Why Didn’t I Hear The Beatles in 1963?

by James Wallace Harris, 5/25/23

I’ve been playing The Beatles all this week and I noticed something that has me thinking about it a lot. The first two Beatles albums Please Please Me and With the Beatles came out in 1963 in the United Kingdom but I didn’t hear them until after February 9, 1964, when The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Obviously, some Americans heard Fab Four songs before then because there were mobs at the airport and 73 million people watched Ed’s show that night.

When do you remember first hearing the Beatles? I got interested in those dates because I was going to write an essay about what I remembered about The Beatles from 1964, but it bothered me I was recalling my 1964 but the tunes were from 1962 and 1963. America and England were out of sync by over a year.

Why hadn’t I heard the Beatles on the radio in 1963? Starting in 1962, I listened to Top 40 music several hours a day on WQAM and WFUN AM radio stations in Miami, so I should have heard The Beatles’ songs if they were released. I just don’t remember hearing them at all in 1963.

Love Me Do/P.S. I Love You” was released in England on October 5, 1962, but not until April 24, 1964, in the U.S., when it reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Beatlemania could have started in late 1962, or early 1963 — why didn’t it?

“Please Please Me/From Me To You” was the Beatles’ 2nd single in England, released on January 11, 1963. It reached #1 on the New Music Express and Melody Maker charts. “Please Please Me/Ask Me Why” was the first Beatles single released in the United States on February 25, 1963, but failed to chart. Some radio stations around the country played this single but it got no screaming fans and was forgotten. “Please Please Me” reached #35 in Chicago on March 8 on their local charts, and again on March 15, but disappeared after that.

“Please Please Me/From Me To You” was re-released in the U.S. on January 3, 1964, and made it to #3 on Billboard. Again, it was obvious that Americans loved the Beatles, but why did we wait until 1964 to love them? This makes me want to write an alternate history science fiction story about Beatlemania hitting America during Christmas of 1962. And it can’t be all Capitol’s fault.

Three more singles by the Beatles were released in the U.K. in 1963: “From Me To You/Thank You Girl” on 4/11/63, “She Loves You/I’ll Get You” on 8/23/63, and “I Want To Hold Your Hand/This” on 11/29/63. Did Americans visiting England bring back these singles and albums? Weren’t there any word-of-mouth from the jet setters?

According to Wikipedia, 34 songs were recorded by the Beatles in 1962 and 1963. Capitol turned down the opportunity to put them out, and a little label, Vee-Jay snapped up the rights. Vee-Jay planned to release Introducing… The Beatles, a repackaged of the UK album Please Please Me in July of 1963, but Vee-Jay didn’t get it out until January 10, 1964. Then Beatlemania hit and Capitol took back the rights.

Theoretically, I could have heard some of the Beatles songs in 1963 on WQAM or WFUN in Miami, but I don’t think so. What if Beatlemania had arrived a year earlier? Would that have launched The Sixties sooner? The 1960s up until the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, never felt like the legendary times we call The Sixties. 1960 to 1963 felt like the 1950s.

The Sixties, at least to me, began when The Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan. Seeing them that night felt like Dorothy opening the door in The Wizard of Oz when the film went from black and white to Technicolor. The magic of the Sixties ended for me with Charles Manson and Altamont. In 1970, The Beatles broke up, my father died, and I moved from Miami to Memphis. That’s when I felt The Seventies began.

I was going to write an essay comparing The Beatles’ first two albums against their competition. In America, our first two Beatles albums in 1964 were a mixture of songs from the UK 1963 albums and 1962-1963 singles plus some cuts from the third and fourth British Beatles albums recorded in 1964. It’s all rather confusing if I wanted to understand music as a product of its times.

Here’s an overview of what The Beatles were doing in 1963. As they were writing those songs, or doing covers of American songs, it was 1963. But they made a social and psychological impact on us in 1964. That delay fascinates me.

