After you report that 11 of your family members have been slaughtered in Iraq, you become an international sensation giving press conferences and winning great sympathy, particularly among the anti-war media ensconced in Jordan where you now live.
Imagine the embarrassment when your supposedly dead family members back in Baghdad show up and wave for the cameras and an arrest warrant has been issued against you by the new Iraqi government.
Gateway Pundit has lots more as well as photos of your supposedly dead relatives.
Xeni Jarden at Boing-Boing reports on India's human skeleton black market and the work of investigative journalist Scott Carney who writes at Wired magazine.
There are grave robbers in Calcutta who steal skeletons and sell them to medical supply companies in the U.S. and Europe.
Scott tells more of the story on his blog, India's Underground Trade in Human Remains.
It is pitch black and raining when I first meet Manoj Pal: a man who makes his living defleshing rotting cadavers. I am a hundred kilometers outside of Calcutta in a small village called Purbasthali where police confiscated more than 100 bright white human skeletons. The bones they found were on their way along a two hundred year old pipeline for human remains that begins on the banks of Indian rivers and ends in the sacred halls of medicine in Westerncountries. The skeletons Pal prepared could have fetch as much as $70,000 on the black market.
Manoj Pal is the grunt labor for the industry. Part of the dom, or grave tending, caste his job is the most grim. When bodies are brought to him or recovered from a nearby cremation ghat he binds them in mosquito netting and lets them soak in the river for a week. When the bodies were waterlogged and mostly consumed by fish and stray dogs he scrubs off the remaining flesh, dumps the bodies in a boiling solution of caustic chemicals and lets them dry in the sun.
Father Henry Garnet heard the confessions of the Catholic plotters determined to kill King James I and to blow up the Houses of Parliament in the infamous Gunpowder plot of 1605. He admonished them to give up their plot.
Guy Fawkes was discovered in the basement of the Parliament buildings holding a lit torch, guarding a bunch of faggots( which was what small sticks or branches bound together for firewood were called) several feet away from tons of dynamite.
Each year on November 5, bonfires are still lit in England.
Details about the charges against Anthony Marshall, son of Brook Astor, are catnip for the tabloids.
DA's Kick in the Astor
He tried to appear stoic, but Brooke Astor's son had a difficult time keeping a stiff upper lip yesterday as he was arraigned on charges of swindling his Alzheimer's-stricken mother out of millions in cash, property and artwork.
Anthony Marshall had to wipe away tears when his wife, Charlene, ran into his arms in Manhattan Supreme Court, where he was about to be slammed with charges over his handling of his mother's affairs, including grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and conspiracy.
If convicted at trial of the top count, Marshall, 83, would face up to 25 years in prison and would likely die behind bars.
Brooke Astor's son and one of her former lawyers have been indicted on criminal charges.
The charges stem from their stewardship of her financial affairs and the handling of her will.
Prosecutors were believed to be investigating millions of dollars in cash, property and stocks that Mr. Marshall obtained over the years in his role as steward of his mother’s finances.
The district attorney’s office was also informed by Mrs. Astor’s court-appointed lawyer, who had retained a nationally known handwriting expert, that the signature on the third amendment, which was made in March 2004, was possibly forged
Over a year ago I wrote about Brooke Astor and Elder Abuse
It appears the brouhaha over the way she was treated and her money spent caught the attention not only of the press but also the prosecutor's office.
Since 1983, Medicare has paid for hospice care for people in their last six months of life, about $135 a day. It worked quite well as long as most hospice patients were cancer patients who died pretty quickly once curative treatment stopped and only palliative care continued.
But now more patients are using hospice and those patients are living longer in hospice, often well past the 6 month limit. Hospice payment has become one of the fastest growing components of Medicare with spending nearly tripled since 2000.
The federal government wants its money back,
Hundreds of hospice providers across the country are facing the catastrophic financial consequence of what would otherwise seem a positive development: their patients are living longer than expected.
Can there be anything sadder than parents who have anticipated heir baby's birth for months, to have the baby born so sick that it soon dies? When such sorrow replaces joy, who knows what it takes to heal? Yes, parents have to go on, but they also have to remember.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is a foundation and a network of professional photographers who will come to a hospital or hospice and take professional portraits of the tiny baby so their parents and family will remember them. Once the baby dies and is unhooked from tubes and machines, it may be the first and only time the parents have to hold the little one that they loved so much.
