Thursday, October 31, 2013

Try And Have A “Happy Halloween!”

Funny Halloween Ecard: Happy Wear Your Lingerie in Public Day.

With so much to be frightened of in the world, it’s nice that we set aside at least one day to make fun of our fears.

But apparently not everybody enjoys the joke.

I’m not going to whine about “Black and Orange” days or what all that free candy is doing to kids’ teeth or their struggles with adolescent obesity. I’m just going to tell you a story.

This morning, while walking the dog, I ran into a costumed girl about 9 or 10 years old.

She was wearing a shredded black and white dress, a tiara featuring a skull and make-up that wouldn’t look out of place on “The Walking Dead”. And she was crying.

I also noticed that despite carrying one of those ubiquitous “kid on the way to school” back-packs, she was travelling in the opposite direction to the rest of the kids.

As she passed, I asked if she was okay. She said, “No!” struggling not to lose it completely. So, I asked what had happened and she poured out her story.

She’d worked all night on her costume, got up early to put on the make-up and still get to school on time. But the minute she arrived, her teachers turned her around and sent her right back home. Seems she might scare the other kids and that wasn’t allowed.

Now whether her teacher was well-meaning, following some prescribed School Board code, or just some crotchety old stick-in-the-mud, I don’t know.

Maybe she’s even one of those teachers you always meet in bars on the weekend closest to Halloween, tricked out in her sexy nurse costume and making you remember all over again where Eddie Van Halen got his best ideas.

But whatever her motivation, I knew she’d just tramped down hard on somebody’s creative instincts. And no matter what element of a positive nature she was hoping to accomplish, she’d succeeding in doing exactly the opposite.

I did what I could to make the kid feel better, saying how great the costume looked and how she’d scared the crap I was now scooping off the nearby lawn right out of my dog. But she wasn’t having any of it. She seemed inconsolable.

As she walked away, past all the pirates and clowns and superheroes in their store-bought outfits, I tried one last time, calling after her, “Hey, who’re you supposed to be anyhow?”.

She whirled back around, spitting out the words, “I’m the Princess of Death!”

And in that moment, I knew she was probably going to be okay. Her teacher’s attempt at making her heel to the acceptable mores of society, of moulding her to be just like everybody else had gone terribly wrong.

Instead she had sparked the kind of defiance of convention that every truly creative soul needs to survive.

The spirit of the season lives!

Have a Happy Halloween.

The Skywalker

I don’t remember exactly where and when I met Jay Cochrane. I think we both had the same agent at one time, or he was a friend of my agent, or whatever.

But he was one of those people who immediately caught your attention. Not because there was anything particularly striking about him, but because he made a point of taking an acute interest in you.

My first memory of him was at one of those cramped, smoky and quickly drunk gatherings that greet actors when they step out of their dressing rooms on opening night. We’d barely said, "Hello” when he began a detailed grilling of my performance and what he’d gleaned from the show. And when he’d finished with me, he did the same to the next performer and the next.

This was a guy who wanted to know everything about what you were doing as well as how and why you did it. For some reason, each tiny detail was important to him.

When he told me what he did for a living, I kinda dismissed him. He was a tightrope walker. Seriously? How could you make a living doing that in Toronto in the 1970’s?

Although he’d performed in Circuses, Jay said he didn’t do that anymore. He was determined to follow the path of another daredevil of the era, Evel Knievel.

A comment like that ranked up there with all those guys playing guitar for quarters on street corners who were going to be the next Paige or Hendrix. Only Jay’s dream was a little harder to comprehend.

Not much later, I was walking past the downtown corner of Yonge and Bloor on a sunny, Summer day when I heard somebody call my name. I turned to see Jay move from a gaggle of reporters and news cameras wearing a sequined suit.

I was both surprised that he remembered me as well as seeing him in the outlandish get-up. Turned out he was about to go to work, hired to walk the distance between the twin 40 storey towers of the newly erected Hudson Bay Centre on that corner.

I glanced up, spotting a thin thread of wire barely discernable against the blue sky.

“Stick around!” he said, “I want to know what you think. I’ll be down in a minute.”

And with that he and the reporters disappeared inside the complex.

I’m sure the event had been heavily promoted, but it was news to me –- and apparently most of the rest of the city, because the street didn’t seem any more crowded than usual.

A few minutes later, Jay appeared on the ledge atop the first building, picked up a long balance pole and stepped into the void.

