The Enchanted World of Sleep – Peretz Lavie

As you can see to the right, I finally finished Peretz Lavie’s The Enchanted World of Sleep. Lavie only gets really technical in a few chapters, but for the most part his look at the science of sleep is a pleasant “lay person” read. What did I learn?
* Before electrodes, scientists used to measure the moment of sleep when a patient would drop a tennis ball from their hand. In my case, it’s a shot glass, but the theory is the same.
* There are 4 stages of sleep, and then REM sleep, and that’s when dreams come. It’s also when we lose all muscle control. When waking up from dreams, people usually go to another stage. However, in very rare cases, people can awake in the no-muscle contol part and feel like they’re paralyzed. I hope this never happens to me–how freaky is that!
* There is no set time to sleep. If you can survive on 6 hours a night, then you need 6 hours of sleep. People who sleep 10 hours per night aren’t necessarily more rested. In fact, they’re probably more sleepy.
* I really wish the test case in their dream research, Mr. R, would publish a book. He could wake up from REM sleep and recount long, short-story like dream narratives. They reprint one in the book and it’s very good.
* Animals don’t have REM sleep, but they do dream, and that stage is called paradoxical sleep (meaning the animal is most at rest, but also most active in the brain.)
* The world record for going without sleep is 264 hours.
The last third of the book is on sleep disorders, namely insomnia, jet lag, sleep walking, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy. He also has some good things to say about children and when they “should” go to bed. A majority of parents force their kids to go to sleep at 8 p.m. so the adults can watch TV or whatever, then appear amazed that their children won’t sleep at the chosen time, or that they then wake up at 5 a.m. Thankfully, I was never raised that way…and that’s why I’m writing about this book to an audience of three people at 2:36 a.m.
Anyway, I also finished the MOJO magazine special on the Beatles early years. That might still be hanging around some newsstands. You’d think there wasn’t much left to say about the Beatles, but because the writing staff is so good (Mark Lewishom is on there among other major music journalists) they have some insightful things to say, none of which I can remember right now. I can get stuck into The Iliad, which seems appropriate in this season of war and suffering.

I’m amazed that the BBC

I’m amazed that the BBC ran this story.
BBC NEWS | World | Americas | ‘Talking fish’ stuns New York

Some Hasidic Jews reportedly believe people can be reincarnated as fish
A fish heading for slaughter in a New York market shouted warnings about the end of the world before it was killed, two fish cutters have claimed.
Zalmen Rosen, from the Skver sect of Hasidic Jews, says co-worker Luis Nivelo, a Christian, was about to kill a carp to be made into gefilte fish in the city’s New Square Fish Market in January when it began shouting in Hebrew.

If God is wise enough to appear in fish form, why did he choose a fish that was about to be decapitated, gutted, and fileted? That’s bad planning from Mr. G, right there.
From Die Puny Humans

Meanwhile, I love to see

Meanwhile, I love to see how people access this blog. While a lot of come here looking for news and war and news and – did we forget – war, one person found my site by searching for “Real Golden Fuck”. I’ll let you puzzle that one out yourselves.

Pentagon aiming to kill anyone

Pentagon aiming to kill anyone reporting the news out of Iraq “independently”. If it isn’t propaganda, you’re dead. This is how the Fascists are planning to keep their bloody massacre of an entire city out of the news.
I found this in the BuzzFlash Mailbag. I’d like to find better info.

Excerpt of last Sunday’s broadcast starting at 0:51:52
Tom McGurk: “Now, Kate Adie, you join us from the BBC in London. Thank you very much for going to all this trouble on a Sunday morning to come and join us. I suppose you are watching with a mixture of emotions this war beginning to happen, because you are not going to be covering it.”
Kate Adie: ” Oh I will be. And what actually appalls me is the difference between twelve years ago and now. I’ve seen a complete erosion of any kind of acknowledgment that reporters should be able to report as they witness. The Americans… and I’ve been talking to the Pentagon… take the attitude which is entirely hostile to the free spread of information. I was told by a senior officer in the Pentagon, that if uplinks — that is the television signals out of… Baghdad, for example– were detected by any planes… electronic media… mediums, of the military above Baghdad… they’d be fired down on. Even if they were journalists… “Who cares!” said… [crosstalk] Tom McGurk: ” … Kate… sorry Kate… just to underline that… sorry to interrupt you. Just to explain for our listeners. Uplinks is where you have your own satellite telephone method of distributing information.”
Kate Adie: ” The telephones and the television signals.”
Tom McGurk: ” And they would be fired on? ”
Kate Adie: ” Yes. They would be ‘targeted down,’ said the officer.”

More Pipe Dreams Dept. If

More Pipe Dreams Dept. If only, etc.

WorldNetDaily: Could U.N. use military force on U.S.?
Posted: March 15, 2003, 1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Art Moore
Some anti-war groups are urging the world body to invoke a little-known convention that allows the General Assembly to step in when the Security Council is at an impasse in the face of a “threat to the peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression.”
The willingness by the U.S. and Britain to go to war with Iraq without Security Council authorization is the kind of threat the U.N. had in mind when it passed Resolution 377 in 1950, said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a human-rights group in New York City.

Twenty-Four Eyes

This Saturday I managed the catch the last film of the Susan Sontag-curated “Classics of Japanese Film” series at the LACMA.

A devastating study of nearly two decades in the life of a teacher who comes to a small island in the sea of Japan and the twelve students (hence the 24 eyes) in her care. Starts off idyllic, but soon the War in Manchuria, then the Pacific War comes to disrupt the lives of everyone. Director Keisuke Kinoshita works the audience with this classic melodrama, and I would say half of the theater was reduced to blubbering tears, especially near the end where
Apparently, all of Sontag’s choices have had either a subtext or a context of anti-war sentiment, and Keisuke Kinoshita’s “Twenty-Four Eyes” struck chords with many in the audience, especially the war fervor that grips the students as the film develops, the accusations against the teacher of being “unpatriotic” , the grim economic future that ruins the educational chances of many of her students, the indoctrination through the schools. You could almost feel the audience bristle after some of the more anti-war lines, none of which I can remember now. The film was shot and framed beautifully, and the most horrific of realities understood through the most economical of shots (as the war progresses and the island have lost all their first generation of youth, we have a brief scene of younger teenagers (I assume something like 15 or so) being groomed and sent off to die as kamikaze pilots. It’s a chilling scene of war madness, but Kinoshita doesn’t give us music cues or scenes of villagers talking about what was happening; he just lets it play out (he also didn’t have to explain it to his audience in the ’50s.)
Ten years ago we would have watched this and thought abstractly about war and the toll it took on the Japanese. Now we see the film and it’s like gazing into a mirror, and beyond that, the abyss.
Unfortunately, the film is not available on video or DVD as far as I know. Here’s hoping you can see it sometime in the future.

Here’s a longer version of

Here’s a longer version of the Norman Mailer essay taken from the New York Review of Books. There are some frightening quotes from the Chimp contained within. (This below is not one of them. The words have too many syllables, for one thing.)

Because democracy is noble, it is always endangered. Nobility, indeed, is always in danger. Democracy is perishable. I think the natural government for most people, given the uglier depths of human nature, is fascism. Fascism is more of a natural state than democracy. To assume blithely that we can export democracy into any country we choose can serve paradoxically to encourage more fascism at home and abroad. Democracy is a state of grace that is attained only by those countries who have a host of individuals not only ready to enjoy freedom but to undergo the heavy labor of maintaining it.