Spam harvesting.


Spam harvesting.


Gabby you’re not to blame;
it was just a matter of time.

Heartbeat of memory agitated,
aroused, cheated.

Guess what. What?

This yearning for closure, guess what, showed-up, appeared in a dream.

The Ignored waited for an opening.

For over three years the Ignored rehearsed in silence
giving repeat performances until it slipped through,
got my attention, followed me from dream onto the crapper,
into the shower; the Ignored was always there, unsettled
whimpering, nagging, wanting audience, spending its time along
the margin of consciousness within the depths of sleep; every
not so often I’d get a millisecond blink, a flash of white-light
calling out her name; had no idea where to go with that; let it go
as fast as it came, continuing on as a busy human fulfilling
the law of entropy; until this dream.

Attending To The Dream.

Lying perfectly flat on my back,
planted on a raised bed of moist earth,
my skin, a composite of embryos absorbing,
ingesting earth’s damp fevers,
branches into a million frenzied roots,
zigzagging, spiderwebbing through the soil,
rooting out the idiocy of,
the suffering of,
the chemistry of,
the unforeseen-foreseen of,
the complicity of,
the probability of,
the inevitability of,
the implacability of Gabby’s death.

Gabby’s roof top garden. Listen to Yourself listening to Her


 and I am buying an apartmenttumblr_ grain
(in the building next door to mine).

 Although I’ll be on the 3rd floor,
I get half the roof (which already has
nice wood 
decking tile on it — but no water source as yet!), so I’ll have a
garden/outdoor space.”

I feel a little stressed about the roof garden because
I have a lot of plants I’m taking from my “yard” and I need to
ensure that, on a full sunroof deck, I have a ready home
for them on the roof.

The plants I am really excited about aren’t the ones
I’m doing from seed, but the stuff I ordered from
Plant Delights — some awesome cannas, colocasias, that
zoblupie clematis I told you about, plus a long standing
favorite of mine, ruellia brittoniana (the tall one, not the dwarf
ones they also have). Plus some other things.

The spam harvesting is kind of negligible, don’t worry too
much about that.

 I decided I’m going to have to try to start the daturas
on the roof — I’m worried enough that (although I have
a separate room to put the plant-light system in) my cats
will get in and demolish everything, but if they got in and
ate that I would never forgive myself.

I really don’t know how this happened,
but I findRosamutabilis_grain
 myself for the first time having
a real design idea, 
and it’s completely
apart from what I’ve done in
previous gardens. It’s both awesome
and scary, and 
I hope it works, but in
a nutshell I’m embracing the 
full sun
condition and going hot with the 
with a couple of cool blues and a tiny bit
white (nigella African bride, a datura or
two, and moonflowers.

My poor vines (moonflower, thunbergia alata “salmon shades”, and
tropeaolum peregrinum)– those that survived the evil squirrel
(really, this squirrel was mean — when I first planted them, he just
bit them off at their bases, but didn’t eat the plant at all, did the
same thing with most of the sunflowers I planted.

Steve and I actually split up in October, but we are on good terms
and he’s staying with me for Josef’s summer visit (which we are shockingly
already half-way into). It’s working out very well,
I knew it could but was also worried beforehand.

My nicotiana knightiana will, at the rate it’s going, bloom in October!
Next year I will start them much earlier, and probably do mutabilis in place
of or in addition to the knightiana (I’ve never seen one in person), and
use a different 
rooting medium (I made a BIG mistake this year).

The job is actually going really well (although there are always the
usual stressors in any legal IT job). I like my boss and he values me
highly, and that’s the best thing.

I ordered a light rack for4.2
propagating things from
seed so I can get the nice annuals that
no one ever 
seems to sell. I feel a
little daunted by the prospect, but years ago
Chelsea I actually hooked up my alcove
with shelves and florescent lights.

I don’t know where I stumbled across
blood grass but when 
I found it I had
to have it.

The falcons had no offspring this year, what a bummer.
maintains the site didn’t comment on it whatsoever,
perhaps this just happens some times.

I am a happy woman as I finally found
two salvia patens at the Gowanus Nursery yesterday, plus
two oxpetalum tweedia, which are a milkweed relative that
have the most awesome little milky blue flowers.

From out of the Outrageous Blue

She flew into Chicago on business while gathering
us up for a get-together dinner.
Haven’t seen her for 20 years. Remember Gabby
as a quiet teenager who sat in a lawn chair 20 feet behind
the adults; who spoke carefully then; now she’s the impetus
who brought us together to meet again for the first time; effortlessly,
Gabby cleared a wide gap of silence held between friends;
she offered to be the catalyst for amnesty.

We were easy together; surely this was thetropperegrher_grain
beginning of a friendship with possibility;
a future, a bond, flourishing with the turn
of the seasons. Yes, we’ll share the
offerings of the natural world; all her doing.
Once the child, no more, she invited us
into her life. We were honored, refreshed;
had no idea how fragile was the germinal thread
that bound us together.