From the street level he was little more than a speck in the sky, the wire he was walking barely visible. But anyone watching was immediately aware that there was no net to catch him if he fell – and he wasn’t tethered to any kind of safety harness.

I’m pretty good about heights, but for a chunk of the walk I had to look away. Although this was a guy I barely knew, the enormity of what he was doing and its possible consequence was overwhelming.

And his obsession with detail suddenly made sense. In his occupation, everything had to be taken into account. Nothing, no matter how inconsequential, could be overlooked. His life depended on it.

After what seemed an eternity, he reached the second tower, waved to the crowd below and disappeared. I wasn’t sure if I should wait for him like he’d asked. What do you say to a guy who’s just done something death defying? Nice work? Wonderful show? Nothing seemed adequate.

So when he finally did arrive, still sequined and smiling, I had to be honest. “I gotta tell you,” I said “I didn’t really believe you did this.”

He laughed and shrugged. “I know. I get that all the time. It’s not a normal way to make a living around here.”

Walking home later, I realized those words applied to me as much as they did Jay. Who becomes an actor in a country with no history and little understanding of show business?

But then what makes anyone with a talent or a calling think they can make others believe they are worth the investment of time or money it will take for their potential to be realized?

But we do it. Despite everything around us either insisting it can’t be done or dismissing the effort as pointless.

Jay Cochrane died today after a long and illustrious career as a Skywalker. He remains the holder of 7 Guinness World records including the longest and highest skywalks as well as a historic blindfolded walk in Las Vegas.

Never dismiss anybody with a dream. You have no idea what powers lie within them.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Remember How We Forgot

Another week of writing lies ahead. And Monday is like climbing on that first machine at the gym, scanning the other machines that await and realizing how much pain stretches out before you.

Writing can be that hard.

One of the best descriptions of writing I’ve heard is: It’s like trying to remember stuff that hasn’t happened yet.

But in remembering, we always forget the pain. And with the forgetting comes the inspiration to write again.

Something special to inspire your Monday –- and maybe the rest of the week to come.

From Poet Shane Koycsan and accompanist Hannah Epperson.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lazy Sunday #296: Follow Your Arrow

About the worst thing that can happen in life is having somebody else define who you are for the rest of the world.

Yet so many people diligently work at making their version of those they dislike for one reason or another the accepted narrative, never considering what it will be like when (inevitably) Karma kicks in and it’s their turn to be painted as something they really aren’t.

Most Media thrives on the shorthand that comes from calling up a quick stereotype and letting the audience draw the requisite picture in their head. It makes the hard work of understanding who that person or group is so completely unnecessary.






Right away you not only know who they’re talking about, but a good chunk of what you’re supposed to think of them.

Take Redneck.

Where I grew up, we were all pretty much rednecks. Officially, the term describes somebody who works outside, the sun baking that body part un-shaded by a hat or shirt collar until it’s burnt red.

But it’s come to mean those who are rigid and insensitive, probably racist, most likely opposed to abortion and Gay marriage, disrespecting of free-thinking women and clinging to their bibles and guns.

These are the people who killed Captain America in “Easy Rider” and made “Deliverance” more fact than fantasy.

And they’re addicted to Country music…

And yet, the hottest song on the Country charts these days is a reminder that most of those so quickly defined and pigeon-holed don’t really belong in that simplistic box, nor -- as I’m sure you’d agree, do the others for whom we’ve found one word containers.

Nothing pure is ever simple. And nothing simple is ever pure.

To understand that, all you have to do is “Follow Your Arrow”.

And Enjoy Your Sunday.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Taking The Step From Sad To Stupid

A couple of weeks back, I expressed my reservations about the way the Obama administration was responding to the Federal government shutdown in America. Specifically, I didn’t see the benefit of making the situation worse than it already was.

I took a lot of flack for that from “True Believers” backing the administration and that’s fair. Everybody has an opinion and God knows I don’t have a lock on the right one.

But something happened this morning regarding the rollout of the Affordable Care Act that appalled me, and might cause at least a frisson of concern from even the most ardent True Believer.

Earlier in the week, an operator at one of the Health Services call centres set up to help enrol people in the program took a call from Right Wing radio host Sean Hannity.

She was friendly and polite, carefully answering all of his questions. The full 10 minute call is available here.

And for that she was fired.

Now most of us who deal with the media on a regular basis, know that if there’s push back from an interview you’ve done or statement you’ve made, it’s unlikely the media outlet will have your back.

