Thursday, December 22, 2011

“I hate you!” he shouted. “I hate you and your stupid comical comparisons!” His face was red and contorted, like a crayola left out on the stove. “You make them all the time. Try showing a little human empathy,” he added, bubbling.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Famous Poets as an action team:

William Shakespeare is the team leader.
Edgar Allen Poe is the dark, edgy, cloaked one.
Robert Frost is the hard-hitting tough guy.
Emily Dickinson is the token female.
Lewis Carroll is the comedic relief.

Also, e.e. cummings is an odd side-character who helps them on occasion, though he’s never recovered from his encounter with a pack of Grammar Nazis.

I'm sorry to leave out Hemmingway, Lord Byron, and the Bronte sisters... but there's always the sequel.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fun Fact

In the past three millennia of world history, the average imperial power has survived for 215 years. America, measured from the ratification of the constitution, is now 223 years old.

I find this hilarious, because it sounds like one of those quaint, patently ridiculous "facts" that people pass around online, but I found it in a scholarly article by a guy who researched the fact himself. Evidence:

"Using a data set of empires that spans over 3,000 years, I wanted to create a model that could show us, statistically, what the lifetimes of empires look like. There are many more complex and intricate models of how civilizations grow and decay, but perhaps something could be gained by creating a very simple model that looks only at life span.

This data set is expansive, including everything from the Babylonian Empire of ancient Mesopotomia - known for such contributions as Hammurabi’s Code - to the Byzantine Empire, which has provided us with the eponymous word for red tape. Some of the world’s empires lasted an exceptionally long time: The ancient, and now little known, Elam empire located in present-day Iran lasted a thousand years. Others were short-lived, for all their power: The Phrygian and Lydian empires were around for only about six decades each. (The data set, based on earlier research in empires, ends at 600 A.D.)

If you crunch these all together, the first thing you discover is that the average lifetime of these powers is 215 years.

If you’re playing at home, this number is pessimistically eerie: It’s been 223 years since the ratification of the US Constitution. And that should perhaps give us some pause. To make this explicit, the United States has now outlasted the majority of the empires in my historical data set, and is now crossing the threshold into hoary old age."


Life at the moment

I have three eight-page papers to complete in the next four weeks, at least three four-pagers (I haven't counted em yet), a website to design and launch, and a couple finals, on top of my typical homework for my seven classes. I've also volunteered to help prepare posters for the senior projects of the honors kids graduating this year. I'm not sure why I did, as I'm a tad busy already... probably the same reason I'm taking the time to write this post. Maybe it's terrible priorities.

On the upside, I've finished my internship duties for a month or so, and as of last Saturday, also finished the production of Alice in Wonderland in which I was the Mad Hatter. It sold out for six out of eight shows, but we couldn't extend the run for another weekend, which is just as well, as next Saturday I'll be attempting to shoot an entire short film within one day.

I was hoping to do Nanowrimo this year, too... But I do have a week-long Thanksgiving break coming up. I might be able to dash off 50 thousand words.

College study tip:

If you leave your book alone on a library table overnight or even for several hours, the libraries clear it away. But if you stick it spread-eagled on one of the display shelves, no one notices or cares, and it’s easily retrieved later. It’s hiding in plain sight. There’s probably a cool story in there.

Maybe one written in the 1800s by Edgar Allen Poe.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Joke

An immigrant from the old country came through Ellis Island. As part of a physical exam, he was asked to read a line of letters on an eye chart. Pointing to the fourth row (which contained the letters S Z Q W R E K Z I), the doctor asked, "Can you read these letters?" "Read them?!!" The man exclaimed, "I KNOW the man!"

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Yet another quote

“On at least four of the 16 occasions between April and July that I went to Guy's for my venesections I was accosted outside the McDonald's on St Thomas Street by the same young man. He was well-spoken if shabbily dressed, and had the limp-scrape gait and the paradoxical features – at once sharply etched and poorly registered – of the street junky. Each time he asked me for change and each time I asked him if he had a drug problem. The first time he denied this I told him: "Sorry, I only give money to people who have a drug problem." So, predictably, he back-pedalled: "No, no, I do have an 'abit …" Addiction being such a great leveller, it planes away even the ability to detect irony. Then I zeroed in for the kill. "I'm sorry again, but I don't give money to liars." And he desperately rejoined: "I juss don't like to admit it straight up. Y'know what people are like …" Finally, I relented and gave him a pound coin or two, before subjecting him – in the time-honoured Sally Army way – to a homily in return for his handout.” 

- English Novelist Will Self

Monday, October 17, 2011


I once heard a story (originally told by Kevin Young) about Gerson Goldhaber, who was a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. He was talking on the phone with another physicist at SLAC near Stanford University near the end of the day on Tuesday, October 17, 1989. The SLAC physicist suddenly interrupted with, “Gerson, I have to go! There’s a very big earthquake happening!” and then hung up. So Gerson stepped out into a group of people in the hall, made a big show of yawning and checking his watch, then said, “Aren’t we about due for an earthquake?” Before anyone could respond, the Loma Prieta earthquake reached Berkeley, and he became a legend.

-the XKCD blog

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

“I know that David Tennant's Hamlet isn't till July. And lots of people are going to be doing Dr Who in Hamlet jokes, so this is just me getting it out of the way early, to avoid the rush...
"To be, or not to be, that is the question. Weeelll.... More of A question really. Not THE question. Because, well, I mean, there are billions and billions of questions out there, and well, when I say billions, I mean, when you add in the answers, not just the questions, weeelll, you're looking at numbers that are positively astronomical and... for that matter the other question is what you lot are doing on this planet in the first place, and er, did anyone try just pushing this little red button?”
― Neil Gaiman

Monday, October 10, 2011

And now for a couplet regarding Batman

In his life educational and his life bi-vocational
He's endured large amounts of critiques degradational

Monday, October 3, 2011


“At Twitter, they like to measure human events in tweets per second, or TPS. The more tweets per second, the more impressive and important the event—Twitter as the most important measure of human history. The company started releasing this number the summer of 2009, when ­Michael Jackson died and crashed Twitter’s service under the weight of 493 TPS.
On computer monitors on floor three, they can watch TPS for an event spike like commodities on a trading desk. The freak earthquake in Virginia in August reached 5,500 TPS, a number released to the press as a significant barometer of impact: “More tweets than Osama bin Laden,” said the London Telegraph.
That compares to 5,530 TPS for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Or 6,436 TPS for the 2011 BET Awards, and 5,531 for the NBA Finals. In August, the new Twitter record was set: 8,868 TPS for Beyoncé’s performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Reverse Socratic Method

The “reverse Socratic method”: Force everyone to ask you questions about increasingly specialized topics until they get to the question you want. It's an idea of my own invention.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Newswriting exercise

The Assignment:

To reformat the opening of a newspaper article so that it's less clunky; punchier.

The Opening: 

"Maria Ramero, 23, of 154 East Lansing Blvd., in Riverdale, and her daughter, Jessica Ramero, 4, of the same address, were killed when their car collided with a milk truck at 4:13 p.m. at the corner of Wayne and First streets at Riverdale yesterday."

My Answers:

"Milk isn't always good for your bones. Maria Ramero, 23, and her young daughter were killed early this morning by a renegade milk truck."

"Got milk? A Riverdale mother and her four-year-old daughter wish they hadn't."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The root cause of all the problems in the world, condensed

It's either love
or lack thereof

Monday, August 15, 2011


You know how some people stop halfway through a sentence to think before finishing it? Imagine if two of them hold a conversation. They could alternate every half-sentence, with semi-related subjects woven into each other. Like a demented Monty Python sketch.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A case of swollen whimsey

   Today I was reading Lewis Carroll's Silvie and Bruno when someone near me used the phrase "hurt his pride." My nonsense-fueled thoughts came up with this, which would fit quite well into anything Carroll's written:

