Monday, March 21, 2022

What Time Is It, Anyway?




HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: I have no idea what time it is anyway, no matter what, and no matter what time we decide to set the clocks to say it is. So now the US Senate has passed legislation to make Daylight Saving Time the standard, and not have us change our clocks anymore.

You know how I feel about it when people say we are “changing the time.” We are not changing the time! We are just changing what we call it. Time is a continuum, and no matter what we humans do, or what we have our clocks say. It is what it is.

But we have to agree on what the time is, so we can know when to watch Ozark and Project Runway, and not be late for things. When there are things. So, okay.

If there could be a way that the sun comes up at 7 AM, and goes down around 6:30 every night, that would be fine with me. What kind of time would you call that?

“Doctors” are saying — the newspaper says they say so, anyway – – setting the standard as Daylight Saving Time is absolutely the worst decision. That our circadian rhythms are not set for that, and it will make everyone sick. (Everyone is already sick, but that’s another post.)

As for me, when we change the clocks, I have to ask myself whether I am supposed to be tired or not. Or hungry or not. And I am always utterly confused.

What do you think the time should be?


LUCY BURDETTE: For us, it’s all about what time the ANIMALS think it is. If it’s a little darker later in the morning, we all sleep in a bit–yay! They do not, however, understand shifting things either way. So let’s pick one and stick to it.

But, and I hate to whine because I get no sympathy, Daylight savings messes with our sunset celebration in Key West. On “normal” time, people come for 5:30 or 6 to do cocktails at sunset, we eat dinner, and they go home. In DST, they come at 6 and it’s hours until sunset. So are we supposed to drink for several hours and eat at 8? You see the problem? (I didn’t think so, LOL.)

(HANK: Um, yeah, what a dreadful dreadful situation! :-) )

JENN McKINLAY:
I do not understand DST. Granted, I live in AZ so we’ve never changed the clocks because when it’s 115 degrees out, you don’t want another second of daylight nevermind an additional hour.

But now with DSL being permanent, we’re forever on PST even though AZ is clearly in the MST zone and instead of having half of the year with only a 2 hour time change to the fam on the east coast,
it will forever be 3 hours. I hate this!

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: It’s true, I complain mightily about springing forward (completely messes with my and the dogs’ inner clocks) and falling back (kind of nice when it comes to getting up in the morning, groans when it’s completely dark at 5pm.) I live where we have more extreme daylight and darkness, even within the state - when Youngest was going to the Maine School of Science and Mathematics up in the north, she had a full half hour less (or more) daylight than I did.


So ultimately, I think the time change is a good thing. In Maine, we only have three months of true summer weather, and boy, do we cherish those long summer nights where the light stretches on to 9pm. And in the winter months, it may be dark when we get up, but it’s growing light out when the high schoolers are waiting for their busses, and the sun creeps over the horizon when you drive into work. As lovely as DST is this time of year, the idea of it still being dark at eight in the morning in January is pretty grim.

HALLIE EPHRON: Time change was brutal when there was a baby in the house. No matter how I explained to her that it’s FIVE AM and we do not get up and feed you until SIX AM, she failed to grasp the logic. It took about a week to sink in.

On the plus side, I have never figured out how to change the time on the clock in my car. Now at least I won’t have to change it. Cell phones and computers change themselves. Hope they get the memo, assuming the House goes along with the Senate.

RHYS BOWEN:
I’m usually in Arizona when the clocks change so don’t have to think about it. But having Arizona the same as California all year is weird, but at least I won’t ever risk showing up late again in Arizona as I did once, forgetting the hour’s difference in winter!

I do like light evenings, but I also hate dark mornings so I’m not sure which way I prefer.


As for changing clocks etc, I read once the following: iPhone, computer change itself. Stove: you’ll need the manual and a hammer. Car clock: wait six months and it will be correct again. So we might have saved ourselves some grief.

HANK: Hilarious!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I am absolutely with Jenn on this. The last thing anyone needs in a Texas summer is another hour of miserable heat. I can’t even grill until after the sun sets as our deck faces due west and it is an inferno. Not to mention the AC bills, trying to cool the house enough to cook dinner every night. I’m always so relieved when we go on standard time. But I get that those of us who are farther north do like the later sunset. Just goes to show you can’t please everyone! (In which case I’d vote for leaving time alone.)

