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Friday, March 08, 2013

ADJUSTING TIME


I can’t believe we are doing it again. We got along for nine thousand years without doing it, and now we do it twice a year. It was a dumb idea when we did it the first time and now that we’re doing it  twice a year? Why?! Doing a dumb thing twice does not make it smart. Why are we doing this again?! 
The persons to blame for this are the obsessive-compulsive bureaucrats who champion the so-called Daylight Saving Time – and there is no “s” at the end of “Saving” because it’s modifying time, not daylight – I told you these clock watchers were obsessive compulsives. But that dropped “s” should also give you a hint that this whole thing is one great fraud being perpetrated on each and every one of us. So on March 10th at 2:00 AM, we will all spring our clocks forward one hour because we’re all supposed to be happier getting up in the dark again. Do you feel happier being robbed of an hour of sleep? I sure don’t. This Sunday, do you think you will feel like springing anywhere, anytime soon? And the fact that the theft has occurred on a Sunday is, on this wintry March morning, damn cold comfort!
Experts assure me we’re going to save 10,000 barrels of oil a day, reduce crime and spend more time out of doors with our families in the evenings. Of course your iPad and your iPhone would start displaying some rare Lapland dialect if you tried to instruct it to ignore the whole thing. But why are we doing this again?! They first tried this half baked scheme back in World War One, and as soon as the war was over they dumped it. And now, every time some liberal one-world type comes up with another energy saving idea, we are all required to smile and call it "green:. But I wonder about all that extra fossil fuel we burn every morning to light our darkened bedrooms, not to mention run our TVs, hair dryers, water heaters and all those headlights. We used to say that people who rose early got up with the cows. Well, the cows are not getting up any earlier. Why the hell are we?
As everybody keeps pointing out, it was Ben Franklin who first purposed Daylight Saving in his essay “An Economical Project”, (but in French, of course) in which he suggested that if authorities were to “…Oblige a man to rise at four in the morning, …it is probable he will go willingly to bed at eight in the evening." And if we set him on fire, it is probable he will not litter. It is an interesting idea from the eighteenth century’s second most famous reprobate, but it strikes me like accepting interior decorating suggestions from the Marque de Sade. How do we know that Ben wasn't  just joking? But if he was, then Congressman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who wrote the amendment to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, missed the punch line. So the same Congress that refused to raise the minimum wage for 10 years found the time to steal an hour of your sleep every March. In the next election I suggest voting for Ben Franklin. It would make as much sense.
Ben was trying to save about 64 million pounds of candle wax a year. Well, look how much wax we saved by inventing electricity! And, didn't Ben have something to do with that? Kite, key, electrical storm: any of this sound familiar? Listen, didn't Ben see this whole electricity thing coming? And speaking of electricity, according to the New Jersey Public Service Enterprise Group, Daylight Saving has “no impact” on energy demands in their service area. And the government of Kazakhstan has already dropped the whole idea of “saving daylight”.
According to the University of California Energy Institute, daylight saving does not actually save energy, it just moves it around. And a recent study of electric bills in Indiana found that the time shifters are actually costing each Hoosier almost $3.00 a year MORE -  about $8.6 million a year in total, plus somewhere between $1.6 and $5.3 million in pollution costs for generating all that extra electricity for going to work in the dark!. And if that is what it costs Hoosiers (like me), think what it costing people in New Jersey! Just think about it. A little more energy conservation like this and we might as well just start burning wood for heat again.
And another problem with this bi-annual adjustment to our sense of reality is that our brains can’t adjust without being told to, while computers solve the problem without a hitch. So while our electronics no longer need a time   “patch” for our programs, humans require psychiatric assistance to adjust to our depression brought on by lost sleep!  And, to quote from Ken Fisher’s article for ARS,  “So while the US government pats itself on the back for at least looking busy, know that the main goal – energy conservation – has not been met….Isn’t arbitrary, mostly meaningless change, great?” Hell, no, it isn’t.
Still, I’m willing to be cooperative.  If we need more daylight then let’s move the clocks forward and be done with it. Why fall back in the fall? Listen, if the majority of the population decides that at noon tomorrow we should pretend that it is now 10:45 AM, I’d go along with that. But for heaven’s sake please stop moving the clocks back and forth and back and forth as if we were keeping time with Mexican jumping beans. Why are we doing this to ourselves? Pick a damn time and leave it the hell alone!
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