January 26, 2010

Stung by bee, wakes in coffin

A BEEKEEPER had a shock when he woke up in a COFFIN after he was knocked out by a sting.

Dimwit medics pronounced 76-year-old Jozef Guzy DEAD when he fell unconscious after he was stung by a bee in southern Poland.

And un-bee-lievably Jozef was packed into a coffin and driven to his local undertakers.

is wife Ludmila said: "I could not believe it when they said he was dead and the doctor put a white sheet over him and three hours later local undertakers pulled up and put him in a coffin and closed the lid."

Lucklily the mistake was noticed when a panicked Jozef woke up and started shouting.

Undertaker Darius Charon said: "He was shouting and banging on the coffin - he made enough noise to raise the dead so we couldn't miss him."

He said: "He had a lucky escape - there is not a lot of air in those coffins. And he did need medical attention."

Polish Ambulance Service spokesman Jerzy Wisniewski said the emergency doctor involved had apologised.

He added that the medic had not taken the cold weather into account, saying: "The patient was not apparently breathing and the body had cooled - the usual characteristics of death."

Mr Guzy said: "The undertaker saved my life. The first thing I did when I got out of hospital was take him a pot of honey."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:03 PM | Permalink

January 24, 2010

Homeless veteran saved 5 in fire

A former Marine, he struggled with the drink and lived homeless for years under a Cleveland bridge, a father of five children.

Ray Vivier began to put his life back on track with a job as a welder and a room at a boarding house. When an arsonist set the boarding house ablaze, it was Ray who saved five people from that house and lost his life in so doing.  His body lay unclaimed

Thanks to a soup kitchen volunteer, he was given a proper burial and 15 years later, his ashes were inurned at Arlington National Cemetery with full honors.

Homeless veteran who saved 5 in fire laid to rest.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:16 AM | Permalink

Creator of SpaghettiOs dies

He touched all our lives at one time or another.

Donald Goerke, Creator of SpaghettiOs, Dies at 83

Donald Goerke, a Campbell Soup Company executive whose nonlinear approach to pasta resulted in SpaghettiOs, died Sunday at his home in Delran, N.J. He was 83.

In 35 years at Campbell, Donald Goerke refashioned spaghetti for children with SpaghettiOs and also created Chunky soup. The cause was heart failure, his son David said.

Introduced in 1965, SpaghettiOs has been a fixture in the American pantry ever since. Its memorable advertising jingle — “Uh-oh, SpaghettiOs!” — sung by the pop singer Jimmie Rodgers, is indelibly lodged in the public consciousness. More than 150 million cans of SpaghettiOs are sold each year,

 Spaghett  O's

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:07 AM | Permalink

January 18, 2010

He Ordered His Own Murder

Looks like the Guatemalan lawyer I wrote about last year in Lawyer Forsees His Murder, Makes YouTube Video, conned everyone.

He Ordered His Own Murder.

Rodrigo Rosenberg became a household name in Guatemala after he posthumously accused the President and First Lady of ordering his Mother's Day murder last year. His words, left behind in a video taped days before he was shot to death on a tree-lined boulevard, sent tens of thousands of protesters into the streets and sparked youth-led reform movements. But the case that once seemed powerful enough to topple a presidency came to a bizarre end on Jan. 12 as investigators concluded that Rosenberg, distraught over the murder of his girlfriend and her father, ordered his own death.

An eight-month investigation found that Rosenberg asked two cousins of his ex-wife to arrange the killing of a man who was extorting and threatening him. The extortionist was fictitious, though, and Rosenberg was actually planning his own assassination. Unaware that the target was Rosenberg, the cousins contracted 11 hit men, more than half of whom are former or current military or police officers, to carry out the killing, investigators said.

The investigation cleared President Alvaro Colom and his accused accomplices of any involvement. "This was the most serious crisis of my political career," Colom tells TIME. "Fortunately, I'm patient. My government has emerged strengthened."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:28 PM | Permalink

January 15, 2010

"The dead are everywhere"

The suffering in Haiti continues unabated as Haitian families struggle to find, bury their dead

Some of the dead in this shattered city line the roads, carefully placed garments shrouding their faces. Others are carried into the hills for quick burials. Hundreds are arrayed in a macabre tangle of limbs outside a morgue, just feet from the grievously wounded.

The living and the dead here share the same space — the sidewalks, the public plazas, the hospitals. The living are frightened of being inside in case another earthquake hits; the dead are everywhere.

On the doorstep of a pharmacy, six bodies were lined up shoulder to shoulder. On the body of one woman, covered in a sheet, rested a small bundle, the tiny leg of an infant sticking out of the wrap.

“It’s beyond description. The disaster, the damage, is just so overwhelming,” said Karel Zelenka, a Catholic Relief Services representative in Haiti. “Everyone has a scarf or something, because the smell is unbearable. … You literally have bodies all over the place.”

The international Red Cross estimates up to 50,000 people were killed in Tuesday’s earthquake. For now, few know what to do with the bodies. People say they’re being left on roadsides and doorsteps so relatives who may have survived can find them, or for families to find transportation for burials.