Thanks so much to Hootsbuddy who alerted me of this site and wrote a wonderful post, Remarkable Photo Ministry.
That's just what these photographers do, minister like angels, at the saddest times parents can experience.
Remembrance photography began in the Victorian era when a photo of a deceased loved one was treasured, especially if no other photographs existed. Said one woman,"What a comfort it is to possess the image of those who are removed from our sight. We may raise an image of them in our minds but that has not the tangibility of one we can see with our bodily eyes.”
His house was so full that he built a network of tunnels so he could move around in it. Four tons of rubbish had to be removed before his body could be removed from his bedroom.
Israeli fashion model died weighing only 60 pounds. Two years ago she was admitted to the hospital when, unable to bear her own weight, she collapsed into the arms of her fashion photographer and friend Adi Barkan.
"When she fell down, I felt the bones going into my legs, like a knife. When she fell down, I felt like I took hold of something from the grave,"
He is now campaigning to end the use of underweight models
So many people wanted their ashes scattered at Disney World and Disneyland, that it's become a real problem as workers have to close down attractions to clean up cremated remains.
If you have been charged to scatter a loved one ashes on Space Mountain, just scatter a tiny bit, saving the rest to scatter in the ocean or lake or woods.
Otherwise, your loved one will end up in a vacuum cleaner and then the trash.
Elizabeth Nel, the last surviving personal secretary of Winston Churchill who worked with him during the Second World War died at the age of 90.
Obituary London Telegraph
She noted the way Churchill liked his speeches laid out in verse form; his habit of lighting cigars from a candle which then had to be whisked away because he disliked the smell of it being snuffed out; and how he was most irritable when things were going smoothly, yet sweet when the situation looked dark.
In 2005 she was the first person to be presented to the Queen at the opening of the Churchill Museum at the Cabinet War Rooms in Whitehall, and she came back earlier this year to make an 80-minute speech without notes (unlike her master) when it was named a European heritage museum.
When a drug dealer was killed in a helicopter crash in Mexico and his body sent to a morgue some 65 miles south of the US border, twenty heavily armed gunmen killed two policemen as they snatched the body from the morgue.
Drug hitmen snatch buddy's body from morgue.
The dead man was thought by police to be a member of the Arellano Felix drug cartel. His fellow traffickers were believed to have wanted his body to take it away for burial without having to identify themselves when claiming the corpse.
He died earlier this week in a helicopter crash along with another suspected trafficker, but the gunmen failed to get the second man's body from the morgue.
His fiery death as the helicopter hit electricity lines while watching a car race through the desert had already been shown on television.
John Noble, an American who lived through the Dresden air bombings said the Red Army that moved into the city in May 1945 was far worse.
"The Soviets in Dresden were worse than the air raids," Noble recalled. Murders and looting were widespread - as were rapes, which were sometimes carried out in public on mattresses thrown down in the streets.
As the Soviets took over his family's camera factory, he was arrested, thrown into prison, kept on a starvation diet for months, transferred to Buchenwald and later to the Soviet gulag.
The Telegraph obituary has more of his story.
A Less Than Honorable Discharge From the Wrong Plot
The story of how Mr. Hayes, who died with no money or family in a Bronx nursing home, wound up in an unfinished basement after resting in peace for four years in the dignified setting of Calverton National Cemetery involves a case of mistaken identity. Federal officials say it seems to be the first time in the history of the national cemetery system, which was created during the Civil War, that a veteran buried in the wrong grave has been disinterred. That’s 3.3 million burials in 125 cemeteries.
Was it a case of Identity theft or just a case of mistaken identity?
Koreen Hayes, a niece of the Harlem Willie Hayes, said she suspected that her uncle had been the victim of identity theft.
Some of his military benefits had stopped coming several years back, she said, but he did not make a big fuss because “he thought maybe they just ran out.” She said he finally contacted Social Security officials, “and they told him he had to prove he was still alive, because they had death records that said he had been dead for years.”
If you are collecting information about your family origins, you must see The Peopling of the World to see how far back your ancestors go.
Kudos to the Bradshaw Foundation for the presentation created by Stephen Oppenehimer that shows the world migrations of the human species based on the latest genetic research based on a synthesis of recent mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome evidence with archaeology, climatology and fossil study.
