Meditations on: the poetic and profane; on silence; death; catastrophe; Cage — and yet more strangeness and beauty from David Ralph Lichtensteiger's travels within the world of 20th C. avant garde music and postmodernism.
"Everything is foggy. Everything is not clear. He was alive when we got to the other side. And now I have brought him back dead. Whatever hopes we had, that's where they ended." The Summer of the Death of Hilario Guzman (BugMeNot)
Are you a recently deceased motorcycle enthusiast desiring of a dignified final ride? You can have it! Want to be carted off to your final resting place in rugged style, in a 4x4 Land Rover like the one you used to tear around in when you were among the living? No problem! But if you've just kicked the bucket in China's Jiangsu Province and you'd been hoping to wow the mourners at your big send-off with some strippers, sorry, but you can't do that. Just want to learn a little more about funeral practices around the world? You can go here.
Elijah Page to be executed in South Dakota. On March 12, 2000, Page and two other brutally tortured and killed Chester Poage near Spearfish, SD.(very graphic description of events). It took Page, Briley Piper, and Darrell Hoadley nearly 3 hours to finally kill Poage. This will be the first execution in South Dakota in 59 years. (more inside)
What’s the best way to dispose of an accumulated fortune? Conventional wisdom tells us that you can’t take it with you. The inevitability of death has inspired otherwise ruthless men to contribute to the larger community with the goal of establishing a posthumous legacy. Carnegie built libraries. Bill Gates is working on global health initiatives. But the conventional wisdom on this matter could be wrong. And with that in mind, some wealthy men are choosing to turn themselves into cryonic popsicles and put their wealth in trust funds in the hope that at some point in the future, Science will be able to revive them.
A soldier in War. A letter home. Nobody will ever top Sullivan Ballou's. (Youtube Video) A week before the battle of Bull Run, Sullivan Ballou, a major in the 2nd Rhode Island Volunteers, wrote home to his wife in Smithfield. The actual letter begins @ 2:25 into the video. But it's far from a waste to watch the whole six minutes.
My post-mortem to-do checklist, so far: 1. Study marine biology. 2. Accessorize my hot, wealthy widow. 3. Relay a few spooky telegrams to my spooky new friends. 4. Try to look as suspicious as possible. And that's even before rigor mortis sets in!
Garfield is dead...maybe. (Warning: Obnoxious music)
Pentagon to Soldiers: Don't Post those Trophy Videos Online ... another said it made him feel good to bring the gruesome reality of a soldier's life in Iraq to those living safely behind their "clean, white picket fences at home". ...the taking and posting of trophy video served as some kind of relief from the psychological stresses of serving as a soldier in such a violent and acutely dangerous place. ... and from PBS' Mediashift: Your Guide to Soldier Videos From Iraq
R.I.P. Arthur Lee The enigmatic and volatile frontman from the '60s psych group Love, has reportedly passed away after a battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Three million fish committ suicide in the desert - A very large number of fish die in California's largest lake, the Salton Sea. These events are not unique to this lake; even large areas of the ocean experience them. The eutrophication of coastal regions, as well as land surrounding inland waters, is often to blame for the degraded water quality that leads to these deaths. For the record: the initial report of suicide by the fish can neither be confirmed or denied.
It’s unfortunate that telegraphy is no longer with us. The telegram, however, lives on in one of the media that sealed its fate. And if you prefer to roll your own, there’s a site for that too (link to fonts at "telegram" at lower right).
Altered Oceans: A Primeval Tide of Toxins The fireweed began each spring as tufts of hairy growth and spread across the seafloor fast enough to cover a football field in an hour. When fishermen touched it, their skin broke out in searing welts. Their lips blistered and peeled. Their eyes burned and swelled shut. Water that splashed from their nets spread the inflammation to their legs and torsos.
1-800-SUICIDE loses govt. funding: Despite the fact that almost 2 million callers have reached help and hope over the last 8 years, and a government funded evaluation stating the benefits of 1-800-SUICIDE, the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), a division of Health & Human Services, has decided to create their own government run system where they would have direct access to confidential data on individuals in crisis. (SAMHSA has already scrubbed their websites of any and all LGBT information, and gay youth are 2-3 times more likely to commit suicide.) Save 1-800-SUICIDE website here.
