I’m fond of the practice of adapting a previously existing work of art in such a way that it becomes something unique, expressing truths that were not present in the original. For instance, while there is certainly room for faithful adaptations of books to the screen, I’m a fan of the adaptations that take the original as a jumping off point, then goes in a different direction. Kubrick’s The Shining resembles King’s work in little more than the basic premise, and has an entirely different message, one of inescapable and elemental evil. Bryan Fuller’s television adaptation of Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter takes the plots and characters from the books and twists them to communicate Fuller’s own unique vision.
Musical adaptation can be more subtle, yet just as satisfying. Shortly after Taylor Swift released her album 1989, Ryan Adams released his own album with the same title that contained covers of all of Swift’s songs. And it’s fascinating to listen to one in the light of the other, seeing how the same words and the same melodies can, in the hands of two different artists, make us feel completely different emotions. In the case of “Bad Blood,” what plays as anger in Swift’s version turns to heartbreak with Adams’s aching vocals.
The forest has a historical reputation as a home to “yūrei” or ghosts of the dead in Japanese mythology. In recent years, Aokigahara has become internationally known as arguably the world’s most popular destination for suicide, and signs at the head of some trails urges suicidal visitors to think of their families and contact a suicide prevention association.
I adore Caitlin Doughty, a mortician, funeral director, natural burial and DYI body preparation and funeral proponent, founder of the Order of the Good Death, and YouTuber at Ask a Mortician. She takes on interesting, and at times difficult, topics about death and corpses and funerals and whatnot, and dispels myth while simultaneously making the truth fascinating. I recommend her highly, and will be occasionally sharing her videos on this blog. In this video, she takes on the myth and reality behind Rosalia Lombardo, a two year old who died in the 1920s and was embalmed so well that nearly a century later, she still looks as if she might wake up any moment. Caitlin lays some myths about the exquisitely preserved corpse to rest, and casts light on the secrets behind her embalming.
Following its closure, the building’s contents were left intact for years afterward, the tables remaining set with full place settings and the lunch counter fully stocked with coffeemakers and cooking utensils. The restaurant’s sudden closure gave rise to speculation and the subsequent urban legend that the owners, who lived in an apartment above the restaurant, were murdered at the hands of organized crime.
This song hits a couple sweet spots for me. First, if you haven’t heard of Puddles and his Pity Party, you’ve got to check him out. He does heartrending covers of melancholy songs in full clown makeup (and manages to not be creepy, which is a big plus). He’s been on this season of America’s Got Talent, which is fantastic because as many people as possible need to know about this awesome act. Puddles aside, this is a Bowie cover, and I love me some Bowie. There has been an explosion of tributes after his death last year, and this is one of my favorites. Enjoy!
Well, that escalated quickly. This video does nothing by halves. It gets in there, elbows deep into the horror that is…actor Shia LeBeouf. Watch it, it will make sense.
(Well, no. No it won’t. But you should watch it anyway.)