Who Wants to Trivia? Part III

We’ve reached that time of CMEpalooza prep where I make my appeal to everyone to stick around for the last session of the day, our third iteration of CE Pop Trivia, at 4 pm ET on October 13. Why? Because it’s fun! And because our host doesn’t have skeletons in his closet from old podcasts that will get him fired! (Note from Scott: You better be sure about that)

For this version of CE Pop Trivia, we have four amazingly qualified Question Masters who will be focusing their questions on the new Standards for INtegrity and iNdependence IN Accredited Continuing Education, better known as SINNIN’ ACE. They–…hold on a second…

OK, I am being told that the new Standards are not better known as SINNIN’ ACE and that there is not a new acronym to replace the old SCS. Huh. That’s too bad as I think SINNIN’ ACE is sort of catchy and even kind of appropriate on a certain level. I will try to overcome my disappointment and carry on.

Though we had a very nice turnout for CE Pop Trivia I & II (did I mention there are prizes? There are prizes. Amazon gift cards in various denominations), I feel compelled to once again urge everyone to attend due to the view that some may take that a trivia session focused on the new Standards might be…boring (gasp!) To those who think that, I offer one response: How dare you!

I also offer as evidence of the non-boring nature of CE Pop Trivia III, a list of the Top 5 Things Definitely More Boring Than a Trivia Contest on the SINNIN’ ACE Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education (Yes, another list. This blog will soon just be me making lists of my favorite and least favorite things. It’s my ultimate goal. No one tell Scott.) (Note from Scott: Mum’s the word. I never read your dreck anyway)

5. Vanilla ice cream. In a world where flavors such as Chubby Hubby and Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz! exist, who would choose plain vanilla? Boring people, that’s who.

4. Pong. The first time I ever played Pong was at my friend Brian’s house in Sebring, FL, and I thought it was one of the most incredible things I had ever seen. After about 15 minutes, the novelty of “hitting” a slow-moving square “ball” with a rectangular “racket” wore off, and I was ready to go shoot hoops again.

3. A Smash Mouth concert. Sure, everyone is having a great time when they kick-off with All-Star. There’s even a cheer of recognition when the opening notes of Walkin’ on the Sun start. But then they launch into a cover of I’m a Believer, and you realize you don’t know any other songs they play. It’s all downhill from there.

2. Any Episode of Dukes of Hazzard without Bo and Luke. A shameful period in television history. Let us never again speak of Coy and Vance Duke.

1. A PowerPoint presentation on the new Standards. Seriously, who wants to sit through that? A much better option is to join us for CE Pop Trivia III on October 13!

Birth of a Salesman

Periodically during the summer, my son sets up a lime-aid stand (not a lemonade stand!) outside our city rowhome. We are in a neighborhood with a lot of foot traffic so sales are generally rather brisk.

We have our standard protocol well set by now – I serve as the cheap (very cheap!) labor in the kitchen squeezing the limes, mixing up the ingredients, putting out the cups, etc. while he handles sales out front. People are generally rather generous – we charge $2 per cup ($3 for two cups – learning the value of bulk sales), but I would say more than 50% of our customers gladly pay double or more as a bonus. It’s a pretty easy, sweet gig for a 10-year-old.

I don’t mind being the brawn behind the sales – in fact, I rather like it that way. I’d rather be the doer in the background while letting someone else handle the schmoozing and chit chatting with potential customers. That’s never been something I terribly enjoy.

And yet, here we are in Year 7 of CMEpalooza and I am still the one regularly responsible for drumming up interest in our sponsorships. Why is that, you ask? Well, perhaps because while I would rather be the behind-the-scenes guy, Derek would rather be the way-way-behind-the-scenes guy. So I stepped up out of necessity (note from Derek: You’re doing a great job, buddy!)

Quite frankly, it’s gotten easier and easier over the years to attract sponsors to CMEpalooza. Whether it’s the affordability, the value, or simply the fact that we’re such a likable duo, we tend to get a barrage of companies who rush towards us with fistfuls of cash to lock in our sponsorship packages when they are announced in the spring. You can check out our Sponsor page to see all of the companies who have already latched on for CMEpalooza Fall.

But what about you over there, you who chose to wait or simply forgot to lock in a sponsorship package in the spring? Well, I’ll be honest – there isn’t a lot left. But we have gotten creative in adding a few new opportunities for the Fall that you can read about in our Updated Sponsor Prospectus. You’ll learn about things like CMEpalooza King for a Day, CMEPalooza 5 Questions With…, and some other goodies. And hey, we’ve always got our most popular standby with our Bronze sponsorships, which is essentially an entry-level gig – we take as many of those as people want.

