Thursday, May 31, 2007

Jack Kevorkian AKA/ Dr Death To Be Released June 1, 2007

June 1st 2007, Euthanasia advocate Jack Kevorkian known as "Dr. Death" will be paroled from from prison after serving eight years of a 10-25 year sendtence in Michigan, USA. Kevorkian aka/ “Dr. Death” was convicted of second-degree murder charges for the assisted suicide of Thomas Youk. Although Kevorkian had admittedly been involved in over 130 suicides prior to Youk’s, this was his first conviction. He is 79 years old now.

From, the following best descibes his legacy:

"Jack Kevorkian is a former medical pathologist known for his high-profile antics in support of voluntary euthanasia. A 1952 graduate of the University of Michigan medical school, Kevorkian soon became known to colleagues as "Dr. Death" for his keen interest in dying patients. His first brush with professional controversy came in 1958, when he lost his job for suggesting that medical experiments be performed on consenting death row inmates in lieu of execution. After a career in various hospitals in California and Michigan, he settled in Michigan in 1982, where he earned a living in part by publishing articles on euthanasia in European medical journals. He became famous in the 1990s for his "death machine," a device he invented that allowed a user to self-inject an anesthetic and then a lethal dose of potassium chloride. (He called the machine a thanatron, after Thanatos, the figure of death in Greek mythology.) His initial "assisted suicides" led to a 1993 Michigan law that specifically prohibited him from continuing, a law he openly defied in an effort to force the issue into the courts.

For most of the 1990s Kevorkian -- now widely known as "Dr. Death" -- was on TV talk shows, in the news and in and out of court (and jail) for his role in a number of deaths. In September of 1998 he videotaped the death of Thomas Youk; the tape was broadcast by CBS television's 60 Minutes in November, and Kevorkian ended up on trial again, charged with murder and the delivery of a controlled substance. (Having lost his licenses to practice medicine in California and Michigan, Kevorkian's use of potassium chloride was illegal.) He was convicted in April of 1999 and sentenced to 10-25 years in prison. Denied parole in 2005, Kevorkian, in failing health, was granted parole at the end of 2006 and scheduled for release in 2007. Supporters argue that -- idiosyncrasies aside -- Kevorkian is a hero who helped more than 130 terminally ill people end their own lives with dignity. Critics say he is a weirdo who exploited sick and disabled people for his own morbid experiments. Either way, he gets credit for bringing the issue forward into public debate.

Kevorkian moved to Los Angeles in the late 1970s and reportedly made a feature film (based on Handel's Messiah), but the film was never distributed and the details are sketchy at best... Kevorkian is of Armenian descent... Kevorkian used to advertise himself as a "death consultant," and he dubbed his field "obitiatry"... He says he first got the nickname "Dr. Death" in 1956, for his research in photographing the eyes of dying patients... Kevorkian used carbon monoxide gas when he was unable to procure potassium chloride... Many of Kevorkian's clients passed away in his 1968 Volkswagen bus, which he had rigged for his equipment. (source)

To read about Kevorkian, here are some very interesting Links:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Coroner's Journal

Coroner's Journal: Forensics and the Art of Stalking Death is not a Baton Rouge CSI. It is much more disturbing! Dr. Louis Cataldie will take your hand and walk you through the daily life of a coroner. You will feel the human-ness of the victims, their families, and most of all, Dr. Cataldie. This book is not a fictional account of "how exciting and sexy it is to be a coroner". It is pain, frustration, fear, paranoia, courage, love, determination and a first hand view of good triumphing evil. Thank you Dr. Cataldie for having the courage to share your heart and soul with the rest of us who don't live in Baton Rouge. Thank you for reminding us that the evil that rips families apart is not fodder for drama. It is a call to work together and love one another.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cemetery Stories... Enter the world of the dead...

Cemetery Stories: Haunted Graveyards, Embalming Secrets, and the Life of a Corpse After Death

Never look at a grave the same way again.

Admit it: You're fascinated by cemeteries. We all die, and for most of us, a cemetery is our final resting place. But how many people really know what goes on inside, around, and beyond them?

Enter the world of the dead as Katherine Ramsland talks to mortuary assistants, gravediggers, funeral home owners, and more, and find out about:

  • Stitching and cosmetic secrets used on mutilated bodies

  • Embalmers who do more than just embalm

  • The rising popularity of cremation art

  • Ghosts that infest graveyards everywhere

  • If you've ever scoffed at the high price of burying the dead, or ever wondered how your loved ones are handled when they die, or simply stared at tombstones with morbid fascination, then take a trip with Katherine Ramsland and learn about the booming industry -- and strange tales -- that surround cemeteries everywhere.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Pet Cremation and Pet Urns... There are some great choices out there!

Cremation and Urns can be hard to find. Afterall, most people love their animals as much as any human... I have had quite a few people ask me about some good places to go online to find either something unusual, something affordable or something nice that they find for their pets remains... So here goes:

Everlasting Memories: You can have your pets hair or ashes placed inside a locket or piece of jewelry (pretty neat). They also have the traditional urns, memorial rocks and plaques.

