Light Bulbs? Outlaws? Who, Me?

Sunday, September 23, 2012
Posted in category Media

Here is the Gizmodo piece centered on me: “The American Outlaws Hoarding Lightbulbs in the Name of Liberty.” Here is my response. is also running my article.

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6 Responses to Light Bulbs? Outlaws? Who, Me?

  1. jeannie queenie says:

    September 23rd, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    I don’t know about hoarding out of liberty, but I do know that using cfl’s and the fire hazard they present is the determining factor of any thinking person who wants to live in security and not worry their house might not be there if they leave on a light while away. I dread leaving my home with a crap cfl’s bulb that can cause deadly fires, as shown here in this recent horror.
    “A compact fluorescent light (CFL) on the ceiling burst and started a fire in a home in Hornell, N.Y. December 23, 2010. “Those are the lights everybody’s been telling us to use,” said Joe Gerych, Steuben County FIRE Inspector. “It blew up like a bomb. It spattered all over.” Fire Chief Mike Robbins said the blaze destroyed the room where the fire started and everything in it, and the rest of the house suffered smoke and water damage. The Arkport Village Fire Department as well as the North Hornell Fire Dept required about 15 minutes to put out the fire.” Yep, Karen is right on…a totalitarian trick on the clueless.

  2. Tom Osborne says:

    September 24th, 2012 at 1:03 am

    It just makes me nauseous to read this piece and have to endure their attitude.  Wow…they’re like the Jews who went to work for the Nazis in the concentration camps, keeping everybody in line.

    I had an experience that I have related to the people I know, but no one “understood”.  But I bet you will.

    I live in a large apartment complex (you know, one of the ones with hundreds of units and playgrounds and two pools and a basketball court and fitness center and barbecue area, etc., almost entirely filled with families–I am one of the few exceptions).  It seems that the management is way too frequently pulling one of their so-called “government required” inspections (once every couple of months), for which you have to make your apartment available for some time period, such as three days or maybe a week, during which at any time the management and whatever government official will be barging in to do whatever it is that is on their agenda to do.  I am sure this is a violation of our right of enjoyment of our tenancy, but so far, I have simply endured it. I am also very sure that whatever government agency is behind this does not do this to private homeowners, it is only to RENTERS, who have less power against this kind of abuse.

    In order to accommodate these inspections, I have to leave my burglar alarm off, which I have for whatever protection it might afford me in this relatively high (and increasing) crime area.  But this past summer, I got upset because I got yet another one of those inspection notices the day before I was going to be out of the country on a vacation, a time when for sure I wanted my burglar alarm on.  We were supposed to make our apartments available for a THREE WEEK period, during which the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power would be making apartment by apartment inspections and making CORRECTIONS according to a federal plan to “weatherize” our dwelling units.  Weatherize?  This is L.A., what “weatherization” could we possibly need?

    I looked up on the Internet what this weatherization program was all about, and found out that it was a federal program for LOW INCOME HOME OWNERS (not diverse-income renters and I am not low-income) who cannot AFFORD to fix cracks around their windows or whatever and have REQUESTED such assistance.  NONE of this seemed to apply to my situation.  I also saw that it was touted as a good “jobs” initiative.  I guess in order increase even more unneeded jobs (at taxpayer expense), this program has now been expanded to being imposed on people who don’t need it and don’t want it.  And meanwhile, I was going to have to leave my apartment unprotected during the time I was going to be in the  South Pacific.  (You might wonder why the “inspection” couldn’t have been organized around my schedule, do this after I was back, for example, but this is the government we are talking about.  Why should they work to the convenience of the cattle?)

    As it turned out, they actually didn’t get to me until after I was back, anyway, and my good fortune was that I happened to be at home when they used their key to come in to do their dirty work.  It ends up that what they were doing was REPLACING ALL THE INCANDESCENT LIGHTBULBS with what I call “fluorescent curli-cues” (light bulbs that almost look like a curl of dogshit, except they are white) AND, even worse than that, put flow minimizers on the various bathroom sink faucets and REPLACE ALL THE SHOWER HEADS.

