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whatsthatsound On January - 7 - 2010

Sleep; who needs it? And who doesn’t? Isaac Asimov called it a waste of time, whereas John Lennon wrote one of his most mesmerizing songs in praise of it. My personal alliances are with Mr. Lennon, a warm bed to collapse into at night being one of life’s little pleasures for me. On the other hand, some people I know sleep as little as they can get away with, either due to personal preference ( a la Mr. Asimov) or the demands of their jobs. Adult humans might spend anywhere from a third to a mere sixth of their lives in dreamland. But what about our fellow mammals? Who are theAsimovs of the animal world, and who are the (to me, far more sensible) Lennons?

Giraffes – These are critters after Mr. Asimov’s own heart. Not only do they look like inhabitants of one of his more unusual worlds, they sleep less than the great man himself! In fact, they sleep less than anybody. They are the true Night Owls of the animal kingdom. They burn the midnight oil, are up with the roosters, catch the worm, etc. etc.; there’s not a cliche about sleeplessness these guys don’t have covered. For they get by on a mere ninety minutes of sleep per 24 hour period. And even that isn’t all at once. Because these giant creatures are such an obvious target, they have to be on the lookout for predators almost continuously. So, the same evolutionary process that endowed them with those crane-like necks also rigged it so that their sleep needs are met by little naps of between five and twenty minutes or so. The next time you’re on a safari, consider that the giraffe who’s picture you snap might be the reincarnation of some workaholic ancestor of yours who thought that sleep was for wimps.

Elephants never forget, and they rarely sleep. What keeps the largest and strongest land animal on earth up at night, I can’t imagine, but sleepless nights are the norm for pachyderms. Sleepless days, too. Rivaling the giraffe in terms of how little shuteye they require, our giant friends get by on around two or three hours of sleep per cycle. This is roughly the same amount as horses, who, like giraffes and elephants, sleep standing up. Rhinos get by on just a few hours too. They can nap standing up, but for their deep sleep periods they lie down.

How much sleep do our closest relatives (chimps, gorillas, orangutans) get a night, compared to our average of eight hours? Well, if you, like me, find sleep to be one of life’s treats, then you may think you’ve ended up on the wrong branch of the Tree of Life. Our genetic cousins generally get between twelve and thirteen hours of quality time with the sandman. Which makes one wonder, if it’s good enough for these guys, with whom we differ in less than ten percent of our DNA makeup, why isn’t it good enough for us, and are we really the smartest apes?

Hippos are hard to pin down. These giant mammals spend most of their lives underwater, and yet they breathe through nostrils (they are in fact said to be the closest living land animals to whales, who have evolved an entirely different breathing apparatus). They have been observed napping on land, but as for their underwater lives, how do they sleep without drowning? First, they make themselves airtight; they fold their ears over on themselves and close up their nostrils before sinking into the water. Then, while asleep, their bodies rise several times throughout a sleep period for more air. But is it a sleepwalker’s sleep, or is it more like getting up and going to the bathroom? If the former, then hippos seem to get about sixteen hours of sleep, far more than their fellow, earthbound, giants, the elephants.

Lions and Tigers and Bears – Oh, my! The living is easy at the top of the food chain! Anyone with a pet cat knows that their furry friends sleep like it’s a lifelong calling, and it’s no different for the big fellas. Lions average around fourteen to sixteen hours, with the lucky males sleeping up to twenty. Like all big cats, the females use tremendous amounts of energy when they are called upon for a hunt and kill. The male’s job is to protect the pride, which means he has less to do on the average day. He sleeps all that time because he can, basically. Same for tigers, and big cats in general. As for bears, they seem to have it even easier; they get to “sleep” a whole season! Technically, bears don’t really hibernate. Their metabolism doesn’t change radically from normal waking hours in comparison to true hibernators like squirrels. Scientists call what bears do “winter lethargy”, which means they basically just zone out during the cold months. Not a bad deal, right? When you’re a bear, you don’t even have to bother with Do Not Disturb signs.

The Platypus – Looking like it decided to go to a Halloween Party dressed as Darwin’s Missing Link, the platypus has puzzled and perplexed people ever since it was discovered. It seems to be going out of its way to be an oddball in nearly every respect, and sleep is no different. For one thing, playpuses are said to be the only mammal that doesn’t dream, at least not as indicated by the study of dreaming. They have the deep REM sleep associated with dreams (in fact, they rank first among mammals in this regard, up to eight hours, compared to two for the average human), but not the accompanying frontal lobe activity. On the other hand, not being platypuses themselves, can scientists really say for sure whether they can dream or not?  Which raises the question: if they dodream, can they possibly dream of anything more unusual than –  a platypus?