Maurice Agis is the creator of Dreamspace, a magical walk-through environment of color and light that has been enjoyed by thousands of people. It might be good to remember, though, that art can occasionally kill people.
Daniel Raeburn's story about his daughter's still birth is one of the most depressing things I've read in a while. Thankfully, there is a much happier update to the story. (via Kottke)
We all have to go sometime. Frank Russo has an obsession, dead ballplayers. Some died in accidents, some were murdered, some couldn't take it anymore, and some were cursed. They were all human. (via HNT)
"Our society really doesn't deal well with the whole dying process." No, it's not a hoax. Through the magic of soft teddy bears, pillows, and plush dogs or cats, you can hold your deceased loved one, thanks to Huggable Urns. It's founder, Alexandra, Lachini was inspired to form the enterprise after her recently departed father spoke to her. "All I wanted to do was hold him again, but the urn was hard and impersonal." For less than $100, her solution can be yours too.
Against Pandas: "Pandas are endangered because they are utterly incompetent... Pandas are badly designed, undersexed, overpaid and overprotected. They went up an evolutionary cul-de-sac and it is too late to reverse."
Tim Hildebrandt, half of the Brothers Hildebrandt artwork team, died yesterday due to complications from diabetes.
Never Coming Home is about the families of five young men killed in Iraq. Slate presents a short documentary that focuses on the bereavement of the parents, or in one case, a brother. This portrait of grief and sacrifice is brought to life through the use of still photography and the recorded voices of family members.
The Language of Noncombatant Death - Perhaps, however, what the "incidents" have in common -- and what they really tell us about the war in Iraq (as in Vietnam long ago) -- is this: In both Haditha and Ishaqi, the dead were largely or all civilian noncombatants: an aged amputee in a wheelchair holding a Koran, small children, grandparents, students, women, and a random taxi driver all died... In modern wars, especially those conducted in part from the air (as both Iraq and Afghanistan have been), there's nothing "collateral" about civilian deaths. If anything, the "collateral deaths" are those of the combatants on any side. Civilian deaths are now the central fact, the very essence of war. Not seeing that means not seeing war.Collateral Damage: The "Incident at Haditha"
The Power Point version: Why Did We Lose In Iraq ?
Memento Mori : both in Europe and The United States, post-mortem photography [pdf] was both reminder of and coping mechanism for death in the 19th century.
Their task may be depressing, but the generosity of their work is inspiring and hopefully thereputic. The photographers who are working with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep provide their services on a volunteer basis to help families over come the grief of losing an infant. If you're a professional photographer interested in being involved, they're seeking volunteers.
David Lucas will be forced next month to quit manufacturing gallows. He's a farmer in the UK and sells his single gallows for $22,000 USD, which isn't bad for a little side business. He also has a multiple apparatus that goes for $185,000 USD. His customers include Zimbabwe and Libya. Other death manufacturers include Abbott Pharmaceuticals, Organon Pharmaceuticals, Roxane Laboratories and Leutcher Associates, Inc. of Massachusetts, who make gas chambers and electric chairs. Yeah, that Fred Leuchter.
In Memoriam and in Protest --why not use an online deathmatch as a pedestal for speaking out against a war? Artist/Professor uses US Govt-developed America's Army (...placing Soldiering front and center within popular culture and showcasing the roles training, teamwork and technology play in the Army. ... ) as protest and art space. DeLappe's homepage (and jpgs) here
AIDS really did come from chimps in the 1950s --..."We're 25 years into this pandemic," Hahn said. "We don't have a cure. We don't have a vaccine. But we know where it came from. At least we can make a check mark on one of those." ... ...Identifying the source of the HIV pandemic is more than filling in a missing link in the disease's progression. ...
