Columbus Day: History and Controversy

by Kelly R. Smith

index sitemap advanced
Christopher Columbus discovers land
Christopher Columbus discovers land

Columbus Day falls on October 12. It is a U.S. holiday that commemorates the landing of Christopher Columbus in the Americas in 1492. As early as the 18th century it was celebrated in many cities and states and it was designated a federal holiday in 1937. The day honors Columbus’ achievements and celebrates Italian-American heritage. But throughout its history, Columbus Day and the man who inspired it have generated controversy, and many alternatives to the holiday have proposed since the 1970s including Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Who Was Christopher Columbus?

Columbus was an Italian-born explorer who set sail in August of 1492, bound for Asia with financial backing from the Spanish monarchs King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, He had 3 ships — the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. The plan was to chart a western sea route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia. But alas, things went sideways. On October 12, 1492, he arrived at the Bahamas. He was the first European adventurer to explore the Americas since the Vikings occupied colonies in both Greenland and Newfoundland back in the 10th century.

Columbus was confused quite a bit but it was understandable; Europeans didn’t know the Pacific Ocean existed. He sighted Cuba and thought it was mainland China; come December the expedition encountered Hispaniola, which he thought was Japan. There, he established Spain’s first colony in the Americas with 39 of his men.

The Columbus Controversy

In 1792, New York’s Columbian Order (Tammany Hall) staged an event that commemorated the historic landing’s 300th anniversary. They took pride in Columbus’ birthplace and faith. Italian and Catholic communities in many parts of the country began organizing annual religious ceremonies and parades in his honor.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Columbus Day a national holiday. In 1937, in 1937, largely as a result of intense lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, an influential Catholic fraternal organization.

Things have changed. Many groups, seeing themselves as social warriors have taken to demonizing not just Civil War heroes but Columbus. BLM and Antifa come to mind. They see Columbus as a colonizer.

Anti-immigrant groups in the United States have also rejected the holiday because it is associated with Catholicism. These are the same people that took God and the Pledge of Allegiance out of school.

Alternate Holidays

South Dakota, Alaska, Hawaii, and Oregon and have officially replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, as have cities like Denver, Phoenix and Los Angeles. Ironically, the so-called “Five Civilized Tribes” of the southeast the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole also participated in the institution of slavery. You don’t see Black Lives Matter having an issue with that inconvenient fact.

In many Latin American countries, the anniversary of Columbus’ landing is observed as the Dìa de la Raza (“Day of the Race”). This is to celebrate the Hispanic culture’s diverse roots. Venezuela renamed the holiday Dìa de la Resistencia Indìgena (“Day of Indigenous Resistance”) in 2002, to recognize native peoples and their experience and to promote socialism.

Do you plan to celebrate Columbus Day? I know I will. Please participate in the poll on the right-hand side of this page for a study I’m doing. Thanks!



Looking for more great content? Visit our main site I Can Fix Up My Home or our partner sites:

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Hire Me!


About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World by Michael Pollan–a Book Review

index sitemap advanced
Roasted coffee beans and coffee cherries
Roasted coffee beans and coffee cherries

Coffee, java, a cup o’ joe, or sniff, sniff, the afternoon tea and scones. The world runs on the caffeine molecule in coffee and to a lesser extent, tea. Tea is the more ceremonial elixir and coffee the more blue collar but underlying of both is… caffeine. And this is the focus of Michael Pollan’s book. As a self-confessed coffee-fiend I found the historical and social angles of his story fascinating. And this is my book review of Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World.

Whether you make a daily pilgrimage to Starbucks, have a drip coffeepot, or indulge in the slow-motion popular cold-brewing coffee process, you are mainstream if you indulge in coffee or tea. You are an addict but socially and legally benign.

A Brief History of Coffee

Pollan traces the history of coffee and tea consumption from their roots to how they transformed economies, cultures, and the workplace. Coffee as we know it today can trace its heritage back centuries to the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau.

Coffee was a social beverage. It was not only enjoyed in homes, but also in the many public coffee houses, called qahveh khaneh, which began to appear in cities across the Near East. The popularity of the coffee houses was unequaled and people frequented them for all kinds of social activity. European travelers to the Near East brought back stories of an unusual dark black beverage. By the 17th century, coffee had made its way to Europe and was becoming popular across the continent.

