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14 Hours, 25 Minutes

Saturday is the summer solstice--the longest day of the year. In Orange County, that's 51,900 seconds between sunrise and sunset. You can't do anything about it, so what are you going to do with it?

June 20, 1997|DAVE WIELENGA | FOR THE TIMES

Almost anything you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.

--Mahatma Gandhi

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No, 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.

Tomorrow is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. In Orange County, that translates into 14 hours and 25 minutes--some 51,900 seconds--between sunrise and sunset. This is the summer solstice.

"It is?" asks Lani Garrison, 33, of Irvine, epitomizing the reaction of most people presented with that meteorological revelation. "Wow. I didn't know that. Thanks."

The summer solstice comes to us, like everything else, courtesy of 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 north of the equator.

Garrison, like most everybody else, would love to make the most of tomorrow's extra daylight.

"There's a lot of stuff I've got to get done that I never seem to get to," she acknowledges, explaining that between working part time as a hairdresser at Salon Gregories in Newport Beach and mothering her 5-year-old daughter, Tallulah, her schedule is pretty tight.

As it turns out, however, Garrison and her husband, Scott, already have other plans.

"We're going to barbecue," she reports.

And so it will go across the county--and, probably, the hemisphere--again this year. Although we're constantly planning and snipping and shifting and cramming our schedules, ostensibly to wring the most out of every minute, there is rarely any special consideration given to June 21.

If time really were money, everybody would be up with the sun tomorrow at 5:43. If there really was 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 the sun goes down tomorrow at 8:08. If time really were of the essence, the day would be the annual occasion of our most consequential accomplishments.

But a search of June 21sts through the years, in the microfilmed copies of old newspapers at the Santa Ana Public Library and on the Web site of the History Channel, turned up a paucity of significant events:

June 21st 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, West Virginia, that went 87 rounds.

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

The Santa Ana YMCA, declaring that it was "convinced that many persons in the city and county are not quite satisfied with their ability to remember," in 1937 began a campaign on to help Orange County residents improve their memories.

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 June 21, 1977.

In 1987, the big news on June 21 was the double-bill rap concert by the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa.

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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Tim Mead, assistant general manager of the Anaheim Angels, knows how he'll spend the longest day of the year.

"I'll be watching the Angels play the Oakland A's, hopefully getting as light a look as possible at their pitching staff," joked Mead, 39, who won't be getting up with the sun but isn't apologizing. "With the length of games these days, I may be going to bed at 5:43 a.m."

Bottom line, the extra light at the end of our tunnel tomorrow is a matter of individual perspective.

"If a person is hard driving and keeps tabs on pacing and discipline, that person might try to cram more into this day," says Linda Lifur-Bennett of Orange, who has been practicing pediatric and family psychology for 15 years. 'If somebody is more easygoing and flexible, chances are that a little-bit-longer day is not going to have an impact."

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