A Seraphite Shrine from “The Last of Us, Part 2”

The Last of Us, Part 2 is a brutal, epic video game experience, set in a post-apocalyptic America devastated by a fungal infection that transforms humans into monsters. Death runs rampant throughout the grueling game-play, both as inflicted by and upon many of the characters and in terms of motivating a seemingly endless cycle of … Read moreA Seraphite Shrine from “The Last of Us, Part 2”

Further Resources re. “Unboxing an Antique Ghost Show”

This post lists some selected “further learning” resources for participants in my Unboxing an Antique Ghost Show presentation via the Atlas Obscura’s Wonders at Home video lecture series. Busting the Ghost Racket Houdini’s Girl Detective: The Real-Life Ghost-Busting Adventures of Rose Mackenberg (2016) I compiled, edited, introduced and republished this anthology of the fabulous Rose … Read moreFurther Resources re. “Unboxing an Antique Ghost Show”

“Why People Think They See Ghosts”

Vox Media offers an easy-to-digest capsule of rational reasons why many people believe in (and sometimes believe that they’ve seen) ghosts, including a short interview with skeptical investigator Joe Nickell. Like Mr. Nickell, Harry Houdini, Rose Mackenberg and numerous others over the past century-and-a-bit, I’ve found no persuasive evidence of ghosts; and, as much as … Read more“Why People Think They See Ghosts”

Thanatopositive Classic Rock: Inside Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper”

Between the Renaissance Faire Danse Macabre, the Self Help Graphics art center’s influence on the Dia de Muertos and the Grateful Dead, there seems to have been a wind blowing darkly colorful leaves through the countercultural zeitgeist of the 1970s. Here’s the BOC live in 1977: … and in this short video essay, the Polyphonic … Read moreThanatopositive Classic Rock: Inside Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper”

“The Pandemic Should Change the Way We Talk About Dying”

Dr. Joel Rowe’s article for The Atlantic makes the humanitarian case for advance directives in allowing terminally ill people to die with as much dignity as may be possible: My mom had prepared me for the worst day of my life. I was equipped with her advance directive, stating that after a short trial of … Read more“The Pandemic Should Change the Way We Talk About Dying”

“Let’s Stop Talking about Battling Cancer” (and Death)

In her opinion piece for the Scientific American, Dr. Shika Jain makes the valuable point that the binary rhetoric of “combat” is often not useful, and may be actively harmful, to cancer patients and their families: Unfortunately, cancer is not an opponent that can stomped out by sheer will, determination or persistence. A study published in 2015 … Read more“Let’s Stop Talking about Battling Cancer” (and Death)

“Death of Hippie” – October 6, 1967

It is nothing new. We have a private revolution going on. A revolution of individuality and diversity that can only be private. Upon becoming a group movement, such a revolution ends up with imitators rather than participants … - Bob Stubbs, “Unicorn Philosophy” We wanted to signal that this was the end of it, to stay … Read more“Death of Hippie” – October 6, 1967

London’s Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice

A short video concerning London’s curious Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice, a public memorial project initiated by the artist George Frederic Watts. Unveiled in an unfinished state in the year 1900 and still incomplete, the memorial wall features plaques commemorating the deaths of ordinary people who died in attempting to save the lives of others. A … Read moreLondon’s Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice

King Billy’s Funeral (“Knightriders”, 1981)

George Romero’s Knightriders is a messy, eccentric and often quite beautiful celebration of/elegy for the idealistic, bohemian spirit of the 1960s. In this, one of the final scenes, the titular troupe of motorcycle-jousting knights and their friends gather to pay tribute to their fallen “king”, Billy (memorably portrayed by Ed Harris in one of his … Read moreKing Billy’s Funeral (“Knightriders”, 1981)