Spraying the Rays

The Alternative Radiographer

29 November 2006

Nuclear Update: More Po210 Found?

Hull City’s KC Stadium (more properly known as the Circle) and the club’s Cottingham training ground were last night being cordoned off as Government Officials in White Coats and Geiger Counters moved in to investigate whether the presence of Polonium 210 was the cause of the teams disastrous drop in form which earlier in the evening saw them capitulate 5-1 to Colchester United. A club spokesman said, “It’s either Russian death rays, or they’re just bloody rubbish.”

Spraying the Rays' nuclear correspondent Stray Photon commented, "They don't know what they're doing. You can't detect Alpha particles with a geiger counter. And what's Forster doing on his own up front?"

In a related investigation, Noraid are understood to be tracking another consignment of the debilitating substance which was most recently located in the Brisbane region of Australia last week.

In another apparently related issue. a prominent West London radiographer has gone missing after evading arrest. A Mr Stray Photon (no relation, at least that's what he told STR), of Twickenham, Middlesex was apparently under investigation by the police following a posting on his “blog” in which several radioactive isotopes were seemingly being supplied to agencies of the former USSR. A Detective Chief Inspector Tennison released the following statement:

“We ‘ad ‘im bang to rights and no mistake. ‘E promised to come quietly, and said it was a “fair cop”. We bundled ‘im into the back of the van, shame ‘e bumped ‘is ‘ead on the way in, but accidents will ‘appen, and we was ‘alfway to the station when my sergeant noticed a weird glow and a smell of burning from behind us. Stone me, ‘e got clean away,. There was an ’uge ‘ole in the side of the van and all that was left was an eerie green phosphorescence.”

Members of the public are advised not to approach Mr Photon under any circumstance but instead to contact their local nuclear research facility.

Environmental news: Sir David Attenborough has announced a new documentary series in which he will depict the sad plight of several indigenous species which have recently come under threat of extinction. These include a rare species of Bee found in West London, a colony of Eagles in Sarf London, and most tragically a seemingly doomed species of Tiger found in East Yorkshire. The series will air next summer when it will all be too late anyway.

Science news: Reports from Lancashire suggest that a laboratory in Preston has discovered how to reverse the polarity of Alpha rays emitted by Polonium 210 in order to artificially enhance athletic and sporting ability. Early results are promising but it is feared that the effects may only be temporary and that within a couple of months performance levels will return to normal leading to the usual mid-table mediocrity.

Next week: Dean Windass: new pictures

26 November 2006

Product Recall Notice

Hello readers!

As A. Radiographer working in the field of Nuclear Medicine, I am often approached by shady characters in oversized overcoats and big hats who comment to me in outrageous Eastern European accents;

"The swallows are unusually early this spring."

to which I reply;

"And the prevailing wind is unusual for this time of year in that it is mainly easterly."

They will then ask if I have any spare Polonium 210 lying around at work. "We need it for what you might call, um, a pest control issue?" they say, and give me a knowing look.

Well, as a Guardian reader I am all in favour of recycling unused material which otherwise would just lie around gathering dust in a Controlled Radioactive Waste Area, so I just let them help themselves.

However it has recently come to my attention that some of this stuff is not, as I had been led to believe, being used to control the rat problem in the basements of former Iron Curtain nations' London embassies, but for an altogether more sinister purpose.

There's always someone who spoils it for everyone else, isn't there? I know this a frightful inconvenience what with Christmas just round the corner, but unfortunately I am forced to announce to my customers that I will be unable to supply the following radioactive isotopes with immediate effect:

Technetium 99m: Of limited value to the afficianado; this colourless liquid emitts only Gamma rays and therefore can do very little damage. With a half life of only 6 hours it is really only any use for combining with various pharmaceuticals and squirting into ill people to try and see what's wrong with them.

Caesium 137: emitts Gamma rays and Beta particles and glows with a blue light which makes it very useful for Christmas decorations. However please remember DO NOT ALLOW CHILDREN (OR ADULTS) IN A ROOM CONTAINING UNSHIELDED SOURCES. Half life 30 years which gives it a good shelf life.

Radium 226: With a half life of 1602 years, this is the gift that just keeps on giving.

No alternative products are available. No refunds will be offered for orders already placed. Spraying The Rays Enterprises accepts no liablility for any injury, disease, hair loss, damage to gastro intestinal or reproductive function, chromosomal defects, carcinogenesis or "diplomatic embarrassment" between nations as a result of the use of any of its products.

If any readers are still in posession of any of the above products please flush them down the toilet immediately and leave the country for at least 6 weeks.

Next week: Spraying the Rays asks: Why have previously sane, well balanced individuals been supporting Man Utd over recent days? Are mind-altering rays from Polonium 210 to blame?

