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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
     Monday, October 27 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Slow time

When I prepared Saturday's page for the web, I remembered that this was "fallback weekend" and added to the top of the page, "Fall back tonight! 'Slow time' returns!" That was the last time I "remembered" it until 7:45 a.m. on Sunday. I looked at the clock and thought, "another hour to try to sleep," and then it struck me. This is fallback weekend, I have two more hours. Or do I? Does "fallback" mean you lose or gain an hour? And what does "gain or lose an hour" mean? I spent at least the next half hour debating these profundities. Whatever the answer, I made it to church in time.

But even more profound are the questions, just what are "fast time" and "slow time"? I used the term at the top of the page to be cute. My dad always called Daylight Savings Time "fast time" and Eastern Standard Time "slow time." I think. But I'm not sure about that, either. In DST, nightfall comes slower, so why wouldn't it be "slow time"? But then the alarm clock for work goes off when it's still night time (at least in my dad's working day), so maybe that's what makes it "fast time"? Were these terms used in your household while growing up, and, if so, what was meant by them? One thing I can say is it makes more sense to say "daylight" and "standard" time, even if "fast" and "slow" are the common people's and therefore presumably "commonsense" way of describing them.

They say that in order to get an on-air job with the BBC you have to speak "middle English." No cockney, Welsh, or Scots accents need apply. Same applies in this country. In Boston or in Atlanta a Pittsburgher would be more likely to get an announcer's job that a local-accented Bostonian or Atlantan. In that tradition, in my youth as an aspiring journalist I always tried to speak "the king's English," and even much more so, to write proper English. (Actually, I've never been averse to using "ain't" in certain contexts, but I have astutely avoided "hain't" [no point on adding a colloquial way of saying to what is already a colloquialism] or saying "done" when "did" was proper, in either speech or writing.)

So I didn't myself say "fast time" and "slow time," past age 15, which is probably why I've lost my confidence about what the terms were used to mean. I was always careful to adopt the new route number for the highway, or the new company name when Heisley became Bethlehem or something comparable. Reporting 101.

I do know that dessert is something to eat at the end of a meal, and a desert has a lot of sand. My gal Friday back at the Times newspapers, herself a native Pennsylvanian from up around bear country, taught me the difference. Dessert has two s's because you can always have a second helping!

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Fun facts (or "facts," so it says, but take with a grain)

The sentence "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" uses every letter in the alphabet.

—Sent by Trudy Myers 

Thought for today

Don't tell God how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your God is!

— Sent by Mary Anne Losiewcz 

Top daily news stories linked from our sister webpage
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