April Fools’ Day – WIF WABAC Almanac

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April Fools’ Day

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(sometimes called April Fool’s Day or All Fools’ Day) is celebrated every year on the first day of April as a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other. The jokes and their victims are known as “April fools”. Hoax stories may be reported by the press and other media on this day and explained on subsequent days. Popular since the 19th century, the day is not a national holiday in any country, but it is well known in India, Canada, Europe, Australia, Brazil and the United States.Related image

The earliest recorded association between 1 April and foolishness can be found in Geoffrey Chaucer‘s The Canterbury Tales (1392). Some writers suggest that the restoration of 1 January as New Year’s Day in the 16th century was responsible for the creation of the holiday, but this theory does not explain earlier references.

Origins

The custom of setting aside a day for the playing of harmless pranks upon one’s neighbor is recognized everywhere. Some precursors of April Fools’ Day include the Roman festival of Hilaria, the Holi festival of India, and the Medieval Feast of Fools.

In Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392), the “Nun’s Priest’s Tale” is set Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two. Modern scholars believe that there is a copying error in the extant manuscripts and that Chaucer actually wrote,Syn March was gon. Thus the passage originally meant 32 days after March, i.e. 2 May, the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, which took place in 1381. Readers apparently misunderstood this line to mean “32 March”, i.e. 1 April. In Chaucer’s tale, the vain cock Chauntecleer is tricked by a fox.

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In 1508, French poet Eloy d’Amerval referred to a poisson d’avril (April fool, literally “April fish”), a possible reference to the holiday. In 1539, Flemish poet Eduard de Dene wrote of a nobleman who sent his servants on foolish errands on 1 April. In 1686, John Aubrey referred to the holiday as “Fooles holy day“, the first British reference. On 1 April 1698, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to “see the Lions washed”.

In the Middle Ages, New Year’s Day was celebrated on 25 March in most European towns. In some areas of France, New Year’s was a week-long holiday ending on 1 April. Some writers suggest that April Fools’ originated because those who celebrated on 1 January made fun of those who celebrated on other dates. The use of 1 January as New Year’s Day was common in France by the mid-16th century, and this date was adopted officially in 1564 by the Edict of Roussillon.

Reception

The practice of April Fool pranks and hoaxes is controversial. The mixed opinions of critics are epitomised in the reception to the 1957 BBC “Spaghetti-tree hoax“, in reference to which, newspapers were split over whether it was “a great joke or a terrible hoax on the public”.

The positive view is that April Fools’ can be good for one’s health because it encourages “jokes, hoaxes…pranks, [and] belly laughs”, and brings all the benefits of laughter including stress relief and reducing strain on the heart. There are many “best of” April Fools’ Day lists that are compiled in order to showcase the best examples of how the holiday is celebrated. Various April Fools’ campaigns have been praised for their innovation, creativity, writing, and general effort – especially those from the major corporations such as Google and Apple.

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The negative view describes April Fools’ hoaxes as “creepy and manipulative”, “rude” and “a little bit nasty”, as well as based on schadenfreude and deceit. When genuine news is published on April Fools’ Day, it is occasionally misinterpreted as a joke—for example, when Google, known to play elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes, announced the launch of Gmail with 1-gigabyte inboxes in 2004, an era when competing webmail services offered 4 MB or less, many dismissed it as a joke outright. On the other hand, sometimes stories intended as jokes are taken seriously. Either way, there can be adverse effects, such as confusion, misinformation, waste of resources (especially when the hoax concerns people in danger), and even legal or commercial consequences.


 

April Fools’ Day

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WIF WABAC Almanac

Walking Like an Egyptian – WABAC Into History

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Horrifying Facts

About

Ancient Egypt

"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?

“To the land of Pharaohs and mummies Sherman My Boy.”

Ancient Egypt is one of the most fascinating places in the historical record. Their obsession with life after death, their grand pyramids and golden treasures, and the multitudes of evidence they left behind of their great works have captured the imaginations of people for thousands of years. However, underneath the veneer of mysticism and historical grandeur, Ancient Egypt was not always the most fun place in the world to live. Their justice system was often unfair and cruel, some of their medical practices were horrifying, and their devotion to the gods often went to insane lengths.

