Let There Be Light

Let there be light!

For a while I used to annoy my mom, whenever she asked me to turn on the light by saying “Fiat Lux” while doing it.  Anyway..

Other than my twerpy teen self, moving right along,

Yesterday I indulged in an annual fun trip and Dan and I went to the botanic gardens to see blossoms of light, their winter illumination show.

First, I must now be full blown introvert.  Well, I think I always was, because first week of school used to exhaust me so much I slept all the time I wasn’t in school, but I was more used to enduring human contact than now that I’m a bummish writer who spends most of her time in her office with imaginary friends.

I found I enjoyed the light show much less this year when it was warm and really busy than last year, when it was bitter cold, and the gardens were — therefore — almost empty.

But all the same, it’s a beautiful experience, all that light, in the darkness of mid-winter, and it is in many ways amazing.


Well, when i was a kid, if you could have transported 10 year old Sarah there, she’d never have wanted to leave.  You might have to knock her out to drag her away.

I remember being starved for light.

Sure, we had electricity, but it mostly amounted to either a light in the middle of the ceiling, lost in a vast realm of shadows, or little side lamps that put out as much light as a night light.

I remember walking through the dark to my grandmother’s house, and CRAVING light.

I remember dad taking me to the lighting of the lights in downtown Porto and thinking it was magical (and by our standards it wasn’t lit up at all.)


You usually can see the Hoyt house from space.

I have a tendency to turn on every light, and not want to turn them off.

At this season, I could just drive around the most gaudy neighborhoods and revel.  Too much is not enough.  Give me light.

In the whole extent of mankind, we are so incredibly fortunate to live now, when we have the technology and the the wealth to turn night into day, to fill the darkness with dazzling light.

Yes, I do understand “light pollution” can keep you from seeing the stars, though calling it pollution is silly.  It’s not like it sticks around when the source is turned off.

But if you really crave seeing the stars either move out in the middle of nowhere, or drive there now and then.  Don’t try to make everyone keep in the dark for your benefit.

As for “earth hour” when you turn off every light, don’t talk to me about that abomination.  These people’s ancestors’ who huddled in the dark waiting for day break would slap the ignorant idiots for heresy.

Light IS civilization.  Arguably we became modern humans once we controlled fire, once we came near the fire.  Even our domestication of animals like the cat, can be described as “they came close to the human fire.”

Those people who hate light, hate civilization.  And where they get to rule, you get the dark poverty of North Korea.

While I live, I’ll strive to live in the light, to make light (real and metaphorical) and to carry light with me.

For each of us, and for our species as a whole, it will be dark enough in the grave.

While we live, let’s live in light.

Fiat Lux.

266 thoughts on “Let There Be Light

  1. Happy first night of Channukah to you, too.

    “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham”
    “A Great Miracle Happened There”

      1. Yes, I failed to tick the box on the first comment. Got it the second comment, however! This third one is merely gratuitous. Donuts and latkes for me tonight, huzzah!!!!

      1. It’s interesting how distinct and obvious some of the metropolitan areas are. The Salt Lake City and Denver-Colorado Springs areas are little splashes of light among a sea of dark, while Saint Louis and Kansas City stand out as larger bright spots among a bunch of smaller bright spots. Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth are large splotches. The Northeast Corridor cities, on the other hand, kind of run together.

        1. There’s a type of map called a “dark map” for people who like to stargaze. There’s a decent amount of dark in the Sierras, though there is a lot of spillover from the foothills. The closest reasonable “true dark” to me is in Oregon, southeastern corner.

          Of course, as someone who is nearsighted, I have a tendency to squint at the stars even with glasses on. 😉

    1. Currently going through my head:

      A desperate attempt by my imagination to fit “fiat” into the lyrics “let it be, let it be, let it be oh let it be, whispered words of wisdom let it be…..”

      1. My favorite Lucas experience is when I had a tail-light wire short out to the metal(!) cable clamp. The light switch blew to protect the fuse.

        I’ve been less than impressed with VW electrics, and my ’75 Toyota had a few connecters that didn’t get properly seated at assembly. Driving without defrogging fan power was more interesting than fun.

        1. The electronics in the engine compartment of my old VW bus (may it rust in peace) would catch fire fairly regularly. I never did figure out where the problem was. I remember giving a ride to a friend once when it happened.

          “Um… that’s a lot of smoke. Is there something wrong?” Quoth pretty girl.
          “Hmm…” I replied as I pulled over, “Wait right here.”
          I got out, went around back and opened the hatch.
          Upon my return “No, no problem.” I re-started the engine and we continued on our way.
          “Was that a fire extinguisher I heard?”

          And then there was that time the horn button shorted out… MMEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!! It felt like it took me forever to get that racket to stop (it was probably only a couple minutes). After that, I just had to short the hanging wire to ground to beep the horn. LOL! Good times. Someone shoot me if I ever get the hankering to fix up an old VW Bus again!

          1. I’ve known several people who loved and cared for old Beetles or VW Busses. And I can sort of understand, because I’ve loved a clunky thing or two in my time. But I have to say that both vehicles strike me as about what I would expect out of a Socialist German government; functional, underpowered, undercomfortable, and tinny.

            Unlike the East Germans, the West Germans got over it. Oh, VW has produced some notorious clunkers, as what car company has not? I think the appeal of the Bug and the Bus was the feel that somebody wih a medium stized toolbox, and medium sized talen, could fix them at least as well as they were gonna be. They weren’t quite in the category of a Russian car like a Lada; they weren’t badly made disposable junk. They were cheaply made enduring junk.

            1. We used to have a friend of the family who had two VW bugs. Generally only one was working at a time, and he would drive the other while the first had parts on order. He was a pretty short man, actually, and he liked tinkering, so it worked out pretty well.

              1. Sounds like the cosmic law of sports cars (especially British). If you have two, at least one will be down for repairs at any given time. Only had one at a time (an MG and a Triumph), but the ratio of up to downtime tended to validate the cosmic law.

            2. Cheap easy to fix enduring junk have their uses, and getting completely rid of that kind of stuff is not good. Not for the poor anyway. Especially to those poor who are trying to get away from poverty, for them being able to buy, for example, an easy to fix enduring junk car may be the necessary step to find a job somewhere a bit further away when none are to be found where they could go with a bus or bike or by foot, and then maybe from that get a bit better job, and then maybe something even better, and then maybe they can get a bit better car too. And so on.

              So I do think that we should keep on making that kind of things. Because some people need them and due to that there is a market. Sometimes you do need cheap, especially if it is cheap but enduring, in order to get somewhere where you no longer need it.

              But, yep, forcing everybody to settle for cheap junk is not good either.

