Falling Asleep Again, Always Wanted To, What Am I to Do, Can’t Do It

Falling asleep is sometimes difficult. I’m always looking for solutions to the problem.
When I was younger I’d have trouble sleeping if something important was supposed to happen the next day. Now that I’m older about the only thing that’s every “important the next day” is an early morning doctor’s appointment. Otherwise, any problem falling asleep seems to go in cycles for me. I’ll have many days, a week sometimes where I’ll be asleep minutes after my head hits the pillow. Then I’ll have a series of day where I’ll fall asleep but wake in the middle of the night and not be able to fall back asleep. There are also the times when for a few days, maybe a week, falling asleep will be difficult. I’ll toss and turn. The bed will feel uncomfortable. Any position I lie in will feel wrong. But the worst will be having a moment when I’m about to fall asleep, doze for a moment, but suddenly wake up. When that happens I know I’m not going to be sleeping for awhile.
Usually, when I can’t sleep I’ll lie there trying for about 20 minutes. Then I’ll get up. Sometimes I’ll exercise jumping jacks, sit-ups, and so on. Sometimes that does the trick. Sometimes it doesn’t. Often I’ll read until I feel drowsy. Sometimes that works, but more often I’ll be awake reading again about 20 minutes later. What works best is giving up. Almost always, after I’ve been awake, tossing turning, exercising, reading and the clock says something like, 3:30, I’ll say to myself something like, “Guess that’s it, I’m not sleeping tonight so I might as well give up trying.” Sometimes I start planning my now revised day that will start at 4 a.m., other times I’ll decide to plan to turn the computer on but lie there thinking about what I’m going to look at such as a TV show, a short story, or the sports news.
The funny thing is if I try that first at 2:30 a.m. after I woke up and couldn’t sleep or at 10 p.m. on the nights when I can’t sleep at all – it doesn’t work, probably because I haven’t really given up. When I try using it early, it becomes just another trying to sleep technique.
Today I found this list of “sure-fire” sleep aids from early modern Europe (the 15th and 16th centuries. Here are three you’ll want to try:
  1. Put some blood-sucking leeches behind your ears. When they bore holes in the skin, pull them out and place a grain of opium in each hole. (From 16th-century French physician André du Laurens.)
  2. Kill a sheep, and then press its steaming lungs on either side of the head. Keep the lungs in place as long as they remain warm. (From 16th-century French surgeon Ambroise Paré.)
  3. After the evening meal, eat lettuce, drink wine, and rub an ointment made of the oil of violets or camphor on the temples. Dissolve a mixture of poppy seeds, lettuce seeds, balsam, saffron, and sugar and cook it in poppy juice. Then listen to pleasant music and lie down on a bed covered with the leaves of fresh, cool plants. (From 15th-century philosopher Marsilio Ficino.)” — Benjamin Reiss, author of Wild Nights: How Taming Sleep Created Our Restless World

This is where I found those as well as a list of more serious, more likely, contemporary solutions: Busy Brain Not Letting You Sleep? 8 Experts Offer tips

Where Do You Get Your Ideas, etc…

Cormac McCarthy Has a Unique (and Tasty) Writing Process

This sounds a bit like the story Theodore Geisel, Dr. Seuss, told when someone asked him where he got his ideas: “I get all my ideas in Switzerland near the Furka Pass. There is a little town called Gletsch, and two thousand feet up above Gletsch there is a smaller hamlet called Über  Gletsch. I go there on the fourth of August every summer to get my cuckoo clock fixed. While the cuckoo is in the hospital, I wander around and talk to the people in the streets. They are very strange people, and I get my ideas from them.Cormac McCarthy

McCarthy doesn’t claim to travel to Switzerland for his inspiration, but perhaps he should consider such a trip.

Among Cormac McCarthy’s books are Blood Meridian (1985), For All the Pretty Horses, The Road, and No Country for Old Men. The famously reclusive McCarthy doesn’t talk much about his writing habits, but what he has said is fascinating. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, McCarthy remarked: “I do most of my writing at breakfast. I name the eggs and pieces of toast and bacon after my characters, then I have them dance around on the plate while I do funny voices for each of them. Whatever character I eat last becomes the protagonist of the novel.” *

Did McCarthy really say that? I don’t know. I watched clips of his interview with Oprah and never heard that, but maybe it was in a clip I didn’t see. Then again, this is April 1st.