    I said to the guy, “What if we don’t WANT these?”  He said, “You don’t have to have them, but we have to give them to you.”  ”Okay,” I said, “just leave them here, then.”  But he explained that he HAD to INSTALL them all (so yes, it was for sure a jobs program, at our expense in more ways than one), but he would leave the old ones there for me.

    I had tried to go over to the fluorescent bulbs a couple of years ago, but the three-way ones that I used in all my very beautiful lamps are way to huge to fit, and I’m not getting rid of my lamps.  So even he couldn’t do anything about that.  However, the bulbs did fit in the sconces in my hall and everywhere in the kitchen.  I admit that I actually like them where he put them, the extra brightness to the light in my kitchen and hall are fine, better than the old bulbs, actually, while all the other rooms still have the nice, soft, restful lights.  So I think I came out a winner regarding that.

    But what they did to my sinks and showers was unacceptable.  I took a shower with the Mickey Mouse shower head that they imposed and a shower that would normally take me five or ten minutes ended up taking at least twenty minutes.  There was no water pressure at ALL.  It was exactly like that old Kramer shower head episode on Seinfeld, you can’t even rinse the shampoo out of your hair!

    I did some research on this and found out that there has been for some time a water flow standard imposed on shower heads that make it illegal for shower heads to be sold that have a gallons per minute flow rate above a certain level.  But the shower head that I already had met that standard.  THis one that the LADWP installed was rated at HALF that, so there wasn’t even a federal law requiring this.  And how stupid this all was…how is water saved if it takes you three times longer to take a shower?  Plus it wastes my time and wrecks the enjoyment of my shower to struggle to get the water to go where I want it to go.

    Well, after that, I underwent the “shower head follies”.  Several years ago, my sister gave me as a gift a “luxury” shower plumbing arrangement that involved a “rain soaker” shower head and a hand-held shower unit.  These had been made (and sold) prior to the imposition of this federal limit.  I had never installed them before, so now seemed like a good time to do that.  So I unscrewed the LADWP watering can shower head and put on this unit.  However, of course, once experienced, the rain soaker head was not acceptable as an actual shower head (although even it was better than the one the LADWP had installed), but I happened to find on-line a company selling “high-pressure” shower heads designed to “make showering good again”, so I bought the one that had their highest rating.  But, believe it or not, IT, too, was worse than the LADWP one.  The company selling that provided instructions on how to dig out of the head the flow restrictors, which I did, but the improvement was minimal.  Finally, I simply put my original shower head back on, but it isn’t the same.  I do most of my showering with the hand-held unit, which provides the most pressure of any of the others, but overall, nothing is like what it had been before.  So I guess that the LADWP also somehow cut the water pressure down for the entire complex.

    Beyond the pain of from now on having terrible showers for however long I continue to live here, the absolute worst aspect of this whole story was the fact of them simply coming into the apartments as a required order and making the change, perhaps in your absence, without you even knowing in advance that that was what they were going to do.  Totalitarian for sure, and since I imagine this benefits the LADWP, which I think of as more like a company than a city department (although I don’t fully understand just WHAT their structure actually is), this is also fascism.  For sure, right here and now, operating in our lives and inside our dwellings.  Interesting, because I think that our inclusion in this involved the LADWP in collusion with the owner of this complex who must be getting some benefit from it, too (I don’t know ANYONE else who had had this done to them), and the owner of this complex happens to be a Nazi concentration camp survivor.

  3. jeannie queenie says:

    September 24th, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Ohmigod Tom, what an agonizing story. I sure as hell would forbid anyone to come into my condo if I were not there. I have horror stories as well..when I first moved east to Boston 22 years ago, I rented from an elderly chinese couple…they gave me the third floor apt with just two rooms and I bought a camper stove to cook.