Oh, they might do a follow up on how shabbily you’ve been treated or buy you a drink and give you a shoulder to cry on. But that’s about all.

Hannity did something very different.

Something that could positively alter this young, single mom’s life in a profound way.

For those of you who make a habit of pissing on or name-calling those who don’t share your world view, I hope it gives you pause. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll make you begin to question whether those you unquestioningly support are truly worthy of such devotion.

Video of what happened is here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lazy Sunday #295: The Four Horsemen

Governments going broke, shutting down or simply not working. Terrorists at the mall. Massive unemployment. Dollars that don’t stretch as far as they used to. Somebody’s to blame for this.

Somebody must be. My daily Facebook feed is solid with depredations committed by both the Left and Right and even those who refuse to commit one way or another. 

Are we in the “End Times”?

Is the civilization we know collapsing?

Are the frantic, Cheerleaders of Doom on CNN and Fox sensing an inevitable future or panicking because they might get unbundled from our cable packages?

Or maybe it’s something else.

Something in us as a species that we’ve never come to terms with, tried to evolve from or had the courage to face head on.

The following full-length documentary has been a major selection at film festivals world-wide. And now you can watch it at The Legion.

It might even explain why there is a “New Golden Age of Television” and/or why you’re not part of it.

But it ain’t pretty. So watch it now. And then try to…

Enjoy Your Sunday.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Exclusive Preview of Game of Thrones Season IV

I’m not really sure if this change of tone and direction will really work. But you never know…

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Cop Who Captured Lee Harvey Oswald

I was in my first year of high school when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and like many who still remember exactly where they were on that terrible day, I’ve never lost the desire to learn what really happened.

That has led to reading many of the books written about the assassination, all of them offering differing facts and contradictory theories of who or what was behind it.

Like most people, I’ve never fully accepted the official “lone guman” story. But I’ve also never found an alternative truth I can completely accept. Cubans. The Mob. The CIA. Lyndon Johnson. Texas Oil Barons. Vietnam War Hawks. Even in convoluted combinations, they never seem to logically add up.

But almost 30 years after the fact, I had the chance to meet a man barely mentioned in most accounts of what transpired in Dallas, Texas on November 22nd, 1963. The beat cop who captured Lee Harvey Oswald.

In 1990, I was writing the CBS series “Top Cops”, a show in which real police stories were dramatized, hewing as closely as possible to recreating the actual events of our police cases.

The series was heavily lawyered, with network suits always worried about potential lawsuits from the dozens of real life people we were portraying each week.

That meant that final cuts were often tweaked to eliminate moments, sometimes entire scenes, that might get us into tricky territory.

Thus, we faced the very real possibility of ending up with an episode that fell short of our required running time.

The solution was to create a series of mini-documentaries of three to five minutes that could be plugged in to fill out our already multi-story shows.

One of the first subjects we found was Officer Nick MacDonald, a low-key, publicity shy and retired Dallas police officer, who had arrested Kennedy’s accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

Nick flew up to Toronto to narrate his story and we spent a day going over what he would say about his involvement in the aftermath of the Kennedy killing.

He clearly had accepted the Warren Commission’s Official version of the events of that day and retained a veteran beat cop’s attention to detail. He didn’t care about theories or possibilities. His was the classic Jack Webb, “Just the facts, ma’am” approach.

This is what he saw. This is what he knew. Everything else was spin or speculation or something that happened somewhere he wasn’t.

But after we’d shot his narration, something he’d said kept bugging me.

The tape of Nick’s appearance on “Top Cops” appears below. It’s a no nonsense report from a pretty ordinary guy who just happened to be dropped into an event of historic proportions.

But there’s a moment –- at the 50 second mark –- where MacDonald describes being sent to scene of the murder of Officer J.D. Tippett, beginning the chase that would quickly lead him directly to Lee Harvey Oswald.

Why Tippett had confronted Oswald and why Oswald had shot him remain two of the unsolved mysteries connected to the assassination.

While Nick had made reference to police dispatchers for his prior radio calls, at this point he says, “Suddenly, I heard an unfamiliar voice on the radio. He said a policeman had been shot…”

Maybe it was nothing of import. But it was odd that in a small, close knit police department, he’d never been able to identify the voice that sent him to his unique place in history.

