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Springing Ahead

[My column in the Sunday magazine.]

Daylight saving time is here already, weeks ahead of the normal schedule, rousting us from bed, speeding up an already accelerated existence. By government edict, the sun does not rise when it should, and you must emerge from your comfy bed in predawn darkness. The moment when the clocks move forward by an hour has been moved back by nearly a month. Forward: back. Confused? Temporally discombobulated? Can you honestly say what time it is "right now"?

No. You're not allowed to know. Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the correct time is not determined by the spinning of Earth, but by the Office of the Vice President.

He lives at the U.S. Naval Observatory, where they keep the Master Clock. The vice president spends a lot of time in the Master Clock control room, playing with knobs. When he's in a really bad mood, he makes noon into midnight.

Daylight saving time is traditionally an artifact of spring and summer, and indeed is called "Summer Time" in Europe, but this year it arrives in winter. The Gregorian calendar was confusing enough before this latest change. For ages, scholars have tried to figure out why the dates of Easter and Passover change every year, but the Fourth of July is always celebrated on the same day.

Today the clock has leapt forward from 1:59:59 a.m. to 3:00:00 a.m., but there will be no explanation from anyone in authority about where the missing hour goes. Yes, it pops up again in November, but where is it in the meantime? Do we want an hour on the loose, where it could play into the hands of criminals?

Bad things could happen today. Computers could go haywire, and satellites could fall from space. Roosters may fail to crow. Farmers will be in their fields, plowing the earth, only to realize that they can't see because the sun hasn't risen and they're working at night. Aircraft will take off from runways even as the pilot and co-pilot are still racing on foot toward the departure gate.

Everyone listening to the tolling of distant cathedral bells will wonder if the hunchback remembered to add a toll. The hit show "24" will be missing the crucial hour between 4 and 5 in the afternoon, during which Jack Bauer kills seven terrorists with his bare teeth and conquers Russia.

Why must we endure this nightmare? Because powerful industries want to tamper with Time Itself. There is, for example, the charcoal industry, which wants more barbecues. You can spot its lobbyists because they're covered in soot. There is also the powerful softball lobby, the not-so-powerful but highly influential badminton lobby, the eccentric but oddly lovable croquet lobby, and the subversive and slightly scary lawn darts lobby.

Our government and the special interests who run it will not be satisfied until they've tinkered with the entire space-time continuum. They want control not only of time and space but also of causality, of chronology, of sequence, of the so-called "arrow of time," which they hope to use as a weapon.

Time has always been a philosophical challenge. It is not "real," the way, for example, a clock is real. All we can say is that there are coordinates in space-time that can be described by three spatial dimensions and one temporal dimension. Viewed in this strict fashion, "deadlines" for "columns" have no meaning, even though editors cling to the medieval notion that they should be finished "on time." Dream on.

There is not a person alive who has not, at some point, wondered, "What is time, exactly?" and, "Why are we alive now and not at some other time, like the 37th century, when everyone finally has his or her personal jet pack?" and, "Why are there three spatial dimensions but only one time dimension, and not the other way around, which would allow us to sit in one place, such as the couch, and watch Super Bowls XIII, XXVI and XXXIX simultaneously?"

These are the kind of questions that separate us from the beasts. Homo sapiens is unique among animals in possessing awareness of being late to an appointment. Dogs cannot comprehend past and future, much less Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific time. The phrase " '60 Minutes' will follow the game, except on the West Coast" means nothing to a cat.

Time should not be altered seasonally, like the hemlines of dresses. There should be no fashions in time, nothing wobbly or slippery or arbitrary. Time belongs to the people. And with that thought, let's go back to sleep.

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 10, 2007; 8:23 AM ET
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Good morning.
Cherry blossom is coming, isn't it?

Posted by: daiwanlan | March 10, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

So is Pi Day.

Can anyone think of other holidays developed from a mathematical concept? If there wasn't so much we loved about pi(e), I'm not sure 3/14 would get much bounce either.

Posted by: dbG | March 10, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"the subversive and slightly scary lawn darts lobby" gave me a gigglefit - beautiful, just beautiful. . .

Posted by: sevenswans | March 10, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Time, Time, what is Time?
The Swiss manufacture it,
the French hoard it,
Italians squander it,
Americans say it is money,
Hindus say it does not exist.

I think Time is a crook.
(Peter Lorre in "Beat The Devil")

I prefer the Tralfamadorian view of Time. So it goes.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 10, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

We celebrate many mathematical holidays, here chez Yoki.

There is Percentage Sunday (the day the Gray Cup CFL Football Championship game is played), and Exponent Tuesday (the day a general election is held).

And every day is Chaos day, around here!

Posted by: Yoki | March 10, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

This what I loved most about the column (though I loved all of it and actually laughed out loud, sitting here alone in front of my computer), 'Viewed in this strict fashion, "deadlines" for "columns" have no meaning'

Posted by: Yoki | March 10, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Except for that whole cranky 'cause of lack of sleep bit, I welcome the arrival of Daylight Savings Time. As I have posted before, I would much rather drive to work in the dark and return home in sunshine. Walking the dog and wandering aimlessly through the suburban woods until I end up pretty much lost are much safer when I can, you know, actually see.

Is the Naval Observatory ever referred to, perhaps, as an undisclosed location? Just wondering. Also, I like the image of the VP toying with time. Does this mean he could take us all back to 2003 and undo Iraq? Oh wait. He thinks everything is going just ducky. Well, perhaps he could just let the rest of us go back and he could remain here in the future. Just a thought.

And don't ask me about what happens to that missing hour. I'm still reeling from that whole 366 and 1/4 revolutions revelation. (Try to say that three times fast.)

Lots to do this weekend. 'Specially since we have an hour less to get everything done.

(Remember to check your smoke detectors friends. Even if you don't smoke. )

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 10, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Chaos Day, I like it. I'll write to my Congresspeople about setting up a national holiday.

It could be a day where we celebrate the unknowable and infinitesmal interactions between everything in the Universe, a day full of living-in-the-moments, spent with families and friends, in libraries and on picnics. Wherever you go, there you are.

Posted by: dbG | March 10, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Hey we used to have Lawn Darts. (Weren't they called "Jarts" or something?) Of course, that was a much more dangerous time when we road bikes without helmets and routinely sat way too close to the television.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 10, 2007 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Around my house every day is Chaos Day.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 10, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

It's not mathematical, but March 4 is possibly the only date that is also a sentence: March forth!

Posted by: TBG | March 10, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Error, I prefer the Tralfamadorian view of Time, too (although I had to google to make sure you meant Slaughterhouse5's aliens - been a long time). The 4th dimensional aspect of time (i.e., "time is not linear, linearity is just a perception") always struck me as both the debunking and the proof (there's chaos for you) of claims of reincarnation and time travel. Not possible for a person to be reincarnated later down a timeline, because time does not move in one direction (or in a straight line at all); but possible nonetheless because, well, time doesn't move only in one direction, or in a straight line. The time's wheel (sphere?) (tessaract?) concept makes a lot of things make more sense, to me, anyway - origin of the universe, perceived wave/particle dichotomies, quantum foam anomalies. We can only observe from our personal time-cages, but what else is going on Out There?

(I've never been a fan of the 9-5 timecage and daylight savings time was bad enough when it almost fit the seasons. I hope Congress changes it back, or rids us of it completely, by next year, after they admit from the results that it was an idiotic thing to do)

Posted by: sevenswans | March 10, 2007 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Think you got the only one, TBG.

Posted by: dbG | March 10, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

And a good day to get out The Bangles.

Posted by: dbG | March 10, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Mornin all*with clothes pin on nose*

Skunk smell update: I washed my car with Dawn and real lemon juice and I think that did the trick.I can't smell skunk anymore and I have a clean car,well,clean till I drive down my driveway.

Thanks for all the good advice.

It feels like Spring out today,so it must be time to set the clocks forward.

For won is my favorite day of the year!!

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 10, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Greenie -- good for you. I think that porous or absorbing surfaces like dog fur would need the tomato total immersion -- a kind of Baptism for the skunk-blessed creatures.

Chaos Day? We might need Dr. Yorke's birthday as a candidate. He is the chaos-coining guy, and is a colleague of John Mather's as UMCP. Who knew that the Terpies would claim so many Nobelian dudes!

Tom Schelling, econ winner last year for pieces of game theory, was a professor of mine in graduate school. VERY intense, tight-lipped, short, Napoleonic guy who does not suffer fools OR pregnant graduate students lightly.

Other math holidays would be dates that equal prime numbers or the goofy repeats like:

7.7.77 (I happened to be in Italy near Lake Guarda);

or any person's golden birthday, which would be your years matching the date/month of your birth. Mine was to be 22 on the 22nd of a month.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 10, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all! I had a purely inconsequential post at the end of the last Boodle, but Time has moved on. And having writ, we cannot wash out a word of it. Or something like that. While bowing to the tyranny of day-to-day Time Marching On, I prefer to think of Time as non-linear. A fat lot of good it does me, too.

It is a splendid day here. Sunny, temperate, light wind, birds chirping, guinea hens shouting, flora busting out all over. Were it not for the vicious sneezing fits caused by the latter, it would be perfect. Ah, well, nothing is perfect.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 10, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I just realized that this is a column about time change posted just after we had a discussion of Vonnegut, whose last novel was "Timequake"?


Well, probably yes, actually.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 10, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Cue tape recorder ala _Mission Impossible_" ....CP, should you decide to accept it, is to determine Dr. Jame's Yorke's birthday. Chaos Lovers and TinFoil Hat Guildians everywhere await.

According to Wikipedia, we should celebrate Chaos day in August:
James A. Yorke (born August 3, 1941).

I should check that source, due to the possibility that gremlins posted said date.

I did find this quote on the chaos at website:

" 'This isn't right. This isn't even wrong...' - Wolfgang Pauli, on a paper submitted by a physicist colleague."
After we recover from Pi day, we must consider the Chaos Day celebration. I'll confirm the day. How shall we mark the day?

"This tape will self destruct in 60 seconds." Cue Lalo Schifrin? music.