              (And btw, I have to object on what you say of Lada. The brand had its ups and downs, and while it maybe had more downs some of their models are in the enduring junk category. I have had a few, and I kind of miss the Niva. Pretty easy to fix and actually pretty decent 4×4 car on bad roads and off roads, for its price anyway. Horrible to drive on higher speeds and you should probably have used ear protection though…)

              1. Cash for Clunkers was a horrible program for pretty much that reason. It took servicable old cars out of the market and forced the price of smaller used cars way up. In my area, a 10 year old car might be considered “new” and it took those out of circulation. Especially the way they forced the engines to be destroyed, thus making it all the harder to keep a clunker on the road. To sell new cars. And they call us fascists. @#$%^!!!!

                    1. Pretty sure the idea was aimed a places that the car union destroyed— I mean, worked for.

                      But even when you take options away, you can’t get blood from a stone.

  2. The Huntsville botanical gardens does a holiday light show drive through every season. Stay in your warm car, proceed at about 5mph creeping along while enjoying upwards of a hundred separate displays of lights and decorations. Price is five bucks per car so cheap family entertainment. Usually takes better part of an hour.
    On the other hand, isn’t one of our Special Ops groups favorite sayings “We Own the Night!” Of course state of the art night vision goggles do make a considerable difference in that regard.

    1. Virginia Beach does the same thing on the beach. Loads of Christmas/holiday light setups, as you drive slowly from one end of the boardwalk to the other. It’s pretty fun.

    2. Saw those about 5 years ago. Awesome! Their moving sculpture exhibits this year were pretty neat too; with some very interesting visual effects.

  3. “At this season, I could just drive around the most gaudy neighborhoods and revel. Too much is not enough.”

    I’m with you on this. In general, I think that as a child who has never known anything but the civilization of light, I’m a little more fond of the dark than you are: driving through Wyoming or the very northern parts of Colorado at night to see the stars is one of my “places of power” as we were talking about the other day.

    However, when it comes to Christmas lights, I can’t get enough. As far as I’m concerned, feel free to light up your house like a Vegas casino. If it’s part of the joy of celebrating the season, there’s no amount that can make it kitschy.

    1. feel free to light up your house like a Vegas casino
      All I ask is that you let me sleep. Keep it low enough I can actually block the light with blinds/curtains. Or turn them off at a decent hour. 🙂

      1. “Officer, I’d like to complain about my neighbor’s lights.”

        “Did you close your blinds to block the light?”

        “You don’t understand, there’s no windows on that side of the house!”

        1. You must live near [address redacted] too!

          Please, please, if you want a halogen security light, please angle it down toward your driveway and front door, not straight out. Please. And for the love of everything lovable, do not set your motion-detector so that cars on the cross street at the end of the block trigger it, let alone people walking on the other side of the street from the house. Some of us do not enjoy walking or driving while night-blind.

          1. In my basement is a tube. A laser tube. A CO2 laser tube. Of Israeli manufacture. I do have a nice high voltage transformer that would likely pair well with it. No gas, though (it’s not just CO2). But I have thought that if it came to it… firing it up to ‘accidentally’ zap a problem lamp has a certain appeal. Not sure it would have the needed range.. and I’d rather not be around when it was operating, even if only for a moment, so aiming would need be.. well.. premeditated. Alas.

            1. Don’t think you’ll get the wattage needed. I’d look into the solid state ones you can order and see about bundling multiples, or what their max output on overload is. Might self destruct when used, but so do bullets for that matter.

                1. The IDF tends to use silenced .22’s to turn out the lights when they need to. Your way has style, though.

      1. There exists software that you can use to rig up your Xmas lights like this… it responds to whatever music you play, tho is apparently configurable. Only know about it cuz a guy in my former town did it.

        And a little cheer from a few blocks away… first year I went, the high desert had just had one of its rare snows.

        1. DMX controller tied to multiple dimmer packs. Some DMX controllers have software interfaces, I learned stage lighting the old school way so I prefer physical sliders.

            1. You still need a program like LightJockey, or one of it’s cheaper clones to run the DMX interface.

              Martin sells a USB to DMX controller specifically for LightJockey, but it’s hellish expensive, or you can pick up a Chinese clone of the LightJockey box for about $100. Not that Old Tucson would do something like that…

              There are cheaper ones out there, I bought one for $35 that came with “free” controller software, but the software stopped interfacing with the dongle during tech rehersals for a community theater show, so I went and bought a physical 4 channel DMX controller.

    2. In one of Tucson’s neighborhoods, Winterhaven, it’s part of the CCRs to put up lights for Christmas, some do the bare minimum, others add music, animitronics, DMX controlled lights, etc. I noticed one house this year had a lit 20’+ tree framework with a “Danger: High Voltage” sign.

    3. There’s two local programmed light shows. Unfortunately, they’re on opposite sides of the city. The one near me, Lights at the Ranch, only operates three days a week in an attempt to placate the neighbors, but it’s the most incredible programmed show I’ve seen in person. (Not to mention that, as a semi-rural location, the lights are across what would be four or five house-widths in a suburban location.) It’s drive-through only, no sidewalks. I’ve looked for a video but the only one I’ve got is from two years ago, only shows a fraction of the display, and he’s added a lot since then, including animatronic snowmen. I really need to put a fish-eye lens on to record some of that.

      The one on the other side doesn’t have annoyed neighbors, though it is suburban, but they do have a redwood incorporated into the display. (Redwoods are NOT suburban trees, but that doesn’t stop people from planting them. I do not envy them their plumbing issues.) And you can park and walk up to watch.

  4. Above the mirror in our bathrooms we have 4 100 watt equivalent (150 if we can find them) “daylight” color temp bulbs. That’s 4 each. Generally, every other light in the house will be the brightest that will fit.

    I likes my light.

    Unless, of course, I go completely dark. (Athena went through a very brief “afraid of the dark phase”. I told her to make friends with the dark. “Why?” she asks. “Because,” I answer, “it’s easier to sneak up on your enemies and make them softly and silently vanish away.”)

    1. “You want to paint pictures like that, you need to use some dark colors.” Morgan Freeman, in the role he was always meant to play. 😉

      It’s the interplay of light and dark that creates interest. Kind of a real world chiaroscuro.

    2. There are some times and places I want “just enough” light. While I prefer 4000K for most things… the lamp on the nightstand is lower lumen and downright candle-like in color – only without the flicker. Very nice reading/pre-sleep lamp. And the windows are covered.. once the lights are out, I want it dark.

      1. I’ve never understood that. If my eyes are closed, it’s dark enough. If I happen to be under a really bright light, I just pretend I’m sunbathing and fall asleep to nice dreams of beaches.

        1. It’s not so much the light level itself as the consistency of it. While asleep or attempting sleep, I’ve no need of lighting (though the projection clock is nice to readily see the time without moving much). I do find I sleep better without much light, but real distraction was in the wakeful-to-sleep phase where those nice small puffy cumulus clouds on a nice but not quite clear day block the sun on and off. That’s enough change in light level it could be distracting and annoying which prolongs the sleepward journey.

        2. There’s been research on light in kids’ rooms at night. Turns out more light is well-correlated with more and worse myopia. Might be eyes need true rest (ie. darkness) to develop properly.