  You’ve heard people say “The only thing I hurt was my pride.” They don’t mean their pride was physically hurt, of course. But where I come from, that’s possible. We hurt our pride, our egos, our tempers. Why, just last week, a friend of mine fell off his bike and landed right on his temper. He hasn’t been able to get mad for days, and as a result, quite a few people have been borrowing money from him or breaking bad news. I haven’t, though. Stubbed my sense of opportunism the other day, and it still hasn’t quite recovered.
  In addition to physicals, we get ‘immaterials’.  The local hospital has an entire department for this sort thing. Operating on aspects of personality is tougher than brain surgery, and so I’m not quite clear of the specifics. Often there’s a waitlist, which you can be moved up if you provide a need. Say a man has severed his competitive spirit, but has a marathon approaching within the next few days. He would of course be rushed though. These reasons are vigorously inspected for authenticity, particularly those regarding such issues as fractured honesty.
  The black market can be a problem... It’s not uncommon for those who wander into the bad side of town to wake up in a tub of ice sans a sense of humor. They don’t take it well. Undergraduate students, too, surrender personality traits willingly, starting with those that won’t be needed by their occupation. Many a well-loved Mr. Rodgers-esque TV show host owes his amiability to a half-dozen equally successful lawyers.

The Dr Whooves picture

Found this on someone's tumblr. It's what the previously mentioned birthday card was copied from. Now you can all see the visual!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dr Whooves

   Yesterday, while walking through the streets of Seattle, I found a hand-drawn birthday card. It was a manga style picture of a pony wearing a bowtie saying, "I'm a pony now! Ponies are cool!" It's mane looked like Matt Smith's hair. Also, after the Happy Birthday and OXOXOX, it was signed "Dr. Whooves."
   It was the best thing ever. I was going to post a picture online for all to see. But then it fell out of my back pocket, and it's probably floating in Lake Union right now. Which is the worst thing ever. I feel like Jonah, after God gives him a plant for shade and then whithers it up again. Such persecution.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Last Saturday, my family was on a camping trip for the weekend. We were hiking past a trail with a sign saying it led to "Grandma's Cove." Just then, three white-haired ladies hiked up it. 
I thought to myself that this was ironic, but then realized it was the opposite. Anti-irony. And a very good example of it: It makes so much sense that you don't expect it to. We've all adapted to an imperfect world in which the title "Grandma's Cove" is naturally assumed to have little or no correlation with the type of people who peruse it. When it turns out to have said correlation, we are surprised. It's irony and the opposite of irony at the same time. Someone should invent a word for this.

Cuss Island

I want to see a story about a pirate captain who forces all his men to put a piece of treasure in a "cuss chest" for each profanity or curse. When it’s full, they bury it on a tiny island they call Cuss Island. Legend has it that if one finds the right island, they’ll uncover a king’s ransom. But every piece is individually cursed by definition, and therefore a great pall hangs over it all.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Snippet, part 2

"Contrary to popular belief, a male can occasionally use the term 'I love you' when referring to a member of the same sex. Two stipulations must be strictly adhered to, however. First, the two must be close friends. There is no definitive measurement for this, but a good rule of thumb for the speaker to keep in mind is a willingness to take a bullet for his friend.
Second, and perhaps most important of all, the phrase must always be followed by the word 'man.' (If at all possible, the emphasis should be on 'man' rather than on 'love' or 'you.') Failure to include this one word may easily result in the dissolution of the friendship in question."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Snippet

"Men, on the other hand, are complete opposites. The only occasion that could possibly bring one of them to tears would be a particularly violent decapitation, and even then, he wouldn't cry since his eyes would be missing by that point. Perhaps he would punch the air sadly."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Set the critique meters to "scathing"

Here's a song subtly critiquing high school romances. Or praising them. It's tough to tell.

Also, why do the words "scathing" and "critique" go together so often? Who decided that one?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

An Insult

Yesterday, my parents worked together on a zinger for me:

Me: I’ll watch Thor all by myself, and then come back and reenact it for the whole family.
Isaac: I don’t think you’re as buff as Thor is.
Me: I beg to differ.
Mom: Oh, there’s no need. We all know you and Thor differ...
Dad: ...and you don’t need to beg for it.

See? It’s a perfectly choreographed one-two punch. I’d be insulted if I weren’t so proud of them.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Reasons Why Forks Are Better Than Spoons

1) When you come to a fork in the road, you can take it. Not so with the spoon.

2) You can use the side of a fork as a very dull knife blade, in order to cut things. Spoons are tougher, and cut things into semi-circles rather than straight.

3) You can threaten people much more effectively with a fork.

4) You can go out at night forking a house. People tend to shy away from spooning it.

