William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Saturday, 19, April, 2008

Patriot’s Day–19 April, 1775

Filed under: History — williamthecoroner @ 12:28

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled;
Here once the embattled farmers stood;
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps,
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream that seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone,
That memory may their deeds redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

O Thou who made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free, —
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raised to them and Thee.

Ralph W. Emerson

Paul Revere’s Ride

Filed under: History — williamthecoroner @ 12:27

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,–
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.”

Then he said “Good-night!” and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,–
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel’s tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, “All is well!”
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,–
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse’s side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry’s height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer’s dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,—
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,—
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Friday, 18, April, 2008

Sappy Cat Blogging

Filed under: Cat Blogging — williamthecoroner @ 17:36

These guys are sappier than I am. I also like determining the aspect ratio of the cat.

Applying to Health Professional School

Filed under: Medicine,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 15:02

The other day, I gave my talk “Applying to Health Professional Schools” at Small Liberal Arts College. The administration there have tasked me with helping their students get in to professional schools and get in to more presigeous professional schools. SLAC has a very strong thesis program in the junior and senior years, called “Independent Study”; or IS. This program tends to select folks who are interested in research, and funnels students from SLAC into PhD programs rather than professional programs.

Nothing wrong with that, you go with what you know. The trick though, is to have SLAC students market the IS, and their entire college career to health professional schools. There are significant strengths to this program, as it trains people in independence and problem solving. Now, to get the message across.

I got some feedback, though, that some students, I’m not sure what year, were upset by one part of my presentation. I can see why it would be upsetting, but it is the part of the spiel that I give to every applicant, as I don’t feel it’s fair not to.

Health professional schools cost a LOT of money. I had my first panic attack when I signed over my first, $8,000 loan check. (Now, if I ONLY had $8,000 in loans…sheesh). As a physician (or dentist, or vet, it holds true for all of them) you are more likely to 1. get addicted to drugs 2. get divorced, 3. get sued, 4. successfully complete your suicide than the average person.  It’s awful hard to change schools, and trying to change residencies or schools further limits your already limited support structure.  So do it carefully.

Funny, when I started my clinical rotations, our Dean of Students stood up and said “Whatever you do this year, don’t get married, don’t get pregnant, and don’t move house.”  It sounded harsh at the time, but it was very good advice.

My spiel upset some of the students.  They found it frightening, and wanted to know more about being “a healer”.  Personally, I think they’ve been watching too many reruns of ER.

On thing you do have to consider, which came as a surprise to me, that as a health professional, you end up being the “face” of medicine.  People will spontaneously tell you their medical problems, their problems with poor service, their fears, their hopes, their frustrations.  One of my fellow students got lectured for reading a Tom Clancy novel in the laundry room instead of his “Book of Medicine”–evidently there’s only one book, and it covers all of health care.  Totally.

Wednesday, 16, April, 2008

In Which I am Mentioned By the Ohio Supreme Court

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 22:47

State v. Fulmar. The appeal from case from 2006 just came down from the Ohio Supreme Court.

This was interesting, as I had gotten blindsided by the defense attorney. I was originally consulted by one of the prosecutors to testify that, yes, a seven D-cell flashlight CAN be a deadly weapon, thankyouverymuch. Get right down to it, it’s a weighted club made out of aircraft aluminium.

Be that as it may, defense counsel wanted me to opine on the effects of aspirin poisoning. I think he was shooting for a case of intoxication leading to diminished capacity. I’m happy to talk about salicylism, I’ve seen cases of salicylism. I don’t think aspirin toxicity makes you attack three police officers, ever, that’s a leap I couldn’t make.

The great thing was my interaction with the prosecuting attorney. This guy was always on the ball. And he did a perfect job–‘cos really, the guy had taken three 500 mg aspirins, and he was a big guy. That would be a therapeutic dose. Anyway, Bob asked the right questions, allowing me to give the right answers. Nice when that happens.

Tuesday, 15, April, 2008

In Which I Am Disturbed

Filed under: Social Ostracism — williamthecoroner @ 20:49

But you knew that already.

As a forensic pathologist, I’m more familiar with death than the average person. Indeed, as Max Maven once pointed out–the meaning of life is that it stops. Death isn’t wrong, it isn’t bad, it just is. However much we wish to ignore it, or fight the fact with plastic surgery or red sports cars, the point is we all will be dead eventually.