22 November 2006

the Masked Hacker Writes:

Hello Readers!

I've been monitoring this blog for a few weeks now, and let me tell you nothing annoys me more than bloggers hiding behind a profile photo they've downloaded off the Web in order to make themselves appear more glamorous, mysterious or enigmatic (or in Mr Photon's case all three).

I've hacked into Photon's blog tonight under cover of darkness to reveal just what he looks like. Don't let on readers! He'll never know. No blogger EVER looks at their own blog...I mean why would they?

Using software I swiped from the Pentagon last time I hacked into their system to find out who is going to win the next election (sorry folks; Republicans again), we can render Photon's image from the X Ray he currently uses on the blog. This software was last used to reveal the what Micheal Jackson would look like today if he hadn't gone all weird and that.

So, first we take the original X ray image;

and in stage 1 we render the skeletal structure;

Then by superimposing soft tissue over it we get a computed image showing the fleshy outline. we can even insert brain and stuff, although in Photon's case I feel this is a slight exageration:

and finally by pressing this button here we superimpose facial features such as hair, eyebrows etc. to gradually unmask Stray Photon!

er...hang on a minute...I don't think it's supposed to do that...and that can't be right...oh my God...SWITCH IT OFF! SWITCH IT OFF! Don't look readers...it's just too horrible...

I warned you...

Next week: what does Stray Photon sound like?

19 November 2006

This Week's Recipe

Ooo-er madam!

Hello Readers!

Patients often ask me, "What does a top international class radiographer and guitar legend have for his dinner?"

To which I reply, "How the hell would I know?"

But in response to an earlier query from Gentleman Mike ("I Shall Blog Again"), here is a recipe I apparently promised some weeks ago. It seems that some posts on this blog are not being published by Blogger for reasons of national security. This was one of them, so let's hope for the best this time!


The perfect autumn meal! Serve with mashed potatoes and green veggies of your choice.

For a one-dish meal, add 2 large chopped potatoes to the recipe and serve with crusty bread.

Serves 4

That bloody dog...

400 g sausages (preferably with herbs), cut into 3 chunks
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into large bit- sized chunks
2 onions, peeled and sliced into rings
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, or 1.5 teaspoons dried
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. In a large bowl, combine the sausages, squash, onions, herbs and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a large casserole dish or baking tray, so that everything is in one layer. Bake for between 40 and 60 minutes, stirring once, until the sausages are cooked and the edges of the vegetables have browned.

Stray Photon recommends a bottle of ale as a companion. It goes well with the meal, too.

from the Abel and Cole website

and as a vegetarian alternative:

On a completely unrelated topic, several correspondents have not asked me if there are any Interweb sites where my earlier career as "Hairfix", a late 70's/early 80's punk rock/New Romantic hero in the Siberian village of Hull is documented.


Hope this helps


Readers: If you are fortunate enough to have a copy of Mrs Wilson's Children, you're "Quids In"! Record collectors are prepared to pay up to 37p for examples in good condition. And I've got 2! (TWO)

Next week: Dirty Bombs part 3;

15 November 2006

More radiology questions...

After an overwhelming response to last weeks edition (from Howesey and Istvanski), Spaying the Strays welcomes back the world's most famous radiographer, the legendary Stray Photon!

Stray Photon: "Hello readers!"

Ms MB asks: Why is it that when they take an X-ray, the radiographer disappears behind a screen to press the button?

Stray responds: This is in response to a recent directive where radiographers and other paramedical staff are encouraged to spend as little time as possible with patients. People coming into hospitals often have horrible lurgy and sometimes don't even know what's wrong with them. Well the last thing staff want is to catch anything nasty, isn't it? Also, patients have an unfortunate habit of asking awkward questions, such as "What the hell is wrong with me?" and "why do you have to take this picture again? Did you f*ck it up the first time?" By interposing a sheet of lead glass between the operator and the examinee the radiographer can pretend not to have heard the question.

ET of SE London wonders: What does it mean when a doctor writes "GOK" on the X-ray request form in the section marked "Provisional Diagnosis"?

Stray responds: I wouldn't worry too much about this. It is a very complicated medical term and a layperson wouldn't really be expected to understand. However those with an interest in medicine might be interested to learn that GOK, or to give it its full name of "God only knows" is a common condition similar to NFI. (No f**king idea)

Some other useful abbreviations to know are:

NFN: "Normal for Norfolk"

ABFI: a common condition on Sunday mornings between September and May: "Another bloody football injury"


BLABSH: Turn the X-rays up to 11, this patient is "Built like a brick outhouse"

I wonder if any readers have other medical acronyms they might wish to share?

