Fighter pilot, Royal Navy 1945, Hydrographer Iraq 1947-52 India 1952-53, Canadian Hydrographic Arctic explorer 1953-1960, Writer-producer Canadian National Film Board 1961-72, Freelance journalist, audio-visual producer 1972-2009, National Press Club of Canada 1961 - 2006

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Is it time for Canada to turn over a new leaf?

How could an entire nation get it so wrong for so long?

For the many stalwart Canadian generations who lived during the nation-building century ending in 1965, the Canadian flag under which they lived their hard working peaceful lives, and fought for so decisively on the battlefields, was the red duster emblazoned with the Union Flag and the Coat of Arms of Canada.

But, then, in 1965 a new flag was hoisted over the Dominion. It its centre it flaunted an impressive, stylised maple leaf. But, strangely, the leaf depicted, was upside down. And so it remains after these several decades past.

Once, some years ago during a Toronto Blue Jays baseball away game down in the United States, they had a US Marine Corps Honor Guard and its military band perform the pre-game honours. Out on the field they marched carrying Old Glory up on high and, side by side with equal pride, they carried the Canadian Maple Leaf flag.

Unfortunately and inadvertently the Marines had innocently mounted the Canadian flag allegedly upside down. Thousands upon thousands of Canadians watching the game either in the ballpark or on television back home were greatly upset. Everybody.

Well everybody except, as far as I know, me. I was the only one to murmur hesitantly that, haughtykulturaly speaking, that was the correct way it should be depicted and flown — with the tip of the leaf pointing downwards.

It’s only natural. I ask you. Have you ever seen any self-respecting, healthy and mature maple leaf sticking rampantly and blatantly upwards? No! They always hang down in their proper, relaxed, and Canadian fashion to bask drowsily in the sun.

For a long period, to confirm again my inner belief, I inspected every maple tree in my verdant vicinity. Not a single skyward-pointing leaf was to be seen. All, without exception, pointed down to mother earth as directly as wind and other circumstance permitted.

The United States Marines had maybe erred in diplomatic protocol. But it was a perfectly reasonable error when sustained by botanical accuracy.

Should not a royal commission be held about the matter?

Or is it too late?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Captain James Ross

Intriguing aspects regarding alleged

Global Warming.

The Arctic explorer, Captain James Ross, circa 1840, (no, no, that's not Ross. pictured. That's me, circa 1955, somewhere in the Arctic, I forget where) anyway he, Ross, also led an Antarctic expedition. He sailed from Oz and after making good progress came up to a high and precipitous wall of ice, later known to southern navigators as the Great Ice Barrier which stretched for hundreds of miles. He sailed along it noting its geographical position and that it was so high he couldn’t see over it even from his topmost rigging.

But a few decades later other explorers sailing along the ice edge found it to be much further south. They even cast doubt on Ross’ recorded latitudes. Later it was considered that Ross was much too good a surveyor and navigator to make such a fundamental error. Determining latitude, as opposed to longitude, is a fairly simple matter.

So it was thought, way back then, that the barrier was constantly breaking up and reforming over periods of even a few decades, and so sometimes retreating southward or advancing northward.

Why would that be? There weren’t too many automobiles around in 1840, nor a third or a quarter of our modern world population. Ok, there were plenty of coal fires in burgeoning cities, though, and the industrial revolution was revving up.

But there were plenty of happy and contented pipe smokers around then, because rotten cigarettes had not yet been invented. So pipe-smoking was enjoyed by vast numbers of mostly long-lived healthy people. Men like explorers and adventurers and doctors, politicians, mariners, soldiers, king - emperors, fishmongers, chiefs of police, governor-generals, admirals, writers and scientists. All highly respected for their innate superior intelligence, calm sagacity and unstressed phlegmatic outlook on life.

But in fairly recent years, and as is it so today, pipe smokers were considered, by the ignorant, to be obnoxious. Worse even than those ubiquitous people addicted to cigarettes, or gaspers. Ok, so pipe smokers may have looked very contented puffing away and savouring fine ales in quiet pubs, but they were absolute pests.

Everybody said so.

So it must be so.

Just like global warming.

And other fictitious idiotic modern themes.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


...and they accused George Dubbya of speaking in riddles...’s O’Bamy picking it up on November 6:

"We don't know all the answers yet and I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts,"

This quotation...saying all (not any of) the answers...seems to imply that we do have one or some...ditto for all (not any of) the facts...

