This next entry is about a series that is close to my heart, but you’ve probably never heard about it before. It is called Hungarian Folk Tales. The series is so iconic that anyone who claims to be Hungarian will recognize the aesthetics and the opening theme. It is deeply ingrained into Hungarian culture.
Hungarian Folk Tales is a cartoon series that depicts folktales from all around the country. Each episode has its own unique decorative style that reflects where the tale originated from. The vivid colors and playful music created many memorable episodes. In 2008, the episode titled How I Passed my Childhood? won first place in the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival. The series also garnered international recognition in China and Japan. Hungarian Folk Tales ran from 1980-2012, and it included one hundred, 8-10 minute episodes. The series concluded after 9 seasons. All the episodes are available on YouTube; links below.
The Salt (Princess)
The Salt is the first episode in the series and it also my favorite one. It should give you a good idea about how the episodes are structured. There is folk art and music combined with witty dialogue and humor.
It seems like every country has their own Cinderella story. Let me know if you can spot the differences. 😛
Hungarian Folk Tales is not only a charming series, but an important step towards preserving history and culture. I hope that by watching a couple of episodes you will see its value and appreciate it as much as I do.
Did any of the episodes remind you of a story from the region you are from?
Hungarian Folk tales
Comments? Mistakes? Do you have a favorite channel that makes high quality content and deserves more attention?
Shoot me an email!
PreviousDefunctland – Do You Know Your Theme Park?
Do you remember the first time you went to an amusement park? I have a vague memory of it, I was young enough that the adventure was magical, yet terrifying. Magical because of the colorful rides, the thrills and the cotton candy, and terrifying because I got lost inside a giant inflatable caterpillar tunnel, (a story for another time.)
I always thought of theme parks as “in the moment”. You go there for a day, have fun and then you never think about it again until the next time you go, or until you come across some pictures. All of this changed when I came across the Defunctland YouTube channel.
Defunctland is a series focusing on the history of theme parks and rides, specifically attractions that are no longer in use today. The series is created by Kevin Perjurer, YouTuber and theme park enthusiast. Each episode is a 10-20 minute long, well researched and produced trip to the past. We learn about how the idea of a certain ride was born and how it was constructed, coupled with concept art, interviews, commercials and other promotional materials that depict this entire process. We often learn about how the ride was perceived by the public at the time of its creation, how it performed and any other notable events leading up to its closure.
I never thought about amusement parks having a history, or that people might be interested in learning about it. The more videos I watched the more fascinated I became with the topic, and it wasn’t long before I watched hours upon hours of content. The experience is a charming, but almost sad nostalgia, as at the end of each episode the conclusion that “none of this exists anymore” hits you. One episode that made me feel like I really missed out on something special was titled Defunctland: The History of Journey into Imagination.
DefunctTV has the same idea as Defunctland, but instead of extinct parks and rides, it focuses on the history of bygone TV shows. The first one of these episodes is titled DefunctTV: The History of Bear in the Big Blue House. The most recent videos on the channel are part of a six-part documentary series about the life and work of Jim Henson, American puppeteer, creator of the Muppets. I highly recommend watching them, and I can’t wait to watch the rest of the series.
VR Park and Podcast
In between regular episodes there is the Defunctalnd Podcast. These episodes are usually between 40 to 60 minute long and feature a guest host such as: former attraction employees, imagineers, fellow YouTubers and other celebrities. Each guest brings their unique experience and perspective to the discussion as they delve deeper into everything theme park related.
Besides the podcast and the show, however there is one more unique and ambitious project that makes this channel stand out, and that is the VR Park. Since the channel is centered around retired rides, there was this concept ever since the beginning to bring all of these extinct attractions into a VR environment where they can live and be remembered forever. The first such parts to be released will be called “The Dark Zone”. According to the website“It will feature a full land to roam, including four attraction and one restaurant exterior, and two attraction demos.”
