June 29, 2011

What Tina Brown will do for money

Fourteen years after she died suddenly and tragically, on the eve of what would have been her 50th birthday  and with her sons still alive,  the editor in chief of Newsweek, Tina Brown, presents us with this.

 Katediana Newsweek

There are words for this cover of Newsweek complete with an imaginary Facebook page  - creepy, ghastly, bad taste, jarring and offensive -  I cringe when I think of how her sons will feel when they read this.  Anything for money.

The Daily Mail describes the piece by editor-in-chief Tina Brown so you don't have to read it .


One would have thought that Newsweek could not have descended lower than it already had in the business of delivering news. But with Ms. Brown at the helm, it seems as though there are greater depths to achieve than heretofore thought possible.

"There's bad taste, then there's this mess"

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:59 AM | Permalink

June 28, 2011

How can you be this drunk?

Man 'drives down interstate for over a mile with corpse of pedestrian he'd run over sitting in front seat'

A Houston man was arrested after he kept driving for more than a mile after a pedestrian's body smashed through his windshield and landed in the front passenger seat this morning.

James John Onak, 49, fatally hit the pedestrian, whose car had broken down, on Interstate 45 to the southeast of the city at about 12:40am, it is alleged.

Police said that
the driver was so intoxicated that he said he did not realise that the body was in his car until he was stopped by officers.
Officers said they pulled Onak over about a mile and half from where the incident happened after they spotted him driving erratically.

When the police officer looked into the car he saw the dead body on the floorboard of the front passenger seat.

The car's hood and roof had also caved in.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:02 PM | Permalink

June 24, 2011

Will of Hugette Clark, reclusive mining heiress

Last month I posted about the death of Hugette Clark in Long, Strange, Solitary Life. 

Now her will has been filed and the Reclusive mining heiress leaves $33.6 million to doting Filipino nurse...on top of the four properties worth $2 million already gifted to her

A reclusive mining heiress who died at the age of 104 has left $30million to a doting nurse who took care of her for two decades.

Huguette Clark, who died last month, spent 70 years locked away in her sprawling New York mansion, only emerging for medical appointments.

But instead of leaving her vast $400 million fortune to surviving relatives, the Montana millionairess gifted 60-year-old Filipino-born Hadassah Peri $33.6 million.

After taxes and other donations, what is left of Mrs Clark's fortune - an estimated $275 million - will go to establishing the Bellosguardo art Foundation at her untouched 24-acre Santa Barbara estate.

The money will be used to house the reclusive millionaire's rare art collection, which includes works by Renoir and John Singer Sargent as well music instruments including a Stradivarius violin and rare books.

In a statement, the reclusive Mrs Peri said: 'I saw Madame Clark virtually every day for the 20 years.

'I was her private duty nurse but also her close friend. I knew her as a kind and generous person, with whom I shared many wonderful moments and whom I loved very much.

I am profoundly sad at her passing, awed at the generosity she has shown me and my family, and eternally grateful.

'Just as Madame Clark demonstrated kindness toward others in her actions, so, too, will I and my family devote a substantial portion of this bequest toward making the world a better place for all people.'

Of course there will be a will contest by relatives.  I'm for the nurse who loved her and cared for her for 20 years and who seems properly grateful for her windfall.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:52 PM | Permalink

Corpse Bride: French woman marries her DEAD boyfriend

Another stunner headline

Corpse Bride: French woman marries her DEAD boyfriend

President Sarkozy gives blessing for marriage under obscure law

A woman has married her dead boyfriend at a ceremony in France - after getting permission from President Sarkozy.

Karen Jumeaux, 22, made use of an obscure French law to wed fiance Anthony Maillot - almost two years after he was killed in a road accident.

She wrote to President Nicolas Sarkozy to ask permission for a posthumous wedding, which was granted because she could prove they were already planning to marry.

The couple met in 2007 and had a baby boy in 2009, shortly before his death at the age of 20.

She tied the knot wearing a white dress and in the presence of family and friends at the town hall ceremony in Dizy-le-Gros, eastern France, yesterday.

She said afterwards: 'He was my first and only love and we were together for four years.

I vaguely remember such laws enacted in World War 1 because so many millions were killed so quickly.
Women who were engaged before their fiances left  home to fight and die could be declared 'white widows' and collect a survivor's pension.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:08 PM | Permalink

Muslims smash graves at Mount of Olives

Religion of Sacrilege: Muslims keep smashing graves in Jerusalem

More than a dozen graves at Mount of Olives were desecrated at the Mount of Olives in the last fortnight in what has become a routine of sick vandalism.

