A Nun helps even after death




Sister Carmen Burg of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Mankato, Minn., found a unique way for her nuns to continue to help others — even after death.

In 1986, she gave a researcher the go-ahead to begin a study in which the nuns would agree to be studied as they aged, then would donate their brains when they died.

Final Taxi Logo

Sister Carmen, 84, took her Final Taxi last week after complications from diabetes at the Good Counsel Convent .

The nun was one of 678 members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame in the U.S. are participating in the Nun Study, a longitudinal study of aging and Alzheimer’s disease initiated in 1986. The homogeneous life style of the nuns makes them an ideal study population. Convent archives have been made available to investigators as a resource on the history of participants.

The study has found that nuns who expressed more positive emotions lived significantly longer — in some cases 10 years longer — than those who voiced fewer positive emotions.

For the study, researchers drew the nuns’ blood, pored over their medical histories, studied their upbringing, read their journals and even autopsied their brains — all in an effort to unlock clues to the cause and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Sister Carmen had said the nuns saw the study “as a way to continue their lifelong mission of helping others, of educating others.”

The Catholic nun held a variety of leadership posts for the order and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. But her most lasting legacy may be what is caled “The Nun Study,” which originally consisted of 678 members of the School Sisters of Notre Dame religious order from all across the country. All were between 75 and 106 years old.

School Sisters of Notre Dame is a worldwide order of Roman Catholic nuns devoted to primary, secondary, and post-secondary education.

The order was founded in Bavaria in 1833 during a time of poverty and illiteracy. Its founder, Mary Theresa of Jesus, formed a community with two other women to teach the poor.

In 1847 Mother Theresa and five companion sisters went to America to aid a group of German immigrants in rural Pennsylvania. That same year the sisters staffed schools in three German parishes in Baltimore, Maryland: St. James, St. Michael, and St. Alphonsus, as well as opening the Institute of Notre Dame, a private school for German girls. Eventually the sisters traveled as far west as Mankato, MN, establishing several missions for their order..

The Minnesota sisters began the study in Mankato in 1986 and expanded in 1990.

Among the provisions of the study: the sisters agreed that upon their death they would donate their brains for storage and research at the University of Minnesota.

Sister Mary Joyce Pietsch of the School Sisters of Notre Dame said Sister Carmen approved the study because it was a great way for the nuns to educate and serve even after death.

“She started out as a teacher, like we all did,” Pietsch said. “We’re all interested in education and helping others.”

What a way to continue with your calling from God.

PODCAST: Charles Nelson Reilly has BLANKED

Charles Nelson Reilly has BLANKED

Direct Download MP3:
Charles Nelson Reilly

Charles Nelson Reilly, an award-winning actor and a regular on variety and game shows, has taken his Final Taxi at age 76.

He was famous for his oversized glasses and colourful suits during numerous TV appearances in the 1970s and ’80s.

Reilly directed five Broadway plays, appeared in the original productions of Bye Bye Birdie, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Hello, Dolly!, earned three Tony nominations, including one for directing the 1997 production of The Gin Game, and won one, for his supporting work in How to Succeed.

In 2002, Reilly won a Drama Desk Award for his one-man show of an autobiography, Save It for the Stage: The Life of Reilly.

Reilly guested on sitcoms (Nanny and the Professor, The Patty Duke Show,, Here’s Lucy, Family Matters, etc.), sat down on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show couch 95 times, per one popularly cited count, and, of course, did game shows.

Lots of game shows.

What’s My Line?, Baffle, Super Password and Hollywood Squares were among Reilly’s credits. Match Game was by far the biggest.
As for Match Game, it was less of a quiz show, and more of an excuse for Reilly, Brett Somers and Gene Rayburn (and sometimes Richard Dawson and Fannie Flagg) to bicker, try to make each other laugh, and unleash some barely doubled entendres.

