Columbus: Amerigo Vespucci's a pimp

Columbus: Five Little-Known, And Possibly Inaccurate Facts About Him

Why are you at work? It's Columbus Day!!

It is only rampant anti-Italianism that prevents Houstonians from getting a three-day weekend to celebrate the guy who was among the first dozen or so people to discover America.

Columbus, of course, is a misunderstood figure. Perhaps the best historical summary of his life comes from the work of one B. Springsteen, who wrote:

Well now Columbus he discovered America even though he hadn't planned on it
He got lost and woke up one morning when he's about to land on it
He wouldn't of got out of Italy, man that's for sure,
Without Queen Isabella standing on the shore
Shouting "Stand on it, go ahead man, stand on it"

How well do you know your Columbus? Five facts, or near-facts:

5. He never visited Columbus, Ohio. "Just not a big Jim Tressel fan," he said.

4. Even though he landed in the Caribbean, Columbus was convinced he had found a passage to Indianapolis

3. He called Amerigo Vespucci "a name-grabbing Florentine pimp." Columbus named his dog Amerigo, and regularly kicked him.

2. Even he thinks New York's Columbus Day parade is a pale imitation of the St. Patrick's Day parade.

1. If you run into him in the afterlife, whatever you do don't ask him about Hollywood unless you want to hear a half-hour diatribe about how they've never made a good movie about him, with lots of asides about "that fucking Gerald Depardieu."

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