Saturday morning coffee [December 22 2012]

So much happens each and every week that it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Here are some of the tabs that are open in my browser this morning along with some random thoughts….

Christmas MugThe coffee mug to the right comes from Jason DeVillains, better known to many as The Cynical Pharmacist. Jason and I met via Twitter(@TheCynicalRPH) and have been chitchatting via the web ever since. This Christmas themed mug is one of four that he sent me a few weeks ago. And what do you know; it just so happens to be the perfect occasion to bust out a Christmas mug. Boo-ya!  Jason also blogs over at The Cynical Pharmacist. Check it out.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was #1 at the box office last weekend. No surprise there. It did a respectable $85 Million, which is a record for weekend openings in December besting the previous record holder, I Am Legend’s $77 Million. My family and I contributed to the Hobbit’s box office success by going to see it last Sunday. Was it good? Yes, of course. Was it great? No, I don’t think it was. It was visual appealing, and never boring, but it was hard for me to wrap my brain around the idea of a trilogy of movies based on the book. I definitely recommend you see it on the big screen.

– Just in case you didn’t know, or weren’t paying attention, it’s almost Christmas. I love this time of year. Not for the commercialization of everything under the sun, but for the goodwill that comes out of people and the opportunity to spend time with friends and family. My kids are both out of school for a couple of weeks and I’m officially on vacation until the end of the year. This all adds up to a great time around the Fahrni compound. By the way, you’ll get “Merry Christmas” from me, non of this “Happy Holidays” crap.

– Favorite Christmas songs anyone? Me? I’m a sucker for the classics: “White Christmas”, “The Christmas Song”, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”, “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, and so on. There are a few not-so-classics that I like as well, but the classics really bring it home for me. In fact, I’m listening to Christmas Radio on Pandora at this very moment. Good stuff.

…”Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” – Frank Sinatra

– If you’re reading this then you’ve survived the Mayan Apocalypse. Congratulations. Here’s a little NASA video to help explain why. “NASA experts recently gathered in a Google hangout to share their findings.” Cool.

…”My Favorite Things” – Kenny G

– Google kicked out a couple of Christmas videos featuring Android this week. I thought this one was pretty cool. Gotta’ love anything featuring Santa.

…“Jingle Bells” – Dean Martin

– Last weekend I was forced into buying a cup of coffee from Starbucks while Christmas shopping with my wife and kids; I was in desperate need. Anyway, it tasted like crap. I typically avoid Starbucks unless I’m going to get a frou-frou drink of some kind; their sugar-free Mocha is pretty good. However, the bitter taste of their coffee made me curious, “what makes coffee bitter”. An article at Gizmodo helped answer that question. “[Coffee] flavor is tied to the extraction….. When it’s overextracted—when too many solids are pulled out—it tends to taste bitter….”since they [Starbucks] discovered you can use less coffee by grinding finer, they’re using 20 percent less coffee, so they’re extracting more,” making it bitter.” There you go.

…”O Holy Night (Live)” – Josh Groban

– There’s an interesting article at Medscape Pharmacists debating whether or not healthcare providers should use single-use vials more than once. Both the CDC and ISMP don’t recommended using a single-use vial more than once, but the drug shortage and common practice has many using these vials more than one time. My opinion on the matter is simple: if you’re in a sterile environment, i.e. a pharmacy cleanroom, and you want to use a single-use vial to make multiple IV’s at the same time then go right ahead. However, if you’re outside that environment, like a nursing unit, don’t do it.

…”Frosty The Snowman” – Bing Crosby

ISMP has a great write-up about the NECC Compounding tragedy, some historical perspective, and thoughts on the future. The take home message is a good one: “While we have read comments in the media that suggest a commitment to ensuring that all the responsible staff at the New England pharmacy are identified and punished, we cannot support the outcome bias that accompanies such a proclamation. We remind our colleagues that the latest event is a symptom of a broken system on many levels and that there are a multitude of victims that deserve our support and compassion.”