          1. And now I wonder if the fluorescent lamp on the headboard might have contributed some. Not all, as it is familial. Alas, I did not get my father’s eyes, but my mother’s.

      2. $SPOUSE has complained that the kitchen lights illuminate the bedroom; despite the (poorly installed and fitted closed door). I need to replace that door; yet another round tuit project. The light wakes up my wife and one or both of the dogs. Of course, if the Border Collie wakes up first, she invokes her motto: “If I can’t sleep, nobody else will”.

        Since I usually wake up 2-3 hours before everybody else, it’s an issue.
        Finally figured out that if I open the pantry door to block the light and use only the range hood lights, there’s no spillover. So, unless I make too much noise in the morning, it’s fine. Cooking breakfast is interesting, but I’m getting used to doing it Lucas style.

        1. I’m quite proficient at making breakfast in the 80% dark, just using ambient appliance light. Bugs Mom and DadRed because they don’t see [pun intended] how I can do it. Cereal. Bowl. Milk. Some assembly required. Easy enough.

          1. The potato/mushroom scramble is tricky; first I have to figure out if there’s green under the skin. Potatoes are a big crop around here, but the really good ones get shipped out. The range hood lights put out just enough, or else I’ll wait until we have some daylight. Doesn’t hurt that the view out of the kitchen window is absolutely gorgeous.

  5. For years I’ve looked out at cityscapes at night and thought, “Wow, we have so many photons we can throw them away into space.” I just hope they never attract alien predators who make it dangerous to illuminate ourselves.

    Some years ago, I read a historical paper on changing standards of illumination. There are records from around 1800 that describe rooms with lots of candles as having a blaze of light. But those candles were about 1 candlepower each, or 12.56 lumens. A dozen of them came to 151 lumens. A cheap little 60 watt incandescent bulb gives around 900! So even by the inferior light of our childhood we were accustomed to easily seeing details that people in Jane Austen’s day had to squint to make out.

    And now we have more light than that. We just replaced out bathroom bulbs with LED bulbs that get us up to 2400 lumens. It no longer feels like a cave! If that level of light becomes standard, we’re going to get used to noticing even smaller details.

    I don’t always remember when it’s Earth Day, but when I do, I observe it by turning on every light in the apartment for half an hour. (Well, I don’t leave the refrigerator door open, but you get the idea. . . .)

    1. 800 lumens is ‘normal,’ actually, and can go as low as 500 for some of the incandescent– or top out at 900– and don’t get me started on the CFLs failing to actaully REACH their advertised brightness…..

      We’re switching to LEDs, so I was pretty sure the 900 was high. 😀 (Also, man is it hard to find higher than 60. The whole POINT was that the people who designed this house apparently went on the theory of “if you can’t see the dirt, you don’t have to clean.”

      1. I’ve given up on local sources and gone Amazon for LED bulbs. I can get the wattage equivalents I desire (mostly) and the color temperature I desire (more often, anyway). Local places have two kinds of bulb: too yellow and too blue. And then wonder why they don’t get business.

            1. I can reach 3 Home Depots and 3 Ace Hardwares within 10 minutes in a circle.
              Location, location, location ….

              1. That’s great if you are alright with that much city and all. I suspect it would me itchy. Big Cities, to me, seem much like ionizing radiation: Useful, but prolonged exposure is unhealthy.

            1. Home Depot is getting much better at LED selections. Usually, it’s 2700K or 500K color temperature, but I’m seeing a few bulbs at 400K now. Also getting some high brightness bulbs, too.

              FWIW, Costco now has LED shop lights on sale for 19.99 for a 48″ fixture. I bought a half dozen to get the barn/shop a bit brighter. Not having to climb ladders to replace fluorescent tubes is a plus. IIRC, the fixtures are about 40W total, 4000K color temp, and 2700 lumens. I like the fact that they are at full brightness right away.

              1. Yes, it’s great not having to change out bulbs so often. I foresee one day the Light Bulb Joke going…

                How many $GROUP does it take to change a light bulb?
                Change a light bulb?

        1. Yellow or amber lighting is good for the couple of hours before bedtime — it helps you get better-quality sleep (somewhat mimics firelight to the eyes, and thus, through the pineal gland, the brain). Maybe you could use those in your bedside lamps or wherever you spend the last couple of hours before you go to sleep.

            1. I recollect me an article in the Wall Street Journal in the early days of adoption (back when it was voluntary) of CFL lighting, reporting that a number of guys were installing them in bedside lamps and finding their spouses more than miffed by the yellowish-green tinge those lights cast.

              In our house BR lamps get pink tinted bulbs because that space ought always have a rosy glow.

          1. This is good advice. My bedroom lights are more of an amber color, and it has helped me sleep. My last place, it was fluorescent lights. Very much not the best idea.

        2. I’ve had best results with the generics from Walmart. While nominally identical to the expensive ones, the generics have more light output, better color, and faster response time.

      2. The built-in fixtures in this house were limited to 60W incandescent bulbs but will obviously accept higher-rated CFLs (phooey) and LEDs (well, all right) which allows for brighter lighting. Still aren’t finding the color temperature palettes desired. We liked the GE Reveal chroma and none others seem to meet their standards.

        Given upstairs hallway and hall bath seem to have been cross-wired and tended to burn out incandescent bulbs in next to NO time, we’ve been happy to switch to alternative lighting in those areas where it made sense. That bathroom used to get decent longevity from fan light bulbs, but the last cycle went through about three in a month; I searched Amazon for robust incandescent replacement and found one that has lasted many moons now, hooray. (I like at least one bulb in the array that comes ON when I flick the switch while the other three can be allowed to consider how bright they wish to be.)

        1. Girls’ room. Designed with a fan that accepts three 40w-max candelabra lights, with fogged brown shades.
          Three adapters and three LED lights later, I can now tell the carpet grain from dirt.

          Oooh, that reminds me of the upgrade I REALLY want to do! Those shop lights– the long, hollow, look perfect for lightsabers but shatter horribly lights? They have LED options! Now the price just has to drop slightly.

          1. I bought a 10 pack of LED tubes from Amazon to replace fluorescents in fixtures where the ballast went toes up. IIRC, the cost was about 70-80 for the 10 pack. (There are also bulbs that will work with a working ballast, but the cheap ballasts in my shop lights are hitting end of life. So, time to rewire.)

            1. We’ve gone to those as a trial. Have to remove the ballasts, but so far, so good. We’ve noticed fluorescent lit offices look a little dim and hazy when we’re standing in an office with the LEDs.

        2. I have bad news for you. I was working on the assumption that a “60 watt maximum” fixture built for incandescents would do ok with a brighter LED. Nope. Wore it f*cking out, according to the family contractor (found and rigorously checked by my step-mother-in-law who both is a saint and does not tolerate shoddy work). Consequently, the bulbs blink. My GOD, that’s annoying.


          Why do all these house designers want to live in dark caves? I fear for the same reason that pillocks keep designing particle board ‘bookshelves’ where a full load of actual books will snap a shelf.

          THEY don’t have to live with it.