Hey. She worked as a legal IT for a law firm in Manhattan.
How about that? Gabby ran the digital-info-lifeblood,
reigning over computers and its software, converting, storing, protecting,
processing, transmitting, retrieving; a pressure job to be sure.
We were impressed, in awe of her, proud, excited for her.
Gabby, big sister, made it big; Manhattan big; mother, sister, brother,
all optimistic, all impressed, all pleased. But.

But who knew, who understood a “back then” eventuality?
How many of us can look in the mirror to  see the “back then” heading
their way? Yes, there are signs; but they don’t come with answers.

Back then a vital life process, function, ratio of madness to sanity goes berserk;
deep within, below, something churned, cracked, mucked up the soil,
worms smothered, flowers withered seconds after a bloom was born,
arbitrary withering, random flip-flopping — one of daddy’s sperm gone twisted,
gone nuts, insane, bullied its way through, first to the beckoning finish line
before any of its competitors.

Bingo, fertilization; the sicko sperm wins to ultimately curse the year, month,
week, day, hour, minute, the very frigging second. The present made a lousy
commitment to the future much like the same lousy one it made for her father;
for him it was a matter of time, for Gabby it was a matter of time.

Before she jumped from her roof top garden four floors to pavement.
Is it really just a matter of time or was she salvageable if pursued
in time, before her time. There are parents who tried, tried again, plying
all the resources they could muster, could afford, only to learn
it made no difference — life over death lost; there’s no guarantee.
Tragic moments written in code waits for an update; no guarantee.


Everywhere Gabby looked she found
spamnicotiana_grain wilt. Gabby the gardener, the guardian,
sworn to a singular self-imposed allegiance,
the keeper and protector of the data and
the flower, standing vigilant like the sun,
ready to thwart, to prune 
the nagging
onslaught of spam swamp. They fired her
because she found spam 
rot wherever
she looked; she refused to leave the office,
loyal to her job description she stayed adamant
by her computer’s side.  

Don’t you understand how crucial, how necessary I am to us.
Please take your hands off me. Let me do my job. Don’t interfer
with the harvest. Don’t tamper with my existence.
There is no existence without me.  

They pried her loose from the office by grip, put her in a
prison psych ward — diagnosis, psychotic; they released her to the street.
Brilliant. Now what?

Her Suicide

Gabby fed her cats that day. Washed a sweater, hung it to dry.
Sat down to write a to-do list. Cleaned, dusted, organize stuff.
All things neat in their place she took her purse with her,
up to her roof top garden, to enjoy her new plants, have a smoke;
that’s all she intended to do, have a smoke, be with her plants.
Her fastidious housekeeping bares witness to intention; yes? no?

Either way, yes or no, a fourth floor roof top garden beckons
beyondOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA for those who seek it, imagine it; for those
vulnerable to whispers. From a selection of Gabby’s
inner-voices one voice finds expression.
It possibly goes something like this:
first a lullaby;
the lullaby metastasizes into a chant;
a chant metastasizes into a litany;
a litany metastasizes into an hypnotic, blinding,
deafening, profane anthem, 
promising her nothing,
pointing the way, directing her to leap-jump that very second,
without hesitation, from her rooftop garden before another
voice binds her feet to the roof top floor.

As Gabby fell all of us who mattered rushed, leaped, flew towards her,
stretching every bone, muscle, cartilage beyond limit, ripping ligament,
rupturing flesh, reaching out to her, our desperate hands, fingers
aching to catch, clutch, cradle, cherish her; she floated through our hands
as if we were not there.

 by hblume


Assisted suicide for jumpers.


Life Ends Six Meters Above The Ground

Meet Sascha Vongehr: scientist, philosopher, physicist, mathematician, a nano-quantum-blackhole-obsessive-compulsive thinker.  His credentials speak highly of, for, about him; an impressive list of kudos suggesting a profound ken and a dense intensely convoluted brain mass, maybe too dense, too convoluted.

Sascha harnessed his power of perception and calculation to prove this: when jumpers commit suicide they’re in luck, no pain felt, they officially go dead 6-meters above ground before impact. Good news, right? Sascha  got the math to back it up.

 Sascha comforts jumpers-to-be on their way to the edge:

 “The greatest hurdle before committing suicide is the fear of dying and death as well as the fear of hurting people we care about. In order to assist suicide, Suicidal Philosophy alleviates these fears rather than stoking them like traditional Philosophy of Suicide does. Suicidal Philosophy is much more science than philosophy, as the following outtake of a long article aimed at helping people in distress exemplifies. It explains why it is that if you jump out of a 20 story building, your life already ends peacefully more than six meters before impact with the ground.”

Sascha addresses the supposed misgivings a potential jumper might have about jumping — fear, death, pain. His intent, a rational, gentle push over the edge, an assisted suicide by premise, coaxing her or him closer to the edge …“ your life already ends peacefully more than six meters before impact with the ground.”    

To further alleviate any misgivings a jumper might harbor Sascha cites: “The fear of dying involves fearing pain and plainly fearing fear. Anybody who has ever endured a panic attack or so called horror trip will fear this ‘fear of fear’.” Alleviate the fear of fear and you’re that much closer to the edge.