In the year 1714, the Mayor of Amsterdam presented a gift of a young coffee plant to King Louis XIV of France. The King mandated that it be planted in the Royal Botanical Garden in Paris. Then in 1723, a young navy officer, Gabriel de Clieu, secretly obtained a seedling from the King’s cherished plant. In spite of a difficult voyage, complete with horrendous weather, a saboteur who tried to destroy the seedling, and a pirate attack, he was able to transport it safely to Martinique.

From there, it couldn’t be stopped. Once planted, the seedling did not only thrive, but it’s credited with the spread of over 18 million coffee trees on the island of Martinique in the next 50 years. Even more incredible is that this seedling was the parent of all coffee trees throughout the Caribbean, South, and Central America. You’re welcome Juan Valdez, you imaginary Madison Avenue caricature.

Michael Pollan, an Experiment of One

To research and write this book, Pollan shunned coffee so he could write and document caffeine as, yes, a drug, albeit less harmful than say, meth. He also relates his experience of re-acquainting himself with it at the end of the experiment.

If you are like most of us, you take coffee, tea, soda, and the essential ingredient, caffeine, for granted. But a close reading (or in my case, listening to) of this book will educate and surprise you. From a war-time tie manufacturer who increased production via “coffee-breaks” to how London-coffee houses became the places to be for stock tips, you will be amazed how this caffeine molecule transformed the world. Without you noticing.

Looking for more great content? Visit our partner sites:

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Hire Me!


Did you find this article helpful? Thanks for supporting this free site with a small donation!

 




Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.


Who Was Ireland’s St. Patrick?

Why Was His Irish Holiday Invented in America?

Photo of Kelly R. Smith   by Kelly R. Smith

St. Patrick's Day Parade goers in traditional regalia
St. Patrick’s Day Parade goers in traditional regalia
index sitemap advanced

This article was updated on 03/17/21.

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn a commission, which helps support the site. Thank you for your support.

St. Patrick’s day is one of two “foreign” beer holidays (not counting New Year’s Eve) that were actually invented here in the United States, not imported. The other, of course, is Cinco de Mayo, which celebrates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Other holidays, such as Christmas, originate elsewhere but we excel at making our own.

Why, other than the green beer, is St. Patrick’s Day so popular? The last Census showed that 34.1 million Americans have Irish ancestry. That’s seven times the population of Ireland. Chances are that you’ve got a wee bit o’ the Celt in you. The coronavirus is not going to stop you from celebrating or quoting witty Irish proverbs, right?

Who was the Real St. Patrick?

Patrick was born not in Ireland, but in Britain into a Romanized family. At 16 years of age he was abducted by Irish raiders from his father’s villa. His abductor was Calpurnius who was a deacon and a minor local official. Patrick was carried off into slavery in Ireland. There he spent six bleak years there working as a herdsman, during which time he turned with fervor to his Christian faith. When he dreamt that the ship in which he was to escape was ready, he escaped from his master and found passage to England. There he approached starvation and endured another brief captivity before being reunited with his family. It is thought that after that he may have paid a short visit to the Continent.

The best known passage in the Confessio speaks of a dream, following his return to England, in which one Victoricus offered him a letter titled “The Voice of the Irish.” As he read it, he heard a company of Irish folk asking him to walk once more among them. “Deeply moved,” he says, “I could read no more.” Nevertheless, because of the brevity of his education, he was reluctant for a long time to answer the call. Even on the eve of re-embarkation to Ireland he was overwhelmed by doubts of his fitness for the task. Once there however, his hesitations vanished. Completely confident in the Lord, he wandered far and wide, baptizing and confirming with true zeal. In diplomatic fashion he brought gifts to a minor king here and a lawgiver there but accepted none from any.

