PLOT TWIST in NC Stage Collapse – Promoter Convicted Previously for Extortion and Wire Fraud

from WCNC Charlotte - Shelby stage collapse photos

from WCNC Charlotte – Shelby stage collapse photos

I’ve been covering every bit of information I have gotten on the stage collapse that happened – I thank each and every production tech, every audience member, and every industry vet who has weighed in on the accident.  I was lucky enough to have a large pool of on-hand folks to call on to comment on this mess.  Unfortunately, the mainstream media publications don’t have this pool of information, and once again, the major funded publications have printed information that just isn’t accurate.  Print and TV publications like the Charlotte Observer, WCNC Charlotte, WSOC-TV, et al have published comments by the promoter, Bobby McLamb, whose attitude is just short of being criminally negligent when it comes to the safety of the people he’s promoting concerts for — and comments by the production company’s owner, James Little, who made claim in the last article published by the Charlotte Observer, for example, stating that there were 12 towers holding up the roof when it was blown over.

That comment made me go back and look at the first images of the collapsed stage.  Let’s do it together — and check my math here, but I count FOUR TOWERS holding that stage up, not twelve.  There are TWO towers that appear as if they used to hold up the FOH “truss,” and another TWO towers that appear to have held up the upstage “truss.”  Count with me here — there are not even 12 towers IN these photos.

the L&N Productions stage

I see a total of FOUR towers in this shot.

L&N Productions' "Safe stage"

Let’s play COUNT THE TOWERS HOLDING UP THE ROOF.  I count 4, not 12.  Where oh where did the other 8 go?

This kind of crap just sickens me.  As one of my anonymous sources on the road with one of the bands involved in this near fatal accident said, “you can count on this guy using this truss again and again.”  Sadly, this is probably true.

I did some research into Bobby Mclamb‘s past, and I found some very troubling information.  Mclamb was convicted of extortion and conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud in a Federal RICO (that means Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) case back in 2004 that stemmed from good ol’ Bobby exerting his influence over state fair decision making.  Mclamb ran for North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner and lost to a woman named Meg Scott Phipps; once he lost, he joined her campaign as an aide, then all of the f*ckery began.

I wonder why no major news outlet put two and two together on this? 

From the Lexington Dispatch, March 19, 2003, via Google Newspapers:

lexington-dispatch-3-19-2003

Here’s just a little more information on this case — it sort of reads like TiVO programming instructions until you understand that Mclamb served time for influencing entertainment decisions at the state level.  From a 2003 article in the Carolina Journal:

RALEIGH — A federal grand jury has indicted two former aides to Agricultural Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps, a U.S. attorney said at a press conference Tuesday.

The charges against Linda Johnson Saunders, of Louisburg, and Bobby C. McLamb, of Raleigh, include conspiracy, extortion, wire fraud, and mail fraud, said Frank Whitney, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

The charges are related to the 2000 Meg Scott Phipps Campaign for Commissioner of Agriculture. Saunders was treasurer of the campaign. She was appointed special assistant to the commissioner as a paid employee of the Department of Agriculture after Phipps took office. Saunders resigned for health reasons Dec. 1, 2002.

She is charged with five counts of mail fraud and four counts of wire fraud in connection with post-election fund-raising to pay off the campaign debt of McLamb, who was Phipps’s Democratic primary opponent.

She is also charged with money laundering and structuring transactions to avoid federal currency reporting requirements including the handling of $26,000 in cash from a Phipps fund-raiser.

One scheme detailed in the indictment included post-election contributions solicited and received by the Phipps campaign that were diverted to pay McLamb’s $75,000 Centura Bank Loan and $25,000 BB&T bank loan. Saunders concealed the diversion of the funds by filing false reports with the state Board of Elections, according to the indictment.

McLamb joined Phipps’s campaign after he lost to her in the primary. Phipps appointed McLamb assistant commissioner of agriculture after she won the general election. Phipps fired McLamb on Jan. 31, 2002.

Phipps and McLamb both had significant input into the operation of the State Fair, according to the indictment. Both are charged with violating the Hobbs Act, a federal statute that prohibits state officials from using their official power to extort money from people who have dealings with the state.

Shortly after Phipps was inaugurated in January 2001 news reports raised questions about her fund-raising. In June 2002 the State Board of Elections held a three-day hearing and fined the Phipps campaign $130,000 for campaign finance violations. Law-enforcement officials then took interest.