Doesn’t this imply that he (and we, the admonished) already had some obvious answers and facts?

“...I would caution against...” (why caution? What danger are we being warned about?)

Anyway, if you’re advised against jumping to conclusions doesn’t that imply that the advisor has already concluded something and has himself already jumped to a conclusion of what constitutes a reasonable conclusion and so concludes conclusions that conclude the matter but doesn’t want anyone else to conclude those conclusions and then conclude conclusively enough to jump to those same conclusions?

Just curious.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oh, What a beautiful post war!

‘Up Spirits’

How to drink Royal Navy rum

It was now six months since our No. 805 Royal Naval Air Squadron, stationed in readiness at Machrihanish in Scotland, and on the brink of departure for the Pacific War, had been signalled to stand down following the dropping of the two atom-bombs on Japan. It was also six months since I had flown the squadron’s Seafire XV fighters (the Royal Navy ‘s extra-powerful, Griffon-engine equipped, Spitfires)

Now, after reporting to HMS Daedalus, the Fleet Air Arm’s shore station near Portsmouth, I had turned twenty years of age, and was officially allowed to take part in the traditional pre-lunch ‘Up Spirits’ ceremony in the petty officers’ mess.

This time-honoured ritual drink of Royal Navy rum was the highlight of the day for the vast majority of my older fellow mess members — a mixture of gunner’s mates, quartermasters, regulating petty-officers, and other similar long-serving old salts. The serving of the rum was also rooted in many subordinate customs and revered classical etiquette.

A few minutes past eleven o’clock (six bells) each morning, the rum would be placed on a table at the far end of the mess. The paraphernalia that attended the ceremony would be arranged in traditional manner. The actual sacred rum, in the strong, neat and unadulterated form which was only allowed to petty officers, was in a large copper bowl at the centre. A copper jug of water was to one side for those very few devotees who might possibly want it, together with a large tray containing a quarter-inch of water. On this tray were a couple of dozen plain drinking glasses standing upside-down with their rims barely immersed. This was considered to be a more than fully adequate standard of hygiene in view of the overwhelming strength of the rich dark ambrosia being dispensed. Close to one side of the big rum bowl was a long-handled copper ladle of approved volumetric capacity which rested on a special saucer to catch any precious drips it might shed. On the other side of the rum bowl was another tray containing no more than a heavy dew of water for the empty glass to again be placed in an inverted position. This was considered by many old salts to be taking hygiene to lunatic lengths, but I always strongly suspected that by the end of the rum issue, the water in the two trays would have been transformed into grog of sufficient potency to warrant its use as a chaser by those chosen as special shipmates to the chief rum bosun.

Behind the table sat four assistant rum bosuns. The first had a list of all mess members entitled to draw their tot or rum ration. After being approved and marked off, the recipient would move to the rum bowl and pick up the glass of his choice. Then instead of inserting the ladle into the depths of the rum bowl and pouring its contents into his glass as might be expected, the common practice was to nearly immerse the glass in the rum so that it was almost filled, then smartly pour that same rum in an aerial parabolic cascade from the glass into the ladle and then, with even increased smartness, pour the rum back into the glass. Done with practised agility, deftness and eye-deceiving lightning speed, a certain amount of rum still in mid-air together with incipient droplets from the utensils could be entrapped to augment the practitioner’s daily glass to a more satisfying extent.

One hallowed practice directly related to the rum issue, especially when out at sea, was called Sippers. This was when a person celebrating his birthday, the birth of a child or some other legitimate occasion, was allowed to stay close to the rum table and importune his closest shipmates and other likely donors for a sip of their tots. The name was derived quite obviously from the rigid protocol that allowed only the smallest of sips, and definitely not Gulpers, to be taken by the receiver. Deadly enmity could be engendered by any breaking of this religious code of ethics.

The adding of the letters ‘ers’ to common words was prevalent in navy jargon. Thus we had clampers for bad weather, makers for make-and-mend, dampers for rain, sinkers for plum-duff pudding, and many others of like fashion.

