Yes, you, reading this CMEpalooza blog post.
I want to tell you something.
It’s something very important, that we all need to hear.
It’s been a weird year.
It’s been a hard year.
Harder for some than for others.
But hard for us all.
There are days when work is hard.
And communicating is hard.
And parenting is hard.
And living alone is hard.
And getting out of bed is hard.
And doing anything is hard.
And that’s ok.
We all feel like that sometimes.
But here you are.
And that alone is something.
You made it this far.
And that’s great.
One of the sports-themed podcasts I listen to has started a new gimmick where every Friday they talk about their latest obsessions, mostly related to the world of sports. They aren’t really “obsessions” in the true sense of the word but rather things that they have found super-interesting recently and are excited to see more and learn more about.
This is neither a sports-themed podcast nor is it a Friday, but I’m not letting that stop me from stealing someone else’s gimmick and using it for my own purposes. My most recent obsession is with all things Scottish. I don’t know if it’s because my trip to Scotland in the summer of 2019 was the last big trip I did before the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down (absence makes the heart grow fonder), but for the past month or two I have found myself seeking out anything and everything Scottish. A few examples:
- Only watching TV shows* set in Scotland. My favorites so far have been Outlander, Case Histories (starring Jason Isaacs, who also played Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, which was extremely disconcerting once I made the connection) and Shetland, which is a great show featuring fantastic sweaters.
*Not entirely accurate as I have also watched both Queen’s Gambit and Lupin during this stretch. I enjoyed them both, but was annoyed neither of them took place in Inverness or the Isle of Skye.
- Liked the sweaters that Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez wears on Shetland so much that I researched them online and bought one for myself from a store in Buffalo, NY, for more money than I realized anyone would actually pay for a sweater. I was later informed this was considered a reasonable price. I wish I was making all of this up. (Note from Scott: we demand a photo)
- Bought the book Clanlands: Whisky, Warfare, and a Scottish Adventure Like No Other, written by Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish, stars of Outlander. My wife is a huge Outlander fan, and I read this to her while she is knitting or puttering around in the kitchen. The book is a precursor to a forthcoming Clanlands TV show and has its own Instagram account, which I follow. There are pictures of McTavish wearing rugged sweaters and, yes, I have googled “graham mctavish sweaters.” The results were poor.
- Joined the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, a Christmas gift from my thoughtful and patient wife. As a card carrying member of the SMWS, for which there is a yearly fee, I am now able to spend even more money on bottles of scotch that only members can purchase. Yes, I spent money for the privilege of spending more money. Quite a brilliant business plan they have (Note to Scott: can’t we get the interns to figure out a similar plan for CMEpalooza??) I have bought three bottle so far, one of them accidentally. Don’t ask.
But enough about me and my crazy Scottish obsession. We’re here to help those of you who just can’t get enough of CMEpalooza. I’m not going to call it a CMEpalooza obsession because that’s sort of creepy ([looks at blog post title] [shrugs and quickly moves on]), but if you are anxious to watch as many CMEpalooza sessions as possible, I have some good news for you, friend.
The CMEpalooza Archive has been updated to include all the sessions from CMEpalooza Fall 2020!
We also are going to be releasing our agenda for CMEpalooza Spring next week, so there’s that, too. While you’re waiting for the exciting news, I recommend relaxing with a wee dram and a couple episodes of Shetland. Sláinte!
The team at CMEpalooza HQ is hard at work putting the finishing touches on our Spring agenda, and we hope to have something for you relatively soon. As a reminder, CMEpalooza is a little earlier than usual this year (Wednesday, March 24), so if you haven’t already marked it on your calendar, please do so now.
[looks at calendar for March 24]
[realizes he forgot to block it off for CMEpalooza]
[quickly adds it]
[breathes sigh of relief and chuckles that Scott will never know]
In the meantime, I thought I would give you all a sneak peek at one of the new sessions we are planning. I don’t want to ruin the surprise by revealing too many details, but I think it’s a cool idea and thought we could have a little fun with it now.
Basically, the session will be based on the party game “Would You Rather?” which I would imagine many of you have played at some point, you know, back when we went to parties (sigh.) I put together a few sample questions for Scott and I to respond to, some related to CMEpalooza and some not. Our responses are below. Feel free to play along at home and leave your answers in the comments. It’s fun!
(Side note: I told Scott he wasn’t allowed to say “It depends” and he did a good job sticking to it. The same applies to you and your responses.)
Would you rather…have a boring speaker with crystal clear sound or an entertaining speaker whose sound cuts out for 2 seconds every minute?
- Scott: Let’s go with the krr-gzz-krr speaker whose sound cuts out every so often. You know that a boring speaker is never going to get any better. For someone with tech issues, you can always hope they will magically resolve themselves.
