Monday, March 15, 2021

The Big Switch

DEBORAH CROMBIE: It's that time of year again--and I don't mean March Madness. We're already a day into the dreaded spring SPRING FORWARD . Who wants to lose an hour of sleep? Maybe it's not so bad for writers--most of us can let our body clocks adjust gradually over a few days (or weeks…) But for people who have to be at work on time, this first Monday on Daylight Savings Time is the pits. Every year there are record heart attacks and car accidents because people are tired and stressed.

 



If I were the boss of the world (a fine thing!) I would say LEAVE THE CLOCKS ALONE! But then the question is do you leave them on Standard Time or on DST? I would vote one hundred percent for Standard Time. I get that folks in more northern climes might like an extra hour of daylight in summer evenings, I really do. I've lived in Scotland, where mid-winter daylight maxes out at about five hours. But here in Texas that extra hour of summer daylight is HELL. DST is supposed to save electricity, apparently, but for us it means we use more as the hottest part of the day extends into home-from-work and dinner hour and our air-conditioners are working overtime. Want to grill? Or walk the dog? Or do anything outside that doesn't involve a pool? Wait until the sun goes down at 8:30!


Maybe we should split the US horizontally, where everyone above Kansas goes on DST, and everyone below stays on Standard Time. What do you think, REDS? And are you YAY or NAY on DST?


LUCY BURDETTE: No no I don’t want DST in either location! I vote for leaving it the way the world or God made it. I know this sounds silly, but the time switch ruins our sunset cocktails:). We like having a drink or glass of wine before dinner, and then moving on to dinner when the sun sets. Don’t tell me I have to wait to eat until 7:30--it’s not in my make-up. But if I was in Connecticut all winter with such an early end to the day, I might feel differently!


JENN McKINLAY: I live in AZ where we abstain from Daylight Savings Time. We don’t change the clocks because an extra hour of sun on a 115 degree summer day would be cruel and unusual punishment. I don’t really see the point of changing the clocks, but I live here so…


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: OMG. Just tell me what time it is. And leave it that way.  It’s  hard enough to figure out what time it is, even what day it is, every single day. The whole time zone thing, not to mention changing the times, makes my brain just fall to shattering pieces.


I will tell my favorite time change story. I was an anchor person in Atlanta, and one Saturday night on the news, the weather person said: “And remember,  Hank, tonight is the night the time changes.” 

I said in reply—on live TV—: “Well, Alan, the TIME doesn’t change. The time is an unalterable continuum . We just change what we call it.”

He said: “Huh?”

I said: “Alan, see, the time continues, and it’s not about us, it’s about the universe. The time stays the same.  We just change the clocks.” 

Next Monday, I got called into my boss’s office, and he yelled at me. “What were you talking about?”  he asked. I tried to explain (so dumb of me) but he interrupted – – “Don’t say stuff like that on TV,” he said. 

 

RHYS BOWEN:  having homes in Arizona and California is always complicated. Half the year different and half the same. In Arizona I’m always worrying whether it’s two hours or three to New York. Am I Zooming California at the right time?

But I love long light evenings. Sitting out on our balcony at nine or ten, watching lights come on in the valley is magical 

However like Hank I have a story. Book tour. We drove from Kentucky to Cincinnati. South to North . I showered. John went to run errands. Days before cell phones. I came out of the shower to hear the TV announcer say “ And that’s all from the six o’clock news “

You mean five I said. I called the front desk. Oh damn. We’d crossed a time zone! No way of contacting John happily pooling around in the car. I called a taxi, called the bookstore to apologize. Finally John showed up to be met at the gate by a madwoman yelling “Drive! Drive!”

The bookstore was nice enough to offer everyone coffee while they waited 

 

HALLIE EPHRON: There was a big article in our local paper urging legislators to pass a bill that would keep Massachusetts on daylight saving. Apparently the bill has been kicking around for years. Why couldn’t we split the difference and spring ahead a half hour and leave it there permanently? I’ll wait for Hank to explain why it can’t be done by halves on time’s unalterable continuum. 

