08 October 2007

Columbus Day!

A Happy Columbus Day to all! Yes, it's time for that somewhat controversial holiday yet again. I'm not sure why people feel the need to protest a holiday that gives them a day off from school/work, but I learned long ago that I'll never understand people. (Example: Bumper stickers that "cleverly" count down the days until the Bush Presidency will be over. Let's be honest, will your lives really be that different when a new President is elected? I'm going with no, because you are probably the same people who swore you would move to Canada if Bush got re-elected, but you still live in the lower 48).

Anyway, here are some fun facts about Columbus Day:

--Columbus Day commemorates the discovery of the Americas in Columbus's famed expedition to the West, in which he hoped to find a naval route to India. My take is it's amazing that a professional navigator/explorer who was 7,500 miles off his planned course is still praised 500 years later and has a national holiday named after himself.

--Thanks to Columbus for naming the inhabitants he found in the Americas as "Indians," we have an ongoing debate as to what is the politically correct name for the Native Americans. Please just don't force the Washington Redskins to change their name and I'll be happy.

--You probably know that Columbus' three ships were named the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. But I bet you don't know the first three places he landed: The Bahamas, Cuba, and Haiti (Hispaniola). And when he returned to Spain to report his findings, he told the monarchy that he found Asia (Cuba) and China (Hispaniola). Didn't he know he was in the wrong place when he asked for some chow mein and they gave him tacos instead?

--Since 1971, the holiday has been commemorated in the U.S. on the second Monday in October. It is generally observed today by schools, some banks, the bond market, the Post Office, federal offices, and most state government offices (but not the company Robin works for, how sad).

Past holiday greetings:

2006. I went for the "Columbus talks like a pirate" theme.

2004. Apparently this is a pretty famous portrait of Columbus. What a handsome man.

1 comment:

Ben said...

I feel like protesting the holiday. Not because of any particularly hard feelings toward Columbus but because I didn't get the day off (although I'm obviously not working too hard since I'm commenting here).

Also, I would be more than happy if the Redskins changed their name. Yes, they are my favorite NFL team, but I am constantly wracked with guilt over the obviously racist name. I've heard all the arguments about why it's really respectful and not racist, but that's a load of hooey and we all know it. In fact, I almost decided a few weeks ago that I would become a Bills fan if they beat the Redskins later this year, but looking at the 'Skins juggernaut of last weekend, it looks like I'll be stuck with the team for a bit longer.

Like my Dad says, Daniel Snyder should just change the logo of the team to a redskinned potato and then everyone would be happy, including me.