5) If you like eating things that rhyme with your utinsel, you have a nice staple: pork. Spoon users only have loon, which I hear is pretty nasty. Also, tough to eat with a spoon.

6) The devil would look pretty lame carrying around a pitchSPOON.

7) Thugs don't sound as confident when they say "Spoon it over."

8) There is no spoon.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Do a barrel roll!

Wheel Barrel Like a Boss Gif - Wheel Barrel Like a Boss
see more Gifs

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hundred Dollar Bill

   I just had an interesting experience... Yesterday, while studying for my research paper on tricksters in folklore, I found an African American tale about a guy who kept a one hundred dollar bill in his pocket solely so that he could offer it to pay for a 50 cent haircut. When the barber couldn't give him change for a hundred bucks, the guy would get away without paying anything since it was technically the barber who couldn't pay.
   Then, today, I attended a swing dance that cost a dollar at the door. All I had was a twenty, and the cashier couldn't change it, so he let me in free. The trick works in real life!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gravity Train

gravity train is a theoretical means of transportation intended to go between two points on the surface of a sphere, following a straight tunnel that goes directly from one point to the other through the interior of the sphere.
In a large body such as a planet, this train could be left to accelerate using just the force of gravity, since, during the first half of the trip (from the point of departure until the middle), the downwards pull towards the center of gravity would pull it towards the destination. During the second half of the trip, the acceleration would be in the opposite direction relative to the trajectory, but (ignoring the effects of friction) the speed acquired before would be enough to cancel this deceleration exactly (so that the train would reach its destination with speed equal to zero).

I think the most interesting aspect of this is the fact that it would only take 42 minutes to travel to the other side of the earth. Especially given the significance of the number 42.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Says Tom to Bill, pray tell me, sir,
Why is it that the devil,
In spite of all his naughty ways,
Can never be uncivil?
Says Bill to Tom, the answer’s plain
To any mind that’s bright:
Because the imp of darkness, sir,
Can ne’er be imp o’ light.
– Charles Carroll Bombaugh, Gleanings for the Curious From the Harvest-Fields of Literature, 1890

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Full vs. Empty

You may have heard that the pessimist calls a glass half empty while an optimist calls the same one half full. You may also know that the pragmatist calls it both and that the engineer calls the glass twice as large as it needs to be. But what does the mad scientist call it?

He calls it a source of unlimited water!

Note: The mad scientist may or may not being using false logic. They're a hasty bunch.

The Toughest Tongue Twister Ever

“The seething sea ceaseth and thus the seething sea sufficeth us.”

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Big Orange Head

Man walks into a bar and pauses: at the other end of the bar, there's this guy with a big orange head. Just kind of sitting there, mooning into his drink. So the man asks the bartender, "Say, what's up with the guy with the big orange head?" And the bartender says, "It's an interesting story. Buy him a drink and maybe he'll tell it to you."

So the man walks over and introduces himself and offers to buy a round. The guy with the big orange head says, "Yeah, I'll bet you want to know the story, huh?" To which the man replies, "Sure, if you don't mind."
The man with the big orange head sighs and says, "You know, I've gone over it in my mind a million times. Basically, it's like this: I was walking along the beach one day, when I stubbed my toe on something. I looked down, and there was an antique brass lamp. I picked it up and dusted it off a little -- when all of a sudden this enormous genie pops out!
"The genie thundered, 'You have released me from my ten-thousand year imprisonment, and I am in your debt. I will grant you three wishes as a token of my gratitude.'
The man at the bar is agape. The guy with the big orange head continues: "So I said, 'Wow, okay. Well, my first wish is to be fantastically wealthy.'
"The genie says, 'Your wish is granted.' And all of a sudden I have rings on my fingers and a crown on my head, and my wallet is full of money and a dozen ATM cards and the deed to a mansion in the hills -- I mean, I was loaded!
"So I said, 'Amazing! Okay, for my next wish , I want to be married to the most beautiful woman in the world.'
"The genie says, 'Your wish is granted.' And the ocean parts, and out walks this gorgeous woman in this beautiful dress, and she takes my hand and we fall in love and the genie marries us right there. It was incredible.

"The genie booms, 'You have one wish remaining.'"

