The Fountain Pen, Guelph's On-Line News

Time Travel: The Sequel

Web posted on November 03, 2016

A Curmudgeon's View

By Les Enekes

Now that the little extortionists have come and gone, it's involuntary time travel weekend. They expect us to turn the clock back by one hour on Sunday morning. The sooner they do away with this absurdity the better. As we spend most of the year on Daylight Savings Time, I would not object to keeping it all year. Unfortunately, this would mean that it would dark later in the mornings, thus possible problems with kids going to school in the dark. Staying on Standard Time would present it's own set of issues such as really early daylight and short evenings. (great for the drive-in movie industry) There is nothing simple or easy about this.

Back in March I gave you what I thought would be a short history of time keeping. Well it seems that I was wrong. As I started to do some research for this column, I came to the conclusion that I could have more sequels than the Space Opera series of your choice. If you are in desperate need of a headache just type the word "month" into your favourite search engine.

Time and time keeping are not as simple as I mentioned back in March. The more I looked into it the more complex and convoluted it became. That doesn't even count Einstein's theory of General Relativity. You know, where time slows down as you approach the speed of light. (It also slows down when one is at a boring event, or reading my rants about time change.) This might be a good time stock up on your favourite analgesic.

Let's take a look at our months. You would think that determining a lunar month would be simple. Do we start it from new moon, or full moon? It could also be counted from the closest point in it's orbit, or the furthest point. It could also be the first visible crescent moon. Unfortunately the moon orbits the earth in just under 28 days. Therefore we need to have months with extra days so that out time keeping sort of matches our orbit around the sun. Thus we have to put up with leap years. Even the rotation of our planet conspires to make time keeping a real pain. We have to keep adding leap seconds to the atomic clocks every so often.

Arguments could be made that this proves that there was no Creator (God or Deity of your choice). On the other hand, it could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Creator has a truly warped sense of humour.

Just about every culture developed their own calendars based mostly on the moon. Some people used the changing seasons based on the sun's position in the sky. Many cultures still use some variation of lunar calendars to determine their year and religious holidays. Just look at what our Georgian calendar did to mess up the timing of Christmas and Easter. Some people still use the Julian calendar.

Next we have the names of our months. There was lot of tinkering with the names and even adding months to honour certain Roman Emperors. Thus giving us what used to be the seventh to tenth months (September to December) of the year, are now the ninth to the twelfth months of the year. Our ancestors couldn't leave well enough alone.

Then there is the arbitrary numbering of the years. Again, most cultures had ways of counting the years with some sort of starting point. We couldn't even get our current system right, because there is debate as to the actual year of Jesus' birth.

Just thought of the perfect way of driving Dr. Who around the bend. Ask him to explain our current time keeping situation.

Compared to what we have done to time keeping in the past, changing our clocks by one hour in the spring and fall could almost be considered trivial.

My solution is quite simple, don't wear a watch. I use clocks as only suggestions! I remain on Curmudgeon Standard Time all year.

I gave a lot of thought to creating a Curmudgeonian Calendar, but came to the conclusion that watching the American election, or banging my head against a brick wall would be far less painful. All sorts of suggestions have been made in the past to try to make sense of our calendars, some rather whacky at best. So if you will excuse me, I will go watch Hillary and Donald scream at each other and

Wait a minute, perhaps all those people got it wrong about their predictions about the end of the world. It could very well happen when one of them gets elected president and it really doesn't matter which one. I am sure that someone out there will come up with some obscure prediction or passage that they will twist totally out of context just to prove that there was a prediction about those two. Where is Jessie Ventura (remember the former governor of Minnesota and former professional wrestler?) when they need him the most? By comparison he is positively middle of the road, quite normal, and mostly harmless. The good news is that it will be all over next Tuesday. The bad news is that the next campaign starts on Wednesday.

I will be back in a few short months with more thoughts about time unless......

This weekend also starts the bazaar season with one up in Fergus. Most locations still call them Christmas Bazaars, and I plan to visit as many as possible over the next few weeks. I will be avoiding the ones that call them by any other name such as "winter" or "holiday." I can accept the term craft bazaar, if there are limited commercial vendors. It gets rather tiresome to see the same direct sales companies such as Avon at almost every location. The whole point of going to bazaars is to find that one of a kind home made item that makes for the perfect gift, and to avoid the malls. Support our local bazaars and get gifts with some meaning, not something that came from a sweat shop on the other side of the world.

Les Enekes can be reached directly by owl. For those not owl equipped, he can be reached at

The views of columnists in The Fountain Pen do not necessarily represent the views of the principals of the publication.

Other Stories of Interest

Our Curmudgeon Will Be Missed
( July 07, 2017 )

The Ultimate Conspiracy Theory
( June 22, 2017 )

Our Bundled Universe
( June 15, 2017 )

Naming Rights, Sponsorship and Sports
( June 08, 2017 )

June Daze Political Daze and Some News
( June 05, 2017 )