William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Friday, 14, May, 2010


Filed under: Books,Social Commentary — williamthecoroner @ 22:02

Via Tam, I run across this gem, with the money quote:

Think about the life that a truly conscientious environmentalist must lead! Compared with it, the devout Muslim’s five daily prayers and the pious Jew’s carefully regulated diet are a cakewalk.

It’s funny, because I just ran across several books about “living green” the library’s new books section last Wednesday. The cover blurbs were seemed quite…religious in tone. Not evangelical, they weren’t trying to spread the good news. More…testimony. Sin, repent, and suffer while going green.

I’ve often noticed that humans are the only species that makes life difficult for themselves for the fun of it. Just look at the games of golf and patience. This seems to be another example.

Yanno, I Really Couldn’t Say It Better Myself…

Filed under: Links to Greatness,Overheard — williamthecoroner @ 21:51

So I’m going to point you in the directions of the smart folks who actually did say it. First, Blunt Object on Politicians as Moral Leadership

Secondly, Marko, and the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell kerfuffle.

Finally, LabRat on Immigration. Living in Los Alamos, she has a whole lot more skin in the game than I do.

Sappy Cat Blogging

Filed under: Cat Blogging — williamthecoroner @ 14:34

It’s Friday, so it’s time for sappy cat blogging. Today, it’s Noodle–my little crime scene kitten, who decided last night to get stuck in my box springs. I’ve been told that cats, with their whiskers, can find their way into tiny holes, and use their whiskers to determine the size of holes and not get stuck.

Yeah. Right. I had to get her out with my pocketknife–she was mewing quite pathetically.

Wednesday, 12, May, 2010

There Are No Words (Pathology Facebook)

Filed under: Group blogging,Japery,Medicine — williamthecoroner @ 22:43

ANS RAS proto-oncogenes are pretty cool. Unless you have a point mutation of one, that is. Then they are definitely NOT cool.

CB This is one malignant post. 🙂

SM Eh, it’s growing on me.

ANS S, you get extra points for that line. I should have expected that this crowd would break out the cancer humor…

SM That’s it, I’m going to Mass.

ANS OH MAN, that was bad… I’ll stop laughing as soon as I am bcr/abl.

SM Man, I bet you’re so glad we met

ANS My friend wanted me to buy a MAC, but I use APC

SM I don’t mean to be invasive, but did you use anaplastic when you bought it?

ANS I was going to, but I decided to use a cachexia. That was acute joke you just made.

SM Thanks. I’ve been using that joke since Grade 4. Well, I’m going to assume that your latency is a marker that this thread has reached its terminal. Thanks! It was a real vinblastine!

ANS I could repeat these jokes to my mom, but HER-2/NEU to pathology to get them.

ANS I know you’re a Libertarian, but did you vote for BRCA Obama?

SM Wow, kudos on the HER-2/NEU joke. I wish I could monoclonal your wit!

ANS This thread has gone on long enough. If we each post one more time, we’ll have made tumor jokes.

WZBG Oh My God.

SM Oh jesus vin-crist-ine

ANS Most of these claims have been Trousseau there’s no need to verifiy them
I guess this just goes to show you, in life, where there’s a Wilms, there’s a way!

SM It’ll benign or more comments until I’m done.
Also, all of your comments have been very well-circumscribed.

ANS You posted that joke about an Auer rod ago

SM All your jokes have a nice signet ring to them.

ANS Let me be perfectly clear cell carcinoma: A lot of people say I’m funny, but don’t believe the hypochlorhydria.

S, I think you move through life a little too FAS. Slow down, change your ways and turn over a new Li Fraumeni.

Tuesday, 11, May, 2010

You Say That Like That’s a Bad Thing.

Filed under: Medicine — williamthecoroner @ 11:30

tgace posts a story from Wired magazine…

Ralph Keeney wants to improve our lives—by making us confront our deaths. In a recent study published in the journal Operations Research, Keeney, a decision analyst at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, crunched data from the Centers for Disease Control to assess how many deaths in the US are due to personal choices—things like smoking, overeating, or unsafe sex. The results: A remarkable 55 percent of deaths for people age 15 to 64 can be attributed to decisions with readily available alternatives. In other words, most people are the agents of their own demise. That’s a vast difference from a century ago, when, Keeney estimates, a scant 5 percent of deaths were brought on by personal decisions (infectious diseases account for most of the rest).

And here I post my comment: So what? In 1900 infectious diseases accounted for most people’s deaths. Add in the problems with obstetrical care, changes in surgery, the average age at death was about 40. While this is better than the subsistence farmer of the middle ages (where the average age at death was about 25) it is only slightly better than the population statisics for hunter-gatherer populations, which is age 36. In the US today, the average age of death is, what 80 now?

The death rate will always be 100%. Keeney is putting accidents in the “brought on by personal decisions” category. And one must be careful taking statistics from the population to the personal. Smoking is bad for you. I don’t think anyone in the United States doesn’t know that now. As a population, smokers get sick and die earlier. Does that mean one individual smoker will have a shortened life span–I know people who smoke all their lives and beat the odds–so, no. I also know clean-living, healthy, children whose parents protect them and then they get a Wilm’s tumor.

Sunday, 9, May, 2010

A Question of Cormorants

Filed under: Natural History — williamthecoroner @ 13:00

There are always some cormorants flying around  the E55th  St.  marina.  Usually, you see them in singletons or pairs flying parallel to the lake shore.  I can’t tell if they are double-crested cormorants or great cormorants–the latter are “bigger and bulkier” but how do you tell without having two in front of you to compare them?  Yeah, yeah, John Audubon could do it, but he shot his specimens.  I somehow think “I was only birding” would not get me out of  trouble if I used my shotgun–so I’m just gonna guess they’re double crested cormorants.

