Re: I Need To Close Some Tabs

1

Dude, Hassan Shilby is a hero. That was a genuinely amazing performance.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
2

Yeah, I meant you really can't do better than that. Kelly is a reptile, but not a dummy, and he even got her to pretend to be human (for a moment).


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 10:49 AM
horizontal rule
3

I read that book. What do I win?

(I liked it. If I remember right, it's a bit hard to read, because of the Scottish patois and the blindness, but it seemed different and well judged.)


Posted by: beamish | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 11:38 AM
horizontal rule
4

The funeral industry link is worth reading.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 12:19 PM
horizontal rule
5

Not read that Kelman. I tend to find him depressing.

A Disaffection nearly killed me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Disaffection

His (often very) short stories are worth reading.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
6

My grandfather spent almost thirty years of retirement volunteering with the Funeral Consumer's Alliance. It's an interesting organization devoted basically to lobbying for consumer protection from the funeral industry. One year, he attended a conference where I was living and took me to a dinner as his guest. The conversation was unforgettable. (Did you know crematoria have windows? And that some family members go watch?)

My grandfather's particular interest was enacting rules and guidelines for "green" funerals. He also spoke at local churches about how to get your affairs in order. I went along to one, and he was his usual straightforward, unpretentious self. Another speaker talked about how death is not something we see much of, as opposed to having viewings in the parlor and family preparing bodies for burial in times past. She suggested that it would be a meaningful activity for next-of-kin. That evening after we returned home, he told me that if he died overnight (joking a bit), I should call a number listed on the fridge but not miss my flight back to DC that morning. I told him that if he died during the night, I'd lovingly prepare his body for viewing and leave him in the front room.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 12:40 PM
horizontal rule
7

How late it was how late isn't actually that hard to read once you get used to the conventions Kelman's using. It's really good. His short stories are probably easier, and if you can get hold of the volume he produced with Liz Lochead and Alasdair Gray, that's a pretty good introduction to a certain kind of contemporary Scottish literature.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 4:56 PM
horizontal rule
8

The funeral industry link gets it right. The industry is even worse than it was 50 years ago, when ">http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_American_Way_of_Death"> Jessica Mitford caused a scandal. The funeral directors have gotten their hands around the state legislatures in the meantime. Want to lay out the body at home and build a pine box like your ancestors since time immemorial? It's probably illegal now.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
9

I read a very critical and, sadly, plausible review of Gray's book of prefaces; too bad, because it seemed like a really great idea.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 5:08 PM
horizontal rule
10

Sorry, I fucked up the link. I've been drinking, see.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 5:10 PM
horizontal rule
11

8: The Funeral Consumer Alliance website says eight states have laws requiring a registered funeral director's involvement in some way. Is that what you're referring to, or is it other laws?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 5:22 PM
horizontal rule
12

11: Yes.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 5:33 PM
horizontal rule
13

So most likely not illegal. The biggest state with such laws seems to be New York.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 6:00 PM
horizontal rule
14

Is there any easy way to get one's remains disposed of as medical waste?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 6:11 PM
horizontal rule
15

It's difficult to bury a family member on your land (if you want to do such a thing) if there isn't a preexisting family plot. My grandfather helped a very nice older couple with the process, because he was an ace at wrestling bureaucracy.

14: Donate body to medical research but insist that it goes to nonprofit orgs/med school/research rather than sketchy places that charge exorbitant "fees" for human-derived products (basically a business).


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 6:17 PM
horizontal rule
16

15 is me.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 6:18 PM
horizontal rule
17

Ydnew has donated her body to this comment thread, which has not yet figured out how to monetize her gesture but is nevertheless sketchy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 6:21 PM
horizontal rule
18

Want to lay out the body at home and build a pine box like your ancestors since time immemorial? It's probably illegal now.

I probably don't want to do it the way my ancestors did, but I do find it bizarre that in some states this is actually now illegal. I suppose "home death" is becoming (has become?) the cultural equivalent of home birth? -- a strange and somewhat suspicious practice (of course, it used to be the norm) that signals "fringe" or "extremist," or at least, "deeply weird" (they must be hippies, or survivalists, or ultra-right dominionists, or what have you).

When my parents died (three months apart), it was my job, as the eldest daughter, to go to the funeral home (when I was a kid, we called it the funeral parlour, which is a funny term: it seems to evoke a primly Victorian version of that oldey-timey practice of laying out the body in the front room of one's own house) and meet with a funeral director to go over the options. There was a dizzying array of options!

