Post lunch, bit of an energy dip. Well, that’s why there’s coffee! Go upstairs to the galley, check the urns. One has nothing, the other has a few tepid drops. Probably the stuff I made last Friday. So I take out the basket, put in a filter, put it in the slot and hit brew. Wait four minutes.

It’s water. Hot water. Ah: no surer sign you need some coffee than forgetting to add actual coffee in your coffee-making process. Grind the beans, put in the basket, hit brew. Wait four minutes.

It’s slightly more coffee-ish water, because I didn’t dump out the urn I used to make a pot of hot water. Good heavens. I really need this coffee. I need to make it now before I fall asleep. I could curl up on the galley floor and take 20 winks, now that I think about it. But why on the floor? Why is sleep called winking? Does that refer to rapid eye movement, an indicator of deep sleep status? Well. I’ve four minutes to wait, so let’s google that.

Or is it 40 winks? It’s 40.

The first use of this expression dates back to 1821, when Dr. William Kitchiner, an optician and telescope inventor used it in his self help guide, The art of invigorating and prolonging life – “A forty winks nap in a horizontal posture, is the best preparative for any extraordinary exertion of either.”

To lay emphasis on forty winks being just the right amount of sleep for a nap, F. Scott Fitzgerald in a short article called “Gretchen’s Forty Winks” published on March 15, 1924, the main protagonist, Roger Halsey said to his wife, Gretchen, “just take forty winks, and when you wake up everything would be fine.”

But that doesn’t explain it. Ah:

This phrase is related to the Thirty-nine Articles, written by the Church of England in the 16th century. These articles established rules that prospective clergymen had to accept prior to being ordained, and they were considered tedious to read.

Some books on English idioms claim that the phrase forty winks was used as early as 1820. However, the first recorded use of the phrase did not appear until later, in an 1872 edition of Punch Magazine: “If a man, after reading the Thirty-nine Articles, were to take forty winks…”

Hmm. No. That example suggests that forty winks already existed as an idiom, doesn’t it? It’s a joke, and takes its snap from using the “forty winks” idiom after the Thirty-Nine Articles.

Here’s another:

There was also the idiomatic expression nine winks in the mid 19th century. Eric Partridge in his The Routledge Dictionary of Historical Slang claims that the term already existed in 1820. I found evidence to support this in John Badcock's: Slang: A Dictionary of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, the Pit, of Bon-ton printed in 1823.

Nine winks--a few minutes' of sleep in the day, assuming to be for the space of time which would be occupied in winking the eye nine times.

The slang term "forty winks" was not yet listed, which suggests that the idiom was either too new to have merited its own entry or had not yet been coined.

That sounds right. At some point nine became 40. Anyway, I wouldn’t have taken nine of 40 on the floor, but where else? The modern workplace is ill-suited to napping. Had a colleague once who regularly fell asleep in the library, out in the open, mouth agape, lost to Lethe; seemed not to care at all what anyone thought. Later dismissed on a professional ethics matter. I think the Ladies’ Lounge in the old building had a nap couch; I remember one of the older reporters telling me that, how it wasn’t quite fair. Yes, yes, it was for lying down during one’s troubles, probably, but still.

Then the building emptied out, and there were vast areas unoccupied. Still no place to sleep, just empty desks and chairs. You longed to find a good sofa. Most workplaces are like this. I wonder if people are balking at returning to the office because they’re used to a nap, and the old paradigms and culture frowned on sleeping during working hours. Announce a pro-nap policy, convert some of those unused cubicles to slumber pods, and it might help.

Anyway, I finally got the coffee, and it did the trick. Wink-need obviated.

Saw this on the bathroom counter, after Wife dumped out the stuff she brought back from her trip.

What the hell is this thing?

Now here's something that bugs me. The name. Charlie Card. When I first heard that Boston's transit cards were called Charlie Cards, I laughed: well, that's one way to beat bad publicity, I suppose.

It's likely I know the origin of the term because my dad had a record I played a lot. I assume the majority of Bostonians know the origin.

What of those who don't? I can't imagine not being curious about such a thing. But I suppose everyone has something like that. Can't imagine why anyone would care about that, but does also think it's meaningful to know something about this.


I can't believe it. Well - no, I can, I'm just surprised. Consider this building. Recent Google street views here:

At the time it was a sign of the revitalization of downtown, a new commitment from Northwestern Bank. It was their operations center, we were told. Whatever that meant. Didn't they have a big building just down the street? This one went down four floors, which made it seem mysterious. What are they doing down there?

It was always a dud, though. Those low-slung mirrored blue buildings brought suburban deadness downtown. Better than a parking lot, of course.

I wrote about it at the paper a while ago, because its plaza was home to a large and not entirely attractive metal sculpture that referenced the unfunished pyramid on the back of the dollar bill.

At a party a week later I met someone who worked for the company that had purchased the building, and she confided that it was going to be torn down. Yay. It was a symbol of downtown revival at the time, but it's aged poorly, and the interior spaces the public can access are tired and institutional.

The new plans have been announced.

Also, Minneapolis is a dying city, doncha know.


The alley is an abstracted nightmrare:

Oh! Well, where do I go to get a permit to commit murder?

Solution is here.



And now . . . a visit to an alternate dimension.


No, it's not a pilot. More last week.

This year we're counting down the top hits . . . of 1922. Why not?

Al Jolson hit #2 with a lacrymorose Mammy number, as in "Give Me My." You wonder if he was curious why it didn't hit #1. What was missing?


How many times did he have to go away and then come back?


More propaganda from BIG EGG





There: that should do. See you on Monday when we start it up again. What's new in Misc, you ask?

Small hostel soap.




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