However, there is no need to celebrate death, nor hasten it. Peaceful coexistence is the best we can hope for, and therefore these “Souviners of the End of the Century” these “Buildings of Disaster” from BOYM designers, really creep me out.

OK, so a portion of the proceeds does go to a September 11th fund. That doesn’t make up for the smirking, self-aggrandizing, nihlilism that goes into the concept. I lost people I knew on September 11, 2001. I know the forensic folks who had to work on both the twin towers and the Pentagon. I don’t feel this honours their memory.

This looks like a tacky, cynical way to make a buck. I don’t know much about art, but I know this is what I don’t like.

Monday, 14, April, 2008

The Errant Apprentice

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 13:32

When I was a young apprentice and less than compos mentis
I took leave of all my senses, with a maid I fell in love
Her ringlets so entwined me, Aphrodite’s smile did blind me
Cupid’s arrow struck behind me, and her father owned a pub
It was there I met my nemesis in her father’s licensed premises
Like the Seraphim of Genesis, sat Mary Anne Maguire
Arrayed in fine apparel, astride a porter barrel
She looked the kind of girl that would fill you with desire

All the turtle doves were cooing as I took to my wooing
Her loveliness pursuing in the springtime of that year
But she thought I should be older
And more gallant and much bolder
In the uniform of a soldier, ’tis then she’d hold me dear
In extremis and euphoria, I joined with Queen Victoria
For a spell of death or gloria, a-fighting with the Boers
To the wind I threw all caution, I’ll return with fame and fortune
And together make a portion of matrimony’s chores

On the gravestone of her mother, she swore she loved no other
But I was to soon discover that she played me for a berk
For lady-luck had beached me and intelligence had reached me
Whilst I’d been overseas she had married to a Turk
Well me, I then deserted for to find the girl who’d flirted
Back to Ireland I reverted for my jealousy was roused
In Maguire’s pub in Derry, I found him making merry
With his arms around my Mary as together they caroused

So I took my time and waited until his thirst was sated
And home he naivigated through the streets of Derry town
At his lodgin’s he stood knocking and whilst they were unlocking
I put a stone into a stocking on his head I brought it down
‘Twas then the night’s serenity was rent with loud obscenity
And Ottoman profanity that I couldn’t understand
With an oath he made to grab me, with full intent to stab me
But as he tried to kebab me, I was screaming up the strand

All around the town’s perimeter he chased me with his scimitar
A powerful passion limiter to an errant in his pride
Through the waterside he chased me, to the Bridge of Foyle he raced me
And at Derry Quay he faced me, so I jumped into the tide
Sure, bravery’s no virtue when some heathen’s trying to hurt you
And all noble thoughts desert you when you see his curly knife
For there’s many things worth trying for and occasionally worth lying for
But there’s bugger all worth dying for so I’m back to the soldier’s life


I LOVE It When Admin. Has Your Back

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 12:21

I got this e-mail from an administrator where I’m teaching A&P

[Redacted] is currently registered in your class but has not attended the course. He would like to drop your course … I can sign on your behalf, if acceptable to you.

His story is of a student trying to decide what he wants to do with his life. He has struggled with an [other] major and recently decided that he has a passion for biology and in fact has been sitting in on [A colleagues’] class all year (apparently since he wasn’t in yours he had time I guess!).

Anyway, after talking with him I am inclined to grant his petition to drop the class late (past deadline). Is that okay with you? I won’t do it if you disagree.

WOW! This is SO great. I’ve been undercut by administrators before, this is WONDERFUL. This guy should drop–there is no way he can pass a class he’s never attended 12 weeks into a 15 week semester. And I have no desire to hang a guy for being flaky–I can remember how flaky I was as an undergraduate. This is an appropriate step.

However, I think the administrator is wonderful to actually ASK me, and check in, making sure the school has a unified, coherent response. This keeps us from looking like bozos, ME in particular, and makes sure everyone is treated fairly.

I see red, white, and blue when students don’t get with the program and then go scuttling off over my head and weasel out of their responsibilities. You have got to appreciate things working the way they should.

Saturday, 12, April, 2008

12th April, 1921

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 21:13

Coraopolis, PA. Happy birthday, Nana.

Stupid Google Ad Tricks

Filed under: Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 13:02

Found on Google Ads

–Be a Forensic Pathologist
Advance your career – earn a degree in Forensic Pathology 100% online.

I don’t quite know WHAT degree in forensic pathology you get. I’d also like to see them online autopsies.


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