A funeral director accused of leaving a woman's body to decay in a parked hearse after her relatives failed to pay the bill was arrested on a felony charge of abusing a corpse, police said Wednesday.
Watson and Sons Funeral Home embalmed the remains of Edna Kathleen Woods, 52, after she died of natural causes in November 2007, said Gadsden police Sgt. Jeff Wright. Relatives wanted the body cremated but failed to sign the necessary paperwork or pay owner Harold Watson Sr., he said.
After storing the corpse at his funeral home for more than a year, Wright said, the 76-year-old Watson decided to move it because he couldn't reach the woman's family.
Funeral directors with unclaimed bodies can file a petition to have counties dispose of remains.
"He knows better. The family wouldn't pay him, so he just got rid of it," Wright said
Some men might think this is a great way to die, but I call it no way to go. The man was only 28.
The women had bet mechanic Sergey Tuganov £3,000 that he wouldn’t be able to satisfy them both non-stop for the half-day sex marathon.
But minutes after winning the wager, the randy 28-year-old dropped dead with a heart attack, revealed Moscow police.
Rocco Palmo over at Whispers in the Loggia has the story of the funeral of Seoul's Cardinal Stephen Kim.
The first Korean cardinal, Kim -- who led the Seoul church for three decades, watching it grow sixfold in the process -- died Monday at 86. Including the country's current and former presidents, some 400,000 mourners of all faiths were said to have filed past his coffin over its four-day lying in state in the city's Myeongdong Cathedral.
Hailed as a "true guiding light" and the last "reliable leader in Korean society" despite the church's minority status -- around 15% of South Korea's 38 million citizens are Catholic -- the outpouring of reaction at the cardinal's death moved one newspaper to lead its coverage with a headline asking "Have We Mourned Like This Before?"
Religious leaders from Protestantism, Buddhism, Won-Buddhism and Cheondoism took up the first-row at the funeral Mass.
As one editorial said
The mourning transcended age, social status and political ideology.
People gathered at the cathedral from 2 to 3 a.m., and by 6 a.m., when people were allowed in to pay their condolences, a line stretching for 3 km had already formed, while people continued to pour in until midnight when the cathedral closed its doors. Mourners had to wait three to four hours in the freezing cold, but there was no jostling, shouting or cutting in line. Rather, people yielded their spots to let the elderly go first.
A wise society uses the deaths of great people to mark the era that preceded that event and to prepare for the next one. The 58 years that transpired from 1951, when Cardinal Kim was ordained as a priest, until his death in 2009, were a microcosm of Korea’s history of trials and accomplishments, ranging from war and devastation, the division of a nation, dictatorship, industrialization and democratization to social polarization. Cardinal Kim embraced all Koreans living in such difficult times, consistently urging us to be patient. He told us that there is an end to pain. And in doing so, he gave us both courage and hope.
To understand his Great Legacy, read Called Home from Korea
When I first read the story of the babies being swept out to sea on a gust of wind just when their father removed his hands from their buggy to speak to his female friend, I thought the father would never escape this tragedy.
Rebecca and Lewis Hopper had been tightly buckled into the three-wheel buggy when their father, Andrew, lost his grip as he strolled along a sea wall with a female friend.
The pushchair ran off the open walkway and plunged 15 ft into the icy waters.
As horrified onlookers watched, both adults then ran into the sea to try to save the children.
This is the walkway along the sea at Folkestone, Kent, where these two babies were swept to sea.
But it got even worse when it was revealed that Lewis Hopper was kissing his mistress when he let go of the pram's handles.
A terrible tragedy in every way. Mercy on them all.
Are we really on the verge of losing millions of books published before 1985?
Walter Olson on The New Book Banning
It’s hard to believe, but true: under a law Congress passed last year aimed at regulating hazards in children’s products, the federal government has now advised that children’s books published before 1985 should not be considered safe and may in many cases be unlawful to sell or distribute. Merchants, thrift stores, and booksellers may be at risk if they sell older volumes, or even give them away, without first subjecting them to testing—at prohibitive expense. Many used-book sellers, consignment stores, Goodwill outlets, and the like have accordingly begun to refuse new donations of pre-1985 volumes, yank existing ones off their shelves, and in some cases discard them en masse.
The problem is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), passed by Congress last summer after the panic over lead paint on toys from China. Among its other provisions, CPSIA imposed tough new limits on lead in any products intended for use by children aged 12 or under, and made those limits retroactive: that is, goods manufactured before the law passed cannot be sold on the used market (even in garage sales or on eBay) if they don’t conform.
