The First (and Probably Last) Annual CMEpalooza Awards!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to you all. Welcome to the First (and Probably Last) Annual CMEpalooza Awards, which shall be known forthwith as the Paloozies.

This first (and probably last) edition of the Paloozies will include a number of different categories and award eligibility extends back as far as the original CMEpalooza in the spring of 2014. A hearty congratulations in advance to all of the nominees – you’re all winners in my book!

And now…the actual winners of the First (and Probably Last) Annual Paloozies.

(Also, a quick reminder to submit your CMEpalooza Spring abstract by the end of the day on Friday.)

Best CMEpalooza Producer: Scott Kober and Derek Warnick (tie)
We should have given more thought to the ramifications of having an even number of voters (two). Did we vote for each other or for ourselves? I guess we’ll never know.

Most Frequent CMEpalooza Contributor (Brian McGowan Division): Brian McGowan
An obvious choice. If CMEpalooza was Hollywood Squares, Brian would be in the center square. Yes, he is the Paul Lynde of CMEpalooza.

Most Frequent CMEpalooza Contributor (non-Brian McGowan Division): Karen Roy and John Ruggiero (tie)
Did I look at every session and add up how many times each person participated in CMEpalooza? Heck, no, that’s way too much work. But this sounds right, so I’m going with it. Congrats to John and Karen for your first (and probably last) Paloozie!

Best CMEpalooza Session: Grant Request Rock! (Kate Biles, Ann Marie DeMatteo, Antonio Meo)
This category was judged solely on the number of YouTube views. The Grant Request Rock! session has currently over 2000 views, which is by far the most views of any CMEpalooza session.

Honorable Mention: Jake Powers, CME Detective – Accreditation with Complications.
This session gets honorable mention because it made me laugh for the entire hour and features a cameo by my wife at the end. Yes, I’m biased. 

Best Yoda Impression During a CMEpalooza Session: Donald Harting, Walking the Talk, CME Puntua Lortu
You may think, perhaps, that I am being cryptic or that this category has some sort of metaphorical meaning. I assure you that neither is the case. We all need a little more CME Yoda in our lives.

Best Costume Design: The CME Advice Columnists:
Haleh Kadkhoda as the Statue of Liberty was a touch of genius. Odd genius, but genius nonetheless.

Honorable Mention: From Activation to Evolution: What CME Can Learn from the Trump Campaign, Uber Scandal, and Amazon.
Nice wigs. A touch of Colonial America.

CMEpalooza Blogger Who Writes Too Much About the Books He Has Read: Derek Warnick
Rude.

CMEpalooza Blogger Who Includes Too Many Sixers References: Derek Warnick
Ru-…no, this one is true. I regret nothing. Trust the Process.

NBA Player Who Represents the Standards of CMEpalooza: Joel Embiid
Because he is awesome, like CMEpalooza.

CMEpalooza Blogger Who Includes the Most Obscure 80’s References: Scott Kober
Maybe we should stop focusing on continuing education and start focusing on books we read about basketball players from the 80’s. That would be right in our wheelhouse. Who wouldn’t want to hear about the Alex English biography I read in the 8th grade?

Best Blog Post (Scott Category): Addressing the Controversy Head On
Scott has written a few political parodies over the years (some better than others). This is still our favorite, coming out just before the 2016 election during the “Access Hollywood” scandal.

Best Blog Post (Derek Category): Everything In Its Right Place
Anytime I can work Radiohead lyrics into a blog, it’s going to be my favorite.

Best CMEpalooza Sponsor: Vivacity Consulting (Erin Schwarz)
Yes, I know, this is where I’m supposed to say “It’s a tie! We love all our sponsors equally!” While true, Erin and Vivacity Consulting hold a special place in CMEpalooza history as our first ever sponsor. Also, we both kept mispronouncing “Vivacity” when we read the list of sponsors and still feel badly about it.

Honorable Mention: CMEology
The only sponsor of every CMEpalooza since its inception.

REMINDER: Submit an Abstract for CMEpalooza Spring

I attended the Alliance conference in person last week, and I now have a great idea for a presentation. Should I submit an abstract for CMEpalooza Spring?

Yes

I attended the Alliance conference virtually last week, and I now have a great idea for a presentation. Should I submit an abstract for CMEpalooza Spring?

Yes

I did not attend the Alliance conference last week, but I have a great idea for a presentation. Should I submit an abstract for CMEpalooza Spring?

Yes.

I don’t know what the Alliance conference is, but I have a great idea for a presentation. Should I submit an abstract for CMEpalooza Spring?

Uhhhhhhh…sure, why not.

What are you even talking about?

We’re accepting abstracts for presentations at CMEpalooza Spring. Click here to read all the details.

Ah, I see. When are they due?

By the end of the day on January 28. We would love it if people would submit early!

Yeah, that’s not happening. I’ll submit it on the due date like everyone else. Can you give me a direct link to the application form?

Click here to go directly to the Google Form.

Exploring the Rocky Contours

A few years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóðið, which roughly translates to “the Christmas book flood.” It already sounds pretty great, right? It gets better.

The tradition, at least how I choose to believe it, is that on Christmas Eve all the families in Iceland give each other books and then spend the rest of the evening lying in bed reading and drinking/eating chocolate. This is the best holiday tradition ever!

Ever since finding out about it, I have insisted the Warnick family participate in our own version of Jólabókaflóðið, except I buy all the books, including for myself. I wrap all the books and act shocked and surprised when I open mine, which no one other than me finds amusing for some reason.

This year for Jólabókaflóðið, I bought myself When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut, which I have been looking forward to ever since I read about it in the New York Times Best Books of 2021 (“Labatut expertly stitches together the stories of the 20th century’s greatest thinkers to explore both the ecstasy and agony of scientific breakthroughs: their immense gains for society as well as their steep human costs.”)

It is a slim book with heavy ideas, most of which revolve around exploring the thin line between genius and madness, evil and the miraculous. I was particularly compelled by the story of mathematical savant Alexander Grothendieck, whose brilliance, as Labatut explains it, was in his ability to “recognize that there was something grander hidden behind every algebraic equation.” Grothendieck himself describes these grand hidden solutions being revealed to him “like the contours of a rocky coast illuminated at night by the rotating lamp of a lighthouse.” (Note from Scott: When did our blog posts become so thought provoking? I sure hope there is a Punky Brewster joke coming soon)

For me, this anecdote highlights one of my key takeaways from the book: in order to move from good to great, we need a willingness to expand our mind and open it up to possibilities outside of the traditional. We need to push boundaries and explore the rocky contours illuminated by Grothendieck’s lighthouse. We need to step outside our comfort zone (you know where this is heading…)

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that we are currently accepting abstracts to present at CMEpalooza Spring 2022 (here are the details and here is the submission form.) I’d like to encourage those of you who are still reading this to use this opportunity to do your own boundary and comfort zone pushing. This will be different for different people. If you have never presented at an industry conference before, simply submitting an abstract is pushing. If you have only done solo presentations, gathering a panel to work with is pushing. If you have participated in panels, challenge yourself to think of something you have never done before. This is your chance to explore the rocky contours of presenting. We’ll try to illuminate as much of the coast as we can. (Scott again: Dammit. No Punky Brewster references. Next time…)