The search

I’ve been looking for a new job since I resigned as editor-in-chief of Industry Dive in January. It’s been a grind — more so than I expected.

A large part of this feeling comes because I’ve never had this experience. I’ve had no significant gap in employment in my entire decades-long journalism career, and regularly have been recruited for one effort or another over the years. I learned of jobs through colleagues for many years, and some of the nation’s best-known news sites reached out to me when they needed a new editor or manager.

But that obviously isn’t the case this time. My network has been terrific as always (some of them seem way angrier than I am about this situation), but it’s starting to be clear to me that, well, this time is different. I’ve actually been rather surprised by the non-response for some positions for which I feel incredibly qualified.

Still, I have options. One of the most likely is to take on one or two part-time gigs. With my wife still working a full-time job and able to provide benefits, this seems like the most likely alternative scenario. I also have far more financial flexibility than a lot of people who have walked this path.

Still, given my track record and experience, I’m surprised it’s come to this. I’m still hopeful things will come together. I don’t think I have much of an ego, but I feel my record speaks for itself (as will any number of journalists who have worked with me over the years). I’m also very self-driven and I know I have another act in me.

So hire me. I believe you’ll be glad you did.

Listen to the lyrics!

My blood pressure shot north when I heard there is going to be a Margaritaville development for seniors in Florida. That’s because nobody ever listens to the lyrics of songs. If “Margaritaville” the development matched “Margaritaville” the song, everyone living there would be heartbroken, broke, drunk, hopeless, injured, shoeless and have a tattoo of unknown origin. After the false advertising of the first verse, “Margaritaville” is not a happy song.

But nobody ever listens to the lyrics. They hear those jaunty steel drums and think, “Party time!” Well, like the song says, they haven’t a clue.

This happens all of the time in popular music. Sunday, I went to Hexagon, an annual satirical skit show that raises money for charity. One of the skits in the show featured a DJ taking requests for romantic song dedications. The first request was for “I Will Always Love You,” which the DJ angrily pointed out is a breakup song. Another caller requested “Every Breath You Take,” which the DJ even-more-angrily pointed out was a song about a stalker.

People never listen to the lyrics. This has gone on forever. When Bill Haley and the Comets covered Big Joe Turner’s “Shake, Rattle and Roll” way back in the 1950s, the censors picked up on the verse about old dresses and changed it, but they missed the one about the one-eyed cat peeping in a seafood store. So did most of White America, for whom the song had been sanitized. But that verse, as they say, contains a euphemism.

When I was 14, the No. 2 single for the entire year was Terry Jacks’ “Seasons in the Sun,” which sounds like a bittersweet end-of-relationship song until you actually listen to the lyrics. It’s actually a look back from someone who is about to die. It also sold more than 10 million copies. And until freakin’ 1997, my current residence of Virginia had an official state song that mentioned “darkies” and “massas.”

Even admittedly terrible songs fall prey to this. My personal choice for Worst Song of the Pop Era, “The Night Chicago Died,” starts with this line: “Daddy was a cop on the East Side of Chicago.” Um, buddy, the East Side of Chicago is better known as Lake Michigan.

Lyrics that don’t match up to the music are common. A well-known example is Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks,” which has a an upbeat, breezy melody as the song’s subject warns that the kids who hate him had better run faster than his bullet. And in late-season American Idol, I always enjoyed watching Harry Connick yell at adolescents singing Grace Potter’s “Paris.” The kids dug Potter’s voice and the overall power of the song. However, in that song, Potter pops off a whole bunch of pretty straightforward sexual pledges that perhaps you don’t want to hear from a 15-year-old.

Listen to the lyrics, people. Somebody put a lot of work into them.

Soccer: How did this happen?

I’m finally going to sit down this weekend and watch Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain play their historic Champions League match of last week. Huh?

That’s right: Somehow, I’ve come to care about this league, and La Liga, and (of course) the Premier League and even a little bit of the Bundesliga (a sidebar: if you ever wonder about the implications of re-arming Germany, watch a Bundesliga rival match or two. It’ll reaffirm your support for NATO).

I’ve had a vague interest in soccer for some time, but I think it was the ’94 World Cup here in America that first focused my attention. I’d be playing music in a bar in, say, Adams Morgan when a bunch of Danish people in soccer jerseys would suddenly show up, singing that earwormy “Ole!” song and obviously having the time of their lives. All of the attention caused me to watch a few of the matches, and even suffer through the achingly grinding (and dull) final that ended in a scoreless draw and was decided by penalty kicks.

After that, I glommed on a little to the nascent MLS, even though it meant going to games in horrible-even-then RFK Stadium. World Cups came and went and I became resigned to the fact that I was watching a sport where Ghana fielded a better national team than the USA. But my interest was very casual at best.

Then came 2010, when England played the US in the group round. That was the first time I saw Wayne Rooney, who looked exactly what I imagined an English soccer *fan* looked like, and it turned out that he was one of the best players in the world. But that didn’t stop the US from earning a 1-1 draw on a ridiculous, soft goal that still angers the English.

And then I discovered the Premier League. It aired on Saturday and Sunday mornings, a time when I could watch sports without ignoring my wife, and I was pulled into it bit by bit. I discovered the Champions League and then the various European national leagues through that route, and that was that.

In 2014, I sat in a bar with Chinatown with a bunch of coworkers while Tim Howard put on a performance for the ages for the USA in the World Cup. Unfortunately, his teammates weren’t up for the task, and they got beat by Belgium in the knockout round of the World Cup, and that only felt a little better than getting beaten by Ghana. But one of those coworkers is a multinational citizen and grew up in Europe. He looked around the bar and said, “I can’t believe people here are this excited about a soccer match!” I knew how he felt.

Rooney’s career is fading in England but Harry Kane has come along; he looks like he stepped right out of prep school and into a Spurs uniform but his brilliance is undeniable. Still, I rarely go to DC United games because RFK is even more of a dump these days; I half-expect a section of the seats, so long abused from decades of being shaken up and down, to collapse in some horrific accident. That’s likely to be the most interesting thing to happen there until the new stadium is completed, given the team’s modest aspirations and even more modest budget.

But the MLS is coming right along overall; it has some fan bases now that would make some European teams proud, and some great facilities. It’s getting away from using washed-up European players in attempt to gin up casual interest, instead pulling up exciting players from this hemisphere who might otherwise be playing in, say, an obscure Central American league. I predict it will compete for the world’s best players within my sporting lifetime.

I still watch soccer on weekend mornings, but with Premier League games available on demand on NBC sports, I increasingly watch it whenever I want. And when a match like PSG-Barca comes along, I know what it means. That’s not something I ever would have predicted.


The history of about 99.99999% of all blogs is this: Blog launches; a few weeks go by; blogger gets bored; blog gets abandoned.

I’ve done a lot better than that. I have kept Hokum running for more than a decade, but the reality is that these days, I feel like I’m in an uncreative loop when it comes to new posts. And in a Twitter and (shudder) Snapchat world, personal blogging seems as quaint and relevant as using a manual typewriter.

So — for now, anyway — I’m putting Hokum on mothballs. I reserve the right to fire it up again, when my personal time or motivation are in better places, but this is a good of a point as any to wave the checkered flag. And, hey, if you want something to read, there are 796 other posts here. You can start with this one, which isn’t my best, but it still might be my favorite.



P.S. What is -30-?