Wednesday, September 28, 2005

This Post Will Put You to Sleep!

I snore. No, that’s not right. I impersonate a jackhammer. Sometimes my kids burst into the room because they think we’re having an earthquake.

Snoring results from vibration of the soft palate. When we sleep, the palate relaxes. If it closes, then when air is drawn in and out, the palate is pushed open and it slams shut in rapid succession, causing that buzz saw sound. It’s the same principle that’s behind burping and farting.

Snoring can be more than an irritation. It can cause sleep apnea, a condition where insufficient oxygen reaches the brain. Some people’s brain oxygen drops to only 20% of normal levels. This can damage brain cells, leading to reduced mental capacity and the desire to appear on American Idol.

Sometimes oxygen deprivation will wake the apneatic up. In fact, this can happen dozens or even hundreds of times a night, robbing the person of deep, restful sleep and causing him/her to be tired during the day.

There is a device for apneatics, called a CPAP (constant positive air pressure). It’s a pump that supplies constant air pressure into the person’s nose and/or mouth via a mask. It overcomes the vacuum caused by a closed soft palate, enabling the person to inhale adequate amounts of air.

How can you tell whether you have sleep apnea? The easiest way is to undergo a sleep study. I did this, and I’ll tell you about it so you can see that it’s no big deal. The attendant hooked up 17 electrodes to my head, face, shoulders, legs and little finger; these would monitor my heart rate, respiration and blood oxygen level. An infrared camera was pointed at me so the attendant could watch me from an adjacent room.

The attendant told me to do what I normally do before I go to sleep. So I did, and as a result they now have a film of me spanking the monkey, which will be available soon at Blockbuster. No, seriously, I would never do that during a sleep study. On a bus maybe, but not when undergoing medical observation. But I did tell the technician that I normally have sex before retiring, and suggested that the two of us “get it on” in order to put me at ease. Well, he was not very receptive to the idea and proceeded to attach the electrodes to me with Super Glue.

As I sat there getting wired up, I thought about how I used to be a young, thin athlete. Now I’m a middle-aged, mildly overweight test subject. I had visions of myself 40 years later, being attended to at the nursing home by people who haven’t even been born yet.

The electrodes were fed into a computer that did a polysomnography, which is a test that records a variety of body functions during sleep, such as the electrical activity of the brain, eye movement, muscle activity, heart rate, respiratory effort, air flow, and blood oxygen levels.

I managed to get a good night’s sleep despite the electrodes, and the good news is that I don’t have sleep apnea. I did snore, but my oxygen levels stayed high.

In the morning, I was glad that I had short hair as the attendant removed the electrodes from my head, leaving behind some sticky white globs of paste. I felt like I had just had an affair with Bill Clinton.

So what can you do to alleviate snoring and apnea? Well, these problems can be exacerbated by a number of things, such as obesity and alcohol, so don’t be a fat drunk. When I drink, I sleep on the couch in deference to my wife because my snoring would wake Beethoven. But I don’t drink every night, so I only sleep on the couch four or five nights a week.

Sleeping on one’s back seems to cause more snoring and apnea than other positions do. A trick that some people use is to sew or tape a tennis ball to the back of their night shirt; this keeps them from sleeping on their back. I find that my wife’s elbow is an adequate snoring stopper, especially when applied to my face or ribs.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Getting to Know You

You know those “get-to-know-you” E-mails that circulate, where you answer questions for the purpose of revealing personal information to people you’ve never met? Well, here is one such survey and my answers.

If you could eat lunch with a famous person, who would it be?
I don’t think being famous makes anyone cool, but if I had to choose someone, it would be whoever would pick up the check.

What are your favorite TV shows?

No contest: Simpsons, South Park, and Family Guy. Also Married With Children, which was cancelled several years back so that we can now have wonderful programming like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and American Idol, which just goes to prove that this nation is full of miscreants.

What would you hate being left in a room with?
Anyone who smokes. A case of warm Budweiser. Linda Tripp.

Can you touch your nose with your tongue?
No, but I can touch my wife’s nose with my tongue.

Where do you prefer to live: beach, city, or country?
Country, preferably the USA.

What is your favorite color?
Clear. No, plaid.

What is your favorite sandwich filling?
Depends on what I’m hungry for. Could be turkey/lettuce/onion/mayo. Could be peanut butter and jelly. Hey, I’m unpredictabpwru3ff8ij2;fd

What characteristic do you most despise?
Intolerant people. I can’t stand them.

Can you juggle? If so, how many?
Well, I juggle my work, family and hobbies, so three.

What’s your favorite day of the week?
Whichever day I’m drinking.

Red or white wine?

Red. Manischewitz is red.

Do you carry a donor card?
Why? Are you looking for a kidney or something?

If you were another person, would you be friends with you?

I don’t know. I’m not schizophrenic enough to know myself as another person.

Do looks matter?
Only in a sex partner. Hey, I’m a guy, okay? And don’t you women tell me that you’d have sex with a guy no matter how fat or ugly he is!

