The Daily Valet. - 3/15/24, Friday

Friday, March 15th Edition
Cory Ohlendorf  
By Cory Ohlendorf, Valet. Editor
For better or worse, that felt like a really quick week.

Today’s Big Story

It’s Easy Being Green


How did St. Patrick’s Day become such a big thing in America?


Do you have any plans for St. Patrick’s Day this weekend? Did you even know it was this weekend? Just under 10% of the United States population claims at least some Irish ancestry, according to the most recent data from the American Community Survey. Less than 10% and yet, we’re about to see a whole lot of green over the next 72 hours, right? So how did this become a thing?

Modern celebrations of the day, at least here in the States, are likely to be characterized by commercial lucky charms and green beer—all of which has very little to do with the historical figure of the saint.
 Of course, that’s par for the course with most of our holidays in America (Cinco de Mayo, anyone?)

St. Patrick had been Patron Saint of Ireland who had died around the fifth century. Since around the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17. But the first St. Patrick's Day parade took place not in Ireland but in America. Records show that a parade was held on March 17, 1601 in a Spanish colony that’s now St. Augustine, Florida.

It wasn’t until the early 18th century that many of today’s traditions were kicked into high gear. Since the holiday falls during Lent, it provides Christians a day off from the prescriptions of abstinence leading up to Easter. And then around the 1720s, the church found it “got kind of out of control,” one historian tells TIME. But what about those lucky shamrocks? Modern legend has it that St. Patrick used the three-leafed plant to explain the Holy Trinity while preaching, but despite attempts to link the real-life figure to the practice, historians agree it’s just a fable.

While North America is home to the largest productions, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated around the world in locations far from Ireland, including Japan, Singapore and Russia. Traditionally Irish foods, everything from champ and Irish soda bread to corned beef and cabbage are enjoyed—with plenty of beer of course. However, back in its homeland, St. Patrick’s Day has traditionally been a spiritual and religious occasion. In fact, up until the 1970s, Irish laws mandated that pubs be closed on March 17th.

What's the most Irish state in America? If you're thinking Massachusetts because of Boston's love of the Irish, you'd be wrong.

Israel Faces Crisis of Its Own Making


Questions persist as negotiations crawl and Israel signals support for more aid for Gaza

For months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly celebrated the fall of Hamas in northern Gaza, brushing aside warnings that severe food scarcity and a widening power vacuum were creating a state of anarchy. But after a recent aid convoy disaster in Gaza City, and amid reports of Palestinian children dying of malnutrition, Netanyahu now faces an international reckoning—under growing pressure from the United States to stave off a famine and restore order to the ravaged enclave. According to the Washington Post, much of the current crisis stems from Israel’s failure to develop a workable postwar strategy, or to plan for the consequences of an open-ended military occupation.

Late Thursday, the U.S. circulated the final draft of a United Nations Security Council resolution that would support international efforts to establish “an immediate and sustained cease-fire” in the Israel-Hamas war as part of a deal to release hostages taken captive during the Oct. 7 attack. No time has been set for a vote, and the draft, obtained by the Associated Press, could still be changed. The U.S. circulated the initial draft on Feb. 19—a day before it vetoed a widely supported Arab-backed resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in the war in the embattled Gaza Strip—saying it would interfere with negotiations on a deal to free the hostages.

Meanwhile, Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant signed on Thursday a letter to the Biden administration assuring Israel will use U.S. weapons according to international law and allow U.S.-supported humanitarian aid into Gaza, two Israeli and U.S. officials told Axios. However, multiple aid organizations and U.N. officials say the new efforts are too small and inefficient to meet the enormous needs of Gazan civilians. They have argued that it would be better for Israel to ease entry restrictions for trucks at established crossing points into the enclave, and do more to speed the delivery of goods inside Gaza.

Dig Deeper:
A 19-year-old Israeli hostage who was just released by Hamas is demanding the world do more for those still held in Gaza.

Bernie Sanders Tries for 4-Day Workweek


The Vermont Senator believes AI and automation should give workers a break

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Independent from Vermont, held a hearing Thursday on a bill he introduced this week to reduce the standard U.S. workweek to four days without loss of pay. Sanders, who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, highlighted productivity statistics from other countries that have adopted shorter workweeks.

