Second Verse Same as the First or History Oversimplified

picture credit: Windows insert, earth free clip-art

Back in the dark ages, when I was in Elementary School, when we would ride the bus for field trips, we would sing our versions of popular songs.  There was one song that had one verse, repeated once.  Well, we would drag it on verse after verse by chanting between verses, “(whichever) verse same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse,” and make it so.  This was continued until we got bored of it or the driver/teacher told us to stop.  As we, Mother Earth’s children, have traveled on our field trip of life, we have been singing the same song for millennia.

The earliest records for both Assyria and Babylonia started about 3000 BCE (before common era).  These cities each became, in turn, large and prosperous civilizations, becoming that way by conquest.  You know, looting, burning, smashing crashing, killing, maiming, and carrying away of captives to increase the “working class”, all because they were “The Best” and they could.

They were replaced by the Persians who were replaced by this guy named Alexander (either the Great or the Worst, depending on which country you are from) who was followed by folks from a small town named Rome.  Christian crusaders took over when the followers of Jupiter quit.  When they finally got their tails kicked in the Holy Land, they started in on each other.  England vs Spain vs Portugal vs France vs you name it.  Vikings vs everybody (hey, I actually like these guys, got my red hair from somewhere).  In between inter-country wars, civil battles raged.  And as we have heard all to loudly lately, the followers of Allah have joined the chorus for centuries.  Now just about everyone is singing along.

That neck of the world woods didn’t have a monopoly on war.  India first saw the Aryans vs the Dravidians.  Then came the Maurya Empire, the Gupta Empire and bringing it into the CE (common era) the Huns and the Mongols.  Next were the Portuguese followed by the British.  Now they just squabble with their Pakistani neighbors.

From the year 1766 BCE to 1912 CE when the Republic of China was established, China had 10 dynasties: Shang, Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, Tang, Song, Mongol, Ming and Manchu.  The Communist party took control in 1949 and has been fighting neighbors (and themselves) since.  Where’s Confucius when you need him?

Mama Earth hasn’t heard any different tunes from her Western Hemisphere children.  Civilizations such as the Anasazi, Aztec, Inca, Olmec, Maya, Wari and Zapotec didn’t become great and powerful by passing out fudge and popcorn.  Never mind the “sweet harmonies” sung by the European settlers.  Now, well, we’re still at each other’s throats.

The song has become louder and worse at time has gone on.  War horses; sharper, harder to break and longer range hand weapons; catapults and battering rams for breaking down battlements, flaming oil for pouring down battlements; gunpowder leading to large and small firearms (makes better fireworks, thank you); and toxic biology are part of the cacophony.  Selfish pride, bigotry, lies, hatred and the refusal to forgive add an off-key harmony.  The loudest dissonance so far is the atomic bomb.

The most that we, the Shelley Elementary field trippers, got from our teacher was an exasperated order.  I’m afraid we, the Planet Earth field trippers, will get much more from our galactic teachers of Karma and God.  Isn’t it time we sang the last verse?

What do you think?  Thanks for reading.

picture credit: Windows insert, earth free clip-art

Are You My Mother? Nope, Silly, I’m Your Nurse.






I grew up on the likes of Dr. Seuss, Robert Lopshire and P.D. Eastman.  So, naturally, when I started Respite Care on Saturdays for a Kindergartener with nursing needs, I took along some of my daughter’s old books.  My favorite of all is “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish”, by the ever-fabulous Dr. Seuss.  So, again naturally, I expected my little guy would feel the same.  Sadly, no.  His choice is “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman.  An emotionally wrenching tale (if you’re a little one) of a baby bird who cracks out of his egg to discover no mother and sets off in search of her.  He finds several creatures that are not his mother until, at last, he finds her.  And if the truth be told, it is an equally wonderful book.

My Little Guy is a sweet, energetic, loves-to-be-helpful, 5 ½ year-old going on 3.  He likes eating berries, climbing on counters, squeezing mayonnaise onto his plate (not eating it with anything mind you, just squeezing it), brushing teeth (needed or not), taking walks, looking at my ears through my stethoscope, watching Bubble Guppies on Nick Jr. and wearing costumes (two or three at the same time, think Iron Man on the bottom and Spider Man on the top).  His favorite words are, “I help” and “What!?!”.

There are so many quality children’s books on the market today that it is easy to overlook the oldies and goodies.  If it weren’t for “Dr. Seuss day” in the Elementary Schools, it may just be as easy to overlook “The Cat in the Hat” himself.  If Theodor Seuss Geisel is remembered, Philip Dey Eastman should be remembered also.

  Theodor Seuss Geisel

(his middle name is Bavarian and is properly pronounced Zoice, but he accepted the Americanized pronunciation as it was widely used and rhymed with Mother Goose)

Phillip Dey Eastman
Carrier Choices author, political cartoonist, poet, animator, book publisher, and artist

He started with adult magazines, cartooning and illustrating (Life, Liberty, Judge and Vanity Fair to name a few).

screenwriter, children’s author, and illustrator

He started with Walt Disney Productions as an assistant animator, story-sketcher, and production designer.

Army Service Wrote pro-Roosevelt political cartoons, drew posters for the Treasury Department and the War Production Board.  In1943, he joined the Army and was commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces, and wrote films Drafted in 1942, assigned to the Signal Corps Film Unit, under the command of Theodor Geisel.  They not only became colleagues, he was considered Geisel’s protégée.
Number of books, first book 60, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” was his first 14 (illustrated 13 of them), illustrated only, 4, “Sam and the Firefly” was his first (“Are You My Mother” is one of his two most popular books)
Pen names Dr. Seuss, Theo Lesieg P. D. Eastman
Outlook of others At first was negatively critical of Japanese Americans, then, after the war had a change of heart and used “Horton hears a Who” as an allegory for Hiroshima and the American post-war occupation of Japan.  He dedicated the book to a Japanese friend. Member of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Audubon Society
Children None, he said “you have ‘em, I’ll entertain ‘em.” Two sons.  Alan Eastman and Peter Anthony Eastman

Phillip Dey Eastman may not be as well known as Theodor Seuss Geisel, but for anyone who has ever heard or read “Are You My Mother?”, “A Fish out of Water”, or “Go, Dog, Go”, he is just as well loved.  This includes My Little Guy and me.

Who was your favorite author and what was your favorite book as you were growing up?

Thanks for reading.