They call it an "iLecture" ( information lecture), a fact-driven documentary film presenting the latest theories using experts from around the world and plan a new one each month, harnessing technology to open up the ancient past.
Fine foundation work and a hat tip to Maggie's Farm.
A father who ordered his daughter's death for falling in love with a man who didn't come from their Iraqi village was found guilty of murder in a London court yesterday
Banaz Mahmod, 20, was strangled with a boot lace, stuffed into a suitcase and buried in a back garden.
Her death is the latest in an increasing trend of such killings in Britain, home to some 1.8 million Muslims. More than 100 homicides are under investigation for being potential "honor killings."
Because the European authorities are bringing more of honor killings to trial, it seems that in Turkey anyway, women are forced to commit suicide for bringing dishonor on their families.
Young girls can be accused of dishonouring the family simply for wearing jeans or glancing at a boy or even being looked at by a man in a wrong way.
Sky News spoke to another woman whose identity cannot be revealed. She married at the age of 15. Her husband beat her and was unfaithful.
When she complained and asked for a divorce her own family told her to commit suicide.
"My sister said kill yourself, kill yourself. Your husband, your family disowns you.
Only the code of silence, the blanket of secrecy is keeping these crimes from coming to the attention of the prosecutor. The shame of such families who abet such actions is misplaced, it belongs on them.
A man who jumped into a lake to flee police was killed by an alligator more than 9 feet long.
After his girlfriend kicked him out, 32-year-old Charles Tucker, Jr decided to sneak back into her house using the cat door.
The girlfriend found him dead in the door and called 911.
"He's a big guy. I don't even know how he could fit through there," Elliot (his good friend) said. "Probably to get in and unlock the door. They said he had one arm through there and his head was caught in there like he was to reach up and unlock the door because there's no way he could fit through there."
The nun who felt a call to be a funeral director
From the Deacon, She sees dead people.
"I was reading St. Mark's account of the resurrection and the words seemed to jump off the page: 'When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.' It hit me that those three women were the first ones to witness the resurrection because they were going to minister to Jesus in death as they did in life. Now it's called embalming. I just couldn't get it out of my head.
She closed her eyes for a moment before continuing. "Consoling the sorrowing and burying the dead are directions in the Rule of St. Benedict, the way of life we as Benedictines follow," Sister Chris said. "And, I knew that the best gift I had been given in my lifetime was the gift of compassion, along with the ability to listen. I realized I should use that gift; I didn't have the right to ignore it. So I went to Sister Mary Agnes Patterson, who was the prioress at the time. She looked at me and asked, 'Where would you go to study?' There was a program offered at Kansas City Kansas Community College, so I wouldn't have to travel very far. With my community's blessing I took the first steps toward this ministry."
"Funerals are for the living, not the dead. A funeral is a time for family and friends to express their love and gratitude for what that person has done for them."
The day before the New York City Marathon, runners were stunned when they learned that 28-year-old professional runner Ryan Shay collapsed and died in Central Park during the Olympic marathon trials.
“To have someone so young and so well trained die in the race, it is just an incredible fluke,” said Dr. Lewis Maharam, the medical director of the New York City Marathon. “Something had to be underlying.”
It snowed the night they brought Ryan Shay home to bury him. Three hundred candles in paper bags lined the inner lane of the high school track. The wind extinguished some candles and ignited several bags into balls of flame.
“A kid from a village of 1,000 makes it big, that’s a million-to-one shot,” Quinn Barry, the athletic director at Central Lake High, said as he patiently relit candles, maintaining his frozen vigil.
He died at 28, and Ryan Shay will be remembered here as the precocious, dedicated boy who could do 25 one-armed pushups in kindergarten; who was co-valedictorian of his high school class and four times the state cross-country champion; who was a cardiovascular marvel with a standing heart rate from youth of 30 beats a minute.
Autopsy and toxicology reports have yet to be completed. Given the tarnished nature of running, where doping has been widespread, Shay’s father has asked that the toxicology report be made public so that it might absolve any suspicion that Ryan used illicit substances.
His father said that Shay was found to have an enlarged heart at age 14 and was told last spring that his low heart rate might require him to wear a pacemaker when he got older
My sincere condolences to his wife Alicia who married him in July. This is not her first experience with death. When she was 16, her boyfriend, also a runner, died of a rare form of leukemia.
