GIF: John Keats, 1785-1921.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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
Awesome baking project for Halloween. Read the rest
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 MeierRead the rest
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
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.
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
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
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
Actor Harry Anderson, best known for presiding over NBC's 'Night Court,' has died. He was 65. Read the rest
The Chinese Minister of Culture has launched a campaign in Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu and Hebei provinces to end the practice of hiring strippers to draw crowds to funerals -- these crowds are seen as a mark of respect and status for the departed that epitomizes the virtue of "filial piety," regardless of how they are brought in. Read the rest
Venezuela is in crisis. The South American country has been a sore festered with political turmoil and socioeconomic woes for years now. Unemployment is a pandemic in the country and, thanks to the devaluation of their currency, what little food can be had there, is largely unaffordable by the nation's people. As a result of these conditions, crime has become rampant, countless businesses in the country have shuttered and shortages of the staples we take for granted have become commonplace. Reuters reports that the shortages have begun to effect an unexpected, exclusive group of Venezuelans: organ transplant recipients.
According to Reuters, there are around 3,500 organ transplant recipients living in Venezuela today. Thanks to modern medicine, theses recipients have been able to lead largely normal lives. But as the country's ability to afford medicines made in other countries, make their own drugs or pay medical personnel diminishes, the lives of its organ transplant recipients are being put at risk. The drugs needed to keep their new organs from being rejected by their bodies have run out. So far, at least seven of the country's citizens have died as a result, with 35 additional transplant recipients reporting that their new organs are now being rejected by their bodies.
The suck doesn't stop there: thanks to the fact that only around half of Venezuela's dialysis machines are operating, tens of thousands of people waiting for lifesaving surgeries are at risk of dying as their blood can't be cleaned of toxins. The doctors who are still working to keep people alive in the country are exhausted and frustrated by the conditions they're now forced to work in:
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"It's incredibly stressful.
The FSA has also noted that the proportion of campylobacter-infected chickens which showed resistance to key antibiotics, in this case ciprofloxacin, “has increased significantly” compared with a previous survey of chickens sold at retail 10 years ago. More than 4,000 samples were tested, then samples of smaller numbers exhibiting campylobacter infections retested to detect whether they carried bacteria resistant to the key antibiotics. Ciprofloxacin resistance was identified in more than half of the samples of one form of campylobacter tested, 237 out of 437 tests on Campylobacter jejuni, and in nearly half (52 out of 108) of another strain, Campylobacter coli.
The results were taken by experts to show that the use of antibiotics to treat farm animals is giving rise to the spread of resistant bacteria, which can have major effects on human health because one of the main methods of transmission to many strains of resistant bacteria is through contact with livestock in the food chain. While proper hygiene practices and thorough cooking can kill the bugs, any lapses can result in serious infection.
Post-Trump/Brexit omni-deregulation shall be a splendid affair.
Remember how the bad guys got battered on by little Kevin's (Macaulay Culkin) booby traps in the Home Alone series?
Well, in these videos from 2015, a group of real-life doctors watched clips from both early 1990s holiday flicks and gave their professional opinion on what life-altering injuries the movie's burglars, Marv (Daniel Stern) and Harry (Joe Pesci), would have sustained. It ain't pretty.