Check your clocks. In case you forgot, we were all supposed to switch last night a month early to Daylight Savings Time.
Of course, with all the reminders about it, the switch might have been hard to miss - just like all the reminders that a presidential race is coming up.
But that campaign isn't just a month early, like Daylight Savings Time. It's nearly two years early.
What in the world is going on with all these campaign trips around the country from presidential candidates? Barak Hussein Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton are showing off their skills at mimicking their audiences' dialects, while Mitt Romney is already running radio ads.
People already detest the endless election cycle. This has taken it to a new, absurd extreme when the election won't even be held for 20 months.
That's long enough to really get sick of all the campaigning - and enough to make you want to turn the clock back, way back, to when campaigns didn't begin any earlier than the year in which the race takes place.
Campaigning also is under way for the special election to replace the late Charlie Norwood, of course, but the race for the 10th District seat in the U.S. House will be held pretty soon by modern standards: June 19.
State Sen. Jim Whitehead made a big splash last week by announcing a star-studded campaign staff that includes five members who worked for Norwood's campaign or office staff.
The challenge for many of the candidates for Charlie's seat, especially the Republicans, is to stake a claim as Norwood's political heir.
More than a few people have asked if Norwood voiced a preference for a successor prior to his Feb. 13 death. He didn't, as far as I know. But the gravitation of his staff toward Whitehead is akin to Norwood's political "family" picking their own heir.
Hopefully this settling of the political "estate" won't be as ugly as the solution of James Brown's will.
Harlem is a hit
Generally, I try to be neutral regarding Columbia County high school sports.
The paper sometimes is accused of favoring Greenbrier because the school wins so much and thus gets a lot of coverage. But we've got loyalties all over the place: I'm a graduate of Harlem, and attended Evans for a semester; several of the paper's staffers also are Evans grads, and sports writer Billy Byler is an Augusta Christian alum. My own kids have graduated from or attend Lakeside.
But when it comes to baseball, I've got to side with the Bulldogs. And boy, did the boys from Harlem climb a notch by beating the highly regarded Evans team last week.
These days, the rivalry between Greenbrier and Lakeside is a big deal, and Greenbrier-Evans was huge in basketball this year. But not so long ago there were only two high schools in Columbia County, and everything focused on the Harlem-Evans rivalries.
Changes in school populations have placed Harlem in a lower region classification than the county's other schools, so generally the smallest high school plays the others only as non-region contests.
But as Evans found out: Never underestimate a Harlem baseball team coached by Jimmie Lewis. Go Dogs!
Long-time News-Times readers who have followed the occasional columns of Martinez writer Pat Fickle were saddened this past week to hear of the sudden death of her husband, Jay.
Pat has often portrayed Jay as the stereotypical husband: Perhaps more interested in sports or television than household chores, but with a heart of solid gold.
Through her gentle goading, it was clear she loved him deeply, and I'm sure the loss is awfully hard. May God be with Pat and her family.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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