It seems almost unholy, or at least not wholly appropriate, to name the Sloth after one of The Seven Deadly Sins. Though long thought to be champion sleepers (up to eighteen hours a day) a recent study led by Dr. Neil Rattenborg reveals that these slow moving critters manage a mere ten, not that much more than a human. And this on a diet of leaves so poor in nutrition that they are forced to conduct their waking activities at an exceedingly slow pace. “Lazy”, indeed! They are just coping with their environment. Perhaps the true sloths are the folks who live on a diet of chips and suds when much healthier alternatives are readily available, but that might be taking us into Gluttony territory.

We come now to the Sultans of Somnolence, the champion sleepers of the mammal kingdom. I am tempted to give the award, with no further research necessary, to my own pet ferret, Rosie. Rosie not only sleeps more than ninety percent of her life, she has developed sleep into an art form. She can sleep in any position, from pretzel like contortions that make it impossible to discern how the body parts connect,  to stretched out like a bear rug. She can sleep just about anywhere, including my head (I have a picture of this if you want proof)! Furthermore, she seems to never tire of finding new places around the home to sleep, which means precautions must be taken before throwing anything away. In general, though, although ferrets certainly rank in the higher echelons of sleepdom (at sixteen to eighteen hours) they don’t get the blue ribbon. That honor goes to the little brown bat. These little guys get plenty of, er, “beauty” sleep (of the “eye of the beholder” type, it seems), managing a mere two to three hours of wakefulness per cycle. They have company; koalas and armadillos are animals with low metabolisms that sleep about twenty hours out of twenty four.

So there you have it. On a mammalian scale, we humans and our roughly eight hours end up pretty much smack dab in the middle. We share the world with creatures who make do on far less, and others who couldn’t imagine life without at least twice as much. So if you worry that you’re sleeping your life away, remember the lions and bears, kings of their realms, mostly dozing. And if you’re frazzled from too few hours in bed, remember the stately giraffe, ever alert, ever watchful, going through life with eyes wide open.

Written by whatsthatsound

Writer, Illustrator, Curmudgeon. Ferret Owner. Tokyoite, formerly Ohioan. Much nicer in person.

122 Responses so far.

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  1. boomer1949 says:


    Not only informative, but an absolute pleasure to read and your illustrations are wonderful. What a gift you have been blessed with. Have you ever thought about writing and/or illustrating books for children?

    You forgot one species though — the human adolescent. Where, exactly, would one of these — male or female — fall in the sleep chain? Every parent of a teen would pay big bucks for your expertise on the subject.

    Wonderful piece — thank you for sharing. :-)

  2. KQuark says:

    Whew! OK WTS this is what I ended up doing to keep the quality. First I tried to resize the image in your post but it looked too fuzzy. Probably because the editor does not resize images that well. So what I did was took the full res image you uploaded and shrunk it in my image editor to one third the size. Then when I uploaded that image I resized it to 600 pixels wide which is about the width of our columns on the planet but I linked it to your original high res image so if someone clicks on it the image will zoom to full size.

    I hope this makes sense.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Hi KQ, Not only does it make sense, but I realize you went to a lot of effort on my behalf. Thanks so much! The image looks great now; this is how I wanted it all to look. Working on my next one now….

    • Questinia says:

      We women folk are loving Whatsie and KQ.

      I’m also on pain meds!

    • Chernynkaya says:

      KQ-- first of all, ditto to what WTS said about you-- you’re a real keeper!

      Second-- wow- his fantastic illustration looks amazing!! Kudos to you and BRAVO to WTS!

  3. whatsthatsound says:

    Thanks, everyone for the great comments. The dreaming aspect deserves a whole new article, it seems! I’m off to work now, so I’ll catch you all later.

    Please don’t spoil my day, I’m miles away, and after all….

