So, I was staying in Onalaska this week. It was five below zero and the entire area had been laminated by two inches of solid ice. I got in late, everything was closed. I was staying at a place called the “Settle Inn”, for crying out loud. My room was warm, it had a king sized bed and a 27 inch television sitting about two and a half feet away. What else was I going to do? Even without this kind of pressure, I frequently get lured into watching shows on television I never had any intention to watch. PBS was the worst; I had to take it off our Dish Network account. I’d find myself walking past, then stopping, then sitting down. When the credits rolled at the end, all I could do is shake my head in wonder. Who knew the history of lint could be so interesting?
So, I was flipping around the channels at the hotel, trying to figure out what they really were. Like most hotels, the channels were programmed with names that – at one time – probably conformed to the proper order. However, I don’t think CBS has changed from an eye to a peacock and – all jokes aside – C-SPAN rarely shows cartoons. I ended up on a documentary about World War Two. The original target for the second atomic bomb had been the city of Kokura, but clouds covered the city when the B-29 carrying the bomb flew over. Nagasaki was their back up target. It was cloudy over Nagasaki too, but there was a break in the clouds shortly before the plane would have had to leave because it was running out of fuel. As a follow-up, they mentioned a Professor Fujita was in Kokura that day. He investigated the damage at Nagasaki and discovered microbursts. Later he invented the scale of tornado winds; the “F” in F4 stands for Fujita.
I’m a history buff and knew a lot about World War Two, but I had never heard much about the actual details of the Nagasaki bombing. In that single show, I picked up enough facts to win a bar bet… or fill a blog. Armed with that knowledge, it took a little bit of the sting out of the realization that I had just spent an entire hour of my life watching The Weather Channel.