Some families wouldn’t wait. Relatives of one woman who was killed in the earthquake dug her grave about 20 feet (6 meters) from the road, her body wrapped in a sheet and strapped to a door. Across the street, others dug graves and built a bonfire to keep away flies and ward off the stench.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:50 AM | Permalink

The Mourners' Bench

In Born Toward Dying Richard John Neuhaus writes about his first experience of dying.  Worth reading and rereading

A measure of reticence and silence is in order. There is a time simply to be present to death—whether one's own or that of others—without any felt urgencies about doing something about it or getting over it. The Preacher had it right: "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die . . . a time to mourn, and a time to dance." The time of mourning should be given its due. One may be permitted to wonder about the wisdom of contemporary funeral rites that hurry to the dancing, displacing sorrow with the determined affirmation of resurrection hope, supplying a ready answer to a question that has not been given time to understand itself. One may even long for the Dies Irae, the sequence at the old Requiem Mass. Dies irae, dies illa / Solvet saeclum in favilla / Teste David cum Sibylla: "Day of wrath and terror looming / Heaven and earth to ash consuming / Seer's and Psalmist's true foredooming."

The worst thing is not the sorrow or the loss or the heartbreak. Worse is to be encountered by death and not to be changed by the encounter. There are pills we can take to get through the experience, but the danger is that we then do not go through the experience but around it. Traditions of wisdom encourage us to stay with death a while.
Among observant Jews, for instance, those closest to the deceased observe shiva for seven days following the death. During shiva one does not work, bathe, put on shoes, engage in intercourse, read Torah, or have his hair cut. The mourners are to behave as though they themselves had died. The first response to death is to give inconsolable grief its due. Such grief is assimilated during the seven days of shiva, and then tempered by a month of more moderate mourning. After a year all mourning is set aside, except for the praying of kaddish, the prayer for the dead, on the anniversary of the death.

In The Blood of the Lamb, Peter de Vries calls us to "the recognition of
how long, how very long, is the mourners' bench upon which we sit, arms linked in undeluded friendship—all of us, brief links ourselves, in the eternal pity." From the pity we may hope that wisdom has been distilled, a wisdom from which we can benefit when we take our place on the mourners' bench.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:47 AM | Permalink

January 12, 2010

Eric Rohmer R.I.P.

New York Times obituary

Eric Rohmer, a Leading Filmmaker of the French New Wave, Dies at 89

Photograph: H Mandelbaum/Rex Features

In a statement Monday, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France said of Mr. Rohmer, “Classic and romantic, wise and iconoclastic, light and serious, sentimental and moralistic, he created the ‘Rohmer’ style, which will outlive him.”

Mr. Rohmer’s most famous film in America remains “My Night at Maud’s,” a 1969 black-and-white feature set in the grim industrial city of Clermont-Ferrand. It tells the story of a shy young engineer (Jean-Louis Trintignant) who passes a snowbound evening in the home of his best friend’s lover, an attractive, free-thinking divorcée (Françoise Fabian).

The conversation, filmed by Mr. Rohmer in a series of unobtrusively composed long takes, covers philosophy, religion and morality, and while the flow of words takes on a distinctly seductive subtext at times, the encounter ends without a physical consummation. But the pair form a bond that movingly re-emerges five years later, when they meet again in a brief postscript that closes the film.

London Telegraph obituary

Eric Rohmer, who died yesterday aged 89, became the most durable film-maker of the French New Wave. Although he was overshadowed at first by more apparently innovative figures – Godard, Truffaut and Chabrol – he outlasted them, and in his seventies was still making movies the public wanted to see. By that time, Truffaut had died, while Godard and Chabrol had lost their edge.

But the conversations that peppered his films were not made up of party small-talk; on the contrary, they were generally conducted on a high philosophical plane, and were more likely to turn on pages from Pascal than on recipes or fashion. Rohmer, like Bresson, was a Roman Catholic film-maker rather than a film-maker who happened to be Roman Catholic.

Youthful and exuberant though his films were, and fixated on love and personal affinities, none was ever about sex. That whole dimension of life was missing. Rohmer's characters fell in love only with each other's minds. He gave the impression that physical attraction, everywhere apparent in the films of Truffaut and Chabrol, was somehow beneath him.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:38 AM | Permalink

He put the heads on Pez

Who knew that Pez was a Viennese candy marketed to adults as an alternative to smoking?

The idea to market the candy to children in dispensers with heads and feet came from the United States, and Curtis Allina, a survivor of concentration camps made it happen.

Curtis Allin, 87, Put Heads on Pez Dispensers.

Introduced into the United States in the early 1950s, Pez sold fitfully. Then someone thought of remarketing it as a children’s candy, in fruit flavors, packed in whimsical dispensers. It fell to Mr. Allina to persuade the home office in Vienna, by all accounts a conservative outfit that took sober pride in its grown-up mint.

