Althouse | category: death | (page 3 of 169)



an endless succession of beans and nuts.


The London Times reports: 

The death of a Russian billionaire in a helicopter crash in Monaco has prompted speculation over possible sabotage after the sudden deaths of two other cryptocurrency industry leaders in the past month. Vyacheslav Taran, 53, was killed when the helicopter he had chartered... hit a French hillside.... A week earlier Tiantian Kullander, 30, the founder of the Hong Kong-based Amber Group cryptocurrency company, died suddenly “in his sleep”....

Last month Nikolai Mushegian, 29, the crypto-entrepreneur behind the MakerDAO project, drowned in Puerto Rico. He had tweeted that he feared that the CIA, Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service and “paedophiles” were plotting to murder him. “They are going to frame me with a laptop planted by my ex [girlfriend] who was a spy. They will torture me to death,” he tweeted...

We're told of 2 other "cryptocurrency tycoons" who "died unexpectedly," both without passing on the "keys" needed for anyone to access their fortune in cryptocurrency. One was only 30, the other 54. No helicopters involved, just Crohn's disease and drug addiction.

"When I was in a confused state with that two-minute memory, Mindy says I was the happiest I’ve ever been."

"My brain was getting on with rebooting. They’d ask what I wanted for lunch, it’d arrive and I’d be staggered and say ‘How did you know?’ and I’d read the same copy of the newspaper several times a day — Mindy took it away in the end as it was too painful for her — but it was all new to me.... A dear friend’s mother is becoming very confused and I always say, ‘Is she happy?’ You can be confused and happy."

Says Richard Hammond, about his experience right after waking up from a coma, in "Deep in a coma I dreamt I was dying. Then my wife woke me up/Unconscious after his crash, in his mind the TV star was walking in the Lake District. Now he no longer fears death" (London Times). 

As far as what it was like inside the coma — and approaching death — maybe you have already seen the fantastic (and viral) video he made: 

"We’re all aware of our mortality — it’s a curse and it’s terrifying," he says. "But I hope it’s helping people deal with losing loved ones, letting them think, ‘Well at that moment, they are drifting off to their happy place.’ For me, the key bit of it is that last thought resonating forever. From the moment it [death] happens, you’re no longer constrained by the passage of time, and so your last thought is eternal."

"Actually, if you google the word senicide you’ll see that many parts of the world have a push/pull relationship with their older members..."

"... the push of veneration, the pull of elimination. The United States with its chrome-plated dreams of spit-shine modernity was never much for the admiration of its senior citizens. Way before taunts of 'Okay, boomer' and the calling of people with experience the pejorative term 'olds' this country has had a tendency to isolate the grizzled dotard, if not on an ice floe then in retirement camps where they could gum pudding and play bingo away from the delicate eyes of youth. It would be easy to blame the sixties, with silly slogans like 'Don’t trust anyone over thirty' or even sillier movies like Wild in the Streets, where anyone over thirty-five is herded in camps and given mandatory doses of LSD."

So writes Bob Dylan, in "The Philosophy of Modern Song."

So, of course, I google "senicide," and I'm reading this Wikipedia article "Senicide," while picturing 81-year-old Bob Dylan reading it too. Highlights:

The Heruli were a Germanic tribe during the Migration Period (about 400 to 800 CE) [who]  placed the sick and elderly on a tall stack of wood and stabbed them to death before setting the pyre alight....

Herodotus says of the Padeans of India: "... It is said to be their custom that when anyone of their fellows, whether man or woman, is sick, a man's closest friends kill him, saying that if wasted by disease he will be lost to them as meat; though he denies that he is sick, they will not believe him, but kill and eat him...."

In Nordic folklore, the ättestupa is a cliff where elderly people were said to leap, or be thrown, to death. While the practice has no historical evidence, the trope has survived as an urban legend, and a metaphor for deficient welfare for the elderly....

Herodotus tells us about the Massagetae that: "Though they fix no certain term to life, yet when a man is very old all his family meet together and kill him, with beasts of the flock besides, then boil the flesh and feast on it. This is held to be the happiest death; when a man dies of an illness, they do not eat him, but bury him in the earth, and lament that he did not live to be killed.

Contemporary Culture — In modern day western-culture, senicide often takes the form of placing senior citizens in overcrowded conditions where preventable diseases can easily spread. More often than not, these spaces are separate from other generations of people so problems such as quality of life, hygiene and isolation are less detectable to the wider population.

There are 3 citations for that last proposition, and all 3 are about Canada. 

I'm giving this post my tag "gerontocracy," thought the topic is only implied. We currently have a gerontocracy in the United States, but when these old people were young, there was "Wild in the Streets":

"We’re not just disappointed. This is the end of democracy…. Democracy died tonight…. This was it. If we didn’t win tonight, the end of the U.S.A. as we know it just happened."

It's election day today, at long last.

The post title is something a disappointed voter said, in tears, in 2012, after the failure of the effort to recall the duly elected Governor of Wisconsin.

You can see video of the desolate man here, embedded in a post of mine from 2017. I used it in one of my 6 reflections on the Washington Post's new motto "Democracy Dies in Darkness."

I'm steeling myself for the emotionalism of the day. There will be winners and losers, but how desperately mournful will the losers be?

If you actually believed in democracy, you wouldn't assert that if you don't win, democracy has died... especially if you'd spent the last 2 years denouncing those who won't acknowledge the legitimacy of their own defeat.

"So I woke up with something that’s literally Black Hairy Tongue. People, including my doctor, seem to think it’s no big deal, and will go away soon, but it certainly is gross."

