The testimony and investigation into the death of Addison Williams, dated 18 January 1873, can be found in the Bedford County Coroners’ Inquisitions, 1813-1899. The collection is open for research and available at the Library of Virginia.

On 25 December 1872 in Bedford County, VA, Williams paid a visit to the home of Cornelia and Charles Abram. He arrived “about light” and was given a dram of whiskey by William Ogden. Ogden then made a gallon of eggnog, and Williams “drank a glass and repeated several times.” Everyone present “drank eggnog freely,” but Williams enjoyed it most of all, drinking more than the rest of the party.

He “left the house and threw up,” only to come back and take another drink. Afterwards, Williams “left in a run, as in a prank,” never to be seen again. Williams “had commenced showing he was under the influence of liquor,” but no one at the party thought him too drunk to make it home. As one party goer put it, “…as I thought he was going so well it was useless for me to go with him.”

Unfortunately, Williams could have used a little assistance. He was found on Christmas morning “dead and frozen” mere yards from his house. The resulting coroner’s inquisition determined Williams came to his death as a result of “being exposed to the cold after drinking a large quantity of mean whiskey.”

Source: Appalachian History


Back in the winter of 2008, I was looking for an illustration of my current frame of mind and found this. The painting is by Ejnar Nielsen. This is the information that came with it:
painting by ejnar nielsen. now, this is more of what one would come to expect from a Scandinavian artist: depression, despair, gloom, angst, fatigue, suppressed anger… clearly, i am in my comfort zone 🙂 …

any one who has endured several winters in Denmark, and then imagines oneself having to suffer through such a winter one hundred years back, living in poverty as many rural people did, it is not hard to imagine why someone could be as somber as our subject is, regardless of what it is that he might actually have encountered during his lifetime leading up to this moment. to me, when I first cast my eyes upon this painting, I thought, “ahh, the perfect winter painting.”

in all honesty, though, there is a truth seeking element in this painting that is also unusual for danish art – which draws me to this work.

the choice of subject soberly confronts the notion of death and dying, a topic that elicits extreme discomfort in Denmark, supported by the fact that most old people in this country die alone, either at home or in nursing homes (this I know, from research I once did for a feature film that I worked on)…

the positioning of the subject, off balanced in an almost empty space, is very typical of Scandinavian work, and it brings to mind both Carl Dreyer’s film work, and of course, Bergman, enhanced by the “wide screen” format of the image.

From my old blogger blog –

Ok, so I was looking for an image for a Prosperity Project post, and ended up on this website… I’m never eating meat again! I say this… and I think it might even be true. I don’t want one dime of my money to go to support the companies that do this shit!!

This really pisses me off! If I actually follow through on this, my life just got way more complicated!! Me not eating meat is one thing, but what about my dogs? I have been making my own dog food with turkey and rice. It’s easy, it seems (now I’m not so sure) to be healthy for my dogs, and up until today, I felt pretty good about it. Now, I’m not so sure… How can the food we eat be even remotely good for us when this is what happens to it?

For example:

  • Over 300 million turkeys are killed every year in the United States, 40 million of them specifically for Thanksgiving.
  • These valued lives that humans breed, are killed when just a few weeks old.   Their short lives are filled with pain and misery.
  • All turkeys get for Thanksgiving and Christmas is a terrifying, violent, death.
  • The majority of these are raised in factory farms where they are stacked in cages in windowless sheds where they can’t live naturally (or happily) in any sense of the word.
  • They are debeaked and declawed without anesthesia, making it difficult or even impossible for them to eat.
  • Often they cannot move, and many die in the conditions before they are fully grown.
  • Those who survive are fed until they are grotesquely obese and cannot stand because their skeletons are too weak from confinement.
  • Factory-farmed turkeys are fattened up so quickly that often their legs cannot support them.
  • They collapse and try to drag themselves along on their wings.
  • Tens of thousands die because they cannot get to food and water points.
  • Over-burdened in this way, and trapped in close quarters with too little oxygen, many turkeys die when their hearts explode from the physical stress.
  • Most birds are fed a cocktail of antibiotics to keep them alive yet diseases run rife in the filthy conditions.
  • Male turkeys are bred to be so big they are unable to mate naturally.
  • They have to be clamped upside down and their seed taken by a farm-worker, collected and forcibly injected into the females.
  • To stop them cannibalizing each other in the cramped, unnatural conditions, turkeys have their beaks sliced off, which can leave them in permanent pain.
  • At the slaughterhouse, most are hung upside down and dragged through an electrified waterbath to stun them.
  • It often does not work and many birds are fully conscious when their throats are cut.
  • Some are even alive when they are plunged into boiling water to loosen their feathers.
  • Others may be killed by gassing; often birds gasp and flap violently for several minutes.
  • Beating a turkey to death with a crowbar is an acceptable practice in U.S. farming of animals. Still not illegal.
  • Turkeys do not receive even the scant protection given to pigs and cows by the Humane Slaughter Act and many are tied upside down still alive and conveyed to the part of the factory where they are knifed.
  • Not all die right away and suffer unspeakably by bleeding slowly to death.

