Fun With Death

You gotta admire someone who loves their job as much as him.
Normally there are some topics that just aren’t funny. Yet, this week, I was able to post Fun With Dog Vomit and feel no guilt. It just worked out that way. Sometimes people find humor in ways that would have eluded you otherwise. How else to explain the upcoming Canadian television special about the birth of Jesus Christ which will feature Pam Anderson as the Virgin Mary? Also, in the same special, Ted Lange, the lovable bartender from Love Boat, will play a role. I’m sure that your church will want to stream this special broadcast in honor of the holidays so I didn’t want you to miss out. I know I, for one, am going to make every effort possible to find this sucker and share it with my friends. I’m sure it will be tasteful and inspiring.

I’m also firmly convinced that the Easter Bunny is real, so take it for what it’s worth.

However, today, I’m not here to talk about religious exaltations. At least not directly. No, today we are going to talk about the more mundane stuff of life. Specifically, death. And, naturally, we start our little excursion in Tampa, Florida. It seems that a man called 911 and made arrangements to drop off a dead body he had in the trunk of his car. This, of course, is a common occurrence as police in Pennsylvania are reporting that a local resident delivered a dead women in the trunk of his car. I’m not sure that I see the appeal of this but it does save the cops some time. Both drivers are currently being held for questioning.

Of course that’s still better than the way they handle things in Spain. There you can only rent your grave site and, if you miss a payment, they evict you.

Pushed for space, a Spanish cemetery has begun placing stickers on thousands of burial sites whose leases are up as a warning to relatives or caretakers to pay up or face possible eviction.

Jose Abadia, deputy urban planning manager for northern Zaragoza city, said Monday the city’s Torrero municipal graveyard had removed remains from some 420 crypts in recent months and removed them to a common burial ground.

Torrero, like many Spanish cemeteries, no longer allows people to buy grave sites. It instead leases them out for periods of five or 49 years.

Abadia said the cases involved graves whose leases had not been renewed for 15 years or more. He said Torrero currently had some 7,000 burial sites with lapsed leases out of a total of some 114,000.

He said leases generally lapsed because the relatives or caretakers had died or had moved house and failed to renew the contract. He said in other cases, with the passing of years family descendants sometimes no longer wanted to pay for further leases.

He said the policy was a matter graveyard management and that graveyards were not limitless in space.

“If we keep on building and building spaces for human remains, where are we going to end up?” said Abadia. “It’s a problem that is affecting big city cemeteries more and more.”

The graveyard began looking for payment defaulters over the past two years. Abadia said the process of trying to notify relatives or caretakers and giving them a chance to decide what to do normally takes up to six months.

“We’re not doing it to make money or empty graves but rather to improve management,” said Abadia.

The sticker campaign was decided upon to coincide with the Nov. 1 Roman Catholic holiday on which people visit graveyards. Abadia said that since then hundreds of people had called to make inquiries about grave of their relatives.

Nowadays, Spanish cemeteries normally place coffins or cremated ash urns in niches above ground.

But, as humiliating as that may be it’s still WAY better than what happened recently in Russia. Unless cross dressing cadavers are your thing that is.

The Russian historian had always been open about his interest in the dead and eagerly described how he loved to rummage through cemeteries, studying gravestones to uncover the life stories behind them.

What he failed to mention, according to police, was that he had dug up 29 bodies and taken them back to his apartment, where he dressed them in women’s clothes scavenged from graves and then put them on display.

A police video of the man’s apartment in the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod released Monday shows his macabre collection of what look like dolls. Life-size, they are dressed in bright dresses and headscarves, their hands and faces wrapped in what appears to be cloth. Police said they were mummified remains.

Police refused to name the suspect arrested last week, but released photographs of him, gave his age as 45 and described him as a well-known specialist in the history of the city about 250 miles east of Moscow. Russian media reports identified the man as Anatoly Moskvin, a 45-year-old historian who was considered the ultimate expert on cemeteries in Nizhny Novgorod.