One of my favorite sites: Angel Ashes -- They have really cool bookends (to hold your pets ashes) (see pic) They have traditional box urns, figurines and photo urns... I particularly like the angel urn (see pic)
Pet Loss Products is another great site. They also offer Pet Loss Grief help. There is also info on cloning, grief, loss, euthenasia ... and other things you really don't want to hear but have too!

Crazy Coffins Site -- How about a Guitar Coffin?

The family of a teenage boy, killed in a domestic accident, chose to bury him in a replica of the guitar he loved so well.

For more crazy coffins... Check out this blog and site. It's quite amazing what they make and what people ask for! Crazy Coffins

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Fun Facts About Corpses... And other things you really don't want to know....

Funeral homes are actually banned by federal law from embalming your beloved departed without your permission. This will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in costs, and it actually isn't likely to stink up the funeral too much. There is no legal requirement for embalming (except under extraordinary circumstances related to the condition of the corpse or cause of death). Your tax dollars at work!

If your funeral director balks at your effort to save thousands of dollars by opting to avoid a procedure that is mandated by neither religion nor hygienic necessity, try a Jewish funeral home. Jews are forbidden from having their corpses embalmed, under normal circumstances.
You can pack your loved one in dry ice, if you don't have time to embalm him or her right on the spot. A large freezer or cooler can also keep your loved one fresh for a couple days.

Embalming is mostly a North American practice in modern times. European corpses have that trendy "au naturel" look. But Lenin-style super-embalming has recently become the fashion among Russian Mafia bosses. Go figure.

There are more than 400 movies with the word "corpse" in the title, but only one movie with the word "embalming" in the title. It's 1999's Enbamingu, which is Japanese for "embalming." The movie features lots of depictions of Japanese embalming practices, among other things.

Read more from this site ... Like the "history of embalming;" "Mummification" and other interesting topics. All kidding aside... this is a pretty cool site if you have the stomach for it : )

Monday, May 14, 2007

BibliOdyssey.... Cool art!

BibliOdysseyThough Paul, the curator of this fantastical blog, claims that he's "not a mysterious persona by intent," his site brims with baffling images and mesmerizing, inexplicable creatures. ("If it looks like I know anything then the mirrors are working.") In weekly or semi-weekly dispatches, this Aussie persona posts etchings, illustrations, posters, and other "visual materia obscura" from around the globe and across time. Machines brush up against monsters. Sartorial skeletons from one century pass Polish children's illustrations from another. A Russian illustrator indulges in "retro fantasy folk whimsy." Winged humans swoop overhead; rare Japanese medical texts sit in wonder; "zoomorphic" Sudanese calligraphy romps past. Elephants and tigers and bears, oh my! The Web is rich in snarky celebrity gossip and fast-breaking news, but a visit to Paul's cabinet of curiosities leaves us satisfied and enthralled. The mirrors are definitely working.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Neon Sign Graveyard.... Make this your last stop in Las Vegas : )

Where do the Las Vegas Strip's neon signs go when they aren't considered flashy enough anymore? To the Neon Boneyard, more formally known as the Young Electric Sign Company's Neon Sign Graveyard. "Yesco," as the company is known to locals, maintains many of the city's best-known illuminated signs. But it has also preserved some past electric glory in a fenced lot behind its headquarters. The stockpile includes some of the city's bygone landmarks, from the flickering remains of a gigantic Silver Slipper to a mammoth Aladdin's lamp.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

"I'll Compost Your Corpse"

“I’ll Compost Your Corpse” – The (Organic) Demise of Ethical Man
by Sami Grover, Carrboro, NC, USA on 04. 6.07

Culture & CelebrityWe have previously reported on the BBC’s Ethical Man, AKA Justin Rowlatt, here and here. While Justin is still very much alive and well, the time has come for him to bury his more altruistic alter-ego. In a fitting end to this educational series of reports, he explores an intriguing offer from a viewer – to compost his corpse. As it turns out, this isn’t that easy to do. The environmental problems of cremation and burial are duly discussed, in some detail:

“Apparently, the problem with the way a corpse decomposes at the bottom of a grave is that there isn’t enough oxygen to get a good aerobic compost going. The main by-products of aerobic decomposition include carbon dioxide and water meanwhile anaerobic decomposition produces methane - 23 times as powerful a greenhouse-gas as CO2.”

Nevertheless, it seems that burial or cremation really are the only legal options for disposing of a body in the UK at the present time. Things may be about to change however, as a radical new technique from Sweden may be introduced, involving freezing your body in liquid nitrogen, and then breaking it down into a biodegradable powder. John Crossham, however, is not impressed, arguing that there is too much embodied (sorry - I couldn't resist it) energy in the liquid nitrogen for this to make sense:

“Wouldn’t it be better just to get in a good butcher to cut the body into small and easily ‘compostable’ pieces?”

Ethical Man, may you rest in peace (or is that pieces?)… (source)