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Among others, those were the words that John Wilkes Booth shouted as he leapt from the Presidential Box at Ford's Theatre after mortally wounding President Abraham Lincoln.

Over the more than a century and a half since that day in 1865, political figures from Presidents of the United States, Kings, Archdukes, dictators of all sorts, and leaders such as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. have been assassinated.

Today we have learned about the capture of Colonel Moammar Gaddafi, the deposed leader of Libya, and his subsequent death, either as a result of wounds suffered during his capture or from a subsequent gunshot. This has been the inevitable conclusion of the events begun by the uprising in Misrata in February.

The scenes shown on CNN and the BBC News Channel are of Gaddafi, alive, being taken away in a truck, and of Gaddafi, dear, sometime later. We see jubilant Libyan fighters waving their guns in the air and shooting off celebratory rounds. Other fighters are flashing the "V for Victory" sign, or boasting that they were the one who found Gaddafi in his drainage pipe hideout and dragged him out to be shot. Women and children are waving signs and ululating in victory.

Why then do I feel uneasy?

I suppose that not having lived under a tyrant I have a jaded view of deaths of tyrants. The video of Saddam Hussain falling through the scaffold's trap door to his death was pretty awful. The death of Osama bin Laden, while not accompanied by pictures or videos, was fairly squalid as it was described. The scenes of Egypt's Mubarak, being brought into court on a stretcher, obviously ill, aren't very pleasant either. Going back in time a bit, the suicide of Adolf Hitler brought the Second World War in Europe to a swift end in 1945. Stalin's apparent death was celebrated by his closest aides, until he was found to be still breathing; his end had to be hastened by a pillow (reportedly).

Death has a way of being both an ending, and a beginning. The death of Gaddafi has brought his rule in Libya to a pretty bloody closure. But is it the beginning of a new, democratic state of Libya where democratic rule of law will reign over its people? We do not know. We can only hope.

But I must confess that I do not feel easy today. I am not sad at the end of a brutal dictatorship. I am, however, sad that the Libyans arrived at this end through yet another killing. Death, whether of a child in Ethiopia or Somalia from famine, or of a dictator in Libya, or of a close friend, does not bring me any joy.

I do not mourn his passing; however, I do not take joy at the manner in which it happened.

And, lest we forget, death will visit us all, without exception. No one will live forever (nor would anyone want to, I believe). Death has taken the Colonel. However, death will take us too.

It is said that the Rt. Rev'd Mervyn Stockwood, once Bishop of Southwark, remarked on the longevity in office of various elderly priests with, "Where there's death, there's hope." I think that in the Colonel's case we can only trust that this saying was right. May all the victims of tyranny worldwide rest in peace and rise in glory.
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A gentleman in Ohio named Roy Miracle died recently, and his family decided on a very unique tribute, pictured in this Daily Mail story.

Some feel that it's a bit macabre, but even though I (of course) didn't know Mr. Miracle, I think that celebrating his love of his football team is something that he would have enjoyed. After all, this gentleman was waked on his motorbike (yes, there is a picture), and this one stood for the entire time (also a picture).
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James and Lolie Brackin were married for 59 years and were devoted to one another. They died together in a nursing home just a few minutes apart. The quotation I like best is this:

“They say when you die, you’re immediately in the presence of Jesus,” said their youngest daughter, Dana Troublefield. “I think she got up there and said, ‘Where’s my husband?’ And Jesus said, ‘Just a minute. I’m working on that.’

“She didn’t like to go anywhere alone,” Troublefield added.

Would that all our relationships were carried on and ended so beautifully. May they rest in peace and rise in glory.
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When I first wandered into Integrity/New York's eucharist at St. Luke-in-the-Fields on Hudson St. in Manhattan, one of the first people to greet me, after Nick Dowen, the President, was Brooke Bushong. She was a Church Army evangelist who was Vice President of Integrity and a great master of ceremonies. Over the next three years, we all worked together to make Integrity's weekly Eucharists work, and work well. Everything I know about Anglican liturgy that's worth knowing I learned from Brooke.

After I left New York, she was ordained a Deacon of the Diocese of New York and worked at St. Clement's Church in Hell's Kitchen, where she assisted at liturgy and almost everything else they did. I joined St. Clement's for the last year of my time in New York and enjoyed it tremendously, in part because of Brooke's kindness of introducing me into the life of the parish.

A few years later she (having been a smoker for many years) was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the last time I saw her, at Pride in 2001 in New York, she assisted at the street liturgy celebrated by Bishop Catherine Roskam accompanied by her oxygen tank and nasal tubes.

Recently she had entered Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island, and when I spoke with Nick Dowen in New York last week he indicated that her prognosis was grave. So it has happened.

May she rest in peace and rise in glory. And the heavenly masters-of-ceremonies had better watch out, as she'll be after them to perform a perfect liturgy every single time.
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...comes, surprisingly, from CNN, where in Korea, people are being "buried alive" in order to live better. For me, it's food for thought.
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You might say that Texas's State Joke is alive and well and living in Washington, DC with his wife and two daughters. However, a condemned killer in Texas who is about to be executed has a different idea. As Bugs Bunny used to say after laughing uproariously at a joke, "You slay me!"