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 10. An Outbreak Of Cholera Was Once Linked To Food Wrapping Paper Made From Mummy Bandages

There was a time when anything involving Ancient Egypt was considered a fad. Mummies were imported to Europe to be unwrapped at parties, and many, many mummies were illegally smuggled out of Ancient Egypt. The truth is, there were a lot of mummies around and no one really felt much respect for them – even at the time, very little proper historical significance was attributed to them.

For this reason getting hold of mummy bandages was not only cheap, but in some cases cheaper than paper. An enterprising businessman in the early 1900s in the United States decided that he could save some money making wrapping paper for food, and imported in some old brown mummy paper to do the trick. Unfortunately for him, his plan failed when people started catching cholera, and the use of mummy paper to wrap food was abandoned.

9. Servants Were Sometimes Put To Death To Be Buried Alongside Their Masters

Those who were sacrificed this way would not necessarily feel that they were being murdered, though. The Ancient Egyptians had a complicated relationship with death, and were obsessed with carrying on with life after death. In a way, they were far more obsessed with life than they were with death. Those servants who were sent to die and be buried with their masters were considered privileged to be allowed to follow a powerful figure into the afterlife to serve them. However, it was still likely nerve wracking to know that your fate was tied to the random death of a person you work for.

8. Mummy Used To Commonly Be Eaten As A Medicine In Europe

To most people cannibalism is literally the most awful taboo imaginable. The idea of eating human flesh, even in circumstances where you have no other choice, is something that immediately turns the stomach of most humans. Even when talking about incidents like the Donner party, where people would have been pushed to the limit, and likely only ate those who were already dead, people still speak of it in hushed tones, terrified at the very prospect of being faced with such a horrible decision.

However, back in the 1600s and 1700s in Europe, a craze swept around where people were crushing up bits of human of various kinds and eating it in order to attempt to cure themselves of various ailments. It started out with people crushing up mummyand putting it in a tincture, claiming it could cure all kinds of different things, but ended up with people drinking blood to cure blood related illnesses, and even bits of crushed skull to deal with problems of the brain. While most today consider cannibalism obscene, there was a time in Europe when consuming the remains of other people was considered perfectly normal and good for your health as well.

7. If You Disrespected The Sun God They Would Immolate Your Entire Being

In Ancient Egypt violent crime was fairly rare, but one of the most awful crimes you could commit was any form of offense or disrespect toward the Sun God. If you vandalized or robbed a temple, committed any form of personal disrespect, or were otherwise found guilty of any offense related to the Sun God, you were usually sentenced to be burned alive. This punishment was only reserved for the greatest of offenses and was usually accompanied by a ritual that sacrificed the individual to the gods. While the Ancient Egyptians rarely practiced actual human sacrifices, this is one of the few exceptions.

While burning alive is painful enough to begin with, it was considered the most horrific death of all by Ancient Egyptians because of the ritual significance of the act. They believed strongly in preserving the physical body for life after death, and believed that destroying the person’s physical body completely by burning would leave them with no vessel in the afterlife. While the gods could still technically intervene to help this person, it was about as terrifying a punishment as a believer in Ancient Egyptian society could imagine.

6. It Was Extremely Common For Ancient Egyptian Police To Beat Confessions Out Of People

In Ancient Egypt, they had a well put together system of laws and a group that essentially acted as police, but that doesn’t mean things were really all that fair. Just like in older European societies, forcing confessions out of people was incredibly common; in fact it was basically standard practice. Usually, to elicit confessions people would be beaten with sticks, often on the bottom of the feet – a torture known as bastinado.

 Those who were tortured into confessing were expected to not only admit to what they did, but explain where anything they stole might still be hiding and rat out every single one of their accomplices. These people could then also be beaten to ascertain any further accomplices as well. Unfortunately, like many imperfect legal systems, it will never be possible to quantify just how many innocent people may have been punished for a crime because they were forced into confessing something they didn’t do. Sadly, false confessions under torture are an incredibly common phenomenon, because people will do almost anything to make torture end when it is painful enough.

