This soaring photo is the last one known of the Roman Catholic priest who wanted to raise money to build a worship center for truckers by breaking the 19-hour world record for flying with balloons.
An experienced skydiver, Adelir Antonio de Carli lifted off under a column of a thousand helium-filled balloons. He was equipped with a bouyant chair, a thermal suit, a parachute, a satellite phone and a GPS device.
He disappeared when winds blew him over the ocean. Fishing boats and rescue workers in helicopters found bits of balloons along the coast. A week after his disappearance, the Brazilian navy called off the search
Looking quite sprightly at 100, Albert Hoffman, "the mystical Swiss chemist who gave the world LSD, the most powerful psychotropic substance known" died at 102.
Dr. Hofmann first synthesized the compound lysergic acid diethylamide in 1938 but did not discover its psychopharmacological effects until five years later, when he accidentally ingested the substance that became known to the 1960s counterculture as acid.
He then took LSD hundreds of times, but regarded it as a powerful and potentially dangerous psychotropic drug that demanded respect. More important to him than the pleasures of the psychedelic experience was the drug’s value as a revelatory aid for contemplating and understanding what he saw as humanity’s oneness with nature. That perception, of union, which came to Dr. Hofmann as almost a religious epiphany while still a child, directed much of his personal and professional life.
Yet despite his involvement with psychoactive compounds, Dr. Hofmann remained moored in his Swiss chemist identity. He stayed with Sandoz as head of the research department for natural medicines until his retirement in 1971. He wrote more than 100 scientific articles and was the author or co-author of a number of books.
But he said LSD had not affected his understanding of death. In death, he said, “I go back to where I came from, to where I was before I was born, that’s all.”
Hofmann was disappointed when his discovery was removed from commercial distribution. He remained convinced that the drug had the potential to counter the psychological problems induced by "materialism, alienation from nature through industrialisation and increasing urbanisation, lack of satisfaction in professional employment in a mechanised, lifeless working world, ennui and purposelessness in wealthy, saturated society, and lack of a religious, nurturing, and meaningful philosophical foundation of life".
Just a teen age girl, she fell in love with a British soldier in Basra. She met him at the charity for displaced families where she volunteered. Since she was learning English, she could talk with him without others knowing what they were saying. She never did more than talk to him four times, all in public.
When her father learned she had been speaking to the soldier at the charity project, he killed her.
Abdel-Qader Ali stood on the girl's throat until she suffocated and then stabbed her, all the time shouting that his honour was being cleansed.
Because her family considered her impure, Rand was given only a simple burial. Her uncles spat in her grave to show their disgust.
Two weeks later her mother demanded a divorce from Ali, and she now campaigns against honour killings.
She lives in fear of reprisals. "I was beaten and had my arm broken by him," she said. "No man can accept being left by a woman in Iraq."
Rand's friend Zeinab said: "Rand was just a young girl with romantic dreams. She always kept her religion close to her heart. She would never even hurt a petal on a rose."
The body of Padre Pio who died forty years ago and was declared a saint in 2002 is now on display in San Giovanni Rotondo. While not totally incorrupt, his body was still remarkably well-preserved. No sign of his famous stigmata was present.
There are more than 250 incorrupt bodies of Catholic saints whose bodies did not decompose in the normal way.
What in the name of all that is holy was the Louvre thinking with this exhibit of a "chaotic pile of tombstones" in the same room with John Paul Rubens series on the Life of Marie de Medicis?
The Brussels Journal finds at least one professor of art calls it The Vampirization of the Louvre
Contemporary art, which is not art, seeks to give itself artistic legitimacy through a forced confrontation with the greatest masterpieces. It vampirizes them in order to affirm itself as true art. The Jan Fabre exhibit in the Louvre adds nothing to Van Eyck, Memling, Rembrandt or Rubens. It does however bring to Jan Fabre the illusion of conversing on an equal footing with them, the illusion, therefore, of being a great artist. [...]
A 6-year-old boy left an Omaha hospital on Wednesday having survived a fast-moving virus that nearly killed him.
T.J. Pfannenstiel was clinically dead for a few minutes, doctors said, but medical technology and a group of dedicated professionals changed that, his family said. They also credit prayer.
"We ended up watching our son have a heart attack right in front of us," said T.J.'s father, Tim Pfannenstiel, recounting a three-week ordeal.
T.J. had been fighting a virus until two weeks ago, his father said.
