I may be slow but I’m not stupid.

While driving to work this morning I was drinking from a plastic water bottle and I thought back to a time when water didn’t come in bottles.

It’s true. There was a time when drinking water didn’t come in a plastic bottle and there were no water stores as there are now in Southern California. Back then we had to get a glass from the cupboard and get a drink of water from the kitchen tap or take a slurp directly from the bathroom sink.

I know, right? Unthinkable.

But, wait I can top that.

Kids in the 50s, defying death.

When I was a kid we used to drink from the garden hose, no matter that it laid out in the open for any stray neighborhood dog or critter to lick or pee on. We were thirsty and didn’t want to go into the house and get a glass from the cupboard. We just turned on the hose and slurped.

A few years from now I’ll have to explain what a hose was.

When I worked at KFBK radio in Sacramento in the mid-1980s my partner, Bob Nathan, told me one day that he had just invested in a new company that would sell drinking water in plastic bottles.

A Las Vegas oxygen bar where people are having fun while paying to breathe. Notice, we blurred out their eyeballs so as not to compromise their privacy.

I laughed at him. He might as well have said he just spent his retirement savings on bottled air. It was nuts. Who would ever buy bottled water? Or, oxygen?

Bob retired from radio years ago. I’m still slaving for the man.

About that same time another friend opened a “tanning salon” filled with weird sci-fi looking tables where people paid good money to take off their clothes and lie down and bake their skin to a golden turkey-brown.

Mind you, this was in California, where the sun is always shining for free.

Yet another friend went into the firewood business. She cut down trees on her property, cut them into fireplace size chunks and started selling them in cords, half cords and packages at 7-11 stores that would sustain a campfire or an evening in front of the fireplace for six or ten bucks.

All of these things happened more than thirty years ago. I may be slow on the uptake but I’m not entirely stupid.

That bottled air thing is looking pretty good about now.


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.