If you check out Bobby Mclamb’s website, he is indeed a comedian, and a motivational speaker.  I ran a background check on him, he is indeed the owner of Artists and Attractions, the papers and the TV news has already put that forth:

bobby-c-mclambWhat is scary is that he’s already been convicted of doing shady business deals once in the entertainment industry.  Do you think that perhaps allowing L&N Productions to construct rigs for him for 20 some odd years has put anyone else in danger of collapse or misinstalled equipment?  Mclamb was quoted in the Daily journal:  “…Bobby McLamb says he’s confident that L&N Productions of Hickory did a good job of putting the stage together…  McLamb is with Artists & Attractions of Raleigh and says he had never seen a roof collapse over a stage.  McLamb says he’s used L&N for more than 20 years and will continue to do so.”

Something else that Mclamb said was posted in the Charlotte Observer on August 18:

Some blamed L&N Productions Inc. of Hickory for shoddy construction of the stage. Others accused concert officials of not monitoring weather conditions.

McLamb has heard the rumors, but discounts negative comments from “people who look at online pictures and were not there at the fairgrounds when this happened.”

He stands by L&N, a firm he’s used at shows for more than 20 years and plans to keep using.

“They’re very professional,” McLamb said.

Well, Mr. Mclamb, we are an industry of experts and trailblazers, with chumps who do dangerous work mixed in — you choose to use a contractor who puts your eventgoers’ lives in danger.  Many of us have been doing this long enough to know when we see photos of accidents that better decisions have been made; you don’t have the experience that we do to make those decisions.  You shouldn’t dismiss our intelligence so quickly.  What you do when you pick people like L&N Productions to do the work for you while you stuff more money in your pockets is drive up ticket prices for future events, skyrocket insurance prices for other promoters, and give our industry a really bad name with YOUR sneaky backwards behavior.

Here’s some examples AGAIN of what Bobby Mclamb feels is professional, giving our entire industry a punch right in the throat.  Remember:  Bobby Mclamb thinks this is “very professional.”

It’s come down to this — since no one is going to do anything about this and no one is going to stop L&N Productions and Bobby Mclamb from doing shows that are equally as unsafe as this, below you will find the phone numbers and email addresses of L&N Productions, publicly posted from their website.  Give them a call and drop them an email, tell them to not only get their shit together, but to start acting responsibly in the face of the Entertainment Production industry that we all call our own.  This world is way too small for people like this to give the rest of us a bad name.  The media isn’t going to do anything for us, we must take care of this ourselves.  Tell your fellow production and touring friends to be careful around any gigs associated with L&N Productions.  The photos speak for themselves.

L&N Productions828-328-3235

James Little (Owner): james@landninc.com
John Little: john@landninc.com

Also, since Bobby McLamb, the promoter, has stated in the Charlotte Observer that he “has used L&N Productions for 20 years and will continue to do so,” give him a call and let him know that he should reconsider L&N Productions until they decide to do their work with a little more safety and security.  Here’s his contact information, he’s the president of Artists and Attractions in Lillington, North Carolina:

Artists and Attractions (also answering to this phone number is B+R Management, another Entertainer/Amusement Park management company Mclamb is involved with somehow)
Phone:  919-845-8378
artistsanda@aol.com
http://www.artistsandattractions.com

For more on Bobby Mclamb’s corrupt entertainment industry decision making (from http://www.crime-research.org/news/2003/03/Mess2201.html)

RALEIGH, N.C. – An offer by a winning politician to a vanquished candidate to help repay campaign debts has resulted in federal fraud, extortion, money laundering and conspiracy charges.

Charges against two former aides of Agriculture Commissioner Meg Scott Phipps were related to fund raising during and after Phipps’ 2000 campaign, a federal prosecutor announced Tuesday.

Former campaign treasurer Linda J. Saunders was charged with 17 counts. Former commissioner candidate and assistant commissioner Bobby McLamb was charged with two counts – extortion by a public official and conspiracy, U.S. Attorney Frank Whitney said.

Phipps was not charged. During a hearing before the state Board of Elections last year, Phipps repeatedly denied knowing about her campaign’s payments toward McLamb’s loans.

But the indictment said Phipps called and wrote to Centura Bank, where McLamb owed $75,000, asking that the loan be extended.