That was Julie Powell's last tweet, quoted in "Julie Powell's Last Tweet Before Her Death at 49 Causes Confusion Among Fans/The popular author of Julie and Julia tweeted she had 'black hairy tongue' the day before she died" (Gizmodo).

The Mayo Clinic’s website describes black hairy tongue as a “buildup of dead skin cells” that accumulate on the tongue, explaining that while it can look alarming, “typically it doesn’t cause any health problems, and it’s usually painless.”

Photograph of the horrid condition at that Mayo Clinic link.

Going back further into Powell's tweets, you see that she had Covid in September:

“Decided to take a nap and woke up sick like a dog. This is how the covid hits, I guess. All of a sudden like,” Powell tweeted on September 10. A few days later she shared another tweet about how painful it was living with covid-19. “Weirdly, my Covid is getting worse. Terrible headache, cough, probable fever, fatigue,” Powell tweeted on September 13.

Lest readers speculate, Gizmodo tells us the speculation is "right-wing" and goes on to minimize the significance of some deceased person's last social media posting. After all, Chris Cornell's last tweet — "#Detroit finally back to Rock City!!!!" — gave no clue that he was about to commit suicide.

"You can be embalmed with formaldehyde and placed in a coffin underground; cremated in a furnace; left out in the open air..."

"... liquefied in an alkaline solution; composted under a pile of mulch; frozen in a cryogenic container; mummified; planted at the roots of a sapling. Ed Bixby, who owns 13 cemeteries around the country, said a new technique of treating dead bodies comes into fashion every year or so. Would you rather not have your ashes compressed into a diamond? Then how about freeze-drying your body and vibrating it into dust? But, Mr. Bixby added, nothing has managed to outlive cremation and embalming and burial: 'Everyone just goes with the norm because that’s what’s normal.'"

 From "The Fading Art of Preserving the Dead/A dwindling group of professionals is tasked with navigating the often fraught passage from life to death" (NYT).

"With his usual level of class, Donald Trump put out a message of sympathy to the family of Jerry Lee Lewis, 'the Killer' of rock ’n’ roll, who died Friday at age 87, but said nothing all day about the Pelosi family."

Maureen Dowd takes a ridiculously cheap shot at Donald Trump, in "The Pelosis and a Haunted America" (NYT).

There is no general principle that if you talk about anything, you must talk about everything in proportion. It's a fake principle relied on only to criticize people you want to criticize anyway. 

But even if it were a general principle, Trump was at least arguably following it. Jerry Lee Lewis was a great cultural icon, and nothing is bigger than Death. 

By contrast, Paul Pelosi is a significant political spouse, and the attack on him was weird and scary, but it's also a confusing story that is hard to react to. We hope he's recovering. We hope all injured people are recovering. We're horrified at the violence. We deplore all violence.

Does it seem that there needs to be some statement about the political climate in America? Something like: Could everyone please tone it down? Well, once you get that far, speculating about what to say about Paul Pelosi, you can see why Trump's best choice was to say nothing. He's not going to tone down his rhetoric.

Of course, he is criticized for saying nothing.

"Musk doesn’t eat lunch, possibly because an unflattering picture in a swimsuit taken on a yacht in Mykonos went viral..."

"... over the summer. Since then, he has been on a diet. At Fonda San Miguel... he... orders a frozen margarita (he calls it a slushy with alcohol).... Musk is telling me that companies are like children when the first plates land on the table: the lamb chops in a pepper sauce, and shrimp with cheese and jalapeños.... Musk is capricious, but he sees himself as a problem solver, and the problem is everything from the potential end of life on Earth to climate change and even traffic.... Recently, he has dreamt up his own (rather unhelpful) peace plan for ending Russia’s war in Ukraine.... Musk is very exercised about population decline.... Some friends, he reveals, have indeed suggested he should have 500 kids, but that would be a 'bit weird.'... [H]e predicts that 'the current trend for most countries is that civilisation will not die with a bang, it will die with a whimper in adult diapers.' But he says ageing should not be solved. 'It’s important that people die. How long would you have liked Stalin to live?'... Musk has a dystopian view of the left’s influence on America, which helps explain his wild pursuit of Twitter to liberate free speech. He blames the fact that his teenage daughter no longer wants to be associated with him on the supposed takeover of elite schools and universities by neo-Marxists. 'It’s full-on communism . . . and a general sentiment that if you’re rich, you’re evil,' says Musk. 'It [the relationship] may change, but I have very good relationships with all the others [children]. Can’t win them all.'"

From "Elon Musk: ‘Aren’t you entertained?’/The Tesla chief talks to Roula Khalaf about moving to Mars, saving free speech via Twitter — and why ageing is one ‘problem’ that should not be solved" (Financial Times).

Are you watching the Queen's funeral?

It's live. I'm sure you can find it. I'm seeing video embedded at the top of the front page of the NYT. 

Is it topping other news that should be more significant, such as whatever our President may have said in his "60 Minutes" interview last night?

I'm going to say no — subject to your laughter — as I see that the top story on the right side of the front page of the NYT is "Life Is Hazardous for City Raptors. These Women Offer Hope. Injured birds of prey have a fighting chance to recover, thanks to the volunteers at Owl Moon Raptor Center in Boyds, Md."

"Boyds" — that's how you say "birds" in New York.

I'm distracted by sudden cheering and raucous applause. It's the Queen's funeral video. The throng alongside the road is jubilant as the hearse drives off. I'm going to assume that means they loved the Queen and not that it's any sort of ding-dong-the-witch-is-dead response. But when did cheering a hearse become appropriate? 

"When I was in a confused state with that two-minute memory, Mindy says I was the happiest I’ve ever been.""Actually, if you google the word senicide you’ll see that many parts of the world have a push/pull relationship with their older members..."

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