This week I played all the Beatles albums from Please Please Me (UK 1963) to The Beatles (White Album) (UK/US 1968). I can play all the albums through Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) over and over and did this week. All the songs appeal to me. Each album was a unique masterpiece. Things completely fell apart with The Beatles (White Album). (George Martin and others thought it should have been a single album. I agree completely. The White album feels like a single album with a bunch of outtakes and demos.)

Even though I loved all those Beatles albums through 1967, I’ve only put a few of their songs on my Top 1000 playlist on Spotify. I’ve been wondering why for a long time. I want to compare The Beatles’ songs to the hits that came out at the same time that I love better. But when I saw the dates when the first two albums came out were from 1963, I wondered if should I compare those songs to songs coming out in 1964 when I first heard those Beatles songs, or to songs that were coming out in 1963 when The Beatles recorded their songs?

As I listened to the Beatles’ albums this week it was obvious with each album John, Paul, George, and Ringo progressed in creative sophistication. But then so did pop hits each year. In America, those 1964 Beatles releases stomped the 1964 American releases. But shouldn’t they be compared to 1963 songs?

Finally, could I have heard some Beatles songs in 1963 and they just made no impact on me? Did it take Beatlesmania to get us to love The Beatles? And could the reason I put so few of their songs on my Top 1000 playlist is because Beatlesmania and The Sixties ended in 1969?


Can AI Read Minds?

by James Wallace Harris, 5/24/23

We’ve known for a long time that we can’t trust what we read. And now with AI-generated art, we must suspect every photo and video we see. I’m even suspicious when the news comes from a scientific journal.

Recent reports claim that AI programs using fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) brain scans can generate text, images, and even videos. In other words, it appears that AI can read our minds. See the paper: “Cinematic Mindscapes: High-quality Video Reconstruction from Brain Activity” by Zijiao Chen, Jiaxin Qing, and Juan Helen Zhou. Even though this is a scientific paper it is readable if you aren’t a scientist, however it is dense and leaves out a lot I would like to know. I hope they make an episode of NOVA on PBS about it because I would love to see how this experiment was done step-by-step.

The press is claiming this means AI technology can read our minds. I’m thinking this is a magic trick and I want to figure out how it works.

I find this tremendously hard to believe that AI will be able to read our minds. fMRI scans measure blood flow or blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) readings. They look like this:

I just don’t believe there’s enough information in such images to generate an image of what’s in a person’s mind’s eye. However, I thought about how it might be possible to get the results described in this experiment.

These scientists showed photos or videos to people while being scanned by an fMRI machine. They used AI to analyze the scans and then another AI program, Stable Diffusion, to generate pictures and videos that visually interpret what the first AI program said about the scans.

An analogy is sound recordings to vinyl records. Sound is captured with a microphone and is converted to grooves on a record. Then a record player plays the record and the groves are converted back into sound. If you look at this photo of the grooves in a record it’s hard to imagine it could reproduce The Beatles or Beethoven but they can.

Should we really believe that we can invent a machine that decodes the coding in our brains? For such a machine to work we have to assume our brains are like analog recording devices and not digital. That seems logical. Okay, I can buy that. What I can’t believe is there’s enough information in the fMRI scans to decode. They seem too crude. When we look at a smiling dog and create an image of it in our head, that mental image can have far more details than the patterns we see in the blood flow in our brains. I don’t think they are like the grooves in a record.

What scientists do is show people a picture of a cat, then take a snapshot of the brain’s blood flow pattern. Then they claim their AI program can look at that pattern and know that it’s a cat. Where’s the Rosetta Stone?

I can believe researchers could take ten objects and create 10 fMRI scans and tell a computer what the subject was looking at when scanned. And then test an AI program by taking new scans and having it match up the new scans against the old. But in the above paper, they are claiming they took a series of scans (every 2 seconds) that could generate a video of the movement of a cat’s head. In other words, the fMRI scans give enough information for the subject to have different blood flow patterns depending on the position of the cat’s head.

