50 years ago today, in Florence, Oregon…


Did you know that today is the 50th anniversary of the Great Exploding Whale of Florence, Oregon?

I don’t know how one celebrates this anniversary, though. Dynamiting road kill, maybe? Showering in rotting flesh?

Comments

  1. says

    There was a story Spike Milligan used to tell about some army engineers removing a stump with high explosives: “think we have enough? Better add another stick.” I imagine that’s how they sized the charge for the whale.

  2. mathman85 says

    I don’t know how one celebrates this anniversary, though. Dynamiting road kill, maybe? Showering in rotting flesh?

    Perhaps—and bear with me here—by conspicuously and ostentatiously not blowing up the rotting corpse of a beached whale.

  3. rrutis1 says

    I am trying to think of something funny to say about this, but can’t. Probably because blowing up a whale with 40 some odd boxes of dynamite is just so stupid on every level. The damage to the car shown indicates that the impact would probably have killed a person.

  4. says

    I first heard about this around 1980, and it was a recurring story, even then. Without video, people would think this was an urban legend like the JATO car.

    As sometimes happens, there’s nothing funnier than telling the truth.

  5. says

    I saw that today and nearly pissed myself, especially when the reporter deadpanned that maybe next time authorities will at least remember what not to do.

  6. flange says

    It’s really the penultimate Guy thing. Most guy kids have an irresistible urge to explode things. Many men I know have a cherry bomb, M-80, or homemade gunpowder story, enhanced by age, in their past. When I was a kid, they had “chemistry sets.” They always had sulfur, potassium nitrate, and powdered charcoal among other less familiar chemicals. What the hell else do you think you were going to make?
    Some guys never outgrow it.
    “Hey, Guys, watch this!”

  7. woozy says

    “Did you know that today is the 50th anniversary of the Great Exploding Whale of Florence, Oregon?”

    Yes! Yes, I did. I can honestly say I did!

  8. ANB says

    I remember that when I first read it on the Internet 50 years ago.

    Well, it was a long time ago.

    PZ, can you (or do you want to) allow replies to comments (like on WAPO, etc.)? I often want to remark on another poster’s comments, and since you have a relatively small (and intelligent, and similarly minded) following (forgetting the trolls, which you take care of), I think something that opens up more of a “dialogue” or shared commentary would not be a bad thing.

  9. says

    @ABN #15
    We usually do it like this around here. It’s a bit old fashioned but it works well with the generally polite discourse we have here.

  10. microraptor says

    davidc1 @5: IIRC, the concern with attempting to tow the carcass was that it might break up and wash back up to the beach. Though mostly the issue was that due to Oregon beaches being public right of ways, jurisdiction for removing it fell to the Oregon Department of Transportation.

    As for how to celebrate? Well, a Florence brewery just debuted their latest brew: Exploding Whale Ale.

  11. wzrd1 says

    Well, one could commemorate it with a forest fir3e tanker fleet, spraying piknk slime, aka, bone pressed meat.
    Given an accurate choice and masturbating with a cheese grater, enough said.
    Still, it was hilarious and predictable.

  12. sc_262299b298126f9a3cc21fb87cce79da says

    Some years back I was walking in a Race for the Cure alongside Paul Lindman, the young reporter who covered the story. He had a long career on local tv and was now doing speaking engagements at business functions. He used the exploding whale incident to frame talks about planning. People here always associate him with this incident.

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