Tots of rum were a very valid currency in everyday naval life. With so many expert craftsmen on hand, one could arrange to have tailor-made items of leather work, canvas, wood and metal specially created to one’s personal specifications simply by promising to hand over to the maker or procurer so many agreed upon calendar day’s tots of rum. This could be done by bottling one’s ration instead of drinking it or by arranging with the rum bosuns to give one’s tot to the petty officer concerned for each day the arrangement was in force.

With the ending of the war, every weekend at least saw at least half the mess members away on short or long weekend leave, which started on either the Friday or Saturday forenoon. Surprisingly, on those two mornings, for some inexplicable reason, the rum was quite late in appearing in the mess. This meant that all the fellows from places north of the big smoke who were eager to get going early from Pompey (Portsmouth) in order to catch their interconnecting London trains to Scotland and Newcastle etc, were unfortunately inconvenienced and unable to wait for their rum. And so unfortunately, when the late-arriving rum did finally arrive, there was often quite a surplus left in the firkin and rum bowl. Sadly left right there on the table. Unclaimed! In the mess! Ownerless!

Luckily, this situation caused little inconvenience to the minority of fellows not going off the station and the Londoners and other southerners who had lots of time to get home by the later afternoon trains. So the Saturday routine was rather pleasant for some of us. A couple of pints of Hammerton’s Oatmeal Stout and mild ale at the mess bar while waiting for the tardy rum to arrive, then a double and maybe even a triple tot, then an ample leisurely lunch. Then an unhurried walk down to the railway station adjacent to the Gosport ferry and a pleasant hour or so in the dining car with a bottle of Bass or Worthington or whatever. Then home by about four o’clock, a snooze to about six, supper, and then out with friends.

Crumbs! Let’s hear it for good old Harry Truman and Fat Man.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Google’s Street View worries

Privacy fears completely resolved

A Canadian member of parliament who is part of the House of Commons Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics is pushing for an inquiry into Google’s amazing Street View Technology.

Though it is reported that so far no complaints have been made by the public, he’s worried that not all people’s faces are being completely blurred.

Because one of his constituents did complain that while he was undressed in front of his window he saw the Google photo vehicle pass by his house. I suppose he was primarily worried about his face being insufficiently blurred. An unblurred face on an unblurred body could be a serious issue. Whereas a blurred face on an unblurred body is fine with the most ardent of privacy seekers.

One can readily muster up sympathy with this complainant when considering the sparse facial attractiveness component of the vast majority of voters who freely sport their far from godly visages before each other’s constantly-brutalized gaze.

Something must be done if civilization is to evolve and progress majestically forward in cultural richness and intrinsic beauty.

Burkas for all, though eminently suitable to some segments of society are, as yet, not considered to be the answer in general.

So there is only one obvious solution to this problem:

Face blurring at birth.

The ultimate privacy equalizer.

A simple medical procedure that can be routinely carried out simultaneously with circumcision, and other physical statements and enhancements, at birth.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Magic Waters of Paradise

Of all the places that one can be, apart perhaps from the arms of a loved one, or relaxing in the unique and civilized atmosphere of a well-run English public house, as so many of them were in long decades past, then the best place in the world to be is where clear fresh inland waters softly meet and combine with equally clear salt waters of the deep mysterious sea.

For there, where a remote river or stream runs into the sea, is a paradise.

Like all other desirable locations, most of these places have long been trampled underfoot by the millions of people who over time have joined those first few lucky dwellers who originally discovered such secluded places back in the dawn of human history.

But some magic places do still exist and even though they are far fewer today they are therefore all the more precious. And they are especially alluring when situated in a distant unpopulated region where they have the chance to remain seemingly pristine.

Such were several small rivers we lucky few aboard the MV Theron found along the Labrador coast, more than half a century ago.

One of them remains especially vivid in my memory.

This river wound down through a sheltered pocket of mainly spruce, and other evergreen trees, and during the low water of the ebb tide it flowed across about two hundred feet of a wide stone and pebbled sandy beach.

Because the river’s flow over the flat beach was unimpeded by the low-water state of the tide, the stream’s water flowed softly over a shallow path narrowed to but one hundred feet. By treading on the exposed tops of the smooth rounded or flattened, and now partly dried stones, one could step over the flow and cross to either bank dry shod. And intriguingly, though the fresh water flowing down amongst the stones was but four or five inches at its deepest, yet these thin waters were thick with fish.

