Friday, February 11, 2011

821 Let There Be Light

821 Let There Be Light

Bill the radio engineer liked to buy his equipment on the cheap. Not like it was his money, but it made him look good to the bean-counting boss. Sometimes, cheap was okay, sometimes not.

One of the nots was this tape recorder that reproduced voice and music and made it sound like fish gargling. We brought that to his attention and he showed us the specs. Perfect this, perfect that. Everything perfect. And then he hooked up his test equipment and showed us that the spec sheet was accurate.

But it still sounded like fish gargling.

You can’t always believe the specs.

This brings us to those corkscrew light bulbs with the mercury poison inside waiting to escape. If you break the bulb, you have to call a Hazmat team. But what doesn’t escape from these bulbs is... light.

You can make measurements from hell to breakfast, and read all the stats and even check them out. But like engineer bill’s tape recorder, the bulbs are the sight equivalent of gargling fish.

Never mind that they kind of have to warm up before they even gargle. Never mind that they (allegedly) last forever and a day. Never mind that they save all kinds of electricity. Try to read beneath one of them.

The day is fast approaching that we won’t be able to buy “regular” light bulbs. So, there goes the literacy rate. But we’ve saved the planet... those of us who haven’t contaminated it with mercury.

A planet of illiterates. Why? Because they can’t see to read.

Wait until they start using these things in hospital operating rooms, dental offices and baseball stadiums.

Dr. Billybob puts down his scalpel and takes off his mask. “I’m sorry. We couldn’t save him.” But doc, it was only a tonsillectomy. “Tonsillectomy? Then why did you let me amputate his leg?”

Bottom of the ninth. Three men on. Corkscrew lights giving the stadium a romantic glow. Here’s the pitch. He swings and misses. The umpire: “Ball three.” Here’s the pitch, he swings and hits it out of the park. “Ball four!”

The other extreme, of course, is Halogen. Plenty bright. And so hot your desk lamp can double as a cook stove or an instrument of arson.


--The unofficial but authorized NBC Alumni/Retiree Association, calls itself “Peacock North.” Wonder if they have to change 51% of the name what with the new majority ownership of the company. It’s hard to figure out why they call it “North” instead of “Peacock South,” since it seems like most of the members live in Florida and Arizona.

--Ever notice that there are some people at work and you don’t really know what they do but when they’re out nothing gets done? It’s important to identify these people and befriend them if you’re not one of them. And it’s equally important not to be one of them.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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