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Opinion >  Column

Doug Clark: Ugly lights gave me a bright idea

It took a lot of thought, but I finally decided what to do with the free eight-pack of ugly curlicue made-in-China fluorescent lights that Avista Utilities sent me without asking the other day.

Avista is reportedly mailing 350,000 of these light kits to area residents although I don’t know why I was on the gift list.

My contrarian attitude toward these worm lights is a matter of record, after all.

Call me a curmudgeon, but I’m an old-fashioned incandescent bulb man and I’ve got a basement stash to prove it.

If Avista officials wanted to give me a present, I would have gladly given them my wristwatch preferences.

(Hint: I’m partial to the Omega Seamaster.)

Even better, Avista could have deducted $7.5 million they blew on this boondoggle from all of our monthly power bills.

That would be thoughtful.

But getting back to my plan, the answer came to me while watching an episode of “Top Shot.”

That’s a cool reality TV show on the History Channel where a bunch of genius sharpshooters compete to see who is the, well, top shot.

They do this by using a variety of weaponry to blast everyday objects like glass disks, water-filled jars, match heads, light bulbs, fruit …

Hold the phone.

Light bulbs?

That got me thinking about my trusty ol’ Red Ryder BB gun that is buried away in one of my closets.

I used to be a pretty good shot and I’m betting these Avista lights would make pretty good targets.

Whoa. Calm down. I know what you’re thinking.

You’re thinking, “Clark, you can’t do this. You’ll shoot YOUR EYE OUT!!!”

Well, don’t you worry.

Every safety precaution will be taken for this example of performance art.

That’s right. Don’t think of what I’m proposing as a sophomoric act of destruction.

This is a sophomoric statement. You know, like when members of the old rock band The Who ended their shows by smashing all their amps and guitars to smithereens.

Maybe there are a couple of twisted readers out there who share my love of BB guns and CFL contempt and would like to join the fun.

(Contact me via the information below and tell me why. Leave a phone number.)


You didn’t think I was going to stick these hideous things in my home, did you?

I have an old house. As I said before, screwing these twisty CFLs into my antique fixtures is as aesthetically absurd as planting rabbit ears on my Sony flat screen.

Plus I don’t like the light quality these CFLs put out.

But the main reason I hate these things is that they are being systematically shoved down our collective throats.

According to law, 100-watt incandescent bulbs will be phased out beginning Jan. 1. The following year will target 75-watters. The 60-watt and 40-watt will head down the road to obsolescence.

I realize CFLs save energy. Use them and you’ll save money in the long run.

But I’m willing to pay the freight.

What light bulb you use should be about choice, but the eco-nannies don’t want you to have one.

I didn’t know what my editor was going say when I told her about my latest crazy reindeer game. I should have guessed.

“Don’t shoot your eye out,” she warned.

Otto button giveaway

I’ll be playing some music with my bandmates at 8 p.m. Monday on the River Stage at Pig Out in the Park.

During this time we’ll be giving away buttons in memory of Otto Zehm, the innocent and mentally ill janitor who died following his violent 2006 encounter in a convenience store with Spokane police. Come and get some buttons and keep his name alive.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at

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