- Derek: I have to go with the boring speaker with crystal clear sound. I die inside a little bit every time we have a speaker with bad audio quality and listening to a glitch every minute would be agony. Nothing makes me happier than a glitch-free session.
Would you rather…time travel back to the 1980s or 1990s?
- Scott: The 1990s. I came so close to being able to dunk a basketball when I was 18 (note from Derek: define “so close.”} I would spend all week practicing with the lone goal of the weakest dunk in history. But it would count in the record books.
- Derek: Unlike Scott, I actually could dunk when I was 18 (barely), so I am going to go with the 1980s. Such an iconic decade. Also, Philadelphia sports teams won two championships in the ’80s and I could never pass up a chance to attend the 1980 World Series or 1983 NBA Championship.
Would you rather…produce a CMEpalooza session done entirely as a Broadway musical or a session where one of the panelists is a mime?
- Scott: Little known fact about me – I love musicals! (note from Derek: I did not expect this. I am stunned.) I would pay good money to hear you “announce” all of our sponsors in the key of G minor. Let’s add that to the spring to-do list.
- Derek: Little known fact about me – it is my dream to someday have a CMEpalooza: The Musical! I am a very bad singer and would not sing the announcements (keep your money, Scott), but if anyone wants to do a musical for the fall ‘Palooza, apparently Scott and I are both open to it!
Would you rather…eat every meal with only a spoon or every meal with only a fork?
- Scott: What a stupid question – of course a spoon. How do you eat soup with a fork? (Ask my 9-year-old son though and he’ll happily respond, “Neither. I’d just use my fingers like I do anyway.”)
- Derek: Definitely a fork. You can always drink soup from the bowl. How the heck are you going to cut a steak with a spoon? Eating peas with a fork would be super-annoying, though.
Would you rather…moderate a CMEpalooza session wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey or a Boston Celtics jersey?
- Scott: There is one rule in the Kober household – the day you dare say anything nice about the Cowboys or Cowboys fans is the day you are no longer welcome to live here. Plus, when it’s Jerry Jones vs. whoever owns the Celtics (I have no idea), it’s an easy call.
- Derek: It can be argued that the Eagles/Giants rivalry is on par with the Eagles/Cowboys rivalry. There is no question about who the Sixers biggest rival is. We hate the Celtics, and a Boston Celtics jersey will never grace this body (sorry, that got a little weird).
Would you rather…the only thing you can watch be an episode of 80’s sitcom “Webster” or the only thing you can listen to be 90’s hit song “Macarena”?
- Scott: I have often considered legally changing my last name to Papadopoulos (“What’s the name for the reservation?” “Papadopulous. Do you need me to spell that?” “Of course not. I loved Webster too”). Does that answer your question?
- Derek: Ugh, this might be the worst one. I guess I have to go with Webster, too, but that show is terrible. I can live without watching TV, but I couldn’t handle only hearing the Macarena every time I put my airpods in. That is a bridge too far.
Dashing through this post
On a crappy old laptop
Scott hates these the most
Laughing, I can’t stop (ha! ha! ha!)
We have news for all
We think it’s pretty neat
Palooza dates for spring and fall
Let’s sing them to the beat! Oh!
Twenty fourth of March
Oh! What fun it is to watch
In a warm house eating starch. Oh!
Oh! What fun it is to watch
On a 13-inch wide screen
Be sure to mark your calendars for CMEpalooza Spring on Wednesday, March 24 and CMEpalooza Fall on Wednesday, October 13. More details to follow. When the agenda is ready, Scott promises to announce it using modified Dominick the Donkey lyrics.
Side note: Dominick the Donkey ranks high on my worst holiday songs list. Here are my Top Three Worst Holiday Songs (all rankings final):
3. Dominick the Donkey
2. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas (note from Scott: This is the clear winner. It ages like a fine wine made of dog pee.)
1. Christmas Shoes
Where do I watch CMEpalooza Fall?
You watch it on the LIVE page.
Is anything different about watching this time? Do I still have to refresh the page to watch new sessions? That is super annoying.
Yes, it is a little different this time. No, you do not have to refresh the page to watch new sessions. Every session now has a unique link, so you don’t need to refresh the LIVE page to watch each new session. Just find the session you want to watch at the appropriate time and click that link to begin.
Will people be able to hear me on the broadcast?
No. You are not on the broadcast. You are only watching a video feed of the broadcast. You can play Cemetery Polka by Tom Waits at full volume and no one will hear you except your neighbors, who might call the police, who might interrupt you while watching CMEpalooza. So, don’t play Cemetery Polka by Tom Waits at full volume while watching CMEpalooza.
Can I watch CMEpalooza at home?
Can I watch CMEpalooza at the office?
Er…uh…maybe? (I answer this question every year and this is the first time I’m not sure how to answer it.)
Can I watch CMEpalooza in a conference room with 150 other people?
