Sunday, February 11, 2007

'Round the Sphere: a Rumble, Gangsta Jive, and Doggie Prozac Biscuits

Some weird sightings were made in the Pharma Blogosphere last week. Here's a partial list.

Rumble between Mack and Rost
Hey, if I'm not part of the pharma blogosphere news, then what am I doing here? It started out with me calling Peter Rost, beloved by all (except the pharma industry) blogger at Question Authority, a spammer (see "Rost Spams!").

I should have used a question mark instead of an exclamation point because Rost defended himself against the charge and seemingly took it up a notch in his blog (see "Pharmablogosphere: Spam or libel?"). You can see that Rost really knows when to use the question mark!

In any case, I saw the error of my ways and apologized ("Rost Raises the Issue of Libel: My Apology") and Rost accepted the apology ("Apology accepted, John!").

As Rost says, "A good fight can be entertaining . . ." Cary Byrd at eDrugSearch agrees (see "Rost vs. Mack: Let’s get ready to RUM-BLLLLLE!").

Whether or not it helps Peter sell T-shirts or The Pharma Blogosphere hone its image and readership, remains to be seen.

Gangsta Jive and Other Gadgets
It amazes me how bloggers in the pharma blogosphere are always finding ways to jazz or rather jive up their sites and entertain readers.

Of course, some sites, IMHO, are dull -- they lack even the pretense of entertaining their visitors. Many do not even include static graphics and photos. I'd put Drug Wonks and Pharma Gazette in this category. I won't say just yet how well these sites are doing in The First Ever Pharma Blogosphere Survey, but if you are a regular of those sites, you should participate in the survey and help their ratings! Is all I'm saying.
Other sites frequently use graphics, cartoons, and YouTube videos to entertain visitors. Recently, even more entertaining gadgets have appeared.

PharmaGossip was first to use a translator to develop a Gansta jive version of the blog called PharmaGizzle (see "Now PharmaGizzle joins the Blogosphere"). Question Authority soon followed suit.
"Fo all you beotches who wanna find shinit" and the gangsta version of this blog, click here. It's pretty cool.
I'm a little worried, however, that the Gizoogle translator adds a bit more than the original blogger had intended.

For example, here's how the Gizoogle translated a section of my recent post entitled "Early Bird Blogger vs the Journalist", which, now that I think of it, should have been entitled "Early Bird Blogger Beats the Journalist."
"Today, for example, I wrote about GSK's anti-smoking campaign antics (see "GSK: Don't Go Cold Turkey!"). This piece was published at 6:45 AM."

"Today, fo' example, I wrote 'bout GSK's saggin' campaign antics (see "GSK: Don't Go Cold Turkey! ") . Ya fuck with us, we gots to fuck you up. This piece was published at 6:45 AM gangsta style."
Where the f**k did "Ya fuck with us, we gots to fuck you up." come from? Is that just a gangsta jive phrase thrown in randomly? Or did Gizoogle read my thoughts between the lines, thoughts I didn't even know I had until I read this translation?

Scary stuff!

Speaking of scary, Rost continues to freak me out -- but in a good way! He added an animated female avatar "personal assistant" named "Danielle" to his Question Authority site.

Danielle urges visitors to look around and not to forget to "pick up a T-shirt or a book on the way out."

That's not the freaky part. After Danielle finishes her welcome speech, her head and eyes track your mouse as it moves around the page. Sometimes, you have to poke Danielle in the eye to recapture her attention, especially if you wander outside the main frame.

The avatar is a creation of SitePal and you can get a free trial version at, which promises that adding an agent to your site will "spice it up" and "increase client conversions." I haven't tried it ...yet!

I'd like to work for SitePal, because I have a whole raft of ideas for upgrades. For example, you should be able to tag each element (graphic, piece of text) of the page so that when the cursor floats over it the avatar says something about that element. This way Peter could have the avatar say something like this as you mouse over a T-shirt:
"Oh! That would look so cool on you! I'd go out with you in a minute if you wore that T-shirt! It's only $24.99. You can afford that, easy!"
But the avatar should be floating around so that you can see it as you scroll down below the fold.

How about it SitePal, do I have the job?

P.S. I'm not sure if Gizoogle or SitePal is to blame, but when exploring these sites I noticed that FireFox slowed to a crawl and I had problems switching between tabs, saving edits to this post, etc. This could be a side effect of using too much cool stuff to jazz up your site!

Doggie Prozac Biscuits
Someone wrote me about her 13+year old chow/australian shep. mix who is "sometimes extremely restless and acts anxious." I was happy to inform her that Lilly had a new "innovative" drug for that called "Reconcile," which is just plain old Prozac in chewable doggie biscuit form (see "Prozac for Over Anxious Doggie Syndrome").

While I focused on the fact that Over Anxious Doggie Syndrome (OADS) is a real medical condition afflicting at least 50% of dogs in the US (according to Reconcile spokesdog Lassie), Ed Silverman over at Pharmalot focused on the possible side effects, including doggie suicide (see "Fido Has Separation Anxiety? Try Prozac")!

It just goes to show that I see the doggie bag half-full whereas Ed sees it half-empty!

And that's all I have to say.

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