Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!
(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)
Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.
And what better way to start your week, then by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by talking about one of the most dangerous deadly weather events, lightning strikes.
In the sixty third episode of The Simpsons, Lisa the Beauty Queen (Season 04, Episode 04), it’s time for the Springfield Elementary School Carnival. Children and families are all having fun at the various booths and attractions, albeit with some misfortunes. Otto launches the paralyzer into the school. The Spookhouse is just a front for Jimbo, Kearney, and Dolph to steal money. Bart is operating an unauthorized three card monty booth. Homer is assumed to be over a decade older and over a hundred pounds fatter at the guess your age and weight booth. And poor Lisa decides to have her caricature made (in the presence of who I assume is Janey’smom in the picture below):
Lisa is distraught that she is ugly. Homer tries to cheer her up, but she feels all dad’s feel their daughters are beautiful. Marge also goes with the often problematic Ugly Duckling analogy, where she initially implies that Lisa is ugly but will become beautiful; and then reverts to Lisa is beautiful and makes fun of ugly people.
Marge: “Lisa, I know a song that will cheer you up. [singing] “There once was an ugly duckling””
Lisa: “So you think I’m ugly?!”
Marge: “No. No, I meant you were one of the good-looking ducks… that makes fun of the ugly one. Mmmm.”
Homer decides to prove to Lisa she is beautiful by having her enter the Little Miss Springfield beauty pageant, sponsored by Laramie cigarettes.
Lisa actually does quite well and makes it to the final two. But alas, she is announced as runner up as the Little Miss Springfield crown is given to Amber Dempsey.
Amber starts her reign as the spokesgirl for Larmie cigarettes. She conducts many public appearances, including on an ill fated (rainy with dark clouds) for new tire spikes.
Marge: “Oh dear, it’ll be a shame if that pretty dress got wet.”
Lisa: “I’d say the greater danger is her scepter acting as a lighting rod. Unless it’s made out of plastic.”
[an intense flash of light is shown from the TV]
Bart: “Nope, metal.”
Kent Brockman on TV: “Ladies and gentlemen, Little Miss Springfield has been struck by lightning!”
As runner up, Lisa is to be sworn in as the new Little Miss Springfield. Krusty decides to tease Lisa by pretending to give her the scepter and pulling it back. But karma punishes Krusty for teasing Lisa, as he too is struck by lightning.
Lisa starts her reign as Little Miss Springfield and the spokesgirl of Laramie cigarettes. But after seeing her promoting cigarettes, she takes a stand against Laramie. (Click here for the Monday Morning Musing about smoking)
But have you ever wondered if lightning strikes happen in real life?
Here is what the Government of Canada has to say about lightning strikes:
Each year lightning kills two to three Canadians and injures approximately 180 others.
The first and most important thing to remember is that if you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance of lightning. Take shelter immediately, preferably in a house or all-metal automobile (not convertible top). If caught outside far from a safe shelter, stay away from tall objects, such as trees, poles, wires and fences. Take shelter in a low lying area.
The risk of thunder across Canada in the next ten minutes can be found at: https://weather.gc.ca/lightning/index_e.html
Here is what the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has to say about lightning strikes:
Lightning is one of the leading causes of weather-related fatalities. But the odds of being struck by lightning in a given year are only around 1 in 500,000. However, some factors can put you at greater risk for being struck. Regional, seasonal, and occupational differences affect your risk of being injured by lightning.
Although lightning affects all regions in the United States, the southeastern states are most at risk. Lightning generally decreases from the southeast to the northwest, except for a few places such as the Rocky Mountains, where topography causes regular thunderstorms during the summer. Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas have the most lightning deaths and injuries. Florida is considered the “lightning capital” of the country, with more than 2,000 lightning injuries over the past 50 years.
Lightning can occur during any time of the year, but lightning casualties are highest during summer. July is generally the month with the most lightning. Lightning strikes often occur in the afternoon. In fact, two-thirds of all lightning casualties occur between noon and 6pm.
Lightning most often strikes people who work outside or engage in outdoor recreational activities. More than a third of lightning strike deaths occur on farms. Other common places are industrial locations and private residences. Construction and material handling such as loading and unloading are two of the most common work-related activities where lightning strikes occur. The majority of work-related lightning strikes occur in Florida and Texas, two states where seasonal lightning deaths and injuries are high.
Males are five times more likely than females to be struck by lightning; around 85% of lightning fatalities are men. People aged 15–34 years account for almost half of all lightning strike victims (41%). The majority (89%) of lightning deaths occur among whites. About one-third (32%) of lightning injuries occur indoors.
Now that we’ve learned more about lightning strikes, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.
Did you remember the episode? What’s your favourite Lisa-centric episode of The Simpsons? What’s your favourite beauty pageant? Were you familiar with lightning strikes? Do you know anyone who’s ever been struck by lightning? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.