* Found in this article: 9 Mind-Blowing Facts about Your Favorite Books

 

How Much Would You Pay for This?

Here’s my question for today: How much would you pay for this? It’s a Cheeto. Just one, not the whole bag. It does have an unusual shape.Harambe Cheeto

Would you give someone $1 for it? Maybe $5 if someone else was going to buy it for a buck? Would you spend $100 for it? Can you imagine any scenario where someone would spend $500 for one Cheeto? It’s a Flaming Hot Cheeto, does that make a difference? 

“This item is one of a kind! It measures about 1 1/2 inches in length (it looks sooo much bigger in the picture),”

Well, would you believe me if I told you someone has offered $100,000 for this Cheeto?

Here’s the story: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/harambe-cheeto-ebay-flamin-hot-cincinnati-zoo-dead-slain-gorilla-ape-tree-a7567241.html

 

Full Text of “I Am a Nasty Woman” Speech by Ashley Judd

Below is the full text of Ashley Judd’s version of Nina Donavan’ spoken poem, “I Am a Nasty Woman.”

“I am a nasty woman.

I’m not as nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in Cheeto dust. A man whose words are a distract to America; Electoral College-sanctioned hate speech contaminating this national anthem.

I am not as nasty as Confederate flags being tattooed across my city. Maybe the South actually is gonna rise again; maybe for some it never really fell. Blacks are still in shackles and graves just for being Black. Slavery has been reinterpreted as the prison system in front of people who see melanin as animal skin.

I am not as nasty as a swastika painted on a pride flag. And I didn’t know devils could be resurrected, but I feel Hitler in these streets—a moustache traded for a toupee; Nazis renamed the cabinet; electro-conversion therapy the new gas chambers, shaming the gay out of America turning rainbows into suicide notes.

I am not as nasty as racism, fraud, conflict of interest, homophobia, sexual assault, transphobia, white supremacy, misogyny, ignorance, white privilege.

I’m not as nasty as using little girls like Pokémon before their bodies have even developed.

I am not as nasty as your own daughter being your favourite sex symbol—like your wet dreams infused with your own genes.

But yah, I am a nasty woman?!

A loud vulgar, proud woman.

I’m not nasty like the combo of Trump and Pence being served up to me in my voting booth.

I’m nasty like the battles my grandmothers fought to get me into that voting booth.

I’m nasty like the fight for wage equality. Scarlett Johansson: Why were the famous actors paid less than half of what the male actors earned last year?

See, even when we do go into higher paying jobs our wages are still cut with blades, sharpened by testosterone. Why is the work of a Black woman and a Hispanic woman worth only 63 and 54 cents of a white man’s privileged daughter?

This is not a feminist myth. This is inequality.

So we are not here to be debunked. We are here to be respected. We are here to be nasty.

I am nasty like the blood stains on my bed sheets. We don’t actually choose if and when to have our periods. Believe me, if we could, some of us would. We don’t like throwing away our favourite pairs of underpants. Tell me, why are tampons and pads still taxed when Viagra and Rogaine are not? Is your erection really more than protecting the sacred messy part of my womanhood? Is the blood stain on my jeans more embarrassing than the thinning of your hair?

I know it is hard to look at your own entitlement and privilege. You may be afraid of the truth. I am unafraid to be honest. It may sound petty bringing up a few extra cents. It adds up to the pile of change I have yet to see in my country.

I can’t see. My eyes are too busy praying to my feet hoping you don’t mistake eye contact for wanting physical contact. Half my life I have been zipping up my smile hoping you don’t think I wanna unzip your jeans.

I am unafraid to be nasty because I am nasty like Susan, Elizabeth, Eleanor, Amelia, Rosa, Gloria, Condoleezza, Sonia, Malala, Michelle, Hillary.

And our pussies ain’t for grabbin’. Therefore, reminding you that are balls are stronger than America’s ever will be. Our pussies are for our pleasure. They are for birthing new generations of filthy, vulgar, nasty, proud, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Sheikh—you name it—for new generations of nasty women. So if you [are] a nasty woman or love one who is, let me hear you say, hell yeah!”

