The Daily Valet. - 1/4/24, Thursday

✔️ New Good Boy Just Dropped

The Daily Valet.
The Daily Valet.

Thursday, January 4th Edition

Cory Ohlendorf

By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor

Don’t come for my Reese’s, man … not when we’ve got real problems in the world.

Today’s Big Story

Small Dog With a Big Smile

Rare dog becomes newest breed recognized by American Kennel Club

Good News: There's a new dog. Well, it's not exactly new, but officially speaking, the Lancashire Heeler is the latest breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. The organization announced Wednesday that the rare herding breed is now eligible for thousands of U.S. dog shows, including the prominent Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.Small in stature, big on activity, and known for a prominent “smile,” the dog bred to keep cattle in line by nipping at their ankles, is now the 201st breed recognized by the nation's oldest purebred-dog registry.With long bodies and short coats that are often black and tan, the solidly built dogs are shaped a bit like a downsized corgi, standing around one foot tall at the shoulder and weighing up to about 17 pounds. Just look at this one trotting along and tell me it's not the cutest little thing!And while this is the first time most of us are hearing about the breed, the Lancashire Heeler's history dates back to the 17th century in the United Kingdom. While their exact origin is unknown, the breed is widely believed to be “the outgrowth of crossbreeding of livestock-herding Welsh Corgis in a Northern Wales meat market, with the later infusion of the Manchester Terrier,” according to AKC.But Fast Company says that not everyone is excited about the announcement. Adding breeds, or even perpetuating them, bothers animal rights activists. They argue that dog breeding powers puppy mills, reduces pet adoptions, and accentuates canine health problems by compressing genetic diversity. The AKC says it promotes responsibly “breeding for type and function” to produce dogs with special skills, such as tracking lost people, as well as pets with characteristics that owners can somewhat predict and prepare for. The club has given over $32 million since 1995 to a foundation that underwrites canine health research.


To get recognized, a breed must count at least 300 pedigreed dogs, distributed through at least 20 states, and fanciers must agree on a breed standard. 

Flu Is Intensifying

While older adults are most at risk, young children can also become seriously ill

Did you get a flu shot? I don't always remember to get one but was upsold on the vaccine when I got a COVID booster a few months ago. And now I'm glad that I did, as flu season is on track to be a rough one in several states around the country, especially in the Southeast and parts of the West.As people get back from holiday breaks and kids return to school, 33 states are now reporting high to very high case counts of influenza-like illnesses, and there have been about 4,500 flu-related deaths, including those of 20 children, since the season began in October. One doctor told NBC News that it looks like “this could be our worst influenza season since at least the 2009 H1N1 outbreak.” That was one of the most severe flu seasons in decades, with an estimated 12,000 deaths nationally. Back then, H1N1 was a new flu strain, and it hit children particularly hard. In subsequent years, H1N1 has circulated seasonally, including this year.The CDC estimates that there have already been more than 7 million illnesses, 73,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths related to the flu this season, and multiple indicators are high and rising. And CNN reports that other respiratory illnesses like COVID and RSV are still circulating and there are always bumps when we're stuck inside during winter. So be careful out there.

Our Chocolate Supply Could Be in Trouble 

Chocolate prices continue to increase due to global cocoa shortages

You may want to stock up on your favorite chocolates. Consider it an investment. This might be the best price you find them at for a while. Crain's reports that the world's largest chocolate makers are “yet to see the full impact of a rally that sent cocoa futures to a 46-year high.”And The Takeout says that agricultural setbacks have made chocolate production so difficult, they're causing prices to increase “to a point where candy makers may need to move away from the crop if they want to keep profits strong.” And while people might've been happy to splurge on a little luxury like chocolate during the pandemic and over the holidays, the prices of chocolate sweets are currently outpacing overall food inflation, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.Why is chocolate so expensive right now? As explained by Reuters, Ivory Coast and Ghana are two adjacent countries in West Africa that produce around two-thirds of the world's entire supply of cocoa. Unfortunately, West Africa has experienced such heavy rainfall that cocoa yields are at the lowest they've been in decades, reports Bloomberg. At the same time, there's an overall sugar shortage thanks to El Niño. Last spring, both Hershey and Mondelez—two global companies that produce sweets like Reese's, Kit Kat and Toblerone—acknowledged that the rising price of sugar is a challenge that has led to higher costs for us chocolate lovers.


A lack of detail has placed Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins and other holiday shapes in legal hot water.

Scientists Figured Out Why Pee Is Yellow 

Ever wondered why it's the color of apple juice? Urine Luck.

Science ... it's always out there searching for the answers to our most pressing questions. The latest development? Why our pee is yellow. Researchers identified the enzyme responsible for urine's color, unraveling a mystery that's puzzled biologists for years, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature Microbiology.“It's remarkable that an everyday biological phenomenon went unexplained for so long, and our team is excited to be able to explain it,” one of the study's authors told CBS News. Turns out, that golden hue is connected to the body's red blood cells. As the cells degrade, a bright orange pigment called bilirubin is produced. The pigment is typically secreted into the gut, where it can then be excreted or partially reabsorbed. Once the bilirubin arrives in your gut, the microorganisms in your intestines can convert the bilirubin into other molecules, the study found. The team has coined their newfound enzyme bilirubin reductase, or BilR. Answering fundamental questions about our biology is important. But the team's work may pay off in other ways as well, reports Gizmodo. They note that BilR was less commonly found in newborns and people with inflammatory bowel disease. And it's possible that a gut microbiome unable to produce BilR might contribute to newborn jaundice and pigmented gallstones—both conditions strongly tied to an overabundance of bilirubin in the body.


Urine in about 95% water. The rest is about 2% urea and a combination of salt, hormones, nutrients and creatine.

In Other News


Bracken Darrell is trying to engineer a turnaround at Vans’s parent company. 

Have you heard about ...

Ford recall
31 Days

Brighten a Dark Room

Designer-approved techniques to improve your place

Desk light

The only time people really want a dark room is when they're trying to sleep or watch a movie, right? Otherwise, we humans have a deep-rooted appreciation for bright, natural light. That's because exposure to sunlight has been found to increase the brain's release of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin. Which is why we appreciate natural light in our homes. Brighter rooms just feel better. They certainly look better in natural light. You've never seen a real estate listing flex about “moody, dark rooms”, have you?But every winter, our dependence on daylight is challenged with shorter, darker days. And even if you don't officially suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, you're no doubt feeling a little more sluggish when you're inside a darker house. What's more, so many of us live in light-challenged spaces—from shadowy old homes with smaller windows or more modern apartments that skimped on thoughtful window placement. Whatever the reason, you're now in a dim situation that feels a little sad. The good news is that there's an easy fix. No need to punch a whole new window in your wall. You simply require a few clever design solutions. Here are a few handy ideas.


How to brighten a dull, dark home to make your place more inviting and warm.


What We’re Buying

Negroni lip balm

Stewart and Claire Negroni lip balm

You can't always have a Negroni when you want (or need) one. This is an uncomfortable truth that I'm made painfully aware of at work all the time. But this little tube of lip balm, originally commissioned by Campari, features a flavor profile of spiced orange peel and juniper that does the classic cocktail justice without any real booze. Plus, the moisturizing formula of beeswax, jojoba, safflower oil and shea butter feels great on your lips.

Get It:

Negroni lip balm, $8 by Stewart & Claire

Morning Motto

Repeat it.

Patience in 2024.


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