Girl Power x 5 – WABAC Firsts

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"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Let’s visit some groundbreaking women in history.”
“Do you mean moms that use jackhammers, Mr. Peabody?”
“You don’t have a clue do you, Sherman My Boy? “


Five Fabulous Firsts for Females!


The WABAC takes us to…

On September 15, 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee to become the first female Justice of the Supreme Court.  Here 5 spectacular firsts accomplished by women are listed, shining examples for girls to emulate and for boys and men to respect.  Let us know who else belongs on this list for our upcoming articles on this topic.  By the way, in this list, the alma mater of each of these accomplished women is mentioned (the author, for example, is a Cleveland State University graduate).

Under the skirts of history…

5. Dr. Rachel Maddow, First Openly Lesbian Rhodes Scholar, 1995 / FirstOpenly Lesbian US News Anchor, 2008

Educated at Stanford University, Maddow earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford and became the first openly homosexual recipient of such a scholarship.  After earning her Doctor of Philosophy degree in 2001, she embarked on a radio career until the opportunity to work as the first openly homosexual prime time television news anchor presented itself when MSNBC offered her a job. The admittedly liberal newscaster is often disparaged by conservatives, but laughs off the insults.

4. Dr. Angela Dorothea Merkel, First Female Chancellor of Germany, 2005.

Still serving as Chancellor of Germany, “Angie,” as she is affectionately called by her countrymen, is the first woman to hold that office and is arguably the most powerful woman in the world.  Before delving into politics, this brilliant woman received a PhD in Physical (Quantum) Chemistry from the University of Leipzig and worked as a research scientist.

3. Margaret Hilda Thatcher, First Female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, 1979.

The first and so far the only woman to hold the position of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the “Iron Lady” was a tough politician and inspirational leader.  In fact, Thatcher was in office longer than any other British prime minister during the 20th century (1979-1990) and saw the UK through the war with Argentina.  Like Merkel, she also studied science; her degree being in chemistry which she received from the University of Oxford.   She proudly noted that she was the first British prime minister with a science degree, ever!  Thatcher also studied for the bar, and became a barrister (lawyer) in 1953.  She died in 2013.

2. Sandra Day O’Connor, First Female Supreme Court Justice, 1981.

Appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, Justice O’Connor also retired under a Republican president when she left the bench in 2006.  Since O’Connor’s groundbreaking appointment, 3 other women have been appointed to the Supreme Court and are still serving (Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan).  O’Connor received her law degree from Stanford University.

1. Nancy Pelosi, First Female Speaker of the House of Representatives, 2007.

With her appointment to Speaker of the House of Representatives, Pelosi, a graduate of Trinity Washington University, became the highest-ranking female in American political history and  second in line for the presidency (after the vice president) should the president become disabled or die.  Many other positions of great responsibility have been held by women throughout history, and  the day when the United States finally has a female president may well be soon

 Girl Power x 5 – WABAC Firsts


You got GOLD, welcome to the United States! – WABAC to California

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"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Set the WABAC for 1850 California Sherman My Boy…oh and do you remember where I put my pick-ax?”


September 9, 1850: California Becomes 31st American State


You got GOLD, welcome to the United States!

On September 9, 1850, in the middle of the California Gold Rush, California was admitted to the Union as the 31st state of the United States.  The second largest state at the time until the admission of Alaska, when it fell to third, California is currently the most populous US state and has claim to many other reasons why it might be the greatest state.

Look what we started……

The state that gave us Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, the politicians Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Richard Nixon, California also gives us world class wines and Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat.

California is also blessed with mountains, beaches, an incredibly scenic highway, Beverly Hills, surfer dudes and Valley girls.

Speaking of politicians, Californians even re-elected their former governor Jerry Brown back into office in 2011 after he had previously served as governor from 1975 to 1983, an incredible 28 years between terms!  When it comes to electing public figures, Californians seem to have a special place in their hearts for actors and elected B-movie actor Ronald Reagan as governor before he went on to win the race for the White House.  In recent years, California has become more and more left in its leanings, although in 2003 voters ousted the Democratic governor Gray Davis and inserted former body builder and action film hero Arnold “The Austrian Oak” Schwarzenegger in his place.  Arnold, often beset by claims of sexual harassment, turned out to have fathered a child out of wedlock with his maid, which put an end to all remaining political aspirations.  When compared to Richard Nixon, however, former Senator from California and disgraced President of the United States, Arnold does not look that bad.  Other performers have also been elected to office, with Sonny Bono and Clint Eastwood among them.

