Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 080

This week’s FFFF is a tribute to one of the coolest things you can find in medical blogging…

Tox Tunes!

Leon Gussow’s cracking blog ‘The Poison Review‘ is a fantastic resource for tracking the clinical toxicology literature and obtaining freely given expert analysis. But it also irregularly serves up a quirky feature called ‘Tox Tunes’, which forms the intersection of two of Leon’s great loves: music and toxicology.

Let’s press on and find out how well you know your tox tunes!

Question 1

Which American band ‘wanted to be sedated’ and in the process created what Rolling Stone magazine considers to be the 144th greatest song of all time?

  • The Ramones
  • As Leon said in Tox Tunes #35: “Not bad for a group that knew only 3 or 4 chords and whose entire play list contains few works much longer than 2 minutes.”
  • Don’t believe it was the 144th greatest song of all time? Here’s the proof.

Question 2

“If you’re down, he’ll pick you up” if you “take a drink from his special cup”. Who were the Beatles singing about?

  • Doctor Robert
  • The song by The Beatles is based on “a New York doctor who habituated his socialite clients to narcotics by mixing methedrine with vitamin shots”.
  • Leon featured this track in Tox Tunes #6.

Question 3

Reputedly the first punk band, these guys got together in the early ’60s and while ‘some folks prefer water or wine, they prefer straight strychnine’… Who are they?

  • The Sonics
  • They featured in Tox Tunes #24, where Leon notes that, among others, they were a big influence on the White Stripes. They hailed from Tacoma, WA, a stones throw from what would become the epicentre of the Grunge explosion many years later.
  • Now might be a good time to check out our Strychnine Tox Conundrum too…

Question 4

What would “bore me terrifically too, yet I get a kick out of you”?

  • Cocaine
  • As Leon tells us in Tox Tunes #10: “This Cole Porter song was introduced by Ethel Merman in the 1934 musical Anything Goes. At that time, apparently, no one had problems with the second verse”:

“Some they may go for cocaine,
I’m sure that if I took even one sniff
That would bore me terrifically too,
Yet I get a kick out of you.”

  • The line was changed for the movie version to: “Some like the perfume from Spain”…

Question 5

What is “Jake Leg”?

  • aka Jake Walk or Jake paralysis, the term refers to an organophosphate-induced delayed paralysis caused by consumption of Jamaican Ginger aka Jake.
  • Jake leg affected thousands in the American South and Midwest during prohibiton due to the adulteration of bootlegged Jamaican Ginger (~80% ethanol) with tri-ortho cresyl phosphate.
  • Leon mentions Jake Leg here, in the context of the recent phenomenon of levamisole-adultered cocaine.

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