Monday, December 29, 2008


This is old news. It first showed up way back in October. But I've spotted it in a couple of end-of-year review stories, and it's got me tickled all over again. In a way it's another auto-antonym, but this auto-antonym comes from a musical mnemonic for a first aid procedure, so there are all kinds of quirky, fussy little symbol-referent wrinkles in play.

So there was a study done in Peoria, Illinois by researchers at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. They took ten doctors and five medical students, and trained them to give CPR chest compressions to music, and then followed up five weeks later to see if they could still remember the rate at which they were supposed to do the compressions. They did, so the researchers concluded it was a good training technique.

The study made news because of the cuteness of the song they chose: the BeeGees' "Stayin' Alive." But there was a twist that several of the news stories left out: another song that worked equally well was "Another One Bites The Dust," by Queen. One doctor commented, "Right rhythm, wrong message."

And this is trite, but I can't resist: it's also a good ending thought for 2008. I'm not sorry to see it bite the dust, but I've got reason to be thankful I'm still stayin' alive. And more importantly, you can tell by the way I use my walk, I'm a woman's man; no time to talk.

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