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Inconvenience Yourself Day

inconvenience yourself dayInconvenience Yourself Day has been celebrated on the fourth Wednesday in February since 2006. Julie Thompson, president of Environmental Resources Network in Fort Lauderdale, FL, created the holiday to encourage us all to recognize how our actions impact the lives of those around us.

It’s easy to become so focused on our own crazy to-do lists that we forget to hold open a door, let a customer with only a few items get ahead of us in line, thank someone who has helped us or just be kind to others when there is no tangible benefit to us.

We’d like to add a few suggestions to slow the pace of our hectic lives, if only for today. Call a friend instead of texting. Write a letter instead of a Facebook message. Cook a favorite meal instead of throwing something together. (Get the “good” china out of storage, if you have it; what are you saving it for?) Take a walk without any mobile devices and look around at your neighborhood, not just the view of the sidewalk you see past your cell phone.

The secret payoff of inconveniencing ourselves: it makes us feel good. Who knows? It could become a habit. Slow down, say thanks and have a happy Inconvenience Yourself Day!

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International Pancake Day

Today is International Pancake Day, but it’s not about eating pancakes. It celebrates a race that was first run in 1445 by housewives in Olney, England. Since 1950, the townsfolk compete against each other and the women of Liberal, Kansas.

According to legend, the tradition dates back to 1445 in Olney. A housewife was making pancakes, hurrying to use up the cooking fat forbidden during Lent. When she heard the church bells ring calling the townspeople to the Shrove Tuesday service, she donned the headscarf required in church and ran there, carrying the pan and wearing her apron.international pancake day

It made such an impression that other women in the congregation duplicated her run the following year, turning it into a race. The person who made it to the church steps first would flip her pancake and receive a blessing and a “Kiss of Peace” from the bell-ringer. Falling as it did on the day before Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and prayer, the race gave rise to a full day of celebration.

The local tradition has continued ever since. There have been lapses in its observance through the centuries, but the race has never been completely forgotten. One of those lapses occurred during World War II. Reverend Canon Ronald Collins, Vicar of Olney, revived the race in 1948. While tidying up a cupboard, he discovered photos taken in the 1920s and 1930s of women running with pans.

Excited to bring back the ancient custom, he asked for volunteers for the race. Thirteen runners participated that year. The townsfolk embraced the practice anew, happy to honor Olney’s colorful history and enjoy themselves with a day of festivities.

Pancake Day Jumps the Pond

In 1950, Liberal, Kansas Jaycee president R.J. Leete saw magazine photographs of Olney women racing each other to the church. He wanted to start a similar tradition, so he contacted Reverend Collins and challenged the women of Olney to race against the women of Liberal.

Olney accepted the challenge and the two towns have competed every year since, exchanging prizes and keeping score via a live Web link. (Headscarves and aprons are still required.)

In the time-honored American tradition of doing everything bigger, the holiday in Liberal has expanded into a four-day event, with pancake eating and flipping contests, a parade, a beauty pageant and a talent show.

As of 2015, Liberal has won 37 times; Olney, 28.  In 1980, the scores were thrown out because a media truck blocked the finish line in Olney. The results of today’s race will be available here later today. We wish good luck to all the runners and a happy International Pancake Day to us all.

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

American Fancy Rat and Mouse Show 2016

January 30th is the 2016 American Fancy Rat and Mouse Show, sponsored by the American Fancy Rat and Mouse Association (AFRMA). AFRMA was founded in 1983 to promote breeding and exhibition of fancy rats and mice, to educate the public about their positive attributes as intelligent, affectionate pets, and provide information on their proper care.

Like the canines in the Westminster Dog Show, the rats and mice that compete today at Woodcrest Community Center in Riverside, CA, must meet high standards of physiology and temperament. See the process in video footage taken at the 2013 show.

A developmental problem such as “square butt” is grounds for disqualification from the show. It can usually be detected at a young age, which is why AFRMA judges advise breeders, called ratteries, to present their rats and mice for evaluation when they are still kittens. (Babies under nine weeks old are called kittens. Adult females are known as does; males, bucks.)

fancy rat and mouse show

You’ve probably never considered a rodent–other than the hamster you had as a kid–as a potential pet. Someone we know had a rat named Sid and took him everywhere, including spring break. She insisted we share with you the following fun facts.

  • Rats are not dirty animals by choice, only by circumstance. They clean themselves many times a day, much like a cat.
  • Rats are social and affectionate, taking care of sick or injured rats in their group. They become lonely and depressed if they’re left alone and make laughing noises when they’re having fun. (It doesn’t sound like human laughter. That would be so creepy.)
  • Rats have excellent memories. They can learn tricks and come when they’re called, recognizing their own names. (We’re talking about the names humans give them, of course. We have no idea what they call themselves.)

Learn more at AFRMARat Assistance & Teaching Society (RATS), The Rat Fan Club, RatChatter and many other sites. Yahoo group ratlist is accepting applications for membership. No rat haters need apply. Take a moment to see rats anew. Start your own club and start making plans to go to next year’s show!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

Banished Words List Day of 2015

banished words list daySince 1976, Lake Superior State University (LSSU) has issued an annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use or General Uselessness. LSSU accepts nominations for banishment from around the globe, covering all manner of words and phrases worthy of exile.

Without further ado, we bring you the Banished Words List of 2015

Bae
Polar vortex
Hack
Skill Set
Swag
Foodie
Curate/Curated
Friend-raising
Cra-cra (cray-cray)
Enhanced interrogation
Takeaway
____-Nation (sports)

Our Favorites from 2014

Selfie (named Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionary!)
Hashtag
_____ On Steroids
_____ –Ageddon
_____–Pocalypse
Twerk
Twittersphere

Words and phrases banished in previous years include: Pre-Plan, Quality Time (’85); Conferenced, Free Gift (`88); Infotainment, Forced Relaxation (’89); Minor Emergency Clinic,  A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste (’90); My Bad, Talk to the Hand (’98); Metrosexual, Companion Animals (’04); Gitmo, We’re Pregnant (’07); Man Cave, Pet Parent (’12).

University officials note that even with this year’s focus on elections, most entries do not concern politics. Nominations for the 2016 list roll in via e-mail at a steady pace from the fields of academia, advertising, business, the military, sports, as well as politics.

We can’t wait to see the newest entries!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays