Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mood Lighting: The High Point of the Night

KAFFEE: Corporal, would you turn to the page in this book that says where the enlisted men's mess hall is?

HOWARD: Lt. Kaffee, that's not in the book, sir.

KAFFEE: I don't understand, how did you know where the enlisted men's mess hall was if it's not in this book?

HOWARD: I guess I just followed the crowd at chow time, sir.

- - from Aaron Sorkin's screenplay, A Few Good Men

There was one moment at tonight's meeting when I just busted out with a spontaneous guffaw that I could not stifle. I wanted to write about it separately for the sake of emphasis.

A Richland-West End Neighborhood representative was encouraging Council Members to listen to their own constituents in neighborhoods answer the question of whether more signs should go up on their arterial streets. He asserted that the LED bill is misguided because it is going a direction opposite from that of many communities now. Even fast food restaurants in some communities have been compelled to do away with lit signage and put up decorative stone signs.

But what burst the bonds restraining my laugh was his comment that people are going to find McDonald's when they want it whether it has a stone or an LED sign. It occurred to me that the pro-LED side seems to insinuate that people are dolts who need to have events lit up and streaming across their rods and cones in order for messages to register. People don't need LED signs to attend something of benefit to them; and so, churches in neighborhoods don't require them either.


  1. Mikee,

    Would you happen to know the composition of these signs? Are they merely a matrix of LED's poking through a perforated panel??

    If they are on ground level, a quick swipe with a can of black spray paint could surely attenuate their intensity.

    While you were on the Natchez last week, did you happen to travel back towards S-Town via highway 100? Let it be know that I no longer patronize the Ace Hardware near the Kroger due to their friggin annoying LED zipper. It is bad enough that the lumen level of their sign is too bright - but they animate it to look like a strip club.

    We need to look no further than Blade Runner to see a hypothetical scenario of how this manner of illuminated advertising pollution is going to possibly play out. Imagine the beauty of 60 foot tall displays featuring Jesus of Harpeth River or alternately, Christie of the Cabaret depending what part of town you are in.

  2. I am not sure, but I believe that they are a matrix. That is what allows proponents to allow that they are less bright than "internally lit signs" which has the entire surface illuminated rather than select diodes.

    I did travel back to S-town via 100, but I was not watching out for LED signs. Next time I'm out that way, I'll keep my eyes peeled.

    Proponents conceded that there is a method for retrofitting florescent lights with LED lights, but that the process was more expensive than LEDs.