Dim some

I consider myself environmentally conscious, if not true 100% green, but I’m trying, and I want to do my part. I drive a car with pretty good mileage (stick shift, 33 mpg). I recycle, my newspapers especially, obsessively (when I get to them, that’s when; so stop asking me about my newspaper stack/end-table).

I guess that makes me Bourgeois Green. But my environmental awareness doesn’t include these stupid swirly Compact Fluorescent light bulbs. I cannot stand the light that emits from them — it unmazes me. They are the very definition of “not soft.”

I had worries about the mercury in them, but this Slate article puts some of those fears to rest. There’s really little mercury in them, so don’t worry about it (as the article essentially says). Of course, eating a little asbestos with mustard on it prolly won’t kill you, either. Still, I’m convinced the mercury hazard is more or less minimal (but please don’t eat them).

No, for me, the CFL light is simply too harshly white (take that whiteys!). It resembles nothing of the softness of a regular light bulb. You say, so what? Deal with it. Or as one obstinate Slate commenter put it (in response to a kind of overwrought defense of the old-fashioned incandescent bulbs that I’d like to distance myself from): So, your personal aesthetics will take a back seat to environmental responsibility. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Decider. It is that kind of “I’m-right-you’re wrong” attitude that gives us liberals a bad name. Um, that is not to be confused with my “I’m-right-you’re-wrong-attitude.” Not in the least. Please move on. Nothing to see here, my fine fellow American human friend.

Make these bulbs emit softer light and make ’em capable of dimming (I can’t find any that work on a dimmer, other than dimming directly from “full blast” to “off”) and we’ll talk. Otherwise, I’m a gonna have to find another way to offset my old-fashioned incandescent carbon emissions. Of course, Congress spent its time dealing with these bulbs rather than, um, the economy, our inner cities, and, like, The War (sort of like the case stated in that previously mentioned overwrought article that I thought I was distancing myself from). Whatevs. Next thing you’ll tell me Congress is pushing for a move to corn-based fuel that will inadvertently raise food prices by raising cattle feed prices and produce a sludge that will further muck up the Mississippi and continue to send smog-spewing trucks (ethanol-running or otherwise) out on the road to deliver said fuel, rather than work a little harder and fund research for a better alternative and shun the easy skin-deep popular and politically expedient thing to do in a cynical and transparent attempt to appear “green” and win some alterna-votes and appeal to middle America, to boot. But Congress would never do that.

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