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This is the archive for June 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Arlington National Cemetery has been in the news lately for a number of reported transgressions, including misidentifying bodies and grave sites, dumping ashes of the cremated in a dirt pile, and using discarded gravestones to prevent soil erosion along a streamís banks. Now a northern Virginia funeral home with a National Cemetery contract has been fined $50,000 for, among other violations, inappropriately storing the bodies of those waiting burial in a garage.

That this should be happening at any cemetery, least of all Arlington, violates one of the bedrock rules few in life will tolerate. To avoid bringing somebodyís blood to a boil: donít play around with somebodyís heart; donít insult somebodyís mother; donít screw around with somebodyís money; donít kick somebodyís dog; and, certainly least of all, donít screw around with the dead, particularly if they have living relatives.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

In my random travels across the US, I have visited some interesting places that have left an impact on me to this day. One such trip was to Memphis, Tennessee and the Pink Palace Mansion and Museum.

The museum started in an unfinished mansion that the City of Memphis would come into control of when the founder of Piggly Wiggly foreclosed on it during the Great Depression. The exhibits themselves came from the citizens of Memphis. If you lived in Memphis and had something cool that you wanted to share with your fellow citizens, you would bring it to the staff and they would put it out for show. Through the years the museum would flourish and expand. While the main part of the museum is not in a modern building that is to the right and below the mansion (the worldís largest underground IMAX Theater is underneath the mansionís front yard) Ė you can still find things that date back to the old days. One of my favorites is the Shrunken Heads display which are two real heads that were brought back from Africa, and include a recipe card for making it yourself. The other is a hand carved, moving circus. It is so delicate; it only is turned on twice a day. If you look close, you can even see reflections in the past, as the crowd is segregated.