5. If You Violated The Law, You Were Considered Guilty Until Proven Innocent

One of the cornerstones of the modern legal system is the presumption of innocence – innocent until proven guilty. It is one of the reasons many people have long touted the Western legal systems, where at the very least, you will receive a fair and somewhat speedy trial, where you know that the system isn’t already presuming guilt before you have had a chance to defend yourself. And while Ancient Egypt had a fairly advanced legal system, in this area they were particularly lacking.

In their legal system, the guilt of the accused was presumed from the very beginning, and it was the job of the accused to prove their innocence. While judges would always do their best to not play favorites, beatings were common to prove guilt – as we mentioned earlier – and were more likely to be applied to the accused party, even though they could have been innocent. Even witnesses could be beaten if necessary if the judges felt it was needed to get more information about the case. While there is no evidence that Ancient Egyptians abused this system regularly by falsely accusing each other, it seems the system would almost benefit those who would abuse it more than it would the innocent.

4. Sometimes If You Were Accused Of A Crime, Your Guilt Would Be Decided By The Magic Of Oracles

In the later days of Ancient Egypt, the priesthood started to gain an increasing control on the daily lives of Egyptians and of the decisions made by the rulers of the land. The priests’ influence and power over the common people increased continually over the years, and before long they were being consulted for far more than they ever had been before. Those in power knew better than to question the priests too much, as they were considered to be able to contact and gain the support of the gods, and also would be able to potentially influence large amounts of people to do their bidding.

This meant that in the latter days of Ancient Egypt, the priesthood now found itself involved in matters of court. They would bring in a statue of the Sun God and set papyri before it with different options for important decisions – in court they were generally two papers deciding innocence or guilt. The statue was supposed to turn toward the correct paper, showing the will of the gods. Of course this gave the priests a chance to manipulate the statues movements and essentially decided court cases based on their own opinions and whims. Unfortunately, this meant that many Ancient Egyptians were at the whim of a con artist while in court; one who everyone believed, but who likely knew full well that he was making up all of the stuff about the gods’ will.

3. Using Birth Control Was An Incredibly Disgusting Horror Show

Today people will use condoms, take pills, or try to predict monthly cycles in order to avoid pregnancies when they are not ready for procreation at that moment. And as many people know, birth control has existed for many thousands of years. Researchers have found evidence of sheepskin condoms from long ago, and the Ancient Romans are said to have used a plant for birth control so frequently that they made it go entirely extinct. However, most of these methods are fairly reasonable ways to deal with birth control, especially compared to the methods used by the Ancient Egyptians.

In Ancient Egypt, they believed that a mixture of mostly honey and crocodile dung, which was then plastered all over the vagina, was a great way to avoid getting pregnant. For some reason, they decided that this was an effective spermicide – although it actually would be more likely to increase the chance of pregnancy. While it is understandable for them to believe it could have worked as birth control considering their knowledge at the time, it is also horrifying to imagine how often they would have to come into physical contact with crocodile dung on the most intimate parts of their bodies.

2. The Death Penalty In Ancient Egypt Was Rare, But Extremely Brutal When Enacted

Life in Ancient Egypt could be quite harsh and beatings were, as we’ve mentioned a few times now, both a common method of extracting confessions and also a common punishment. However, while many people know that Ancient Egypt could be fairly strict in terms of punishing miscreants, like much of the Ancient world they were also very much against wantonly dishing out the death penalty.

While the option existed under the law, it was very, very seldom used. In fact, there was even a time period of roughly 150 years where no official state sanctioned executions for crimes were carried out in the empire of Ancient Egypt. However, when someone had done something bad enough, such as murder, or treason, the death sentence they were punished with was often quite brutal. While we mentioned earlier that burning alive was a punishment of choice for serious offenses to the gods, there were other forms of capital punishment they also employed that were similarly painful and awful, such as decapitation, drowning, and even impalement on a stake.

1. The Legends Of Ancient Egyptian Curses Simply Will Not Go Away

Countless legends and stories have been told about the idea of a mummies curse and the concept goes farther back than many think. Even before the opening of King Tut’s tomb, stories were already cropping up about mummies taking revenge when their remains were disturbed. However, the most popular legend claims that 26 people were involved in opening the tomb, and then they all started to die under mysterious circumstances – with the expedition leader himself succumbing very quickly to blood poisoning.

