Women Stage a Funeral Comeback

Slate reports that women are making a comeback in the funeral industry: “Today 57 percent of U.S. mortuary school graduates are women, up from 5 percent in 1970. Though this influx is stereotype bashing, it's also something of a homecoming.”

A Classic Public/Private Clash

My mom passed away recently, and we’re planning a memorial service in her home city, where none of us three offspring lives. There are lots of expenses: the service; food afterwards; planes and hotels for all of the children, grandchildren and any great-grandchildren who can come.

"If You Must Be Hospitalized, Television Is Not the Place"

I ran into an old friend the other day whose actor husband is a regular on the TV show House. We caught up on friends and family, etc., including a few mutual acquaintances who have died since we last spoke. As we parted, I couldn't help but laugh: at least these unfortunate deaths, I thought, were nowhere near as numerous as those on the kind of TV show her husband appears on.

Bad News for Me on Two Fronts

A new meta-analysis looks at past research into whether a person's performance on basic physical functions like walking speed or ease in getting out of a chair predicts death.

You're Likely to Live!

You're older than you've ever been, as the song goes, and now you're even older. And for each eight years you age, you double your chances of dying. That's the Gompertz Law of human mortality, which is actually sunnier than you think.

Our Daily Bleg: How to Divvy Up a Loved One's Goods Without Acrimony?

A reader named D.J. writes in with a problem that requires some sensitive game theory, trickier than the roommate dilemma. Note that he is wise enough to flatter you as "intelligent and thoughtful," so do your best to live up to his bias.

FREAK Shots: Death and Foreclosure

A blog reader named Lee emailed us a photo he took on Highway 86 in Imperial, California. “It made me wonder if [the economy] is really that bad that even dead people will lose their resting places,” he writes. “What will they do? Evict the dead?” Photo: Lee We called Victor Carrillo, the supervisor for […]

Does Fame Kill?

Reading about the sad and sudden death of the actress Natasha Richardson, I've come to wonder if perhaps, in some small part, she died not in spite of her fame but rather because of it.

Who Survives a Plane Crash?

When a jetliner made a water landing on the Hudson River last week and all 155 passengers survived, Levitt wrote that maybe airplane safety briefings aren't entirely useless after all.

Would You Want to Be Immortalized by a Tennis Club?

We know that people will take lower pay in exchange for fame/success. Even more, I would think there is a compensating wage differential for immortality; for knowing that long after your demise, people will remember what you achieved in life. I wonder, however, if the same wage differential exists for immortality in a form completely […]