HIROSHIMA - a blast from the past

While doing some digital housecleaning the other day I stumbled across some old text files from my days (and nights) at WAPJ 88.5 FM. APJ was located at the Torrington branch campus of the University of Connecticut and was a wonderful little community service radio station with many voices. These days it's located within and is a part of the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, though there isn't much in the way of arts on the station anymore. Heavy handed management will do that sort of thing, you know. Since the management change, the station is commonly referred to as What A Pathetic Joke instead of their preferred the "World of Arts, People and Joy." But I digress ...

I wanted to do something special on the anniversary of the United States' atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, and my program's time slot on the radio station provided the bully pulpit necessary to propagate The Message.

A song was chosen, most appropriately Utopia's Hiroshima. The following is the premeditated introduction written to usher the song into the minds of our audience.


read and timed @ 5 minutes 990306jwb

You're listening to Off Frequency on WAPJ-FM, transmitting from Torrington CT.

(WHERE DOES THIS PARAGRAPH FIT IN?) >>> Conspiracy theorists over-season AM radio talk show platters, peppering listeners with self-proclaimed sage wisdom on how World War Three will be fought with chemical and biological weaponry instead of, and I'm hesitant but certainly not bashful to say "conventional nuclear weaponry."

We'll close today's program on a somber note; a little something to think about.

It's 1999 and everything is 140 mph, 300 MHz, fiber optic, satellite linked and remote controlled. Remote controlled, also known as wireless. Wireless - the precursor to the term radio. Radio – the electronic device which you're using to listen to this program.

We race towards Y2K as virtual reality becomes actual reality.

As a people we are caught up in what Boston-based Letters To Cleo so cleverly sing about, the Here And Now. The present accelerates into a blur and the past as much as evaporates. Yet without the past there would be a no present, let alone a future.

In a perfect world we learn from history. Sometimes lessons are worthy of repeating. Repetition for emphasis, and all that good stuff.

Our closing song is a musical presentation of one of those lessons worth repeating. Repetition for emphasis.

On August 6, 1945, at shortly after 8 a.m. Japan time, a second Sun instantaneously erupted in the sky 1,900 feet over Hiroshima, Japan - then a city with a population of approximately 345,000 people.

This new Sun was the byproduct of The Manhattan Project. Two chunks of uranium collided in a single bomb dropped by the Enola Gay, the B-29 from Hell. Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name. the United States of America gave birth to a second Sun.

This new Sun produced nearly 5,400 degree Fahrenheit heat at the epicenter, or ground zero. The atomic blast that instantaneously incinerated 80,000 human beings. Let me repeat that. Instantaneously incinerated 80,000 human beings.

Rock and concrete glowed. Steel girders melted and twisted into deformed skeletons. Anything of less dense molecular structure burned to ash and was sucked up into a mushroom cloud that turned day to an eerie, hauntingly sick twilight. Condensation within the mushroom cloud produced a black rain - a rain blackened from radioactive dust and the ashes of the aforementioned 80,000 instantaneously incinerated human beings.

By the end of the year, a mere five months later, another 60,000 more would die from burns, wounds, radiation poisoning and other afflictions that were a direct result of the bombing.

John Hershey documented this historical and hysterical nightmare through the memories of survivors in his book Hiroshima. It's a powerful read. It belongs in every library and history classroom in the world.

The Penguin book, The History Of The World, by J.M. Roberts, tells of wars fought over religion, real estate, resources, greed, prejudice and egotism. It's not what you'd characterize as pretty stuff, but it's real and it's part of our history.

The British slaughtered Scots. That we need to remember. Nazis gassed Jews. That we need to remember. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. That we need to remember. But we also need to remember that the United States of America incinerated Japanese. Instantaneously incinerated 80,000 human beings.

Man, talk about an efficient judicial system, huh? Instantaneous AND simultaneous trial, judgment, sentencing, execution, cremation and remains disposal.

It's time to jump on the brakes. Lets slow down and take the next few minutes to listen to Utopia tutor and remind us via the medium of music.

From the 1977 album Ra, which not-so-coincidentally is the name for the Egyptian Sun god, here's Todd Rundgren, John "Willie" Wilcox, Roger Powell and Kasim Sulton with their thought-provoking and unforgettable Hiroshima.


Copyright © 1999 Jeff Bauer


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