Friday, March 8, 2013

A Woman's Place

Thought for the day:  For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.  [Virginia Woolf]



Know what today is...? Give up?

It's International Women's Day. (Yeah... really!)

The tradition started in 1910, but its roots were based in socialism, so for many years, only places like Russia and Eastern Europe paid any attention to it. That is, until 1977, when the U.N. finally climbed aboard, and officially proclaimed March 8 to thereafter be known as
International Women's Day.


So where's my damned cake?




A woman is like a teabag: you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.  [Eleanor Roosevelt]

Okay, no cake to go with my tea. (For now.) Nonetheless, I'll honor the day by telling you a little something about a little-known kick-ass American woman who deserves a spot in our history books.

Okay, quick: Who was the first woman in American history to run for national office?


If you said 1984 V.P. candidate Geraldine Ferraro...

you would be...

 ( Ding-Ding-Ding!) wrong.

She was the first to be nominated by a major party, but would you believe the first woman, who actually ran for President, did so fifty years before women were even granted the right to vote?

I kid you not. That lady had some serious kinda chutzpah.

Yep, her name was Victoria Woodhull, and in 1872, the Equal Rights Party nominated her as its presidential candidate. Equal rights is exactly what she believed in, too... for women, for blacks, and for the working class.A year earlier, she became the first woman in history to appear before the House Judiciary Committee, where she delivered an impassioned and articulate argument for women's suffrage. And she had other radical outside-the-box ideas, too, such as an eight-hour workday, graduated income tax, social welfare programs, and profit-sharing. Not exactly mainstream thinking for her day.

In 1870, before she ran for office, she was the first woman to open a Wall Street brokerage firm. Made a boatload of money, too, some of which she used to become the first woman to found a weekly newspaper. The purpose of the paper was to support her run for office, and its primary interest was feminism. During its six years of publication, the paper covered such taboo topics as sex education, free love, women's suffrage, short skirts, spiritualism, vegetarianism, and licensed prostitution.

I used to be Snow White, and then I drifted. [Mae West]

Uh, yeah, I did say free love. Not an orgy-filled, spouse-swapping kind of free love, mind you, although by the way she was treated by many people of her time, you would have thought that's exactly what she was espousing. What she believed in was a woman's right to marry, divorce and bear children as she saw fit... without governmental interference.

At right is a Thomas Nast caricature of Woodhull, depicting her as Mrs. Satan. She's holding a sign that says, Be saved by FREE LOVE, and behind her is a woman, laden with children and a drunken husband. In the caption, the woman tells Mrs. Satan, I'd rather travel the hardest path of matrimony than follow your footsteps. 

See? Not even the women of Woodhull's day supported her ideas. Not that it mattered... they couldn't vote.

Some people think having large breasts makes a woman stupid. Actually, it's quite the opposite: a woman having large breasts makes men stupid.  [Rita Ruder]

Oh, there's a lot more to the story of Victoria Woodhull... like her dabbling in magnetic healing and spiritualism; her friendship with Cornelius Vanderbilt; and why she was thrown into jail two days before the 1872 election... on obscenity charges.

But I said I was only gonna tell you a little something about Ms. Woodhull, so suffice it to say, she didn't receive a single electoral vote. Following the election, she said, The truth is that I am too many years ahead of this age and the exalted views and objects of humanitarianism can scarcely be grasped as yet by the unenlightened mind of the average man. 

Okay, so I never said she was humble. But she was right. Many of the reforms she campaigned for, considered extreme and controversial in her time, later came to pass. By the way, know who her running mate was? Frederick Douglass... the first black man nominated for national office.

How do you know if it's time to wash the dishes and clean your house? Look inside your pants. If you see a penis in there, it's not time.  [Jo Brand]

Well, it's not time for me to wash the dishes and clean house, either. Not yet. It's time to bake myself a damned cake. I am woman; hear me roar!




A woman should always know her place. Yep, by golly, a woman's place is in the House... and the Senate... and maybe someday...  the White House.

So on this day, International Women's Day, let us raise a glass to all those wonderful women worldwide, both known and unknown, who spent (and continue to spend) their lives striving to make this world a better place, and who exemplify these words by Maya Angelou: ... you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.


I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.  [Lily Tomlin]

             Oh, yeah... a timely reminder: Daylight Savings Time returns this weekend.


                                 Okay, one final thing before putting this post to bed...


Tiny Harmonies bloghop kicks off today. Represented by the ultra-sweet marshmallow peep to the left, this hop is yet another brainchild of the ultra-sweet Suze.

