March 31, 2008

The last boomer competition...how you die

The last boomer competition is not just about how long you live. It is also about how you die. This one is a “Mine is shorter than yours”: you want a death that is painless and quick. Even here there are choices. What is “quick”? You might prefer something instantaneous, like walking down Fifth Avenue and being hit by a flower pot that falls off an upper-story windowsill. Or, if you’re the orderly type, you might prefer a brisk but not sudden slide into oblivion. Take a couple of months, pain-free but weakening in some vague nineteenth-century way. You can use the time to make your farewells, plan your funeral, cut people out of your will, finish that fat nineteenth-century novel that you’ve been lugging around since the twentieth century, and generally tidy up.

Mine is longer than yours, Michael Kingsley reflects in The New Yorker.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:37 AM | Permalink

Be sure to tell your siblings if you bury your father

Benjamin LaFlamme didn't.  He just buried his father alongside his  mother in Bennington, Vermont.
Now two of his siblings are petitioning the court to exhume their father because they weren't given the chance to offer their last respects.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:42 AM | Permalink

Dith Pran, R.I. P.

Killing Fields photographer, Dith Pran, dies at 65 of pancreatic cancer.

         Dith Pran Older Photo

The New York Times obit

Dith Pran, a photojournalist for The New York Times whose gruesome ordeal in the killing fields of Cambodia was re-created in a 1984 movie that gave him an eminence he tenaciously used to press for his people’s rights, died in New Brunswick, N.J., on Sunday.
--
Mr. Dith saw his country descend into a living hell as he scraped and scrambled to survive the barbarous revolutionary regime of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979, when as many as two million Cambodians — a third of the population — were killed, experts estimate. Mr. Dith survived through nimbleness, guile and sheer desperation.

He had been a journalistic partner of Mr. Schanberg, a Times correspondent assigned to Southeast Asia. He translated, took notes and pictures, and helped Mr. Schanberg maneuver in a fast-changing milieu. With the fall of Phnom Penh in 1975, Mr. Schanberg was forced from the country, and Mr. Dith became a prisoner of the Khmer Rouge, the Cambodian Communists.
---
Over the next 4 ½ years, he worked in the fields and at menial jobs. For sustenance, people ate insects and rats and even the exhumed corpses of the recently executed, he said.

In November 1978, Vietnam, by then a unified Communist nation after the end of the Vietnam War, invaded Cambodia and overthrew the Khmer Rouge. Mr. Dith went home to Siem Reap, where he learned that 50 members of his family had been killed; wells were filled with skulls and bones.

         Dith Pran

He escaped, and was reunited with his wife and family in San Francisco.  In 1980 he became a photographer at the New York Times and six years later became a U.S. citizen beside his wife.

       Dith Pran Citizen Oath

Along with the above photographs, The Times has a wonderful 6 minute multimedia  piece called The Last Word: Dith Pran combining clips from the Killing Fields, interviews with Pran and Schanberg and photographs that tells his extraordinary life story.

"I promised myself that if I survived, I wouldn't stop talking about the killing fields..My people are suffering and this is their story.

From the London Telegraph obit
"I am a one-person crusade," he once said. "I must speak for those who did not survive and for those who still suffer… Like one of my heroes, Elie Wiesel, who alerts the world to the horrors of the Jewish holocaust, I try to awaken the world to the holocaust of Cambodia, for all tragedies have universal implications."

In his journal while imprisoned, Pran wrote
The wind whispers of fear and hate. The war has killed love. And those that confess to the Angka are punished, and no one dare ask where they go. Here, only the silent survive.

He survived and his words, his actions and his photos live on.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:13 AM | Permalink

March 30, 2008

Cowboy Deaths

Cowboy Deaths in Descending Order of Degree of Dignity

Boots on

Boots on, but on the wrong feet

One boot on, one boot off

Holding boots above head while crossing river

Boots off

Boots on hands, creating sound effects for campfire story

Boots in carry-on bag, wearing an old pair of tennis shoes until he gets there

One old boot and one new boot, walking around Kohl's shoe department to see how they feel

— Nathan Thornton

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:17 AM | Permalink

The fragility of a broken heart

A broken heart really is fragile says a new study and men are more susceptible to dying on anniversaries of a loved one's death according to new research from the American College of Cardiology.