Legends of St. Patrick

  • St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland. In truth, Ireland never had snakes because they couldn’t get there for one reason or another. Other islands that don’t have snakes include New Zealand, Hawaii, Greenland, Iceland, and Antarctica. Scholars of Celtic history believe the snake story is an allegory for St. Patrick’s eradication of pagan ideology.
  • Patrick raised people from the dead. A 12th-century hagiography places this number at 33 men, some of whom are said to have been deceased for many years.
  • He enshrined the shamrock, which he used to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to the Irish. The shamrock represents three persons in one God, to an unbeliever by showing him the three-leaved plant with one stalk. Traditionally, Irishmen have worn shamrocks, the national flower of Ireland, in their lapels on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • He created the Celtic Cross which super-imposed a circle, representing the sun, onto the traditional crucifix in order to convert the Irish. There are many other competing theories as to the origin but this is as good as any.
A Celtic Cross
A Celtic Cross

St. Patrick’s Day is American?

Yes. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade happened not in Ireland but in the good old United States, that veritable melting pot. On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers who were serving in the English military marched through New York City. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as with fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.

The tradition has continued into the 21st century, and New York City’s parade is now the oldest and the largest parade in the county. The first celebratory parade held in Ireland was in 1931.

Today in New York City the parade numbers over 150,000 participants. Ever year, nearly 3 million people line up on the 1.5-mile parade route to view the procession, which takes more than five hours. Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Savannah join them in celebrating the Celtic day with parades involving between 10,000 and 20,000 participants each.


The Pubs in Ireland Used to Be Closed On St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is famous for the wearing of the green and drinking beer or stout, depending on where celebrants live. However, St. Patrick’s Day was strictly religious in Ireland during a large part of the 20th century, and pubs there were actually closed on March 17. It became a national holiday in Ireland in 1970, and the pubs opened to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by hoisting a glass in honor of the patron saint of Ireland.

According to a US Census, there are more Irish people in America than there are in Ireland. As of 2021, there are 32 million people in the United States that claim full or partial ancestry from Ireland.  This is a huge number compared to the 4.9 million who lived are currently living in Ireland today.


So who isn’t ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day even if it’s an American holiday? Chances are that a bit of you hails from Dublin, Galway, or County Clare. I’ll take any excuse to eat more potatoes.

More Trending Articles


Looking for more great content? Visit our main page or partner sites:

I Can Fix Up My Home

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Hire Me!


Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 




Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.

Santa Claus vs. Sinterklaas

by Kelly R. Smith

The Traditional American Version of Santa Claus
The traditional American version of Santa Claus
index sitemap advanced

This article was updated on 12/09/20.

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission, which helps support the site.

Sinterklaas Arrives in Amsterdam
Sinterklaas arrives in Amsterdam

Judging by the two images above, Santa Claus and Sinterklaas look remarkably similar. They have the same copious hair and whiskers, the same predominately red and white garment color scheme, and a jovial spirit. But, that’s where the similarities begin to diverge. But whichever fellow you are talking about, the mystique has evolved into one of our favorite holidays.

The Origins and History of Santa Claus

Some say that the original Santa Claus was Saint Nicholas who was the Bishop of Myra, a small Roman town in modern Turkey in Anatolia. This was around 270 AD. He had a reputation for secretly giving gifts to those in need.

Although his suit is red today, it was originally green. His marital status has changed; Santa was a bachelor until around 1849 when a wife (Mrs Claus) was mentioned in the short story, ‘A Christmas Legend’ written by James Rees. Many tales followed this book, including ‘The Legend of the Christmas Tree.’

What about that jolly face? How accurate is our portrayal to the real St. Nick of yesteryear? The short answer is that it may be very close. Why? It is believed by some scholars that St. Nicholas’ bones were absconded by Italian sailors during the 11th century and taken to the crypt of the Basilica di San Nicola located on the southeast coast of Italy. The crypt was repaired in the 1950s and the Nick’s skull and bones were documented with x-ray photos and thousands of detailed measurements. From there, scientists used modern forensic facial reconstruction to give us the image we know and love today.

But where did the tradition of giving Christmas gifts to children begin? We have two stories to illustrate this. The first one is better known and goes like this: three young girls are saved from a life of prostitution when the young Bishop Nicholas quietly delivers three bags of gold to their indebted father, which he can use for their dowries. The second tale relates that St. Nicholas entered an inn whose keeper had just crudely murdered three boys and pickled their dismembered bodies in basement barrels. The bishop not only sensed the crime, but resurrected the victims as well. Hence, he became the patron saint of children.

