Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: I live in the Heartland of the United States - Western Kentucky
Just to provide some humor and some information, cave76, read the following excerpt from a column I wrote in November 2002. It will give you some insight into the whole Daylight Saving Time issue:
Well, it happened. In the wee hours of Sunday, October 27th Daylight Saving Time ended for this year. This means the hour that was snatched from us last spring was stealthily returned. That’s 60 minutes, 3,600 seconds. Impressive, huh? What are you going to do/did you do with all that time? And, what is time, by the way? The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary says it’s “the measured or measurable period during which an action, process or condition exists or continues.” Fair enough definition and understandable. I especially comprehend the “measuring” part but, sometimes I would like to measure my time using a, ahem, fisherman’s ruler because I always seem to have more to do than the time allotted allows.
Back to that wonderful gift of 60 minutes. I gave some thought to what I would do with this found time and came up with some ideas. I could spend the time playing Klondike solitaire on the computer, but that would be wasting time. I could scrub the kitchen and/or bathroom floors, but that would be doing time. I’m only given this hour once a year, so I should be sure to use it wisely and not squander it. But it’s only one hour. That’s right, but just think how long an hour seems when you are sitting in the dentist’s chair with his hands in you mouth. It seems like a week, doesn’t it? So all I need to do is to come up with something pleasant and, with some luck, productive to use up my hour, as well as something that will also make that hour feel as though it is a week long. So far, nothing’s come to mind and I don’t have a dental appointment and, thankfully, can rule out spending my hour there. I’ll have to give it more thought. I’ll think about something else that relates to time, such as some of the phrases we utter.
Time is money. You’ve heard that saying. I suppose I could use my hour to earn some money. I think I should aspire to an hourly rate of about $500. That would really make my hour, uh, count.
Time flies. I’ve looked in all the phone books and searched the Internet and even checked with all sorts of travel agencies, but none of these searches resulted in any airline called Time Airline so I have my doubts that time actually flies. And, if it does, I would bet it would not be on time. Then again, I wonder how far I would get in an hour on the Concorde. Hummm!
Time waits for no man. There’s another familiar adage. I’m safe here. I’m a woman.
I’d better quit before things really turn silly and get to today’s point – Daylight Saving Time or is it Daylight Savings Time? I’ve wondered which is the correct way of saying it. Calendars are undependable. I’ve seen it printed both ways on them. Asking various people resulted in confusion and disagreement. For some reason this bothered me and my ever-present curiosity surfaced and I had other questions about this transfer of time twice a year. So what did I do? I went to the library. To the Internet, too. And I learned some interesting things, interesting to me, about the subject. I’ll share them with you.
I was surprised to learn that Benjamin Franklin was the first to conceive of the idea while he was an American delegate in Paris in 1784. I don’t know if that was before or after his little the kite-key-lightning encounter, but Ben proved to be full of good ideas during his lifetime.
In 1907, a London builder came up with a scheme to move clocks forward 20 minutes in four consecutive Sundays in April, because he’d noticed that during his early morning rides through the countryside, many of the homes he passed still had their blinds closed, even after the sun had been up for some while. I can’t imagine his system catching on because it seemed awkward, at the least. Considering how we handle things today, I think his plan met with “underwhelming” acceptance.
However, before any kind of time saving could be implemented, standard time had to be established - the zone system we’re all familiar with. Standard time, with its four zones, was instituted in the United States at noon on November 18, 1883 – almost exactly 100 years after Ben Franklin came up with the idea for “saving” time. However, it was many years before standard time became commonly used and, as it became apparent, standardized time was practical for travel - mostly by train in those days - and for communication – telegraph and telephone. As for the four time zone boundaries, they have changed greatly from the original ones and some changes still occasionally occur and are usually due to “convenience of commerce.”
Daylight Saving Time is not a new concept and it was used in the United States and a number of European countries during World War II, primarily to save fuel for the production of electricity, but even up to the 1960s, it was inconsistently used in our country. By 1966, the disagreements between the proponents and opponents of the system came to a head and the bitter fight between indoor and outdoor theater owners and others finally culminated and the Uniform Time Act of 1966 was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson. This officially designated that Daylight Saving Time would begin on the last Sunday in April and end on the last Sunday of October. States that wished not to participate simply had to pass their own State laws to do so.
In 1972, Congress revised the 1966 law to make it easier for states that contained two or more time zones to observe Daylight Saving Time – each zone in the state only had to observe the Daylight Saving Time consistent to its correct time zone. In other words, each zone had to agree to Daylight Saving Time appropriate to its individual zone. The only other change to the law, to date, was made by President Ronald Reagan when he signed Public Law 99-359, which changed the beginning of Daylight Saving Time to the first Sunday in April instead of the last Sunday. There has been no change to the October ending date.
In our great 50 states, there are three states that do not go from daylight to standard time each year – Indiana, Arizona and Hawaii. However, confusingly so, 15 counties in Indiana observe a mixed bag of Eastern Standard Time, Central Standard and Central Daylight Time, and Eastern Standard and Eastern Daylight Time during the April-October Daylight Saving Time period. Comfuzzled, yet? I am. I’m not going there. Indiana, too, that is.
Some 70 of Europe’s countries observe Daylight Saving Time, with many countries such as Russia customizing it to its high latitude situations in order to maximize the use of daylight. Remember “Dr. Zhivago?”
Countries in the Southern Hemisphere implement Daylight Saving Time from October to March because their summer occurs in December. This paragraph might be especially important to remember for those of us who live in the cold north and northwest of the United States and in our New England states, as well, because December and January weather is not exactly kind to us.
Countries in the tropics or near the Equator have no need to observe Daylight Saving Time because daylight is nearly equal for every season. Minnesota and Vermont residents, doesn’t this seem appealing when the snow is up to your all-American ears in the winter?
Now, by now, you have probably noticed I have consistently used “Daylight Saving Time” in my discussion. That’s because it is the official spelling. To quote, “Saving is used here as a verbal adjective (a participle). It modifies time and tells us more about its nature; namely, that it is characterized by the activity of saving daylight. It is a saving daylight kind of time. Similar examples would be dog walking time or book reading time. Since saving is a verb describing a single type of activity, the form is singular.” Message received and understood. Now I won’t have to consult newspapers and calendars. Hooray!
I think it’s fascinating how a simple point of curiosity can lead one down a somewhat circuitous and, to me, interesting road. All I initially really wanted to know was, is “Saving” with or without an s and what I would do with my recovered hour. I did learn about the s or no s thing, but I also discovered that Ben Franklin was w-a-a-a-y ahead of his time, that I don’t think I want to live in Indiana, and Brazil might be a nice place to spend New Year’s Eve. And isn’t Daylight Saving Time like sunflowers – they turn their heads to follow the sun. Or, from a cartoon I have saved from too many years ago, just cut one end of the blanket and sew it to the other end – well, I think you get the idea. Oh, by the way, the “blanket cartoon” I mentioned above - it’s pasted in a book I call my Smile Book, a compilation of silly, goofy, funny, cartoons and disastrous newspaper articles I refer to to make me smile. Maybe I’ll share that with you someday.
Oh, in case you are interested, next year you will have to spring forward on April 6th and fall back on October 27th. I always get a calendar for Christmas, so now I can put these two dates on it along with all the necessary birthdays and anniversaries.
P.S. I think I know how I used my “bonus” hour – writing this column! I hope it wasn’t a waste.
"As a girl I had zero interest in the stove." - Julia Child
This is real inspiration. Look what Julia became!