Dund. Dund. Dund Dund Dund Dund.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 10, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

If I set my alarm for 2:00 a.m., I suppose it won't ring, since the time will jump from 1:59 to 3:00 a.m..

Posted by: TBG | March 10, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Yoki and RD. At our house, every day is Chaos Day.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 10, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

TBG, you've just summed up my main system-worry!

Posted by: dbG | March 10, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

There's an ice cream truck outside my house! Now, I understand that the DC-area weather has improved, but I think that's being just a tad optimistic!

(having said that, he does have a customer.)

Posted by: Bob S. | March 10, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Easter is not, as some presume, the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Equinox. No, Easter is the Sunday following the first Friday after the first full moon after the Equinox.

"So, what's the difference," the vague and nonanalytical might chirp.

No full moons allowed between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection?

Exactly, Sherman. Exactly.

Posted by: Jumper (aka Simon Wagstaff) | March 10, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

sevenswans, that was a lovely post at the end of the last boodle. I enjoy solitude, too. My mom had some relatives that were quite reclusive, one that we knew quite well was agoraphobic. I'm not that bad, at least not yet - but I could be quite happy in the middle of nowhere (with a decent cable connection, of course).

I have ranted before about how much I hate the time change, especially "springing forward" - I'm late before I even get started, and don't catch up till the fall back. I pray that the date of the change will at least remain the same - I don't want to go through all the computer patches again next year!

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 10, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Jumper - it's been a while since I delved deeply into this stuff, but I think you might be partially incorrect. If memory serves correctly, the Eastern Orthodox Church(es) hew(s) to the line that you stated, but the Western church arranges the calendar around Easter, rather than Good Friday, and therefore sometimes has Easter precede Jewish Passover.

I think that the churches also have differing definitions of "full moon" and "equinox", which can add up to dating differences.

Posted by: Bob S. | March 10, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Well, according to my informal polling, about the same number of people love DST as hate it. (Count me in the latter camp.) But surely, by now, there have been studies, analyses, scientific measurement to show the economic and/or social benefits of it. Can anybody give me an example? I think it would make me feel better.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 10, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

>There's an ice cream truck outside my house!

Well it's nice enough here to put the top down and blast through the countryside. Man that just feels so good! I highly recommend you all go get a convertible. Now people!

I don't want to hear any whining about the elements or winter or too much wind in your fly-away hair or any of that, there are plenty of hard-top converts available now and the rest of those complaints are simply character flaws which you need to address sooner or later.

Foot tapping.... I'll wait... a Miata will do nicely. If you feel guilty get a BMW or Volvo with back seats and tell the kids "Hey, anyone could pay for your college. But now when you have kids you can go buy one of these for yourself instead, and when they complain you just tell them it's a TRADITION." Let's face it, if they're at all hip to the way college works they'll stay an extra year or two anyway just to fool around, like I didn't. Spending a pile on yourself instead will put some urgency into the equation.

I have to note while driving around I passed a house where a woman in a FULL-LENGTH leopard skin coat was putting out the garbage on the next street over. Now I might be inclined to think it was fake, except the houses in that part of he neighborhood go for about $1.2M, are about 5000 sq ft and they have every single piece of landscaping in the yard professionally decorated at Christmas, so...

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 10, 2007 1:35 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Er, passed a house on the next street over. She wasn't going around the block to put out the garbage, although that might have gone a little way towards justifying the coat.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 10, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Put pretty simply, the Orthodox Church still uses the Julian calendar to determine Easter (there are other, more-complicated calculations, but that's the basic difference). This year it's the same date as Western Easter.

This is causing all sorts of problems in the logistics for my family's celebrating with each other and in-laws. Most years it's a pretty simple deal with the spouses: We spend "American" Easter with your family and "Greek" Easter with mine.

Posted by: TBG | March 10, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse

NPR aired this piece on DST yesterday:
As Joel said, golf courses, malls, barbecue manufacturers benefit because people do those activities in the evening when there's more light (although it is still winter, so...). Energy savings? Apparently they're basing that on old studies. I heard they're supposed to study it this year, and if there are no real savings, the date of the transitions could change again. (Oh noooo, cry the IT people!)

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 10, 2007 1:41 PM | Report abuse


I think the primary benefit of DST is psychological, as RD suggested earlier. I don't think there are any reliable studies about energy savings. Unless it's "psychic energy" that is saved. I really feel a big difference in the fall when we switch back to standard time. On Monday, for whatever it is worth, sunrise will be as late as it is at the end of December. Maybe that's why they chose the day they did to start DST.

Posted by: pj | March 10, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

And she had to put out the garbage herself? No staff to do it? Huh, nouveau riche!

Posted by: Yoki | March 10, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Here's a site from the California Energy Commission, with some links to studies that I haven't read yet:

Hmmm, another reason to move to Hawaii (or Arizona, but it's too dry for me).

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 10, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the compliment, mostlylurking. I tend to inadvertently post at the end of boodles (a Timing problem?) :-)

The gummint was reviewing Daylight Savings Time for the insurance companies just a few years back - on the basis of just stopping the time-change madness for safety reasons. The Monday after the spring time change, every year, there's a rise in car accidents, both serious and fender-bender. Americans are sleep-deprived enough without losing an hour every spring. Supposedly the adjustment chaos smooths out after a week, I'd guess because that gives an extra weekend to try and get some rest. '
No studies that I know of on any increase in grouchiness and irritability on the fatal Monday in question, but I have my suspicions.

Posted by: sevenswans | March 10, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I'd want to do more research before I'd accept the following as authoritative, but it gives a pretty good overview of the "Easter issues" as I recall them:

Posted by: Bob S. | March 10, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Error Flynn - you took care of my confusion about the location of her dumping site. Now, which was possibly fake: the garbage, the house, or the coat?

: )

Posted by: Bob S. | March 10, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Or the street?

Posted by: Bob S. | March 10, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I like DST. I love having more light in the evening. Because my office has no window, the only light I get to really appreciate is in the evening.

And I think insomniacs like me have the advantage. If you don't sleep much or well anyway, an hour here or there makes no nevermind.

Posted by: Yoki | March 10, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Less than 48 hours left to get your Pi Day entries to me. The more I can do today and tomorrow, the better for all of us. Send them to

Posted by: Yoki | March 10, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Yoki - In England in 1991-92, I worked twelve-hour shifts in a windowless bunker-kind-of-room. I could easily go two or three days without seeing night-time or daylight, depending on the season. Strange.

Posted by: Bob S. | March 10, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I propose permanent daylight savings time, and then no further changes or adjustments. The spring ahead always makes me cranky for a week, despite craving the added evening daylight and actually preferring to get up in the dark. The extra hour in the fall is delicious, for the first day or two, until the lack of daylight after work sucks all the life out of me.

Thermometer on the front porch says we've cracked 50F, southern exposure so not a true reading but welcome nonetheless.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 10, 2007 2:32 PM | Report abuse

It is strange to work in steady artificial light. I don't mind it so much; the unchanging conditions are conducive to concentration at work, and I am unaffected by the blowing in of weather events. I occasionally emerge from my office to find everyone on the floor cranky, and then realize a storm has darkened the place and the snow or rain is depressing everyone. But I am just fine.

Posted by: Yoki | March 10, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

You know, I agree with frostbitten, why don't they just keep DST all year round? It's the changing that everyone hates. I used to live on the west coast and hated the spring change more than anything. Used to screw up my internal clock and those of my kids. Made for a very cranky week. Now that I live in a state without DST and any changes, it's wonderful.

Posted by: Aloha | March 10, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and yeah, I hate the extra hour of time difference from here and the continent. Just makes doing business difficult with people back East.

Posted by: Aloha | March 10, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Well, I think we have DST because, collectively, we don't have the sense to come in out of the rain. ie - Since we're such slaves to habit that businesses and schools don't have the good sense to adjust their hours seasonally, the government does it for them. Like nearly all government solutions, it lacks something of finesse.

Posted by: Bob S. | March 10, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

>And she had to put out the garbage herself? No staff to do it? Huh, nouveau riche!

Yeah, maybe that was the choice - coat or staff.

Bob S., I'm sure the street was real, but I've never been in the house. It's possible it's just a facade, but if so it's a facade with realllly nice cee-ment pond.

I suppose it could be a Halloween outfit... or maybe it's so politically-incorrect the only place she can wear it is in her yard.

I swear it looked like she just stepped inside a full-grown leopard.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 10, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I wish I could have some knobs and a control box to control time.

I keep getting stuck at Zeno's paradox about the arrows, and wrapped up in Aristotle and quantum physics theories that say time can't have an absolute zero value, and therfore can't be arbitrarily changed beyond any given frame(s) of reference.

Wish I weren't so fussy about such things, I'd probably have more fun.


Posted by: bc | March 10, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

>I keep getting stuck at Zeno's paradox about the arrows

bc, you need a TARDIS.

Or, if you prefer, take the slacker's way:
"If you're wondering how he eats or breathes
Or other science facts
Repeat to yourself it's just a show
You should really just relax...

It's Mystery Science Theater 3000!"

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 10, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

it's just a jump to the left

Posted by: sevenswans | March 10, 2007 4:59 PM | Report abuse
says more than I needed to know.

I used to cope with spring Daylight Savings Time transitions with the simple expedient of quitting my job. I would get a new one in a couple of months. Then in the fall it was all gravy.

We are all free Americans who mostly awake whenever Big Brother tells us to.

I guess however I should hit the sack early tonight. Sweet dreams!

Posted by: Jumper | March 10, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

3/14? Did you mean 22.7?

Posted by: gah | March 10, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I've always liked the extra daylight in the evening, but I also like getting up in daylight. I suppose that makes me a summer kinda person.

Daylight savings always played havoc with the statistics, when I was working. Without fail, there would be an emergency call that would bridge the time change and mess up average response time, one of our key performance measures. I had to go into the system and make sure it was corrected to show the actual minutes responding, rather than the minutes plus an hour. Amazing what that would do to the numbers.

Posted by: Slyness | March 10, 2007 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Okay, language mavens, take note: The spelled out version of DST appears nine times on this page. The two times in Joel's column, it is correctly spelled "Daylight Saving Time." Every other time somebody wrote it out it was incorrectly spelled "Daylight Savings Time." I have always written it the latter, incorrect way, but FROM NOW ON, I pronounce myself reformed. I invite you all to join me.

