Sunday, October 26, 2008

see you in the funny papers

Dagwood Bumstead is more like me than I thought. He said two things this week that could have come out of my own mouth instead.

As a kid, I used to read the comics every day. Now I mostly read the newspaper online, only glancing at the comics when I have access to the dead-tree edition. Most comic strips are available online (including my current favorite, Bizarro) but who has time to visit each strip's website? It's not the same as scanning two whole pages of newsprint to see if something makes you laugh. I have long wondered if comic artists need to draw a new set of pictures for each strip or if they can use stock images and put new words in the speech and thought balloons, especially for heritage strips like Blondie.

On Thursday
, Dagwood was griping about the amount of money Jerry Seinfeld got to do those odd Microsoft commercials. I identified with his answer when Blondie asked him what products he could endorse. I also would gladly do commercials for pillows, recliners, homemade pies, mattresses, hamburgers, hot sauce, cakes, pizza, ice cream parlors and BBQ joints. It makes perfect sense, just like the time I endorsed a company that sells and installs high-def TVs.

I spotted another similarity with Dagwood yesterday. Like me, he's a fan of naps. Unlike me, he claims there's a difference between sleeping and napping. When I take a nap, I do it right, changing into sleepwear and crawling into bed, not to be disturbed for three hours.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008


First of all, "WALL-E" is a very good movie, despite what happened. We went to see it yesterday to escape the heat at the Smoky Mountain Invitational swim meet, just like last year when we saw "Ratatouille." If this weren't our fourth and final year going to the meet, we could have started our own Pixar tradition.

Our son had to be at the Springbrook Pool in time for team warm ups at 7:30 a.m. While he hit the water, my wife bought a heat sheet and checked his schedule. With 33 teams and a ton of swimmers participating, there would be a lot of time between his four events. He was due to swim at 9:49 a.m., 1:15 p.m., 6:44 p.m. and 8:46 p.m. The five and a half hour window between his second and third races gave us the perfect opportunity to get away for a while. The well-run meet had gotten 25 minutes ahead of schedule by 11:45 a.m. but that time vanished when everything stopped for half an hour.

Although it's an older theater, all the screens at the Carmike Foothills 12 offer digital projection. I now find it hard to watch movies without DLP. The beginning sequence of "WALL-E" is as good as all the critics said it was. I especially got a kick out of hearing a song from "Hello, Dolly!" that mentioned my old hometown of Yonkers in the first few seconds. Maybe it was the hours we had already spent in the sun or perhaps the cool air in the dark theatre or maybe it was the scarcity of dialogue in the story that made my eyelids start getting heavy toward the middle of the movie. I'll have to watch the whole thing again when it's on satellite next year.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

check out those horns

When my first alarm goes off at 4:00 a.m., I tune my clock radio to 87.7 to hear the audio of ABC World News Now. I sometimes drift back to sleep until the second and third alarms go off. For the past week or so I have been startled awake by a disco-ish song with the lyrics "only you can make me feel so true."

I thought that maybe the overnight newscast was using the tune as bumper music or as a bed while they showed the weather map. One morning I heard it twice within half an hour, which made me think that it was being used as something else. I jumped up, ran down the hall to my office and turned on the television. The music was the audio track to a Vermont Teddy Bear Company commercial for Valentine's Day.

With the song hopelessly stuck in my head, I looked on the Internet for more information. I know from experience that people do it all the time. I still get hits from computer users around the globe searching for details about a song they heard on "C.S.I."

The teddy bear song is "Only You" by a Europop group called Captain Jack. The marketers must know it will make people curious. The commercial is currently showing on their website. A search for the song's lyrics showed me that they wisely chose to edit out the part of the song that says "all the hootchie mamas throw your hands up."

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

like a baby

As a longtime believer in 90 minute sleep cycles, I was happy to hear them receive a celebrity endorsement this morning. While filling in for Regis Philbin in New York, Jimmy Kimmel said that he measured his sleep cycle and now knows to take one hour, forty-one minute naps. You can hear Jimmy and Kelly Ripa discussing naps in this audio clip or you can watch the entire "Host Chat" segment online. My sleep cycles also run a little longer than the 90 minute average although I haven't measured them as precisely as Jimmy. I usually divide my sleep into two shifts every weekday. has some information on polyphasic sleep, including a link to a great article called "The Power of the Sleep Cycle" by Glen Rhodes. The research quoted in the article backs up what I had learned from the late David Haines at WAVA in the '80s. Naps are a way of life for most animals and for human infants. What's good for them is good for me too. Sleep cycles have been a favorite topic of conversation for me ever since. I'm sure I must have talked about them with Jimmy when we worked together at KROQ in the '90s. According to Glen Rhodes, we're in good company:
It is said that many of the most productive people in history have understood and practiced this. Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Buckminster Fuller used this *exact* technique. Other great minds likewise used naps to their advantage including Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Napoleon, and Winston Churchill.

As far as longevity, Fuller lived to 87. Da Vinci into his late 60's. --Both lived over DOUBLE the average life expectancy of the men of their time.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007


At this time last week, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Patrick Sullivan's would go smoke free rather than limit their clientèle to older smokers. Things went smoothly tonight except for one small thing. After our performance, several smokers went outside to puff. They stood too close to the front door, creating a foul cloud that the rest of us had to walk through.

The historic collapse of the Mets left me with very little to say. A headline on the New York Times site summed it up perfectly: Ya Gotta Bereave. The Best Week Ever blog brought a smile to my face with their analysis of why the Mets fell apart. I especially like their idea of a Julio Franco curse.

I learned about 90 minute sleep cycles when I first started working an early morning shift. Phillies fan Perry Simon remembered hearing me preach about it and mentioned it on his blog this week. Since we're on the topic of sleep, I think I'll go get me some.

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