Daylight Savings… .UGH


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Yesterday was the start of Daylight Saving Time, and if anyone would like to form a SuperPAC to destroy politicians who fuck around with my circadian rhythm I’ll gladly chip in a few bucks. The twice-annual timepiece adjustment is outdated and irritating. States should pick a time zone and commit.

Let’s first dispense with some of the myths behind Daylight Saving Time (DST). Many people assume we enacted DST to help farmers. Bullshit! That’s nonsense. Most of my relatives who aren’t in prison are farmers. I have no idea what time they wake up in the morning because whenever I visit they’ve already eaten lunch by the time I’m mixing a hangover cure. They rise before dawn to feed the cows, mow the corn, construct scarecrows, etc. All without directives from Congress.

Daylight Saving Time came about because of World War I. Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States all pushed our clocks forward to better coordinate waking hours with light bulb use, thereby conserving electricity. The program lapsed until World War II, when President Franklin Roosevelt instituted “War Time Zones,” which were basically the same thing, only with a cooler-sounding name. Astonishingly, despite originating as a temporary FDR government program, War Time Zones actually ceased at the conclusion of the war. Thereafter time zones defaulted to municipalities until 1966, when Congress enacted a permanent annual Daylight Saving Time, in part to standardize the plethora of discordant clocks across the nation.

Today all of these reasons are outdated. We probably won’t go to war with Germany again for another 20 or 30 years. And all of the economic benefits seem to cancel each other out. While we saved about 1 percent on electricity when first enacting DST, that figure is now offset by an increase in air conditioning. The idea that we’ll all revert back to discordant municipal time zones set by the sundial in our mayor’s front yard is utter nonsense. Everyone I know owns a smartphone, set automatically by a clutch of nerds in Cupertino.

Each year a dozen or so state legislatures consider ending Daylight Saving Time, only to drop the measure and return to squabbling about transgender bathrooms or determining what the official state reptile should be.  Legally, if a state decides to drop Daylight Saving Time, it must then procure an exemption from the U.S. Department of Transportation. It’s possible Secretary Elaine Chao would enforce federal time regulations with an iron fist and scream “this is the hill I will die on!” but I think we could probably win her over.

There’s a healthy debate about whether places like California should scrap DST and permanently move an hour forward or backwards. Television companies consider darkness their ally, and know that the earlier the sun sets the quicker viewers drop irritating habits like family picnics or soccer games and return to the vital activity of watching The Big Bang Theory. Conversely, the Chamber of Commerce and its chorus of retailers lust for delayed sunsets, because shoppers will stay out later buying The Big Bang Theory paraphernalia at malls.

I’m a devout evening person and also a shill for the Chamber of Commerce, so I’d prefer we postpone sunset until around 11:30 at night. If nothing else, to punish all of you sanctimonious morning people for bragging about what you accomplished before breakfast, such as mowing your corn, constructing scarecrows, watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory, and so forth.

That said, I think I speak for most Americans in saying: Just pick one! If Arizona and the territory of Guam can figure out how to commit to one time zone, surely the rest of us can.

It’s Getting to be Time to Camp – 15 Reason Why You Should!


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Camping is not just for campers and giggles.  Duh, It is for Karaoke!! That grin you get as you roll out a sleeping bag, bed or get a campfire going has some serious science behind it. Find out why…

Fresh Air

When you’re camping, you can’t help but take deep breaths. It feels so good to fill your lungs with that pure, pine scent. Or sea smell. Or hot desert breezes. The point is, wherever you are, that clear stuff you’re sucking in is actually clear. Away from the smog and close quarters of a crowded city atmosphere, you’re getting a cleaner dose of the oxygen you need. Better breathing leads to increased health leads to more happiness.

Physical Exertion

Even the laziest, most relaxing of camping trips involves physical activity—probably more than a typical day at home. Taking a short hike, setting up an A-frame, or doing anything that makes you break a sweat releases endorphins that help you feel good.

Love

Birds singing. Flowers blooming. Gorgeous sunsets. A crackling fire. Yes, camping is romantic. Time devoted to the one you love can make you feel happy, and certain.  Also, you share bonding and love with those around you!

Teamwork

Successfully working with others can boost oxytocin and serotonin levels, so cooperation can make you happier—and there are plenty of opportunities to cooperate while you’re camping. Coming together as a team to set up camp, prepare a meal, or reach a summit as a group makes every member feel good.