JTA reported that on June 14, some 14 graves were damaged by Arab youths wielding sledgehammers, according to private security guards stationed at the cemetery. The report does not say why the guards were unable to prevent the desecration.

At least five of the damaged gravesites are those of Americans buried in the cemetery,...


The most recent damage is in addition to vandalism carried out at the cemetery last month on “Nakba Day.” On that day, Arabs hurled large rocks and boulders at the graves, damaging at least 15 of them.

Muslims also vandalized or destroyed nearly 40 newly installed surveillance cameras in the cemetery, according to the International Committee for the Preservation of Har HaZeitim (the Mount of Olives), founded in 2010.

Local Arabs also recently began illegally expanding a mosque near the grave of Menachem Begin, according to the committee.

The sacrilegious Muslim tradition of grave vandalization at Har HaZeitim goes back at least to the 1950s and 60s, when the cemetery was occupied by Jordan. Jordan systematically desecrated graves at the cemetery and used the stones for construction. The acts of vandalism in the past few years – as well as physical attacks on Jews - are well documented, year in and year out, but Israel does not seem to have a solution for the problem.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:49 AM | Permalink

Woman dies of heart caused by shock of waking up at her OWN funeral

What a headline. 

Woman dies of heart caused by shock of waking up at her OWN funeral

Started screaming as mourners gathered around coffin saying prayers for her soul

'Her eyes fluttered but she only lived for another 12 minutes before she died again, this time for good'

A woman died from a heart attack caused by shock after waking up to discover she had been declared dead - and was being prepared for burial.

As mourning relatives filed past her open coffin the supposedly dead woman suddenly woke up and started screaming as she realised where she was.

Fagilyu Mukhametzyanov, 49, had been wrongly declared deceased by doctors but died for real after hearing mourners saying prayers for her soul to be taken up to heaven in Kazan, Russia

Her husband is furious

'I am very angry and want answers. She wasn’t dead when they said she was and they could have saved her.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:24 AM | Permalink

June 23, 2011

Death by sunbed


Sunbed fanatic mother-of-three dies from skin cancer after body is riddled with 19 tumours

A mother-of-three who started using a sunbed at 16 has died from skin cancer - after her body became riddled with 19 tumours.

Donna Ballantyne, 39, went under the UV rays twice a week in unmanned coin-operated tanning booths.

But nine years ago she developed a melanoma and spent nearly a decade fighting the disease as it spread around her body.

She campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of the danger of sunbeds after her diagnosis and raised more than £1million for cancer charities.

Speaking two years ago, she said: 'If I could turn back time, I wouldn't have spent even one second of my life on a sunbed.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:55 PM | Permalink

June 20, 2011

"Death is no therapy at all"

Msgr Charles Pope on why Death is No Therapy At All

Pope John Paul, and also Pope Benedict, have referred to Western Culture as a “culture of death.” Fundamentally what this means is that, when confronted with human difficulties, the offered solution is increasingly, the death or non-existence of the person with the problem.
“Don’t you think that death is a strange therapy? What if you went to the doctor and he said to you, ‘You are obviously alive now, but someday, in the future you might loose a limb, or get sick, or you might loose your job and have to go on welfare, so I am going to kill you right now, here in my office.’  What do you think of this? Isn’t death a horrible and strange therapy? You would probably respond that you would like to live and take your chances.
The Catholic Bishops of the United States just issued a policy statement on the question of physician assisted suicide entitled, To Live Each Day With Dignity.
The idea that assisting a suicide shows compassion and eliminates suffering is…misguided. It eliminates the person….

The claim of the “Right to Die” Movement that it is all about dignity is once again shown to result in precisely the opposite. For, in order to attribute this supposed dignity  to some, it strips many more of the dignity they have. The poor, the disabled, the chronically and terminally ill (we are all terminal), are said, increasingly, to have lives not worth living. It would be better for them (us?) to be dead. Really, says who? Does it really bestow dignity on them for us to speak in this manner. And if some DO suffer anxiety or depression over their state, is killing them really to be considered a legitimate or credible therapy? Is this dignity?
The Bishops go on to beautifully remind us that
the dying process may well be one of the most important and fruitful times in our life if we face it with faith. I have surely learned this in working with the dying. I experienced it most powerfully with my father, as he lay dying. Some very important things happened for him (and me) during those months. The dying process is often a gift in a strange package, and it is anything but meaningless. In fact, it is one of the most meaningful times of life. To short-circuit this by suicidal notions, or false compassion, is a terrible misunderstanding of the truth and grace available to the dying and those who care for them
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:31 PM | Permalink

June 18, 2011

Dying Man's Wish to be Reunited with His Dog

 Dyingman Reunited Dog

Dying Man's Final Wish to be Reunited with his Dog

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – A community came together to grant a homeless man his last wish.

