Crazy coffin
Vic Fearn & Company Ltd.
Howzat? This ‘crazy coffin,’ complete with a wicket and a cricket ball, is apparently designed for a cricket fan.
By Brian Tracey Business Editor
msnbc.com
COMMENTARY

Some say death is no laughing matter, but one British casket maker is ready and willing to send you off to your eternal rest in a "crazy coffin."

Vic Fearn & Company Limited say they are now doing a roaring business in customized caskets for people who want to go out in style.

The coffins, ranging from a giant electric guitar to a sports bag, have proved so popular that they even go out on tour with exhibitions around European art galleries.

The coffin-makers first took the zany path to death when a woman fan of the Royal Air Force's aerial acrobatics team, the Red Arrows, asked to be buried in a model fighter.

"So we constructed this plane with folding wings like they have on aircraft carriers. The cockpit of a plane is more or less coffin-shaped so that made life easier," said David Crampton, director of the 160-year-old company based in the central England town of Nottingham.

Next came a man who couldn't afford to buy a canal long boat so wanted to be buried in a model one. "That caused friction with his wife so we had to build one for her as well," he told Reuters in an interview.

The business has snowballed from there — and the coffin-makers are thrilled with the trend after grinding out 20,000 conventional caskets a year.

"Making an unusual crazy coffin is great for the staff. It gives them a chance to test their skills. It can create some fun in the shop," Crampton said.

Currently being crafted is a scaled-down model of a 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. It even has wheels so they pall-bearers can push it along.

The custom caskets can be costly. The Rolls-Royce model set back the buyer $6,800, ten times the cost of a traditional coffin.

Well, it's only money, and you still can't take it with you.

Not-so-bad ideas

  • Web portal Yahoo is hoping a quirky take on the news will strike a chord as its next original content effort.

The company confirmed this week that it will launch a video project before the end of this quarter that will feature a journalist-cum-crooner who will sing the news.

Yahoo apparently is trying to advance the longstanding idea of using the Internet deliver news in less traditional ways. (Don't pretend that you've never heard of the Naked News Web site.)

While a Yahoo spokesman declined to elaborate on the project, which will be titled "Odd News Underground," he did issue a statement from Scott Moore, head of news and information.

"This project will create an entirely new kind of news beat, so stay tuned," Moore said. "All I can say for now is that this reporter will leave you tapping your feet."

Yahoo declined to identify the warbler/wag, but sources said the performer is not an unknown and has experience as a reporter and musician. The venture is expected to be on the lighter side, so ditties about Iraq aren't to be expected.

We're glad about that, because singing news from that part of the world to the melody of the Vietnam-era hit "War" would surely invite renewed accusations of liberal media bias.

  • A top South Korean bank is sending a group of its single female employees on blind dates to North Korea, hoping that romance will make them happy at the office, an official said this week.

Hana Bank is trying to fix up 20 of its employees between the ages of 29 and 33 with 20 single South Korean men selected by a top matchmaking agency in the country, an official said.

"This trip will offer them a chance to easily meet men," said Yang Jae-hyeok in charge of the bank's division offering life services for employees.

"As our bank tries to help our employees balance their work and personal lives, we are putting more effort into improving their personal life," Yang said.

We applaud Hana for encouraging staff to forge emotional commitments, but we also hope they don't return from their North Korea trips as committed communists, as that could be bad for business.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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