Sunday, September 30, 2007

The List of Unusual Deaths... Ongoing : )

Have extra time... here is the perfect site: from Wikipedia: "List of unusual deaths" This is a list of unusual deaths – unique causes or extremely rare circumstances – recorded throughout history. The list also includes less rare, but still unusual, deaths of prominent persons. and unusual they are; for example (the first entry alone):
  • 458 BC: The Greek playwright Aeschylus was killed when an eagle dropped a live tortoise on him, mistaking his bald head for a stone.
  • 1884: Allan Pinkerton, detective, died of gangrene resulting from having bitten his tongue after stumbling on the sidewalk.[15]
  • 1927: Isadora Duncan, dancer, died of accidental strangulation and broken neck when one of the long scarves she was known for caught on the wheel of a car in which she was a passenger.[22]
  • 1973: Bruce Lee, a martial arts actor, is thought to have died by a severe allergic reaction to Equagesic. His brain had swollen about 13%. His autopsy was written as "death by misadventure."
  • 1984: Jon-Erik Hexum, an American television actor, died after he shot himself in the head with a prop gun during a break in filming. Hexum apparently did not realize that blanks use paper or plastic wadding to seal gun powder into the shell, and that this wadding is propelled out of the barrel of the gun with enough force to cause severe injury or death if the weapon is fired at point-blank range.
  • 1993: Garry Hoy, a Toronto lawyer, fell to his death after he threw himself through the glass wall on the 24th floor of the Toronto-Dominion Centre in order to prove the glass was "unbreakable."

This is just a few. As morbid as it is... it is interesting...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Few Civil War Soliders Were Embalmed... Did you know?

Interesting story in the September 10th, 2007 edition of the Washington Times, about how few Civil War Soldiers were embalmed.

According to James Lowry a historian, author and professional embalmer out of Charleston, W. VA; of the roughly 620,000 soldiers killed from 1861 to 1865 during the war, only 40,000 were injected with chemicals to preserve their remains. The two factors determining whether you would be preserved were a) money, and b) condition of the body. "Most soldiers were buried where they fell," according to Lowry.

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine in downtown Frederick, MD has a permanent exhibit on embalming which flourished during the war as family members sought to have their loved ones bodies returned home for burial which could take days. "The body has to be free of odor before they would ship it and if a corpse started stinking in transit, workers removed it from the train and buried it at the next train stop."

As soldiers went off to battle, some embalmers handed them fliers encouraging them to prepay for their embalming at rates up to $100.00 according the the museum records. Those who accepted were given cards to carry as proof of purchase, specifying their burial wishes. According to Lowry, this practice was eventually barred because it hurt troop morale. Instead, embalmers followed the battles and picked through he dead to find officers, whose families were likely to be wealthy enough to pay for embalming.

The embalmers were generally doctors who learned about chemical preservation for human tissue in medical school. Whole body preservation gained widespread acceptance with he embalming of Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth a Friend of President Lincoln and leader of the 11th New York Zouave Regiment who was among the first to die for the Union. Ellsworth was shot May 24, 1861 after removing a Confederate flag from atop the Marshall House Inn in Alexandria, VA

Lincoln had Ellsworth's body bought to the White House where it laid in state for a day before being moved to City Hall in New York. Ellworth was buried in Mechanicsville, N.Y. 10 days after his death, and was in very good condition at the time of his burial.

During the war, embalers used arsenic, alcohol, zinc chloride and other chemicals to preserve bodies because formaldehyde had not been discovered yet.

Lowry said that one of the wars best known embalmers was Dr. Richard Burr who worked out of a tent at the Battle of Gettysburg and out of the building that now houses the Civil War Medicine Museum during the battles of Antietam, South Mountain and Monocacy.

Gross..... Shopper gets a leg up at a Carolina Auction!

Anyone read this??????

Shopper Gets Leg Up at Carolina Auction
By Associated Press Tue Sep 25, 7:17 PM

MAIDEN, N.C. - A man who bought a smoker Tuesday at an auction of abandoned items might have thought twice had he looked inside first.

Maiden police said the man opened up the smoker and saw what he thought was a piece of driftwood wrapped in paper. When he unwrapped it, he found a human leg, cut off 2 to 3 inches above the knee.