“My husband Robert and I are holding a series of fundraisers now and after the election in November to assist Bobby in retiring this debt and feel we should have no trouble raising the money to satisfy his debt to Centura Bank,” Phipps wrote in an October 2000 letter to the bank.

During the elections board hearing, Phipps said she and her husband talked with McLamb and a campaign contributor about helping McLamb. But she said she never agreed to use her campaign money to pay off McLamb’s debt.

“I would have been terribly upset had I known that,” Phipps said in June. “My husband and I have much more of an amount of campaign debt and it should have gone to us first.”

According to the 42-page indictment, the alleged crimes began after Phipps’ campaign told McLamb the campaign would help repay his debt. McLamb received the assurance May 2, 2000, the night of the primary after McLamb offered to support Phipps in the general election.

The indictment said the Phipps’ campaign diverted at least $86,000 in contributions to repayment of McLamb’s $100,000 debt. McLamb had separate $75,000 and $25,000 bank loans and Phipps called at least one bank asking that the loan be extended while her campaign raised money for it.

An attorney for McLamb said he hadn’t seen the indictment and couldn’t comment on the charges. An attorney for Saunders didn’t return a telephone call and numbers for Saunders in Raleigh and Louisburg weren’t answered.

McLamb’s first court hearing is scheduled for March 24, according to the court clerk’s office. No hearing had been scheduled for Saunders.

Federal prosecutors said McLamb was issued a summons to appear for his hearing, while an arrest warrant was issued for Saunders. The summons gives the defendant a chance to come to court voluntarily, while the warrant tells marshals to detain the defendant.

“I’m not surprised that the indictments came down,” said David Long, McLamb’s attorney. “My client has been interviewed.”

Whitney said the U.S. Justice Department has made official corruption a priority, right behind terrorism and cybercrime, and that the charges weren’t what he normally sees.

“In my 12 years in the Justice Department, I am not aware of any charges like this in North Carolina … two senior state officials indicted for allegations of extortion,” Whitney said.

Saunders, a longtime assistant to Phipps, and McLamb were accused of soliciting money they said would go toward retiring Phipps’ campaign debt. But state campaign finance reports filed by the campaign didn’t disclose the payments to McLamb.

The indictment also said after Phipps was elected in 2000, Saunders told fair midway companies they would have to contribute to help Phipps repay debts to be considered for a contract for the 2002 fair. Phipps replaced the longtime provider of midway shows with a new company.

Saunders, 43, also was accused of accepting two cashier’s checks totaling $14,500 from unidentified donors who wanted to influence the awarding of the midway contact for the North Carolina State Fair, according to the charges. McLamb, 42, also received a $20,000 check from someone seeking a vendor contract at the fair, the indictment said.

The indictment said Saunders funneled $22,000 in cash “through a complicated structure of financial transactions” to avoid a bank currency transaction report.

McLamb had received a $75,000 loan from Amusements of America, the New Jersey-based midway operator that won the midway contract for the 2002 North Carolina State Fair, the indictment said. One of the bank loans was to repay that loan, which was funneled through the owner of a private county fair. The repayments were sent back through the same route, the indictment said.

Whitney said the indictments resulted from a nine-month investigation by state and federal law enforcement. Whitney also said the investigation is continuing and declined to say if more people would be charged.

The counts against Saunders carry a maximum prison sentence of 175 years and fines totaling $5 million. McLamb faces maximum penalties of 25 years in prison and fines of $500,000. Whitney said neither defendant, if convicted, would get the maximum sentence.

It wasn’t the first investigation of Phipps’ campaign. Last year, the state Board of Elections fined her campaign $130,000. The board said the campaign had taken $84,202 in cash from donors it could not identify and more than $14,000 in illegal corporate contributions.

Phipps, 47, is the daughter of former Gov. Bob Scott and granddaughter of Kerr Scott, who served as governor and U.S. senator. She declined to comment on the indictments, citing the ongoing investigation, but said “I have faith in our system of justice ….”

