Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Star Dreck

A week ago, if you'd asked me what Mesoloft was, I'd have assumed it was something you should ask your doctor about in case it's right for you. Turns out you should ask your coroner.

Good news for anybody who thinks we haven't dumped quite enough carbon in the air! Now, thanks to Mesoloft, you can drop a nice wad of it all at once, if you have enough scratch. Specifically, you can dump your mom, say, or anybody else who has shuffled off the mortal coil and been baked up tidy. You can have cremains sent way up on a weather balloon and released, and conceivably float burnt bits of your loved one all over the entire planet, as long as the trade winds cooperate--and as a bonus, you can add the trash of the balloon itself after it explodes due to low air pressure and drifts back down to earth, hopefully not into the gut of a turtle. I'd call the whole project a waste of helium, but tastes differ.

Mesoloft says your loved one will drift serenely over the oceans and mountains and eventually come back down to earth in the form of raindrops or snowflakes, even if they're Republicans. Thus the dreadful earthbound experience of scattering ashes into a breeze that suddenly turns on you will be replaced by the tantalizing possibility of exposing everyone on the globe to little bits of dead person.

First Person Buried On The Moon
This is indeed a lower-cost alternative to blasting your loved one into space, but of course you don't quite get all the way to space. You get to the Edge Of Space--there's probably a sign--about fifteen miles up, or down, depending on your perspective. There are other outfits that can get you farther, into Earth orbit, say, or to the moon, or even outside of the solar system. It all depends on how much money you have and how much you loved, or hated, the deceased. Some people are intrigued by the idea of having earthly remains circulating among the stars. Of course, we all will do so eventually, in a few billion years, so this is just a way of getting the jump on things. The space people describe their package as "environmentally benign," which is so, I guess, if you don't take the rocket fuel and such into consideration.

The deep space option will set you back over twelve grand, though, so it's a good thing the homeless have been housed and the hungry fed. Still, it seems a pity that for all that bacon they're only taking a smidgeon of Mom with them, an amount they have branded as a "symbolic portion," and you still have to find a stream to pollute with the rest of her right here on Earth.

This makes the Mesoloft balloon the low-cost version, plus you can get rid of all the cremains if you want. With your basic package you will get a video of the release of the ashes at the edge of space, something, the proprietors insist, you can enjoy over and over again, but I for one did not find the footage as enjoyable as one might. One has visions of a sprinkle of stardust swirling over the big blue marble, but even in the advertising video the reality looks much different. It looks like a sea urchin taking a dump. Boom, blap. Once the video has been recovered, you can have the whole show on a USB drive, which you can totally put a price tag on--it starts at $4,500--and then, if you allow yourself to think about it a little too much, you have now ruined the experience of letting a snowflake land on your tongue for the rest of your life.


46 comments:

  1. Jeez... people must be really scraping the bottom of the barrel on frivolous ways to spend money if they've come up with this one. Personally, I like the Parsees way of dealing with their dead: the Tower of Silence. They stick their dead up there and let them be food for vultures, crows, and ravens. I'd like that, but the thing is... I won't be around to know. Elvis will have left the building. So you can just throw me on the compost pile for all I care. All this ritual surrounding death is just so stupid. Treat the person well when they are alive, and you won't overspend at their funeral out of guilt.

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    1. I recall that somewhere in India, I think, they routinely held Sky Burials to allow the vultures to dispose of the dead, but then the vulture population was reduced by about 90% because of some drug that had been administered to cattle that they ate. They had to resort to crows and the crows didn't do such a snappy job of it.

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  2. Let me know when we can send live people up in a space balloon and then dump them out. I have several candidates in Washington in mind.

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    1. I had a couple of touts selling tickets for that, down in Florida.Damned FL police arrested my chaps.Sheesh! I was only asking $100. a pop.

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  3. It's not as bad as what the so-called ethnic Christian Torajans in northern Indonesia do with their dead (and the poor suffering animals that get dragged into it -- how in the bleep did this ever become "Christian?" Sounds like the kind of Christianity that Jeff Sessions has. But I digress). This was in the news the other day...
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/06/18/a-man-was-crushed-to-death-beneath-his-mothers-coffin/?utm_term=.3771ee50a1a8

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    1. It would be awesome if that poor fellow's mom was always abusive to him in life, and just kept it all going. Or if HE was awful and she got him back. There has to be a morality tale in there somewhere.

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  4. jesus god, woman, you are funny! (in a wonderful, witty, sarcastic way that i do so admire and enjoy!)

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    1. Because (as we have learned by visiting Grace's Place) YOU are a language person!

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  5. Throw me in a shallow grave and plant a tree on me or just drag my carcass out into the woods where I can nourish some creature and become fertilizer for all. Sure, I'll stink for a few days, but I won't care.

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    1. I want to specify someone I hate and get interred in that person's walls.

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  6. told my kid to bury my cremains in the garden and plant a lilac bush - seems like a better option. First snowfall just got ruined!

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    1. Right?

      Incidentally, most places I think it's illegal.

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    2. Only if you get caught.

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    3. Only if you get caught is right. My sister lives at the beach, and people are always wading out in the Gulf to throw out ashes. All the locals run out, knowing that the waves come IN to shore, and carry the ashes along to the beach. Who wants to swallow them? Bleah... It's illegal, of course, to dump ashes so close to shore, but there's no one official there to catch them at it.

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    4. The last two sets of ashes I had anything to do with went in the compost pile. Don't know exactly where they are now but our tomatoes are doing fantastic.