Sound interesting? Just shoot me an email with the subject line of “CMEpalooza Top Salesman Alert” or something else that is aimed at the Willy Loman in me and give me an idea of what you’re interested for. I promise to get back to you within 12 hours – I mean, if you send the email at 1 am, it’s going to wait until morning.

Now I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you need to add a tip to any sponsorship, but I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you don’t need to add a tip to any sponsorship either. You do you.

Come for the Updated Archive, Stay for the Book Lists

The semi-annual blog post notifying everyone that the CMEpalooza Session Archive has been updated with all the sessions from the previous CMEpalooza is always one of my favorites to write, though not because it’s so fun to write about. It’s actually a pretty boring topic. How much can you say about it, really? In fact, let’s just get it over with right now.

The CMEpalooza Session Archive is now up to date with videos from every palooza session over the past seven years. There is something like, I dunno, 100 sessions now archived? Something like that. Maybe Scott will read this and count all of them for us (note from Scott: He won’t. He has better things to do. Like cut his toenails). Whatever the amount, it’s a lot. You can check them all out here.

(Great, now that that’s out of the way, I will do a little segue that moves this post onto a topic I’m more interested in writing about. Watch what I do here…)

Speaking of archives, I was recently looking at my Goodreads archive of books I have read since last September, and realized I have read 50 books over the past year. While I do like to read, I am not a particularly swift reader, so this is by far my highest amount in a year’s time. I’ll credit this uptick in reading volume to a decision I made during the start of the pandemic lockdown to read less news and Twitter feeds before my workday begins and read more books. No regrets.

If left to my own natural tendencies, I will always pick a novel as my first choice of reading material, so I made a concerted effort to read more non-fiction. My rule: non-fiction in the morning, fiction in the evening. It’s gone a long way to diversify my book selections, and I have read a lot of things I might not have tried otherwise. Yes, I am a nut.

Naturally, as any sane person would do, I have come up with not one, but two Top 5 lists of books I have read over the past year – one for fiction and one for non-fiction. Feel free to name some of your own favorites in the comments section.

Top 5 Novels I Read the Past Year

5. The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) by Patrick Rothfuss – I wrote a few weeks ago about CMEpalooza being the “Fantasy Novel of Conferences,” and it reminded me that it had been quite a while since I read anything in that genre. Yes, it’s another book about an orphan boy going to a mysterious school for wizards, but it is much more than that and a masterpiece of fantasy writing. I can’t wait to read Book 2.

4. Deacon King Kong by James McBride – With all due respect to Louise Erdrich, this should have been the Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction in 2021.

3. Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, #1) by James S.A. Corey – It’s space opera written by two of George R.R. Martin’s former assistants and collaborators (James S.A. Corey is their pen name.) Of course it’s good! (Scott is rolling his eyes so hard right now.) (note from Scott: I think this goes beyond rolling my eyes)

2. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead – A hard and devastating book to read, yet also a riveting story that doesn’t get caught up in melodrama. One of the few books I have read recently that legitimately surprised me with a late twist (I audibly said “No way!” while reading it.) (note from Scott: I read this one too, probably because I borrowed it from Derek)

1. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke – A beautifully written book that begins as one type of story and slowly evolves into something entirely different while peeling away the mystery beneath the surface. My wife, who is a much more selective reader than I am, loved it. High praise.

Top 5 Non-Fiction Books I Read the Past Year

5. Freedom Is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis – Books like this are the reason I read. Never stop striving to learn from those with different perspectives and experiences than your own.

4. Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945 by Max Hastings – I’ve been told all middle-aged men go through a WWII phase, so I guess this is part of mine. This book covers a lot of ground and really demonstrates the mindboggling breadth and devastation of the war.

3. The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn – I’m a sucker for almost any book that covers the history of baseball, but Kahn’s book is unique in that it is as much about the newspaper industry – in an era when newspapers were the primary source of news – as it is about baseball.

2. Churchill: Walking with Destiny by Andrew Roberts – See explanation for #4. This scratches that same itch.

1. The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons and an Unlikely Road to Manhood by Ta-Nehisi Coates – I will read pretty much anything Ta-Nehisi Coates writes. As the father of a teenage son, this one felt particularly poignant.