Life, Death, Ego and Eternity

This week on HOME: Stories From L.A.

The original Forest Lawn Memorial Park, in the hills above Glendale, may be best known outside California for inspiring the sledgehammer satire of the 1965 cult comedy "The Loved One." For tourists and curiosity-seekers, it's the gonzo life's work of Hubert Eaton, who memorialized himself as The Builder in the park's every corner. For the families of the people interred there, though, it's something more, and harder to joke away: A place of their own, green and quiet, and eternity-adjacent. 

This is the second episode of Season 5. You can catch up on the whole series at the iTunes Store. While you're there, please take a second to leave the show a rating and review. And you can subscribe right here:  

iTunes | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS Read the rest

Brain activity recorded as much as 10 minutes after death

University of Western Ontario researchers examined the electrical activity in several patients before and after their life support was turned off and they were declared clinically dead, when the heart had stopped beating. In one patient, brain waves, in the form of single delta wave bursts, continued for minutes after death.

"It is difficult to posit a physiological basis for this EEG activity given that it occurs after a prolonged loss of circulation," the researchers write in their scientific paper. "These waveform bursts could, therefore, be artefactual in nature, although an artefactual source could not be identified."

This kind of research in the niche field of necroneuroscience is relevant to ethical discussions around organ donation and how the moment of death is defined.

(Neuroskeptic via Daily Grail)

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Your cremated loved one's ashes can be pressed into a vinyl record

That's not dust on the stylus, that's Uncle Fred!

Andvinyly presses cremated remains into a vinyl record.

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Patton Oswalt shares the cause of wife Michelle McNamara's death

Comedian, actor, and nerd, Patton Oswalt shared his grief with the world last year when his wife Michelle McNamara died. Patton revealed on Friday that the medical causes of her resulted from a combination of prescription medications and a heart problem that had not been diagosed. Los Angeles coroner officials informed him earlier today.

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Paradoxical undressing: getting naked before freezing to death

For reasons unknown, up to half of of people who freeze to death are found partially or completely naked. DNews looks into the phenomenon of paradoxical undressing. Read the rest

Everything Must Go

This week on HOME: Stories From L.A., a member of the Boing Boing Podcast Network:

Some stories don't end when you think they do. Some stories just pause. And then they sneak back around and whap you across the back of your unsuspecting head. So here's one I didn't expect to revisit, although maybe I should have: Part 2 of Episode 7, "Unmaking A Home."

If you like what you hear, please drop by the iTunes Store and leave the show a rating and/or review. And don't forget to subscribe: 

iTunes | Android | Email | Google Play | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS Read the rest

Children don’t always live

I’ve often wondered, as I suppose any parent has, what would continue to bind me to the earth if my child died.

I don’t know, is the answer. I have two close friends who’ve had young children die, and another friend whose one son committed suicide and the second died of brain cancer. Not sure how they start their days, what they think to push them forward, where their strength comes from. But they have gone on with their lives. I don’t see their pain, but it must lurk somewhere.

Perhaps if you’re a religious person you may find some hope in the belief that sooner or later you will be reunited with your loved one, however there is no such consolation for an atheist such as myself. The thought of your child dying seems that it would be an end to all … why write a book, take a trip, watch a movie, eat a meal, take the garbage out? What could seem to have any importance at that point. Still, my friends have persevered. Perhaps it is their spouses that provide the anchor.

My own little bundle of joy is now 15 years on this earth, fiercely smart, strong both physically and mentally, yet willful, torn by the contradictions of adolescence, looking for a way forward. Sometimes, well often actually, I am accused of various unspeakable acts, of being old, and so on. Everyone told me that these years would come, but it’s hard to conceive of the hurt and difficulty when they suddenly appear one day: seeing the sweet smiling face of the flesh of your flesh suddenly turn into cold contempt. Read the rest

Partially nude dead Briton with cold-cuts on his buttocks and his penis in a tuna can found tied up outside Malaga airport

No one is sure how 51 year old British man ended up dead, pantsless, tied to a bench in front of the Malaga airport with luncheon meat on his buttocks and his penis in a can of tuna fish. Read the rest