My heart goes out to her.
A 24-year-old lab technician has been arrested in New Jersey on a charge of sexual penetration of human remains.
A new employee, he conned a guard into giving him access to the morgue at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, New Jersey. There he unzipped the body bag of a 92-year-old woman and was having sex with her corpse when the guard saw him.
Fake obituary posted on YouTube to intimidate Councillor Alan Craig who has opposed the building of Europe's largest mosque in London near the 2012 Olympic site.
What can you say except this is appalling?
About the death, I have long hesitated, I was long before I could tell my mind; and now I know it, and can but say that I am glad. If we could have had my father, that would have been a different thing. But to keep that changeling - suffering changeling - any longer, could better none and nothing. Now he rests; it is more significant, it is more like himself. He will begin to return to us in the course of time, as he was and as we loved him.
My favourite words in literature, my favourite scene - 'O let him pass,' Kent and Lear - was played for me here in the first moment of my return.
Letter from Robert Louis Stevenson to Sidney Colvin, June 1887.
HT The Sheila Variation, "O Let Him Pass".
A new blog for me, Postman's Horn posts a letter every day by authors, writers, poets and painters because
A letter can provide that sense of everyday life, a glimpse of the the trials and tribulations of another human soul; and they can underscore the humanity of writers who have become so very famous.
My condolences to Yaacov Ben Moshe on the death of his father whose remarkable In Honor of a Great Dead White Man pays tribute to his greatest hero who
even though he always knew that life can be hard and even cruel, he never lost sight of the fact that it is always wonderful and miraculous at the same time
Especially in this month of All Saints and All Souls, we pay attention to the best of those who have passed before us because
The consequence is that human solidarity, to use that term, must belong much less to the crowd of our predecessors, than to the persons of the past who have realized, in a great way, the fine natural traits of man. Those who pass up the opportunity to serve their great memory, pass up an undoubted opportunity to help themselves, to correct themselves, and to improve themselves.
Charles Murras on All Souls Day
In Egypt, King Tut's face is unveiled for the first time in 3000 years where he is now on display in a glass box for tourists who visit his tomb in Luxor.
The mystery surrounding King Tutankhamen -- who ruled during the 18th dynasty and ascended to the throne at age 8 -- and his glittering gold tomb has entranced fans of ancient Egypt since Carter's discovery, which revealed a trove of fabulous gold and precious stone treasures and propelled the once-forgotten pharaoh to global stardom.
Tut wasn't Egypt's most powerful or important king, but his staggering treasures, rumors of a mysterious curse that plagued Carter and his team -- debunked by experts long ago -- and several books and TV documentaries dedicated to him have added to his mystique.
Above is a "reconstruction" of his face, built after 1700 CT scans by a team of forensic artists and scientists. He doesn't look at all like Steve Martin.
Long before CSI, , a New England socialite and heiress, dedicated her life to the advancement of forensic science. Frances Glesser Lee also helped establish the Department of Legal Medicine at Harvard University.
She also became a captain in the New Hampshire State Police, the first woman ever to hold such a position in the United States. She had a most inventive way to teach her students about scientific crime detection. Using her passion for dolls and dollhouses, she created eighteen miniature crime scene dioramas packed with tiny but detectable clues for her students to analyze. She called them Nutshell studies of Unexplained Death.
Some of these Visible Proofs are now on exhibit at the National Library of Medicine along with other forensic views of the body.
Said Earl Stanley Gardner, a close friend who wrote the Perry Mason mysteries, "A person studying these models can learn more about circumstantial evidence in an hour than he could learn in months of abstract study."
Scribal Terror has more about Death in a Nutshell
I'm only surprised that this started in Germany.
For the German media entrepreneur Wolf-Tilmann Schneider, though, it was a normal working day – and the perfect moment to set out his plans for Death television. The Grim Reaper, it seems, will soon be exposed to the full glare of the studio lights.
Etos-TV will be Europe’s first channel devoted to death: documentaries on beautiful cemeteries, round-table discussions about the appropriate means of burial and on-screen obituaries that can be distributed later to friends and family on the internet.
The Good Mourning channel, as it has been mockingly dubbed by some, acknowledges that the population of Germany is ageing rapidly, that older people are often well-off and that the old taboos about discussing death are beginning to melt away. “Some 830,000 people die a year,” said Mr Schneider, “and there are two million elderly in care.” As a result there was a big demand for information about death, inheritance law and insurance policies.