This is somehow related to the way we all call that store "Penney's" when the name of the business is actually J.C. Penney. We don't say "Safeway's" but when Zayre was our local discount store, everyone called it Zayre's. I can't explain it, I'm just making observations.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 10, 2007 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I went outside without a coat in 37 degree weather and thought it was warm and sunny. That was one strong cuppa tea.

As for Joel's column, I will let Wilbrodog speak.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 10, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Quoted: "Dogs cannot comprehend past and future, much less Eastern, Central, Mountain and Pacific time. "

HEY! Speak for yourself, bubba.

I understand time perfectly well, I used to be an professional clock watch-dog. After all, if it wasn't for me, Wilbrod would never have left the office on time.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | March 10, 2007 6:41 PM | Report abuse

I was one of the DST transgessors, a thousand pardons.

Interesting observations kb. I've always wondered why "The Hague" and "The Vatican" but not "The Miami?"

My personal peevishness is brought out with the misplaced s that makes people say court martials when they really mean courts martial, or sergeant majors when they mean sergeants major.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 10, 2007 6:42 PM | Report abuse

It was gorgeous in the DC area today. I spent the afternoon repairing the large wooden swing in our back yard that had been damaged in the windstorm some weeks past. The smell of sawdust. The warmth of the sun. Vivaldi on the MP3 player. This was an afternoon to remember.

Now, I need to break out the Shiraz and make up for last night's abstinence. Why, I may consume *two* glasses.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 10, 2007 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, I thought about you when Joel made that assertion. And for highly trained canines I am sure that time is clearly very real. But to amateur doggies like mine, it doesn't matter if I've been outside for six hours, or just to pick up the mail. The greeting is still the same.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 10, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

kb - I am so ashamed. Almost as much as when I referred to the Smithsonian Institution instead of the Smithsonian Institute.

I firmly resolve to avoid this sin and avoid the near occasions of evil.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 10, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if that wikipedia article were written by that supposed college professor of religion who turned out to be a 20-something-year-old college drop out.

Incidentally, one of the two major supermarkets in Chicago is called "The Jewel." or, alternately, "Da Jewels." "I gotta pick up somethin' from da Jewels."

Posted by: Maggie O'D | March 10, 2007 6:57 PM | Report abuse

LiT, the solution to the problem you posted yesterday was great! It happened to coincide with an email from my brother-in-law. We had sent him the Tennessee professional engineering exam that's making the email rounds. He sent it back with answers! Such as:

Q. A front porch is constructed of 2x8 pine on 24-inch centers with a Field rock foundation. The span is 8 feet and the porch length is 16 feet. The porch floor is 1 inch rough sawn pine. When the porch collapses, how many hound dogs will be killed?
A. Depends on time of year & how big the litter was

Q. A coal mine operates a NFPA Class 1, Division 2 Hazardous Area. The Mine employs 120 miners per shift. A gas warning is issued at the beginning of 3rd shift. How many cartons of unfiltered Camels will be smoked during the shift? A. Before or after the explosion?

Posted by: Raysmom | March 10, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

sevenswans, you wrote, "We can only observe from our personal time-cages, but what else is going on Out There?"

I like that. It's been said that in reality, everything is happening simultaneously. At some level, our past and future lives are happening alongside our present ones. But our consciousness just happens to be focusing on the life we're experiencing right now, like light shining on just one facet of a diamond.

As for the early-DST fiasco in the U.S., it kind of reminds me of that Seinfeld episode when Kramer decided, unilaterally, to paint over some of the lane markers on a small section of the highway so that motorists could enjoy the luxury of wider lanes. Chaos ensued.

Posted by: Dreamer | March 10, 2007 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Overuse of happening/happens in my previous post. Could have used some elegant variation.

Posted by: Dreamer | March 10, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Oh, the effusive greeting behavior, how well I know the syndrome. It arises from many motives:
1) Jump up and sniff--to dentify where you've been
2) Frantic licking to clean off any crumbs from your clothing
3) Barking, to tell you what's been going on since you've left.
4) Blocking the door, to bar your entry into the house while the wife's lover slips out of the window.

There, who said dogs couldn't laugh? Too bad people only have two legs to pull.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | March 10, 2007 7:13 PM | Report abuse

SCC: identify. No "dentifying" of people around here, no sir. Only of my bones.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | March 10, 2007 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Because I live close to the eastern edge of a time zone, I am happy to see DST come, although it does seem a bit senseless to start it now, when the weather in the evening here is rarely warm enough to enjoy the extra daylight. I've spent time at the western ends of timezones and been amazed to see it still quite light at 9:30 pm as even in June we are pretty much dark here by 9 pm. I really don't like getting up in the dark, so it will be another 3 or 4 weeks until my weekday risings are tolerable again. It was one of our Congressmen who sponsored the legislation that changed this, and I feel the need to apologize for his misguided action..

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | March 10, 2007 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Again... why "don't ask, don't tell" seems to be a worse and worse idea by the minute.;_ylt=Alu8XEoWr5SVZXuAva0oxipH2ocA

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 10, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

In case anyone is interested C-span is showing the New Hampshire Democrat's 100 Club Dinner live, right now. Hillary Clinton will speak as soon as they get through all the congratulatory speeches.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 10, 2007 7:56 PM | Report abuse

College Parkian, were you alive and in Italy way back in the year 77? (Must have been a Roman.) That may be older than Mudge.

Posted by: LTL-CA | March 10, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Raysmom, I'd say he passed.

Ever seen the 'Is Hell Endothermic or Exothermic' question?

But for those of you (like me) who drew elephants on exam papers, here's a great love story in only 4 pics.

Posted by: LostInThought | March 10, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I just read that California paper on DST. Is the following crazy, or it just me?

"Summer Double DST would cause a smaller (220 MW) and more uncertain drop in the peak, but it could still save hundreds of millions of dollars because it would shift electricity use to low demand (cheaper) morning hours and decrease electricity use during higher demand hours."

What? Shift to higher and lower demand hours? If the clocks were all changed wouldn't the energy usage pattern also shift? The cows would still wake up at the same sun time, but all us modern folk would adjust, right?

I like the argument that DST makes the curtains fade faster with that extra hour of sun.

Posted by: LTL-CA | March 10, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Newsflash: People of lefty stock remember events better than righties of righty stock.

I'm not sure I buy the corpus callosum maturation being required for episodic memory theory.
For one, people have functioned perfectly well being born with only one hemisphere, and lobotomy patients do not seem to have impaired episodic memory recall. It may be that the process of rewiring the brain does make older memories harder to retrieve.

Secondly, some people DO in fact have memories from before they were 4, even intact narrative memories, and children before age 4 appparently are able to recall some events in detail.

Maturation seems to wipe out recall. I had a coworker observe she could see her 5-year-old daughter forgetting what she had remembered only months ago.

As for why most people forget what they were like before 4 years old... well, wearing diapers ain't no picnic to remember anyway, nor are toddler and infant terrors. A certain forgetting is benefical to learning newer ways of thinking.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 10, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I think the shift to lower demand hours works, LTL-CA. If, during ST, we all get up and turn on the lights and boil the kettle and then turn off the lights and go to work, and in the evening we all come home and turn on the lights and do a load of laundry and heat up the stove and turn the thermostat up and put a load through the dishwasher and watch television or fire up the computer or play music CDs, then, logically, when the clocks shift to DST we do the same thing in the morning, but when we come home we don't turn on the lights, and we barbeque and then go for a walk (but still do a load of laundry and put a load of dishes through the DW), then we have not turned on the lights, turned up the thermostat, heated the stove, powered up the entertainment devices, etc. It really does shift some of the peak demand to the morning.

Posted by: Yoki | March 10, 2007 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if our shortage of memories from our early years is related to the child's tendency to live in the present moment, with no real concept of past or future. As a result of this focus on the present, children don't really have a sense of themselves as an "I" -- they don't think, this is what I did yesterday, this is what I'm going to do tomorrow, etc., so they lack that time-dependent narrative that gives people a sense of themselves as an individual -- an ego.

Perhaps we don't remember what happened to us when we were one, two, or three years old, because, in a sense, "we" didn't really exist back then.

And, as with many phenomena, I wonder if the corresponding physical changes in the brain are a cause of the phenomenon, or merely a reflection of it, a manifestation.

Fascinating stuff.

Posted by: Dreamer | March 10, 2007 8:34 PM | Report abuse

I have very clear episodic memory starting at about 16 months of age. My older brother does too. Two younger ones, nothing until they are about 5 years old. It still freaks our parents out when one of says something like, "I was just remembering when Grandma came to visit us in the apartment in Montreal, and then Uncle Jack showed up in his new green car and took us for a ride out to the South Shore." And then they rack their brains and figure out that was when big brother was 3 and I was barely 2. It is quite a party trick.

Posted by: Yoki | March 10, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

[Not to mention the possibility that memories aren't even stored *in* the physical brain itself, but non-locally -- somewhere Out There -- the brain being just a piece of meat we use to retrieve those memories from the non-local domain. (Granted, it's a pretty important piece of meat.)]

Posted by: Dreamer | March 10, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Proof life is not fair- the 2008 World Men's Curling championship will be held at my alma mater's Ralph Engelstad Arena April 5-13
but the Women's Final Four basketball tournament will be in Tampa April 6 and 8.

The only thing worse is that the cable here did not show a single ACC tournament game and the husband is in Tampa able to buy tickets for next to nothing.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 10, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Me too, Yoki -- I can remember certain events that took place when I was as young as two, such as visiting my mother in the hospital when my brother was born (he's two years younger than me), and even a couple of things before that. My sister, on the other hand, has a terrible memory -- my mother jokes that she didn't start forming memories until her college years.

Posted by: Dreamer | March 10, 2007 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer, I can remember from when I lived in a crib, and I'm still not sure "I" exist today ;).

A more equal coordination between the two hemispheres also seems to be behind better math ability.

It might be simply that in increasing lateralization of the left hemisphere (which controls right-handedness), limited access to the right hemisphere's episodic memories is created. Memories created after the asymmetry is fully developed would be retrievable by newly tinkered-with mechanisms.