I wouldn’t call myself a Queen fan, but I have always loved their music. I don’t know exactly when I became familiar with them, but I know it’s a love I share with my father, so that most certainly had something to do with it. I was excited when the trailer was released and decided in that instant that I’m going to watch the movie no matter what. I believe that was maybe a year ago.
A few days ago I finally got to see it, and it was everything I hoped for and more. It was an incredible cinematic and musical experience. I don’t think I have felt anything like this after watching a movie. There were so many emotions I could barely take it. The pain, the feeling of isolation, the awe and the scale of it all, trying to comprehend what it feels like to play in front of a stadium full of people knowing that the entire world is watching. The sound design and the cinematography was superb. The opening scene was clever and creative. Freddie wakes up and coughs. My heart sank. It was so sad that the movie had to show four cats in order to help the audience recover. All this time, we don’t see Freddie’s face. We see his back, walking. There is a spring in his step, full of energy. We don’t know where he is yet. He runs up a short staircase and we come face to face with tens of thousands of people. Complete surprise. The crowed screams, the camera zooms in as if sucked in by the excitement. End of scene. I knew exactly what was happening, but even if I wouldn’t have, it would have been intoxicating to watch.
Reviews and culture
After I got home I listened to a few songs, watched the concert and looked at some reviews, because I wanted to know what other people thought about the movie. I did not expect to see 100% positive reviews, but I was also surprised about some of the things I have read/heard. I know that negativity and ranting usually bring in more views, but it is really tiring at this point. I find it a little bit concerning that a movie could get someone so worked up that they are basically frothing from the mouth, while heavily gesticulating at the camera like some fugitive mental patient. Thankfully, this type of behavior is on the decline. I think it peaked about 2 years ago and we are going to see less and less content like that. People are tired of the drama; and I have to preserve my energy to read the news every day, so let’s move on.
As I have mentioned before I browsed through some content (some in Hungarian, some in English) to see what’s up. The complaints ranged from shockingly dumb to “wow, I can’t believe we just watched the same movie”. If your main problem is that Rami Malek’s eye color was different and that the Live Aid crowd was too fake I have nothing to say to you. I don’t know when was the last time that I encountered so much unfair press to the point that it’s ridiculous. For example, let’s take a look at this:
So, Rubber is quite possibly one of the worst movies ever made. It’s unwatchable. I would dare you to watch it and prove me wrong , but the thought of other people’s suffering makes me shiver, so… yeah don’t do it? You can tell it’s a great movie, because it begins with a 5 minute monologue trying to justify why it exists in the first place. I know it’s supposed to be funny, (it’s not) and the two movies are completely different genre, but if I ask someone which of the two movies are more enjoyable, and the answer is Rubber, I’m going to question their sanity.
There is some fair criticism regarding Bohemian Rhapsody. Probably, the most important one is not defining what it was like being a homosexual when and where Freddie was growing up. In England sexual activity between men was illegal until 1967. I don’t think this was mentioned at all, but correct me if I’m wrong. If it wasn’t they should have at least mentioned it. Foreign audience, especially from a younger generation are probably not familiar with English laws. The other point that I hear a lot was that the movie was not very in-depth, which it wasn’t. Anyone going into this movie wanting to see all the juicy details of Freddie Mercury’s life is going to be disappointed. The movie is a celebration of his life as a musician and it doesn’t really focus on anything else. Some people argue about him being gay or bisexual and ultimately it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that despite not being straight and despite being an immigrant, he managed to capture the hearts of millions of people with his voice and personality.
Other things that should be obvious, but aren’t
The one thing that bothered me the most is trying to demonize the other members of Queen, presenting them as nothing more than greedy and evil men, because there can’t possibly be another motivation for doing or not doing something, other than money. It is really easy to forget that Freddie Mercury was an unreachable idol for most people, but for a select few he was a close friend and when he died he left a void behind. Not only did he die, but he died suffering. It was not quick, it was painful. The people who were with him at the time will carry that memory with them for the rest of their life. Once you realize this, it’s really not that hard to imagine why some of the decisions were made, while making the movie. People criticize how Freddie announced that he got aids and that they hugged it out at the end, and that it was unrealistic. Of course it was unrealistic. In reality, it probably caused lifelong trauma. Telling your family and friends that you have a terminal illness and then coping with it on both sides takes a little bit more than five minutes. Is there really a need to point this out? As far as how “clean” all the band members were depicted compared to Freddie, I only have to say that they also toned down Freddie a lot. I think they were uncomfortable showing him partying and only did it because it was something that people expected. There was really nothing there that was outrageous. There was some powdered sugar on the table and he was shown drinking. Try to compare this to his 39th birthday party, which made rock and roll history.