Why is Congress doing nothing about this?
The American Library Association spent months warning about the law’s implications, but its concerns fell on deaf ears in Congress (which, in this week’s stimulus bill, refused to consider an amendment by Republican senator Jim DeMint to reform CPSIA)
The cost for a library to comply is prohibitive. One librarian estimated that 75% of the books in her children's library are pre 1985. The cost of testing each of them would be more that the entire city budget.
Ace asks Who needs free books or cheap clothes in this economy anyway, right? Or retail jobs, or charity?
Walter Olson at Overlawyered quotes the associate executive director of the American Library Association, ”Either they take all the children’s books off the shelves,” she said, “or they ban children from the library.”
As well as the president and publisher of Random House Children's Books, Chip , “This is a potential calamity like nothing I’ve ever seen. The implications are quite literally unimaginable. …It has to be stopped.”
Ace again sums it up.
So, to recap: Henry Waxman and his accomplices (including, we should note, many Republicans,) have managed to pass a bill which, inter alia,
1) requires the destruction or other removal of huge supplies of secondhand clothes, in winter,
2) may or may not preclude libraries from lending huge chunks of their childrens’ collections,
3) effectively removes as-yet-uncalculated amounts of inventory from salability from small- and medium-size businesses, without compensation.
Pat McNamara, a church historian, gives us the eulogy to the first president by the first Roman Catholic bishop, John Carroll.
The last act of his supreme magistracy was to inculcate in most impressive language on his countrymen… his deliberate and solemn advice; to bear incessantly in their minds that nations and individuals are under the moral government of an infinitely wise and just Providence; that the foundations of their happiness are morality and religion; and their union among themselves their rock of safety… May these United States flourish in pure and undefiled religion, in morality, peace, union, liberty, and the enjoyment of their excellent Constitution, as long as respect, honor, and veneration shall gather around the name of Washington; that is, whilst there still shall be any surviving record of human events!
Yes, he was 80, with prostrate cancer and partially blind and deaf, and after going to his local hospital to get treatment for his anemia (three blood transfusions instead of the injection he expected), he decided to call for a taxi to take him home. The pay phone in the hospital was broken, so he decided to walk. After all, he didn't want to make a nuisance of himself by asking for transport, or even to stay a bit longer, maybe overnight.
An elderly man died after having to walk home following three blood transfusions because he couldn't call a cab from the broken hospital pay phone that staff had sent him to.
Retired civil servant Aplyn Wynn-Jones, 80, was physically sick after taking two hours to walk the one and a half miles to his house.
Mr Storer said: 'He died from the well-recognised symptoms of overload, where the body cannot cope with the volume of blood.
'When we arrived, the look of panic on the man's face was appalling.
'His lungs had filled up with liquid and his organs were failing. He was clearly dying.
'I called a doctor who was outraged and said we must make an official complaint.
Transgender woman pleads guilty of exercising husband to death
An elderly Ohio man was "exercised to death" by his transgendered wife - who forced him to swim even as he gasped for breath, authorities said.
Christine Newton-John, 41, pleaded guilty last week to reckless homicide in the death of James Mason, 73, and could get five years in prison.
Cops said she was caught on video dragging her frail hubby around the pool in their apartment complex, stopping him from getting out 43 times.
"The man was exercised to death," Middlefield Police Chief Joseph Stehlik told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
"The video is bone-chilling. The whole case is very sinister. My personal feeling is that what she did was more intentional than reckless.
"This is a case that could just slip through the cracks."
It didn't because Stehlik's deputy became suspicious after Mason's June 2 heart attack, recalling that he'd investigated previous allegations of abuse.
A police officer noticed a surveillance camera above the pool and retrieved the tape - which showed Mason struggling to breathe during the marathon swim session.
Muzzammil Hassan set up Bridges TV in 2004 to counter anti-Islam stereotypes following 9/11. In 2009, he beheaded his wife Aasiya Hassan in the TV studio.
She had recently filed for divorce and had obtained an order of protection barring her husband from the family home.
"He was worried about the station's future," said a family friend.
Headless body in gutless press is Mark Steyn's headline
Just asking, but are beheadings common in western New York? I used to spend a lot of time in that neck of the woods and I don't remember decapitation as a routine form of murder. Yet the killing of Aasiya Hassan seems to have elicited a very muted response.