The idea is for participants to write a haiku every Friday for the next few weeks, based on a prompt she will provide. This week, the prompt consists of a single word:  origin. I decided to tie it in with the subject of my post.

With my deepest apologies to anyone who is actually good at these things, here is my tiny offering:

                                         Brazen seeds of thought,
                                         Sown now, bereft of sunshine,
                                         Shall bloom in due time.

                             Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

[Images come from Wikipedia, icanhascheezburger, and... Suze.]

107 comments:





  1. ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. Just my way of saying "Kilroy Was Here."

      ~ McDogg

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    2. Yeah, I kinda figured that out. Thanks.

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  2. Gee, the dishes seem to be piling up...wait let me check...nope it still isn't time.

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    1. Lucky man. (And it's a handy gadget to carry along on a picnic, too.)

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  3. Susan, this is one energetic post! Happy Women's Day and your haiku is excellent! By the way, there's a town north of here named Ukiah and now you've got me wondering how it got its name.

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    1. Thanks. Glad you liked the haiku; I'm usually a lot more ... 'wordy".

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  4. Thanks for the intro to Victoria Woodhull. I love to hear about strong women who are smarter than the average population of both genders. Simone de Beauvoir was the French version of this lady in another era.

    Love this: "these words by Maya Angelou: ... you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back." Bravo.

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    1. My pleasure. When I heard about Woodhull a couple years ago, I was astounded that I'd never been taught about her when I was in school, and figured a lot of other people didn't know about her, either.

      I love that Angelou quote, too. She's a veritable goldmine of good quotes.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Some people think having large breasts makes a woman stupid. Actually, it's quite the opposite: a woman having large breasts makes men stupid. [Rita Ruder]

    Hey! I've started and stopped on several different comments trying to respond to that quote but screw it, it's true.

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    1. Lucky for you, I've got a response FOR you. All you have to say is, "Tell your boobs to stop staring at me."

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  7. Enlightening and frightening.
    Spoken like a true chauvinist, but I wanted to make it rhyme. That was my only intent. Honest.

    Did you know there is an International Men's Day? It's about time! It's on November 19 - - and nobody has ever heard of it. Except me, of course.

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    1. Really? I would've thought International Men's Day would be celebrated on the thirteenth of December...

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  8. Love this post, Susan! Thanks for telling us about Ms. Woodhull. I laughed out loud at a couple of those quotes! :)

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    1. Woo HOO! Glad to hear it. I am very glad this post didn't make ya wanta ralph.

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  9. Thanks for this fantastic post. I always learn something when I stop over here. You should be a teacher.

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    1. Thanks. Glad ya liked it. I kinda think we're ALL teachers... as well as learners.

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  10. Good morning. I like your haiku. I shall now go forth and sow brazen seeds of thought of my own.

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    1. Good morning. Yeah, you do that! This ol' world could use some more brazen idea sowers.

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    2. Good post, by the way. Did you catch the PBS series "Makers"? It was essentially a history of the feminist movement from about 1960 onward - nicely done. We've been watching as a family - loads of good role models for our daughter.

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  11. The world would be a better place if more women of the like of Victoria Woodhull ruled.

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    1. It sure would, but I doubt if we'll see that happen in our lifetime. Unless you're ready to have a go at it... (I'll vote for you!)

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  12. Truly a woman ahead of her time. Thanks for sharing that.

    Also, TG spent last night with Helen Reddy, and is going back for seconds tonight. Don't be too scandalized -- she performed at the theater where he works. When I asked if she sang "I Am Woman," TG told me she recited it instead. Said she sometimes sings it, sometimes recites it. Depends on her mood, I guess.

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    1. Oh, how totally cool that TG got to spend the evening watching Helen Reddy perform. (I hope you get to go tonight.)

      Happy weekend!

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  13. What a great story! I never heard of Victoria Woodhull, but I will certainly search for more information. Woman....the hand that rocks the cradle of the world.
    Have a great Women's Day....and eat all that cake if you want to...the cake you will make....because that's the only way we get much of what we want or need! Enjoy!

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    1. Thanks. Glad you liked her story.

      Yep, I have a coconut cake, and am eating it in copious quantities. However, I am sharing with my better half, as well. His drooling was driving me nuts.

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  14. I remember reading about Victoria Woodhull as an undergrad and being amazed that I had never heard of her during my high school history classes. She was truly a pioneer who does not get the recognition she deserves. Thank you for this Susan!

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    1. Good for you. I only heard about her a couple years ago, definitely long past my undergraduate days, but I was amazed that I'd never heard anything about her before. So you were one step ahead of me.

