Friday, April 29, 2005

Daylight Savings Time Is Coming To Indiana (but in what form?)

So finally, after a long and drawn out battle, the lawmakers of this great state of Indiana have finally decided to make the step into the new century and get in step with the rest of the USA, save for Arizona and Hawaii, and begin observing Daylight Savings Time starting April 6, 2005.

For many, myself included, this is great news. I really don't think adjusting clocks and VCR's is that big of a deal, although you'll have quite a few people griping and complaining about what a hassle this is going to be. But for some of those same people, opening up a can of pop is a major ordeal, so who really cares at this point?

What remains to be seen is if Indiana will remain on EST or be switched to CST. It's no secret that Czar Daniels thinks Indiana needs to be stepping backward to CST and be in line with Chicago, so it won't come as any surprise to me at all that the final decision, which is supposed to be made by the Department of Transportation in Washington DC, will render Indiana back to 1948 and move us backward an hour to CST. Besides, in less than 4 months in office, Illustrious Premier Daniels has shown is sour disposition on more than one occasion when he doesn't get his way, so I'm wondering just how he will manage to sway this decision in his favor.

As I stated in a previous posting, Indiana is notorious for taking one step forward and then two or three steps backward whenever they address change. I'm sure hoping this is one time they prove me wrong and actually let this change that could be so positive for us actually remain a positive change.

Indiana needs to stay on Eastern Standard Time to reap any benefit from the switch to Daylight Savings Time. The ball is still in the air on this one and could drop either way. We'll be watching!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Inquiring Minds Want To Know (But I'm Not Expecting An Honest Answer Here, Either!)

Listen in to most conversations these days, whether they be at work, the golf course, bowling alley or your favorite restaurant, and someone's conversation will be directed toward the price of gasoline these days. Now I'm not going to spend a lot of time on that right now, matter of fact, this is going to be a very short posting for me, and sometime later on we'll address this topic at greater length.

Can someone tell me why, when crude oil prices go up, IMMEDIATELY the price of gasoline at the pump jumps at the speed of light, yet, when crude oil prices go down, the drop of gas prices takes the better part of two weeks to be reflected on the pump?

And, since the price of gas jumped a few weeks back to around $2.40 a gallon, and has now dropped back to the somewhere between $2.10 and $2.20, have you noticed how we now think we're getting a bargain? This is called conditioning the consumer mind!

A year ago I was buying gas around a dollar to maybe $1.10 a gallon in Shelbyville. No one on the face of this earth is going to convince me that the price has honestly more than doubled.

However, it has occured to me that since we have a president who also has strong holdings in oil company stocks, that probably not a damned thing is going to be done as far as congressionally investigating why the Amercian consumer is being gouged with the price of gasoline!

Glad I've decided to quit taking out of state vacations and making any unnecessary trips anywhere until this nonsense is stopped. My mountain bicycle is looking better and better all the time, folks!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Blowin' In The Wind

Wow, quite a night here in Rush County, Indiana. A series of thunderstorms has brought along with the rain, hail and damaging winds, lightning, and probably quite a bit of fear as well.

After finishing my work today in Rushville, I decided to make a trek to Carthage, a drive that takes one northwest of Rushville and north of Arlington, where I live. The reason for this drive was simple, gasoline at a cheaper price than Rushville! This isn't news of course, because, basically, Rushville is notorious for having the highest gas prices in all of east central Indiana most of the time. One need only drive a short distance away and gas is always cheaper! And since gasoline right now isn't cheap anywhere, the chance to save seven cents a gallon is worth a 7 mile drive!

I made the drive a scenic one, driving back county roads. Actually, this wouldn't be hard to do, mainly because there isn't a highway that runs into Carthage. The only way to get there is by driving county roads. However, I took a bizarre route there just to make the drive a fun one. I actually had no idea how exciting this little drive was going to become.

As I made my drive towards Carthage, I began to notice dark cloudy in the western sky, as far as you could see to the north and south. In the south the huge cumulus thunderheads looked ominous, while the clouds to the north looked dark but not as threatening. Oh, how deceiving things can be sometimes.

Upon arrivng at the convenience mart, first thing I noticed was that every pump was taken, so I pulled behind a lady filling up an SUV, and began my wait for the cheaper fuel. Apparently in a small town like Carthage, no one seems to mind making you wait your turn, because NO ONE was in a hurry to pull away from the pumps. Matter of fact, the fellow driving the pick up truck in front of the SUV disappeared in the store and I never did see him again before I left.