But: I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of a hard sell. Nobody tried to use upselling tactics in my time of grief, which I appreciated. However, we used a funeral home that has been serving Irish Catholics in the area for about 50 years, and my dad went to school with the founder of this service. I suspect I may have been given special treatment, by not being subjected to the usual treatment. Three of my grandparents, and many other relatives, had been waked at this same funeral home. This was already a major departure from trad. Irish funeral practices, obviously, but the promise/conceit of this funeral service has always been that they will "take care" of everything in the most modern, up-to-the-minute way (they now have an Aftercare Lifestyle Coordinator, for example), while supplying some of the trappings of the Irish RC funeral experience for those who can still remember how their own parents or grandparents were laid out at home.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 6:24 PM
horizontal rule
19

JPJ! Or an uncanny impersonation by some drunk hillbilly!


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 6:37 PM
horizontal rule
20

Actually, funeral services are seeming to me like an area where the concept of "public services as solidarity" makes sense even in the absence of major social justice principles or classic public goods. Let the state offer a simple, non-exploitative funeral service, not fancy but enough for it not to feel last-resort (caskets, rooms, burial, guys in suits - it already has graveyard space, right?). Keeps prices down, and cuts down on the private sector's ability to manipulate people the way it's so naturally easy to so.

Not to diminish what seems to be a clear need for antitrust action, or the need to actually enforce FTC rules.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 6:40 PM
horizontal rule
21

JPJ! Or an uncanny impersonation by some drunk hillbilly!

You kill someone these days, you have to take on all their social media responsibilities. Naturally, murder rates are way down.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 6:47 PM
horizontal rule
22

And now we know the whole story of ogged's return.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 6:56 PM
horizontal rule
23

20: Some states offer financial assistance for funerals for folks whose families can't pay. There's an FTC requirement that funeral directors must inform customers that they can purchase an unadorned box for cremation, but there's no corresponding rule about caskets for burial. I can't imagine how to make funerals a government service since they're so varied and personal. I'm thinking it would be the equivalent of getting married at the courthouse by a JP, which is my personal preference, but not for everyone.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 7:03 PM
horizontal rule
24

which is my personal preference

If only it were!


Posted by: Opinionated Ydnew's Mom | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 7:04 PM
horizontal rule
25

Or an uncanny impersonation by some drunk hillbilly!

Lock 'n load is my new motto. But in another thread, gswift recommends that I purchase the youth version of a Remington rifle. I feel so infantilized.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 7:11 PM
horizontal rule
26

23: Right, but that's payment for private services. The difference between Medicare and NHS.

I think you answered your own question there on courthouse weddings, right? A number of people do those as their sole wedding, and find their own ways to make them meaningful. Imagine what it would be like if it was hard to figure out how to get married without a private officiant and most of the private officiants were with for-profit corporations. Upselling up the wazoo.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 7:21 PM
horizontal rule
27

Or sole wedding ceremony, at least. Setting aside reception.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 7:22 PM
horizontal rule
28

26: I was throwing out the civil wedding ceremony as something I think is fine, but that lots of people do not. (I can't even imagine what Catholics might think of civil funerals, since they aren't fond of civil services for marriage - I think maybe they don't count in the eyes of the Church? Isn't the cost of a wedding why some people remain unmarried even though a civil wedding is cheap?) I'd hate that a short speech by someone who didn't know the deceased followed by interment would be a poor family's option. Lots of people find comfort in a religious ceremony performed by someone who knew the deceased. Those people also tend to be less wealthy. Unless you're imagining having state-run pre-funeral consultations and graveside attendance by someone like a chaplain who was better at empathy than most bureaucrats, I think it would be unpleasant at best.

I'm not fond of the funeral industry (they're utterly awful with basically no redeeming virtues), and when I have to make decisions for my parents, they'll either be donated or cremated and scattered somewhere for minimal cost, but I don't think I'm in any way orthodox about either weddings or funerals. As much as I don't like government money going to private business, I just don't see a way to build a government funeral apparatus that's not awful.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 7:54 PM
horizontal rule
29

Soylent Green's funeral arrangements were designed for maximum social benefit.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 8:00 PM
horizontal rule
30

9 -- I haven't read the book of prefaces yet, which is a bit of an omission really.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 8:03 PM
horizontal rule
31

I think it would have positive impacts on the rest of the funeral industry (especially with prices) even if a wide chunk of the population doesn't plan to use it.