Even if they perfected this technique it will depend on building a dictionary of fMRI patterns and meanings for every individual. I seriously doubt there’s an engineering standard that works on all humans. Everyone’s brain is different. For an AI to read your brain your brain would have had to be scanned thoroughly and documented. If we showed the same cat photo to a million people, would the fMRI patterns even look close even in a subset of those people? My guess is it will look different for everyone.

The scientists who wrote “Cinematic Mindscapes” used a library of publically available datasets, that included fMRI scans that included 600,000 segments. No matter how much I reread their methodology, I couldn’t understand what they actually did. Since I’ve worked with Midjourney I know how hard it is to get an AI art program to generate a specific image, I’m not sure how they fed Stable Diffusion to get it to generate imagines. If you look at all the examples, it reminds me of how I kept trying to get Midjourney to generate what I visualized in my mind but it always coming up with something different, but maybe close.

My conclusion is AI can’t read minds. But AI can tell the difference between different brain scans which were created with known prompts and get an AI program to generate something similar. But I never could figure out what the prompts were for the Stable Diffusion.

AI programs train on datasets. If the dataset is built from stimulus photos and fMRI scans, how is that any different than training them on photos and text labels. For example. Photo of a smiling dog with the text “smiling dog” and photo of a smiling dog with fMRI scan. If you gave Stable Diffusion the text “smiling dog” it would generate a picture of what it’s learned to be as a smiling dog from thousands of pictures of dogs. Giving the digital data from an fMRI trained the same way Stable Diffusion would produce images of a smiling dog but one it’s learned from training, not the one in the subject’s mind.

Previous fMRI research has shown they can link BOLD patterns with words.

This is not mind reading in the way we normally imagine mind reading. Isn’t it akin to sign language by having the subject’s blood flow patterns make the signs? Real mind reading would be seeing the same smiling dog as the subject saw, and not agreeing on a sign for a smiling dog.

What’s happening here is we’re learning that blood flow in the brain makes patterns and to a degree, we can label them with words or pictures or digital data, but it’s still language translation.

If I say smiling dog to you right now, you can picture a smiling dog, but it won’t be the smiling dog I’m picturing. AI art is based on generalizations about language definitions and translations.

Do we say it’s mind reading if I pictured a smiling dog in my head and then prompted Midjourney with the test: “smiling dog” and it produce a picture of what it thinks is a smiling dog? Sure, my mental image might be of a black pug and Midjourney might produce a black border collie. Close enough. Impressive even. But isn’t it what we do every day with language? We’ve all built a library of images that go with words and concepts, but they aren’t the same as every other person’s library. Language only gets us approximations.

Real mind reading would be if an AI saw exactly what was in my mind.


Developing a Healthy News Diet

by James Wallace Harris, 5/21/23

Michael Pollan created a small book about eating healthy called Food Rules. As an analogy, I’d like to create a set of sensible rules about consuming the news. Pollan distilled his list of rules down to three simple sentences, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” but it really takes reading his book to understand that mantra.

What I would like to do is develop a similar simple mantra about my daily news consumption but I’ll have to work out the details first. Pollan emphasized eating whole foods rather than processed foods. Is there such a thing as whole unprocessed news? “Not too much” is an obvious target since we obviously consume too much news. Finding an analogy for “mostly plants” will be interesting.

What would be the equivalent of nutritious news? Experience has taught me that some news is unhealthy, and I often get news indigestion. I also admit I’m bloated and overweight from too much news consumption.

Like whole food and junk food, we prefer junk news over whole news. I spend several hours a day nibbling on news from many sources. Most of which is forgotten immediately. I wonder if my first rule should be:

#1 – Ignore easily forgettable news

We’re used to clicking on anything that catches our fancy while idling away moments on our smartphones. Essentially, this kind of news is gossip and titillation. Basically, we’re bored or restless. We should use that time in better ways, especially if it exercises our minds. Read real news instead. Or, do something active. Playing games, listening to music, or audiobooks, is more nutritious than never-ending bites of clickbait.