Searches of the tomb have revealed mold spores but nothing that is deemed particularly dangerous – not strong enough to damage you just by being in the room for a bit, certainly. Some have theorized that perhaps there was a strange disease involved that showed up as blood poisoning, but most scientists dismiss this, pointing out that the whole thing is silly anyway, since only six of the 26 people involved had anything involving a recent death after the event. However, while there may be no logical evidence that curses exist, it doesn’t mean that the Ancient Egyptians didn’t try. Many tombs have various symbols around them, cursing those who disturb their remains in the hopes they will be attacked by vicious animals such as lions or snakes, or even punished by the gods themselves.


Walking Like an Egyptian

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– WABAC Into History

Historical Misconceptions – WABAC Into History

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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 back  and set the record straight at some crucial points in history, starting with the American Revolution, Sherman My Boy.”

Historical Myths

and Misconceptions

Memorial Day Beginnings – WABAC to The Old South

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Memorial Day Beginnings

"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?

“We will go back to the American south and the birth of a national holiday to honor our fallen soldiers.”

The practice of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers is an ancient custom. Soldiers’ graves were decorated in the U.S. before and during the American Civil War. A claim was made in 1906 that the first Civil War soldier’s grave ever decorated was in Warrenton, Virginia, on June 3, 1861, implying the first Memorial Day occurred there. Though not for Union soldiers, there is authentic documentation that women in Savannah, Georgia, decorated Confederate soldiers’ graves in 1862. In 1863, the cemetery dedication at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was a ceremony of commemoration at the graves of dead soldiers. Local historians in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, claim that ladies there decorated soldiers’ graves on July 4, 1864. As a result, Boalsburg promotes itself as the birthplace of Memorial Day.

by Erni Vales

Following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865, there were a variety of events of commemoration. The sheer number of soldiers of both sides who died in the Civil War, more than 600,000, meant that burial and memorialization took on new cultural significance. Under the leadership of women during the war, an increasingly formal practice of decorating graves had taken shape. In 1865, the federal government began creating national military cemeteries for the Union war dead.

The first widely publicized observance of a Memorial Day-type observance after the Civil War was in Charleston, South Carolina, on May 1, 1865. During the war, Union soldiers who were prisoners of war had been held at the Hampton Park Race Course in Charleston; at least 257 Union prisoners died there and were hastily buried in unmarked graves. Together with teachers and missionaries, black residents of Charleston organized a May Day ceremony in 1865, which was covered by theNew York Tribune and other national papers. The freedmen cleaned up and landscaped the burial ground, building an enclosure and an arch labeled “Martyrs of the Race Course”. Nearly 10,000 people, mostly freedmen, gathered on May 1 to commemorate the war dead. Involved were about 3,000 school children, newly enrolled in freedmen’s schools, as well as mutual aid societies, Union troops, black ministers and white northern missionaries. Most brought flowers to lay on the burial field.

David W. Blight described the day:

This was the first Memorial Day. African Americans invented Memorial Day in Charleston, South Carolina. What you have there is black Americans recently freed from slavery announcing to the world with their flowers, their feet, and their songs what the war had been about. What they basically were creating was the Independence Day of a Second American Revolution.

However, Blight stated he “has no evidence” that this event in Charleston inspired the establishment of Memorial Day across the country.

On May 26, 1966, President Johnson signed a presidential proclamation naming Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day. Earlier, the 89th Congress had adopted House Concurrent Resolution 587, which officially recognized that the patriotic tradition of observing Memorial Day began one hundred years prior in Waterloo, New York. Other communities claiming to be the birthplace of Memorial Day include Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, Carbondale, Illinois, Columbus, Georgia, andColumbus, Mississippi. A recent study investigating the Waterloo claim as well as dozens of other origination theories concludes that nearly all of them are apocryphal legends.

Thank You to WIKIPEDIA


Memorial Day Beginnings

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– WABAC to The Old South

Theodore Roosevelt Great American Hero – WABAC in History

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

“Bully, Sherman My Boy!”

Theodore Roosevelt

Great American Hero

A Teddy Thumbnail

On December 10, 1906, President Theodore “Teddy” Rooseveltbecame the first American to earn a Nobel Prize when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation of the Russo-Japanese War.  (Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, and Barack Obama have also won Nobel Prizes since Roosevelt.)