Post-Match Game, Reilly frequently worked with Burt Reynolds, from Cannonball Run II to the star’s 1990s sitcom, Evening Shade. He also found success with Chris Carter, appearing on a 1996 episode of Carter’s The X-Files, and a 1997 episode of the producer’s lesser-known series, Millennium. Reilly played the same character, a writer named Jose Chung, in both Carter shows; he netted the second of his three career Emmy

Reilly also voiced Frank Frankenstone, Fred’s monstrous neighbor on The Flintstone Comedy Show and as the Dirty Bubble, one of Mermaid Man’s enemies on Spongebob Squarepants.

Memorial Day 2007

Memorial Day is a day to think of those that have died.

It is a day that is a United States federal holiday and is observed on the last Monday of May.  It was formerly known as Decoration Day. This holiday commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. It began first to honor soldiers who died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it expanded to include those who died in any war or military action. Some Americans use Memorial Day to also honor any family members who have died, not just servicemen.

Let’s think about the numbers of those who fought in US Wars.

In the American Revolution, 4,435 Americans lost their lives. 2,260 died in the War of 1812 with Great Britain.
In the Mexican War of 1846, 13,283 died.
In the Civil War, 558,052 died. (In that war, every casualty was an American one.)
The Spanish American War of 1898 cost 2,446 lives.
World War I took 116,708 American lives and World War II, 407,316.
Korea, 33,651; Vietnam, 58,168; the First Gulf War, 293; 75 died in Kosovo; 18 in Somalia; 390 in Afghanistan; 3,441 in Iraq (as of Thursday), and climbing.

This Memorial Day, please stop and reflect on those that gave their lives for your freedoms.

Forbidden Sex, Violence, Gore, Nudity, And Monsters: Cult Film Director Bruno Mattei

Posters from films of Bruno Mattei

During the 80’s I was a manager for a video store. It was very interesting to see some of the films that were offered to the rental shops and never made it. I would wait before buying many of these B-movies as I knew they would come out at a cheaper price after a month or two.

I had an audience for them. Most were males looking for the possible nude or sex scene or the fan-boys who wanted to see the low budget blood and guts film.

I could count on a few names, all were Italian. One of those names was that of Italian director Bruno Mattei who took his Final Taxi this week after checking into a hospital complaining of a stomach pain. He died after falling into a coma.

Mattei, 75, has toiled in just about every genre quickie Italian cinema has to offer. His films are marked by big laughs and by budgets that are so small, he sometimes shoots movies back to back with the same crew and in one case even shot a film during the day while his frequent collaborator, Claudio Fragasso, shot one at night with the same equipment.

Mattei rose from editing the films of Joe D’Amato and Jess Franco to helming his own low budget, gore-drenched efforts. Though B-movie lovers can argue his importance in the realm of film until the world ends, few will deny that his films rarely fail to entertain on terms of sleaze and gratuitous violence alone — if that’s your kind of thing. He was one of the kings of exploitation films.

Exploitation films feature forbidden sex, wanton violence, drug use, nudity, freaks, gore, monsters, destruction, rebellion and mayhem. Such films have existed since the earliest days of moviemaking, but they were popularized in the 1960s with the general relaxing of cinematic taboos in the U.S. and Europe.

Bruno Mattei’s directorial debut was with the 1970 drama Armida, Il Drama di una Sposa before he helmed the film that many consider to be his finest cinematic effort, 1976’s Women’s Camp 119. A downbeat exploitation effort concerning a prisoner forced to witness numerous atrocities and medical experiments against her will, the film proved Mattei’s calling card to the world of exploitation and the same year’s SS Girls found him churning out more of the same.

Mattei’s 1981 effort Virus (aka Hell of the Living Dead) managed to churn stomachs worldwide while it continued the tradition of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, and he continued throughout the decade with such films as Porno Holocaust (also 1981), Rats (1984), Robowar (1988), and Terminator II (1989 — no, not that Terminator II!). Though his output would slow somewhat in the 1990s, Mattei continued working on with such efforts as the gruesome thriller Eyes Without a Face (1994) and the blatant Jaws rip-off Cruel Jaws. He also filmed several erotic movies, including a number of Emmanuelle films starring Laura Gemser. At the time of his death, Mattei was working on the sequel Island Of The Living Dead 2.

I loved the box cover artwork on many of these films. Walking around the video stores today you can still see many of these movies.

The recent Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez film “Grindhouse “ pays tribute to many of these films.

The Final Delivery

Final Taxi Logo

The final delivery that British courier Leslie Wright would make was his own body to his own funeral. It arrived in a coffin-shaped cardboard box. 

The 71-year-old was dispatched to Cambridge crematorium in the package that was marked fragile, this way up and handle with care. 

As the body arrived, funeral director Andrew Patey had to sign a form, in duplicate, accepting delivery of the body which was dressed in his work uniform of burgundy trousers and jacket with a white T-shirt.

Wright had told his family he hated the idea of “going in a hearse”.  So to bypass taking that Final Taxi, they paid £250 for the cardboard coffin.  His grandson Kris drove Wright’s body to his service in his old Mercedes Sprinter van.

 Wright’s son Chris said: “Dad had a fantastic sense of humour and he would have loved this send-off. He must have delivered tens of thousands of parcels over the years and it was fitting his last delivery should be at his funeral.”

 He added: “The coffin actually cost a bit more than a standard plywood one with a veneer finish, but it was worth it.”

 Chris addressed the delivery note on the box to Cloud 9, Peace and Quiet Road, Heaven, Near Scotland”.

Fear The Clown

Al Cunard, founder of the Cunard Family of Clowns in New Jersey has taken his Final Taxi.

The clown with the funny little pompadour, whose antics had brought smiles to the faces of thousands had been doing it for more than 40 years. Cunard pressed many people into clownship at one time or another and some liked it enough that their enthusiasm for the greasepaint rubbed off on friends. The clowns visited hospitals, raised money for charities and performed in parades all thanks to Al Cunard.

Of all the good these clowns do, there are people who don’t think clowns are funny, in fact there is a fear of clowns called coulrophobia. My older child has this problem. Even as a teenager he gets chills thinking about the paste- white skin.

Coulrophobia is an abnormal or exaggerated fear of clowns. It is not uncommon among children, but is also sometimes found in teenagers and adults as well. Sufferers sometimes acquire a fear of clowns after having a bad experience with one personally, or seeing a sinister portrayal of one in the media.

You see this fear in several TV shows. On The Simpsons, one episode has Bart scared of clowns and chants the phase. “Can’t sleep, clown will eat me.” (This was later used as the basis for an Alice Cooper song.)  On an episode of Family Guy, Chris Griffin is cowering in his bed and says “I wish that scary clown at the end of my bed would go away!” The scene cuts to the end of his bed where Ronald McDonald is casually sitting in a chair and draws a pair of golden arches in mid-air.

The No. 1 reason many people are scared of clowns is the movie “It,” that came out in 1990, the station reported.

Granted, the killer clown, played by Tim Curry, in “It” is scary, but the fear of clowns has been around forever.

Another horror film with evil clowns is called “Killer Klowns From Outer Space.”

“You can’t tell what’s going on behind the clown face,” said Dr. Linda Welsh, a psychologist. Welsh said that the expressive nature of body language is all hidden behind a clown’s makeup and costume.  “So you often get uncomfortable and don’t know how to act – even anxious and frightened,”

But clown organizations know about their scary image, and some individual clowns are trying to do something about it.

“I’m a mommy clown,” said Judy Tudy, who from the new age of friendly clowns.

“We, as clowns, have conventions all over the United States and we are working very, very hard at making the clown population better all the time. We have a clown code of ethics. We have certain ways we’re supposed to dress. Not smoke tobacco,” Rudy Tudy said.

Clowns work hard in trying not to appear scary and for some people it is working.

Then you have the news that Ronald E. Schroeder, who performs as Silly the Clown, a professional clown is standing trial on sexual assault and domestic violence charges and will also will face a child pornography charge.

This makes it one step forward and two steps back for clowns.

Podcast: Bernard Gordon, Nicholas Worth & Dabbs Greer die

Taking their Final Taxi this week is the ‘Hollywood Blacklisted” screenwriter, Bernard Gordon, also favorite B-movie actor Nicholas Worth and film and TV veteran Dabbs Greer.

Listen Here:
Direct Download: Final Taxi – You’re Blacklisted

or go to http://www.wildvoice.com/ronnasty
for past programs.