Sunday, April 3, 2016

Arlene Corwin writes

The Clocks Have Gone Ahead In Sweden 

The clocks have gone ahead in Sweden. 
We are already near the pole  - the North, 
Rotating round and near the sun. 
Can you imagine! 
Going daily toward a day 
That’s almost twenty-four light hours long. 
I sit here seven forty-five (that’s almost eight). 
It’s light!  
Exquisite clouds shine red, 
Reflecting sun through underside. 
One comprehends, yet doesn’t, since 
Just yesterday was darkening. We’d eaten dinner. 
Now I’m hungry and I’ve raided the refrigerator. 
One small hour means a lot. 

For those of you who’ve never been 
To Sweden in 
The spring when 
Clocks go daylight savings time – 
For those who only think of polar bears 
And Volvo cars, 
And Greta Garbo, 
Let me tell you, no, inform you, 
When the clock goes marching into March 
It doesn’t march, 
It springs 
To breathless beauty.

 Poster titled "VICTORY! CONGRESS PASSES DAYLIGHT SAVING BILL" showing Uncle Sam turning a clock to daylight saving time as a clock-headed figure throws his hat in the air. The clock face of the figure reads "ONE HOUR OF EXTRA DAYLIGHT". The bottom caption says "Get Your Hoe Ready!"


  1. Aktiebolaget Volvo, usually shortened to AB Volvo, is a Swedish multinational manufacturing company headquartered in Gothenburg. While its core activity is the production, distribution, and sale of trucks, buses and construction equipment, Volvo also supplies marine and industrial drive systems and financial services. Volvo Cars, also based in Gothenburg, has been a totally separate company since it was sold off in 1999, though the two companies still share the Volvo logo. Its parent company, SKF (Svenska Kullagerfabriken AB, later AB SKF), a bearing maker founded in Gothenburg in 1907, registered "Volvo" ("I roll" in Latin) as a trademark in 1911 for a new series of bearings but then decided to use "SKF" as the brand for all its bearings. Volvo was established as a subsidiary in 1915. In 1924, Assar Gabrielsson, an SKF sales manager, and Gustav Larson, an engineer, decided to start construction of a car that could withstand the rigors of the country's rough roads and cold temperatures.
    AB Volvo began activities in 1926, producing 10 prototypes, and the first Volvo ÖV 4 rolled out of the factory on 14 April 1927. Only 280 cars were built that year. The first truck, the "Series 1", debuted the following January 1928 and was an immediate success. In 1930, Volvo sold 639 cars and soon after began to export its trucks. Its first bus, the B1, was launched in 1934, and the firm acquired Pentaverken, which had manufactured Volvo engines, in 1935, providing not only a secure supply of engines but also entry into the marine engine market. Aircraft engines were added to the line-up early in the 1940s. In 1999, the European Union blocked a merger with Scania AB, and Volvo sold its car division to Ford Motor Company for $6.45 billion; Ford sold it to Geely Automobile of China for $1.8 billion in 1910. Volvo
    bought Renault Véhicules Industriels (which included Mack Trucks, but not Renault's stake in Irisbus) in 2001 and renamed it Renault Trucks; as part of the deal, Renault became AB Volvo's biggest shareholder with a 19.9% stake. From Nissan Motor Co Ltd., (part of the Renault-Nissan Alliance) AB Volvo acquired 13% of UD Trucks (formerly Nissan Diesel) in 2006 and took full control of the subsidiary in 2007. Renault began selling its stake in AB Volvo in 2010, completing the process in 2012, making the Swedish industrial investment group Aktiebolaget Industrivärden the largest shareholder.

  2. Two years before SKF's birth, Greta Lovisa Gustafsson was born in the Södermalm slum in Stockholm. "It was eternally grey — those long winter's nights.... Where we lived, all the houses and apartments looked alike, their ugliness matched by everything surrounding us." At 13 her formal schooling ended, a year before her father died, and she went to work as a soap-lather girl in a barbershop, then moved to the millinery department of the PUB department store, where she soon began modeling hats for its catalogs and then appeared in its film commercials. In 1922 she got a part in a short comedy and two years later landed her first leading role, in "The Saga of Gösta Berling," a dramatization of a novel by Nobel Prize winner Selma Lagerlöf, followed by a starring role in a German film, "Die freudlose Gasse" (The Street of Sorrow). And thus was born "Greta Garbo." Only 20 and unable to speak English, she traveled to Los Angeles, where Irving Thalberg, MGM's head of production, cast her in the 1926 hit film, "Torrent." She took the lead in a similar role in "The Temptress" later that year; due to poor management, it was the only early Garbo film to lose money even though it was one of the top-grossing films of the season. Garbo made eight more silent films, all of which were hits; profits from 1928's "A Woman of Affairs" made her MGM's top box office star, displacing Lillian Gish's long dominance.