The story of a genuine legend…

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Roosevelt was no stranger to accomplishing things and is immortalized on Mount Rushmore along with Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson.  By no means a namby pamby wimpy pencil pushing politician, Roosevelt, though born into the moneyed class, was a man of the American West and rushed to serve our country when we went to war with Spain.

Although an asthmatic as a child, Teddy went west to lead a life of outdoors ruggedness, a quality that stood him well when he led his men up the slopes of San Juan Hill (actually Kettle Hill) in Cuba against the Spanish.  His time out west also stoked his wonder of the natural world, and his desire to protect our natural resources.  While out west Roosevelt wrote outdoor themed articles and served as a deputy sheriff.  He even met and befriended the legendary Seth Bullock, lawman of Deadwood, South Dakota (played by Timothy Olyphant in the HBO series, Deadwood).

Serving the public as a US Civil Service commissioner and later as the New York City Police Commissioner, Teddy became the Assistant Secretary of the Navy under President McKinley in 1897.  Already a veteran of the New York National Guard, Roosevelt left his post in Washington to head up his famous “Rough Riders,”  leading them to fame and glory in the Spanish-American War.

Riding his fame from the war to the governorship of New York, Roosevelt was nominated Vice President following the death in 1899 of McKinley’s VP, Garret Hobart who died of a heart attack.  Roosevelt then became our youngest president ever in 1901 when President McKinley was assassinated, and served as President until 1909.

Sometimes called “Teddy the Trustbuster,” Roosevelt was concerned about the American consumer and was anti-monopoly for big businesses.  He also created our first National Parks, including the massive Yellowstone Park, as well as The National Forest Service and other environmental initiatives.  Teddy also sided with the miners during a major coal strike, though he stopped short of endorsing unions.  Also an advocate of pure food and drugs, Roosevelt supported legislation to provide clean products for the consumer.  Although personally pro-racial equality, the politics of the day prevented a more vigorous agenda in that regard.  Roosevelt’s “Speak softly and carry a big stick” foreign policy let the world know the US was one of the big boys on the block.

Although Roosevelt lost the Presidential election of 1912, he proved his mettle while giving a campaign speech when he was shot in the chest, but insisted on continuing the speech until complete.  He recovered from this wound, and it became part of his legend.

Teddy continued building his legend with a 2 year trip to Africa and an expedition to South America, where he continued his rugged out door ways, pressing on despite serious illness and injury while contributing to the scientific knowledge of the natural world.

TR as he was sometimes called, died of a blood clot in 1919, only 60 years old.  His incredibly energetic lifestyle and numerous injuries and illnesses had finally caught up to him.  He left behind a grand legacy of his own accomplishments, and also a son, Quentin, that died in aerial combat serving our country in World War I. Other sons, Kermit and Archie served during both World Wars.   Teddy’s son Theodore Jr. was a US Army brigadier general that earned a Medal of Honor by tirelessly leading the D-Day landings at Normandy where he was the only US general to land with the troops by sea.  A daughter, Ethel, served as a nurse in France during World War I and was active in the Red Cross and the affairs of her county afterwards.  She also served on the board of Trustees of The American Museum of Natural History and was devoted to the Civil Rights Movement.

Teddy Roosevelt is by any estimation a Great American, and in the author’s eyes, the Greatest American President.

Theodore Roosevelt

Great American Hero

WIF History-001

– WABAC in History

American Football – WABAC to BIG Games

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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?

“Are you ready for some football, Sherman My Boy?”

“Do you mean soccer Mr. Peabody/”

“Set the WABAC for 1932 Chicago Illinois, the place where real football was born.”

10 Historic Football Games

WIF History-001

First down

On December 18, 1932, the first National Football League (NFL) championship football game ever was played between the Chicago Bears and the Portsmouth Spartans.  Obviously, this is what you would call an historic game, but for more reasons than you would think.  For one thing, due to a blizzard, it had to be relocated from Wrigley field to Chicago Stadium which had a field only 80 yards long!  Blasphemy!  Here 10 such historic football games, both memorable and significant, are presented.  Can you think of any others to add?

