Reissue: Hallelujah It's Raining Blubber!
It was November in 1970 when a 45 foot 8 ton sperm whale washed up on a Florence, Oregon beach. The townspeople flocked to the curious site, but after a few days, the rotting corpse began to smell really bad. So on Nov. 12, the Oregon State Highway Division decided to dispose of this huge carcass using modern day engineering practices and good 'ol fashioned American ingenuity.
Led by the legendary highway engineer George Thornton (pictured right), this Oregon "thinktank" decided to use dynamite (and lots and lots of it) to disintegrate the whale to allow seagulls and other scavengers to naturally dispose of the remains.
Sounds like a plan to me!!!
When Paul Linnman of KATU Oregon news asked him about this ingenious flexing of engineering muscle, Mr. Thornton replied, "Well, I'm confident that it'll work. The only thing is we're not sure just exactly how much, uh, explosives it'll take to disintegrate this... thing."
How many cases of dynamite should they use? 5, maybe 10?
Try 20...20 cases of TNT, or one-half ton of it.
75 local bystanders looked on from a quarter of a mile away as Thornton and his band of happy engineers strategically placed the dynamite under the dead whale. They put the dynamite where they believed it would be best so the blown bits would go towards the Pacific Ocean.
When the half-ton of dynamite exploded, the guests were oooooh-ing and aaaaaah-ing. It was a marvelous sight to see. A giant ploon of smoke covered what used to be a beached whale...and soon the bystanders and reporters were running for their lives as huge chunks of whale blubber rained down on them.
On the video, you can hear a woman screaming, "Here come pieces of...MY GOD!!!!!!!!!"
A car parked a quarter of a mile away from the whale was completely destroyed by a huge mass of blubber, but thankfully no one was seriously injured - IF you don't consider being covered in rotting whale guts, blood, and innards "injured."
As the smoke cleared, a gigantic mass of half blasted sperm whale still remained on the beach. The seagulls were no where to be found, and people who had been watching in awe were now trying to wipe away stinky whale bits from their faces. In the end, they had to bury the whale...and people rushed home to shower for seven days.
To commemorate this special day in marine disposal, the state of Oregon has declared November 12th as "The Happy Feast of the Exploding Whale." It's probably a great occasion for locals to celebrate by eating as much seafood as possible until they feel like they are about to burst.
Just keep the engineers away from the dynamite.