Mr. Allina prevailed, and the first two character dispensers, Santa Claus and a robot known as the Space Trooper, were introduced in 1955. Unlike today’s plain-stemmed, headed-and-footed dispensers, both were full-body figures, completely sculptured from top to toe.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:26 AM | Permalink

Killed by elephant

A rampaging elephant kills a Long Island woman and the 1-year-old daughter she held in her arms

Sharon Brown--300X300

The family was hiking on a nature trail about 1 mile from the Castle Forest Lodge, where the family was vacationing, said the owner, Melia van Laar.

"The elephant emerged from the bush at full speed without any warning," van Laar said. "Everybody ran away, but the lady, burdened by the weight of the baby, perhaps, or in panic, was not able to run fast enough."

Officials identified the woman as Sharon Brown, 39, and said her daughter's name was Margaux. Brown, originally from Miller Place, LI, and her husband are listed as faculty members at the International School of Kenya. Friends and colleagues at the American-curriculum K-12 school held a memorial service yesterday.

Walking tours of Kenya's many national parks are common, though hikers are advised to have an armed guard with them if the park is known to have elephants, said Kentice Tikolo, a spokeswoman for the Kenya Wildlife Service.
"It was a lone elephant, and lone elephants can be quite dangerous," Tikolo said. "It probably felt quite threatened."

What a tragedy on a family outing.  Condolences to her grieving family.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:57 AM | Permalink

January 11, 2010

The Science of Bereavement

Resilience, Not Misery, in Coping With Death

Orthodox psychology has long emphasized the grim slog in store for those who must live without the people they cannot live without. Freud called it “grief work,” a process of painfully severing the emotional ties to the deceased. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross mapped out five morose stages of effective grieving.

But if you actually talk to the bereaved, says George A. Bonanno, you find these classic perspectives are pure — well, Dr. Bonanno doesn’t actually say baloney, but so he implies in his fascinating and readable overview of what he calls “the science of bereavement.”
A professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University, Dr. Bonanno has now interviewed hundreds of bereaved people, following some for years before and after the fact, looking for patterns.

His conclusion: the bereaved are far more resilient than anyone — including Freud, and the bereaved themselves — would ever have imagined.

Not so, Dr. Bonanno maintains. In contrast to the grim slog of Freudian grief work, the natural sadness that actually follows a death is not a thick soup of tears and depression. People can be sad at times, fine at other times. The level of fluctuation is “nothing short of spectacular”; the prevalence of joy is “striking.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:34 AM | Permalink

January 5, 2010

Golden mafia coffin

 Golden Mafia Coffin
Pallbearers carry the golden casket containing the body of gunned down Nick Rizzuto

Son of Canada's supreme Mafia boss carried to funeral in golden coffin

The son of Canada's most powerful Mafia boss has been laid to rest in a golden coffin.

With a heavy police presence the body of Nick Rizzuto, son of Montreal Mafia head Vito Rizzuto, was carried through the streets of the city's Little Italy neighbourhood yesterday.

Nick, was standing next to a black Mercedes last Monday when a gunman approached him and fire several shots into him. He died at the scene and the killer has still not been caught.
This turnout shows respect,' Padulo said. 'In the eye of God he's a great person. It was a beautiful service.'

His father Vito is currently serving a sentence in Colorado for racketeering related three Mafia murders in 1981 and was not seen at the funeral.

This doesn't seem to be a very good idea to me.  How long before some wayward youths brimming with testosterone decide this is one grave worth robbing?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:42 PM | Permalink

January 2, 2010

Villain to Hero

They were told he killed himself in a reckless stunt that also put the lives of children at risk.

But now the family of Bombardier Robert Key have discovered that far from 'showing off' with a live grenade, as the Army had said, their relative was in fact saving a child who had pulled out the device's pin.

Villain to hero: Disgraced WWII soldier sacrificed himself to save lives of 20 children

The tragedy happened in a small town in northern France in the latter part of the Second World War.

And the 'disgrace' meant that for more than half a century the bombardier's family refused to talk about his death.
The truth came to light only when the mayor of the town where it happened traced the soldier's relatives to tell them a road was being named in his honour as he was considered a local hero.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:14 PM | Permalink

When all hope is lost, pray

A woman who was completely prepared to die, finds the unexpected in Guide to a good life.

Every summer but for three since 1953, Lella has returned to the three-storey towering white clapboard house by a brook in Judique, a rural community hugging the western coast of the island. She was born in the house with windows of wavy glass, walls of Douglas fir and a wood stove burning in June out of necessity. For three months of the year, they would open the kitchen door and serve their friends tea in the afternoon and something stronger in the evening and host ice cream picnics.

Michael, along with daughter Melissa, made the 13-hour drive for his parents. Lella's husband, Bob Dubuque, a retired Walpole police officer, had a serious stroke 10 years ago.

They arrived in July. Lella's brother had opened the house. A cousin had scattered vases of wildflowers, Lella's favourite, about the rooms. Her twin brothers flew in from Windsor, Ont. Her son, Mark, came from Kentucky.

Over the course of a week, more than 100 people came to see her in what has been described as a living wake. They exchanged old stories and brought her rosary beads, prayer cards, holy oil, even blessed salt. Lella assured anyone who asked about her illness that she was "looking forward to the journey" and to being with her relatives in Heaven.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:17 PM | Permalink