Turn Off Your Damn Lights This Week and Revel in the Darkness

Vincent Van Gogh

Q: How many Jewish mothers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

A: "It's all right, bubbeleh, I'll sit in the dark...

April 20 is a day that's just jam packed. It's the official Christmas for pot smokers (far out), Hitler's birthday (drag) and, the kickoff of International Dark Sky Week. If you don't smoke pot or revel in the tenants of National Socialism, sitting at home in the dark is, if nothing else, an affordable thing to do these days. So it's got that going for it ... which is nice.

Unnecessary lighting carries a number of consequences -- it pollutes the environment (power doesn't generate itself) and even kills birds. But the organizers of Dark Sky Week seem most concerned with overall "light pollution." In addition to obscuring the starlight above, light pollution crusaders even contend that artificial light throws off humans' and animals' biological functions -- and may even lead to mental and physical ailments.

Fair enough. And, while you're at it, turn off the damn thermostat when you're not home. But we'll leave the television on -- a policeman friend said the flickering light repels would-be burglars. And we don't feel like filling out another police report.

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