Dead Can Dance

The Hotel for the Departed, a City of
Mausoleums & a Coffin-Making Class

In the age of transcontinental traveling, it’s not easy to be buried in your hometown. Unless you choose to live where you plan to die.
But for your grieving loved ones, nothing like a hotel to send you off in style. Better yet, why not learn how to build your own coffin?
Of course, there’s nothing new under the sun. In fact, we bet that our earliest ancestors had similar concerns, and thousands of years after, we still anguish over what to do with the deceased.
This week’s scenes of staged grief by professional North Korean criers notwithstanding, we tend to mourn those who go before us in ways we wouldn’t find out of place, if it were our own time to go.
We build crypts, we enact rituals and we find ways to memorialize the lives that were, so to transcend the simple natural fact that once we’re born, we’re ever closer to that final moment.
So now that we creeped you out, let’s visit an old mountaintop, in Continue reading


Disposal Economics

Ecology of Death Penalty or
Being Buried in a Watery Grave

Immortality is one of those dreams that would turn into a nightmare if it’d ever become reality. Even without the proverbial zombies roaming the earth, we still need desperately to die on a regular basis.
Not a pretty picture, to be sure, but a point of support to all blessed forms of natural death, the economics of crime and punishment, and the ecology of making sure we dispose properly the bodies of those who passed away.
According to the Annals of Improbably Research, modern forms of execution went through considerable changes until reaching Continue reading

Ashes & Dirt

Think Life Is Getting Hard?
Just Wait Till You Cross Over

Death is a booming business, as my great-grandpa said before joining the rank-and-file for good. Or so whoever came up with the expression liked to proclaim. Unfortunately, such person too met an untimely end and we’re left to fend for ourselves.
That’s because we are running out of room to drop dead. New York has already sounded the alert and started enforcing an old provision of the law: no person may be buried in pet cemeteries. Yes, folks, that’s how low we’ve got.
It turned out that some pet owners had already made arrangements to rest for eternity next to their most beloved companions, some of them still fetching balls in apartments and parks throughout this great state of ours.
No longer, said Albany. Behind its decision, there’s the not so playful reality that both people and pet populations are growing faster than Continue reading