In terms of sports, California boasts an incredible array of professional teams: including 3 NFL teams; 5 major league baseball teams; 4 NBA teams and 1 WNBA basketball team; 3 NHL teams; and 3 pro soccer teams.  College sports is also big business there, with major schools being UCLA and USC.

California is the agricultural leader of the the US, and produces half of the nation’s fruit.  The US used to get its pistachios from Iran, but after the 1979 unpleasantness, Californian producers provided this service.

The Golden State is also home to many major US military installations.

In one statistic not to be proud of, though, it is also home to one third of all Americans on welfare!

Caucasians (whites) make up 57% of the population and Mexicans 31%.  Obviously Spanish is the second most spoken language in California, but can you guess the third most spoken language?  It is Tagalog, the native language of the Philippines.

Los Angeles has replaced Chicago as the second largest American city and together with Hollywood and San Francisco is renowned for its colorful characters.


You got GOLD, welcome to the United States! – WABAC to California

Lava, Ash and Global Winter – WABAC to Krakatoa

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"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Set the WABAC for 1883 Krakatoa, Sherman My Boy.”
“Okay then, Vesuvius.”
“Did you mean Venus?”
“Never mind. Go to Wikipedia.”


August 26, 1883: Krakatoa


(Most Violent Volcanic Eruption in 1,800 Years after Vesuvius)


Way back when…..

On August 26, 1883, the Indonesian volcano Krakatoa began its 2-day eruption that was so massive the its effects were felt around the world.  Krakatoa is also the name of the island the volcano is situated on.  The explosive eruption was so great that 2/3 of the island is no longer there.

Looking past the ash…..

Prior to the eruption, the island was about 9 kilometers long by 5 kilometers wide.  After the eruption, the remaining island was only 3 kilometers long by 5 kilometers wide.  The mighty blast was heard by people as much as 3,000 miles away.  There were 4 main explosions, and the largest explosion alone was the equivalent of 150 Megatons of TNT exploding.  In total, the equivalent of 200 Megatons of TNT exploded.  For comparison’s sake, the Hiroshima atom bomb was the equivalent of 15 to 20 Kilotons of exploding TNT.  Cracked History note: Mega = 1,000,000, whereas Kilo = 1,000.

Since a Megaton is 1,000 times more powerful than a Kiloton, that means the main explosion could have been 10,000 times more powerful than the Little Boy atomic bomb!

The shock wave of the mighty blast circled the earth 7 times and filled the upper atmosphere with volcanic ash.  The sun glowed different colors through the ash, and colorful sunsets were seen for several years afterward.  There was so much ash in the atmosphere that it blocked enough sunlight to affect the climate of the Earth for the following 5 years.

Local islands were covered in ash, and some villages were burned by hot chunks of rock.

At least 36,000 people were killed by the ensuing tsunamis.

Amazingly, this eruption was not the most powerful in human history.

The Vesuvius eruption of 79 A.D. was still more powerful, and the massive eruption of Santorin (Thera) around 1,500 B.C. was several times more powerful!

The big questions are when and where will a volcano erupt again.  It will for sure happen.  As of now the technology to stop such an eruption does not yet exist, so all that can be done is to monitor seismic activity and to try to predict it.  Another thing that can be done is prepare disaster plans for dealing with the aftermath.

Lava, Ash and Global Winter – WABAC to Krakatoa

Before Camera Phones & InstaGram – WABAC to Early Photography

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"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Let’s hit the archives for the work of early photographers, Sherman My Boy.”


The Road to Quirksville

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The 13 Quirkiest Roads You Need To See

Driving can be a little monotonous — the same views for miles, switching lanes just for a change of scenery, constantly checking your rearview mirror to avoid highway hypnosis — but we’ve found a few roads where you’ll find a lot more excitement.

In most cases, you’d be on the edge of your seat, white-knuckle driving, trying to snap photos of your four-wheeled adventure, wishing you were back on that boring, old road you know so well.

The Steepest
baldwin street
Baldwin Street in Dunedin, New Zealand is the world’s steepest residential street,reaching a maximum of 19 degrees.
The Most Dizzying
passo dello stelvio
Passo dello Stelvio in the Ortler Alps in Italy has 48 hairpin turns, an average incline of 7.4% – and 6% is about the maximum for U.S. highways.