Most every cast of a tiny fly alighting between the smooth stones, though set by nature only inches apart, would bring a strike by a perfectly-formed brook trout of twelve or fourteen inches length.

Some of these fish were silvery from many days or weeks in the salt water, others were less silvery according to their recent whereabouts. Many were just one-day first-time excursionists, freshly down from the upper reaches of the wooded stream and fully clad in their conventional fresh water olive-green sides and back adorned with brilliant crimson or golden spots surrounded with light blue halos.

Though usually called speckled or brook trout, these char, as such they are, are as perfect a fish as ever were created by the evolutionary design committee responsible for their production. Wonderful to look at, superb to angle for, matchless in their flavour when lightly fried in butter, they are nothing less than ultra-divine.

It was on that day that I squashed down all the barbs on my flies and hooks and never used another barbed hook again. It is just a more sporting and satisfying way to fish and also so very much easier to release a fish unharmed. There is no need to squeeze or mishandle a fish and roughly mangle its mouth by wrenching with pliers like those cackling, loudmouthed boors who star in the TV fishing shows.

Just a few hundred feet up this little river we came to a multi-channelled waterfall with a deep pool under its drop. Further up in its course the water came tumbling down from a series of more gentle waterfalls and was interspersed with several deep pools until a mile or so inland we came to its source, the last of a series of lakes and their connecting streams stretching inland back into the mountains. By the time we returned down river to the coast the tide had made almost full. Now, in the deeper mixed fresh and salt waters moving over those stones which had been dry but a few hours before, we took a brace or two of handsome salmon and some equally valued arctic char. Also taken were some whitefish but these fish are not in the same class as the other salmonoids just mentioned.

At this time of high water, or when the tide is nearly full, the fresh water from such streams rolls over atop the sea water in an upper layer just inches thick. And often, salt species such as herring and capelin and other quick fish will jump with the excitement and attraction of its novel mixing. And, salmon or large arctic char may be seen swimming with their dorsal fins protruding, almost shark-like in fashion, as they wander around, pondering their inscrutable decisions concerning their entering of the river proper or waiting offshore for another later but higher tide.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Rude 600-year-old Gesture

The Two-Finger Salute of Derision

Long considered an exceedingly vulgar sign in Britain (though virtually unknown in North America) this gesture had no obscene significance when it first appeared hundreds of years ago on the battlefields of France. At that time the French army, in fear of the English archers, gave notice that all longbow men they captured would have the first two fingers of their bowstring-pulling hand cut off thus ensuring they would never be able to shoot another arrow.

The English archers, to show their fingers were still intact, before and after the battle, would make this gesture of defiance to the French soldiers.

It is not to be confused with the simple W.W.II victory sign made famous by Winston Churchill. That gesture (later inanely purloined by such idiots as Michael Jackson) was, is, made with the palm of the hand facing the recipient. A very significant difference.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Ough-Zone on time zones

A brief, and timely overview of Time

— as we know it.

By governmental decree, the wrist watches, internal bodily, and digital automobile clocks of law-abiding citizens of east-west or west-east travellers, jump up instantaneously one hour ahead or jump down one hour behind their previous settings the instant they drive, hike, or meander across the border of a time-zone on their travels.

So far, there is no way to persuade the great timekeeper itself in the sky, the overhead sun, to also act in a matchingly disciplined manner. The world goes round and round in its usual fairly steady and smooth way, with no sudden bumps or jolts every hour on the hour — and at about a speed of 1,000 miles per hour at the equator, 600 mph at the mid-latitude comfort zones, and timelessly just twisting around-on-the-same-spot at the poles. The sun is completely impervious to our people-made rules and regulations.

And added to this there is the person-made

Daylight Saving Time.

Surely there would be overwhelming global approval if the annoyance experienced by most everyone, twice every year, to have to reset a multitude of digital timepieces embedded in computers, televisions, VCRs, automobiles, and a welter of other everyday contraptions could be eliminated.

But there is nothing we can do to alter the the timing of our lives. The ponderous celestial workings of our solar system, let alone the entire universe, govern us in irresistible strictness. Their laws are immutable in regards to mankind. Also, somewhat incredibly, even to womankind.

What we all see is what we all get.

So what can we do to live with, or perhaps to ease, the situation?

Our first option is the most simple:

Do nothing spectacular.