From Bussorah comes the Pillsbury Doughboy Obituary
Veteran Pillsbury spokesman Pop N. Fresh died yesterday of a severe yeast infection. He was 71.
Known to friends as Brown-n-Serve, Fresh was an avid gardener and tennis player. Fresh was buried in one of the largest funeral ceremonies in recent years. Dozens of celebrities turned out including Mrs. Butterworth, the California Raisins, Hungry Jack, Aunt Jemima, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Skippy. The graveside was piled high with flours as longtime friend Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy, describing Fresh as a man who "never knew how much he was kneaded."
Fresh rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with many turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes -- conned by those who buttered him up.
Still, even as a crusty old man, he was a roll model for millions. Fresh is survived by his second wife. They have two children and another bun in the oven. The funeral was held at 350 for about 20 minutes.
Amy Wellborn on the death of her husband Michael Dubriel.
There are stages, there are layers, there are bridges. There is a void, my best friend in the world is just - gone. But in this moment I am confronted with the question, most brutally asked, of whether I really do believe all that I say I believe. Into this time of strange, awful loss, Jesus stepped in. He wasted no time. He came immediately. His presence was real and vivid and in him the present and future, bound in love, moved close. The gratitude I felt for life now and forever and what had prepared us for this surged, I was tempted to push it away for the sake of propriety, for what is expected, for what was supposed to be normal - I was tempted to say, “Leave me” instead of accepting the Hand extended to me and to immediately allow him to define my life.
But I did not give into that temptation, and a few hours later I was able to do what I dreaded, what I thought was undoable, to be in a mystery that was both presence and absence and to not be afraid. To not be afraid for him, and for the first time ever in my entire life - to not be afraid for myself , either.
From the Boston Herald comes news that Funerals going to the dogs
A funeral home has run an obituary for a dearly departed dog and is holding a wake next week for the 9-year-old German shepherd in what appears to be a Massachusetts first.
“He had a lot of friends,” said Kris Giles through sobs as she talked about the loss of her family pet, Kross Monsta Giles, who died of cancer Feb. 3.
For Giles, a pet memorial in the newspaper and somber ceremony in the backyard was not enough to celebrate Kross’ life.
An obituary and photo, where Kross is featured next to a tennis ball, is on the Gately Funeral Home Web site alongside remembrances and photos of humans.
Although an apparent first for Massachusetts, funeral homes across the country are increasingly servicing grieving “pet families” and holding funerals and wakes for animals.
Dogs, however, are not allowed.
In the fourteenth century, the Black Death, the bubonic plague killed 30-60% of the population of Europe.
How many valiant men, how many fair ladies, breakfast with their kinfolk and the same night supped with their ancestors in the next world! The condition of the people was pitiable to behold. They sickened by the thousands daily, and died unattended and without help. Many died in the open street, others dying in their houses, made it known by the stench of their rotting bodies. Consecrated churchyards did not suffice for the burial of the vast multitude of bodies, which were heaped by the hundreds in vast trenches, like goods in a ships hold and covered with a little earth.
Nobody knew what caused it or what to do. It is unimaginable today the horror of so many dying so quickly. It must have seemed like the end of the world.
Now that new technology now allows the plague to be identified even in ancient human remains, we learn how medieval nuns sacrificed their own lives to provide medical care for the poor victims in Renaissance France.
Millions of tourists have walked through the tombstones of the Old Granary Burying Ground in Boston where lie the remains of Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Paul Revere, Crispus Attucks and Mother Goose.
a woman on a self-guided tour of the hallowed cemetery in downtown Boston took a fateful step. The ground gave way, and the woman fell hip-deep into a hidden granite stairwell leading down into an unmarked brick crypt.
The woman, who was not injured, accidentally discovered a long-forgotten entrance to a tomb in the city's most famous graveyard, less than 10 yards from the stone marking the resting place of Paul Revere. It served as a reminder that in Boston, the nation's revolutionary roots are literally underfoot.
The techniques used to fix the problems can be as old as the cemeteries. Heavy machinery cannot be lugged onto the fragile earth, so excavating must be done with shovels. That means frozen ground can delay repairs. Contractors who specialize in historic masonry do their best to shore up the structures from the outside so they do not disturb the graves.
"You end up really caring for the people," Thomas said. "It's really strange. You don't know them, they've been dead for hundreds of years, but still."
by WH Auden
Stop all the clocks, cut of the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My moon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one:
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods:
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
I can't image the grief this mother must be going through
Natasha's pregnancy had been normal, and the birth itself was straightforward. It was with huge happiness that she and Ava went home the day after the birth.