Everyone bitches about information overload but who does anything about it? I’ve learned from intermittent fasting that my body appreciates having a good rest each day from eating. I believe I need to apply the same idea to news consumption.

#2 – Limit your hours consuming the news

I find 16:8 fasting works well for eating. I’m thinking of a 22:2 fast for news is what I’m going to aim for at the moment. Two hours of news consumption a day might sound like a lot, but if you add up all the forms of news I consume including television, magazines, online newspapers, YouTube, and news feeds, RSS feeds, I can easily go beyond two hours.

We should also separate news from learning and entertainment. Learning something new could be considered a form of news. I’m not going to count educational pursuits in my news time. And if you enjoy reading nonfiction books or watching documentaries on TV, that shouldn’t count as news either. However, shows like 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning, and The Today Show can be considered informative entertainment news. Some people just prefer news shows for fun rather than watching fictional shows. I’m not sure if they should count or not.

What we really want is to stay informed about the world so that we interact with reality wisely. Humans have an extremely difficult time processing information. We think we’re far smarter than we are. We constantly delude ourselves. And we think our opinions matter when 99.999% of the time they don’t. Most people think they are experts on countless topics after having consumed just a few hours of news. They think they know better than real experts who have put tens of thousands of hours into studying their specialty.

#3 – Stop assuming you know anything

I believe the real key to understanding the news is being able to tell the difference between opinion and significant data. The real goal of news consumption should be finding the best data, and that means getting into statistics.

Unfortunately, the news industry is overwhelmed with talking heads. Everyone wants to be an expert, and all too often most news consumers tend to latch onto self-appointed experts they like. News has become more like a virus than information processing.

I read and watch a lot of columnists and programs about computers, stereo equipment, and other gadgets. Most are based on personal impressions of equipment individuals have bought or been loaned from manufacturers. These tech gurus are a good analogy for what I’m talking about. Most of the news we take in daily is from individuals processing limited amounts of information and giving us their opinion. What we really want is Consumer Reports, Rtings, or the Wirecutter, where large amounts of data are gathered from a variety of sources, and statistically analyzed.

This is just a start on designing my news diet. I want to keep current on a long list of topics, but that’s like learning about all the vitamins and nutrients my body needs. News nutrition will be a vastly more complicated topic. What are the essential vitamins I need every day? Is it politics, national and international affairs, economics, crime, immigration, ecology, etc?

Do I need to know about everything? Is that what an informed citizen needs to do? Take immigration. Is anything I think about immigration affects the situation at the border? Does voting liberal or conservative even affect anything at the border? I can barely maintain order in my house, why should I believe I can organize all of reality on Earth? Maybe my last two rules should be:

#4 – Know my limitations

#5 – Pursue the news I can actually use

Like nutrition, news is a complicated subject that’s hard to understand and can easily confuse.


The Emerging Mindset of Not Owning Movies

by James Wallace Harris, May 5, 2023

Ideas for this essay began when my Blu-ray player died. I got on Amazon to buy a new one, and then I asked myself: When was the last time I viewed a movie or TV show from a disc? When was the last time I bought one? I went and looked through our bookcase which has five shelves of DVDs and Blu-rays. Most have not been played in years, and some have never been played or even opened. I bought them because wanted to own them.

I realized that owning movies has a mindset. I’m trying to decide if I need to change that mindset.

This essay isn’t aimed at film fans who actually collect movies with a purpose. Nor is it about minimalism and getting rid of stuff. What I’m talking about is how buying movies changed us. We had one pop culture mindset before VHS tapes and DVDs, another afterward, and an even newer mindset is emerging with streaming. And those mindsets say something about our individual psychology.

Before the advent of the VCR, the main way to see a movie was when it was at the theater or rerun on television. If you wanted to see a specific film you might have to wait years. I used to go to science fiction conventions and one of their highlights was the film room where they’d run classic science fiction movies all weekend. There were also film clubs and festivals, but those were for serious film buffs. And a few people, usually rich ones, collected movies on film.

