Pounding a Point Home with a Sledgehammer

2014 is the year we say “good bye” to incandescent bulbs.  Here is a paper I wrote in 2012 concerning the adverse conditions breaking just one of these bulbs can cause.  You tell me, does it really seem worth it?  And, seriously, how many people do you really think will take the precautions listed in the following paper?  Read on…

We tend to concentrate on the small picture, yet expound upon and speechify about the big picture, when it comes to the environment.  The blackout of 2003 should have taught us that our electric grids are outmoded and inefficient.  Repairing our energy infrastructure might make it more efficient and less polluting to our environment while we are working on other, better ways to power our homes, etc.  Recycling should not require a Ph.D. in “little triangles you can’t read on the bottom of a container”.  Some states do not do any kind of vehicle inspections, and if they do, some do not test emissions.  The cost of environmentally-friendly products and systems are sometimes out of reach to the average consumer.

Small things can help – like recycling, driving energy efficient vehicles, or riding a bike to work or school.  Compact Fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) are a suggested small “solution” to reducing our carbon footprint that could have been investigated further.  They contain mercury, and unless you read the package you might be unaware of the method of disposal of this hazardous waste material.  According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, there are safety procedures you must follow (as an individual citizen – different laws apply to businesses) if you should break one.  The following are just three of many steps:

  • “Prior to cleaning up the spill, put on old clothes or disposable coveralls, old shoes or disposable booties, and disposable rubber, latex or nitrile gloves. These items may need to be disposed of after you have completed cleanup of the spill.”
  • “Place clean clothes, shoes and a trash bag just outside the room where the mercury spill occurred.”
  • “After cleaning up the spill, carefully remove your gloves by grasping them at the wrist and pulling them off inside-out. Place the gloves in the trash bag for disposal.”

It is also suggested that you air out the room for 24-48 hours before accessing it again.  (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 2009)

“On average, CFLs contain about four milligrams of mercury sealed within the glass tubing. By comparison, older thermometers contain about 500 milligrams of mercury – an amount equal to the mercury in over 100 CFLs” (EPA.gov, 2012). So, it is not a great amount of the poisonous heavy metal.  “The OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL) for mercury is a ceiling limit of 0.1 milligrams per cubic meter of air (mg/m³), which is currently enforced as an 8-hour time-weighted average” (OSHA, 2012).  An average bulb contains 4mg of mercury.  If it breaks in a 10’x12’x8’ room containing 27.18 cubic meters of air your maximum exposure should be 2.72 mg of mercury during an 8 hour time period.

You will have used a plastic trash bag (petroleum product), latex gloves (petroleum product), fuel to get to a recycling facility (if you do not have hazardous recycling in your neighborhood), plus the cost of the clothing you had to discard.  The above information does not include the steps necessary to dispose of bulbs that have just burned out and are not broken.

Personally, I would rather our government had put money into our Universities and research facilities to thoroughly examine the costs and benefits (financial, environmental and health related) of “environmentally-friendly” products before items such as Compact Fluorescents were put on the market.  I would also like to see more of these products manufactured in the United States.



OSHA Fact Sheet.  Protecting Workers from Mercury Exposure While Crushing and Recycling Fluorescent Bulbs.  June, 2012.  Web. http://www.osha.gov/Publications/mercuryexposure_fluorescentbulbs_factsheet.pdf Accessed November 26, 2012.


Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division.  Compliance Bulletin Solid Waste.  Broken Thermometer and Fluorescent Bulb Cleanup. Guidance for Households reviewed/revised September 2009. Web.  http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheadername1=Content-Disposition&blobheadername2=Content-Type&blobheadervalue1=inline%3B+filename%3D%22Broken+Thermometer+and+Fluorescent+Bulb+Cleanup+Guidance+for+Households.pdf%22&blobheadervalue2=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1251813336777&ssbinary=true Accessed November 26, 2012.

Scientific American.  The 2003 Northeast Blackout–Five Years Later. August 13, 2008.  Web.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=2003-blackout-five-years-later Accessed November 26, 2012.


What are the Connections between Mercury and CFLs? November 08, 2012. Web.

http://www.epa.gov/cfl/cfl-hg.html Accessed November 26, 2012.


Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division.  Compliance Bulletin Hazardous Waste.  Small Mercury Spill and Fluorescent Bulb Cleanup. Guidance for Businesses reviewed/revised September 2009. Web. http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?blobcol=urldata&blobheadername1=Content-Disposition&blobheadername2=Content-Type&blobheadervalue1=inline%3B+filename%3D%22Mercury+Spill+and+Fluorescent+Bulb+Cleanup+Guidance+for+Businesses+.pdf%22&blobheadervalue2=application%2Fpdf&blobkey=id&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobwhere=1251813173513&ssbinary=true Accessed November 26, 2012.

Talk about Yer “Fishy Disinformation”

Worth more than a child's future?

Worth more than a child's future?

I was very moved by a special report Sean Hannity did on Fox last night.  The government has determined that the fish pictured at the left are more important than one human life.

Are you sick yet?

And, this is not a right or left issue.  Paul Rodriguez (famous comedian) voted for Obama.  If memory serves me correctly, he campaigned for Obama.  Even though Mr. Rodriguez has respect for the office Obama holds, his disillusionment with the current state of affairs in the beautiful San Joaquin Valley of California was obvious.

If you have not yet heard this story, Pelosi and Miller supported a measure to turn off the water supply to hundreds of farms in California in order to re-route the Delta Smelt.  In case you didn’t hear me, they supported a measure to turn off the water supply to hundreds of farms!!!!! The Delta Smelt has been put on the Endangered Species List, which allows Federal Government interference in local politics.  FYI, the smelt are a source of food for the Pacific Salmon.  This was done to appease the Salmon fishing industry.  I guess the Salmon Fishermen are stronger supporters of the Democrats than the farmers in Southern California.

Many farms have gone belly-up, many more are on the brink.  People who have supplied much of our fresh fruits,vegetables and nuts (90% of the Almonds grown in the United States come from the San Joaquin Valley) for generations are now standing on line to receive food stamps.  The migrant workers hired by the San Joaquin farmers have found themselves jobless.  I thought the Left loved their migrant workers.  Obviously not so much.

What I want to know is why this story is only now coming to the forefront.  Why have these people suffered unnoticed for months?  How is the government able to use the Endangered Species Act time and time and time again to suit their personal agendas?   How can we allow this kind of abuse of power to go on?

Who’s next?  Will I turn on my faucet tomorrow and find that I have no water because the cows raised on this ranch fart too much?  I’m sorry to be so blunt, but it may come down to that.  We did have a passing issue with the local government over some jumping mouse that I have never seen.  Thankfully, clearer heads prevailed.

How dare Nancy Pelosi go on television and CRY because people are talking smack to each other over Health Care Reform, yet keep a dry eye and a smile on her face when thousands of her constituents have been left destitute!  How does this woman sleep at night?  Where is the support for these farmers?  I don’t see the kind of rage being displayed by the Left that was shown for the GM workers.  I don’t hear Obama calling Pelosi a “jackass” for allowing this to happen.  Hmmm, if the farmers and laborers made a catchy video and put it on VH1 do you think we might get him to pay attention?

Are you sick YET!?!?

Stupid is as Government does…

C.A.R.S. – WOW, our government really, really loves us!  Up to $4,500 for your old Detroit Model P.O.S.!  What a deal!