I don't envision anyone governmental actually performing services. Just a suitably solemn space to invite people to, and then the body disposition.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 8:22 PM
horizontal rule
32

Isn't an Established Church basically a state run system for weddings, funerals, and births?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 8:36 PM
horizontal rule
33

We don't have one of those.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 8:40 PM
horizontal rule
34

Now in the right thread:

My dad has stated that he wants to be cremated and then have the remains become part of a cannonball that's fired off into the ocean. My mom opposes this plan, being against cremation for Catholic reasons. (I gather the Church has softened it stance on cremation, but she's still against it, for him anyway.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 8:42 PM
horizontal rule
35

Does he have, like, a cannon? Or a plan to get access to one?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 8:43 PM
horizontal rule
36

Now I have to move my response to right thread also?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 8:46 PM
horizontal rule
37

Fine.

To be allowed, you have to fire the cannonball with the cremated remains onto consecrated ground.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 8:47 PM
horizontal rule
38

Maybe consecrate the cannonball too just to be on the safe side.

Also, would that be littering? I assume ashes on their own are scatterable in the ocean either de jure or de facto, but a cannonball is a lot bigger.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 8:51 PM
horizontal rule
39

I bet if you kill a whale during a funeral, the instrumentalists get upset.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 8:57 PM
horizontal rule
40

Environments. Stupid phone.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 8:58 PM
horizontal rule
41

28: I went to an indigent person's funeral. Luckily the man was a veteran, so he got to be buried in their cemetery on Buzzard;s Bay, and it was actually nice.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 9:02 PM
horizontal rule
42

39, 40: The instrumentalists will be probably be upset too if you fire the cannon over the string quartet.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 9:03 PM
horizontal rule
43

My Dad wants to get cremated, and I don't know where I'll put him. The good thing about cremation is that you don't need to know where the person is going instantly. I'll probably put him in a columbarium. I'm not keen on the scattering bit. Don't know why, though.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 9:04 PM
horizontal rule
44

Viking ship, flaming arrow. There is no substitute.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 9:36 PM
horizontal rule
45

Under Halfordismo, that will be the state-run burial.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 9:38 PM
horizontal rule
46

And there must be some kind of government run funeral something. What do you do if you die in a public hospital as a person with no assets and no family? Throw you into a ditch? I feel like you at least get some random hospital priest and a pine coffin. A serious question.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 9:38 PM
horizontal rule
47

Viking ship, flaming arrow. There is no substitute.

I was actually just reading about Old Norse religion today. Turns out it was a lot more heterogeneous than you might think, and burial practices in particular were strikingly diverse during the Viking Age. So not even the Vikings agree with you on this one.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 9:42 PM
horizontal rule
48

The James Kelman novels have been recommended here a lot. I put him with Russell Hoban as someone who has been recommended here a lot but whose novels are unbelievably depressing and also hard to read.

However, his short stories are great! I finally realize I like collections of very short stories. The Daniil Kharms collection is another example. Donald Barthelme might be the best example, but I just get annoyed by the constant bourgeois-bohemian subject matter. Who else? Like, less than 5 pages in the median story.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 9:43 PM
horizontal rule
49

Oh look, there's an E-How for what to do if you're dying, and have no assets, family or friends.. Not even a little depressing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 9:47 PM
horizontal rule
50

Hoban unbelievably depressing?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 9:49 PM
horizontal rule
51

47 - the sad truth is that even some Vikings were pretty lame.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 9:49 PM
horizontal rule
52

51: I hope you don't mean the GIRL Vikings, sir.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 9:49 PM
horizontal rule
53

That Viking Was Pretty Lame


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 9:49 PM
horizontal rule
54

51: Adrian Peterson, for example.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 9:54 PM
horizontal rule
55

I wish I could ever be as productive during the day as I'm capable of between 10pm and 2am.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 11:25 PM
horizontal rule
56

As long as you're productive at some point, what does it matter?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 11:26 PM
horizontal rule
57

It'd be nice to have some control over it.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 11:36 PM
horizontal rule
58

Fair enough.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 11:38 PM
horizontal rule
59

Mostly it's that I'd like to go to sleep around midnight,. In particular, 4 nights a week I can't really stay up until 2:30. Which limits my productivity.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 11:43 PM
horizontal rule
60

Anyway sleep now.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 11:43 PM
horizontal rule
61

I don't know, I think in order to find Kelman or Hoban depressing you must start from a baseline rather cheerier than mine. How Late It Was, How Late is good; I think I liked The Busconductor Hines even more because it's more distinct from Beckett despite the influence. And yes, the shorts. I am told, on Alasdair Gray, that Lanark (which I love) was his one great life's work and much of the rest is scattershot.