Just abandon observing daylight-saving time every summer.

Especially as the alleged advantages arising from such an inane 100-year-old attempt to tinker with the natural sequence of rapidly moving daylight hours, benefits only a minor portion of the world’s population.

Due to several factors:

Scattered geographical features — rivers, lakes, shorelines, mountains, etc.

Wiggly political boundaries.

Arbitrary political fiat and, very importantly:

In which part of your particular time zone you live.

Because though time zones are essential for regulating modern patterns of transportation, business, and most other aspects of civilization, they are not all the same in value or extent or accuracy. They vary enormously in size and shape, a fact that enormously affects the everyday lives of two thirds of the world’s sprawling urban population.

All China, for instance, (which is just one massive time zone); parts of sprawling Russia; northwestern North America; Australia (three zones but with five differing zones at times); parts of Canada (six time zones); South America — all these have some of their time zones grossly distorted in size and shape. This leads to ridiculous situations for the people living there whose daily lives can be inexorably inconvenienced by the wonky time zones imposed upon them.

These times are usually seasonally and artificially altered by one hour or, confusingly, just half an hour, in an attempt to hand out extra daylight hours by benign authorities to naive citizens during summer months.

But awkward inbuilt sun-time differences already occur between the eastern and western extremities of our mandated time zones. They always have. And always will.

Earthly time is measured by longitude. In fact longitude is time. It is denoted by meridians — lines drawn on maps and charts, which run from the north to the south poles and denote the distance, in degrees of angular measurement, between the global zero or prime meridian (which runs through the Greenwich observatory, near London in England) to the meridian running through the place from which the measurement is made. The value of this angle gives the local solar time. This is because every fifteen degrees of longitude is equal to one hour of earthly time.

In some extreme cases of oddly shaped time zones, though, civil time can get well out of hand.

For instance, this means that residents of Gaspé, Québec (64 degrees of longitude west) and residents west of Thunder Bay, Ontario (90 degrees west) who by civic decree, share, and are expected to faithfully follow, the dictates of the same designated hour of the clock known as the Eastern Time Zone, if unconstrained by personal duties and employment schedules, or if not imbued with a lax rebellious nature, will seasonably differ in their getting up and going to bed habits by as much as one hour and forty minutes of elapsed daylight.

Even more so for those people in the outermost regional extremities, east and west. Because some of their close neighbours, even those living less than a stone’s throw away, but situated on the other side of a time-zone boundary, have their clocks set for another full hour’s time difference.

How can we mitigate the effects of sharing such misshapen time zones? Well, if you are a working person who commutes to work each day, the first thing to do is undergo an honest personality self-assessment and classify yourself as either a predominantly morning person, an evening person, or an all around in-between person. This will help in deciding where you should live in relationship to your place of employment, entertainment, or social activity — and how far you will have to travel each day getting there.

If you decide that you are a morning person you should live to the west of your place of employment. Thus in the winter, when daylight is curtailed due to the sun’s southerly declination, in the early mornings you will be heading east to meet the dawn and in the evenings you will be driving west to prolong the sunset. The resulting gain of daylight in this manner might be perhaps four minutes each way. A possible forty minutes of valuable stolen daylight, more or less, for each work week.

For an evening person, driving west, away from the approaching dawn and back home to the east away from the setting sun, the result would affect a similar total number of daylight minutes, but these would be negative, daylight minutes lost to the night.

(Another unrelated, but practical countering aspect here, regarding living to the east of your daytime workplace, means that you will not have the have the danger and annoyance of the low-lying sun in your eyes while driving to and from your destinations).

For those in-between, the neither morning or evening types of persons, they should choose to live anywhere to the north or south of their workplace. Also choose a workplace situated in a region midway, or fairly close to the middle of their time zone, where their clock time will always be within a few minutes of solar time. With little difference in longitude from their home to office they will suffer no gain or loss of daylight minutes. And maybe lead humdrum rather unexciting lives.

Second option:

This would call for support by all the world’s leading industrial nations — an historic agreement for change on an international scale. By presenting such a plan, perhaps to the United Nations assembly, Canada might lead the way forward and gain international credit.

