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March-April 2008 Briefing
In This Briefing:
The Yahoo Group PsorChat has been around for about seven years and has been a fixture in the FlakeHQ navigation bar (top of pages) for almost five years. This update's interviewee is the fellow who launched PsorChat and who has continued in his role as "chief administrator" of the group since its inception.
Rob lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and runs a small publishing and marketing company called RT Squared. He started PsorChat in July of 2001. When he is not working or moderating PsorChat posts he can be found hiking on pieces of the Appalachian Trail with his two dogs or traveling with his wife, Rhonda. When I asked Rob to email me some biographical information, he included these lines: "He does not have poison ivy, is aware that he has a rash on his arms and legs, and is sure it's not contagious but will say that it is if you've been rude about it. If you've been really rude, he'll say it's anthrax. His books What Are You Looking At? and Stop Staring have yet to be written but are certain to be best sellers." Therein shows the sense of humor that contains infinite patience, lots of tolerance and commitment to people. These are the traits that make Rob an online administrator appropriate to the job, and the group that he administers a pleasure to be part of. Click here to go to the FlakeHQ Interviews home page, or here to skip directly to the Rob Traister Interview.
You've noticed a new text box at the top of this update's Briefing. The important element in that box is the "Contact Congress Now" button. FlakeHQ is only the 'latest' home for this important button. When you click on this button you will open a special page at Psoriasis-Cure-Now.org that automates the process of writing to your Federal Senators and Representatives (you don't even have to know their names).
Impressive increases in federal funding for psoriasis research have been achieved in the past two years; however, we're still about $40 million beneath the level of funding we would have had psoriasis funding kept up with increases in other disease funding since 1995. We literally cannot afford complacency at this point. We're pleased at the greater legislative awareness and improved funding that organizations like the National Psoriasis Foundation and Psoriasis Cure Now have helped bring about, but it's still up to each of us to do our part. Writing to your Federal Representatives and Senators could not be easier. Please do it. Start by clicking on the button in the box.
If you're not reading this on the day it's posted, I'm glad. It may mean you are with the group in Washington, D.C. If you are a member of the National Psoriasis Foundation, you know that Capitol Hill Day (CHD) has become a perennial event. Each year I think the group gets larger and, from what I've heard, the event is fun as well as fruitful. The Foundation and Psoriasis Cure Now have got some momentum going in D.C. and it's something we all need to be thankful for and support. We know that P has a genetic component, and if we have children they're carrying the appropriate genes, whether it's triggered in them as individuals, or not. Drugs are getting better and soon, I hope, the best of them will become more widely available (which means, in part, more affordable). Drugs can make life with P bearable. So far there is no cure, and that's one of the things CHD is working toward. When Congress provides the funding AND the mandate for federally sponsored research toward a cure for psoriasis, they are enabling the kind of activities that go beyond drug research. We've lived for centuries without a cure for P and until the last fifty years we could shake our heads and say, "We can't get to the bottom of the cause, so we don't know what to fix." Well NOW we can see the bottom of the cause. We may not be able to explain it in atomic detail, yet, but we are better able now to concentrate our research than we've ever been. No one wants this research to lose momentum, because we are near the cusp of real breakthroughs. Now is when we need a larger surge of financial support than ever before, and a mandate that directs disbursement of those funds. So, as I write this, my heart and mind is with the folks headed for D.C. They are on a mission that's very important to all of us. Good luck!
Psoriasis Cure Now has published a 2008 wall calendar that nearly accomplishes the impossible. That is, through the stories of 16 different people, the harsh realities of living with psoriasis are explained; but, at the same time the exquisite photography and graphic design actually make the subject look good. Copies of the calendar are available along with a DVD containing Psoriasis Cure Now video contest finalist entries for $15. For the full story, click here.
Dermacinz is a zinc-based topical available in the UK and about which several success stories have been posted at FlakeHQ (see "Dermacinz" in the Archives). In the Nov-Dec 2006 Briefing I forwarded an announcement I received that Dermacinz now had a North American Distributor. This February (2008) I heard from Eddie Houston, Managing Director of Dermalogics International, who wrote he had been in negotiation with the fellow who reported his North American distribution deal to me, but it had fallen through when Dermalogics learned he was trying to steal the formula. I immediately tried the web site for DermacinzUSA and, sure enough, it's "dead."
Ever wondered if any popular writers had P? Read "Writers with Skin Like Ours," this months poem from Sherry Sheehan. I'll not ruin the surprise by telling you who she's named. Click here for the Sherry Sheehan page at FlakeHQ, or here to go directly to the poem.
"Chapter 3: Let's 'Face' It" was added several weeks ago to the online version of Flake: Confessions of a Psoriatic and with this update I'm adding "Chapter 4: The Truth and the Sentence" and "Chapter 5: Body Parts." Click here for the Flake: Confessions contents page.
There's still a "Search" block on the FlakeHQ home page, but the engine behind it is new to our site. And we've made something of a "trade off" to bring it about. The Google custom search feature is a far superior search engine to the one that's been serving FlakeHQ.com for the past several years. What I like best about Google searches are the results, which don't just list page titles but also includes snippets of text from the pages. All of that works at FlakeHQ now. Your results show up on a separate page or pages (depending on the number of hits) and — here's the trade off — the results page will display Google Ads on the right side. FlakeHQ has nothing to do with the selection of these ads; but they are "keyed" by the search you do. I've been playing around with it for several days, now, and am enthralled by some of the products advertised. Interestingly, some of them have been mentioned in FlakeHQ and, if you search on that product name, you'll find the pro or con opinions expressed here about the product. Obviously, accepting the ads was a lip-biting decision, but in exchange for doing so there is no fee for the search engine service. Let me know what you think about the new search service. -Ed