HANK: Leaving time alone! What a great book title! SO what do you think, reds and readers? I guess my vote is…keep changing the clocks. How about you?

93 comments:

  1. I understand everyone’s position on daylight and sunsets and all that, but . . . whether it’s ahead or back, I absolutely despise changing the clock.
    That said, I could manage reasonably well if the decision was to keep Daylight Saving Time as the time all year.
    However, if we are going to change and keep one time all year [and could we please do that?], it would make more sense to choose standard time because the majority of the countries in the world use standard time all year . . . .

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    1. So would that make it lighter earlier or lighter later? Xxxx

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    2. With standard time, the sun is directly overhead near noon . . . I guess if we had standard time, it would be dark an hour earlier through the spring and summer . . . .

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    3. The sun came up at around 6 am this morning. If we were still on standard time, it would have been 5 am. Sunset would be earlier, too.

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    4. JUDY: Interesting that you get sunrise an hour earlier than here in Ottawa. I wish we had a 6 am sunrise right now.

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    5. Connecticut is further south so our daylight changes are less dramatic than yours are. Your days probably are closer to Julia's in length.

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    6. Yep, the farther north you go, the greater the swings between light and dark. The first time I visited Hawai'i was in the summer, and I remember feeling extremely odd that it was dark around 6 every evening. I have a bone-deep understanding that warm enough for sleeveless shirts = light until 9pm.

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    7. I know, but sunset in Hawaii is such a big deal looking over the ocean, and you can always remember when it is!

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  2. I usually stay abreast of US news, but this is the first I've heard about making Daylight Savings Time an all-year-round event. Interesting. Between the ages of five and fifteen, I lived in Puerto Rico, which doesn't use daylight savings and is close enough to the equator that the sun rises at six every morning and sets at six every evening. Seemed perfectly normal to me as a child, since our family got up at six anyway. Now I live in Switzerland, which shares a latitude with the bottom of Hudson Bay. When we're on daylight savings time, the June skies are still light at 11 pm. Lovely. Here we have seven months of daylight savings and five months of standard time, and that's fine with me. But if we had to stick to one thing only, I'd pick standard time. I'm against dark mornings more than I'm for light evenings. But that's just me; I wouldn't go to battle for it. Unless one choice or the other reduced our use of electricity--then I'd lobby for that.

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    1. Oh, that's a good point, Kim--but thinking about it--you'd either have to turn on all the lights in the mornings or at night. Is that right? I'm imagining you in Switzerland..so beautiful! Hope you are safe and well.

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  3. I am an early riser (as you can see from this post's time), so I HATE it that it's still dark (now) until after 7 am.

    The Ontario government voted for the same permanent change to |DST all year round but would only do so if neigbouring New York State and Quebec also agreed. This makes sense, especially here in Ottawa. When we cross the Ottawa river, we are in Gatineau Quebec. It is normally one seamless region, called the National Capital Region, with tens of thousands of people commuting/working each day.

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    1. I cannot believe how early you wrote this? AHH!!! So in your case the change depended on an international agreement? Hmm. ANd. that didn't happen?

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    2. HANK: Well Ontario put forward the legislation but it would not happen unless both Quebec and NY did as well. When I worked for my last job in Environment Canada, I would have to go across to multidepartment meetings several times a week. Can you imagine the chaos it would cause if we were in different time zones?

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    3. Sounds like what might happen if DC, Virginia and Maryland were on different time zones. Catastrophe! (Although it might ease some of the traffic congestion...)

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    4. Frankly, there is already plenty of chaos in the National Capital Region without adding another complicating factor such as differing time zones. Thinking about it more, if Ottawa & Gatineau were to be in different time zones, it would also cause chaos with people joining in on Zoom/teleconference calls from across Canada/the US.

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  4. I'll read that book, Hank: Leave Time Alone. And that is what I would vote for, too.

    Whether time is a construct or a conspiracy, I would like standard time to be the only version of it. I live in a province with only a few short months of summer, so we look forward to the long evenings of DST after a hard dark winter. But for me, those long summer evenings are not worth the twice-yearly time change to. get them. I'd prefer to live in Central Standard Time 365 days a year, as our neighbouring province of Saskatchewan does. They seem to manage just fine.

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    1. Yes, I really love the long summer evenings. How does he change affect you? For me, it's a little psychological, I fear. If someone said--you're supposed to be tired, then, poof, I'd be tired. And the other way around, too.

