June 17, 2010

A Toast

Filed under: Uncategorized — jchatoff @ 1:23 am
Tags: , , ,

On this day, 450 years ago,Sir Francis Drake claimed New Albion for his sovereign.   New Albion meant the Pacific Coast, all the way from San Diego, where he landed  in 1579,  to Alaska, where he headed until it got too cold and he turned south again.

This was news to me until I read up on him.  I knew he’d defeated the Spanish Armada but not that he’d discovered California and that his exploits made the colonists a century later feel all kinds of entitled to the entire continent.

Best of all, I found a wonderful factoid:  the ‘Spanish Main’ was England’s name for the isthmus of Panama.  Who knew?

For some reason, San Franciscans claim Drake and Oregonians insist that he stopped there first.  I can’t imagine why anyone cares, but it’s unlikely to be settled since a) he deliberately lied on maps to fool Spanish spies, b) Elizabeth I took his reports to her and made them classified documents and c), when Whitehall Palace burned down in the 17th century, all the records were lost.

In any case, Sir Francis probably broke out the rum when he spotted Point Loma because he knew he’d really arrived somewhere.

(Right,  view from a peak in Darien…)

Nixon, on the other hand, surely went to bed the night of June 17. 1972. without realizing that he had just stepped off a cliff.  While he slept, Bernard Barker, John McCord, Virgilio Gonzalez, Frank Sturgis and Eugenio Martinez were being booked for breaking and entering into DNC headquarters at the Watergate.

Yes, friends, today is Watergate break-in day!  Observe it as you will, but if nothing else, raise a glass to Ben Bradlee and Katherine Graham, heroes of our time.


  1. Very fun and love the graphics too!


    Comment by avery zia — June 19, 2010 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

  2. … may be because of my linguistic gap + my laziness … but don’t you think Nixon’s eyes in that picture are really “inquietanti” they seems to say …. “if I catch you, you are somethinig more than dead”


    Comment by francesca — June 22, 2010 @ 6:49 pm | Reply

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