Maserati Hearse

People are dying for a ride in Ellena Funeral Car's Maserati Hearse:

Multifunctional steering wheel - Dual-zone automatic climate control - Windshield wiper with rain sensor - Body in fiberglass - Hydraulic Alzabara - Interior lighting LED - Stainless steel cladding and imitation leather boating - Cross removable stainless steel - Hooks door wreaths - Audio engineer - Metallic paint choice

Optional accessories: - Opening the tailgate automatic - Platform Automatic - Parking sensors - Tinted windows

Maserati Hearse (via Uncrate)

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Ancient corpse found in "burial shroud" of marijuana plants

In northwest China, archaeologists dug up an ancient corpse in a burial shroud of cannabis plants. The fellow was buried approximately 2,400 to 2,800 years ago. Archaeologist Hongen Jiang and colleagues described the discovery as an "extraordinary cache" of well-preserved plants. From National Geographic:

Thirteen cannabis plants, each up to almost three feet long, were placed diagonally across the man's chest, with the roots oriented beneath his pelvis and the tops of the plants extending from just under his chin, up and alongside the left side of his face.

This discovery adds to a growing collection of archaeological evidence showing that cannabis consumption was "very popular" across the Eurasian steppe thousands of years ago, says Jiang.

...This is the first time ever that archaeologists have recovered complete cannabis plants, as well as the first incidence of their use as a "shroud" or covering in a human burial, says Jiang.

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Hedge fund paid terminally ill people to sign up for "death puts"

A "death put" on a certificate of deposit means that the bond matures immediately upon the bearer's death, rather than when its term runs out: they're used as a form of life-insurance, cushioning the blow to loved ones from unexpected death, and they can be held jointly, so that the bearer's heirs and a third party get a payoff on death. Read the rest

Shave the corpse

Found in the January 1912 issue of Casket and Sunnyside magazine, "the foremost journal of the funeral profession since 1871."

As our friends at Weird Universe noted, Shave the Corpse would make a terrific band name. Read the rest

Prince died of a pain medication overdose

Updated: Fentanyl.

A law enforcement official told the Associated Press today that tests show Prince died of an opioid overdose. The iconic musician was found dead at Paisley Park, his home and studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on the morning of April 21, 2016. He was 57.

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If you could choose to find out your death date, would you?

Today we travel to a future where everybody knows exactly when they’re going to die. Read the rest

Brilliant billboard for faux funeral home is anti-texting and driving PSA

This brilliant billboard on the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto, Canada is actually a PSA to discourage texting and driving. After this, if Wathan Funeral Home were real, people would be dying to get in. (Sorry.)

Excellent work from the john st. advertising agency and Cieslok Media.

(Adweek) Read the rest

Bardo-tripping with Timothy Leary

Our favorite PhD of high weirdness, Dr. Erik Davis, author of Techgnosis, recently gave a compelling cosmic rap at the Morbid Anatomy Museum about Timothy Leary and his appropriation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead! Listen to it here.

"While even most psychedelicists now discount the brazen and now rather dated work he created with Richard Alpert and Ralph Mezner, 1964’s The Psychedelic Experience," Erik writes, "I argue that there was also something deeply canny and even visionary about this mapping, which in some sense just extends possibilities already inherent in the ancient Tibetan concept (which is itself probably as indigenous-shamanic as it is Indian)." Read the rest

Funeral parlor 3D prints new faces for disfigured corpses

Shanghai's Longhua Funeral Parlor now offers 3D printing of faces and other body parts to improve the appearance of the deceased during viewing.

"It is difficult for relatives to see incomplete faces or bodies of their loved ones when they attend memorial services, and makeup cannot always sufficiently repair them," Liu Fengming, an official with the Shanghai Funeral and Interment Service Center, said. From the Shanghai Daily:

After the explosion at Tianjin Port in August last year, the center sent experts to help repair the faces of firefighters killed in the blast.

The 3D-printing technology can also be used to make loved ones appear younger or better looking before they are interred, said Liu, who added that partial repair costs less than 10,000 yuan.

More at the World Post: "Chinese Funeral Home 3D Prints Body Parts For Damaged Corpses" Read the rest

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