On this day in 1492, one of the sailors on the Pinta sighted land, an island in the Bahamas, after 10 weeks of sailing from Palos, Spain, with the Santa María, the Pinta, and the Niña.
The Italian explorer Christopher Columbus believed he’d reached East Asia. He sighted Cuba and thought it was China, and when the expedition landed on Hispaniola, he thought he’d found Japan.
Columbus Day has been celebrated since the 18th century, but only became a U.S. federal holiday in 1937. Interesting that Hawaii, Alaska, and South Dakota don’t recognize the holiday.
Many celebrate Italian-American heritage on Columbus Day.
Statue of Christopher Columbus Lavagna, Genova, Italy
Columbus’s contribution to world history was introducing Europeans to the New World, which led to cultural exchange, commerce, and exploration, and eventually to the discovery of the real westward route to the Indies.
But Columbus Day and the man who inspired it have also generated controversy.
Many argue that Europeans got land, slaves, and gold, while the aboriginals were dispossessed, enslaved, and infected.
Protests of Columbus Day celebrations resulted in the creation of Indigenous People’s Day in the 1990s, which coincides with Columbus Day.
When I think of Columbus Day, I think of the jingle I learned in school to remember the man’s accomplishment.
Christopher Columbus sailed in the ocean blue in 1492.
Turns out that’s only the beginning line of a much longer poem by Winifred Sackville Stoner, Jr., who was known for poems, rhymes, and mnemonic jingles to aid in the recollection of information.
Curious, I looked up the complete poem published in the anthology Yankee Doodles: A Book of American Verse, edited by Ted Malone and published in 1943 by Whittlesey House (NY and London).
“Contrary to popular belief, no one is born without a creative bone in his or her body, and not all creative types are starving artists. In other words, we’ve all got it, but our personalities play a role in the kind of creative we are, and how we best feed into it.”
Creativity is a function of how your brain works. Creative types use the RIGHT side of their brains more than the LEFT.
Click HERE for fun tests to find out if your brain is wired for creativity. (Special thanks to Jack Milgram for the tip on this great infographic.)
“The mental and personality traits that make it possible to be creative can also be annoying and irritating to the rest of society. Aside from the crime of introversion, creative people are often non-conforming, haughty, brilliant, intense, restless, prickly, with a sense of destiny (see the whole list here).”
If your test results show you do operate in the creative right brain…
If you’re like me, you have one or more friends or family members who have been affected by breast cancer.
Every October a nationwide campaign increases awareness of the disease, but myths persist.
Below are seven such myths and the facts to debunk.
MYTH: Finding a lump in your breast = breast cancer.
The Facts: Only a small percentage of breast lumps turn out to be cancer. However, if you discover a persistent lump in your breast or notice any changes in breast tissue, do NOT ignore. See a physician. He can assess the risk through breast imaging tests.
MYTH: Men cannot get breast cancer.
The Facts: Each year approximately 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 410 will die. Men carry a higher mortality than women do, primarily because awareness among men is less, which causes a delay in seeking treatment.
MYTH: A mammogram can cause breast cancer to spread.
The Facts:A mammogram is the current gold standard for the early detection of breast cancer. Breast compression during a mammogram cannot cause cancer to spread. According to the National Cancer Institute, “Mammograms require very small doses of radiation. The risk of harm from this radiation exposure is extremely low.”
MYTH: A family history of breast cancer means you are likely to develop breast cancer.
The Facts:A family history of breast cancer places you in a higher risk group, but ten percent of individuals diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history.
The Risk Factor Correlations:
If you have a mother, daughter, or sister who developed breast cancer below the age of 50, you should consider some form of regular diagnostic breast imaging starting 10 years before the age of your relative’s diagnosis.
If you have had a grandmother or aunt who was diagnosed with breast cancer, your risk increases slightly, but it is not in the same risk category as those who have a first degree relative with breast cancer.
If you have multiple generations diagnosed with breast cancer on the same side of the family, or if there are several individuals who are first degree relatives to one another, or several family members diagnosed under age 50, the probability increases that there is a breast cancer gene contributing to the cause of this familial history.
MYTH: Breast cancer is contagious.
The Facts: Breast cancer is the result of uncontrolled cell growth of mutated cells that begin to spread into other tissues within the breast.
MYTH: The gene mutation BRCA1 or BRCA2 detected in your DNA means you will definitely develop breast cancer.
The Facts:According to the National Cancer Institute, “not every woman who has a harmful BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation will develop breast and/or ovarian cancer. But, a woman who has inherited a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2 is about five times more likely to develop breast cancer than a woman who does not have such a mutation.”
MYTH: Antiperspirants and deodorants cause breast cancer.