          (groping for a tire iron)

          1. ?
            A watt’s a watt. Watts = volts x amps; watts / volts = amps. 60w incandescent / 120v = 0.5 amps. 75w equivalent LED is around 22w load; 22w / 120v = 0.183A.

            Yet your LED bulbs “wore out” the fixtures? Something’s not right here. LED bulbs do produce a surprising amount of heat, and you have to use LED bulbs rated for enclosures. Maybe a 22W LED puts out more heat than a 9.5w 60w incandescent equivalent, but ….

            Something’s not right here.

            1. Oh something isn’t right, all right. The government, blast its eyes, decided it had business telling us what kind of lightbulbs to use, and so I end up putting a new technology into a fixture (badly) designed for an old one.

              Nothing wrong with an environmental regulator that deep fat frying wouldn’t solve.

              1. Um … something not right as in wiring. I would think an LED bulb would experience failure before the fixture. I began installing LED bulbs rated for enclosed fixtures at home a couple of years ago, and so far no problems. I’m assuming that your LED bulbs are rated for enclosures, as that’s more common these days, so I have the nervous feeling that it’s something else. Maybe not, but I tend to worry about things like that.

                1. I’m still seeing a few bulbs not rated for enclosed fixtures on the market. (It’s in the fine print on the box. Very fine print.) However, by following the recommendations, we’ve had no LED bulb failures in the house (all CFLs in the house got banished, and the only incandescents are in appliances. Not willing to try an LED in the oven…) We’re at 5 years for the oldest LEDs. The early ones had really hot power supplies, while the newer ones are a lot cooler.

                  1. Aye, I foresee the oven (and microwave) light perhaps being the last incandescent lights in a house. They can deal best with the heat – and don’t things apt to bake off/out that ought not be ingested. The fridge? Bring on the LEDs. I’ve yet to meet an LED that didn’t deal with the cold, or else it’s not been cold enough for me to see any issue.

                    1. Our 7 year old Sharp microwave was acting weird, so Amazon sent a new midrange Panasonic. That one has an LED light in it.

                      I used to work in semiconductors, building ICs that worked with LEDs. The old technology material (Gallium Arsenide Phosphide, if memory serves) could be used to Mil-spec temps: -55 to 125C. The new materials are different, although the freezer we bought last year has an LED light in it. No idea on what the high temp limits on the white-light LEDs are.

                    2. The annoying thing about our garage light is that LEDs somehow interfere with the wireless sensor for opening & closing it. (Converter in the base is our guess.) Though right now, we’re not using it for cars, so we should stick in the brighter light regardless…

                    3. I had early LED spotlights in the bathroom. When turned on, they killed the reception of the hand-held radio I used to pick up NOAA weather reports. Later LEDs don’t seem to have this problem. The power supplies were probably quite marginal (at best) to FCC standards.

              2. I presume you, like most Huns, at the very least monitor blog posts at Power Line, but you might have skimmed past this one and it is soooooo relevant to your complaint:

                The facts of the Weyerhaeuser case are almost impossible to believe if you haven’t been following the federal government’s regulatory overreach. The Fish and Wildlife Service has designated an area in Louisiana (“Unit 1”) consisting of 1,544 acres as “critical habitat” for the dusky gopher frog even though not a single dusky gopher frog lives in Unit 1. Not only that, it is not possible for a dusky gopher frog to live in Unit 1!

                As of 1965, there were only 100 dusky gopher frogs known to exist in the wild, none in Louisiana. …

                Read the whole thing only if your BP medications permit.

                For the TL:DR crowd, yes, it hinges on regulators imploring prodding environmentalists to bring suit against the regulatory body demanding the regulators accrete power and authority to their agency.

                1. Re; this action, the popularity of battery cars, indeed most of the movement’s history;

                  I think that you can predict the bahavior of the environmental movement is you proceed from the assumption that it is their intention to destroy the Constitution, cause the maximum of human misery, and destroy the environment.

                2. Saw that this morning.
                  I hear “The Onion” is going out of business because it can’t compete with the government’s real stories.

                3. Can’t find it offhand but I recall an article laying out how the current “environmental movement” is in fact a circle jerk where the real function is generating these very profitable lawsuits. No actual environments need apply.

        1. Pacific Power and Light was subsidizing “60W” LEDs at Oregon’s Costcos a few years back. The price was really attractive, and the reliability has been supurb.

    2. I have always wondered how Abe and others managed to read by candle and firelight. I can barely manage in bulb light.

    3. We actually keep a lot of our rooms pretty dim*. This is partly because of idiot design—those main rooms that have ONE switch-controlled power outlet, and no overhead lights. Floor lamps were off-limits for a long while, and we didn’t have the money for rewiring.

      The other reason is that Evil Rob is prone to migraines, so not having too much light can be a necessary thing from time to time. Drives my MiL nuts, but it’s not as though we don’t illuminate our reading properly. If it’s a screen, it has its own light, and if it’s a book, we have targeted lights for that.

      *By modern standards. By historical standards, it’s midsummer with big windows.

  6. I like light, I also like the dark. Balance. Having the option for full blown daylight in the middle of the dark winter nights is a benefit I think most modern people don’t fully grasp. We have cheap food, cheap energy, and cheap light. Why do others think we are so poor?

  7. I’ve lived in several houses where we had substandard (by modern standards) lighting — oil lamps, propane light fixtures (other than the flicker, those weren’t too bad until some druggie broke in and tore out all the copper tubing while we were gone), even candles. I am with you — I LIKE being able to have light in my house. I’ve also done without running water for extended periods (we are in one of those periods now, waiting for the new place in Kentucky to close so I can spend the money to figure out what is wrong here — probably the well pump has burned out, I just hope it isn’t anything worse, like the well actually going dry and needing to be re-drilled). I LIKE having running water, especially hot and cold running water, in my house. Can I live with oil lamps and hauling water? Yeah, sure, but I’d really really rather not.

    1. Perhaps the pump is merely clogged? With some bits of gooey otherworldly … are those body parts? Is something down there, moving through the water table? Or coming up from even further down? Never drill a well in a place of power unless you’re sure it’s a holy one……………

      1. If you’ve never seen your friend’s body, does that mean she’s imaginary until you do? Considering AI is getting better every day at simulating humans, if your friend turned out to be an AI, is it real or not? Does Orvan count as an imaginary friend? Does it really matter if your friends are imaginary or not?

        1. Legend now has a shirt that proclaims he (or she.. I shan’t assume unicorn gender…) was the kid next door’s imaginary friend.

          I suppose I am Imaginary. Not Real. And too simple to be Complex.

                1. Do the glasses require a little tape on them?
                  Or, are we getting into nuances between square, nerd, and geek?

                  (But now I’m picturing that, but with a large axe in his hand in some subterranean lair, and having to let go of the axe with one hand to push his glasses back up….)

                  1. *looks down at the rather large eighty-plus-year-old double-bitted axe I’m restoring*

                    *looks at the battered safety glasses on the workbench beside the project*

                    *notes that I don’t have the requisite equipment for minotaur-hood. A labyrinth, for one.*

                    I think I’ll let Orvan cover this one.

