Small fish in a big pond

"I will admit to having developed an irrational dislike of it that’s out of all proportion to its actual impact or relevance. After all, it’s merely a small turd in the big pharma blog swimming pool. And sure, you don’t have to look at it or even go near it, but just knowing it’s there taints the whole experience." ~ PharmaGiles

Why is everyone deciding to give up now? Is this a bug going around akin to the flu?

When You Care to Send the Very Best

Hallmark has really outdone itself now. The Trouble With Spikol linked to an ABC News article that revealed Hallmark’s new line of cards: Journeys. The new “sensitive” line of cards covers just about everything in the merged “Get Well Soon”/”Sympathy” category.

      • Congratulations
      • Divorce
      • Eating Disorder
      • Friendship
      • Grief, traumatic loss
      • Inspirational
      • Leaving a bad situation
      • Losing hair from treatments
      • Miscarriage Post-partum depression
      • Quitting a bad habit
      • Significant anniversary
      • Thank you for being there
      • Thank hospice worker
      • Thinking of you
      • Tough times
      • Waiting for results
      • You can do it!

Anything you can think of, Hallmark’s just about got it all. “Thank hospice worker???” Even a card for gays coming out. It’s just weird. I feel like this is a gag akin to that I read (and fell for) at Furious Seasons.

I have to get on my soapbox for a minute here. Really, how did Hallmark’s Editorial Department think this up? How do you express your feelings to someone with an eating disorder? “You’ll get better soon! Just look at Katharine McPhee from American Idol!” Umm…

“Theresa Steffens, an assistant product manager at Hallmark, said a majority of online and focus group respondents said they couldn’t find what they were looking for when needing an encouragement card.

‘Either the consumer said they were walking away from the display or they were just unhappy with the card that they purchased, so we saw this as a huge opportunity,’ Steffens said.

Customers said they wanted cards dealing with more real-life situations.

‘They said, ‘I don’t know what to say during a difficult time, so I don’t say anything at all,’ Steffens said. So again there’s an opportunity there to help them talk through these tough situations that they’re dealing with and to foster that communication.'”

  • Leaving a bad situation: “I know you’ll succeed and walk away from this stronger than you ever imagined.” Oh wait, that’s plausible.
  • Losing hair from treatments: Don’t get me wrong; I’ve had a friend with cancer, but I’m not quite sure what you’d say to this. “Remember: beauty comes from within.” Dangit, that’s plausible too.
  • Miscarriage postpartum depression: Uhh… I’d need to see a card for this. I really can’t come up with a good one. “Don’t worry! There’s always the next round!” It’d suck to get something like that if doctors said that the (almost) mom could no longer conceive.
  • Quitting a bad habit: “Good for you! We all support you and stand behind you as you kick your bad habit of biting your fingernails!” Good grief if that card exists.

ABC News found an example for a card for depression:

“When the world gets heavy, remember, I’m here to help carry it with you.”

It’s a nice gesture, but it would mean nothing if there person who gave it never really called or visited afterward. At least writer Sarah Muller of Hallmark realized the sensitive potential of these cards:

“Writing the cards proved a challenge because the messages were designed to take a more personal approach than the standard sympathy card, said card writer Sarah Mueller.

“You can’t send somebody who is seriously depressed a ‘cheer-up’ card because it’s insulting and it doesn’t help,” Mueller said. “That’s what depression does, is it makes you feel like you’re all alone. So just being able to write something, the attempt was just to say, ‘I’m here.'”

It’ll be interesting to see how well Journeys does and whether it’ll still be around a year or two from now. Below is a card that I kind of found displeasing:

Hallmark Card

Maybe I need a better sense of humor with this.

I don't have a cold; I am a cold

I’ve been wanting to comment on this for a while, and The Last Psychiatrist reminded me about it:

(NB: "the patient has bipolar," not "the patient is bipolar.")

Precisely. Who goes around linking their illness to who they are? It sounds ridiculous to say, "I am cancer" or "I am diabetes." People have depression; they struggle with bipolar disorder; they suffer from anemia.

I suppose I understand the mistake. (Grammar lesson, folks.) When people refer to themselves as bipolar, it’s being used as a predicate adjective. Americans do this commonly in the English language: "I am ill" as opposed to "I have an illness." Or perhaps, "I am anemic" instead of "I have anemia." It’d be confusing, however, for a person to declare, "I am cold" instead of "I have a cold."

So what’s today’s lesson, kids? Tell people that you have an illness as opposed to saying that you are an illness. Your personality will be less inclined to take a beating.

Credit goes to my husband for reminding me that a linking verb is followed by a predicate adjective. (I initially got the adjective part.) So much for me and my English degree.

Blogs vs. Mainstream Media

“Mr. [James B.] Gottstein, [a lawyer from Alaska, who was pursuing unrelated litigation for mentally ill patients in his state], sends [Dr. David Egilman, a consulting witness in ongoing litigation against Lilly] a subpoena for copies. Hell begins breaking loose.” – Tom Zeller, Jr. in The New York Times

I think Furious Seasons originally linked to this (I can’t remember the source of the post), but I read this on the NYT and had a few thoughts, regarding brick-and-mortar courts vs. “teh Internets.”

Warning: Rant ahead.

I can’t help but think back to the 2004 showdown between Dan Rather and CBS (endearingly named Rathergate) vs. political blogs regarding a memo about George W. Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. From NewsMax:

“Added [Matthew] Sheffield [of]: A virtual think-tank was born… Forty-seven posts later, a person who called himself ‘Buckhead’ offered the proposition that he thought the documents were forgeries.’

Sheffield and his Web site jumped on the bandwagon, searching the Web for experts on 1970’s typewriters. Another blogger site,, raised the question of forgery. ‘Matt Drudge and his then linked to the Powerline piece, and the story took off,’ recounted Sheffield.”

Someone please tell Drudge about Zyprexa, Risperdal, Cymbalta, Seroquel, Abilify, and blah blah blah, psych med, blah blah blah.

“Some media observers now contend the “Blogosphere” is rapidly replacing CBS and the rest of the mainstream media.

“You’ll note that several blogs rank higher than mid-size daily newspapers and some are pushing the sites of papers in the top 50 (by daily circulation). The data suggest that the question isn’t “When will blogs arrive?” but rather “Blogs HAVE arrived, what now?” [said Kevin Aylward of Wizbangblog.]”

I’ll probably have a string of quotes from the newsmax article, but I will eventually get to my point.

I quoted this previously, but it’s worth requoting:

“It’s great that [Philip] Dawdy [of Furious Seasons] has stepped up for a huge, mainly voiceless population, but on the other hand, it’s weird to see citizen journalists so responsible for watchdogging our mental health industry. When we hear newspapers complain about declining readership, we can’t help but think it’s mainly because — gosh, this is awkward — the shit they’re reporting on isn’t newsworthy. And this shit is.” – Seattlest

Continue reading “Blogs vs. Mainstream Media”

Simply Hating A Wonderful Christmas Time

The worst Christmas song ever.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Paul McCartney. I love Paul McCartney and Wings. I love The Beatles. But that song far outweighs anything I could ever stand. As Best Week Ever comedian Christian Finnegan put it:

"If this (isn’t) the worst song ever recorded, I’m not sure what is. . . . I fully expect that Wonderful Christmastime is what’s piped through Hell’s stereo system while Satan pierces your genitals with burning rods."

I couldn’t have said it better myself.