Saturday, November 10, 2007

Earthquake Country 

A colleague from San Jose sent us pictures of the mess the latest earthquake out there caused. Life in earthquake country... When I was in library school, I visited a friend in San Francisco for spring break. He was a first year medical student, and he gave me a tour of his classrooms and laboratory. There was one lab that had all of its shelves lined with glass jars of fetuses in all the stages of development, from their unrecognizably alien beginnings all the way to babies so far along they must have been full term stillborns.

The fetuses were perfectly preserved. They had an eerie air of peacefulness, and looked as if they were each floating silently in an artificial, transparent womb. I stared at them so long with such morbid yet clinical fascination that I had almost had to be dragged away. Years later my friend told me that these jars had not been secured properly, and during an earthquake they had all crashed to the floor, their contents exploding into a heaping stew of glass shards, fetuses and preservation liquid. Bad day for the custodial staff.

My friend also introduced me to his dissection cadaver, a woman who had died of systemic scleroderma, a horrific autoimmune disease that sounds like some sort of gypsy curse. Basically, your body’s production of collagen goes haywire, slowly petrifying your skin and your organs until you die from suffocation and organ failure. It is a prolonged, agonizing death, and it has been the stuff of my nightmares ever since.

Friday, November 02, 2007

From The Onion 

In The Know: Is The Government Spying On Paranoid Schizophrenics Enough?

Panelists discuss ways to care for the nation's paranoid schizophrenics, such as hiding cameras in their homes or audio transmitters in their ears.

"We have to give them practical advice, too, like tell them which bus drivers hate them, which manholes are covering up underground government prisons, which statues don't love them anymore..."

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