Bad Medicine

If you’re a fan of both party games and Pharmacopoeia Fantastica, check out Bad Medicine. It’s a new game of horribly bad pharmaceutical drugs and their absurd (and often dangerous) side effects. If you’ve enjoyed reading about fictional drugs, imagine how much more fun you’ll have creating them!

Bad Medicine

I’m backing Bad Medicine – and I’ll be posting an after-action review or two once my copy arrives.

1964 — Cassius Clay defeats Sonny Liston

Generally acknowledged as one of the greatest – if not, as he so often proclaimed, “the greatest” – Cassius Clay, or Muhammad Ali as he is better known, first fought Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964 in Miami Beach, Florida. Clay was an up and comer who had won gold for boxing in 1960, and recently defeated the British Heavyweight champion, Henry Cooper. Liston was the reigning World Heavyweight champion, who had knocked out Floyd Patterson in the first round of their title bout.

Coming into the bout, Liston and Clay were each immensely unpopular – Clay was seen as boastful and Liston was a convicted criminal – but most agreed that the champion would hold onto his title. 43 out of 46 sportswriters predicted that Liston would win with a knockout. In the event, Clay defeated Liston in the sixth round, although the match was not awarded until Liston refused to leave his corner at the bell beginning the seventh. Clay was declared the winner by a technical knockout.

The following year, in the rematch, Clay – now calling himself the more familiar Muhammad Ali – knocked out Liston in the first round of their rematch. Ali would go on to be the most successful heavyweight boxer of the modern era, but Liston would never again reach so high.

Referenced in:
Black Superman — Johnny Wakelin


Painaway is a bog-standard pain killer which treats such ailments as headaches and menstrual cramps. It is produced by Bosh, and advertised on the crappier sort of home video tapes in the Thatcher-era United Kingdom.

Painaway is unique in advertising history for claiming to soothe the pain of Hell’s torments. The veracity of this claim remains unsubstantiated.

1967 — The Beatles release “Strawberry Fields Forever”

Originally recorded for “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, it was instead decided to release “Strawberry Fields Forever” as a double-A side with “Penny Lane”. It is widely regarded as one of the best songs the Beatles ever made, and one of the greatest exemplars of psychedelic rock.

The song was a top ten hit in the UK and the USA, and reached #1 in Norway and Austria, and was finally included on the “Magical Mystery Tour” album release. It remains one of the most popular Beatles songs, frequently covered by other artists. After John Lennon’s murder, a memorial was created for him in Central Park, New York City, and named after the song.

Referenced in:
Glass Onion — The Beatles

Update: Week Ending February 9, 2015




1963 — William Zantzinger assaults Hattie Carroll, leading to her death

William Zantzinger was, to all appearances, a mean drunk and a racist. In the early morning of February 9, 1963, he assaulted Hattie Carroll, a barmaid, for taking too long to make his drink. He had already assaulted two other staff members at the event – a Spinster’s Ball at the Emerson Hotel in Baltimore. After hitting Carroll with a toy cane, he proceeded to knock his wife to the ground, and continued to be generally abusive and profane to everyone who came near him.

Hattie Carroll was a black woman of 51 years. She was raising children as a single mother, and suffered from a variety of conditions – notably, high blood pressure, an enlarged heart and hardened arteries. When Zantzinger struck her on the neck with his cane, the injury caused a brain hemorrhage that was fatal by 9am that morning. Zantzinger was arrested and charged with murder, although in the end he was convicted only of manslaughter.

Referenced in:
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll — Bob Dylan

Flash Fiction Challenges: The Subgenre Blender

A little background:

Each Friday, the estimable Chuck Wendig posts a new Flash Fiction Challenge over on his blog, Terrible Minds. Because I haven’t done a lot of writing since I finished The Truth About Melbourne, I’m going to use Mr. Wendig’s prompts to help push myself back into it.

This week’s challenge is to pick one subgenre from each of the two tables Wendig provides (preferably randomly, using either a die or a random number generator) and then mash those two genres up into a single story of two thousand words or so. And what I got was this:

Conspiracy Thriller. Alternate History.

Continue reading

Update: Week Ending February 2, 2015





Trade Paperback Timelines:

1914 — James Joyce’s “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” begins serialisation

Joyce’s first novel was also his most overtly autobiographical, and in its earlier drafts, was even moreso than the final version. It tells the story of the youth of Stephen Dedalus, from childhood until he finishes college. The first publication of it was as a serial in “The Egoist”, a literary magazine based in London after it was urged on the editors by Ezra Pound (who had at that point read only the first chapter). It would continue to be published for a total of twenty-five installments, concluding in the September 1, 1915 edition of The Egoist.

Later, it would be published in its more familiar novel form, and go on to become one of the most respected and critically acclaimed novels of the twentieth century. More immediately, it established Joyce as a major talent, talent whose promise would be more fully realised in his later novels, such as Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake.

Referenced in:
Whatareya? — This Is Serious Mum

1972 — The Bloody Sunday incident takes place in Derry

On January 30, 1972, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association held a rally which marched through the Bogside area of Derry, in Northern Ireland. And that’s about the last detail that anyone agrees on for the next few hours.

Accounts of the size of the crowd vary from 300 to 30,000, and of its behaviour even moreso. The level of hostility by each side to the other is disputed, with each accusing the other of causing the events that followed.

What happened after that is not disputed. Members of the UK armed forces, primarily representing the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment, opened fire on the march. 26 protestors were shot by police and military forces, half of those fatally (another died months later from injuries attributed to the shots). Two more were injured when hit by military vehicles.

Understandably, the event became known as Bloody Sunday.

Referenced in:
Sunday Bloody Sunday — U2

1974 — “The Uncle Floyd Show” premieres

Floyd Vivino was born in 1951. He was from a showbiz family – two of his brothers are in Conan O’Brien’s house band, his niece was in the original production of Les Miserables. Floyd himself worked as a tap-dancer at the 1964 World’s Fair, and later as a sideshow barker. He sang, he played piano, he did impressions. And like many another vaudevillian, he eventually found his way onto television.

“The Uncle Floyd Show” began on WBTB in West Orange, New Jersey. It was broadcast on Channel 68 (which could be picked up in New York City also). “The Uncle Floyd Show” was quirky and unpredictable, and did pretty much everything wrong by the standards of modern children’s television – which no doubt explains why this largely improvised, low budget and frequently age-inappropriate show stayed on the air for nearly twenty years, including a stint on NBC, until it finally ended in 1992.

Referenced in:
Slip Away — David Bowie
Work for Food — Dramarama
It’s Not My Place (In the Nine to Five World) — The Ramones