Just how safe are CFL bulbs?

I was watching TV and it was not dark yet, but just dark enough to need a little extra light. We have a standing lamp in the living room and in the top I had a CFL 23W bulb. While watching TV, I noticed what I thought was a flash of lightning. It wasn’t storming outside. I got up to get something else to drink and the light flickered in the lamp.

Just as I looked in that direction, there was a muffled pop. Smoke and tiny sparks like that off a grinding wheel shot upwards about 3 inches. I ran over and switched off the lamp. This was my first ever experience with a CFL going out. This one was about a year old.

Research shows that although there is no danger of fire as long as they are used as directed (the plastic will not burn) they are dramatic at times when they burn out. They also say that they sometimes (while operating) can give off a smell like overheated wiring. That explains the many times I have gotten up while in my office working and searched for what I thought was over heated wires. They may not burn by themselves, but if the sparks that traveled about 3 inches from my  bulb had struck something flammable, that might be a different story. Maybe brand name bulbs don’t do sparks. These were from China, and I hear they love fireworks. It was also stamped UL approved.

I recommend buying brand name CFL’s if you can. The two we have had burn-out (we were not around when one of them when it burned out) were from China “Optolight” brand. I will be buying brand name bulbs now, and hoping for longer life and less dramatic endings.

I read many articles, but this ladies blog post came closest to my incident.  You will notice the smoke stains on hers indicates that her bulb must have been in a lamp aiming down allowing the smoke to come upwards and smudge the bulb.   https://singlemomandateenagedgirl.com/2013/01/cfl-flourescent-light-bulbs-a-fire-hazard/

Here is my bulb, the smoke rose upwards so did not dirty the base of the bulb like others do. These bulbs have electronics in them that go out instead of the bulb. Capacitors or the voltage regulator :burn” out resulting in smoke sparks and odor. Be careful where you use them. Do not use them in recessed lighting, or track lighting. Note the smoke and small flame and sparks came out around the Tube you see blackened.

Comments welcome,


Photo is my own




Photo is my own


Captain Jack “Sparrow” : Bird rescue

Several have exhibited an interest in seeing more on recent rescues. This rescue, actually two at the same time, occurred about 8 months ago.

Some time back, I don’t remember the date. Someone brought 3 baby birds to us that they found on the ground. They were unable to fly and would be easy prey for all the cats in the area. They had also fallen into red ants. Each one had a large amount of ant bites. Michelle cleaned and fed them. One was terribly weak and he eventually succumbed to the ant venom. The two stronger ones grew older and stronger, and they were released.

Jack Sparrow

Our daughter found a featherless baby that had apparently been pushed out of the nest on her porch. It was totally covered in mites and weak. It was so young that it was just skin and a beak. Michelle used Dawn dish-washing liquid (diluted) to remove the mites and clean it’s skin. We figured the mother pushed it out due to it’s mites and it was getting weak. There had been 3 in the next. The other two reached the point of leaving on their own.

In this first video, you see the two larger birds that were bitten by the ants being fed by Michelle during their recovery. If you listen, you hear her call the smallest bird “Jack.” She named the small one Captain Jack Sparrow because he was so vocal. By this time he is up and moving well and has grown some feathers.


This is of Jack as he had gotten older. The best ID we have gotten is a “Song Sparrow”. He sings beautifully. We let him out once a day at least, so he can fly around the room. Once he’s done, he returns to his cage.

Sorry if the videos didn’t work at first. I think I have them corrected now. I had accidentally hit publish, instead of preview. Consequently I also have some spelling errors that I am fixing. -Thanks.


My experience with a Stroke

Bleak, dark posts are not my style and I hope this one doesn’t come across that way. I want to share so others may better understand what a person goes through during a stroke. Every stroke is different, no two are alike, but looking back I remember that night and how my mind was trying to tell me something was wrong.

It’s 2004 and we are downsizing due to some financial difficulties. I had been working all day packing my office area up. I also had neglected to take my blood pressure medicine so I would have more energy. That, was a stupid move I know.

Around 9:30pm I gave up for the night due to a small nagging headache and feeling tired. At 11pm I awoke and had trouble swallowing. My thought was weird, I was saying to myself, “I’ve forgotten how to swallow.” I had to try very hard to swallow. I felt no alarm at not being able to swallow as I should have felt, instead I woke Michelle and told her just that I didn’t feel good. Around 1am the dog awakened me wanting to do her nightly bathroom run. This is where I noticed the first symptoms, yet my mind was not yet allowing me to process it as a problem, if that makes any sense.

I started to roll to the right to get out of bed and it just felt “difficult”. Not painful, It was as if my brain knew at that moment that the left leg was not operating right, and I needed to leave the bed in another manner. Michelle woke up as I was getting up. I remember exiting the bed backwards, scooting down the length towards the foot where there was no foot-board.

The next thing was as I stood up and started towards the bedroom door, I thought, “That’s funny, my left leg is asleep, I continued calmly going towards the bedroom door dragging my left foot. Something in my mind was saying that’s not right, but something else was still pushing me forward to try to continue on normally. The leg was supporting weight, but the knee seemed to be non-functional. Again, it didn’t alarm me and it should have. It was almost as if part of my mind was registering that the leg was not performing as it should, yet another part convinced me everything is just fine. I let the dog out, 30-40 seconds later she comes back in. I’m looking out the door holding the glass storm-door open.

