Oh, the Places Your Ashes Will Go!

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iStock

Want to be cremated, but worry that your ashes will just end up buried in a cemetery or sitting in some boring urn? Fear not! Have a look at these 10 bizarre places that ashes have gone.

1. Into a Comic Book

Squadron Supreme comic
Amazon

When longtime Marvel Comics editor Mark Gruenwald died in 1996, he left an interesting final wish: he wanted to have his ashes mixed into the ink used in one of Marvel's titles. The company obliged by reprinting a 1985 collection of the Gruenwald-penned Squadron Supreme with the specially prepared ink in 1997. Gruenwald's widow, Catherine, wrote in the book's foreword, "He has truly become one with the story."

2. Into Fireworks

Writer Hunter S. Thompson literally went out with a bang. Thompson's appropriately gonzo 2005 memorial service featured a fireworks show in which each boom and crack dispersed some of the writer's ashes. Johnny Depp underwrote the fireworks display at a cost of $2 million.

3. Up Keith Richards' Nose?

In 2007 music mag NME asked Rolling Stones guitarist to name the strangest thing he'd ever snorted. The reporter was probably expecting an odd answer given Richards' legendary proclivity for partying, but Richards' response was a jaw-dropper. Richards told the magazine, "The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father. He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow."

Richards went on to explain that snorting a rail of dear old Dad hadn't caused him any health problems and that he didn't think his old man would have cared. The remarks sparked a predictable media firestorm, though, and the Stones' publicist released a statement calling Richards' story "an off-the-cuff remark, a joke." Richards himself later revised the tale and said that he planted his father's ashes at the base of an oak tree.

4. Into a Pringles Can

Pringles on shelf
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

The name Fredric Baur may not ring any bells, but you know his most famous creation. In 1966 Baur invented the Pringles can so Procter & Gamble could ship its new chips without using bags. Baur was so proud of the achievement that he told his children he wanted to be buried in the iconic can. When he died in 2008 at 89, they honored his wishes by placing his ashes in a Pringles can before burying them. According to his son Larry, Baur's children briefly debated what flavor canister to use before settling on original.

5. Onto a Frisbee

More than anyone, Edward "Steady Ed" Headrick was responsible for transforming the Frisbee from a fad toy into a valued piece of sporting equipment. While working as a manager at Wham-O, Headrick designed numerous improvements to the flying disc, and during the 1970s he created the sport of disc golf. Before his 2002 death, Headrick told his children that he wanted to have his ashes mixed into the plastic for a batch of Frisbees. His hope was that the proceeds from the sales could help establish a disc golf museum, but he also wanted to have a bit of fun. Headrick's son Daniel later told the San Francisco Chronicle, "He said he wanted to end up in a Frisbee that accidentally lands on someone's roof."

Headrick's wish came true, and the discs are quite valuable as collectors' items now. A two-disc set fetches upwards of $200 on Amazon.

6. Out of a Shotgun

There's no more fitting way for a hunter to go out than this. When James Booth, a British expert on vintage shotguns, died in 2004, his wife asked an ammunition company to mix his ashes into a batch of shotgun shells. The Caledonian Cartridge Company happily complied and presented Joanna Booth with 275 12-gauge cartridges containing James' ashes; a minister even blessed the shells. The widow then invited a group of close friends over for a hunt, and the group used the cartridges to bag ducks, pheasants, and partridges.

7. Into Space

Looking for the remains of '60s icon and LSD advocate Timothy Leary? You're going to need a space shuttle. In 1997 Leary's remains were on the first rocket to send cremated ashes into space. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry's ashes went into orbit on the same flight. Space burial company Celestis will send a portion of anyone's remains into the final frontier for a fee. According to the company's website, your ashes can go into Earth orbit for $2,495, find their way into lunar orbit for $9,995, or make the trek into deep space for $12,500.

8. Into a Tattoo

When English parents Mark and Lisa Richmond tragically lost their son Ayden when he was just two years and four months old, they wanted to find a fitting way to honor his memory. The couple owned a tattoo parlor, so they decided to remember the boy with a bit of ink. Mark got a seven-inch portrait of Ayden tattooed on his chest using ink that had been mixed with his son's ashes.

9. Onto a Reef

If you're a sea lover, Eternal Reefs can help turn your remains into a permanent reef. After the ashes are mixed into concrete, the reefs go into the water and provide a new habitat for fish and other marine life. A 2' x 3' Aquarius Memorial Reef will set your loved ones back $3,995.

10. Into a Diamond

Diamond on water
iStock

LifeGem can take the ashes of a departed loved one and convert them into a diamond. The process looks basically identical to the production of synthetic diamonds, except the carbon used to kick start the production comes from the cremated remains. Depending on the color and size of the diamond you want, prices can range from $2,699 all the way up to $24,999.

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It

ChopBox
ChopBox

When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

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12 Smart and Simple Kitchen Hacks

Merlas/iStock via Getty Images Plus
Merlas/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Use these quick and simple tricks to save time in the kitchen and make cooking easier—and safer.

