Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Dam the bad luck
Each January, it's a local tradition to spill a massive amount of some harmful substance into the Ohio river from a barge. Last year's pièce de résistance was 800,000 gallons of liquid asphalt. This year's spill was a more-subtle 3000 tons of liquid fertilizer (perhaps to encourage something to grow through a crack in the asphalt). On January 16, this year's barge not only dumped its cargo but got stuck in a gate of the McAlpine Dam, where it has been toying with Army Corps of Engineers salvage crews ever since. When acetylene torches wouldn't cut the barge free, the Corps decided to be a little less "Engineer" and a little more "Army" and blast the vessel free. KABLAMMY! The Corps blasted several 15-pound explosives, finally breaking the barge into two pieces. In a triumph of near-Iraq-war proportions, the Corps can boast that it no longer has a barge stuck in the McAlpine Dam. It has two.