Heartache and Heart Health Connection

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:28 AM | Permalink

March 29, 2008

"It's sort of like one for the books."

Man killed while beating would-be robber

Facing the barrel of a sawed-off shotgun on a dark West Baltimore street, Roland Scott fought back. He pulled out his own weapon - a fake handgun - and wrested the shotgun away from his attacker, city police said.

Scott ordered the man to strip naked in the middle of Laurens Street, took $800 from him and forced him to march into the laundry room of a nearby apartment building.

"He starts beating him, telling him to get more money, saying, 'Get me a cell phone or I'm going to kill you,'" said Sgt. Dennis M. Raftery Jr., a supervisor in the Police Department's homicide unit. "He is beating him with the butt of a sawed-off shotgun."

Raftery said the shotgun, then pointed at Scott, discharged, hitting Scott in the stomach and killing him. Authorities said his death will be ruled accidental.

"It is unusual," Raftery said yesterday. "I don't know how to put it. It is sort of like one for the books

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:14 AM | Permalink

March 28, 2008

The Moon and the Stars

I suppose it was only a matter of time.  Company offers moon as final resting place.

Personally, I prefer the stars.

"Shoot for the moon and if you miss it you will still be among the stars"  wrote Les Brown.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:00 AM | Permalink

March 25, 2008

Deadly Business

The three directors of black funeral parlors here have been assaulted at services and each has had gunshots fired during burials. Concealed-weapons, pre-funeral intelligence briefings, cameras, panic buttons and armed security guards are becoming as much a part of services as the eulogy.

"I've been in this business 42 years and I'm jittery now," Mr. Glover says.

Across the country, black morticians are changing the way they operate. The reason: a spike in African-American murders -- and the violence that sometimes follows victims to the grave

Violence Roils Black Funeral Parlors

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:33 PM | Permalink

"I'm the only person I know who's listened to her own funeral"

She was critically injured in a highway crash that killed five others and mourned as dead until the stunning identity mix-up became apparent.

Crash survivor in ID mix-up writes book.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:32 PM | Permalink

She died for bigger breasts

Breast-surgery complications kill West Boca High cheerleader

Stephanie Kuleba had a charmed life: captain of the varsity cheerleading squad at West Boca High, a nearly perfect grade-point average, good looks and a ticket to the University of Florida, where she would start her journey toward becoming a medical doctor.

Her friends said she was "perfect," so when Kuleba died Saturday of complications from breast augmentation surgery, none of them could understand how the girl whose success in life "was a sure thing" could perish in such a strange and devastating fashion.

Condolences to her family.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:49 AM | Permalink

"Only the good die young, so I didn't go"

Zach Dunlap, 21, was gravely injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident and suffered severe head injuries.  His family and his small community in Oklahoma began praying for him. 

The doctors told the family that Zach would not survive. After no brain activity could be found, Zach was declared dead.    The family agreed to the donation of his organs and as  a nurse was  preparing him for organ donation, Zach moved his arm, then his foot.    When a pocketknife was scrapped across his foot, he reacted.  The organ harvest stopped. 

After 48 days in the hospital, he was allowed to return home.    Yesterday, he was on the Today show

Man declared dead feels pretty good

Dunlap, 21, of Frederick, said he has no recollection of the crash.  "I remember a little bit that was about an hour before the accident happened.
---
Dunlap said one thing he does remember is hearing the doctors pronounce him dead.  "I'm glad I couldn't get up and do what I wanted to do," he said.
--

Zach's mother, Pam, said that when she discovered he was still alive, "That was the most miraculous feeling."

