William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Sunday, 20, July, 2008


Filed under: Blogania — williamthecoroner @ 21:13

Brigid not only linked to me, she mentioned me in this post.  As a consequence, my blogstats showed something that looks like an R wave in V6.  Hello, stick around, enjoy yourselves.

My Job On TV

Filed under: Forensics — williamthecoroner @ 21:13

One of my friends, Susan, is a big Vincent D’Onofrio fan. She has some contacts amongst the administration of the Law and Order Franchise, and has offered to give them my contact information if they ever need consultation about forensics. I would like this, residuals are nice things, and really, the entertainment industry needs all the help it can get.

I was interviewed this weekend for a journalist writing an article on My Job on TV. It’s supposed to be on ABC.com or something. From what she said, the biggest group of people disgusted by how their jobs are portrayed on the telly are writers whose life is nothing like Sex and the City. Well, DUH!

I once got a phone call from an Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Deputy, they wanted me to determine, using, forensic evidence when this guy had died. It was winter, and he’d stolen a snowmobile and was merrily going along at 55 miles an hour, off-road, when he ran into a barbed wire fence at neck level. This scraped him neatly off the machine, and broke his neck instantly. So, they wanted me to determine the time of death, forensically. It was cold, and he was still a little warm, and his jaw was stiff but his knees weren’t, so, I sort of scratched my head, and said, “He was between 12 and 24 hours or so when I saw him at eight this morning, so he died sometime between eight AM and eight PM yesterday.”

There’s dead silence on the phone. Finally the deputy says, “His mom says he left the house at nine-thirty, and he was found on the ground at one-thirty. ”

“Oh,” I say brightly, then he died sometime between nine-thirty AM and one-thirty PM.”

“I KNEW that, you Jerk!” Comes the response from the deputy. “Can’t you do better than that?”

“No, that’s the most accurate way to tell, time of death is somewhere between time last seen and time found.”

“They do it better on C.S.I. Click.

I KNOW they do it better on C.S.I. They have writers. I don’t. But here are ten reasons why CSI makes me scream, from an old criminalist.:

10. You cant get DNA results in an hour. (Spoken normally, almost warily)
9. Hummer H2s are not likely to be used as a crime scene vehicle.
8. Unlike the CSI who was able to quit her strip job after getting her CSI
position, its rumored that some criminalists still have to strip for extra
7. DNA data and Drug data do not come off the same instrument.
6. It can take 40 people 6 months to do the work one CSI does in an hour.
5. Despite the fact that CSI solves 100% of the cases, the crime rate in Las Vegas doesn’t drop.
4. We have bright, buzzing fluorescent lights instead of sexy blue lighting.
3. Proper crime scene attire is tyvek gowns and latex gloves, not leather pants and high heels.
2. Not enough underwear
1. YOU CANT GET DNA RESULTS IN AN HOUR!!!!!!! (Pound on desk and speak through clenched teeth for effect!)

M. Frank Shonberger

Related blog HERE:

National Ice Cream Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 11:45

Ronald Regan declared the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day.  Obviously, he didn’t have enough to do that day.  This reminds me of the Captiol Steps song, “Superfranticunproductive nothinglegislation.”  However, I’d been doing a lot of dusty housework all weekend.  Some mint chocolate chip sounds good.

Friday, 18, July, 2008

Ceveland Museum of Art Greatest Hits.

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 23:32

After years and a lot of fooling around, the 1916 wing of the Cleveland Museum of Art is finally open, as is the cafe. The cafe has improved a lot since the fine tradition of bony haddock and watery cauliflower that I remember so well from the 1970’s. I got to see the museum this evening. It’s nice to have it open again, but they’re still working on it–and I still think the 1970 edition is bloody awful architecture.
It was a “greatest hits” complation. No ancient art, no Asian art, nothing earlier than the Armour Court–which still looks good. But some old friends were there, the Frank Lloyd Wright casement window, Lucius Cranach the Elder’s Hunt near Hartenfels Castle, Rockwell Kent’s Maine Coast, (one of my particular favourites)Rubens Diana and Her Nymphs Ready for the Hunt A Sargent portrait, Stag at Sharkey’sAnd finally David’s Cupid and Psyche, the very exemplar of a “shit-eating grin.”. The only thing really missing, my most favourite of all, is Cox’ Grey and Gold.

Course Action Form

Filed under: Forensics,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 11:16

I’m flattered, that a lot of my students at the University (above) have been asking me if I could teach another course. It’s nice when they want you to teach them again. The demand for forensic courses has been steady over these past couple of years, and the Department of Anatomy has two forensic classes, and, pending administrative approval, there’ll be a couple more.

However, you just can’t go and say “I’m going to teach a class on X,” There’s a lot of fiddling around you need to do, if nothing else to make sure the course number is correct (once used, a course number can’t be re-used for a generation, to prevent confusion). Then it has to go to the Graduate Education Committee (Gecko) and a whole load of folks have to sign off on a “Course Action Form”. The vast majority of the CAF is to pigeonhole it properly, number of hours, kind of course, all of that. The course name and catalogue description are useful to, to advertise it.

