Tag Archives: Indiana

Spring Forward, Fall Back, and Do the Hokey Pokey

To miss a train or business deal,
Because our clocks are without keel
Can cause a nation loss of gold
E’en worse than all the misers hold.

— 1942 letter to Time magazine urging a national daylight savings time

 

One of the few undeniable benefits of living in the digital era is not having to walk through your home, manually turning back or twisting forward by an hour all of your clocks and watches. Smartphones, computers and even DVRs automatically align with society’s circadian rhythm , as dictated by the nation’s Daylight Savings Time law.

Yes, it’s a law, signed in 1964 by Lyndon Johnson.

But we’ve been screwing with clocks long before then. Sunday morning will mark exactly the 100th time the U.S. has either sprung forward or fallen back. Indeed, we’ve been doing it for so long we’ve forgotten why we did it in the first place — or why we continue to do it.

Daylight savings was initially a wartime maneuver. Germany was the first country to implement it, calculating that the Weimer Republic would save thousands in electricity costs by maximizing daylight hours. Turns out, despite schoolyard legend, that it wasn’t because of stupid farmers.

In fact, farmers hated the change. It meant that, for half a year, they had to get up earlier to bring milk and harvested crops to market. Hollywood hated it, too, reasoning that people were less likely to go into a darkened theater while the sun was shining.

But Uncle Sam would have none of it. If Germany could figure out a military advantage using only a pocket watch, surely we could too. And it didn’t hurt that some institutions — like Major League Baseball, which had not yet invented stadium lighting — tacitly lobbied Congress to institute the shift.

Never mind the grim statistics that come as surely as a beach tide during daylight savings. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that accidents spike fractionally twice a year — the weekend and first week of daylight savings — due to fatigue and drowsy driving.

clock

And there’s no evidence supporting an energy savings. When Indiana adopted the law (you can opt out as a state, though only Arizona and Hawaii have done so), electricity use actually rose 1%. Small, but with a population of 6.5 million, significant.

Still, don’t expect anything resembling change. After all, this is a Congress that still supports an electoral college, though I challenge a single lawmaker to explain why it still exists.

So for now, we’ll just have to get used to it. And, as a public service, remember to adjust your clocks at 2 a.m. Sunday. Remember, it’s the law.

Speaking of which, how about at least an amendment to the bill? Instead of messing with the time-space continuum at 2 a.m. on a Sunday, why not have spring’s leap forward at 4 p.m. Friday? And its  fall backward at 9 a.m. Monday? You know, so we can at least spend a couple hours less in a cubicle.

That would at least keep us clearer-headed on Tuesday’s election day.

Speaking of which (encore); ever wonder why our presidential elections are held on a Tuesday? Congress chose the day because voting booths were once rare and separated by hundreds of miles. Many voters had to spend Monday simply traveling to make it to the polls in time. And we’ve never modernized.

Stupid farmers.

'Daylight Savings Time claims another victim.'

‘Daylight Savings Time claims another victim.’

 

 

 

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New and Improved! Civil Rights 2.0 (Brought to You By Intel)

 

By circumstance and TV viewing habits, I’ve been particularly attuned to the advertising world of late. And while I still believe corporations will be the ruination of America (we seem to have forgotten that money burns), business may be unintentionally performing a public good.

Consider: Three years ago, six states recognized gay marriage.  Today, it’s 36 — plus D.C. And while the Supreme Court weighs the issue on the federal level, its eventual success, regardless of the conservative slackwits on the bench, is certain.

That’s because American business has deemed it so. Years before politicians, corporate brain trusts from Hollywood  to GM to Apple recognized the gay community. Not out of a sense of altruism or fairness. But as a business strategy; gay  Americans statistically form a powerful financial demographic. From Will & Grace,  Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, even as far back as Three’s Company, Hollywood embraced the corporate notion that there is one gender symbol: $.

That’s a powerful concept, one that recognizes the right of all Americans to spend freely, regardless of what your religious pamphlet says. Other businesses quickly followed suit.

Witness what happened in March in Indiana, where the huckleberries passed a bill permitting god-fearing shop owners to refuse service to the godless.

indiana

Business saw clear past this ruse, recognizing it as a weapon against gays (or any group Indiana representatives deigned loathsome, for that matter). Businesses, including the NCAA, which held its Final Four in Indianapolis, threatened to boycott the state. Apple said not only that it wouldn’t recognize the law; it would rethink opening new business in the state of hayseeds. “Lawmakers” quickly backed down, redacting the most offensive language. Hopefully, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi witnessed that on their World Wide Intertubes.

The original (and ongoing) civil rights battle didn’t have the backing of corporate America. If anything, corporate America was fine with discriminating against black Americans. It even worked racism into the business model, in the form of segregated bar stools, bathrooms, beaches and busses. Even today, analysts seemed stunned by how well entertainment sells in the “urban market.”

segregation

But, in addition to one gender, money sees one race: Patent Green. And money is just fine with gay marriage, transgendered customers, minority businesses and godless entrepreneurs. Hell, money even digs potheads: Colorado, which just legalized marijuana, reported a tax windfall of $53 million last year in weed revenues. It ain’t perfect, but at least it ain’t politics.

So pack that in your bong and blaze, Moral Majority diehards, and get used to domestically-partnered next door neighbors. You’re about to turn all colors of the rainbow as you blend into green.

Still, some things businesses can’t seem to advance. I just saw a commercial for Trident, which is still clinging to its “One out of every five dentists surveyed recommend sugarless gum for their patients who chew gum.”

Who, exactly, is that fifth dentist? A pawn in the Bubble Yum lobby? Come on, Trident. Only 80%? You’re doing the polling — of puppets. You’d think you could do better than a B-.

dentists

 

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