Xenatuba’s comment on the Whale fall post has reminded me of one of the all time classic tales in Oregon history. In November 1970, a dead adult sperm whale washed up on the beach near Florence, causing no end of consternation about how to dispose of it. Since Oregon law defines the state’s beaches as public highways (a brilliant bit of lawmaking that makes it impossible for anyone to privately own a beach), that meant Oregon’s Highway Division had responsibility for the carcass disposal.
The Highway Division was full of men who were accustomed to using dynamite for removal of things that were in their way, such as mountains that a road was being built through. You know the old saying, “When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”? Well, the dead whale looked like a nail to them. It made perfect sense that if they buried some dynamite beneath it, the carcass could be blown into smaller chunks which would then be magically removed by various detritivores such as gulls, crabs, etc.
Of course, since it was a big whale, they needed a big explosion. Being very thorough in their planning, they decided to use twenty cases of dynamite.
The rest is history.
Note for non-native English speakers: after the blast, the bystander commentary might be hard to discern due to the regional accents. A transcription:
“Wheee! Look at all that!”
“All right, Fred, you can take your hands out of your ears now.”
“Here come pieces of…my God!”