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  15. I had no idea it was International Woman's Day. But I'm not surprised you brought it to our attention!

    Especially love the quote about breasts. I've seen the truth of that one, lol.

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    1. See, ya never know what kinda "stuff" you might learn on this blog.

      As for the breasts thing, aren't there times you just want to tell some gawking guy, "Hey! My face is up HERE!" ?

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  16. I was going to say Ferraro. What do I know?

    WOW, that woman was totally ahead of her time. Very cool!

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    1. I think MOST of us would have said Ferraro. Makes me wonder how many other women like Woodhull fell through the cracks in our history books.

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  17. Oh, that was so cool! Ms. Woodhull was a badass way ahead of her time.

    Happy International Women's Day to you too!

    And lovely haiku. :)

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    1. I had a feeling she was the kinda badass lady that would meet your approval. I'm glad you liked the haiku, too. Thanks. Happy Women's Day to you.

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  18. She was indeed too many years ahead of that age but it would be curious to know how things would have panned out, had she been voted in.

    Btw, I got to the part about you asking about the whereabouts of your cake (sorry, I ate it) and saw the words " horse's patootie" and "Methuselah's older sister" and promptly choked on my peanut cookie. (you look like neither) Thanks for that. :)

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    1. I don't think the country was ready for a female president in those day; I'm not even sure it's ready yet today. Closer, perhaps, but not quite there. You guys are more enlightened than we are. The "good old boys" are still too prevalent in U.S. politics, but Margaret Thatcher would've just kicked their arses. (Excuse me... should I say "patooties"?)

      I'm glad you got a chuckle at my expense, my dear. (Trust me, some days I FEEL like Methuselah's older sister.)

      Take care.

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  19. Sus. I love your haiku.

    I did not know about Victoria Woodhull and am impressed. I love her picture. Will be thinking about her for the rest of the day.

    The Rita Rudner quote made me laugh, even though my breasts are thoroughly average-sized. (Thank you for your support.)

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    1. Thanks. I'm glad you liked the haiku.

      Yep, I'm like a sports bra: not all that great to look at, but great for support.

      Happy weekend!

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  20. Thanks for stopping by my blog and entering my Book Birthday Giveaway!

    The quote from Eleanor Roosevelt says it all! I love your Haiku poem (never been much of a poet myself).

    ~JD

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    1. My pleasure. Thanks for coming to my humble abode and signing on as a new follower. I do appreciate it. Welcome aboard!

      Eleanor Roosevelt was a kick-ass woman in her own right.

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  21. Your haiku is filled with wabi-sabi. Nicely done.

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    1. Thanks. I think. (Wabi-sabi, huh? Is that the stuff that burns your butt on the way out...?)

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  22. Mae West. Wow.

    "make a Bishop kick out a stained glass window."

    I think that's who Chandler meant.

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  23. Wow, love the haiku and the tribute to women. I used to celebrate women's day when I was taking Russian. Now, since it's my son's birthday that's what we focus on.

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    1. Thanks. Very cool on studying Russian. Are you fluent?

      A very happy birthday to your son. (Hmm... cake!)

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  24. Holy Cow, Susan! Oh yeah, I am all too happy to raise my glass (literally, think red) not only for Women's Day (because we certainly need all the support we can get in these parts) but to you because that was amazing through and through, right down to that compact little haiku that was much, much bigger than the sum of its parts. And very much like a Buddhist text that I listened to yesterday as well. :)

    Bon weekend!

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    1. Wow! You just made my day! Thank you so much. I am genuinely humbled by your kind words. And a tres bon weekend to you, too.

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  25. The haiku was grand
    Here in and land
    And yeah besides Pat,
    (he does feed us after all at our mat)
    Women are liked way more by the cat
    Many were so ahead of their time at that
    To bad things didn't change faster
    But couldn't with some old fart male flabagaster.

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    1. Writing a haiku was new,
      Not the kind of poetry I do.
      But now, with one done,
      It was actually quite fun,
      So, I may just have to write... two!

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  26. Oh, I didn't know about Victoria Woodhull. How interesting!! I'm ready to go out and roar after reading this post.

    Have a great weekend and enjoy that damn cake you baked yourself, Susan. :)

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    1. We should all go out and roar a little... tip back a few drinks, have a few laughs... um, as soon as I finish eating this damned cake.

      Happy weekend!

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  27. Why haven't I heard about Woodhull before? How interesting. You always teach me something. I enjoy telling people that America's first published poet was a woman. Do you know her name? I won't be surprised if you do.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. You haven't heard about her just like most of the rest of us haven't... her name isn't in the history books.