“I won’t be a rock star, I will be a legend.”
A few hours before I watched the movie I met a woman. She is a stranger to me, our only connection is that we are both Hungarian and that’s how we started talking in the first place. Anyway, I mentioned to her that I’m going to see the movie and how excited I’m, and then she told me that she watched it already and she loved it. She also told me that she didn’t want to see it at first, because she was afraid that the movie would show Freddie dying, and she didn’t want to see that. She only went to watch it after her friends told her “everything is okay, that part is not in the movie at all.” Overall, this is not a perfect movie, but it is the movie that most people wanted to see. It is nice that people decided to remember the artist, the musician, the voice, and not the drama. There is something positively uplifting about it.
Also, Rami Malek was awesome. Everybody else did a great job too, but he especially stood out. I honestly didn’t think anybody can pull this off, but he went beyond all expectations. I hope he wins an Oscar.
So yeah, go watch Bohemian Rhapsody if you haven’t seen it yet. I will probably watch it again, because it’s tons of fun. There are documentaries and interviews on YouTube, I will link a few interesting ones below, so you can sort through them if you want.
As part of the Magic Tour, Queen performed in Budapest, Hungary. The original footage has been remastered and you can watch it here in HD. The footage is from a DVD called “Hungarian Rhapsody – Queen Live in Budapest.” It was released in 2012, but you can still buy it here.
Dogs! They are great companions and most people love them, unless they have been bitten by one, or they don’t have a soul. One day, browsing a lonely corner of YouTube I ended up watching dog videos. I soon moved on to he pinnacle of quality content, Top 10 dog videos, more specifically “Top 10 dog breeds recommended for first time owners”. Now, the first one of these I watched because why not, and the rest I watched because I found it hilarious. Imagine if someone who clearly never had a dog before decided to make a guide about dog breeds, and this is basically what we have here. These videos are the embodiment of true tragedy. On one hand, they are funny because they are so wrong and shallow, on the other hand they are really sad because we are talking about living, breathing creatures, and I can only hope that no one actually decides to get a puppy based on these videos.
I’m only going to look at a few breeds because they repeat a lot and the whole idea of “purebred” dogs is elitist nonsense anyway, but here we go! (In order to get full enjoyment out of this, I recommend that you watch this video for reference.)
Poor, inbred bastards
1. Shih Tzu
I would never recommend a dog for a first time owner that requires extensive grooming. I’m sure you have seen the typical Shih Tzu, pictured with the fur tied in a bow on its head, but you have probably not seen one that was badly taken care off. The fur gets tangled and hangs in locks, etc. Depending on the length of the coat the dog will need combing every day to every 3 days, and need a bath once a month.
Again, can you afford to take the dog for professional grooming every 4 weeks? Can you learn to do it yourself? Is this something that you can commit to? Do you actually want to do this? Also, if you hear anyone say that “Poodles are one of the easiest breeds to train.”, it means one thing, and one thing only: they saw Kingsman. More on this later, just pin it for now.
3. Golden Retriever
Beautiful dogs, but 60% of them die of cancer. They tend to live about 10 years regardless, but it is something to consider.1 Also, they shed all year around.
4. Cane Corso
Excerpt from video: “They make excellent, gentle, loving family companions… extremely docile.”