In the 1500s the Protestant Reformation began and good old St. Nick fell out of favor across northern Europe. But in the Netherlands, kids and families would not give up St. Nicholas as a gift bringer. (And, who can blame them?) And that’s when they brought Sinterklaas with them to New World colonies.

The Origins and History of Sinterklaas

Sinterklaas (his name is a contraction of Sint Nikolaas, in case any of you linguists were wondering) is based on jolly old St. Nick but cast in a Dutch mold. He looks similar in that he is a jolly old sod dressed in red but he sports a bishop’s hat, rides a white horse, and carries a long, curled shepherd’s staff. An important distinction is that the Dutch conceptualize him as a kindly old man instead of a Catholic saint. The end result is that Sinterklaas is celebrated by Dutch people of all ages and beliefs, without any real religious connotations.

The rituals surrounding Sinterklass and Santa differ as well. The Feast of Sinterklaas is held on December 6th, the day that St. Nick passed away. This is when gifts are exchanged and good-natured fun is made of loved ones. Christmas is focused on family and church services, not gift-giving.

The Sinterklass-Santa Connection

The general consensus is that Sinterklaas was the precursor of our Santa Claus tradition. Many historians hold that Dutch and German settlers carried the tradition with them when they went to America. There, his Catholic garb was bit by bit morphed into the jolly non-sectarian red suit with the white fur trim we are all familiar with. Also, his lithe frame gave way to a well-padded potbelly, and his trusty white horse was traded in for a troupe of reindeer. Either way, both Sinterklaas and Santa Claus stand for the generosity of spirit and kindness to children.

Others are Reading:



Looking for more great content? Visit our main site I Can Fix Up My Home or our partner sites:

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Contact me for a quote!



Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 





Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.


Killing the SS — A Book Review

index sitemap advanced
Killing the SS -- a book review
Killing the SS — a book review

Killing the SS: The Hunt for the Worst War Criminals in History (ISBN: 9781250165541) is the latest in the Killing series of books by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Whereas there are a plethora of books about what happened to the Nazi SS during the war, this book puts the focus on what transpired after the war. Specifically, tracking the SS down and bringing them to justice.

Who Were the Nazi SS?

To understand why it was so important to bring these men to justice, it is key to know just who they were. Officially they were the Schutzstaffel or Protection Squadrons. They were a military arm unto themselves in the military of Nazi Germany and were comprised of men who thought of themselves as the “racial elite” of the Nazi future.

They held the responsibility for party security, ethnicity identification, settlement and population policy, as well as intelligence gathering and analysis. The SS also controlled the German police forces as well as the concentration camp system. They were tasked with conceiving and implementing plans to restructure the ethnic composition of eastern Europe as well as the occupied Soviet Union. They were the strong arm of the democratic socialist Nazi party as Hitler envisioned it.

For the most part, it was their brutal and inhuman work in the concentration camps as they did their best too carry out the “final solution” for the Jews in the typical efficient German style. This is the reason that post-war justice had to be sought. Many met their fate at the Neurenberg trials. Others went on the lam; mostly to South America.

Enter the Nazi Hunters

The book goes into exciting and factual detail regarding the exploits of the Nazi hunters; many of them were members of the Mossad. Their mission was to track down and eliminate SS members wherever they were found. Once found they were not hard to verify; their blood type was tattooed high up the underside of their arms.


Killing the SS: The Hunt for the Worst War Criminals in History is a good read and I give it a 9 out of 10. It presents a well-researched, factual account while still reading like a spy novel. It’s best to know the history of monsters such as the SS lest we repeat it. If this book review helped you please pass the link on to your social media friends.


Looking for more great content? Visit our partner sites:

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services at affordable prices. Interested? Hire Me!


Did you find this article helpful? Thanks for supporting this free site with a small donation! We rely on the generosity of our readers rather than a paywall to stay afloat.

 




Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.


About the author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.


Was Obama the Worst US President?

by Kelly R. Smith

The Obama Presidency. Hope and Change?
The Obama Presidency. Hope and Change?

index sitemap advanced

This article was updated on 10/03/20.

Simply put, there are supporters and detractors of the work Barack Obama did during his two terms as president. The matter is extremely polarized. But it’s the facts that matter, not dogma or personal opinion. It takes a while for all these facts to come out. After all, his administration was never as transparent as he pledged it would be. President Obama’s legacy is fairly well fleshed out at this point. Let’s look at the hard facts.