Also, here’s the original indictment, in PDF:
http://www.masstort.org/Downloads/StratesLawsuit.pdf

More:
http://www.carolinajournal.com/articles/display_story.html?id=413

From the State Attorney’s Office:
http://www.justice.gov/usao/nce/press/2004/2004-Mar-03.html

http://www.justice.gov/usao/nce/press/2004/2004-Oct-19.html

And a little bit more on Phipps, who started all of this mess in the first place – Star News, October 23, 2003:

star-news-10-23-2003

If Roxy Had Pooped 15 Seconds Later, We’d Both Be Dead Now

car-thieves-jimonlight-9

You will never believe what just happened.  As I am posting this, maybe 20 minutes has elapsed since the entire thing went down.  It’s 5:56pm EST.

Roxy and I were doing her afternoon walk; she poops, and we head towards the elevator. As soon as we get off of the elevator, we hear a screech, an explosion, and see a Ford Mustang flip horizontally in the air and slam into the tree you see below in the photos.  A black male jumps out of the car and runs away down the highway right by our neighborhood.  One of my neighbors runs after this man and grabs him swimming away in the canal by the apartment complex.  The driver of the car, also a black male, also jumps out of the car but is detained by the cop who was chasing this pair in a 25 mph zone and one of my other neighbors who was helping hold the offender down on the ground.  The cop runs after the first runner, but returns after he sees him jump into the canal.

If Roxy had decided to have her constitutional 15 seconds later than she did, both of us would be dead.  D-E-A-D.  The car left the roadway and hit the grass causing them to tailspin across both lanes of the neighborhood road RIGHT where she took her shit.  I was interviewed by the police who told me that these guys stole a purse and an iPad from a Publix down the street, and were being chased.  The officer believed the car was also part of the theft.

What the hell is wrong with people?!  I hope the driver enjoyed his f*cking concrete burns, there were kids playing on the other side of the street where the car impacted the tree.  THERE WERE KIDS PLAYING.  THIS IS A NEIGHBORHOOD.

F*cking criminal bastards.

Vigilante Cell-Phone-in-a-Theatre Justice – Kevin Williamson vs Rude Cell Phone Talker

You wouldn’t have your cell phone stuck to your face when you’re screwing, right?!  THEN TURN IT OFF IN THE THEATRE!

CELL-PHONE-JAMMER

I have an extensive background in Theatre, and any time I see an article that mentions some douche with a cell phone ruining the experience of Live Theatre for everyone around them, I have to read it.  Anyone who knows me knows I have my freaking iPhone plastered to my face or 6 inches in front of my near-sighted eyes (and I DO wonder if my arms will ever get short enough for my vision), but when you’re in the theater for some Theatre, put your damned cell phone away!

I often wonder why more theatre companies dont just invest in a cheap DIY cell phone jammer that can be enabled and disabled with the flip of its switch.  Consequently, here’s an awesome article on Hacked Gadgets on Cell Phone Jamming for those interested.  If you can solder a DMX cable together, you can make a cell jammer.  Make sure, however, that the thing is legal in your jurusdiction — you’d hate to give the theatre cell idiots any more reason to be annoying.  Just imagine the morons with their iPhones who keep trying to get service — they’ll either put them away or leave, both of which are true theatre WINS!

Back on point:  Theatre reviewer Kevin Williamson and his date went to see Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 at Kazino in NYC; long story short…  oh, I’ll just let Kevin tell it:

I had a genuinely new experience at the theater tonight: I was thrown out.

The show was Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, which was quite good and which I recommend. The audience, on the other hand, was horrible — talking, using their phones, and making a general nuisance of themselves. It was bad enough that I seriously considered leaving during the intermission, something I’ve not done before. The main offenders were two parties of women of a certain age, the sad sort with too much makeup and too-high heels, and insufficient attention span for following a two-hour musical. But my date spoke with the theater management during the intermission, and they apologetically assured us that the situation would be remedied.

It was not. The lady seated to my immediate right (very close quarters on bench seating) was fairly insistent about using her phone. I asked her to turn it off. She answered: “So don’t look.” I asked her whether I had missed something during the very pointed announcements to please turn off your phones, perhaps a special exemption granted for her. She suggested that I should mind my own business.

So I minded my own business by utilizing my famously feline agility to deftly snatch the phone out of her hand and toss it across the room, where it would do no more damage. She slapped me and stormed away to seek managerial succor. Eventually, I was visited by a black-suited agent of order, who asked whether he might have a word.

In a civilized world, I would have received a commendation of some sort. To the theater-going public of New York — nay, the the world – I say: “You’re welcome.”

