Sunday, March 12, 2017

What is up with Daylight Savings Time

Good Morning!

This morning we celebrated (whether we wanted to or not) Daylight Savings Time. I have been that person that walked in to church on a Daylight Savings morning just to catch the last few minutes of the service. So it can't be totally wrong that I enjoy watching other people walk into the end of the service and only then realize that they forgot to set their clocks ahead an hour.

In the past, I had always just accepted Daylight Savings Time ("DST") as a construct to give farmers more daylight hours to work with and that was all the explanation I needed. I have friends in Phoenix Arizona who giggle at all this DST silliness because they have abandoned the process long ago and keep their clocks set at the same time all year round.

This morning, as I reset the one clock left in the house that does not reset itself, I began to wonder what was really up with Daylight Savings Time.  I opened another tab on the browser and headed on over to the DST wiki page. It's long and filled with information that suggests it may have started with Benjamin Franklin. But as I read through it one thing became clear. Daylight Savings Time has always been about Climate Change!

Over time scientists have pondered about the Ice Age and Global Warming vs. Global Cooling but I thought the whole Global Warming conversation started in earnest with Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth. And I would be wrong. It turns out that Benjamin Franklin proposed Daylight Savings to the French as a way to reduce the amount of candles being burned at night. And Germany adopted DST in 1916 to reduce coal use. (That may have had more to do with a coal shortage that was occuring because of World War 1 but I'm lumping that in to the Global Warming column).

It seems that the impetus for DST was energy conservation. But, according to the wiki page listing a number of studies from around the world, energy consumption ( counterintuitively ) often goes up. Which brings us right back to - Daylight Savings Time: What is Up With That?

Do we even still really need Daylight Savings Time? Russia canceled DST beginning in 2011 but switched back after 2014 because of so many complaints.

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere there are serious benefits of returning home from work while it is still light out. There is something that just de-energizes you when you go to work in the dark and return home from work in the dark. Having a little time on the back patio in the sunlight after work is very calming.

So just remember, this morning when you Sprung Forward, you did your part to help prevent Global Warming (at least idealistically speaking).

Happy Springtime!

Monday, February 13, 2017

What is up with Valentine's Day

Februrary 14 is a date that is anticipated and dreaded by people all over the world every year. 

It is widely recognized as St. Valentine's Day. For weeks prior to this celebrated day we are inundated with advertising that tells us that, if we are a man, we need to get shopping. Flowers, diamonds, chocolate strawberries, and pajamas (sexy pajamas) are de rigueur. If you, as a man, are already married then your sweet heart requires a ring with two diamonds. For some reason you don't see advertising providing similar suggestions to women about what their male sweet heart desires.

But what is the deal with Saint Valentine? Why all these gifts? Going to wikipedia there is one thing that is clear. The mythology does indicate that this date is actually based on a real person but other than the stories vary. Research into the origin of Valentine's Day seems to meet up with some concensus with Geoffrey Chaucer.

"Oruch charges that the traditions associated with "Valentine's Day", documented in Geoffrey Chaucer's Parlement of Foules and set in the fictional context of an old tradition, did not exist before Chaucer. He argues that the speculative explanation of sentimental customs, posing as historical fact, had their origins among 18th-century antiquaries, notably Alban Butler, the author of Butler's Lives of Saints, and have been perpetuated even by respectable modern scholars." (Wikipedia)

The name "Valentine" comes from the name Valens which means Strong, Healthy, Love. 

This name was most popular in the United States around 1925 but then lost popularity although it is still considered common.  According to the website  95900 people around the world have this name.

So what is up with Valentine's Day? Basically, I have interpreted all of this to mean that Valentine's Day is a great day to let the people in your life that mean anything to you that you love, adore, and appreciate them. Celebrate this day in whatever way you want and build your own mythology. Traditions are good for relationships. Make Valentine's Day your day. Whatever that means to you. Celebrate love, health, and strength in your life no matter who you are celebrating with (even if that is just yourself).

And if you are determined to be depressed on Valentines Day then pick up a copy of Chaucer's Parlement of Foules and try to figure that one out.

Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Constant Kindness

We have different perspectives and beliefs but we can find commonalities through kindness.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Life's Journey

When you start on your journey to Ithaca,
then pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
Do not fear the Lestrygonians
and the Cyclopes and the angry Poseidon.
You will never meet such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your body and your spirit.
You will never meet the Lestrygonians,
the Cyclopes and the fierce Poseidon,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not raise them up before you.
Then pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many,
that you will enter ports seen for the first time
with such pleasure, with such joy!
Stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and corals, amber and ebony,
and pleasurable perfumes of all kinds,
buy as many pleasurable perfumes as you can;
visit hosts of Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from those who have knowledge.

Always keep Ithaca fixed in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for long years;
and even to anchor at the isle when you are old,
rich with all that you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.
Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would never have taken the road.
But she has nothing more to give you.
And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not defrauded you.
With the great wisdom you have gained, with so much experience,
you must surely have understood by then what Ithacas mean.

~ Constantine P. Cavafy

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Taking off in 2017

"Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off.  But if you don't have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you." 

 ~ Amelia Earhart