But already in those idyllic first hours a terrible story was unfolding.
Ava had been born with a genetic condition called methylmalonic acidaemia (MMA). This meant her body didn't produce an enzyme to break down protein.
In the womb, Natasha, 33, had been breaking the protein down for her.
But on her own, Ava's tiny body was unable to cope with any protein and even her own mother's milk was highly poisonous, leading to a build up of toxic substances, methylmalonic acid and ammonia. Untreated, it can lead to a coma, brain damage and death.
In America, newborns are routinely tested for this condition. There are no such tests in the UK and Natasha and her husband Grant, 37, were unaware of Ava's condition.
Santiago Meza Lopez, known as El Pozolero (the Stew Maker), says he stuffed bodies into barrels of lye for drug cartels. He may be a good source of information about missing loved ones.
Santiago Meza Lopez, a stocky 45-year-old taken into custody after a raid near Ensenada, was identified as the pozolero who liquefied the bodies of victims for lieutenants of the Arellano Felix drug cartel. Authorities say he laid claim to stuffing 300 bodies into barrels of lye, then dumping some of the liquefied remains in a pit in a hillside compound in eastern Tijuana.
His capture riveted Mexico with sickening details behind drug violence that has left more than 8,000 dead in two years. For the families of the disappeared, however, it was a chance to revive cases that seemed long forgotten.
I got to thinking about that brush when I read that a colleague of Tom Daschle had said that his tax woes — not to mention the lucrative private-sector temptations he gave into — may have stemmed from his desire to make enough money to lay a fat nest egg for his children.
It is hard to see how riding in a free limo benefits future generations, but even if I give Mr. Daschle the benefit of the doubt, I cannot help but note the paradox here. A man’s desire to provide his progeny with a big score has resulted in him saddling them with a very different sort of inheritance — a legacy of embarrassment.
My Children Made Me Do It
He was, for all his faults, an honorable man. It was a quality that sometimes held him back, especially during the 1980s, when many of his colleagues were eviscerating their corporation to create the private fortunes that they would one day leave to their own children. My father refused all that because he was more concerned with maintaining his good name.
That sense of decency, his good name, is what he passed on to us. Looking at some of the shamelessly greedy men he worked with, it is an inheritance I am happy to have.
A boy of 12 collapsed and died after suffering an asthma attack triggered by the excitement of opening his birthday presents.
Martin Glazier-Macrae collapsed as he was about to unwrap a large Lego set his father Duncan had bought him.
The asthma attack in turn triggered a heart attack and the boy died in his dad's arms.
The tragedy occurred just moments after Martin had got out of bed on his 12th birthday and rushed downstairs to see if he had got any presents.
It is thought his father, an HGV driver and the lad's aunt and clubbed together to buy the lad the giant Lego set after he asked for it.
Martin initially complained about being faint after getting out of bed but then appeared to recover.
He was about to open his presents and cards when he suffered a further attack and collapsed.
A poem by Mary Oliver
When Death Comes
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
To buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
When death comes
Like the measles-pox;
When death comes
Like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
What is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
Catholic author and blogger Michael Dubriel collapsed at a gym and could not be revived. The suddenness sent shock waves throughout the Catholic blogosphere. But nothing compared to shock his widow and young children felt.
In announcing his death his wife Amy wrote simply
We are devastated and beg your prayers.
In response to an outpouring of prayers and notes, Amy wrote
Many thanks for all of the prayers and notes. It is overwhelming. Many have asked what they can do of a material or concrete nature. All I can say is to simply buy his books. Not from me, because I am in no position to fill orders, but from anywhere else. He long ago promised God that he would give all the royalties of The How To Book of the Mass to the children’s college funds, which he did faithfully. It is in good shape because of that. Buy them, read them, and give them away to others. Spread the Word. That is what he was all about.
On the night before he died he wrote his last column which deserves reading in full.
The “big lie,” Father Benedict said, (and I’m paraphrasing him at this point), is to think that if we say all the right prayers and live correctly, then nothing bad will ever happen to us. Sadly, there are many good people who have lost their faith by believing such a lie, and that makes it a big one indeed!
What is the opposite of the “big lie”? Trust.
None of us knows what the future holds, but hopefully we can embrace what is inscribed in our coinage, “In God we Trust.”
Imagine that, his last written words, "In God we Trust."