There is talk of criminal charges. I will keep you updated.

Well Kevin, I can’t say I blame you, and it might not have been a great move to toss the moron’s cell…  but I probably would have done the same thing had my wife let me get away with something so vigilante.  I salute you.  Let’s hope you don’t get arrested for property damage.

kazinonyc

Here’s something awesome from the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin to their talking and texting patrons during their movies, it’s well worth the watch!

Thanks to The Gothamist for more info on the story!

What? Someone Thought It Would Be A Good Idea for Police to Have Laser Dazzlers

What?

Hmm.

Here’s what I know:  a large majority of police offers are good people.  What is “a large majority?”  50%?  60%?  75%?  I have no idea.  What I also know is that there are a large majority of videos of police personnel misusing their Taser weapons on civilians, let alone people who are actually guilty of a crime.  I guess a Taser is better than a bullet in the back, right?

Perhaps people need to be reminded of the BART shooting back on New Years’ Day, 2009.  This was the case when the defense argued that BART officer Johannes Mehserle thought he was reaching for his Taser weapon when he shot Oscar Grant in the back, inevitably leading to Grant’s death.  The officer claimed that he was pulling his Taser, a non-lethal method of defense, instead of his Sig .40.  I’m calling BS on that, as many have already – a loaded .40 weighs about twice to three times as much as a Taser.

Do a search anywhere on the web for Taser abuse of power articles.  What you’ll find is a very ridiculously large list of articles of police officers accused of misusing their Tasers in situations that did not call for it.  For example:

I don’t need to go on, right?  You get the point?

This post is not about Tasers.  It is about this new “non-lethal” device for Police and Military, this laser confusion device called the Dazer Lazer.  However, the Taser device is not supposed to be a weapon that police use in order to force the public into compliance, like a whip or a stick.  IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE USED AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO THEIR FIREARM, not A CONTROL DEVICE.  So, in the case of the Dazer Laser, which would render someone being lased in the FACE and EYES, how would its use be ANY DIFFERENT?  If our law officers cannot handle a taser, why would we give them a device that creates total incapacitation and confusion made of light that can damage their eyes permanently?

People do die when tased by police.  Also, maybe without a slice of irony, taser manufacturers have started suing coroners who have called out death by taser.  It’s amazing to hear stories about a police officer tasing someone for 30-55 seconds, especially since their training says five second bursts.  What on Earth causes a human being to inflict that kind of pain onto another person?  Also, if it’s happening with Tasers, what’s stopping angry law officers to hold a Dazer Laser a foot in front of someone’s face and burn the vision out of their eyes for 30-55 seconds?

I worry about this topic.  Look, I’m not naive, I understand that someone being lased or tased is most likely better than handing their family a death letter.  Also, it could be worse, I understand, it could be a baseball bat or a club or something.  But this is light.  I know light.  I also know lasers, and you shouldn’t point them into a person’s eyes, ever, unless it’s an eye doctor who is trained and certified and using them for medical purposes.

I’m not singling out any one company – I’m sure I’d love to have one of these, but I wouldn’t be shining it into someone’s eyes.  I just believe that we should be using light for better ends.  What do you think?

Does This LED Middle Finger Count as Road Rage?

I get a metric ton of emails from LED manufacturing companies located all over the world.  You know the ones – if you’ve ever done a search on Google for “lighting” or entered your email address into a subscription list, you’ve probably gotten spammed with something like this:

Dear Sir:

It has been long time for communication with you.  at the beginning of 2010, we have launched some new led bulb and lightings.

You can visit our website to download our 2010 catalogue, [website address redacted]

If you want to download, please contact me to get the account to download the files.

[name redacted]
Dreamy Lighting Co., LTD

Normally these come with some kind of PDF full of blatant copies of good brands like Martin’s Mac 2000, along with LED striplights, wall washers, and other inexpensive LED lighting.  It’s been this way with manufacturers in this area for many years – when white LED manufacturing made its debut, companies bombarded the world with cheap quality and cost white LED products.  When CFLs got huge, same thing.

Sometimes the products (and English translations) are absolutely ridiculous, and sometimes it is overwhelmingly hilarious.  I just got one from a company (that I shall not name because they CONSTANTLY SPAM ME) that had a pretty funny product being advertised – an LED sign for the inside of your car that sends visual messages to the car behind you, up to and including the middle finger.  Meet the “CAR Emotion Light”:

What a phenomenally hilarious idea.  Note the middle finger  icon that you can display in gleaming red LED light for your already late for dinner angry road raging Hummer driver you just cut off.