The Hill reports that the bill, over a four-year period, would lower the threshold required for overtime pay, from 40 hours to 32 hours. It would require overtime pay at a rate of one-and-a-half times a worker’s regular salary for workdays longer than eight hours, and it would require overtime pay at double a worker’s regular salary for workdays longer than 12 hours.

According to Gizmodo, the bill is backed by most of America’s major labor unions, including the AFL-CIO. But the idea didn’t go over well among lawmakers in DC, “where corporate cash-flows are the fuel behind all policy decisions.” Fox Business points out that critics have warned that not every company can afford to reduce work hours while maintaining the same level of wages.

Be Heard:
If you want to call your Senator and beg them for a permanent three-day weekend, you can consult the Congressional phone number index.

Playing With Dogs Is Good for Your Health


A new study pinpoints what happens in a human’s brain when they interact with dogs

In news that we knew, even if it hadn’t been proven yet: Playing with dogs or even just checking their adorable videos on social media does your body good. Interacting with dogs in such ways may strengthen people’s brain waves associated with rest and relaxation, as measured by brain tests, according to a small study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One.

Multiple studies have shown the emotional, physiological and cognitive benefits of interactions with animals, especially dogs—such as boosted energy, increased positive emotions or lowered risk for memory loss. That’s why animal-assisted health interventions are being increasingly used in diverse fields, the study authors told CNN.

For the study, researchers had participants engage in eight activities for three minutes each: meeting, playing, feeding, massaging, grooming, photographing, hugging and walking a four-year-old dog named Aro. The participants wore the brainwave-detecting headsets during the activities, and the scientists found that participants' alpha brain waves, which indicate stability and relaxation, became stronger when they played with Aro using squeaky toys and when they took her for a walk on a park trail. Those results suggested people were experiencing an increased state of rest and relaxation. Beta brain waves, which are associated with attention and concentration, became stronger when participants played with Aro, brushed her or gave her a gentle massage—a sign that people's concentration improved without an increase in stress. C’mon, let’s go find some dogs to play with.

This piggybacks off previous scientific findings that petting other people's dogs can boost your health.

A Weekend Pairing


‘Invincible’ + a Save the Legacy Cocktail



At long last, Invincible is back for season two’s second half. After an annoying four-month hiatus, Prime Video’s superhero series flies into gear again. And unlike part one, there’s no slow building this time around. The four new installments are jam-packed with the gory action Invincible specializes in, feature some big twists (not news for readers of Robert Kirkman’s source material, of course), and rely on Steven Yeun’s poignant performance to anchor it all. The AV Club says that "despite an unfocused pace, Invincible is still a smashing affair.”

They say more than anything, the show crushes the “superhero fatigue” that’s (understandably) plaguing pop culture right now. And with the back half of the season streaming weekly, fans now have lots of action, blood and, yes, “Think, Mark” memes to look forward to. Even more good news, these episodes, Collider says, “maintain the show's incredible heights and leave the door open for so much more to explore beyond Earth for future seasons.” Steven Yeun even reaffirmed to Collider's Nate Richards that Season 3 is definitely happening, and it may not be terribly far off.

Pair It With


Because the show is centered on the legacy of Mark’s father, this tasty cocktail seems aptly named. A mix of rum and ruby port and balanced by the finishing touches of chai tea and a dried apple wheel. It’s a deep, dark sipper that’s incredibly satisfying.

Also Worth a Watch:
‘Girls5eva’ on Netflix; ‘Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (Taylor’s Version)’ on Disney+


What We’re Buying


A new fit for spring


Spring is a season all about new beginnings and rejuvenation. The days are getting longer and the temperature is warming up as the natural world around us wakes up after a long, dark and cold winter. Of course, this transition isn't always predictable. In fact, dressing for the mercurial climates of late March and early April can be tricky. For all the poetic rebirth, it can get downright nasty sometimes. But we still want to get outside, right? So how do you handle such dubious meteorological scenarios? By pulling on a few smart, stylish and altogether versatile layering pieces.

Get the Look:
The lightweight layers we'll be pulling on to combat spring's confusing temperatures.

Morning Motto

Focus on the good stuff.


We are not our age. We are our energy.




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