September 9, 2013

"If you’re about to throw away an old pair of pantyhose, stop."

The best obituary you will ever read

Mullaney, Mary A. “Pink”

If you’re about to throw away an old pair of pantyhose, stop.

Consider: Mary Agnes Mullaney (you probably knew her as “Pink”) who entered eternal life on Sunday, September 1, 2013. Her spirit is carried on by her six children, 17 grandchildren, three surviving siblings in New “Joisey”, and an extended family of relations and friends from every walk of life.
We were blessed to learn many valuable lessons from Pink during her 85 years, among them: Never throw away old pantyhose. Use the old ones to tie gutters, child-proof cabinets, tie toilet flappers, or hang Christmas ornaments. Also: If a possum takes up residence in your shed, grab a barbecue brush to coax him out. If he doesn’t leave, brush him for twenty minutes and let him stay. Let a dog (or two or three) share your bed. Say the rosary while you walk them. Go to church with a chicken sandwich in your purse. Cry at the consecration, every time. Give the chicken sandwich to your homeless friend after mass. Go to a nursing home and kiss everyone. When you learn someone’s name, share their patron saint’s story, and their feast day, so they can celebrate. Invite new friends to Thanksgiving dinner. If they are from another country and you have trouble understanding them, learn to “listen with an accent.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:14 AM | Permalink

Why you need Estate planning and estate planning for college students

A family lawyer gives you 7 reasons you need an estate plan—even if you have only $500 in the bank

1. Your health care. Defining how your medical needs will be addressed in case you cannot make health care decisions for yourself is a primary objective of having an estate plan. You also need to consider how you will meet the costs of long-term care. You need to name someone to make decisions for you and tell them how you want them made. This must be legally documented or the person you want caring for you cannot help without going to court first, as is the case with Amanda Bynes' parents.

2. Probate. Probate is an unnecessary, public, and often expensive court process that takes control out of your family's hands and puts that control in the hands of a judge who doesn't know you or what's important to you. A main focus of estate planning is keeping your family out of court, no matter what.

3. Family feuds. Family fights over how assets are divided and distributed are common when there is no estate plan and/or trusted advisor to guide family members. Sadly enough, these fights happen even when amounts of money are small OR even when there is no money at stake. Some of the biggest fights we've seen happen in storage units over sentimental items with no monetary value at all. If you don't want your family to fight, you should plan your estate ahead of time.

4. Beneficiary forms. You likely have several assets that cannot be passed along in a will alone. These include IRAs, life insurance, retirement plans, and annuities, all of which are governed by beneficiary forms that specify who is to receive the assets upon the death of an account holder. Completing these forms properly is estate planning. Completing these forms improperly creates the potential for a hugely disparate distribution and disgruntled beneficiaries.

5. Kids and parents. If you are currently responsible for the care of minor children, elderly parents, or a person who has special needs, you need a plan for the continuation of that care after you are gone.

6. Managing assets. Is your spouse or other family member capable of managing all your assets? If not, you will need to name someone who is capable of doing this now so your assets will be managed wisely for the benefit of your family in the future.

7. Business succession. If you own a business, you will need a succession plan to govern what happens to your ownership shares if something should happen to you. This is especially important if you are in business with a business partner, or you could end up in business with their spouse upon their passing, forcing a buyout when you can't afford it, or worse, a liquidation of the business.

Gerry Beyer addresses estate planning for college students

When a person turns 18, he or she is legally an adult and parents can no longer make decisions for their  child without consent.  Therefore, adult children should take certain actions to have a parent or agent make decisions for them in case of an emergency.  Here are four documents college students should have to ensure they have protection should anything unexpected happens:

Power of Attorney.  This will give an agent the authority to make financial or legal decisions on their behalf.
Health Care Proxy.  This will appoint someone to make medical and end-of-life decisions on their behalf.
HIPAA Release.  This will allow a named person to talk to doctors and receive information concerning their health.
FERPA Release. This will allow a named person to receive information concerning their school performance
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:55 AM | Permalink

Out of this world

Out of this world! From ashes to an afterlife in space

Whether you want your ashes scattered, cremated or safely stored in an ornamental urn, there are dozens of ways to plan your final passage. But shooting them into space is definitely new on the list.

Elysium Space, a privately-owned new business that launched in 2013, may not be able to shoot you off to Mars for good. Instead, they offer something infinitely more affordable (and less dramatic) than a one-way ticket to the red planet. ….They will take the ashes of your loved one, launch them into space in a special capsule which you can engrave your own personal message on, and let it orbit the Earth for several months before it re-enters the atmosphere, burning into a shooting star.

