21 SEP 09: Not a Good Time
Look at a typical U.S. road map, and you'll find a time zone boundary runs along the border of Alabama and Georgia. Spend a little time in the Columbus area, and you'll learn that boundary isn't quite accurate. For one thing, there's no visible barbed wire in the middle of the Chattahoochee River at all.
From my years in the Columbus area, I've determined Phenix City operates on Eastern Time. So do most of Ladonia and Smiths Station. But Eufaula is on Central Time - and so is Roanoke, Alabama. I recall a minister from there saying on Atlanta radio years ago that his city is "one hour slower." And compared to Atlanta, Roanoke IS a slow small town.
But a series of billboards currently posted across Columbus raises another curious matter of time. Have you noticed what's wrong with the signs promoting the Tuskegee-Morehouse football game? I mean, other than the fact that Morehouse never seems to be mentioned first?
The billboards show the kickoff for the Tuskegee-Morehouse game as "2:00 EST." I'm sorry, but that's not accurate for about half the fans coming to Columbus for the game. And it's not clear which half is affected - although we know for sure that half will be rooting for Tigers to win.
The problem is that "EST" stands for Eastern Standard Time. On 10 October, Columbus won't be on standard time yet. We'll still be on EDT -- Eastern Daylight Time. But then again, the sign makers could have misspelled "East."
Let's assume the promoters meant the Tuskegee-Morehouse kickoff time to be 2:00 EDT. People coming from Tuskegee still should arrive at 2:00 EST - because that computes to 1:00 Central Daylight Time, based on our moving clocks ahead in March. Give yourself bonus points if you understand this without calling up "control panel" on your computer.
This is a common mistake I've noticed during my years in Columbus -- people putting "EST" on activities during spring and summer, when we're actually on daylight time. A simple "ET" for Eastern Time can suffice at any time of year. Maybe some people still are concerned people will see "extraterrestrial" in that abbreviation.
One other matter of time was stunning for me to see, as I arrived in Columbus. I spent an afternoon at a TV station which showed a program's time as 4:00, "5:00 Central." That's not accurate, either -- and part of me wondered if pointing out the error would help me get a job there.
If you don't get it, 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time is the same as 3:00 Central. I learned that from watching television as I grew up. So it was stunning to see a TV station show the time incorrectly - especially a station at the boundary of two time zones. Sometimes a short drive from Columbus to Opelika can be helpful....
Did you know part of Georgia once was on Central Time? This month marks 90 years since that changed -- but amazingly, Georgia history web sites show the Governor signed a bill putting the entire state on Central Time, not Eastern. Maybe this explains why Auburn alumni clubs exist as far east in Atlanta.
Let's stop the clock for now, and wrap up some weekend news....
+ Fort Benning hosted a "Kids Deployment Camp," allowing children of Third Brigade soldiers to handle weapons and learn about Iraq. It's a good thing Ramadan ended Sunday - because I'm sure none of those children would be willing to go without food from sunrise to sunset.
+ Fort Benning also held the final day of the All-Army Combatives tournament. I don't know if the Navy does this sort of thing - or whether sailors are instructed simply to throw banana peels on the decks of ships.
(Did you see the evening news, with Columbus Cottonmouth hockey players attending the combatives tournament? They're always looking for new moves to try on the ice next season....)
+ The Shrine Circus ended its annual weekend show at the Civic Center. Promoter Mark Cantrell told WTVM more than 10,000 people attended the Saturday performances alone. Hopefully they signed up to become fans of the Shriners' official web site -- you know, FezBook.
(The Shrine Circus promised all sorts of acts, including a woman shot out of a cannon. This is quite unusual for Columbus - because it's normally men ordering shots at the Cannon Brew Pub.)
+ The pleadings of Auburn broadcasters were ignored, as the Tigers failed to crack the major Top 25 college football polls. The coaches have them at #29 - so the theme this weekend against Ball State may be "I Love the 80s." As in points....
+ The Atlanta Falcons won their second game in a row by collaring Carolina 28-20. Teenage tennis sensation Melanie Oudin was honored at the Georgia Dome - and hopefully she appreciated all the overhand smashes, when Falcons players spiked the ball.
+ Instant Message to Kanye West: I counted three references to you at Sunday night's Emmy Awards. Maybe it's time to start your own reality show, so you can.... oh wait. "The Biggest Loser" is already taken.
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