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  5. Hank, it's called (or should be) Equatorial Time. When we lived in Mali and Burkina Faso (both at 12 degrees N latitude), it got light at six and got dark at six. Bam. The time shifted maybe half an hour all year.

    My son lives in Puerto Rico (18 degrees N latitude), which is on Atlantic time. As Kim pointed out, day length is fairly constant. So if we shift to permanent DST, we will actually join him in that time zone.

    I don't really care which we pick, but not changing will be lovely!

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    1. That's how it is in Nairobi, where my daughter lives, and in Ecuador, and Hawaii is also close to the equator. No one bothers with DSL, because the sun and moon never change when they appear, close to 6:00 at both ends.

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    2. OH, that's so...symmetrical! And seems like what our bodies and minds would be comfortable with.

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    3. It's really weird having nightfall at dinnertime, though.

      Tanzanians have a charming way of marking time in the bush. 6 AM is "midnight" to them, and 7 is the first hour of the day. This is my interpretation of what our guide told us, so don't take this to the bank, by the way.

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    4. SO that's--the darkest hour is just before the dawn?

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  6. For me, I'd rather just stay with how things are.

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    1. Hank, yes that's what I meant. Sorry I wasn't clearer about that.

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  7. Cincinnati is at the western edge of the eastern time zone, so in December, we have at least an extra half hour of daylight. Of course, it's dark till 8am in the mornings. It's a tough call but I'd like to stick with daylight savings time for long summer evenings.

    Hank, when I was a kid at YMCA camp in the Poconos, we went off daylight savings so we could have nighttime campfires in the dark. As long as you're off the grid, you can pick your own time.

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    1. True! That's a lot of power. You could call it Camp Time!

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  8. Even though I am an early riser, I prefer the darkness in the morning. But I do not really care and also do not mind changing the clocks. I know how they all work;-) no hammers needed!

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    1. Same here, Judy - even the car clock!

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    2. Same here, too. I don't get all the fuss. Especially now that so many clocks change themselves, but our house never had a video player blinking "12:00", even back in the day.

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    3. Yeah, the clock change is not all that tough these days--it used to be, though. Especially when I would change it, and then Jonathan would change it, too! Which was not pretty...

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    4. I vividly remember the days before ANYTHING was electronic and all the clocks and watches had to be changed by hand. My mother would dial Time and Temperature (remember that?) and then everyone would be standing by at their assigned clock to move it forward when she called out the proper time.

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  9. Oooo, Hank, Hank, Hank! FCF was so much fun this weekend! Happiest of Anniversaries and many Happy/Fun returns!

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    1. I echo JUDY's enthusiastic comment about the FCF 2nd anniversary celebrations this weekend, including last night's live chat with Hank and Hannah!

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    2. Oh, thank you! We loved it, too! And so pleased you were there! xxx

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  10. I'm not really committed to anything. Make a decision - stay, DST, or standard time. Koda is going to get me up at same "time" regardless of what the numbers on the clock say.

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  11. I thought the doctors had said that there were more heart attacks right after a changeover but I'm not sure I understand why that would be. I really wish they would just pick one time and leave it alone.

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    1. Yes, there was something like that--that it threw off the body's rhythm. Hmm.

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  12. I'm going with Standard Time. It's basically still light out at 10 p.m. here in northern Ohio in the summer. I don't necessarily go to bed at 10 p.m., but I'd prefer it to be truly dark when I retire at night. And the twice-yearly changes wreak havoc on my system. I haven't had a good night's sleep since the clocks changed--like at least two nights' worth of no sleep at all. But regardless of my preferences--JUST PICK ONE and stick with it!

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    1. OH, so interesting! Which proves everyone reacts differently--which is not surprising!

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    2. Flora, get a good quality, adjustable strap eyemask. I have one in black velvet, generously sized so it doesn't have to be "just so" to keep any light from peeping in, and it changed my life. I used it for traveling for several years and started putting it on at home when my neighbors across the street moved here from the city and decided they needed an outdoor light on ALL NIGHT. On a country road, ugh.

      Anyway, I sleep so well with this, I recommend them to everyone.

