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Five Unromantic “Hearts”

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Today is a day for hearts: Ones that are given, ones that are won over and ones that are filled with tasty chocolates. But if I may, here are five more hearts that are worthy of consideration. They aren’t romantic, but they’re full of soul.

YOUR CHEATIN’ HEART

There’s a very good reason that everyone from Louis Armstrong to LeAnn Rimes has recorded this song. It has a plaintive purity drenched in heartache. As performed by its author, Hank Williams, it’s also a masterpiece. He reels everyone in by the second line, “You cry and cry and try to sleep,” and has us nodding knowingly by the time he gets to, “Your cheatin’ heart will tell on you.” The song was released in 1953, after Williams’ death.

YOUNG @ HEART

Truly an inspiring piece of work, “Young @ Heart” is a 2007 documentary about a senior citizen chorus in Northampton, Mass. The film is both hilarious and heartbreaking. There is a moment when an old man sits in a chair and sings the Coldplay song, “Fix You,” that will give your emotions a profound workout.

THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER

Young artists also inspire. In this case, Carson McCullers was only in her early 20s when her great novel was published in 1940. It is the story of a deaf man, John Singer, and his encounters with various people in a small Georgia town, including an awkward girl and a union organizer. The book was revelatory for me, as it was for so many readers, detailing the degree to which we yearn for human connection while being tragically unable to clearly see even the people directly in our midst.

BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE

If you have kids, at some point or another they come home from high school and mention they’re reading this book for class. You know what this means: In the near future, you will need to sit down with your sweet kid, put an arm around their shoulders and say, “Yes, this happened. It was awful, and it happened.” Dee Brown’s book about what happened to Native American tribes in the late 1800s was published in 1970. It will leave you reeling long before you get to the fate of the Sioux at Wounded Knee, S.D.

THE TELL-TALE HEART

Short stories don’t get any better than Edgar Allan Poe’s classic take on murder and guilt, “The Tell-Tale Heart.” If you haven’t read it since you were a kid, take another look. The writing is miraculous in its pacing and heightened tension. It’s just as effective now as it must have been in 1843.

So that’s five and we’ve barely scratched the surface. What are some of YOUR essential “hearts”?

50 New Ways to Leave Your Lover

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Thanks to an abundance of ingenuity in our modern world, there’s been a real explosion in the number of ways you can leave your lover. Here are some of them, with apologies to the great Paul Simon. (Note: If all else fails, you still can slip out the back, Jack.)

CHARGE UP THE VOLT, HOLT

TEXT HER YOU’RE THROUGH, DREW

CHANGE STATUS TO “DONE,” SON

BUY A NEW PHONE, SLOANE

SHOOT HER A TWEET, PETE

CALL IT A #FAIL, DALE

FIND A GOOD APP, CHAP

ASK SIRI FOR ADVICE, BRYCE

GRAB THE XBOX AND GO, BRO

WEAR YOUR BIG-BOY PANTS, LANCE

SET THE GPS, WES

OCCUPY A NEW SCENE, GENE

GIVE HER SOME SPACE, CHASE

Add to the List! Oh, and one more thing…

Christmas Carols 2011

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Some folks like their Christmas carols the traditional way, with nary a nod to changing times. That’s cool. Me, I’m open to a little tinkering. In that spirit, try these updated carols on for size.

FELIZ NAVIDUDE

DROID TO THE WORLD

I SAW MOMMY KISSING HERMAN CAIN

THE LITTLE BIEBER BOY

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE I MISMANAGED MY RETIREMENT ACCOUNT

SIRI, BABY

O HOLY TEBOW

DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR? HOW ABOUT NOW? DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR NOW?

IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT TWEET

Wii THREE KINGS OF ORIENT ARE

UP ON A LAPTOP

HERE WE GO A KINDLE-ING

I’LL BE IN THE CLOUD FOR CHRISTMAS

Join the fun and add to the List!

Hold That Colon (Punctuation Make-overs)

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If you’re like me, you often take your colon for granted. Same goes for your comma, dash, exclamation point and other keyboard hieroglyphics. But with National Punctuation Day coming up later this week (Sept. 24), I decided to see what a few pop culture standards would look like with some punctuation tweaks. Here goes.