Related Story: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/nina-donovan-is-the-19yearold-poet-who-wrote-ashley-judds-viral-i-am-a-nasty-woman-speech/news-story/d40dc60b10853ef21423b247e598ebd0

The 20 Best Desserts in Chicago

From humble to haute, these sweets deliver pure pleasure.

chocolate-profiteroleI’ve been missing Chicago for a long time now. Southern California is great for the weather, the beaches, and the mountains. That’s been enough to keep me here, but I miss Chicago’s sports scene, its neighborhoods, its architecture, and especially its food. Now, Chicago Magazine has to do this to me. The 20 best desserts in Chicago. This isn’t enough to tip the scale, yet; but with things like this to think about I might not be able to hold out much longer.

Right now I’m drooling, thinking about Chocolate Profiteroles, Chocolate Beignet, Basque Cake, and Coffee Custard.

On the other hand, it’s probably good I’m not in Chicago because right now, I’m trying especially hard to lose weight. A month ago I set a goal to lose 25 pounds in 50 days. I was told that was unrealistic and apparently it was. So I’m revising it to 25 pounds by the end of the year. If I was in Chicago right now, I know that goal wouldn’t have a chance.

coffee-custardIf I was in Chicago right now, I know that goal wouldn’t have a chance. First of all my family, typical Italians, would be inviting me to various family gatherings and I would use that as an excuse to fatten myself up; second, having read this article I would be taking the first opportunity to stop in one of these 20-best-deserts places, just to look around. It wouldn’t be long before I’d find a second opportunity, and then a third, fourth, fifth, and so on.

Now, you might be thinking, LA is a big city, bigger than Chicago, surely there have to be 20 places as with desserts as good, if not better, than the 20 in Chicago.

Funny you should think that because it so happens that the current issue of LA Magazine also has an article about LA’s best desserts. While none of them look good enough to keep me here if I decided to return to Chicago, there are a few that might be good enough to compete.

The thing is… I am in Southern CA, within driving distance of LA and as long as I’m here a slice of Chioccolato or a few Durango cookies or maybe a Halo-Halo could be worth a trip… just to look around.

Source: The 20 Best Desserts in Chicago | Chicago magazine | November 2016

Radio and Other Bloopers

This blooper video brought back memories of terror, embarrassment, and laughter. Having worked off and on for more than 20 years in broadcasting, mostly as a radio announcer and newsperson, I’m well aware of how embarrassingly funny a blooper can be, especially when an audience gets to enjoy them.

Watching this video you might wonder how these people could possibly mess up a simple six-word phrase not once, but about a dozen times. What, are these people idiots? Nope… but this sort of thing even happens to professionals, that’s why we enjoy blooper outtakes so much. It happens because when a person is not talking in a way they would normally be talking or because they are concerned about something other than the words they are saying, such as the way they look, the way they are pronouncing the word, or the way they are saying a word or phrase. 

I lost my first radio announcing job (at WBYS in Canton, IL) because of a blooper, not mine, even though I did make a few that could have gotten me fired had they either been recorded or heard by anyone in management. I mispronounced names or people, places, and things. I stumbled over various words and phrases. Once I thought I’d turned off my mike, but hadn’t and treated the audience to my side of a phone conversation while a record was playing. A couple times I said s**t on the air. Another time, knowing my microphone was off, but not realizing the phone line was not, I called a listener an a**h**e on the air. Perhaps the worst was when I misread the word duck. 

tape-cartridges-radio

magnetic tape cartridges (Carts)

At that time commercials were recorded on tape cartridges similar plastic 8-track tape cartridges that in radio jargon were called, Carts. We put a Cart into a recorder, read or produced our commercial, and put a label on the Cart to identify it. If we made a mistake we removed the Cart from the recorder, put in a new one and started over. We continued this process until we had a broadcast worthy commercial.

One of my jobs was to erase the Carts. In the production room, the small studio where commercials, promos, and other pre-recorded announcements were made, there were three cardboard boxes where all the mistakes were dumped. I had to run each cart over a magnetic eraser and put the Carts back in the rack according to size ( 30, 60, or 90 second or 2, 3, 5, 10, or 30 minutes long). It was a boring, tedious job.