Batman Logo

…”Jingle Bell Rock” – Bobby Helms

Calm The Ham has a great infographic that covers the evolution of the Batman logo from 1940 to 2012. A 24” x 35” poster will run you $59.99. Totally worth it. Think it’s too late to add to my Christmas list? Nah, it’s never too late.

…”Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” – Brenda Lee

– One of the Holy Grails of healthcare has always been to reduce patient length of stay (LOS); reduced LOS equals dollars saved. However, healthcare providers have always maintained that kicking a patient out the door too soon will not only fail to save you money, but cost you more because the patient is at higher risk to bounce back in, i.e. be readmitted. A recent  article in Annals of Internal Medicine concludes that “as LOS improved, hospital readmission did not increase.” The conclusion comes from an observational study of 129 acute care VA hospitals between 1997 and 2010. While it’s good information to have, it’s not necessarily applicable to all hospitals. The VA utilizes an aggressive outpatient follow up strategy with patients.

….”It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – Andy Williams

– Here’s an angle on medication adherence that I’ve not heard before: drug companies should push for adherence because it costs them money. That’s the take in a recent Forbes article. “Pharmaceutical companies lose an estimated $188 billion annually in revenues in the U.S. because patients fail to take their prescribed medications.” The article goes on to present some interesting data on medication adherence. It’s worth ten minutes of your time.

…”The Christmas Song” – Tony Desare

BookRx is an interesting site built by students at Northwestern University’s Knight Lab.  BookRx scans your Twitter account and creates a list of recommended books based on your interests. It’s pretty cool.


…”Up On The House” – Gene Autry

– Lifehacker has a great article on their Most Popular Featured Workspaces of 2012. Obviously there are some great workspaces featured here, but my favorite has to be the streamlined workspace from Joshua Topolsky, co-founder and editor of tech news site The Verge. It’s simple, yet elegant. In this case less is more.


…”Christmas Canon” – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

– Google+ now backs up all my mobile photos in full size. “Upload saves your mobile photos and videos privately on Google+ so you’ll never lose a memory, even if you lose your phone. With the latest Google+ Android app, all new photos and videos are now backed up at full size.” I didn’t give the instant upload thing in Google+ much thought at first, but I’ve come to love how quick and easy it is. I simply shoot a photo with my smartphone and a few seconds later it’s sitting in my Google+ account.


…”All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey

– And this just because I thought it was funny.

…”White Christmas” – Ella Fitzgerald

– I almost hate to get into this, and I’ve avoided saying anything, but I recently read an article at KevinMD that really resonated with me. A gun owner responds to Sandy Hook:“The thing is, we didn’t want to talk about this. We wanted to let people grieve, to try and find solutions to unpredictable events.  The gun control crowd politicized this first. They launched into the predictable tirades against the very people who, after all, didn’t commit the crime.  So we’ve responded. The arguments and tirades go on and on.  But here’s the salient point.  I didn’t do it.  I hate that it happened.  I grieve for lost children and teachers, for hurting family members.  But I didn’t do it. My guns didn’t do it.  My friends didn’t do it, and neither did their guns.” I was brought up in a small town by my grandparents from a bygone generation. We used guns. I was raised with guns. Shooting them, cleaning them, respecting them. I now own guns, several guns, and they stay safely put away until I’m able to go out and safely fire them. My children know I own them, and I’ve taken the time to teach them to properly fire them and care for them. I believe they are safer around guns if they understand and respect them. Purchasing them was no picnic. I had to be fingerprinted, they had to run a background check on me, and I had to wait two weeks before I could pick up my purchase.  I’m ok with that. I’ve never raised a weapon at anyone, ever, and never plan to. So what does that have to do with the tragedy that recently took place? Nothing, absolutely nothing. And I suppose that’s my point. Just my thoughts.

…”A Holly Jolly Christmas” – Burl Ives

Have a great weekend everyone. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

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