 

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I’m still laughing at Hank’s boss. “Don’t say stuff like that on TV.”

I wasn’t so fussed about the change Sunday morning as I have been in the past, because we haven’t resumed in-person church services, so I’m not in a sleepy panic about being late. Or is it early? It also helps a lot that I don’t have kids in school at home. Hauling teenagers out of bed is hard enough as it is, the fact that 6am was 5am two days ago doesn’t make the experience better. 

 

All I can say is the Maine Millennial has decided if she runs for national office, it’s going to be on the platform of 1) tax the rich and 2) abolish Daylight Savings Time. That’s it, her entire appeal. She figures she can get a majority of voters from all parties, since “springing forward” is so universally reviled.

 

DEBS: Julia, can I vote in Maine?? And Hank, you are a treasure!!

 

So how about it, dearest readers? Do you love that extra hour? Oh, but wait, we just LOST an hour...


84 comments:

  1. My dislike of the daylight saving time "spring ahead" is so well known at church that I get lovingly teased for a couple of weeks before the dreaded day arrives [“Sorry, Joan, but we have to change the clocks next week . . . .”]

    I stand firmly in the “keep standard time” camp . . . .

    Hank, that is hilarious!

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    1. Aw..it is one of my favorite memories. I have to admit I laugh every time I think about it.

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  2. Obviously, yesterday's time change has affected my sleep already since I am posting just after 1:00 am EDT!

    Normally, I am an early riser, waking before 5:00 am, so having to wait another hour to see the sunrise now after 7:00 am is a thumbs-down for me.

    In fact, the Ontario government also voted to get rid of the time change last year. The catch is that they would only do so if our nearest neighbours, Quebec and New York state, also agreed to abolish DST. Of course this did not happen this year, so we changed our clocks again.

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    1. I would certainly vote to get rid of the time change Grace

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    2. DANIELLE: I do not know if Premier Ford formally asked Premier Legault about Quebec getting rid of the time change. I suppose they can try again in 2022.

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    3. Grace, I believe you-know-who wants to go permanent DST, not Standard.

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    4. SUSAN: Yes, sorry for the error above. I blame my 1:00 am post for my goof up.
      Ontario wants permanent DST!!

      https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-daylight-savings-time-change-1.5817215

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    5. I would prefer to keep standard time like the Maine Millennial and Gigi

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    6. DANIELLE: Me too, I would prefer just staying with standard time for the reasons I stated above and further down in the comments!

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  3. Hahaha! Hank, you crack me up. A friend of mine posted something on FB today that is perfect for your experience. "Knowledge is when you know the answer and tell everyone.
    Wisdom is when you know the answer and wait to be asked."

    Having finally gotten the times straight for Zooming for the different parts of this country and over the pond, I know I'm going to be pulling my hair out as I navigate the new time. Yes, I realize it shouldn't be that hard, but it will be. I didn't sleep well last night, so losing an hour really hit me hard, and I fell asleep in my recliner tonight. Now, here I am awake again.

    The number one reason I like DST at this point in my life (and for the past 11 years) is that I can go visit my granddaughter in Indiana and eat supper with her, or go out to eat with my daughter's family, and drive back while there's still plenty of light outside. So, that makes the time change work for me.

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  4. Absolutely, we need this extra hour. Saturday night, the sun set at 6 PM. For those who work in an office, if you get off work at 5 PM, that means by the time you drive home (pre-pandemic lives), it was dark.

    Now the sun sets at 7 PM. That means, you actually have some time to enjoy daylight after work.

    The latest the sun sets in Southern CA is 8:30. We absolutely need that time when we can be out enjoying it.

    Honestly, I do wish it were lighter later in the winter, but since I don't want to be outside and doing more in the winter, I'm okay with it being dark when I leave my office at 5 PM.

    So yes, we need to keep Daylight Saving Time. You can have it when you pry it from my cold dead hands.

