Daily Update: Monday, October 12th, 2015

10-12 - Columbus Day (Traditional) and Columbus Day and Canadian Thanksgiving

We have no Saints to honor for a few days, but today is Columbus Day, the anniversary of the date when Admiral Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas (the Bahamas, to be specific) on October 12, 1492 according to the old Julian calendar and on October 21, 1492 according to the modern Gregorian Calendar. And since today is the second Monday in October, today is Columbus Day (Observed), and Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Also, today would be another day of Early Voting for the Gubernatorial Primary Election on October 24th, except that today is a Federal holiday.

In 1792 New York City and other United States cities celebrated the 300th anniversary of the landing of Columbus in the New World. In 1892 President Benjamin Harrison called upon the people of the United States to celebrate Columbus Day on the 400th anniversary of the event. During that anniversary, patriotic rituals were framed around themes such as support for war, citizenship boundaries, the importance of loyalty to the nation, and celebrating social progress. Columbus Day was first popularized as a holiday in the United States through the lobbying of Angelo Noce, a first generation Italian, in Denver. The first official, regular Columbus Day holiday was proclaimed by Colorado governor Jesse F. McDonald in 1905 and made a statutory holiday in 1907. In April 1934, as a result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, Congress, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, October 12 was made a federal holiday under the name Columbus Day. Unfortunately, this is one of the holidays that is observed since 1971 on a Monday, to give federal workers a three-day holiday; more unfortunately, it has become politically incorrect to celebrate the “finding” of lands that were already occupied by Native Americans by a white European who then started the long history of European colonization of the New World (with dismal results for the Native Americans). The 500th anniversary of the landing, in 1992, thus passed with very little fanfare. I personally find these modern developments disturbing to the part of me that remembers pasting cut out paper ships onto construction paper in second grade in honor of the holiday. The Second Monday in October, is Columbus Day (Observed), a Federal United States holiday observed on this date since 1971 (as noted above), giving a three-day holiday to banks, the bond market, the U.S. Postal Service and other federal agencies, most state government offices, and some school districts. The Second Monday in October is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada, since 1957; presumably, our neighbors to the North celebrate their Thanksgiving now, because by the fourth Thursday in November the weather in most of Canada is nothing to be thankful for.

I posted to Facebook that today was Columbus Day, Columbus Day (Observed), and Thanksgiving Day in Canada. I then did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb. We left for work, with me forgetting to put the flag out. Once we clocked in, Richard was the Relief Dealer for Four Card Poker, Mini Baccarat, and Pai Gow; I started off as the dealer on Mississippi Stud, then was moved to Four Card Poker. On my breaks I did my Internet Devotional Reading, and did my Daily Update for yesterday, Sunday, October 11th, 2015 via WordPress for Android. I got a call from my psych’s office that my prescriptions would be called into the pharmacy as 90-day prescriptions, and our vacation time off was approved by the Scheduling Office (with no time docked from mine for being in foul trouble with my PTO).

When we clocked out I picked up some dice from the Security Podium for Liz Ellen, and on our way home I continued reading Desolation Island by Patrick O’Brian. On our way home we stopped by our auto garage to have the tires rotated, but they found more stuff that needs to be worked on, so we headed on home. Once home I put out the flag, then read the morning paper. Richard then took the truck to the auto garage, and I followed behind him in the car; then Richard drove us home in the car. (More anon.) I then got on the computer and did Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog through Tuesday, November 10th, 2015. I would like to get my Advance Daily Update Drafts done through Friday, November 23rd; that will carry me through the end on our vacation. I then got a call from the Clinic from the Nurse, checking on how I am doing; she was very happy to hear that I am drinking a good bit of water. And I am doing my Daily Update early, as I am quite tired, and plan to go to bed immediately after I watch Jeopardy! at 4:30 pm. Our New Orleans Pelicans will play an away Preseason Pro Basketball game with the Chicago Bulls tonight at 7:00 pm, and the New Moon will arrive at 7:07 pm.

Tomorrow we have no Saints to honor, but tomorrow is the birthday of the United States Navy (established on tomorrow’s date in 1775). Tomorrow is another day of Early Voting for the Gubernatorial Primary Election on October 24th. We will work our eight hours on our Friday at work, and on our way home from work we will pick up the truck at the auto garage (assuming it is ready to be picked up). I will take a nap in the afternoon, then work on Advance Daily Update Drafts for this weblog. And tomorrow at sunset is the Islamic New Year of 1457.

On this Columbus Day afternoon our Parting Quote comes to us from Oscar Hijuelos, American-born novelist of Cuban descent. Born in 1951 in New York City, New York, his parents were both Cuban immigrants from Holguín, and his father worked as a hotel cook. As a young child, after a vacation trip to Cuba with his mother and brother, he suffered acute nephritis and spent almost a year in St. Luke’s Convalescent Hospital in Greenwich, Connecticut. During this long period separated from his Spanish-speaking family, he learned fluent English, but spoke little Spanish; he later wrote of this time: “I became estranged from the Spanish language and, therefore, my roots.” He attended Corpus Christi School in Morningside Heights, and public schools, and later Bronx Community College, Lehman College and Manhattan Community College. He studied writing at the City College of New York (B.A., 1975; M.A. in Creative Writing, 1976) under Donald Barthelme, Susan Sontag, William S. Burroughs, Frederic Tuten, and others. Barthelme became his mentor and friend. He practiced various professions, including working for an advertising agency, Transportation Displays Inc., and started writing short stories and dramas in his spare time. His influences included writers from Cuba and Latin America, including Carlos Fuentes, José Lezama Lima and Gabriel García Márquez, but his work was rarely political. His first novel, Our House in the Last World, was published in 1983, and won the Rome Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. This novel follows the life of a Cuban family in the United States during the 1940s. His second novel, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, received the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It was adapted in 1992 into the film The Mambo Kings, starring Armand Assante and Antonio Banderas, and as a musical in 2005. In 2000 he received the Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature. Hijuelos taught at Hofstra University and was affiliated with Duke University, where he was a member of the faculty of the Department of English. His autobiography, Thoughts Without Cigarettes, was published in 2011 (died 2013): “I have never intended to represent myself as a spokesman for anybody but myself. And yet I would be in a roundtable in Sweden, in Stockholm, Sweden, at a live television show, and the host would come on and look around trying to figure out who the Latino guy was in the group. That kind of thing was both interesting and alarming at the same time.”

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