It’s That Time Again – CMEpalooza Bingo!! is Here

There isn’t much out in the public forum these days that doesn’t raise your blood pressure.

Your team sucks! Your party sucks! You cheated! You lied! Lock her up! Impeach him! I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling kids!

Perhaps that is why Derek and I try so hard to bring some levity and joy into your lives with this blog and CMEpalooza in general. I’ll give you an example. Last week during a conversation with one of the panel moderators for CMEpalooza Fall, she started telling me that, “We’re thinking of doing something a little quirky with our introductions, but we’re not sure if it’ll be OK. What we’d like to do is…”

I interrupted her before she got any further.

“Yes, yes, a million times yes. Do whatever quirky or unusual or odd thing you want. That’s what we do.”

I mean, really people, how many other otherwise serious events have panelists dress up like Star Wars characters?

You know what else we do at CMEpalooza that should both make you happy and is never replicated at another event, especially a free event? That’s right, we give away money. This fall, we’re actually giving away money twice, as you may have seen in last week’s post about our 4 pm ET session.

Today, though, marks the launch of our more traditional financial free-for-all. In the fall, we call this CMEpalooza Bingo!! The second exclamation point is just because it’s extra awesome.

The distribution of prize money will be a little bit different this year because, well, we just feel like it. There will be 5 winners, each getting $100 Amazon gift cards. That’s $500 in total for all of you math majors. Last fall, our giant hopper wasn’t big enough to hold all of the successful entries we got for CMEpalooza Bingo!! so we ordered a new one shipped all the way from Camden, NJ. Let’s put it to good use, people.

Here be the rules to CMEpalooza Bingo!!:

STEP 1: Download all of the necessary Bingo forms by clicking on this link. That will give you the Bingo board, the Bingo questions, and the Bingo answer sheet. You should also queue up our Sponsor page, which will give you direct links to all of the websites you will need to visit.

STEP 2: A successful entry involves completing a Bingo – it can be horizontal (that’s straight across), vertical (that’s up and down), or diagonal (that’s, um, diagonal).

Special note: For the second straight year, we have too many sponsors to fit onto a bingo board, so a successful entry also involves completing the clue for one of our two Gold sponsors – Med Learning Group or Academic CME. So a total of six (6) answers are necessary this year for a successful entry. That’s more time you can spend playing CMEpalooza Bingo!! and less time you need to spend doing your “real job.” You are welcome.

STEP 3: Email your completed form to me at scott@medcasewriter.com along with a witty subject line (witty subject line is optional). Entry deadline is 9:23 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 6. Yes, 9:23 p.m. ET. Why? No reason. It just is.

Go to it everyone.

The Powers of the Afternoon Sessions

I am compelled to point out to everyone that at 3 pm ET on the day of CMEpalooza Fall (October 16), there is going to be a session that is essentially a dramatization featuring a CME detective named Jake Powers. I am not making this up. This is an actual session that you will be able to watch live, as it happens. Here is a sample scene:

Eddie Malone looks up from forging signatures on an LOA for a CME program that occurred 2 months ago and glares at his partner-in-crime, Frank Falco, who is pacing a hole in the already threadbare burnt orange rug in their fifth-floor walk-up.

“Sit down, you friggin’ lunatic,” Eddie growls around his unlit Cuban. “You’re makin’ me seasick with all the back and forth. You want me to yack all over these papers?”

Frank glaces at Eddie with the uneasiness of a terrier after two bowls of water and throws himself into a ratty yellow Lay-Z-Boy, dirty stuffing trickling out of the split seams.

“We shouldn’t a dunnit, Eddie! We shouldn’t a dunnit! It was too risky, and they’re on to us. I know it! We shoulda just gave ’em the buffet dinner like we said we was!”

“Shut your yap, you dang fool. It’s the perfect crime. We say we’re havin’ dinner, get grant moneys for it, don’t have the dinner, pocket the moolah, and no one’s the wiser!”

Frank shakes his head and takes a slug straight from the half-empty bottle of Jim Beam he’s been cradling like a baby.

“Somebody’s gonna snitch.”

