A bulb, dimwitted name-calling and Iran

The online version of the Los Angeles Times had an interesting story on its front page this morning. It was about an honest to goodness light bulb that has remained continually lit for longer than you or I have been alive. 107 years to be exact. The marvel of the little light that could has had its share of conjecture as to the cause of its bright longevity but, this explanation by an ex-firefighter who was tasked with its care, makes sense to a light layman like me:

"Most people just consider it a freak of engineering," he said. "But I believe the bulb has stayed alive so many years because the makers gave it a perfect seal, so no air gets inside the bulb to help disintegrate the carbon filament. This bulb operates in a vacuum and it doesn't burn hot. That's the secret."

Whatever the true reason for the light's miraculous duration, its uninterrupted life span has garnered a devoted cult following. Charles Kuralt (one of my reporting
heroes ever since I discovered Sunday Mornings in the early 80's) did a piece on the Livermore Fire Department light in 1972 and, it has its own web page where you can spy on the bulb to your virtual heart's content. Though it must eventually flicker out as all good and bad things always do, I too can't help but root for its continued longevity. It deserves a place in the pantheon of illuminated objects.

I suppose that now that the suitcases have been brought down from the attic, that this is as good a time as any to let you know about my upcoming trip to Iran. Notice that I don't call it a vacation (even though that is exactly what it is) because when people think of vacation spots, Iran doesn't exactly come to mind the way say... Greece or Italy do. Travel agencies certainly do not advertise for lovely vacations to axis of evil nations but, take it from one who
is not a novice to its beauties, there is much that is worth seeing and experiencing in Iran despite Bush's dimwitted aspersions.

We go to visit my husband's extended family in Tehran and to see (maybe for the last time) his 98 year old grandmother in the northernmost city of Tabriz. As always, our little world traveler comes with us. Like myself, he's already had a prior immersion into the Iranian experience though I'm sure he remembers nothing of it, since he was just 8 months old on his first trip. This time around, it will be interesting to see how he handles himself in the midst of the kind of doting attention which would spoil even the driest of children. To witness the love and care la
vished on my small boy who, in 500 years of documented genealogical history, is only the third non-full Persian grandchild born within my husband's clan of a family is, simply put, overwhelming. That sensation goes in like measure for me. When I married M, I never expected that the kind of people who would claim kinship to a man like my husband and his immediate family, could not be worthy of my matrimonial ties. I was just incapable of envisioning how much my life would gain in goodness from that link. I love my Iranian family. I feel grateful and proud to have been integrated into their ranks.

My husband, his grandmother, my son and Amu (uncle) in Tabriz

While gone, I will set blogger to post some recollections of my first trip which I've written in anticipation of my absence. I can't wait to come back and regale you with everything new that there will be to tell as well as, show you all the photos I'll be sure to take. It will be difficult if not impossible, to post from there as the latest news is that internet access is heavily censored and widely restricted. In shah Allah I will be able to pen you a line or two but I'm not counting on it and neither should you.

In these last few days before our departure, I'm packing gifts in amounts to which Santa's bag of goodies could not hold a candle to. There are all varieties of European and Asian products
available in Tehran but due to long lived embargoes and some more recent government restrictions, US goods are not readily found. Remind me to tell you how we were forced to fly in two cans of Enfamil powdered milk on a British Airways first class seat last we were in Iran. Who would have thought that our food-challenged son would rather go on a hunger strike than have anything to do with the locally available brands... nevertheless, that is really a completely new post and the kind of Milena story that is best reserved for another time.

I find myself wishing it were already the day to get on the plane. Once I get into the travel mindset, the wait time chafes. I guess that means the Livermore light bulb is sure to outlast my impatience.


  1. sounds like it will be an exciting trip.
    interesting bit that livermore lightbulb.
    i am off to check it out.
    i have a box of plastic wrap that was left to us by the previous owner of this house almost 13 years ago.
    its longevity is famous among guests who watch me wrap up left overs, all of us wondering when the its contents will finally run out.

  2. Your little boy is going to have such a wonderful view of the world as he grows up seeing all these different places. Do you think you will live overseas as a family in the future?

    Have a wonderful trip M. And say hello to W...I'm sure you'll be making a stop in Baku on the way?

  3. Chesca: Loved the never ending roll of wrapping paper. I had one of those. Got sick and tired of the peppy pattern on it. So did everyone unlucky enough to receive a gift from me. May I suggest a place like Marshalls? They have great wrapping paper and always on sale.

    Suzanne: Weren't you supposed to be here already? Had dinner with Wael and Elio on Saturday. No stop in Baku this time. Wish that weren't the case. Miss the old friends.
    Yes to your question. We are hoping.

  4. You are a great writer, my friend. I enjoyed this post a lot. By the date, I'm guessing you have left; too bad, as I wanted to say goodbye! You didn't say how long you'd be gone...did you? Anyway, enjoy the trip, and I look forward to the details!

    P.S. The cookbook proof should be here any day!!!


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