The White House Transparency Issue

Obama told the American people, ” My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government. “

One of his campaign promises to meet this goal was to post all bills online for a full five days for review by citizens before he signed them. Sounds good, yes? But it only took nine days in office to break this “promise.” January 29, 2009: Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. No online posting.

Next up? February 4, 2009: Obama signed the S-CHIP law. Again, nothing online. Reporters understandably were beginning to ask why not. The White House response? It’s “too difficult,” they said, but they were working on the issue. Apparently, the high-tech whiz-kids in the administration never could solve the mysteries of cut-n-paste or HTML or even user-friendly platforms like WordPress because NO legislation was EVER posted for the promised five day citizen reviews of any bill that passed the Oval Office desk. There was never even an attempt to allow citizens to participate in the process.

As Sergeant Schultz Would Say, “I Know Nothing!”

This was one of Obama’s most notable evasion of personal responsibility ploys, played over and over again. Despite the fact that he has access to all manner of classified material and daily briefings, he claimed to be unaware of things that happened that he had personal responsibility for and an obligation to be aware of.

The list is impressive. The VA waiting list scandal? Fast and Furious? The Clinton email server? His DOJ stealing Associated Press phone records? His NSA spying on other world leaders? The IRS targeting conservative groups?

Here is one embarrassing quote, “I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this,” Obama said in June 2013 when he was asked about the IRS scandal. “I think it was on Friday.”

Living the Lavish Lifestyle on the Taxpayer Dime

Nobody would deny that the job as the president is extremely stressful and demands some downtime. But there’s reasonableness and then there’s reasonableness. Whereas President Bush took time out to play golf about one hundred times, Obama treated himself over four hundred times!

As long as we are making this distinction, it is important to note that Bush took trips to his personal property in Crawford. Almost always he continued to work while relaxing. Obama, on the other hand, tapped the taxpayers (many unemployed in a very down economy) to lavish retreats in places like Martha’s Vineyard and Hawaii. That’s thirty eight vacations just by March, 2015.

According to judicialwatch.org, “The known total expense to the American taxpayers thus far for all Obama travel is now $70,880,035.78! And of course at times it wasn’t even Obama himself decompressing. In 2010, Michelle Obama entitled herself and her entourage to a luxury vacation in Spain. The cost for that one trip alone ran up a taxpayer tab of $467,585. Thank you, Mr. and Ms. unemployed taxpayer.

Then there was the “African Safari.” That one was $424,000. The twenty-day Hawaii vacation alone set the taxpayers back $4 million dollars. In 2013 alone? Obama averaged over one vacation every month. This included a trip to make an appearance and yuck it up on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. That’s a total of $7.4 million dollars for one year alone. And nothing was being done about creating jobs for citizens who were footing the bill. Nothing says, “I’m entitled” like this kind of narcissistic behavior, typical of the new breed of democratic socialists in America today.

Questionable Ambassador Appointments

It is no secret that in the world of politics ambassador appointments are made as a type of “reward.” The problem is that Obama took this practice to an unprecedented level and used it as his personal campaign cash-cow machine.

In fact, prior to his second campaign, he took time to make up a special set of rules so big donors and bundlers would be clear about the process (if you expected an appointment after the election). Qualifications did not matter. Cash is king; show me the money.

The rules were simple. Express your interest in more than one country. Ambassadors may only serve for only two years because there were so many big donors and jobs had to be found for all.

The list was embarrassing. George Tsunis: nominated for Norway but didn’t even know what system of government they had. Max Baucus: nominated for China; admitted that he was “no real expert on China.” Caroline Kennedy: nominated for Japan; couldn’t speak Japanese, no foreign policy experience, knew absolutely nothing about the country. The list of incompetency goes on and on. Even a less-than-astute observer would suspect a thinly veiled game of job-selling.

So was Obama the worst US president? That’s for each person to decide; I simply point out facts as they happened. We know that he gamed the system, circumvented the constitution many times, and treated the office as a permanent vacation while not getting any real work done. Even though the economy was stagnant under his administration, he blamed it all on Bush. He “inherited” it. But now that Trump’s economy is roaring, he takes credit, claiming that he laid the groundwork. He demonstrated a penchant for dismissing any sense of national sovereignty. His “apology tours” were embarrassing and cost us international credibility. History will judge.