Not so much…there’s a catch or two…

  1. Many cars don’t qualify for the full $4,500 because the differential between the “clunker’s” gas mileage and a newer “green” car is not as great as many assumed.
  2. The cars being traded in are supposed to be crushed within 48 hours.  I know a bit about scrap…worked for a scrap yard/used parts dealer, my husband is a tow truck driver and hauls scrap about once monthly to a scrap yard…  This program will glut the market and lower the price of scrap tremendously.  I can assure you that many dealers will find a way to delay the destruction of  “clunkers” and hold them until the price of scrap goes up again.  It can be done legally.  Every law has a way to get around it.
  3. In most states you must wait 72 hours to apply for a new title on a vehicle.  Even if that automobile was voluntarily surrendered by the titled owner.  Then, you have to drain the fluids into approved containers and remove many parts because they cannot be melted down with the metal (tires, certain hoses, etc.).  The cost to dispose of the liquids that have been removed from a scrap vehicle is very high.  There are environmental laws regarding storage, transportation and disposal of oil, transmission fluid, fuel, anti-freeze, power steering fluid, brake fluid, yada, yada, yada…
  4. Speaking of tires…what do we do with them?  Some states recycle them to use in road construction and playground mulch.  They can also be used to create coral reefs.  All good ideas formed with the best intentions.  Note-only some states have these programs.  My state does not.  The yard my husband works for has tried to contact many out-of-state companies to see if they can sell them the used tires.  Either they can’t take them because they have too many from their own state, or the cost to transport the damaged tires is too expensive to make it worthwhile.  In an already cash-strapped economy, it will be difficult for many states to start recycling programs of their own.  Uh oh…I smell another government brain-fart (oops, I mean brain-storm) looming on the horizon.
  5. Most of the vehicles that fall within the guidelines for a “green” vehicle are foreign made.  This helps us how?  Many will argue that Toyota has factories in America.  Okay…but, where does the revenue go?  TO JAPAN!  Kia…Korea.  Hyundai, Honda, etc. are not American made vehicles.  Since those companies fall outside of U.S. jurisdiction in many ways, we will see little return on our investment.  Yes, the dealerships are located here.  However, they weren’t hurting in the first place, so how does this “create or save jobs”?
  6. Used parts dealers will be forced to reduce staff.  Since the parts will be rendered useless, they will have at least 40% less inventory.  I know I can’t afford to trade in my 1991 Buick Century because I can’t afford a car payment of any kind.  (Aside from the fact that I have anti-credit…many a computer has blown up or grown horns and a tail when I have tried to apply for credit)  So, where do I go for replacement parts for my car?  I can go to an auto parts store.  And when I look at the bottom of the box my new starter came in, what do I see?  MADE IN CHINA”
  7. Last (but certainly not least)…THIS WAS OUR FREAKIN’ MONEY IN THE FIRST PLACE!!!!! The money you are getting in this “Deal of the Century” is yours.  It’s like busting into your kid’s piggy bank, removing $10 then handing it to your kid with a big smile on your face while you tell him/her “Here’s $10.  Why don’t you get yourself those new Pokimon cards you wanted?”  Children are trusting, so your kid will be so thrilled to receive the “gift” you just gave to him/her that they won’t realize it was theirs in the first place.

America, are we really that stupid? Oh, wait, Bill Maher said we were…so we must be.  😉

While you were out…

49% of Americans polled oppose the Obama Health Care Reform Bill.  46% are in favor of it.

Barack, this means more people don’t want it than do.

I know there are people out there who need help.  I know many Americans do bad things to themselves and put their health in jeopardy.  However, in America there is still a little document (you might have seen it once or twice when you were a Senator) called the Constitution.  One of our rights is the pursuit of happiness.  If this means shoving your face into a vat of cheesecake, so be it.  It is not the job of the government to put a muzzle on you and force you to be thin.

How about you put the time, effort and money into better education, better school meal programs and teach kids how to cook healthy meals that are fun and taste good?   Invite the parents to participate in these programs.   How about funding safer school playgrounds and physical education programs that are actually interesting to kids?  Most kids love music and dancing.  Most kids love to color and paint. Teach schools how to incorporate those activities into a physical education program.  This would give kids who are normally not inclined to participate in physical activities an incentive to do so.

How about not taxing and regulating American farmers to death and encouraging future generations to grow their own veggies?  Give schools the funds to begin “Community Gardens” either indoors (hydroponics, maybe?) or outdoors if they have the property to do so?  With a program like that kids would not only learn how to eat healthier, but they would be helping the environment.  It would also show them how science and math can be incorporated into daily life.

Just building a playground does not ensure it will be used.  When children are in a school setting the chances of participation are much higher than if they are left to their own devices and expected to make good decisions on their own.

Invest some time and effort into fixing Social Security.  This is money the American people have already paid out.  Make it easier for people with disabilities to have access to their money. One of the things I object to is giving Social Security Disability to people who are alcoholics that are not required to attend rehabilitation programs while receiving benefits.  Or, people who are on SSDI because they have obesity-related illnesses who are not required to attend some sort of nutrition classes, therapy group or private counseling along with medical supervision.