  4. PepeLepew says:

    This is a little awkward to write about, because it’s a little personal, but I have gotten a lot of ideas for stories from dreams, including a couple that got published.
    I have what is apparently a somewhat rare ability to “control” my dreams — it’s called lucid dreaming. It’s like my brain sets up a ridiculous scenario and I’m supposed to figure out how to get through it. I know it’s a dream; I know it’s not real, and I just roll with it. Often times I’m either playing a character or I’m just following a character as an observer. I can’t do it all the time, maybe about half the time. I still have the recurring nightmares that I’m back in school and I haven’t done any reading or homework all year … or that I’ve moved into a new house or apartment that’s a complete dump…
    I finally decided to incorporate lucid dreaming into a new story. One of the characters has the ability to control her dreams, and this leads to all sorts of complications ….

    • kesmarn says:

      Pepe, what a valuable skill--lucid dreaming. Apparently you’re really connected to your subconscious. I’d love to read your story about the woman who could control her dreams.

      Those school dreams are one of the most universal, aren’t they? For years after I graduated, I still had the classic anxiety dream of having forgotten that I had registered for a class at the beginning of the semester, then remembering during finals week that I had neglected to attend a single class, or even to buy the textbook. Yet, somehow I was expected to take the final. Terrifying.

      Now, rarely I have a dream that it’s nearly the end of my shift at work and I have not been able to see one or more of my patients AT ALL for the whole eight hours. Equally terrifying, in a Cheney/Bush healthcare kinda way.

      The house or apartment dream is familiar, too. In my case, I’ve purchased (lord knows how) some gigantic old mansion and, after having lived in it for quite a while, I realize that there are whole wings of it that I never knew existed. I explore and explore and there always seem to be more rooms to discover.

      That’s a really fun one.

      • Khirad says:

        Is it really abnormal to still occasionally have cold sweat dreams that I’m still in high school or got held back, or do I have seriously unresolved issues?

        And yeah, I know what Pepe is talking about too. I’ve done that, when I’m not having a colorful, stylized, vivid dream. It’s not deep sleep, it’s when I feel I’m sorta conscious, actively aware it’s a dream, but when I wake up I realize I was asleep, maybe not deepest REM, but definitely under.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          Yep, you’re psychotic. 😆

          I still have those high-school dreams rarely, so I am psychotic too. And of course you have unresolved issues! Who doesn’t?

          • kesmarn says:

            Cher, not only psycho, but “evil” too, in my case. Or so I’ve been told, on good authority!!


            • Chernynkaya says:

              Yes, and with all my heart, I hope you can laugh about that soon, since it is hysterically ludicrous. If you are evil, I am either the anti-Christ or a black hole of heavy, imploding evil.

              Seriously, I am so sorry she said that, but you must know it only speaks to how disturbed she is. It stung, I know-- but a sting is not a wound, right?

            • kesmarn says:

              See? That proves it…you almost burned your nose because of evil me.

              I really am kidding, now!! All better!

            • Khirad says:

              I am the anti-christ, the black hole of heavy imploding evil…

              Ever thought of writing Black Metal lyrics? That was bruutal! :-)

              Thanks for the heads up kesmarn. It’s good to be kept in the loop. As if I don’t sometimes feel I’m losing it already -- hehe!

            • Chernynkaya says:

              Kes, as soon as I read that she called you evil, coffee almost came out of my nose in a spit-take!

            • kesmarn says:

              Cher, just the thought that you and others didn’t buy it is somehow so comforting that the sting is already gone. That’s when the comedy aspect of it all kicks in, and for that I thank you.

              Khirad, in case you’re wondering what the heck we’re talking about, this is in reference to a remark my sister made to me--namely, that I am eeeeeevillll…! We talked about this last night, hence the reference.

        • kesmarn says:

          Khirad, when you’re back in high school in the dream, are you the age that you are now? Because—that is the worst!! You get word when you’re already well launched in your career that, due to a technical error, your transcript is incomplete and it is essential that you go back and do a re-do on Chemistry. So you have to return to your alma mater as a full grown adult and sit next to the 15 year olds to get your last %$#&%$ credit.

          Apparently we both have seriously unresolved issues.


      • BigDogMom says:

        When I do sleep and dream, like you, I’m always am in a old house or building that has many rooms, the rooms seem to be all connected and go on forever.

        Probably because I notice details in real life, the rooms always have dark wood trim and ornate fireplace mantels and I seem to always searching for something or trying to find places that I can hide.

        It reminds me of that movie of the house that never stopped growing, it was a 70’s horror flick can’t remember the movies name, but it was based on a book.

