san antonio

Story Sunday: HiccAway

Posted on Updated on

HiccAway Oddity Image One
Image Credit: Oddity Central

The Plastic Straw That Can Instantly Cure Hiccups…

Described as a “forced inspiratory suction and swallow tool”, HiccAway is essentially a special type of plastic straw scientifically designed to almost instantly cure hiccups. According to a new study, the L-shaped tool works in 92% of cases.

From holding your breath and drinking water, to jump scares and anti-hiccup lollypops, there is no shortage of hiccup cures in the world, which only emphasizes how pesky of a problem it can be. Unfortunately, few, if any, have a proven track record when it comes to efficiency but, luckily, we now have a scientific solution that promises to end those annoying hiccups […]. [T]here’s a lot more to it than meets the eye.

When we get the hiccups, our diaphragm and intercostal muscles suddenly contract and, the abrupt intake of air causes the opening between the vocal folds to produce that “hic” sounds every one of us has experienced at least once in our lives. Luckily, simply using the HiccAway to sip a bit of water from a glass apparently cures the hiccups almost instantly.

The HiccAway straw has a mouthpiece at one end and an adjustable cap with a pressure valve, in the form of a small hole, at the other. The intense suction required to draw water up through the device requires the phrenic nerve to trigger a contraction of the diaphragm, while swallowing the water involves activation of the vagus nerve. It’s these two nerves that are responsible for the hiccups in the first place, so by keeping them busy with something else, we keep them from producing the annoying phenomenon.

Dr. Ali Seifi, a neurointensivist from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, came up with the design for the HiccAway after seeing his son’s McFlurry ice cream spoon. In fact, he says people can try to make one from a McFlurry spoon by sealing up most of the small hole at the top, to increase suction pressure. Or, you can just buy the real thing, for $14.

[T]he HiccAway works by essentially making our brain forget to keep spasming that diaphragm.

Spooky
Oddity Central
June 22, 2021

Movie Monday: To Hell and Back 1955

Posted on

To Hell and Back Image One
Image Credit: IMDB & Amazon

Sixty-five years ago, today, the war film To Hell and Back was released, originally in San Antonio. Directed by Jesse Hibbs and based on the book of the same name, it starred Audie Murphy, Marshall Thompson, Charles Drake, Jack Kelly, Gregg Palmer, Paul Picerni, David Janssen, Denver Pyle, Brett Halsey (Admiral’s great-nephew) and Gordon Gebert as a young Audie.

IMDB Summary:

Biopic of the wartime exploits of Audie Murphy (played by himself), the most decorated US soldier in World War II. Starting with his boyhood in Texas, where he became the head of his family at a young age, the story follows his enrollment in [the] Army where he was assigned to the 3rd Division. He fought in North Africa, Sicily and Italy, before landing in southern France and, eventually, fighting in Germany. A Medal of Honor recipient, he also received battle honors from the French and Belgian government.

Rotten Tomatoes Summary:

The highly variable Audie Murphy delivers his best screen performance as “himself” in Universal‘s To Hell and Back. Based on the star’s autobiography, this is the story of how Murphy became America’s most-decorated soldier during WW II. After dwelling a bit on Murphy’s hard-scrabble Texas upbringing, the story moves ahead to 1942, when, as a teenager, Audie joined the army. Within a year, he was a member of the 7th Army, serving in North Africa, Italy, France and, ultimately, Germany and Austria. One by one, the members of Murphy’s Company B are killed in the war, until only three men from the original company are left. [The] others appear at the finale as ghostly images […]. The bulk of the film is given over to Murphy’s conspicuous acts of combat bravery and his killing of 240 enemy soldiers. Highlighted by excellent battle sequences, To Hell and Back is a serviceable tribute to a most complex individual.

Audie Murphy Image Two
Date: 1948
Photo Author: Fort Detrick
Wikipedia & Wikimedia

Trivia Bits:
Filmed at Fort Lewis, WA, Yakima River, WA, Oak Creek Wildlife Area, WA and Universal Studios.
♦ Audie Murphy originally declined the opportunity to portray himself in the movie, not wanting people to think that he was attempting to cash in on his role as a war hero. Murphy initially suggested his friend Tony Curtis to play him.
♦ Audie Murphy’s war buddy Onclo Airheart was slated to play himself, but he declined due to the fact that the movie was to be shot during planting season.
♦ [Author] David Morell [sic] cites Audie Murphy as the inspiration for the character of John Rambo.
♦ In the movie, […] Murphy does his one-man standoff on top of a medium M-4 Sherman tank. [In] real life it happened on top of an M10 Wolverine tank destroyer.
♦ Audie Murphy’s feats of heroism and his much decorated status have been compared to those of his counterpart during World War I, Sgt. Alvin C. York […].

Murphy […] wrote poetry and songs, and, himself a sufferer, was among the first advocates for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He died on May 28, 1971, when the private airplane in which he was riding crashed.

Additional Reading:
To Hell and Back (American Film Institute)
To Hell and Back (Turner Classic Movies)
Alvin York (Wikipedia)
Audie Murphy (Wikipedia)