'What do you think happens when we die, Keanu Reeves?'

Actor Keanu Reeves answers one of life's greatest questions in the way only Keanu Reeves can. Read the rest

Luke Perry was buried in a mushroom suit

Actor Luke Perry, who died last month following a massive stroke, was buried in a mushroom suit. According to his daughter, Perry had requested that upon his death he wear Coeio's "Infinity Burial Suit" that the company describes as "made up of of mushrooms and other microorganisms that together do three things; aid in decomposition, work to neutralize toxins found in the body and transfer nutrients to plant life."

(CNN)

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💋In December I went to San Francisco with two of my best friends. One of them, had never never been to California, so we went to show him the Redwoods. I took this picture while we were there, because i thought, “damn, those mushrooms are beautiful.” Now, mushrooms hold an entirely new meaning for me. Any explanation i give will not do justice to the genius that is the mushroom burial suit, but it is essentially an eco friendly burial option via mushrooms. All i can say is that you should all look into them at coeio.com or just by googling “mushroom burial suit” . My dad discovered it, and was more excited by this than I have ever seen him. He was buried in this suit, one of his final wishes. They are truly a beautiful thing for this beautiful planet, and I want to share it with all of you.

A post shared by Sophie Perry (@lemonperry) on May 3, 2019 at 4:53am PDT

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Human composting may soon be legal in Washington state

On Friday, the Washington state legislature passed a bill legalizing the "recomposition" of human remains, defined as the "contained, accelerated conversion of human remains to soil." If signed by Governor Jay Inlee, the bill will become law next year. From CNN:

Katrina Spade is the CEO of the human composting company, Recompose, and told CNN affiliate KIRO-TV she is hoping her company can be one of the first to build a facility for the practice...

"(The) body is covered in natural materials, like straw or wood chips, and over the course of about three to seven weeks, thanks to microbial activity, it breaks down into soil," she said.

While the dead body is being broken down, Spade said families of the deceased will be able to visit her facility and will ultimately receive the soil that remains of their loved. It is up to the family how they want to use that soil, Spade said.

"And if they don't want that soil, we'll partner with local conservation groups around the Puget Sound region so that that soil will be used to nourish the land here in the state," she said.

image: "Vision of a Future Recompose Facility" by MOLT Studios Read the rest

The incredible story of Susan Potter, the "immortal corpse"

In the year 2,000, Susan Potter, then 72, donated her body to medicine. After Potter died, scientists froze her corpse, sliced it into 27,000 slivers thinner than a human hair, photographed each slice, and created "the world’s most advanced virtual cadaver using the highest-quality imagery of an entire human body in existence." Not only is the virtual cadaver an incredible accomplishment but so is National Geographic's story about Potter and the lead researcher, Dr. Vic Spitzer Ph.D., director of the Center for Human Simulation at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Why? Because National Geographic followed this incredible story of the Visible Human Project for almost two decades, from before Potter died through the completion of the simulation. Watch the documentary above. From National Geographic:

Are you interested in working with us before you die? (Spitzer) finally asked (Potter). Are you interested in giving us more than just your body—in giving us your personality and knowledge?

Spitzer wanted to videotape her while she was living and record her talking about her life, her health, her medical history. Your pathology isn’t that interesting to the project, Spitzer told Potter. But if I could capture you talking to medical students, when they’re looking at slices of your body, you could tell them about your spine—why you didn’t want the surgery, what kind of pain the surgery caused, and what kind of life you led after the surgery. That would be fascinating.

“They’ll see her body while they’re hearing her stories,” he explained, adding that video and audio of her would make her more real and introduce the element of emotion to students.

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Watch: 'LIMBO,' ambient video loop by Bill Domonkos of 20 (real) death masks

GIF: John Keats, 1785-1921.

Enjoy this beautiful, creepy, ethereal short ambient ambient video loop by Bill Domonkos, a filmmaker, GIF maker and stereoscopist. Read the rest

"If we love, we grieve," Nick Cave gives fan heartfelt advice

Since September, Nick Cave has been thoughtfully answering fan's questions through his site The Red Hand Files. To answer the latest query, Cave shared his thoughts on death and how he and his wife Susie were mourning their son Arthur who died in 2015.

Cynthia of Shelburne Falls, Vermont wrote that she had lost her father, sister, and first love over the past few years and said she communicated with them in her dreams. She wrote that it was helping her. She asked if Cave and his wife were communicating with Arthur in a similar way.

