Notes from around the Human Experience…
WE’RE NOT GETTING OLD ARE WE?: While our lives do not revolve around them, we can usually be counted on to remember when a holiday is coming up.
Not this time. Columbus Day, which was Monday, caught us completely by surprise. We thought it was next Monday. To show we are in complete denial about our minds going we are blaming our long-dead brother for this. We have always associated Columbus Day with his birthday on October 14 and we thought the holiday was next Monday.
Not that we missed much. We keep rather odd hours here and spent most of the holiday sleeping, not waking up until late afternoon. We had no banking transactions to conduct, nor did we have business with a government agency, so we weren’t inconvenienced, nor did we have any invitations to Columbus Day festivities lying around.
Dry, Technical Matter: Columbus Day has been a federal holiday since 1937, though it was first celebrated in the United States in 1905 by those zany weed smokers out in Colorado. It celebrates Columbus’ first arriving in the New World on October 12, 1492.
You know, we’re mindful of the importance of European exploitation of the New World. And if Columbus had landed in what is now America sure, we could see scamming a paid day off out of it. But Columbus landed in what is now the Bahamas and never got particularly close to what is now the US in any of his four voyages to the New World.
Fly In The Ointment: Some jurisdictions have said screw it and have substituted Indigenous People’s Day for Columbus Day. This seems a bit presumptuous, having a holiday for peoples whose lands we stole, but it’s not our decision.
Get Your Official Daily Dose Policy Right Here: If it were our decision, we’d do away with Columbus Day entirely. Of course, Columbus is one of the most influential people our species had produced, but we didn’t spend Monday in honored remembrance of him and you probably didn’t either and we can see no point in keeping Columbus Day a federal holiday.
Christ, You Are Really On The Rag Today, Aren’t You?: While we’re at it, let’s change the name of the holiday we celebrate on the third Monday in February. Officially, it’s known as George Washington’s Birthday, but more commonly it is referred to as President’s Day. This country has had enough lousy presidents that we don’t need to honor the whole lot so either let’s get back to honoring George Washington or let’s change the name to Great American’s Day.
Back On Message/The Bottom Line: To replace Columbus Day we suggest making July 20 – the day in 1969 when we first landed men on the moon – a national holiday. Regular readers of this crap know we feel the Apollo 11 moon landing is mankind’s finest hour, a line demarcation separating everything that came before from everything that followed like few others in human history. Why it wasn’t made a national holiday on July 21, 1969, is beyond us.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE!: Meriwether Lewis – the Lewis in Lewis and Clark – dies under mysterious circumstances on this date in 1809. Clark was staying at an inn a bit south of Nashville when gunshots were heard coming from his cabin. Lewis was found with wounds to his head and stomach and he eventually bled to death. What is not known for certain whether Lewis shot himself or was murdered.
Name Dropper: A coroner’s ruling of suicide was not contested by either of his close friends, William Clark or Thomas Jefferson.
Play Ball: The American League comes into existence on this date in 1899, when the Western League, founded in 1894, changes its name. The American League would remain a minor league in 1900 before declaring itself a major league for the 1901 season.
Some Places Have Interns For This: The Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins are the only current American League teams that were charter members of the Western League. The Twins began as the Kansas City Blues in 1894 and were the Washington Senators from 1901-60.
3…2…1…Blastoff: Apollo 7, the first manned Apollo mission, launches from Cape Canaveral, then known as the Cape Kennedy Air Force Station, on this date in 1968. Though technically perfect, the mission was notable for the sometimes testy communications between the crew and mission control.
Problems started before liftoff when Commander Wally Schirra got peeved when it was decided to launch despite a less than ideal abort plan. Later, the crew would get annoyed with, among other things, their food selections and that it took a half-hour to take a crap.
Relations were so testy that astronauts Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham never received another space flight. Schirra didn’t either, but he had already announced his intention to retire.
FunFact: Apollo 7 was America’s first manned space flight since Gemini XII in 1966.
Live, From New York…: Saturday Night Live debuts on NBC on this date in 1975 with George Carlin as host and Billy Preston and Janis Ian as musical guests. Still on the air, Saturday Night Live is in its 43rd season and has produced 831 episodes.
Quotebook: The Buddha’s sacrifices are not of animals, but of the animal in the self. – Gore Vidal, Creation
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: John Calhoun was the first vice president of the United States to resign, doing so in 1832 to accept appointment to the United States Senate.
Today’s Stumper: Who has hosted Saturday Night Live the most times? – Answer next time!