WASHINGTON. In the process of reading scurrilous political articles on the internet today, I chanced to discover that Sunday, March 10, 2019 is the beginning of Daylight Savings Time in the U.S. I don’t know why I was surprised, exactly, as our annual “spring forward” day tends to be a March event.
Maybe I still miss that annual “spring forward” notice in the Saturday edition of the Washington Post, just prior to springtime’s magical Sunday morning time change. I no longer get that notice, each spring (and fall). That’s because I terminated my subscription a long time ago.
Now why did I do that? Here in the Metro DC area, we’re assaulted with SJW and assorted socialist propaganda 24/7. So there’s no longer any reason to pay a lot of money for a subscription to a once great newspaper that’s turned into Pravda on the Potomac. Which means I no longer get that reliable Page A-1, below-the-fold Daylight Savings Time reminder and graphic.
But I digress. For readers already bored with the topic of Daylight Savings Time, let it suffice to say that officially, all (or most Americans) should observe the official time change by setting their clocks forward one hour at precisely 2 a.m. tomorrow, March 10.
Or, if you’re not that kind of a night owl, just turn those clocks ahead before you hit the sack. For churchgoers in particular, this will, at the very least, save you the embarrassment of showing up late for church Sunday morning.
So what is Daylight Savings Time, really?
The Old Farmer’s Almanac, now online, has the complete lowdown on the strange, checkered history of Daylight Savings Time (DST) in America. Our own Bob Taylor has even more info on the topic for you right here. If you have a hankering to learn all the nitty-gritty details of DST’s twisting path to general adoption in the US, check out the link above. But we’ll provide you with an executive summary here.
Daylight Savings Time refers to the now more or less fully adopted US practice of setting clocks forward by one hour from standard time in the spring, then setting them back again in the fall. Hence, the useful adage, “Spring forward, Fall back.”
In general, the idea behind the DST concept was to adjust to the solar cycle to extract more useful daylight hours, particularly during the summer months and particularly for farmers who could use those extra daylight hours. Unfortunately, no one seems to have consulted the farmers. Many of them detest the practice to this day, at least as far as the Old Farmer’s Almanac is concerned.
Grammar problems with Daylight Saving(s) Time
Oops. Looks like we’re getting the spelling wrong here, too as duly explained in at Farmer’s Almanac entry.
“Note that the term is ‘Daylight Saving Time’ and not ‘Daylight Savings Time’ with an ‘s’ at the end of ‘Saving.’ (The word ‘saving’ is singular because it acts as part of an adjective rather than a verb.)”
Now how about that? I used to teach college English back in the day, and I never encountered this one.
Well, the hell with it. I’m still using a QWERTY keyboard and still say things like “hit the sack” (or “jump in the kip”) for going to bed. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s still Daylight Savings Time. There comes a time in life when you get too old to worry about such administrivia any more. So let’s try to finesse the issue for the rest of this piece by mostly substituting DST for Daylight Saving(s) Time. OK?
So what about this year’s DST shift?
To remember which way to set their clocks, folks often refer back to that old adage, “Spring forward, fall back.” It still works in a world where we already have to memorize too much stuff including 500 different, ever morphing passwords along with
DST begins on Sunday, March 10, 2019, at 2:00 A.M. Remember to “spring forward” in the spring and set your clocks forward one hour (i.e.,losing one hour).
DST wraps up its current run on Sunday, November 3, 2019, at 2:00 A.M. That’s when we all “fall back.”
Note: Since the time changes at 2:00 A.M., we generally change our clocks at Saturday bedtime.
Note 2: Some US jurisdictions and possessions, specifically Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, plus Samoa do their own thing with regard to DST. If you live in any of these states, possessions, Commonwealths or whatever, be sure to check your local rules or you Sunday could get screwed up.
Recent History of DST
The Old Farmer’s Almanac provides us with some interesting details on the past and present history of DST. Most recently,
“The current daylight saving period was established with the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which went into effect in 2007. As a result, most Americans now spring forward (turn clocks ahead and lose an hour) on the second Sunday in March (at 2:00 A.M.) and fall back (turn clocks back and gain an hour) on the first Sunday in November (at 2:00 A.M.).”
Aha! So that’s the rule that had me confused.
But learning that fact isn’t entirely helpful, at least in my life.Unfortunately, I bought my current bedside alarm clock prior to this rule change, which added approximately two more weeks to DST from the prior edict. And that modern, up-to-date clock was programmed to automatically shift from Standard Time to Daylight Savings time on the old change date.
So on March 10, 2019, my alarm clock will remain on Standard Time and then shift to DST two Sundays from now. That means I’ll have to add an hour every time I look at the damned clock for the next two weeks.
Or, to get around that, I can advance the clock an hour tomorrow. Then, two weeks from now, when it advances another hour via automatic mode, I get to “fall back” early by resetting the clock to actual DST. I’ll have to deal with another shift in time this fall, by falling back a second time. Are you confused? So am I. Dazed and confused.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac also addresses the DST issue as it continues to rage among our neighbors to the north. We think we’vegot problems.
“Most of Canada is on Daylight Saving Time; only portions of Saskatchewan and small pockets of British Columbia remain on Standard Time year-round. However, the practice has its detractors. In the words of a current-day Canadian poultry producer, ‘The chickens do not adapt to the changed clock until several weeks have gone by, so the first week of April and the last week of October are very frustrating for us.’ Similarly, one Canadian researcher likened an increase in traffic accidents to the onset of Daylight Saving Time. Other experts insist that the extra hour of daylight reduces crime. “
As for us, we’re with those confused Canadian chickens all the way. This twice-annual time shift screws up our Circadian rhythms for days, maybe weeks. Those Canadian chickens have a lot in common with us, and fully deserve our sympathy. Pass the eggs.
The future of Daylight Savings Time in America
In the end, I suspect this whole damned DST thing was really all about providing a few more opening hours each day for retail outlets to grab even more of our money than they already manage to take.
Which makes me wonder. Amazon is systematically stealing the business of all retail outlets by putting everything for sale online 24/7. That means Congress may have to modify that 2005 Energy Policy Act by abolishing DST altogether. When Amazon completes its retail takeover, shopping will no longer be subject to the fluctuation of daylight, right? So who will need Daylight Savings Time any more?
Fortunately or unfortunately, Congress will never get around to making this fix. They’ll still be wasting taxpayer dollars by calling the grandsons and granddaughters of this year’s 80 new witnesses. The hapless offspring will have to testify against Donald Trump in 2050. Long after he’s left the building.
The silver lining: That will leave them little time to find funding for laying train tracks for AOC’s new high speed solar smart train running from Los Angeles to Honolulu.
– Headline image: Drawing via Pixabay.com. Altered to fit available space. Public domain art.