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April 16 is National Stress Awareness Day

national stress awareness dayToday is National Stress Awareness Day. It was created in 1992 by Dr. Morton Orman of the Health Resource Network, a nonprofit health education organization.

We’re all aware of stress. Many of us are steeped in it right now. Acute stress can be a positive thing, allowing us to react to upsetting or dangerous situations. But when our lives are filled with seemingly endless problems and anxieties, stress becomes chronic, putting us on constant high alert and exhausting our bodies and minds over time.

Sometimes the most stressful—and inadvertently hilarious—advice doctors, friends and strangers can give is that we must reduce stress. Life is undeniably chaotic. If you can drop everything and move to Bora Bora, by all means, do that.

The rest of us can breathe deeply, look at the sky, take a walk, eat a cookie, hug somebody, draw a bubble bath, watch YouTube clips of kittens. It may not be a permanent fix, but we know what calms us down and makes us happy in the moment.

By the way, if you prefer kale to cookies, be our guest. One thing we don’t recommend right now is picking up a book on stress relief. Maybe tomorrow. Today, have a happy National Stress Awareness Day. Unless you don’t feel like it. No pressure.

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

December 14 is Monkey Day

Monkey Day was started in 2000 when Michigan State University art student Casey Sorrow scribbled “Monkey Day” on a friend’s calendar. When the day (December 14) arrived, Sorrow and his buddies were inspired to don costumes, mimic baboon cries and otherwise imitate a bunch of monkeys.monkey day

That day a tradition was born. What may have begun as a salute to evolution, an antidote to December’s traditional holidays, an excuse to dress up and act like fools, or all of the above has become a popular holiday throughout the world.

Why? “Everybody loves monkeys,” Sorrow explains. “Monkeys are great — they make people smile. There are no bad monkeys.”

Monkey Day is especially appreciated in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom. Activists organize auctions and educational events to draw public attention to issues concerning animal rights and protection of monkeys. Individuals are encouraged to celebrate by hosting costume parties and competitions.

 

Humans have long been fascinated with simians and entertained by TV and movie fare such as King Kong, Mighty Joe Young, Curious George, Donkey Kong, Grape Ape, Magilla Gorilla and the overlords in Planet of the Apes. Read about other fictive and real-world examples including Koko, Ham, Lucy, Bubbles and Nim Chimpsky on ape-o-naut.org’s Famous Monkeys Through History.)

monkey day

We know what you’re thinking: Monkeys aren’t apes. Why do apes show up on Monkey Day? The site’s creators explain:

Because they are not a single coherent group, monkeys do not have any particular traits that they all share and are not shared with the remaining group of simians, the apes, we here at the Monkey Day website feel it wouldn’t be proper to exclude all primates from the joy of Monkey Day just because they swing on a different branch of the evolutionary tree. So, yes, occasionally you may see non-monkey simians invading and celebrating Monkey Day.

Why are we so drawn to simians in general? “Probably because we come from monkeys,” says artist and Monkey Day celebrant Carl Oxley III. “Plus, they’re funny as hell.”

Today, why not act like a monkey, dress like a monkey and encourage your friends to do so, too? Monkey Day will be more fun than a barrel of, well, you know.

monkey day

Happy Monkey Day!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

National Day of the Horse

National Day of the HorseToday is the National Day of the Horse. On November 18, 2004, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed S.R. 452, described as:

A resolution designating December 13, 2004, as “National Day of the Horse” and encouraging the people of the United States to be mindful of the contribution of horses to the economy, history, and character of the United States.

The resolution goes on to state that “the horse is a living link to the history of the United States;” “without horses, the economy, history, and character of the United States would be profoundly different;” and “horses are a vital part of the collective experience of the United States and deserve protection and compassion.”

What the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have failed to do is pass a permanent federal ban on the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA) was passed by the House on September 7, 2006. It had to be approved by the Senate as well in order to become law. But the bill was sent to a Senate committee, where it languished and eventually died because it was never approved for a full vote.

It was reintroduced on January 7, 2007, and sent to the House Agriculture Committee, which failed to approve it for a vote, thus killing the same bill it had passed four months before. On Jan 17, 2007, the Senate put forth its own version; it, too, failed to reach a vote, officially dying on January 3, 2009, when the 110th Congressional session ended. A bipartisan effort to revive the AHSPA in 2011 went nowhere.

