William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Wednesday, 28, September, 2011

Did I Miss Anything?

Filed under: People who need pianos dropped on them,Poetry,Social Commentary — williamthecoroner @ 10:18

Did I Miss Anything?

Tom Wayman
From: The Astonishing Weight of the Dead. Vancouver: Polestar, 1994.

Question frequently asked by
students after missing a class

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

Everything. I gave an exam worth
40 per cent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 per cent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
the hereafter
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring this good news to all people
on earth

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human existence
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been

but it was one place

And you weren’t here

Wednesday, 31, August, 2011

If You Aren’t Outraged, You Aren’t Paying Attention

Francesca Rice is a veteran. She owns firearms. Lakewood OH police heard about it, came to her condo, got the super to let them in and took them. Ms. Rice was not arrested, she wasn’t home, they just came an took her property. Ms. Rice owns them legally, but the cops will not return the weapons, worth over $15,000 without a court order. So she’s suing them. Story is HERE (Hat tip, Misfit)

If the people who did this weren’t wearing ugly blue polyester uniforms, this would be called “Grand Theft” and “Breaking and Entering”. The Earth-Bound Misfit suggests sending a copy of the United States Constitution to the Lakewood Chief of Police. I concur.

Chief of Police Timothy J. Malley
Lakewood City Hall
12650 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

Also, the cash-strapped city of Cleveland (who is laying off police officers) is spending money and time on a gun registration program that is a. voluntary and b. has no data about efficacy whatsoever.

This might be a radical idea, but if you’re short of money and crime is a problem, you might want to stop hassling the law-abiding, and shift resources to, oh, I don’t know, actually catching criminals.

Tuesday, 17, May, 2011

Sales Call.

Filed under: People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 17:57

Just because you SAY “this is not a sales call”, that doesn’t magically make it not a sales call, particularly when you then attempt to sell me something during the call.

Yes, there IS a need to use that language.

I really don’t happen to care if it offends you.

Since you called me, I’ll respond in any way I see fit.

If you wish to make a living, there are lots of things you can do.  Have you considered pimping?

If I give you my Social Security Number you’ll take my name off your list?  How nice.

You’ll just have to keep calling?  OK.

Wednesday, 4, May, 2011

Men Are Not Potatoes

Filed under: People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 10:28

Which is a line from Starship Troopers.  Not the cheesy movie, but the Heinlein novel.  The protagonist is sitting in OCS, and his instructor asks him how many POW/MIAs are worth resuming a war for.  When the protagonist insists that one does not leave a man behind, the instructor says the student doesn’t know the worth of a man, that it makes no sense to kill more to save a few.  The protagonist is claiming that one potato is equal to a hundred potatoes.  “Sir, men are not potatoes.” is the answer.

This and this put me in mind of that statement.  Men are not potatoes, and pets are not people. It really does seem that some folks see no moral difference between animals and humans.  I know my animals don’t treat me the way they do out of concern for my autonomy and well being.  I know they would happily eat my decaying body if there was nothing else around, and if Tinker were ten times larger than he is I would be his cat toy.  A thing is what it is.

Sunday, 1, May, 2011

How Can I Keep From Singing?

Filed under: Boom,People who need pianos dropped on them,Poetry,Politics — williamthecoroner @ 23:44

I do not celebrate, but I do appreciate the news of this day.  All the better that the SEALS are home safely.

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Robert Lowry 1869, Interpreted by Pete Seeger circa 1965

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.


Saturday, 12, March, 2011

I Really Think You Have Your Priorities Wrong

Filed under: Haterade,Overheard,People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 22:04

Via Neputnus Lex, I come across THIS ARTICLE about the gang rape of an eleven year old girl in Cleveland, Texas. In the NYT article, a neighbor is quoted as saying “It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.”

This runs into one of my pet peeves, what about the victim? Talk about someone who is going to have to live with this for the rest of her life. She was gang-raped. She is ELEVEN. The alleged attackers ranged in age from nineteen to twenty-seven. Another quote:

Residents in the neighborhood…said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s.

Oh, come on. This girl is too young to consent to this activity, full stop. The way she dresses and acts is irrelevant. Secondly, nineteen is old enough to know better, and any sexual activity between a nineteen year old and an eleven year old is predation. This was not youthful hijinks–these people need to be locked up.

Friday, 11, February, 2011

So, There I Was

Filed under: Cleveland,Haterade,People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 16:58

Sitting in traffic on a wicked cold day.  In front of me was a silver Prius, with the vanity plate “NOPEC” and a bumper sticker proudly informing that the car’s CO2 output had been taken up by  plantings somewhere.

I was able to notice these things because the smug git driving the Prius cut me off, and then double parked blocking traffic with the engine running to go into a Swillbucks.

I can certainly understand keeping the car idling, it was 9 degrees in the sun.  I think reforestation is a pretty good idea, and I’ all for buying land to be habitat and all that.

The combination of the smug-self-righteousness and the selfish driving made me want to take a fire axe to the vehicle.

Thursday, 20, January, 2011


Filed under: Haterade,People who need pianos dropped on them — williamthecoroner @ 11:06

The quote, “I despise what you say, but will defend your right to say it,” has been miss-attributed to Voltaire, but I am a strong believer in free speech. Speech should be as free as possible, even if it annoys people. You cannot put forward good ideas (or even lousy ideas, but lousy idea can inspire a good idea). A secondary goal of free speech is it makes it easier to figure out who is a bozo. Exercising your First Amendment rights should not be an excuse for losing one’s Second Amendment rights.

Friday, 31, December, 2010

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.

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