        Last night, I had one of these dreams, when I did finally fall asleep…wound up in a lovely old bathroom hiding from a man who I didn’t want to find me. Stupid me, left the bathroom and moved to hide in the adjoining closet…that’s when he spotted me.

        Then I woke up…

        • kesmarn says:

          BDM, I got a phone call, so it took forever for me to get back to your post.

          Your dream sounds very similar to mine. I don’t recall having the “scary pursuit” factor in any of mine, but I don’t often remember my dreams very clearly.

          In the other details it’s very much like, though. Isn’t it strange how there seem to be such consistencies in the human brain--that a fair number of us actually have similar dreams?

          And, thank goodness, we always seem to wake up right before that tsunami wave crashes or the bad guy in the mansion catches us!

      • Chernynkaya says:

        Kesmarn, that mansion dream — where you have more unexplored rooms--is easily interpreted isn’t it? I never had that one, but it’s a real gem!

        I have had numerous exam dreams though! And last week my teenage daughter told me she dreamed she was naked on the bus-- another classic I’ve never had.

        • Khirad says:

          What is it about the bus? I’ve had that classic one.

          • kesmarn says:

            I think it must be the combination of a captive audience for the involuntary stripper and minimal opportunities for escape! The perfect storm of embarrassment.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              I think you got it-- if we’re going to deal with embarrassment, I guess we make it as embarrassing as we can stand.

        • kesmarn says:

          Cher, I feel like an idiot, but--no--I don’t know what the mansion dream means! Tell! tell!

        • javaz says:

          What is the interpretation of dreams that take place in foreign, huge houses, do you know?
          I have them a lot and some times I’m exploring the same house and they are fun dreams.
          And I’ve had the naked dreams, too, where I’m at school or work, and talking to someone and then I notice that I’m naked and am so embarrassed. Funny thing about them dreams, though, is that no one else seems to notice that I’m naked!

    • Chernynkaya says:

      I have those too, Pepe, but I didn’t realize they were lucid dreams. Like you, about 1/2 the time I know I am in a dream. Sometimes I like it, sometimes not. Once, because I knew I was dreaming, I stopped it and immediately wished I hadn’t once I awoke, because I sensed I was about to conquer something but chickened out.

      And I wonder if it’s hereditary, because my son used to do the same thing when he was little. He used to have the typical dream where a monster was chasing him. After several of these, he consciously decided he would stop running from the monster and confront it. He reported to me that when he did that, the monster ate him. Oh, well.

      • Questinia says:

        I think if you can control your dreams, you can control your reality better. People who are prone to nightmares, from PTSD for instance, as they get better have more control in their dreams. It may make sense that the obverse is true.

        • Chernynkaya says:

          Funny, I don’t feel in control of anything! But then, I’m not really trying. But seriously, what you say makes perfect sense. I do think that once we feel we have a modicum of control, we have fewer terrible nightmares.

          • Questinia says:

            Well, you have the enviable ability to fall asleep on a dime!

            I love the fact that your son reports the monster ate him! It would be interesting to see whether that changes as he gets older.

            • Chernynkaya says:

              😀 Oh, he’s thirty now, and has different monsters.But we still tell each other our dreams. And I loved that the monster ate him too-- so opposite of fairy tales! When he was about six, he drew a picture of one of his dreams-- not very flattering to me as a mom, but he dreamed I had a radio that played nightmares, and I could turn them on at a whim. 😥

            • kesmarn says:

              Hey, when my daughter was four, she got mad at me and said: “You know what? You’re the type of person who never should have had children.” (She was a very verbal four year old.)
              Talk about a knife being plunged right into your aorta…

            • Chernynkaya says:

              Ouch indeed, Khirad! I still deny I was Mommy Dearest! And my son and I are very close. but, yeah, OUCH!

            • Khirad says:


    • whatsthatsound says:

      That’s a rare ability. I envy you! I read an article once that was supposed to help people become lucid dreamers. ( I had one that included Beyonce and mountains of whipped cream that I was working on….) but I couldn’t get it to work. So I remain a clueless dreamer, but the experiences I have in my dreams are truly amazing nonetheless.

  5. Chernynkaya says:

    Whatsthatsound, what a fun article! Nobody writes about sleep even though it is such a big part of our lives! I really enjoyed this--thanks.

    OK, I have always been a champion sleeper-- or a champion slacker, depending on your point of view. But I alternate between loving that I sleep so well and hating that I need so much. I have one friend who literally needs fewer that 4-5 hours consistently-- damn him! He seems to get so much more done.