No! I mean…you “can” but…let’s not do that. 150 people in a conference room for anything seems like a really really bad idea right now. Stay home. Put on your pajamas. Relax.
Can I watch CMEpalooza while at a coffee shop?
That depends. Do you own your own coffee shop and will you be watching by yourself? If no, then…No! Stay home!
Can I watch CMEpalooza at home with my pets?
I don’t know. Let’s ask them.
Ehhhh maybe not.
Do I have to pre-register or register?
Do I have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza? I love paying registration fees.
No. You don’t have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza.
Do I have to take a survey afterward?
Well, you don’t have to, but it would be nice if you did. It’s only seven questions and shouldn’t take you more than 60 seconds. If it takes you more than 60 seconds, Scott will parade by your house and recreate the Danke Schoen scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Can I get a certificate for watching CMEpalooza?
Actually, yes. Well, kind of. We’re not accredited or certified or anything like that, and we have no way of verifying whether you actually watched any of these sessions or not. But if you want a certificate of completion that you can use to self-report participation in CMEpalooza Fall 2020, here you go. I’ll also post it on the LIVE page tomorrow. Who knows, maybe these certificates will be worth something 2,000 years from now.
How do I ask questions of the presenters?
Good question. There are two ways you can ask questions:
- Send a text to the FreeCME text line at 267-666-0CME (0263)
- Tweet a question using the #CMEpalooza hashtag
We try to get to as many questions as we can throughout each presentation.
Do I have to watch all the sessions?
YES! No. Watch what interests you.
Will the sound quality for each presenter be crystal clear with consistent volume and no glitches?
I mean, really, have you been on, I don’t know, 500 web calls in the last month? Is it always perfect for everyone? Of course not. That said, we’re better with this technology stuff than the average bear – we HAVE been doing this for 7 years now so hopefully we’ve learned something. So will it be pretty good for almost every presenter? Yes, yes it will. There will be some people who sound better than others. There may be a few glitches and hiccups. That’s just how it goes with a free conference where presenters volunteer their time and use their own equipment. Some people aren’t comfortable doing a presentation while wearing headphones and a mic, so we don’t force them to use it. We do the best that we can with what we have available to us.
Will I be offended by anything during CMEpalooza?
There is a 99.9% chance that I will be drinking a beverage of an alcoholic nature during CME Pop Trivia (4:00 pm ET), so if that offends you, then yes, I guess. There also might be some Rock and/or Roll music playing, so plan accordingly.
What if I’m busy during the day of the live broadcast?
All the sessions will be archived on the website, like, immediately. How are we able to do it so fast? We have a co-worker who is a real crackerjack on the interwebs. Here she is hard at work, writing our latest blog post.
back for at least one more time
but probably more
coming up next week
online and awesome
9 AM ET – The Case of the Rejected Grant Request: A CMEpalooza Whodunit
you like mysteries?
here’s one: the case of the
10 AM ET – Surviving 2020: How COVID-19 and Social Justice Issues Impact the Health of Under-Represented Communities
this stellar panel
will help you survive the year
no murder hornets
11 AM ET – The
5-Year 5-Month Plan
five year predictions
will be as successful as
a fork stirring soup
Noon ET – Industry Updates & Supporter Positioning: Building Long-term Competencies, Agility, & Resilience
oh to be a fly
on the IACE meeting wall
this is your one shot
1 PM ET – The CME Dictionary
goal: define words like
needs assessment, spaced learning
terms of endearment
2 PM ET – Program Managers: We Get the Job Done!
when the going gets
tough the tough stop and call a
3 PM ET – The CE Report Card: Rating the Industry Performance in a Virtual World
hey, how you doin’
asked joey tribbiani
these guys will tell us
4 PM ET – CME Pop Trivia
pop goes trivia
because trivia goes pop
and CME too
three precious metals
but if you want a haiku
it’s gold or silver
science of medicine to
art of patient care
a better poet
would rhyme john ruggiero with
president tim hayes
four time gold sponsor
Projects in Knowledge
is a much better name than
PlatformQ is not
the same as AvenueQ
there are no puppets
a silver sponsor this year
what did the shopper
say to the supermarket
Like a mother hen gathering her chicks around her, I love all of my CMEpalooza sessions with equal affection. But I will admit that I do have a special fondness for whatever session ends up in the last slot of the day. That slot always has the toughest row to hoe and regardless of topic or start time, always has the fewest number of viewers. It has always been the case with live conferences and it is the case with virtual conferences, too. (Note from Scott: Derek, stop giving away our secrets!)
With that in mind, I would like to give a plug for everyone to stick around for the last session of CMEpalooza Fall 2020: CME Pop Trivia! I, Derek (not Scott), will serve as the all-knowing Quizmaster for four rounds of CME trivia…and a sprinkling of pop culture, too. I have requested the services of four noble Questionmasters to develop four questions in four topics and they all graciously accepted.