Where is your second home?
Second home?!?! I can barely afford my first one!

Do you have a journal?
I used to. I have a life now.

Do you use sarcasm a lot?
Like it frickin’ matters. Um, I guess yes.

White meat or dark meat?
Are we talking chicken or women?

Do you think you are strong?
Yes I do. But odor isn't everything.

What’s your shoe size?

11 narrow. Like my mind.

Do you prefer red or pink?
Pink. Red means it’s infected.

What is your least favorite thing about yourself?

I’m too perfect. (Hey, plenty of people have told me I’m a perfect

What color pants are you wearing?

What is one thing you notice about the opposite sex?

Their ass. (I’m a guy, remember?)

Scary movies or happy endings?
Happy endings. For example, ending up naked.

Summer or winter?

Summer. (Beer and bikinis.)

Hugs or kisses?
Doesn’t matter, as long as I end up getting laid.

What’s on your mouse pad?

What is in your trunk right now?
My ex-wife.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Here are some sniglets I made up.

BREER - The last beer you had, the one that put you away.

BUMMERANG - A boomerang that won’t come back.

CAMERAFLAGE - Where Alan Funt hides his cameras.

CHORL - To squirm in your chair in an effort to make the same noise it just made, so the other people in the room won’t think it came out of you.

CINEMASPOTS - Those blotches that appear on a movie screen when a reel is about to end.

CONDURANCE - The quality of being able to put up with an annoying person without telling them to shut up.

CONFECTIONETTI - The streamer found in every Hershey’s kiss.

CRUGLES - Bits of corn cob that get stuck in your teeth.

DEEGAB - The poor excuse of a disc jockey who ruins all your favorite songs by talking over the first and last thirty seconds of each of them.

DONTNUT - The one donut left in the box when someone in the office brings in donuts. No one eats the dontnut, and it goes stale and gets thrown away.

DOORMONGER - The jerk who parks so close to your car that you have to get in the other side.

FANTAPLEGIC - Someone who is unable to get out of their chair after drinking too much soda.

FAREFUDGING - Calculations done by airlines to break already-established airfares down into fare and tax, e.g. a $99 flight is $91.67 fare, $7.33 tax.

FLACUUM - A piece of lint that refuses to get picked up by the vacuum.

FLOWBLES - Initial scribbles you make with a pen to get the ink started.

FRIGIDERRIER - A very cold toilet seat.

FRIVOFLASH - The picture you take just to use up the roll of film.

GASPHALT - The culprit of a nasty odor at a party.

GLANCETIPATION - The condition of having your eyes fixed on something and being unable to stop staring.

HOODIMENT - The three millimeters of milk that some jerk left in the milk carton.

JERKOLANTERN - The hollowed-out pumpkin that someone keeps in their window until February.

LOSKING - The one sock you lose in the wash.

MAGNABAR - The solid horizontal line that travels slowly up or down your television screen when the vertical hold is slightly off.

MUMBLETUNE - One of those songs that everyone sings, but very few people seem to know the words to, like “Auld Lang Syne” and “Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay”.

MUMPER - The pothole you try to avoid but hit anyway.

NASHIER - The cashier at the supermarket who won’t believe you when you tell her the price of an unmarked item.

NAVIGUESSER - The person in the passenger seat who reads the road map but still has no idea where you are.

OCUGRIT - That hardened gook you find in your eyes when you wake up.

POSTMORTOCYTES - Popcorn kernels that pop after you shut off the cooker.

PUMPULATION - The act of squeezing a little bit more gasoline into your car’s gas tank so the amount you owe is an even dollar amount.

PUNCHKINS - The small, round pieces that are formed when you punch holes in a sheet of paper.

RECLINOPHOBIA - The innate fear, while reclining in an airplane seat, that your action is spilling the meal of the person behind you.

SHREN - An old pen that doesn’t work anymore and rips holes in paper when you try writing with it.

SLOIN - The dime you can’t pick up because your fingernails aren’t long enough.

SNACKRONISM - Stray food item in a supermarket that’s on the wrong shelf.

SNOTTOSPHERE - The air around your face after you sneeze.

SOLARIZATION - The act of lying in the sun another hour, even though you know you’re already burnt to a crisp.

SPECTACKLE - A person standing on the sideline at a football game who gets hit by a player that runs out of bounds.

SPOVUM - The one cracked egg that keeps you from buying the whole dozen.

STYROSPECKS - Those blue dots found on styrofoam coolers.

SURPLUTTON - The extra button in an elevator that mysteriously gets pushed, e.g. three people in elevator, four buttons pushed.

TOOFTOB - A little dance done by two people trying to get out of each others’ way.

TYPASTINATE - To put off your term paper until the end of the semester, start it the night before it’s due, and ask the professor for an extension.

WARPTARDS - Those greeting cards at the front of their stacks that are bent out of shape from everybody reading them.

WHANNOYER - The infant screaming at the next table in what used to be your favorite restaurant.

YUCKLE - To laugh at someone’s bad joke so as not to hurt their feelings.