You see, we have programs in place that we are already paying for and they are not working.  Instead of creating yet another government-run debacle, fix what already exists.  It will be cheaper in the long-run and maybe, just maybe, your supposed goal of a healthier America might be attained.  IF that is really your goal…

He’s a Magic Man

In 1961 unto the world was born a child.  And God claimed this child as his own, bestowing upon him special gifts.  Amongst these gifts were great political savvy, eloquent speech and the power to lull the masses into a false sense of security.

Through many trials and tribulations, the child grew to manhood.  He used his gifts to organize communities so they could be, well, organized!  He penned mighty tomes extolling the virtues of, uh, himself. He gifted the State Senate of Illinois with his “Present”s and gathered Acorns with which to grow mighty.

Under God’s watchful eye, the chosen child walked upon the waters of Lakes Michigan and Erie (and, honey, we aren’t talking about the old Lake Erie upon which mere mortals could traverse by foot, either), eventually heading southeast to the waiting arms of the United States Senate.  Here he gave birth to the Mission of Hope and Change, sharing his vast wisdom and experience with those less knowing than he.

Sensing that God desired him to reach even higher, he sought a larger constituency.  All but abandoning those whose Hope gave him a Change of address, he traveled the far reaches of our great land seeking believers willing to support his cause.  And God was pleased.

But, being a wise God, he needed to test his chosen child one more time.  He commanded that the ambient temperature of the planet be reduced by 3 degrees.  And so it will be done…

Worth Repeating…

I know some of you have already read this, but in light of current events I felt it might be even more relevant today.


A short story by


Dew had settled on the grassy meadow, reflecting the fiery orange of morning sunlight.  An ant pushed his way between the blades in search of food.  He sensed something in the distance.  It was quite cool beneath the cover of the overgrown meadow.  The earth was very soft and difficult to traverse.  Yet, the ant kept his pace and trudged onward.

Lily had been watching the determined insect for a while now.  Occasionally she would place her finger in his path to see if he would turn back, or find a new route to his destination.

Behind her stood an old farm house badly in need of repair.  The porch had sagged almost to ground level, the shutters long gone.  Tattered curtains waved from the windows in sync with the morning breeze.  Lily heard the muffled sounds of people coming to life.

She was almost always the first to awaken.  At 12, she was considered old enough to start the cooking fire and put on coffee, when the government included it in the ration packages (or “rat packs”, as most Commons called them).   The breakfast skillet was warmed on a grate next to the coals inside of the fire ring.  Most days, breakfast included liquid eggs, veecon (a tofu product formed to resemble bacon) and soft corn tortillas.  Lily did not prepare the meal.  That chore was left to her older brother, Lyle.

“How long you been up?”, her mother asked as she walked toward the fire ring.

“Oh, about an hour or so.  The ants were in our cooler box again.”

“Damn!  Did they ruin anything?”

“Nope.  Got ‘em before they could do much harm.  Wish we could find a better spot for the food, Mom.  Why don’t we put it in the house?”

Her mother sighed and looked to the sky.  “Lily, I TOLD you if we put it inside, the ants will be INSIDE.  I don’t particularly like sleeping with ants, do you?”

“No.  I just hate fightin’ ‘em every day.  It gets to be a real pain.”  She reached into the cooler box and retrieved a glass bottle containing their weekly supply of soy milk.

Lily was not old enough to know the taste of cow’s milk.  As a matter of fact, the only cows she had ever seen were in picture books.  That might not have been so odd if she lived in a big city, but she did not.  Lily lived on her Grampa’s old dairy farm.  Thirty-five years ago it was the Number One dairy in the state.  Their milk was distributed all over the country.

Then  came the Great American Clean-up.  In Two Thousand Fifteen, the Government mandated zero-methane output nationwide.  Cows, pigs, sheep and other “ranch animals” were rounded up and sold to Canada or Mexico.  Meat products were purchased from those countries, if you could afford them.

The Clean-up ruined her Grampa financially.  The only reason they still had a house to live in was that a parcel of the dairy farm had been paid off long ago and her Grampa had never borrowed against it.  He was “asked” to do the Patriotic thing and donate the balance of his land to the “Corn Co-Operative”.

Fossil fuels were available only to the Protectors, Techies or the Government.  The traditional Military had been dismantled in Twenty-twenty and replaced with an organization consisting of former members of some of the larger private security firms.  The borders were policed remotely via monitors, only a few actual Protectors were needed to respond to escape alerts put out by the Techies.  America no longer sent troops to foreign lands.  The largest national security issue was citizens who wanted to leave without special permission or a work Visa.

