It seems to be the case that different areas of the country not only have difference accents and scenery, but different senses of humor, too.
For example, in California, where it is very important to be politically correct in one’s jokes. So, you mighty not hear jokes about people groups. But in Texas – well, people laugh about things that Californians might find offensive.
I suspect that the same is true here in Georgia, too. Today’s photo was taken in Dahlonega and is a giant statue of a carved wooden bear…but with what appears to be a raccoon hanging out of its mouth! That would never fly in California where people are willing to protect a moth at the expense of the benefit of species that are, shall we say, higher up the ladder of complexity and intelligence! But, here in Georgia, it’s all good-natured fun. (There are many hunters here, to be sure…but come on…I thought this was funny!) Oh, and no raccoons were harmed in the making of this picture!
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City burned down, killing 145 workers.
The Triangle factory was located in the top three floors of the 10-story Asch Building in Manhattan. It was a sweatshop in every sense of the word. At the time of the fire, there were four elevators with access to the factory floors, but only one was fully operational and it could hold only 12 people. There were two stairways down to the street, but one was locked from the outside to prevent theft by the workers and the other opened inward only. The fire escape, as all would come to see, was shoddily constructed, and could not support the weight of more than a few women at a time.
The owners had a history with tragic fires: the Triangle factory was twice scorched in 1902, while their Diamond Waist Company factory burned in 1907 and 1910. It seems the owners deliberately torched their workplaces before business hours in order to collect on the large fire-insurance policies they purchased. While this was not the cause of the 1911 fire, it contributed to the tragedy, as Blanck and Harris refused to install sprinkler systems and take other safety measures in case they needed to burn down their shops again.
Added to this delinquency were notorious anti-worker policies. Employees were paid $15 a week, working 12 hour days, every day. When the International Ladies Garment Workers Union led a strike in 1909 for better pay and hours, the company was one of the few who resisted, hiring police as thugs to imprison the striking women, and paying off politicians to look the other way.
On March 25, a Saturday, there were 600 workers at the factory when a fire broke out in a rag bin on the eighth floor. The manager turned the fire hose on it, but the hose was rotted and its valve was rusted shut. Panic ensued as the workers fled to every exit. The elevator broke down after only four trips, and women began jumping down the shaft to their deaths. Those who fled down the wrong set of stairs were trapped inside and burned alive. Other women trapped on the eighth floor began jumping out the windows, which created a problem for the firefighters whose hoses were crushed by falling bodies. Also, the firefighters’ ladders stretched only as high as the seventh floor, and their safety nets were not strong enough to catch the women, who were jumping three at a time.
The owners, Blanck and Harris, were on the building’s top floor with some workers when the fire broke out. They were able to escape by climbing onto the roof and hopping to an adjoining building.
The fire was out within half an hour, but not before 49 workers had been killed by the fire, and another 100 or so were piled up dead in the elevator shaft or on the sidewalk. The workers’ union organized a march on April 5 to protest the conditions that led to the fire; it was attended by 80,000 people.
Though Blanck and Harris were put on trial for manslaughter, they managed to get off scot-free.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: It’s illegal to ride an ugly horse in Wilbur, Washington. (I wonder who decides if a horse is ugly????)