    But other friends envy me my ability to sleep in airports, on planes--anywhere I want, especially if I am bored. I once slept all the way from LA to Israel, with only a short semi-awake state in New York to refuel. Ditto LA to Thailand, when I only opened my eyes at Narita in Japan for an hour. That’s about 22 hours!

    Plus, I am a big dreamer-- every night, to the point when I get up, I am almost exhausted from my dreams. (And apparently, I talk in my sleep and laugh, says my husband. He says he’s constantly startled awake by one of my somnambulist declarations.) Just last night, he claims I said, very loudly, “I’M Mrs. Johnson! Thank you…” (I am really NOT Mrs. Johnson.)

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Thank you, Cher, Kesmarn, and BDM for your great comments. You know what I was doing, while you were writing them, I am sure! Yes, being in Tokyo means I don’t always get to take part in the fun here at POV.
      The subject of dreams, which you all mention, is an extraordinary topic of interest for me. I am actually helping a woman here create a “Dream Album”. She has amazing dreams, filled with allegory and drama, and I sketch them out for her in watercolors. It’s a great ongoing project.
      Like Cher, my dreams are rich and otherworldly, often. And flying dreams are my favorites, as well as being able to breathe regularly while moving about underwater.
      As to the therapeutic use of dreams for animals, I can only imagine. But it would be interesting to learn what sensations are activated when they dream. For example, I would presume that dogs “smell” things when they dream. I wonder what that’s like.

      I’ll let Heart have the last word on the subject, with “These Dreams”

      • KQuark says:

        All props go to you for a piece like this. You dropped some real knowledge on us and I will never think about sleep the same way again as it pertains to our class of vertebrates. Sure talk about politics and current events is interesting but very fleeting at the same time because such few events really amount to history.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Thanks, KQ! That means a lot to me. I have often felt that sleep is too underlooked of a topic. There are scads of books about work, sex, child raising and food (the other primary preoccupations of humans) but far less on sleep, and yet it is our most personal, and probably our lengthiest, experience.

      • kesmarn says:

        WTS, have to ask you: did you do the water color illustration for your article?

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Yep, that’s mine. I call these “visual essays” because they include both writing and artwork. I published one about movies before you got here, and there will be more!

          • KQuark says:

            Brilliant! Absolutely Brilliant! I did not zoom in the picture until I saw this comment, duh. The small image did not do it justice. We should really have a picture gallery for talented work like this.

            I hope you don’t mind I saved the image and if I use it as a background for a while on my laptop.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              No, not at all! In fact, KQ, would it be possible to blow it up a bit. I tried dragging and clicking on the corner but couldn’t get that to work. If you, or someone that is so good with this stuff, could do that I’d be so appreciative.

            • whatsthatsound says:

              KQ, you are truly one of my favorite people. Ever gracious, ever thoughtful, ever willing to assist. And oh so well versed in things like computers and science that continually perplex me!

            • KQuark says:

              I would love to. I would have done it before but I did not know you wanted it bigger.

          • kesmarn says:

            Well, dagnabbitt! You’ve got to be a little pushier about getting that info out there, WTS. You can’t get to be a temperamental artist if you don’t toot your own horn a little bit. I suspect you did your avatar as well, you multi-talented person, you?

            • whatsthatsound says:

              Sorry! I just assumed that because the picture is so directly related to the writing that it would be obvious. You have to click on the picture to see it more clearly. Rosie, the ferret is sleeping down at the bottom, next to the little brown bat.
              The avatar is mine too, yes. I really do look like that.

      • Chernynkaya says:

        I love the idea of an illustrated dream book. I often write down my more vivid and extensive dreams-- and they are extensive! As an artist, I should illustrate them too, but I always worry it will look like Chagall, but not as nearly as good.Oh, who cares-- that’s just my rationalizing talking.

        Byt the way, I am also a champion daydreamer. Serious daydreamer! I wonder if there is a correlation?

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Probably a definite correlation.
          And my Italian friend has been keeping her journal for twenty years, so she has established a connection to her dream life that most of us never do. It not only makes it richer for her, it makes it more spiritual growth oriented. Her dreams guide her now. Mine do too, though not to the extent hers does. I think she is “multicultural” being as alive and experienced in her dream life as her waking one.