May he rest in peace.
Me, I'm going to order some books.
A man has died after his mobile phone exploded, severing a major artery in his neck, according to reports.
The man, thought to be a shop assistant in his twenties at a computer shop in Guangzhou, China, died after he put a new battery in his phone. It was believed that he may have just finished charging the battery and had put the phone in his breast pocket when it exploded.
According to the local Chinese daily Shin Min Daily News, the accident happened on January 30 at 7.30pm. An employee at the shop told Chinese media that she heard a loud bang and saw her colleague lying on the floor of the shop in a pool of blood. The employee said the victim had recently changed the battery in his mobile phone.
Chinese authorities have yet to determine the make and model of the phone and its battery. Some reports indicated the store was a Lenovo shop, but it was thought that this might be because the shop advertised Lenovo computer products. Police were investigating whether the phone and battery were counterfeit.
Would you believe a whole gallery of cemeteries in parking lots?
Via Mark Frauenfelder at Boing Boing
Crying as Catharsis Isn't Always the Case
“You can’t work through grief if you’re stuck in protest crying, which is all about fixing it, fixing the loss,” Dr. Nelson said. “And in therapy — as in close relationships — protest crying is very hard to soothe, because you can’t do anything right, you can’t undo the loss. On the other hand, sad crying that is an appeal for comfort from a loved one is a path to closeness and healing.”
KHOJA GHAR, Afghanistan — Ordered to bury 16 bodies in the dead of night in 1978, a wary young army officer did his best to remember the location, quietly counting the paces from the unmarked mass grave to the roadside.
He gathered from his fellow soldiers that they had just buried Afghanistan’s first president, Sardar Mohammad Daoud Khan, and his family. His assassination, during a Communist coup in those tumultuous days, precipitated three decades of war in Afghanistan, a succession of conflicts that are still not spent and that have since touched every Afghan family.
It took 30 years and the relative stability and freedom under President Hamid Karzai for the former officer, Pacha Mir, to reveal his secret. With his help and that of another witness, the government has at long last identified the remains of the former president and his family and announced preparations to reinter the bodies with a state funeral in coming weeks.
“If you ask any Afghan when did it all start, they will say it is because of that, the assassination of Mr. Daoud, this was the turning point,” said Nadir Naeem, 43, a member of Afghanistan’s royal family and a grandson of Mr. Daoud. “The last day that Afghanistan was independent was 27th April, 1978.”
Opening a Secret Grave Lets Afghans Close a Chapter of a Brutal Era
“We have not come back for revenge,” said Mr. Ghazi, whose father, Mohammed Nizam, a son-in-law of the president and a Foreign Ministry official, was killed along with his grandfather. “The truth has to be discovered and put at the disposal of the Afghan people.”
For the family, the discovery has come as a relief.
“As Muslims,” Mr. Ghazi said, “we have to have a grave and somewhere to pray. If we can have that then we can rest.”
I’ve come to the conclusion that the only way many people are going to be saved is if they are rescued at the last minute as they are departing this world. In a sense, I’m being spiritually placed in the last hours of souls. When all else fails, I’ll come in to mop up the mess with abundant prayers and offerings of the Divine Liturgy to save the souls who have slipped through everyone else’s fingers.
So, without further ado, I hereby inaugurate the “Abbot Joseph Final-hour Mop-up Ministry.” Now I say this in a somewhat light-hearted manner, but in fact I’m dead serious.
Here’s what’s in it for you. Are there any incorrigible teenagers, irascible old folks, lapsed Catholics, ardent unbelievers, or heedless profligates among your family or friends? Or do you know someone who is dying without faith or repentance or the sacraments? Well, just send their names to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will keep a list of these “hard cases” and will pray for them (including them also in the divine mercy chaplets I pray especially for this intention), and I will also regularly offer the Divine Liturgy for their salvation.
Imagining this priest saying prayers every day for those about to die gives me comfort and reminds me of what The Anchoress once wrote
Dame Laurentia McClachlen of Stanbrook Abbey, Sussex once said “a monastery is like a powerhouse; you do not lock up a powerhouse to restrain the power, but to keep anyone from coming in and gumming up the works. A monastery is a powerhouse of prayer, meant to give light to the whole world.”
Prayer is a force, and it has power.
There are things seen and unseen. Things corporeal and things spiritual. Things natural and supernatural. A society bent on utilitarianism serves only the seen, the corporeal, the natural, and neglects the things unseen - at great risk.