The Scariest
Guoliang Tunnel in Hunan, China was chiseled by hand into the Taihang Mountains in the 1970s and is lined with windows to terrifying views. It has a clearance of only 15 feet, a width of 12 feet, and a precipice around every other bend.


The Most Confusing
magic roundabout
The Magic Roundabout in Swindon, England consists of five mini-roundabouts arranged in a circle.


The Narrowest
parliament street exeter
Exeter, England’s Parliament Street, which dates back to the 1300s, is the narrowest street in the world, measuring less than 25″ at its narrowest point.


The Longest
panamerican highway aerial
The Pan-American highway connects the mainland nations of the Americas and is 29,800 miles long. It’s the longest “motorable” road in the world, according to Guinness World Records.


The Most Stubborn
This road just won’t move. The Umeda exit of the Hanshin Expressway in Osaka, Japan runs right through the city’s Gate Tower Building.


The Shortest
ebenezer place
With just one house on it, Ebenezer Place in Wick, Caithness, Scotland is the shortest street in the world, measuring just 6.8 ft.


The Widest
9 de julio avenue
At almost 460 feet wide including side streets, 9 de Julio Avenue in Buenos Aires, Argentina is the widest street in the world.


The Crookedest
lombard street
Had to include the most obvious: Lombard Street in San Francisco. It has 8 switchbacks because the road would have been too steep for most vehicles to traverse otherwise.


The Oldest
road to giza
The Road to Giza is the world’s oldest known paved road. At over 4,600 years old, it was used to transport the enormous blocks of basalt for building from the quarries to a lake adjoining the Nile.


The Most Dangerous
yungas road
Yungas Road (split into North and South sections), which runs from from La Paz to Coroico in western Bolivia, is nicknamed the Road of Death because of its nearly 2,000-foot drops (without guardrails!) and the countless accidents that have happened on it. The road ranges in elevation from 4000 feet to more than 15,000 feetand is as narrow as 10 feet in some sections.


The Best-Connected
atlantic road
The Atlanterhavsveien, also known as the Atlantic Road, is a roughly 5-mile stretch of road on Norway’s west coast that consists of 8 bridges that cross over an archipelago of 8 different islands, which creates an incredibly scenic drive.



The Road to Quirksville

WABAC to Love – Monroe and Dimaggio

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"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Let’s go to 1954 and witness a love story between a baseball hero and a Hollywood Starlet.”

1954 to 1962: Marilyn and Joe – A Love Story

August 5, 1962: Marilyn and Joe - A Love Story

Unfortunate History

On August 5th, 1962, Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home of an apparent drug overdose. No definitive cause of death has ever been determined. Suicide could not be conclusively proven, and there were some indications of foul play, murder, or perhaps even a cover-up.

Behind the scenes…

Much has been written about her final days. Although neither the coroner nor the investigators could with certainty say what happened, what is certain is that her death allowed Joe DiMaggio to show to the world his undying devotion and loyalty to her.

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio married in January of 1954.

Their timing was less than perfect; Joe had recently retired from the New York Yankees as one of the greatest ballplayers of all time, and Marilyn was an up-and-coming studio starlet. Whereas Joe wanted to finally settle down, Marilyn wanted to become a full-fledged Hollywood star.

Joe was an intensely private man, and felt uncomfortable in the Hollywood scene. He wanted Marilyn to leave Hollywood and become a homemaker. He felt the studio heads exploited her and once said, “Can’t you see that those Hollywood swine are using you? You’re nothing to them but a piece of meat.”

Although Marilyn’s Playboy pictorial which had been published a month before their marriage should have been a sign of things to come, Joe could not stand the thought of other men ogling his wife and felt that the revealing outfits she wore in public made her look like a whore. He nearly lost it when she filmed the iconic skirt scene in The Seven Year Itch. The marriage became increasingly volatile as a result of Joe’s jealousy and unhappiness with Marilyn’s decisions, such as interrupting their honeymoon to entertain the troops in Korea, and Marilyn began to feel increasingly controlled and sought comfort in other men’s arms. Joe obsessively followed her around and spied on her. Marilyn could not take it anymore, and they divorced after less than a year of marriage.