DR. WHO?

A GROOVY (KIND OF) LOVE

MOBY: DICK

OH. CALCUTTA.

BLOWIN’ IN: THE WIND

LARRY KING – LIVE?

TURN! TURN! TURN!

BRIDGE > TROUBLED WATER

DANCES, WITH WOLVES

A DAY IN “THE LIFE”

SCHINDLER’S LIST!

M&A&S&H

A TREE GROWS – IN BROOKLYN?

#OKLAHOMA

PLEASE DON’T; EAT THE DAISIES

GOOD…FELLAS?

BRILLIANT DISGUISE!

* AND THE MYSTERIANS

SHAWSHANK: REDEMPTION

BOB/CAROL/TED/ALICE

EASY, RIDER

IT’S A MAD-MAD?MAD(MAD) WORLD

Now it’s your turn. Add to the List!

5 Jolts of Joy

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It’s Friday, folks. Time to pry our eyes away from the stock market and the President’s poll numbers for a few minutes. And what better way to jumpstart the weekend than to partake of some pop culture jolts of joy.

GEORGE CARLIN’S BASEBALL AND FOOTBALL ROUTINE

I’ve listened to this at least 100 times over the years and it’s always funny. Thanks, George.

MONTY PYTHON’S MINISTRY OF SILLY WALKS

John Cleese is my favorite Python. This is one of his best bits.

THE NICHOLAS BROTHERS FROM ‘STORMY WEATHER’

I love everything about this: the music, the electricity, the dance moves that swirl like tornadoes.

BULLWINKLE J. MOOSE

Before Spongebob and Homer Simpson, there was this guy. Here, he offers a fine parody of the TV cop show.

SLEDGEHAMMER

I’ll always be indebted to Peter Gabriel (and a certain pair of dancing chickens) for this song.

Have a great weekend, people!

Classic Bands, Rebooted

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Since everything from “Star Trek” to the Smurfs seems to be getting an upgrade these days, I’d say it’s high time to reboot a few music franchises that have gotten dusty over the years. See what you think of these, for starters:

STRAWBERRY iPOD

BACHMAN TURNER OVERDRAFT

LOVIN’ SPORKFUL

ANGRY BYRDS

HALL & QUINOA

FRANKIE VALLI & THE HIGHLY ERRATIC SEASONS

RIGHT SAID FED

MEN OUT OF WORK

EARTH, WIND, FIRE, MUDSLIDES, THUNDERSNOW, SINKHOLES & DROUGHT

UB40 DAYS LATE ON THE MORTGAGE

10,000 MANIACS ASKING ME TO JOIN LINKEDIN

THE FAR RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS

HUEY LEWIS & AND 24-HOUR NEWS CYCLE

GARY PUCKETT & THE INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR GAP

MOTT THE GOOGLE

Rock on, people!

8 Rock ‘n’ Roll Restaurants That Need to Happen

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Following in the food service footsteps of Kenny Rogers’ Roasters, the great Lynyrd Skynyrd is set to open a new restaurant, Lynyrd Skynyrd BBQ & Beer, this fall in Las Vegas. It begs the question: Why aren’t more musical acts getting in on the action? Fans are only too happy to buy their concert T-shirts and download their songs. Why wouldn’t they eat their favorite band’s turkey club sandwich? Here are some music-food combinations just crying out for franchises.

ZZ Tapas

Snoop Doggs

Pink’s Pierogi Palace

Limp Bizkits & Gravy

Amy’s Wine House

Maroon Five Guys

Justin Timberlake’s Omelette-Ville

Lady Gagahana

11 Classical Music Clinkers

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Classical music is a beautiful thing. Still, some standards must apply. Here we have a group of losers that no amount of virtuosity can save.

 

The Cesspool Sonata

Rhapsody in Teale

The Madoff Variations

Cosi Fan Hootie

The Schwarzenegger Overture

Flight of the Dumbledore

Kirstie Alley’s Third Movement

The Pink Slip Symphony

Appalachian Springsteen

Ode to the Common Cold

Weiner’s Canon in D