That dying wish was to see his dog one more time.

It was a simple request, but one that meant the world to him in his final days.

People involved with the man’s last wish describe it as something they’ll never forget.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:39 AM | Permalink

June 15, 2011

Is there such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived?

The Nazi holocaust began in 1939 with the killing of 6,000 disabled children and 70,000 patients in geriatric and psychiatric institutions. Leo Alexander, a psychiatrist who gave evidence at Nuremberg in 1949 said that ‘its beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of the physicians. It started with the attitude, basic in the euthanasia movement that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived. This attitude in its early stages concerned itself merely with the severely and chronically sick. Gradually the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the racially unwanted and finally all non-Germans.’

Twenty facts we did not learn from Terry Pratchett's BBC 'documentary' on assisted suicide

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:14 PM | Permalink

June 14, 2011

"People with disabilities should be very alarmed"

How is a television that shows a man being killed as he pleads for water any different from the public executions that were common spectacles from time immemorial until about 150 years ago?

Choking and pleading for water as he dies.  Fury at suicide on BBC

Author Sir Terry Pratchett, who made the programme, says to a background of haunting pipe music: "This has been a happy event.

London Times comes out in favor of assisted suicide

Baroness Finlay, professor of palliative medicine in Cardiff, has tonight published a riposte, “’Safeguards’ will not make assisted suicide acceptable”, in which she makes the following points:

“Those campaigning for assisted suicide make it all sound so easy: safeguards, no investigation of those who assist and an assumption that everyone involved acts from the finest of motives.”

“But the law has to protect us all from those who do not necessarily have the best motives…So why are the so-called “safeguards” proposed by campaigners unsafe? First, they assume that one can define precisely who is terminally ill: one cannot. Doctors know only too well of misdiagnoses and prognoses that are wrong by months or years. Second, coercive influences on a person are difficult to detect. Third, doctors and nurses often have a big influence on a patient…”

“When assisted suicide is investigated, those who stand to inherit should be rigorously examined if they are complicit in the death… We are all interconnected. The actions of one person affect others.
Assisting suicide is a step too far; personal gain too easily masquerades as compassion.”

In order to ensure that vulnerable people – those who are elderly, disabled, depressed or sick – are adequately protected it means that a small number of people who desperately wish help to end their lives will not be able to do it and that others will not be able to help them without the risk of prosecution.

That is part of living in a democratic society. Autonomy is not absolute. All laws limit autonomy in some way because laws are there to protect the vulnerable, not to give liberties to the determined. That is why we have speed limits and breath tests – despite the fact that some people think they can drive safely over either limit.

Ross Douhat in the New York Times on Dr. Kevorkian's victims

And once we allow that such a right exists, the arguments for confining it to the dying seem arbitrary at best. We are all dying, day by day: do the terminally ill really occupy a completely different moral category from the rest? A cancer patient’s suffering isn’t necessarily more unbearable than the more indefinite agony of someone living with multiple sclerosis or quadriplegia or manic depression. And not every unbearable agony is medical: if a man losing a battle with Parkinson’s disease can claim the relief of physician-assisted suicide, then why not a devastated widower, or a parent who has lost her only child?
Jack Kevorkian spent his career putting this dark, expansive logic into practice. He didn’t just provide death to the dying; he helped anyone whose suffering seemed sufficient to warrant his deadly assistance. When The Detroit Free Press investigated his “practice” in 1997, it found that 60 percent of those he assisted weren’t actually terminally ill. In several cases, autopsies revealed “no anatomical evidence of disease.”

This record was ignored or glossed over by his admirers. (So were the roots of his interest in euthanasia:
Kevorkian was obsessed with human experimentation, and pined for a day when both assisted suicides and executions could be accompanied by vivisection.)

That day has come,  Belgian Doctors Boast of Harvesting Organs After Euthanasia and Wesley Smith writes

The non malignant conditions were probably neuro/muscular disabilities that euthanasa/organ harvesting promoters have targeted in a Power Point presentation as splendid subjects for this process because their organs are generally not damaged.