"He kept insisting, 'My heart hurts. My heart hurts,'" Tim Pfannenstiel said.
Doctors said the boy's heart was barely beating. His parents rushed him to the Children's Hospital emergency room and minutes later, the boy's heart stopped in the intensive care unit. Doctors kept T.J. alive with a machine -- called the E-CPR -- that bypasses the heart and lungs until the heart is ready to beat again on its own.
Dr. Jeffrey Demare and a team of experts gave T.J. a fighting chance.
"We got here at the right time, the right place, with the right people, the right tools, and we got a lot of help -- prayers, and a miracle happened," said Tim Pfannenstiel.
Siobhan Kilfeather was a beautiful professor of English and Irish Literature at Queen's University, Belfast and happily married with two very young children when she was diagnosed with the deadly skin cancer melanoma. Nine months later, x-rays showed that the cancer had reached her lungs.
She decided to go on a pilgrimage to Lourdes and her mother-in-law jumped at the chance to go with her.
Siobhán's "miracle" happened one bitterly cold day in the French Pyrenees in February 2000. There, my stepson's beautiful young wife threw herself at the statue of Mary in the shrine at the holy town of Lourdes.There, my stepson's beautiful young wife threw herself at the statue of Mary in the shrine at the holy town of Lourdes.
With hands outstretched and eyes full of fire, she beseeched the statue. "Holy Mary," she prayed aloud, "you know better than anyone on earth the love a mother has for her children. Surely you won't deprive my babies of their mother. "They need me. I beg you; find it in your heart to give me more time. Let me see them grow up a bit first - then I'll be ready."
Siobhán was begging not for survival, but merely time to see her children grow to an age where they would know and remember her. Constance and Oscar, then aged four and two, and back home in England, were too young to know about the cancer which was already ravaging their mother's body.
Although she was tired after our flight from London, by evening Siobhán declared she was well enough to walk in a candlelight procession with thousands of other pilgrims celebrating the Feast of Our Lady. Before her illness Siobhán had been a vibrant, energetic young woman. Now she walked painfully slowly and her breathing was laboured.
She took my arm as we struggled to keep up with the procession. Suddenly she turned to me and with complete conviction declared: "I felt a shift inside my body today. I believe the cancer has left me. Mary has answered my prayer. She says I'm to be allowed more time with my children."
Siobhán certainly never doubted that she had been spared by the grace of God. She never ceased giving grateful thanks for her reprieve and returned to the faith of her childhood with a renewed fervour.
When you have been so close and stared death in the face, life becomes more precious than ever. >Siobhán set about completing all the things she thought would be denied to her for ever.
Her mother-in-law Ellen Jameson tells her story in a soon-to-be published book previewed in the Daily Mail,
On Marketplace radio yesterday, reporter Curt Nickish has an interesting piece about online obituaries called Another nail in newspapers' coffin about a new site now in beta called Tributes where people can place online obituaries, "keeping the memories alive".
When Jeff Taylor who started Monster.com, he moved help wanted ads from newspapers to the web.
Now he's trying to do the same thing with obituaries after not doing so well with Eons, a website targeted to those over 50.
In browsing through the obit section on Eons, looking for someone to interview, he came across the obituary I had posted about my mother with links to the three blog posts I had done about her.
That is how I came to be interviewed and how my mother's photo is now posted on Marketplace radio. Interestingly it nothing to do with the work I'm doing or the book I'm writing.
You can hear my lovely voice, part of the interview here.
She described leaving money to your family as "obscene" and cut her two daughters Sam and Justine out of her will in 2005 soon after making a fortune from the sale of The Body Shop.
French cosmetics firm L'Oreal paid £625million for the company, paying Dame Anita and her husband Gordon more than £100million for their 18 per cent share in the business.
Her half of the profit from the eco-friendly, ethical business which she and her husband built up from one shop was donated to the Roddick Foundation, which supports charity causes she espoused.
Mr Roddick and his family were yesterday away on holiday but the couple's daughters have publicly supported their mother's decision to disinherit them.
Remember husband and father still has half the fortune.
An Italian woman artist who wanted to show that she could put her trust in the kindness of local people was hitchhiking from Milan to the Middle East dressed as a bride to promote world peace.
Her naked body was found in the bushes of Gebze, Turkey.
This made me laugh out loud.
