Daylight saving time is dumb but it won’t kill you

Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday.

I don’t really care. I’m the least busy person I know.

Everybody still says we’ll all lose an hour’s sleep Saturday night. Not me. I go to bed when I’m tired on Saturday and wake up Sunday morning when I’m finished sleeping. The clock says whatever it says, I don’t care.

The only time changing the clock became a personal issue is when I was working on the air at radio stations on the Fall Back all night shift. I would slog through the 1-2 a.m. hour and then, presto time change-o!, it was 1 a.m. again! That kinda sucked.

If you do have to awaken at a particular time on Sunday and you’re afraid losing an hour’s sleep will kick your butt I have two suggestions: go to bed earlier or change your plans.

Seriously, why is this a big deal?

It’s exactly the same as when you fly into a different time zone that’s one hour ahead. Does that wreak havoc in your life for as much as five days as they keep telling us in the news? I don’t think so.

Lately we’ve been treated to sensationalized news stories telling us how changing the clocks one hour leads to more highway deaths for sleepy drivers and more heart attacks and strokes for people who have trouble adjusting their bodies to the arbitrary numbers we call time.

Oh, puh-leeze!

I don’t mean to be a jerk but if you have a heart attack because of Daylight Saving Time I’m guessing that your heart was in critical distress before you changed the clock.

Farmers: “Make hay while the sun shines.”

We’ve all been taught that the goal of Daylight Saving Time was to give farmers an extra hour of daylight. Farmers, being much smarter than the rest of us, call that a big pile of horse hockey. The sun rises and sets on its own schedule all year ’round. Farmers adjust their work to the actual hours of daylight, not clocks.

And, by the way, there really are more hours of daylight in the summer. We don’t need to extend them artificially by changing our clocks.

10:30 P.M. – Oh, Canada!

One summer Carolann and I drove to the Canadian Rockies. It didn’t get dark until 10:30 P.M.! The Canadians seem to be just fine with it.

The only thing I find remotely interesting in all of this is the history of keeping time in the United States.

Until 1883 clocks were set at noon when the sun was straight overhead no matter where you happened to be. This made sense except that a town fifty miles east or west would set their clocks to noon when the sun was straight overhead a few minutes earlier or later.

That was no big deal until the railroads came along and started moving people great distances faster than the speed of the overhead sun. The availability of pocket watches made the problem suddenly obvious: your watch said 2:30 but the clock at the railroad station where you just arrived might say it was 3:15.

Imagine flying into an airport today and needing to change planes. Say it only takes you five minutes to walk from one terminal to another but when you get there you’ve mysteriously lost half an hour and missed your connecting flight.

That’s how railroads worked until 1883. There were literally hundreds of “time zones” in the U.S.

But then the government got involved and, as usual, made everything work smoothly.

But here’s the good news: if we insist on maintaining this silly tradition we’re darned close to living in a world where all clocks change themselves. Your computers, tablets and phones already do this. Watches, clocks on stoves and in cars can’t be far behind.

And you know what that means?  Blessedly, nothing.

We’ll never notice anything except that it suddenly stays light an hour longer.

“Hmm. I guess the time changed last night.”

That’s all we’ll say.

If TV and radio stop beating us over the head with stuff to worry about we’ll all be fine.

Saturday morning brain farts

An old, chipped Father’s Day mug from my son when he was too young to choose it. Still my favorite gift.

I love Saturday mornings. Instead of lurching awake at 2:45AM to go to work I come to slowly between 6 and 7 to fix coffee, feed the dogs and then I just sit and think.

Well, sometimes I sit and think. Sometimes I just sit.

Here are some of the thoughts I’ve thunk this Saturday morning:

— I’m hungry but not enough to walk six steps into the kitchen for a banana, a bowl of cereal or to fix eggs, bacon and pancakes. I suppose a lot of people in the world would not think of this as being hungry.

— Why do people say “more and more”? No matter how many “mores” you add it’s still just more.

— We have “pet peeves”. Makes no sense. I like my pets.

— A minor peeve: when people leave trash in the grocery shopping cart. (I refuse to use that cart. I insist on one that’s totally empty.)

Our hearth and home. That’s Amelia sleeping on my footstool in the lower left.

— Speaking of empty, my coffee mug is empty but the dogs are sleeping on my lap and footstool. I’ll just have to suffer.

— There’s something about sitting in front of the TV without turning it on that makes me puff up my chest with pride!

