Remember how our teachers recited this poem: “Columbus sailed the ocean blue, in fourteen hundred and ninety two!” Well, our teachers lied to us. They told us that Columbus was the first to believe the world was round and he hoped to prove it by sailing across the Atlantic. He was going to find a new route to the East by sailing West. Remember that?

Columbus was hardly alone in his belief that the earth was round. This was a generally accepted fact in those years. As a matter of fact, that was the popular belief for more than 200 years before Columbus was even born.

We were taught that Queen Isabella had pawned her jewels to pay for Columbus’ first voyage. As a matter of fact, no royal family funds were used for his trip. Financing for the venture was arranged by the Treasurer of the Royal Household, who even used some of his own personal funds. He asked Columbus to take his wife and children out of Spain to escape the Inquisition.

Our teachers told us that Columbus and his three vessels (Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria) encountered terrible storms on that first trip. In fact, Columbus did not encounter great storms on that famous voyage. According to historic sea logs, the seas were calm and the crossing was rather uneventful until the final days before he reached Watling Island in the West Indies.

Did you know that Columbus was not happy with the ships Santangel had purchased for him? The two little ships, the Nina and the Pinta, needed certain modifications for such a long trip. They started to make the modifications in Spain but the Queen was growing impatient and was breathing down Columbus’ back. He realized he had to leave immediately.

Columbus decided the modifications would be made on the Island of Palos. When certain repairs still needed to be made, he pulled into the Canary Islands and spent a month making the repairs and further modifications before crossing the Atlantic. The crossing actually took one month, and not two, as many history books record.

At one point toward the end of his journey, Columbus and the Pinzon brothers (who captained the two other ships) met to discuss whether they should turn back. They decided to continue and reassess the situation and wait a few more days.

Columbus did not die penniless as we were told in school. Thanks to the dissemination of his journals and the development of the printing press, which made copies of the maps of the New World, he became a famous personality. Although not exceedingly wealthy, he was financially comfortable at the time of his death. His son inherited his funds and titles.

Columbus spent his final years bent by arthritis and was bitter at the royal family for real and imagined wrongs. He died in 1506, just fourteen years after his first voyage.

Riddle Time

I know a word of letters three. Add two, and fewer there will be. What is it?

Answer: The word is “few”.

Ponder This

Too often, we lose sight of life’s simple pleasures. Remember, when someone annoys you it takes 42 facial muscles to frown, but it takes only four muscles to extend your arm and slap the person in the head.

Here are some things you maybe didn’t know yesterday.

Maryann gives her input in italics after each.

*Research indicates plants grow healthier when they are stroked.
(and kids grow healther when they are cuddled!)
*During your lifetime, you grow about 590 miles of hair.
(you notice I said YOU, because I CERTAINLY don’t!! My hair has been the same length for 45 years!)
*Cleopatra married two of her brothers
(This gives the term:sibling rivalry, a whole NEW twist.)
*A passionate kiss will burn up to 6.4 calories per minute
(Who needs the gym, this sounds like a lot more fun!!)

Riddle Time

Have fun at the office with this one. Congrats to Kathy Peacock who go this right this morning!

I never was, am always to be,
No one ever saw me, nor ever will
And yet I am the confidence of all
To live and breathe on this terrestrial ball.

Answer: Tomorrow


OK, the Farmers’ Almanac prediction for a Numbingly Cold winter is out, but what are the real experts saying? Here are some signs from mother nature:

  Thicker than normal corn husks

  Woodpeckers sharing a tree

  Early arrival of the Snowy owl

  Early departure of geese and ducks

  Early migration of the Monarch butterfly

  Thick hair on the nape (back) of the cow’s neck

  Heavy and numerous fogs during August

  Raccoons with thick tails and bright bands

  Mice eating ravenously into the home

  Early arrival of crickets on the hearth

  Spiders spinning larger than usual webs and entering the house in great numbers

  Pigs gathering sticks

  Insects marching a bee line rather than meandering

  Early seclusion of bees within the hive

  Unusual abundance of acorns

  Muskrats burrowing holes high on the river hank

  “See how high the hornet’s nest, ’twill tell how high the snow will rest”

  Narrow orange band in the middle of the Woollybear caterpillar warns of heavy snow; fat and fuzzy caterpillars presage bitter cold

  The squirrel gathers nuts early to fortify against a hard winter

  Frequent halos or rings around sun or moon forecast numerous snow falls.


Economists have finally proved what most of us have suspected for a long time — when it comes to apologizing, talk is cheap. According to new research, firms that simply say sorry to disgruntled customers fare better than those that offer financial compensation. Researchers set out to show whether customers who have been let down continue to do business after being offered an apology. They found people are more than twice as likely to forgive a company that says sorry than one that instead offers them cash.

I see a new position opening up. The “Apologist”! – Justin

Tweeting Everything!

A Missouri woman giving birth kept her Twitter followers updated every step of the way Tuesday. Candy Tai’s first post at 1:51am read: “Off 2 have a baby! This kid wants out NOW!” Once at the hospital she tweeted, “Contractions coming on strong….baby soon! Kids in room with me watching Bolt!” She also wrote about not using any pain medication: “1st time without pain meds..what was i thinking?!” Finally, she posted an update showing her newborn: “Fresh baked baby! Jacob David arrived at 6:59 a.m.” She attached a picture of her newborn son.

Would you be able to tweet through the delivery? – Justin

Friday Funnies

At a big corporation the IT department was doing a password audit — checking to be sure the passwords used by employees were strong. On one computer it was found that a blonde was using the following password: MickeyMinniePlutoHueyLouieDeweyDonaldGoofy When asked why such a big password, she said that it had to be at least 8 characters long.