Midnight Buds and Frozen Bugs

March 17, 2014 11:59 pm9 comments

One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in his bed he had been changed into a monstrous bug…”

Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis

 

The Famous & the Sleepless: Groucho Marx

The infamous dry wit of Groucho Marx is well known through his film career and personality. Even though he suffered from insomnia, this humor carried on well into the night. Marx had apparently lost a large financial sum in the stock market and found it difficult to rest after such an event. Instead of the typical scene of laying in his bed with eyes wide open and thoughts swirling in the dark, Marx had an alternative way of spending his sleepless nights. He would call various people and insult them over the phone. When such pranks failed to amuse him, he would then call up his “midnight bud” Alice Cooper to pass the time with him instead. After calling at 1AM, Cooper would describe Marx as having a “chair next to his bed with a pack of Budweiser, and we would sit and watch old movies.” Sometimes Marx would actually fall asleep and Cooper would go home only to called again the next night at 1AM to hear, “Hey Coop, can’t sleep, come on over!”

 

Insomnia News: Do Bugs Sleep?

With the notorious scene of combating creepy crawlers in the middle of the night and the incessant sounds of crickets and cicadas ever resounding into the wee hours of the night, one has to wonder. When do these creatures sleep? Do they sleep? It is an unusual question, but warrants an answer nonetheless. Entomologist Doug Yanega puts it simply by saying that bugs do sleep, just not the same way we do. He says that their equivalent of sleep is a state called “torpor” where it basically goes into a form of immobility but can be aroused at any moment. This curious state is seen in nature through various types of bugs, but one of the more interesting species is a cricket relative called the New Zealand Weta. This insect lives at high and cold altitude where it becomes frozen solid every night and is able to carry on its merry way in the morning once it thaws out in the sun. And here we thought Hans Solo was the only one familiar with anti-freeze.

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