For the most part, people didn’t own movies and they had a mindset about how they watched movies. Starting in the 1980s, the VCR became popular. This created two industries – selling movies on tape, and tape rental stores. That’s when people really got into owning their favorite films and a new mindset emerged.

It changed society. Not everyone collected movies, but it was pretty common. Then came the DVD and it caused even more people to want to own movies. Most people just rented films and Blockbuster became part of popular culture too. Still, a fair percentage of people wanted to own movies.

Now we have streaming. Streaming has killed the movie rental store. A few still exist, but that way of life is now dead. And I think a lot of people have stopped buying movies on DVDs, Blu-ray, and 4k. Diehard fans still collect, but ordinary people have stopped.

Susan and I bought a lot of films on DVD and Blu-ray over the years. A few years ago we gave bags of them away to friends and the library. But we kept one bookcase of our favorites. Now I’m wondering if we even need to keep those.

Whenever I want to see a specific movie I can usually find it streaming on one of the subscriptions I already own, or on one of the free streaming services that use ads. Or I’ll rent it on Amazon. And if JustWatch can’t locate what I want, I’ll check YouTube, and pretty often, those forgotten films are usually there. It’s extremely rare that I can’t find a movie on the net.

For decades I believed if I really wanted to see a movie that wasn’t easily available I had to buy it. And it annoyed me when there was something I wanted to see and it wasn’t streaming or for sale. There’s a psychological component to that, maybe not a good one.

For the past few years, the only time I bought a movie or TV show on DVD/BD was because I couldn’t get it anywhere else. And most of those shows were oddities that I could have easily gone without seeing. Still, it’s weird of me to go to such lengths to acquire something I wanted on a whim.

But I’m also thinking about something else. Why do I feel I should see a specific film or television show when I want to? It’s because, in the 1980s and 1990s, we took on the mindset we could own movies and television shows. Previously, the mindset was movies and television shows were ephemeral. That fate would present us with what we needed to see. Owning is a mindset that says we can control reality.

Streaming presents a new mindset. What is the new mindset it creates? Is it one of a library in the cloud? A universal library? Well, actually, it’s a bunch of libraries in the cloud with different fees and requirements to use them. For music, I depend on Spotify, it is an almost universal library of songs and albums. Subscribing to a combination of three to six subscription services like Netflix, HBO Max, Apple TV, Hulu, etc. will get you a library of thousands of movies and television shows. Apple News+ gets me access to hundreds of magazines. Scribd and Kindle Unlimited get me access to countless books and audiobooks.

The trouble with this new mindset is you have to maintain lots of subscriptions. Subscribing to a bunch of services gives the illusion of owning a giant library. And I think that’s why I subscribe to so many services. It gives me the illusion I own all these movies, television shows, albums, books, audiobooks, etc. But do I even need to feel like I own a library?

I do have some friends who have tremendous discipline and only subscribe to one movie/TV streaming service at a time. Their mindset is different. My mindset is to pretend I own the Library of Congress. Their mindset is to enjoy everything at a branch library before switching to another branch library.

But I’ve been thinking about the mindset I had back in the 1960s when I watched movies and TV shows based mostly on serendipity. Back then, when I wanted to see a movie, we looked at the movie section in the paper and picked out something to see. Or we turned on the TV when we wanted to watch TV and flipped through the channels till we settled on something. I didn’t try to find something very specific or seek the very best of the best of all time. I had a small selection and picked whatever struck my mood at the moment. I didn’t read reviews, check ratings, or study books. I accepted what reality offered.

In 2023 I usually have a target in mind and go looking for it. I’d read about what others are watching and recommending, and decide that’s what I want to see. My friend Linda recommended The Diplomat, and I rejoined Netflix to watch it. It’s not like I didn’t already have thousands of shows and films to see on Prime, Hulu, BritBox, AppleTV, and Peacock.