The smoker had been sold at an auction of items left behind at a storage facility, so investigators contacted the mother and son who had rented the space where the smoker was found.

The mother explained her son had his leg amputated after a plane crash and kept the leg following the surgery. The mother said her son plans to drive to Maiden, about 35 miles northwest of Charlotte, to reclaim his amputated leg, police said.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Alex the Brainy Parrot Dies, Emotive to the End

He knew his colors and shapes, he learned more than 100 English words, and with his own brand of one-liners he established himself in television shows, scientific reports and news articles as perhaps the world’s most famous talking bird.

But last week Alex, an African gray parrot, died, apparently of natural causes, said Dr. Irene Pepperberg, a comparative psychologist at Brandeis University and Harvard who studied and worked with the parrot for most of his life and published reports of his progress in scientific journals. The parrot was 31.

Scientists have long debated whether any other species can develop the ability to learn human language. Alex’s language facility was, in some ways, more surprising than the feats of primates that have been taught American Sign Language, like Koko the gorilla, trained by Penny Patterson at the Gorilla Foundation/ in Woodside, Calif., or Washoe the chimpanzee, studied by R. Allen and Beatrice Gardner at the University of Nevada in the 1960s and 1970s.
In 1977, when Dr. Pepperberg, then a doctoral student in chemistry at Harvard, bought Alex from a pet store, scientists had little expectation that any bird could learn to communicate with humans, as opposed to just mimicking words and sounds. Research in other birds had been not promising.

But by using novel methods of teaching, Dr. Pepperberg prompted Alex to learn scores of words, which he could put into categories, and to count small numbers of items, as well as recognize colors and shapes.

“The work revolutionized the way we think of bird brains,” said Diana Reiss, a psychologist at Hunter College who works with dolphins and elephants. “That used to be a pejorative, but now we look at those brains — at least Alex’s — with some awe.”

Other scientists, while praising the research, cautioned against characterizing Alex’s abilities as human. The parrot learned to communicate in basic expressions — but he did not show the sort of logic and ability to generalize that children acquire at an early age, they said.

“There’s no evidence of recursive logic, and without that you can’t work with digital numbers or more complex human grammar,” said David Premack, emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Pepperberg used an innovative approach to teach Alex. African grays are social birds, and quickly pick up some group dynamics. In experiments, Dr. Pepperberg would employ one trainer to, in effect, compete with Alex for a small reward, like a grape. Alex learned to ask for the grape by observing what the trainer was doing to get it; the researchers then worked with the bird to help shape the pronunciation of the words.

Alex showed surprising facility. For example, when shown a blue paper triangle, he could tell an experimenter what color the paper was, what shape it was, and — after touching it — what it was made of. He demonstrated some of his skills on nature shows, including programs on PBS and the BBC. He shared scenes with the actor Alan Alda on the PBS series “Look Who’s Talking.”

As parrots can, he also picked up one-liners from hanging around the lab, like “calm down” and “good morning.” He could express frustration, or apparent boredom, and his cognitive and language skills appeared to be about as competent as those in trained primates. His accomplishments have also inspired further work with African gray parrots; two others, named Griffin and Arthur, are a part of Dr. Pepperberg’s continuing research program.

Even up through last week, Alex was working with Dr. Pepperberg on compound words and hard-to-pronounce words. As she put him into his cage for the night last Thursday, she recalled, Alex looked at her and said: “You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you.”

He was found dead in his cage the next morning, Dr. Pepperberg said. (source)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

See Me .... Live Cams from the Grave

Personally, not for me... but ....Interesting .... broadcasts live cams from the grave.

The site is dedicated to all who have gone before us. They have been legally fighting as their site says: "Having had many battles in our efforts to maintain our 'Live Coffin Cams' within the interiors of our subjects' caskets. We have succeeded once again & we are in the process of hooking up our first live feed in almost 2 years! (legal battles in two countries have now been settled) We will hopefully start our next broadcast from the Phillipines, where we have secured the rights to our very own burial ground. [undisclosed to protect gravesite]Our original cam site will be one of three that will be live over the course of the coming months, we will stream 1 site at a time at first and then hopefully by the end of 2006 have all three running simultaneously on three pages of this site .