"The sound was not of this world, it hovered in space like some celestial blessing". He could play the piano ”before he had learned to smile”, his mother said, and he gave his first concert at the age of six. He studied under Alfred Cortot, Charles Munch, Paul Dukas, and Nadia Boulanger. He was an esteemed teacher and critic at 19, an international phenomenon at 24. He escaped from his native Rumania to Switzerland in 1943 with his fiancée, a joint capital of five Swiss francs in their pockets. After the war, just as he had arrived in the pantheon of great performing artists, Dinu Lipatti was diagnosed with leukemia. In September 1950, near death, despite the urgings of his doctors Lipatti insisted upon one last recital at Besançon. As his wife recalled, this was the only way Lipatti could bear to take his leave of the world. Lipatti was so weak he could barely walk to the piano. But once he began playing, he became transformed. After performing 13 waltzes, he could no longer muster the strength necessary to perform the final selection. So he substituted Myra Hess's piano arrangement of Bach's 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring".(page with sound). Three months later, Lipatti died at the age of 33. After Lipatti's funeral, his old mentor Cortot wrote: "There was nothing to teach you. One could, in fact, only learn from you."
One of our greatest living writers died yesterday, and no one seems to care. I can't find a damn news story about it. A revolutionary teacher, thinker and critic, Sorrentino will be remembered as a "a reckless heir to Borges, Barthelme and Groucho Marx." Never read him? Start here.
The Australian cigarette health warnings have pretty much filtered down to every retail packet that's bought now. They're pretty gruesome and some smoking acquaintances cover them up with stickers. I thought I'd have a look around and see what other countries warnings were like. None of them were pulling any punches except for Uruguay.
The Laurence Hutton Collection Of Life & Death Masks is one of the more fascinating collections of historical artifacts out there, consisting of more than 100 plaster casts of the live and dead faces of the great, near great, and famous figures stretching from the 19th Century all the way back to the 15th. Laurence Hutton, an author born in New York in 1843, collected these masks all his life, hunting them down in thrift shops, curio shops, private collections and even garbage dumps, and after his death the collection was inherited by Princeton University. For years the masks sat collecting dust in cardboard boxes, and were available for viewing by appointment only. However, someone recently had the obvious idea to make digital photos of the masks and put them on line, making these riveting portraits available for all to see. This is a subject that has always fascinated me, for a life mask is the truest portrait we have of many historical personages. I have my own small collection of such masks; a life mask of Beethoven and Chopin, and even Paul McCartney (I am, surprise, a musician.)
No Death Sentence for '20th Skyjacker' Moussaoui (he Newsfiltered), and as he was led from the courtroom, the defendant, who had looked for the last few weeks like he was campaigning for martyrdom, clapped his hands and said “America, you lost. I won.” (I had severely underestimated this character's skill at Political Theater) In spite of the final spit-in-the-face-of-the-US, MSNBC.com's Unscientific Instapoll has 51% saying it was the right decision, while CNN.com's Poll says 63%, and Foxnews.com's poll... is about tax cuts. Disclaimer: Yes, I do some writing for the Entertainment section at MSNBC.com, but the News department does not know I exist and doesn't want to. And newssite instapolls are so-o-o Web 1.0, I know, but still, what's with the non-outrage?
Workplace health and safety dirty dozen (pdf) - profiles of companies that have demonstrated egregious disregard for worker safety. Today is Worker Memorial Day, commemorating workers who die on the job - an average of 16 per day. Workplace deaths are trending up, not down, which, according to an extensive report by the AFL-CIO, is the inevitable Toll of Neglect with this administration's rollback of worker protections. Confined Space offers a daily view of work safety issues in the U.S. for those who would like to learn more.
From estate tax to 'death tax' Public Citizen released a report [PDF link] today that "reveals how 18 families worth a total of $185.5 billion have financed and coordinated a 10-year effort to repeal the [U.S.] estate tax, a move that would collectively net them a windfall of $71.6 billion." The rich get richer...