Imagine being a devalued person with a serious disability and come to believe your life isn’t worth anything, and in fact, worry that you are a burden, to realize that you could reverse the situation by being euthanized and harvested? 
This is a emotional inducement to be killed, and as such, is extremely dangerous to the wellbeing of people with serious disabilities.

And it won’t stop there.  Just as I was right in my 1993 prediction, trust me on this:
Coming next–paying people with serious disabilities to be killed and harvested, like Jack Kevorkian once advocated.  Utilitarian booster of such a course would argue that it saves society money on the costs of long term care, allow the disabled person the satisfaction of offering a benefit to society out of their personal tragedy, and leave a nice bundle for family, friends, or cause.  Win. Win. Win.

Once you accept the premise that there is such a thing as a life not worth living–to the point that killing is an acceptable answer to the problem–there aren’t many arguments left against such a regime.
People with disabilities should be very alarmed.

From Reflections of a Paralytic  Most paralyzed people are happy to be alive

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:34 AM | Permalink

June 11, 2011

The Lionheart who stole a Nazi

The Lionheart who stole a Nazi - and the heart of every woman:

Max Hastings pays tribute to Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor who died yesterday in Worcestershire at the age of 96.

Paddy’, as he was universally known and beloved, spent two years as a British agent of the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in Crete. His most celebrated exploit, in April 1944, was to kidnap the commander of the German 22nd Division, General Heinrich Kreipe, a  story romantically portrayed in the 1957 movie Ill Met By Moonlight, with Paddy played  by Dirk Bogarde.

The SOE team and their Cretan guerrilla companions marched the general, evading furious German pursuit, to a beach from which the Royal Navy spirited them to Egypt.

Paddy received a richly-deserved DSO, but the Cretan experience was only one chapter in a lifetime devoted to the pursuit of adventure, learning and romance.

After the war, a succession of wonderful books about far-flung places made him the most famous travel writer of his generation.

Awesomely good-looking as a young man, he spoke half-a-dozen languages fluently and had a smattering of several more. His wit, zest for life and joy in companionship won him a legion of friends, some very grand — his comic correspondence with Debo, Duchess of Devonshire was published as a book last year — and others entirely humble.
I first met Paddy as a very young man, when I listened enthralled to him holding forth to a dinner party with quotations from Horace, snatches of Romanian, Bulgarian and Greek, both ancient and modern. I read avidly his travel books, and later reckoned it a privilege to get to know him a little.

He remained until his death a model of the 1940s British gentleman abroad: impeccably dressed, effortlessly courteous and literate, tirelessly funny.

He was one of those men who brought joy to every company he joined in war and peace. He was completely unpolitical, and though indifferent to money was lucky enough to live among the rich with no need to care about tomorrow. He devoted himself to the fun and fascination of exotic people and places, and wrote like an angel.
In 1991 he became one of the few men ever to refuse a knighthood, though he belatedly accepted one in 2004: more than a hero of the war, he was a British hero for our times.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:19 PM | Permalink

June 10, 2011

"That kind of did it for me"

His look back at Jack Kevorkian is characteristically Steyn

Traditionally at this season, American TV networks would broadcast specials like "The Perry Como Christmas Show" with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "The Little Drummer Boy". These days the fare is more robust. So the other weekend CBS's flagship news show "60 Minutes" signed Dr Jack Kevorkian to kill a guy in prime time.
With his severely cropped white hair and the unnerving random smile of a Hollywood serial killer, Jack Kevorkian is not the pin-up boy the "mercy killing" movement would wish. As a doctor, he's never had a patient he's made better. He was a pathologist before he got into the killing business. He's also an artist who paints whereof he knows: an exhibition of recent art works a year or two back drew heavily on his fondness for skulls and severed heads. Then he diversified into organ donation, promoting the harvesting of death-row inmates and showing up at press conferences waving miscellaneous spare parts yanked, none too neatly, from his latest patients. When he turned up at a local hospital offering his most recent client's kidneys, one of his lawyers could stomach no more. Michael Odette's seven-year-old son said, "Dad, you shouldn't represent him. They should throw him in jail and melt the key." "That kind of did it for me," said Mr Odette.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:23 PM | Permalink

"THEIR OBITUARIES are characteristically brief because even in death they are dignified, modest, and not prone to talk about themselves"

What obituaries tell us about the generations 

Dead Lines by  Christopher Orlet

The latter are not always easy to distinguish. Among the generation now heading for the exits the vast majority were deeply involved in their communities. They were of a generation known for putting God first, family second, community third, and themselves somewhere way down the list.