Over the next few years, despite Marilyn’s marriage to playwright Arthur Miller, Joe tried to win her back, loaned her money when she needed it and even attended anger management. He did everything to prove his commitment to her. When Marilyn was forcibly institutionalized in 1961 because of her fragile emotional state and drug and alcohol use, he was the only one to come to her aid and rescue her from the clinic after he threatened to tear it down if they did not release her. To help her recover, he then took her on a vacation to Florida. His dedication to her and the stability he provided her did her good. She appreciated his efforts and said, “If it weren’t for Joe, I’d probably have killed myself years ago.”  She was not ready to return to him though.

Joe continued to fear for her mental state and well being, and became especially worried when she began hanging with the wrong crowd; Marilyn was socializing with the infamous Rat Pack and had begun affairs with both President Kennedy and his brother, Robert Kennedy. Her phone was even tapped. To get her out of this mess, he asked her to marry him again; Worn out by Hollywood and scandal, she agreed. On the 2nd of August, he left his job to begin the preparations. The wedding was set for the 8th. Marilyn was found dead on the 5th. Since Marilyn did not have any other family, it was Joe who claimed her body and took over the funeral arrangements. He held the Kennedys responsible for her death and ensured that neither they nor any of Hollywood’s elite attended. At the funeral service, which took place on the day they were supposed to marry, he broke down crying. He then arranged for a bench to be placed in front of her grave for visitors to sit, and, in accordance with her wishes, made arrangements that flowers be regularly delivered to her grave. He kept this up three times a week for the next 20 years. Joe believed that no one could love her as much as he did. She was the one woman he truly loved, and he never got over her death. He grieved her until the day he died and never remarried. He also never spoke publicly or negatively of her, and his final words were, “I’ll finally get to see Marilyn again.”

If a second marriage between the two would have worked out is uncertain. Marilyn obviously had insecurity issues that made her drink, take drugs and look for love with the wrong men. It is a shame, especially since Joe offered her stability. At the beginning of her career she was not ready, and then when she was, she died. This fact makes it all the more tragic.


WABAC to Love – Monroe and Dimaggio

WABAC to Way-back Ways

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"Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Where is the WABAC Machine going to take us this time, Mr. Peabody?

“Sherman My Boy, do you remember when you misbehaved yesterday? Well, let’s go back when spanking children was accepted discipline.”

Traditional Parts of Life That No Longer Exist (Or Barely!)


The Good Old Days?

On July 31, 1970, the British Royal Navy experienced one of the darkest days in their long and glorious history, Black Tot Day.  This episode was the last day the Royal Navy would follow the long tradition of supplying a daily drink of rum to their sailors.  Many military and civilian traditions have fallen by the wayside, some with good riddance, some longingly missed.  Many of these traditions were written down as official policy, and others were just things people usually did.  Some ended with a clear cut finale, and others faded away.  Here we list 10 of those things that used to be a big or noticeable part of life.  What items would you include?

We’ll let you decide………

10. Royal Navy Rum Ration.

As stated above, this cherished tradition went the way of the Dodo in 1970.  In 1655, the Royal Navy switched from a ration of 1 gallon of beer per man per day to a half pint of rum, as beer did not keep very well in non-refrigerated ships.  In 1740 the rum ration was mixed with water and served in 2 portions to prevent drunkenness (the water-rum mix could not be hoarded, it would spoil).  In 1824 the ration was cut to a fourth of a pint.  In 1850 this tradition was again cut in half, down to an eighth of a pint, and officers were eliminated from the ration in 1881.  The Australian Navy had already eliminated the rum ration in 1921, and the Canadian Navy followed suit in 1972.  The last holdout among Commonwealth navies was the New Zealand Navy, which discontinued the practice in 1990.

9.  Latin Mass.

For centuries, the Catholic mass was said in Latin, so Catholics that spoke any language would be familiar with mass no matter where they were.  In 1967 permission was given for mass to be celebrated in the local languages.  Many older Catholics claim to miss this part of church.

8.  Spanking Children.

Both in the home and in schools the use of corporal punishment is a fraction of what it once was.  In the past, slapping or spanking an errant child was not given a second thought.  Nuns in Catholic schools terrified kids with a ruler across the knuckles, and most teachers kept a menacing wooden paddle hanging in the classroom to remind pupils of the consequences of misbehavior.  Today, things have changed so much that kids do not hesitate to call the police if their parents slap or spank them.  Although still legally permitted, striking a child is greatly frowned upon today and extreme care must be taken to avoid being charged with domestic violence.