  3. Because Garbo was suspicious and mistrustful of the media, and often at odds with MGM executives, she spurned Hollywood's publicity rules. Except at the start of her career, she rarely gave interviews (only 14 in her long life), signed no autographs, attended few movie-industry social functions, and turned down most requests for public appearances. In spite of her strenuous efforts to avoid publicity, paradoxically, she became one of the most publicized women in the world. Meanwhile, with the introduction of "talkies," the movie industry itself was in flux. Garbo's last silent film, "The Kiss" (1929), was also the last one for MGM. Late that year, she was cast in her first speaking role, in Frances Marion's adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's 1922 play, "Anna Christie," produced by Thalberg and Paul Bern. Sixteen minutes into the film, she uttered her first line, "Gimme a whiskey, ginger ale on the side, and don't be stingy, baby." The film premiered on 21 February 1930, publicized with the catchphrase "Garbo talks!", and became the year's highest-grossing film while garnering Garbo an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress (won, however, by Thalberg's wife, Norma Shearer). She followed up with a German version of the same play, but with a different cast and crew. Her roles in "Romance" (1930), "Inspiration" (1931), and "Susan Lenox (Her Fall and Rise)" (1931) solidified her position as the most popular movie actress in the United States. She played a World War I German spy in "Mata Hari" and a Russian ballerina in "Grand Hotel," MGM's highest-earning films of 1931 and 1932. She made one more film, "As You Desire Me" (1932) before her contract with MGM expired. After nearly a year of negotiations, she agreed to renew it, at $300,000 per film, on the condition that she would star in "Queen Christina," a movie that MGM was reluctant to make, with her former lover and silent-film co-star John Gilbert, whom MGM saw as a financially risky has-been. The film, written by H. M. Harwood and Salka Viertel, with dialogue by S. N. Behrman, was based on a story by Viertel and Margaret P. Levino, based loosely on August Stindberg's play "Kristina" and even more loosely on the life of Christina, Queen of the Swedes, Goths (or Geats) and Wends (Suecorum, Gothorum Vandalorumque Regina); Grand Princess of Finland; Duchess of Estonia, Livonia and Karelia; Duchess of Bremen-Verden; Duchess of Stettin; Duchess of Pomerania; Duchess of Cassubia; Duchess of Vandalia; Princess of Rugia; Lady of Ingria; and Lady of Wismar. She was the only surviving legitimate child of Gustav II Adolph, whom she succeeded at the age of six upon his death at the battle of Lützen. Her age in the film was the same as Garbo's, 28. The film was one of MGM's most lavish productions of the time, and received critical acclaim and box office triumph, becoming the year's highest-grossing movie. However, in the aftermath of its success, the type of historical and melodramatic films Garbo began to make on Viertel's advice, though highly successful abroad, were considerably less so in the US.

  4. In 1935, David O. Selznick wanted to cast her in "Dark Victory," but Garbo wanted to do Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" instead. Her performance won her the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, but it did not make the studio much profit. Her next project was "Camille" (1936), based on the same novel and play by Alexandre Dumas that had inspired Giuseppe Verdi's opera "La Traviata." Though it had already been filmed in English at least four times, it was a financial success and garnered Garbo another New York Film Critics Circle Award and another Academy Award nomination. This was followed by "Conquest" (1937), a Viertel adaptation about the Polish countess Marie Walewska, who became the mistress of Napoleon I in order to influence his actions towards her homeland. It was MGM's biggest and most-publicized movie of 1937, and another critical success, but its massive budget led to a loss of $1,397,000 even though it grossed $2,141,000 worldwide. This was followed by the comedy, "Ninotchka" (1938), a satire on Soviet lifestyles, another critical and commercial, but disappointing, success for which Garbo received her final Oscar nomination. Seeking to capitalize on Garbo's new image, MGM next cast her in the romantic comedy, "Two-Faced Woman" (1941), which she was to dub "my grave" in terms of its negative critical reaction, though it performed reasonably well at the box office. However, her films' profitability depended on the European market, so finding her a suitable vehicle was problematic for MGM due to economic depression and war. She signed a one-picture deal in 1942 to make "The Girl from Leningrad," but the project was abandoned. In 1948 she signed a contract with Walter Wanger, who had produced "Queen Christina," to shoot a picture based on Honoré de Balzac's "La Duchesse de Langeais," but the financing never materialized. Her screen tests for that movie were the last time Garbo stepped in front of a movie camera. Other offers were made in the 1940s, but Garbo, after acting in 28 movies, was ready to retire. "I was tired of Hollywood. I did not like my work. There were many days when I had to force myself to go to the studio... I really wanted to live another life." She was awarded an Academy Honorary Award "for her luminous and unforgettable screen performances" in 1954, but she did not show up at the ceremony, and the statuette was mailed to her New York address. In 1969, Luchino Visconti attempted to bring Garbo back to the screen with a small part in his adaptation of Marcel Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past," but to no avail. Garbo is closely associated with a line from "Grand Hotel": "I want to be alone." It became part of her mystique and was even lampooned in "Ninotchka," when Soviet emissaries asked her, "Do you want to be alone, comrade?" to which she replied, "No." She later said about her private life, "I never said, 'I want to be alone;' I only said, 'I want to be let alone.' There is a world of difference."