The man with the big orange head pauses and sips his beer. He says, "Now, you know, this may be where I went wrong. I wished for a big orange head.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Imagine two quarters side by side on the table. If you keep one still while rotating the other one around it, with their edges touching (without slipping) the entire time, how many rotations will the moving quarter make?

The obvious answer is wrong, and using two quarters to figure it out is cheating.

Monday, March 14, 2011

‘Twas Euclid, and the theorem pi
Did plane and solid in the text,
All parallel were the radii,
And the ang-gulls convex’d.
“Beware the Wentworth-Smith, my son,
And the Loci that vacillate;
Beware the Axiom, and shun
The faithless Postulate.”
He took his Waterman in hand;
Long time the proper proof he sought;
Then rested he by the XYZ
And sat awhile in thought.
And as in inverse thought he sat
A brilliant proof, in lines of flame,
All neat and trim, it came to him,
Tangenting as it came.
“AB, CD,” reflected he–
The Waterman went snicker-snack–
He Q.E.D.-ed, and, proud indeed,
He trapezoided back.
“And hast thou proved the 29th?
Come to my arms, my radius boy!
O good for you! O one point two!”
He rhombused in his joy.
‘Twas Euclid, and the theorem pi
Did plane and solid in the text;
All parallel were the radii,
And the ang-gulls convex’d.
– Emma Rounds

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


cannonarchy – government by superior firepower
foolocracy – government by fools
neocracy – government by new or inexperienced rulers
pollarchy – government by the multitude or a mob
technocracy - government by scientists

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gallows Humor

Last words of executed murderers:
  • George Appel (1928): “Well, folks, you’ll soon see a baked Appel.”
  • James W. Rodgers (1960): (asked for a last request) “Why, yes — a bulletproof vest.”
  • Frederick Wood (1963): “Gentlemen, you are about to see the effects of electricity upon Wood.”
  • James French (1966): “I have a terrific headline for you in the morning: ‘French Fries’.”
  • Jimmy Glass (1987): “I’d rather be fishing.”
In 1856, English murderer William Palmer stood on the gallows and asked, “Are you sure it’s safe?”


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I just googled "RSVP"

I think one of the little facts of life is that you can google any random phrase and find a horror movie titled it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Students of the World

I’ve come up with an analogy to describe the United States and its slipping prominence as a world power. I present it below:

America is like the popular kid in high school, and it’s almost time for graduation. He’s so chill that everyone likes him, but once he graduates, he can’t roll by on charm alone. The school geek, China, will probably take over.

To continue the analogy past the point of relevance, the jock is no doubt Russia, and China’s geeky pals are Korea and India. Canada is the cool older brother, and France is the hot senior girl. Mexico is the loud kid that no one likes but who demands acknowledgment.

If this were a TV show, I’d watch it. It could have so many hilarious political in-jokes, like America’s continuing health and energy issues. The plots could cover ancient history, like the fact that Iran legally changed his name from Persia in order to start a new life, or keep up with current events, with an episode about Egypt’s internet being down, perhaps due to Somali pirating too much.

And America’s the ultimate teenager. Sometimes you don’t know what state a teenager would be in, but this one’s got fifty states. And weight issues, too... come to think of it, maybe America should be female.

Monday, January 31, 2011


On a Watch lost in a Tavern.

A Watch lost in a Tavern ? that's a Crime,

You know how men in drinking lose there time :

A Watch keeps time, and if time pass away.

There is small reason that the Watch should stay.

The key hung out, and you forgot to lock it,

Time scorns to be kept tame in any pocket.

Hereafter if you keep't, thus must you do,

Pocket your Watch, and watch your pockets too.

-“Humour, wit, and satire of the 17th century”

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Google's domain

Just found out from a college friend who spent most of her life in South Africa that the country has a slang term for markers, "cokies." I looked it up on Google and as it turns out, there's next to nothing about it on the internet. There's one blog where someone talks about how surprised she was to find out about the term, but nothing else anywhere. This is the first thing that I've found on my own that hasn't been well-documented on Google.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

those Magic Tree House books

The author really wrote herself into a corner when she titled the first one Dinosaurs Before Dark, and followed it with The Knight at Dawn and Mummies in the Morning. Now she has to have some kind of measurement of time in every title. She was fine for the first twenty books or so, but it turned into her cash cow,* and she's on book number 45 now.

