William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Monday, 11, April, 2011

Differently Clued

Filed under: Circle Game,Cleveland,Self mockery — williamthecoroner @ 17:05

So, Dr. Z  are you going to the reunion events in May?

Dr. Z  There’s a reunion in May?

Oh, yeah.  It HAS been 25 years, hasn’t it.  Makes me wonder if Facebook isn’t taking the steam out of the reunion industry, I can stalk my old flames, erm, cough, keep up with old friends, yeah, keep up with old friends, that’s it without much effort

Wednesday, 2, March, 2011

Research Woes

Filed under: Self mockery — williamthecoroner @ 16:14

I just spent an hour searching for an article in the Medical Library, only to find that I was looking in the wrong journal. Things improved greatly since I got a clue.

Friday, 26, November, 2010

And She’s Here All Week

Filed under: Japery,Self mockery — williamthecoroner @ 05:32

Family Friend “Dr. Zeus says all his patients are dead, does that mean he’s a pathologist or something?”

Doc’s Mom. “No, that means he’s the world’s worst cardio-thoracic surgeon. He drops things and doesn’t know h is right from his left under pressure.”


Thursday, 16, September, 2010

Dead Projects

Filed under: Science,Self mockery,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 21:56

I have several projects that I have been working on for some time.  I managed to get one paper in press, and I hope it is published in the orange journal soon.  I have another that I’ve been working with a toxicologist on–my part is done, and if the other bit doesn’t get done shortly, I’m just going to publish what I have.  There comes a time when one has to get things moving.

I was working on a cross-disciplinary teaching project with two collaborators from another school.  I have piles of the raw data sitting around–in several places that are just waiting to be analyzed.  I realized, though, that I have not spoken to my collaborators in this calendar year, I think one of them is at another institution, and no one returns my emails anymore. I think this project is DOA. My time would be much better spent on getting other projects published, perhaps ones with collaborators who actually talk with me on a daily basis.

This realization was profoundly liberating.  My office will also look a whole lot neater, now.

Wednesday, 7, July, 2010

I Know I Don’t Know Much About Popular Culture…

Filed under: Self mockery,Social Commentary — williamthecoroner @ 16:08

I really don’t know much about what happened after the ’30s. The 1630s. Things have been going downhill after James I/VI’s time, iffen you ask me.

So, why do we care about Michael Jackson’s death? And who is Lindsay Lohan, and why does her jail time matter?

Thursday, 17, June, 2010

Bugger This

Filed under: Self mockery — williamthecoroner @ 02:15

It’s 0300, I’m WIDE awake, and I’m hungry. At least, I have the internet and some challa and gouda, so that can be remedied while I kill time, but sheesh, I’d really rather be asleep, thanks.

Thursday, 21, January, 2010

How Stuff Gets Done.

Filed under: Science,Self mockery,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 14:45

I’ve had a couple of research papers sitting on the back burner for too darn long.  Again, the problem is I have too many pies and not enough phalanges.  And people who just insist on having me do things when they pay me money.  Yeah, I know, I know.

I am pleased that I have reached the point in my career where I now have minions.  Not full time minions.  They are not full time minions, and I’m supposed to call them “graduate students” instead of “Igor”.  But you can’t have everything.  On the bright side none of them look like Marty Feldman.  Which is something, I assure you.  The good thing about having min, er, graduate students, is they sometimes come up to you and ask you if you have any projects that you want them to do.  Now, of course, the answer is a resounding “YES!”   And you then hand them a packet of papers and research material, and tell them to go off and read it and come back and discuss it.

They do this, and come up with ideas of their own (if they’re any good) and bring you stuff you never new existed (you hope) and they discuss that with you, and you go through several iterations of this cycle.  Till one day you say.  “Good.  Now, here’s a copy of a review article for the orange journal.  Write me a review article of so many words on what we’ve been discussing.  The student then goes and does it, and then you read it, and go through some more cycles of “where the heck should we go with this?  We’re writing an article, not a bloody book.”

Then the advisor gets a copy of it in electronic form and tweaks it till it is in the format the journal wants and mails it off to them.  I’m in the middle of that process right now.  But it is quite helpful.  I’ve managed to make my problems my student’s problems.  This is brilliant.  Everyone should have graduate students.  (And they’re terribly grateful if you buy them a pizza, particularly if it is from here.  The Bombay and Greek pizzas are pretty darn good.)

Thursday, 14, January, 2010

Irritating Spell

Filed under: Circle Game,Self mockery,Winge — williamthecoroner @ 20:05

It is irritating.  No-one has time to play with me, lately.  All my friends are busy, or under the weather, or have phone problems (a popular one)  or are somewhere else, or involved with their own lives (imagine that, involved with their own lives and interests.  Inconceivable!) and don’t have time to fool around.

I know, I know.  It happens, and they’re allowed (gee, how gracious I am, huh) and people’s schedules will free up.  And Tinker is wonderfully smart, and a good conversationalist.  I just can’t take him out to dinner.

Saturday, 31, October, 2009

Forensic Hallowe’en

Filed under: Forensics,Self mockery — williamthecoroner @ 22:12

People die every day of the year.  Hallowe’en is no exception.  Some people really get into the iconography of Hallowe’en, with the bones and ghosts and such.  Forensic people, not so much.  Although, I was considering getting one of these for someone, but that’s another story.  And getting a date for the Mortician’s ball is always…problematic.  There’s also this.  But I digress.

But for a forensic pathologist, the dead are your patients.  They’re around all the time, not trotted out for a day of the dead ceremony, and with familiarity comes ennui.  My investigator once had Fred in a box in his truck for a prolonged period of time.  He said it was someone to talk to.   I’ve worked in a couple offices where there were long-term tenants in the freezer unit.  Dead bodies are just…there.

They are treated with respect, because that’s the right thing to do.  But they lose their specialness.  And they lose their capacity to frighten.  There’s nothing more well-behaved than a dead man.

The last time I was asked about Hallowe’en, it was by a cop, while we were waiting for animal control.  An individual who was a dog breeder had died, and the dogs would not let us in to move the body.  They were adamant about guarding their pack leader, and keeping him safe.  Thankfully, they were all Golden Retrievers.  But even dogs as good-natured as goldens weren’t going to allow just anyone to cart Dad away.

“No,” I said to the officer. “Just another day at the office.”

Sunday, 13, September, 2009

Sir Isaac, You Magnificent Bastard

Filed under: Self mockery — williamthecoroner @ 20:53

isaac_newton So there I was, at the Honey Hut, waiting for a small turtle sundae.  Their combination of salty pecans, sweet hot fudge and caramel, silky vanilla ice cream is well worth the calories.  They have a dedicated clientel.  They also have a wide variety of sizes.  While I can eat a large sundae, it is wiser for me to share a small one.  I don’t have the metabolism of a teenager anymore.

Teenagers, now, that’s who works there.  This season their counter help is young and male.  Mine made the sundae with a flair, and he also served it to me with a flare, putting it down on the counter and pushing it toward me with a flourish.  This is where Isaac came into play again, as an object in motion wants to remain in motion.  His hand stopped the cup, but the mass of whipped cream went flying off, straight onto my trousers.  Right on the zipper.

Now, the first rule of forensic pathology is one should never wear anything that isn’t machine washable.  So that’s not a problem.  My companion, though, thought it was a laff riot.  The sundae was rebuilt, with significantly less whipped cream.  The girls from last year were a lot more careful.

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