To begin with: 1. Fear of fear is a misnomer. When I felt a sudden rush of blood to my face and head after over indulging on the fleshy steak-like chunks of the delicious shelf fungus ‘Chicken of the Woods’ I had a panic attack — not because of my fear of fear — I thought I poisoned myself. “Fear of” is about fear of something causing fear. 2. Jumpers don’t have a fear issue.

Fear is not part of the equation, especially with jumpers. 

Those who choose jumping from heights to end their life aren’t about to consult Wikipedia on the Philosophy of suicide. Jumpers know no fear. They could care less about Sascha’s 6-meter cushion or his Suicidal Philosophy. All they’re interested in is ease, speed and the certainty of death.

Refer to the following selection from the NY Times:

What makes looking at jumping suicides potentially instructive is that it is a method associated with a very high degree of impulsivity, and its victims often display few of the classic warning signs associated with suicidal behavior. In fact, jumpers have a lower history of prior suicide attempts, diagnosed mental illness (with the exception of schizophrenia) or drug and alcohol abuse than is found among those who die by less lethal methods, like taking pills or poison. Instead, many who choose this method seem to be drawn by a set of environmental cues that, together, offer three crucial ingredients: ease, speed and the certainty of death.

The Urge to End It All  ·  By Scott Anderson
Published: July 6, 2008 NYT

Six meters above ground is moot.  Either way, at 6-meters or at “thud” the jumper will experience an immediate drop in transmission  — no pain to the brain — brain death — a no brainer. Thanks anyway Sascha, those jumpers out there just don’t need the assist. But I have to admit, 6-meters is in some uncomfortable way comforting to know.

 Here’s Sascha’s reasoning & “the math.”


A signal travels about 20 milliseconds (ms = a thousands of one second) from a receptor to the brain. If the nerve wiring is used to pre-process data, like this occurs in the eye’s retina for example, the time goes up to 50 to 100 ms. Hardwired reflexes or trained responses like fast table tennis returns can be unconsciously dealt with in 200 to 300 ms. Taking into account how slow nerves transmit and how much calculation is involved to complete high level functions like conscious thought, a delay of 500 ms is an unexpectedly short and entirely necessary holdup.

 Nevertheless, it is long enough to be of some comfort to anyone committing suicide by jumping from an elevated structure. Selecting a 20th floor of a building ensures at least 60 meters height – a safe estimate employing only 3 meters per floor although office buildings have mostly around 3.5 meters per story. Falling down a height of sixty meters onto the deserted asphalt below gives one’s body a velocity of about 34 meters per second after 3.5 seconds [one hits the ground with v = (2 *60 m * 9.8 m/s2)1/2].

 Falls from a mere ten meters onto unyielding ground have already often deadly consequences, but 34 m/s, that are 76.2 mph or 122.4 km/h, are enough to immediately switch off and destroy one’s brain regardless of the body’s orientation at impact.

 Assume a cautiously conservative estimate employing a neural delay of only dt = 200 ms. Approaching the ground to about six meters above of it, then having a velocity of 32 m/s, one falls more than six meters (32 m/s * 0.2 s) during the time dt between the eyes receiving the light and the occurrence of the neural correlates of consciousness (NCC) [6] of the seen situation.

 Resultantly, the conscious perception is that of a fast approaching ground, but this movie stops playing when the ground is still more than six meters away! One does never even come close to experiencing the impact, let alone having any pain because of it.

For the complete post click here.

 Cosmic and planetary suicide

Sascha is a member of an organization called the lifeboat foundation / safeguarding humanity, where he and others take on cosmic and planetary suicide, existential risks and snafus, among other endeavors. They’re a heady group, a likely place for the likes of Sascha. I recommend a look-see. Membership is huge, members brainy with lofty existential concepts.


Sascha Vongehr

Below is Sascha’s Curricula Vitae / Resume. It’s impressive. 12-point type doesn’t do it justice. I was compelled to feature it in headline text where I, you can take it in, enjoy big blocks at a time.



Jumpers’ Hall Of Fame

A Wikipedia web page entirely devoted to folks who took their life
by jumping from a substantial enough height to guarantee results.

Featured in this post 3 jumpers culled from Wikipedia’s list.
Scroll down for:
·Tony Scott, film director
·Francesca Woodman, American Photographer
·James Vincent Forester, Secretary of Defense

Jumpers are usually impulsive, quick to suicide; unlike those who plot out their suicide, leave notes, take the time to give coveted stuff away to family, friends, put everything in order, quietly go about their business of suicide thoughtfully choosing the hour and means. Not jumpers; usually no goodbye note, window, bridges, rooftops are their choice, quick, easy to come by, there at a moments impulse.

Those who had the distinction to make it to Wikipedia’s list are in various degrees the cynosure of the public eye; they’re big news more or less, tragic news always, some known only by a select few with common interest, more males than females; they may be poet, actor, photographer, cinematographer, musician, lawyer, physician, serial killer, politician …

There are no other means of suicide, by gun, poison, asphyxiation, whatever, that supports a full-page alphabetical roster like this one — I googled and found none. I happenstance across “Suicides from jumping from a height” while researching  suicide via bridge, via Cornell University, for the post  “Suicide Paradise.” 

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Consummate film maker, director
July 21 1944  –  August 19 2012

The first name that got my attention, that I immediately recognized was Tony Scott, the film director. “What? No! When?” Somehow I missed news coverage of his demise. I was surprised, sadden, pissed-off. Tony Scott, one of my favorite directors.

Tony Scott climbed mountains for recreation. Obviously he had no fear of heights; witnesses say there was no hesitation.  Mention in the press of an inoperative brain tumor but his wife said not.  It’s difficult to fathom why he jumped. Why Tony Scott, extremely gifted, with a robust mettle, with an enormous appetite, passion for work, at the peak of his career, would leave this world willingly unless illness drove him to it; depression being an illness.

At 12.35pm on Sunday, Scott parked his black Toyota Prius in the east-bound lane of the Vincent Thomas Bridge, 30 miles south of his home in Beverly Hills.

He then scaled an 8ft fence and fell 185ft into the waters of a navigation channel serving Los Angeles Harbour. Witnesses allegedly told police he leaped “without hesitation”.

Vincent Thomas Bridge and the Port of Los Angeles

The incident was seen by passengers on a harbour cruise below, some of whom took photographs and videos. One of them said: “He landed right next to our tour boat, and many of us saw the whole thing.”


Tony Scott was determined to commit suicide. He had to scale up an 8ft fence, not an easy task for men half his age. He had to be in great shape plus driven to end it all. Again the question why? When it comes to suicide we always ask why? We’re dying to know why. Why Tony Scott did you? How could you walk-out on your brother, children, wife?

When Earnest Hemingway blew his brains out with his favorite shotgun, I an avid fan of his credited his suicide to brain cancer and mucho testosterone; Earnest Hemingway was in no way going to suffer a life of declining prowess. He beat cancer to the punch. The public and I accepted this as “why.”

Years later we discover that Hemingway went thru acute depression and paranoia. He went to Mayo clinic twice for electroconvulsive therapy and was put on antidepressants. When he returned home from the second round of treatment, two days later, he killed himself.

What surfaced years later — hemochromatosis. Earnest Hemingway’s behavior was much like his father’s before his father’s suicide. His sister and brother both committed suicide. They all most likely had the genetic disease hemochromatosis, in which the inability to metabolize iron culminates in mental and physical deterioration. Medical record confirmed that Hemingway’s hemochromatosis had been diagnosed in early 1961. Hemingway’s heavy, frequent drinking ultimately compounded his deterioration and answered the question “Why?” Boozing and hemochromatosis, that’s why.

Scott’s autopsy report released by the LA County coroner’s office

The report ruled that the official cause of death was multiple blunt force injuries and drowning. It also showed that therapeutic levels of the anti-depressant mirtazapine and prescription sleeping pill Lunesta were found in Scott’s system at the time of his death.

Side effects of mirtazapine can include general symptoms of malaise, but more rarely, can result in severe mood changes and hallucinations, according to Mayo Clinic. Lunesta is described as an eszopiclone medication used to treat insomnia. Lunesta can in depressed patients, worsen depression, increasing the risk of suicide. Risks may increase if you drink alcohol says LUNESTA Medication Guide.

Depression, not even the strongest, brightness, talented among us can avoid it, brings giants to their knees. At some time within our life our chemistry seems determined to go haywire. Given the amount of commercials running on TV hawking antidepressants indicates a considerable flourishing depressed population for the Pharmaceutical industry to concoct for. Coming up with the right antidepressants or combination of such is trial and error both for doctor and patient; adjusting to a drug’s side effects can be daunting.

What a compounded tragedy, if Scott’s meds was the answer “why?”

Hemingway’s Death and the Suicide Gene
by Sephen Cobb   July 2, 2011            

Ernest Hemingway died from hereditary hemochromatosis on July 2, 1961, exactly 50 years ago today. You might have read that Hemingway died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but hereditary hemochromatosis — also known as HHC, iron overload, bronze diabetes and Celtic Curse — was undoubtedly the underlying cause of his death. Quite by coincidence, July is Hemochromatosis Awareness Month in America, a time to raise awareness of what we now know is the most common genetic killer in America. By raising awareness of HHC you can quite literally save lives. And if a giant of literature can help raise HHC awareness, so be it.

How did hemochromatosis kill Hemingway? By causing toxic levels of iron to accumulate in his joints and organs bringing pain, diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, heart disease, and depression. That depression is more than just being unhappy because your body is damaged and your health is failing. That toxic iron accumulation plays its own role in affecting mood and brain function. Sadly, suicide is an all-too-common outcome of undiagnosed hemochromatosis.

One of Tony Scott’s best.
“True Romance,” a beautiful piece of film-making, a classic, included in the rank of 100 best, not only by Howard but by every permutation of film-buff.

