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It's spring-forward time again
An editorial / By Dale McFeatters
Scripps Howard News Service


April 01, 2005

This is the weekend we express solidarity with Benjamin Franklin - whose idea it was - and World War I defense workers on whose behalf it was first instituted. We speak, of course, of daylight-saving time, in which daylight isn't really saved but just moved around a bit on the clock.

On Sunday, in accord with the old mnemonic "spring forward, fall back," we - at least, most of us - put our clocks ahead one hour, thus costing us a real hour of sleep, but also giving us longer, lighter evenings. If you're a fanatic about this stuff, 2 a.m. local time, is the official hour to change the clocks.

Daylight-saving time is not observed in Hawaii, Arizona - except for the Navajo nation - and a large chunk of Indiana, although that may change. A bill before the state legislature would have the Hoosiers rejoining the rest of us on June 5.

Daylight-saving time exerts a special fascination for many, enough to justify two new books on what was once a highly controversial subject. David Prerau, author of "Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time," believes we should have more of it, even though at seven months of the year DST is more the standard than Standard Time. He thinks we should start DST a week or, preferably, two earlier in the spring and extend it by a week in the fall.

Michael Downing, author of "Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time," notes the long battle between city dwellers and golfers, who favored daylight saving, and rural folk who did not. He comes up with the offbeat statistic that by 2000 "the number of Americans living on farms was approximately equal to the number of Americans who were permanent residents of golf-course communities."

An annual piece of common sense is the recommendation by fire departments that, while changing the clocks, you also change the batteries in the smoke detectors so everybody will be here Oct. 30, when we reconvene in this space to Fall Back.


Contact Dale McFeatters at McFeattersD(at)
Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service,

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