You out of luck today. Banks closed.

[Today is Columbus Day (Observered); Thursday is the real Columbus Day. As it is today that the banks are closed, it is all together fitting and appropriate to remind people why we do this… to give bankers 3-day weekends :-)]

In 1961, the humorist Stan Freberg issued Volume 1 of The United States of America, a musical telling of the founding of America through the Battle of Yorktown (Volume 2 goes through the end of World War I (“They’ll never be another war…”)). The first scene on Volume 1 relates the story of how the Indians discovered Columbus. As today is Columbus Day, I present a transcription of the scene:

NARR: 1492, Madrid. The Queen of Spain grants an audience
to an obscure Italian sailor. There, in her chambers, plans are made destined
to change the course of history.

COLUMBUS (CC): Allright, we’ll go over it once again. First
you hock the jewels, you give me the money and I buy the ships. Then I discover
the new world, you dump the king, and I’ll send for you.

QUEEN ISABELLA (QI): You say you’ll send for me, dahling,
but will you?

CC: Look, we’ve been all through this before.

QI: I know, but really, you’re such a dreamer. You’ll go
out there and sail right off the end of the world.

CC: I will not!

QI: You’re such a charming boy, dahling. Why don’t you
forget all this. I’ll set you up with a nice little Fiat agency over in West

CC: I don’t want a Fiat agency!

QI: Then why don’t you go to art school like your friend,
DaVinci. I’ll put you through.

CC: If Lenny wants to starve to death, that’s up to Lenny.
Me, I want to discover the new world, carry out my dream. (trumpet fanfare)

ANNOUNCE: His Majesty, King Ferdinand.

QI: (gasp) The King.
CC: Oh, sure, he’ll be at
the inquisition all afternoon.
QI: Time just slipped away. Quickly,
take the jewels and go, over the balcony. (door opens)
CC: Too late.

QI: Good afternoon dear. How was the inquisition? Amusing?

KING FERDINAND (KF): Dullsville. Same old… say, who’s
QI: You remember Christopher Columbus.

KF: You mean old “round, round world”. (laughs). You and
your Bohemian friends.
QI: He’s not Bohemian, he’s Italian.

KF: Italian, Bohemian. Look at him in that hat. Is that a crazy

QI: Crazy? I’ll tell you how crazy. He’s a man with a
dream, a vision. A vision of a new world, whose alabaster cities gleam,
undimmed by human tears. With purple mountains magestied above the 2 cents

CC & KF: (fruited)

QI: Fruited. He holds these grieves to be self-evident,
this “round, round world” with Indians and justice for all. Let us then go
forward together toward Miami Beach, so that the dream of this crazy Italian
boy, indivisible, should not perish from the map. (cheers from crowd)

CC: Is that moving? Was that a great bit?
alwasy said this girl had a lot of…Wait a minute! I ask a simple question, I
get a pageant. Why should Spain sponsor you. Why don’t you go to Portugal?

CC: I did—they bought “The Price is Right”

CC: Then I have your permission to sail?
Have you had your shots?
CC: I have.
KF: Permission
CC: Gracias. Areva Derchi
KF: Hasta La
QI: Adios (Mariachi band: Adios Muchachos, Companareros)

KF: Would you get out of here? (footsteps) Strange, he left
by the balcony.
QI: Force of habit I guess.
KF: Yeah,
yeah, how’s that again.
QI: Nothing.
KF: Isabella? Whena
are you going to quit fooling around with these nuts?

(on ship) 1st Mate: Admiral Columbus, sir. The men are
weary, on the point of madness.
CC: Well, that’s the trouble with
labor today. Don’t they realize we’re going to discover the New World?

KF: You’ve been saying that for the last 57 days.
Nobody forced you to come along, your Majesty.
KF: My doctor
told me I should go to Florida for the winter.

KF: I still can’t see what you needed three ships for?

CC: I got a better deal on the fleet rate.
KF: I’ll
accept that. But we better sight land soon, there’s rumblings of mutiny.

CC: Really?

KF: Come over here and listen

Crew: Rumble. Rumble. Rumble. Mutiny. Mutiny. Mutiny.

CC: I see what you mean. I’ll jump up here on the rigging
and speak to them.
KF: You mean on top of everything else this ship
is rigged?

CC: Now hear this! This is the Admiral speaking. I know the
going has been rough, but if you can just hold out a little while.
(rumble rumble)
CC: Stop that rumbling down there.

KF: Who can blame them! The whole thing is madness! I don’t
like the way the crew is acting!
CC: You’re overplaying it a little
bit yourself there.

KF: I tell you the world is flat, and that’s that!

CC: It’s round as your hat!
KF: It’s flat as your head!

CC: It’s round!
KF: It’s flat!

CC: It’s a round, round world
It’s a round, round world

I contend it’s round,
and it’s gonna be found
When all the results
are in
It’s a round world now and it’s always been

KF: Flat Flat world
It’s a flat, flat world
insist it’s flat as a welcoming mat
And he’s sailing off the end
about our crazy Italian friend?

