a quack’s echo

I watched a recent MythBusters episode about a duck’s quack not echoing but they failed to bust the myth to my satisfaction. The sound “expert” showed the audio graph of a quack in a normal room and of one in a room that echoed, but he couldn’t see the echo. They did some more experiments with echoes and he learned that the duck’s quack and an echo looked very similar. After looking at the graph some more he concluded, “Uh, it looks like there’s a faint echo around there.”

I remain unimpressed and although I don’t have any information to sway you either way, I sheepishly admit it’s on my trivia list. When it is officially resolved I will be happy to remove it.

Duck’s and echoing aside, I have found the answer to a myth that has concerned me for years. The song Puff, the Magic Dragon supposedly represents drug use. The myth was made even more widespread in the movie Meet the Parents, but it is false.

Peter Yarrow (who later formed Peter, Paul and Mary) wrote the music and Lenny Lipton, a nineteen-year-old college student at Cornell, wrote the lyrics. Lipton explains, “at Cornell in 1959, no one smoked grass. I find the fact that people interpret it as a drug song annoying.” Yarrow confirmed, “it’s a song about innocence lost. It’s easier to interpret The Star-Spangled Banner as a drug song than Puff, the Magic Dragon. Even the BBC’s top 5 drug songs agrees it wasn’t about drugs (read #5).

So there you have it, debunked at last. I for one will rest easier knowing that one of my most beloved childhood books was not about narcotics.


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  1. On the Mythbusters web site, you can take a myth or fact quiz. I scored 60!

    Regardless that the song Puff, the Magic Dragon isn’t about drugs, it’s sure funny to see the parallels.

    Comment by Mel on January 27, 2004 @ 9:37 am
  2. I felt better about Puff the Magic Dragon when I had my innocence, but now that you’ve dispelled my ignorance I feel better about it again.

    Oh yeah, on the Mythbuster’s site there’s a quiz. I took it and got 80 out of 80. I always thought I could tell myth from reality, but I know there are still some myth’s that I would believe. I love these shows…

    Comment by Tyler on January 27, 2004 @ 9:56 am
  3. I read through the “top 5 drugs songs” and was confused by the fact that none of them were blatantly about drugs. And then I saw that they are not, in fact, the top 5 drug songs, but the top 5 alleged drug songs which the authors deny drug references in. You couldn’t possibly have a real top 5 drug songs list without a Velvet Underground reference.

    Comment by Levi on January 27, 2004 @ 9:59 am
  4. Interpreting the Star Spangled Banner as a drug song is funny. Kind of weird that the melody is from an old English drinking song anyway; we just changed the words.

    Yay! I scored 70 out of 80.

    Comment by Jan on January 27, 2004 @ 10:26 am
  5. 60 out of 80. Not too shabby. I love your site design and layout. And pertaining to Jan’s site…I don’t have any problems with my biological clock ticking. I blame the comment on lack of sleep. HA.

    Comment by Ryan on February 4, 2004 @ 1:03 pm
  6. Heh. I’m sure you can understand how it piqued my curiosity.

    Comment by dan on February 4, 2004 @ 1:12 pm

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