Update: Another broken CNN link; I have replaced it with his Wikipedia entry. In searching around, though, I found this link, which just strikes me as gruesome beyond belief.
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I refrained from saying much about the late unlamented Rev'd Jerry Falwell's death, as I felt that the blogosphere that I normally read had covered it quite well enough.

However, I came across this little gem this morning, and I think that it expresses my sentiments exactly.
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Here in the UK, the death of actor Ian Richardson was headlined in such ways as "House of Cards actor dead at 72".

On CNN, it was headlined 'Actor in "Grey Poupon" ad dead at 72'. (Ian Richardson appeared in ads for Grey Poupon Dijon mustard in the United States).

O tempora! O mores!

(Note that CNN did talk mostly about Richardson's Urquhart portrayal in House of Cards in the actual article--there is hope yet!)
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One of Robertson Davies' novels started out with a wedding notice being printed that gave the date of the wedding as November 31st. Thus, the thought that February might have a couple more days in it when spent in Yorkshire seems to have informed this news story.

I especially liked the last line: "He said that despite some research nothing more was known about Mr Tomlinson apart from the tantalising fact that he he lived with his brother on a farm in Gateford, Worksop."

I guess that "tantalising" means something different north of St. Albans.
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We are not far removed from the time when people could be scared to death officially.

By fairies, no less.
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I've heard some sad stories, but this one is about as sad as it gets. As it's the Daily Mail, it's surprising that all the grisly detail is in it (I believe the Mail is Lady Thatcher's favourite newspaper, but it's possible she can no longer understand what she reads). Safe for work, unless you're having lunch.
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Her father wanted to go on one last train ride, so she rode all the way to Chicago with him. He only got partway, though. Strangely enough, I like this story and feel that it might be every railfan's dream.
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"Dancer and choreographer Willi Ninja has died at the age of 45 from suspected AIDS related illnesses. Ninja, a key character on the New York City nightclub scene, choreographed Madonna's Vogue video, sang on Malcolm McLaren's song Deep In Vogue and starred as himself in iconic 1990 film Paris is Burning, a documentary about New York drag nights. The 45-year-old 'Godfather of Vogue' was hospitalised last month (Aug06) and passed away on Saturday (02Sep06). ("

Paris is Burning is a film that affected me deeply. I knew some of the people in it (not Willi, unfortunately) and always feel a pang when I see it (I need to get the DVD and watch it again). Vogue on, Willi.
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If you park illegally in Rio, watch out! Their traffic wardens really crack you up.
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We all know about the Crocodile Hunter's death (stabbed by a sting ray: he now knows where Death's sting is I suppose). But wait, there's more!!! The King of Infomercials has passed away to that great Salad Spinner in the Sky.
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I know that one of my lj friends loves to bring her dog everywhere, but I would leave PL at home when going to a place like this. You could end up with a real hot time.
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...comes from the BBC, reporting on a curious funeral practice being outlawed in China.

I think I'll ask HWMBO to book one for my funeral.
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Those of you who, like HWMBO, enjoy solving sudoku puzzles owe your enjoyment partially to this gentleman.

NATHAN MENDELSOHN, SCHOLAR 1917-2006 Absent-minded polymath who taught mathematics at the University of Manitoba for 57 years made his name in combinatorics, a dazzling bit of science that no Sudoku puzzle can be without

RON CSILLAG Special to The Globe and Mail

TORONTO -- Nathan Mendelsohn may well have been the absent-minded professor from central casting. He would go to work by car and return home by bus. His wife would send him shopping and he would come back with the wrong items ("I'll cook what he brings," she once said with a shrug). And there was the time he took his family to the movies and agreed to stand in the rain to buy the tickets while his wife and two sons took shelter indoors. Prof. Mendelsohn decided he didn't want to see the movie after all, so he drove home.

Then there was the brilliant mathematician who saw beauty in the abstract. The Order of Canada member who made his own furniture, jewellery and wine, and delighted in performing hypnosis and magic tricks. The one who never wrote anything down because he didn't have to. With his sly sense of humour, he would appreciate the designation of polymath.
Read more... )
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I was sad to hear of the death of Andrew Martinez, the student at UC Berkeley who fought for the right to attend university in the nude back in the early 1990's. He apparently had had mental health problems and was at the time in jail on assault and battery charges. He committed suicide by putting a bag over his head. The story is here. I kind of secretly admired him for his dogged insistence that public nudity was not only his right, but was non-prurient. There were many demonstrations at Berkeley up until the time he was expelled for refusing to don some clothing.

After the cut, a NSFW picture of Andrew sunning himself on campus, clad only in Birkenstocks. )
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Ancient Egyptians had their worldly goods and sometimes their slaves buried with them in order to enjoy their afterlives. Here's today's equivalent.

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