Here's how he responded:

Dear Cynthia,

This is a very beautiful question and I am grateful that you have asked it. It seems to me, that if we love, we grieve. That’s the deal. That’s the pact. Grief and love are forever intertwined. Grief is the terrible reminder of the depths of our love and, like love, grief is non-negotiable. There is a vastness to grief that overwhelms our minuscule selves. We are tiny, trembling clusters of atoms subsumed within grief’s awesome presence. It occupies the core of our being and extends through our fingers to the limits of the universe. Within that whirling gyre all manner of madnesses exist; ghosts and spirits and dream visitations, and everything else that we, in our anguish, will into existence. These are precious gifts that are as valid and as real as we need them to be. They are the spirit guides that lead us out of the darkness.

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Discover if someone has died in your house

Have you ever wondered if someone died in your house, or worse?

Enter DiedInHouse.com. A simple $11.99 search through them will tell you everything you (probably don't) want to know.

A query on this website will uncover if a specific address is "stigmatized," meaning that it's got issues beyond its physical condition. Sellers are generally not under legal obligation to share if something horrible -- like a murder, suicide, or, say, a meth lab -- has happened on a property. And they certainly aren't required to disclose "paranormal" activity.

Software engineer Roy Condrey founded the site in 2013 after getting a strange text.

Forbes:

The website’s creation begins like a ghost story. ...Condrey received a text message in the middle of the night from one of his tenants that read: “Did you know that your house is haunted?” Condrey went down a cyber rabbit hole seeking, but not finding, an easy way to determine if his property had indeed seen a gruesome crime or fatality.

“I went online to find a ‘Carfax’ of sorts for deaths in homes and I didn’t find anything, but I did find pages and pages of people asking if there’s a way to find out if their house is haunted,” says Condrey, who rents out several properties. He later learned through his data collection that, in fact, at least 4.5 million homes nationwide have had documented deaths take place on the premises. The number of homeowners that know about the history of their home, however, is unknown.

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Disney theme parks have a serious problem with cremain-scattering

If you ever hear an announcement on a Disneyland or Walt Disney World PA calling for a "HEPA cleanup" it means that someone has just dumped a dead person's ashes in a ride. Again. Read the rest

Baking Skullzones, skull-shaped calzones, for Halloween or any time

Awesome baking project for Halloween. Read the rest

Documentary on legendary fantasy coffin artist Paa Joe now available online

Want to be buried in a giant wooden coffin that looks like a Coke bottle?

Coffin artist Paa Joe is the guy who can make that happen. He crafts fantasy wood "proverb coffins" (aka as abebuu adekai in his culture) out of his shop in Ghana. He's considered the grandfather of the fantasy coffin trade and his work is exhibited in museums worldwide. But hard times fell on his business.

Paa Joe & The Lion is the 2017 documentary that tells the story of how he and his son are rebuilding the family legacy together. It's now available to stream on Amazon (free with Prime). It's really inspiring!

Paa Joe dreams of his bygone days — bringing money home in briefcases and work being shipped to galleries the world over. Now, he sleeps as the cars hurtle passed. There are no customers, no tourists — there are no coffins to make. His son, Jacob, dreams too, he dreams of returning his father to his glory days and rebuilding the family legacy together. Over the next four years they stand side-by-side, conquering love and death and embracing a life changing opportunity to travel to the UK to undertake an artist residency. It is the start of their future together — master and son... Paa Joe & The Lion

Here's a look at some of his pieces:

via john nash

Cacao pod coffin image via akhenatenator

via Allison Meier

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Rhino fantasy coffin

A post shared by Paa Joe (@paajoecoffins) on Aug 27, 2018 at 10:48am PDT

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A mighty oak tree has broken leaving a legacy behind.

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Nicaragua's Ortega says everything's fine while protestors continue to die in the street

Are you sitting down? After months of anti-government protests, over 300 civilian deaths and, more recently, the rounding up of protesters and intellectuals who were designated as terrorists or linked to risks to Nicaragua’s sovereignty, the country’s president-cum-dictator Daniel Ortega announced today that he refuses to step down from his post. On the bright side, Ortega told Fox News (the preferred network of dictators and kleptocrats, apparently) that he has fabulous news: the violence that's plagued his nation for months is over! Just like that!

Except, it isn’t.

From CBS News:

Thousands of people marched yesterday in Nicaragua to demand that President Daniel Ortega step down. The demonstrations over proposed benefit cuts, which began three months ago, are expected to continue today.

CBS News correspondent Manuel Bojorquez reports an eerie quiet during much of the day in the capital city of Managua, as people stay home and business owners close up shop for their own safety.

But after the calm, the sounds of protest pierce the air, and the fear of bloody confrontations returns.

Within minutes of arriving in the capital, Bojorquez encountered an anti-government protest and the sound of mortar fire.