Born To Rot. Living people are often deeply disturbed by dead people. Particularly when those dead people have only recently died and are rotting. But what’s the big deal? Are rotting things intrinsically gross? Why does it disturb us so? Is decomposition helpful in attaining greater spirituality, or is it proof of a Godless universe? [many images linked NSFW]
Rudolf Vrba-RIP --he escaped from Auschwitz with another guy, Wetzler, in April 1944 and got to Slovakia and Hungary, telling the world of the atrocities in the Auschwitz Protocol. Some Hungarian community leaders, however (Hungary was the only country that hadn't had its Jewish population deported yet), were busy making deals with Eichmann for safe passage away. In any case, the result was that about 1,700 Hungarian Jewish leaders, with their families and friends, ended up in Switzerland, while almost half a million unsuspecting Hungarian Jews ended up dead in Auschwitz. Vrba's report first alerted the world (including the Vatican, Red Cross, and US and British authorities) to exactly what was going on, and helped prosecute some who were tried later. ...Knowing perfectly well that it was the secrecy surrounding their actions that allowed the Nazis to herd unsuspecting Jews and transport them like sheep to slaughter, Vrba and Wetzler — as soon as they got in touch with Jewish community representatives in their native Slovakia — compiled a detailed report. They wrote about Auschwitz and what awaited Hungarian Jews once they arrived: immediate death by gassing.
Eighth grader Anthony Soltero shot himself on Thursday, March 30, after the assistant principal at De Anza Middle School told him that he was going to prison for three years because of his involvement as an organizer of the April 28 school walk-outs to protest the anti-immigrant legislation in Washington. The vice principal also forbade Anthony from attending graduation activities and threatened to fine his mother for Anthony's truancy and participation in the student protests." Anthony was learning about the importance of civic duties and rights in his eighth grade class. Ironically, he died because the vice principal at his school threatened him for speaking out and exercising those rights," ...
"To all our sisters who have committed suicide or who have been institutionalized for their rebellion."
"To all our sisters who have committed suicide or who have been institutionalized for their rebellion." Throughout her career, but especially in her latest and most wrenching work— Sisters, Saints, & Sibyls, the 39-minute three-screen lamentation that is a duel memoir of her sister's suicide at the age of 19 and her own mortifications of the flesh and battles with addiction—the photographer Nan Goldin has been one of the great living suicides of recent art history... Charles Baxter wrote that novelist Malcolm Lowry captured "the way things radiate just before they turn to ash." At her best Goldin does this too.
A Town Without Pity. Gene Pitney, the rather dashing rocker behind such hits as "Hello Mary Lou," "(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance," and "Only Love Can Break A Heart," has passed away.
MyDeathSpace keeps track of the MySpace profiles of people that die.
Forty-nine published plays. Four Pulitzer Prizes. Three marriages. A suicide attempt. A celebrity for a father. A drug-addicted mother who blamed her habit on her son. A daughter estranged, a son who committed suicide. A Nobel Prize, the only ever awarded to an American playwright. Eugene O'Neill from inside out: a documentary film for American Experience. More inside.
Prisoners of their Bureaus--the Besieged Press of Baghdad What it's like to be a journalist in Iraq now--and especially relevant given the current attacks on the media for not reporting all the good that's happening in Iraq-- ... an ever-widening gulf between official language and the reality of the actual situation in Baghdad. While official language is relentlessly upbeat, the already nightmarish reality has been getting worse with each passing day. ... the insurgent attacks on the US forces and Iraqi government and the sectarian fighting between Sunnis and Shiites have become destructive beyond what most journalists have been able to convey ... (NY Review of Books)
After a Noel Mewton-Wood performance of Hindemith's (.pdf) Ludus Tonalis, Dame Myra Hess exclaimed: ‘The boy is truly remarkable, and what shall he be like at 40-odd?’. Glowing testimonials to his ‘genius’ (Sir Malcolm Sargent) from Beecham, Schnabel, Bliss, Hindemith and Britten were countered by indifference from the major record labels and concert managements. In 1953, at the age of 31, the pianist, a shy young man susceptible to depression, committed suicide. Now, the Lesbian and Gay Newsmedia Archive of Middlesex University offers a scan of the The London Evening News page with the report of Mewton-Wood's death. And here is a mp3 page with some of his out-of-print work.