Some article I found: “The Cane Corso is not an appropriate choice for an inexperienced dog owner. First-time dog owners and people who have had only “soft” breeds such as retrievers, spaniels, or toy breeds need not apply. This dog is large, powerful, intelligent, active, and headstrong.2
Most of the things that I found as reference regarding this breed are very opinionated and difficult for me to verify. Saying things like “[..] no amount of socialization will make him friendly toward people other than his family.”, is very dramatic, but I’m not sure I can subscribe to it. It sounds like a training issue to me. Just because the dog is serious about guarding a family doesn’t mean it should perceive other people as potential threat. On that note, I’m a 100% sure that this dog will own you if you don’t know what you are doing. This is true to all other dogs. If you can’t establish yourself as a leader, you are going to have problems… except those dogs are not 90% muscle and look like a tank.
If you squeeze them too hard their eyes will pop out.3 No joke. The condition is called ocular proptosis and it’s common among breeds with short snouts and bulging eyes. So, even though you often hear how pugs are great family dogs and they are great with children, I have to disagree. I wouldn’t want a dog that has to be treated like a delicate china cup around children. Imagine if the child hugs the dog too hard, and the eyes pop out… Both will be scarred for life. Pugs have a number of other health issues, one of the more significant ones is that their flat faces make breathing a challenge.
“[Pugs] have a tendency to develop such severe breathing difficulties that they may need surgery to live a somewhat normal life — or even just to live at all.” 4
6. King Charles Spaniel
“It was found, in a recent study, that 70% of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels showed syringomyelia by six years of age – the presence of fluid-filled cavities in the spinal cord of the neck.” 5
Basically, as a result of their malformed skull these dogs experience severe neck and head pain. This condition is difficult to treat and most likely results in lifelong pain and disability, sometimes paralysis.
Now, I’m emotionally attached to these dogs*, because my grandfather used to breed them, but I’m sure it’s obvious what is wrong here. As a result of their elongated spine they are prone to spine injury. This can be due to an accident, old age or in most cases a genetic disease called Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). The damaged (abnormal) discs put pressure on the spinal cord, which result in severe pain and in worst cases paralysis and death.6 Dachshunds should avoid jumping, climbing stairs etc, to reduce the stress on their spine, so if you expect the dog to climb a lot of stairs, it is not the breed for you.
Notes on Training
There is a common misconception that certain breeds are easier to train than others. I used to believe this too, but not anymore, mostly thanks to Peter Caine, dog trainer, comedian, Sasquatch enthusiast. He also has a raven, which I find amusing.
“It’s ridiculous. About every two weeks I’m asked ‘What is the easiest breed of dog to train?’ and my answer is always the same. ‘There is no easy dog to train! Are you out of your mind?’ It’s not easy to train any dog!”
The abridged version is that the ease of training depends on the individual dog’s characteristics, such as dominance, excitability and playfulness. Even a generally less dominant dog can one day decide to be stubborn. Age can also be a factor, for example an adolescent dog —much like a teenager— is more likely to test your competence as a leader, however at the end of the day all dogs can be trained. It’s a very informative video and I definitely recommend watching it if you have the time.
So, whenever you hear “this breed is a breeze to train!”, be skeptical and keep in mind that most people wouldn’t be able to train a pet rock 😛
Consider getting a mutt! The dog that you pick up from a shelter might be healthier than the purebred sold by some esteemed breeder. Dogs have been our brave and loyal companions for thousands of years and all they ask in return is the occasional belly rub. Instead, we reward their loyalty by giving them cancer and lifelong disability.
When getting a dog, the color of the coat shouldn’t be a deciding factor. It’s a nice option to have, but it’s superficial. Consider where the dog is going to live. Do you have enough room? Are you allergic? Are you willing to clean up after the dog? Are you willing to train it? Can you afford to take it to the vet? Getting a dog is a serious commitment and one that should start with proper research.
Anyway, dogs are the best
Until next time,
Previous: Thoughts on Walking the Bones – A Randall Silvis Mystery
1 Association of cancer-related mortality, age and gonadectomy in golden retriever dogs at a veterinary academic center (1989-2016)/ www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Cornelius is here to warn you that this article contains some spoilers.