The scene between Cristopher Walkens and Dennis Hopper is as riveting as riveting gets; watching the two off them verbally spar back and forth is mesmerizing, sweaty; when the scene is over you’re ready to leave the theatre, thinking you’ve just been thru a full-length feature and then oh yes, you have to remind yourself to breathe again.

Tony Scott took Quentin Tarantino’s deft dialogue and original script, filmed and directed it flawlessly, brilliantly, his choices were spot-on-perfect as were his choice of actors — doesn’t get any better than this —  Brad Pitt, Cristopher Walkens, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Patricia Arquette, Christian Slater and Samuel L Jackson.

Tony Scott’s Filmography   2010 Unstoppables • 2006 Deja Vu  • 2005 Domino
2004 Man on Fire • 2001 Spy Game • 1996 The Fan • 1995 Crimson Tide
1993 True Romance • 1991 The Last Boy Scout • 1990 Days of Thunder • 1990 Revenge 1987 Beverly Hills Cop II • 1986 Top Gun • 1983 The Hunger

Top Gun star Val Kilmer called him the “kindest film director I ever worked for”.

Val Kilmer got it right.

Tony Scott’s  face
reads kind,
great guy,
good soul,

Keira Knightley, the British actress who starred as a bounty hunter in his 2005 film Domino, said: “Tony Scott was one of the most extraordinary, imaginative men I ever worked with. He was a firecracker and one of the world’s true originals. My thoughts go to his family.”

Howard Blume, fan: “Scott should have stuck-around; he would have gotten his Oscar, without a doubt.

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American photographer
April 3, 1958  –  January 19, 1981

D.D. Prince’s portrait of Francesca Woodman

I clicked on Francesca Woodman’s name to find — lo and behold — an important America photographer whose work is coveted by collectors, critics and museums worldwide. I never heard of her until this post. Shows you how out of the loop I am. I do appreciate the significance and work of Cindy Sherman, Diane Arbus and Duane Michals. Now I’ll have Francesca Woodman’s photography to grok over. 

Francesca Woodman made a deal with the muses:

                                    The Muses speak to Francesca

“We’ll allow you magic, Francesca, your creativity, passion, we’ll allow you your unique vision, your insatiable yearning for schematizing, juxtaposition, your surrealistic vision, your spontaneous bursts of shadow and light, your creative juice for 5 plus intense, prolific years. 
But Francesca, before your work is shown at the Tate Museum, London; before you are in the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum in New York; before you have a major retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art come November 2011; before you have a major retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York come spring 2012; before you join the pantheons of the art world, you will take your life by jumping from a roof top come January 19, 1981. You’ll experience your last vision seen thru the eye-blink of a camera’s shutter; you’ll be unrecognizable after you hit the cement. Your work will carry the aura of death, the mystique of suicide. Some of the your devotees will be able to appreciate your work sans suicide, most will not. Either way you’ve knocked them dead.”

Her photographs are haunting, ethereal, fleeting, surrealistic, moody, spooky, textured, egocentric, confrontational, disturbing, stimulating. Most often she uses herself as subject, her reason she was quoted to say: “Convenient.”

Everything seen in her photographs seemed to be there at hand, there at the appropriate time, convenient, serendipitous, found scraps, detritus, mirrors, sheets, what have you.

She offers herself up to the camera, places herself behind a doorway, occupies a portion of the frame, squeezes herself into a corner of space and space occupies her; the camera won’t let her rest, relentess, looking for her next move, next juxtaposition, next long exposure flurry.

Every photograph taken inspired another; hypnotize by her own vision, a chain-reaction of creativity continues to draw her in deeper and deeper and us along with. She is haunted by her own work as we are.

The more photographs she took the more convincing her work became, the more convinced she became; eventually her images could not be ignored, her work overwhelmed any nagging doubts a collector/critic might have; her bizarre continuity wouldn’t quit, becomes disturbingly exceptional, her passion, courage is unmistakable —  she’s not fooling around.

She persisted at it for 5 plus years, claustrophobic focused continuity, turning out over 800 images. Dazzling.

Her kudos has nothing to do with her suicide. She made it all on her own without death. If someone can’t compartmentalize, no matter, her work easily bares the cloak of suicide, it haunts with or without. 

Francesca Woodman has claimed her standing along with Diane Arbus, Duane Michals and Cindy Sherman. She shares an essence with each one of them while possessing her own perfect, unique, intimidating, haunting vision.  I’m smitten.

She survived her first suicide attempt; obviously not a jump. After her first attempt she wrote to friend Catherine Chermayeff.

 “After three weeks and weeks and weeks of thinking about it I finally managed to try to do away with myself as neatly and concisely as possible. I do have standards and my life at this point is like very old coffee sediment, and I would rather die young leaving various accomplishments, some work, my friendship with you and some other artifacts intact, instead of pell-mell erasing all these delicate things”

On her second attempt she did jump; from a New York City rooftop, this time making sure her suicide would take.

An acquaintance wrote, “things had been bad, there had been therapy, things had gotten better, guard had been let down.” 

