OK, tonight gets an extra bonus post because I just saw a news article that completely caught me off guard. Our fine legislators in D.C. have agreed to the "Energy Policy Act of 2005". While the whole act has a lot of mumbo-jumbo about saving energy in an effort to wean we oil-guzzling Americans off of middle-eastern oil (or something like that)... the key provision that actually affects us in the real world is quite simple: to change daylight savings time from the current system (first Sunday in April to last Sunday in October), to the first Sunday in MARCH to the last Sunday in NOVEMBER.
Could this not be a more RIDICULOUS idea!? While we can thank good old "Mr. $100 bill" Ben Franklin for the idea of shifting time haphazardly in an effort to confuse people every 6 months... er... save energy, I still think daylight savings time is dumb, but support it if only because I think it would confuse people more if we didn't change the clocks anymore.
Now, if you don't immediately see the bad consequences of this, let me point out exactly why this is a "very bad idea":
1) Canada. Our neighbors to the north currently have conformed to our ridiculous practices in an effort to ensure continental harmony. If we go and start messing with things, during the entire months of March and October, crossing the Canadian border will be like changing time zones. So if it's 8:00 in Seattle, it'll be 7:00 in Vancouver, BC, and 9:07 in Boise. What a mess.
2) Smoke Detectors. We're all so used to changing the batteries in the smoke detectors when we change the clocks. You think that this works out to changing the batteries every 6 months, but if you actually pull out a calendar, the beginning of April through the end of October is actually 7 months. I guess people think batteries should last at least 7 months. But if we change things, that will be March through November: 9 MONTHS! According to the firefighters out there in the world, that's unacceptable. (I think they're getting kickbacks from Duracell, personally.)
3) Not-so-"Standard Time". So if we're on daylight savings time for 9 months out of the year... for you non-math-people out there, that's 3/4 of the year with daylight savings time, and only 1/4 of the year for "Standard" time. Now I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound very "Standard" to me... sounds to me like the standard is to have daylight savings time. Seems pretty bogus to me.
4) Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. If this goes into effect, it will take effect immediately, meaning the currently scheduled time change on October 30th, 2005 will be moved to November 27th. So if you have a flight scheduled for anytime during the month of November... when does your flight leave? Are you an hour late, or an hour early? Does your flight leave an hour later than scheduled, or an hour earlier, or do we just pretend this whole mess never happened and go with whatever the clock on the wall says? Same goes for trains, I guess, if you ride trains for any productive purpose. As for automobiles, uh... well it seems to take a rocket scientist to figure out how to change the clocks built into most car stereos... maybe that's a reason unto itself.
Of course, this all depends on President Bush actually signing this bill into law... maybe he'll be smart and... oh wait, nevermind.