You can track the event using the company's app, which shows you at all times where the memorial craft is. The launch will also be webcasted and recorded, so you can see off a beloved family member (yes, even the dog) in a meaningful way and have a record of it to look back on later.

Thomas Civeit, the founder of Elysium Space, spent years working as a NASA engineer on projects like Hubble and the James Webb Space Telescope before he got the idea for the memorial project. He spoke to HLN about why he believes the service can dignify a loved one's memory…..
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:48 AM | Permalink

September 4, 2013

Death by Elephant

UCSD dean Thomas MCAfee  'trampled to death by an ELEPHANT on luxury African vacation' just three days before he was due to start his new job

An American doctor has died in terrifying circumstances while on a luxury safari in Africa after being trampled to death by a charging elephant on Saturday.

Sources with knowledge of the incident have confirmed to the MailOnline that Thomas McAfee, 58, a dean at University of California was in Tarangire National Park in Tanzania on vacation before starting a new position as chief executive of the Keck Medicine of USC Medical Foundation.   

McAfee's body is still in the east African nation and his family have been informed of the tragedy as they wait for a death certificate to be issued. There is no word yet on when his body will be flown back to the United States and details are scarce as to the exact circumstances surrounding his shocking death.

Elephants are known to make unprovoked attacks on people, but more often they react when they feel that their family is threatened or cornered.  As the world's largest land animal weighing up to 15,000 pounds, a charging elephant is a frightening and deadly force to be reckoned with.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:30 PM | Permalink

"Nolle Timere"

Nolle Timere, Don't Be Afraid:  The last words of Seamus Heaney who texted them to his wife.

At his funeral, his son Michael revealed

Michael spoke briefly at the end of the service to thank those who cared for his father, who died on Friday aged 74, and those who have offered support and praise since his death.

'His last few words in a text message he wrote to my mother minutes before he passed away were in his beloved Latin and they read - "nolle timere" ("don't be afraid"),' he said.

Hundreds watch Nobel poet Seamus Heaney laid to rest in Irish village which inspired much of his work

Among those packing the pews of the Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart for his funeral were Irish government leaders, poets and novelists, Bono and The Edge from rock band U2, and former Lebanese hostage Brian Keenan.

Ireland's foremost uilleann piper, Liam O'Flynn, played a wailing lament before family members and friends offered a string of readings from the Bible and their own often-lyrical remembrances of the country's most celebrated writer of the late 20th century.
The legendary wordsmith won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1995.

Mourners at his funeral were led by his widow Marie and children Michael, Christopher and Catherine Ann.
Chief celebrant of the Mass, Monsignor Brendan Devlin, opened the service with the remark that Heaney might have liked to have his funeral celebrated by someone with a Northern accent.


The Guardian Seamus Heaney's death 'leaves breach in language itself'

He was a snowy-haired, craggy mountain of a man; a man who radiated granite integrity and deep kindness. He was a poet, among the greatest of our era, and the first of his nation to win the Nobel prize since Yeats.

Seamus Heaney, who has died in hospital in Dublin, aged 74, leaves family, friends and readers in Ireland and beyond "feeling personally bereaved", in the words of his longtime friend, the poet Michael Longley. "Just as his presence filled a room, his marvellous poems filled the hearts of generations of readers."

LA Times.  An Appreciation: Seamus Heaney, animator of words

Heaney, who died Friday in Dublin at age 74, was powerful and widely read, receiving countless honors, including the Nobel Prize. With stunningly fresh language, his poetry dug deep into the roots of human attachments but also of human violence. The author of the stunning pastorals "The Glanmore Sonnets" also created the haunting Dantean poems of "Station Island." His versions of Sophocles, "The Cure at Troy" and "The Burial at Thebes," reached to the heart of human suffering and alienation. His work embraced a vision of hope and the possibility of seeing, as he titled one poem, "From the Republic of Conscience." And he made a fool of Woody Allen ("Never take a course where they make you read 'Beowulf'") by making his version of the Old English epic a bestseller.

But Heaney was that rare thing, an unofficial international poet laureate who had become an ambassador for the entire institution of poetry.

