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The bulbs look weird. There's a grey plastic shaft rising to three taxicab yellow plastic compartments separated by more grey plastic. It looks so weird that the packaging has to say "white light when lit."
Actually, the light is still yellow in the sense that sunlight is yellow – but it's so bright that it is effectively white. Dazzling when you look at it directly. But it's comfortable to read by and you can do close work by these lights without any additional fatigue.
However, these bulbs are expensive. If they really last 22.5 years, then they're really cheap, considering how many incandescents you would have to buy to cover the same number of years. But you have to pay the price for these LED bulbs now, all at once.
On Amazon, the list price for the 17-watt (75-watt replacement) is $42.75. Yeah, that's not cheap. But when you buy the 12.5-watt (60-watt replacement), which is bound to be more commonly useful, the list price is "only" $39.99, and the actual selling price is $21.99.
When you consider that you can get a pack of 24 Sylvania 60-watt incandescent bulbs at Lowe's for $8.32, even $21.99 is a lot of money.
I doubt you're going to want to replace every bulb in your house this week.
But remember that the moment you put in the LED bulbs, they start saving electricity. So look around your house and take note of which lights people are always forgetting to turn off even when nobody's there. Maybe those are the fixtures where you'll first replace incandescents with LEDs, because that's where the power bill savings will feel the difference most clearly.
How do you know if you're getting an LED bulb that will do the job? For 75-watt equivalent, you want 1100 lumens. You also want an A19 or medium base to fit in the standard lightbulb socket.
Ultra-bright LEDs may work in light fixtures now, but don't believe any claims about LED heaters. Wanting to have some outdoor heat on my patio, I bought an outdoor "heater" that barely warms your hand when you hold it two inches away. Three feet away, and it has no effect at all.
Maybe in a small closet, it could heat the space in half an hour or so. But outdoors, it's useless. Stick with propane or firepits for outdoor heating.
I first went to Disney World in 1977. Epcot Center barely existed then. It was basically Disneyland with humidity. Unmarried, no kids, in Orlando on a business trip, I was there alone. I waited for the Mad Hatter's Teacup ride while "It's a Small World" blasted over and over again through that region of the park. I asked the Teacup ride attendant why he hadn't killed himself yet. He said, "Eventually you tune it out." It took me three days before I could get any other music into my head.
So I emerged as less than a fan of Disney theme parks, as you might imagine. And it didn't get much better when I went back with my kids. Two batches of them over the years, three trips, two to Florida, one to Anaheim. My main experience was lines, lines, lines, boring rides, lines, lines, lines, merchandising, and then lines.
Now, there might have been thrilling rides, but I'm an acrophobe and I detest the sensation of falling. So I don't go on "thrilling" rides. But I thought, what with all the "magic" and "imagineering," the non-plummeting rides would at least be interesting. Not so.
This is how much I love my family: When the idea came up to spend this Thanksgiving at Disney World, bringing along the grandchildren, of whom two are sentient, one is 18 months old, and one is five months from birth (in the still-gestating direction), it was really all about giving the Disney experience to the 6-year-old and the 5-year-old, with a bonus of nostalgia for the adults who weren't actively taking care of six, five, and 1.5.
I'm not a complete waste of a grandparent. I carried age 1.5 through the Atlanta airport, keeping her asleep the whole way. I carried age 5 from the Wednesday night restaurant back to the hotel. Now and then I held something for somebody, and I paid the restaurant tabs.
But at no time did I enter the Magic Kingdom or Epcot. My wife is the Good Grandparent; she helped out with both. That's why everybody likes her.
I stayed in my room during those times. I was working. Doing email interviews, writing essays, completing a short story. Job stuff.
I would have scrubbed the toilets rather than go to any activity where a Disney Person would tell a whole group of people what to do, and I, as one of the group, would have to do it.
I don't do obedience or group activities well. I did as a child. I did as a young adult. But I'm now officially an old coot, I don't have to be obedient anymore, and so I don't enter situations where the need to conform would lead me to caustic remarks and subversive behavior. That was my main contribution to the event.
Here's the shock: As long as I never entered the places where they have rides and other organized group activities, I had a great time.
That's because Disney World has become an interesting place, and not just in a detached What-Snotty-Things-Can-I-Say-About-American-Culture kind of way. (Though that is a very ripe category for conversation.)
First, when you stay at one of the on-campus Disney resorts, they really are pretty good as resorts. We stayed at the Beach Club, mostly because it was within easy walking distance of Epcot and of the Boardwalk – and of the two restaurants where we were going to have our big family meals.
The Beach Club is designed to feel like a New England lakeside hotel, and with late-November mid-Florida weather, the effect was a nearly-perfect imitation of New England summer.
There was plenty of good food in many different restaurants of varying levels of informality; the meal plan made sense and was easy to use; the workout center and other spa facilities were good; the pool was great; the beds were comfortable. It was possible to forget I was at Disney World at all.
And when I wanted to remember I was at Disney World, there it was. It was easy to ride the frequent and not overcrowded buses from one area to another. At Downtown Disney, which is open to people who live nearby without paying an admission fee, it is possible to find some interesting stores and events and restaurants that don't slap you with mouse ears all the time. The same is true at several of the hotels.
The other times I went to Disney World, Epcot was still under construction; now, when you make the circuit of the lake, there are reasonably entertaining representations of several countries.
Admittedly, it seemed that the main souvenir of every country was a bear, which seemed unlikely to me; apparently this is the Year of the Bear in Disney World. But the Italy section had a genuinely interesting shop, the French restaurant was very good, the Scandinavian pastries were excellent; the circuit of the lake was worth the hour I gave it.
It helped that my expectations were very low, so it was easy to pleasantly surprise me. And it saved me a lot of time that, as a Mormon, I was undistracted and undelayed by the alcohol-centered main attractions in every country....continued on page 3