When I asked Nick about the voice, he became quiet for a moment, then in the same casual manner he’d told his story he said, “You know, there is one thing about that day that’s never made sense to me…”

It seems that in 1963 all the Dallas police dispatchers were women. Civilian employees who knew the city backwards and in an era with few if any female officers couldn’t be confused with other cops or detectives in a chaotic or emergency situation.

But when Nick got to work on the morning of November 22nd, he happened to walk past the dispatch office and noticed all the ladies were quite excited.

They had all arrived at work to find envelopes waiting at their dispatch stations. Envelopes containing invitations for the banquet to which Kennedy’s motorcade from Love Field was taking him.

Therefore, the women who best knew the city, the police units and Dallas police protocols weren’t on the air when shots were fired in Dealey Plaza and all hell broke loose.

All the voices on the police radios were unfamiliar that day, and well-trained cops like Nick MacDonald just did what they were told and went where they were directed.

Maybe that’s of little consequence. Maybe it’s just another in a confluence of unexpected events which usually have to coincide to precipitate a tragedy. 

Or maybe it’s something more.

Today, I noticed both a new set of revelations about the Kennedy assassination in my morning news feeds, as well as one previously accepted set of facts being debunked.

The silly season preceding the 50th anniversary of the assassination has begun.

And at this point I’ve come to believe that there’s so much confusion, constructed conspiracy and self serving drivel that we’ll probably never know what actually happened or be able to discern the truth if we actually heard it.

But Nick MacDonald’s “Just the facts”story remains refreshing and worthy of repeating.

Cheer up! It’s A Short Week!

But if you can’t. If all that football and turkey is still weighing you down. What follows will help.

Does anybody remember how we got through the first day back after a long weekend before there was an Internet? 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Lazy Sunday #294: Enough With The Geo-Blocking

The other day, I clicked on a news site link to a clip from “The Daily Show” and received that ominous little window letting me know that I had to get that content from Canada’s Comedy Network, a broadcaster who has nothing to do with either the production or content of “The Daily Show” beyond kicking in a few bucks to own its distribution in Canada.

I typed in the long and complicated Comedy Network web address and then spent a few minutes navigating the site to find “The Daily Show”, hopefully linked to the correct episode, then scanned and searched again to get the desired sequence.

And at each step I was treated to the same ad repeated in its entirety before I could move on.

By the time I found what I was looking for, I’d seen more advertising than content and almost forgotten the context in which the original link had been placed.

Similarly, whenever I’m in the USA, I get blocked from watching Canadian shows I have already paid for through my contributions to cable fees and government funding.

And all of this is to protect Canadian broadcasters who spend the vast majority of their profits to restrict my access to a Canadian audience by filling up their channels and websites with content they buy from foreigners.

Meanwhile, there’s content that I have to compete with in the marketplace that is being produced by companies like Hulu (some of it even made here in Canada) that I can’t see in order to learn what’s drawing the attention of the audience I also have to serve.

One answer to Globe and Mail Critic John Doyle’s question of why there are no ground-breaking shows on Canadian TV is –- We’re flying blind! We can’t access what’s influencing and innovating long before it reaches the network level. And when we finally figure it out, Canadian broadcasters won’t want to take the risk because they’re flying blind too and can’t comprehend what wave we’re trying to catch.

I’ve had it. I’m done.

What follows is a link to an browser add-on that allows you to link directly to Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, CBS, FOX and the BBC and ITV iPlayers plus many more. And all with one click and every one in the unrestricted form enjoyed by those not Geo-blocked.

This is where the technology is, as of this morning.

And if the CRTC really wants to address that growing “problem”, they’re going to have to extend their reach to not just blocking Netflix and Hulu, but going after Firefox and Chrome and a bunch of other app developers as well.

Anybody want to go back to Internet Explorer as their only option for getting on the web?

The time is long past where our entertainment industry needs to be “supported” by requiring people to buy channels they don’t watch in order to receive the ones they want.

And its far past time that broadcasters and cableco’s are allowed to make Billions while those who create their license qualifying content subsist and those who consume it are milked for every possible dime.

Free yourself from Geo-Blocking.

And Enjoy Your Sunday.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Lazy Sunday # 293: Dear Daily Mail

After this week, I doubt there’s anybody left who believes that there remains a single honest journalist in the world.

For several days, we were treated to the spectacle of Cable News talking heads passionately advocate for one side or the other in the US Government Shutdown, often viciously attacking those who didn’t share their opinion.