"We had gone, like I said, from the lowest possible emotion that a parent could feel to the top of the mountains again," she said.
--

Dunlap now has the pocketknife that was scraped across his foot, causing the first reaction.

"Just makes me thankful, makes me thankful that they didn't give up," he said. "Only the good die young, so I didn't go."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:56 AM | Permalink

March 21, 2008

Another fatal encounter with a stingray

Far from Michigan, Judy Zagorski, 57, was on a spring break vacation with her family, aboard a boat off the Florida Keys. 

She was sunbathing on the boat's deck when a Giant stingray leaps onto the boat and impales her through the neck killing her

 Giant Sting Ray.

Condolences to her family.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:59 AM | Permalink

March 20, 2008

Flip it

Only on the market for a year, the Flip camcorder has already garnered 13% of the market.  David Pogue finally reviews it, Camcorder Brings Zen to the Shoot.

the Flip has been reduced to the purest essence of video capture. You turn it on, and it’s ready to start filming in two seconds. You press the red button once to record (press hard — it’s a little balky) and once to stop. You press Play to review the video, and the Trash button to delete a clip.

There it is: the entire user’s manual.
--
Having finally lived with the Flip, I finally know the answer: it’s a blast. It’s always ready, always with you, always trustworthy. Instead of crippling this “camcorder,” the simplicity elevates it. Comparisons with a real camcorder are nonsensical, because the Flip is something else altogether: it’s the video equivalent of a Kodak point-and-shoot camera. It’s the very definition of “less is more.”


"Flip Video Camcorder: 60-Minutes (Black)" (Pure Digital Technologies, Inc.)

$150-$180

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:02 PM | Permalink

March 19, 2008

Ex-doctor confesses to plundering corpses

The mastermind of the odious scheme to plunder corpses from funeral homes in the Northeast and sell them for millions of dollars has pleaded guilty in a deal that will put him away in prison for decades.

Ex-doctor confesses to stealing body parts.

Michael Mastromarino, a 44-year-old former oral surgeon, confessed to the judge that he carried out the scheme from 2001 to 2005. He will face 18 to 54 years and will have to forfeit $4.68 million. He pleaded guilty to 14 counts that include enterprise corruption, body stealing, and reckless endangerment.

The plea was made more than two years after the gruesome scandal broke, with evidence that corpses were being hacked up without permission or proper screening for diseases and sold for dental implants, knee and hip replacements, and other procedures around the country.

The looted bodies included that of "Masterpiece Theatre" host Alistair Cooke.

Authorities released photos of exhumed corpses that were boned below the waist. Prosecutors said the defendants had made a crude attempt to cover their tracks by sewing PVC pipe into the bodies in time for open-casket wakes.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:51 AM | Permalink

March 18, 2008

"His visions helped bring about the future he longed to see"

Visionary science fiction writer Arthur Clarke has died at 90 in his home in Sri Lanka.

 Arthur Clarke Sfmag Cover

Associated Press obituary by Ravi Nessman
Co-author with Stanley Kubrick of Kubrick's film "2001: A Space Odyssey," Clarke was regarded as far more than a science fiction writer.

He was credited with the concept of communications satellites in 1945, decades before they became a reality. Geosynchronous orbits, which keep satellites in a fixed position relative to the ground, are called Clarke orbits.

He joined American broadcaster Walter Cronkite as commentator on the U.S. Apollo moonshots in the late 1960s.

Clarke's non-fiction volumes on space travel and his explorations of the Great Barrier Reef and Indian Ocean earned him respect in the world of science, and in 1976 he became an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

New York Times obituary by Gerald Jonas
the formative event of his childhood was his discovery, at age 13 — the year his father died — of a copy of “Astounding Stories of Super-Science,” then the leading American science fiction magazine. He found its mix of boyish adventure and far-out (sometimes bogus) science intoxicating.