The Facts:Researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are not aware of any conclusive evidence linking the use of underarm antiperspirants or deodorants and the subsequent development of breast cancer.
The expressions are global and the same idiom can have a very different meaning in a different country. In Finnish, “with long teeth” means you are doing something that you really don’t want to do. Same phrase in French, “to have long teeth” means you are ambitious.
Groups of people with shared/common interests have their own idioms. Think about these examples from music and drama:
“It’s not over ‘till the fat lady sings.”
“Break a leg”
“It takes two to tango”
When I taught English as a Second Language, idioms challenged my students. Common idioms, like the examples below, were easy to teach.
A chip on your shoulder
High as a kite
Sick as a dog
Rub someone the wrong way
Jump the gun
Pay the piper
When the students conversed with their fellow native speaking friends, other not so common expressions managed to stump them.
Signing idioms when I was interpreting for the deaf was a tough call, too. I had to know what the speaker meant. Sometimes I didn’t!
Usually it’s easy to pick up the meaning from the context of the conversation or non-verbal gestures. Sometimes it’s best to ask exactly what the speaker means.
If you’re not sure what the idiom examples I’ve used mean, here’s a site that defines common idioms: http://www.idiomsite.com/
Idioms can complicate speaking and writing. I advise using them sparingly…unless your meaning is clear!
Barkat believes “when you let yourself get carried away by the high-alert cycle and give in to its constant interruptions, you lose 10 IQ points in each interruption moment (“the equivalent of not sleeping for thirty-six hours—or double the impact of smoking marijuana”), and it takes you about twenty-five minutes to fully return to your original project.”
All I can say is he’s describing me.
Every notice of new posts from FB, Goodreads, or Twitter and computer alert to new email draws my attention. I end up attending to everything and accomplish nothing. I can’t seem to stop the innate sense that I must know what’s going on!
I’ve come up with three ways to “commit to stopping the hype” as Barkat suggests:
When I start to write, I turn off my cell phone, no email, no social media, no internet cruising. Cold turkey! Just my desktop that has no internet hook up and me alone in my office.
Peace and quiet and the words flow.
Curtail Social Media
I’m not saying I abandon social media. I’m saying I control social media. Social media is not controlling me.
Following Frances Caballo’s advice on how to eliminate the unintentional hours of wasted time on social media. I’ve set a timer, limiting my social media time. I now use Tweetdeck and HootSuite to schedule tweets and updates. I plan for specific times to socialize via social media like waiting at doctor’s offices, and I routinely analyze how effective social media is for my platform building.
What’s not working, I eliminate. Take that social media!
Clock writing time
I’ve developed a spreadsheet to keep track of my writing hours. Now, just like a server at McDonald’s, I clock in and out.
First week was a real shocker. Too many days with no clock-ins. If I worked at Mickey D’s, I’d be fired.
Now it’s BICW…Butt In Chair Writing. Every day. No matter what. I clock a minimum of three hours per day.
Amazing how my productivity has improved.
You may or may not agree with Barkat’s premise, but I believe using my three C’s can increase your writing productivity.
YOUR TURN: Has technology adversely affected your writing productivity?
Anthony Lynch snapped this photo of the 2013 Harvest Moon at Phoenix Park in Dublin, Ireland. Lovely isn’t it?
This year’s Harvest Moon arrived on my birthday September 18. The lunar orb lit the night and continued to be awesome for days, which led to some research on the moon.
Here’s what I learned:
The moon rises on average 50 minutes later everyday as the year moves on. The Harvest Moon rises only 30 minutes later. The earlier rise offers more light.
The full moon that rises closest to the autumnal equinox — this year’s official start of autumn was September 22 — is called the Harvest Moon.
The name Harvest probably sprang from the lips of farmers because, in the days before tractor lights, the lamp of the Harvest Moon helped farmers to gather their crops, despite the diminishing daylight hours. As the sun’s light faded in the west, the moon would soon rise in the east to illuminate the fields throughout the night.
Nora Bayes’ and Jack Norworth’s 1903 song titled Shine On Harvest Moon popularized the name. Here’s a great clip of Laurel and Hardy singing and dancing to the tune from their 1939 movie “Flying Deuces.”
A Harvest Moon is not truly bigger, brighter, or more pumpkin-colored than other full moons. It just appears to be.
NASA’s Dr. Tony Phillips explains why: “For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, a low-hanging Moon appears much wider than it really is. A Harvest Moon inflated by the moon illusion is simply gorgeous. The view improves as the night wears on.”
I captured the Harvest Moon with my camera.
Not so great, but you can see some fabulous pictures here.
All these pictures make me think a Harvest Moon would be great setting for a romance scene.