As the dog comes in, I close the door on my head! I remember thinking, alright stupid, how do you forget to pull your head in before closing the door. Reaching the bedroom Michelle is watching me and asks what is wrong with my leg, that I was now actually dragging along as if it were a normal thing to do. She was asking me why I backed out of the bed just now. I sat on the edge of the bed feeling unsteady.  My left arm felt “not there”. I looked at it and started to raise my hand to look and see why it felt strange and that is when I realized It was in slow motion. The arm would hardly raise. I told Michelle I was having trouble and needed a hospital. Something in my head was calmly saying stroke. She called the daughter who rushed to our home and we went to the emergency room.

I remember the intake nurse asking me to raise my hands up in front of me, and I noticed that the left arm/hand was about a foot lower than the right. “How Strange”, was my thought at that moment as I was applying the same amount of effort.

Those were the strange feelings and symptoms I exhibited that night. It was later determined that I had suffered a moderate stroke in the area of the “Pons” on the right side of the brain stem. This affected for me my speech, and on the left side of my body it affected the mouth, face, arm, leg. I had no use at all of the left side. After I received the stroke medicine, I was able to swallow a little better. I spent 8 days in the hospital and I used a wheel-chair for a month when I got home, as I could not walk.

It was just strange, I felt “there” but I didn’t feel “there”.

I hope this helps anyone that has never had a stroke. Don’t panic, but try to notice any really absolutely abnormal behavior, and mention it to someone. I was also fortunate that I am right-handed.

Comments welcome,

Humor in the Court! (Yes, cops are funny too)

My apologies for the grammatical errors. There are way too many run on sentences, and I should have tried harder, but got frustrated and left it as is. Try to enjoy it and I promise to do better.

Today the post is compliments of events last night, and memories. Sorry it’s a tad long, but under my self-imposed 1,000 words; for long posts.

We had company over, and the conversation turned to one of my guests having to be a witness in a civil matter. They had never been to court before, and were apprehensive about the upcoming event. I advised them to try to relax since they were going to give testimony in a matter, not answering for something they had done. Knowing I was in police work years ago someone asked if I ever had a bad court experience. I could honestly answer, “No, but I did have some fun once.”

In my 24 years on the street I had to go to court very little, other than to represent the city in giving testimony. I remember one court visit that was actually enjoyable at the end.

“That’s not mine. It’s hers”

I had stopped a vehicle for speeding, the driver was very nervous and had no ID or license. During the interaction I had to ask him out of the car, as he exited I noted a plastic baggie on the seat that had been under him. Naturally, as I retrieved the item, He declares immediately, “That’s not mine. It’s hers”, pointing to his passenger. It was crack cocaine, which resulted in his arrest. He hired an attorney claiming it was not his, he claimed his passenger was the owner of the drugs.

Circuit Court on the County level is pretty stiff shirted. We called it “Circus Court” because the attorneys are parading around, expounding on the laws and tiny details doing their best to trip up the officers and swing the case in their favor. You’ve seen the crime shows I’m sure.

I even had some fun

On this day I had to appear and give testimony that the man was actually in possession and control of a controlled substance. I was a bit put off that I had to be there. I didn’t make bad cases, and being there simply so that attorney could try to get his client off an open-and-shut case was irritating. Of course him being a local attorney we were all familiar with his willingness to accept easy money. The case was short and sweet, I even had some fun and helped lighten the mood of an otherwise grim feeling courtroom and the Judge.

My case was called and I made my way to the witness box and sworn in.  I don’t really know what the client had told his attorney, but he must have lied. It soon became clear that the defense being presented was that the man did not have possession and control over the crack cocaine.

I will just hit the two funny parts sparing us of all the technical details of why was he stopped.

Towards the end we finally received the supposedly perfect defense line from his Attorney, “My client told you his passenger was the owner of the drugs, what led you to believe he was the owner of them, there were two individuals in the vehicle. What would lead you to assign ownership and control.”
Naturally I was amazed that this was the defense he was raising. I just simply said, “When he exited the vehicle I noticed he had been sitting on them.” This led to a low giggle in the courtroom as naturally the average person assumes you in possession and control if you are sitting on something to hide it. The Bailiff naturally had to gently chastise everyone.

‘You just can’t make this stuff up!’

The second and what I felt was the funniest part, was when the attorney approached me in the witness stand to begin his questioning. He had his recorder in his hand, a  small pocket sized cassette recorder (digital ones were not common around 1996). He looked at, fiddled with the buttons then with a slightly exaggerated movement set it on the square rail of the witness box facing me. Now there is a saying, ‘You just can’t make this stuff up!’ It was as if the interaction that day between the attorney and I had been scripted for a movie.

In his best Perry Mason voice he says, “You’ll let me know if that stops recording right?” just loud enough for others to hear so he looked sophisticated and in charge. I looked at the device and noted the little wheels of the cassette in the small window were not turning as he walked away. They also did not turn as I gave my testimony. Now the use of a recorder is two fold. One, it is supposed to intimidate me or whoever is answering his questions. Two, provide him with his own recording in case he had to appeal the case and not wait for the court recorders official typed record.

At the end of his questioning and closing he walked over and picked up the recorder and asked, “Did it stop recording?” to which I plainly stated (just loud enough for others to hear), “It never started”. This resulted in open laughter from the courtroom and the judge had a small grin as he banged his gavel. The attorney looked at me and remarked, “At least your honest” knowing he had gotten the short end of a technicality. This led to another small round of giggles.

He later told me that he had it set to VOX (voice operated) but apparently he had the sensitivity too low and it never picked up enough volume to start recording as we talked.

Sometimes it’s fun to get one over your adversary, remembering those times are even better!

Comments always welcome,