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.