      Let's see. America's first published poet? Anne Bradstreet. However... I wish I could say I pulled that name out of my magnificent brain, but I must admit, I looked it up. (Like my father-in-law used to say, "I don't have to know all the answers; I just have to know where to find them.")

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    2. It's okay that you looked it up. Now you know her name, too. I once wrote an essay about a couple of her poems for a college class on American poetry. Most of the time she wrote about home and family, but one time she let loose a bit and wrote "I am obnoxious to each carping tongue that says my hand a needle better fits." Obviously, the neighbors gossiped because she "wasted" time writing poetry.

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    3. It sounds like she was a feisty gal. Thanks for inspiring me to look her up.

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  28. bouncing along over here to Helen's lovely singing - had no idea that track was so, well, happy ;-)

    love your post.

    your voice comes through clear as a bell.

    happy women's day. *fistpump*

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    1. Glad you liked Helen's song. Just makes ya feel good, doesn't it? Thanks for stopping by, and a very Happy Women's Day to you, too. (high five!)

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  29. This post made me happy. Happy Women's Day.

    Your haiku is awesome.

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    1. Making you happy made ME happy. A very Happy Women's Day to you, too. Thanks. I'm glad you liked the haiku.

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  30. Fascinating post, unnecessary apology! Bloom indeed :-)

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    1. Thanks. Haiku isn't my "thing", but it was kinda fun.

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  31. Well, Happy Int'l Women's Day! Love the history lesson! Too bad women haven't been taken more seriously politically--the world might be quite different if they were! My very talented, basketball playing daughter was quite dismayed when her daughter's b-ball coach asked all of the moms at turnout if their DADs would be available to help coach. "Guess I'll just sit on these bleachers and tend to my knitting..." was her response. I think we should all throw a great big party for ourselves...

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    1. Right back atcha! I sure hope your daughter set that coach straight. It's infuriating when a woman's abilities are discounted simply because she's female. And assuming the coach is also female, that makes it even worse. Sounds like your daughter had a good sense of humor about it, anyway. Yeah, a party sounds good. I've got the cake... um, half a cake... um, a slice of cake...

      Thanks for signing on as a follower, Debora. Welcome aboard!

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  32. I knew it was International Women's Day, but I have to admit that I had never heard of Victoria Woodhull. Your blog is wonderful for learning all sorts of new things!

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    1. Well, just knowing it was International Women's Day puts you a step ahead of most people. Take care. I hope you have a super weekend.

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  33. Victoria Woodhull sounds like one tough lady. She did some landmark things for her time!

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    1. She even sounds tough for today's standards; she must have REALLY stood on in her time.

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  34. Why are women and the things they've done not taught in history? It's all very well and good to have "women's history" classes but I'm looking for the day that we aren't "separate but equal" anymore. I was in HS during the Lib movement and we had a young woman teacher who taught women's studies, but why shouldn't it be mainstream, tucked in the pages alongside the many penile-endowed whose every act is recorded? As long as we're marginalized that's where we'll stay, and people will be surprised to hear about Ms. Woodhull, Mrs. Pankhurst, Lucretia Mott, Emma Goldman, and all the hundreds of thousands of women who've shaped this world without recognition.
    Thank you for a wonderful Yammy Friday about us gals. x

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    1. I'm smiling. I just KNEW this post would get you fired up. Hey, when I was in school, there was no such thing as a women's history class, or women's studies, etc. And there was no Black History month, either. Baby steps, I guess, Laura. We're taking baby steps.

      Happy weekend, kiddo.

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  35. Came here for the haiku, but got more than I bargained for. International Women's Day? And I (pretty much) MISSED it? Darn. I will find a way to celebrate.

    Very cool, thanks.

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    1. Hi-ya. Thanks for stopping by. It's nice to meetcha. Hey, so few people are aware of International Women' Day, you can pretty much get away with celebrating it ANY day! Today will do. (How about a trip to the coast for crabs and beer?)

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  36. I especially liked the quote by Lily Tomlin
    I've heard of this broad before and I can see why she wasn't mentioned in school books.

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    1. You've heard of her because you're one smart cookie, but judging from your comment, Woodhull must not have been your kinda cupcake.

      Happy weekend!

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  37. I've never met an International Woman... how do they differ?

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    1. Let's see: international women are always Russian around, working hard to feed their Hungary families. (I'd do more, but I haven't finished my first cup of tea yet...)

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  38. I came here for your post, and left, completely falling in love with Victoria Woodhull. What a lady!!!

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    1. Hi, Sylvia. Yeah, she was something else, was't she?

