Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, December 11, 2020

Four Things

News you may or may not be able to use...

1. Conventional wisdom to the contrary, not everyone needs eight hours of sleep every night any more than everyone needs eight glasses of water a day.

Decades of waking spontaneously around the right time (and feeling rested) on less caused me to question that advice. Glad to see the world begin to catch up...

Jokes aside, I am careful to retire early enough to get at least the six I seem to need, and am loathe to depart from a more or less regular sleeping schedule.

2. Do you like to watch Zambonis? Regardless of the answer to that question, the story of Frank Zamboni, the man behind the ice resurfacing machine, is worth reading:

For nearly a decade, Zamboni had something of a mad scientist's lab in the back of the Iceland rink, where he experimented with various mechanical contraptions that could optimize ice resurfacing.

He Frankensteined parts from war surplus vehicles and bomber planes, and ran into numerous issues -- chattering blades, malfunctioning snow tanks, lack of tire traction on the slippery ice.

"It took him nine years," Zamboni's son, Richard, later told the LA Times...
This was after Zamboni had already saved his ice business in the face of advances in refrigeration technology, by shifting from ice production to running newly-popular ice skating rinks.

3. Amateur astronomers take note! My grad school alma mater has the lowdown on how and when best to view the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction on the twenty-first. If you scroll down far enough, you can get an idea of what you can see with a small telescope on the day.

4. Jackson, Mississippi, where I grew up, gets a rave review from someone returning there after twenty years in Architectural Digest. The city went into steep decline after I left for college in the late eighties, but I understand that the area the author settled in has remained stable.

The author's review of a seafood restaurant in my old end of town is a good sample and was a good gauge for me:
The Mayflower Cafe got a nod, too. (Image by Michael Browning, via Unsplash, license.)

Walk in and your eyes take a minute to adjust to the low lights. The curved booths and formica tables remain untouched since their installation in the 1950s and this, plus a jukebox crammed with Patsy Cline, gives the entire place a delightfully David Lynch-ian vibe. The fish and steaks here are excellent, but the real standout is this restaurant's version of comeback sauce, a local specialty that works as both salad dressing and condiment. Put it on everything and strike up a conversation with your waitress. You're in for an unforgettable night.
I plan to refer to this as a guide the next time I visit Mississippi, probably some time after the pandemic is over.

-- CAV


Dinwar said...

I never bought the 8-hours-of-sleep thing, especially after having children. Babies don't have regular sleep schedules, for a variety of reasons, which means at least one parent is always going to be sleep deprived. I remember many nights where I went without sleep so my wife could rest, and vice versa. Given that, if the horror stories about 8 hours of sleep being absolutely required for survival were true, our species would have died out in the first generation. It is obvious that we can function on less; it's equally obvious that there's not going to be long-term consequences. Our reproductive strategy forbids it from being true.

I generally try to get 7-8 hours of sleep, but I know I need a lot of sleep. I can work on less--I can work on none if need be--but migraines and the associated insomnia mean that I randomly don't get to sleep, so I try to remain well-rested when I can.

Gus Van Horn said...

Yes. Kids. How could I forget that?