Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hero of the Week for 12/30/13

Even though my last hero was only awarded recently, I decided that this week deserves it's own hero of the week, so here it goes. The hero of the week award goes to the soon to be gone incandescent light bulb, or in the common vernacular - light bulb. You had a pretty good run light bulb. Edison knew very well what he was doing when his researchers developed the first viable commercially available light bulb. With a single stroke, he saved millions of lives from a death by a fire caused by overturned oil lamps or candles. If Mrs O'Leary had been milking by a light bulb rather than oil lamp, the Chicago Fire may never had happened!

Like I think most people, the light bulb has always been a source of comfort for me. Where there is light, there is warmth, and where there is warmth there is life. I can recall many times while hunting on my grandfather's farm, coming in at dusk and seeing the porch light that my grandmother always made sure was on to greet us. That light meant that there was a fire going in the fireplace, steak or fried chicken on the table, and, if the season was right, a game on the TV. I can also remember nights of sickness where a warm incandescent light bulb was the only thing I had to keep me company in a night of misery. The light bulb is therefore more than a utilitarian item for me, it is symbolic a simpler way of life. 2014, and this first week of it, will mark the end of the light bulb, not because it has outlived it's usefulness, but because of corrupt politicians and unprincipled corporate leadership engineered its demise. Join me in cursing them in the darkness or by candlelight.

That being said, the demise of the light bulb will probably not effect me very much as long as I remain firmly eschewed in the upper middle class. While the cost of the CREE replacement bulb is approximately ten times as much, it remains affordable for me. We go through maybe 5 light bulbs a month in my household. That translates to monthly cost of $5 or so. Since CREEs are about ten times more costly than normal light bulbs, that part of the budget went from $60 to $600 per year. Suffice it to say that won't break the bank for me. The ones who will be hit the hardest by this are of course the poor. They actually do have to buy the new bulbs or curse in the darkness. I predict that when the supplies of incandescent run out in a few months, there will be a great amount of darkness cursing going on. Meanwhile, the folks in China and Asia will be laughing their asses off at us and lit up like a Christmas tree.


"Better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness"

(lighting a candle for the poor)

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