What seems apparent from studies so far is that strong right-handedness is inheritable. Left-handedness by itself is rarely inheritable.

What is inherited is a tendency to weak handedness-- with the weaker gene, you might wind up right, left, or ambi, or mixed-handed. You also might have cross-dominance for eyedness and footedness, as well. My family seems to fit this pattern of handedness inheritance.

So, it may be that "strong righties" have something that happens in the brain that others don't.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 10, 2007 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I know the US, Canada and England spring forward and fall backwards. Does other parts of Europe, South America and parts of Asia do the same? Just curious.

Posted by: rain forest | March 10, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

. . . two years younger than I am.

And you know, it just occurred to me that my sister with the poor memory is left-handed, the only one in the family. Or at least, she was as a child. My mother used to "get her" to write with her right hand -- "the right" hand. But I can't for the life of me remember whether it "took." It's quite possible she's ambidextrous these days. I can't wait to talk to her again to ask her . . . ("Hey, what are ya?")

Posted by: Dreamer | March 10, 2007 9:04 PM | Report abuse

rainforest-yes some do. Australia is experimenting with DST, but they call it "Summer Time."

I was wondering why Newfoundland is half an hour ahead of EST, or EDT, as the case may be. Then a quick google tells me that Iran, India, Sri Lanka, and parts of Australia are also on half hour schemes. So much for those Newfie jokes.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 10, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

One of my favorite lines from St. Elsewhere, or any tv show for that matter. Ed Begley Jr.'s character says,
"I'd give my right hand to be ambidextrous."

Posted by: frostbitten | March 10, 2007 9:23 PM | Report abuse

In an attempt to never use the incorrect name for Daylight Saving Time I pledge to use only the initials DST hereafter. I tend to like it, since I like playing outside with the Boy after I get home from work, but I also like getting up early in the morning with the sun. Why not do permanent DST, since Time is just a gummint construct anyways, run for the corporate benefit, according to Joel?

It all reminds me of the Robert Louis Stevenson poem:

In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer, quite the other way,
i have to go to bed by day.

I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people's feet
Still going past me in the street.

And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 10, 2007 9:31 PM | Report abuse

It is no longer day here but I'll be abed pretty darn quick. Today the Boy & I went to the park and he skated for half the afternoon. He then asked if we could play miniature golf, which is near the park, and I couldn't think of a good reason why not. After a round of putting we stopped by the grocery store, then rushed home, where Time stretched to infinity as I cooked supper, served it, cleaned up, dealt with laundry (darn laundry fairies), etc. The glasses of Cabernet are long gone, the Benedryl is downed, and Time can ease back into a more livable cycle.

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 10, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, did you receive my Pi entry? Having internet connection problems which may have consumed email as well as earlier post (another besides Raysuncle's engineering exam).

Posted by: Raysmom | March 10, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, frostbitten -- where I come from in Australia, we've had that new-fangled Daylight Savings for almost as long as I can remember, and that's what we call it: Daylight Savings. They don't have it in Queensland, though, as far as I know -- they were worried about the faded-curtains thing. (It's possible that's changed since I last checked.)

Of course, Australia is falling back while the Northern Hemisphere is springing forward. There's usually a couple of weeks' overlap between one country's springing and the other's falling, during which time-difference calculations are near-impossible. (This year, of course, the overlap will be even longer.)

Here in Hong Kong, we don't have Daylight Saving(s). Just goes to show, there really is no such thing as time.

Posted by: Dreamer | March 10, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I am one lefty with very early memories, first one would be when I was small enough to be washed in a bathroom sink. I assume before 18 months, and I believe it was the grandmother who died just after I turned 1.5. I was always the family historian, the one who could remember things others couldn't - perhaps being lefthanded helped, but I think more it was that I was painfully shy and always half hidden listening but not wanting to be seen.

Posted by: dmd | March 10, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I remember that Robert Louis Stevenson poem!
And I remember having to go to bed by day.

Posted by: Dreamer | March 10, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Dreamer-thanks for the real life report. Perhaps the "Summer Time" thing is just an official gummint ploy to increase tourism by reminding people that winter in North America is summer there.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 10, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Could be, frostbitten. And probably less controversial than the "So where the bl00dy he!! are ya?" campaign. [Did they even screen those ads in the U.S.?]

Posted by: Dreamer | March 10, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Umm, RDP, the Smithsonian really is an Institution and not an Institute. Or has a joke gone right past me?

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 10, 2007 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, I've heard that DST leads to extra driving after work (typically to go shopping) that more than makes up for the reduced number of lights on at home in terms of total energy usage.

Posted by: LTL-CA | March 10, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Too busy today to do otherwise than skim the boodle. As many may know, we here in the Hoosier state (except for a number of counties tied to large out of state metropolises, e.g., Chicago) only last year went DST. For years general consensus was to go to it. Problem: populace 50/50 whether to go eastern or central. A number of counties this year had second thoughts on their decision. One county, as a result, is moving two hours ahead to go "eastern" after having a falling out, as it were, with central time.

Posted by: bill everything | March 10, 2007 10:29 PM | Report abuse

SciTim, - Few things are worse than a bad joke.... I was trying to be ironic. And failed.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 10, 2007 10:30 PM | Report abuse

LTL-CA that is a very good point, where I live going to DST means eventually it does not start to get dark until 9:30 pm, and there is a definite increase in activity. During the winter it is dark after work and I find it much harder to get out and do things where as in the summer you don't think anything of running multiple errands at night, but even without it there would still be enough light in the evenings that I doubt the extra activity would decrease.

Posted by: dmd | March 10, 2007 10:39 PM | Report abuse

If Orthodox and Western Easter are on the same day this year, does this mean double the pilgrims and riots at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre?

On the side, it looks like the Vice President is busy setting the date of Easter:

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 10, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, I didn't know umbrage could be taken about supply- and demand-side energy use. Learn something new every day!

Posted by: Yoki | March 10, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

I remember a Weingarten chat in which, while admitting he never agreed with Krauthammer, he always read his columns. I have made a practice of the same and until the one below agreed that his approach is interesting.

The problem with using Clinton as a reason for pardoning Libby is the obvious fact that Clinton's "crime" involved a personal matter, not a matter of national interest. Clinton should never have been subject to impeachment; public shame, which he indured, was appropriate.

Is Krauthammer saying that the judicial system is to be just ignored?

Posted by: bill everything | March 10, 2007 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I didn't get anything from you Raysmom. If you are having trouble emailing, but still have internet access, you can post your recipe in the comments section of the Pi Day Contest Rules post and I'll pull it out of there.

Posted by: Yoki | March 10, 2007 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Krauthammer believes you never forget having sex.
Hm, tell that to the people who've had date rape drugs, too much alcohol, etc.

Given the fall-out due to the Plame expose which would have occured rather quickly after the inital leak... I find it HARD to believe Scooter could have honestly forgotten if he had said anything.

Dude, when something you leak makes front page headlines and causes a media rovestorm, you don't forget it that easily. Unless you're the Wilt Chamberlain of leaking classified information.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 10, 2007 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Yoki, maybe the difference is that here in SoCal we don't turn up the thermostat between maybe March and October no matter whether it's DST or not. The HVAC system is set to cool, not heat. One effect is that when you come home after work you start AC an hour earlier during DST. That said, if you set thermostat really low during AC months, like Texas, AC may run 24-7 no matter how the clock is aligned. But in TX they have infinite free energy.

Posted by: LTL-CA | March 10, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Bad Sneakers, I was so ticked off that a Democrat was leading the DST change! (I don't know if I've been saying Saving or Savings - my company often gets the "s" added to the end of its name, too). I just wish it could be summer longer...

And the livin' is easy
Fish are jumpin'
And the cotton is high

Your daddy's rich
And your mamma's good lookin'
So hush little baby
Don't you cry

One of these mornings
You're going to rise up singing
Then you'll spread your wings
And you'll take to the sky

But till that morning
There's a'nothing can harm you
With daddy and mamma standing by

And this from the NY Times via the Seattle PI (Post-Intelligencer, or P-I, but it looks like "pi" in the URL) about 7/7/7:

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 10, 2007 11:24 PM | Report abuse

By the way, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami was an extremely busy place. Apart from the usual weekend crowd for the Dale Chihuly glass sculptures lurking in the ponds, in the trees, and in the vegetation, it was Member Day, with an annual meeting, hot dogs, lemonade, and cute little bromeliads. I took a hike into the Keys Coastal Habitat on the remote southeast corner of the property. The place looks for all the world like a thicket on Key Largo, except it's all on fill dirt laid down during the Great Depression by Civilian Conservation Corps crews, and that native vegetation was mostly planted relatively recently. No mosquitos in evidence.

The nearby Montgomery Botanical Center was hosting a Palm Society sale that's usually been held at Fairchild. The Montgomery Center isn't open to individual visitors, only groups, so I hadn't ever visited. In fact, a local resident I talked to at Fairchild didn't even know Montgomery existed, it's that quiet.

The Montgomery staff did a great job of running tram tours over the grounds, where the sights included a grove of ramen-noodle palms. These tall, fast-growing feather leaved palms from Brazil (Syagrus vermicularis) are a nice sight. They were given their scientific name just a couple of years ago. The flowers hang down in threads, looking like masses of noodles, or worms, or vermicelli (I think that kind of spaghetti noodle, just a bit thicker than capellini, means "little worms" so there's a linguistic connection between looking noodly and looking wormy.

The palm sale was neat. Lots of neat plants, and even some wonderful cycads, which may look like palms but aren't palms any more than little brahminy blind snakes (flower pot snakes) are earthworms. Some of those just might be living in Georgetown or (gasp) the Botanic Garden on the mall.

Back to cycads: they have cones and are a very, very ancient group (although a lot of the existing species are likely to be fairly recent). Palms are flowering plants.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | March 10, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

gah, I believe 3/14 is the official Pi Day, 22/7 is the alternate.

Posted by: dbG | March 10, 2007 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Oh, my god! A math joke on the boodle and I missed it until now. Point to gah.

