Malcolm Gladwell Just Provided the Tipping Point to My Understanding of Country Music

Now I know the ingredients of a tear jerking country song.

I’ve lived in Nashville for almost 40 years, but I’ve learned more about country music in the past 40 minutes than I had in all those years.

The current episode of Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History, is titled “King of Tears.” It centers on a talk Gladwell had in Nashville recently with legendary songwriter Bobby Braddock, now in his 70s. (Minor spoiler: He’s the person being referenced to in the title of the episode.

You may not know who Braddock is, but you’ll be tracking down all of the songs he wrote by the time the podcast episode ends.

While the short version of what Kings of Tears is about is this: Gladwell seeks and finds out, “What it is about some kinds of that makes us cry.”

I finally have an answer to those questions.

Just listen.

Here is a link to “King of Tears.”

(Sidenote: The Revisionist History website includes links to a couple of books Gladwell refers to in the episode and provides links to the various ways you can subscribe to future episodes.)

When Searching for a Satirical Legal Document, Don’t Use the Words Satirical and Legal

Turns out, funny legal documents are a thing.

Until I read this funny parody of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) on NewYorker.com, I had never considered the possibility that satirical legal document humor could be a thing. Perhaps that’s because while jokes about lawyers are funny, legal documents aren’t — except to lawyers or people forced to sign documents written by them.

Quote from parody NDA:

FINALLY, Contractor agrees never to disclose to anybody, including and ESPECIALLY himself/herself, that he/she has only taken this job because signing an N.D.A. made it seem more important than it probably is, and deep down he/she is a little disappointed about where he/she is at this point in his/her life.

Wondering if there were other examples of this kind of legal document humor, I did a Google search and found that Google was incapable of finding anything that has “legal” and “satire” in the same sentence that was legal satire. Despite spending billions on artificial intelligence, Google couldn’t guess that I was using legal and parody in the same sentence to see if I could find parodies about legal documents.

So I stopped looking.

Then, a few days later, just like when you wake up in the morning after not being able to solve a crossword puzzle word the night before and suddenly you know the word, I thought to myself, just use the word “funny” instead of parody. It worked.

Turns out, funny legal documents are a thing.

Update: My Decade Old ‘9 Steps of Political Scandals

My decade-old list has been cited in subsequent scandals

Ten years ago I posted on this blog a chronological list of fill-in-the-blank steps called “The 9 Steps of Political Scandals.” I wrote then, “It doesn’t matter what the politician does — accept bribes, shoplifts or, well, just fill in the blank.” Since then, my list has been cited in subsequent scandals. Here is the list:

1. Politician _______s.
2. Rumors circulate that politician ________s.
3. Politician denies rumors.
4. Politician caught _____ing.
5. Politician says, “I did not _____, it was a misunderstanding.”
6. Politician blames media and bloggers.
7. Past partners, victims or witnesses show up to prove politician _______s all the time.
8. Politician admits he’s __________ed.
9. Politician apologizes to his family and to those who trusted him, blames it on alcohol and enters rehab.

I have two update observations.

(1) The list is not limited to politicians. It works for licentious VCs.

(2) I’ve discovered that at least one politician is impervious to scandals, and thus, this list.

A Surprising Role Model for Turning Content Into Knowledge


I wrote this for Hammock Inc.’s Idea Email.


Click the photo to find the Library Journal cover story about the Nashville Public Library being named U.S. Library of the Year. (Note: This photo is a thumbnail of a wonderful photo shot by my friend and photographer hero, Bob Shatz.)

Because an Idea Email is sent every other week to subscribers across the United States and globally, we try to keep our references universal, not local. But when something big happens a few blocks from the Nashville office we call Hammock HQ, we can’t help wanting to share.

And no, I’m not talking about the unprecedented way in which locals (including us) have gone nuts over the success of the Nashville Predators and their first appearance in the finals of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoff (#GoPreds).

I’m talking about the Nashville Public Library being named Library of the Year by the trade publication Library Journal. You can read all the reasons why here in the magazine’s cover story.

Because the word library is associated with the physical book (or codex), many have mistakenly placed libraries on the endangered species list. But in addition to the resources and programs great public and academic libraries have embraced in the digital age, these libraries also serve as role models for making content—the core value a company provides its customers—organized and accessible.

The professionals who run libraries are experts in gathering and organizing information critical to workers and customers (or any audience served). They are trained in creating ever-changing taxonomies of knowledge. They’re on the frontlines of finding new ways information can be there when you need it—not just when a writer clicks submit.

As we move into an era of more complex digital media, the skills of trained librarians (and the many other titles they go by) will increasingly become a model for capturing, organizing and making accessible the knowledge that gives your organization a unique and unbeatable competitive advantage.

Wait. Did I just write the word “unbeatable”? #GoPreds

The Funniest New Yorker Video Ever (That Refers to the National Magazine Award)

This video is hilarious. Or maybe it’s not.

Wow. This video produced by the New Yorker was posted on YouTube (below) a week ago and has already been viewed 850 whole times. This may not sound like it’s a lot, but it’s hipster-viral.

It’s one of those Freudian things about humor not being funny unless it’s not, or something like that.

Anywho.

For some reason, about 1/2 of the comments on the YouTube video are about how dumb it is.

Those commenters obviously don’t get the joke. They are probably the same people who don’t read poems in the New Yorker because the poems don’t rhyme or make sense.

Or perhaps they don’t understand the way that humor about Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, isn’t funny because of, well, Freudian things.

Whatever.

Me. I like this video because of its nuanced commentary on the value of winning a National Magazine Award. (Spoiler: $2).

Enjoy! (Or not.)