News and Videos on Life and Death

Jan 16, 2018 | 1 comment

These past two weeks we’ve had news stories about celebrity deaths, funeral business developments, and a nuclear annihilation false alarm. Could the zeitgeist be shifting to discussing death honestly? Links to these and other news stories follow.

There’s an Albuquerque Death Cafe at my house this Saturday, January 20 at 3:00 p.m. Please email Gail[at] if you’d like to attend and I’ll send you directions. It’s going to be a big group – we’ve already had 18 people RSVP!

Video: The Life of Death

Get out the hankies for this five-minute animated film. Death falls in love with life… but everything it touches dies. This was originally released in 2015, and if you haven’t seen it, take a look.

News stories, recent posts at The Family Plot Blog and news of upcoming events follow. Please call me at 505-265-7215 if I can be of assistance.

Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®

Books of 2017News Coverage and Blog Posts

Click on the titles to read the news story or blog post and see the associated videos. Review all posts on The Family Plot Blog or view just the Death Cartoons posted on the blog!

These Books on End-of-Life Issues are Enlightening – Here are short reviews of seven books published in 2017 that can help you face the inevitable.

My Year in Celebrity Deaths by Bruce Handy in The New Yorker (January 8, 2018 issue) – Bruce Handy, who’s about my age, compares his age to the celebrities who died in 2017, including Mary Tyler Moore, Don Rickles, Chuck Berry, Tom Petty, and Charles Manson.

The New Death Industry: funeral businesses that won’t exploit grief by Louise Tickle in The Guardian (January 8, 2018) – Since an average person only plans a funeral once or twice in a lifetime, it pays to be an informed consumer BEFORE someone dies.

In an hour, A Mortician’s Tale will make you think differently about death by Michael Moore at – This is not so much a video game as a digital experience that walks you through what happens behind the scenes at a funeral home.

How Death Got Cool by Marisa Meltzer in The Guardian (January 12, 2018) – A long article about the Swedish practice of “death cleaning,”  the death positive movement, and how serious end-of-life conversations are starting to come out of the closet.

Terror in Paradise: I Got the Hawaii Missile Message and Prepared to Die by Jon Letman in The Daily Beast (January 13, 2018) – What one man in Hawaii experienced when he thought a nuclear attack was imminent.

Holograms Let You Speak From The Great Beyond – Holographic messages from loved ones who have died are no longer the “what if” stuff of Star Wars

Upcoming Events and a Quote

ABQ Death Cafe tea serviceSaturday, January 20, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. — Albuquerque Death Cafe at Gail Rubin’s home. The objective of the Death Cafe is “To increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.”  It’s all about an interesting, unstructured conversation – open and free-flowing with no specific agenda. Relax over some coffee or tea, some cake or cookies, and join in a group discussion to talk about what’s on your mind about mortality issues. Refreshments will be provided at this free event. Donations are gratefully accepted. RSVP to Gail[at] for address and directions.

Join the Albuquerque Death Cafe Meetup group to be kept apprised of upcoming events. Click here to go to the Meetup page.

Tuesday, February 6, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. — Death educator Gail Rubin presents the film clip-illustrated talk, Hollywood’s Visions Trips and Crowded Rooms at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNM. The class will take place at UNM Continuing Education, South Building, 1634 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM  87131. Dr. David Kessler’s book Visions, Trips and Crowded Rooms opens a door to discussing death. It shares the personal stories of medical and hospice professionals who witness death. Some of the dying see remarkable visions. Some speak of going on a trip. Others see people crowding the room, some they know, others they don’t. Hollywood films provide a concrete way of looking at this phenomenon when someone dies. This talk opens the door to discussing mortality issues. Register for class 83294 for $20 at Osher’s website.

Saturday, February 17, 2:00 p.m. — “Green Burial Options in New Mexico” is the title of Gail Rubin’s presentation at the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park, 2901 Candelaria Road NW, Albuquerque, NM. In a high desert climate, “green” burial is actually “brown” burial. Come learn about your options for returning to the earth as naturally as possible in the Land of Enchantment. The presentation is free, and parking at the park costs $3 (but you can park on Candelaria for free).

Wednesday, February 14, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. — “Do This for the People You Love,” a talk on ways to downsize by sharing your beloved possessions and memories with your loved ones. The 20/20 Club is hosting the event at Sandia Presbyterian Church, 10704 Paseo Del Norte NE. The 20/20 Club provides information and support for people with macular degeneration and other vision problems. For more information, call 505-275-9952.

March 9 to 11, 2018 — Frozen Dead Guy Days in Nederland, Colorado. Gail Rubin returns to this wild and wacky festival of all things dead and frozen to present The Newly-Dead Game® and the documentary “Grandpa’s in the TUFF Shed.” It tells the story of how the Frozen Dead Guy came to be kept on dry ice in a shed and the start of this unique festival. Learn more at

Sponsors: would you like to connect with the thousands of people who attend Frozen Dead Guy Days and are not afraid to laugh in the face of death? Contact Gail Rubin at 505-265-7215 to discuss opportunities for the 2018 festival!

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Good Goodbye