Posted by: dbG | March 10, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

I love botanical gardens. I don't know how I became interested, because I'm not a fan of biology in general, or know a lot about botany. My dad was a natural products (i.e., plant) chemist which meant we visited a lot of BGs, and I have visited a lot of them since. I suspect a GF or two decided I was a useless dork as a consequence.

The best I have seen are: Fairchild in Miami, Kew Gardens in London (the best!), Sydney BG Australia, Singapore (forgotten the specific name), Peradiniya BG near Kandy Sri Lanka, and near at home the LA County Arboretum. And one in Tokyo the name of which I don't remember that was overrun with wedding photograph groups, but that was true of most touristy places in Japan when I visited.

Posted by: LTL-CA | March 10, 2007 11:50 PM | Report abuse

I noted that Indy finally went to DST, and I see here that parts of Austrailia now use it, too.

So, when does DST go to he11?

BTW, if you think we're going to be out of the woods after this weekend, I think not. There may be problems on the night DST was supposed to go on the old schedule (automated systems jumping another hour ahead, right?), then when it was originally supposed to fall back in October, and on the new date DST rolls back in November.

I'm just sayin'...


Posted by: bc | March 10, 2007 11:51 PM | Report abuse

I know, bc. No doubt the DST change was Congress' special way of keeping American IT workers employed.

Posted by: dbG | March 11, 2007 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Good one, Joel. My dog will actually be very happy since she will get fed earlier. We do try to gradually change her dinner time by 15 minutes a week until the missing hour has been reclaimed.

Sleep tight, everyone!

Posted by: Random Commenter | March 11, 2007 12:27 AM | Report abuse

RC, you have a very spoiled dog. I, not a dog at all, have a much more fluctuating meal schedule.

Posted by: LTL-CA | March 11, 2007 12:30 AM | Report abuse

LTL-CA, after I posted that, I realized that probably your reality was not mine -- I agree, perhaps the energy saving is seen at different times depending on the climate one lives in.

I think my whole weltanschaung has been shaped by living in a generally hostile climate. In the summer it is either hot and dry [Alberta] (and prematurely aging to the skin, a concern at my time of life) or hot and humid [Ontario & Quebec] and in the winter very cold and windy and snowy and icy.

I'm sorry if I sounded overly self-assured (I'm not!).

Enjoy your day, with whatever light you have. It's precious, you know?

Posted by: Yoki | March 11, 2007 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Remember, one human hour is the equivalent of seven dog hours. Adjusting your pooch's mealtimes to account for Daylight Saving is the humane thing to do.

Posted by: Dreamer | March 11, 2007 12:48 AM | Report abuse

// Remember, one human hour is the equivalent of seven dog hours. // Dreamer, do you mean dogs don't notice day-night? Their lives are shorter in terms of years, but don't their years contain the same number of days as ours? Ditto for hours, minutes, etc.

Posted by: LTL-CA | March 11, 2007 12:58 AM | Report abuse


Oops, sorry for the noise. I didn't want to turn on the


Okay, okay. Gnight.

Posted by: Jumper | March 11, 2007 1:10 AM | Report abuse

But those days are sooo long when you're waiting to be walked, LTL-CA.

Posted by: Wilbrodog | March 11, 2007 1:15 AM | Report abuse

I was thinking that an hour probably feels longer to dogs than to humans, so if they have to eat their meals an hour earlier or an hour later than usual, that could really mess them up.

Or not. (Who really knows what goes on in their furry little heads?)

But mainly I was trying to be funny, I guess -- "trying" being the operative word. (As RD Padouk said, few things are worse than a bad joke.)

Posted by: Dreamer | March 11, 2007 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Ha! See, I knew Wilbrodog would know what I was talking about.

Posted by: Dreamer | March 11, 2007 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Dreamer, I believe you mean this kindly, but I've become a wee bit concerned lurking on various parenting/pet-owner and other blogs. There has been a huge amount of talk about how we can *train* our companions to overcome the hour difference.

I was surprised. Is everyone now so regimented that a mere hour is a major stumbling-block? That was never my experience raising myself, my children or my dogs. We've always built in enough flexibility that nobody notices if the usual family-schedule is off by an hour or two (or three). If we were up in jet-lag territory (like 6-15 hours) it would be remarked-upon, but still, well within the family's capability to encompass.

This is the way I think about it: if we had a flight to catch at 7:00 am to take us on a wonderful adventure, everybody would be up at 3:00 am in fine form. They might tire a little earlier than usual when we reached our destination, but other than that? Not a problem.

If we had some absorbing work to do that either kept us in the office all night or brought us there by 6:00 am, we'd be a wee bit enervated by Friday or Sunday evening, but would perform as well as usual during the regular week.

If we had a big party to celebrate our best friend's 50th birthday, it would keep us up past our regular bedtime, but we'd be fine with that, and it would only take us two good nights' sleep to overcome the deficit.

I honestly don't understand the fuss made over DST and losing a mere hour's sleep, for one or two days, when we are capable of shift-work and much more disturbing circadian-disruptions.

Is it just me? Is it because my sleep-rhythms are unreliable anyway that I just can't see the 'spring forward' one hour as a problem worth all the type it's had?

Posted by: Yoki | March 11, 2007 1:22 AM | Report abuse

*Waving at Mei*

It must be daytime in Dubai, no?

Posted by: Yoki | March 11, 2007 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Ha! I really don't know anything about training dawgs or children to cope with a one-hour time difference, since I have neither. I did have a dog many years ago, but I recall that he was happy to eat his meal pretty much whenever it was served to him -- he would have eaten 24/7 if given half the chance, I think.

Personally, I can cope with a one-hour time change -- sometimes even a 16-hour one. I'm just not so sure about the dogs . . .

But really, I was kidding. What the Bleep Would I Know!? :)

[Hey, isn't there a song about old dogs and children -- and watermelon wine?]

Posted by: Dreamer | March 11, 2007 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Of course, I meant Brunei

Posted by: Yoki | March 11, 2007 1:35 AM | Report abuse

//I recall that he was happy to eat his meal pretty much whenever it was served to him//


Posted by: Yoki | March 11, 2007 1:37 AM | Report abuse

I have always been a night owl, which means I want to sleep late in the morning. It seems to be getting harder for me to get up before 8 am the older I get. So you (not you, Yoki, the gummint) takes another hour away, and I'm not up till 9, and I'm late, I'm late! If I were sensible, I'd be in bed already and get up early Sunday. It's really a psychological thing with me, I guess. A lot of times I don't change my watch till weeks afterwards (I have to find the instructions to do it).

I can deal with the East coast/West coast jet lag ok, although I'm usually on vacation so I can sleep late, take a nap - and it's just 3 hours. And I take a day off after flying home before I go back to work.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 11, 2007 2:30 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod - Please, do tell...
Again... why "don't ask, don't tell" seems to be a worse and worse idea by the minute.;_ylt=Alu8XEoWr5SVZXuAva0oxipH2ocA

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 10, 2007 07:33 PM

Exactly how is "don't ask, don't tell" a worse policy than the "we'll conduct witch hunts whenever and however we feel like it" policy which preceded it?

Or am I missing something subtle in the reasoning here? I personally know several folks who were discharged from the military in the 80's & 90's who would disagree vehemently with you if you're claiming that the old system was better.

Posted by: Bob S. | March 11, 2007 2:31 AM | Report abuse

Now that I've given this a moment's thought, I suspect that Wilbod wasn't actually criticizing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy at all. I suspect that the real issue here is the fact that homosexual relations engaged in by military members are, in fact, a crime.

Talk to your congressfolk. They (and the U.S. Constitution) are the ultimate authority behind the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Posted by: Bob S. | March 11, 2007 2:50 AM | Report abuse

Has Daylight time been saved yet?

Posted by: Aloha | March 11, 2007 2:55 AM | Report abuse

With no input from me, my computer seems to have saved it. -- My PC clock reads ... 4:05

Posted by: Bob S. | March 11, 2007 3:05 AM | Report abuse

Aaahh... the 'boodle hasn't saved it yet!

Posted by: Bob S. | March 11, 2007 3:06 AM | Report abuse

Yes, yoki it's daytime in Brunei.
WaPo time says it's 4.01am Sunday and my computer clock tells me it's 4.23pm Sunday.

Posted by: rain forest | March 11, 2007 3:25 AM | Report abuse

Joel said : Why must we endure this nightmare? Because powerful industries want to tamper with Time Itself.

Powerful industries always want to tamper with everything. They in many ways controlling our lives - what we eat, what we use, etc ....

Posted by: rain forest | March 11, 2007 3:34 AM | Report abuse

WaPo times and Achenblog time don't match? Front page say 4.25am and my last posting says 3.34am (+ or - a few minutes flipping page). Somebody didn't change the time?

Posted by: rain forest | March 11, 2007 3:40 AM | Report abuse

I figured out the time difference. WaPo and Achenblog are in different time zones!

It's good that everybody is still asleeping. I could talk to myself on the blog.

Posted by: rain forest | March 11, 2007 4:15 AM | Report abuse

SCC : sleeping.

Posted by: rain forest | March 11, 2007 4:17 AM | Report abuse

Hello, night owls and early birds. I have to leave the house in 20 minutes and it's still dark right now. But I see some lightening of the sky over there in the east, maybe even a hint of pink. For today, it should work out perfectly and I will be outside for the best half hour, when the sunrise is at its most picturesque. So, one more day to be thankful for, since my Sunday schedule starts an hour later than the weekdays.

Here's my morning poem, which I've shared with some but don't think I've posted on the boodle before:


If you're a bird,
be an early bird
And catch the worm
for your breakfast plate.
If you're a bird,
be an early, early bird
But if you're a worm,
Sleep late!

7:18 a.m. EDT

Posted by: kbertocci | March 11, 2007 6:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning,friends. The first morning of the new time, and we're running late. Already hurrying and frantic, not a good way to enjoy anything. The g-girl and I getting ready for Sunday school and service this morning.

Just wanted to check in, hope to talk with you later. The kit is funny, JA, but so much truth under that humor. Good kit.

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, Scotty and everyone *waving*.

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 11, 2007 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Hey Cassandra, everyone! *waving*

I shudder to think how the BoodleServer will react to the change... *L*

And there's not much, but now we DO have photographic proof I went skiing!


