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Unusual Headstones

I found this funny and fascinating article regarding unusual headstones. Here are the top five. Visit the article to see the rest.

Unusual headstonesA grave marker is how people will remember you long after everyone you know has passed, so you'd better make it good. When done well, it can provide a sense of one's style in life. The epitaph should be pithy, the shape and style memorable. You could go for the classic granite slab, or, like these deceased, opt for something a little more memorable.

To bury oneself under a headstone in the shape of a shark, say, or a palace-sized tomb carved out of a giant boulder, you'd have to be a little extraordinary. Often the stories that accompany these tombstones are larger than life. And death too, for that matter.

1. John Paul Jones' Crypt
John Paul Jones Crypt

The crypt of John Paul Jones on display at the United States Naval Academy. (Photo: Kevin H. Tierney/US Navy/Public Domain) Jones rests in a extravagant sarcophagus below the chapel of the United States Naval Academy. The incredible coffin is covered in sculpted barnacles and is held up by bronze dolphins. The whole thing is sculpted out of a black and white marble that makes it look as though it has been weathered by untold ages beneath the waves—not so far from the truth.

2. Davis Memorial
The Davis Memorial.

The Davises were a simple but highly successful Kansas farming family. When Sarah Davis passed way in 1930 her burial site was marked with a simple headstone that reflected the quiet life she and her husband had led, despite the vast wealth they had accrued. But soon after Sarah had been placed in the ground, John had her stone removed and replaced with a marble statue, which was just the beginning. Over the next decade John installed 11 total marble or granite statues, many of which depicted Sarah as a young woman, an old woman, and even as an angel. There was also a statue of John resting in comfortable armchair next to an identical, empty armchair. All of these are arranged in a haphazard manner, facing in all different directions.

The cost of the memorial became astronomical, which upset a great number of Hiawathans suffering under the poverty of the Great Depression in a small town that did not even have a hospital. Many believed that John was simply trying to squander his fortune so that Sarah's family, who had always hated the man, could not touch it. Still others believed that he was simply an eccentric with a permanently broken heart.

3. Jules Verne's Tomb
Jules Verne's tomb.

It's fitting that Jules Verne, father of science fiction, would have a dark, otherworldly gravestone. Two years after his death a sculpture entitled “Vers l'Immortalité et l'Eternelle Jeunesse” (“Towards Immortality and Eternal Youth”) was erected atop his marker. Designed by sculptor Albert Roze, and using the actual death mask of the writer, the statue depicts the shrouded figure of Jules Verne breaking his own tombstone and emerging from the grave.

4. Jesus in Cowboy Boots
Willet Babcock's grave

Willet Babcock was a furniture and casket maker by trade, and ended up in Paris, Texas where his factory and downtown store put him squarely in the center of respected Parisians. Before he died, in 1881, he ordered himself an impressive memorial from a master-stonecutter, a German immigrant named Gustave Klein, who carved some of the more ornate markers at Evergreen. Along with some typical memorial elements—carved wreaths, a cross, an angelic figure in robes—Babcock gave his final presentation to the world a little Texas twang. Jesus is sporting cowboy boots.

There is debate about whether it really is Jesus. Some say the face is too feminine (there is no beard) and he (she?) appears to be leaning on the cross rather than carrying it. But whoever the angel in robes was intended to represent, the memorial has long since been dubbed “Jesus in Cowboy Boots.”

5. Lycian Rock Tombs
The Ancient Lycians believed that their dead were carried to the afterlife by angels from the heavens. To facilitate this ascent they placed their honored dead in geographically high places, like this cliffside. The tombs, many of which date back to the 4th century, are guarded by massive entryways adorned with tall Romanesque columns and intricate reliefs. The oldest tombs are often no more than unremarked holes dug into the rock. Despite the external grandeur, the interior of the tombs are spare chambers cut into the rock with a simple monolith inside to display the body. The rooms are otherwise empty from hundreds of years of looting.

Horoscope for the Week of November 21, 2016

Taylor SwiftThe Sun enters Sagittarius and gets us moving and grooving. Plan to travel to new exciting venues, run along with the bulls and enjoy the upcoming excitement and expansion. Ready? Set? Go, go. go!

