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May 2010 Odd Wisconsin

Texas, Truth, and Teaching

This week the Texas State Board of Education voted to require schools to teach "a version of American history that emphasizes the roles of capitalist enterprise, the military, Christianity, and modern Republican political figures" (in the words of the New York Times). Critics immediately decried those priorities, arguing that other aspects of our past were more important for children to...
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Posted in on May 26, 2010

"His Guts in His Hand"

There's been a lot of press this week about the posthumous award of the Congressional Medal of Honor to Civil War Lt. Alonzo Cushing, of Delafield. This story on CBS was typical. 22-year-old Cushing refused to leave the field on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, even though he was mortally wounded. As the Confederates made their last...
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Posted in Strange Deaths on May 20, 2010

"Did I do my best?"

Around 2 A.M. on September 8, 1860, the steamship Lady Elgin collided with the schooner Augusta in the waters of Lake Michigan near Waukegan, Illinois. The Lady Elgin was carrying more than 300 passengers and crew on a round-trip sightseeing tour from Milwaukee to Chicago. Its return trip was never completed. The captain, not realizing how badly the ship was...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 13, 2010

First Blow Dryers

Our state is well-known for many products, but few people realize that one of the most popular appliances in American homes was invented here. In 1920 two local companies, the Racine Universal Motor Company and Hamilton Beach, were each hard at work creating a new product -- the electric blender. Malts and malted milk were popular at the time,...
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Posted in Curiosities on May 6, 2010

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