While still in school, Mr. Clarke joined the newly formed British Interplanetary Society, a small band of sci-fi enthusiasts who held the controversial view that space travel was not only possible but could be achieved in the not-so-distant future
--

All told, he wrote or collaborated on close to 100 books, some of which, like “Childhood’s End,” have been in print continuously. His works have been translated into some 40 languages, and worldwide sales have been estimated at more than $25 million.

In 1962 he suffered a severe attack of poliomyelitis. His apparently complete recovery was marked by a return to top form at his favorite sport, table tennis. But in 1984 he developed post-polio syndrome, a progressive condition characterized by muscle weakness and extreme fatigue. He spent the last years of his life in a wheelchair.

Among his legacies are Clarke’s Three Laws, provocative observations on science, science fiction and society that were published in his “Profiles of the Future” (1962):

¶“When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.”

¶“The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.”

¶“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
--
Mr. Clarke’s reputation as a prophet of the space age rests on more than a few accurate predictions. His visions helped bring about the future he longed to see.

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit remembers Clarke.

I nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize, but Yasser Arafat got it instead. I think it's pretty clear that Clarke would have been a better choice . . . .

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:53 PM | Permalink

'My boy, if you don't get lost, I'm going to shoot you,"

The man who shot Antoine de Saint-Expery out of the sky has come forward. 

Sainte Exupery was a celebrated French aviator and writer who, a year before his death,  wrote the book beloved by millions, Le Petit Prince, "The Little Prince"  who so famously said,
Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

Saint-Exupery was 44 when he flew for the last time over the Mediterranean until his plane was shot down on July 31, 1944.

His plane was never recovered and considered lost until a French fisherman pulling up his nets
discovered an identity bracelet engraved with the name of Saint-Exupéry's wife, Consuelo, and that of his publishers, Reynal & Hitchcock.

Mr Vanrell, a local deep sea diver, then began searching the Marseilles coastline for the remains of the writer's aircraft. In 2000 he discovered pieces of Saint-Exupéry's plane lying on the sea bed 80 metres deep near the Ile de Riou. The plane wreck was formally identified in 2004 as being Saint-Exupéry's by its serial number.

The investigation continued and as it happens, Horst Rippert, the German pilot was still alive.

So when Mr von Gartzen called Mr Rippert he was astounded by his immediate confession. "He replied straight away: 'You can stop searching, it was I who shot down Exupéry'."

Mr Rippert recounted how he had been surprised to see the French pilot's Lightning flying alone and too low in his sector near Toulouse.

"Like me, he was over the sea and flying toward the mainland. I said to myself: 'My boy, if you don't get lost, I'm going to shoot you," said Mr Rippert, who was 25 at the time. "I dived in his direction and I fired, not at the fuselage, but at the wings. I hit him. The plane crashed into the sea. No-one jumped.

"I did not see the pilot and even so, it would have been impossible for me to tell that it was Saint-Exupéry. In our youth at school we had all read him, we loved his books. I loved his personality. If I had known I wouldn't have fired. Not at him."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:33 PM | Permalink

March 15, 2008

Kidnapped Archbishop found dead and buried a second time

The New York Times reports that the archbishop, just after he was kidnapped and while in the trunk of his own car

In the darkness, he managed to pull out his cellphone and call the church, telling officials not to pay a ransom for his release, they said.

“He believed that this money would not be paid for good works and would be used for killing and more evil actions,” the officials said.

The Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Mosul, Paulos Faraj Rahho, was buried Friday, two weeks after he was kidnapped in the troubled northern city of Mosul, two days after he was found dead.

The body was found buried in the ground in Al Intessar, a residential area near the city known as a haven for gangs and criminal activity. Iraqi officials in Mosul said that the church had received a phone call telling them where to find the body, and church officials dug up the body with the help of the local police.

It was not immediately clear how the archbishop died. However, Shlemon Warduni, the auxiliary bishop of Baghdad, ..said  that the body showed no sign of gunshot wounds or other violence. He said the archbishop was in precarious health and his kidnapping could have aggravated his condition. He said the kidnappers had called on Wednesday to say that the archbishop was ill and later that he had died.

