First World Moment

It wasn’t so much humbling as humiliating.

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Have you ever had a First World moment?

I found myself getting frustrated tonight because I had to clean out the washing machine’s filter and everything didn’t go exactly to plan. I had to re-do and re-tighten and then there was a setting off that I didn’t know about. And there was some smelly water involved, to boot.

It was a pain in the butt for nearly 20 minutes. (Maybe a little less.)

And sitting watching the laundry roll around the drum I realized how entitled and whiny I was being. There are people in my community who went to bed hungry tonight, and I was acting frustrated that I had to spend 20 minutes taking care of one of my luxuries.

It wasn’t so much a humbling thought as a humiliating one.

Look, I know I can’t save the world and I don’t feel guilty that I have a washing machine … or all the other things in my house that would be considered luxuries to some (including the house). God has blessed my family and I am thankful for that.

But I need to do a better job of not being such a putz about it.

Bring back the Code of Chivalry

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I have been reading up on the Code of Chivalry and different codes of military honor throughout history … and I am seeing A LOT there to like …. and I am seeing how different the behavior described in those codes is from typical 21st Century American behavior.

King Arthur may be fiction, but Camelot was based on the ideas of chivalry … and this is the oath taken by the Knights of the Round Table:

“I will develop my life for the greater good. I will place character above riches, and concern for others above personal wealth, I will never boast, but cherish humility instead, I will speak the truth at all times, and forever keep my word, I will defend those who cannot defend themselves, I will honor and respect women, and refute sexism in all its guises, I will uphold justice by being fair to all, I will be faithful in love and loyal in friendship, I will abhor scandals and gossip-neither partake nor delight in them, I will be generous to the poor and to those who need help, I will forgive when asked, that my own mistakes will be forgiven, I will live my life with courtesy and honor from this day forward.”

And I was thinking that it would be a great thing to bring some of that chivalry back.

But then I thought it all might be misunderstood … that many would hear the world “chivalry” and think it just means opening doors for women …. which is in there, but is the most minor point of the code … and that the whole thing would seem chauvinistic.

And then I found women knights! …. There are plenty of examples, but in 1149 the Moors attacked a city in Spain and only the women were there to fight. So they did fight and they won … and they were knighted and became The Order of the Hatchet.

They were called dames.

A word which has fallen out of use in America, but wasn’t really a compliment when it was used.

Which sort of proves my point, I guess.

Thankful for the perspective of history

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For those who believe things are so much different now than in the past, there’s this from the Commercial Holiday Department: In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the date for Thanksgiving up a week so that merchants could have a longer shopping season.

Folks were so upset, one of FDR’s Republican rivals compared him to Hitler because of the change.

And you thought comparing presidents to the world’s worst human being was a new idea.

Some of the most angry folks were the football coaches, who had already scheduled football games for the last Thursday of the month. T

So why all the fuss? First, it messed up people’s calendars. Football games would have had to be rescheduled, and people weren’t too happy about that. Football was already a Thanksgiving pastime at this point.

So no, the whole football thing isn’t new, either.

“Franksgiving,” as it was called, was an abject failure and FDR eventually changed the date to the fourth Thursday of November. Of course, it was only called a failure because it didn’t generate any significant change in retail sales. If money had been made, you can be assured that we would have eaten turkey last week.

So if you have the urge to opine about the materialistic tendency of modern culture, remember that we Americans have a long, long history of commercialism.

If you are ready to say that no president has been hated as much as Mr. Obama, well just remember that his lowest approval ratings are not even close to those of Harry Truman, who bottomed out at just 22 percent in February 1952.

If you think it is a disgrace that football is so tied to the holiday, remember that the “American Intercollegiate Football Association held its first championship game on Thanksgiving Day, 1876.”

And on Thursday, give thanks for history … because it provides context for the present and keeps us from jumping off the cliff.

Happy Thanksgiving.

3 Great Resources for Office Stretching

To prevent or reduce stiffness and pain, try simple office stretches throughout the day.

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We’ve all been there. You finishing typing a sentence and you reach out to pick up your coffee cup. You bring it up toward your lips and see the cup is empty.

You remember you’ve made the same move two other times, so you glance at the clock and realize you’ve been sitting at the keyboard for two and a half hours without moving. That’s when you feel the tightness in your shoulders and back, and you just know your legs are going to scream at you when you stand up.

It is a very familiar scenario for those of us who write for a living — and I’m sure many other office workers, as well.

One way to fight this feeling and do yourself a real favor is to add stretching to your work day. Many exercises you can do right at your desk without anyone in the newsroom noticing.

Here are three great resources to help you get started on feeling better.

1. The Mayo Clinic

When you think of prestigious medical nonprofits, the Mayo Clinic is at the top of the list. It includes eight simple desk stretches on its website, while adding, “Standing or sitting for long periods of time can take a toll on your muscles. To prevent or reduce stiffness and pain, try simple office stretches throughout the day. Perform these stretches several times throughout the day to help keep your muscles from feeling sore and tight.”

2. WebMD

WebMD tells you, “… (A)s you sit there at your computer, you are doing one of the worst things you can do to your body — you’re sitting still. And not only that, but the way you sit — and type, and hold the phone — may be wreaking havoc on your bones, joints, and muscles.” And then gives you 12 great stretches.

3. OSHA

The Canadian version of OSHA says, “No matter how well a workstation is designed, problems may arise if attention is not paid to the way the work is done. Working at a computer often involves very few changes in body position. This lack of movement can lead to muscle pain and strain.” Don’t miss out on these simple diagrams that will show you how to do your body a favor.