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1:42 am EDT        51°F (11°C) in Hilliard, OH

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I think the trailer I am pulling right now is haunted — specifically its refrigeration unit. I suppose this would be appropriate, considering that I first hooked up to this trailer on Friday the 13th. The problem seems to be something related to the fuel system; I can keep the unit running if I open its doors and work the hell out of the hand-primer pump, a small cylindrical piston-type unit on the front of the engine, but the engine dies in a few minutes if left to its own devices. In any case, some mechanic is on his way out here, and he should be able to take care of the problem.

I will have plenty of time to waste later on today, as this load doesn't need to get to Indianapolis (its eventual destination) until 7:00 am EST Monday. Of course, at some point within the next couple of months, Indianapolis and much of the rest of the state of Indiana may no longer follow the practice of not observing Daylight Saving Time. Two days ago, Gov. Mitch Daniels, a first-term Republican, signed a bill that puts the entire state on Daylight time during the parts of the year it is observed nationally (that is, the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October).

Previously, only Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton, and Jasper counties (near Chicago) and Gibson, Posey, Warrick, Vanderburgh, and Spencer counties (in the far southwestern corner of Indiana) had officially observed Daylight time; these counties are in the Central Time Zone, and without Daylight time, they would fall an hour behind Chicago or the nearby portions of Kentucky. Five more counties (Dearborn and Ohio in the Cincinnati area, and Clark, Floyd, and Harrison near Louisville) in the Eastern Time Zone have observed Daylight time for years (in defiance of state law), due to their proximity to large cities that are on Eastern Daylight Time. The remaining 77 counties in Indiana, which include the cities of Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend/Mishawaka/Elkhart, Bloomington, and Richmond, among others, are in the Eastern Time Zone and observe Standard time year-round.

Honestly, if the time-zone boundaries were drawn correctly (as the scientists who attended a famous 1883 meeting in Greenwich, England intended), the entire state of Indiana would be in the Central Time Zone. They defined Greenwich to be the zero (or "Prime") meridian of their new system of longitude, and given that there are 360° around a circle and 24 hours in the day, each time zone was defined as (ideally) being 15° of longitude in width, centered around meridians spaced out 15° apart starting at Greenwich.

The first of these that affects the United States is the 75°W meridian, which passes just slightly to the east of Philadelphia, PA. This is defined as being the meridian upon which the Eastern Time Zone is centered. Further west, 90°W (roughly St. Louis, MO and New Orleans, LA) defines the Central Time Zone, 105°W (Denver, CO) the Mountain Time Zone, and 120°W (Reno, NV/Lake Tahoe, CA) the Pacific Time Zone. This means that, for example, the Eastern Time Zone should stretch from 67.5°W (near Machias, ME) to 82.5°W (Port Huron, MI or Newark, OH). This is to say, the entire state of Michigan really belongs on Central Time, instead of only the four counties that border Wisconsin.

Ohio would be roughly bisected north-to-south by that line; south of the Ohio River, I'd make small adjustments to prevent cutting off small parts of states with the boundary. Basically, all of Kentucky and Tennessee would go Central, and West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina's western borders would be the time-zone boundary. (I don't want to cut off Ashland, KY; Pikeville, KY; Bristol, VA; the "Tri-Cities" area of TN; Asheville, NC; and Greenville/Spartanburg, SC from the remainder of their respective states, which would happen if I stuck firmly to 82.5°W.) Further south, I'd roughly bisect Georgia north-to-south, running the line east of Gainesville, Athens, Macon, and Valdosta, before passing it to the west of Gainesville, FL on its way to the Gulf of Mexico. (Currently, the line goes through the southwestern Upper Peninsula of Michigan, then down the middle of Lake Michigan, then doing as I described above in Indiana before following a convoluted path through Kentucky and Tennessee. The Georgia/Alabama border and eventually the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola rivers form the boundary from there to the Gulf, with a slight deviation in Gulf County, FL.)

The downside of living right on a time-zone boundary, or to the east of the central "defining meridian" for that matter, becomes apparent in winter. For example, Chicago rush-hour commuters get to head home in complete darkness during much of December and January; the December 21 sunset occurs at roughly 4:25 pm CST, and total darkness falls by about 4:50 pm. (Indianapolis, being farther east but also farther south, would have a similar sunset time of around 5:25 pm EST.) The problem for Indianapolis comes in the morning; the sun does not rise until a few minutes after 8:00 am EST, giving commuters and schoolchildren (if school is still in session on December 21) a mostly-dark morning trip.

The Central/Mountain time zone boundary is also located far to the west of where it should be. Ideally, it should be located at 97.5°W, which roughly follows the US Highway 81 corridor through the Dakotas and Nebraska. I'd make another slight adjustment, pushing the line just a bit to the west so as to allow Salina, KS; Wichita, KS; Oklahoma City; Dallas/Ft. Worth; and Waco, TX to remain on Central Time. Anything more than about 20 miles to the west of those places should be on Mountain Time. (There are parts of far western Texas that are on Central Time, yet are located very near 105°W — the central meridian of Mountain Time!)

A bit more sanity prevails along the Mountain/Pacific time zone boundary, but it could still use adjustments as well. Actually, it is fine where it is south of the Nevada/Idaho border, but in the Northwest, the whole state of Idaho (instead of just the northern "panhandle") ought to be on Pacific time. Doing this would also eliminate the silly situation that sees part of eastern Oregon in the Mountain Time Zone. I'd allow all of Montana to remain on Mountain Time, even though the western part of the state does extend quite a bit to the west of the ideal 112.5°W time-zone boundary location.

And finally, no, I just couldn't stay away from yet more conservative lies and hypocrisy. A certain Michael Weiner, who hosts the "Savage Nation" radio show and adopts the pseudonymous surname "Savage" on the air, loves to go on and on about his pathological hatred of liberals, immigrants, gay/lesbian people, and people of any non-white race. However, the fact that he can't even tell the truth about his own last name automatically discredits anything he has to say. I am considering going into one or more bookstores, locating his recent book Liberalism Is A Mental Disorder, and placing stickers that read "CONSERVATISM" over the first word of the title and "WEINER" over "Savage." It would be even better if I could lie to his call screener to get on the air, and then let the "Weiner Nation" know the truth.

Well, I'm starving, so it's time to get some food and bring this to an end.