(Taylor Swift has Sun in Sagittarius)

Never miss your horoscope again -- free sign up here. Here is my favorite book on astrology and a "must" for anyone interested in learning more: Secrets from a Stargazer's Notebook: Making Astrology Work for You and here's a guide to the best books available this month. This column is (c) 2016 MADAM LICHTENSTEIN, LLC., All Rights Reserved. For Entertainment Purposes Only. Madam Lichtenstein is the author of the best selling astrology book “HerScopes ” now in its 10th printing and available as an eBook

Aries can relax a bit and enjoy seeking and exploring new vistas and valleys. This is a perfect time to plan a grand world tour or expand your overall knowledge through an interesting course of study. Elevate yourself and see how high you can float. The sky is the limit. Don’t waste this energy just lounging around unless it’s in a student lounge to find a... ahem... study mate.

Red hot Taureans have their hearts and minds on the same goal; going for the sexual gusto. You’re insatiable now (and will find an appreciative audience). Blame the eternal flame on your innate charisma. No sooner do you step on the train than you disembark at the next friendly station. How far is your range? It depends on how far you really want to go.

Partners are on the top of your mind and at the bottom of your heart this week. This clarity helps you examine what you’re really seeking in a relationship. For those Geminis who are dangling their poles in the pond, you may decide to commit or cut bait. For those who are hoping to hook someone special, it’s time to discover a new fishing spot.

All work and no play makes Cancers rather pleased with themselves. Burn the midnight oil this week and get a few things accomplished on the job. For those with loftier goals, it may be possible to delegate most of the really onerous stuff to underlings. Then you can be freed up to rub elbows with those in-the-know. I said rub elbows..... ahem.

Fun loving Leos can make the most out of their week by applying some creative oil to any rusty idea. Express a few of your wilder opinions to a willing crowd. At very worst, they’ll ignore you. At very best, it can catapult you up into a new level of respectability. Knowing you, if you’re really lucky, it will be a descent to a new low. How low can you get? Ah ha.

How happy are you with your home life? This is the week to embrace it, change it or improve it. Virgos tackle family issues that have become troublesome. You are more expressive, lucid and compelling. Call it as you see it, with sugar on top. There is no reason to live your life based on someone else’s prototype. Create a new you and then break the mold.

Your best ideas cascade in a torrent and create a tidal wave. So grab your surfboard and hang ten, Libra! You can harness your plans and express yourself loud and clear so everyone of note fully understands. Lend a hand to any good charitable cause and get involved globally. The possibilities are endless, if you don’t poop out. Comprendre compadre?

Don’t think that your best days are behind you, Scorpio. Far from it! This week, you leverage your assets and make them pay off in big dividends. The secret is to make carefully considered decisions and then take action. You find that you have the resources to shop till you drop. Hey, how much for that little trinket by the bar? Oh why not just treat yourself.

This a time of great opportunity and personal advancement. Sagittarians can turn on the charm with just about anyone and achieve maximum impact. Meet and greet and sway a few opinions in the schmoozing process. But limit your availability, lest you squander your limited and valuable time. Some blockheads are simply not worth the effort. You know who they are....

A light shines in your dark corner, exposing anything that has been holding you back from success. So what are you waiting for? Capricorns feel like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders when the gremlins fade in the light of day. Cart out the trash and burn it; you have nothing to fear but your old, out of date wardrobe. And we’ll attend to that later...

Zesty Aquarians enjoy the company of good friends this week. Be a joiner and a co-joiner in various new groups and organizations. You never know who you can meet and who will figure prominently in your future plans. I hear the gardening club has an opening for a someone who likes to plant a few seeds. But watch where you stick that green thumb!

The corporate superhighway almost seems manageable. Good. Now is the time to review your cruising speed. Pisces must use this time to roll out their grand scale professional plans, or else become roadkill. Charisma and charm are turned on high and you can position yourself effectively with the powers that be. Remember us worker drones on your way up.



Lucky Numbers for the Week of November 18, 2016

Lottery ads tell us you only need a dollar and a dream. But it is also helpful to have a list of lucky numbers to help spur the good fortune ... or fortunes. So with that in mind, here are some lucky numbers that can be used in any helpful way. I gazed into a pool of water, Nostradamus-like, and contemplated the cosmos. Then I mixed the tarot cards and allowed the spirits to guide me to the cards that represent the lucky numbers for this week. Nothing is guaranteed but who knows ....?

I choose eight numbers because 8 is the number of wealth.

