Thursday, November 9, 2017


For umpteen years, as a poor sleeper, trying over-the-counter remedies and doctor's prescriptions -- Ambien, Valium, Benadryl, Valerian, Melatonin, various homeopathic  remedies, warm milk, liquor, gone off caffeine, counted sheep, counted chimpanzees, reviewed lines in a play, reviewed steps in choreography -- I still do not fall asleep.

I fall awake.

My current routine: After tucking pillows under my neck and knees, I mutter "Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care," repeat the Shakespeare words, counting as I start with the left leg, "One Ten Thousand, sleep that knits..." while sensing the flow of blood in 10 toes, then ankle, calf, knee, thigh, hip joint before concentrating on the right leg, and its toes. I repeat this 15 to 30 times, till my mind rebels, and a loud awareness that I am wide awake drives me out of bed into the kitchen for a snack and some TV.

There's a relatively new process called transcranial direct stimulation (tDCS) that zaps the brain with electricity, and keeps people up for as much as 30 hours. Caffeine lasts two hours, tDCS currently lasts six. There's Modafinil, a stimulant that Wall street-investors use. I am not going to try them. 

Sleep experts are now saying we just need five hours a night. Most millennials (people born after 2000) are into five hours). The latest talk about sleep says "sleep less, do more." They say the Internet, email, and social networking are giving us shots of dopamine, a chemical the brain releases to simulate pleasure. We get this from caffeine, and now we're sold caffeine's in toothbrushes, stockings, soap, bath bubbles, beer, marshmallows, lollipops, coke, red bull, and bottled water. And of course, we continue to be told over and over, that caffeine keeps us awake.

So don't drink coffee? Do drink it? Drink it less? Golly, we're flashed a lot of facts -- re coffee, saccharin, eggs, cholesterol, omega 3, belly fat, dental hygiene, bacteria, calories, carbs, exercise -- but I put most of this into my BB pile (bullshit baloney), where major life and death important facts seem to fade like smoke rings.

After a not-enough-sleep night, or a moderately good night, I do my work -- how well I do it depends -- not on sleep -- but on whether or not the topic excites me.

Therefore I do my "raveled sleeve" routine and occasionally I sing this to myself.  Try it, it might work for you.

Sunday, November 5, 2017


"Three Square Market," a company in Wisconsin, is giving employees an option of being implanted with microchip. "This is the future," said the company's CEO, Todd Westby.

A microchip the size of a grain of rice is easily injected under the skin. Suddenly, the touch of a hand, a wave of your hand can do a lot of things for you -- open doors, turn on lights, start the coffee machine, lock or unlock your cell phone, car, even your lock box.

The microchips are radio frequency ID tags, the same technology widely used in things like key cards. Chips have been implanted in animals for years to help identify lost pets and now the technology is moving to humans. Tech start-ups have sold tens of thousands of implant kits for humans in Europe. In some cities there are even implant parties where people bond, and celebrate getting chipped together.

“This is serious stuff," said an executive editor at CNET. "We’re talking about a connection to your body. You can’t turn it off, or put it away. It's in you. Each 'touch' leaves a digital footprint which can compromise one’s privacy. It’s easy to hack a chip implant."

CBS NEWS reporter, John Blackstone said, "It could put your privacy at risk," and referred to implants as a dystopian vision, ala "Brave New World," Huxley's novel about people in the future living dehumanized lives. Coincidentally, the movie channel has been running the 2004 film, "The Manchurian Candidate," about a human who's chipped and controlled, and ordered to kill a candidate at an election -- some ads are even juxtaposing pictures of Trump.

So would you get a chip implanted? This video about a Swedish company will help you decide.