A morgue official in Mosul also said the body showed no signs of violence and that the archbishop had apparently died from natural causes. The archbishop had suffered from high blood pressure and had a heart condition.

Hundreds of Iraqi Christians mourn archbishop throwing flowers on his wooden coffin while women wailed.

Rahho's body was found a day earlier in Mosul, where his religious community has faced attacks from Sunni Arab extremists and criminal gangs.

Gunmen grabbed Rahho Feb. 29 outside his church after he had finished celebrating a prayer service. His driver and two guards were shot dead in the abduction.

According to police and church officials, the archbishop, who suffered from heart disease and diabetes, died because his captors failed to provide him his regular medications. Initially, Nineveh province police chief Gen. Wathiq Hamdani said he believed Rahho had been shot when kidnapped and died of his injuries.

--
Another martyr for the faith and one who will be deeply missed,

Christians remembered Rahho, who was in his 60s, for having continued to give hope to their dwindling numbers. In June, the archbishop's confidant, Father Ragheed Aziz Ganni, was shot dead along with three deacons outside the Church of the Holy Spirit, where Rahho was kidnapped last month. On one occasion, Rahho was accosted by gunmen, but he walked on, daring them to shoot him, said Nabil Kashat, an advisor to the Chaldean Charity Assn.
--
He was encouraging Christians to stay in Mosul. He was pushing for tolerance among all factions. His loss is a big loss for all the Christians and Muslims of Mosul. It is a real shock for everyone. The Christians of Mosul will not be in a good position to believe that the city is safe for them," Kashat said.

A woman from Mosul, who identified herself as Rayat, said by phone that Rahho's death was the last straw for her. "After our holy man was killed, I don't want to stay in Mosul. Our good men are gone. When there are holy days, where will we go now?" she said.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:58 AM | Permalink

March 13, 2008

One in the Naked City

Marvin Wald died a few days ago in California at the age of 90. He's not a famous writer but he gave us one of the most famous lines in American popular culture: "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them."

Ave atque vale This has been one of them from Mark Steyn

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:23 PM | Permalink

March 11, 2008

"Everyman's Eternity"

  Baby, Crib  Dog

Photo from an exhibit at the Newark Museum by Frank Maresca of found snapshots taken between the 1920s and 1960s.

Asked to discuss the immediacy and urgency of snapshots, he says: “When people look at snapshots, whether of their own making or those made by others, the effect is so powerful that the viewer feels as if they are having an out-of-body and out-of-time experience. You see it happen all the time. The snapshot just may be Everyman’s eternity.”

Making Sense of Other People's Memories

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:03 PM | Permalink

Family steals body from hearse

In a dispute over how to bury the body, in a Maori rite as her some of her family wanted or as she expressed in her will "with some sort of Anglican involvement, the Family steals dead woman's body from hearse and fled in a four-wheel drive.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:59 AM | Permalink

March 8, 2008

Custody Battle over Aging Priest

In January Father Brian Gallagher was visiting the Kowalczyk family Arizona in January when he fell and broke his arm.  What the doctors also found when they treated him was a stage IV brain tumor.

A so-called friend saw the opportunity for money to made if only she kept control of him. 

Custody Battle Threatens Health and Life of Aging Priest

A terminally ill Roman Catholic priest is the center of a tempestuous legal battle between a court-appointed temporary guardian - who has demanded his return to an Arizona care center - and family and friends - who believe such a move could kill him.

--
Documents obtained by LifeSiteNews.com show that Kowalczyk seized emergency legal guardianship of Fr. Gallagher shortly after learning that the priest, dissatisfied with her unwillingness to return him to California, relieved her of her power of attorney and reassigned any health-care directive and legal control over his finances to his cousin James Logsdon.
--
The priest also expressed his wish to return to San Juan Capistrano or live in a religious institute, "so that I may be with the Blessed Sacrament daily as well as receive the sacraments daily till the end of my days."