All the time I'm waiting for my turn, the sky is getting darker, the wind began to pick up, and the streaks of lightning grew in size and brightness, and the thunder started getting louder and louder. Finally, a lady who was driving a small compact car(smart woman, considering gas prices, too) came out and started up her vehicle. Before anyone else got the chance to pull off the main drag of this nice little town, I started up my mini SUV and turned around and backed into her space she had previously been occupying. By this time, the thunder is really getting loud and the first sprinkles of rain began falling. Nineteen dollars of precious gas later, I make my way into the mini-mart to pay for my gas and make a quick exit. And might I add, I still never did see the gentleman who had been sitting at the first pump nearly ten minutes now.

I got back into my truck and started back to the south to head home, when I saw a sign pointing to the east and advertising COLD BEER CARRYOUT! Now, I had been busy all day, and I knew the only beer I had at home was warm, so I quickly made the decision to drive a half block out of my way and pick up a cold six pack to take home. Had I not taken this detour, I would have missed the storm by a couple of minutes. But I'm not psychic, and I still thought I had time to miss the rain.

As I was driving towards home, only six miles away, the lightning really got wicked, the wind picked up even more sending up trails of dust everywhere, and you could see the rain falling a few miles away...and awesome sight, I might add. I drove thru sprinkles, downpours, light showers, then nothing, over and over again during a five mile drive. My wonderful wife had opened up my side of the garage, and as I pulled into the drive and waved at her as she stood on the backporch smiling, the rain began falling in buckets just as I pulled into the garage. I got the garage door shut and stood alone for a few minutes and waited for the rain to slack. It did for a few seconds.

Mother Nature can sure be a rude bitch sometimes. I had no more made the trip halfway from the garage to the house when the rain picked up in intensity and I got fairly soaked before acquiring safe-haven inside the house.

As I stood watching the weather radar on television and listening to the frightening list of tornado warnings and thunderstorm warnings and watching the pictures viewers had e-mailed in of hail on the ground, my memory drifted back some 25 years earlier.

Back in 1980, my good friend Kingfish and I worked for a local cable tv station, mainly on a freebie basis. Kingfish was a whiz with camera work while I simply enjoyed the challenge of talking on the mike and making like a big shot news reporter. Together, he and I were really a great team, at least in my mind we were. We rode around in his hot Trans-Am, finding different local newstories and filming and reporting on them. We had no idea what we would find, if anything, we had no script, but seemed to always manage to find something to videotape for the 6pm news.

One afternoon in particular, I remember a very similar storm moving thru the Rush County area, and believe it or not, before it ever became a popular thing to do, Kingfish and I are chasing storms. Literally driving all the area, finding the worst possible storm clouds and while he taped, I did my best with no idea what I was going to say, and we covered the storm as best as two young men could who had no idea whatsover of what they were doing. We were fearless, with Kingfish telling me over and over again that we just had to find that "Pulitzer Prize winning tornado video!" Regardless of our hopes to film such a thing, all we managed to get was some pretty awesome thunderstorm videos.

Two months later, late one night, however, two tornadoes ripped thru southern Rush County with such a force that miles and miles of destruction occurred. Even though the tornado itself was never filmed by Kingfish, the aftermath provided nearly twenty minutes of unbelievable footage of mayhem left behind. Unfortunately, because of my "paying" job, I was unable to be with him that day, and a much older and more experienced newsman provided the commentary as Kingfish videotaped the path of destruction. And I swear to you, if that older and experienced newsman used the expression "total devastation" once in that twenty minute tape, he had to have used it sixty times or more.

Thanks to Kingfish, however, I was able to get with him the following day and take a plane ride over the area that the tornadoes rampaged. That was my first plane ride ever, and the shock of what I saw below me far outweighed my fear of flying that first time. Truly I have never seen anything like it in my life, before or after. The debris left behind, the actual path the two tornadoes took before becoming one large tornado was mind-boggling.

It's amazing to me now that at one time, all those many years ago, Kingfish and I were so fearless that we literally drove into those thunderstorms, looking for the elusive tornado to film and report. The drive home tonight was not a drive of a fearless young man in his twenties. It was the drive of a 53 year old man hoping to get home and safely inside his home before the storm hit.

My how the years have changed me.

Something tells me that Kingfish is still as brave he ever was. I don't think the years have mellowed him as much as they have me.

Matter of fact, it wouldn't surprise me at all to find out that he was out tonight in Decatur County chasing those storms down....

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Indiana And Daylight Savings Time (or, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?)

If you're from Indiana, then this has got to be a subject that affects you in one way or another. If you are from Indiana and it doesn't affect you, let me know what medication you're on, and I can make a fortune.

Indiana has been one of only three states in the union, the others being Arizona and Hawaii, who don't observe Daylight Savings Time. And while I admit that I love not having to change our clocks twice a year, it is a bit bizarre when you talk to people out of state or try and make travel plans and make the correct adjustment in your head as to exactly what time it will be someplace else while nothing changes time-wise in our illustrious state. Time and time again(no pun intended, ok, maybe a little), our state legislators have tried to bring up the DST plan for at least discussion over the years, only to be met with a roadblock by the majority of our state's senators and representatives. That is, of course, until this year.