They were joiners long before it became fashionable to pad one's résumé volunteering for liberal causes. Nearly all had proudly served their country, even when the reasons they were fighting were not always clear. When they returned home they continued to serve, joining the American Legion and the VFW Post. Many were members of at least one fraternal organization (Elks, Eagles, Moose, Masons, Rotary, Jaycees, Optimists, Odd Fellows, Lions, Knights of Columbus), to say nothing of the fire protection district and the electric co-op. They served as village trustees and founding members of the county public water district. They were part of their communities in a way that today's peripatetic suburbanites can never be.
THEIR OBITUARIES are characteristically brief because even in death they are dignified, modest, and not prone to talk about themselves. Their stories celebrate the simple pleasures of life:

They were not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But when I consider my own generation, which too often shuns the responsibilities of marriage, family, and community service, while seeming only to care about a shallow hedonism, I am left to wonder how we will get by without them.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:19 PM | Permalink

June 8, 2011

Revenge from the grave

Elizabeth Edwards’ revenge from the grave: She 'secretly recorded death-bed video testimony to help nail John'

In a final act of revenge, Elizabeth Edwards secretly recorded a testimony in her dying days that helped prosecutors indict husband John last week, it was claimed today.

John Edwards is due to stand trial on charges that could lead to a 30-year jail sentence after he pleaded not guilty on Friday to using $925,000 in campaign funds to cover up an affair and love child.

The estranged wife of the former presidential candidate is alleged to have filmed a damning testimony that was central to the prosecution’s case for charges.

Friends said the cancer victim, who died in December, wanted to ‘haunt’ her estranged husband and his mistress Rielle Hunter, with whom he fathered a child and made a sex tape.

‘Elizabeth wanted to exact final revenge against John for destroying their 33-year marriage and their family by cheating with Rielle,’ a source close to the scandal told The National Enquirer.

‘It was Elizabeth’s idea to secretly record a video and tell what she knew of the affair and John’s horrific betrayal.’

Lawyers said the video that was recorded as Mrs Edwards died from cancer could be vital in the prosecution of her estranged husband.

Bruce Baron, an expert on federal law, said: ‘The value of a potential dying declaration, or tape, containing the testimony of Elizabeth Edwards, is devastating to any case or defence that Edwards would have.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:25 PM | Permalink

Murders, one by totem pole

All stories of violence and murder  are gruesome

Boy, 15, battered mother to death with baseball bat after she announced she was engaged just eight months after the death of his father

Mother accused of beating son, 12, to death after he hid her pain pills as her boyfriend stood by.

His grandmother who had reported the appalling circumstances to social workers said

'He said I'm not telling them where those pills are mammaw, I don't care what they do to me.

'He didn't want her taking them. He kept telling me over and over: "Mammaw, I just want my mommy back. That's all I want".'

Princess Diana totem pole builder 'murdered wife by dropping 1.5 ton pole on her after plotting new life with mistress'

A man who carved three totem poles used in Princess Diana’s Memorial Garden has been charged with murdering his wife after plotting a new life with his mistress on Facebook.

Carl Muggli is said to have killed wife Linda by dropping a 2,900lbs wooden pole on her as they carved it together in the grounds of their country home.

 Murder By Totem Pole
According to a complaint filed by the Koochiching County Attorney, police arrived on the scene to find the giant carving across her chest and blood pouring from underneath her.

In an interview with reporters soon after Muggli claimed: ‘The totem we were working on was progressing wonderful.

‘I mean, it was just coming really good, and we were laughing and joking and having a great conversation, just …and then it was over.’
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:21 PM | Permalink

Mourning Picture

"Mourning Picture"

The artist Edwin Elmer painted this "Mourning Picture" after his nine-year-old daughter died of appendicitis.

A surreal remembrance, taut with grief

The force of the loss overwhelmed Mary. Intent on abandoning the house, the couple packed up Effie’s toys and gave away her pets.

Presumably, they were trying to forget — or at least to escape the clutch of the memories the house and Effie’s belongings all held. But before they left, Elmer felt he needed also to remember. (The lurching human soul forever contradicting itself!) So he painted this strange, haunted picture, which seems stretched so tight that it might crumble at the slightest touch.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:35 AM | Permalink

June 7, 2011

Parachute Wedding Dress


From the newsdesk at the Smithsonian, Parachute Wedding Dress, 1947    Just lovely

This wedding dress was made from a nylon parachute that saved Maj. Claude Hensinger during World War II. 