 

Untangling the pile

10. First NFL Championship, Chicago Bears vs. Portsmouth Spartans, 1932.

View of the Playing Field at the Bears vs. Spartans Game, 1932 (click on image to enlarge)

The home team, the Bears, won the game by a score of 9-0.  Although the league had existed since 1920, it had previously picked its champion based on winning percentage.  The NFL would go on to become the definitive professional American football league with many great champions.  Cracked History Fact:  With 13 wins so far, the Green Bay Packers are the team with the most championship wins.

9. First Night Football Game, 1902.

The Philadelphia Athletics Football Team, 1902 (click on image to enlarge)

In 1902, the Philadelphia Athletics played the Kanaweola A.C. under electric lights in Elmira, New York.  The first NFL night game took place in 1929 between the Providence Steamroller and the Chicago Cardinals.  Fans have been getting home late ever since.

8. First Super Bowl, Green Bay Packers vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 1967.

(click on image to enlarge)

Prior to the merger of the NFL and its rival league the American Football League (the AFL) in 1970, owners had agreed to let each league’s champion play the other in what became known as “The Super Bowl.”  The NFL’s Packers won the first two Super Bowls convincingly, but then the AFL’s New York Jets rocked the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, and the Kansas City Chiefs repeated the trick for the AFL in Super Bowl IV.  Only 4 teams have never played in a Super Bowl, the Browns, Lions, Jaguars and Texans.  (Of course the Browns and the Lions had won championships before there even was a Super Bowl.)

7. Browns Enter NFL, Cleveland Browns vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 1950.

1950 Newspaper Headline (click on image to enlarge)

Not only the Cleveland Browns, but also the Baltimore Colts and the San Francisco 49ers joined the NFL from the now defunct All-American Football Conference (the AAFC), a 1940s rival league to the NFL.  Like the AFL later, the AAFC got no respect!  The Browns had compiled an incredible record of wins (47-4-3) in their AAFC history and went undefeated and untied in 1948, a feat unmatched until the Miami Dolphins managed to do it in 1972.  (The Chicago Bears had been the first team to achieve this in 1934.)  The Browns first game in 1950 was against the 2-time defending NFL champion, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Browns schooled them 35-10, setting the stage for the first Browns NFL championship win later that season.   The Browns went on to win the championship game against the Los Angeles Rams, 30-28, on a late field goal in the last minute.  The Browns would win further NFL titles in 1954, 1955 and 1964.  Cracked History Fact:  The Rams had been the previous Cleveland franchise.  Cracked History Lament:  The NFL does not recognize the statistics of those terrific players from the old AAFC, although it does for the old AFL.  Its logic is that not all of AAFC was swallowed up in the merger.  Still, 6 players from the Browns’ AAFC days went on to gain admittance to the NFL Hall of Fame.

6. First Man Paid to Play, Allegheny Athletic Association vs. Pittsburgh Athletic Club, 1892.

William “Pudge” Heffelfinger as a LEGO Figure (click on image to enlarge)

Although John Brailler was known to have been paid $10 in 1895 to play a game for the Latrobe Athletic Association, it was not until 1960 when information surfaced that William “Pudge” Heffelfinger of Minnesota had been paid $500 in 1892 to play football, making him the first professional player.  Cracked History Side Note:  The first African-American professional footballer may have been Charles Follis of the Shelby (Ohio) Steamfitters in 1902.  Follis was from Wooster, Ohio.

5. First National Radio Broadcast of an NFL Game, Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears, 1934.

Lions vs. Bears, Thanksgiving Day 1934 (click on image to enlarge)

In addition to being the first game to be broadcast on radio, this game was also the first to take place on Thanksgiving, making it the first Turkey Day game in NFL history.  Previously, high schools and colleges had regularly played on Thanksgiving Day, a tradition that has since faded away.  Cracked History Note:  The Detroit Lions were once the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans.

4. First TV Broadcast Game, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Brooklyn Dodgers, 1939. 

Eagles vs. Dodgers, 1939 (click on image to enlarge)

NBC aired the game from Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, then also home to the like-named National League Baseball team the Brooklyn Dodgers.  This historic event paved the way for the famous and sometimes infamous Super Bowl commercials!