“Yeah, well, snitches get sti-“

A pounding on the front door causes Frank to drop the bottle, amber liquid gurgling between cracks in the decrepit floorboards. He looks wildly at Eddie, eyes wide with fear. Eddie holds up a finger to shush him and reaches for the top drawer of his desk.

“Who is it?” he barks out, slowly removing his cellphone from the desk drawer.

The gravely voice that answers sends a tremor from the top of Eddie’s greasy head to the base of his scoliosic spine.

“It’s Powers. Jake Powers. I’m a CME detective, and you two rats are coming with me.”

Eddie begins thumbing a number into his phone while Frank babbles incoherently into his hands.

“Powers,” Eddie mutters. “Why did it have to be Powers?”

OK, I totally made that up. I have no idea what they’re actually doing, but it’s still intriguing, right? I mean, c’mon, a CME detective? What could be better than that? (Don’t answer that.)

The point is – and the point Scott made with yesterday’s post – you should definitely try to tune in for the afternoon sessions during CMEpalooza Fall. All the sessions are going to to be great, but the last two of the day, I think, are particularly creative and fun. You won’t want to miss them.

As a side note, for anyone wondering where the heck the idea of a CME detective came from, I am somewhat chagrined to admit it comes from an unfinished story I wrote on my old blog back in 2011. A period of time when I clearly had too much time on my hands. But if you are a sucker for original source material, feel free to give it a read.

Game Show Fanatic

I loved game shows as a kid, even a really young kid. While everyone else was outside playing fun preschool suburban games like “Put This Stick Up Your Nose” and “Run As Fast As You Can Into the Pricker Bush,” I spent every weekday morning from 11 am-noon watching The Price is Right. The good version. Back when Bob Barker was hosting it. Yes, he’s still alive. He’s 95. I looked it up.

There were others I liked too. Card Sharks was good (I watched the recent reboot for about 5 minutes. Terrible). Joker’s Wild (didn’t watch the reboot). Sale of the Century.

When I was maybe 5 or 6, I decided that if I couldn’t co-produce a twice-annual meeting for CME professionals, then I wanted to be a game show host. The ones I admired were all skinny, gawky, white dudes, just like me. I was the next Bert Convy, a Bill Cullen just waiting to be discovered, a Wink Martindale with a normal name.

As I got older and school interrupted my game show habits (my elementary school nurse was partial to Password. Amazing how often I got a stomachache exactly at 10 am), I had to settle for those game shows that came on in the after school hours. They perhaps aren’t as well remembered, but there were lots of them and I loved (OK, liked) them all. Hot Potato had amazing graphics. That was my favorite.

Fast forward to 2019. No, I am unfortunately not going to be the next Bob Eubanks, but when it came time to figure out a session to anchor CMEpalooza Fall 2019, I figured it was time to live out my boyhood dream. And so was born The Great, Big, Play at Home in Your Jammies CME Quiz. It’s from 4-5 pm ET on Wednesday, October 16.

This session has everything a good game show needs:

  • Competition – everyone can play, for free, using the Poll Everywhere app or by going to a URL we’ll provide before the session (it’ll be http://www.pollev/cmepalooza). You need to be smart and answer quickly to rack up the points.
  • Catchy theme music — Derek has promised to sing “Edelweiss” at the start of the session
  • Really cool celebrity guests — If you liked Nipsey Russell or Soupy Sales popping up on every single game show in the ’80s, you’ll love the celebrities joining us for this session (they are also known as “faculty”). Each of our “celebrities” has been integrally involved in developing questions and/or serving on the planning committee for the CCMEP/CHCP exam so they know their stuff.
  • Prizes – Yes, even better than a year’s supply of Turtle Wax. There will be at least $500 in prize money to be given out. Medscape is currently our sole prize sponsor, but if your organization wants to join in, shoot me an email and we’ll figure something out.

Now, go away. The Game Show Network is doing a marathon of Supermarket Sweep reruns starting in 5 minutes.

Fear Not Technology

That shriek of terror you heard a few weeks ago at 9:15 am ET? Yeah, that was Derek when I emailed him to tell him that Google Hangouts On Air (GHOAs) were officially, finally, kaput. It was something that had been rumored for a while but frankly, we don’t listen to rumors (well, unless it’s a rumor about the Philadelphia 76ers trading a 2023 second-round draft pick for a third-string center. That we are interested in. [note from Derek: this feels like Scott is challenging me to work current 76ers third-string center Kyle O’Quinn into my next blog post. Challenge accepted, Kober!!).

