Thank you, dear readers, for your outpouring of clever ideas and suggestions about lighting. Great minds apparently think alike - or Google alike - because several of ya'll sent me links to this site: Y Lighting. I think their stuff has a lot of promise. It's not exactly what I was envisioning, but lots of it is close, and it's all very cool.
Several folks made brilliant (heh) remarks about LED lights.
Other suggestions included using photo gear, which is where I got the idea to begin with. I used to do a lot of photography. I miss it, but I really don't shoot anymore - no time, I blog instead! However, I still have a couple of softboxes designed for hot lights, and I'm not above re-purposing them if need be. (If it could be done safely, of course.)
And lots of you also took the opportunity to say sweet things to me about the blog and the column and the podcasts, which is always very nice to hear, so thank you for that, as well.