One day, after I’d been doing it for a few months I noticed that one of the newsmen had ‘dirtied’ more than 50 Carts. I thought it would be funny if I acknowledged his accomplishment, so I printed a small banner announcing the winner of the “Who Dirtied the Most Carts Contest.” Everyone thought it was funny, including the newsman so I decided to continue it, even giving myself the award a couple times. Giving the award made the task of cleaning the Carts even more tedious

bulk eraser for radio magnetic tape

magnetic tape bulk eraser

because it added a couple steps to the process. Instead of just removing the label, erasing the cart, and putting the cleaned cart back into one of the racks I now had to first listen to the Cart, then put a tick mark next to the culprit’s name before I erased it.

When I was fired a couple months after starting the “Who Dirtied the Most Carts” contest, I was told I had not been getting the job done. Two for instances were given: I rarely wrote more than three news stories and usually, only two every night, whereas the person who’d been doing the job previously always turned in at least three. Second, I spent about twice as much time as my predecessor cleaning the Carts. Both accusations were true. In my defense, I was a one-finger typist, and I was too young to know that my joke was funny once or twice, but not every day.

The truth is the real reason I was fired was not because I didn’t write enough news or because I spent too much time completing a monotonous task, but because three days before I was fired I gave the award to the radio station owner. Maybe that was a mistake. Apparently, he didn’t have as much of a sense of humor as I thought he did. 

 

Writing Is Not Easy

When I was in 7th grade I won (it wasn’t exactly a victory) the award for worst handwriting. My teacher predicted I would be a doctor. At the time, that seemed like as good an idea as any. Although I also wanted to be a dancer, lawyer, baseball player, and writer.Writing is difficult. Writing is hard. Sometimes I don’t feel like writing. I know I have to do it.

P writing blue

Life took me in a variety of directions. I was mostly a radio announcer, but I was also a teacher, a sportswriter, an insurance underwriter, a carpet salesman, a car salesman, a factory worker, a stock boy, and now I’m retired so I’m trying to do something I’ve always wanted to do: write (as in fiction, non-fiction, and poetry).

Writing is difficult. Writing is hard. Sometimes I don’t feel like writing. I know I have to do it. It  needs to be done in the same sense that dishes need washing, housework needs working, the dog needs to be fed, walked, etc (there is an awful lot to that etc.), a letter (email) has to be read, a letter (email) has to be written, a bill needs to be paid, etc., etc., and etc. So, I have plenty of excuses to feed my writer’s block.

This is one of those days. In fact, every day is one of those days. It’s never easy dragging my heart and soul out and showing them to the world. I know there’s a good chance when I’m finished I will be thinking, that was stupid, or they’re not going to like that, or I’m sure that’s the last thing of mine they’re over going to read, or etc., etc., and etc.

Still, I know if I don’t do it, I might never do it. Those bills can wait, the dog can wait, the housework isn’t going anywhere; but the words I am going to put on paper, the ideas I am going to dredge up out of my heart and soul might never be there again if I don’t sit down and force myself to uncover them.

I thought if I made a schedule that would make it easier. In a sense it does. I have a direction of sorts when I start. I know that after I finish this blog post I will be rolling, I will be in the mood and it will be easier to work on one of the many, many stories waiting to be finished. This blog starts my day, but even with a schedule there is still the pain, agony, and potential for heartbreak that faces me every time I say, ‘Time to write something.’

The thing is I rarely feel inspired when it’s time to start. While inspiration often hits me at unusual moments: when I’m making a left turn, when I’m trying to decide which yogurt flavor to buy, when I’m sitting in the doctor’s office, when I’m eating dinner, and so on – real inspiration occurs when I’m writing. That little boy I’ve got rolling down a hill after Jill threw a bucket of water at him, what if he rolls into a hole and disappears, what if he keeps rolling and rolling and rolling up and over another hill, what if it’s winter and that water freezes solid, what if… what if… and how about that? That’s crazy, that might just work, that is a great idea. I’m glad I thought of it.