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    3. That is so interesting! It didn't feel weird? Like when you opened your eyes and it was still dark? :-)

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  13. My suspicion is that I would harbor a strong desire to hibernate during the colder months no matter what the country's clock situation is -- but I AM curious if DST year-round would improve my mood November through March!

    I spent some time in the Peruvian Amazon, where the sun rose & set right around 6 all year. There was something kinda magical about the consistency of that.

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    1. Welcome, Alicia! Yes, the hibernation urge is very strong...:-). HEEEYYY!! Congratulations on your book!!YAY! Will you do a blog for us about it? Email me at hryan@whdh.com

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  14. In most of the world, days are shortest in the winter, and longest in the summer, with or without DST. It's just a matter of shifting. That's why we have seasons, and I for one am okay with that. Picking one time standard would be fine with me, too.

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    1. KAREN: It will be interesting to see if the Government of Canada will work on developing similar legislation if the US DST legislation passes in the House.

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    2. Yes, the shifting is kind of nice. We shall see what happens with the House. Ha.

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    3. Hank, the shifting still happens, just at an abnormal time.

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  15. Pick a time, anytime, just stick with it! I remember a brief period during the energy crisis in the 1970s (two years maybe?) where we did not change time. The world, as we knew it, didn't end. It was rather nice, and contrary to those doctors Hank cited, no one self-destructed!

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    1. Oh, I don't remember that. SO it was lighter later, and no one had to turn on lights?

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    2. Yes, that was how it worked, but it was reversed for the safety of children going to school. It was only in effect for ten months. I had thought it was longer! Here's an article https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/what-happened-the-last-time-the-us-tried-to-make-daylight-saving-time-permanent-180979742/

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    3. Oh, fascinating! Off to read this. Thank you!

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  16. Remember when the calendar hit the year 2000 and everyone was sure the Intrenet would self destruct? Looking forward to the same kind of insanity when/if this alternation in the space/time continuum takes place. It will be a nice change from what we're worrying about now.

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  17. I think what we ought to do is redefine the time zones. There's really no rule that says Detroit has to be in the same time zone as Maine and Florida, just move the line a bit. Maybe even move some of the eastern states to the Atlantic time zone. Give everybody reasonable sunrise and sunset times! That project ought to keep Congress busy for at least the next decade.

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    1. LOL!!! I like that idea. When I'm in Nova Scotia (Atlantic Time) in the summer, it stays light until almost 10 PM.

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  18. I dislike waking up and having it dark until after 7am. And as I age, I dislike it more and more. I'm comes from when everything switched to daylight savings time very early one year, back in the 1970s because of a fuel crisis. I lived at the end of a deadend the street without streetlights. The bus stop was at across the two lane highway, at the corner with the gas station that had lines of cars waiting to fuel up. Fun times! Nope, not really.

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    1. Yes, waking up in the dark is very bleak. I use this as a good excuse for sleeping later! xx

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  19. I love, absolutely LOVE Daylight Saving Time! The extra daylight at the end of the day enables me to get more done. That includes chores as well as taking walks after dinner, and getting out to be with people. Since I don’t see well in the dark, and my ophthalmologist says my cataracts aren’t ready for surgery, my whole lifestyle changes for the worst when we must change the clocks back to Standard time. I’m more isolated because I can’t go to evening events or meetings.

    I think it’s funny that a lot of people think that “changing the clocks” only means changing to DST. We also change the clocks to go back to Standard Time. For me, “changing the clocks” at that time of year brings to mind being stuck in the house, and having limitations. I feel happiest and most alive and most like myself during Daylight Saving Time.

    Okay, rant over! ;-)
    DebRo

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    1. That is fascinating, DebRo. I'm so sorry about your poor eyes...I know the run up to the surgery is very unsettling. I remember being afraid to cross the street. And carrying a suitcase and a latte on an airport escalator was the highest degree of difficulty.

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  20. HANK,

    Wonder if other countries have Daylight Savings Time? We cannot control the changes in weather/seasons. True that in the summer, the days become longer. What happens if we had the Standard Time all year? When I was a kid, I remember the days getting longer in the summer and longer evenings in the winter.

    When I visited the UK, I remember it did not get dark until 9 p.m. in the evening! In Scandinavia, it seemed to be daytime all day during the summer. Fewer hours of dark evenings in contrast to the USA.