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  7. I rather like the idea a couple of your folks have; that of putting the body out in the woods and letting nature have it's way. However, there may be long-term effects, unintended consequences.....picture this: First one's to the body is probably going to be scavenger birds, crows, ravens and the like. How long before one of them asks the others "These are pretty tasty, but why do we have to wait for them to die?" It's Tippi Hedren for us all.....

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    1. I always thought that there wasn't enough chlorine in the gene pool. Maybe corvids are the chlorine we need....

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    2. My ideal world scenario would produce a scene from The Birds.

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  8. What a rip-off. Now just add a brick from the London Bridge.

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  9. Sigh.
    Being buried with a tree as my headstone sounds better (and even tempting) every day.

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  10. And I have been complaining about balloons and sky lanterns...

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  11. If I had my druthers, I'd be put in a forest "as is" (after dying, of course) to feed the critters. Even cremation has a big environmental impact but I'd prefer that to burial. I've read too many stories of being buried alive and I don't trust those undertakers! As for sending my remains to space, I agree with you -- huge environmental impact, and for what? But I love your title and post :)

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    1. Isn't there some deal where you can get the undertaker to stab you with a harpoon or something at burial just to make sure you're dead? That would be reassuring.

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    2. Holy Crow, my husband's Belgian family has a genetic illness which causes "attacks" of total, but temporary, paralysis, can't speak, open eyes, barely breathe, heart slows.

      Well, his grandfather woke one morning (1920) paralyzed and the doctor thought the old codger was dead. The nuns came, washed him, prepared him for burial, stuck him in his coffin and sat with the body overnight.

      In the morning the family came, closed the coffin and carried it to the church where mass was said. They were getting ready to bury him when the attack broke enough that he was able to kick the top of the coffin and they speedily pried open the coffin and took him out. I heard this story from my mother-in-law who asked me to slit her wrists after she died to *make sure* she was really dead and not just paralyzed. She was seven when this happened and was terrified she'd be buried alive. I've seen my husband that paralyzed. Researching the family I found instructions in wills in that affected line, all the way back to the 1600s that they not be buried for 48 hours after death, and that their wrists had to be slashed with a razor, to make sure they were dead.

      Now of course they can look at brain activity, though in some people these days you'd be pressed to believe that's a reliable marker. FAUX "News" having installed a gullibility bug in many soft drives. Same as harpooning the brain I guess.

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    3. See, I'm not that sure I like the harpooning or slashing business either. This is a horrible condition. Does your husband remember all this after he comes to? Bleah!

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    4. That explains stories I've heard of coffins being opened and being found to have scratch marks inside as if the dead were trying to escape. Who knows how many were buried alive after being pronounced dead and just been in the throes of a paralysis attack?

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  12. There is a "green" cemetery near us. The body has to be contained in something easily biodegradable; recently someone was buried there in a wicker basket of some sort.

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    1. I want to go wrapped in newspaper like my parakeet.

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    2. So you have something to read should you suddenly wake up?

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  13. If I'm too old for my organs to benefit anyone, I plan to be donated to science. Use me in crash tests it dissect me for gross anatomy lab. Then, no one I know has to dispose of the end product.

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    1. I recently learned from a physician's assistant student that she had to sign something about not knowing anyone who had donated their body to science. They are trying to make sure their students don't find themselves carving up someone they know.

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  14. That doesn't sound too environmentally friendly to me, bits of people floating around dropping all over the place. And all of that cost for just one body at a time? We're better off rotting in the earth and becoming compost in my opinion. The problem with that of course is we are slowly being taken over by cemeteries because no one wants Great Aunt Gertie's eternal slumber disturbed, even though great Aunt Gertie has disintegrated over a hundred years ago and there is nothing left under the slab but collapsing soil. Call me harsh, but I think all plots should have an end date on them, when the occupant has been there long enough to no longer be there, reuse the plot. I'm planning on leaving my body to the Medical University here, they can slice, dice and learn as much as they like and when they're finished they'll incinerate what's left.

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    1. I think that's exactly what happens in some places in Europe. You have to pay rent and when the family quits paying rent there's an eviction.

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    2. Lots of those are family mausoleums. They have room for a couple of coffins, depends on how much $$ you have. But they're usually built in big rectangular blocks and the interior is empty. The names and a photo is on the front, but when one generation has had its turn, and the space is needed for the next generation, the coffins are just pushed into the interior, leaving the space free. Very practical really. The bones and coffins at the bottom slowly decay and compact, so you don't run out of space.

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    3. My family mausoleum would be very small. Not only are there not too many of us, but we're little.

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  15. Good lord, when you're dead, you're dead. Baffles the mind what people will do with grandma after she's gone.

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    1. I'm amending my earlier comment. I want someone to put in a new wall in my house, one that doesn't make any sense at all, that the new owner will absolutely take out, and I want to be positioned inside there like I'm trying to claw my way out.

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  16. You may have to find another 'dump' analogy -- sea urchins poop out of an orifice on the top of their body, the the little turds sort of tumble down the sides of the body, in between rows of tube feet and spines and such. So instead of "Boom! Blap!", it's more like "Blurt, blurt, blurt. Blurdle, blurdle, blurdle, blurdle." Sorry to be that obnoxious person who corrects your biology, but I thought you might enjoy the alternative sound effects!

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    1. No apology! I love knowing that! Do urchins ever flip upside down? I always, always love to be corrected.

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