in: Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends: December 22, 2023

Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII by Chester Nez. During WWII, the Marines recruited members of the Navajo tribe to create a secret military code based on the Navajo language; the code was ultimately crucial in helping the Americans win many battles — including taking Iwo Jima — and is the only spoken military code never to have been deciphered. Despite mistreatment by the government growing up, Chester Nez remained very patriotic and volunteered for the Marines during the war; he was selected to be part of the original all-Navajo platoon that developed the code and then deployed it in the field, making round-the-clock transmissions on Guadalcanal and other campaigns in the Pacific theater. Nez’s memoir is an easy, relatively short read about an interesting, oft-overlooked part of WWII history and covers his life before, during, and after the war, and how his warrior heritage and the Navajo traditions helped him live the “Right Way.”

Heat Therapy Patches. If you’ve got an ache or pain, using a heating pad can bring relief. Problem is, a heating pad tethers you to an electrical cord, and if you’re using one while you sleep, the pad won’t stay in the spot you want to treat. Enter heat therapy patches. Stick one on your body (they say to stick it on your clothes, but to be hot enough and stay in the same place, I put it directly on my skin), and you get 12 hours of soothing, limbering heat. I use this generic brand, and it works well. When I feel some niggle in my back that threatens to turn into a chronic problem, I put a patch on my back before bed, and when I get up — voila! — the pain is gone.

The Age of Average. Have you noticed that everything looks the same these days? A coffee shop in Tulsa, OK looks pretty much the same as a coffee shop in Raleigh, NC. Airbnbs have mostly the same interior designs. Cars look the same. Even people look the same. Have you noticed how female Instagram influencers all have the same sort of “look”? The kids these days call it “Instagram face.” Alex Murrell calls this rising monoculture “the age of average” and explores what’s behind it in this article. Once you know about the age of average, you’ll start seeing it everywhere. Here’s to zigging when everyone else is zagging. 

The Man Who Came to Dinner. I watched this 1942 film after Jeremy Arnold recommended it in our podcast episode about classic Christmas movies. The Man Who Came to Dinner is an offbeat screwball comedy about an acerbic literary critic named Sheridan Whiteside who slips on ice and injures himself outside a family’s home in Ohio. Forced to stay with the family during the Christmas season while he recovers, Whiteside quickly takes over the household with his demanding, eccentric behavior. Monty Woolley and Bette Davis crackle in this movie as they throw sarcastic zings at each other. A great film to remind you of the virtues of being a good houseguest during the holidays

Quote of the Week

I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.

― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

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