Walking the Bones
Every now and then I like to pick up a random book. A choice that is not based on recommendations or reviews, but on a whim. I check who wrote it, of course, but I will probably not recognize the writer. I note the title, the genre and the cover, because yes, I absolutely judge a book by its cover. Wanting to read a detective mystery, a thriller, or something along those lines, I browsed through my Hoopla selection and borrowed Walking the Bones by Randall Silvis.
What I neglected to notice at the beginning was that I picked up the second book of a series. This eventually dawned on me as I kept reading, but I didn’t care enough to stop. Starting with the second book didn’t take anything away from the experience because the story mentions events that happened in the first book, and reading further filled in the blanks. But damn, this was a difficult book to get through.
Can you call a story a thriller/detective mystery, if 70% of the book is none of those things? There are detectives in it, but I don’t think that alone is a qualifying factor, which leads me to my biggest complaint about this book: It is in the wrong genre. I can’t describe how angry I was when I discovered that I was mislead. (Actually, I’m still pretty angry.) Because here is the thing. If the book was listed as a character study—which is what it is—I would not have touched it, because that’s not what I wanted to read.
The story begins with an action scene from the future and when the scene ends, the story loops back to the present. I really dislike this plot device for a number of reasons, so let’s examine that for a bit.
The first chapter is the most difficult to write in any book. You, as the writer need to introduce characters, create a setting, set up the atmosphere and do all this without overwhelming the reader, because you want them to keep reading. Long, drawn out descriptions are a huge turn off for a lot of people, so how can you accomplish all that and make the story interesting at the same time? Of course! Throw in an action scene from towards the end of the book! The readers get a glimpse of what is to come and they will want to know the resolution. How did our protagonist got himself into this situation? Is he going to escape/survive? Who is the antagonist?
This might keep the readers going for a while, but it also creates pacing issues right from the beginning. If you put your character in life threatening danger on page 1 everything between that and page 450 is going to feel like they are filling out their tax return. What’s worse, when the readers finally catch up with the action, it is going to feel like a huge let down, because you can’t possibly make up for all that anticipation. The writer is, A: hopes that you are invested enough in the story to push through the second half of the book or, B: the book is 80% done and you are not going to stop reading by that point.
I’m sure there are books out there that manage to pull this off, in which case I would love to read them and feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email about your suggestions. It’s just that I haven’t read any, so it’s usually a major red flag for me.
Anyway, the story is about the personal struggle of the main character who is grieving for a number of reasons, suffers from some level of depression and can’t seem to figure out how to move forward with his life. The focus of the story is basically this, and his relationship with his lover. The crime/detective factor is only secondary. It would probably make no difference if the main characters were dentists or librarians. If you are still reading I applaud you. This is already way longer than I intended it to be.
Where things turn 18+
What else? Oh yeah, sex and masturbation. Two things I didn’t think I would be reading about in a book tagged as Crime, Detective & Mystery, Police Procedural. Don’t get me wrong, both of those things are fine in their respective genre, but I think when people decide to read detective stories they are there for the investigation and not for soft porn. There is a scene where the female lead—who is in high-school at the time—has sex with her dead friend’s father. Did we really need that in this story? I’m not even going to comment on the implied or not so implied incest.
Walking the Bones consists of 464 pages and 152 chapters. To put that in perspective: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is the longest, most difficult book I have read. It is a 1049 pages with 30 chapters. That should give you an idea about how broken the structure of the book is. Often, when a scene ends, the author decided to start a new chapter. It usually makes no sense, because based on the content, there is no reason for the chapter to end. This stylized spacing is completely arbitrary and it takes away from the reading experience. I think it’s one of the reasons why some people can’t read past chapter 14. Instead of being immersed in the story, the book constantly reminds you that you are reading a book, and how much you still have left to read.