Saturday night, CNN reported the Seal Team Terrorist takedowns in Africa, with one reporter predicting how the events would inevitably be spun by the Left and the Right. Not a minute later, the CNN anchor began doing exactly note-for-note what had been foretold for his particular side.

Nobody even pretends they’re trying to provide a balanced view anymore or share facts which might put their own worldview in question.

Spin has become so prevalent in every aspect of the media that you literally have no way of knowing what’s real and what’s not.

Perhaps that’s always been the case –- which should make each of us question the foundation of history and beliefs on which we’ve all based our moral and ethical standards.

At any rate, I have come to believe the entire exercise of reporting current events is really about who needs to increase subscribers, sell papers, promote their next book or get you to buy something.

A few weeks ago, following a video awards show, the mainstream media were “outraged” that Hannah Montana had grown up to be a “skank”.

A few days later, Hannah’s alter-ego (Miley Cyrus) was deemed even more immoral, having posed naked on a music video wrecking ball -– although –- y’know, it wasn’t such a bad tune so maybe you oughta spring for an iTunes download anyway.

Shortly thereafter, Rolling Stone jumped to the artist’s defense, being as how rock ‘n roll has always been irreverent and all. And then we learned that Ms. Cyrus was featured on the magazine’s next cover.

Later, and mere days before her appearance as last night’s SNL, the media deathlessly reported her blog/twitter feud with Sinead O’Connor, a previous generation’s troubled rock star, perhaps best remembered for an SNL appearance. Does anybody have any doubt how much that improved the ratings of a hit-and-miss comedy series in a rebuilding season?

To be honest, I don’t really care who’s right or wrong or more mentally ill in the Cyrus/O’Conner death match. What fascinates me is why we invest so much time and energy in events so clearly contrived to distract us from what’s of more import in our lives.

How this cat-fight turns out will make no difference to anyone(probably including the participants). It’s just another tool somebody trying to make a buck uses for their own purposes.

That’s an argument made clear by another Rock Diva, Amanda Palmer, formerly of “The Dresden Dolls”and spouse of writer Neil Gaiman.

Herself a target of the tabloid press last Summer, Ms. Palmer decided to counter the controversy, not by engaging in it, but by giving the media something she knew they couldn’t talk about.

At her next concert appearance, she debuted a musical open letter to the journalists in question. Entitled “Dear Daily Mail”, it tells you everything you need to know about any modern media outlet.

It’s NSFW but eminently capable of helping you –- Enjoy Your Sunday. 

Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Ad You Won’t See On Canadian TV

One indicator that the new television season has launched and that viewers are returning to their couches to watch it is the increased level of complaints on social media about the commercials.

And while both Twitter and Facebook launch campaigns to trumpet how effective they are at bringing audiences to those new shows, these newish mediums are also making advertisers painfully aware of how easy it is to offend (sometimes permanently) the very demographic they most want to embrace.

Two days into the hockey season and there are already fans swearing off a beer or liquor brand for running the same commercial during every single pause in the action –- sometimes twice.

And there is the non-stop derision from those offended by one political party or advocacy group’s support or dismissal of one of the issues of the day.

Perhaps most vocal are those who feel ambushed by ads for condoms, flavored lube or other sexual enhancements that pop up while they’re trying to watch something with their kids.

For my money, a lot of these complaints arise because the ads in question just aren’t good enough. Beer companies assume we’re all low-IQ jocks. The ones advocating opt for the extremes instead of trying to appeal to basic common sense and reason.

Meanwhile, those shilling sex products seldom feature people either sex can imagine boffing no matter how desperate they might be.

I think the latter is mostly because the vendors of those products pussy foot around what their wares are designed to provide.

Not so the manufacturer of “Poo-Pouri” which goes into great detail about the benefits of its little spay bottle and does so with an approach unlikely to offend anybody.

Except maybe the folks at Apple.

It’s a commercial you’ll likely never see on Canadian TV. And more’s the pity.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

The Monument

The fight against tyranny always begins with somebody saying “Kiss My Ass! I’m not taking your bullshit anymore!”

I was 19 years old the first time I visited Washington, DC. Drove all the way from Saskatchewan with three buddies during Christmas break. It was wet and cold and we had no good reason for being there. We just wanted to see the place.

Among the memories still vivid from that trip are two in particular…

Standing before the eternal flame over the grave of John F. Kennedy. Just me in long hair and fringed buckskin jacket and two windswept Marines in their honor guard great coats.

And visiting the Lincoln Memorial in the middle of the night.

