William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Tuesday, 29, March, 2011


Filed under: Boomstick,Circle Game — williamthecoroner @ 12:12

The United States Army officially adopted the John Browning designed Colt Automatic Pistol on this day in 1911. It’s still in production, and is being used as a duty weapon for some units and some law enforcement agencies. Hard to beat a classic.

Hat tip, Misfit and JayG

Saturday, 26, March, 2011

World’s Oldest Joke 1900 BC

Filed under: History,Japery — williamthecoroner @ 15:42

It’s a Sumerian fart joke. Oh, those whacky Sumerians. What can I tell you. You can read it, and a dirty Anglo-Saxon joke, HERE.

Friday, 25, March, 2011

Sappy Cat Blogging

Filed under: Cat Blogging — williamthecoroner @ 21:07

Thursday, 24, March, 2011

The Elephant Story–Part 2

Filed under: Japery,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 10:33

So during a lab meeting one of my students was talking, and the student’s brother is heading towards marriage to an East Indian woman. Though both of them live and work in the United States, any wedding would be held in India. The student’s family was told the groom would be expected to show up at the ceremony riding an elephant. It would be symbolic of, well, something. So, while the planning is going on, the big question is, well, where do you get an elephant for this procedure? Are there elephant rental agencies? Do they have an online presence? Do you just call up an Elephant Rental Agency? Honest Vijay’s Used Elephants? The family was trying to do research on this matter, starting with the internet, and going from there.

I mentioned this later to a couple of friends standing around the coffee machine, one of whom was also east Indian. As I was talking, he’s looking at me as if I’m growing a second head. Then he starts laughing. He was laughing so hard that I was worried he was going to pass out.

As it turns out, this was a different Indian tradition, not a wedding tradition, but one called “Playing a practical joke on the clueless Americans”. Evidently, if an Indian wedding is sufficiently pretentious, the groom comes in riding a horse for a short distance. But those are really fancy dos, and most folks don’t do that. Polo is big in India, again for folks that can afford to keep a horse.

I didn’t find out where you get the horse, but they’ll cross that bridge when they get to it.

Wednesday, 23, March, 2011

The Elephant Story–Part 1

Filed under: In Memoriam,Medicine,Natural History — williamthecoroner @ 16:13

Dr. John R. Carter was a well-respected director of the Institute of Pathology. Coming from Kansas, he was passionate about education and put in place many innovations during his tenure. I was impressed by his teaching, and wish I could have learned more from him. Dr. Carter’s particular interest was orthopedic pathology, and when one of the Zoo’s elephant’s died he jumped at the chance to help with an elephant autopsy. You don’t get to do one of those every day, and he wanted a chance to take some samples of the bones.

Well, how does one do an elephant autopsy? You start with a very delicate chainsaw, making a linear ventral midline incision. You do this while the elephant is lying on its side. You then take 2 x 4’s and knock together some cribbing, to support the weight of the elephant’s side, and people can work in the cavity. Elephants are large, and have a lot of blood. It is a good idea to tie the support structure to something sturdy, so it doesn’t slip. It is also a good idea to have someone outside the elephant, labeling samples, scribing, doing all that good stuff. Dr. Carter and the vet failed to observe these precautions, or so he told me.

As an aside, I would never doubt Dr. Carter’s veracity, but he did tell me this story at the Christmas party, and he had a couple of Manhattans in him when he told it. I was not witness to this, and I make no judgement, I merely report a good story. For he told me that the cribbing slipped on the bloody floor, and collapsed, dropping the side of the abdomen down and trapping the prosectors in the belly of the beast. Literally.

Post-mortem processes being what they are, the elephant was in full rigor, and was fairly large anyway. The people trapped inside were unable to lift the abdominal flap to get out. They were stuck, and shouting for help did not work. Not many people really want to hang around a dead elephant after all, and this was being done out of view of the public. So there they were, stuck.

But both prosectors were well-trained in anatomy, and new what to do. Using the spine as a landmark (and possibly a handrail, they followed the intestines all the way back to the posterior end of the carcass. Using their blades, they opened the colon and were able to escape via the anus, emerging slimy yet unbowed. After a long shower, and with some assistance, they rebuilt the structure and finished the post-mortem.

Sunday, 20, March, 2011

Winter’s First Green Is Gold

Filed under: Circle Game,Food and Drink,Forensics — williamthecoroner @ 15:17

And now we’re within spitting distance of Spring. The first ice cream truck just came down my street, playing “It’s a Small World After All.” This beats the heck out of the ones last year, who kept playing “Turkey in the Straw” until I became homicidal. Anyone got a Barrett I could borrow?

Of course, as my Nana said, “Never take the winter sheets off the bed until June first, and don’t plant until after Memorial Day.” The weather will change. Probably it will change tomorrow. But that reminds me of a story…
A young fellow was trying to run away from the police, as the police wanted to lock him up, and he thought being locked up was no fun. I’m not sure what he was wanted for, no one ever told me, but he was driving a car, when the police stopped him and he hopped out and ran. He ran quick like a bunny, and he was near a dairy on the east side, so he ran into the dairy’s lot, and hid in an ice cream truck.

Not only did he hide in an ice cream truck, he climbed into the freezer compartment, and lay down on the blocks of dry ice, closing the door behind him. The police were unable to find him, but the driver did the next morning, when he went to stock his truck. He found that he would have to add a corpsesicle to the menu, or just call the cops. Which he did, and the decedent was taken to the coroner’s office. Dry ice, as you will recall, gives off CO2, and this guy had suffocated in the anoxic atmosphere. At least he wasn’t arrested.


Filed under: Haterade,Links to Greatness — williamthecoroner @ 10:32



I got nuthin’.

Friday, 18, March, 2011

Sappy Cat Blogging

Filed under: Cat Blogging — williamthecoroner @ 02:15

Morse Code Kitty

Thursday, 17, March, 2011

The World Is Run By C Students

Filed under: Haterade,History,People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 22:56

If that. THIS ARTICLE is about “the newest secret weapon in Russia’s arsenal”. Inflatable decoy tanks and other military equipment. To these people, this was new.

But the U.S. Army did it in 1944. Not only were they C students, they majored in Communications.


Wednesday, 16, March, 2011

Habius Ovum

Filed under: Circle Game,Natural History — williamthecoroner @ 11:03

http://www.falconcam-cmnh.org/news.php At 5:38 on 16 March, the first egg was laid.

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