Windmills crowded the landscapes from Coast to Coast.  Solar panels popped up like ugly dandelions.  Television and radio were obsolete, as were laptops and PC’s.  All communication was regulated by the Fairness Commission and transmitted via cell phones.  Every citizen was issued a phone when they turned 5-years-old.  It was to be carried with you at all times.

Lily did not attend school.  She had Vid-Ed for 4 hours every day.  The Education Commission had been nationalized and all children received the same education in every part of the country.

Lyle called the family to breakfast and they gathered around the picnic table to eat.  This was Lily’s favorite time of day.  Sometimes, Grampa would tell stories of the days when he would attend automobile races with his father.  Or when he went to a place called Iraq so that America could be safe.  He spoke of the 50 states that made up his country.  Alaska had long since become a nation unto itself, and Hawaii had been lost to North Korea in Twenty-Ten.

Three other states – Michigan, Maine and Washington – had been traded to Canada for gold.  California became a part of Mexico in a deal with the Mexican Government that was never clearly explained.  “No one cared”, said Grampa.  “They were a pain in the ass anyway.”

“Good Lord, Dad!” said Lily’s mom.  Suddenly, a large hand clamped over her mouth.  It was Lily’s father.  He held his wife close and whispered in her ear, “Do you want to go to jail, Susan?”

He loosened his grip and Susan took a deep breath.  “It just comes out sometimes.  I mean, it’s just a saying.  I wasn’t, you know, praying or anything.”

“We don’t want to take any chances, Susan.  So far, we have been left alone.  I don’t want to risk that.”  He reached for her and held her tightly.  “I’m sorry.  I love you.”

Soon, it was time for Vid-Ed to begin.  Lily’s father, grandfather and brother left to work in the Corn Co-Op.  Their hybrid hummed as it went down the dirt road and disappeared into the horizon.  Her mother retrieved some water from the rain catcher and began to clean the breakfast dishes.

Lily moved to her makeshift desk on the far end of the porch and turned on her phone.  Class began with a salute to the New America as a circular sunrise over a red, white and blue horizon appeared on the screen…

Small Change? Not so much…

No, Barack, lightbulbs are not sexy.  I’m glad we got that straightened out…I was worried.  However, the lightbulbs you are shoving down our throats are potentially dangerous to the environment.

In case you have been living in a cave illuminated solely by torches, you have more than likely had occasion to purchase what I call “Ice Cream Bulbs” (this because of their resemblance to a Carvel Vanilla Custard Cone).  (crap…now I’m hungry)  ANYWAY, if you are as anal retentive as I am, you are a package reader.  I purchased a package of this new Saviour of the Free World and felt pretty good about myself.  Until I read the warning “LAMP CONTAINS MERCURY.  Manage in Accord with Disposal Laws.  See: http://www.lamprecycle.org or call 1-800-555-0050”

This didn’t sound good.  Isn’t mercury the reason why they tried to eradicate the tuna industry?  Isn’t that the stuff that made fishing in certain lakes and rivers EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!?!?  Uhm, pardon me, but how is a compact fluorescent light bulb that contains mercury supposed to help the environment?

I went to the website and chose the page that listed the regulations for the state in which I live.  After all, I want to dispose of this properly.  First they warn you that mercury is a poison.  Really?  Seriously.  Then they go on to tell you that it really isn’t a poison so much if it is used by single family residences, ranger stations, campgrounds, hotels, etc.  Confused?  However, if you are a school, business, blah, blah, blah, you have to go through a complicated mathematical equation to determine the mercury ratio that you are potentially placing into the environment.

Okay, so if one business with 300 employees (who each have one ice cream bulb in their cubicle) throws out those 300 compact bulbs once every 5 years it is throwing more mercury into the earth than an entire subdivision of 100 homes with at least one compact fluorescent bulb in every freakin’ room? VERY CONFUSED?!?! I know I am.

My feeling is that incandescent bulbs were just fine.  They didn’t give me a headache, they work in a walk-in cooler, and can be used as maraccas when they go bad.  All the compact fluorescents do is poison the environment and make me crave Carvel.