The arrest followed a long-running investigation into the desecration of graves at several cemeteries in Nizhny Novgorod beginning in 2010, police spokeswoman Svetlana Kovylina said. She did not explain how they tracked him down.

Alexei Yesin, the editor of a local newspaper to which Moskvin contributed, said he was shocked by the reports and couldn’t understand how he could have squeezed all the bodies into his apartment, which he shared with his parents.

He described Moskvin as a loner who had “certain quirks,” but said he gave no indication that he was up to anything so strange. “I saw no signs of that while working with him,” Yesin said.

Moskvin, who long had been known in the region for his interest in the dead, wrote several articles about cemeteries and historic sites in the region. A linguistic expert by training, he specialized in Celtic culture and studied 13 foreign languages.

In a 2007 interview with the newspaper Nizhegorodsky Rabochy, or Nizhny Novgorod Worker, Moskvin said he had begun wandering through cemeteries when he was in the seventh grade. “I don’t think anyone in the city knows them better than I do,” he said.

I’m sure there’s a logical explanation for all this. He’s gone completely over the edge would be my guess, but that’s awfully technical. Hopefully they’ll come up with something else.

Still and all, it is said that how we meet death may be the most important part of our life. Many people utter memorable statements that succor or amuse their survivors. But an Ohio man wanted to make sure his last audience clearly understood him. So, he flipped them off as he was being executed.

A man who fatally shot his three sons while they slept in 1982, shortly after his wife filed for divorce, was executed yesterday with each of his hands clenched in an obscene gesture.

Reginald Brooks of East Cleveland died at 2:04 p.m., ending a nearly six-month break in the use of capital punishment in Ohio, which often trails only Texas in the number of annual inmate executions.

Brooks declined to make a final statement. Witnesses, which included his former wife and her sisters, had a view of his left hand, its middle finger raised.

Prison officials said he was making the same gesture with his right hand.

State and federal courts rejected attorneys’ arguments that Brooks was not mentally competent and that the government had hid relevant evidence that could have affected his case.

The execution was delayed by more than three hours as attorneys exhausted Brooks’ appeals.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused yesterday to halt the execution.

Brooks’ attorney said the gesture reflected the inmate’s anger at the final set of court decisions.

“That was his reaction to how things had gone down in the last couple of days,” defense attorney Michael Benza said.

“Even Reggie, the mentally ill, paranoid schizophrenic, understood how wrong the process was,” he said.

“It wasn’t to the family; it was to the system that had treated him so badly these last few weeks.”

Beverly Brooks, who found her 11-, 15- and 17-year-old sons dead when she returned from work, and her two sisters sat silently during the execution, wearing white T-shirts printed with a photo of the boys.

At 66, Brooks is the oldest person put to death since Ohio resumed executions in 1999.

The defense argued Brooks was a paranoid schizophrenic who suffered from mental illness long before he shot his sons in the head as they slept at their East Cleveland home on a Saturday morning.

Defense attorneys said Brooks believed that his co-workers and wife were poisoning him. Until his execution, he maintained his innocence, offering conspiracy theories about the killings that involved police, his relatives and a look-alike.

Beverly Brooks has said that she believes the killings were an act of revenge for her divorce filing, not the result of mental illness.

Prosecutors acknowledged Brooks was mentally ill but disputed the notions that it caused the murders or made him incompetent.

They said he planned merciless killings, bought a revolver two weeks in advance, confirmed he’d be home alone with the boys, and targeted them when they wouldn’t resist.

Brooks was found competent for trial, and a three-judge panel convicted him.

Defense attorneys argued that prosecutors had withheld information that would have supported a mental-health defense and led the court to rule differently.

Former Judge Harry Hanna, one of the three on the panel, told the Ohio Parole Board that he would not have voted for the death penalty if he’d had information from police reports that were provided to the defense more recently.

If a three-judge panel hears a death-penalty case, it must vote unanimously for a death sentence under Ohio law.

The parole board recommended that Gov. John Kasich deny Brooks clemency, and he did.

Yeah, da bird bird bird da bird is da word …..


Okay, obviously there are some troubling issues there but you do have to admire the guy’s gumption.


Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!

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