William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Tuesday, 30, March, 2010

Ten Books

Filed under: Blogania,Books — williamthecoroner @ 17:08

Zeusie see, Zeusie do,

  • Up Front—Bill Mauldin.  Bill was a soldier’s soldier.  He was a draftee, and was in for the duration.  He did his job while he was in, but he didn’t mess around, and he didn’t worry about politics.  He got cross-threaded with George Patton—GEN Patton was a true believer, and wanted everyone to support the war all out.  Mauldin was just as patriotic, but did not go for the rah-rah propaganda.  Some things sucked and he was willing to say so.  There was a party one night for the brass on a ship.  The portholes had to be blocked out for the blackout.  Mauldin was hired to decorate them, and he put the faces of Willie and Joe—dirty, tired, disheveled dogfaces, peering in at the party, as a reminder of the common man.
  • Use of Weapons—Iain M. Banks.  A study of a remarkable man, a military savant, one who can turn anything into a weapon at need.  Proving once again that there are no such things as dangerous weapons, only dangerous people.
  • Tempest—William Shakespeare.  I played Prospero once.  I do identify with a character who loves his library more than anything else.  This play is the first “Revenge of the Nerds” but forgiveness and compassion supplants malice and revenge.
  • Starship Troopers.—Robert Heinlein.  Heinlein can write a good story, it also is a good exploration of duty and honour and human rights and obligations that is accessible.  The first time I read it I didn’t get it—it needed some digesting.
  • Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!–Richard Feynman. Showed me the way to be an academic, and an iconoclast.  He was always curious, always looking, and never let lack of knowledge slow him down.  He also got me interested in security and lock-picking
  • Broca’s Brain—One of the first books on brain science I read, and it really sparked my interest.  Different parts of the brain do different things.  Not really a surprising statement, but it has given me something to do for a long time.
  • The Complete Annotated Sherlock HolmesA. Conan Doyle.  Doyle distorts space and time (or you could evidently get around Victorian Britan more efficiently than I can get around Atomic-age Cleveland) and people always act according to their class, station, and occupation in life.  But his principles of observation and correlation with previously observed facts are still useful.
  • Down In The Zero—Andrew Vachss.  A surprising amount of philosophy can be found in crime fiction.  Vachss has strong opinions on what makes a man, and how life should be lived.  There is also a strong theme that one should consider the source carefully before using it as a guide for your actions in his work.
  • Early Autumn—Robert B. Parker. A surprising amount of philosophy can be found in crime fiction.  Parker, too has strong opinions on what makes a man, and how life should be lived.  Again, this author believes in personal responsibility, and taking ownership of your actions.
  • Reaper Man—Terry Pratchett.  Another author who camouflages his philosophy in light entertainment.  It is wise to pay attention to the lines that he gives to the character Death.  They usually are important

The problem with these lists, particularly ones dashed off the top of my head like this, is that I will leave something out.  Narrowing it down to ten is artificial, and by definition incomplete.  But these books have shaped and influenced me, certainly.  What books have changed you?  Leave a comment or post it on your own blog.

Friday, 26, March, 2010

Sappy Cat Blogging

Filed under: Cat Blogging — williamthecoroner @ 21:02

It’s Friday, so it’s time for SAPPY CAT BLOGGING!  Today’s cats are the 289 who live at TIGER HAVEN in Tennessee.  Tiger Haven is a no-kill shelter for big cat rescue.  They get the cats no-one wants, mixed breeds (i.e. 1/2 Siberian and 1/s Bengal tigers) ex-circus animals, people’s pets that they cannot handle, ones from roadside “zoos”.  Most of these animals would have to be shot if it weren’t for these folks, and because they aren’t “pure-breds” they aren’t useful as breeding stock for zoos–even though they are endangered.

Tiger Haven is having a problem, according to rumor on Facebook (source, John Ringo) some new neighbors moved in and are complaining about noise and whatnot trying to have them shut down–which may also be a ploy to get the land for development.  I HATE people who build houses next to a railroad, airport, or other facility and then complain about it–Go give them a visit and a hand if you can.

Wednesday, 24, March, 2010

Two Eggs

Filed under: Natural History — williamthecoroner @ 10:17

There are two eggs on the nest on FALCONCAM!

Friday, 19, March, 2010

Sappy Cat Blogging

Filed under: Cat Blogging — williamthecoroner @ 18:20

It’s Friday, so it’s time for SAPPY CAT BLOGGING.  Go read The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, by Robert Heinlein.

Thursday, 18, March, 2010

Match Day

Filed under: Medicine,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 18:50

It is Match day, that day when fourth year medical students learn where they will be doing their residency for the next three to ten years.  Very few medical students do rotating internships anymore–a repeat of third year doing pediatrics, medicine, surgery, obstetrics, etc.  There’s just too much to know. People track into a surgical internship and thence to general surgery, orthopedics, ENT, or whatnot or go into a medical internship and then off to general internal medicine or psychiatry or whatever.

From November to February students interview at places where they might like to go.  In the bad old days, a student might be given an contract for that one day only–no chance to look at any other program, take it or leave it.  Today, the programs and the students make rank order lists and they are matched by a computer.  Kind of like computer dating, only it tells you where you’ll be working for the next several years.

Our students matched well.  There were lots of sub-specialty matches.  There were good pathology matches–all of whom are heading for an academic career.

Wednesday, 17, March, 2010

Adventures in Body Modification

Filed under: modification — williamthecoroner @ 15:48

One of my forensic interests is body modification.  It is interesting to see how people modify/adorn their bodies, and why.  I think some modifications can give you useful information.  Amongst many Central and South American immigrants who live on Cleveland’s near west side, girls get their ears pierced very early.  Some show up to their six week post-partum check with pierced ears.

Tattooing a one year old, however, is not accepted in Ohio, as THIS PERSON found out.  Hat tip, Strings.

Sunday, 14, March, 2010

Who are the Good Guys

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 10:41

It is easy to distinguish them.

Pi Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 10:00

Again, it’s 3.14!  And in honour of all things round and pastry like (and Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant, even though I’m a little late) , I’m making a bacon and leek pie.  Frankly, today seems a really good day to sleep near a radiator with a cat–I HATE the onset of Daylight Saving’s Time.  Give me back my hour, dammit!

Friday, 12, March, 2010

Sappy Cat Blogging

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 02:33

It’s Friday, so it’s time for SAPPY CAT BLOGGING!  Here, one can entertain your kitty with his OWN…pet…observatory…aquarium…?


I know mine spend an awful lot of time watching the bird feeder.

Monday, 8, March, 2010

Winter’s First Green is Gold

Filed under: Uncategorized — williamthecoroner @ 22:35

It was one of those days to-day.  I had to go back to the house two times, once to make sure the kettle was turned off, once to get my wallet, unfortunately that was AFTER I’d eaten breakfast at Shays…

But it is NICE.  Windows down, buds on the trees.  The huge piles of snow are pretending to be glaciers and calving as they melt from the piles.

Appropriately enough, there was a program on NPR about glaciation and the shaping of the NE Ohio landscape this morning.

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