Weird science

One of the fun things about being a writer is the strange places research can take you. In editing a single page, I may fact-check anything from the name of a district in St. Petersburg to death rattles to whether bodies make noise after death. Yes, you read that correctly: whether bodies make noise after death. Google is my friend. I typed it right in there, and I came up with this:

Pushing 50 in the Death Car, Life's Blood: Dead Bodies Make Noises

Darn; I so wanted to embed that, but it said no. Anyway, it's a series of videos by an embalmer about what happens with our bodies after we die. If you're squeamish, don't worry, this particular video doesn't contain any dead bodies. But really, if you're squeamish you probably shouldn't be here, because it's only going to get worse. ;)

After learning about postmortem exhalations, I looked up "death rattle" and found this interesting page:

Pulmonary Breath Sounds: Actual recordings of various kinds of breathing, from normal to pathological.

What started all this? I wanted to describe a character's moan as being somehow like a sound from a corpse...or something well on its way to being a corpse. I ended up going with "stridor," the word I'd started out with as my placeholder. It may have been a complete circle, but as always it was a fascinating trip.

Like Lisa in Weird Science, I often find myself asking my characters, So, what would you little maniacs like to do first?

*Hey, look, another picture of Robert Downey, Jr., you little maniacs. (71% of the traffic on my blog is now from people looking for his picture. But I'm guessing they weren't looking for that one.) Or this one:

OMG, the 80s hair!