— What’s with people who have the TV on all the time even though nobody is watching it? (My dad used to yell about the waste of expensive electricity. I just think it’s sad that so many people accept constant noise in their lives.)

— And how about when you’re riding in someone’s car and they have the radio on but turn it down so you can talk? It’s not OFF, just down low enough to be background noise. (This is also a serious annoyance for those of us who talk in the radio.)

— I don’t talk ON the radio, I talk IN it.

— Wouldn’t it be funny if our ears were on our hips? We’d have to pull down our pants at concerts.

— Who first came up with the idea of picking berries off a bush, drying them in the sun, crushing them, pouring hot water over them and drinking it? Seems nutty but it was a seriously great idea!

— Who first decided to crush some dried leaves, wrap more leaves around them, light one end and inhale the smoke? This is just stupid. (Ponder this for a moment. It’s an absolutely ridiculous idea and yet is probably the most enduring habit in all of human history!)

My Saturday morning brain wanders from one silly notion to another. But this stuff is important to me because it means I’m still exploring the world and allowing my mind to explore itself.

Do you take time to do this?

 

The age of irrelevance

 

Getting older is like getting fatter. You don’t notice because it happens gradually.

One thing you do notice is suddenly being ignored. You notice because it seems to happen overnight. One day you’re a vital part of society and respected leader in your industry; the next day people merely nod at you with a perfunctory smile as if you were a greeter at Walmart.

This only happens with people who didn’t know you when you were young. Unfortunately, over time that seems to be most people.

Several years ago I mentioned this to my son’s mother-in-law, Gloria, a dear friend who is a bit older and very wise. I told her I was frustrated because my experience and knowledge of my business had always been sought by my colleagues but suddenly nobody seems to have any interest in what I think.

“You’ve reached the age of irrelevance,” she explained matter-of-factly.

I had to let that sink in for a moment:

The age of irrelevance.

Gloria could see I was stunned.

“It happens to all of us,” she said gently. “I used to be the person my managers turned to for ideas. Then one day they weren’t interested in any of my observations or suggestions.”

I didn’t know what to say. It made no sense and yet this is exactly what I was experiencing.

“It’s like when your kids are growing up,” Gloria continued. “They rely on you for everything and then one day they suddenly don’t need you at all. You’re irrelevant.”

Nobody ever warned me this would happen. I don’t like it but I’ve come to accept it philosophically, if not quite emotionally. It still hurts a bit. I feel kind of useless.

Irrelevant.

It’s been a few years since Gloria explained to me this particularly jarring bump. I’m getting used to it and so will you.

I just thought someone should give you a heads up.

My friend and blogging partner, Anita, shares her thoughts on her revelation here: Anita’s Blog.

(Copyright 2017, D.L. Williams. All rights reserved.)

Wanderlust

It’s a lifelong disease. There is no cure that I know of, but then I’ve never known anybody who wanted to be cured. IMG_20140708_113913

Though Western America is now a Happy Meal collection of fast food franchises and big box stores there is still a lot of heart to be found in the Heartland if you know where to look.

You look in small towns away from major cities and highways, in out of the way places where ordinary people live extraordinary lives.

You look by just wanting to find American treasures of passion and goodness boiled down to old fashioned common sense in very uncommon people. And by not being in a hurry to get where you’re going. So much the better if you’re not going anywhere in particular.

My friend, Chuck Woodbury, has lived the life of a motor home vagabond for nigh on to 40 years and has managed to earn a living and buy gas writing about his adventures, the oddball places he has discovered and the people he has met.  Inevitably, all of Chuck’s stories are wonderful in their uniqueness and astonishing in their consistency.

Road signs 380 and 720Americans everywhere are all the same. When you peel off the layers of anxiety,  necessity and pretense we all just want to enjoy our lives with our families, our friends, and most importantly, ourselves.

My father, Don Williams, surely wasn’t the first person who ever said this  but he was the first who said it to me:

“Until you learn to know and love yourself, you’ll never be worth a  damn to anybody else.”

Like Dad, I found myself on the road.

 

Chuck Woodbury’s Roadside Journal can be found and enjoyed here: http://roadsidejournal.rvtravel.com/ 

 

 

 

A postcard to Ireland

I just took my wife of 27 years to Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport and sent her on her way.

Carolann Conley is going home for the first time.