too many things…
Other things that I’m just going to list quickly: Both leads are unlikable and they don’t work as a couple. Their attempted humor doesn’t work most of the time and it falls flat. There is not a single likable character in the book. The group of characters called the “Irregulars” have no reason to exist. (Three amateur investigators that accomplish nothing.) One of them would have been enough to give the lead a phone call and it would have saved everybody a 100 pages. The book asks you to take leaps of logic that are longer than the trippiest fantasy novel you have ever read. There is a lot of backstory in the book and all of it relates to nothing. It has no baring on the present. For example, we learn that the protagonist’s mother committed suicide. So you would think that he would be more shaken, or be able to empathize more with people who went through a similar tragedy. At the end of the book, he gets a phone call that his wife is in the hospital because she tried to kill herself. He says to his lover: “I’m the only person who understands what she’s going through. I need to go there. [..]”
A paragraph later, I’m talking about 6 sentences here with 2 dialogue points included.
Lover: “You better come back.”
Lead: “I promise. With a divorce agreement in hand.”
Are we not supposed to like these characters? What is wrong with these people? I would expect more empathy from a rock. I guess the two leads deserve each other after all; they are both horrible people.
So, we learned all that backstory for nothing. At the end it didn’t make a difference that his mother killed herself. It was all just a sob story; content to add to his tragic past.
Do judge a book by its cover
When the first ever book was printed graphic design didn’t exist yet. Back then it made sense to not judge a book by its cover, because they slapped a title on it and called it a day. Today, however, it’s someone’s job to make book covers. There are designers who specialize in that branch of design. It is their job to make the book marketable, to make it stand out. When you look at a cover you are supposed to be able to tell what it is about, or get a feeling of its contents without reading the title.
With that in mind, here is the cover of Walking the Bones:
The small part of the book that does focus on the crime has very little to do with buried bodies. It’s relevant maybe for the total length of 3 sentences. The shovel is a generic device to imply corpses and murder, but it doesn’t fit the story. So even the cover is misleading.
“…deeply satisfying….this solid procedural offers heart-pounding moments of suspense. Silvis smoothly blends moments of exquisite beauty into a sea of darker emotion to create a moving story…”—Publishers Weekly, STARRED Review
Yeah. Clearly, they have read it.
Even the description is a lie. “Walking the Bones is a story about things buried—memories, regrets, secrets, and bodies.”
Am I the only one who actually read this book? The biggest mystery here is that why the letter “B” on the cover is highlighted with orange for no apparent reason.
In conclusion, you should question anybody who rated the book more than 2 stars. I could go into more detail about all the things that are wrong with it, but what’s the point? I think you get the idea. If what I listed above is not a turn off for you, then you might actually enjoy this one.
Ask a Mortician – not your typical YouTube channel
the second diamond
Ask a Mortician is not your typical YouTube channel. I’m not actually sure what a typical YouTube channel is, but I know that this channel is the opposite of that. The host is Caitlin Doughty, mortician/funeral director and best selling author. As such, you would think her channel would be more widely known, but you would be wrong. This made me sad, so I decided to write about it.
The philosophy of Ask a Mortician could be summarized with this one sentence:
“I believe that the culture of silence around death should be broken through discussion, gatherings, art, innovation,
In a classic Ask a Mortician episode Caitlin takes questions from the comment section and—using her expertise as a funeral director—answers them. “What does it take to become a mortician? How do you dress a corpse? Do I really get my mother’s ashes in the urn, or is it just cement dust?” Do you have questions about cryogenics, mummies, or anything death related? You have come to the right place! This small corner of the internet is dedicated to discussion about death.
A large number of Caitlin’s videos comment on the current state of the western funeral industry, our burial traditions and why innovation is necessary to combat our unsustainable practices. How long can we continue to waste resources trying to stop the inevitable decay of our dead bodies? What other alternatives are there?
Death and taxes
Most people are not ready to face death. Most people don’t even want to talk about it. It is a horrible thing to lose someone, and being unprepared for it makes it so much worse. If you had to call a funeral home right now, what would say? Do you know the right questions to ask? Are there any red flags you should pay attention to? Remember, you would be at the most vulnerable time of your life, relying on the help of a complete stranger, who could be the sweetest most honest person you have ever met, or he could be someone who would try to take advantage of your grief. If the questions above made you feel unprepared, consider watching this video, it will make you feel better.
