Dear Clusterflock: What was the most comforting condolence sentence you ever heard?

Stolen from Metafilter. I don’t have a MeFi account, so I can’t even favorite things over there, much less comment. So I figured I’d re-pose the question here.

The MeFi thread is great, but bring tissues. I loved this one most:

My uncle, Albert Crary, was an extraordinary man. Not only was he an explorer and scientist of both poles (The Crary Mountains in Antarctica were named by him and the A.P. Crary Science and Engineering Center at McMurdo Station was named fo him) but he gathered stories like no one I’ve ever met. At his public memorial in Washington DC at, I believe, the Cosmos Club, speaker after speaker got up and told about his staunchness, his incredible endurance, but most importantly, they all told a funny story about him: The time he fell off the ice shelf and what he said to the preacher after his rescue when the preacher came looking for a good sermon. The time he went shopping for supplies in South America when they were running a geophysical line across a South American swamp. The time my father put my brother up to calling him and acting like a dumb reporter asking the stupidest questions imaginable about the ice island T3.

Months later, we had a private memorial in his hometown of Canton, New York. One-by-one his nieces, nephews, in-laws and friends got up and told more stories. To all of us he’d been the source of fun, support and laughter when we were growing up – he never let any of us take ourselves too seriously, but he was always there when anyone needed help. When my turn came, I got up, told my story and then said this:

Everyone deserves an Uncle Albert, we were just fortunate enough to have had one.
posted by BillW at 5:23 PM on March 30

(Via the wonderful Ed Yong.)

from the archives: October 26, 2010

foley_sitdownplease-640x430

Roger and Me and Lucy.

Dear Clusterflock

At what point in your life did you realize that you’re probably never going to be as healthy/attractive/happy/etc. as you once were? Did you have the presence of mind to realize it at the time? Or have you somehow avoided this altogether (i.e. you’re under 30)?

I had my doubts at 30, but now I’m pretty sure I’m officially on the decline. Nothing drastic, but it’s like when you realize your new car isn’t a new car anymore. Except you can’t save up for a new one, or even take out a foolish auto loan.

A new hit song by Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Miles

Feeling constrained by the limitations of the Jimi Hendrix Experience trio (which included drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding), the guitarist had already started working with an eclectic group of musicians.

They included the Buffalo Springfield’s Stephen Stills, drummer Buddy Miles, saxophonist Lonnie Youngblood and bassist Billy Cox, with whom Hendrix had served in the U.S. military.

The resulting sessions, culled from 1968 and 1969, form the basis of “People, Hell and Angels,” co-produced by Janie Hendrix, original engineer and mixer Eddie Kramer and long-time Hendrix historian John McDermott.  (via Reuters)

Read more

News stories I didn’t read

Heart Attack Grill spokesman dies from heart attack

In-N-Out’s invisible billionaire burger heiress

Torres is one of almost 90 hidden billionaires discovered by Bloomberg News since the debut of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index in March 2012. Among them: Dirce Camargo, the richest woman in Brazil, and Elaine Marshall, the fourth-richest woman in America.

Like Camargo and Marshall, Torres maintains a low profile. Her most visible presence has been on the drag strip. She competes in the National Hot Rod Association’s Super Gas and Top Sportsman Division 7 categories, alternating between a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda and a 1984 Chevrolet Camaro, according to NHRA results. Her third husband, Val Torres Jr., is also a race- car driver.

(via Bloomberg)

Alchemy

If you beat a dead horse long enough, it turns to gold.

Apologies to the horse.

Funeral preplanning seminar and free breakfast

From my credit union:

Join us at our free, upcoming Breakfast Bites seminar on the topic of funeral pre-planning on Thursday, February 14, at Happy Joe’s Pizza, 9919 Route 20 in Galena. This seminar will address the benefits of pre-arranged funerals; selection of a funeral service provider; traditional, cremation, or memorial services; funeral products; cultural, religious, and military considerations; funding options; and consumer rights.

Don’t bother clicking this

Study: smokers have shorter life expectancy than nonsmokers

Smokers lose at least one decade of life expectancy over non-smokers on average according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

(via NBCNews.com)

That little ball of fluff you own is a natural born killer

Every year cats in New Zealand destroy our native wildlife. The fact is that cats have to go if we really care about our environment.

Yes, you can take it with you

catacombo

CataCombo, from the country that brought us Bergman’s The Seventh Seal.

Headline of the day 2

Death Star Petition Gets White House Rebuff

dear clusterflock

Loss of control over WHICH BODILY FUNCTION do you find most comical? KEY TO YOUR PERSONALITY!