The final page, though is the justification for the course. And, of course, there has to be more than “I’m interested in it and so are the students.” Or even “It seemed like a good idea”. For this one, the Forensic Anatomy of Drug Abuse, I said:

Drug abuse is a far-reaching problem in American society. Alcohol is a contributing factor in one-half to three-quarters of all hospital admissions. Cocaine and heroin use is widespread. Anabolic steroids in baseball are the subject of congressional investigations.

This course will explore the anatomic basis for drug use and abuse, from the changes in embryo-genesis, to the neurological circuitry influencing reward, tolerance, and withdrawal, and the anatomic effects of the use of alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, opiates, hallucinogens, and steroids. All organ systems in the body are affected, with consequences as varied as squamous metaplasia of the bladder in smokers, portal hypertension in alcoholics, to cardiovascular effects of cocaine, and the association of glomerulonephritis with heroin use.

This covers the four core disciplines of anatomy: neuroanatomy, gross anatomy, microscopic anatomy and embryology, and looks at the practical applications of those disciplines in the context of drugs of abuse. As the medical school is expanding its interest in public health disciplines, the course may also attract straight medical students as well as graduate students from anatomy, pathology, and even pharmacology. Frankly, I’d prefer the graduate students, at $1200/credit hour the more graduate students I teach the happier my department chair is with me.

Sappy Cat Blogging!

Filed under: Cat Blogging — williamthecoroner @ 10:28

It’s Friday, so it’s time for Sappy Cat Blogging. Today’s sappy cats are courtesy of Laurie Pringle, and the Annex Cat Rescue in Toronto. They run a spay-and-release programme and feed the various feral cats around Toronto. They also adopt out the kittens that have been born/fostered/socialized and do rescues for older cats.

Laurie quit her job selling educational materials last year to do a master’s in running a non-profit/charitable organization. I guess she was tired of actually having money, even if she did get paid in Looneys. Her blog is here.

Tuesday, 15, July, 2008

The Heinleinian Ideal: Philosopher, Soldier, Artist, Rogue

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 19:07

Brigid the Fair was unhappy last night. A heartfelt post about life and death got two comments, a post about a jalepeno cheeseburger with pepper jack got fifteen. Now, truth to tell, that was one heck of a burger.

I was thinking about Brigid, as I made my Red Dwarf sandwich* tonight. I had teased her last night, advising her to play to her strengths. As I was cooking though, I was thinking about what Colonel Colin (Richard Ames) Campbell said to Gwen Novak in the Cat Who Walks Through Walls, as they were moving out of his compartment in the Golden Rule habitat. He keeps a varied cupboard, as a writer never knows when he’ll need some Limberger cheese (or some other thing) to break his writer’s block.

A commenter on Brigid’s blog asked her if she were either a contract killer or a medical examiner. I needed a new keyboard after I read that one. (She’s neither, by the way) but in her own way she does meet the Heinleinian ideal of philosopher, soldier, artist & rogue. And she’s a good cook too. Come for the food, stay for the philosophy. Enjoy the way she fan-dances with words. I write reports for a living, but she’s just BETTER at it. She believes in personal responsibility, too.

*Holly “You made a fried-egg sandwich with chili, cheese, and chutney?”

Lister “It’s a state of the art sarnie, man!”

Holly “It’s the state of the floor I’m worried about.”

Things I Like About Working At a University

Filed under: Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 09:24

You hear the most interesting things in the halls. “Elephants never crawl their entire lives,” said the physical anthropologist to the gross anatomy guy.

I didn’t hear the rest, it was all about patellas, but I really liked that bit.

Till I Sleep [Wolfstone (Ivan Drever)]

Filed under: Poetry — williamthecoroner @ 09:21

I’ll walk this way until I sleep
I’ll ride this road until I die
I’d take you with me if you’d come
It’s keeping me alive
I’d talk to those who’d put me down
I’d listen without prejudice
The only thing I ever owned
Was living deep inside

I’ll ride this horse into the wind
I’ll take you with me when I go
My song is precious can’t you see
I’ll sing it till I sleep
I’ll fly with wings that soar above
The land that lies beneath me
The only thing I’ve ever owned
Was living deep inside

I’d walk through hills and glens for those
Who mean the world to me and I
Would rather see you stay than go
But now we must decide
I’ll ride the surf on board this ship
That takes me o’er the foaming sea
Unites me with my family
And those that I’d caress


So till I sleep, I’ll carry on
So till I die, I’ll run along
These lines I drew myself have gone
You know it’s only right
And when my senses have all gone
And when myself I am alone
I’ll count my blessings one by one
And then I’ll say good night

I’ll ride this horse into the wind
I’ll take you with me when I go
My song is precious can’t you see
I’ll sing it till I sleep
I’ll fly with wings that soar above
The land that lies beneath me
The only thing I’ve ever owned
Was living deep inside

Monday, 14, July, 2008

The Economics of Love

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 22:47

From Ben Stein. Important graphs:

(Or, as I like to tell college students, the absolutely surest way to ruin your life is to have a relationship with someone with many serious problems, and to think that you can change this person.)

Have a dog or many dogs or cats in your life. These are your anchors to windward and your unfailing source of love.

The full essay is here. It helps if you can hear Ben’s whiny monotone as you read it.

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