Occasionally, I write about little-known facts in history.
These sometimes fall on the anniversary of the event. Today’s blog post falls
on the 136th anniversary of railroads adopting standard time zones in the
United States. It’s Mickey Mouse’s 91st birthday, and it was 56
years ago today that the first push-button telephones went into service for the
first time as an alternative to rotary-dial phones. This is the 230th
anniversary of the birth of Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre.
Walt Disney’s first animated cartoon talking picture, Steamboat Willie, debuted at the Colony
Theatre in New York City on November 18, 1928. It was also Mickey Mouse’s
debut. The rest, as they say, is history.
As stated above, push-button telephone service was
introduced on November 18, 1963. There was a catch, though. That service was
only available in Carnegie and Greensburg, Pennsylvania in the beginning.
“Touch Tone” service was available for a fee.
It took a while for this new-fangled technology to reach rural North Carolina where I lived. In 1963, I think our family was on a 10- or 12-party line and we definitely still had a rotary phone.
Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre was born in France on November 18, 1789. He was a “Jack of all trades” or – perhaps more-accurately, a master of all trades. He was a physicist, a tax collector, a scene painter for theaters, and the inventor of the daguerrerotype photographic process.
Standard US Time
In an era when time can be measured in nanoseconds, jiffies,
zeptoseconds, and yactoseconds, I think the advent of standard time zones deserves
a few minutes of our time today. It was on November 18, 1883 that the railroads
in the United States put into practice the four time zones of 15 degrees each
that Charles Ferdinand Dowd had first proposed.
Can you imagine what it was like before time zones were
standardized? Even after the railroads adopted standard time zones in 1883, localities
were not required to follow suit. In fact, it wasn’t until 1918 that the
Standard Time Act was passed, setting four standard time zones in the United
Until my next blog
I hope you have a good book to read. I’m reading The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett and The Water Dancer, by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.
Thank you for reading my blog. You could have spent the last few minutes
doing something else, but you chose to read my blog.
“I don’t think a woman can handle this job.” That’s a direct quote from a job interview I had in a large city. It was an interview for a position in city government. At the time, I had a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration.
had just died, I was 24 years old, single, and desperate for a job. It was
If that happened today
happened today, I would come back at the older white male interviewer with a
hundred reasons why not only could a woman handle the job but that I was the
best-qualified person of any gender for the job.
happened today, I’d not only file a lawsuit, I would tell the interviewer it
was beneath me to work for a city government that had such low regard for
But that was 1977. It was against the law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to discriminate in the workplace on the basis of sex, but it was just the way things were and I was too young and desperate for a job to make a fuss about it. I didn’t want to get labeled as a trouble maker before I even started my career in government.
Today is Women’s Equality Day
19th Amendment to United States Constitution was passed by Congress
on August 26, 1920. It gave women full and equal voting rights.
Equality Day was first celebrated in 1971 by a joint resolution of the US
Senate and US House of Representatives. The resolution was sponsored by US
Representative Bella Abzug, a Democrat from New York.
How you can celebrate
Women’s Equality Day
#EqualityCantWait, #WomensEqualityDay, or related hashtags on social media
to vote, if you haven’t already done so.
If there are American children and young people in your life, take time today to seriously speak with them about Women’s Equality Day. Ninety-nine years sounds like a long time to a young person, but try to help them see that in the big scheme of things it really wasn’t so long ago.
The way I would try to explain it to another person is to tell them that my mother was almost eight years old when women won the right to vote. My two grandmothers were 43 and 44 years old when they were allowed to vote for the first time.
time to read about one or more of the suffragists who risked their lives in and
prior to 1920 in an effort to get the US Government to allow women to vote.
Susan B. Anthony is perhaps the most famous suffragist. Others include
Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucy Stone.
We’ve come a long way, but…
We’ve come a long way since 1920 when the 19th Amendment was passed by Congress, and since 1971 when Women’s Equality Day was first celebrated, and since 1977 when a city’s human resource official said that he didn’t think a woman could handle being that city’s assistant community development director; however, women still have so far to go in the workplace.
Melinda Gates has been vocal recently about the pay gap between men and women in the United States. Some of the statistics she has brought to light are staggering and extremely discouraging.
Economic Forum projects that, at the current rate of progress, it will take the
United States of America 208 years to reach gender equality. Let that sink in.
That’s the year 2227. That’s as long into the future as it has been since the
I have four intelligent great-nieces. They all excel in school. One of them will graduate from college next spring. Another one is a freshman in college. The other two are just several years younger. Their interests are diverse and I can’t wait to see what career paths they take. They can’t wait until the year 2227 to make the same salary as a man.
I don’t want
anyone to dare to say to any one of them, “I don’t think a woman can handle
this job.” And I don’t want them to work
their entire lives and not be paid exactly what their male counterparts are
paid. My great-nieces cannot wait 208 years for the United States to reach
gender pay equity.
Since my last blog post
I’ve continued to edit and tweak my novel manuscript as I use C.S. Lakin’s Scene Outline Template. I’m about halfway through this stage of the process.