                  1. “Wha…!! you had them painted?! And so gaudy.. very.. well, loud.”

                    “Yes, loud. After all, they are bullhorns.”

                    “You did it just so you could set up that line, didn’t you?”


          1. I’ve got an elf puppet that wears a button: “I’m not imaginary, I’m ontologically challenged.”

    2. It could be a contact issue. Ants love to short them out. Then there’s the well pump control. Don’t dismiss a bad breaker. When I had a pump control go out (lightning), I checked the voltage to the contacts, then checked to see if I had voltage from the pump to the well casing. I may have cut the breaker and checked continuity going to the pump.- it’s been years since I’ve diagnosed well pump problems. By process of elimination determined it was the pump control, changed it out, and was back in business.

      Another oddity, not uncommon on three-phase pumps, is running the motor backwards and spinning the impeller off into the well. Not fun.

      1. I don’t know — first we were sporadically getting some dirty water (dirt in the water). That would go away after a few hours to a few days. Then we started getting a little air along with the water, then a lot of air, then no water. I turned off the breaker to the well for a while, then thought I’d see what happened if I started it up again, and it didn’t start up. So I’m thinking the pump is burned out, and the well might be going dry. Trying not to say some bad words here. We are selling this house to my next-door neighbor (sale is in progress, though it won’t close until March) and even if we were willing to tolerate living the next three or four months without water (it’s not uncommon around here for people to haul all of their water if they don’t have a well), I can’t turn it over to the buyer that way. So I don’t know how much of the money he’s paying me for this place is going to go into fixing this issue. I will get someone out here next week once the purchase of the house in Kentucky is finalized; then I will know how much money I have left to spend on the issue.

        1. Um … the dirt in the water does sound like water getting low in the well. The bad news is that the grit could have burned out the pump and you need to sink a deeper well. But I’m not a pump guy, so don’t take this as gospel.

        2. If you still live near Council Butte, in general, there hasn’t been a problem with the water table. I know some people in that area who got clobbered when somebody got greedy with an agriculture well, but that should be a non-issue with the recurring water calls on the river.

          The local guy (Art) in town did our well for a good price. Don’t know much about the big guys in the city.

        3. Maybe a carbon dioxide bomb will fix it. Look it up on the Internet and see if that’s likely. Essentially, you stuff dry ice down the well (to the bottom) and then lightly cap it. And stand back. Pressure builds up from the melting dry ice and when it blows, the mud surrounding the well bottom goes with it.

              1. Mmmmm . . . Fun with high explosives.

                Grampa was a blaster on the Iron Range. Came in handy clearing stumps when we bought the farm. Uh, acquired a 40-acre property.

                Then there was the time my National Guard engineer unit was tasked with ‘disposing’ some excess explosives. }:-)

  8. I don’t make enough money to leave all the lights on. You’re not in a room, turn them off. And don’t turn on adjacent rooms’ lights trying to add to the light in this room.
    But, yes, light is nice – especially in the winter.

      1. LEDs are absolutely fantastic. And pretty. We have a strip on the back of our now wall-mounted TV (and wasn’t sinking that bracket FUN) that is projecting a color-fading cycle on the wall behind it. Just because. The Christmas tree lights are also LED and soft-fade twinkling.

        When the options were disappearing incandescents* and CFLs, we were not having a good time. For one thing, CFLs only last longer if you don’t have a toddler playing with light switches. For another, they *do* flicker, if only at a subconscious level, and if you have someone in the house prone to migraines like we do, that’s a trigger.

        *So much stupid with that ban. Among other things, the energy bleed was not always a bug, as you can see from reptile habitats and the fact that citrus growers used to use Christmas lights as simple tree-warmers. I ranted about the ban once and somebody thought the bad side effects (the poor hit hardest!) would be good if applied to cars, and honestly hadn’t considered how much unnecessary misery would be caused by removing old cars from circulation. As in, seriously didn’t understand someone poor being hurt by not being able to repair their old car. You can lead a person to knowledge but you can’t make them think.

    1. “But you can’t see the stars!”
      Sounds like a good excuse to set up a base on the other side of the Moon for astronomy.

      1. Tsk. Give me a nice spot out in the Oort cloud for astronomy. And enough mirrors to walk on them all the way back to Earth, if I was foolish enough to ruin a good telescope that way.

        What, me, and introvert? Perish the thought. *chuckle*

    2. Interesting that some places found that lights… were great for giving the problems enough illumination they didn’t need those attention-attracting flashlights.

      1. I’d take a wild guess that there wasn’t a reasonable chance of being shot if they were noticed in those situations– sort of like the expectation that the person noticing is somehow in the wrong that made that Florida case so nasty. (Honestly can’t remember the names, the one with the “white hispanic” guy who was guilty of not dying at the hands of the guy he spotted casing houses.)

        1. George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.
          I don’t think the kid was casing houses, based on what I know. What I do know is that he was an idiot, and the prosecuting attorney was also an idiot.

          1. Eh, the timing of his “visit” is suggestive, but the main issue is that the junior thought that noticing such behavior was what was objectionable, not doing it– thank you for the names.

              1. What if he wasn’t an idiot, though– but was rather trained in a warped area?
                OK, it’s still an idiot, but a different kind– like those guys who do the stuff they got away with in school as adults, and are shocked that they’re arrested, charged and sent to jail for, oh, stealing someone’s bag and pulling their underwear up painfully?

              2. Orvan was pointing out that some areas had found that criminals LIKED it lit better, because they could do their stuff without a flashlight; that combined with some of the defenses of Martin that suggested that the act of noticing his suspicious behavior on other people’s property justified physically attacking a guy on a public street, and that “of course” Zimmerman should have “known” he was “only” getting an “ass whuppin.”
                (Sorry for the excessive use of quote marks, the mindset just horrifies me.)

            1. What in the world made you think that?
              Obama: “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon”

    3. “It’s safe enough to be outside at night and notice you can’t see all the stars!”

      The Guardian Nov 2 2017 covering Rick Perry interview:

      The Trump administration has been pushing to increase domestic production of fossil fuels for export, with Perry specifically challenging what he calls an inaccurate narrative pushed by environmentalists that fossil fuels are harmful

      And it’s going to take fossil fuels to push power out into those villages in Africa, where a young girl told me to my face: ‘One of the reasons that electricity is so important to me is not only because I’m not going to have to try and read by the light of a fire and have those fumes literally killing people.’”

      He continued: “But also from the standpoint of sexual assault. When the lights are on, when you have light that shines the righteousness, if you will, on those types of acts.”

    4. “But you can’t see the stars!”

      If as single one of the self-righteous nitwits who have said this to me had had so much as a hobby telescope, I would take it a damn sight more seriously.

        1. The political Left is pretty much founded on “We think this is nice, so we demand that you provide it even if it kills you.”