Why suicide? Was it a pile-up? Too much at one time: a rejected grant application, grief from Benjamin Moore her boyfriend, a stolen bicycle, difficulty with her work, not taking her meds. Some of the possibilities friends and family offered. Her father had his first group show at the Guggenheim five days after her death. ( Her parents were both full time artists)  Was it a message to her father?
Was it the muses cashing in on the deal?
Was it her DNA whispering to her: “Jump”

Last journal entry before she took her life… “This action that I foresee has nothing to do with melodrama. It is that life as lived by me now is a series of exceptions … I was (am?) not unique but special. This is why I was an artist … I was inventing a language for people to see the everyday things that I also see … and show them something different … Nothing to do with not being able “to take it” in the big city or w/ self doubt or because my heart is gone. And not to teach people a lesson.  Simply the other side.“


Blueprint for a Temple
Francesca Woodman  (American, Denver, Colorado 1958–1981 New York City)

Medium: Diazo collage
Dimensions: 457.2 x 304.8 cm (180 x 120 in.) approximately
Credit Line: Gift of George and Betty Woodman, 2001
Accession Number: 2001.737
Rights and Reproduction: © George and Betty Woodman

This monumental collage is composed from twenty-nine photographs printed on architect’s blueprint paper. It was exhibited only once, in a group exhibition, less than a year before the artist died at the age of 22. Woodman was on the cusp of a change in her art. Feeling hemmed in by the intimate, Symbolist-inflected tableaux (in which she often appeared nude) for which she had become known, she strove to make her art less personal and greatly expand its scale. Taking inspiration from the black-and-white patterned bathroom tiling familiar to New York City tenement apartments, Woodman sought to summon the ancient past and the contemplative calm she associated with it from its most faint surviving traces in everyday life. The child of two artists, Woodman spent much of her youth outside Florence and later studied in Rome; Blueprint for a Temple channelled her own deep and lifelong engagement with the art of antiquity. She also posed her friends as sculptural caryatids, further blurring the line between past and present, inanimate and animate.

The Metropolitan’s assumption that Woodman was “feeling hemmed in” by her body of work covering the last six years is hyperbole, boloney. Keep it simple — she was ready to move-on. She said what she had to say. Onward. Her new work, exciting, promising, the progenitor of great art to come, without a doubt she would have brought to it the same passion, mystery, focus, exploration she had to all of her work. But alas, she took her future with her — she moved-on — “to the other side” as she wrote in her journal.  


Francesca Woodman from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Francesca haunts Facebook A good representation of her work on Facebook.
Richard Avedon gives Francesca a Facebook’s thumbs up.
The Woodmans Documentory Film on her and her father and mother both artists
Francesca Woodman’s Suicide New York Review of Books.

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February 15, 1892 – May 22, 1949
The last Cabinet-level
United States Secretary of the Navy
& the
first United States Secretary of Defense.

Forrestal’s suicide

Although Forrestal, the United States Secretary of Defense, had told associates he had decided to resign, he was shattered when Truman abruptly asked for his resignation. His letter of resignation was tendered after Truman’s dismissal on March 28, 1949.

On the day of his removal from office, he was reported to have gone into a strange daze and was flown on a Navy airplane to the estate of Under Secretary of State Robert A. Lovett in Hobe Sound, Florida, where Forrestal’s wife, Josephine, was vacationing.

From Richard Dolan’s UFOs and the
National Security State: Chronology of a Cover-Up,

Forrestal finally left office in a formal ceremony on March 28th, his last public appearance.

What followed after the ceremony remains mysterious. “There is something I would like to talk to you about,” Symington, Secretary of the Air Force, told Forrestal, and accompanied him privately during the ride back to the Pentagon.

What Symington said is not known, but Forrestal emerged from the ride deeply upset, even traumatized, upon arrival at his office. Friends of Forrestal implied that Symington said something that shattered Forrestal’s last remaining defenses.

When someone entered Forrestal’s office several hours later, the former Secretary of Defense did not notice. Instead, he sat rigidly at his desk, staring at the bare wall, incoherent, repeating the sentence, “you are a loyal fellow,” for several hours.

[This excerpt is adapted from Richard Dolan’s UFOs and the National Security State: Chronology of a Cover-Up, 1941 to 1973, Hampton Roads Publishing, 2002. It appeared in the December 2001/January 2002 issue of UFO Magazine.]

William C. Menninger of the Menninger Clinic in Kansas was consulted and he diagnosed “severe depression” of the type “seen in operational fatigue during the war”. The Menninger Clinic had treated successfully similar cases during World War II but Forrestal’s wife Josephine, his friend and associate Ferdinand Eberstadt, Dr. Menninger and Navy psychiatrist Captain Dr. George N. Raines decided to send the former Secretary of Defense to the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) in Bethesda, Maryland, where it would be possible to deny his mental illness.

He was checked into NNMC five days later. The decision to house him on the 16th floor instead of the first floor was justified in the same way. Forrestal’s condition was officially announced as “nervous and physical exhaustion.”