In August 1944, Hensinger, a B-29 pilot, and his crew were returning from a bombing raid over Yowata, Japan, when their engine caught fire. The crew was forced to bail out. Suffering from only minor injuries, Hensinger used the parachute as a pillow and blanket as he waited to be rescued. He kept the parachute that had saved his life. He later proposed to his girlfriend Ruth in 1947, offering her the material for a gown.

Ruth wanted to create a dress similar to one in the movie Gone with the Wind. She hired a local seamstress, Hilda Buck, to make the bodice and veil. Ruth made the skirt herself; she pulled up the strings on the parachute so that the dress would be shorter in the front and have a train in the back. The couple married July 19, 1947. The dress was also worn by the their daughter and by their son’s bride before being gifted to the Smithsonian.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:59 PM | Permalink

“You need money that bad, you have to start desecrating a grave?”

Three young NJ women arrested for stealing brass grave markers, flower urns from local cemetery to sell to scrap dealers for cash to buy drugs.

“You need money that bad, you have to start desecrating a grave?” said Sgt. Bill Covert with the Cinnaminson Police.
Sgt. Covert says a Philadelphia scrap dealer who paid around $1,500 for the stolen goods is the one who tipped off authorities
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:15 AM | Permalink

June 6, 2011

Legacy of a New York photographer

He began in 1997 and took a Polaroid picture every day of his life even on his deathbed.

The days of his life: New York photographer takes Polaroid picture every day for 18 years until his death from cancer at just 41

'They often don’t mean anything by themselves,' Mr Crawford told the New York Times. 'But when you put them all together, they take on a life of their own.'

While Ms. Reid, who met Mr Livingston in 1985, said: 'When I look at a picture that I was involved in or know about you’re just sent right back in time and you just remember everything about that day.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:46 PM | Permalink

Funerals in Joplin

Joplin's heroes remembered: A city mourns those who lost their lives helping others in America's deadliest tornado for six decades

They were regular churchgoers, devoted parents, seniors in their retirement years and children with untold promise.

Some gave their lives to save strangers, thrust by circumstance and human instinct into the role of hero.

Others faced a parent's worst fear, losing their lives while also failing to protect their children from death.

Few outside the town of about 50,000 will recognise the names of the dead. But, as three more deaths brought the toll to 141 today, Joplin's close-knit community remembers how it lost a staggering array of human capital in the May 22 tornado, including seniors who were the town's history and young people who were its future.

Some lived their lives ordinarily, only to be defined in their final moments by breathtaking courage.

May the dead rest in peace and the living find comfort and the courage to go on.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:39 PM | Permalink

Abide with Me

Abide with Me, a Hymn to share with the dying by Msgr Charles Pope.

The author, Henry Francis Lyte  (1793-1847) was an Anglican pastor in Devonshire England, for 23 years.  In 1844, Three years before his death Lyte was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. Despite this, he continued to work hard and was known to say, “It is better to wear out, than to rust out.” But his physical condition continued to deteriorate, until finally on September 4, 1847, at 54 years of age, he stood in his pulpit to deliver his farewell message. It is said, He was so weak that he almost crawled to the pulpit.

Later that day he retired to his room and wrote the words to this hymn: Abide With Me, as he meditated on the death he knew would soon approach. Advised by doctors to leave the cold, damp, coastal weather of England, he left for the Mediterranean. He died en route. A fellow clergyman who was with Henry during his final hours reported that Henry’s last words were: “Peace! Joy!”

Abide With Me was set to music by William H. Monk (1823-1889), and was played at Henry Lyte’s funeral service.

I have, when the situation was right, shared this him with the dying. Not all have fully accepted that they are dying, but for those who have reached the stage of acceptance, and when death seems certain, this hymn is very powerful, personal and poignant.

Read the whole thing because Msgr Pope explicates each the verses in this hymn to  to pray for and with the dying.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:10 AM | Permalink

June 4, 2011

Killed on final leg

Couple fulfil life-long dream of visiting every U.S. state… before both being hit by van and killed on final trip

A couple who fulfilled a life-long dream of visiting every U.S. state were both killed after being hit by a minivan on the final leg of their trip.

Keith and Doreen Rodgers had just finished their 50-state quest by visiting Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio.
The couple, who are reportedly English, were about to return to their home in Manchester, Connecticut, when they were hit by a minivan while crossing a road in Liberty Township.