None of that will happen if I don’t ignore the feeling that I’m not inspired, that I have nothing worth writing about, that I’m wasting my time and get started. It’s always the first word that’s the hardest, but once that’s done it’s sometimes amazing how many line up and follow it. That’s when writing becomes fun, after that first word. So, that’s what I did today. I started with that one word: Writing…

Awareness

“Life is a process, not a substance, and it is necessarily temporary. We are not the reason for the existence of the universe, but our ability for self-awareness and reflection makes us special within it.” ~ Sean Carroll, physicist

When I Started

cartoon, man at-computerwriting this blog I thought I would write about Chicago, mostly about Chicago sports, because I grew up in the Chicago area and even though I haven’t lived there for more than 30 years I still closely follow all sports Chicago (with the exception perhaps of the Wisconsin Badgers, having lived in Wisconsin for 20 years, and the USC Trojans, having lived in California for the last ten).

I also thought I’d write about times spent in the city – wandering Michigan Ave., State St., Rush, Wabash, etc.; watching fireworks from the top of the Hancock, riding the trains into the city and the subway, eating Chicago Style, watching Second City, jogging along the lake front, going to school at Loyola and Northeastern Illinois, living in the suburbs, living on the North Side, etc., etc.

That hasn’t exactly worked out. There are too many other things that interest me from day to day and I write a lot of stuff other stuff: poetry, short stories, memoir. I tried creating other blogs for those other things: Trails Across White for my poetry, Suddenly Words for my fiction and memoirs, Theretofor for my non-fiction and Caledon Pritz, a site that no longer exists for silly quotes and one-liners I make up. At the time it seemed like a good idea to have a different blog for each thing, but some of those blogs never got off the ground and if they did they were sometimes neglected for a week or more. For instance I’ve posted a lot of poetry on Trails Across White, but it’s been a few months since I’ve added a poem.

A friend who’s into guns once told me that he bought an old Springfield rifle and took it hunting. He told me, maybe the things were good when defending against an infantry charge, because one shot might stop or slow down a handful of chargers, but it was terrible for hunting. First he was lucky if he hit what he was shooting at. Second, if he hit it he was lucky if the shot brought the animal down. Third if the animal was down, preparing it was twice as much work because a handful of buckshot had to be picked out of the meat.

That’s what it’s like trying to maintain four blogs. It’s scatter-shot and it’s at times overwhelming and discouraging. I often spend a day working on one thing which does not get published because I’m not satisfied with it. Some things stay in draft status for as much as a week before I publish it or leave it to move on to something else. That would be okay if I was writing just one blog, but when four are involved it meant weeks might go by before something got published.

If you’ve been following this the past few weeks you’ve seen more than just Chicago related stories here. The other blogs are now permanently dormant (with the exception perhaps of Trails Across White – a final decision has not yet been made), but everything I write will be here, now.

And that’s what I’m thinking about today.

Hope you like it.

A Matter of Perspective

John Hancock Bldg., ChicagoSometimes I see something that almost makes sense, but my mind simply does not compute. This is a picture of the John Hancock Center in Chicago. I love this building. If you ever get the chance go to the sky deck on a night when there are fireworks at Navy Pier, go. Fireworks offer a different experience when you look down on them. It’s what I imagine ants might look like if they were ever able to light up some ant-sized sparklers.

The first time I ever saw the Hancock like this, with its top hidden in the clouds I wondered what kind of view there was from the sky deck. I never found out, but I imagine it’s sort of like being on a plane flying through the clouds.

When I saw the picture on the right, I wondered how the photographer (Alberto Tretti) managed to take it.John Hancock Building, Chicago

Just looking at it makes me dizzy. I thought, he must have stood with his back to the building and held the camera over his head.

Actually, the process is more simple than that. It doesn’t involve any special physical gymnastics. You just have to turn any picture upside down when you post it (or hang it on your wall) to change the perspective and make somebody like me a bit dizzy!

You probably figured that out long before you read this, but it took me about 10 minutes to realize the photographer didn’t really do anything special.

As I said, sometimes my brain does not compute.