The attending psychiatrist, Captain George N. Raines was handpicked by the Navy Surgeon General.  Captain Raines diagnosed his condition as “depression” or “reactive depression.”  The regimen was as follows:

1st week: narcosis with sodium amytal.

2nd – 5th weeks: a regimen of insulin sub-shock combined with psycho-therapeutic interviews. According to Dr. Raines, the patient overreacted to the insulin much as he had the amytal and this would occasionally throw him into a confused state with a great deal of agitation and confusion.

4th week: insulin administered only in stimulating doses; 10 units of insulin four times a day, morning, noon, afternoon and evening.

According to Dr. Raines, “We considered electro-shock but thought it better to postpone it for another 90 days. In reactive depression if electro-shock is used early and the patient is returned to the same situation from which he came there is grave danger of suicide in the immediate period after they return… so strangely enough we left out electro-shock to avoid what actually happened anyhow”

Forrestal’s last written statement, which some have alleged was an implied suicide note, was part of a poem from Sophocles’ tragedy Ajax:

Fair Salamis, the billows’ roar,
Wander around thee yet,
And sailors gaze upon thy shore
Firm in the Ocean set.
Thy son is in a foreign clime
Where Ida feeds her countless flocks,
Far from thy dear, remembered rocks,
Worn by the waste of time–
Comfortless, nameless, hopeless save
In the dark prospect of the yawning grave….
Woe to the mother in her close of day,
Woe to her desolate heart and temples gray,
When she shall hear
Her loved one’s story whispered in her ear!
“Woe, woe!’ will be the cry–
No quiet murmur like the tremulous wail
Of the lone bird, the querulous nightingale–

The official Navy review board, which completed hearings on May 31, waited until October 11, 1949, to release only a brief summary of its findings. The announcement, as reported on page 15 of the October 12  New York Times, stated only that Forrestal had died from his fall from the window. It did not say what might have caused the fall, nor did it make any mention of a bathrobe sash cord that had first been reported as tied around his neck. According to the full report, which was not released by the Department of the Navy until April 2004, the official findings of the board were as follows: After full and mature deliberation, the board finds as follows:


That the body found on the ledge outside of room three eighty-four of building one of the National Naval Medical Center at one-fifty a.m. and pronounced dead at one fifty-five a.m., Sunday, May 22, 1949, was identified as that of the late James V. Forrestal, a patient on the Neuropsychiatric Service of the U. S. Naval Hospital, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.

That the late James V. Forrestal died on or about May 22, 1949, at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, as a result of injuries, multiple, extreme, received incident to a fall from a high point in the tower, building one, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.

That the behavior of the deceased during the period of his stay in the hospital preceding his death was indicative of a mental depression.

That the treatment and precautions in the conduct of the case were in agreement with accepted psychiatric practice and commensurate with the evident status of the patient at all times.

That the death was not caused in any manner by the intent, fault, negligence or inefficiency of any person or persons in the naval service or connected therewith.

Harassed by the columnist

A chief reason for Forrestal’s fragile mental state was that his high-profile position was in sharp contrast to his personality. As a person who prized anonymity and once stated that his hobby was “obscurity”, he and his policies had been the constant target of attacks from columnists, including Drew Pearson and Walter Winchell. Pearson’s protege, Jack Anderson, later asserted that Pearson “hectored Forrestal with innuendos and false accusations.”

He made his fortune
Before working for the government, a bond salesman: He was a workaholic with a burning desire to join the ranks of the super-rich. Within a few years of his arrival on Wall Street, he made a substantial fortune in the bull market of the Roaring 20’s and was moving in glamorous social circles.

Married a a chorus girl with the Ziegfeld Follies
In 1926, at the age of 34, he married the beautiful Josephine Ogden, a columnist for Vogue Magazine and who had once been a chorus girl with the Ziegfeld Follies. Yet as he skyrocketed to success, there were hints of the later tragedy to come. His marriage would prove to be a difficult, at times harrowing, union with a deeply unstable woman. And h himself had serious emotional problems.

An empty soul
He was “instinctively resistant to any genuine surrendering of himself,” it has been written, and unable to make deep commitments to other people, including those he ostensibly loved. The consequences of this failure was a barren personal life and, eventually, mental collapse.

Difficult to believe — no father would treat their children as he did
Forrestal, while working in England, received a phone call from his two sons, ages eight and six. The two had missed their plane in Paris, but Forrestal simply told the boys to work out the problem themselves and meet him in London. His wife was a victim of this treatment and eventually developed alcohol and mental problems inherited from her mother.

When he took over the top Pentagon position in September 1947 he was already, in the words of a close friend, “a burned-out-case.” Over the next year, his mental and physical condition deteriorated rapidly. The frustrations of his daunting job ground him down, as did a relentless campaign against him by columnist Drew Pearson.

What Thou Sown, So Shall Thou Reap
His personal life, moreover, had become emptier than ever. Once, near the end of his life, an aide found him in his office at 9:30 in the evening and suggested that he go home. He replied bleakly, “Go home? Home to what?”