--
"When Fr. Gallagher was moved [from Arizona to California] he was very happy, smiling from ear to ear, saying 'I'm home now, even though I'm in the hospital, I'm in California now,'" said Denise Riggio, a long-time friend of Fr. Gallagher's who visited him earlier this week. "He is in a comfortable room, being monitored, has an IV, and is open to all visitors. The change was from bad to wonderful."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:51 PM | Permalink

Karaoke Killer

I know it's  tiresome to hear people sing off tune, especially if they are drunk, but one man in Thailand took it way too far.

John Denver karaoke sparks Thai killing spree

"When I began shooting nobody pleaded for his life because they were all drunk," he said after his arrest.

He said he was so furious with their awful singing that he did not notice he had murdered his own brother-in-law.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:03 PM | Permalink

March 7, 2008

French care for parents of stillborn and miscarried babies

In France, parents now have the right to register a name for an unborn child as well as the right to claim the body of their child and to claim maternity leave.

Up until this point, the body of the unborn child was incinerated by the hospital along with other waste tissue.

French Court: Parents Can  Register Names for Fetuses

There  is an increasing recognition in medical circles that miscarriage or stillbirth can be an extremely traumatic experience for mothers and fathers alike, who may have developed a profound emotional connection with their unborn child. "The mourning process can be long and lonely," says the Helping After Neonatal Death (HAND) website. "After the death of a baby, it generally takes twelve to twenty-four months simply to find your new base."

Many parents have found that the process of grieving is helped significantly by the giving of a name to their child. "Giving the baby a name and having the baby baptized or blessed, if such rituals are important to us, are ways for us to acknowledge the reality of the life that has come and gone so quickly," says HAND.

Being able to name your loss will help many grieving parents.  Pro-abortion activists are unhappy.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:13 PM | Permalink

Helen Keller as a young girl with Anne Sullivan

Look what was in the attic of the family home of Thaxter Spencer in Waltham, Mass, for more than a hundred years until he donated the photo albums, letters and diaries to the New England Historic Genealogical Society last June

          Helen-Keller-Anne-Sullivan
The earliest photo, taken in 1888, of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan.

Jan Seymour-Ford, a research librarian at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, which both Sullivan and Keller attended, said she was moved to see how deeply connected the women were, even in 1888.
"The way Anne is gazing so intently at Helen, I think it's a beautiful portrait of the devotion that lasted between these two women all of Anne's life," Seymour-Ford said.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:38 PM | Permalink

March 6, 2008

Memory is Home

Reliving the past that is the most fantastic adventure of all. The event, relived, grows more and more enigmatic, and richer and richer in meaning. Turning to the past, I reach the future, I recall people I never knew.

From a review by David Marcus of the new book, A Guest in My Own Country: A Hungarian Life by George Konrad.

At the end of the memoir, Konrád asks, “Where is home?” we know the answer. Memory is home.


"A Guest in My Own Country: A Hungarian Life" (George Konrad)

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:26 AM | Permalink

March 5, 2008

"Can it get worse?"

Flemming Rose reports that one of the 12 Danish cartoonists who contributed to the infamous Muhammed cartoons in 2005, Erik Abild Soerensen,  has died at age 89.

Danish cartoonist dies.

When he got the inevitable death threats, Danish police came to his apartment to give him some advice about security.

"I have passed the age of 85, I am sick and I have just lost my wife. Can it get worse? I don’t think so.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:18 PM | Permalink

Danish cartoonist dies

Flemming Rose reports that one of the 12 Danish cartoonists who contributed to the infamous Muhammed cartoons in 2005, Erik Abild Soerensen,  has died at age 89.

Danish cartoonist dies.

When he got the inevitable death threats, Danish police came to his apartment to give him some advice about security.