After weeks of being sleepy all the time and never finishing his din-din at night, area daddy Howard Lewis was put in a bye-bye box early Monday morning so that he could go on a vacation with the birds and clouds in the sky.
Daddy, who was tall and strong and liked going to the hospital to play with their fun machines, was put in the bye-bye box at a big, white house where everyone had a party for him even though it wasn't his birthday. According to family sources, Daddy, 36, can't play Chutes and Ladders tonight, but he loved Ryan and his little sister, Rebecca, very, very much, and nothing is ever going to change that.
And this too. Grandfathers Accidently Switched at Hospital
Christopher Buckley's Eulogy for My Father
One October day in 1997, I arrived from Washington in Stamford for a long-planned overnight sail. As the train pulled into the station, I looked out and saw people hanging onto lampposts at 90-degree angles, trying not to be blown away by the northeast gale that was raging. Indeed, it resembled a scene from The Wizard of Oz. When the train doors opened, I was blown back into the carriage by the 50-mile-an-hour wind. I managed to crawl out onto the platform, practically on all fours, whereupon my father greeted me with a chipper, “We’ll have a brisk sail.”
I looked up at him incredulously and said, “We’re going out in this?”
Indeed we did go out in it. We always went out in it. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother, shrieking at him as the water broke over the cockpit and the boat pitched furiously in boiling seas, “Bill — Bill! Why are you trying to kill us?”
Would you pay $150 for a user name and password to people who live far away or are housebound so that they can watch the funeral service online?
One crematorium in England is betting that offering a better service to people who are bereaved will be profitable.
Carla Del Ponte who was the chief prosecutor at the tribunal in the Hague for crimes committed in the Balkan wars of the 1990s said Serb prisoners 'were stripped of their organs' which were sold by ethnic Albanians during the Kosovo war.
According to the sources, senior figures in the Kosovo Liberation Army were aware of the scheme, in which hundreds of young Serbs were allegedly taken by truck from Kosovo to northern Albania where their organs were removed. Miss Del Ponte provides grim details of the alleged organ harvesting, and of how some prisoners were sewn up after having kidneys removed.
"The victims, deprived of a kidney, were then locked up again, inside the barracks, until the moment they were killed for other vital organs. In this way, the other prisoners were aware of the fate that awaited them, and according to the source, pleaded, terrified, to be killed immediately," Miss Del Ponte writes.
"The Medal of Honor is awarded for an act of such courage that no one could rightly be expected to undertake it. Yet those who knew Michael Monsoor were not surprised when he did".
From the remarks of President Bush on awarding a posthumous medal of honor to MIchael Monsoor "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life and beyond the call of duty". The medal was presented to his parents on behalf of a grateful nation in a ceremony at the White House.
Monsoor was a Navy Seal who on September 29, 2006 made the ultimate sacrifice.
Mike and two teammates had taken position on the outcropping of a rooftop when an insurgent grenade bounced off Mike’s chest and landed on the roof. Mike had a clear chance to escape, but he realized that the other two SEALs did not. In that terrible moment, he had two options — to save himself, or to save his friends. For Mike, this was no choice at all. He threw himself onto the grenade, and absorbed the blast with his body. One of the survivors puts it this way: “Mikey looked death in the face that day and said, ‘You cannot take my brothers. I will go in their stead.’”
Perhaps the greatest tribute to Mike’s life is the way different service members all across the world responded to his death. Army soldiers in Ramadi hosted a memorial service for the valiant man who had fought beside them. Iraqi Army scouts — whom Mike helped train — lowered their flag, and sent it to his parents. Nearly every SEAL on the West Coast turned out for Mike’s funeral in California. As the SEALs filed past the casket, they removed their golden tridents from their uniforms, pressed them onto the walls of the coffin. The procession went on nearly half an hour. And when it was all over, the simple wooden coffin had become a gold-plated memorial to a hero who will never be forgotten.
From the citation
Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates.
By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
A remarkable man, a grateful nation, may his sacrifice never be forgotten and may he rest in peace.
An atheist until two years ago, Jennifer visits a funeral home for the first time since her conversion to Catholicism
Yesterday I found myself alone in a room with the body of a deceased person.
