Even though I am one hour less tired today because of the time change, I am a very sad man.

You and I and every other living thing in Northeast Ohio have plunged into the annual five-month abyss of darkness.

In late June, you can play golf until 9:30 at night. In November, the only thing you can do after 5 p.m. is turn on your headlights.

Those 15 daily hours of sunlight during the spring shrink to less than 10 during much of November. That's assuming the sun is even visible, which is a laughable assumption this time of year.

What to do?

Let there be light! Artificial light! Lots and lots of artificial light! More artificial light than we've ever had before!

OK, maybe not. But we certainly have more light bulb choices these days.

Those of us who have spent most of our lives replacing a 100-watt incandescent bulb with another 100-watt incandescent bulb have gone through a jarring transformation in recent years that dragged us through CFLs (ugh) into the land of LEDs (much better) and beyond.

Today you can buy light bulbs that will play music, boost the Wi-Fi signal in your house, give you three hours of light when the power goes out, be programmed to turn on and off, shoot security footage in high-def and feed your dog.

Just kidding on the last one. But at this pace, that day seems inevitable.

Ohio Edison recently sent out a mailing touting a new product line of talented bulbs that are being sold by a FirstEnergy affiliate called Smartmart.

For $100, you can get a dimmable LED light with a JBL Bluetooth speaker. Seriously. All you have to do is screw it into a normal light socket, download the app, crank up your tunes and wirelessly customize the brightness and volume. You can add as many as six satellite bulbs (at a whopping $70 apiece) and fill the whole house with music.

For $130 you can get a wireless HD camera with an LED floodlight that will work either indoors or out. Alerts are sent when motion is detected, and the wide-angle lens captures video you can store on your device.

Thank the Roman god Mercury that we made it through the peak of the CFL era with only minor poisoning.

If you never tried them — even when FirstEnergy was forcing them down our throats — Compact Fluorescent Lamps don't get bright until they warm up … cost twice as much as incandescent bulbs … in most cases aren't dimmable … unleash toxic mercury if you break them … and are an aesthetic nightmare, glaring out at you from your light fixtures like coiled albino snakes.

On the plus side, CFLs use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescents — allegedly. Some reports indicate that a significant number of them burn out prematurely.

Halogen bulbs, bright and natural, are a wonderful choice — other than the fact that if you touch them with your fingers they can explode. Even a tiny bit of oil residue from your hand causes the bulb to warm too quickly, resulting in a lovely shower of glass. And they last only a little longer than incandescents. The good news is halogens use 30 percent less energy than incandescents.

So when it comes to screwing in halogens (which are pretty nice when used under cabinets or in recessed cans), one word: GLOVES.

LEDs (for Light-Emitting Diodes) brighten instantly, supposedly last for decades and are the most energy-efficient bulbs you can buy. They also can be used with dimmers. But they are pricey — about five times the cost of incandescents — and there can be compatibility issues with dimmers.

In addition, Consumer Reports says, “Some A-type bulbs … do not evenly cast light in all directions, providing spotty light. And LEDs emit more blue light than other bulb types. Any light can suppress melatonin, the hormone that facilitates sleep, but research has shown that the human eyes are especially sensitive to blue.” However, some LEDs can be customized to cut out the blue.

Whatever you choose to screw into your sockets, I invite you to crank 'em up and join me in cursing the tilt of the planet.

 

Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or bdyer@thebeaconjournal.com. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31.