St Patrick's Day in Chicago

St Patrick's Cathedral and John Hancock BuildingMost people are aware that Chicagoans go crazy on St. Patrick’s Day. Everybody wears green, has green frosted donuts for breakfast, green frosted cookies and cup-cakes for snacks, corned beef and cabbage for dinner. They watch the St. Patrick’s Day parade, walk past the green-dyed Chicago River, then spend the night reveling, singing Irish songs and drinking green beer.

I never thought much of it when I was a kid. As far as I was concerned, St. Joseph’s Day was my day because I was Italian. Still I tried to remember to wear something green, and I enjoyed the green-frosted treats.

When I started working in Chicago I sometimes went to mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Of course, on St. Patrick’s Day the cathedral was crowded like as if it was a Sunday.

Then I married an Irish lass, who happened to have a brother named Patrick, and things began to change. I started finding reasons to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but the kicker came along when I discovered a great, great, something grandmother of mine was Irish. Sure and begorrah, I was a bit Irish after all.

St Patrick's Blue shamrockNow, I’ve discovered that all those years when I preferred to wear blue rather than green, I may have been doing the right thing, because St. Patrick’s color was actually blue. Green came about when the Irish fighting for independence choose that as their color. So, if you see me wearing blue on March 17th you can be sure it’s because there is a little Irish in me.

Wheat Free Crepes

Did you know Crepes are not pronounced like Crayps. Rather the correct French pronounciation is Creps. I know, back in second or maybe third grade you were taught to change the sound of that first ‘e’ if there was another ‘e’ in the last sylable (or near the end) of the word. As far as I’m concerned you can keep saying Crepes anyway you want.

I’ve made these with Garbanzo Bean Flour, Almond Meal, and Cashew Meal. The garbanzo been flour gives it a nice texture, but an unusual flavor. The almond meal gives a little rougher texture and the mixture has to be stirred often, otherwise the almond meal tends to sink to the bottom. The cashew flour is easily the best. Doesn’t compromise the flavor, gives a nice texture and doesn’t have to be restirred.Crepe

For filling a good fruit-only jam will work, but I like to cook some fruit, carmelize it a little (especially bananas) and use that. Sometimes I stir the cooked fruit into some cream cheese or riccotta.

My favorite way to eat these is right out of the pan, without any filling. Then, instead of water I usually stir in a comparable amount of Amaretto.

read more…

Sayings of Caledon Pritz

Not Guessing

“Got my glasses fixed yesterday. I’m really pleased cuz they were cleaned, too. Now I’m not guessing as much when I drive.” ~ Caledon

Barking

“I thought the neighbor’s dog finally went to sleep, but apparently, there was still another hours worth of important barking to do.” ~ Caledon Pritz

Closure

Maybe you’re waiting for closure, even though you’ve already gotten it.” ~ Caledon Pritz

Waste

Life’s a waste of time.” ~ Caledon

Applause

If no one applauds when you walk on stage, does that mean you aren’t there?” ~ Caledon Pritz

Being Old

A man is not old until his ears are too big for his head.” ~ Caledon

Dreams

If you’re not building your own dreams, then whose are you building?” ~ Caledon Pritz

For Some

For some life is a catastrophe, for others it is merely an apostrophe.” ~ Caledon Pritz

Look Out…

“Be careful Mrs. Butterworth, things could get a bit sticky around here.” ~ Caledon Pritz

Gifts

Don’t let the past steal your gifts.” ~ Caledon Pritz

Caviar or Peanut Butter

A $200 ounce of caviar is no more filling that a 20¢ ounce of peanut butter.” ~ Caledon Pritz

The Day

“Either you run the day, or you run away.” ~ Caledon

Yesterday

Yesterday might have been terrible, but stop fretting about it. You made it to today, and that’s good.” ~ Caledon Pritz

Life

A difficult thing about life is letting things be what they are rather than trying to make them what you want them to be” ~ Caledon Pritz

Life… Again

“Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% what happens to you, or is it the other way around?” ~ Caledon Pritz

Funny Thing

“Funny, but the more I worry about what other people think, the more I become somebody else.” ~ Caledon Pritz

Faith

“Faith is the art of holding on to things in spite of your changing moods and circumcision.” ~ Caledon Pritz

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