          Even the Victorian Christians’ “We believe you are going to be damned for eternity unless,you do as we say, even if it kills you” is morally superior.

      1. 6 inch homebuilt Newtonian. And one of the arguments is not just the dark sky, but that it might better to call it WASTE(D) lighting – the light didn’t illuminate the thing it was supposed to, therefore simply wasted.

        I am not anti-light. I am anti-stupidly designed, misapplied light.

      2. My husband misses the stars—but he dreams of one day building a house out in the “true dark” for vacation purposes, not telling other people to turn off their lights. And I made him very happy on a visit to his home by stopping him in the driveway at about 10PM and telling him to look up—the Milky Way was out that night, and he hadn’t seen it in years.

    5. I live far enough out in the country that we can see most of the stars. I’m typically quite glad, though, we can turn the lights on if we need to.

  9. Funny, the,way I celebrate ‘Earth Hour’ is to turn on every goddamned light in the house. And when my liberal in-laws chide me, I tell them that’s my compromise. What I WANT to do is take an aluminum bat and run through a gathering of greenie hypocrites, clubbing them like so many baby seals.

      1. The only reason I restrain myself is that society does not YET recognize them for the anti-social poisonous vermin that they are.

        These people advocate the adoption of battery powered cars to ‘help the environment’. That’s like adopting arsenic laced formula to ‘help the children’.


    1. Work lights. You know the ones, two lamps on a ‘T’, tripod base? 10K lumens or thereabouts. About five of ’em. Not pointed at anybody’s houses (no, not even the nutcases in the apartment building next door).

      Earth hour I go through a few weeks worth of electricity at once, I think. Why? $@!#^ them, that’s why.

    2. What I WANT to do is take an aluminum bat and run through a gathering of greenie hypocrites, clubbing them like so many baby seals

      Shame on you, risking the nice aluminum getting dinged like that. At least if you used a wood bat, you could just cut down a tree to make another one.

  10. I associate single lights in the middle of the ceiling with poverty and moving, and living in horrid apartments over stores.
    People love the lights. Our little town of Rochester puts on a huge show every winter and the roads (and shops) are jammed with people coming to see them. https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwii3P7T0IfYAhXEqYMKHRWmATEQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Ffineartamerica.com%2Ffeatured%2F7-rochester-christmas-light-display-twenty-two-north-gallery.html&psig=AOvVaw08xJSvxpI7jTFUG27tdIwv&ust=1513276567214446

    1. I remember when a single 60W bulb hanging from the ceiling was the norm. They had plug-ins just above the socket for small appliances. Then single bulb porcelain fixtures became the norm, then dual bulbs fixtures with a diffuser. Now there are ceiling fans with four sockets and the equivalent of 240W of incandescent light.

      The biggest change is in flash lights. Oh, my. I have a 200 lumen head light I used at home that’s brighter than the 2D cell flashlights of back in the day. I think it’s brighter than the old 6D cell flashlights we had.

      1. $HOUSEMATE mentioned some time ago that someone said the biggest most amazing car mod that they ever did was to change the trunk light to a new LED. Suddenly instead of an alleged light just making the darkness sort of yellow, the trunk was well lighted when opened.

      2. I’ve known more than one person who bought an eleventy-zillion candlepower flashlight, only to find them so bright they blew out their night vision.

        1. Most any decently adequate light will destroy your night vision for a period of time. Use a blue or red filter to prevent. Of course, a bright enough blue or red light will destroy your night vision, as well. (I really hate how bright the police car lights are nowadays; makes it difficult to drive by them.)

          1. Whenever I have to drive past an accident site or police stop I generally have to close one eye–the side on which the police cars are blaring their lights (yes, “blaring” refers to sound, but these lights are so bright they hurt my ears). Not to preserve night vision–that’s a lost cause–but to prevent blindness.

      3. I have a little key ring LED flashlight hanging off my purse. It’s about an inch long. It has more light than most of the flashlights I used when I was a kid. (Incidentally, when you’re walking in the dark in the woods, point the flashlight just in front of your feet and walk looking ahead like normal. Your peripheral vision sees the obstacles just like daylight, but your night vision isn’t seriously impaired.)

  11. Now here I will disagree: it is pollution when not sent correctly. Turn them off? Oh, how’d I’d love to be able to![1] Some skyglow from reflected light is to be expected. And at least most of the modern LED street lighting systems I’ve seen are well designed. The old mercury and sodium vapor lamps? An example of bungled design put into production. Direct illumination of the the sky – an utter waste of light meant for streets, sidewalks, walls, etc.

    As for travel to dark spots… ever try to find one? And one where you can linger without being considered suspicious (well, beyond the usual, anyway)? Good freaking luck!

    That said, the bathroom vanity that I wanted to use 25W (or less) equivalents that I gave in and installed 40W equivalents since I could get them in proper 4000K white (not yellow, not blue)… six of those in that small space and it’s quite a stimulant. But if I wanted to preserve dark-adaption.. the wrong tool for the job.

    [1] Vapor lamps have a bit of startup time, so it was possible to knock them out with a well-direct strobe flash to the daylight sensor. I’d never done it myself, but I had some dreams. Now, some fool would probably say it was terrorist beam-weapon… if it even worked on today’s.. tonight’s.. streetlights.

    1. Kitt Peak National Observatory has an interesting exhibit describing how light from Tucson has encroached on the observatory over the years; and that’s with Tucson having ordinance to reduce light pollution – explicitly for the benefit of the observatories which surround the city.

      1. I recall the street lamps in Tucson were yellowish, back in the early ’70s.
        When I was there last year, there were waaaaaaaaay more lights, and more like white light.

        1. The yellowish was sodium vapor lights used to change the wavelengths of light escaping, versus the mercury vapor that was more common across the country.

          Now its white LEDs.

          1. For some reason, I don’t like the white LED street lighting. It seems to create large pools of light but it makes the dark much darker because it isn’t as diffuse so there is actually less being lit up. Going from light to dark to light again is hard on my eyes to adjust and most of the time the lamps just glare in my eyes while driving making it hard to see at night.. And the cities have moved the lights lower so it doesn’t cover as much area (the reduce the light pollution measures?). I may be imagining things, but it seems like the lighting is worse now. White lights in fog don’t do as well either.

          2. A number of localities have switched to LED signals at intersections — you can easily identify them by the random black dots signifying the burn out of individual LEDs.

            Some while back I read a news item about an unforeseen difficulty some of the more Northern communities were experiencing with these. Apparently being far more efficient the LEDs had much lower quantities of waste heat emitted, with the result that ice forming on the traffic signals was not being melted away by the lights, with consequences you can imagine.

            1. Although I will say that one advantage of the LEDs, at least the ones around here, is that it’s always obvious when they’re on; previously, there was an issue with lights getting hit directly by the morning or evening sun and looking like the green light was lit even when it wasn’t.

            2. These are usually under the domain of the state DOTs. They went to them because they’re lighter and use less electricity. It slashes usage so much that when they started showing up out here, I’d have to go check the meter just in case. They might be lower maintenance, too – unless they ice up.