Police say 73-year-old Keith Rodgers died at the scene and 71-year-old Doreen Rodgers died later at St. Elizabeth’s Health Center.

Starr Lutzen, a friend and neighbor of the couple, told the Journal Inquirer: 'They had just finished.
'They were just on their way home - it’s very sad.'

Friends of the couple say they enjoyed seeking out lighthouses and were both involved in the Salvation Army.
The pair had gone on a car journey around America visiting all 50 states and were about to finish their quest on Saturday when tragedy struck.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:06 PM | Permalink

Dr. Death dies

'Dr Death' Jack Kevorkian dies naturally at 83... as classical music plays in the background

He earned the title 'Dr Death' after allegedly helping 130 terminally ill people to die in just eight years.
Yet today controversial assisted-suicide advocate Dr Jack Kevorkian died naturally in hospital, with his favourite classical music playing in the background.

His lawyer, Mayer Morganroth, said the doctor died from a blood clot early this morning at a hospital near Detroit, after battling pneumonia and heart problems.

Wesley Smith reflects on his legacy.

So, now that he is gone, what is Kevorkian’s legacy? He assisted the suicides of 130 or so people and lethally injected at least two by his own admission (his first and his last); as a consequence of the latter, he served nearly ten years in prison for murder. But I think his more important place in contemporary history was as a dark mirror that reflected how powerful the avoidance of suffering has become as a driving force in society, and indeed, how that excuse seems to justify nearly any excess.

Thus, while the media continually described him as the “retired” doctor who helped “the terminally ill” to commit suicide,
at least 70 percent of his assisted suicides were not dying, and five weren’t ill at all according to their autopsies. It. Didn’t. Matter. Kevorkian advocated tying assisted suicide in with organ harvesting, and even stripped the kidneys from the body of one of his cases, offering them at a press conference, “first come, first served.” It. Didn’t. Matter. And as noted above, he wanted to engage in ghoulish experiments. It. Didn’t. Matter. He was fawned over by the media (Time invited him as an honored guest to its 75th anniversary gala, and he had carte blanche on 60 Minutes), enjoyed high opinion polls, and after his release from prison was transformed by sheer revisionism into an eccentric Muppet. He was even played by Al Pacino in an HBO hagiography.

Barbara Nicolosi sees Kevorkian and the fawning treatment of his 'mercy killing' in the media as a battle unfolding on the cultural horizon

The 2011 Golden Globe celebration was only the latest sign of a frightening cultural trend. Winning the award for best actor in a TV miniseries, the HBO docudrama about Dr. Jack Kevorkian, You Don’t Know Jack, was also nominated for an astounding 11 Emmys. It ended up winning the top awards for star Al Pacino and, most significantly, for best writing. This blatant piece of pro-euthanasia propaganda was a huge force on the entertainment-award circuit in 2010, grabbing nominations and wins at the TV Critics Association Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the International Press Association’s Satellite Awards.

Critics fawned over Dr. Death and praised the show as a courageous new benchmark in the newest war for civil rights. The right? To die, and to kill.
We must be aggressive in exposing the deceptions driving the euthanasia movement — lies like the implication that personhood can somehow disappear from a wounded human body. Or that a human life could ever lose its value. Or that suicide can be a courageous act. We must contradict the notion that suffering is the worst thing that can happen to a person.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:55 AM | Permalink

June 3, 2011

Anthropologist visits Roman graves

John Hawkes visits Rome, the graves of John Keats and his friend Joseph Severn, the National Etruscan Museum and the Capuchin Crypt and writes rom an interesting perspective, Death and the Anthropologist .

It is not the distance of time that touches me about these people. I study bones that are tens or hundreds of thousands of years old, distances so vast as to be unimaginable in human terms. Yet the bone persists. The individual is marked in it, and touching her bones creates an immediacy of connection, like traveling through time.
Just past the fountain is the church of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini. Beneath the church, but a climb of steps above the street, is the famous Capuchin Crypt. In a few rooms are the bones of many hundreds of brothers of the Capuchin order. These bones were disinterred and arranged as a kind of contemplative art upon the walls of the crypt.

 Capuchin Crypt
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:35 PM | Permalink

Twin friars die on same day

Julian and Adrian Riester are twins who became Franciscan friars in their twenties, and both, aged 92 died on the same day in the same hospital.

Those who knew the Riesters best say they are not surprised at all.

"If ever there is a confirmation that God favored them, this is it," said their cousin and close friend Michael Riester of Buffalo. "They weren't even separated for 12 hours."