As you may be aware, we’ve been using GHOAs (or its more recent incarnation, YouTube Live, which was the same thing with a different name) since the very beginning of CMEpalooza. It was technology that was predictable, reliable, relatively easy to master, and, of course, free. Being a Google product, it automatically linked to YouTube, making it easy for us to embed broadcasts on the CMEpalooza website and then archive. The technology wasn’t perfect, and we learned a lot about troubleshooting problems over the years, but all in all, it worked well enough and we knew how to use it for our needed purposes.

So then you can imagine there was good reason Derek began shrieking like, well, this when I broke the bad news to him. Truth be told, I was panicked a bit myself as I quickly searched the Interwebs for “Replacement technology for Google Hangouts.” I figured it would take a while – a day, maybe two – before we found something that might, maybe, work as a platform for CMEpalooza.

Happily, it took all of about 15 minutes before we stumbled onto a website called StreamYard, which has a broadcast platform that was developed by two millennials who look like they graduated high school one night, rolled out of bed the next morning, and threw something together before heading to Taco Bell for a 4 pm chalupa. Here they are (I won’t even try to pronounce “Geige” but I will steal his hair. Heck, I’ll steal anyone’s hair):

Derek and I did some initial testing of the StreamYard platform, and found it intuitive, relatively easy to master, and, of course, free (for now). Like GHOAs, Streamyard also links directly to YouTube. It looks slightly different than GHOAs from a viewers perspective, but it’s a pretty decent facsimile. In some ways, it’s even better than GHOAs. They don’t have a lot of useless bells and whistles, they added some useful screen sharing features, and other small stuff that you probably don’t care about.

We wanted to wait until we had done a few AV tests with our Fall panelists before crowing about our sleuthing, but now that we have several behind us that all went smoothly, cock-a-frigging-doodle-doo. Yeah, that’s a rooster and not a crow. I know. Move along.

So here are today’s takeaways:

  1. Derek panics easily (another note from Derek: Am I worried that Scott just jinxed us by bragging about how great this new technology works? Of course I am!!)
  2. There are young people who are really good at technology and can create stuff in their sleep (as long as they are still living at home and don’t have to pay rent)
  3. CMEpalooza is saved.

And oh yeah, it’s a month(ish) away from our broadcast date of CMEpalooza Fall (Wednesday, October 16). Don’t forget.

Last Day to Submit a Question For the Grants Hotline

Let’s talk about Dolly Parton for a minute.

You probably know that Dolly wrote “I Will Always Love You.” (Scott: No, we don’t)

You probably know that Dolly wrote “Jolene.” (Scott: What’s a “Jolene”?)

But did you know that Dolly wrote “I Will Always Love You” and “Jolene” on the same day? It’s true! That is a pretty amazing day. (Scott: Perhaps not as amazing as when I learned to whistle and blow a bubble on the same day, but I’ll give you this one)

You know what you could write that would make it an amazing day for you? You could write a question for our Grants Hotline!!

(Folks, this is the best I have at this point. After four blog posts asking for questions, I’m all out of ideas. Plus, I’m going to the Willie Nelson concert tonight, and I’m feeling a little distracted. Did you know that when Willie Nelson was writing the song “Crazy,” his first draft used the word “stupid” instead? This is also true! Willie is 86 years old and still touring…incredible. It’s probably because he owes the IRS millions in back taxes, but I digress…)

Today IS the last day to ask questions for our Grants Hotline. We have gotten several, but would love to have a few more. Once again, here is the form for you to submit. Deadline is whenever the Willie Nelson concert ends tonight!

Top 5 Reasons You Should Stop What You Are Doing and Submit a Question to the Grants Hotline

5. It’s a good excuse to get you out of that phone call that should have been an email
“Hey, Bob. Really sorry but I’m going to have to bail on our call this afternoon. I have a major project I’m working on, and the deadline is coming up soon. No, no, don’t reschedule just for me. You guys go ahead.”