        2. One of the funny stories to come out of the change-over to LEDs was the discovery (in Minnesota IIRC) that the street-lights were now being obscured by snow over the lenses.
          The old incandescents, of course, melted it.

    2. If you can get to Sierra Vista Arizona and up into the mountains… Be careful it’s RIGHT on the border and not all random noises in the dark are friendly or wild animals. We did a field ex on the base there. 5,000 feet. High desert. It was the most amazing starscape I’ve ever seen.

      1. If you get high up on Mt. Lemmon or north of the Catalinas it blocks the bulk of the light from Tucson. The big problem Kitt Peak has are 1). the Tucson Mountains aren’t high enough to block enough of the light, and 2). continual development west of the Tucson Mountains.

        1. This was taken back in September, the night before the eclipse, at the Rose Canyon Lake in the Catalinas:

          1. By the way, interesting bit of car trivia: the constellation we know as the Pleiades is known to the Japanese as Subaru. That’s why that company’s logo is what it is.

    3. My old truck was Ford Puke Green. Which was *invisible* under yellow sodium lights. As in you could walk into this fullsize pickup without seeing it, when it was parked right under the light. Really weird to be driving through Long Beach (which had these horrid things) and be literally unable to see the hood of my truck. Not to mention it would have been very alarming if it had been a more reasonable hour and anyone else about.

  12. Hmm. I can see both sides of this. Yes, I’ve lived with oil and gas lamps, even candles. Now I have excellent lighting at my desk for my model-making hobby, and my garden is a blaze of lights when I let my dogs out in the dark – just so I can see where they’ve got to, and the lights are turned off as soon as they’re back indoors. But I don’t have any problems functioning in low light, I have very good night vision so just the moon shining through the curtained windows is enough for me to wander around the house in the wee small hours if I can’t get to sleep. On the other hand, I well remember gazing in awe at the Milky Way from my bedroom window in West London before electric street lighting came into use – and I haven’t seen that in many years even when holidaying well away from any town. Over 40 years ago when we moved here we were on the edge of the town and I could see the moons of Jupiter from my back garden. Since then the town has grown beyond me, with all its lighting, and I can’t even see Jupiter. I miss seeing the stars!

  13. “Remain In Light” was also a very good Talking Heads album. One of their best, IMHO. “Once In A Lifetime” and “Houses In Motion” have been anthems for me these past few years. 🙂

  14. I can actually, er, see the term light pollution because much of it came from waste. The cobra head street lights didn’t used to be common, which meant a good bit of light went parallel to the ground above head height, and was wasted. Then we has the @#$% government mandated high pressure sodium lights that was toward the red end of the visible spectrum and which the human eye doesn’t perceive as well, lumens be hanged. Now we have LEDs, which seem to be working out great – for now – and are flatter than the cobra head lights. I’ve heard complaints that they aren’t as bright, but noticed that the illuminated area beneath them is just as large and apparently brighter than HPS, and think it’s the lack of waste light. IIRC, some places in the US are showing a decrease in light detected from space, and this could be a reason.

    I do know the orange glow has vanished from above area towns. Need to see if the glow you could see from afar is less now.

    During an incident this year, we had no lights, but unlike a storm outage, the sky was clear. Noticed a glow and wondered what it was, then realized it was star light or sky glow off concrete. Oh, it was dark as dark could be where you couldn’t see the sky, but there was a surprising amount of light.

    BTW, going home yesterday noticed a neat phenomenon. It was at sunset, and all the vehicles had two shadows, one from the east from the light still in the sky, and a darker one from the west where the sun had just gone down behind the trees. Double shadows without a double star. Way cool.

  15. Earth Hour is when you should turn on every electric light on your property and run every electric powered appliance at full power. The heating and A/C both for example.

    1. I once went into Whole Foods looking for some Pumpernickel. I was on my way to check to check out when they dimmed the lights for Earth Hour. I embarrassed the wife by dropping the stuff I’d gathered on the floor. loudly declaimed “I cannot buy anything from a company that celebrates earth hour!!!” then stormed out.

      That was 5-6 years ago. Haven’t been back.

  16. The inside of my house is bright. But driving around in the early evening, after dark, between six and eight in the evening… 3 houses out of 5, sometimes out of 4, are completely dark. Most of the rest are lit only by the blue glow of television.

    For that matter, curtains seem to be passe in the more-prosperous neighborhoods; you can drive by and watch people sitting on the couch in front of the Toob, or whatever.

    1. We have no curtains in this house (definitely NOT a prosperous neighborhood, LOL! Think white trailer trash for most of us, at least according to urban left-wingers). But we also only have one neighbor who could possibly see into our house; that end of our house is the living/kitchen area where we don’t walk around undressed, and that end of their house has no windows. So I don’t worry about it. I probably won’t put up curtains in most of the windows in the ‘new’ house in Kentucky, either — there’s only one house within sight of our new place, and it’s not close and doesn’t have windows facing our house. I’ll probably put curtains or blinds on the bedroom windows, but nothing on the rest. I don’t like feeling closed in. I’ve been in many houses where the people kept their curtains/drapes closed all the time — never ever opened them as far as I could tell — and it was like being in a cave. Not my thing at all.

    2. Houses are usually sold without curtains (or even curtain rods) so that you can do your own decorating. Many people haven’t realized this, I swear. (I like curtains for the light/temperature regulation.)

      1. We have blackout curtains in the bedroom. Between that and the blinds, it keeps all of the light out (or in). The rest of the house is mostly blinds, only a few rooms have curtains. Just easier that way.

  17. I was born on original Earth Day in 1970 and my father expected me to be some kind of green Jesus, boy was he disappointed.

    My partner loves light, I think she is similar to Ms Hoyt in that she likes to keep all the lights on, and I prefer minimal lighting but on Earth Day and Earth Hour I turn all the lights on in celebration of progress.

  18. I am regularly irked at the town north of us for ruining the northern stars. There’s no need for lights on a clear, even moonless, night, outside where we live. The stars provide plenty. The moon casts shadows when is up. High desert! (I expect night on Mars is rather similar, but with less twinkle.)

  19. Earth Hour. That’s the time when we turn on ALL the lights, and then do donuts in the parking lot with the truck. Sometimes turn on the generator and the lawnmower too, and the snowblower, chainsaw, the compressor…

    You see where that’s going.

    1. I still say that running through an Earth Day event with an aluminum bat, seeing how many greenie skins you could harvest, would be even more satisfying.

      1. More interesting and much cheaper. Thanks to the Greenies and their never-sufficiently-damned windmills, electricity is super expensive here in the Demented Dominion.

        But shouldn’t it be a hickory bat, because Earth Hour? Gaia and all, y’know. Hickory has that nice heft to it…

        1. I gather that the quality of Hickory has fallen below what makes for good bats; the preferred wood these days seems to be ash. Which means when you swing your wooden bat at them you can tell them to “Kiss my ash!”