TT of the Isle of Man inquires: Are there any plans to bring the frankly rather dowdy radiographer's uniforms up to date, and do you have any pictures that might illustrate this?

Stray responds: Happy to oblige, TT! You're right of course, just because some of us are struggling with equipment built fifteen years ago, this doesn't mean we can't at least try and look our best! The Committee for Radiographic Advancement Potential (CRAP) recently published a study considering possible developments in this area, and I am happy to say that their recommendations for a revised dress code are soon to be adopted by many NHS trusts in the UK.
And I can tell you that I look pretty cool in my new outfit!

A modern Nuclear Medicine department

A Ms Myboss writes from Surrey: I am appalled at this irresponsible use of internet bandwidth to drag the honourable and noble profession of radiography...blah blah blah...

Stray responds: Christ! Scatter!

Next week: A casualty officer asks: Why is the radiographer never around out of hours when you need them?

To which Stray responds, "Don't you think we've got better things to do in the middle of the night than taking pictures of ill people? Like, er, sleeping, yeah?"

13 November 2006

Grey Gamers Zone: Doom 3

Doom 3 is the long awaited sequel to ground-breaking 1993 computer game Doom (Doom 2 being more of a continuation of the original rather than a sequel) and was released to critical acclaim in 2004. The original Doom was lauded by many as the original FPS (First Person Shooter) and spawned clones such as Duke Nukem, Quake and Half-life. Expectations were high for Doom 3, but could it deliver the impact of its predecessor?

Required Specs: Unfortunately you need a PC with the specifications of Deep Thought to run it. Or was it Deep Throat? I forget. However after one or two upgrades to the old Babbage machine involving elastic bands and paperclips I decided to give it a go. But be warned: this game is not for the faint hearted!

Plot: The action takes place in an underground military installation on Planet Mars. Something has gone horribly wrong in one of the experimental labs resulting in a portal to Hell itself having been opened. As the sole surving marine, your aim is simple; to reach safety.

Action: I was plunged into a hellish world of dark gloomy surroundings where, with no warning, nightmarish disease-ridden beings lurched out at me from all quarters. Danger lurked round every corner. I found myself constantly struggling with failing equipment and lack of communication from my superiors. I quickly become aware of a constant sense of impending disaster and icy fingers of fear and panic clutched at my very soul...a voice inside my head seemed to repeat over and over again; THERE IS NO WAY OUT OF HERE!

Yes readers, just another working day at the NHS. After that I went home and played Doom 3 until my tea was ready. It was quite good but a bit scarey. (The game I mean, not my tea.)

Doom 3 available at Amazon UK for £8.99

A PC that will play it at a reasonable frame rate: probably about £699

Tour of the Nuclear Medicine department; 37p (students £40)

Next week: have we found any more pictures of Gabrielle Drake yet?

Diagnostic Radiology: Your Questions Answered

The wild and wacky hi-tech world of Diagnostic Radiology can be a tad confusing for poor old Joe Public. So in an effort to demystify modern imaging techniques, Spraying the Rays presents a new feature where a prominent Healthcare Professional answers your queries.

This week we are privileged to welcome the legendary celebrity radiographer Stray Photon, DCR(R), DRI, who will do his best to respond to your questions.

A Mr H, formerly of Ham, Surrey writes;

Dear Mr Futon,

I have a recurrent problem where I get a pain in my eye every time I drink a hot beverage. Is there a diagnostic procedure which might find the cause of my discomfort? Should I ask my doctor for a CT scan, an Ultrasound scan or would a plain X Ray be the answer?

Stray Photon responds:

Save the NHS some money, son. Simply take the spoon out of the cup before drinking your tea.

A Mr RS of Denmark writes;

Dear Starry Proton,

I have a complex psychological disorder and I have read that an MRI scan can be of value in the diagnosis of neurological disturbances. Could you advise? I keep thinking I am an item of domestic furnishing; specifically a pair of curtains.

Stray Photon responds:

For God's sake man, pull yourself together.

However if you are a private patient I think we should proceed with a plain skull series of OM, PA and lateral, followed by a +-contrast CT brain scan. After that we should be able to screw some more money out of you or your insurance company for a MRI scan and maybe even a PET scan. Carotid Doppler Ultrasound would look good on the invoice too. By that time we are sure to have found something wrong with you so we can go on from there. Hope this helps.

IV of Croydon asks;

Dear Starchy Cruton,

Like your previous caller, I'm completely nuts. I think I'm the family dog. Can Diagnostic Radiology help me?

Stray Photon Responds;

GET OFF THE COUCH! You know you're not allowed on the furniture!

Next Week: Can recycling old jokes slow down Global Warming?

