November 30 - Stay Home Because You're Well Day

Posted on November 30, 2020

Ferris Bueller famously explains why we should cut 
class or take off work...every once in a while.

There is this thing that commonly happens every winter, at least in the United States: people who are sick think they "can't" stay home from school or work, so they go, sneezing and nose-blowing, coughing and - Yikes!!! - spreading colds and flus to others!

That is the wrong thing to do ANY year, but THIS year, of all years, going to school or work sick would be a really dastardly thing to do! Covid-19 seems a lot like a cold or a flu, to many, but it can have awful, long-lasting, and even deadly effects on some people. 

Today's holiday - Stay Home Because You're Well Day - was invented years ago, with the idea that most of us never get a day off when we're feeling well and can actually enjoy it! The holiday urges us to take off a day when we are feeling fine. I think the timing is really strange, though: most of us don't actually need a day off right after the long Thanksgiving weekend, just before the Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa/New Years, when most of us have several days or even weeks off from school and work!

However, this year this holiday is pretty apt. Stay Home Because You're Well, Stay Home In Order To Stay Well, Stay Home and Safe!

In many nations around the world, people were at
times urged to stay home, stay safe, and save lives.
Below, a public service announcement in India
and a sand sculpture by Palestinian Artist Rana al-Ramlawi.

November 29 - Electronic Greetings Day

Posted on November 29, 2020

Do you get birthday cards in the mail?

Do you get holiday cards such as Christmas or Kwanzaa greetings? 

Do you SEND greeting cards or holiday cards to friends or loved ones? And, if you do, do you do it the slower, more expensive way - with paper cards, envelopes, and stamps, that is!?

For about a century, the mid-1800s until the mid-1990s, the
custom of sending printed greeting cards and especially Christmas cards grew and grew until multiple billions of cards are sold every year. But greeting cards - and postage - can be quite expensive, especially if you send out a lot. Even an average person sending not-all-that-posh cards to parents and cousins, grandparents and aunts and uncles, colleagues and friends, neighbors and important business contacts might have a Christmas-card list that is about 100 names long - and that could cost around $135! Which is quite a bit of money - and if that "average person" also sends birthday greetings to a substantial portion of this list, then that person is spending a lot! Every year!

Sending printed photo cards used to be REALLY expensive 

And...then there's the waste:

More than 2.5 billion Christmas cards are bought in the U.S. alone - every year! - and that makes a lot of waste to add to the waste that wrapping paper and packaging and other holiday-related activities generate. Wow! Leaving aside all the waste produced by Christmas in America, the greeting cards alone could fill a football field 10 stories high!!!

But technology can enable us to send colorful greetings with personalized messages, thoughtful letters, and personal photos or even videos very inexpensively - usually for free! - and with zero waste! And people who procrastinate can still get their greetings to their loved ones on time, because email and other electronic messaging is almost instant! Because of the convenience, speed, lack of expense and zero-waste involved in sending electronic greetings rather than paper-and-postage cards, electronics greetings are gaining in popularity!

To celebrate, just use your smart phone, tablet, laptop, or computer to craft holiday greetings! Or explore e-card companies with inexpensive or free offerings. Animated snowmen, anyone?

November 28 - Republic Day in Chad

Posted on November 28, 2020

Did you know that the nation of Chad has relatively untapped reserves of oil, uranium, and gold? It seems that it would be a rich nation, with all those (and more) resources, but actually it is one of the poorest and most corrupt countries in the world!

You can see that Chad is land-locked.

Today is NOT Chad's Independence Day. That is on August 11, and it commemorates the African nation's independence from France in 1960.

Today, instead, commemorates November 28, 1958, when Chad gained "autonomous status" and was able to set up a republican government. But the government has been run for the last 30 years by a former general who gained power by overthrowing the president he was supposed to serve. There is a lot of political instability, attempted coups, violence, and human rights violations.

One thing that might lead to some of the lack of unity is that Chad has a lot of different ethnic groups and languages. Most everybody speaks two or more languages - with one of them being one of the two official languages (Arabic or French) - and there are more than 100 different languages and even more named ethnic groups. The names of these various ethnic groups are not familiar to me: Sara, Kanembu, Masalit, Bidio, Dadjo, Tama, Tupuri, and many more!

Above, two Kanembu brothers.
Below, an Ouaddaian girl.

Of course there are natural beauties in every country!