3. First NFL Monday Night Football Game, Cleveland Browns vs. New York Jets, 1970.

Browns vs. Jets, 1970 (click on image to enlarge)

In one of the most important non-championship games in NFL history, the Cleveland Browns beat Broadway Joe Namath and the New York Jets 31-21. Monday Night Football (MNF) has been an American television institution ever since and has made the NFL and (college football) zillions of dollars.

2. First NFL Football Games, Dayton Triangles vs. Columbus Panhandles and Rock Island Independents vs. Muncie Flyers, 1920.

The 1920 Football Champ - The Akron Pros (click on image to enlarge)

In the first season, what eventually became the NFL was originally known as the American Professional Football Association (the APFA).  The APFA was renamed the NFL in 1922, the first NFL champion being the Akron Professionals (the Pros), and the first 2-time champs being the Canton Bulldogs.

1. First College Football Game, Rutgers vs. New Jersey (Princeton), 1869.

Rutgers vs. New Jersey, 1969 (click on image to enlarge)

Rutgers won this game against the College of New Jersey (which later became Princeton) by a score of 6-4.  A rematch was played (the second ever college football game) with slightly different rules, and New Jersey prevailed this time 8-0.  By default, Rutgers and Princeton are considered National Co-Champions for 1869!  The first balls used were round (spherical), and no running was allowed.  The first game o more closely resemble modern football was between Harvard and Tufts in 1875.  This game was comprised of 11-men teams and played with an oval ball.  Now that college football has evolved into an enormous American tradition, common sense dictates that Cracked History recognize The Ohio State University Buckeyes as the greatest college football team of all time.

Playoff Fever

– WABAC to Football History

Laika the Space Dog – WIF into Space

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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?

“I don’t want to brag Sherman My Boy, but one of my relatives was the first astronaut.”

November 3, 1957:

The First Astronaut was a Dog!

Laika space dog

A Dog’s Life

On November 3, 1957, before any chimpanzee, any man, any woman, any Russian, any American went into space, the Soviet dog Laika became the first astronaut (cosmonaut in Soviet terms) in history, an indication of just how important dogs are to people.

Digging, burying etc…

Unfortunately, poor Laika was on a one way mission, as the fledgling space programs of the day did not include the technology for a safe return to Earth.  A stray found roaming the streets of Moscow, Laika was an 5 to 6 kilogram mixed breed dog.  (Note: We say mixed breed instead of mongrel or mutt, terms better applied to certain people such as politicians.)  Being a stray, Laika did not actually have a known given name, and the term Laika was merely a Russian description of a dog of that type.  The name stuck in the world press, and History knows her as Laika.

Laika and other dogs in the Soviet space program were trained to become accustomed to being confined in small spaces and space capsule type environments.  One of the scientists even took Laika home to play with his children as a reward to the doomed pup for her cooperation.  Laika earned the right to be blasted into space by exhibiting a calm and cooperative nature.

Laika was hooked up to various instruments to measure her vital signs during her flight, and she was loaded into the Sputnik 2 capsule atop an R7 rocket and launched into orbit.  The dog tolerated the launch forces well, with her hearbeat more than doubling during launch.  Unfortunately, she died of overheating only a few hours (5 to 7 hours) into the flight.  Interestingly, the steadfast canine did calm down after achieving orbit, and even ate her food provided.  Cause of death by overheating was probably caused by a failure detach part of the booster rocket that resulted in failure of heat shielding insulation.  The capsule containing Laika eventually made over 2700 orbits of the Earth before burning up upon reentry in April of 1958.

As governments are apt to do, the Soviets lied about the timing and cause of Laika’s death, giving various stories about her being euthanized by poison food, eventually suffocating, and living for several days into the flight.  Only many years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union has the truth been told.

In 2008 the Russians unveiled a monument to Laika, the Space Dog in Moscow, and she also appears on another Russian monument to space pioneers.  Criticism by animal lovers about the one way mission led to future missions using dogs and other animals being planned with live re-entry and recovery, although those were not always successful, just as human flight into space has not always concluded with live recovery.

Dogs are indeed “Man’s Best Friend,” being our companions and partners for as long as 30,000 years.  No other animal on Earth is as in-tune to humans as dogs.

Laika the Space Dog

WIF Space2-001

– WIF into Space