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I’ve always called her Feisty One. Her Irish roots are strong and obvious. She dances with joyous abandon, lives in the moment, loves ferociously, laughs like a free angel and cries only for puppies and children, never for herself.

Carolann roses

Her emerald eyes sparkle one minute and then cloud over the next, with the dangerous darkness of a storm borne of the cold Irish Sea.

She’s a handful, for sure, but not this week. She’s on her own now, to find her ancestral roots in the green hills of her old country.

I expect Carolann to return to me with breathless stories of her Ireland and a heart filled with discovery.

This is how we grow into ourselves and learn to appreciate the thousands of lives before ours that loved us into existence.

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The TV revolution

Have you heard about the new TV show called Transparent? The Hollywood crowd is abuzz with excitement. Here’s how the producers of the show describe it:

An L.A. family with serious boundary issues have their past and future unravel when a dramatic admission causes everyone to spill their secrets.

In the industry that’s called a “logline”, a one-sentence show description designed to hook the reader into wanting more. This one strikes me as pretty bland but the critics are raving about the show and the industry insiders are fawning and fussing over themselves for being so brilliantly progressive as to create this wall-shattering, breathtaking cinematic experience.

CarolAnn and I were curious so we watched three episodes last night. They’re only a half hour each. The show is labeled as comedy.

Transparent is about a 70-ish family patriarch cross dresser coming out of the closet to his adult children and admitting he is a long suffering woman trapped in a man’s body. (“Trans”-“parent”, get it?) It’s filled with nudity, including full frontal, and people running around having sex with people they’re not supposed to be having sex with, including two happily married soccer moms having a fling together at their long repressed lesbianism and a drug addled caucasian female who arranges a ménage à trois with two African American men and explains to them that when they are finished with her she wants to watch them “do” each other. That’s when they throw her out of the house.

They have their principles.

I’m not making this up. I honestly don’t believe I could if I tried and I’m kind of proud of that.

As you might imagine there is a lot of yelling and swearing and tears in all of this but, oddly, no comedy at all, not a single chuckle or even a smile and I honestly can’t see where any was intended.

My wife and I are old enough that none of this shocks us. We’re not particularly offended by language and we don’t even lament the loss of cultural dignity and decency as much as we used to because, frankly, that train left the station long ago. We’ve sort of gotten used to it. We’re just tired of TV shows with no likable characters, no reason to care and nothing to smile about.

And, we’re tired of being told that depravity is normal and there is no such thing as a lie when it serves our own selfish desperation.

This is what passes for comedy now. It’s what we celebrate.

Because it’s easier to lower our standards than to raise our expectations.

Dear Little Thing…

Until I read this letter a couple of days ago I’ve excused myself from passing judgment on abortion. I don’t like it but I’m a man, it’s not my body and I have no right to an opinion.

Sorry, not my table.

Besides, morality is largely subjective, isn’t it? Who am I to tell you what’s right or wrong for you?

Then I read this letter written by an unidentified woman and posted on the social site, Reddit, and reprinted in Cosmopolitan. The writer is having an abortion tomorrow.

It’s a letter to her unborn child.

Little Thing:

I can feel you in there. I’ve got twice the appetite and half the energy. It breaks my heart that I don’t feel the enchantment that I’m supposed to feel. I am both sorry and not sorry.

I am sorry that this is goodbye. I’m sad that I’ll never get to meet you. You could have your father’s eyes and my nose and we could make our own traditions, be a family. But, Little Thing, we will meet again. I promise that the next time I see that little blue plus, the next time you are in the same reality as me, I will be ready for you.

Little Thing, I want you to be happy. More than I want good things for myself, I want the best things for the future. That’s why I can’t be your mother right now. I am still growing myself. It wouldn’t be fair to bring a new life into a world where I am still haunted by ghosts of the life I’ve lived. I want you to have all the things I didn’t have when I was a child. I want you to be better than I ever was and more magnificent than I ever could be. I can’t do to you what was done to me: Plant a seed made of love and spontaneity into a garden, and hope that it will grow on only dreams. Love and spontaneity are beautiful, but they have little merit. And while I have plenty of dreams to go around, dreams are not an effective enough tool for you to build a better tomorrow. I can’t bring you here. Not like this.

I love you, Little Thing, and I wish the circumstances were different. I promise I will see you again, and next time, you can call me Mom.

The woman who wrote this is obviously a person of sensitivity, intellect and skill. I’ll even assume that she has a great capacity for love because she seems to understand how it feels, if not exactly what it means.

