"Another thing that got forgotten was the fact that against all
probability a sperm whale had suddenly been called into existence several miles above the surface of an alien planet. And since this is not a naturally tenable position for a whale, this poor innocent creature had very little time to come to terms with its identity as a whale before it then had to come to terms with not being a whale any more." Douglas Adams, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
Here I am, a citizen of the digital millenium, and I had no idea that an exploding whale would feature prominently in the history of viral video. Don't get me wrong, I knew about exploding whales (and bowls of petunia's) but I thought they were for the most part fiction. I do try to keep a towel around though, just in case I'm wrong. Luckily no Zaphods are on the ballot for 2008, whew!
My hometown is in the West and my parents lived on the Oregon coast for some time so when I saw this I immediately felt a tenuous connection. Apparently in the 70's a dead whale beached near Florence, OR. This would have been near the time my parents lived there, I wonder if they remember it. Anyway, the Oregon Dept. of Transportion, in their infinite wisdom decided to blow it to smitthereens as they didn't have any other ready ways to dispose of the stinky corpse which the locals were tired of smelling.
1/2 a ton of dynamite later a good portion of the whale was dissolved to smaller pieces and launched skyward. Unfortunately all is relative and small pieces when describing a whale are comparitively large when compared with the average Buick, one of which was crushed flat by a falling piece of blubber in a parking lot 1/2 a mile away. Luckily most of the whale was dissolved into smaller, but still quite odiferous, chunks which rained down upon the camera crew and bystanders. Apparently the smell was quite hard to remove according to the reporter involved, here interviewed on CNN. Still, nearly half of the whale never left the blast site and had to be removed with a bulldozer. Government planning at work.
Ahh, what a world we live in.
The strangest part is that this is not the only time this has happened. Luckily no one was killed when a dead whale being hauled through the streets of Tainan, Taiwan exploded due to internal gas buildup, spewing a whale sized volume of entrails over a fairly expansive area of city street. There are other examples but they are more rural in nature and thus, much less interesting.
For more information visit
Exploding Whale on Wikipedia