"I have passed the age of 85, I am sick and I have just lost my wife. Can it get worse? I don’t think so.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:17 PM | Permalink

Mayor forbids residents from dying

Cemetery full, mayor tells locals not to die

The mayor of a village in southwest France has threatened residents with severe punishment if they die, because there is no room left in the overcrowded cemetery to bury them.

In an ordinance posted in the council offices, Mayor Gerard Lalanne told the 260 residents of the village of Sarpourenx that "all persons not having a plot in the cemetery and wishing to be buried in Sarpourenx are forbidden from dying in the parish."

It added: "Offenders will be severely punished."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:23 PM | Permalink

The last wishes of an old Scot

An old Scot, Andy, lay dying in the Highlands and he called his lifelong friend, Jock, to his bedside.

'In yon cupboard is a 40 year old bottle of single malt whiskey' said Andy. 'When I'm dead I want you to pour it over my grave, will you do that Jock?'

Jock thinks long and hard about the whiskey and eventually replies. 'Aye, I'll do that Andy, but you'll not mind if it passes through my kidneys first.'

-

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:21 PM | Permalink

Even death couldn't keep this couple apart

Married 58 years, they die 90 minutes apart of different causes in the same hospital .

"I'm fully convinced my dad called my mom and said, 'Let's go.'"

Even death couldn't keep this couple apart

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:20 PM | Permalink

March 3, 2008

"The money didn't help"

He had spent more than 6 years in jail after being convicted of shooting a Boston police officer when DNA evidence freed him.  Awarded a total of $3.7 million for his wrongful conviction, Stephan Cowans was
the happiest man in the world," said his grandmother, Laura Lenard, who spent her savings trying to free him from prison. "But it didn't stay that way, and the money didn't help."

A year later he was shot to death in his new home in Randolph
which he bought several months before in an effort to escape the increasingly consuming fear he felt in Boston. Authorities have yet to find the killer.

Relatives, friends, and lawyers who represented Cowans say the money took a toll, and some blame his sudden wealth for his death.

Near the end of his life, Cowans was telling them he wished he never received the money.

A future reclaimed, a windfall, a life lost.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:34 AM | Permalink

March 1, 2008

The Environmental Cost of Cremation

If you are an environmentalist and are thinking about cremation consider this.

Cremation ignites global-warming, atmospheric conflagration

Since it takes two to four hours at temperatures ranging from 1,400 and 2,100 F, or 760 and 1,150 C, the estimated energy required to cremate one body is roughly equal to the amount of fuel required to drive 4,800 miles, or 7,725 kilometers.

Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide are spewed in large volume, along with carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride, particulate matter, heavy metals, dioxins and furans.

There is also release of cadmium and lead from pacemakers and mercury from dental amalgams. Total mercury emissions from cremation in Canada for 2004 were between 240 and 907 pounds, or 109 and 411.6 kilograms.

via small dead animals

Read the comments to her post for hilariously gross solutions to this burning environmental problem.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:59 PM | Permalink

Young Minister at the Funeral

A passalong joke.

As a young minister, I was asked by a funeral director to hold a graveside service for a homeless man, with no family or friends. The funeral was to be held at a cemetery way back in the country, and this man would be the first to be laid to rest there.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods area, I became lost; and being a typical man did not stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late. I saw the backhoe and the crew, who was eating lunch, but the hearse was nowhere in sight.

I apologized to the workers for my tardiness, and stepped to the side of the open grave, where I saw the vault lid already in place. I assured the workers I would not hold them up for long, but this was the proper thing to do. The workers gathered around, still eating their lunch. I poured out my heart and soul.

As I preached the workers began to say "Amen", "Praise the Lord", and "Glory"! I preached and preached, like I'd never preached before: from Genesis all the way to Revelations.

I closed the lengthy service with a prayer and walked to my car.

As I was opening the door and taking off my coat, I overheard one of the workers saying to another, "I ain't never seen anything like that before and I've been putting in septic tanks for 20 years."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:52 PM | Permalink