February 2017 Archives

Random Thursday
February 23, 2017 3:09 PM | Posted in:

I'm sitting at home on my day off, listening to Beethoven because Alexa can't find any classical guitar music in her catalog of "tens of millions of songs," feeling sick and bored, so I figure, "why should I be alone in this condition...I'll blog something!" Welcome to my nightmare.

I went to the doctor this morning, several days later than I should have gone because I'm a guy and I vacillate between believing that I can absolutely will my body into health, and believing that "OMG...I'm going to die and somebody please bring me cheetos and NyQuil!" Anyway, the diagnosis was (1) no flu - good; (2) no pneumonia - very good; (3) you're a big sissy so go away and let us focus on that man with viral hemorrhagic fever puddling in the waiting room, and by the way we need to quarantine you for roughly three weeks.

OK, I'm just kidding about (3); I actually have a mild case of bronchitis (although there's still apparently a 5% chance of having a strain of flu that has hitherto not been identified, since the nasal swab test* has a 95% accuracy record). So, we're going the usual Z-Pak/steroids/cough suppressant routine and we'll see if I survive to not watch the Academy Awards.

While I was sitting in the exam room, I noticed this on the wall:

Lego Pain Assessment Tool

This is apparently a real thing, created I think as a tongue-in-cheek graphic, but here it is...prominently displayed on the wall of a real doctor office. Is it intended to help kids communicate their level of discomfort? If so, did anyone stop to think that the "DEATH IMMINENT" agonized face might be a tad, um, traumatizing to a child?

It occurs to me that this chart could easily be adapted to a number of different scenarios, like, say, "reactions by certain groups to the results of the last presidential election." I'll let you run with that.

Anyway, this being Thursday, and seeing as how it's been a month of Sundays since I did a Random Thursday post, here are a few things around the interwebz that recently caught my eye.

Out on the Texas Ranch Where Scientists Study Death (NSFW)

[Note: The NSFW refers to some possibly disturbing photos of human bodies and body parts, not pictures of Trump's hair or recordings of Pelosi's voice (yes, we're equal opportunity mockers here at the Gazette)]

So, you know those TV shows like NCIS, or CSI, or Criminal Minds where you inevitably end up watching someone in a lab or a morgue piddle around inside a body cavity, drawing remarkable conclusions about the deceased person's cause of death and body wash preferences? Turns out those actor guys are portraying people who really know that stuff because they've dealt with it in the field...that field being the Freeman Ranch in Central Texas, home to Texas State University's Forensic Anthropology's Research Facility, the latter being an integral part of the University's Forensic Anthropology Center. FACTS is dedicated to training students to become those experts portrayed on TV, and the reality is probably more dramatic than the fictionalized version.

Wired Magazine has published a short article and photo gallery that beautifully captures the important work done at FACTS, while respecting the dignity of the remains that have been donated to facilitate this work.

Fun Fact: If you do the right search on Google Earth for the Freeman Ranch, you see that someone has dropped a pin and labeled it "Freeman Ranch Body Farm." So much for respecting dignity.

These dance moves are scientifically proven to be sexy

I think we can all agree that Elaine's dance moves on Seinfeld set the bar for unsexy dancing (no disrespect to those who seek to emulate her steps while building their case for an insanity defense), but how can we possibly know what moves will bring out the lusty beast in our partners? Well, science.

Some folks with apparent government funding and endless time on their hands have analyzed dance moves by both women and men (separate studies to prolong cash flow), and have determined those guaranteed to drive dance partners mad with desire. Heaven help us, they've even come up with a way to statistically analyze factors such as movement variability, speed, and amplitude for all body parts involved in dancing.

Let's cut to the chase...or the boogeying, if you will. Here are the "Good Dancing" moves for men and women. Try to ignore the fact that the good dancing for guys starts out with the Running Man; the researchers and test subjects are Brits, after all, and allowances must be made for suspect judgment in this area.




Annoying, Disgusting, Effective: Pharma TV Character Actors Embrace Quirkiness at Every Turn

I've noticed that most of the TV channels I tend to watch most frequently seem to have an overabundance of ads for pharmaceuticals. Well, heck...ALL of the TV channels seem to fall into this category, now that I think about it. But have you ever thought about the careers of those handful of actors who portray more, well, memorable characters in those ads... like the walking, talking ball of phlegm or the disruptive digestive tract (who, incidentally, actually has a name: Irritabelle. How twee.)? I know I haven't, but I still found this article on Ad Age pretty interesting. Some of these folks appear to make a pretty good living playing body parts or byproducts, and the grosser, the better.

Yet, even though the article claims that someone named Ilana Becker portrays Irritabelle, I'm not convinced that it's not really comedienne Kathy Griffin who is moonlighting in the part. Skeptical? So was I, but photos don't lie.

Kathy Griffin vs Irritabelle

Here's a possum

Kathy Griffin vs Irritabelle


*To be perfectly honest, they should refer to this as the "brain instrusion test," because that 6-inch swab was pretty much rammed its entire length to get the flu-detection sample. 

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