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 11, 2007 7:01 AM | Report abuse

HA! The server's a hour behind!

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 11, 2007 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Morning, everybody.

The Boodleservers have the wrong time, haven't been changed to reflect DST?

It would be more ironic if it were less unexpected.


Posted by: bc | March 11, 2007 7:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm waiting for the overcorrection, bc...


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 11, 2007 7:36 AM | Report abuse

My pc is an hour behind as well

OMG it might be the end for me

The rest of the clocks in the house are in DST,but the pc is not.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 11, 2007 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Mostlylurking, Bob, you posted at a time that never existed. Good trick!

I met my supervisor's supervisor at the Metro and as we walked to the office he told me about his cousin, who lives above the Artic circle and within the last weeks finally saw the sun pop above the horizon.

He continued, "It must be terribly depressing not to see the sun for 6 months out of the year..."

I couldn't help myself and had to speak up, "Yeah, boss, tell me all about it. For me, it's been over 16 years."

He laughed. Apparently I don't act like a blind person so people often forget.

Right now, there is a woodpecker hammering my house. The neighborhood sounds like a birdie construction zone, geese flying north, honking, and a steady tweet, tweet, chirp, chirp, chirp.

And for all us insulin dependent diabetics, we get to cram 24 hours of metabolism into 23.

Posted by: Pat | March 11, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Pat, excellent catch on those times between 2:00 and 3:00 AM.


Posted by: bc | March 11, 2007 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Pat if you put some hot sauce in a spray bottle and spray where the woodpecker is feasting,he probably won't be back.

Then again he may show up with celrey sticks and some sort of dip.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 11, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

My first apology of the day goes to:

*Shel Silverstein* (who lived down the street from me at my last Key West address) for not giving him credit for the poem I quoted at 7:18 this morning.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 11, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Morning all! My MacBook seemed to weather the time change well. It currently says 10:09 a.m.

Our IT guys think Microsoft was behind the lobby for early DST. They are charging companies with older systems $4,000 for the fix (after first saying that the only fix would be to spend more than $100,000 to upgrade the system)

This is from

A Microsoft spokesman said that the $4,000 price represents a substantial discount.

"Originally, all the out-of-support patches were $40,000 each. However, we realized this hardship and lowered the price to $4,000 for all the DST patches for our customers best interest. The $4,000 is to just cover costs," he said.

Posted by: TBG | March 11, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

TBG, no accident that Gates is still the richest person in the world.

Beautiful morning here, saw a mocking bird on the kousa dogwood, feeling 'springy' but am planning a nap for later on today.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | March 11, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

One less hour to worry! I am grateful for small mercies anywhere.

About the metaphor on women's hemlines as seasonal events, I am not sure.

JA, consult with RG. I think that the hemline changes with fashion and financial pressure.

I know that long ago, white shoes and hats could only appear after certain dates, say Memorial Day, with dispensations granted for Easter perhaps. I believe these white shoes and other accessories returned to boxes on Labor Day, at the close of Albino Season.

Does anyone remember the horrid white shoes plus WHITE BELT fad for men? It replaced the pastel hues of leisure suits with contrasting stitch trim.

I apologize for the word 'horrid,' as perhaps some of you await the return of that fashion forward combo.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 11, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Horrid is the correct description CP, I remember it well, Dad had a pair, worn with checked pants and orange shirt - quite a look.

Posted by: dmd | March 11, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I apologize in advance if I offend anyone, but a friend of mine calls the white belt/white shoes outfit "The Full Cleveland."

Posted by: TBG | March 11, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

TBG -- very funny. I made Cincinnati Chii yesterday, despite the warm temps. Yummy today, of course, and offered with
spaghetti, red onion and crummbled cheddar.

The competition between Cleveland and Cincy continues. According to you, Clevelanders win the fashion-forward award. Cincy wins the odd chili award -- cinnamon and cocao along with cumin, etc.

My dad did not sport this white belt/shoes look, because he had for a time several SANSIbelt slacks. Haggar? They featured a built-in belt contraption.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 11, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

There are 24 hours left to get your Pi Day entries to me at

Posted by: Yoki | March 11, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Pat, I've been working in my spare time to find a good electronic text reader that is available free off the internet. Do you know of one that has a good pronunciation database with it? The ones I have downloaded and investigated can barely pronounce the most common words, much less the uncommon ones.

Posted by: Jumper | March 11, 2007 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Yoki, my internet connection seems to be much less constipated this morning, so I re-sent my email. Hopefully this one arrives...

I'm actually glad for the earlier DST. It never made sense to me that the autumn time switch as less than 60 days before the winter solstice, but the spring change occurred more than 90 days after. This evens things up a bit.

With no input from me, my computer somehow knew the correct time this morning. Good computer, have a nice biscuit.

Posted by: Raysmom | March 11, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Got it Raysmom! Thanks.

Posted by: Yoki | March 11, 2007 11:32 AM | Report abuse

omg, shoes!

Posted by: bobhopejr | March 11, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I grew up with no DST and I still think changing time is the silliest thing. The only benefit of it is that for a longer period of time I will be able to call mom and dad in Saskatchewan and not worry about how late I call. for me it's not DST, it's now Saskatchewan time.

Frostbitten, saw your earlier post and am currently reveiwing wallet and bank accounts to see if next year we can do both the worlds, and a winter vacation.

I've have not seen any of the Brier curling since last week Wednesday (sigh). Boy with broken leg had bone grafting done, and now he is home. Yesterday we spent all day in emergency because the home care nurse said it looked infected, and we are forecasting another trip today if there is even a tiny bit more red or a little raise in his body temperature. I dearly hope that he will soon not be boy with broken leg, but rather man who heals.

I am also faced with a terrible feeling that I do a disservice to him when I call him boy with broken leg. He is after all a man fully gorwed. Its just to me, he is also the little boy who used to stumble round in his dads rubber boots and who played binter with his brother.

Anyway, a busy day ahead. Brier finals later this afternoon, possible hospital, and laundry. See you on the flip side.

Posted by: dr | March 11, 2007 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Ha - glad to have posted in the "non-time" zone. I didn't even realize - I was tired so I didn't look at my post before I logged off.

My PC did not switch automatically. Sigh. It's XP and I have the automated updates. It did take a long time doing something when it first came up. I right clicked on the (wrong) time, went to the time zone tab - the DST box was not checked, so I did that, and, like magic!, the time was correct.

Pat, my woodpeckers haven't started drumming yet. That's one of my favorite sounds. They drum on the trees, not the house, as far as I can tell. Although sometimes they're so loud it sounds like they're drumming on my head.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 11, 2007 12:03 PM | Report abuse

dr, hope everything goes ok, broken leg-wise. We still refer to our son as The Boy.

It is 10:06 PDT.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 11, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Sigh. Where are the Achenblog servers, Timbuktu? They should be very Achenembarassed.

Oh, dr, I caught a little bit of the Brier yesterday - but I have no idea what happened. The Howard team won, I think, and will be playing the Gushue (sp) team today?

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 11, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

This is an interesting piece by the Libby juror, Denis Collins:
Fascinating to me how juries work, and he seems to have a good sense of humor.

Now I'll stop Achenbloghoggin' and get busy saving time.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 11, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

May one? May one march forth?

Posted by: Monaute | March 11, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Yes, one may. Props to monaute.

And now, I'm going to finish watching *The Fifth Element,* which has one of the best lines in movie history, imho. "Anybody else want to negotiate?"

Posted by: dbG | March 11, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse


Korben Dallas: We need to find the leader, Mangalores won't fight without the leader.
Aknot: One more shot, and we start killing hostages!
Korben Dallas: That's the leader.
Aknot: Send someone to negotiate.
Fog: [as Dallas looks at him] Uh, I-I've never negotiated before.
Korben Dallas: Do you mind if I try?
Fog: No, sure, sure, sure.
Fog: We're sending somebody in to negotiate!
[Corben walks into the room and shoots Aknot between the eyes. As he falls, the other Mangalores drop their weapons and bow over him, keening]
Korben Dallas: Anybody else want to negotiate?

Posted by: dbG | March 11, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

dbG, that was more of an amplification than an SCC, wouldn't you say? :-)

And should we, as a Boodle, take collective umbrage that Raw Fisher's DST bit gets the front page and not the Achenblog?

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 11, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Pi Fans Have Their Day

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 11, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Oh my.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 11, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

My dog does not have a DST setting. In the spring its fine, since he will let me sleep in on weekends untli he gets readjusted. In the fall, that 4:30 whining insistance that it's time for a walk is trying.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 11, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

S'Nuke, I was looking at a different version of the original quoted line when I typed SCC: and it was too late to catch. Another source quoted it as *anyone*, however careful attention to the scene verifies *anybody*. Sigh. Must be the change of time.

Posted by: dbG | March 11, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Today was OK with DST--just meant that we actually surprised the Wonder Dog with his p.m. walk. Usually he starts pestering around 3 p.m.

Tomorrow morning will be rough. Normal wakeup is 5:30; anything before 5 a.m. and I'm just not normal all day. Body will be thinking it's 4:30--sigh. It's going to be a long day.

Posted by: Raysmom | March 11, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

>Normal wakeup is 5:30;

I guess that's why this doesn't really affect me. Normally I get up at the crack of 7, and promptly turn the alarm off (with a remote) and roll over. Then I get up again at 8, and get to work by 8:30 or so. Work 8-10 hrs and return.

Light in the evening is nice for me.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 11, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Error, remote for the alarm not that is cool, my snooze button broke a while ago so now when I turn off the alarm I either get up right away or sleep some more and start the day late.

Beautiful post DST day here, above freezing and sunny snow is rapidly melting.

Posted by: dmd | March 11, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Why are there 65 teams in the NCAA tournament instead of 64? If not a power of 2 like 64, then why not 67 or 83 or some other number?

Posted by: LTL-CA | March 11, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

For the men's tournament, 16 seeds x 4 divisions = 64 + 1 additional team to get *play-in* game results = 65. Additionally, the bottom 2 men's teams (selected by the committee?) play to see who starts, so after that they're left with 64.