Susan hates when we have company and we all decide to watch a movie together. The act of deciding what to watch drives her up the walls. And often our guests get frustrated too because there are so many choices and we’ve all developed highly individual tastes. Back in the old days, people were more willing to watch whatever was on with each other. Owning movies I think changed us all.

We all became aficionados of exactly what we loved. We all conditioned ourselves to seek out movies that pushed our own unique emotional buttons. We moved away from going with the flow. Owning movies changed us. It conditioned us to specialize and be picky. It made us want to watch exactly what we wanted to watch.

Oh, I’m sure millions of people subscribe to Netflix and when they want to watch something click it on and then scroll around until they find something to watch. They never got conditioned to seek something specific. I did. I didn’t collect to complete a collection. I bought movies because I wanted to be able to watch what I wanted when I wanted. Streaming does a better job of getting me what I want, when I want, without owning it.

However, I’m now asking myself is that good? What if the mindset we had back in the 1960s was actually better for us psychologically? Both owning and streaming fulfill our desire to control reality. What if going with the flow isn’t a better way? That would be more like Eastern philosophy.

I am not a hoarder, not as people see them on TV. But when it comes to books and movies, I guess I was. Owning a library of anything is a kind of specialized hoarding. There’s a psychology behind that. I’m wondering if late in life, at 71, I shouldn’t alter that psychology.


Cats Make Strange Bedfellows

I have to sleep in a recliner because of my bad back. That means my cats only have one lap available from midnight until morning. My wife sleeps in the bed on her side which Lily and Ozzy find unacceptable. During the day, the cats choose between our two laps. If we’re sitting, we often have a cat in our lap.

Usually, I have one cat sleeping on me and sometimes it’s two. It’s not always fun, but if I try to lock them out of the bedroom they scratch at the door all night and bitterly complain in their language.

Cats are big on routines but I haven’t figured out how they divide up the time on my lap. Sometimes Lily hops on me as I’m going to sleep but Ozzy is there when I wake up to go to the bathroom. Sometimes it’s the reverse. Sometimes I fall asleep alone but wake up with a cat, or two.

It’s a unique emotion to regain consciousness to the sound of a retching cat knowing you have seconds to get an exploding feline to the floor. And nothing brings you back to consciousness quicker than an 18-pound cat doing a four-point landing just below the belt. Well, maybe when an 18-pound cat springs off of two legs while sitting just below your belt. Ozzy has some powerful hind legs.

I don’t know why my furry friends love sleeping on me at night. I’m an old man and need to pee several times a night. That means I have to wake them up and tell them they have to get off each time. You’d think that would annoy them enough to break the habit.

Getting up to drain my shrunken overactive bladder has evolved into quite a nocturnal ritual with me, Lily, and Ozzy. That ritual has been slowly refined over the last four years.

I wake up and tell the cat(s) they need to wake up and get off the lap. They step over to the table on the right side of my bed. I then pull off the blanket and put it on a chair that’s on the left side of my recliner. Then I pull the first pillow out from underneath my legs and pile it on the blanket. Then I pull out the second pillow and balance it on the first pillow. I’m careful to not let the stack fall to the floor because I hate looking for that stuff in the dark. Then I reach inside my pajama bottoms and pull out a small blue melamine plastic colander I use to protect the family jewels and set it on the table to my right. I then get up and walk five paces to the bathroom. I turn on a small light and log the time. Then I turn off the light. (You don’t want to know.) I do my business sitting down in the dark and then walk back to my recliner. I have to check to see if a cat hasn’t gone to sleep in the warm spot because if I sat on a cat it might kill it or the cat might claw the hell out of my ass in the dark and that would really wake me up. I try to never become fully awake.