Here are the lucky numbers for the week of November 18-24, 2016:

1, 2, 10, 18, 23, 30, 44, 57

There are many ways to delve into your own consciousness to find luck and intuition. Try reading Dream Power/Improve Your Luck (Super Strength Series) and see if your dreams give you any clues and premonitions. Here's a guide to the best books available this mont

LoveScope for the Week of November 16, 2016

LovescopesGet some zip in your doodah this week as we are infused with a zesty energy that cannot be contained. The world is there for the picking. Don’t waste a drop.

Aries have schmoozability for the next few weeks.So reach out to important people and groups and see what they can do for you. Carefully unveil your plans and see who steps up to help. Before you know it, world domination is yours! Heh, heh.

Hard work pays off. At least that is what you should tell yourself this week, Taurus. The fact is that any effort, no matter how hard or soft will have benefits. Will you move one step up the corporate food chain? Or will you just be considered a nibble?

Fun is the name of the game this week, Gemini. And that means that you can not only find enjoyment in hobbies and creative pastimes but also in travel and flirtations. Why not combine all of this into one delightful package? See who opens your box.

Cancers feel especially sexy and randy now. Where will all of this excess energy take you? Will you dive into new social pools in search of a new fling or deepen a current relationship. Anything is possible to a willing heart. How willing are you?

Reach out and touch someone, Leo. You feel the need to connect on a deeper level with certain people. Choose your relationships wisely. We are preparing for the holiday party season and you will want your social calendar filled to overflowing.

If you are feeling a little under the weather, give yourself some rest time to relax, recuperate and reassess. Nothing is that important that it can’t be postponed just a little longer. Once you are up and around you will move mountains. Ouch!

Do you have an idea that simply needs to be expressed? If so, express it now while it is fresh and original. Libras can tap into their creativity and create their own personal masterpiece. Does it involve cream cheese, string and feathers?

Scorpios want more out of life and that includes a new refreshed home. If your budget is tight, find charming little additions to your surrounding that make it seem personal and fun. Before you know it you will want to hang around the house more often.

You can be fairly smart when you concentrate on what you say, Sagittarius. So let your mind focus on an important personal issue and share your thoughts with kindred spirits. You find that you become a leader of minds. Is world domination next?

Capricorns are usually very financially savvy. Now you can garner more money per square inch than most other people. What are you waiting for? Put your considerable financial acumen to work. Then take a few friends out to dinner. Ahem!

Be bold now, Aquarius. You not only have the great ideas to move forward on any particular project, you are also strategic enough to find the right folks to help make anything happen. So make anything and every thing happen this week.

While you are tempted to follow the advice of your inner voice, wait until you are better able to assess the landscape. Pisces now possess an intuitive clarity but understatement will get you further than over-reaction. Unless it is for a surprise party.

Never miss your horoscope again -- free sign up here. Here is my favorite book on astrology and a "must" for anyone interested in learning more: Secrets from a Stargazer's Notebook: Making Astrology Work for You and here's a guide to the best books available this month. This column is (c) 2016 MADAM LICHTENSTEIN, LLC., All Rights Reserved. For Entertainment Purposes Only. Madam Lichtenstein is the author of the best selling astrology book “HerScopes ” now in its 8th printing and available as an eBook  

Sometimes a Bird is Just a Bird?

Bird in windowBack in 2001 a bird flew into my window and hit it with a crash. I freaked out because there are superstitions regarding birds either hitting the window, pecking a window, flying in your house, sitting on your sill or chirping to you  -- all of these occurrences could portend bad news, according to superstitions.

And indeed, a very dear and close friend to me experienced a traumatic medical seizure which left him in a coma near death two months after the bird hit our window.

I was shaken and posted some thoughts about bird superstitions on this blog. This post continues to generate questions and comments. It has struck a nerve among readers.

So yesterday I was sitting in my backyard when I heard the chirping of a bird behind me. I turned around to see a little sparrow sitting on a tree branch about three feet from me. The bird didn't fly away when I turned. In fact it sat there, looking at me and continued chirping away... for quite a while. I got nervous. Was I receiving a dire message?

A couple of days later I was in the backyard and two little birds sat on the same branch chirping away at me. Uh oh. ... until I saw them try to hop onto a dried sunflower close by to get at the seeds. Then I understood that these birds were all trying to get at the sunflower seeds! I felt great relief and decided that while there is sometimes a message when birds visit, that message may not always be for human ears!


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