Solar powered flashlight: $14.99 at Brookstone

Daily Deal for Thursday, April 3:

I'm filing this one under "incredibly useful things that I should have lying around my house, but don't."

(Obviously, I have a very comprehensive filing system.)

When I was a Boy Scout, I probably owned a half-dozen flashlights, ranging from huge, metal MagLights (which made handy bludgeoning devices), to little plastic flashlights (which were almost disposable), and all points in between. Looking back to the years between the ages of 8 and 16, I realize that I was never more than a few minutes away from a flashlight. I kept them in my pockets, my tents, my backpacks, my bookbags, my school locker, and my car. Regardless of where I was or what I was doing, I always had a handy light.

How things have changed. To my considerable shame, I currently only own one flashlight. It is light blue, covered in rubberized plastic, and has a picture of the shark from "Finding Nemo," along with the name "Bruce." My daughter has stolen it, and completely run down the batteries. Basically, it's a big, cheesy paperweight.

On the bright side, there may still be some hope for me. I recently discovered that Brookstone makes a solidly-build, energy-saving solar-powered flashlight. Clad in a sturdy aluminum case, the Brookstone light features a large solar panel that charges its enclosed batteries. It uses five LEDs for light, which means that it can put out a lot of illumination with a minimum of energy expenditure.

The directions are amazingly simple. You just leave the flashlight in a sunny window or other exposed place for 8-12 hours, after which you can use the flashlight for up to five hours, which should be long enough for even the most hyped-up of Boy Scouts. Best of all, the Brookstone rechargeable flashlight is currently on sale for $14.99, which is more than 55% off its normal price of $34.95. Let there be light!