Mom is ending her beloved Little Thing’s potential for life because it’s inconvenient.

Little Thing will never open his or her eyes to the dazzling rock show of light and sound that celebrates the moment of every birth. She’ll never feel the warm rush of delivery from her mother’s womb to her mother’s arms.

Little Thing will never suffer fear or confusion because Mom spared him of all that inconvenience.

He/She/Thing will never cry or laugh or decide what tastes It likes or doesn’t like.

She/He/It will never be excited or fearful, nor consider Little Thing’s future possibilities.

After tomorrow nothing will be possible.

There will be no Little Thing.

She/He/It is inconvenient.

The beauty of youth is in its innocence.

Youth believes in forever and happy endings.

The harshness of age is in its wisdom, the bitter pill of learning that as much as our younger selves still cling to hope and miracles, the truth is some people can’t be fixed.

Getting older doesn’t make us less tolerant. It makes us sadly less naive.

After 60 years of looking for excuses I’ve decided that very bad, destructive people need to be put away for life. I can’t care anymore about their personal problems. I’m sorry for them but we just can’t afford to give some people a second chance.
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Arsonists are like murderers. They should either be executed or locked up forever. They blew their shot at happiness, decency and contribution.

Some of them never had a chance, of course. Some grew up in families so screwed up they never had a shot at personal salvation. These poor souls suffer more internal pain every week than most of us will deal with in our entire lives.

That’s tragic in every sense of the word but here’s what’s worse:

We just can’t afford to care.

Some of them must be sacrificed because our abilities are limited and we must make decisions.

That’s the ugly truth.

Perspective

This  morning I talked on the radio about a village in India where people are terrified to walk the paths between their town and those of their neighbors. When darkness falls they huddle in their homes, fearful for their lives because a leopard has  been stalking and eating humans, twelve victims in the past two years.

Can you imagine having something like that to worry about?

My partner, Amy, and I also talked about the Islamic terrorists in northern Iraq who have been slaughtering Christians and beheading babies. By comparison, that village in India seems like Disney World with a plumbing problem.

In Africa people are dying by the thousands of Ebola, which is highly contagious, rarely curable and never satisfied to simply snuff out lives. It insists on doing so in a long, drawn out, fevered, hemorrhagic horror.

People in their Ebola death throes sweat profusely as their eyes bleed and their minds scream for deliverance.

Meanwhile, here in America we’re all wound up about two very wealthy young athletes who both have apparent tendencies to snap and hit people they love. So far none of the people they love have been seriously hurt and are defending their attackers.

In our house, our dog Amelia has an intestinal virus but the vet gave us some medicine and says she’ll be fine.

Carolann and I are also trying to figure out how to save enough money to buy Christmas presents for our family in California.

We’re healthy and happy but we do stress about our weight a bit.

Sometimes we’re annoyed when the WiFi doesn’t work right.

Perspective.

 

Tradition: the generation gap

When I was a boy of 14 my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21 I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years. — Mark Twain

The idiocy of ageism has angered me for as long as I can remember, decades, not just in recent years.

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The doorway to sexism, racism and all other isms is here, in our childish disrespect for other generations on either side of us.

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Here is a link to the piece that published these memes and got me riled today. It’s a website called Elite Daily, which bills itself as “The voice of Generation Y”:

‘Scumbag Baby Boomer’ Meme Is The Perfect Response To People Who Criticize Gen-Y

This is my published reply, by no means intended for everybody whose birthdays fall within the arbitrary range of years defined by the author of this piece:

Shocking as it may be to some of you whippersnappers, we old farts understand how you feel and think. We grew up as hippies, peace and love and all that. We were going to change the world. At the time we thought our parents were “square” and backward. Every generation does. But we still loved and respected them. 

This is just nasty. 

Gen Y is apparently defined as people born between 1980 and 2000. Good God, some of you are in your mid 30s and still bitching and whining.

Y’all are on your own. 

Personally, I accept very little credit for my children’s wonderful qualities and no blame at all for the decline of American society, our government and our family values. 

My old fart friends and I have worked hard to live honorably and remain relevant. We succeed in varying degrees but we can only fail by the self-righteous judgment of you, whom we coddled and still love. 

You will ultimately define us, but at least have the decency to wait until we’re dead.

Live your life, fix your world and if you can’t show a little respect, just leave us alone.

And, stay off the lawn.