    (Remind me about this tomorrow when I am dragging getting up for work, would you please?)

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  5. What you said was profound, Hank. No wonder your boss didn't get it.

    For the record, I HATE springing forward, and I hate Daylight Savings Time. I object to all the time juggling for many reasons, but the one that usually stops the argument cold while people try to figure me out is when I say I object to DST for religious reasons.

    I am a pagan. Part of my religious practice is to be in tune with the seasons and the rhythms of the earth. Just as I am adjusting gently to the move toward longer days and shorter nights, DST comes along and puts a big old man-made boot in the center of my sacred pool. Mark complains of driving home in the dark? That's what happens to me when I leave the office at 6 pm, and am suddenly dumped of DST back into standard time. Let me adjust to the natural rhythms of the world. Let me breathe in the sacred days and nights. Let me watch the progression of the seasons. Leave the clock time nonsense for the history books. My vote is for standard time (like the rest of the world uses?) but I'll adjust if we all just pick one and stick with it year round.

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    1. Gigi, apparently a lot of scientists would agree with you. Not just about the damage done by the switch, but because our bodies are attuned to the earth's natural cycles in ways we don't even understand yet. And, yes, traveling across multiple time zones is really hard on your body, too.

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    2. Interesting. Thanks for that.

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  6. Hank, I cannot stop giggling! Please tell me there's a tape of this somewhere in the universe! :D

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    1. Nope...it truly does not exist, isn't that funny to think?

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  7. Hank, too lol funny! I loved that you woman 'splained the universe to the weather man! Ha.

    I actually love DST and think my internal clock is permanently set for more sunlight in the afternoon and evening. This morning I woke up just before 6. Yay. Friday I woke up just before 5. As a mostly ridiculously early riser, I much prefer to say I got out of bed at 6 and have more day in front of me. Get up at 6, go to bed at 10. Check. Or, get out of bed at 5, go to bed at 9. Same amount of time awake, just more usable time. Yeah. Ditch Standard Time.

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  8. I hate the change. The east coast is now on what I have learned is called Atlantic Time - that is, the time zone in Puerto Rico where my son lives. So we were all in the same time zone for our family zoom yesterday. I vote we stay here! (Atlantic doesn't shift, like Arizona.)

    Hallie, India has some half-hour time zones. I don't remember where just now, but at a former workplace we had clocks on the wall tuned to various places we worked with.

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  9. Hank, that is a *hilarious* tv news story. Too funny!

    While I like longer lighter summer evenings, I dislike the clock changes to get there. Give me Standard Time and leave it there, please. I'm with Gigi on living by the rhythms of the natural world. I think it was politicians who created DST, wasn't it? I say vote them out and Standard Time back in.

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  10. We're back to sunrise at a less than sparkling 7:48am because Cincinnati is at the western edge of the Eastern time zoon. Yesterday a chirping smoke detector got us up at 6:30 new time, which wasn't a great way to ease into it.

    We'll appreciate the long summer evenings when it's too hot to walk the dogs before 8pm.

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    1. Margaret, I remember being in Indianapolis for a book thing one spring and being shocked when I woke up, threw open my hotel curtains and saw... darkness where I expected daylight. Coming from the far Eastern end of the time zone, I was used to dawn well before 7am in April.

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  11. I hate the changing of hours and would keep standard time. I am a “ morning person “ appreciating the early light and being more productive than in the evening.
    Hallie, I’m pretty sure there is a half-hour time zone somewhere in Canada. I’ll check where.

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    1. Danielle: I believe the half-hour time zone is in Newfoundland and Labrador.

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    2. Yes Amanda, Newfoundland is on half-hour time zone

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  12. Hank, that is a wonderful story. Thanks for starting my day with a laugh.

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  13. There are advantages for both times, depending on time of year. But still I say, choose one and stick with it! Or maybe I should just move to AZ!