Epic win.

OH GOD, THEY TATTOOED THEIR EYEBALLS

So last night I was lying in bed looking at the news, and all of the sudden I click on something that to me read as “prison inmates tattoo eyeballs.”  What it actually was completely shocked me, so I figured, hey – I bet JimOnLight readers would LOVE this (or totally despise it), so I should certainly post about it.

The video below depicts nothing about the actual performing of the subject matter, just the results, but it’s still freaky.

These prison inmates tattooed the sclera of their eyeballs!  Can you believe that?!  How were they sure that they were only injecting that “ink” into their sclera only? I mean, under the right circumstances and on your skin tattoos can and usually do look pretty neat.  But your EYE?  Don’t they know how important that is?!  There is a reason that people who sustain damage to their eyes or even a single eye lose their vision – to my knowledge, we cannot manufacture or generate vitreous gel for the eye.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Holy cow.  The second subject interviewed in the film is in prison for 73 years, so more than likely he doesn’t have to worry about ever having non-prison employment again – but the other guy (the one with the red eyes) is in for 4 years.  Both of these men are going to have disciplinary action taken against them.

The subject said that they have no color tint in their vision, and that they still see fine. For now. I wonder what was in that “ink” they used.

Watch the video:

What? Japanese Fluorescent Lamp Battle

WARNING:
This is really violent and pretty bloody.  I listed it here because of its complete lack of sanity.

Seriously, consider this a warning.

To be completely honest, I am really unsure as to what to say in this situation.  Apparently there are ring fights in Japan that are fought with fluorescent tubes.  What’s the point here – first man to get hydrargyria first wins?

I am at a loss for words.

japanese_neon_fight6

500x_japanese_neon_fight3

Holy cow!

Click the link for more nasty photos and even a gross video.
Read more

What? Ohio Public Utilities Commission and FirstEnergy’s $10.80 Stupidity

What?

Have you ever had a volunteer come to your door with a free compact fluorescent lamp?  When my wife and I lived in Oklahoma City,  a community program volunteer brought a free compact fluorescent lamp to our house for us to have and use in order to save energy.  How nice, right?  We thought so.  A public utility, FirstEnergy in Ohio, set up a program (that was approved by the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, by the way) that distributes compact fluorescent lamps to customers in Ohio.

Cool program, right?  Free fluorescent lamps for all.  Except they’re not free – FirstEnergy will be charging their customers $10.80 each for the lamps, automatically, with no opt-out program.  Hold on a minute – for $10 I can go down to Target, Home Depot, or Lowes’ and buy a half-dozen compact fluorescent lamps.  What’s with this $10.80 per lamp crap?

Last year, the Ohio state government passed a bill saying that utilities had to cut their customers’ usage 22% by the year 2025.  Apparently this is how FirstEnergy is going about reducing energy usage – by charging customers way, way too much for something that people can buy on their own for 1/6 the price.

An article from John Funk at the Plain Dealer in Cleveland states:

FirstEnergy bought Chinese-made bulbs from three distributors including TCP Inc. of Aurora, because it couldn’t find any made in the United States. A California company will deliver 3 million of them door-to-door to Illuminating Co., Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison customers. The rest will be mailed.

Passing out the bulbs is not the way to persuade people to use them, Migden-Ostrander said. The company should have given its customers discount coupons and let them shop for the best deal, she said.

The company’s lawyers resisted that, arguing that FirstEnergy had to begin cutting back power deliveries right away to meet the terms of the new law.

Hmm.  You know what really sucks about this?  If you have seen the letter from FirstEnergy VP of Customer Service John Paganie, it seems like they’re giving these lamps away for free:

We are pleased to provide you with two energy-efficient CFLs. When you install these bulbs in place of two 100-watt incandescent bulbs in your home, you could save about $30 over the life of each bulb.  Here’s how:

Traditional incandescent bulbs cost less to buy than CFLs, but they might only last 750 hours. Your new CFLs should last 10,000 hours, which is 10 times as long. This means you would need to buy more than 13 traditional bulbs to equal the lifespan of one CFL.

