The English language needs a word for “awesome and dangerous simultaneously”.
We recently ran into the strange pastime of anvil shooting on YouTube (where else?). The idea is that you pack about a pound (!) of black powder between two anvils and light it up. The powder explodes, and the top anvil gets shot into the air. Hilarity ensues, if everyone’s far enough away and wearing hearing protection.
It’s probably traditional to fire anvils in place of cannons on festive occasions. The modern, competitive version of the pastime is relatively new, and is scored both on how high the anvil flies, and on how close to the launching pad the anvil lands when it hits the ground. It looks like you make everything very level, pack the powder as evenly as possible, and hope for the best.
Now before you go about doing something silly like this, you should know that it can also go wrong (YouTube, naturally) in any number of ways. Smashing black powder between anvils is asking for early detonation. And even if you’re relatively experienced with such things you can still get hurt, as happened during the 2011 US National Anvil Shooting competition. Apparently the man in question lost a thumb to the hobby. Finally, unless you’re taking heroic precautions like X-raying your anvil, you can’t be sure that the anvil won’t break apart.
So we’re not recommending that you try this at all. Instead, stare on in awe at the crazies on YouTube who are taking the risks for you. (Note the use of electric fuses in the last video, which is probably a heck of a lot safer than black-powder fuses. We still don’t recommend it.)