Today, though, I saw a huge skein of them in V-formation.  At first I thought they were geese, and I’ve never seen cormorants fly in v-formation.  I know the geese do it to aid in migration, the point bird breaks the air, and it makes flying easier for the followers.   As there were a lot of them (around forty) I think they were the double-crested ones, who like to hang out in groups.

Then I got to thinking–I’ve never seen gulls fly in formation like that–they’re usually solitary.  Gulls will play and wheel around, and be in large groups on the ground–sometimes a football field will look like a ringbill convention–and they hang out around food in large groups.  But the gulls all seem to travel alone.

Friday, 7, May, 2010

In Which I Get E-mail

Filed under: Medicine,Oddness,WTF? — williamthecoroner @ 12:48

One thing about being a doctor is getting questions.  Sometimes they are interesting, sometimes they are intrusive.  Usually, people don’t press the issue when they learn that I’m a coroner, and my usual response if they don’t get it is that I’d be happy to do an autopsy on them and give them the report in three weeks.  Funny, but if you offer to eviscerate someone at a party they tend to go away.

My inherent smart-alec tendencies keeping most folks away, the questions I do get are interesting.  Someone asked me yesterday about the “Graston Technique” which a physical therapist recommended to treat her spinal canal stenosis and chronic migranes.  I had not heard of this technique, so I looked into it.

Evidently, it is some sort of massage technique where the someone rubs the patient with these stainless steel…things.  The things are supposed to “untangle muscle fibers”  and “break up scar tissue”.  Now.  I’ve looked at a lot of muscles.  I’ve never seen any of them tangle like they show in the slide show.  I’ve broken up scar tissue.  With a scalpel.

Now, rubbing contracted, sore muscles will make them feel better, and you can massage trigger points and make the muscle relax.  The fibers aren’t untwisting, however.  This looks like deep tissue massage with oddly shaped stainless steel things.  Chronic inflammation, though doesn’t get better if you rub it.  After all, your Mom told you that if you pick at it it won’t get better.  STEROIDS treat chronic inflammation.  I also noticed in their list of clinicians: “athletic trainers, chiropractors, physical therapists, occupational therapists” does not include doctors.

The Graston technique might make someone feel good.  Or it might hurt like the dickens.  Deep tissue massage tends to hurt, I’m not sure I want someone rubbing me hard with a steel thing when I hurt.  Hands would appear to be safer in my opinion.  The other part of the technique involves warm up, stretching, and strengthening the affected muscles.  I think the last two are what’s working in most of these cases.

EDITED TO ADD:  Science-Based Medicine has some information about it HERE.  It’s quackery.  The scientific basis arises from two mouse studies, one of which suggests it doesn’t work.  Also, the patient pays $500 for the treatments, the “instruments” cost $2700, and it is a way to get a placebo effect from paying someone to hurt you.

Sappy Cat Blogging

Filed under: Cat Blogging — williamthecoroner @ 12:31

It’s Friday, so it’s time for Sappy Cat Blogging.  Euclid Beach has been closed since 1969, more’s the pity.  It was a trolley park, built to provide a destination for street car riders; and use the excess electricity generated to power the trolleys.  It was a Cleveland landmark, with the flying turns, the racing coasters, the piers, Laughing Sal and the Rocket Ships.  Now, it’s a bare beach, with bones of the old rides poking through.  There is also a colony of feral cats, there, at the trailer park next door, and at Wildwood marina next to that.  A local man and woman are providing veterinary care and birth control for this colony, and finding homes for the ones that can be placed.  The North Collinwood Feral Cat Project is looking for help–either with time or money.  NCFCP, 317 East 156th St., Cleveland, 44110.

Tuesday, 4, May, 2010

Try To Remember

Filed under: Circle Game,In Memoriam — williamthecoroner @ 08:17

The Fantasticks is fifty years old, I am reminded. My old junior high had a synchronized swim show every year–and Try To Remember was always the finale number. The swimmers made a floating W.

This also put me in mind of she shootings at Kent State forty years ago–which shows the folly of using poorly trained soldiers in a role that they’re not really prepared for.

Anyway, here’s that old song and dance man, the original El Gallo, Jerry Orbach.  He was more than Lenny Briscoe.

Saturday, 1, May, 2010

Nature, Red in Tooth and Claw

Filed under: Garden,Natural History — williamthecoroner @ 18:44

So, there I was, calmly driving back through the Metroparks, at three-quarters three in the afternoon, when this large, scruffy, dog, runs across the road.  Biggish dog, kinda shaggy and mangy, browny-grey.  With long legs.  Really long legs, and a bushy tail.  No collar.  Really,LONG legs; black tip on the tail. I’m beginning to think it was Canis latrans.

Okay.  I know they’re in the Cuyahoga valley, this was up around Tinker’s Creek–perhaps it followed the water.

So I get home, and, speaking of Tinker, Tinker has caught the other baby bunny.  Bunjamin P. Franklin likes to raise a family in my pachysandra, and he’s not that smart, because every year Tinker–sometimes Murphy, but Tinker is the clear leader, catches them.  And, because I’m a very poor hunter, takes them home for ME to kill. Last week I had this bunny’s sibling loose in my house for a couple of days, before I found Tinker snacking on his intestines.  Just now, he brings in the (larger) sibling.  My technique is getting better, as I get bunny out of the kitchen, hotly pursued by the cat, who, of course catches him again.  Tinker this this is hilarious.  I don’t know why the rabbits don’t wise up.  After the second catching, Bun-bun goes into the neighbor’s yard, Tinker decides to do his impression of a hood ornament, and I shut the back door.

Enough already.

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