Practical Brilliance

Note: Christmas and New Year and the time in-between, which I envision as a sort of vacation, have kept me busy and away from the computer. Posting may continue to be haphazard for the coming week or so while I regroup. In the meantime, here is a piece written by Liz Detter in April 2011, posted in honor of the light bulb, which, in a last-ditch effort by Congress, was recently rescued from the bungling hands of big government lovers… but rescued merely for the time being… that is unless Americans get busy and do something about it.


Electric current passes through filament

Inert gas burns white and hot

A little bulb is born…

A very good idea.

Mood and moment sitting together by the window

Comfort and radiance encased in glass

A warm welcome home

A warning flash

A protector standing watch

A passionate one

A colorful show of style

A subtle ambiance

A dramatic blaze

Twinkling entertainment

A reader’s friend

A spectrum of emotion

A handy little basic that has shaped our world

Beautiful utility…

A very good idea.

Memories glow in little bulbs…

Heartbeats tended under their vigilant supervision,

Sparks kindling in racing hearts…a kiss beneath the front porch light,

Bulb guiding pen as compelling thoughts whisper in the night,

A baby chick hatching under its golden warmth,

The flick of a switch… Surprise!

Coziness shining through windows at twilight, spinning tales of the lives inside,

A summer night’s swim with the neighborhood gang – chlorine halos dancing in carefree eyes,

A catch in my breath at the sight of you, little bulb…

A very good idea.


Floods of light swinging back and forth pass in the sky as they announce the big event.

Bare bulbs strung from tree to tree singing with romance for the bride and groom’s first slow dance,

Beams banishing secrets crouched in the dark,

pointing the way to what has been lost,

Rays of light protecting toes in the night,

Twinkling accents flirting after sunset, winking playfully through the window screen,

A ray of kindness illuminating the sock drawer

so he doesn’t dress in one black and one blue.

A stern glare chasing monsters from a little boy’s room…

A very good idea.

Dressed to the nines or with naked simplicity, my little bulb, you are efficient, luminescent, alluring. No, you are not always flattering, and you have been known to tell tactless truths (especially in fitting rooms where you have a habit of being very unkind), but you accept the prompt of the dimmer switch, and for that I owe you.

You are skill and imagination radiating brilliance.

I have been wooed and won by your mesmerizing charms.

Millions of memories and you’ve been there, dear bulb. My eyes and my heart belong to you.

You are a very good idea.

They want you to say goodbye, little bulb.

But it ain’t over ‘til they turn out the lights. Hang on little bulb…hang on.

Davy, Swan, Brush, Edison, as well as others experimented with incandescent light; Davy beginning the work back as far as 1802. Edison went beyond and designed a lightbulb capable of being commercially produced so we could all enjoy the little shiner’s benefits. Thanks guys! A very good idea.

Written by Liz Detter, April 2011


This piece was a writing class assignment, the prompt being to write about an everyday item seen as art. At the time, the incandescent light bulb was to be phased out by government mandate, beginning with the 100 watt bulb in January 2012. The ban signaled an untimely and senseless end to a lifetime of warm memories and moments brought to us courtesy of the little bulb.

It was also yet another challenge to American freedom; in this case, the freedom to purchase what we want and the freedom of the marketplace to produce the products of their choice. These were just about to be snatched away in another example of meddling government interference as it continues to tip its hat to global governance.

Thankfully, as of December 16th of this year, Congress voted to postpone the lightbulb ban. It may end up a brief reprieve unless American’s recognize this gnawing threat and stand up to those who will continue to impose such restraints upon us, one after another, with increasing frequency for what they consider “our own good”.

For now, this brilliant little work-of-art-meets-practicality known as the light bulb is hanging in there.

This is a victory for all light bulb-loving and freedom-loving Americans going into 2012… and yes, a very good idea.