  5. To paraphrase Miss Garbo...There is a world of difference between an actress and a celebrity as well.

  6. Industrialized societies generally follow a clock-based schedule for daily activities that do not change throughout the course of the year. The time of day that individuals begin and end work or school, and the coordination of mass transit, for example, usually remain constant year-round. In contrast, an agrarian society's daily routines for work and personal conduct are more likely governed by the length of daylight hours and by solar time, which change seasonally because of the Earth's axial tilt. North and south of the tropics, daylight is longer in summer and shorter in winter, the effect becoming greater as one moves away from the tropics. Although they did not fix their schedules to the clock in the modern sense, pre-industrial peoples adjusted daily schedules to the sun more flexibly than DST does, often dividing daylight into twelve hours regardless of day length, so that each daylight hour was longer during summer. For example, Roman water clocks had different scales for different months of the year: at Rome's latitude the third hour from sunrise started at 09:02 solar time and lasted 44 minutes at the winter solstice, but at the summer solstice it started at 06:58 and lasted 75 minutes. Eventually, though, equal-length civil hours prevailed, so civil time no longer varies by season (though unequal hours are still used in a few traditional settings, such as Jewish ceremonies and some Mount Athos monasteries).

  7. Daylight saving time (DST) or "summer time" is the practice of advancing clock time in the summer so evening daylight lasts longer. Typically, this is done close to the start of spring, and clocks are readjusted to standard time in the autumn. Clock shifts are usually scheduled near a weekend midnight to lessen disruption to weekday schedules. A one-hour shift is customary, but Australia's Lord Howe Island uses a half-hour shift, and 20-minute and two-hour shifts have also been used. The manipulation of time at higher latitudes has little impact on daily life, because the length of day and night changes more extremely throughout the seasons (in comparison to other latitudes), and thus sunrise and sunset times are significantly out of phase with standard working hours regardless of time adjustment. DST is also of little use near the equator, because these regions see only a small variation in daylight in the course of the year. Most of the world does not use DST, but it is common in Europe and North America. Muslim countries in general do not use DST, in part since it would delay the evening meal during Ramadan, the holy month when no food is eaten between sunrise and sunset.