Solitude

As important as positive social activity is for your mental well being, you shouldn’t forget the power of being alone. Camping gives you room and time for both, so don’t be afraid to step away from your companions and take some quiet time for yourself. You’ll feel better if you do.

Sleep

You know that you feel better when you’re well rested, and if you get the rocks out from beneath your sleeping bag, you’ll sleep hard on your trip. A day of fun can lead to a night of solid rest, and you can always get more in a hammock the next afternoon if you need it. Exhaustion leads to unhappiness, so be sure to schedule shut eye. Both your body and your mind repair themselves while you sleep. Fewer aches, pains, and mental issues can make for happier living.  Note to self, maybe 4 am karaoke may cause sleep issues… Damn it Elroy!

Eating Well

Good food makes you feel good, and since meal prep is a significant part of a successful camping trip, you’ll probably plan more efficiently and meticulously than you do for your regular breakfasts, lunches, and dinners at home. Assuming that you skip the junk food (or most of it, anyway), you’ll be eating healthy and giving your body a good balance of protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and all of the great stuff that goes into building a happy body and brain.

Connection to Life

There’s a hum that you feel more than hear when you’re camping. It’s made up of millions of unseen insects, and the larger creatures that call the wilderness home, and the living trees themselves. Recognizing that you’re a part of it all, too, is a great feeling. It’s even better if you stand on a rock outcropping at sunrise and belt out some Elton John lyrics about the circle of life moving us all.

Sunlight

Ah, Vitamin D. You should always wear proper sun protection, of course, to keep your skin healthy for years to come. But assuming you’ve spread the ‘screen, enjoy some happiness-delivering rays. Natural light, and lots of it, makes people happier—even on shorter, cloudier days in winter. Spending some time under the center of our solar system is the perfect antidote for SAD: seasonal affective disorder.

Planning

Setting goals and meeting them triggers a reward center in your brain, giving you a chemical prize for a job well done. Everything about camping can be seen as one pleasure-pushing to-do list, from scheduling the trip and packing everything you need to picking a far off point and hiking to it over the course of an afternoon.

Sense of Scale

This may not apply to everyone, but it works for me: When I see a seemingly fathomless lake or rugged mountain or thousands of acres of trees that are older than I am, my problems suddenly seem a lot… smaller. Something about the landscape communicates to me that the world will go on, and that makes me happier if I’ve been feeling burdened or overwhelmed.

Getting Away

I don’t need to spell out the health and happiness-inducing benefits of leaving behind work, life stress, and anything else weighing you down to spend some time in the wild world. Just imagine stepping away from your desk and not seeing a bill or deadline or overflowing inbox for a couple of days. Instead, when you wake up, you’ll see trees. When you sip your morning coffee, you won’t have a boss looming over you. See? You’re smiling already.

Simplification

Studies have shown that clutter and its related complications create anxiety. When you strip down life to the essentials—and just a few extras, for a little fun—you give yourself a chance to spread out and just be you. After a good camping trip, you may be inspired to give your own home a more Spartan makeover to create a happier living space for day-to-day activities.

Memories

Whether you take photos, paint with watercolors, or simply mentally store away the images and experiences from your camping trip, you’ll be stocked with fuel for happy memories for years to come. Camping pays off in the moment, as well as in the future.

It’s Camping!

Of course camping makes you happier! How could it not? Camping is always full of Eureka! moments, like when you get the first catch of the day, finally reach the top of that grueling ridge trail or you master that song “Ice Ice Baby”.  Camping and smiling end with the same three letters, so there’s got to be some sort of mystical connection there, right?

See you soon Northside Bitches!

Nice Tribute to Big E


NASCAR’s most popular driver and favorite son Dale Earnhardt Jr. is returning to the track today for the first time since suffering a concussion last summer and being sidelined for the rest of the 2016 season.

But while racing fans are excited to see Junior behind the wheel of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet again for the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season opener, it’s hard to watch the Daytona 500 without remembering his father, Dale Earnhardt Sr., tragically lost his life in a horrific accident during the race in 2001.

Saturday, NASCAR tweeted a touching tribute video honoring Dale Sr., the special father-son relationship the Earnhardt men had and moments they shared on the race track.

Needless to say, it’s a real tear-jerker, and you certainly don’t need to be a NASCAR fan to appreciate the emotional clip. As Dale Jr. put tweeted, it “made my eyeballs sweat.