  6. kesmarn says:

    You make it look easy, WTS! The article writing, I mean. Such intriguing research, so smoothly, elegantly written, and with such a light touch of good humor. Perfect.

    On the issue of dreams: you have to wonder what purpose they serve? For humans as well as animals? Are they therapeutic in any way for critters, as they seem to be for us?

    Anyone ever have the more-or-less classic dreams? Ever face a gigantic tsunami-type wave roaring at you while you sleep? Or have the experience of trying to drive an unsteerable car downhill with apparently no brakes? Or suddenly discover that you had the ability to fly--seemingly just discovered it--after a lifetime of not realizing you could? Gotta wonder what all that means!

  7. BigDogMom says:

    “To sleep, perchance to dream-ay, there’s the rub.”

    Hamlet (III, i, 65-68)

    WTS wonderful article….I am jealous of all those who can sleep, my days of 8 hrs. of restful sleep I fear are lost forever for me….ah, to be like the lion, tiger or ferret!

    I seem of late to be in the Giraffe and Elephant category…Oh, wo is me.

  8. abby4ever says:

    Bowerbirds! I know why you love them, WTS. We saw a BBC special about two months ago on these wonderful creatures. The nests! They are huge and the males spend weeks and weeks building them and then decorating them. To attract a female.

    What camera work!

    Well, this one male bowerbird had put the usual stuff on his nest: berries, twigs, leaves, dead flowers, the occasional candy wrapper left by some hiker. He was just finishing up when he spotted one of those tiny Coke cans that you see in shops, they hold about 3 oz of Coke, and he got it in his beak and then dragged it over and put it right on top of the huge nest he had spent weeks building.

    Kind of like a baker putting the bride and groom on top of a ten-layer wedding cake.

    And when you see the females fly in, to inspect the nests… yikes their fussy!!!… and they reject one, you feel so sorry for that male bowerbird who went to all that work all for nothing, that you could just break down and cry.

  9. Khirad says:

    My views on the matter?

    Le sommeil est plein de miracles!
    Sleep is filled with miracles!

    -- Baudelaire, “R

    • Chernynkaya says:

      From my own experience, you’re right, Khirad. I’m a dreamy, lazy artist. But, my hair grows faster than those who sleep less, and I look younger-- better cellular repair. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! :-)

    • KQuark says:

      Loved Dogma one of my faves and great reference.

      • Khirad says:

        OT, but one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history:

        • KQuark says:

          Classic. Like the late great George Carlin said “I was Catholic until the age of reason”.

          I watched “Canadian Bacon” today which was not a great satire like Dr. Strangelove but it had it’s moments. I don’t know if you remember it but the movie was based on going to war with Canada after the fall of the Soviet block. The one part that tickled me was mention of breaking the Helm’s amendment which was an amendment that the US could not go to war with Caucasian peoples.

          • Khirad says:

            Canadian Bacon was also prescient in many ways, no? Also, I never tire of Canadian humor, the Canuck-phobic John Candy was a nice touch. I also giggled uncontrollably about the guy at the Canada desk.

            • KQuark says:

              Yes it was. Got to keep that MIC going after all.

              Me too. I went to school in upstate NY right across the lake from Toronto so we got their TV stations. It was actually pretty funny because then SCTV and the McKenzie brothers were at the height of their popularity. But alas I’m an anglophile above all.

              If you liked Dogma you have to catch the series Father Ted sometimes. It’s actually done by a group of Irish actors and the creator was Irish but it was a brilliant parody of the Catholic church. I probably told you about he series before but I won’t let up until someone else on the Planet sees it as well.

            • Khirad says:

              One too many a summer trip as a kid to Victoria and Vancouver for me. Got Canadian TV when visiting my grandma too. My dad says growing up (where Beck did too, ugh) he became more familiar with hockey and even curling than most other Americans. Said their news was often better, even back then.

              I’ve meant to watch Father Ted, watched bits of it, but never all the way through. Got it mixed up with one poking fun of Anglicans, too, I think?

              I’m an anglophile above all else too, except when it comes to being a celtophile, that is. It’s a term I have issues with at times, hehe. 😉

            • abby4ever says:

              KQ: I just left you something on the Time Out For OT thread, about the Father Ted thing…

            • KQuark says:

              Awesome another Father Ted fan.

              We liked it so much we bought it on DVD when it became available in America.

            • abby4ever says:

              We watch Father Ted whenever it’s on, usually with friends and some popcorn and lager.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Very interesting article about the hedgehog and the fox. I’d heard that phrase before, but never knew what it was about.

