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A Long Day's Journey Into Wasting More Time

Summer: Saturday is the longest day of the year, but you don't have to do more

June 20, 1997|DAVE WIELENGA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

As a matter of fact, there aren't enough hours in the day to get it all done, but please don't be offended at the suggestion that you probably wouldn't know what to do with more time, anyway.

Confront the mildew that is creeping across the bathroom tile? Alphabetize the CD collection? Sort through the shoe box of paperwork that forced you to file for an income tax extension? Peel the Bob Dornan sticker from the bumper?

Well, get to it. Time has come.

Saturday is the longest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere. Here, that translates into 14 hours and 25 minutes--some 51,900 seconds--between sunrise and sunset. This is the summer solstice.

The summer solstice arrives, like everything else, courtesy of the Earth's revolution around the sun. Because the planet tilts on its axis, the angle of the sunlight differs during the journey. June 21 is the date that sunlight strikes the Earth at its northernmost position--along the Tropic of Cancer--thus producing the most daylight of the year for anyplace located north of the equator.

If time really were money, everybody would be up with the sun tomorrow at 5:43. If there really were a direct correlation between the hours in a day and the tasks we performed, there wouldn't be much left to do by the time it went down tomorrow at 8:08.

If time really were of the essence, the day would be the annual occasion of our most consequential accomplishments. A check of the records, please:

* June 21 is the anniversary of patents awarded to Cyrus McCormick for the first reaping machine in 1834 and to Andrew Lanergan for the first rocket in 1859.

* In 1880, Paddy Ryan won the world heavyweight boxing title from Joe Goss in a bout at Colliers Station, W.Va., that went 87 rounds.

* Georgia Broadwick jumped out of an airplane above Los Angeles in 1913 to become the first recorded woman skydiver.

* Long-playing records, the 12-inch vinyl platters with 23 minutes of music to a side, were introduced by Columbia Records in 1948.

* The Pacific Coast Conference was reorganized on this date in 1957.

* In 1967, Seal Beach police began preparations for dealing with a hippie love-in that was convened in that city by self-described flower children to welcome the Summer of Love.

* The Alaskan Oil Pipeline, an 800-mile, 10-year, $7.7-billion project to transport crude from that state's north slope to is southern ports, was completed on June 21, 1977.

With that kind of a track record, saving the rain forests or achieving world peace will probably have to wait at least one more day.

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