    I was not allowed to have lock on my 3rd fl morn I woke up to see this old chinese guy standing over checking me out while I slept. Never in my life did I scream like I did that morn…he put his forefinger to his mouth suggesting I was making too much noise…surely he didn’t want his wife to hear me, so he scrambled out of there. Mind you, this old C fart had three sons…one a an IRS agent and the other owned half of China town in Boston..and dig this, the old man told me to pay rent under the table and give him only cash..told him, ‘no can do…take check or else’..he caved to that..just one story of many i could share but time doesn’t permit..the last place I rented before I finally bought was run by this young 30ish preppy couple who turned out to be major drug dealers probably running the whole coast line east of Boston…now that was really a scary story..the kid got into my apt during the day while I worked at an investment firm in Boston..the kid found some of my stock certificates in my safe…then told my son,if he didn’t give him $100 for a new doorlock for back door, he would see that a judge got all my stocks, etc. That did it for me…I then got a lawyer to break the lease..that cost me $400 for esq…in the meantime the landlords put me through a living hell..and worse, they were in cahoots with the cops who didn’t help me out. If I EVER see that kid again..he is probably 45 now, he will be missing kneecaps someday if I find him. Yes, Tom, living in another’s domain/rentals or apts is NOT nice..been there, done that and NEVER ever again..and they have no friggin right to invade your sacred space, espec if you are an excellent tenant as i always was. Paid my rent before it was due and kept the place looking like House Beautiful 24/7…the one good landlord I did have for 7 yrs in Brookline, MA loved what I did to his apt, he lowered the rent twice to keep me time though, pushing that rent money down a dark hole is not the way to go..I think if you ever
    have to be away again when someone is to be in there to do work, I would definitely change the locks and to hell with them bitching about it..too bad, so sad.
    At any rate, I sure can appreciate the angst you must have felt throughout this ordeal..yep, it is facism of the stealth or not so stealth variety…it’s commie time folks. Like my friend says, cats meow, and dogs bark and Obummer can’t help what he asshole, but the bigger assholes who voted for him are truly the scariest of all..they are half the country who would have no problem stealing from you and me..’tis truly disastrous when you know 1/2 the population is so braindead, so clueless that they voted for him. Luckily here in New Eng, I am meeting more liberals (plenty of them) who are now chagrined that they voted for idiot savant. All of the local/state/fed BS you encountered is just part and parcel of the commie bs or Marxist bs that this drug addled admin is trying to shove down our throats…time we puke it back out in their faces so they know what venom we are feeling toward the sick sociopathy of sickening criminals, pervs, thieves.

  4. Lisa says:

    October 4th, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Oh my, look at all those books, hoarder!

  5. Karen De Coster says:

    October 4th, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Lisa – ROFL……….

  6. Tom Osborne says:

    October 13th, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Oh, Jeannie Queenie, I love your response to my comment, although I detest all the horrifying things that happened to you!  Despite what may or may not be the reasonable economics of property ownership (which affects me negatively in that where I live, Los Angeles, the prices are astronomical even AFTER the well-deserved real estate collapse), obtaining “the American dream” truly does seem to be the way to go.

    One thing I am experiencing around here that is even worse that landlord abuse is the utter selfishness and absolutely sociopathic behavior by other tenants (which is why I would never never never buy a condo or a duplex).  Garbage all over the place, especially thrown-out furniture (including mattresses so filthy and stained that to even walk by them and get a whiff of how they smell brings on serious nausea), people parking INTO my reserved parking space (say, a foot or so over the line) or else actually IN it (either way, it makes it so you can’t park in your own parking space), unfathomable amounts of noise even up into three or four o’clock in the morning, absolutely unruly children whose method of playing involves screaming at the top of their lungs every second, and, now, recently, the management keeping open the fitness center and the “club room” ONLY during their office hours (which amount to something like 9 or 10 AM to around 4 PM on weekdays), having them locked at all other times.  Why?  Because the new-fangled high-efficiency washing machines that they recently replaced all the regular washing machines with that are in the complex’s laundry room require key cards in order to pay for your wash and dry, and the key-card-recharging machine takes only cash, $20 bills, and it is kept in the fitness center (why there, I have no idea), not in the laundry room, and tenants have figured out a way to steal the cash from the machine.   So now the whole fitness center is locked except for the times when I am at work.

    This may make it seem that I live in some kind of a government housing project or something, but no, this is basically a middle-class apartment complex.  My rent is a shy less than $2,000 a month.

    But at least I don’t wake up to find an intruder staring at me.  That better not happen, for the intruder’s sake, because I have a revolver, a pistol, and a shotgun, and am well-trained in how to use them.  I wouldn’t hesitate to use them under such a circumstance.

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