You Can’t Have Your Money Because You’re Dead!


Final Taxi Logo

How would you feel if you were told that you were broke and dead?

That is what happened to UK retiree Mary Welsby trying to withdraw money from her savings account and was refused. She was told over the phone that her bank account had been closed and the over 3000 pounds was gone.

Mrs. Welsby, 77, noticed that her monthly statements were not arriving and had called the Abbey National Bank to see what her balance was. They told her that it was closed but did not know why.

“I took the matter up with my local branch in Telford and they asked me if my husband had perhaps closed it.” said Weslby. “I replied it was unlikely because he passed away 25 years ago.
“The young lady serving me began typing away on her computer but all of a sudden looked puzzled and told me that according to their records, I was dead. She went a bit pale, either because she was embarrassed at such a mistake or she thought she was seeing a ghost.”

“I made numerous calls to head office but they kept on telling me not to worry and that they would make inquiries. That was fine for them but it was my £3,000 savings that had gone missing.”

Eventually, after the bank investigated further, it discovered that a woman with a name similar to hers and around the same age had died.

By mistake, Mrs Welsby’s account had been closed and the money paid out to the dead woman’s family.
Nine weeks later, the British grandmother of two, finally heard she was going to get her money back, hopefully with a bit extra by way of apology.

“… I’m 77 and a widow, so it doesn’t do my health any good when I’m told my £3,000 has disappeared because I’m dead.” said Mrs. Welsby.

I Want My Death TV

I might just subcribe back to cable if it got this..

Channel surfers shouldn’t be surprised when they come across a station this fall featuring programming on mourning, cemeteries and obituaries 24 hours a day. German morticians plan a TV channel whose focus is on dying.

Reports on centuries-old rituals around death, obituaries made by surviving friends and family members or information on German funeral bureaucracy are what viewers can expect who tune in to the television station planned by the country’s Association of Funeral Directors.


“We want the channel to help remove the taboos around the subject of death,” said Kerstin Gernig, a spokesperson for the association.


The channel, which is scheduled to begin broadcasting on satellite and on the Internet in November, is aimed at Germany’s expanding elderly population. Demographic changes in the country mean that the number of people over 60 is growing much more quickly than younger groups.


But among this senior group, death is still a subject largely suppressed or ignored until it happens. Then, survivors are often at a loss over what to do with their feelings, or how to navigate the practical matters around funerals and estates.


“We don’t want to proselytize,” said Gernig. “We want to provide information so people know everything that is involved.”


The channel will be funded partly by obituaries that can be commissioned or produced by loved ones for the deceased, partly by partnerships the station hopes to establish with companies which produce products and services for older people, or facilities like nursing homes. The station does not plan on featuring conventional advertisements.


To be produced in cooperation with Brandenburg-based EosTV, planners are striving to avoid any kind of sensationalism. An ethics advisory body will supervise the programming, which is to always be “serious and respectful,” according to Gernig. Representatives from Germany’s two main Christian churches will sit on the ethics council, she said, although there are no plans as of yet to have a Muslim member on board.

Restauranteur Bob Evans Is In Hog Heaven

How many times have you ever stopped and ate at one of his restaurants?

You have seen them. There is over 590 Bob Evan’s restaurants in 18 states.

The creator of this food chain Bob Evan has cruised down the road taking his Final Taxi at 89.

Evans ventured into the restaurant business in the 1940s, operating a small diner. Evans complained that he could not get good sausage for the restaurant. So with $1,000, a couple of hogs, 40 pounds of black pepper, 50 pounds of sage and other secret ingredients, the farmer opted to make his own, relying on the hog’s best parts as opposed to the scraps commonly used in sausage. He began selling it at the restaurant and mom-and-pop stores, and peddled tubs of it out of the back of his pickup truck.

Evans formed Bob Evans Farms in 1953 with five friends and relatives. The chain emphasizes farm-fresh food, cleanliness and service in a homey atmosphere.

In the 1960s, the first Bob Evans Restaurant opened its doors in Rio Grande, eventually becoming the first in a chain of restaurants that made up the Bob Evans Farms, Inc.

The company also operates 108 Mimi’s Cafe casual restaurants in 19 states, mostly in the West. Its sausage and other products are sold in grocery stores.

Although Evans retired from the company in 1986, he remained actively involved in his community and numerous causes. Evans encouraged local farmers to utilize livestock grazing techniques that are friendlier to the environment and more efficient, and he promoted wildlife preservation. He also used his passion for agriculture to support groups like the Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H.

PODCAST: Mr Wizard’s Don Herbert

Direct Download: Mr. Wizard

Mr. Wizard was Don Herbert, who unlocked the wonders of science for youngsters of the 1950s and ’60s on television and then in the 80’s on Nickelodeon . Mr. Wizard took his Final Taxi at the age of 89.

Listen to this week’s podcast.

Waking Up Dead At Your Own Funeral

Final Taxi Logo

Imagine waking up at your own funeral!

That is what happen to an 87-year-old man in Taiwan which gave his relatives quite a shock according to the Shanghai Daily.

The man’s relatives were in a Buddhist mourning hall, reciting prayers over the dead body during his funeral, when it gasped and woke up.

The family had been told by the hospital which had been treating the man that the only thing keeping him alive was oxygen hoses, and that he would die quickly if they were removed.

The family opted to take him out of the hospital so that he could die at home. They removed the oxygen hoses, dressed him in funeral clothes, and placed him in the mourning hall as his breathing apparently stopped – until in the middle of the service he started breathing heavily.

The family sent him back to the hospital. Doctors are reportedly baffled as to his impressive recovery.

Elderly Pets: Retirement and Hospice

Pet Retirement

What do you do with a pet that is old and has special needs. Not everyone can give them the care that they require. It is much like an older person where you want to give them the best care but you have a life and work that you need to do so both of you can be in comfort.

A retirement home for a human is a multi-residence housing facility intended for the elderly. Facilities are provided within the building that includes places for meals, gathering, recreation, and some form of health or hospice care. These places often help in getting people prepared for their Final Taxi.
Now what do you do with pets that have reached retirement age? The answer is being met worldwide.

In Japan the first nursing home for dogs with round-the-clock monitoring by doctors has just started up. Owners pay $800 a month to keep their dogs at the Soladi Care Home for Pets.

The home, which can accept 20 dogs at one time, also employs puppies to play with the aging dogs to help them keep fit and feel younger and specially fortified food will be fed to them as well.

Analysts say that a boom in pet ownership in Japan, coupled with better health care and a more balanced diet, has led to a surge in elderly pets in Japan. That has spurred doting owners to turn to vitamins, aromatherapy and even acupuncture to help their companions through their old age.

Not to be outdone a US organization has been doing the same thing with abandoned elderly pets for a few years.

OldDog Haven out of Arlington, Washington is an assisted living and hospice for dogs. It is a very small group of people with a network of foster homes and supporters. Their goal is to provide a loving, safe home for senior dogs abandoned at this stage of their lives.

Old Dog Haven says, “All too many dogs of advanced years are rejected by their owners, or left behind when an elderly owner must give up their beloved pet and no family members want the dog. Instead of living cherished last years in a loving family they are dumped at shelters where their chance of adoption is almost zero, or passed around to others and ignored or left in the yard. Many of these dogs are in poor physical condition as well, making them even less appealing to others. Helping them is sometimes challenging, is often expensive, but is very very rewarding. Our goal is that their last years are happy and that they die safe and at peace, knowing they are loved. Wouldn’t we all wish this for our own pets, and for ourselves?”

..But Wait, There More: Ronco Declares Bankruptcy

Well- another Father’s day went by and I didn’t get what I had hoped for from my children. I guess I should be happy that I didn’t end up with a Popeil Pocket Fisherman.

For years now we have been bombarded with TV commercials trying to sell you everything from the Veg-O-Matic ( It slices, it dices, it makes 100s of French fries..) to Ginsu knives. We have bought a few items through the years. I had the record vacuum that you place your vinyl LP in and it spins it around and sucks off the dust. ( I ruined my brother’s Mike Oldsfield Tubular Bells record with it.)

I had bought my mother the Armorcote non-stick pan. It worked till the non-stick part came off in a dish she was making.

I even still have a few LPs that were made with the Ronco label. One from the UK has a great collection of New Wave hits.

Well it looks like that famous name of Ronco will be taking it Final Taxi as they have filed for bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Woodland Hills, California.

Ron Popeil, 72, started the Chatsworth, California-based company around 1958 and became a household name by hawking products in late-night television ads. He was known for infomercials selling his products and got his start pitching his father’s Veg-O-Matic manual food processor . During the 1970s, Ron Popeil began developing products on his own to sell through Ronco. Ronco became a household name with its commercials for kitchen products including the Ginsu knife, and Armorcote (and Armorecote II) non-stick saucepans and frying pans. They aired incessantly, especially during off-hour TV viewing times, these commercials became known for their catchphrases such as “…but wait, there’s more!” “50-year guarantee” (later expanded to a “lifetime guarantee”), and “…how much would you pay now?”

Other inventions by Popeil include a machine that scrambles eggs inside the shell, a food dehydrator, an automatic pasta maker and a spray to cover bald spots on people’s heads. Among the company’s best-selling gadgets is the Pocket Fisherman, a compact rod and reel. I think my kids bought my wife the Showtime Rotisserie, a small oven designed for cooking meat and poultry, using Popeil’s latest catch-phrase: “Set it, and forget it.”

I know people who still have the electric shock to tighten up your stomach muscles with a 9 volt battery- or the one that shocks your acne away.

Ronco’s television ads were so familiar to viewers that they were spoofed by several comedians including Dan Aykroyd’s famous 1976 sketch on “Saturday Night Live.” In the sketch, Aykroyd advertises the “Super Bass-O-Matic ’76” by “Rovco,” a blender that

turns a whole fish into a brown liquid, which is then drunk by Laraine Newman, who co-starred in the segment.

“Wow, that’s terrific bass!” she says.

Stand-up comedian Gallagher satirizes Ronco with perhaps his most famous routine involving a large wooden mallet called the “Sledge-o-Matic”, used to pulverize fruit, other food items and still other random objects. Gallagher delivers the routine in a manner similar to Popeil in his infomercials.

According to a court filing, its current assets include inventory of $7.7 million and $3 million in cash and uncollected bills. The company said it generated $45 million of revenue last year. The company has arranged bankruptcy financing, and the restructuring is supported by secured lenders, he said. A hearing to approve the new loan and other court requests has been set for June 19.

So is this the end of Ronco? Somehow I think we may still hear the phase “..but wait, there’s more..”

Cream of Wheat Chef gets gravestone 69 years later.

Frank White- Cream of Wheat Man

I never was a big oatmeal eater when I was a kid. During the cold months mom would cook me Cream of Wheat instead.

I remember staring at the box as this black chef smiled at me every morning. I often wondered if this was a real person or a character much like Tony the Tiger or Capn’ Crunch.

He was REAL!

In fact the man widely believed to be the model for the white-hatted chef whose face has greeted breakfasting Americans for more than a century on Cream of Wheat boxes finally has a grave marker bearing his name just this week.

Frank L. White died in 1938, and until this week, his grave in Woodlawn Cemetery in Leslie, Michigan bore only a tiny concrete marker with no name.

On Wednesday, a granite gravestone was placed at his burial site. It bears his name and an etching taken from the man depicted on the Cream of Wheat box.

Jesse Lasorda, a family researcher from Lansing, started the campaign to put the marker and etching on White’s grave.

“Everybody deserves a headstone,” Lasorda told the Lansing State Journal. He discovered that White was born about 1867 in Barbados, came to the U.S. in 1875 and became a citizen in 1890.

When White died Feb. 15, 1938, the local paper, the Leslie Local-Republican, described him as a “famous chef” who “posed for an advertisement of a well-known breakfast food.”

White lived in Leslie for about the last 20 years of his life, and the story of his posing for the Cream of Wheat picture was known in the city of 2,000 located between Jackson and Lansing and about 70 miles west of Detroit.

The chef was photographed about 1900 while working in a Chicago restaurant. His name was not recorded. White was a chef, traveled a lot, was about the right age and told neighbors that he was the Cream of Wheat model, the Jackson Citizen Patriot said.

I can’t help but wonder if Nancy Green, the lady who was used for the logo of Aunt Jemima, has a grave stone telling who she was.

Mr. Wizard was around before Harry Potter

Mr. Wizard

Long before there was a Bill Nye – Science Guy  or a Beakman teaching us about science there was Mr. Wizard. No we are not talking Harry Potter.

Mr. Wizard was Don Herbert, who unlocked the wonders of science for youngsters of the
1950s and ’60s on television. Mr. Wizard took his Final Taxi at the age of  89.

Herbert held no advanced degree in science, he used household items in his TV lab, and his assistants were boys and girls. But he became an influential showman-science teacher on his half-hour “Watch Mr. Wizard” programs, which ran on NBC from 1951 to 1965.

Millions of youngsters may have been captivated by Howdy Doody and the  Lone Ranger, but many were also conducting science experiments at  home, emulating Mr. Wizard.

“Watch Mr. Wizard,” which was aimed at youngsters between 8 and 13,  received a Peabody Award in 1953 for young people’s programming. More than 100,000 children were enrolled in 5,000 Mr. Wizard Science Clubs by the mid-1950s.
After his children’s program went off the air, Mr. Wizard remained a  resence in TV science programming with general-audience shows like “How About” and “Exploration.” NBC revived “Watch Mr. Wizard” for one year in the early ’70s. In the 1980s Mr. Herbert reprised his children’s shows with “Mr. Wizard’s World” on the Nickelodeon cable network.
I remember watching this then even though I did read about Mr. Wizard in many magazines. I think Mad and Cracked did spoofs on him all the time.

He became something of a TV celebrity beyond his lab as a guest of Johnny Carson, David Letterman and Regis Philbin and a panelist on “Hollywood Squares.”
It was because of Mr. Wizard I like to mix up different household cleaners to see if I could get it to explode.

Not quite dead yet- part II: Life insurance paid to man still alive

What would you do if your insurance company had sent you a letter telling you that your home was paid off and that you would be getting a large check in the next few days?

Elaine Wood was greeted with this message in a postal letter she received. It also told her that her husband, Harry, was dead. Harry had left for work just a few hours earlier that day. Mrs. Wood was in shock.

She ran to the phone and called up the paper mill that he husband worked for and confirmed that he was alive and well.

Given the opportunity to live mortgage-free, some hard-pressed homeowners would have been unable to resist playing along.  But the Woods are law-abiding, so Mr Wood, 52, contacted their insurers and building society to convince them that- in the words of Monty Python – ‘ I’m not quite dead yet.’

The letter from Norwich Union, a British insurance company, with whom the Woods have life insurance, arrived on May 23. It began: “I am sorry to learn of the death of your husband on 17 April 2007 and offer my severe condolences.”
The letter told 46-year-old Mrs Wood that in line with the policy, the remaining £30,000 or so of their mortgage was being paid off and she would receive a check for £25,000.

Mr Wood said: “I rang Norwich Union and the adviser said, ‘I’ve got your death certificate in front of me’.  “It had my full name and my date of birth. I told him I was definitely alive and eventually he said, ‘I think there’s been a bit of a mistake’.”

A spokesman for the firm said: “A mistake was made when we received a death certificate for a person with the same name and the same date of birth as Mr Wood.

The Woods received a bunch of flowers and a case of wine from Norwich Union by way of apology.