  8. In 1784, while serving as envoy to France during the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin (known for the maxim, "Early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise") humorously suggested that Parisians economize on candles by rising earlier to use morning sunlight; he also proposed taxing shutters, rationing candles, and waking the public at sunrise by ringing church bells and firing cannons. At the time, Europe did not even keep precise schedules, so his comments had little practical meaning, but the rail and communication networks that soon came about required a standardization of time unknown in Franklin's day. In 1895 entomologist George Hudson of New Zealand, whose shift-work job gave him leisure time to collect insects and led him to value after-hours daylight, was the first to actually propose the idea of daylight saving, in a paper to the Wellington Philosophical Society proposing a two-hour shift. In 1905 the English builder William Willett, an avid golfer who disliked cutting short his round at dusk, observed during a pre-breakfast ride that Londoners slept through a large part of a summer's day. Two years later he published a proposal to advance the clock during the summer; a Member of Parliament, Robert Pearce introduced a Daylight Saving Bill to the House of Commons on February 12, 1908, and a select committee was set up to examine the issue. The proposal attracted many supporters, including former prime minister Arthur James Balfour, future prime ministers Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George, and Ramsay MacDonald, king Edward VII (who used half-hour DST at his home in Sandringham), the managing director of Harrods, and the manager of the National Bank. However, the opposition included the current prime minister H. H. Asquith, the Astronomer Royal, the director of the Meteorological Office, many agricultural organizations, and theater owners. After many hearings the proposal was narrowly defeated in parliamentary committee in 1909 (the same year the US briefly considered the matter). Similar bills were introduced every year from 1911 through 1914, to no avail, despite Willett's active lobbying for the measure until his death in 1915. For two years, 1911-12, Orillia, Ontario, Canada, experimented with the practice, but Germany and Austria-Hungary were the first countries to organize nationwide implementation of Sommerzeit, starting on April 30, 1916, during World War I, to reduce the use of electricity needed for incandescent lights and thus conserve coal and to relieve hardships caused by air raid blackouts. The UK followed suit on on May 21, and most of its allies, and many European neutrals, did likewise; Russia and a few other countries waited until the next year; and the United States adopted it in 1918, after its entry into the war, but Congress repealed DST after 1919; Woodrow Wilson, an avid golfer, vetoed the repeal twice, only to have his second veto overridden. New York retained DST locally, so its financial exchanges could maintain an hour of arbitrage trading with London, and to keep pace, Chicago and Cleveland also kept it. The next president, Warren G. Harding, called DST a "deception" and ordered federal employees in the District of Columbia to start work at 08:00 rather than 09:00 during the summer of 1922. The UK retained DST nationwide but adjusted transition dates for various reasons, including special rules during the 1920s and 1930s to avoid clock shifts on Easter mornings. But most other countries (except Canada, France, Ireland, and a few other places) abandoned it after the war; it was sometimes reintroduced in the following decades, and commonly during the Second World War. Single/Double Summer Time (SDST) is a variant in which clocks are one hour ahead of the sun in winter and two in summer; double daylight saving time was employed in parts of Europe during and shortly after World War II, when it was referred to as "Double Summer Time."

  9. Before 1996 the rules were not uniform across the European Union, but since then European Summer Time has been observed from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October, and the shift occurs simultaneously, at 01:00 UTC or 02:00 CET or 03:00 EET. Starting in 2007, most of the United States and Canada observe DST from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, almost two-thirds of the year, shifting at 02:00 local time (and Hawaii and most of Arizona do not observe DST at all). The 2007 change in the US was part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005; previously, from 1987 through 2006, the start and end dates were the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October. Proponents for permanently retaining November as the month for ending DST point to Halloween as a reason to delay the change, in order to provide extra daylight on October 31. Beginning and ending dates are roughly the reverse in the southern hemisphere. For example, mainland Chile observes DST from the second Saturday in October to the second Saturday in March, with transitions at 24:00 local time. In the past, Australian districts did not always agree on start and end dates; for example, in 2008 most DST-observing areas shifted clocks forward on October 5, but Western Australia shifted on October 26. Some countries observe it only in some regions; for example, southern Brazil observes it, while equatorial Brazil does not. Winston Churchill argued that it enlarges "the opportunities for the pursuit of health and happiness among the millions of people who live in this country," but opponents have dubbed it "Daylight Slaving Time." Putting clocks forward benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours, but it can cause problems for outdoor entertainment and other activities tied to sunlight, such as farming, and it sometimes complicates timekeeping, disrupting travel, billing, record keeping, medical devices, heavy equipment, and sleep patterns. A 2008 Swedish study found that heart attacks were significantly more common the first three weekdays after the spring transition, and significantly less common the first weekday after the autumn transition. Another adverse effect is that an a larger portion of morning rush hour traffic occurs before dawn, when traffic emissions cause higher air pollution than during daylight hours. A common strategy to resolve DST-realted problems in computer systems is to express time using the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) rather than the local time zone. And some clock-shift problems could be avoided by adjusting clocks continuously or at least more gradually -- for example, Willett at first suggested weekly 20-minute transitions. Advocates of "permanent daylight saving time" cite the same advantages as normal DST without the problems associated with the twice yearly time shifts. However, opponents remain unconvinced of the benefits, citing the same problems and the relatively late sunrises, particularly in winter, that year-round DST entails. It has been implemented in some jurisdictions, such as Argentina, Chile, Iceland, Singapore, Uzbekistan, Russia, and Belarus, but often by skewing time zones westward. Conversely, northeast India and a few other areas skew time zones eastward, in effect observing negative DST. The United Kingdom and Ireland experimented with year-round DST from 1968 to 1971 but abandoned it because of its unpopularity, particularly in northern regions.


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