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  14. Oh my, I am definitely in the minority on this one. I LOVE Daylight Savings time. I was so glad a few years ago when they pushed the fallback date later. I usually (in pre-covid days, I mean) spend the months of standard time ranging between low-level depression and high level depression. I get up and drive to work before the sun comes up, and I drive home from work after the sun goes down. I can't go out for a walk in the evening after work, and I have no motivation to do anything else outside the home. My life largely shrinks to go to work/come home/go to bed/repeat until the sun comes back into hours that belong to me to use at my own discretion. (My current office has a window, so I can at least see the sun during the day. That has not been the case in many jobs over my adult life.) I live for the weekend when I get to at least spend a bit of time in the sun.

    It is honestly an eye opener to me to see that so many people I admire hate DST, since I am such a huge fan myself!

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    1. Your reasons certainly make sense, Susan.

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    2. Susan, I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said! You just described my life. I’m retired now but I now have no motivation for a good part of the year to do all those chores I wanted to do in retirement.

      DebRo

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    3. Susan, I love the longer days, and the extra sunlight is particularly welcome now, when it's still so cold in Maine. Honestly, I just don't like readjusting my body clock forward by an hour. Maybe if we spread it out over a week?

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    4. I love DST! I have no problem adjusting to the time change! In California we voted to permanently stay on DST. Oregon and Washington have also voted to stay on DST year round. Apparently British Columbia will implement this plan too. It looks like it will happen simultaneously next year.

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  15. Standard Time. Let's leave it at Standard Time. But at this point, I am all for stopping the clock change at either. Such a stupid thing to do.

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    1. Yes, just leave it. LEAVE it. Choose, and leave it.

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  16. Hank, you really want to break your brain? I recently learned there is some time zone in India were the offset is 5.5 hours (instead of the normal hour difference between zones). Ugh.


    Remember when we switched to doing the time changes in March and November? I guess that only resulted in 0.5% savings on electricity.

    I read a story last night that there is a bipartisan bill in Congress right now to just switch to DST and stay there. It has about 12 backers from both parties, so maybe it'll get consideration.

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  17. I so don't care. Once I retired, I let my body decide when to sleep, when to wake, when to eat, et al.

    HOWEVER, this year was different. I had a fair amount of post op pain on Saturday, and it was difficult waiting four hours between pain meds although I did. But at seven PM, Julie went around the house changing the clocks and watches. It suddenly occurred to me that 9:30 was coming an hour earlier! So I took my Dilaudid right on time, not my fault the clocks were reset, and I happily went to bed!

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    1. Ann, you rascal! I hope your pain eases more and more every day.

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    2. Thanks Gigi. I'm happy to report that the pain is significantly less and I'm off the hard stuff already.

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    3. Oh, good, Ann. Sending you lots of quick recovery wishes from Texas!

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    4. ANN: Take care, and I hope you get off the pain meds soon!

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  18. I don't care which option they opt for, just stop messing with the time twice a year!

    Hank, could have used your explanation when I worked with a woman who spent the first week of any time change saying, "It's three o'clock but the real time is [fill in the blank]...

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    1. Kait, at least nowadays most of our "clocks" reset themselves. Remember the pre-computer era, when you had to go around to every clock and appliance and reset it? Don't forget your watch and the car!

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  19. Hank, I would have loved to have seen the expression on the weatherman's face! And, honestly, was what you said so difficult to comprehend?

    I'm on the side of Standard Time. I hate cold dark winter days and early nights as much as anyone, but my body does not adjust well to the change. Summer nights when I was a kid, darkness settled in gently around 9 pm, and there was plenty of time after for stargazing before bedtime. On DST, by the time night falls, I'm too tired to think of doing anything. That said, I could adjust if THEY WOULD JUST PICK ONE AND LEAVE IT THERE!!!! Sigh.