1. Put a damp paper towel under your cutting board.

Take a paper towel, wet it, wring it out, and place it under your cutting board. This will keep the board from slipping all over your counter and allow you to cut more safely. You can put a damp paper towel under mixing bowls to keep them from sliding around, too.

2. Use cooking spray on your cheese grater.

A person using a cheese grater
Whichever way you have your grater positioned, a little cooking spray will make the job easier.
vinicef/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Before you start grating cheese, lay your grater down on its side, which keeps it from moving around and catches all of your cheese in once place. Then spray the surface with the cooking spray of your choice. The oil lubricates the surface and makes grating easier, especially for sticky cheeses.

3. Put felt glides under countertop appliances.

Not only will this save your countertops from getting scratched, but it also makes oft-used appliances easier to move when you need them.

4. Put a spoon on top of boiling pasta water.

A person holding a spoon with penne pasta over a pot of boiling water.
Foam be gone!
Andrii Pohranychnyi/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Does the foam of your starchy pasta water boil right up out of the pot? There’s a simple fix: Lay a metal or wooden spoon over the top of the pot. According to Gizmodo, this method works because the foam is “thermodynamically unstable," so when the foam’s bubbles reach the spoon, they burst, "breaking the layer of foam and sending all the bubbles collapsing down again.” If you opt for metal, though, make sure to use oven mitts to remove it from the top of the pot—it will be hot.

5. Keep dental floss handy.

You can use it to cut soft cheeses. “If the cheese is small, you can hold it in one hand while your other pulls the floss taught and does the cutting,” cheesemonger Nora Singley writes at The Kitchn. “For larger situations, place cheese on a surface, shimmy the floss beneath it, and simply slice up, holding both ends of the floss and crossing the two ends to complete the cut. Then repeat in equal intervals.”

You can also use non-minty dental floss to cut cookie dough, burritos, and hard-boiled eggs; slice melons and layers of cake; to tie things together; and get food unstuck from baking sheets.

6. Preheat your baking sheet.

A baking sheet in the oven.
Pre-heating your baking sheet saves time.
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If you’re making something like French fries or roasted veggies and your baking sheet is hot right from the get-go, you won’t have to go through the process of flipping your food later. Plus, both side of your food will be evenly browned and cook faster.

7. Save burnt pans with a dryer sheet.

Have you charred a pan so badly that the food you're trying to cook essentially became a part of the pan? Before you throw the pan out, try tossing in a dryer sheet, adding warm water, and letting it soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Then wash with soap and water as usual, and the burned bits will come right off. Karen Lo at Food52 writes that “It feels like an absolute miracle—because it is. But, according to lifestyle reporter Anna De Souza, it’s also ‘likely the conditioning properties of the dryer sheet’ that do the trick.” If the burn is really bad, Lo says you can use two dryer sheets and hot water for severe cases if you’d like, and let it soak overnight—use your judgment.

8. Leave the root end on your onion when cutting it.

A person holding an onion by the root end and dicing an onion with a knife.
Leaving the root end of your onion on gives you something to hold onto while you're dicing.
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This method is a game changer: It allows you to dice your onions safely and quickly. First, according to Real Simple, you should cut the top off of the onion; then lay the onion on the now-flat top and cut the vegetable in half through the root. Next, peel off the skin, being careful to leave the root attached. Take half of the onion and lay it, flat side down, on the cutting board. Holding on to the root end, slice the onion vertically in strips of your desired size, without cutting through to the root. Then slice in the opposite direction to dice. When you’re done, save the root end of the onion to make stock.

9. Use a Bundt pan when cutting corn.

When you’re cutting corn on a flat surface, the kernels tend to fly everywhere messily. But if you hold the ear of corn—pointy end down—on the center of a Bundt cake pan, then rotate as you cut, the kernels will fall neatly into the pan.

10. Put away your potato peeler and use this method instead.

A pot of boiling water with potatoes.
dashtik/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Peeling potatoes is time-consuming and wastes delicious potato. Instead, use this potato peeling hack from Foody Tube: Make a small cut into the skin around the circumference of the potato, then boil it. Once the potato is cooked, peel the skin off. It’s that easy.

11. Keep your plastic wrap in the fridge.

When it’s cold, plastic wrap is easier to handle and less likely to get stuck to itself.

If getting plastic wrap to stick is the issue, wet the rim of whatever you’re trying to cover before putting on the plastic. The water will help it cling to the surface.

12. Use magnets to hold down parchment paper.

Two rolls of parchment paper on a white surface.
Keep parchment paper from rolling up on your baking sheet with this clever trick.
Viktoriia Oleinichenko/iStock via Getty Images Plus

To keep parchment paper from rolling up on baking sheets—and therefore making it incredibly difficult actually to put anything on the sheet to cook—Le Cordon Bleu-educated pastry chef Amy Dieschbourg uses magnets to hold the paper in place. Once everything is on the paper, remove the magnets and get cooking.