What surprised me about that was that it didn't feel all that different from the last time I went to a viewing before a funeral, back when I was a teenager. Not that I expected a chorus of angels or to hear the voice of God or anything, but I guess I thought it would feel noticeably different to see death face-to-face now that I'm aware of God's existence. But it didn't. It didn't feel different because seeing death so close up, then as now, stripped away any high-minded theories or explanations I might try to invoke and left me only with a certain unmistakable feeling, a feeling that came from some primordial part of my mind.
Yesterday, I was able to put my finger on just what that feeling was. I realized in that moment, standing next to a body in an open coffin in a silent room, that I was aware of something at the very deepest level of my consciousness. It was something simultaneously obvious yet easy to ignore, like the fact that there was a ceiling above my head and a floor beneath my feet. It was something I'd felt before, when I looked at my grandmother in her coffin as an atheist teenager so many years ago:
This is only a body. The soul lives on
Born with the rare disorder of tyrosinemia which prevents the body from breaking down an amino acid,
Laura Linehan received a new liver when she was only 2. Ten years later, she learned that she had hepatitis C, infected by the blood transfusion during transplant surgery. She needed another liver.
She moved from Melrose, Massachusetts to Jacksonville, Florida where she would have a better chance on the regional waiting list.
I keep telling myself I'm not going to give up," Miss Linehan wrote on her website. "This is my chance to live and that's why I am down in Florida, so that I can have a third chance at life."
A match was found Friday, but she had weakened during the wait. When doctors began operating, they found she would not survive transplant surgery, and she died that evening in the Mayo Clinic. Miss Linehan was 20.
Using the example of her own life, Miss Linehan had tried to raise awareness about the need for more organ donors, and the crucial role expediency plays in transplants. In Miss Linehan's case, her mother said, a day or two sooner might have made a difference.
"She had a job to do, and she finished it a littler earlier," Ann Linehan said. "She set her mind to it and now she's done, her time is through. I just like to think that she's in a better place, and she's no longer suffering, because she suffered terribly."
"She was the most courageous person I've ever known, read about, or encountered. She was incredibly brave; she was resilient. It seemed as though anything that could go wrong, went wrong, and she would just come back for more. And she was never discouraged."
"She had a lot of good years," her mother said of her daughter's childhood and youth. "I could not be more proud of her if she was a Harvard graduate than I am with her fight with liver disease. She worked so hard to overcome, she worked so hard to get awareness out there of the need for liver donors. I just want people to know that she was extremely successful. She certainly brought a community together - Melrose will never be the same."
Laura Linehan, at 20, used illness to boost organ donation.
Laura's website is provided by Caring Bridge which offers free personalized websites that support and connect loved ones during critical illness, treatment and recovery.
If you are gay and live in Copenhagen, you now can choose to be buried in a gay graveyard.
"We have our own places where we can meet and have fun, gay bars and such. That is why we wanted our own graveyard," Larsen, a priest, told public broadcaster DR.
After they buried their 30-year-old son, they stopped at a store for soda and the father bought $10 worth of lottery tickets.
Grieving father wins $9-million lottery
"I know you're supposed to be happy when you win it, but I'll tell you it's not no big thing," he said.
"I'd rather have my son than my money."
The persistence of cellular memory after an organ has been transplanted from one donor to another has never been explained.
There's the woman whose personality changed after receiving a kidney transplant; she started to read Jane Austen and Dostoevsky instead of celebrity trash. The woman who was terrified of heights who became a climber. The lumberjack who received a female kidney and developed a passion for housework and knitting. The very health conscious dancer who received a heart and lung transplant and became aggressive and impetuous with a passion for Kentucky fried chicken. Or the little 8 year old girl who received a heart transplant from a murdered 10-year-old girl. The recipient's dreams of being murdered were so traumatic she was sent to a psychiatrist who became convinced she was describing the actual circumstances of the murder. When the details were given to the police, the killer was easily identified and arrested,
Is this another case of the persistence of cellular memory?
Graham, who was director of the Heritage golf tournament at Sea Pines from 1979 to 1983, was on the verge of congestive heart failure in 1995 when he got a call that a heart was available in Charleston.
That heart was from Terry Cottle, 33, who had shot himself, Berkeley County Coroner Glenn Rhoad said.
Grateful for his new heart, Graham began writing letters to the donor's family to thank them. In January 1997, Graham met his donor's widow, Cheryl Cottle, then 28, in Charleston.
"I felt like I had known her for years," Graham told The (Hilton Head) Island Packet for a story in 2006. "I couldn't keep my eyes off her. I just stared."
