Spring ahead

By Jeff Petersen, The Observer March 08, 2012 02:24 pm

Daylight Savings Time increases “the opportunities for the pursuit of health and happiness.”— Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the World War II, was an early advocate of Daylight Savings Time. He also liked pigs.

“Dogs look up to us,” Churchill said. “Cats look down at us. Pigs treat us as equals.”

The sensible Churchill wasn’t the first to consider making the most of daylight.

In 1784, Benjamin Franklin, who didn’t have a pig, dog or cat but had a pet squirrel named Scruggs, anonymously published a letter suggesting the people of Paris should rise earlier.

That way, Franklin reckoned, Parisians would take advantage of the daylight — and burn fewer candles.

Franklin also said, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

Franklin was about as popular as broccoli.

Still, Franklin would have loved DST, which begins Sunday. Yes, it’s time to spring ahead one hour, at 2 a.m. We lose an hour of sleep and gain more chances to fish, play golf or just noodle around the yard.

The guy who first proposed DST did a lot of noodling. George Vernon Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand, collected insects like the giant weta, which looks like a grasshopper on steroids. If you fished with the giant weta, you might scare a whale.

Hudson wanted more time after work to pursue his hobby and so campaigned for DST like some people campaign for universal health care or sin taxes. 

Because Northeast Oregon sits within a yodel’s distance of the eastern edge of the Pacific Time Zone, springing ahead an hour is a big deal here. Beginning Sunday, our evenings will have more daylight, our mornings less.

DST originated during the World War I as a way, in 1916, for Germany and its allies to preserve coal.

The United States got into the war in 1917 and into DST in 1918 — for the war effort, you know.

Arizona and Indiana, however, were long holdouts on DST. Indiana finally caved in 2006 but uses more energy, not less.

Like Arizona, some evening entertainment venues and agricultural interests don’t like ST.

For most of us, however, the extra daylight in the evening is a godsend. Early morning sunlight is wasted on us. We sleep through it. Or try to.

It’s like trying to relax when an interrogator is shining a light in our eyes.

Thanks to springing ahead, we’ll all be able to play more golf, take our pigs for a walk and collect more bugs.


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