HERE AT THE EXPLODING ANIMAL Research Institute we have received two very alarming news items that we are passing along today in the hope that you, the generalized public, will finally break out of your apathetic, selfish, materialistic lifestyles and send us some large cash contributions.

Item One, submitted by numerous alert readers, concerns the recent criminally insane vote by the U.S. Senate AGAINST having the federal government monitor methane emissions from cows. I am not making this vote up. As you may be aware, cows emit huge quantities of methane, which contributes to global warming, which has gotten so bad in some areas that brand-new shirts are coming out of the factory with armpit stains already in them. So the U.S. Senate (motto: "White Male Millionaires Working for You") was considering an amendment to the Clean Air Act, under which the government would monitor methane emissions from various sources, including "animal production."

Well, as you can imagine, this did not sit well with the senators from those states where cow flatulence is a cherished way of life. Leading the herd of opposition senators was Steve Symms of Idaho ("The Exploding Potato State"), who took the floor and stated that the amendment would -- this is an actual quote -- "put the nose of the federal government in almost every place it does not belong."

So the Senate took out the part about monitoring animal methane, which means there will be no advance warning when, inevitably, there is some kind of cow-interior blockage, causing a potentially lethal buildup of flammable gases and transforming one of these normally docile creatures into a giant mooing time bomb that, if detonated, could cause the dreaded Rain of Organs. Have you ever, in a supermarket, accidentally encountered a cow tongue -- a large sluglike slab of gray flesh that you couldn't imagine anybody purchasing for any purpose other than to nail it to the front door in hopes of scaring off evil spirits? Well, I'd like to know what Sen. Symms would say if one of those babies came hurtling out of the sky and struck him at upwards of 100 miles per hour. "Yuck" would be my guess.

I base this statement on a similar situation in Oregon where innocent civilians were struck by falling whale parts. I am absolutely not making this incident up; in fact, I have it all on videotape, which I obtained from the alert father-son team of Dean and Kurt Smith. The tape is from a local TV news show in Oregon, which sent a reporter out to cover a 45-foot, eight-ton dead whale that washed up on the beach. The responsibility for getting rid of the carcass was placed upon the Oregon State Highway Division, apparently on the theory that highways and whales are very similar in the sense of being large objects.

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 here was that the whale would be blown into small pieces, which would be eaten by sea gulls, and that would be that. A textbook whale removal.

So they moved the spectators back up the beach, put half a ton of dynamite next to the whale, and set it off. I am probably 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 "Wheee!" Then, suddenly, the crowd's tone changes. You hear a new sound, the sound of many objects hitting the ground with a noise that sounds like "splud." You hear a woman shouting, "Here comes 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 sea gulls, who had no doubt permanently relocated to Brazil.

This is a very sobering videotape. Here at the institute we watch it often, especially at parties. 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 U.S. Capitol.