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Death
image I saw this story on the news last night: lava lamp explodes and kills man. It's definitely a candidate for the Darwin Awards, but it also sounds a bit like an urban legend (Big Gary wrote asking 'Can a lava lamp really kill someone? Have I been foolish to turn my back on my lava lamp?') It's been pretty widely reported, so I have to assume the story is true. And I could also imagine that if you heat a lava lamp on top of a stove, it could explode, and if you're really unlucky a shard of glass from that explosion could puncture your heart. The question in my mind is why this guy was heating it on the stove. I bet he thought he could speed up the lava bubbles by cranking up the heat a bit.
Categories: Death
Posted by Alex on Wed Dec 01, 2004
Comments (22)
Terminal Tours provides a service for those who are near death or just thinking about dying, whisking them away on the vacation of their dreams. It gives them a chance to do that one thing they always wanted to do, but never got around to doing. The guide on this 'terminal tour' is Michael Keever. Except Michael Keever doesn't actually exist. He's a character from Tom LeClair's recent novel, Passing On. Nor does Terminal Tours itself exist. LeClair left some comments in the hoax museum message board, noting that the Terminal Tours site "extends the fiction of the novel and parodies 'promise you everything, including eternal life' web sites." He also tells me that in the spirit of the Museum of Hoaxes, his next novel, The Liquidators (due out next fall), features a Museum of Lead. Cool.
Categories: Death, Websites
Posted by Alex on Wed Nov 24, 2004
Comments (0)
I thought I had some strange teachers in my time, but none as strange as this Manchester teacher who told her students that a meteor was going to hit the earth in a week and they were all going to die. Her point: to motivate them to 'seize the day'. The logic seems to be 'make them think they're going to die so they appreciate what they have.' Kind of like that guy who tried to save his marriage by electrifying his wife in the bathtub.

On a completely unrelated note, the widespread use of the phrase seize the day (from the latin carpe diem) is a pet peeve of mine, since I think it's mistranslated. The latin word carpe is principally an agricultural term meaning to harvest, pluck, or gather. It only secondarily has a military usage. So the phrase should really be translated as harvest the day, which is a lot more laid back than seize the day. Though maybe my real problem with the term are those people who are always lecturing other people to seize the day.
Categories: Death, Literature/Language
Posted by Alex on Fri Nov 19, 2004
Comments (11)
Reality TV has definitely sunk to a new low. Reuters reports that Channel 4 in Britain is considering televising a human corpse as it decomposes. They're currently searching for volunteers willing to donate their body after they die. This reminds me of two things. The See Me Rot Decomposition Cam, and also that theater group that held auditions to get someone to donate their corpse.
Categories: Death, Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 09, 2004
Comments (15)
I've heard about people who find their own obituaries mistakenly printed in papers, but I imagine that discovering you've been killed by Islamic militants in Iraq would be a little more off-putting. As the Associated Press reports: A woman was shocked to learn Friday that a photo of what appeared to be her old driver's license showed up on an Islamic Web site along with a claim that she had been captured in southern Iraq and slain. She's never been anywhere near Iraq, but she speculates that the militants got her name from a Kuwaiti guy she dated in the '80s. So not only has she been killed by Islamic militants, but also an old relationship is coming back to haunt her. That's got to be the worst. (via hoaxes' journal)
Categories: Death, Hate Crimes/Terror
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 04, 2004
Comments (4)
An urban legend has been circulating about Pimp My Ride, the MTV show on which people get surprised by having their raggedy hoopties (read: old cars) transformed into tricked-out pimp-mobiles. I'll let this poster from the Elle.com forums describe the rumor, since she does it so much better than I could:

okay remember the beloved episode of the girl Nile with the pink cadillac and they put the river in the back her car. i think it was like episode 2 or something. i was told that she was car jacked and killed like 6wks after the show aired. did anyone else hear this? i searched the internet looking for this and i did see it posted somewhere else but you chicks are usually up on stuff like this, so did someone else hear this or am i just the last person to find out?  that is so sad!

