Via Longreads, a piece by Brent Cunningham at Lapham's Quarterly that had me at hello:
In January 1985, Pizza Hut aired a commercial in South Carolina that featured a condemned prisoner ordering delivery for his last meal.
The essay covers many angles of this alternately compassionate, perverse and titillating idea—the paradox of "marking the end of a life with the stuff that sustains it," the plain fact that "eating and dying are universal and densely symbolic human processes." There's of course a lot of great history: in Rome, gladiators were feasted well on the night before the arena, and the Aztecs, as part of a [...]
Today the oldish-and-witchy Tumblr The English Ladye highlights Queen Tomyris, pictured, who reigned in Central Asia around 530 B.C. and apparently "defeated and killed the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great during his invasion and attempted conquest of her country." She also apparently "had his corpse beheaded and then crucified," and then "shoved his head into a wineskin filled with human blood." Furthermore, "She was reportedly quoted as saying, 'I warned you that I would quench your thirst for blood, and so I shall.' " (!)
There's also a type of moth named after her (moth No. 25), although it's not yet clear to me why. Unless these [...]
You may be a totally normal person, and therefore not sit around worrying about how you are going to die. But, as a super, super-pale person who spent one stupid summer in high school blissfully baking herself in a tanning bed at her gym while they piped in Train's "Drops of Jupiter," I have, for whatever reason, become convinced I'm going to get skin cancer.
My dad, who likes to be weird and mysterious, has been claiming for years that "the means of his death have been made known to him" (idk, in a dream, or something?), so he's not concerned about it at all, and my mom is terrified [...]
A Q&A with author, photographer, and ossuary expert Paul Koudounaris. I understand your great grandfather was a grave robber?
My family is Greek and they lived in Alexandria back when it was a Greek town. At that point there was a trade in mummy dust, which they called mummia, which was thought to be a cure all. Louis XIV actually used to carry mummia in a pouch and snort little bits of it. The problem was that by the late 19th century they didn’t have a bunch of old Egyptian mummies to dig up anymore. Instead, when criminals were executed, people would steal their bodies and take them to the [...]