the Cmar Beard Awards

November has come and gone, and How Not To Grow A Beard Month is officially a matter of history for 2009. While David Moore and I were locked in bitter combat for first place on the last day, Mur surged ahead and won out in the end – congratulations, Mur! (This is only appropriate, as of all of us, she is 1. the least capable of growing a beard, which best exemplifies How Not To Grow one, and 2. has the most appreciable breasts, which we were collecting money for to save from cancer.)

Bob’s recap says it all, but I want to add my own copious thanks to all those who contributed. Your generosity on behalf of breast cancer research is outstanding, and truly blew us all away. Thank you.

It is now time to bequeath the Cmar Beard Awards for HoNoToGroABeMo 2009. These have nothing to do with donations, and everything to do with the glorious pictography of crackling virility hedges:

  • Best Beard Photo: There were many entertaining and creative entries these past 30 days. In the end, the nod goes to Jim Van Verth for Day 3: Me Abrasive Personality, as he demonstrated for us how to scrub cookware… LIKE MEN ONCE DID:
Rub, rub here, Rub, rub there, Whether you're tin or brass..., photo by Jim Van Verth from
Rub, rub here, Rub, rub there, Whether you're tin or brass..., photo by Jim Van Verth from
  • Man Most Exemplifying How Not To Grow A Beard: I’d like to say this one was close, but alas, it was not. As he himself prophesied, Jeff Greiner takes the prize.
The final beard?, photo by Jeff Greiner via
The final beard?, photo by Jeff Greiner via
  • Man Most Exemplifying How To Grow A Beard: For a month of trying to show how NOT to grow a beard, this one was surprisingly close. Given mane thickness, and a preserved neck-beard unblemished by the trimmer’s blade, Bob Voegerl wins the award.
The best plastic guitarist this side of 35., photo by Bob Voegerl from
The best plastic guitarist this side of 35., photo by Bob Voegerl from
  • Daily Commitment to the Task: Few had the stamina to start on Day 1 and produce a post for all 30 days, but Jeff, Jim, and Bob each gain this esteemed recognition. In addition to myself, that means that all four of us completed NaBloWriMo – National Blog Writing Month – as well.
  • Best-Spun Beardy Yarns: All participants strove to tell excellent tales this month. That said, the undisputed master of facial hair storytelling is Kris Johnson, as exemplified by his copiously-researched and amazingly accurate Better Know a Beard series.

To all the participants, it was a pleasure joining you in this nutty endeavor! To everyone else, I’ll merely note that only 332 days remain until HoNoToGroABeMo 2010, and this whole mad affair will start up again.

Finally, I shall leave you with the perfect footnote to HoNoToGroABeMo, discovered by Natalie Metzger. Thanks again to all!

The Institute for Science in Medicine

Professional medical societies exist to supply a public voice for physicians in areas concerning legislation, education, and medical practice. This is all the more important in the current climate of health care in the United States, where media reporting of medicine is often atrociously poor, and related politics are bogged down in special interests and agendas that have nothing to do with the scientific underpinnings of medical practice.

As such, it gave me great pleasure to learn of the formation of The Institute of Science-Based Medicine. From their website:

The ISM is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to promoting high standards of science in all areas of medicine and public health.  We are a watchdog group of medical professionals who believe the best science available should be used to determine health policy and establish a standard of care that protects and promotes the public health.  We oppose legislation that seeks to erode the science-based standard of care and expose the public to potentially fraudulent, worthless, or harmful medical practices or products.

The ISM was founded by an impressive roster of physicians and scientists, and has already started their legislative work with a press release about how the current health care reform bill endorses monetary support for pseudoscience and bad “medicine”. I look forward to what this group can accomplish, and fully support their efforts.