If you ask me, that’s when you want to pay your respects to Mr. Lincoln.

Lincoln’s statue glows ethereal then in its halo of light and the quiet and grandeur of the place completely brings home both the loneliness of possessing a vision and the heavy mantle of leadership – not to mention the essential importance of having the courage to follow that vision and rise above the bickering crowd to lead it.

It seemed fitting that the Memorial was open 24/7, unhindered by either barriers or guards, available to anyone at any hour in need of a reminder of the burden that comes from having both dreams and power.

Now, I’m sure access to monuments and memorials has changed in Washington since I was 19 and certainly since 9/11. But it’s my understanding most are still relatively accessible at all hours, every day of the week.

At least they were until yesterday…

View image on Flickr website

As a Canadian, it’s not my place to take a side on the current budgetary stalemate in Washington that has led to a government shutdown.

But there’s something unseemly and unsettling about seeing public spaces of historical significance being closed off.

Yesterday, a group of vets tore down the barricades surrounding the World War II Memorial while their congressman apparently distracted the cops. They did it simply in order to pay respect to their fallen comrades.

And today, they plan to do the same thing to pay their respects to Abraham Lincoln, whose monument this morning, as one Vet put it “Has more security than the consulate in Benghazi ever got”.

Meanwhile, officials in the Parks Service have admitted that orders to close these public places came directly from the Whitehouse. And now several news services have filed FOI requests to learn why –- the suspicion being that it was done to make more people feel the government’s pain at this difficult time.

Here’s a little tip to bureaucrats who believe inflicting pain on the populace they were elected or are paid to serve is a worthwhile strategy:

You don’t want to turn monuments to greatness into symbols of your own stupidity. It’s the first step to becoming a tyrant. So cut it out before even the folks on your side start saying “Kiss My Ass!”.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

The Art Of The Nap

When I achieved a certain level of television executive-ness, I arrived one morning to find a couch in my office.

“This is odd”, I thought, since we had a great big video room already tricked out for casting.

What’s more, while I had some meetings in my office, anything of length or importance occurred in the Executive Producer’s suite, which had several couches as well as minions who could be sent out for refreshments and sandwiches if any discussion threatened to exceed fifteen minutes.

So, I trotted down the hall to EP and asked, “Why do I have a couch”?

“In case you want to have a nap”, he replied.

“I don’t nap”.


Total extent of the conversation. I assumed it was either too early for sandwiches or the minions weren’t in yet.

Anyway, a couple of days later and late in the afternoon, I was struggling with a scene where the characters were refusing to come up with any reliable dialogue and toying with getting another cup of coffee while calculating it would be about my eleventh of the day. I glanced at the couch.

Stretched out on it.

It was comfy and supportive. All those things you expect from a good couch…and…

I was suddenly swimming back to consciousness, hurrying to sit up and wondering how many hours I’d been out. I was racked with guilt and shame. What if I’d been seen? How improper would my new level of executive-ness seem then? What would have happened if there’d been a crisis on the set –- which might have already happened and been resolved without me since there wasn’t a single flashing light on my phone.

And no lights could mean nobody was even trying to get hold of me for any reason anymore. They’d all stopped trying.

God, how long had I been sleeping???

Turned out it was only 20 minutes, and yet…

I felt refreshed, completely alert, not in need of coffee nor any other stimulant.

I slipped back behind the computer and called up the refusing to be written scene. The characters seemed oddly refreshed too. And happy to see me. They had a ton of ideas. Really good ones. Better ones than I’d been making them try to think of. Gee, I should try this “nap” thing more often.

And so I did. And have to this day.

Not every day to be sure and not always with such immediate and positive results. But that old adage about sleeping on a problem is true –- at least it has been for me.

There’s long been science supporting the benefits of napping. But now there’s one that details exactly how long your nap should be to best serve what you’ll be doing once you wake up.

10-20 Minutes (the so-called “power nap”) boosts alertness and energy while letting you hit the ground running.

30 minutes: Greater energy benefits but you have to schedule an extra 30 minutes of “sleep inertia” or lethargy until you’re fully rebooted.

60 Minutes: Best for remembering facts, faces and names. Some sleep inertia follows but lifts quickly.

90 Minutes: Improved emotional and procedural memory as well as creativity. No sleep inertia stage.

2 hours or more: Buddy, just go home. You’re sleep deprived and no good to anybody. Get a good night’s sleep and tackle things in the morning.