Monday, May 14, 2007

Now Wait Just a Minute There...

I read recently that Australia has moved to ban incandenscent lightbulbs over the next three years in order to begin reducing the emission of "greenhouse" gases.

I'm all for measures to reduce carbon emissions. I watched An Inconvenient Truth recently, and have actually kept myself informed about the environment and alternative energy since the late seventies, when President Jimmy Carter launched a lot of initiatives to reduce dependence on imported oil-- initiatives that were immediately quashed by Reagan when he came into office.

I even did my part in this a few years ago, replacing nearly all the lightbulbs in my apartment with energy-efficient lightbulbs. This was also driven by economic concerns-- a way of battening down the hatches financially when I had to kick the evil roommate out.

There are some concerns with the florescent bulbs-- they have mercury in them, which causes pollution when they're disposed of. It's anticipated that new lights that work with LED's will come into vogue soon. But my immediate concern, either way, is what about Lava Lamps?

Anyone who knows me well, or has even been in my home knows that I love them. I found a website a few years back, Cool Stuff Cheap that sells Lava Lamps-- the real McCoy, made here in Chicago, not cheapo knock-offs-- really inexpensively.

I went completely amok.

It all started with one that I bought on the website. I bought another in a pawn shop while on a road trip with my friend Andreas. And another from the website-- we needed one for the back porch. And the ceramic skull one in the kitchen-- hey, it was a limited edition! And another regular one for my bedroom.

And I wasn't selfish. I bought one for my son. And when Kim and I were dating, I bought one for her. And I bought a ceramic-base Satan Lava Lamp for Andreas.

Now some have suggested that I might have a problem with Lava Lamps. It's not true. I can quit any time I want...

Okay, so we have six of them in the Yen household, including the one I gave Kim, which is still in storage in our basement. Oh, wait-- seven-- my stepdaughter has a miniature one.

So why my concern about incandescent bulbs? The thing is that Lava Lamps only work with incandescent bulbs. It's the combination of the light and heat from an incandescent that make them work. Even if you retrofitted a florescent or LED light, their efficiency-- turning more of the energy into light, rather than heat, would keep the Lava Lamp from working.

What if the United States follows Australia's lead and bans incandescents? Will they allow special licenses for 40-watt bulbs to Lava Lamp owners? Will a black market in 40-watt incandescents evolve like hooch after the Prohibition? Will there be a Lava Lamp underground? Will the Lava Lamp company work to come up with some solution?

I'll leave it to the movers and shakers of our society to ponder those compelling questions. All I can tell you is that you can have my Lava Lamps when you pry them from my dead cold hands.

13 comments:

GETkristiLOVE said...

I'm a rookie, I only have one but I've been itching for more. Maybe you can turn me on to some the next shipment you get.

Save Lava!

lulu said...

Do lightbulbs go bad, or can you stockpile them?

cheer34 said...

We have 5 lava lamps. The kids use them in the basement lounge they set up. We bought the lamps for our kids about 5 or 6 years ago. I never had one when they were popular in the 70's but when they came back I made sure we had all the colors I could find. My husband has a night light lava lamp in our bathroom, so we don't tripover the dogs in the middle of the night.

Can you tell me what the lava is?

Skylers Dad said...

Will we see you on the news holding one of your Lava lamps over your head ala Charlton Heston?

Natalie said...

I never thought of that. What a serious problem. I would start keeping a supply in the basement. It will take this country a while to ban the bulbs but it could happen sometime, maybe. If not you'll have to switch to fiberoptics. They are still groovy.

Splotchy said...

If incandescent lightbulbs are outlawed, only outlaws will have incandescent lightbulbs.

I would recommend that you get a candle-powered lava lamp, like the pioneers had back in ye olden times.

Erik Donald France said...

We must learn to see in the dark ;)

Danielle said...

Good deal on the CFLs and broadening your environmental awareness for the lava lamps I say that the CFLs have bought you guilt free enjoyment of the lava lamps, man. It's all about balance.

I took the liberty of tagging you

Mob said...

Maybe we're taking this whole 'save the planet' routine too far if we have to live in a world without lava lamps.

Have you considered writing your congressman?

Grant Miller said...

I've always thought Lava lamos were kinda cool. But thought they'd make me a hippy if I owned one.

Johnny Yen said...

Kristi-
You're in on the next batch.

Lulu-
We'll stockpile them next to the canned peaches and bottles of water.

Cheer34-
5 lava lamps? You guys rock!

My family had one in the late sixties/early seventies. There are very few around-- they had a tendency to explode, which ours did. They finally figured out to leave a little air at the top.

The lava is mostly wax, with a little coloring and other ingredients. The clear part is mineral oil.

Be sure not to leave them in direct sunlight; it makes the color fade.

Skyler's Dad-
LOL! You will indeed!

Natalie-
Stockpiling might be the solution. Fiberoptics are cool! My father worked for IBM for years, and in the early seventies, brought a fiberoptics cable home for my brothers and I to play with. It was so cool, shining the light and tying the cable into a knot, and the light still coming through.

My mother worked for Union Carbide around the same time, and I remember her bringing home a Pepsi bottle in a plastic bottle. It was really a novelty-- we'd throw it on the ground, and it wouldn't break. Hard to believe there was a time that was a big deal!

Splotchy-
You are absolutely right!

Ah yes, I remember back in the days of yore, when we'd watch television by candlelight-- and we'd have to actually get up and walk to the television to change the channel. Kids these days are so spoiled.

Erik-
Hey, we've been living in the dark since November of 2000-- we've had lots of practice.

Danielle-
That's the way I see it!

Thanks for the tag! I'm on it!

Mob-
Write my congressman? That's a good idea! Maybe they can write a waiver in for lava lamp owners!

Grant-
You're not one?

SamuraiFrog said...

Oh, you've got to love the lava lamps.

I got tagged with a Thinking Blogger award, and I tagged you with it in return, if you're interested.

Dale said...

Hot lava! The lamps are worth the ravaging Johnny. Fight the good fight. Both ways.