William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Friday, 31, December, 2010

Harpo New Year!

Filed under: Circle Game — williamthecoroner @ 23:59

Have a good 2011, everyone.

Michael Jackson Autopsy

Filed under: Forensics,Haterade,People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 16:18

I am all for programs that educate people about forensics and what it is that we as pathologists can and (more importantly) cannot do. I despise people who want to sensationalize or emphasize the creepiness of what it is we do. We provide a valuable service, both for quality control and public health monitoring.

The Discovery channel was going to air a “fictionalized, reenactment” of Michael Jackson’s autopsy, but people complained that it was in bad taste and profiteering from his death. Now, his estate has been flogging that dead horse until the hair has fallen off, so the idea, while disgusting, isn’t totally inconceivable. It’s wrong, but perfectly conceivable.

The other thing is, Jackson died of a drug overdose. I have performed over 1200 autopsies (frankly, I’ve lost count of the exact number) and I have done plenty of drug overdose autopsies. An important part of drug overdose autopsies–there are usually no physical findings. Perhaps there is the smell of alcohol. But mostly, nothing. Times like this we say “The secret’s in the sauce” and send off the sample for toxicology. And wait. Toxicology testing takes time, and even at the best of times takes a couple of days, and I’m more used to six-week lag times.

Could make a very boring TV show, particularly if it was shot in real-time.

2010 In The Rearview Mirror

Filed under: Blogania,Circle Game — williamthecoroner @ 13:50

I try not to obsess over my blog statistics. They matter about as much as my scores on Eric’s Ultimate Solitare or Snood. But it is nice to be read, and I have noticed some trends. The first half of the year I was getting around 400 readers a day, and in the last half of the year I get just under 300 readers. The big change was in July, and either a bunch of people went on vacation, or a bunch of readers were physicians and are now interns and too busy to read blogs. Yeah, that’s it.

The most-read post of 2010 was Sic Transit Gumby, with over 7,000 views, fully 6,400 of them happening on 4th December. I have no answer as to why a post about Art Coakley’s passing with a cheap joke about Gumby would attract so much attention.

Other popular posts include Cause, Manner and Mechanism of Death, Do Cats Eat Dead People, Elliot Ness, and a report on the exhibit of Arms and Armor of Imperial Austria. All of these are from 2008, and only two had to do with forensics.

I’m not sure what this all means, and I’m not going to think about it all that much.

Wednesday, 29, December, 2010


Filed under: Boomstick — williamthecoroner @ 14:38

True, that.

Filed under: Links to Greatness,People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 14:37

More of why I don’t fly. Hat tip, Alan.

Sunday, 26, December, 2010

St. Steven’s Day

Filed under: Circle Game — williamthecoroner @ 16:03

The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
St. Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze,
Although he was little his honour was great,
Jump up me lads and give us a treat.

As I was going to Killenaule,
I met a wren upon the wall.
Up with me wattle and knocked him down,
And brought him in to Carrick Town.

Drooolin, Droolin, where’s your nest?
Tis in the bush that I love best
In the tree, the holly tree,
Where all the boys do follow me.

Up with the kettle and down with the pan,
And give us a penny to bury the wren.

I followed the wren three miles or more,
Three miles or more three miles or more.
I followed the wren three miles or more,
At six o’clock in the morning.

I have a little box under me arm,
Under me arm under me arm.
I have a little box under me arm,
A penny or tuppence would do it no harm.

Mrs. Clancy’s a very good woman,
a very good woman, a very good woman,
Mrs. Clancy’s a very good woman,
She give us a penny to bury the wren.

Saturday, 25, December, 2010

Merry Christmas

Filed under: Circle Game — williamthecoroner @ 14:32

2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2:2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

2:9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

2:15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

2:16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

2:17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

2:18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

2:19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

2:20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Friday, 24, December, 2010

Merry Catmas

Filed under: Cat Blogging — williamthecoroner @ 06:59

Tuesday, 21, December, 2010

Early Christmas Present

Filed under: Forensics — williamthecoroner @ 12:53

Dear Dr Zeus,

I am pleased to inform you that your work has now been accepted for publication in American Journal of Forensic medicine and Pathology. All manuscript materials will be forwarded immediately to the production staff for placement in an upcoming issue. Please be aware that we have a substantial backlog, and it will take on average at least 18 months before your article will be published. If you have not already done so, please download a copy of the Copyright Transfer Agreement from the Instructions for Authors and fax to xxx-xxx-xxxx. You must sign the journal’s official form before your paper can be published, all other transfers of copyright are invalid..

Thank you for submitting your interesting and important work to the journal.

With Kind Regards,

Dr. Vincent J M DiMaio
American Journal of Forensic medicine and Pathology

The Longest Night of the Year

Filed under: Circle Game,History,Poetry — williamthecoroner @ 12:43

Alan and Mongo have photos of the eclipse, for those of us who were under cloud cover last night.

And, from Mary-Chapin Carpenter, The Longest Night of the Year

They say that spring will come again–
No one knows exactly when.
Still the sun’s a long lost friend
On the longest night of the year.

We stare into the firelight
While December beats outside
Where the darkest hearts reside
On the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight
Let the candle burn all night
Tomorrow welcome back the night
It was longest night of the year

I used to think the world was small
Bright and shining like a ball
Seems I don’t know much at all
On the longest night of the year

We press our faces to the glass
And see our little lives go past
Wave to shadows that we cast
On the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight,
Let the candle burn all night,
Tomorrow welcome back the light.
‘Twas the longest night of the year

Make a vow when Solstice comes:
To find the Light in everyone
Keep the faith and bang the drum
On the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight,
Let the candle burn all night,
Tomorrow welcome back the light.
‘Twas the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight,
Let the candle burn all night,
Tomorrow welcome back the light.
After the longest night of the year

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