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What Did We Do Before Clocks?

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A Brief History of Life Before Clocks

If you are like most people, you use clocks every single day, without exception. They are our life line to that thing called time, and they allow us to do many things. Firstly, they allow us to keep our jobs, by alerting us to when we need to leave home, and when we need to arrive at work. Secondly, they allow us to keep track of things; how long it took us to run a mile, what time we need to take the cake out of the oven—literally everything! Even Daylight Saving Time relies on clocks; clocks go forward, and clocks go back to keep us on track with the months. It is hard to imagine a place in time and history without clocks, but there was one.

Before Clocks: How Time Keeping Was Always Relevant

Since the early age of man, we have used many things to keep track of the days. Most prominent, before clocks were even a thought, were sun dials. A sun dial was a chart that had a number of carvings on it, in a circle, that could be used to tell the “time” of the day, how close to darkness the day was, what day of the week it was—they were used to tell a number of things. Sun dials were used in a very simple matter. Often they were built on stands, or pedestals. The triangular piece that stood up would act as a hand might on a clock face. As the day wound down, a shadow would pass over the face of the sun dial, created by the darkness of the setting sun. This would in turn shadow certain regions of the sun dial, which would then be used to “tell” the “time.”

Sands of Time: Hourglasses

Another common time piece, before the invention of the clock, was the hourglass; a figure eight shaped glass which would be filled with a measurement of sand. The section where the two halves of the glass met would be exceptionally thin so as to make the sand work its way slowly through the glass. The idea was that you could use the hourglass as a time keeping device. However, the sands that passed through these glass did not necessarily pass through in a predetermined amount of time, and often got stuck, making keeping time with an hourglass very difficult at times, and even very inaccurate to a great degree.

James Lawler is the author of WhenDoTheClocksGoForward.com, all of the dates times and information about when do the clocks go forward from 2012 to 2019 and beyond, including free email reminders for registered visitors.

 

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Perspective

So, I Don’t Have a Fireplace Anymore

Well, I guess technically I do, but it’s a propane thing we leave on the back patio for those evenings we want to keep our feet warm while we look at the stars.

My real wood burning fireplace was left when I gave my house of 23 years to my then wife and kids..

Let us just say that that house is where my friends Rob and Leslie shared life with us for years as we were all growing up to be “adults.”  Rob had his love that he worked so hard for, and I had mine.  We ended up marrying both of our “projects” and having lovely children and reasonably happy lives.  Probably far happier in retrospective, than they were while we were going through some of the trials, but isn’t that the way of life.  If anyone described childbirth accurately, nobody would ever have sex, but after its over, the memories are warm.

As far as Leslie is concerned, I’m surprised we stayed such good friends, as I called her Stephanie half the time.  Through the magic of FaceBook, we got to know each other again pretty well the past couple of years.

I am writing by the grace of Harrys Hof Brau, by the beautiful fireplace that they have provided. Today it is apparently exclusively for my self centered solace.  I am in shock.

I got the news today that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Leslie, has passed on.  She was not in the best of health, but the circumstances have left us all numb.  She was walking up a staircase, fell backwards and never recovered from her coma. She was in her 40’s with a loving husband and two wonderful kids. I was the “best man” at their wedding.  It is a pretty stark wakeup call, but if nothing else it helps put things in perspective.  It is skillful to consider these things when we are caught up in our own “shit.”

I sit in frustration for my current wife, as she desperately struggles to understand why my daughters, their aunts and uncles, etc. cannot get along long enough to have a holiday meal together. This is the kind of shit that would have occupied my thoughts for the majority of the day.

I also sit in humble appreciation, by the fireplace at Harry’s, that we have houses to invite people to, that we have reasonable health, and that we have good friends.  Especially when we lose one so suddenly and tragically, it makes all of the dribble regarding where we spend Thanksgiving seem incredibly inconsequential.

Be nice to people, hug everybody you see.  We have no idea when our number will be called, and if they went by merit I’d be long gone so count every day as another opportunity to make things right.  You might not ever get there, like I might not ever get there with ex in-laws or my girls, but one thing is for sure.  If you don’t try, you sure as hell won’t ever do it.

God be with you Les.  You will be missed by more than you can count. God be with those you left behind, because your absence will be felt more than you ever could have known.  I’ll miss your FB updates.  Love you ‘sis.

Her last post on FB http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElrHsX3ysIk&feature=share

 

 

 

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An Inspiring American Story – The Last of a Dying Breed of Craftsman?

Authors note:  There is something about this guy that just got to me.  This is real Americana.  His prices are fair, and the quality is great, but you have to hear his story.  If you have any Americans in the family, think about them at http://store.theleatherbeltshop.com/ for Christmas.

Hi, Bill here, Thank you from all of us here at theleatherbeltshop.com.   I started working leather at the age of ten with my grandfather.  I was raised on a dairy farm in Connecticut where my grandfather made all the leather tack, and saddles, not only for the farm, but for all the other farms around us.    After my grandfathers passing, I kept working leather untill i went in the Army.  After my time in the Army, I moved to California where i worked in construction.  I still worked with leather, making tool bags, belts, and holders for other construction workers i worked with.   After having to retire, I found it was hard to find top quality leather products.  I found “so called genuine leather” belts coming in from China, and other places made with a very thin piece of leather on top, and bottom, with cardboard or other things in between.  So I started theleatherbeltshop.com.   I was surprised to find so many looking for real leather belts.  There are now five of us here to serve you.  Our belts are made in the U.S.A. from U.S.A. products by Americans.   Thank you from all of us for keeping American working.    Bill, Allison, Christian, Pat, and Richard.

 

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