Newly elected Governor maybe your man Mitch but certainly not mine Daniels has a loyal constiutent of party line electees that have finally gotten past the previous blockades and have actually managed to get a passage in the Senate by the required number of voters to at least present this matter to the house for consideration. And while I have to admire the progress made, it seems that here and here alone the progress stops.

Seems that after removing language from the bill that would have illegally allowed counties to opt out of observing DST, now the question comes up as to whether maybe Indiana should be moved from the Eastern Time Zone to the Central Time Zone.

Okay, for the record, Indiana has been on Eastern Standard Time since 1948! We are in pace with the eastern part of the country, well, at least until April when DST springs into effect, and then we are in pace with Chicago, if you consider Chicago in pace with anything! So, after nearly 60 years in this time zone, certain people think it's time to change, move our clocks back to CST, and then spring forward to DST in April.

Are you getting this picture here?

If Indiana moves back into the Central Time Zone, and then springs forward an hour in April to observe Daylight Savings Time, guess what? It's still going to be the same friggin' time it is right now, and we gain no daylight, we save nothing, we simply add aggravation to our lives by having to change our clocks twice a year so we can be on the same damned time we are already from April to October. Jeez, how much money are our state lawmakers spending to come up with this "grand" idea of theirs? How much "time" are they spending on this crock of crap?

Okay, bear with me a bit longer here, and think about this, please. Right now, as Indiana observes Eastern time and no DST, it starts getting dark in the dead of winter not long after 5 pm. If Indiana switches to CST, during the winter, it's going to be getting dark shortly after 4 in the afternoon. Some school children will be getting home after dark after spending all day in school. People will be getting home after dark from work.

Now, if it starts getting daylight during the winter right now, let's say for instance, around 7:30AM or so, when our clocks are moved back to observe CST , it will be getting daylight around 6:30 or so. So, basically, when we move into CST , we are going to be gaining our daylight hours only in the mornings and only when we are NOT observing DST! Who in their right mind can think that this is benefical to the residents of this state?

Why is it when Indiana decides to take a step forward and get with the program they aren't content unless they take a minimum of 3 steps back? Why would anyone think that this present plan of theirs actually gains anything for us in the long run?

Personally, I think if Indiana is going to actually observe DST, the only logical answer is to remain on EST to actually gain anything of any profitable nature. If I'm going to actually receive any benefit from DST, let me have one more hour of daylight in the summer evenings when the weather is pleasant and enjoyable. Don't take an hour of my daylight away in the winter, because frankly, getting home from work in the dark sucks!

Do I mind changing to DST? No, not at all, but give me a reward for all this trouble and confusion and don't mire Indiana back down yet again. It's the new millenium, it's time (there's that word again) for Indiana to move forward and make some progress and quit staying behind the times(man, that word just keeps popping up, doesn't it?).

Besides, my wonderful wife of 27 years bought me this really nice time zone watch a couple of years back for our 25th anniversary and I would hate like hell to see it become obsolete in such a short period of , you guessed it, TIME!

Come on, folks, don't let Indiana be the laughing stock of this country. Call, write, let those people some of you elected know that EST is the only place for Indiana to be. Makes me wonder, if Mitch Daniels hadn't sold out IPALCO would he be behind this drive for DST and CST? Food for thought, huh?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

First Step Of A New Journey

My old pal Kingfish introduced me to this site in an indirect way, but no matter, what's been done has been done, and I'm ready to venture of into a new territory here.

Kingfish knows that I'm a very outspoken individual, but I tend to do my best speaking by writing, something I haven't tried in years. A few years ago during a very trying time in my life and during the long illness and eventual death of my dear Mother, I put my thoughts down on computer, basically writing all I had been feeling down to purge myself from its poisoning effect on my psyche. After Mom's death, I deleted all 3,816 pages! I felt I had finally written my last. I hope I'm about to prove myself wrong.

In my 53 years I've seen a lot of changes in this world, some good, some bad, but so many that I have a hard time imagining how much things have indeed changed. I'm not one who is opposed to change, though I have to admit that I am getting a bit more set in my ways, and change isn't as easily made by me now as it once was, but at least I'm trying. I hope to add my two cents worth, for whatever it may be worth, if anything at all. But I am going to try and enter my blogs as to how I feel about different things that have a profound effect on my life, and possibly yours as well.

I don't have a regular schedule on here that I'm planning on keeping, I'm just going to write when I feel the need. I have no idea what you will be reading, or if, for that matter, anyone at all will be reading, but once again, I feel the need to exorcise the demons from my system.

With that in mind, let me welcome you, dear reader, to Flowers On My Side Of The Wall!