Thursday, April 29, 2010

Life's Oddities/Improbabilities

Oddity: Today's news reports that Al and Tipper Gore have added to their real estate portfolio, buying an $8.8 million mansion in Montecito, CA (Oprah will be a neighbor.) The house is said to contain six fireplaces (air quality, anyone?) five bedrooms and NINE bathrooms plus an outdoor pool, spa and fountains. Southern California is nearly always in drought conditions; we are urged daily to conserve water.

But Gore who has yelled about global warming the way Henny Penny screamed that the sky was falling seems only to have done that and NOT joined in the Go Green Movement. Hey! Nobelist wants a nice house? What's wrong with that?

Improbable, But Actually Happened

Around 1985, we visited my cousins in Lafayette, LA. During the course of their showing us around, they stopped at a cemetery to explain how bodies must be buried in high water table areas (a concrete box above ground.) One "box lid" had a nearly life-sized engraving of a rider on a motorcycle, limned in turquoise stone. The resident, a young man, had died in a motorcycle crash.

But lo! Yesterday I heard on the car radio that David Morales Colon, 22, was waked wearing his racing leathers, helmet and dark glasses atop his motorcycle in the viewing room of a funeral home in Puerta Rico. Prior to being shot to death, he had requested this (most) unusual gesture.

He may have been taking a clue from Angel Pantoja Medina, age 24, who was waked standing up, propped in a corner of his mother's living room, on August 19, 2008, in Puerta Rico.

C'mon, mainland America! We're getting out-created!

For ideas, visit the National Museum of Funeral History ( located in Houston. Currently they are featuring fantasy coffins of arist Kane Quaye, of Accra, Ghana, whose works include coffins shaped and painted to resemble: a Mercedes car, a KLM plane, a Yamaha outboard motor. Ghanans consider the deceased still a (living) part of the family and want to reflect that person's status/importance in that family.

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