CC: Friend, Get hip
Would I climb aboard this ship

If I didn’t have odds the earth was highly spherical

KF: It’s a miracle if it is

CC: Square, square king
You’re a square, square king

If you don’t believe
You’re gonna receive
The shock of your royal
When the ship pulls in at Miami…

Crew: Yo, ho, ho and a Dramamine
We are loyal subjects
of the king and queen
But what kind of nut would you have to be
borrow a ship and put out to sea
When you don’t know what’s on the other

CC: Round, round world
It’s a round, round
I contend it’s round
And it’s gonna be found
When all the
results are in
It’s a round world now
And it’s always been
    KF: All week long on a hardtack
Brother, who said getting there is
Half the fun (breath)
up my throne for one Navy Bean
No wonder I’m turning three shades of green

How could I go on such a loony trip
CC: Get hip
Would I climb aboard this ship

If I didn’t have odds
The earth was highly spherical
  Crew: Crazy kind of scheme
It’s a cockamamy
If we don’t sight land we’re gonna scream
KF: It’s a miracle if it is
CC: Square, square crew
You’re a square,
square crew
If you don’t believe
  Crew: Yo, ho, ho through the wind and rain

There’s a typhoon coming up
But where’s John Wayne?
CC: You’re gonna receive
The shock of your
salty lives
When I take command in the name of…
  KF: I feel like a red witch
Having a wake

How much of the ocean bit do you think I can take
Claim that land in
the name of…

CC: Isabella and Ferdnand

KF: That’s Ferdinand and Isabella:

Both: New rulers of this round, round world
Crazy kind of scheme, It’s a cockamamy dream, but we hope that’s its a
round, round world.

KF: Well, for all our sakes, I hope that…
Land Ho! (horn fanfare)

KF: What was that?
CC: French horns.
No, before that.
CC: It was the lookout, he sighted land.

Crew: Hurray

CC: Quickly, hand me the glass.
KF: Allright.

CC: No, no, the other one.
KF: Oh? (pause) Oh. (sound of
wine pouring)
CC: To the New World! KF: Likewise (clink)

KF: Allright, allright, give the kid top billing.
CC: I claim this land in the name of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand
of Spain.
Indian Chief (IC): How?
CC: Well, first I stick
the flag in the sand, and then I…

KF: Watch yourself Admiral. Natives. They may be
CC: Well, we’re all a little hostile now and then. Some of
us are able to sublimate. Others can’t adjust. You know how it is.
I know, but you better try to talk to him.
CC: Allright. Hello
there. Hello there. We white man. Other side of ocean. My name, Christopher
IC: Oh, you over here on a Fulbright?
CC: No, no.
I’m over here on an Isabella, as a matter of fact. Which reminds me. I want to
take a few of you guys back on the boat to prove I discovered you.
What you mean discover us? We discover you.
CC: You discovered
IC: Certainly, we discover you on beach here. Is all how you look
at it.

CC: Yeah, I suppose. (pause) Well, my men and I were
wondering if you could spare a little food.
IC: What kind num-nums
you want?
CC: What is that strange looking plant you’re holding
there, with the little yellow kernels?
IC: You mean this?
(trumpet fanfare)
CC: Yes, what is that?
IC: French

CC: No, no, what you’re holding in your hand.
Oh, corn.
CC: That’s what I thought it was. What else you got to
eat around here?
IC: Berries, herbs, natural fruits, and organically
grown vegetables.
CC: Just as I suspected. What kind of a diet is
that! That’s why I’ve come here, to fulfill my dream.

IC: You have a dream?
CC: Yes I do.
Would you like to talk about it?
CC: I certainly would. My dream
is to open the first Italian restaurant in your country. Give you some real
food: starches, spaghetti, cholesterol, … all the better things. That’s
called progress.

IC: Hmmm.

CC: Now right here would be a good location for the
restaurant, ocean view and all that. Is there room for a parking lot?
You kidding? Whole country is parking lot.
CC: I suppose. Well,
I’d like to put a little deposit down on the property, here…
CC: …I only have a few dubloons on me, so if you direct me
to the nearest bank, I’ll get a check cashed.
IC: You out of luck
today. Banks closed.
CC: Oh, why?
IC: Columbus
CC: Oh, yeah. (pauses) We going out on that joke?
No, we do reprise of song, that help.
CC & IC: But not
much… no…

Round, round world
It’s a
newfound world
And the land looks good
Like a continent
Complete with a flag unfurled
Yo, ho, ho and a buckskin
Now the white man’s here I guess
It’s time to leave
But why go
to war and fight like a jerk
Perhaps we can pick up some kind of work
an Indian extravaganza
Wyatt Earp or Bonanza

CC: Please don’t call us, we’ll call you
Step aside pal, meet the new
Both: Big cheeses of this round,
round world