Do you think Obama the worst US president? The best? Transformative? Please let me know by participating in the poll on the sidebar on the right-hand side of this page. Thanks. Important research.

About the author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.



Looking for more great content? Visit our partner sites:

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Hire Me!


Did you find this article helpful? Thanks for supporting this free site with a small donation!

 




Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.


New Year’s Eve Trivia and Fun Facts

Auld Lang Syne, Times Square, and Champagne

by Kelly R. Smith

index sitemap advanced
Happy New Year's Eve!
Happy New Year’s Eve!

This article was updated on 12/16/20.

Ads we feature have been independently selected and reviewed. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission, which helps support the site.

New Year’s Eve only comes once a year (obviously) and is known far and wide as the preeminent night to party hearty and sneak that kiss when the ball drops on Times Square. But you might not know that it has a long history and the trivia to go with it. Don’t forget to make your New Year’s resolution something realistic this year like improving your credit score.



The Origin of the New Year’s Kiss

Most historians agree that the New Year’s Eve kiss made its debut in the Middle Ages and had is derived from either German and English folklore. Both cultures enjoyed the tradition. The basic idea is that the first person you encounter in a new year will set that year’s tone. So choose wisely; most people’s inhibitions are fairly low at this point (beer goggles). In any event a kiss is the best ritual to start the new year with. Of course, with that whole COVID-19 pandemic thing…

The Party Statistics are Staggering

Statistics suggest that about 22% of us will be passing out before the clock strikes 12 midnight.  That really narrows the field of kiss-kiss prospects (unless you’re really into some serious weirdness). This is where the designated drivers have an edge; that seems like a pretty good strategy. Now, who’s ready for a liver detox?



Those of Us Lucky Enough to Live In the South Eat Black Eyed Peas On New Year’s Day

Not only does this start us off with a hearty helping of fiber, the tradition also brings us good luck. This meal is derived from from a Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) custom so why the Northerners haven’t fully embraced the tradition is a mystery. It started when the first Shepari Jews moved to Georgia in the 1730s. 

Additionally, Tripsavvy.com tells us that, “Most Southerners will tell you that this culinary custom dates back to the Civil War. Black-eyed peas were considered animal food. The peas were not deemed worthy of serving to General Sherman’s Union troops. When Union soldiers raided the Confederates’ food supplies, legend says they took everything except the peas and salted pork. The Confederates considered themselves lucky to be left with those meager supplies, and survived the winter. Peas then became symbolic of luck.”

The Iconic Times Square Ball Drop

The countdown and subsequent ball drop dates back to December 31, 1907. Ever since then, it’s been reenacted every year except for a couple during World War II. The Times Square ball today is made of Waterford Crystal and weighs 11,875 pounds. Needless to say, you don’t want that ball to come crashing down on the assembled mob below. It can display 16 million colors! There have been seven versions over the years and it is owned by the building owners of One Times Square. Its got a diameter of 6 feet and takes one minute to drop. The hoopla accompanying its glorious descent is ear-shattering. This year, amid the China Virus pandemic, it is doubtful that Mayor de Blasio will let celebrants congregate en masse.

New Year’s Used to be Celebrated on March 20th.

No, it wasn’t always on January 1st. Why is it now? Because Julius Caesar made the rules back then according to the Gregorian Calendar. Before that, New Year’s was on March 20th according to Mesopotamian rules. That is coincidental with the Spring Equinox, which makes sense. Of course today it is illegal to celebrate it in Saudi Arabia. That’s right, the same peaceful and tolerant people that brought New York all the fireworks on 9/11.

These are just a bit of New Year’s trivia and fun facts to stump your fellow party animals with. Now go get that party hat on already!

Others Are Reading:


Looking for more great content? Visit our main site I Can Fix Up My Home or our partner sites:

The Green Frugal

Running Across Texas


As Featured On Ezine Articles

I offer article and blog-writing services. Interested? Contact me for a quote!



Did you find this article helpful? Millions of readers rely on information on this blog and our main site to stay informed and find meaningful solutions. Please chip in as little as $3 to keep this site free for all.

 





Visit Kelly’s profile on Pinterest.

About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.