Also, your new CFLs will use 75 percent less electricity than a standard 100-watt incandescent bulb, and will produce the same amount of light. When you combine the longer life and decreased energy usage of the CFL, you can see significant, long-term savings for each bulb you replace.

FirstEnergy’s Ohio utility companies – The Illuminating Company, Ohio Edison and Toledo Edison – are providing these light bulbs to residential customers in Ohio.

We’re dedicated to helping our customers reduce the amount of electricity they use while increasing their energy efficiency. These CFLs are just one simple way you can improve energy efficiency in your home. We’ve also enclosed a booklet with more than 100 energy-saving tips.
For additional information, please visit firstenergycorp.com/energyefficiency.

Thanks, and enjoy your two compact fluorescent light bulbs!

Sincerely,
John Paganie
FirstEnergy Vice President of Energy Efficiency and Customer Service

What the hell.  Doesn’t this seem like a bit of a misleading statement?  I think it does, and apparently thousands of Ohioans also thought it did, because the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, who approved the program in the first place, has turned around and said that they have now asked FirstEnergy to postpone the start of the program until someone knows what on Earth it is going to cost, and what exactly is going on.  From the Consumerist website, a pro-consumer news site (I’m sure you know who they are), who posted the response from the PUCO on the FirstEnergy backlash:

“The PUCO has received a large volume of calls and emails in response to the compact fluorescent light bulb program approved last month for FirstEnergy. Today, I received a letter from Gov. Strickland asking that the PUCO postpone the program until such time as we can address several questions raised by the governor, members of the Ohio General Assembly and FirstEnergy customers related to program details and costs.

As a result, I have asked FirstEnergy to postpone deployment of its compact fluorescent light bulb program until the Commission can thoroughly assess the costs associated with this program. The PUCO approved the program following consensus reached during discussions among the company and other organizations including the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Although the PUCO allowed FirstEnergy to implement its program, we did not approve the charge that will appear on monthly bills as a result. Reports in the media place the cost to customers at sixty cents per month for three years, which equates to $21.60 over the life of the program. The PUCO has not approved these additional dollars nor have we received a request by the company to do so.

The PUCO will gather additional information regarding the program and its related costs. Until the PUCO has specific details regarding the program costs, FirstEnergy should not deploy its compact fluorescent light bulb program.”

I’ll be watching for more information on this ridiculance. If you have any more news about the program, please contact me via the contact form and I will get that info published right now.

A record of the legal case for this ridiculance is here – it’s a dry read, but interesting nonetheless.

If Duct Tape Could Slap Your Hand Before You Apply It…

Ok, I know we’ve seen stuff much worse than this in our lifetimes as professionals working with light – but this is pretty stupendously wrong.  My buddy Erich Friend, an engineer, safety consultant, and CEO of Teqniqal Systems writes a blog about Theatre Safety at – you guessed it – the Theatre Safety Blog!  Erich posted the monstrosity below as a quick reminder on what not to do, ever.  Never.

Can you count the things wrong in this picture?

duct-tape-no-no

Check out The Theatre Safety Blog – Erich’s a knowledgeable dude!

What? New Fixture Designs That Are Just… Yeah.

I keep running across these crazy fixture designs lately that are either called “art” or are to be taken seriously.  I am sure that I am leaving the door open for myself to be humiliated when I come out with a fixture, but sometimes I cannot help but bring these designs to the site for you to either love or hate, or some cross-pollinated hybrid of emotions.

First up on the block is the Espresso Light from QED Design, retailing at 49 Euros, or $70 USD:

It is an espresso pot with a lamp inside.  When the lid is lifted, the light comes on.  When the lid is closed, the light turns off.  It’s as simple as that.  But where, I ask, do you keep this?  What room in your home, exactly?

espresso-light

espresso-light

Next up, the Self-Reflecting Lamp from Oliver Schick Design:

self_reflecting

It, uh – well, it’s a piece of art, right?  Besides the little bit of light coming out of the ventilation slots on the bases, it could be a heater, or a lamp killer from all of the heat generated inside of the little sphere of reflectors.  It’s definitely interesting.  It looks more like a science-fiction home energy generator, doesn’t it?

Maybe I’m just not hip enough to get it yet.

self-reflecting

self_reflecting

Thanks, Yatzer and The Design Blog!