It didn’t take long for Bojorquez to find the source of the mortar fire. He spoke with a group of young men who’d DIY’d their mortars, firing them off as a warning that government forces and para-militaries were drawing near. The mortar crews provide the warning with good reason: over the past few weeks, violent attacks against protestors by loyalist paramilitaries and Nicaraguan police have intensified. Read the rest

A build-your-own casket kit

Buying a casket from a funeral home can be damn expensive. The average one costs a little over $2000. And while selling your soul to get one cheaper from Walmart may be tempting, it's not as inexpensive (or as awesome) as making one from a kit sold from Northwoods Casket Company in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. For $599 and some manual labor, you can make their simple pine box model with your own hands.

This casket kit comes complete with all wooden parts pre-cut. No cutting. No clamping. Kit includes Casket Kit Assembly Instructions, screws, glue, and a piece of sandpaper. The parts are smooth, but sanding is one of those tasks that is never finished. The kit assembles in 1-2 hours. Extra hands make for light work. Keep the blue-stained pine as is, or finish with oil, varnish, paint, or any creative method that inspires you.

Now, if $599 is out of your price range, perhaps you should consider cremation and putting the ashes in this Modest Urn?

All kidding aside, do check out the website for Northwoods Casket Company though. They've got all kinds of interesting things to look at.

(TIWIB) Read the rest

Pianist Henry Butler dead at 69

If you love New Orleans-style piano or simply subscribe to joy, the music of Henry Butler would be welcome in your home. Gospel, old school rhythm and blues, Caribbean-tinged jazz and, of course, that signature syncopated New Orleans sound made renowned by musical luminaries like Jellyroll Morton and Professor Longhair--Butler could play it all.

And he did.

His playing challenges the ears, turning well-known standards up on their ends to show listeners what's inside of them. Sadly, we're all given our time to go. There'll be no more Henry Butler for us to enjoy, save what has already been recorded. Butler died in a hospice facility this week, in Brooklyn. He was 69 years old.

From the New York Times:

Mr. Butler commanded the syncopated power and splashy filigree of boogie-woogie and gospel and the rolling polyrhythms of Afro-Caribbean music. He could also summon the elegant delicacy of classical piano or hurtle toward the dissonances and atonal clusters of modern jazz. He could play in convincing vintage styles and sustain multileveled counterpoint, then demolish it all in a whirlwind of genre-smashing virtuosity.

As The New York Times' obituary of Butler points out, Dr. John once called Butler “the pride of New Orleans and a visionistical down-home cat and a hellified piano plunker to boot.”

Knowing that his playing will inspire generations of musicians in the decades to come feels like cold comfort in the wake of the loss of such a talent.

The older I get, the stranger it feels to watch as the musicians who inspire me fall to the ravages of time. Read the rest

Why Portugal's decriminalization of all drugs has saved so many lives

In less than two decades, Portugal went from suffering an epidemic of heroin use, drug-related crimes and deaths to enjoying one of the lowest rates of drug-related deaths in the world. This excellent, short video from Bloomberg explores why this is the case. Read the rest

Mystery man found dead in wall of women's washroom

The Core Shopping Center caters to the needs of Calgary, Canada's downtown office workers. Wandering its multiple floors over a series of city blocks, you'll find a mid-ranged food court, travel agencies, cell phone stores and stores flogging business attire – pretty standard stuff. Its white walls and polished floors give it an institutional feel that shouts "shop and bugger off." It's a mall! You could mistake it for any number of other shopping centers around North America, except for one thing: the Core has, or rather, had, a dead fella in the wall of one of its women's washrooms.

I spend six months of the year in and around Calgary and worked for a number of years managing mall cops. Lemme set the scene.

Instead of forcing maintenance personnel to rip a hole in a wall to access plumbing every time that there's a problem, a lot of mall bathrooms are designed to include small, lockable doors that provide access to the pipes. The wall that this door is baked into is often referred to as a "pony wall." Pony walls aren't designed for load bearing. They're there, primarily, to hide plumbing, HVAC and electrical conduits from folks using the building. It looks nice. In between a pony wall and the wall that lies beyond it, there's usually a small chunk of space – maybe one and a half feet feet deep – to allow workers to get parts of themselves and their tools into to make repairs. The access hatch for a pony wall can be locked and unlocked from the outside. Read the rest

Harry Anderson, TV's 'Night Court' star, has died at 65 in Asheville, N.C.

Actor Harry Anderson, best known for presiding over NBC's 'Night Court,' has died. He was 65. Read the rest

Beautiful art made from ashes of euthanized shelter animals

For her Stardust and Ashes project, Shannon Johnstone wanted to memorialize local shelter animals "with nobody to mourn their passing," so she used their ashes to make cosmic cyanotypes. Read the rest

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