Until my next blog post
I hope you have a good book to read.
I’m reading Beneath the Tamarind
Tree: A Story of Courage, Family, and
the Lost Girls of Boko Haram, by Isha Sesay.
If you’re a writer, I hope you have
quality writing time and your projects are moving right along.
Thank you for reading my blog. You
could have spent the last few minutes doing something else, but you chose to
read my blog.
Let’s continue the conversation
Do you take your right to vote for granted?
Regardless of the country you live in, regardless of your gender, regardless of the color of your skin, regardless of your religion, regardless of your economic status – don’t EVER take your right to vote for granted.
No matter which of those categories you find yourself in, know that people sacrificed and risked their lives to give you the right to right. Many gave their lives in the pursuit of voting rights.
thousands of people around the world who still risk their lives to cast their
vote. There are millions of people who would be willing to risk their lives
just for the opportunity to vote.
children and young people in your life know how important it is for them to
register and vote as soon as the law allows them that right and responsibility.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I did not know anything about the USS Indianapolis until about a week ago. In an effort to try something new on my blog, I did a little research to find out what happened on this day in history. I learned that something noteworthy and gut-wrenching happened on this day in 1945. What a story I’ve pieced together for you today!
The incident I’m writing about today actually took place
about five minutes after midnight, so the date is July 30, 1945; however, being
so close to the midnight hour, the incident is often referred to as happening
on July 29. By the time I discovered that detail, I was not about to let go of
the story for my usual Monday blog post.
The greatest loss the
US Navy has experienced at sea
The USS Indianapolis was
a Portland-class heavy cruiser. It carried a crew of 1,196 men. After
delivering crucial parts for the atomic bomb to Tinian Island, it was crossing
the Philippine Sea en route to Okinawa. Plans were being made for the invasion
of Japan by the United States and its Allies.
12:05 a.m., July 30,
At 12:05 a.m. on July 30, 1945, the ship was hit by two
Japanese torpedoes. Some 350 crewmen died in the blast. It would be 84 grueling
hours before the survivors were located from the air on August 2. By then there
were only 318 remaining survivors. The other survivors of the initial attack
had either drowned, died from drinking sea water, or been victim to the
numerous sharks in the waters. I read that an estimated 50 sailors were killed
by sharks every day until rescuers arrived.
What happened to the
In my research I found several follow-up stories about what
happened to the commanding officer of the USS
Indianapolis, Charles B. McVay. He was accused of putting the ship and crew
in danger by not zig-zagging across the sea. He was threatened with a
court-maritial, but in the end was given a reprimand. His conviction as being
at fault in the attack continues to be fought against, as there are strong
opinions that he was wrongly charged.
Every year since 1960, the survivors of the attack have held
a reunion in Indianapolis, Indiana. This year was no exception. There are only
12 survivors alive today. Seven of them got together in Indianapolis last
weekend to remember their World War II experiences and, no doubt, to count
Additional sources of information about the USS Indianapolis include the following
In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors, by Doug Stanton;
Abandon Ship! by Richard F. Newcomb;
Out of the Depths: An Unforgettable WWII Story of Survival, Courage, and the Sinking of the USS Indianapolis, by Edgar Harrell USMC, with David Harrell;
Fatal Voyage: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis, by Dan Kurzman; and
Indianapolis: The True Story of the Worst Sea Disaster in U.S. Naval History and the Fifty-Year Fight to Exonerate an Innocent Man, by Lynn Vincent and Sara Vladic.
I haven’t read any of them, but they sound like good reading
for anyone who wants to know more about this horrific incident during World War
Since my last blog
I’ve completed Karen Cioffi-Ventrice’s online course, “Building an Author/Writer’s Platform.” Part of it really taxed my brain, but I learned a lot. Some of it I won’t be able to put into practice until I’m a little closer to getting my novel published, but a great deal of it I’ve already started working on or doing.
In case you’re interested in taking the course or other courses offered by Karen Cioffi or others through Women on Writing, here’s a link: https://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/.
I learned a lot of SEO (search engine optimization) and I even learned what black hat SEO and white hat SEO are. If you recall, I mentioned black hat SEO in my blog post on April 29, 2019 (https://janetswritingblog.com/2019/04/29/what-triggered-last-mondays-rant/) when I didn’t have a clue what it was. White Hat SEO is doing search engine optimization the ethical way. Black hat SEO is doing it unethically.
Until my next blog
I hope you have a good book to read. I just finished listening to The Spies of Shilling Lane, by Jennifer Ryan. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Tune in next Monday for my blog post about the books I read in July.
If you’re a writer, I hope you have quality writing time
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. You could
have spent the last few minutes doing something else, but you chose to read my
Let’s continue the
Do you enjoy occasional looks back at what happened on a
particular day? If I get good response, I’ll plan other blog posts like this
one. A post like this once a month might work for you and me.
P.S. A new USS Indianapolis will be commissioned