  10. abby4ever says:

    To what’sthatsound: you finally published it! And it was worth waiting for, for the research you did that so informs us about these creatures, and for the humor too.

    Well done, what’s.

    • Khirad says:

      The research was not lost on me either. Tangent, when I was in preschool, always shy, we were to imitate our favorite animals. I stayed silent. When the teacher goaded me, I simply said I was a giraffe. I know realize I am nothing like a giraffe, though lanky!

      • KQuark says:

        Hell your articles on Iran alone must have taken hours and hours. I’ve been lazy lately but after I get my new pacemaker/ICD I promise to write some deeper articles if all goes well.

    • KQuark says:

      Ditto the research and effort wts has done to create this article is not lost on me either. One page of a well researched article usually takes 10-50 pages of research depending on the subject and luck.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Thanks, Abby!

      • abby4ever says:

        to what’s: I’ve got your article in its own window now, I am reading it again. It is amazing, the research you did; but also the way you present it. As I say in my bio, I am passionate about ‘all creatures great and small’. I am no expert on them, hardly, and I didn’t know any of this about their sleeping habits.

        I am passionate about animals and things, in part because of their innocence. It is that last that gets to my heart…and makes me crazy with anger when people mistreat them. It’s why I left that Tozer quote in my bio: ‘The abuse of a harmless thing is the essence of sin.’

        What would the world be like, what’s, given the awful things that go on it, especially nowadays, if we didn’t have these lovely creatures, that have no arrogance or dark motivations or any self-serving agendas? That last is what I mean by ‘innocent’.

        They simply exist and are unpretentious about it. Of the physically beautiful ones, they have no idea of their own beauty…and this explains, in part, their innocence. Sure, some have some concept of what natural beauty is, bowerbirds seem to know, but I mean they haven’t got any idea of the effect of their beauty upon human beings. Therefore they don’t try to use it, like some human beings do, to advance themselves.

        I have run amok. That the world would not be bearable without them, is what I’m really saying here.

        Anyway, I just love your article.

        • whatsthatsound says:

          Thanks so much, Abby; very thoughtful and insightful comments. About bowerbirds, I LOVE them! They are truly one of the most extraordinary animals on this earth. I’d love to know what goes on in their minds as they gingerly place those berries and shells and whatever they can get their beaks on around their bowers. I’ve already got greyhounds, and now bowerbirds to consider doing articles on. Perhaps I need a Pt 2.

  11. PepeLepew says:

    I know of some trolls on HP that only appear to get two or three hours of sleep a day! :)

  12. escribacat says:

    What a delightful article, WTS. Of course, I think you should put greyhounds in there. Greyhounds sleep about 20 to 22 hours a day. They can sleep curled up or on their backs with their legs straight up in the air — this is known as the “dead cockroach.” They also often sleep with their eyes open. They often dream, scrabbling around with their feet and making little yipping noises. They also fart in their sleep. The most amazing thing about them is, they ALWAYS wake up cheerful and happy.

    • PepeLepew says:

      I’ve often wondered what’s going on with dogs when they make whimpering noises in their sleep or when cats are chattering. I’ve woken my dog up a couple of times because it sounded like he was having a nightmare.

    • Kalima says:

      LOL! Add snoring and your greyhounds sound just like my cats.

      • KQuark says:

        Our Arthur is the big snorer.

        • Kalima says:

          Many years ago we had four Siamese that slept in our bed, used our pillows and hogged the bed. Hubby had 2 on his side, I had 2 on mine. In the dead of night, they all started to snore and suddenly we had stereo, it was hard to sleep but we never tried to wake them up, that was left to out little Abyssinian, who would pop up from under the bedclothes to bite their tails. When I think about it now I have to laugh, it was a madhouse but somehow we managed to sleep. eventually.

          • KQuark says:

            😆 I would love to have heard that. Penny is part Abyssinian. There are such a friendly attentive breed.

            Penny always sleeps by my feet and Arthur has his own makeshift bed of the corner of our bed that is on top of a storage box covered with his favorite blanket. He watches out for us at night.

            • Kalima says:

              I adore Abyssinians, we’ve had 4 and now only 12 year old Coco is left. They are incredibly friendly, she greets everyone who comes into the house. If I could have just one wish, it would be to eat a peaceful meal by myself, it’s never going to happen.