I’m a sucker for vomit. Vomit anecdotes almost invariably crack me up.
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More Unknown

The houses should have been built closer together. It would save the trouble and expense of pouring those five-foot-wide strips of concrete driveway in between them. Can’t fit a car worth owning.

There’s a bend at the end of the street, and a footbridge that cuts south to cross the ravine. The ravine is half inside the city limits and half outside. Stay on the road, though, and you’ll pass the cemetery. That’s where they bury their dead.

Read more

RIP Andy Griffith

Whether the home-spun small town sheriff or the maniacal Lonesome Rhoades, he was a force to reckon with.

Where I’m Calling From

Here for a long weekend. Celebration of Life for a friend’s mom who passed a few weeks ago. Tonight an early celebration of same friend’s 50th birthday coming in a week or so. We’re north. Some ten to fifteen degrees cooler than at home. ‘Course, when it hits 90 degrees, does it really matter? We’re staying in the pyramid-topped skyscraper just right of center, dwarfed by the buildings around it. Once the tallest building in the midwest. Now the W hotel.

The Sad Allure of The Vermont Country Store

For me, browsing the offerings of The Vermont Country Store is a little like clearing out the house of an elderly relative who’s died.

Tender sentiments and pity mingle with embarrassment and faint revulsion.
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Bill Murray: The ESQ+A

Bill Murray on his Second City mentor Del Close:

He taught lots and lots of people very effectively. He taught people to commit. Like: “Don’t walk out there with one hand in your pocket unless there’s somethin’ in there you’re going to bring out.” You gotta commit. You’ve gotta go out there and improvise and you’ve gotta be completely unafraid to die. You’ve got to be able to take a chance to die. And you have to die lots. You have to die all the time. You’re goin’ out there with just a whisper of an idea. The fear will make you clench up. That’s the fear of dying. When you start and the first few lines don’t grab and people are going like, “What’s this? I’m not laughing and I’m not interested,” then you just put your arms out like this and open way up and that allows your stuff to go out. Otherwise it’s just stuck inside you.

headline of the day

Coroner: Artist Kinkade death an accident, from overdose of alcohol, Valium

R.I.P. Levon Helm

“The music starts around eight o’clock, and it’s over when it’s over,” he said of the Midnight Rambles at his home in Woodstock, New York.

I’ve been meditating on Levon Helm since his daughter’s recent announcement that the end was near. Wondering why I felt so torn up over his impending demise.

Now he has passed over, and I’m still working on it.

April Holy Foolish Palm Sunday Interview with Patti Smith

An hour-long interview with Patti Smith, endearing and, dare I say, inspirational.

I liked her music less and less after the first brilliant album; that much said, I worshipped her when I was in my early twenties and went to see her perform every chance I had. She was brilliant live. (And I have one of her guitar picks from the Radio Ethiopia tour.)

At bottom I have always admired her terrifically. She is tremendously endearing in this interview — both genuinely, unaffectedly girlish at 65 and mature and wise.

Watch or listen to this interview even if you do so in bits and pieces or while tending to other things.

Earl Scruggs, 1924-2012

“His innovative use of three fingers rather than the claw-hammer style elevated the five-string banjo from a part of the rhythm section — or a comedian’s prop — to a lead or solo instrument.”

in the manner of smoke signals

I added this to the bottom of Casey’s marmot tweet-ucation post, but I felt it deserved its own: Teju Cole on what connects Downton Abbey, the IMF, Drones, and Virgin’s Upper Class

Against Big Bird, The Gods Themselves Contend In Vain

Sure, Elmo loves you, but when’s the last time Elmo held anyone’s hand on the threshold of eternal night?

from the comments

Carole Corlew:

War correspondent Marie Colvin was a swashbuckler long before the black eyepatch. She performed daring feats for a living, then partied like a rockstar. She collected men easily and left them behind. A woman told me once that the French people in the Paris bureau could not understand Marie, “in French or English. Because of the New Jersey accent.” The remark puzzled me. Marie did not have an accent. She was a fast talker, and in the days before she contributed broadcast reports was something of a mumbler. I know now she was in a hurry. She had only a few years and was rushing toward her fate.

In fact, the story goes that when chided about her smoking habit, she insisted tobacco would not be the thing that got her in the end.

Update:

Lou Carr predicted Marie wouldn’t last as a foreign correspondent. He said she would end up back in Oyster Bay, married and driving around a station wagon loaded with kids. He was wrong. But maybe that’s where Marie is headed, across the way, with the 2-year-old boy whose so quiet death broke her heart a few hours before she joined him.

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