4. You can use it as cover while adjusting your Fantasy Football lineup
Speaking of fantasy football, let me take a quick moment here to remind everyone that nobody else cares about your fantasy football team. You might think we are interested in hearing you debate about whether to use Patrick Mahomes or Gardner Minshew as your starting quarterback, but actually no. We don’t. Tough but true.

3. Make it a fun, team-building exercise!
Step 1: Rent one of those sweet 15-person passenger vans so everyone can squeeze in together (people love that)
Step 2: Take the whole gang to Applebees and order Appletinis for all!
Step 3: Over some kind of (probably fried) appetizer, ask everyone to think of a question for the Grants Hotline
Step 4: Best question wins a free Southern Apple Fritter!

2. What else are you doing right now that is more important?
Admit it, you’re right in the middle of a Facebook post about your fantasy football team, aren’t you? I knew it! 

1. We really really really really need more questions
We have received a few, but I would love to have a bunch more. Yes, you technically have until Friday to get your questions in, but why not just do it now and help me keep my blood pressure down? Here’s the form for you to use:

Three Announcements You Should Definitely Read

Announcement #1: Google Hangouts On Air Is Dead But CMEpalooza Is Not

Here is an abbreviated version of my email exchange with Scott yesterday morning:

Scott: Google killed Hangouts On Air last month. It’s gone.

Me: Well…that’s not good.

Scott: Nope. We should probably find an alternative.

[googles “Google Hangouts On Air alternative”] 

[clicks first link he sees]

Scott: Problem solved. I found something.

Me: Great. Let’s use that.

And that’s pretty much how it all went down (minus a few swear words and inappropriate gestures.) Google did indeed kill Google Hangouts On Air (GHOA), which is the platform we have used to run CMEpalooza since it’s inception. And in about five minutes, we (Scott) found an alternative to use that is pretty dang close to the same as GHOA. We are still testing it out, but have been pleased with how it has performed during our trial runs. I really don’t think you will see much of a difference. With the certainty of death, taxes, and the Phillies bullpen blowing a 3-run lead, CMEpalooza will continue on.

Announcement #2: The CMEpalooza Archive Has Been Updated

I updated the CMEpalooza archive to include all of the sessions from 2019 CMEpalooza Spring. We now have a total of…I don’t know how many sessions. Honestly, it was sort of a stressful day and I didn’t bother to count them. It’s a lot. I’m going to guess it’s 97 sessions in the archive. Ninety-seven sounds like a good number. It’s also the same number of times I banged my head on my desk when I found out GHOA was gone.

Announcement #3: Send In Your Questions For The CMEpalooza Grants Hotline

Yes, they’re not due until September 13, but why wait? Click here and send them in now!! 

The Grants Hotline is OPEN!

The following is a factual statement: the #1 requested topic for CMEpalooza (Every. Single. Time.) is “More content about grants.” It doesn’t matter how many times we do one, people want more. With that in mind, now is your opportunity to get all your grants-related questions answered. The Grants Hotline is officially open and operators are standing by!

Our Grants Hotline session is scheduled for 11 AM ET during CMEpalooza Fall (Wednesday, Oct. 16), and the concept is fairly simple. Submit your question via one of the methods listed below and our expert panel will answer it*. That’s it, that’s the session. The more questions you ask, the more content we have.

*I feel obligated to state that your question needs to be related to the grants process, panelists can opt out of questions they aren’t comfortable answering, and we might not be able to get to every question. So for all you wisenheimers who want to come up with a “hilarious” question that you think will “make our day,” I mean, go ahead, but you’ll be wasting some of your wonderful creativity on an audience of, maybe, two people.

How to submit your questions:

Option #1:

Option #2: Text your questions to the Grants Hotline at 267-666-0CME (0263)

We are going to leave the Grants Hotline open until September 13, so you have two weeks to get your questions in. After that, you will just have to wait until CMEpalooza on October 16. Rumor has it that our fearless moderator will be showing off his Hotline Bling dance moves at the end of the session. Tune in to find out! (note: he didn’t actually tell me that he would be dancing, nor did I ask him, but he also didn’t not tell me that he would be dancing, so who knows?)