              I had no idea that Penny was part Abyssinian, maybe it is her colour, what a delight. You are never alone with an Abys! :)

      • escribacat says:

        Greyhounds are known as the most cat-like dogs. They don’t run around the house and don’t (or rarely) bark. Mostly they just lie around. They even “purr,” but it’s called chittering. They chitter their teeth when they’re excited. They also do that huffing thing that horses do (that lip flapping thing).

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Wow, Escribat, it sounds like greyhounds deserve an article all to themselves. Ferrets don’t fart; they are far too dainty for that!

      • KQuark says:

        Funny story. I got my younger cat Arthur from a coworker and she brought him to work one afternoon when he was a wee kitten. When she took him out of the little cage so I can pet him the first time he let of this foul stench from the bowels of hell that pretty much cleared the room. Fortunately his real bad gas only lasted a few days it must have been the food she was feeding him. Actually come to think of it we got him so small he could have been just weened.

      • escribacat says:

        In my house I have many candles and many spray air fresheners!

  13. KQuark says:

    WTS a truly fascinating article. Probably the most interesting aspect I learned from it is how evolutionary development obviously plays a factor in how many hours a mammal sleeps. The fact that a platypus is the only mammal that does not dream really shows how they are a sub-mammal but I hope I did not offend their feelings too much.

    I can’t believe some cities, states and even countries ban ferret as pets. I had no idea and had no idea they slept so much.

    I’ve heard people go even further like my wife who says she does not like to sleep because it reminds her of death. Of course then the argument becomes when were you dead but obviously it’s academic. I am someone who hates to go to sleep early and am a true night owl for as long as I could remember but when I finally get to sleep I hate to wake up. I use to live of on 5-6 hours of sleep a night (of course I would make some up on weekends) but my body now dictates that I must bet 8-10 hours.

    • Khirad says:

      There’s been studies, I believe (you would know better), that us night owls are not morally destitute, lazy, or whatever, but that it’s genetic. Also, I feel anything but dead, sometimes I feel more alive in dreams, as vivid as they are, than the humdrum of daily life.

      • KQuark says:

        I totally agree with you about dreams. I can’t tell you how much they helped me come up with creative ideas in my research as well. The chemist Kekule came up with the structure of benzene in a dream.

        I always loved having visions of molecules dancing in my head.

        The only time I did not like my dreams was when I faced cancer and first had to deal with my own mortality and for a couple of years I had guilt driven dreams when I had to stop working.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Thanks, KQ. I don’t understand the laws about ferrets either. I think it’s New York and California, and the laws are simply outdated and need to be taken off the books. They are really adorable and friendly creatures, but they need continual stimulation during those precious few hours when they’re awake.

    • abby4ever says:

      “Of course then the argument becomes when were you dead but obviously it

      • KQuark says:

        I laughed when she first said it too. I’ve actually been clinically dead and can’t answer that question. No going to the white light or OBE, no nothing.

        • PepeLepew says:

          I once had a doctor tell me I “ought to be dead.”

        • abby4ever says:

          I didn’t know and of course didn’t mean to laugh at something that serious. It was the sentence itself (the way it was worded) plus I thought you were making a little joke.

          • KQuark says:

            I was not offended at all I laughed when my wife first said that but obviously my attempt at gallows humor failed again. I know many people don’t understand my cavalier attitude towards death but having dealt with the possibility as much as I have humor is the best defense but really my ultimate fate does not phase me anymore.

            • abby4ever says:

              KQ: It didn’t fail, if I laughed. And I did!

              I’m still a little gun-shy about being misunderstood in posts. One of the first things I learned about blogging is how easily a person can be misunderstood in a post. It’s because, obviously, we can’t see each other’s faces, eyes, body language. All of which, when you can see it, helps others to know the meaning (and intention) of your words. E.g. sometimes our words are taken for sarcasm, when they are not meant that way, other times when we mean them that way, no one gets it …because they didn’t see us roll our eyes when we said it. Ha!

              A while ago I was going to do a little article (not for Planet) on all this and use the term ‘blogophobia’ and define it this way: ‘the tendency of bloggers to read too much into the content of someone’s post, a kind of paranoia peculiar to the blogging world, that is to some extent unavoidable…’ and then add stuff about how our not being physically present so that people can see us when we speak, is what makes it unavoidable.

              Anyway, you know all this, you are experienced. Me, I am just learning.


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