The second-half of Caitlin’s videos focus on culture and history. There are segments such as “Iconic Corpse”, which takes a look at dead bodies that became famous due to their extraordinarily well preserved state, or some sort of horrible mismanagement. “Morbid Minute” is… well… morbid. but these episodes are usually around 3 minutes long and focus on a single, strange tidbit in history, such as the consumption of lovely, green, arsenic candy, or the act of chilling inside a decomposing whale. You know, normal things. On that note, I would argue that all of her videos are morbid minutes, with such classic titles as:
I haven’t realized there were so many things about this subject I never knew before. I never wanted to be embalmed, even before I saw an actual embalmed body I thought it was strange. Now, I’m 100% sure that I don’t want to be embalmed, and I feel like most people wouldn’t if they would know what does it actually entail. The world “embalm”, is a nice word. It implies something nice and desirable, like putting lotion on your skin. It doesn’t invoke the image of a big ass needle stabbing you in the abdomen.
For the longest time I wanted to be cremated. It seemed cheaper, but most importantly it skipped the “maggots feasting on my eyes” phase of decomposition, which made me uneasy. I’ve never considered how much energy is wasted by cremating a single person, nor did I know that the end result is infertile dust that can’t nourish anything; a blow to everybody who thought they would become part of a tree after their ashes are scattered. Listening to Caitlin describe her own death plan with confidence made made me more comfortable with my own mortality.
“Looking mortality straight in the eye is no easy feat. To avoid the exercise, we choose to stay blindfolded, in the dark as to the realities of death and dying. But ignorance is not bliss, only a deeper kind of terror.”
Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory, by Caitlin Doughty
Caitlin Doughty has written two books so far. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory is a memoir that describes her first job as a crematory operator with the help of gallows humor and corpses. From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death explores death rituals around the world, comparing our lack of interaction with the dead against the rich traditions of other cultures. The book introduces the reader to alternative forms of burial, some of which are not currently legal in the US, but one day could become the norm.
When I recommend people to see a movie or read a book, I’m usually specific. I never say “Yes, I recommend this to everybody.” There are not many things you could recommend to everybody, since people have a wide range of tastes and interests, however this is one of the rare cases when I can honestly say, I do recommend these books to everybody, because no matter how different we are, we will all experience death at some point in our lives. I will die. You will die. Everybody will die at some point.
Greatest book trailer ever?
Death positive is a movement and a way of thinking. It promotes the ideas you have been reading about so far. If you would like to know more here is a better description of what it really means,
…and because this is equally important, here is a description of what it is NOT.
If you decide that you want to do more, you can find a list of resources here.
If you are like “meh, I’m not really into all that reading”, there is this 30 minute documentary for you to enjoy.
I hope you enjoyed reading this, but more than that, I hope you learned something new.
Seriously though, check out her videos, that channel needs more love.
Previous Rare Earth – A Follow up to the YouTube Nightmare
I had my wisdom tooth removed. It was something I was dreading since I was a teenager, which is one of the reasons I still had all four. My thought process was, “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.” Unfortunately, one of them decided to come up and say “hi!”, and it got impacted.* It didn’t hurt, but it was annoying, so off I went to oral surgery. Yay! Everything went well, and a few days later I returned to work. I was living on apple sauce, yogurt, soup and pain killers for days, and I couldn’t decide what to eat. I didn’t want to eat soup again, so I thought maybe I could tackle a muffin. Muffins are soft, right?
It was just me and the red velvet muffin, the two of us in the breakroom eyeing one another with great intensity.
Will I be able to eat it?