In 2001, Graham bought a home for Cottle and her four children in Vidalia. Three years later, they were married after Graham retired from his job as a plant manager for Hargray Communications in Hilton Head.
From their previous marriages, the couple had six children and six grandchildren scattered across South Carolina and Georgia.
How Siegfried Woldhek discovered the true faces of Leonardo DaVinci at Ted Talks.
A brilliant piece of detective work by Woldhelk, a portraitist himself.
Terry Teachout on the William F Buckley memorial service held yesterday at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Home from the Sea
All I can tell you was that today’s service seemed as splendid as it could possibly have been. The cathedral was full of mourners, the choir loft full of singers, and the music was mostly appropriate to the occasion. Bill was a serious amateur musician who loved Bach above all things–he actually performed the F Minor Harpsichord Concerto in public on more than one occasion–so the organist played “Sheep May Safely Graze” and the slow movement of the Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C Major. No less suitable were the sung portions of the Mass, drawn from Victoria’s sweetly austere Missa “O magnum mysterium,” and the closing hymn, the noble tune from Gustav Holst’s The Planets to which the following words were later set: I vow to thee, my country–all earthly things above–/Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love.
Bill was the least weltschmerzy person imaginable. Henry Kissinger, who eulogized him this morning, alluded to that side of Bill’s personality when he remarked that Bill “was vouchsafed a little miracle: to enjoy so much what was compelled by inner necessity.” I couldn’t have put it better.
Christopher Buckley, Bill’s son, followed Henry Kissinger, and gave just the sort of eulogy I’d expected from him, funny and light-fingered, putting much-needed smiles on our faces. Only at the end did he sound a darker note, quoting the lines from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Requiem” that he chose as the epitaph for a man who loved sailing as much as he loved Bach: Here he lies where he long’d to be;/Home is the sailor, home from the sea,/And the hunter home from the hill.
Somehow you never imagine outliving the people who show you through the doors that lead to the rest of your life
In Colorado a man crashed a memorial service, groping the deceased woman's sister and showing her mother pornographic pictures.
A physical confrontation ensued, police were called and the man arrested.
Life Before Death, photographs by Walter Schels, interviews by Beate Lakotta
Before her death Eldegard Clavey, 67, said
"Death is a test of one’s maturity. Everyone has got to get through it on their own. I want very much to die. I want to become part of that vast extraordinary light. But dying is hard work. Death is in control of the process, I cannot influence its course. All I can do is wait. I was given my life, I had to live it, and now I am giving it back"
In the Guardian Joanna Moorhead writes about German photographer who was terrified of death, but felt compelled to take these extraordinary series of portraits of people before and on the day they died. She writes
Nothing, it is said, teaches us more about living than dying. But if so, isn't it odd how little we face up to death? And isn't it odd that modern societies, which appear so keen to find meaning in the business of living, push death to the periphery, minimizing our contact with it and sanitizing its impact?
"What I was used to," says Schels, who has taken hundreds of portraits during his career, "was people who smiled for the camera. It's usually an automatic response. But these people never smiled. They were incredibly serious; and more than that, they weren't pretending anything any more. People are almost always pretending something, but these people had lost that need. I felt it enabled me as a photographer to get as close as it's possible to get to the core of a person; when you're facing the end, everything that's not real is stripped away. You're the most real you'll ever be, more real than you've ever been before"
One thing you never get used to is the feel of a dead person - it's always shocking," she says. "It's like cement - that cold, that hard, and that heavy."....horrifying though photographing the bodies was, more shocking still for Schels and Lakotta was the sense of loneliness and isolation they discovered in their subjects during the before-death shoots. "Of course we got to know these people because we visited them in the hospices and we talked about our project, and they talked to us about their lives and about how they felt about dying," explains Lakotta. "And what we realised was how alone they almost always were. They had friends and relatives, but those friends and relatives were increasingly distant from them because they were refusing to engage with the reality of the situation. So they'd come in and visit, but they'd talk about how their loved one would soon be feeling better, or how they'd be home soon, or how they'd be back at work in no time. And the dying people were saying to us that this made them feel not only isolated, but also hurt. They felt they were unconnected to the people they most wanted to feel close to, because these people refused to acknowledge the fact that they were dying, and that the end was near."
That last bit about how lonely they dying, isolated, even hurt, because people they most wanted to feel close to, refused to acknowledge they were dying just pierced my heart.