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Listen to the Real Story Behind 'Puff the Magic Dragon'

A song about the adventures of a magical dragon sounds innocent enough, but like many songs written in the '60s, "Puff the Magic Dragon" is regarded by many as a metaphor for drug use. Perhaps this video from Great Big Story will finally put those rumors to bed.

According to the song's lyricist Lenny Lipton, the idea was inspired by Ogden Nash's children's poem "The Tale of Custard the Dragon." The same day he read the poem, Lipton went over to a friend's house and felt compelled to sit down in front of their typewriter and start writing. The poem he wrote would eventually be used as the lyrics for Peter, Paul and Mary's hit song.

Co-writing one of the most beloved folk songs of the '60s isn't Lipton's only claim to fame. He's also an accomplished writer, filmmaker, and inventor. He was the lead inventor of the technology used to project 3D films in theaters, and his work has also been used in the development of 3D TVs.

And for all the "Puff the Magic Dragon" fans who believe the song isn't really about a dragon, Lipton still insists otherwise. But after decades of disputing rumors, he's learned to live with the fact that this one may never die. As he says in the video above, "People want to think it's about pot, that's fine with me."

Header/banner images courtesy of Great Big Story via YouTube.

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26 Facts About LEGO Bricks

Since it first added plastic, interlocking bricks to its lineup, the Danish toy company LEGO (from the words Leg Godt for “play well”) has inspired builders of all ages to bring their most imaginative designs to life. Sets have ranged in size from scenes that can be assembled in a few minutes to 5000-piece behemoths depicting famous landmarks. And tinkerers aren’t limited to the sets they find in stores. One of the largest LEGO creations was a life-sized home in the UK that required 3.2 million tiny bricks to construct.

In this episode of the List Show, John Green lays out 26 playful facts about one of the world’s most beloved toy brands. To hear about the LEGO black market, the vault containing every LEGO set ever released, and more, check out the video above then subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up-to-date with the latest flossy content.

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Of Buckeyes and Butternuts: 29 States With Weird Nicknames for Their Residents
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Tracing a word’s origin and evolution can yield fascinating historical insights—and the weird nicknames used in some states to describe their residents are no exception. In the Mental Floss video above, host John Green explains the probable etymologies of 29 monikers that describe inhabitants of certain states across the country.

Some of these nicknames, like “Hoosiers” and “Arkies” (which denote residents of Indiana and Arkansas, respectively) may have slightly offensive connotations, while others—including "Buckeyes," "Jayhawks," "Butternuts," and "Tar Heels"—evoke the military histories of Ohio, Kansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. And a few, like “Muskrats” and “Sourdoughs,” are even inspired by early foods eaten in Delaware and Alaska. ("Goober-grabber" sounds goofier, but it at least refers to peanuts, which are a common crop in Georgia, as well as North Carolina and Arkansas.)

Learn more fascinating facts about states' nicknames for their residents by watching the video above.

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