Though this question often comes up while smoking pot or in Insane Clown Posse lyrics, lightning is electrical atmospheric discharge (that's all I can tell you. Go to Wikipedia for the real story). Lightning is all powerful, all consuming, and an element that figures prominently in at least three Dan Aykroyd movies (The Great Outdoors, Both Ghostbusters). Though lightning has many representatives, from Percy Jackson who likes to steal it to the cast of Grease who liked to um…grease it, when it comes to the heavy hitter, we look to the God of lightning (and thunder) himself: Zeus, occasional rapist in swan's clothing and father to more children than the Palins and 1980s L.A. Lakers combined! (note: click that swan hyperlink if you want a PG13 surprise)
What's a Capital?
The major region of a country where governmental decisions are made, and we can narrow this decision down easily as the Washington Capitals play in, duh, Washington D.C. Capitals are basically buildings (i.e. The Capitol) bunched up in a particular area, but as Tom Hanks' Josh Baskin said in Big, "It's a building. What's so fun about playing with a building?"
No, we need a symbol of the capital that isn't a building. We need a leader. Someone with the guts to stand up to the scourge of lightning, which in a Live song crashed, causing a new mother to cry, while her placenta fell to the floor (Damn you, Lightning! Placenta on the floor is a hygiene issue!). Who's the man for the job? Well, it's gotta be the man in charge of the Washington Capital. Suit up, Barack, you're going in!
What would happen if Zeus fought Obama?
We need a soundtrack for this clash of the Titans. So who better than one of the 16 greatest bands of the late 1970s Thin Lizzy. Press play for some good fighting' music and read on, if you've made it this far, oh, battle hungry reader:
Hold onto your hats here, but sometimes, lightning actually strikes capital cities. Instances of lightning in capitals provide some guidance. In 1902, lightning struck Paris' Eiffel Tower.
The lightning damaged the tower and brought the getting-engaged-in-an-obvious-place economy to standstill; however, the tower was repaired, so the capital was more than able to Ride the Lightning. In 2008, lightning struck an Ottawa home (that's Canada's capital for the more than 40% of you who seem to be reading outside of North America), and burned it. So lightning takes that one. It's too close to call. This one goes to a game seven. Who will be the hero?
Serendipity! Last week, a lightning storm occurred directly over the American capital's White House. That's right: directly over Hawaiian-American Barack Obama's house! Now, and this is important (in relative terms), the lightning never made contact. So what do we take from that? Nice try, Zeus! Where France's wimpy icon failed, America's conquers! That's freedom lightning, Frenchy! Note how the American flag is so repellent, that even lightning will avoid such an obvious lightning rod:
Result: Capitals win. Nowhere in the literature (and I read it ALL) has there been an instance of lightning destroying an entire capital city. The Great Fire of London was started by a London area baker who left some bagels in the oven while he went to the store for some tonic. True Story, no one in particular.
Tomorrow: 4 of 4. Have you heard the one about the Bear and the Flyer. What's a Flyer exactly? Tune in, Tokyo, and find out!