While numerous state legislatures have enacted laws outlawing the practice, the federal government has sidestepped the issue, choosing instead to add language to its budget proposals that will indirectly impact businesses that slaughter horses.

A line item that denies payment of federal inspectors for time spent evaluating horses deprives an operation the opportunity to receive a USDA seal of approval. Without it, the meat can’t be sold for human consumption. (In 2006, the USDA countered by issuing CFR 352.19, a regulation that would allow companies to circumvent the funding ban by paying for their own inspections.)

In 2014, President Obama signed a budget that included the prohibition against funding for horse inspections. Although many hailed it as a momentous step, others saw it as just one more in a series of temporary fixes that must be requested and granted anew with each successive budget proposal. It did (and does) nothing to prevent U.S. horses from being shipped to Mexico or Canada for slaughter, their meat then exported worldwide.

The protection of this majestic animal isn’t all that’s at stake. Horses are dosed with compounds that accumulate in their tissues and can be toxic to humans. Phenylbutazone, a pain medication routinely given to horses, is known to be carcinogenic to people, especially children; trace amounts can cause potentially lethal aplastic anemia.

Since horses aren’t raised for human consumption, there are no regulations in place to protect anyone who might one day consume their meat. That is more of a risk than most of us think. Horse meat has been discovered in, among other things, school lunches and hospital meals. It’s possible that we’ve unwittingly eaten some already.

There is a permanent solution called the Safeguard American Food Exports Act (SAFE), its stated goal:

Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to deem equine (horses and other members of the equidae family) parts to be an unsafe food additive or animal drug.

Prohibits the knowing sale or transport of equines or equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for purposes of human consumption.

It was introduced in the Senate on March 12, 2013. What happened?

Read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.

Clearly, there is more work to be done. Each year, approximately 150,000 horses—including pregnant mares and foals—are packed into trucks and taken to Mexico and Canada. Conditions are deplorable as the only goal is to keep the horses barely alive until they are slaughtered and their meat packaged for sale to humans.

It’s not too late to help. The SAFE Act (S. 1214/H.R. 1942) was revived in 2015 and is still knocking around in committee. Find your Congresspeople on govtrack.us and tell them to keep it alive. Someone should take a stand against this big, cruel business. It might as well be us.

Happy National Day of the Horse!

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

 

 

November 19 is World Toilet Day

world toilet dayWorld Toilet Day

World Toilet Day was established on November 19, 2001, by the World Toilet Organization to raise awareness of the global need for proper sanitation facilities. Since then, it has grown in scope and recognition. In 2013, the United Nations passed a resolution recognizing World Toilet Day as an official UN international day.

Each year, World Toilet Day has a different theme:

  • 2016’s observance centered on toilets and jobs, pointing out that disease transmission at work, primarily due to poor sanitation and hygiene practices, causes 17% of all workplace deaths. It represented several professions with a unique visual aid.

World Toilet Day

  • The focal points for 2015 were toilets and nutrition. Participants were urged to pose on their commodes like Rodin’s The Thinker, take selfies and post them on the World Toilet Day site. While we’re not sure how that relates to nutrition, we applaud the time-honored tradition of reducing this sculpture to a bathroom humor punchline. world toilet day 2015 thinker logo
  • The 2014 campaign emphasized equality and dignity. (In other words, no self-portraits straining on the john, thank you very much.)world toilet day
  • The slogan in 2012 was “I give a sh*t, do you?” Indonesian stars embraced it in this video.

Every year, World Toilet Day calls attention to the fact that more than 2.4 billion people–about one in three–don’t have access to a toilet. Over one billion must defecate in the open. To raise awareness of this harsh reality, a “see through loo” was set up at the September 2015 Global Citizen Festival in New York City.

What You Can Do:

  • Open your door and share your toilet. (The World Toilet Day site respectfully suggests you clean it first.)
  • Host a mass squat. “Stop, drop, squat and share!” Be advised that the World Toilet Organization will not post bail. Plan your plein-air dump locale accordingly.
  • Share informational tweets such as, “The world’s untreated poop would fill Cowboy Stadium in just two days.” (How can they know that? And why?)

No matter what you do today, doo today or number two today, take some time to celebrate World Toilet Day in your own way. Don’t forget to bring a magazine.

Happy World Toilet Day!

Related:
Global Handwashing Day (October 15)

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays