O-Bits: Fight to the Furnished Edition

He’s a billionaire who didn’t like paying taxes, flirted with far right/white supremacist groups, demanded total loyalty from his employees, and was closely identified with a certain fast-food ground beef product. No, we’re noting going off on another rant about Il Douché, we’re thinking of IKEA founder Ingvar Kramprad, who died Saturday at 91. A couple of odd facts: IKEA is an acronym formed by his name, the farm (Elmtaryd) and village (Agunnaryd) where he was raised; employees were expected to embody the “IKEA spirit”: to be humble, clean-cut courteous, and thrifty, which included using both sides of a sheet of paper; in 2004, the Guardian reported that one in ten Europeans were conceived in an IKEA bed. The company has not announced funeral plans, or whether IKEA will now carry a line of DEDMØN coffins. So take out your Allen wrenches, sit quietly on your DJURSBO sofa, and try not to think of when put together.



Sunday’s New York Times ran an essay, “What To Say When You Meet The Angel Of Death At A Party,”  by Kate Bowler, a professor who has been living with Stage IV colon cancer for two-and-a-half years. “I am not dying,” she writes. “I am not terminal. I am keeping vigil in the place of almost death.”  When her quarterly CT scans show no new tumor growth, she tells herself she has another three months to live. Even with this positive attitude, she finds it hard to take ungainly, if well-meaning, words of support from friends. Her favorite comment comes from her sister: “Yes, the world is changed, dear heart, but do not be afraid. You are loved, you are loved. You will not disappear. I am here.”

You’ve heard about bringing coal to Newcastle, but how about funeral pyres? That’s the question posed by the Newcastle Chronicle, which ran a poll asking its readers if they would approve laws allowing the city’s Hindu population to perform outdoor cremations. Fifty-four percent were in favor.
Steven Mirkin

Steven Mirkin’s diverse career has taken him from politics to pop culture to high art, offering him a front row seat to some of the most fascinating events and personalities of our time: writing speeches, fundraising appeals and campaign materials for Ed Koch, John Heinz and independent presidential candidate John B. Anderson; chronicling the punk/new wave scenes in New York and London; interviewing musicians such as Elton John, John Lydon and Buck Owens; profiling modern masters Julian Schnabel, Paul Schrader and Jonathan Safran Foer; and writing for TV shows including 21, The Chamber, Let's Make A Deal, and Rock Star: INXS.

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