So was Nile the victim of carjackers? No. At least, if she was, it hasn't been reported anywhere in the news. Another poster on Elle.com claims to be Nile's friend and assures everyone that she's still alive, but who knows if that person really knows Nile. Anyway, I'd classify this rumor as yet another of the perils-of-sudden-fame-and-being-too-ostentatious variety.
Categories: Death, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Wed Nov 03, 2004
Comments (11)
A recent article in the Phoenix New Times describes Phoenix-based Preserve A Life, a company that specializes in Humidermy... a.k.a. Human Taxidermy. If you can't stand the idea of cremating or burying your dearly departed, then Preserve A Life will freeze-dry and 'mount' them for you. Bring Granny back home and have her on display in the living room. You can pose the body in any position you want: "Children have been posed on bicycles and skateboards, grandmothers in rocking chairs, and grandfathers playing boccie ball." As I was reading the article, I kept thinking this CAN'T be real, but some of the links mentioned in the article seemed authentic, such as this one to a Pet Preservation Clinic (and this link to Summum, the world leader in modern mummification, also seemed real, though it doesn't seem that Summum has had a lot of clients yet). What finally convinced me that the article was nothing more than an elaborate joke was the discovery that the Preserve A Life website is registered to the Phoenix New Times itself. But I have to admit, it had me going for a while. I was almost ready to believe that Preserve A Life was real.
Categories: Death
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 02, 2004
Comments (8)
image According to local legend in Manitou Springs, Colorado (legend that may or may not be true), a young woman named Emma Crawford was once buried at the top of nearby Red Mountain. But during a rain storm, her coffin came loose and raced down the side of the mountain. To commemorate this event, residents of the town now hold an annual coffin racing contest through the center of town. A few pictures from yesterday's race can be seen here. I'm not sure who won.
Categories: Death, Sports
Posted by Alex on Tue Nov 02, 2004
Comments (13)
Yahoo News offers up this brief report about a British train conductor who "stamped and carefully returned the ticket of a slumbering passenger without realizing the man was dead." I guess people only realized the guy was dead once the train pulled into the station (York) and he failed to wake up. Now, by coincidence, I took this very same train last month, and the seats were pretty cramped, so either the train was quite empty, or whoever was sitting next to the dead guy was really oblivious. The story reminds me of the old urban legend about the guy who dies in his office, sitting at his desk, but none of his co-workers notice.
Categories: Death, Urban Legends
Posted by Alex on Mon Nov 01, 2004
Comments (7)
William Butler Yeats is widely regarded as one of the greatest modern poets. He's also my favorite poet (and we happen to share a birthday!). When I spent a semester studying in Ireland fifteen years ago I made a special trip to visit his grave located just outside of Sligo. It's well worth a visit, even if you couldn't care less about Yeats, because the scenery there is stunning. But now I find out that Yeats may not occupy that grave. Instead, it may be a random Englishman named Alfred Hollis who's buried there. According to this article on Eircom.net it's very likely that a mix-up occurred when Yeats' remains were moved from France to Ireland in 1948. So now I have to make a completely different trip to France if I want to say that I've been to Yeats' grave. Though unfortunately, even if I do make it to his real grave, I'm sure that I still won't have any clue what Yeats meant by his epitaph: "Cast a cold eye on life, on death. Horseman, pass by."
Categories: Death, Literature/Language
Posted by Alex on Wed Oct 27, 2004
Comments (21)
image German artist Karl-Friedrich Lentze has applied for a patent on his new invention: a banana-straightening device (thanks to Hairy Houdini for posting this in the hoax forum). Obviously this is just what the world needs. Basically Lentze's idea is to chop off the bent bits and then seal the banana back up with a "biologically safe plaster." Here are some of Lentze's other projects:

Categories: Death, Food
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 21, 2004
Comments (3)
There's a LiveJournal community devoted to exposing fake LiveJournal deaths. I love it. You find cynical observations such as this: "you'll notice when visiting luna's journal that her dad died on August 8. He was immediately buried the next afternoon. In the meantime however, luna spent the hours posting bad poetry and stupid surveys." The Museum of Hoaxes also gets mentioned. Unfortunately it looks like they're configuring the community so that you'll now have to join it in order to see any future posts.
Categories: Death
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 19, 2004
Comments (0)
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