First she had Vacation in a Volcano, which isn't really a time of day. She's also expanded to complete days of the week, like Monday with a Mad Genius, and randomly specific ones like Dark Day, Early Morning, and Late Winter. She's even repeated herself with Night of the Ninja and Night of the New Magicians, which is unforgiveable. Her latest is A Crazy Day with Cobras, and I expect the titles to get even more entertaining from here.

*Not sure about the etymology of that phrase. It's like the "goose that lays the golden eggs" one, but cows don't lay eggs. That I know of. I haven't witnesses a cow birthing as of yet.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

All is discovered.

There is a tradition to the effect that Noel Coward once sent identical notes to the twenty most prominent men in London, saying, ‘All is discovered. Escape while you can.’

All twenty abruptly left town.

– Paul C. Sherr, The Short Story and the Oral Tradition, 1970

Friday, January 21, 2011


For many years Rutland was the smallest county in England, being only 152 square miles. In April 1974, owing to an appalling planning blunder on the part of the British government, it literally ceased to exist. shortly afterwards Sir Nat Kosher realized the enormous tax benefits of broadcasting from somewhere which didn't legally exist and formed Rutland Weekend Television, Britain's smallest TV station. From its very first broadcast RWTV was greeted with praise from Accountants and Taxation Experts in every walk of life.
--The Rutland Dirty Weekend Book, Eyre Methuen Ltd., 1976

Friday, January 14, 2011

Be Always Good

Be good, be good, be always good,
And now & then be clever,
But don’t you ever be too good,
Nor ever be too clever;
For such as be too awful good
They awful lonely are,
And such as often clever be
Get cut & stung & trodden on by persons of lesser mental capacity, for this kind do by a law of their construction regard exhibitions of superior intellectuality as an offensive impertinence leveled at their lack of this high gift, & are prompt to resent such-like exhibitions in the manner above indicated — & are they justifiable? alas, alas they
(It is not best to go on; I think the line is already longer than it ought to be for real true poetry.)
– Mark Twain

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Seven fingers

"What if we had seven fingers on each of our hands? [...] We could name our fingers after the days of the week, and if we didn't like something, we could flip that person a "Wednesday." If you were clumsy, you could say, "Sorry, I'm all weekends."  -Roger von Oech

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Why Opening Credits Exist

You know how people enjoy something more if they’ve paid a lot for it? They also want to buy something more after they’ve held it. The same principle applies to those opening credits for movies. They remind the audience that it’s a movie, that it’s been paid for, and hey, look, it’s so cool already, but you still have the rest of it to look forward to. It’s a marketing ploy.

Monday, January 3, 2011

An approach to insurrection

Inspiration just struck me. It was rather heavily, and in the back of the head, so I can't account for the quality of my poem.

An approach to insurrection

To avoid revolution
Takes a strong constitution
Do you think, good sir, to achieve it?

King, to risk being smarmy
In regards to their army
I’ll tell them, most kindly, to sleeve it

It gives me satisfaction
that their faction’s a fraction
Of our troubles in this current age and day

The economy will bother me
Even greater, gastronomy
So I won’t leave my supper to attend to the fray

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Random facts about guns

A fatal bullet through the heart can leave a guy up and shooting for over ten seconds — obviously an eternity for a law enforcement officer in a point-blank shootout.

A guy can get shot and not know it. Police officers are trained to check themselves carefully when any shots are fired, because it has happened that officers thought they were unharmed, went home, laid down to rest, and bled to death.

A guy can be in a shootout and THINK he got shot, and it turns out there’s not a mark on him. They get knocked over, feel intense pain, cry out, etc. There were enough of these cases that the researchers were able to find some involving officers who were previously decorated for valor and had in fact been shot before.

A guy can get shot multiple times with a powerful weapon and get lucky, or he can get shot with a tiny weapon and get unlucky. I still remember the story used to illustrate this: a fight between roommates got ugly, and one guy shot the other six times in the chest with a .45. The second guy went to his attic, found his great-grandfather’s Civil War-era relic small caliber revolver (something like a .22), went back downstairs, and shot his roommate through the heart, killing him. Forty-eight hours later, his desire for medical care overcame his aversion to getting caught, and he walked into an emergency room. He recovered completely.