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  20. I must admit that I’m constantly surprised to find that there are people who don’t like Daylight Saving Time! I have loved it since I was a child. All my siblings still share my love of Daylight Saving Time. We could play outside after dinner on the weekend. Sometimes our dad drove us to the beach to see the sunset over the water. As an adult, I love being able to wind down the day by taking a walk after dinner, or going to see the sunset at the beach. I get a lot more work done at home when there’s more daylight; the sunlight motivates me to do things. During Standard time I just try to pass the time until it’s time to go to bed. I’m more social during Daylight Saving Time, too, getting together with friends for dinner (before Covid) without having to worry about driving home in the dark. (We’re all at that age.) If Daylight Saving Time got abolished I don’t know what I would do!

    DebRo

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    1. I want to point out that the "more daylight" we experience in the summer is not a result of daylight savings time. Days are naturally longer in the summer, and shorter in the winter. This happens as a result of the Earth's being on a tilted axis as it rotates around the sun. Being on Standard Time does not mean the sun will set at 5 pm in the summer. It might set at 8:30pm, instead of 9:30pm, but it will likewise rise at 5:30am rather than 6:30am. You will still have the same number of sunlight hours. You'll just call them something different. You'll drive to work in the light and drive home in the light, with plenty of time to play outdoors after supper. Longer days are what makes it summer!

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  21. There are several countries with not only half-hour time zone differences, but also 45-minute ones. Not to confuse anyone, or anything.

    The daughter in Kenya called this morning for two reasons: to see how we are after our second shots, and to let us know they are now seven hours ahead of us, instead of the previous eight, since Kenya doesn't change.

    Personally, I don't care. We didn't "lose" anything, it's just been moved temporarily, right? It gives people something to complain about that has nothing to do with politics, so on that score, win!

    Hank, too funny. But sad, too, that the evening news is not a place for an intelligent remark. Geez.

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    1. Rhys, Kentucky (and Tennessee) are both split into two time zones because they are both such long states that straddle time zones. I think they are 500 miles across, or close to it.

      Eastern Indiana is on EST now (with 12 western counties in Central Time), but at one time counties could choose, and they did so kind of willy-nilly. Since Cincinnati is right on the border between Ohio and Indiana, there is a lot of social and economic movement between the two states. Woe be the invited guest who didn't think to ask which time zone the event they were attending was indicated. I either missed the wedding by an hour or showed up more than an hour ahead. It was very confusing.

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    2. KAREN: I agree that DST is more of a first-world issue. I know that most of Africa, Asia and countries near to the equator stick to the same time zone all year round.

      But I agree with the fact that Debs raised about how the 1 hour sleep deprivation causes a statistically significant increase in car accidents and heart attacks. Maybe this effect will not affect as many North Americans and Europeans since many are still homebound due to the pandemic.

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    3. Grace, that's a good point, that messing with body clocks adds more stress. As if we needed that, right?

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    4. Karen, I am terminally confused just reading that!

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  22. Did you know that Daylight Savings was first instituted in Germany, during WWI, in order to save on manufacturing costs? So of course England and other European countries had to do it to, then eventually America. The whole concept has a very checkered history. Here's a nice little summary: https://www.triviagenius.com/when-how-daylight-saving-time-begin/XtY_ghx5DQAG1hLT?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=1242030211

    In the UK, it's called "Summer Time", which makes it a little more palatable, somehow. The power of language!

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  23. Not only is the term "Daylight Saving" a complete hoax, but I can't even begin to understand the folks who want to "fix" it by going DST permanently.

    You said, Debs, "I get that folks in more northern climes might like an extra hour of daylight in summer evenings."

    Not me. There's always plenty of sunlight in the summer evening. More than enough. The real problem would be the winter mornings. Up here in the near North (Toronto is south of the 45th parallel, slightly closer to the Equator than the North Pole), winter mornings can be hellish. Even if it hasn't snowed in the night, it is still hard to crawl out of bed when it's Cold and Dark out there. Permanent DST would mean it would be Cold and Dark for an hour longer each morning. Children would have to walk to school in the dark longer. (Well, when they can, I mean....)

    I suspect the only proponents of permanent DST are those who never get out of bed before 9 o'clock.