7.  Mom Stays at Home and Raises Kids.

Closely related to #6, mothers of children often cannot stay home, raise the kids and keep the house.  Single mothers certainly must make a living, and many women today are the primary earner in the family.  Even more frequently, the income from mom’s job is essential to the family budget and both parents work.  From Rosie the Riveter in World War II, to female CEO’s, Mayors, Senators, female participation in the military (combat roles), and the distinct possibility that a woman may be our next president, it can clearly be seen the traditional role of women has changed in a big way.

6.  Traditional Marriage.

Not only did the institution of marriage take a major weakening in the late 20th Century with “living together” replacing formal marriage for many couples, but we are now experiencing a groundswell of support for marriage to be expanded to members of the same sex.  At this time 16 countries recognize same sex marriage, and more have areas where it is allowed.  In the US, 21 states have recognized same-sex marriage, and many more are either contemplating legislation or are in litigation over laws forbidding it.  Another change in the norm is serial marriage, people getting divorced and remarried as if they were trading in a used car for a new one.  Divorce is now legal in every country except the Philippines (and Vatican City if you call that a country).  Married women today frequently do not take the last name of their husband, either keeping their maiden name or making a hyphenated version of both names.

5.  Hazing.

The ordeals that new members of various school organizations used to go through were an accepted part of academic life.  Fraternities, sororities, athletic teams, clubs, marching bands, military academies, all sorts of school organizations had traditions of putting new members through hell in order to cement the bonds of camaraderie.  Unfortunately, these hijinks had led to many cases of physical injury and death, causing anti-hazing rules and laws to be passed.  Initiation ceremonies must now be carefully regulated to prevent injuries or extreme humiliation, and especially non-compliance with the rules.

4.  Radio Dramas.

In the 1920’s through the 1940’s radios became common enough that most families would gather around and listen to radio shows the way they later gathered to watch the television.  Radio dramas such as The Shadow appeared as did other sorts of radio shows that developed loyal audiences.  With television gradually taking over after World War II, by 1960 radio shows were a minor part of Americana.

3.  Flogging.

A common military punishment used to be whipping the offending sailor or soldier, with “flogging” generally meaning the use of a “ca’o’nine tails.”  The US Navy ended flogging in 1850, and the US Army ended flogging in 1861.  The Royal Navy ended the practice in 1879.  The permitted amount of lashes in some cases was as many as 1000, a number sure to result in death or disability.

2.  “Normal” Hair Styles.

For most of the 20th Century women had long hair and men had short hair.  Not only was that the accepted norm, but in school this was strictly enforced.  Boys with long hair were either sent home or given a haircut on the spot by male teachers.  Men with shaved heads were almost considered freaks.  Now of course, it is perfectly normal for men to have shaved heads, traditional type haircuts or long flowing locks.  Women have all the old hairstyles and now are accepted without a second glance if their hair is cropped short or even shaved.

1.  Traditional Men’s and Women’s Clothing.

Back in the day, women wore dresses and skirts, especially to work, school or church.  Until about 1970 it was required for girls to wear skirts or dresses no matter how cold it got, and they had to reach to the knee.  Boys were required to wear dress type pants (no blue jeans) and were not allowed to wear tennis shoes or work shoes in school.  Shirts had to have a collar (button down or polo type shirts) and no T-shirts were allowed.  Laws against “cross dressing” were on the books in most states or cities  Men could have tattoos (but not too many), but women with tattoos were considered loose women or freaks. Any man with an earring before the mid-1970’s was usually assumed to be a homosexual.  Nurses wore traditional caps readily identifying them until the late 1970’s.


WABAC to Way-back Ways

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A Daily Blog dedicated to quality writing, original content and a healthy dose of entertainment from "A Vagabond in God's Big Pond" Explore WORLD WIDE WORDS. Count down fascinating TOP TEN LISTS. "Hear Their" words with QUOTES. And laugh along with me in PUNS FOR INTELLIGENT PEOPLE. What happened on this day or any other day in history CRACKED HISTORY and The WAYBAC Machine are frequent features. +++++Plus +++++ read my books CONSTANCE CARAWAY ~Forever Mastadon~ and THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A BLACK SOUTHERN DOCTOR absolutely free/without cost or obligation. And beginning in early March '14 read THE RETURN TRIP, Sci Fi from Gwen!!!

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