Once I’m sure the seat is clear of cats I sit back down. I put my ball protector back in place, then put the first pillow under my legs, then the next, then I grab the blanket and feel all the edges until I find the short side. I throw the short side over my legs and catch the edge under my feet to hold in the warmth. Then I say out loud, “Pile on” and the cats will ignore me. Most times I immediately fall asleep and don’t feel them regaining their position. However, Ozzy always takes longer, and sometimes I feel Lily jump into his place first. So Ozzy walks around on me for a while trying to annoy Lily and tramples my crotch. This is why I’ve learned I need to ball protector.

As I said, I don’t understand their routine because it feels entirely random. However, I sometimes wonder if they haven’t set up a timetable. I should start logging that to see if I can’t detect an intelligence behind the way they take turns sleeping on me.

Usually, one cat sleeps on me at a time, and often for the whole night, no matter how many times I have to get up to pee. I wonder how they divide up the nights. Some nights it’s Ozzy other nights it’s Lilly. But every once in a while, Ozzy starts the night and Lily finishes it. Or vice versa. And then there are nights they are both determined to sleep on me.

They both want the space between my legs closest to my crotch. I think I’m going to go bowlegged sleeping with cats. If Ozzy gets the favorite spot first, Lily will sleep in the space between my legs below my knees. Ozzy won’t take that space though. First, he’ll try to sleep on top of Lily to make her mad. Sometimes this will piss her off and she’ll run away. Sometimes she digs in and just lets Ozzy bury her.

Evidently, Ozzy doesn’t find sleeping on Lily comfortable, so if he doesn’t run her off, he gets up and walks around my lap until he finds a comfortable position. This is where the plastic colander is essential. (It used to be a plastic storage bowl, but I discovered condensation in it and realized my genitals need both protection and air. Is this TMI?)

A lot can happen at night. A bird or squirrel (burglar?) outside the window will bring both cats instantly awake and sometimes their alert claws wake me. Sometimes they’ll spend thirty minutes grooming. When they are both piled on me and grooming, the different jostling patterns demand all my attention. Another annoying habit is gnawing their claws and trying to pull off a layer of claw. This creates a snapping motion and makes an irritating sound. And I’ve already mentioned the in-the-dark puking. Early in the morning, I often come awake with a cat in my face. I think smelling my face says, “Get up and feed me, you big bastard.”

I just go to bed (chair) just before midnight. Last night I got up to pee at 12:24, 12:44, 1:41, 4:44, and 6:43. And that’s a fantastic night for me. I haven’t slept for three hours in years. But there’s a chance I didn’t log a pee – that sometimes happens. I also took a pain pill, and that sometimes lets me sleep longer.

I had both cats all night last night, so for those five times, this routine was repeated:

  • wake up cats and get them off me
  • stow the blanket
  • stow pillow one
  • stow pillow two
  • stow the ball protector
  • lower the footrest
  • walk to bathroom
  • log the time
  • pee
  • return to chair
  • check for cats
  • recline
  • position pillow one
  • position pillow two
  • position the ball protector
  • find the edge of the blanket
  • recover my body so everything is warm and comfortable
  • tell the cats to “pile on”
  • fall asleep

It’s amazing how fast I can fall asleep. Sometimes I can fall asleep before the cats resettle themselves. And I dream. Boy, do I dream! Getting up so frequently in the night is a great way to interrupt dreams. I think about the dreams while I pee. I’m always impressed with the creativity of my unconscious mind. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the dreams or my thoughts the next day.



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SuchFriends Blog

'...and say my glory was I had such friends.' --- WB Yeats

Neither Kings nor Americans

Reading the American tradition from an anarchist perspective


Speculations on the Future: Science, Technology and Society

I can't believe it!

Problems of today, Ideas for tomorrow


Peter Webscott's travel and photography blog

The Wonderful World of Cinema

Where classic films are very much alive! It's Wonderful!

The Case for Global Film

'in the picture': Films from everywhere and every era

A Sky of Books and Movies

Books & movies, art and thoughts.

Emily Munro

Spinning Tales in the Big Apple


hold a mirror up to life.....are there layers you can see?