The biological brothers were also religious brothers, committed to the monastic life of Franciscan friars, not as priests but in roles as physical laborers.
They became known as accomplished artisans who expressed their talents as gardeners and woodworkers, turning out tables and cabinets from their workshop in the garage of St. Bonaventure's Franciscan Friary.

Yvonne Peace, former secretary to the university's Franciscan community, remembers them as handymen and "fixers" who repaired all sorts of items brought to them by many on campus.

"They were always busy," she said.


Now they will be buried together Monday in St. Petersburg.

"They had this intimate bond, in which neither was selfish at all," Michael Riester said. "And because they were so in tune to God and to each other, it's not surprising at all."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:25 PM | Permalink

June 2, 2011

"She was cut in half"

What an horrific story. 

'She was cut in half': Horror as woman, 21, killed on sweltering New York subway platform after FAINTING and falling in front of train

Fatoumata Diallo from the Bronx, was standing on the platform at the 77th Street Station in the Upper East Side at around 3:09pm.

As the train, packed with schoolchildren, pulled into the station the young woman fainted and fell in front of the oncoming subway car.

May she Rest in peace.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:21 PM | Permalink

Swept to death over Niagara Falls

Swimming alone just above the Falls sounds a tad risky to me.

Woman, 51, is swept to her death over Niagara Falls

Tourists watched in horror as the woman, who had been swimming in the river above the Horseshoe Falls, got caught in the rapids and was thrown over to her death.

Witnesses said the woman appeared to be alive when she went over yesterday afternoon but had died by the time rescuers reached her in the river below.


Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:20 AM | Permalink

Death Letters

The military has an informal tradition whereby soldiers write last letters home in the event they do not return.

'Daddy will always love you': Soldier's heartbreaking goodbye letter to his baby daughter from beyond the grave after he dies in Afghanistan

Two days after she laid her beloved soldier husband to rest Emma Weaver opened the laptop he'd had in Afghanistan and was overcome with emotion.

There were two Word documents on the desktop, one called 'Dear Emma,' the other marked 'Dear Kiley' for the couple's baby daughter.

Mrs Weaver realised her darling husband Todd, who was killed by an IED on his second tour of Afghanistan in September 2010, had written both his leading ladies goodbye letters in the event of his death.

Mrs Weaver, from Hampton, Virginia, took a deep breath and opened the files.

'Well if you are reading this, I guess I did not make it home and therefore, I was not able to remind you again of how much I love you,' U.S. Army, 1st Lieutenant, Weaver wrote.

'Although it may seem like my life was cut short, I lived a life that most can only dream of. I married the perfect woman. I have a beautiful daughter that amazed me every day.'
On her blog, A Day in the Life, which she started before her husband's death Mrs Weaver writes that while the words were 'so hard' to read they also brought her peace.
Although they are private letters I have thought long and hard about how significant they are and the importance of sharing the depth of wisdom Todd had for being 26 years old at the time of his death, Mrs Weaver wrote in a post.

He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, on October 15, 2010, where he was awarded both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals as well as numerous other recognitions.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:05 AM | Permalink

Child Martyr now a Potent Sumbol

Only 13, he was picked up by Syrian security forces at a protest in Dar'a, April 29.  A month later, his parents received his body which revealed  Torture of the child martyr: 'Rebel', 13, shot, kneecapped and had genitals removed before being killed by Syria's sadistic regime 

Devotedly washed and sprinkled with rose petals, Hamza Ali al-Khateeb lies prepared for burial.

But the rituals of death cannot wipe away the horrific injuries that have mutilated his body almost beyond recognition.

Nor do they blot out that Hamza - riddled with bullets, kneecapped and with neck broken and penis hacked off - has the rounded cheeks and gentle face of a child.

The gruesome video of his mutilated body has been posted online and broadcast on Al Jazeera fueling the anger of protestors

Radwan Ziadeh, an exiled human rights activist told the Washington Post the boy had already become a symbol of the Syrian revolution.

'(His death) is the sign of the sadism of the Assad regime and its security forces,' he said.

'Torture is usual in Syria. It’s not something new or strange. What is special about Hamza is that he was only 13 years old. He really is a child.

The young child martyr has now become a symbol for Syria's revolution

 Childmartyr Syria

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement, quoted by Reuters, reflects an increasingly harsh position towards Syrian president Bashar al-Assad:

“I think what [Hamza's death] symbolizes for many Syrians is the total collapse of any effort by the Syrian government to work with and listen to their own people.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:42 AM | Permalink