- From Questionmaster Brian McGowan: CME History
- From Questionmaster Scott Gorman: ACCME Commendation Criteria
- From Questionmaster Tricia Wilson: Standards for Commercial Support
- From Questionmaster Jon Simmons: Your Editor’s Top Pet Peeves About Your Proposals
After each set of 4 questions, there will be an extra question based on some piece of arcane pop culture trivia that will have no relation to anything else. Why? Because it’s fun!
There will be music. Why? Because it’s fun!
There will be drinking. Why? Because it’s fun!
Lengthy side note: It is the last session at the end of what is always a long day, so yes, I plan to take advantage of the situation and have myself a beverage while hosting trivia. Feel free to join me.
The drink of the day will be a Manhattan (note from Scott: Yes, Derek is an old man). No need to Google a recipe when I am here to help.
My preferred Manhattan is as follows:
- Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice
- Add 2 oz rye (Bulleit is nice, Rittenhouse is better, and Dad’s Hat Vermouth Finish Rye is my favorite)
- Add 1 oz sweet vermouth (Antica Formula is excellent and Dolin Rouge is also nice. I suppose you can use Rosso, too, just don’t tell me.)
- Shake in 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
- Cover and shake until the shaker freezes your hands
- Strain into a glass (you’re supposed to use a coupe glass, but seriously, who even has those?)
- Add one, maybe even two, Luxardo cherries. DO NOT USE GENERIC MARASCHINO CHERRIES. Look, if your idea of fine dining is a 4:45 reservation at Applebees, well-done steak with ketchup, and a bottle of Bud Light, then maybe regular old Maraschino cherries are for you. Otherwise, trust me on this one and spend a few extra bucks on Luxardo. They make everything better.
- Pro tip: after adding your cherries, scoop out a little of the cherry syrup and mix it into your drink. You will thank me later.
- Grab your drink and get ready for trivia!
There will be prizes. Why? Because of the generous support from our prize sponsor Haymarket! (First place gets a $250 Amazon gift card. Second place gets $150. Third place gets $100.)
We will be using Poll Everywhere, so if you want to be super-prepared, you can go ahead and download the Poll Everywhere app.
I really hope that some/many/all of you can join. It should be a fun time and who knows? You might even learn something.
On March 12, the beginning of the pandemic lockdown in Philadelphia, I posted the following on Facebook:
Three weeks later:
Six months later (note from Scott: technically, five and a half, but whatever) and these same people are still in our houses, which is why I am hear to talk to you about setting appropriate expectations for the day of CMEpalooza, now less than a month away (Wednesday, October 14, if you forgot).
Let’s all be honest and admit that there is a nonzero chance that one of the following things will happen during any virtual conference:
- A panelist’s video or audio feed glitches because they have multiple kids at home sucking up all the bandwidth with virtual school or watching episodes of Cobra Kai or both at the same time (both of my kids will be home for virtual school during CMEpalooza. Say a little prayer for me and Verizon FIOS on October 14.)
- A viewer watching the livestream at home has their video start buffering or pausing. We sometimes get complaints about this in the eval comments, so it’s time for a little come-to-Jesus moment: It’s not us, it’s you. If the video you are watching starts buffering, it’s because of an issue with your internet…probably because you have multiple kids at home sucking up all the bandwidth with virtual school or watching episodes of Cobra Kai or both at the same time.
- Someone’s kid/spouse/pet appears on screen because they didn’t realize or didn’t care that there was a video call going on. Frankly, at this point I’m disappointed when it doesn’t happen. Seriously, when was the last time someone’s cute kid or pet showed up on screen and it didn’t make you smile? We should start making it a requirement.
- Power outage. It happens. Fortunately we can usually just have people use their phone and everything is fine. It’s not yet happened to Scott or me, but we have had some close calls (my power went out for 15 minutes one year.) My neighbors are currently having an addition put on to the back of their house and the
idiotsgentlemen working there have already cut our power once.
One of the unexpected pleasantries that has evolved from the bloom of pandemic-initiated virtual programming is that it has made me feel much better about the production value of CMEpalooza. Watching media monoliths like ESPN and CNN experience the exact same technical issues that we sometimes have during CMEpalooza has definitely been a boost to my self-esteem.
There will be glitches. There will be interruptions. There will be mistakes. The show will go on and it will be fine.
Because I know it will annoy Scott, I wrote a haiku to summarize the moral of this post. I call it Pandemic Haiku.
it’s fine it’s fine it’s
fine it’s fine it’s fine it’s fine
(note from Scott: Don’t tell Derek, but once again he failed to count syllables properly — check line 3, doofus — so this is not technically a haiku and I am OK with it)
(note from Derek: You come at the king, you best not miss https://www.howmanysyllables.com/words/everything’s)