12 November 2006

Photon denies "Groupie" allegations

Legendary rock "musician" Stray Photon has tonight hit out at allegations made in a Podcast over antics with groupies following concerts. Photon's publicist Cliff Maxford told Spraying the Rays, "Stray is quite understandably very upset by these outrageous lies, and we are taking legal advice as to what action we can take. It is clear that a serious libel has occurred."

Howesey (left) and Istvanski dish the dirt on Stray Photon

The revelations came to light on a late night chat show hosted by Istvanski, touted by many in show business as the new Jonothan Ross, or failing that a slightly soiled Davina McColl. Due to the possibility of litigation we are unable to repeat details of the claims apart from to tell you what was said:

Howesey in his Ariels heyday

Istvanski's guest was legendary Ariels bass player Howesey "Howesy" Howes, who when asked about the band's post gig ritual made the surprise claim that following a particularly riotous performance at a wine bar in Basingstoke, Stray Photon ran away from several female fans who were pursuing the teen heartthrob. Howsey claimed to have accompanied Photon in a late night motorway dash to escape literally several female admirers during which the pair fled back to London along the M3 at speeds of up to 59 miles per hour.

Stray Photon: "not much cop with the chicks"

"This is quite clearly a deeply offensive attempt to besmirch my reputation as a rock'n'roll animal, and I vigorously deny these outrageous slurs," Mr Photon told a postman who had camped on the star's doorstep for several seconds early this morning in order to post a letter. "I can assure all my fans that in fact I was quite rude with all these ladies and probably drank some beer and took some drugs and all that too."

However Howesey maintained that he was telling the truth. "Stray never was much cop with the chicks," he told Straining the Greens in an alarming attempt at an American accent. "He would just go all red, giggle a bit and pretend to tune his claves. It was always down to me to, you know, see to the ladies." At this point Howesey winked and whispered something in the ear of our reporter who then had to go and lie down for a bit.

The case continues.

Next week: What happened to the Ariels' Xmas club money? STR investigates.

11 November 2006

The Big Questions:

Number 1: Is there Life after Death? We asked a healthcare professional:


Next Week: the Buttered Cat Array

04 November 2006

Curtis-Moore Syndrome

Hello Readers!

I felt that you should be the first to know that following a lengthy and most unpleasant Nuclear Medicine scan last week I have been diagosed with Curtis -Moore syndrome.

Roger Curtis and Tony Moore

(Actually the scan itself wasn't so bad, but honestly, the sort of people that work in these places...well the words incompetent, embittered failed musicians and/or scriptwriters, and nose-picking come to mind.)

First identified by Professor Robert Swipe and described on Swipecast 324, Curtis-Moore Syndrome is an incurable ailment where much loved icons from earlier in the life of the sufferer, notably TV series, appear less worthy, lacking in their original quality, or just plain "a Bit Crap Really."

Swipe first described the symptoms of CMS as a sinking feeling in the soul, and a sense of embarrassment knowing how much one has "gone on about" the show to friends, particularly in relation to "The Persuaders".

Other examples of the phenomenon are "UFO", Gerry Anderson's first TV series featuring actors rather than puppets, where somehow the actors were less convincing in their roles than their wooden equivalents in previous shows like Thunder-Ray, Stingball XL5 and Firebirds. But in 1971, as a 13 year old boy, I just couldn't get enough of UFO. I wonder why that was?

UFO: Star phwoars

A later example and one that led to my own symptoms is Sergeant Bilko, starring Phil Silvers. I have just taken delivery (OK, I rented it) of the 50 year anniversary 3-disc set of the well remembered programme, (Or was it the 50-disc 3 year anniversary set? I forget...) and I have to say; disappointing.


There, I said it. You can tell by the inverted commas.

Bilko: financial advice

Either this show wasn't that good, or when I first was introduced to the joys of Bilko reruns in the 80's by my good and sadly departed friend Joshua Zero, we must have been under the influence of jazz cigarettage, or they just haven't picked the best episodes to put on the DVD.

I hope it's the last one.

There is hope for CMS sufferers however. The original series of Star Trek remains a constant inspiration as to what can be achieved with papier mache, washing up liquid bottles, sticky-back plastic and ex B-movie actors.

Star Trek: may the force be with you

And repeated viewing of the video of Dean Windass's 1994 goal against Wycombe Wanderers shows how the brilliance of true genius never fades. I would post a link to it but I don't know how. Instead, and at the special request of a Mr Howes of Waterloo, no Vauxhall, er Clapham, who is 52 this week, here's a photo of Mr Windass.

Windarse: Brentford's new striker

Live long and prosper, readers!

Your friend

Stray (aka YLM746X)

Next week: More pictures of Gabrielle Drake please.

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