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“One should always beat a dead horse because the horse is never really dead”

Paul Alper came up with the above aphorism after reading this news article by Charles Ornstein and Katie Thomas, which goes as follows:

What These Medical Journals Don’t Reveal: Top Doctors’ Ties to Industry

One is dean of Yale’s medical school. Another is the director of a cancer center in Texas. A third is the next president of the most prominent society of cancer doctors.

These leading medical figures are among dozens of doctors who have failed in recent years to report their financial relationships with pharmaceutical and health care companies when their studies are published in medical journals . . .

Dr. Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, the president-elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, for instance, declared that he had no conflicts of interest in more than 50 journal articles in recent years, including in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

However, drug companies have paid his employer nearly $114,000 for consulting and speaking, and nearly $8 million for his research during the period for which disclosure was required. . . .

I replied: Didn’t Nelson Algren say, Never trust a man called Skip? If he didn’t say that, he should’ve.

To which Alper pointed to this post from 2011 which discusses the famous Algren quote (to which I’d been alluding):

But blow wise to this, buddy, blow wise to this: Never play cards with a man called Doc. Never eat at a place called Mom’s. Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own. Never let nobody talk you into shaking another man’s jolt. And never you cop another man’s plea. I’ve tried ‘em all and I know. They don’t work.

From that linked webpage (I can’t figure out the author):

Quote mavens like Ralph Keyes and Barry Popik have pointed out that Algren probably didn’t coin the three famous rules himself.

They have both noted that an actor friend of Algren named Dave Peltz claimed to have created the rules. He said he wrote them down in a letter he sent to Algren.

Another illusion shattered.


  1. zbicyclist says:

    “Never let nobody talk you into shaking another man’s jolt.’

    i.e. “To interfere with the way another is dealing with their [prison] sentence.”

  2. Anonymous says:

    read “the horse is never really dead” in luke skywalker’s voice,

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