  20. Yes, I do understand “light pollution” can keep you from seeing the stars, though calling it pollution is silly. It’s not like it sticks around when the source is turned off.

    I remember reading a thing on Pinterest, where there was a huge blackout in some Californian city – LA, San Diego, or San Fran… and supposedly they got lots of calls to 911, because people freaked out at the sight of the Milky Way. I don’t know if that’s true, but when I really stopped to think about it, how many people even know you CAN see the Milky Way with your unassisted eye, given the darkest sky?

    1. Most people with normal night vision and 20/20 vision should be able to see the Milky Way on a clear, dark night.

      1. …If they’re not North of Vancouver. First time I saw it was when I came south to the Lower 48, and was at a friend’s farm in Colorado. And had glasses on, and was far away from cities. Most of my childhood was sans glasses, and I never knew just how much I was missing in the night skies! Then I was in cities where even a full moon was washed out by the glow, and then in Alaska, where there are lots of beautiful things to see at night but it’s always bloody cold when it’s dark. And it’s too far north to see the milky way.

        I’ve looked for it down here in Texas, but the streetlights are quite effective at washing it out… and I’m more interested in going to sleep than driving and pulling over on some snake and skunk infested mesquite thicket beside a farm-to-market road.

        1. It’s a bit of a haul but El Malpais south of Grants, New Mexico offers some nice dark sky, especially looking west from the Sandstone Bluffs (though they’re usually closed after dark except for stargazing problems and the like). Many of the other western National Park units have some decent stargazing opportunities – I got a great view of the Milky Way at the Grand Canyon one late December night, just outside the El Tovar – and a great steak inside!

    2. Poked around a bit, found folks commenting that they’d been in LA for both big blackouts and because people actually have backup generators, you could see stars but not the milky way.

      Probably a “sounded so good it had to be told” story.

    3. I am reminded of the Azimov story where the planet circles (IIRC) about 7 stars, and the only night they get is once in a thousand (??) years. Which all the stories tell them about it, but they can’t cope, so the people set fires and burn down their cities. Sorry, the title escapes me. Ah, but Wiki knows all: “Nightfall”.

      1. That was always one of my favorites.
        It is kind of in the same mode as Bradbury’s “All Summer in the Day” — both of them made me very sad, but in different ways.

    4. When I had my farm out in Oregon, you could see it every night, if the sky was clear. It was very dark out there at night, we were 6 miles to the nearest town, and there were two ridgelines between us.

  21. I haven’t seen the commit on ‘earth hour’ stressing the grid yet, so am making.

  22. When I was a kid, my favorite superhero was Green Lantern.

    “In brightest day, in blackest night,
    No evil shall escape my sight.
    Let those who worship evil’s might
    Beware my power–Green Lantern’s light!”

    A little later, I found out about the “Golden Age” heroes.

    “And I shall shed my light over dark evil,
    For the dark things cannot stand the light;
    The light of…THE GREEN LANTERN!”

    Light is Good.


  23. A friend served an LDS mission in Romainia. He said you could always pick out the houses/apartments that held Americans because they always changed their bulbs for the brightest ones the fixtures could handle in their homes and they had more than one room lit at a time. Other Europeans might have it a bit brighter than Romanians but not as bright as Americans.

  24. It is interesting how phrases can bring memories back. The instant I read “Fiat Lux” my mind went back to a book I read when I was in elementary school. It was “A Canticle for Leibowitz” by “Walter M. Miller, Jr.”. In that book the rediscovery of electric light heralded the possible reemergence of civilization after the apocalypse.

    1. That was a masterpiece, but the rest of the story is very sad, as Wiki just informed me.
      “A Canticle for Leibowitz is a post-apocalyptic novel revolving around the canonisation of Saint Leibowitz and is considered a masterpiece of the genre. It won the 1961 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
      After the success of A Canticle For Leibowitz, Miller never published another new novel or story in his lifetime, although several compilations of Miller’s earlier stories were issued in the 1960s and 1970s. …
      n Miller’s later years, he became a recluse, avoiding contact with nearly everyone, including family members; he never allowed his literary agent, Don Congdon, to meet him. According to science fiction writer Terry Bisson, Miller struggled with depression, but had managed to nearly complete a 600-page manuscript for the sequel to Canticle before taking his own life with a firearm in January 1996, shortly after his wife’s death.[1][4] The sequel, Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, was completed by Bisson and published in 1997.”

      I loved the book, but had never heard there was a sequel.

      1. Okay, I’m confused. I remember a short story or novella by that name quite clearly. Decades later, there was a novel by the same name. Figured it was the original story with more material. Am I remembering this wrong?

  25. One small correction:

    Cats were not domesticated.

    They just started wandering into tents, plopping down and doing the cat equivalent of “Hey, you gonna Bogart that chicken?”

    1. Cats are the original hippies. They just don’t care, or even give a damn…until they do. It’s over in a flash.

    2. Not tents. The evidence is that they started to hang about around granaries. We call ’em places to save food; they call ’em places to attract food.

    3. Yeah, I actually know that. But since I wanted to include dogs…
      Also cats have to become accustomed to humans, says she who has tamed ferals. Current Sarah-boss cat is Greebo who was born feral.
      We normally have a boss of all cats, but right now we have two: Greebo, my cat, and Havey, Dan’s. Note we did NOT choose them.

  26. “But if you really crave seeing the stars either move out in the middle of nowhere, or drive there now and then. Don’t try to make everyone keep in the dark for your benefit.”
    Sarah, if you haven’t been there yet, check out Hermit’s Park just outside of Estes Park. From the cabins you can indeed see the stars, although the light-glow from the urban areas is also visible around the perimeter behind the hills.
    A great place for semi-camping (no water or electricity, but propane light & heat and real beds.)

    And solar-lighted outhouses, the other mark of civilization.

    1. I will NOT go anywhere I have to use an outhouse. I spent too many years with gazunders in winter, and having to go outside to pee. Nope, nope, nope.

      But I have seen the glory of the stars. Dan and I used to drive out to the middle of nowhere to make Robert go to sleep when he was sick as a baby. As a side benefit, we watched the stars.

  27. Went looking for Rutter’s “Candlight Carol” of course, and found a lovely version with Aled Jones singing it in Welsh. Hyfryd!

    He was the voice of the boy in “The Snowman” — this is his duet with himself.

    1. That’s really an amazing duet. Captures the bittersweet nature of someone being a really good boy soprano, and then having an equally good but very different vocal quality as an adult.

      A lot of times, the boy sopranos end up as basses. It must be a little less disconcerting to become a baritone!

  28. The Lighting of the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center. Times Square New Years eve. Lighting of the menorah in Jerusalem. The miracle of Chanukah: Finding enough oil to light menorah and it lasted for 8 days!

    My memories of This time of year. Some kindles are so well lit that you can see to walk to the bathroom by them.

    WWII the lights are going out all over Europe. Light is triumph over the natural world. We don’t adapt to the world. We change it (as we are able) to suit us!!

Comments are closed.