A permanent solution to this annoyance could be achieved if all those who wish to continue the practise of adding one-hour on normal solar time during the summer months to gain an artificial saving of daylight, and those others who endorse its full abolition or want a different modification, would agree to a half way compromise. A fifty-fifty deal. This could be done by instituting a permanent, but less radical, alteration of civil time by adding or subtracting just one unnoticeable half hour to solar time.

This would be fairly inconspicuous for solar-time purists and yet provide pro-manipulating-others with an acceptable acceleration or deceleration of just a tolerable thirty minutes in the sun’s rising and setting. Of course there would still be the fifteen-minute-sized, plus or minus, seasonal variations due to the ‘Equation of Time’ which is caused by the earth’s orbit of the sun being slightly elliptical, but then nothing’s perfect, except perhaps for the two-litre bottles of Wells India Pale Ale from Britain stocked by our beer stores here in Ottawa.

How might this be done? Well, to suit either morning persons or evening persons we could simply formally agree to move the prime meridian, from which all earthly time is measured, from its present position and birthplace at Greenwich, London, England, just seven and a half degrees eastward or westward.

Probably most popularly, for eastward proponents, this would mean digging up the brass rail strip marking the zero meridian of zero longitude, at present marking Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or Universal Time (UT), and transferring it to a new location close to Cologne, Germany. There it could be left in the good hands of that city’s university’s KOSMA—the Koln Observatory for Sub-Millimetre Astronomy.

Or, if preferred by a majority of others, the zero longitude datum mark could be moved westward to a position running dead centre down the middle of bustling modern Ireland, about eighty kilometres west of Dublin. If the meridian were to be placed there it would run very close to the town of Tullamore which providentially is the home of the Tullamore Astronomical Society (TAS) and a founder member of the Irish Federation of Astronomical Societies.

This proposed moving of the prime meridian, from which our normal civil time has long been measured, would cause little or no upset to tradition. In the 1950s the actual, long-established, Greenwich observatory, because of excessive light pollution overhead, was bodily moved, together with the Astronomer Royal himself, to Herstmonceux Castle, in Sussex. Later, parts of its facilities (though probably not including any body parts of the Astronomer Royal) went to the Canary Islands; Cambridge University; and Queens University in Kingston, Canada.

The prime meridian of zero longitude at Greenwich is nothing more than an arbitrary, invisible and ethereal geographical starting point. It was established in 1675 by King Charles II when vital nautical navigation and time keeping were first becoming tinged with exact science. This was also during the time of the noted diarist, Samuel Pepys who was literarily a really bigwig, being the randy Secretary of the Navy and President of the Royal Society. Though being such a vital entity, the prime meridian only really exists in imagination and for practical scientific purpose.

Today, as modern positional astronomy, mapmaking, and navigation is ruled by global positioning using satellites and computerized systems, if zero longitude were to be moved elsewhere the installation of nothing more than a symbolic marker would suffice as a bench mark, just as does the present brass strip which has been embedded in the paving stones at Greenwich Observatory for many years.

For in fact this brass-strip marker is not the true prime meridian anyway, as tectonic plates, whole continents and all land masses tend to slowly slip and slide about geologically upon the earth’s plastic surface mantle.

So this most exact zero meridian (upon which it and the Global Positioning System is based) is a purely theoretical one and wanders a few metres or millimetres one way or the other as the earth’s crust in the Greenwich region, carrying the hallowed Greenwich brass strip, together with all its surrounding infrastructure — pubs, fish and chip shops, churches and shopping centres, without any let or hindrance by municipal, local government, NASA, or international United Nations’ permit, slides slowly and erratically about.

Thus, following a new international agreement of compromise, any necessary updating of equipment to account for such a proposed easterly or westerly seven-and-a-half degree move, involving a mere thirty minutes change in clock time, would largely require no more than a few updating computer key strokes to be made by all parties concerned.

Third option:

Of course a much easier way to solve the summertime ‘daylight saving time’ question would be to completely forego the disrupting annual changing, out of, and back into, local standard times. Just leave it as it is, and simply change our lives to suit our existing standard solar time zones. This by merely adjusting all ordinary business and civil activities to suit the local clock settings as they are presently apportioned — primarily by switching from our conventional nine to five business hours for typical workdays to say, from eight to four, or some other suitable combinations.

Either way, we would all be free of those bothersome six-monthly updates of the varied digital timepieces embedded in our growing domestic accumulations of electronic gadgets.