Harvard Gazette.  Heaney’s death caught ‘the heart off guard’     Noted Irish poet had long and deep ties to Harvard

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:36 PM | Permalink

Cleanup specialist finds treasure in deceased hoarder's apartment

After a Recluse's Death, a Cleanup Man Reaps a Trove of Art

NYT Surprise Bounty for Cleanup Artist

Darryl Kelly  lives in the Bronx and has never spent a night outside New York City. Harry Shunk had photographs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and he worked with some of the great artists of the late 20th century. Mr. Kelly is a cleanup man. Mr. Shunk was a recluse and a compulsive hoarder.

Their fates crossed in 2006 under the worst of circumstances: in Mr. Shunk’s West Village apartment, where his body had decomposed for about 10 days before it was found, upside down and trapped by stacks of his accumulated possessions, with only his ankles and his feet visible.

The cleanup specialist and the hoarder — yin and yang of New York’s real estate ecology. Now, the death of one may be a fresh start for the other.

At a storage locker in SoHo recently, Mr. Kelly, 56, displayed mementos from his 2006 trip to Mr. Shunk’s apartment: sketches and three-dimensional maquettes by Christo; large-format photographs of the artist Yves Klein directing naked women dabbed in paint; lithographs by Andy Warhol and Paul Jenkins; a menu handwritten by Larry Rivers; museum posters; gallery fliers; magazine clippings; a packet of gold leaf belonging to Mr. Klein.

“There was a stink coming out of there that was out of this world,” recalled Mr. Kelly, who was called in by the management of Westbeth, the apartment building for artists where Mr. Shunk had lived since 1970, after the body had been removed.

“Oh my God,” he recalled, items were “piled to within a foot of the ceiling. I had to send a skinny man in there to climb up over it to the window.”

At the storage locker, he unrolled a Warhol lithograph of Marilyn Monroe, in hot fuchsia. Mr. Kelly’s brother-in-law, Gregory Marsh, the skinny man who helped clean out the apartment, made kissing noises at the image. Mr. Kelly beamed at his good fortune.

“I feel like I’m alive,” Mr. Kelly said, looking over the works. “I been down and out for so long, I feel like I’m alive now. This one they can’t take away from me.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:18 PM | Permalink

The hanging coffins of Sichuan

Riddle of the hanging coffins of Sichuan: The mysterious 400-year-old wooden tombs suspended on a Chinese cliff face

But these bizarre hanging coffins have baffled people for centuries in southern China.The tombs - attached to mountain cliffs in Gongxian, Sichuan province - were left behind by the Bo people, believed to have died out 400 years ago.

Each coffin is made from a hollowed out single tree trunk and was originally protected by a bronze cover.

 Hanging-Coffins Sichuan

'Some of the tombs are nearly 3,000 years old and the most recent date back to about 1500. Nobody really knows why they dealt with their dead in this way,' explained one local expert.

'It is believed that they thought the gods would be able to reach them more easily like that.

'People say that the hanging coffins prevented bodies from being taken by animals and also blessed the soul for all eternity.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:05 PM | Permalink

Dead because her friends didn't call 911

Former cheerleader, 20, died of asthma attack 'after her friends did nothing to help, then dumped her lifeless body outside a vacant trailer'

A 20-year-old Georgia woman has died from an apparent asthma attack, and according to sheriff’s deputies, her friends did nothing to help beyond dumping her body on the side of a road. Taylor Smith was found dead in Jasper near a vacant mobile home just down the road from the county jail.  One man has since been jailed in connection to the case, and three others are facing possible charges.

 Taylor Smith

According to investigators, Smith was spending time with some friends over the weekend when she suffered an asthma attack, the station WSB-TV reported.

Instead of seeking medical help for the 20-year-old, Pickens County sheriff’s officials say the people she was with attempted to revive her with a cold shower and the next morning dumped her lifeless body off Robin Lane.

'As a mother, I'm angry. I'm so angry that they treated her the way they did,' said Tanya Smith, Taylor's mother.

Mrs Smith, who serves as a lieutenant with the Holly Springs Police Department, told the station that her daughter, a former cheerleader at Creekside High School, had wanted to experience ‘everything’ before settling into a 'normal life.' 

Taylor had suffered from asthma her entire life, and her grieving mother said that had her friends truly cared about her, they could have saved her by taking her to a hospital or calling 911.

'She didn't deserve just to be dumped on the side of the road, just because they didn't know what else to do,' Tanya Smith said.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:47 AM | Permalink

Death by his own booby trap

Marijuana grower killed — and nearly decapitated — by booby trap he set to protect plants 

Police say Daniel Rickett was drunkenly riding a quad bike when he ran into his own piano wire trap. Hikers found the 50-year-old's body lying near four large plants.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:21 AM | Permalink