From our base in Seattle we should have been able to control the lighting and 'refresh rate' of the camera equipment, unfortunately that was not the case. Thankfully all the problems we had from the start, (lighting and mounting issues meant that the cam was not only almost impossible to see but also the zoom mal-functioned) have now been addressed. We trust that the new burial site will be more suitable. We hope you find a fascinating place to visit over the coming years.

We will be able to view the new cams for many years and several modifications have been made to the latest cams and the caskets themselves - Whilst it is still buried 'six feet under', the staging area of this unit suits our technical requirements far better. Thanks for stopping by.Should you wish to discuss plans for your own 'Coffin Cam' for family and friends, please contact us for pricing details."

Very interesting concept ...... but for me, not sure I want to see my loved one underground.... comments please......

Friday, September 21, 2007

Schroeder of Peanuts Fame to be Honored!

Interesting and so very cooooool.... One of the 3 main buildings at Sonoma State University's new performing arts center may be named for Schroeder, the Beethoven-loving pianist of "Peanuts." The campus officials have proposed naming the 250 seat recital hall for the cartoon character because the widow of Charles M. Schultz donated $5 million toward the project which will be part of the Green Music Center (according to Susan Kashack of Sonoma State).

Jean Schultz, the widow of Charles Schultz sated that "I know Sparky would have enjoyed thinking about Schroeder's connection to such a grand hall and stage. Sparky was Charles Schultz nickname.

This IS A HAPPY STORY : ) and that ain't Peanuts : )

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ferrari Sues Danish Funeral Home ...

Ferrari sues Danish funeral home over sportscar urn Cremains

COPENHAGEN (AFP) — Italian carmaker Ferrari is suing a Danish funeral home that specially designed an urn in the shape of a Ferrari to fulfill the wishes of a young boy who died of cancer, the funeral home told AFP on Friday. "Ferrari in Italy is claiming that we marketed the urn and that we are misusing the brand ... They are suing us for 250,000 kroner (46,000 dollars, 33,500 euros)," the owner of the Begravelses Service funeral home, Carzten Mark, told AFP.

My comment: Sometimes I wish life and death weren't all about the money and the trademarks....

Friday, September 14, 2007

"In Time" by Mark Collie - Tribute to Steve McQueen

Anyone watch "The Punisher" this week? I did... maybe 2 or 3 times for the Mark Collie piece. I never heard of Mark Collie before... but what a great song! Which in turn prompted me to look on You Tube to find out if it was a little song for the movie or a full length song on record.... and, yes.... it is on You Tube. And, lo and behold there was a version used as a sound track for one of the KINGS of Cool ... Steve McQueen. I enjoyed it, so I am sharing. Hope you enjoy! : )

Thursday, September 13, 2007

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month - Give a Gift of Charity

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Plain and Simple. And, if you know someone who has been through any type of Cancer, you know how devastating it is. If you are planning on buying a gift for someone and want to purchase a meaningful gift for ... this is the perfect gift. It's $125.00, beautiful and unique and a real steal from Baily Banks and Biddle. Plus, the jewelry store will give 10% of the proceeds to research AND free Fed Ex shipment on this. In a way you are giving 2 gifts -- one to your friends and one to Cancer research. More importantly it will make you feel good. : )

Affordable & Beautiful

Laura Gibson Breast Cancer Awareness Bracelet

Exclusive to Bailey Banks & Biddle, this stunning sterling
silver piece by Laura Gibson is aglow with freshwater cultured
pearls, rose quartz, pink tourmaline, white crystal and a pink
breast cancer charm. 10% from the purchase of each bracelet goes
directly to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Only $125.00 with
complimentary Fed Ex Shipping.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A New Club ... The Sarcasm Society... OH Behave!

Sarcasm Society

This site is just plain cool! A treasury of informative material! Like the definition of sarcasm—and the section on how to recognize irony? So thoughtful. But know what's especially cool? The forums, where anyone with a computer can post anything! And don't worry, those messages are all right on topic. Aren't you just dying to read the section called "How to be sarcastic"? You probably are, since most people on the Web aren't already fluent in this type of communication. Still, you may ask, where can I find mocking and cynical quotes? Right here! And, there are topics on UFOs, which I particularly liked; the administrataor responded to the comment that there is no proof on alien life: "A confidential Ministry of Defence report on Unidentified Flying Objects has concluded that there is no proof of alien life forms." - BBC Was anyone expecting any government to come out and say, "Hey, guess what, we found aliens!"?