The satellite channel is being backed by an undertakers’ association representing 3,000 funeral parlours across Germany. Its programmes will be sponsored by residential homes and stair-lift companies.
“This is not primarily an advertising channel,” Kerstin Gernig, for the undertakers, said. “It is about passing on information. Every person has left his mark, raised children, paid taxes, done something. We would like them to be shown respect.” On offer, too, will be an obituary service. For about €2,000 (£1,400), a photograph of a dead friend or relative will be shown on the screen, along with a spoken tribute. The 90-second obituary will be repeated ten times and then be available for distribution on the internet. For a higher fee, a short film can be made recording highlights from the life of the deceased.
"I viewed my mission as one to save lives. I didn't bomb Pearl Harbor.
I didn't start the war. But I was going to finish it."
Paul Tibbets Jr, pilot of Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the bomb at Hiroshima, died at his home in Columbus, Ohio at 92.
Gen. Tibbets became a national hero with the Aug. 6, 1945, atomic bombing of Hiroshima, a historical turning point of the last century. He said he had no regrets over the more than 100,000 Japanese killed and wounded at Hiroshima, and made a point of saying he slept easily at night.
In a public television documentary, "The Men Who Brought the Dawn," that aired on the 50th anniversary of the bombings, Gen. Tibbets said the bomb "saved more lives than we took" because an alternative would have been an invasion of mainland Japan.
"It would have been morally wrong if we'd have had that weapon and not used it and let a million more people die," he said.
If you think that the bombing of Hiroshima was a mistake I urge you to read Charles McCarry, Hiroshima and the Firebombing of Tokyo.
Yesterday, the Feast of All Saints, Catholics celebrated all those now in heaven. Today, Catholics commemorate All Souls Day for all the faithful departed.
Many churches display the Book of the Names of the Dead which contains the names of all those who have died in the parish.
Souls that are not yet in heaven are undergoing purification in Purgatory. Prayers can speed their passage from Purgatory to the Beatific vision of Heaven, so prayers for the dead can be especially useful.
In Mexico, the "Dia de Los Muertos" is celebrated on November 2. Catholic beliefs have merged with some pre-contact beliefs and the Day of the Dead has become a happy celebration with family ancestors that have died. The Day of the Dead Blog has many photos of vigils and the parade of the children.
After lighting candles and praying at the tombs of their loved ones, Filipino families spend the whole day in the country's graveyards, eating and chatting.
"We celebrate this every year, no fail. We all come here together and bring food, and we stay all day," said Lolita Capoquian, who came to pay her respects to her daughter who was killed in a car accident 14 years ago.
The Day of the Dead festival has its origins in a pre-Hispanic belief that the dead return to earth one day each year to visit their loved ones.
Terry Nelson writes in I see dead people...kinda that today we deny death while saints often contemplate death.
Saint Jerome by Carravagio
Memento mori, remember death, is a traditional maxim of the Church.
This tapestry from the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels was woven in Belgium using Egyptian cotton and digital files from the artist.
What's so lovely about the tapestry is that recognized, canonized saints are side by side with some unknown saints, ordinary people.
At Whispers in the Loggia, Rocco Palmo writes To Be a Saint
More than just sometimes, you'll hear of folks -- even of the not-normally-emotional type -- who've wept at the sight of the simple figures, shown walking together toward the altar.
And why the tears? Most common answer: something along the lines of "they look normal... they look like us."
...because "us" is what they are, and they're what we're called to be.
More about the tapestries
The artist John Nava who was commissioned to make the Communion of Saints said
the message of the image and the message of the Church "is a message of hope, redemption and meaning." Nava believes these are ideas that have been frequently dismissed in conventional modern art.
After the horrors of the 20th century - the World Wars, the atomic bomb and the Holocaust - humanity has routinely been seen pessimistically as "diseased and decadent," Nava explains. The best figurative painters of our time have made great works, but they often have been of a tragic and hopeless image of humans, if not a critical or cynical one.
The Communion of Saints, however, is exactly the opposite, Nava believes. Its theme is one of hope. He would like people viewing the tapestries "to see the humanity of these figures and feel a sense of connection to themselves."