A Whale of an Anniversary
Today marks the anniversary of the first governmentally exploded whale. Yes, you read right: whale explosion.
37 years ago today, in an effort to dispose of a rotting carcass, the Oregon Highway Division set out to blow up a dead sperm whale with a half ton of dynamite. The resulting explosion sent blubber flying and totaled a car a quarter of a mile away. The incident was made famous in 1990 when columnist Dave Barry wrote about it with graphic hilarity, and the news footage of the disposal has since gone on to become the fifth most watched video on the Internet, according to the BBC.
And if you’re wondering why "governmentally" exploded was the necessary modifier, it’s because whales have been known to spontaneously blow up by themselves. Recently in Taiwan a dead sperm whale beat its transporters to the punch during a postmortem move when the gas inside its decomposing body built up enough for it to, well, you know what. If you thought your job sucked, just think of the janitor who was responsible for that clean up. Oddly enough, whales are not the only self-explosive animals; maybe just the funniest.
To no one’s surprise, there’s a web site devoted to this at theexplodingwhale.com. What is surprising is that there’s currently a one man show running in Chicago about it. Countdown: The Story of the Exploding Whale runs Wednesday nights at 8pm from October 10th through November 28th at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N Lincoln Avenue. Bring the kiddies.