Now that's sarcasm...... : )

I could spend all day on this site.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Halloween Candles that are just too cute.... Had to share!

In the spirit of Halloween ... Looking for a great fall or Halloween themed table centerpiece for your celebration? Can't go wrong with the candles, candle holders and bowls at Illuminations. They offer wonderful candle holders, bowls, candles and wrought iron pieces that will blow your mind. The quality is wonderful and so are the prices. They are great go look at - and make a nice centerpiece gift for someone at the table! Fortunately, they also offer non-generic holiday candles and pieces as well. Worth checking them out!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Great Site.... "Dark Stories" ...Unusual and true stories!

Dark Stories is a really cool (and scary) website. Great reads if you like the unusual and a great variety of topics. They are still adding info to the site, and if you have a good yarn to tell, you can send it to them. Plus, Halloween is coming up ... believe me; you can find some great stories for the party or campfire here : ) You will find on this site various texts on subjects if you like the strange one, supernatural stories, mysteries, myths and legends. Topics include: Swindle and forgers; Myths and legends, Eccentric People; Gost Stories and my favorite; Bad luck and coinidiences. Check out this story:


Almost two centuries before the shadow of the Mothman reared its head in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, the land around the Ohio River ran red with blood. As the inhabitants of the American colonies began to push their way to the west, and later fought for their independence from Britain, they entered into deadly combat with the Native American inhabitants of the land. Perhaps their greatest foe in these early Indian wars was Chief Cornstalk, who later became a friend to the Americans. But treachery, deception and murder would bring an end to the chief’s life and a curse that he placed on Point Pleasant would linger for 200 years, bringing tragedy, death and disaster.... (click here for more)

Monday, September 03, 2007

Become a part of the Ocean . . .

Mainly Urns "They Sell Seashells for the seashore" : ) --- My own little ditty after reading this. Check out the shell pictured to the right: Dimensions: 16" x 16" x 6" (400 cubic inches - ample room for personal notes, mementos or two sets of cremated remains).

This Shell Deep Water Bio Urn is designed to provide families with a clearly themed product that will float momentarily before sinking and biodegrading naturally.

Individually hand-painted and biodegrades naturally over time. Engineered to float for approximately five minutes before descending gracefully.

Fabricated by hand from recycled and earth- friendly materials. Produced using old world "rough pulping" techniques that transform recycled paper into beautiful biodegradable urns.

Includes custom designed, protective carrying case for convenient and discreet transportation. Easy to load the cremated remains and no assembly required. Includes water-soluble plastic bag for cremated remains

Exceeds durable container and TSA airline carry-on requirements

Save the Oceans: The manufacturer of this urn will donate a portion of the proceeds from each Shell Bio Urn sold, to The Ocean Conservancy ( on behalf of the deceased. The family will receive recognition for the donation along with additional information from The Ocean Conservancy.

As a beach person myself... I think this is pretty cool.... and pretty. I tend to think that the body is just a shell for your soul anyway ... what better casing is there? (No pun intended).

Saturday, September 01, 2007

A Pigment of your Imagination - Skeleton Systems of your Favorite Cartoon Characters

Like so many Americans, Michael Paulus grew up watching cartoons. But unlike most children who become adults and shed interest in their animated friends, Michael matured into an artist who applies grown-up analysis to the animated characters of his youth—and their bone structure, in particular. That pondering led to detailed illustrations of the skeletal systems of such preeminent cartoon actors as Barney Rubble, Shmoo, and Baby Huey. If you accept the maxim that a large cranium indicates great intelligence, then Michael has revealed that Charlie Brown might just be a genius (footballs notwithstanding). Hello Kitty is a whiz. And Pigpen is a veritable Stephen Hawking. As for Betty Boop, it's a wonder she can even hold her mastermind-sized head up above those dainty little feet. (Found at Yahoo)