The women's NCAA starts out with 64, no *play-in* game.

Once the tournament's started, it can be relatively easy to get tickets. As teams lose, their coaches, etc., tend to sell their tickets to scalpers or concierges, who resell them in turn. Just make some hotel reservations early.

Posted by: dbG | March 11, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Strike the *Additionally," please.

Posted by: dbG | March 11, 2007 6:47 PM | Report abuse

As per earlier postings,

Perhaps we don't remember what happened to us when we were 12, 30, or 54 years old, because, in a sense, "I" didn't really exist back then.

And, as with many phenomena, I wonder if the corresponding spasmodic changes in the brain are a cause of the phenomenon, or merely a reflection of it, a manifestation
of a allusion heard on the Fox net.

Fascinating bs, right, mate?

Posted by: hirsute mamma | March 11, 2007 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Since I have absolutely nothing of worth to contribute, here's a joke from the newspaper headlines:

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 11, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I too have got nothing. So here's my contribution for those dark matter folks. I warn you: it's long and it's incomprehensible (to me).

Posted by: Maggie O'D | March 11, 2007 7:52 PM | Report abuse

LTL-CA, the link below explains the genesis of the addition of the 65th team.

Posted by: bill everything | March 11, 2007 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod-that's nothing. Famed Grand Forks Herald headlines, from before they won a Pulitzer for flood coverage, include "Fertile Woman Dies in Climax" and "Fertile Woman has Triplets." Fertile and Climax are farm towns in northwestern MN.

Posted by: frostbitten | March 11, 2007 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Frostbitten, MN has so many zany town names, I'm not surprised. But ROTFL.

Do you ever go to Embarrass, yourself?

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 11, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, omniBill. That sort of explains it, although I still wonder, if there can be an extra team which breaks the power-of-two magic number, why not N extra. Or, when the number of automatic entrants was increased from 33 to 34, why didn't they reduce the number of others from 31 to 30. It's really unlikely the winner won't be in the top 20 or so. Or is the true purpose of the tournament something other than to determine a winner -- perhaps something related to television? Television has the magical power to take any event whatsoever, no matter how exotic or intelligent, and turn it into a TV Show.

Posted by: LTL-CA | March 11, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for that link, Maggie O'D.

I liked this bit at the end of the article:

"'You want your mind to be boggled,' Perlmutter says. 'That is a pleasure in and of itself. And it's more a pleasure if it's boggled by something that you can then demonstrate is really, really true.'"

Posted by: Dreamer | March 11, 2007 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod- Heavens no. Would you go to Embarrass yourself? After visiting their official web site and seeing this posted prominantly on the home page, I think not.

Welcome to Embarrass, Minnesota
"The Cold Spot"

2005 Official Low Temperature: January 17, 2005 -54°
All Time Official Low: February 2, 1996 -57°
Feb.8th, 18th 2006 Low Temp:-36°. Feb. 4th, 5th 2007 Low Temp:-42°

Posted by: frostbitten | March 11, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

The article is right, the play-in game was invented to add an additional conference without eliminating an at-large team. There has always been pressure to add more teams to the tourney. You could always add another 32 teams by making another half round of play-in games.

As it is, teams with .500 or worse conference records make the tournament that really have no chance of winning the whole thing.

***looks up and whistles***

Posted by: yellojkt | March 11, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

I think the committee did a pretty good job this year.Of course there will always be teams who are upset they are left out.But all in all i think the field looks good.some of the DC area teams I think have a good shot.

The Hoyas have looked very solid all year long,my only concern with them is the gaurd play.

The Terps finished on a roll and despite laying and egg in the ACC touney,I think they could upset Florida if they make it that far.

GW won it's conference tournament and have always played well in March.

UVA has two great gaurds that could take them a long way.

It should be fun.

I haven't checked out dates and times yet,But it would be interesting If Notre Dame plays thursday and wins,then they would play saturday on St. Patty's day.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 11, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Have I ever mentioned that it's great to be a Gator. [*]

Not just a no. 1 seed, but the topmost, number-one-most seed of them all.

* By hometown, if not by education.

Posted by: Achenbach | March 11, 2007 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Happy to root against every competitor KU has, Joel. Go, Gators!

Posted by: dbG | March 11, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to bed.

Happy to root *FOR* every competitor KU has. For, For, For.

Posted by: dbG | March 11, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Can't take the gloating no more.

From Wiki re Gainesville:

"Following the civil war, the city prospered as a major citrus growing center, with direct rail access to ports on the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. However, this prosperity ended when the great freezes of 1894 and 1899 destroyed the entire crops, and citrus growing moved permanently south to the Orlando area. Other attempts to replace this lost industry included phosphate mining, turpentine production and tung oil had only moderate success."

Wow, citrus growing fails so the town turns to phosphate mining, turpentine production and tung oil. Yikes. Good thing the Florida legislature decided to create a need to for a Greek system in Gainesville.

What the heck is "tung oil?"

Posted by: bill everything | March 11, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I should note that I was born in the city of Gary, Indiana. Nobody can say anything about my hometown that has not already been said.

Posted by: bill everything | March 11, 2007 9:22 PM | Report abuse

One more thing, after reading Weingarten's column today, have the Wiki editors made sure nobody is making the Gainesville stuff up?

Posted by: bill everything | March 11, 2007 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Joel, could you please take your pleasure at identifying with a basketball team and condense it into a column or kit on this practice. How apparently sane people seem to mortgage their happiness to events they have no control over, like whether a bunch of statistically weird people can manage to perform better than another such bunch in a totally artificial activity, simply by wearing shirts that imply they have some connection with one's region even though they are really from half a continent away.

I used to know all the details of NL baseball and especially the Dodgers, but then I spent decades playing amateur baseball and soccer, with the result that I perceive sports as something to do rather than watch -- when I watch it's to see details of technique, not which team wins. I don't mind when UCLA wins, considering I went there for primary school and they are compared with the cross-town teams that are even more like pros than they, but it's not worth a post. (Down deep, I think most Div-I sports programs including that one degrade the schools that sponsor them.)

BTW, what did the UF team actually do, aside from getting picked up and moved to the Midwest? Does the state really want to go there? It gets cold, you know.

Posted by: LTL-CA | March 11, 2007 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Football? Soccer? Baseball? Basketball? Volleyball? Tennis? Cricket? Water Polo? Rugby? Field Hockey? Jump the weeds? Polo? Table Tennis? 100-yard dash? Biathlon? Steeplechase? Cross-country? Tracking? High-dive? Freestyle? Herding? Marathon? Snowshoe-10-yard?

I know you are talking about a sport, but which is it?!

Posted by: Yoki | March 11, 2007 9:54 PM | Report abuse

This full-page ad was in my Smithsonian Magazine this month.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 11, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I think they're talking about gator wrasslin'. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

Posted by: Wilbrod | March 11, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

kb, The Atlantic too. If they ask you to go sleep, be careful, be very careful.

Posted by: bill everything | March 11, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I've heard that "tung oil" is a Gator nickname for saliva.


Posted by: bc | March 11, 2007 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I'll never forget the first March after our wedding in October. March Madness? I didn't have a clue. Suddenly, the attentive bridegroom was ....not attentive. That's when I first really, really understood the old maxim "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Go Terps!

Posted by: Kim | March 11, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

SCC: go to sleep

Posted by: bill everything | March 11, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Greenwithenvy, I agree that the NCAA selection committee did a good job this year, nothing egregious.

I'm sure that yellokjt will be sending them a check, as GT got in there somehow.

Sure, Joel, go ahead and gloat *sigh*.

Maggie, thanks for that link to the NYT. I'm going to have to read it closely, some of it looks very familar to me.


Posted by: bc | March 11, 2007 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Oh my stars, I'm just getting throught the boodle. Cincinnati chili with red onions, spaghetti and crumbled cheese! I don't know what Cincinnati chili is, but it sounds like a killer combo, CP. Would you consider posting the complete recipe?

Posted by: Kim | March 11, 2007 10:26 PM | Report abuse

*sigh* SCC- through the boodle

Posted by: Kim | March 11, 2007 10:28 PM | Report abuse

No no no, Kim. There is a recipe for Cincinnati Chili in the KitChen CaBoodle; you will need to wait until this cookbook is complete and published to get the inside track. I think it will be another 3 or 4 months before you can purchase this gem of a collection.

Is the wait worth it? Oh my, yes!

Posted by: Yoki | March 11, 2007 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Ah! 'Gator wrasslin'. Got it.

Posted by: Yoki | March 11, 2007 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Off to bed. Just want to remind you that you now have a mere 13 hours to submit your pi-day entries to

*Waving like Grover* to Annie and Mei. Glad to see Kim here tonight.

Posted by: Yoki | March 11, 2007 10:59 PM | Report abuse

If Wikipedia can be believed, tung oil is a wood finishing product. It comes from the tung tree (but of course).
"As the penetrating power of tung oil is excellent and able to adhere to porous minerals, it is often the "secret" ingredient that traditional stonemasons apply to granite or marble that is destined to serve duty in kitchens, bathrooms and other staining fluid environments."
My husband has used it - sounded familiar to me.

Yay! Rob and Ambah were eliminated from the Amazing Race, showing that sometimes people do get what they deserve.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 11, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

BTW, the Iditarod is underway. The leaders are getting toward the end of it - seems a bit slow this year, I think because of not much snow.

I have a friend who went to Alaska for a couple of years to watch the start and help out as a volunteer. He had a blast, and was impressed with the down-to-earthness of most of the mushers he met.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 12, 2007 12:03 AM | Report abuse

omniBill, your mention of Gary, IN reminds me of Meredith Willson's The Music Man. Thanks, because now I have that good fun running through my head -- esp Robert Preston. My mother said River City reminded her of Owatanna and Fairmont, MN where she lived as a girl. Shirley Jones was great in the film, too.

Posted by: LTL-CA | March 12, 2007 12:36 AM | Report abuse

I Googled up recipes for "Cincinnati Chili". I have enough other dishes to try before I die that CC probably won't make it to the top of the list unless I live to 110 or so. That said, using multiple SE Asian spices along with Chile powder makes sense. What bothers me is serving it on pasta and burying it under cheese. Like what we used to do with broccoli -- hide the flavor under cheese rather than bring it out.