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    1. SUSAN: I totally agree with you about the dark winter mornings in Ontario. I remember leaving home at 6:00 am to commute 1.5 hours to work in Toronto until I moved to Ottawa in 2014. Even in retirement, I am an early bird, so my circadian rhythms are thrown off by not seeing the sunrise until after 7:00 now. And yes, there is more than enough light in the evening hours for me.

      BTW. I corrected my post up above, thanks for noticing my error :-)

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    2. Agreed, Susan - I don't care if the sun goes down at 8:30 instead of 9:30 at midsummer, but the sun not rising until after 8am all through January would be brutal. Maybe the idea of splitting the time zones between north and south isn't so bad. We've all gotten used to differing time zones running east to west, and those weren't standardized until the mid-19th century.

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    3. Because I'm a geek, I just checked - in January, sunrise in Toronto is almost 40 minutes after we have it in Portland, Maine, which would mean dawn at around 9am in DST. That's just inhumane.

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    4. Julia, it's Scotland! In Edinburgh in January, the sun doesn't rise until almost 9 a.m. "Summer Time" would mean the sun wouldn't rise until almost 10. Cruel, indeed.

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  24. Seriously, Hank? You said "unalterable continuum" on live TV?

    You so rock.

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  25. According to Sandra Boyton the day after Daylight Savings begins is National Napping Day!

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    1. Libby, I LOVE that! I may have to go celebrate it...

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  26. Although we don’t do DST, AZ switches time zones when everyone else does DST so now instead of MST we’re PST. I see no difference except my jet lag when traveling back east will be much worse now and I have to relearn what time it is everywhere else.

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  27. I've lived in MST, CST, and EST zones and in the north and the south and I really don't care about daylight savings. I've had to go to work in the dark, come home in the dark, and I survived. My husband loves daylight savings. In Texas we just don't need it. Like Debs says, one extra hour of hellish sunlight in the summer. Waiting until close to ten at night for July 4 fireworks. Bleah. I'm in the simplify period of my life and life would be simpler without changing time twice a year.

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  28. Nay. Do away with Daylight Savings (which doesn't save anything) Time and stay on regular time, please.

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  29. Hank, one of my brother’s pet peeves is the concept of losing or gaining an hour....he would so thoroughly agree with your explanation. I vote to just leave time as it is...the change makes me cranky🥴
    I do get to vote on Maine and read the Millennial’s column so I will watch for her name on a ballot...she has my vote🤣

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  31. I absolutely hate it. Read the comments on this or any forum. Those against talk about the effect on children, the people who work early morning hours, the people who work outside in early morning hours in the dark for longer, the traffic accidents the week after the change. The pros are all I (first person singular) like (preference) the extra hour of light

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  32. OH, see I am LATE! And I adore reading these comments...xoox

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  33. Also, I was talking to Jonathan about the half-hour thing, which is SO brilliant. Because why not, it IS whatever we decide to call it! And I thought about it a bit, and then said to him: well, problem is they'd have to change all the sundials.

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  34. I do prefer Daylight Savings Time since I'm retired and don't have to get up early. I don't drive in the dark so I go to an early dinner when I was able to do that. However, I just want the changing twice a year to stop. My body doesn't adjust to changed in time or weather well anymore. Pick one and leave it alone!

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  35. Like Jenn, I live full time in Arizona, and I must say it's a relief not to have to worry about DST. But Like Rhys, I'm always figuring on my fingers and toes about how far ahead or behind we are to the rest of the country - it's same as California time in the summer, New Mexico in the winter. Or wait a minute... is it...?

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  36. I'm consoling myself with the thought that DST makes it cooler to walk the dogs on summer mornings, even if the evening are blistering later!

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  37. I'm with you, Deborah. Having lived in a country where it was night-dark before 5PM, I began to miss the light of day. I'm a late-autumn person: sharp, crisp air, bundling against the cold...but the fading light of evening has always appealed to me.

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