Welcome to the End of Summer

When Derek and I flew down to our multi-day, tropical, semiannual CMEpalooza retreat earlier this summer, we spent many days thinking and strategizing about the future of our wildly-successfully extravaganza.

Me (said silently): “We’ve come so far in 5 years, but we could go so much farther. How do we expand our footprint and impact on this world so desperate for our education?”

Derek (said aloud): “I wonder how many more banana daiquiris I can consume before Happy Hour pricing ends?”

Yes, we all get there in our own ways, but once our focus sharpened (the answer, Derek tells me, was five. Five more banana daiquiris), we did indeed come up a lot of exciting and innovative ideas. Alas, all of those exciting and innovative ideas unfortunately were forgotten the instant that our kindly cocktail waitress told Derek after banana daiquiri number 4 that, “You look like you need a vacation.”

Thus was born the International CMEpalooza Summer Promotional Road Trip.

In early August, I spent several days lugging my family around Montreal speaking to countless potential CMEpalooza consumers about our event. I don’t speak a lick of French, but just kept saying “Mon dieu!” every time a question was asked of me. “Mon dieu!” just seems like a catch-all kind of phrase although I admittedly don’t really know what it means. I only got a few questionable looks.

Derek meanwhile took on the more difficult task of traipsing through the United Kingdom spreading the good word about CMEpalooza (note from Derek: this is true, though technically speaking I drove, not traipsed. Nothing like hurtling down the narrow streets of Cornwall at 55 MPH to make you feel alive!). His sullen, slightly disgruntled personality seemed perfect for the task, and I’m told by reliable sources that he fit in just fine. Alas, his introverted personality restrained him from actually, you know, trying to talk to anyone about CMEpalooza, but I’m assured that he used some sort of Jedi mind tricks to do what he promised.

And now we’re back again, settled in to domesticity in our homeland, with at least 2 new subscribers to our blog and 1 likely new viewer of our Fall sessions. That’s the owner of the ice cream parlor, or café crème glacee (see, I did learn some French!), around the corner from our Montreal accommodations who I saw, oh, every 4 hours for 7 consecutive days before he finally asked, “What the heck is this CMEpalooza think you keep talking about?” Mon dieu, monsieur!

You’ll be hearing much more from us in these next few weeks – we promise – about our Fall meeting coming up on Wednesday, October 16, as we ramp up our preparations and connect with our panelists to see what kinds of kooky ideas they have spun off of our original concepts. Meanwhile, enjoy your last few hours of summer this Labor Day. Derek suggests a banana daiquiri.

The CMEpalooza Fall Agenda Has Arrived

Anyone else have a nagging spouse? I sure do!

(She doesn’t read the blog so she’ll never know I told you – mums the word, people)

But when it comes to Derek and I, it’s often up to me to play the role of the nagger to the nagee (is that a word? Let’s pretend for today that it is).

Day 1 Nag: “So, how are your sessions coming along for the Fall agenda? We gonna make our deadline of the end of the month?”

(Silence)

Day 2 Nag: “I repeat, how are your sessions coming along for the Fall agenda? We gonna make our deadline of the end of the month?”

(Crickets)

Day 3 Nag: “If you don’t answer me, I’m going to tell everyone in the blogosphere that you still wear Aquaman Underoos (It’s true. He does. Don’t ask me how I know). One more time — How are your sessions coming along for the Fall agenda? We gonna make our deadline of the end of the month?”

(Finally, a response)

“Sorry, I was busy watching replays of the Game 7 of the 1986 Philadelphia 76ers-Milwaukee Bucks series on YouTube. Can’t believe Doc missed the game winner. What am I supposed to be doing again?”

The man never lets me down.

But to Derek’s credit, as usual, he rose to the task, got himself organized, adjusted the waistline of his Aquaman Underoos, and got to work. He begged, pleaded, and cajoled. One success led to another, and then another, until, “Yes, Scott, yes, my sessions are ready. Sort of.”

And so, on this last day of July, we indeed have an agenda to present for CMEpalooza Fall. It’s pretty great. Click here for the CMEpalooza Fall agenda.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some laundry to do, groceries to buy, and plants to water. You’ll have to wait another week or two before we start telling you more.

Coming dear!