Dit dah dah... dah... dit dit dah dit.
Light in the darkness
Somebody said I should talk about politics. Very well. Everything surrounding the fall of Tom Daschle is quite distasteful. Although, I have it on good authority that he fully intended to take the position until he realised he had no idea what tax loophole the gift of "Department of Health and Human Services" could be itemised under.

Politics depresses me, so I'm going to turn to a matter of considerably more import: flashlights. I am a flashlight afficionado, because there is something about torches that is inherently ennobling. Darkness is one of the greatest, most terrifying ills mother nature can visit upon us, and we can banish it with a couple of D-cells--how cool is that?

Flashlights used to be rigged so that their intermittent switches turned them on, allowing them to be used as a signal light. It is self-evidently much easier to transmit messages to people when you can just put your thumb on the button (as opposed to flipping a switch, say). This was true of both high-quality flashlights and the kind you buy four for a dollar at Walgreens, I know because I used to lose a lot of flashlights and--so that I could communicate with my friend down the block--I therefore used to buy a lot of flashlights.

As I grew up, and thus switched to more mature signaling mechanisms like ICQ, I forgot about flashlights, by and large, until I was doing some late-night repairs on my car a few days ago and noticed something curious: rather than having an intermittent switch that turned the bulb on as long as it was held down, it had an intermittent switch that turned the bulb off as long as it was held down. This is much less useful for signalling.

Anyway, I gathered up the flashlights I had on hand, with the following results:
One had an intermittent switch that, when fully depressed, locked the flashlight on. This is my Maglite and it is ten years old now.
Three only had an on-off switch, with no intermittent button.
Two had an intermittent switch that turned the bulb off when it would otherwise be lit.

I wonder if I am imagining things, or if the decline and fall of Morse code has left people bereft of the need for signalling people (for those of you unfamiliar with why it is a problem to lift your thumb off the button to space out the signal, imagine a keyboard that you typed on by lifting your fingers off the keys, instead of depressing them). In the abstract, I can see why you would want to intermittently switch a light off instead of on. But the fact that none of my recent flashlight acquisitions--this includes both cheap plastic ones of such poor quality the Chinese didn't want them and dumped them on us, and flashlights with a nice rubberised grip and a solid metal feel--permit me to effectively signal others of my plight does give me pause.

Of course, I could be imagining all of this. I do that sometimes. What do your flashlights do?

6.02.2009 - 3h44
Comrade Alex
6.02.2009 - 6h11
7.02.2009 - 6h02

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