    RHYS, yes! Mu car clock is set and it is six months until the time is correct again! LOL

    Diana

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    1. OH, we'll have to look that up now...anyone, anyone?
      And I just assume the car clock is wrong.

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  21. Like Deb Crombie, our Texas summers can be brutally sweltering and last a long time. The electric bills soar as the A/C runs so much, prepping and cooking dinner, even grilling outside is no fun! I prefer "real"standard time, which is bad enough. Decades ago when we were younger we used to go swimming, fishing and boating for hours on DST after work and it wasn't such a pain. I also recall the DST experiment in the 70's, and there were more vehicle accidents, esp. involving school children when it's darker in the mornings. My solution,if the bill passes, is that both schools and work places should open an hour LATER.

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    1. OH, yes, yes, now I remember that! ANd oh, that's kinda brilliant--to start everything "later." Hmmm..would that work?

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    2. I don't see why not, just seems logical to me. But I'm no expert, I just play one in my head and on the interwebs! ;)

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  22. I hate how early it gets dark in the winter. And even in the summer, the sun sets at 8:30 in June, so I like that extra hour of sun in the evening. If we aren't going to keep changing the clocks (which is my vote), then we need to get it at DST.

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    1. When I was a general assignment reporter, we loved when it got dark "early" because we could use lights in our live shots, and it looked better. Things you never knew you needed to know...xo

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  23. Like so many of these posts, I don't really care which way it goes - EST/DST - just pick one and stay with it! Absolutely HATE the twice-yearly change.

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    1. DO you get tired? Or confused? Or is it just annoying? xxx

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  24. I drove so little between November and March this year that I never bothered to reset the car clock, so it's nice to have the correct time again!

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  25. I like sunlight at night. I can deal with artificial light in the morning. But changing the clocks is such a pain.

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    1. But less than before, at least, with so much of it computerized. My only nemesis is the oven. :-)

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  26. NO! Stay with Standard Time! Daylight “Savings” Time saves nothing, is disruptive, unnecessary (we are no longer an agrarian society), useless and senseless! Bah!

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  27. The debate over time makes my head spin. I don't know what to think or feel. The only deciding factor for me would be that I love being able to go to my daughter's an hour away, go out or an evening meal, and then return home while it's still light. The road that I'm on the longest has a long history of deer collisions, and I enjoy being able to spend an unhurried time with my grandgirl, knowing that I will still have daylight on the way home.

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    1. Yes, driving in daylight is infinitely preferable! xx

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  28. I heard once that DST worked for retail business because people shopped and went out after dinner when it was still light. I have no idea if that is true or just a cynic making noise.

    Personally, I hate time change. It messes with my head and creates havoc with the dog. And I've never really understood why it happened in the first place. Keep one time and make it non-daylight savings time. Or let the decision be more local. If Newfoundland can manage to be 1/2 hour off everyone else, then that is certainly doable.

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    1. They shop after dinner? Hmm. And I agree, the half hour thing is REALLY intriguing. Which proves we can call it whatever we want. right? xx

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  29. 1979-1982 I lived and worked on the Navajo Reservation in northern Arizona. It was a s**t show when the time changed.

    Federal offices went on DST
    State offices stayed on MST
    Businesses and churches pleased themselves

    Therefore the hospital was on DST
    Schools were on MST
    Post Office. On DST
    Cable company on MST
    Catholics? DST
    Protestants: MST
    Grocery Store and Yellow Front: MST
    KFC: DST
    Bank? Who knew?
    Me? I worked mostly days mixed in with nights ad lib and I never knew what time it was.

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    1. When I suggested local decisions, I didn't mean THAT local. My heavens.

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    2. That is HILARIOUS and crazy, and the plot of a really funny sitcom. And you survived!

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    3. The scary thing about the bank was that it was in a single wide mobile home. I had visions of someone hitching it up and stealing the whole thing.

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    4. And then when the police asked: "When did that happen?" You'd have to say--"it depends..."

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  30. I hate changing the clocks and adjusting to the change, especially in the spring when we lose an hour. I'm always afraid I will miss church. I would prefer Daylight Savings Time as I like the light in the evening. However, I could live with Standard Time. Just pick one!

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  31. Tomorrow on Tuesday March 22 will be the new Maisie Dobbs novel.

    Wonder if Jacqueline Winspear will be interviewed for tomorrow's post or Sara Blaedel who also has a book launch tomorrow...

    Diana

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