f/k/a . . . the archives

October 6, 2007

Columbus, Colombo, Colón: what’s in a name?

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,lawyer news or ethics,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 3:15 pm

Columbus I was already thinking that Monday October 8th seems way too early to be “celebrating” Columbus Day. But, today’s warm and humid weather, here in Upstate New York, makes the Columbus Day Parade held in downtown Albany seem even more premature. It might be a great weekend for pumpkin picking, but it’s also a good bet that those pumpkins will be over-ripe and mushy long before Halloween.

While it’s too early to be celebrating the Man (and, perhaps it’s inappropriate to do so at all; see our post two years ago), it’s never too soon to bring up my traditional Columbus Day Pet Peeve: The fact that the history writers of America have gotten away for centuries with anglicizing the name of the ship’s captain who landed in the New World in 1492 (mistaking it for India — which reminds me: why did they keep calling the natives “Indians” after they knew America wasn’t India?). As I noted a year ago at the shlep weblog (in a posting republished below, in a little, lazy holiday encore ploy):

[W]hether he was actually Italian/Genoese [and therefore called Cristoforo Colombo], or instead Portuguese (nee Cristóvão Colon), Spanish (nee Cristóbal Colón), or Catalan (nee Cristòfor Colom), one thing is certain: he never called himself Christopher Columbus.

update (October 8, 2007):  For much more on the mystery/controversy of the origins of “Christopher Columbus,” see the New York Times article  Seeking Columbus’s Origins, With a Swab (by Amy Harmon, Oct. 8, 2007), which explains that “The Age of Discovery has discovered DNA,” explores many of the ramifications, and provides links to information on many theories of CC’s birthplace and family history.

ColumbusStavans Imagining Columbus by Ilan Stavans

Columbus Day trip
red and yellow crayons
turn into stubs

Columbus Day rain –
first cozy evening
since Spring

…………………………………… dagosan

update (Oct. 8, 2007): Want to discover a New World of Weblawg Treasure? Sail over to the Columbus Day edition of Blawg Review [#129], ably captained by David Harlow of the HealthBlawg. Since the f/k/a Natives are more into pictures than texts this morning, we especially liked learning that lawyers brought discovery to America right after Cristofo Colombo got here.

QkeyNs sKeyNs If you came here looking for something new to read, here are a few quickie pointers and reminders:

  • Good idea: go reflect upon Bruce MacEwan’s excellent discussion of “Mandatory Retirement [in law firms]: Pro or Con?,” and whether bar associations should have any say at all on the subject. (Adam Smith, Esq., Oct. 1, 2007).
  • On a related note: You’ll be disappointed if you’ve been waiting for the case of EEOC v. Sidely & Austin to result in some definitive law on age discrimination and law firm partners. See
    Sidley Austin Settles Age Bias Suit; No Determination of Merits” (New York Law Journal, by Anthony Lin, October 8, 2007)
  • If you haven’t yet done so (and you really need to act like a workaholic this holiday weekend), take a look at the new weblog EDD Update — “Electronic data discovery news and analysis” — which is coordinated by Sean Doherty, Law.com‘s tech editor, and Monica Bay, Law Technology News‘s editor in chief, and everyone’s favorite Common Scold (and Yankees fan).
  • If you’ve been feeling bad about your finances lately, consider the fate and prospects of those who are “Out of Prison and Deep in Debt” (New York Times, Oct. 6, 2007), because they are leaving prison saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in fines, restitution, or child support arrears.

BaseballHaikuCoverAnd, we hear from Cor van den Heuvel, co-editor of Baseball Haiku ( W.W. Norton Press, 2007), that National Public Radio‘s “Selected Shorts” series will include the reading of baseball haiku by actor Alec Baldwin and others this week. Check the schedule of your favorite local or internet NPR station for airing times.

October revival
all hands lift
to the foul ball

…………………………………………………………. by Jim Kacian

Nameless and Unheard: Ever since my review of Jeremy Blachman’s weblog-inspired book Anonymous Lawyer (May 29, 2006), I’ve wanted to atone to JB for my negative evaluation of his first novel. So, being the open-minded guy that I am, I brought home the Audio CD version of Anonymous Lawyer (read by Ray Porter, 2006) from the public library yesterday. Since I listen to a couple of audiobooks a week and find it a great way to enjoy a good book, I was hoping to discover that AL: the Novel was a “great listen.”

Sorry, Jeremy. I forced myself to read the entire book, since it was the first book review request I had ever received, and I wanted to be fair to the author and publisher. But, there is no way on earth I could make myself listen to more than a few minutes of the incessantly negative tone of voice of the unnamed narrator-protagonist. It is just too painful. As I concluded the novel in print was “way too much of a good thing,” I must report that the audio version appears to be even more excessively bleak and unpalatable.


mid-argument
the senior partner
has a senior minute

mid-argument -
opposing counsel crosses
her legs
……………………………………….dagosan

the nina [republished from shlep: the Self-Help Law ExPress, October 9, 2006]

poor Cristoforo Colombo (name change self-help)

The navigator who is both honored and defiled on Columbus Day never did get to Asia. He also never got to Ellis Island, but that hasn’t stopped Americans from anglicizing his name. The famous explorer always contended — some say to cover up a mercenary past — that he was born in Italy, which would have made his name Cristoforo Colombo. His actual birthplace has been in much dispute, but whether he was actually Italian/Genoese, or instead Portuguese (nee Cristóvão Colon), Spanish (nee Cristóbal Colón), or Catalan (nee Cristòfor Colom), one thing is certain: he never called himself Christopher Columbus.

Columbus Modern-day Americans have much more control over their names. shlep wants to remind you on Columbus Day that there is much help online and at courthouses (with official forms, and often instructions), should you need or want to change your name. For example: see the California Self-Help Center, the Wisconsin Self-Help webpage, and the forms available from that District called Columbia. As always, check out our post getting self-help help, if you need assistance finding your state court websites.

1 Comment

  1. [...] David Giacalone at f/k/a Columbus, Colombo, Colon: what’s in a name? [...]

    Comment by Snark Hunting | Naming and Branding in the Blogs: 10.06.07 — October 6, 2007 @ 7:28 pm

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