The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 12, 2016: It’s Those Damn Clocks Again

“Spring Forward, Fall Back.” It seems we learned that one before we learned the Lord’s Prayer. (Some of you may have learned that one faster than the rest of us.) But why do we do it? Wasn’t Daylight Savings Time something Ben Franklin thought up? Wasn’t it supposed to be for the benefit of the farmers, so they would have more daylight to harvest their crops and work their fields? Don’t they have alarm clocks now? Can’t they just let the rest of us sleep?

The answers are: To save energy. Yes. Yes. I’m sure they do. No.

Not going along with it may defeat the point, to save energy. You see, the theory goes that if daylight lasts a little longer, there will be less demand for turning on lights. It is assumed that during the extended hour of darkness the next morning, you’ll have fewer lights turned on.

But, contrary to right wing conspiracy theories that I have no doubt exist, it is not a plot to take away the freedom of the states. It’s not mandatory.

Not everybody goes along with the plan. Arizona sticks with Mountain Standard Time, which turns out to be the same as Pacific Daylight Time. (The Navajo Nation, however, goes along with the summertime switch.) Hawaii and U.S. possessions such as American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are also staying on standard time.

Most European countries don’t switch to summer time until the last weekend in March. That means the usual time difference will be out of sync for two weeks. For example, when it’s noon in New York, it’ll be 4 p.m. in London. But starting March 27, the five-hour difference between the two cities’ clocks will be back in force.

Some countries in the Southern Hemisphere move their clocks back an hour at this time of year. In Brazil, for example, the switch from daylight saving time to standard time took place in February, when they moved their clocks back one hour.

You can see how the world changes its calendars here.

It’s also a good idea to try to get to get back to your normal sleep routine (at the new hour) as soon as you can. Losing sleep for even a few days in a row can weaken your immune system, and you’ll be more susceptible to colds and viruses. Here are some more tips.

That being said, what is the damn point? There is no need to make anything about this mandatory, or even to go along with it at all. If the federal government believes that energy can be saved by everyone starting and ending the working day an hour earlier during the summer months, then just change every federal employee’s shift schedule to begin and end an hour earlier. Let the rest of us do it or not. And that goes for the small business owner, too. If any company does business with the federal government and believes keeping the same time schedule with them makes doing business easier and more cost-effective, then they can change their employee’s shift schedule, too. School districts can make their own determination on what hours to follow. Since the time shift is mostly during the summer months, they can shift the hours of their summer school operations and maintain standard time the rest of the school year. But if there’s no real, tangible, quantifiable benefit to upsetting everyone’s natural biological rhythms, then what’s the point of doing it at all? You know what one of the things I like about summer is? Fireworks. You know what I hate about DST? That I have to wait until 10 PM or later to see those fireworks. If the clocks hadn’t been set ahead an hour, those fireworks would be going off an hour earlier in the night. And the people with kids could be putting them to bed an hour earlier, too.

Maybe my beef is personal. I still feel like the universe owes me an hour. While stationed at Ramstein AB in West Germany in September 1987, I took leave to visit my then-girlfriend Jane and to take part in a friend’s wedding. Now, keep in mind that in Europe, they moved the clocks back one hour on Sept 27. I was in the United States at the time. Here in the US, we didn’t change the clocks back one hour until October 25. I was back in West Germany when that happened. So I never got to set my clock back an hour and get that extra hour of sleep. I’ve been carrying this persistent feeling for the past 28-1/2 years that the universe owes me an hour. When the United Nations finally implements the One World Order plan we’ve been hearing Pat Robertson and Alex Jones whimper about, I’ll complain to them about it.

BTW, the time change takes effect this Sunday morning, 2 AM EST. At that moment, it changes to 3 AM EDT. Set your clocks ahead one hour before you go to bed Saturday Night.

It’s also a good time of year to change the batteries in your smoke detectors, or to buy smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors if you don’t already have them.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Daylight Savings Time, Benjamin Franklin, farmers, or anything you else you want to discuss. I’m going back to sleep.

The Watering Hole, Monday, October 20th, 2014: Goodbye, Indian Summer

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river through The Great Swamp

river through The Great Swamp


On Friday, I wore shorts to work and went in with my hair still wet. The day was sunny and hit the low 70s. Today, I’m going into work wearing long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and a lightweight fleece jacket, as the weather is finally remembering that it’s fall.

(sigh)

Goodbye, Indian Summer – you’re welcome to visit any time…

This is our daily open thread – feel free to discuss whatever you want.

The Watering Hole, Friday October 11 2013; Seasonal Soliloquy

Yesterday my intention was to spend whatever time it might take to write something profound for today’s post, but the only topic that came to mind was the abject GOP/Teabagger idiotic stupidity currently on full display in the hallowed halls of Congress, and there ain’t much profundity in any of that nonsense, certainly nothing worth wasting, say, five minutes of otherwise useful time to scribble down what would surely be the world’s shortest essay. So instead of messing with that stuff, I did some bicycle repair and maintenance work . . . and in the process, sort of watched fall turn into winter. Seasons can change quickly here along the front range. It was just a few days ago that the afternoon temps were pushing 80 in the foothills even as the aspen groves on yon mountains turned from green to a brilliant yellow-gold in just a few short days.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen, shortly after I installed, inflated, and took a quick test ride on my new rear tire, I noticed that there was a definite chill in the air rolling off the mountains and down into the foothills. A half-hour later came a genuinely brisk wind, then the rain; and then the chill got chillier and the mountains were shrouded in dense clouds. After an hour or two, the clouds lifted a little . . .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat white stuff atop the Greenhorn sort of suggests that yep, here we go, winter’s coming on. Whether it’s here to stay or if this is simply an interruption in the current Indian Summer we won’t know for another month, maybe six weeks. In that regard, it’s kinda like whether the Teabaggers are really going to go ahead and destroy the world’s economy next week, or whether they, too, will wait for another month, maybe six weeks, before they finish their political Seppuku (切腹, “stomach-cutting”) which is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. Seppuku was originally reserved only for samurai; in Amurka, it seems to be the current provenance of the Tea Party . . . or so we dare to hope, at least.

Anyway, forgive the political wander. Here, instead, is a view from last year of what’s soon to be in store this year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInteresting thing about mountains: they don’t seem to give a tinker’s damn about any of the nonsensical drivel that drives the idiots some call politicians. And right now, at this moment, that’s something the mountains and I have full in common!

OPEN THREAD; MOUNTAINS, MOLEHILLS, POLITICS — YOUR CALL!