…and then I failed, because the outer crust of a muffin is a lot harder then I remembered. Fear not! I also remembered there was a box of utensils on the counter, just a few feet away! So I go there to get a fork or something and what do I see? All the forks and spoons are gone, and there are only knives! WHY? It was full the day before, so my theory is that some dickwaffle took them, or threw them out of spite. So there I was, forkless and sad, all my red velvet dreams crushed… but then I was like fuck it, and took a knife. Have you ever tried to eat a muffin with a knife? It’s not easy. I cut the pastry into tiny cubes that were destined to crumble into pieces, and then I ate the crumbs of off the knife… and looked classy while doing it. My only regret is I couldn’t take a picture, because my phone died, (naturally), so I drew this instead.
Don’t take chewing for granted!
* you don’t necessarily have to have an impacted wisdom tooth removed. Depending on your situation you can opt for antibiotic treatment, etc. I decided to have it removed because I figured it was just going to be a problem in the future.
YouTube had it rough in the past couple of months. There was the now somewhat forgotten revelation fromEmma Blackery who spoke out against the unfair treatment of featured creators during the filming of 2017 and previous YouTube Rewinds.
“The shoots made me unimportant and the treatment afterwards made me feel even worse.”
Logan Paul didn’t make things any better with his recent trip to Japan and came across widespread scrutiny. His actions and the fallout afterward proved once again that there can be a thousand people who make content that makes a difference in this world, but it takes only one person to cast a shadow on all of them. Feeding the flames of hatred, spite and contempt directed towards young people, feeding into these stereotypes is the true damage of Logan Paul’s action’s.
The Value of Content
As a result of all this, I started thinking about content and what I’m really looking for when watching a video. What is good content? Of course, this is relative, but to me it’s usually something thought provoking, or an idea expressed in a way that requires time and effort. I’m not fond of daily vlogs, or the non-stop grind to push out a video every single day. The physical and mental cost of this is well documented, unfortunately the YouTube algorithm champions this behavior and channels that follow this impossible schedule get the most promotion. Hard work should be cherished but so is ones well-being.
I found it difficult to accept that good content seems to have little to no value. There are creators out there who deserve more attention, who make memorable content but they don’t get the recognition they deserve. I decided to look for under appreciated channels. This is the first entry of Diamonds in the Rough.
Rare Earth is a documentary series executive produced by Col. Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut, bestselling author and proud owner of a glorious mustache. He flew over 70 experimental aircraft, installed Canadarm2 — a robotic system tasked with the assembly and maintenance of the International Space Station (ISS)— and became the first Canadian commander of the ISS. The Rare Earth channel has a number of videos showcasing his personality and proud Canadian spirit, however the Rare Earth video series does not feature him as a host. That honor goes to his son Evan Hadfield.
“Everywhere on Earth is unique and interesting, if you look at it through a perspective that shows what that place offers […]”
Rare Earth looks to find the stories that aren’t being told, but deserve to be seen.
Where They Buried the Soul of Japan is the first episode in a series of videos that explore the Japanese culture. The video begins with the story of the 47 Ronin, a group of outcast samurai who wanted to honor their lord even after he died. Through their actions and self-sacrifice we get a deeper understanding of the underlying principles of Japanese identity. This video lays the foundation for our journey that will consist of a good mix of distant and recent history, featuring some strange locations. Strange to me anyway; the town of Cambodian edible spiders, the shrine of self-mummified monks and that Laotian meat market are definitely out of my comfort zone. They are either places I would never think about visiting (spiders) or they are so far away that I will probably never have the chance to see them in person.
“Hey, look at that! That’s amazing! Everybody should see that, start thinking about it, try and notice the world around us.”
I haven’t seen all the episodes yet, but my favorite right now is The People Who HateUs. In this video, Evan talks about the relationship between the viewer, the content creator and the middle man, who is often left out. I appreciate the perspective and how self-aware it is. It asks the question “What is Rare Earth?”. If you haven’t started the series yet, I would recommend you to watch this episode first, and then going back to the original first episode, because the insight provided will be useful later on.
I’m looking forward to finishing this series and eagerly waiting the new episodes. Do you like what these guys are doing? Head over to Rare Earth and show them your support!
Which episode resonated with you the most? Do you know any other series/channels that more people need to see? Leave a comment below or shoot me an email!