• Abracadabstract
    Sometimes, it can be really hard to come up with new blog post ideas. Case in point: I needed yet another concept to remind all of you to submit an abstract for CMEpalooza Spring (abstracts are on due on February 15). These are the ideas I considered before scrapping them for one reason or another:
      • Burns Night was a few nights ago. In celebration of Scotland’s ‘National Bard’ Robert Burns, I could write an Ode to an Abstract in the style of Burns’ famous Address to a Haggis (“Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great Chieftain o’ the Puddin-race!”) Reason rejected: I would need to use a Scots-English Dictionary, and that would take way too long. Still, it would almost be worth it just to see Scott’s reaction. (note from Scott: I scratch my head when Derek tells me many of ideas. This might have been the scratch-iest idea of them all)
      • I could remake the lyrics for the 1982 Steve Miller Band hit song Abracadabra. Reason rejected: I couldn’t think of any lyrics beyond:Abra abracadabstract You should should submit one, that’s a fact
    • I’ve been watching The Last of Us (it’s great) on HBO and could do some sort of zombie-themed post. Reason rejected: Other than that show, I’ve never been much of a zombie guy, unless listening to the Hooters’ All You Zombies on repeat counts as being a zombie guy.
    • I could do another list. Reason rejected: No way! I just did a list. I can’t do another one so soon…though I could make a list with bullets instead of numbers and maybe no one would notice. Hmmmm…no! No, I won’t do another list, even with bullets. That’s admitting defeat, and I’m better than that. No lists.
    While I’m trying to think of a good blog post idea that doesn’t involve writing a poem, remaking song lyrics, or making a list, take some time to consider an idea for a presentation at CMEpalooza Spring and submit an abstract. Click here for all the details.
  • The Return of “Scoop”
    Last year about this time (technically, mid-January, but close enough), the COVID-19 omicron variant hit hard, causing another wave of public apprehension. Numerous organizations, including many pharma companies, quickly put a formal ban on non-essential business travel for their employees. It was unfortunate timing for the annual meeting of the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions, still the largest in-person get together for our industry. The dominos started falling around the December holidays, with more and more companies every day publicly announcing via social media that they would no longer be attending the conference. While there were still many health protocols in place onsite – required vaccinations, masking in the majority of spaces – it was still a cavernous experience for those of us who still decided to attend. But from chaos springs opportunity! And so, not to disappoint our loyal blog readers curious to get a sense what it was like to be back in person with some CME colleagues, “Scoop” Kober was born, roaming the conference hallways to get at the pulse of our world. He asked hard-hitting questions like, “How concerned should the CME community be about the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on large, in-person conferences?” and “What has the COVID pandemic forced your organization to get better at?” and “Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?” Extremely thought provoking and important stuff. (Note from Derek: Great, he has started referring to himself in the third person. We have crossed the Rubicon.) Anyway, now that we are a few days out from (fingers crossed) the first “normal” Alliance conference since pre-COVID, I thought it made sense to formalize my alter ego for the return of “Scoop.” So if you see me in the hallway next week with my fancy press fedora on looking to corner unsuspecting suspects and expose the hypocrisy of the world, be careful. Your mug might just end up on these pages yourself next week. (Note from Derek: Great, now he has a hat. We are through the looking glass.) (And yes, you can pretty much guarantee that one of the questions will be, “Who wins the Super Bowl?” There is only one right answer).
  • Today’s Surprise Post
    After doing this for 10 years, Derek and I have a pretty consistent routine for blog posts. One of us writes up something, the other person quickly reviews and edits it (usually adding a snarky comment and/or random ’80s reference), and then we post it the next morning. We don’t have a Slack channel or Dropbox folder or anything fancy formal like that. It’s an email, maybe a text or two, and on extremely rare occasions, an actual conversation. I know that whenever “Derek” pops up on my phone that it’s something serious. OK, it’s almost never something serious (“CMEpalooza” and “serious” simply don’t mix), but there occasionally are complex things that are easier to discuss over the phone. Like this recent conversation: ME: What do you want? I’m eating lunch. DEREK: Um, it’s 3 o’clock. ME: Fine, you caught me. I was taking a nap. DEREK: Anyway, I had an idea. What if we… ME: No. DEREK: Yeah, it probably wouldn’t have worked anyway. Good chat. Go Sixers. But today, I’m breaking protocol because it’s a big day for Derek, and he’s not one to enjoy being the center of attention (notice how he always sits in the back corner of every room so that no one’s eyes on are him). If he had his druthers, no one would know what I’m about to tell you. You see, Derek turns 50 years old today. The big five-oh. Steve Mix (look it up). Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking. “Geez, I thought he turned 50 years ago. I mean, he has that ‘Get off my lawn, you whippersnapper!’ routine down pat, and that usually only happens if you are 65 years or older.” What can I say, Derek matured early. Anyway, when I asked Derek what he wants for his birthday from his adoring tolerating public, he told me two things:
    1. “A bottle of very expensive, very old bourbon.” Like this one, for example.
    2. “More abstract submissions for CMEpalooza Spring.” If you want to indulge his wish, please read all of the necessary information here. I’m supportive of this request, too. There are about 3 weeks left to come up with an idea that is going to revolutionize the world of CME. Or at least teach something to someone.
    Anyway, if you want to pop into Derek’s social DMs and wish him a happy 50th in whatever fashion you think will embarrass him the most, please do so. Here is the link to his Twitter and LinkedIn feeds. He probably has a secret Tik Tok channel that he hasn’t told me about where he posts videos of yelling at neighborhood teens to, you guessed it, get off his lawn. As for me, I will be sending my CMEpalooza partner this lanyard to wear proudly at the upcoming Alliance conference: Look Who's All Grown Up Ready For A Colonoscopy Ceramic Ornament | Zazzle But in all sincerity, Happy Birthday Old Man. Here’s to 50 more.