You Deal with Brute Nature!




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“When we hear, ‘Your faith has saved you,’ we do not understand the Lord to say simply that they will be saved who have believed in whatever manner, even if works have not followed. To begin with, it was to the Jews alone that he spoke this phrase, who had lived in accord with the law and blamelessly and who had lacked only faith in the Lord.” – Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis or Miscellanies 

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We’ve had Friday the 13th’s two months in a row now and, so far, no dire consequences, even with me doing another post here on the old blog. 

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I HATE this Daylight Savings Time thing we all have to go through twice a year, this year has been especially brutal on the old body for some reason.  Besides, the whole project is based several fictions designed to cover up some nefarious plot by some government official somewhere back in time.  It was probably an experiment just to see who would be gullible enough to fall for the plan, never expecting anyone really would.  In any case, it’s time to wake up and get back to living in accord with nature.

What Daylight Saving Time isn’t is saving time.  Any cursory exercise of the mind will show that, for example in the case of my burgh in Colorado, we had 12 hours and 30 minutes of visible daylight on Sunday, the day of this year’s time change, and the setting of our clocks had no impact on that whatsoever.  Whether sunrise was at 6:21 AM or 7:21 AM makes no difference, actual sunset still occurs 11 hours and 37 minutes later either way.  The fiction of “saving time” is nonsense and it’s high time we do away with it.

There are other fictions associated with Daylight “Savings” Time proponents that should also be brought to light and carefully considered.  The argument that was made most often when I was young and the country first began to experiment seriously with the time change is that it helped farmers be more productive during planting season.  According to an article in the Washington Post on Sunday, that’s a flat out lie; farmers absolutely hate the idea of the time change; it means that the timing of harvesting and getting crops to market was screwed up.  And dairy farmers hate it because cows can’t read a clock and tend to stay on one schedule regardless of what Congress says.

Another argument being made, and this was the basis for the last time change legislation in Congress in 2005, is that it saves energy.  Once again, nonsense.  A study, in California of all places, showed that energy savings are negligible and, in fact, energy usage might actually have increased after DST was implemented each year, either for more driving or using more air conditioning.  

The argument that it is good for people and increases safety and health has also shown to be pure contrivance.  Studies have shown that, in people with mental health issues especially, suicide rates increase after these time changes.  Also, with the change in daily habits, there is an increase in cluster headaches from the disruption.

I just say, if DST is so good, why not leave it on all year round and be done with.  There, that’s my rant for the week.

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Thoreau once wrote, “Take long walks in stormy weather or through deep snows in the fields and woods, if you would keep your spirits up. Deal with brute nature. Be cold and hungry and weary.”  

Personally, I think he was nuts and I’m happy to report that my fair city has finally experienced a break in our dealings with “brute nature.”  The snow has stopped and (mostly) melted after a week of warm temperatures.  While it may be a real character builder to take any kind of walks through deep snows, it will  be quite pleasurable for me to sit on the back deck on Sunday, watch a couple of burgers grill on the barbi and maybe look for the first signs that the Robins are making their way back to Colorado for Spring. Life is good.

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The clarinet practice is proceeding a pace, even though my instructor has taken a couple of weeks off to head to Florida (the scoundrel).  It gives me a bit of time to try to catch up on some practice for the band.  At my stage of playing, it’s still somewhat overwhelming, not only the tempo at which most pieces are played, but also the sheer volume of music we’re playing.  Anyway, as I told the fellow who runs the band, “You get what you pay for!”  So, I’ll plug away and do the best I can and learn as much as I can; this ain’t the Boston Symphony.

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One of the blogs I most enjoy reading is David Warren’s “Essays in Idleness”, there’s always some fresh point of view on offer at his site.  Today, in a self-confessed attempt to gain attention from narrow gauge railroad fans, he writes about railway gauges.  He writes:

“George Stephenson, who did not design the first steam locomotive (that was the Cornishman, Richard Trevithick), did build the Liverpool and Manchester, which when it opened in 1830 was the world’s first inter-city railway. I believe he is credited with establishing the standard gauge, through his many early works; and that he was also on record expressing his regret. If he’d had it all to do again, he would have added an extra couple of inches to the space between the insides of the rails. There was a “sweet point” that he had slightly underestimated.
Thousands of lives might have been saved on unnecessary derailments of the fast steam trains, from a slightly wider gauge and the moderation of the railbed curves that would have necessitated. Ah well. One engineer copies another, and most of the world’s railways are now “1435 mm,” as most of the world likes to put it. (Which is to say, Stephenson rounded by one-tenth of a millimetre.)”

I have been thinking along similar lines recently, only not about railroad tracks but about eyeglasses.  On Wednesday, my dermatologist burned a“pre-cancerous” lesion off the bridge of my nose, one most probably caused by abrasion from my eyeglass frames.  That procedure surely smarted a good deal.  I got to thinking that eyeglasses, most particularly their frames, have been pretty much the same since old Ben Franklin came up with his first set of bifocals.  Surely by now, someone would have come up with a better, more comfortable design for things. Surely there’s some “sweet point” for eyeglass design that, over all these centuries has been missed, but all we have is one designer copying another and no innovation on the horizon.  Eyeglass engineers should be ashamed of themselves.

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That’s it for this week, I’m going to brush up on NFL free agency and the Broncos prospects for next season.  It’s sort of my penance for Lent.

This is a 7 Quick Takes Post as hosted at This Ain’t the Lyceum blog.

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2 thoughts on “You Deal with Brute Nature!

  1. Visiting from the SQT page and just wanted to say great blog! And I wholeheartedly agree re:#3. I told myself that this year I would not whine and would actually focus on the positive (I do enjoy more light) but truth is it is still brutal. I think perhaps intuitive people feel it more? And non-morning people. 🙂 Either way will happily join a campaign for its abolition! 🙂

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