The Farside comes to life in Oregon.
I am absolutely not making this incident up; in fact I have it
all on videotape. The tape is from a local TV news show in
Oregon, which sent a reporter out to cover the removal of a
45-foot, eight-ton dead whale that washed up on the beach. The
responsibility for getting rid of the carcass was placed on the
Oregon State Highway Division, apparently on the theory that
highways and whales are very similar in the sense of being large
So anyway, the highway engineers hit upon the plan--remember, I
am not making this up--of blowing up the whale with dynamite.
The thinking is that the whale would be blown into small pieces,
which would be eaten by seagulls, and that would be that. A
textbook whale removal.
So they moved the spectators back up the beach, put a half-ton
of dynamite next to the whale and set it off. I am probably not
guilty of understatement when I say that what follows, on the
videotape, is the most wonderful event in the history of the
universe. First you see the whale carcass disappear in a huge
blast of smoke and flame. Then you hear the happy spectators
shouting "Yayy!" and "Whee!" Then, suddenly, the crowd's tone
changes. You hear a new sound like "splud." You hear a woman's
voice shouting "Here come pieces of...MY GOD!" Something smears
the camera lens.
Later, the reporter explains: "The humor of the entire situation
suddenly gave way to a run for survival as huge chunks of whale
blubber fell everywhere." One piece caved in the roof of a car
parked more than a quarter of a mile away. Remaining on the
beach were several rotting whale sectors the size of condominium
units. There was no sign of the seagulls who had no doubt
permanently relocated to Brazil. This is a very sobering
videotape. Here at the institute we watch it often, especially
But this is no time for gaiety. This is a time to get hold of
the folks at the Oregon State Highway Division and ask them,
when they get done cleaning up the beaches, to give us an
estimate on the US Capitol.
(Written by Dave Barry(?), circa 1990?)
Tom Mahoney, #9, Coast Guard Sqn.1/Div.13 CatLo
CGC-82308 "Pt. White"
(Danang Harbor, TET '68)