There’s more, and it’s way worse, and I’ll spare you the details. If you’re curious, follow this link. I do not understand why there is so much disrespect for living things. What I do understand is that it is pervasive and undeniable. But where did it come from? How can a person sleep at night knowing they are managing, operating, owning, or simply working in places like that? Are they totally anesthetized? Do they think only humans are alive?

So… now, having posted all this… I’m going to go to the kitchen, wash out my big stainless steel cook pot, fill it with water, dump in a fair amount of rice, and beans, and … yes … ground turkey. And I’m going to feed it to my dogs – whom I love – and I’m going to send Reiki and blessings and all kinds of good energy into that food … and to the living beings that agreed to be made part of it … and I’m going to be prayerful and grateful … and I hope that’s good enough!

I found this article a few years back… I think its kind of interesting, and worth revisiting.


“A War on Death?”
By Thomas H. Naylor

“One of the paradoxes of the American experience is that although most Americans have an obsessive compulsive fear of death, they are also strongly attracted to war – particularly to wars against bigger-than-life figures such as Adolf Hitler, Hirohito, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, Osama bin Laden, and Saddam Hussein. The so-called Cold War lasted nearly a half century. It is not by chance alone that American presidents have turned to war as a metaphor to promote their favorite big ticket causes including the War on Poverty, the War on Cancer, the War on Drugs, and the War on Terror.

What these metaphorical wars have in common is that they have all cost countless billions of dollars with little or no evidence of success. Not only has poverty not been eliminated, but the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. We don’t seem to be any closer to finding a cure for cancer than we were in 1971 when Richard Nixon first declared war on the dread disease. Drug addiction in this country continues unabated. President George W. Bush’s War on Terror, now embraced by President Barack Obama, seems to be more effective in promoting terror than in ending it.

Not unlike his bellicose predecessor, Obama has sold out to Wall Street, Corporate America, the Pentagon, and the right-wing Likud government of Israel. As a result, his political career is in a death spiral. Ironically, there may be one and only one way out for the beleaguered Obama. He must immediately launch a multitrillion-dollar war against death and dying to be financed by an add-on to the Medicare tax which might euphemistically be referred to as a life tax. The objective of the War on Death would be quite simply to make all Americans immortal. It would incorporate the new field of medicine known as transhumanism, described by Joel Garreau in his book “Radical Evolution,” in which advances in genetics, robotics, information technology, and nano technology allow us to improve our intelligence, reinvent our bodies, and possibly live forever.

Given the widespread fear of death among Americans from all walks of life, the War on Death should enjoy broad based support across the political spectrum. The principal reason why the cost of health care is so expensive in the United States is our inordinate fear of death. When the price of health care services is driven by fear of death on the demand side and greed on the supply side, the sky is the limit in terms of how high prices may go.

As we know from our experience with the other metaphorical wars such as the War on Cancer, it is not important whether the objective of the War on Death is actually achievable or not. What is important is that we believe that someday immortality may be possible. Since most Americans still believe “We are the greatest nation in the world,” we will believe anything our government tells us. Just as the government keeps pushing the date for a cure for cancer farther into the future, so too could the date for ending death be pushed forward.

Think of the stimulative effects which the War on Death might have on the U.S. economy. The health care industry would experience explosive growth. But what if Americans either stopped dying altogether or began living a lot longer, say two or three hundred years? Consumption would go through the roof, as well as all forms of environmental pollution. What about traffic and urban sprawl? People would be everywhere! How would we feed all of them? There would be no room left for farms. What about crime and law enforcement? We already have over two million people in prison.

What if the United States had a population of say one billion, or two, or three? What if we did live forever? How would we find meaning? Think of the boredom! How would we keep track of our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, etc., etc.? Perhaps the greatest risk of launching a War on Death is that we might succeed! Then what would we do? We might all become the living dead.”
Thomas H. Naylor is a professor emeritus of economics at Duke University. He is the co-author of “Downsizing the U.S.A.” and “The Abandoned Generation: Rethinking Higher Education”, and co-founder of the Middlebury Institute.

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