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  39. Victoria Woodhull is my new idol! How awesome!!! I am still giggling too about "where is my damn cake" - tee hee. Have a great weekend!

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    1. A giggle and a new idol... doesn't get much better than that! You h ave a super weekend, too, kiddo.

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  40. Loved everything about this post. L.G. Smith has a blog series about Badass Women Warriors. Victoria Woodhull definitely fits that description.

    Women Rock!

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    1. Thanks. Yeah, I figured this post about a bad-ass woman would get a rise out of L.G., and it did!

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  41. HA! I knew all this before I read your post. Now, before I go patting myself on the back for knowing something in a post of yours before reading it I need only to realize that the planets will have to align perfectly, the rivers will have to reverse their flow and fire shooting out my pups nether regions must happen before this EVER occurs again. Understood? ::laughing::

    I especially love old political cartoons. They are a heck of a lot funnier and on point, biting if you will, than some of the stuff we read today.

    Love the quotes too - as always! Hope you are having a great weekend. See ya' on the flipsed of 12:34 xox Skippy

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    1. Wow-ee, I'm impressed, kiddo! That is totally cool. (But I already knew you were a smartie.)

      Our weather has turned glorious here, so it's helping make for a super weekend. I hope yours is going great, too. 12:34

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  42. Thank you for the history lesson. I never heard of Victoria Woodhull and now I would love to know her more.

    I absolutely love Margaret Thatcher, she is the one who set me free and open my eyes on the corruption and wrong doing of communism and socialism.

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    1. My pleasure. I'm tickled so many people are finding Woodhull's story as interesting as I do.

      Margaret Thatcher is another star among women, isn't she? (And with your background, I'll bet you could write a terrific post about her, too.)

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  43. Hats off to Victoria Woodhull. Reminds me so much of Bessie Rischbieth (the lady that started my mum on the road to social welfare work). We in Oz have a female Prime Minister (not all that popular really), England had one years ago (she wasn't always that popular either) and New Zealand also had one so perhaps America will have a woman President in the not too distant future.
    I so enjoyed reading this blog and am sure to pay another visit before too long. Thanks.

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    1. A lot of the world is way ahead of the U.S. when it comes to women in high offices, but I imagine that will change someday.

      I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, and I'd love to have you visit as often as you can.

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  44. Dang Susan! Your blog has become so popular that my finger gets tired from scrolling to the comment block. But, be that as it may, I love your stuff and thanks for the history lesson. There's no telling how many such stories there are in this world.

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    1. HA! And I'm grinning from ear to ear...

      You're right. I'll bet there are a ton of amazing people and events that have simply fallen through the cracks of our history books. Too bad.

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  45. Is there a International Men's Day?

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    1. Jon said there was one on November 19, but it's entirely possible that he made that up...

      But come to think about it, isn't EVERY day Men's Day?

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  46. Susan, you always have the best and most interesting posts! I am sending you a link to a short story (true and funny) about America's first all woman city council in the small Oregon town of Yoncalla ... and a surprising turn of events (when you have a few minutes). I posted it awhile ago, and I think that you will enjoy it. You might have to copy and paste the link into your browser: http://oregongiftsofcomfortandjoy.blogspot.com/2012/09/yoncalla-hosts-streaker-mr-godiva-and.html

    Kathy M.

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    1. Thanks, Kathy. Before responding to your comment, I went and read the short story. Priceless! I'm still smiling. Thanks so much for telling me about it.

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  47. Love those International Women!

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  48. I did not know about Woodhull. A very impressive lady.

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    1. She sure was. It couldn't have been very easy to be as outspoken as she was. Thanks so much for stopping by. I do appreciate it.

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  49. Oh my Dogs and Cats! This post rocks! Not only will my eleven year old homeschooled daughter be reading this tomorrow, but I am featuring this post as my "Blog du Jour" on the nut-tree.
    Go Sistah! Three cheers for Victoria Woodhull!
    ~Just Jill

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    1. HA! Oh, my dogs and cats, huh? Love that expression! Thanks so much. I'm glad you enjoyed the info in the post enough to want to share it.

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  50. A very intersting and informative post, thanks for sharing!

    Happy Womens Day!

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    1. Thank you, and a very Happy Women's Day to you, too. Thanks so much for signing on as a new follower. I do appreciate it. Welcome aboard!

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  51. This is a great blog post!! Thank you so much for sharing!! Definitely inspired by these women :)




    New Follower...http://demitrialunetta.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed it. And thank you for signing on as a new follower, too. Welcome aboard, Demitria. (Pretty name!)

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