Sunday, November 03, 2013

I hate to see that evening sun go down

I hate to see that evening sun go down
I hate to see that evening sun go down
'Cause my lovin' baby done left this town.

If I feel tomorrow like I feel today
If I feel tomorrow like I feel today
I'm gonna pack my trunk and make my getaway.

--W.C. Handy
"St. Louis Blues"

What's with this Daylight Saving Time lark, anyway? (Usually and mistakenly called "Daylight Savings Time," as though prices on everything are reduced while the sun pours.)

Inevitably, at this point in the year when we're told to "set our clock back an hour," in one of the Standard Journalistic Stories dusted off annually it is re-revealed that there was no such thing until comparatively recently and that various countries observe its beginning and end at different dates.

Presumably, the original idea was ... why did anybody think it made sense? Arizona, where I used to live, secedes from the Time Union: the last thing anybody in Phoenix or Tucson, broiled in summer days, wants is another hour of sun torment. Maybe, when we were an industrial country, it was assumed that factory workers exiting the dark satanic mills would welcome a wodge of extended solar radiation.

But no law can alter the Earth's wobble or whatever it is that shortens the day in the northern hemisphere in the colder months. So shifting hours is a pure trade-off. The sky lightens up sooner and darkens sooner.

Why is this supposed to be a boon? Sure, it's dreary to rise from sleep's grip when it feels like nighttime to head off to the job, for those Americans who still have one. The end of DST mitigates that somewhat. But few who spin and toil are in the mood for contemplating nature's creations at half-six in the morning; the unemployed and retired remain sunk in dreamland until their windows are lit anyway.

Instead, the salarymen and salarywomen are privileged to find their way back to their dwellings after work in the gloom of Erebus. Some cranks, myself among them, would argue that we've got the time edit backwards: DST should be in winter, not summer.

Or we should at least stop fiddling with what astrophysics sends us.


Terry Morris said...

"Earth's wobble or whatever it is that shortens the days in the northern hemisphere in the colder months."

Ha, ha. That's funny.

Sheila said...

Warning: A scream ahead. I HATE HATE LOATHE DETEST ABHOR "Daylight Saving(s) Time." I have read this began under the sainted FDR, to increase the worker drones' productivity by maximizing the daylight hours they could perform their designated social duties. True or not? Irrelevant. It is a pissant theory disproven by reality - particularly the reality of home life and electronic leisure pursuits of today. Most households use far more electricity at any time now compared to the 30s and 40s. My home uses more than my neighbors' (or so I have been informed by my electric company) - perhaps because I'M HOME ALL DAY homeschooling my younger son and doing old-fashioned "housewife" duties like cleaning, cooking, etc. The fact that I'm not out burning gas or using an office's electricity is not factored into their "energy usage" equation.

Now that congress (deliberate lower case c) in its infinite wisdom has decreed that Daylight Savings Time shall last from March through October - a full 8 months or 2/3 of the year - perhaps we few sane individuals should come up with a better misnomer. Lunacy Light Liberal time (LLL time?) is my suggestion.

Rick Darby said...


I hope when you say "That's funny," you don't mean I've got it all back-to-front. Wobble? Eccentric orbit? Imagine, when I was a child I not only spoke as a child, I wanted to be an astronomer, because I was thrilled by the Hayden Planetarium in New York.


Don't be so shy in expressing your feelings.

Really, my friend, you should have your own blog. Let me know if you decide to. Why not? There is no hope in this our time for political or social reform, so you might as well lower your blood pressure by sounding off regularly in your own bit of the blogosphere.

Terry Morris said...

I said it is funny because I thought you were deliberately being facetious.

In any event I'm pretty sure it doesn't have a whole lot to do with earth's wobble (when someone mentions earth's wobble, I think precession), nor with the eccentricity of its orbit (not sure what you mean by eccentric orbit either), but rather with the tilt of the earth on its axis (which, for all intents and purposes, remains constant throughout its orbit year after year) coupled with earth's position in its orbit relative to other positions during different times of the year.

I've only been to one planetarium in OKC eight or nine years ago. Which was pretty cool and all, but I confess that I'd still much rather set the telescope up out in the yard and go about locating faint Messier objects like M81 and M82, etc., or, if the notion strikes and conditions are favorable for viewing them, resolving Cassini's Division in Saturn's rings, and/or, tracking Jupiter's moons from night to night. Or just pushing the telescope to the outer limits of its capability, then dialing it back a notch or two. :-)