Posted by: LTL-CA | March 12, 2007 12:59 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, boodle.

Hate to be pedantic at this hour of the morning, but thought I'd point out that for many years, tung oil was the "binder" oil in oil-based paint; that's what the oil in the term referred to. And it was and remains the primary oil used to make high-quality (non-synthetic) varnishes, since it has been coloring properties than soy oil or linseed oil, the other oils found in oil-based paint. Then syntheics (alkyds) were invented ("better things thriough chemistry," etc.), and "true" oils were replaced by the artificial stuff, which dries harder and faster than the "natural" oils.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 12, 2007 4:59 AM | Report abuse

Part II of "Ask Mr. Paint": oil-based paints tend to be smelly and take longer to dry because they dry from a two-step process. First comes the evaporation of some of the liquid, which is often a thinner such as turpentine or mineral spirits, which thins the thicker tung oil and makes it flow better. But because it is volatile, it tends to be pretty stinky. Then the second step occurs: oxidation, which is how the residual oils and pigments dry. Oxidation is a continuous process that keeps on happen' even after the oils have dried hard; hence, over time, oil-based paints continue to crystalize or get brittle, and break down faster in sunlight (which speeds oxidation). Latex paints, on the other hand, also feature some evaporation (but since the thinner tends to be water, they don't stink as much, if at all). But then instead of oxidizing, as the water evaporates the latex paint particles draw closer together and link up with each other, forming a tight, water-resistant, flexible film; they also tend to bond with the substrate. The downside is this film tends to "breathe," letting water vapor through. This is a good thing on the inside of a building, but a bad thing on the outside. This is why there are "interior" latex paints and "exterior" paints; the exteriors have some oil-based synthetics alkyds to blocks water passage, and these also tend to be used in high-moisture areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.

A varnish is basically a tung-oil based "paint" that simply has no pigment in it. (Or if it does, a very little, along with ultraviolet-resistant chemicals.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 12, 2007 5:33 AM | Report abuse

Hi Kim and LTL-CA,

Like pie, chili is wondrous in all its incarnations. LTL, have you had mole sauce? Cincy Chili is good like mole is good: fusion of flavors.

Kim, I defer to Yoki, the Contessa of Alberta. Besides, there is always google, ;).

Tung Oil? Not on my chili, thank you.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 12, 2007 5:51 AM | Report abuse

All joking aside, this time change is not going well this morning. It was just so very dark out there when I got up. I'd say more but I'm having trouble even typing this. Much more coffee is going to be needed today.

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | March 12, 2007 5:54 AM | Report abuse

I am a regular user of Tung Oil. Although it takes a long time to dry, and isn't very durable, it makes a beautiful finish on small wood projects. It is also stupid easy to apply. And after a while, you really start to groove out on the smell.

Gosh you're up early Mudge. Then again. So am I.

Off to class.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 12, 2007 5:54 AM | Report abuse

"Ask Mr. Paint, Part III": Shellac, on the other hand, is sometimes confused with varnish, since both are wood finishes, but they are wayyyy different. Shellac come from the exudation (a.k.a. bug sweat) of certain Asian insects, the Coccus lacca, found in India and Thailand and thereabouts. These insects deposit the droplets on the bark of trees, where it is harvested. Mixed/thinned with alcohol or other solvents, it makes a dandy furniture polish and wood finish (the rifle stocks of AK-47s use shellac, don't ask me why) but it isn't very weather-resistant. Being a "natural" product it is also edible, and used to be used as a coating for pills and for waxing apples, where it is known as "beetlejuice" (don't worry; most of the beetleparts are washed off first). Of course, it isn't approved by vegans, who for some silly reason refuse to eat the secretions of plant-sucking mealy bug insects like the rest of us. And of course violins are coated with it.

Modern chemistry (mainly polyurethanes and epoxies) have rendered a lot of this arcane, centuries-old technology obsolete. Epoxies are harvested from the egg larva of rare epoxy cicadas high in the mountain forests of Bolivia, and polyurethanes come from the albumen of parrot eggs (hence, "poly," a corruption of "Polly" from "Polly wanna cracker?"). OK, none of that part was true. I just made it up to keep myself interested in this utterly boring subject, about which I have immense amounts of useless and now-outmoded knowledge. (Such as the fact that the phrase "the devil to pay" comes from old shipbuilding practice, during which seams between planks were "payed" (caulked) with oakum and sealed with pitch, and the bottom-most plank by the keel was called the "devil plank," because it was therefore the hardest to reach and to "pay." The phrase was originally "the devil to pay and no pitch hot," meaning that the chore was not only difficult, but you weren't even prepared: your caulking stuff wasn't even ready for use, so you were REALLY in a bad way. And a vessel that held the hot pitch was called a pitcher, from which we get the modern use of that word.

Yawn. I'm going to go jump into the shower now. There will be no more "Ask Mr. Paint."

'Morning, Cassandra.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 12, 2007 6:07 AM | Report abuse

Oh Mudge, do tell what it means to be on the receiving end of the shellac brush.

The smell of shellac means that school is about to begin. In September, the smell wafting out from St. Gerard's School meant that the jig of summer was almost up, and that we would be affixed to desks, by order of height, very soon.

Josef Szabo, Hungarian immigrant surely now long dead, did these floors every year. He also shellac-ed the wooden desks, that until fifth grade, looked like Little House on the Prairied seats. We did not wear school uniforms, as they would have to be mail ordered from the Sears' catelog. But boys were required to start the year in stiff, brand-spanking new jeans SANS rivets, to protect Mr. Szabo's handiwork. Wrangler brand cost less. Wrangler, was the authentic, workin kids jean long ago and far away.

Sun is a smudge in the sky, in a slow shellac-ing upward from the horizen.

MORE COFFEE, need double test fuel.

Posted by: College Parkian | March 12, 2007 6:19 AM | Report abuse

This summer, the price for an unscheduled stop at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, was some chili at Skyline Chili.

It was delicious.

And good for Joel for admitting that his connection with the Gators is merely an accident of geography. Now if I could just convince the thousands of high school dropouts with hideous red bulldogs in the back windows of their pickup trucks that they have no business backing that team.

I'm off to buy my yearly copy of USAToday for the bracket breakdown. People sure take the garor rasslin' tourney seriously.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 12, 2007 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Paint;

What about blue?

Morning all!! *waving*

Gonna be one of those weeks, I'm afraid...


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 12, 2007 6:39 AM | Report abuse

Goodmorning fellow boodlers. If it wasn't for coffee and a hot shower this morning, I wouldn't have made it in to work, but that goes for most days.

Jumper, I doubt that there is any decent Text To Speech (TTS) engines that can be [legally] downloaded for free. The software I use, which does much mor than TTS, costs about $1,500. I just downloaded the AT&T natural speech SDK for $300 and it takes up about 5 gigs of disk space. It contains quality voice fonts, but it has a huge footprint. I think the best you can do for free [and legal] is the voice that comes with XP, Microsoft Sam, that can be configured through the Speech Tab of the control Panel.

Posted by: Pat | March 12, 2007 6:39 AM | Report abuse

Psssst, Hal...

*pointing @ the timestamp discreetly*


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 12, 2007 6:42 AM | Report abuse

And will someone please tell Fred, "Thanks, we'll call you?"


Posted by: Scottynuke | March 12, 2007 6:45 AM | Report abuse

Morning, everybody! We survived the time change but it was tough. It was a mountain weekend, but older daughter and I had to return early to see her best friend baptized, so we left at 0-dark-8:45 yesterday morning to get to church on time. Younger daughter was to come but has a cold and therefore didn't. This meant that the spouse had to come home with us, rather than staying and watching Carolina win the ACC tournament on the nice new flat screen TV. He was nice about it. Of course, it also meant that he had the time at home to cut back the hollies, which he had been meaning to do. So, in spite of the complexities, all worked out well.

Now, onward into March Madness!

Posted by: Slyness | March 12, 2007 6:57 AM | Report abuse

We are going to have to agree to disagree on the winner of the Big Dance. I will support TarHeels over Gators, but that is about as far as my conference loyalty will allow me. My dream right now is for the Jackets to advance enough in the Midwest bracket to take out the Terps.

For one month a year, I turn into a raving lunatic basketball obsessed nut. My wife has often threatened to file for divorce on the grounds of misrepresentation. I exhibited no sports watching tendencies in our dating years. And I am still far from a sports nut. Like a lot of sensitive new age guys, I have no idea who plays in the Kingdome.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 12, 2007 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Scotty, saw that bit with Fred T. yesterday, chuckled and thought to myself "Fred, you're no Ronald Reagan," and flipped back to a college basketball game.

Now, to spend my Monday Lost Amongst the Brackets.


Posted by: bc | March 12, 2007 7:32 AM | Report abuse

Walked in the dark to the bus this morning, thanks to US Congress. This new DST is not good for early risers of the North, obviously. The old dog was all confused, I had to nudge it to wake it up.
Mr. Paint is discussing thong oil?
I don't want to know what exactly thong oil is.

Posted by: Shrieking Denizen | March 12, 2007 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Yello, I understand. I had to give up March Madness to preserve my sanity, so I know about which you boodle. It's always a relief when the Tar Heels play their last game.

Posted by: Slyness | March 12, 2007 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, Shriek! EVERYBODY knows that's what you put on before butt floss.

Posted by: jack | March 12, 2007 8:04 AM | Report abuse

SCC: "gator rasslin'"

Every standing body of water in Florida has at least one alligator in it. Now with the preternatural sports dominance of the second most intellectual institution in north central Florida (behind the Florida State Prison) there will now be a bevy of bandwagon jumpers dwarfing the native gator population.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 12, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

LTL- have to disagree about the whole CC and cheese issue. I live my culinary life with the motto "if it's good, it's better with cheese and/or bacon." It's not particularly classy of me, but it's just how I'm built.

Posted by: Kim | March 12, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I beg to differ with the premise that beasties like my cat, dog, rabbit and two horses don't understand the concept of time. In their worlds, time is very important as they believe it is always eat.

Posted by: bluestilton | March 12, 2007 12:27 PM | Report abuse

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