcement such a success. Everyone who saw it assumed that Cody was a real Native American and thus felt tremendous sympathy for him when a bag of garbage was tossed at his feet. Many even thought the tear that ran down his cheek at the ads’ conclusion was real but it was really just a drop of glycerin. The television ad made Cody a household name and brought him quite a bit of attention. In the years that followed, he repeatedly denied nagging rumors that he was not what he claimed to be, and his story finally unraveled in the mid-1990s when his half-sister sent journalists proof that he was actually Italian.

Ultimately it didn’t really matter to most Native Americans that Iron Eyes Cody had lied. He had spent decades working on their behalf, drawing International attention to their concerns. In 1995, Hollywood’s Native American Community honored him for his many charitable endeavors. Iron Eyes Cody, perhaps the most famous Native American who never was, died on January 4th, 1999 at the age of 94.

Native American Background Music
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Iron Eyes Cody,Trivia,Education,Litter Commercial


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Purple Dead Nettle in the Food Forest

Purple Dead-Nettle in the Food Forest

In the earliest days of spring you’ll find the purple dead nettle blooming. It will take over a spring garden in no time at all, spreading with wild abandon through your yard. It’s a bit unusual looking so it’s easy to spot. As a member of the mint family, Lamium purpureum has a square stem. It has four sides with clearly delineated corners. As the name suggests it’s got dark purple flowers that are actually quite pretty. Keep in mind that it’s not a true nettle. Unlike members of the Urtica family, purple dead nettle doesn’t have those stinging spikes. In some places it’s known as Purple Archangel.

Bees and butterflies love purple dead-nettle. It serves as an important food source in the early spring for these pollinators. The flowers and leaves are edible, although slightly bitter. Add a few to your salad or smoothie, or steep them in an herbal tea.

Although it’s an invasive species, purple dead nettle is used in the treatment of allergies. It is a natural source of flavonoids including quercetin. It can improve immune system performance while reducing sensitivity to allergens and inhibiting inflammation. The anti-allergy properties of flavonoids come from their ability to reduce the release of histamine.

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The Difference between Bluebeard versus Blackbeard

There is much confusion surrounding the identity of Bluebeard who often gets a bad rap as being the infamous English pirate Blackbeard. It turns out there’s good reason for mixing up these two bad guys.

Bluebeard was in fact the title character of a fairy tale written by Charles Perrault about a violent nobleman who murdered his wives. The tale was first published in 1698, a few years before Blackbeard the pirate came to prominence. In the story, the character was a man “so unlucky as to have a Blue beard, which made him so frightfully ugly that all the women and girls ran away from him.”

When Bluebeard finally persuaded a woman to marry him, she was driven by curiosity to discover the contents of a room in his home that he always kept locked. When she entered the room, she was greeted by the sight of blood-stained floors and the bodies of her husband’s former wives hanging off the walls. Before Bluebeard could add his new wife to the collection, she was rescued by her brothers, who then slew the murderous nobleman. The tale of Bluebeard was used as the basic plot for Kurt Vonnegut’s 1988 novel of the same name.

Blackbeard, on the other hand, was the ferocious pirate Edward Teach, who terrorized the waters of the Caribbean. He’s usually depicted armed-to-the-teeth, often lighting matches off the hemp woven into his mangy black beard. His most audacious act came in 1718, when his pirate fleet blockaded the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. Without having to fire a shot, Blackbeard plundered merchant ships trapped in the harbor and terrorized the town. He was later accused of deliberately grounding two of his own vessels so he had fewer crew members with whom to share his loot.

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