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Today's word on journalism

January 13, 2009


"I get the feeling that the 24-hour news networks are like the bus in the movie 'Speed.' If they stop talking for a second, they think they'll blow up."

--Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, 2008 (Thanks to alert WORDster Ross Martin)

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Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

Sleep? Oh, the great stuff we could do if we didn't snooze

By Lisa Christensen

December 7, 2008 | Sleep is the biggest waste of time. I mean, people always complain because there are only 24 hours in a day, but when you think about it, there aren't even that. It's more like a piffly little 16 or 18 hours when you factor in that senseless laying-down business.

For instance, it's 2:30 a.m. as I'm writing this. This means that I am doing homework instead of dreaming of, oh, I don't know, ice cream castles or something else completely useless and nonsensical. Score one for productivity! After this I'll probably do the dishes and then maybe vacuum. You know. It needs to be done anyway. And 3 a.m. is as good a time as any, right?

There are so many benefits of not sleeping. I wonder why someone hasn't tried it before, long-term, I mean. The current Guinness World Record holder (according to the all-knowing Wikipedia) for longest period of time for a human being staying awake without stimulants of any kind is Randy Gardner who, in 1964 at the age of 17, stayed awake for 264 hours, or 11 days even. Wuss. However, people with chronic insomnia can stay awake for years. I'll bet they get a lot done.

Seriously, though, think about it­if we didn't have to sleep, we wouldn't need beds. That is a lot of space freed up right there. I don't know about anyone else, but in my cramped apartment that would be nice. Actually, if we didn't need to sleep, would we really need an apartment, period? Everything would be open 24 hours a day so studying could be done entirely at the library and food could be obtained at restaurants.

Ooh, speaking of that I could sure go for a Beto's right about now. Why is it that random food sounds so good so very late at night? Once I stayed up talking about religion and philosophy with some friends until we got the most intense craving for crepes. What C.S. Lewis has to do with strawberries and whipped cream I will never know. Unfortunately, Village Inn had closed already, so we had to settle for those giant muffins from Macey's, a substitution that wouldn't have happened if no one felt the need to sleep.

Granted, there would be a significant drop in the amount of ballads written and sung by whiny teenage boys, because if you don't sleep it's pretty hard to dream about someone with eyes so blue and how your love for them is true, so there's another benefit. Also, if you stay up long enough not only does everything mysteriously seem funnier but lyrics to Beatles songs finally make sense! So THAT'S what they meant...

I suppose there are a few downsides. The biggest one I can think of is that Bed, Bath and Beyond would have to drop the first bit and "Bath and Beyond" is kind of a lame name for a store, so that would take some rethinking. Also, would cold cereal and pancakes still taste good at 7 a.m. when you had a cheesy chicken and pepper burrito grande at 4 a.m.? Plus, that delicious feeling of sleeping in or waking up without the alarm would be nonexistent.

Hmm. Maybe this isn't such a good plan. I guess I'll sleep on it.


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