The good poet linked in the OP is a good poet, and after many years I no longer hold against him that he once thumbs-downed a piece of mine for inclusion in a Notable American Literary Journal.


Posted by: lourdes kayak | Link to this comment | 09-13-14 11:53 PM
horizontal rule
62

It has to be admitted that the Church of England, whatever its other faults, is extraordinarily good at disposing of its dead in a dignified and sympathetic but non-sanctimonious fashion. It's also totally cool with cremation, which has been my family's preferred approach since the 1950s.

The problem with secular funerals, although I fully expect one and will come back and wave my sheets at anybody who gets religious during mine, is that they put too much pressure on the bereaved to invent the ceremony at a time when they really don't need any more pressure. Somebody should write some basic ones and post them on line.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09-14-14 2:40 AM
horizontal rule
63

62.2: Also true of secular weddings, he says as he sits up at 3 a.m. wondering what the heck is going to be said at his. When one has rejected the rituals that were handed down to one as a mechanism for creating a meaningful event, how does one create a sense of meaning and shared understanding instead?


Posted by: Otto Von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-14-14 3:06 AM
horizontal rule
64

I think Lanark is quite a different thing to Gray's other work, in a way that's rather unusual for a novelist. Not necessarily better, but quite different.

51 -- you would expect many Vikings to be lame, given the hard and dangerous life they led, and the poor medical care they had access to.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-14-14 3:11 AM
horizontal rule
65

Actually, funeral services are seeming to me like an area where the concept of "public services as solidarity" makes sense even in the absence of major social justice principles or classic public goods. Let the state offer a simple, non-exploitative funeral service, not fancy but enough for it not to feel last-resort (caskets, rooms, burial, guys in suits - it already has graveyard space, right?). Keeps prices down, and cuts down on the private sector's ability to manipulate people the way it's so naturally easy to so.

In the UK, the Co-operative Group (a very large mutual society) is the largest operator of funeral homes. It's not exactly the state, but it is at least in principle a public-service approach (certainly in contrast to Dignity, which is the largest corporate operator).


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-14-14 4:29 AM
horizontal rule
66

knecht-- I have one name of a funeral home in the town famous for its battle with your town. If you have any recommendations for an independent one which will cremate my Dad when the time comes without trying to upsell me--it would be most appreciated. There was a fancy one in Kenmore square, but it had started to go down 20 years ago, and I've heard it's much worse now and part of a big chain. Please e-mail me.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-14-14 7:04 AM
horizontal rule
67

49: Become a veteran first.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-14-14 7:08 AM
horizontal rule
68

49: Ah, interesting - no funeral service usually.

My local high-service counties don't even seem to have any description of indigent burial services on their websites, making me think it's one of those poorly advertised services that limps along without much or any standards or oversight.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-14-14 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
69

I am also looking for a good trustworthy funeral home in Knecht's area or nearby. The cemetery where my relatives are already buried requires me to go through a funeral home to replace/update a metal marker. I have had a LOT of trouble finding somewhere that will do this.


Posted by: Anon. for this | Link to this comment | 09-14-14 9:10 AM
horizontal rule
70

I don't know why you guys are asking Knecht. He just keeps the bodies in his freezer.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-14-14 9:25 AM
horizontal rule
71

My dad has stated that he wants to be cremated and then have the remains become part of a cannonball that's fired off into the ocean.

How about a nice fireworks display instead? Or does he have some score to settle with the sea?


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 09-14-14 11:15 AM
horizontal rule
72

My local high-service counties don't even seem to have any description of indigent burial services on their websites, making me think it's one of those poorly advertised services that limps along without much or any standards or oversight.

Indigent burial services sounds like an industry ripe for disruption. After PottersFie.Ld finishes its second round of financing we will be poised to help you hire gravediggers and priests who will monitor your heart rate and be on your doorstep within 3 hours of flatlining. Only $99 per cubic foot, plus extreme unction fees that vary based on demand. Prayers must be from uncopyrighted sources. Requires iWatch and a membership with Xtreme Unction Logistics Solutions.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-14-14 1:57 PM
horizontal rule