Assassination allegations
Theories as to who might have murdered Forrestal range from Soviet agents, to U.S. government operatives sent to silence him for his knowledge of UFOs.

Doubts have existed from the beginning about Forrestal’s death, especially allegations of homicide. The early doubts are detailed in the book The Death of James Forrestal (1966) by Cornell Simpson, which received virtually no publicity. As Simpson notes (pp. 40–44), a major reason for doubt is the fact that the Navy kept the full transcript of its official hearing and final report secret. Additional doubt has been raised by the 2004 release of that complete report, informally referred to as the Willcutts Report, after Admiral Morton D. Willcutts, the head of NNMC, who convened the review board.

There were unsubstantiated reports in the press of paranoia and of involuntary commitment to the hospital, as well as suspicions about the detailed circumstances of his death, which have fed a variety of conspiracy theories as well as legitimate questions. One of Forrestal’s statements described as “paranoid” was his prediction that the United States would soon be at war; a few months later the US was indeed at war in Korea.

Forrestal’s Service

Forrestal was a supporter of naval battle groups centered on aircraft carriers.

In 1954, the world’s first supercarrier was named USS Forrestal in his honor, as is the headquarters of the United States Department of Energy.

He is also the namesake of the Forrestal Lecture Series at the United States Naval Academy, which brings prominent military and civilian leaders to speak to the Brigade of Midshipmen, and of the James Forrestal Campus of Princeton University in Plainsboro Township, New Jersey.

supercarrier USS Forrestal

Naval Aviator

When World War I broke out, he enlisted in the Navy and ultimately became a Naval Aviator, training with the Royal Flying Corps in Canada. During the final year of the war, Forrestal spent much of his time in Washington, D.C., at the office of Naval Operations, while completing his flight training. He eventually reached the rank of Lieutenant.

Secretary of the Navy

He became Secretary of the Navy on May 19, 1944, after his immediate superior Secretary Frank Knox died from a heart attack. Forrestal led the Navy through the closing year of the war and the painful early years of demobilization that followed. As Secretary, Forrestal introduced a policy of racial integration in the Navy.

Forrestal traveled to combat zones to see naval forces in action. He was in the South Pacific in 1942, present at the Battle of Kwajalein in 1944, and (as Secretary) witnessed the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. After five days of pitched battle, a detachment of Marines was sent to hoist the American flag on the 545-foot summit of Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima. This was the first time in the war that the U.S. flag had flown on Japanese soil. Forrestal, who had just landed on the beach, claimed the historic flag as a souvenir. A second, larger flag was run up in its place, and this second flag-raising was the moment captured by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal in his famous photograph.

His greatest legacy, almost.

Forrestal led the Navy through the closing year of the war and the demobilization that followed. What might have been his greatest legacy as Navy Secretary was an attempt that came to nought. He, along with Secretary of War Henry Stimson and Under Secretary of State Joseph Grew, in the early months of 1945, strongly advocated a softer policy toward Japan that would permit a negotiated face-saving surrender.

His primary concern was “the menace of Russian Communism and its attraction for decimated, destabilized societies in Europe and Asia,” and, therefore, keeping the Soviet Union out of the war with Japan.

Had his advice been followed, Japan might well have surrendered before August 1945, precluding the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So strongly did he feel about this matter that he cultivated negotiation attempts that bordered closely on insubordination toward the President.

First United States Secretary of Defense

In 1947, President Harry S. Truman appointed him the first United States Secretary of Defense. Forrestal continued to advocate for complete racial integration of the services, a policy eventually implemented in 1949.

By 1948, President Harry Truman had approved military budgets billions of dollars below what the services were requesting, putting Forrestal in the middle of a fierce tug-of-war between the President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Forrestal was also becoming increasingly worried about the Soviet threat. His 18 months at Defense came at an exceptionally difficult time for the U.S. military establishment: Communist governments came to power in Czechoslovakia and China; the Soviets imposed a blockade on West Berlin prompting the U.S. Berlin Airlift to supply the city; the 1948 Arab–Israeli War after the establishment of Israel; and negotiations were going on for the formation of NATO.

Eisenhower on Forrestal

Dwight D. Eisenhower recorded he was in agreement with Forrestal’s theories on the dangers of Soviet and International communist expansion. Eisenhower recalled that Forrestal had been “the one man who, in the very midst of the war, always counseled caution and alertness in dealing with the Soviets.” Eisenhower remembered on several occasions, while he was Supreme Allied Commander, he had been visited by Forrestal, who carefully explained his thesis that the Communists would never cease trying to destroy all representative government. Eisenhower commented in his personal diary on 11 June 1949, “I never had cause to doubt the accuracy of his judgments on this point.”


The Death of James Forrestal. Article adapted from Richard Dolan’s UFOs and the National Security State: Chronology of a Cover-Up, 1941 to 1973, Hampton Roads Publishing, 2002. It appeared in the December 2001/January 2002 issue of UFO Magazine.]
James Vincent Forrestal Arlington cemetery   Lieutenant United States Navy,
Secretary of the Navy – Secretary of Defense
James Forrestal From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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