Ah, September, it leads a double life. Some people are CLINGING TO SUMMER FOR DEAR LIFE, while others are counting down the days until pumpkin spice lattes are available and they can begin carving pumpkins. No matter which way you swing, September probably has a holiday you’ll like whether it’s bourbon (Bourbon Heritage Month), Lord of the Rings and J.R.R. Tolkien (Tolkien Week September 20–26), or coffee (National Coffee Day September 29). Read on to see all of the good stuff we’re crazy about this month! Do it you won’t.
Month-long holidays are the best because you get a whole month to savor them. Bourbon Heritage Month means drinking all the bourbon! Children’s Good Manners Month is a great time to educate the children in your life how to behave. If you don’t have a library card, you’re in luck because September is Library Card Sign-up Month. See also:
The only thing better than honey is National Honey Month! Honey forever. Shameless Promotion Month allows us to say HEY ARE YOU FOLLOWING US ON FACEBOOK AND ISNTAGRAM AND TWITTER? WE LOVE YOU. Last but certianly least, September is Pleasure Your Mate Month. Butter them up with a cute card, get some massage oil, light some candles, and hopefully that works out for you. Wink.
INTERNATIONAL ENTHUSIASM WEEK is September 1 through the 7. What do you get enthusiastic about? May we suggest everything this week? GET FIRED UP. Salami Day (September 7) is a good time to get re-acquainted with some salami.
Birthdays this week: Jack Daniels and Werner Herzog both on September 5. Here are Werner Herzog’s hilarious thoughts on chickens.
On September 8, 1966 Star Trek Original Series premiered. So today we are getting all ‘live long and proposer’. Roald Dahl Day is on September 13 and we’re probably going to be eating chocolate, peaches, taking RED WAGONS of books from the library, and so on and so forth. We love Roald Dahl! (You can get the print of the quote below here.)
Birthdays this week: Leo Tolstoy (September 9) and Bella Swan (September 13).
Do you know any greeting card writers? If so, you’re in luck on September 18, because it’s Hug A Greeting Card Writer Day. On Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19), drink your grog with your beauty, play your hornpipe, and RAISE THE JOLLY ROGER, you land lubber. Tolkien Week is back (September 20–26) and betta than eva. We’ll have books on tape playing through the store, a Tolkien quiz to take and general enthusiasm all week. National Dog Week (September 20–26) is a great time to sneakily pet other people’s dogs while they’re not looking. And maybe adopt a dog. Or take your own dog for a walk. WhatEVER. DO A THING!
Birthdays this week: Sophie Dahl, Montgomery Burns, and Agatha Christie (September 15), H.A. Rey (September 16), William Golding, Hermione Granger, and Arthur Rackham (September 19), George R.R. Martin and Malcolm Reynolds (September 20), Bill Murray, Stephen King, and H.G. Wells (September 21).
Dear Diary Day (September 22) is a great time to get back to journaling. And don’t hold back. For example, “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. Gretchen my friend, got her period. I’m so jealous, God.” #JudyBlume. MOVING RIGHT ALONG. Hobbit Day (September 22) means throwing a Bilbo Baggins birthday party! Yay! Celebrate Bisexuality Day (September 23) is a holiday close to our hearts. No matter who you’re into, we love you just the way you are. On Punctuation Day (September 24), you can finish every sentence with an exclamation point! And double question marks after all questions. National One Hit Wonder Day (September 25) you can pore over this list and reminisce. On Love Note Day (September 26), write someone you love a love note. And yes, it can be your pet. KU Book Club meets on September 27 at 6 PM to discuss Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked this way Comes. Bring your book and a friend! Banned Books Week (September 27 — October 3) IS OUR FAVORITE! Come on in to see the banned books we sell, because damn the man! Get ready for Ask A Stupid Question Day (September 29). While you either believe in stupid questions or you don’t, you’re bound to get asked one today. On what is likely the most productive day of the calendar year, National Coffee Day (September 29) is a great excuse to pound that coffee! Caffiene forevar. Blasphemy Day (September 30) encourages individuals and groups to openly express criticism of religion and blasphemy laws. So get to gettin.
Birthdays this week: Frodo and Bilbo Baggins (September 22), Arthur Guinness, Jim Henson, and F. Scott Fitzgerald (September 24), Mark Hamill and Shel Silverstein (September 25), Johnny Appleseed (September 26), T.S. Eliot and Scott Pilgrim (September 27), Truman Capote (September 30).
So, if you’re a reddit enthusiast, then you’re probably familiar with the Bearenstein/Bearenstain Bears alternate reality theory. Two weeks ago, this theory broke the internet, and our nostalgia craving hearts, when a member of the rap group Run the Jewels (he really likes to smoke weed) went on a tweeting spree about the Bearenst#in Bears. For any of you who are out of the loop (living under a rock), the children’s book series is officially called The Bearenstain Bears (and always has been), yet a large segment of the population remembers the spelling as “Bearenstein.” The internet forums are buzzing with people saying that at some point in history the spelling changed via butterfly effect resulting in two divergent time streams.
Did we glimpse a parallel universe that still exists somewhere and confirms our suspicions that Bearenstein was at one point (or place) the correct spelling? After all, how could we all be wrong??? How deep does the rabbit hole go? This is an epic conspiracy theory that cannot even be fact checked because facts are fluid and always changing in time. Wild! This is some crazy Doctor Who-Time Lord Shit! I believe it was all the work of the Doctor, his Tardis, and a sonic screwdriver. Has a glitch in the Matrix occurred? Did a Delorean appear when we weren’t paying attention? Did we do the time warp again?
Personally, I am in the Bearenstein camp, as are my mother, boyfriend, and best friend. This theory has been around for years. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t hear about it sooner with my passion for crazy conspiracy theories.
Articles far and wide are claiming that there are various false memories throughout history, known as the Mandela Effect. I looked into the Mandela Effect and the most informative website had so much traffic that it couldn’t be accessed. Apparently, lots of people have false memories of Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s. And how about that “famous” painting of Henry VIII holding that turkey drumstick? Yeah, about that, it doesn’t exist.
So, are we simply being nostalgic? Russell Smith of The Globe and Mail News sums it up quite nicely: “Really this is a discussion of nostalgia: about childhood and its inaccessible perfection. People are miffed when they are told that their childhood…is not exactly as they remember. They want to claim childhood as something different from reality, as a myth that should remain untouched, inaccessible. It is a poetic impulse, really, not a philosophical one, and often expressed in art. The past is a foreign country…they do things differently there.”
So what do you remember Bearenstein or Bearenstain?
I hope you’re eating breakfast all day because it is Leslie Knope’s favorite holiday: National Waffle Day!!! On August 24, 1869, Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York, patented the waffle iron (Patent number 94,043 for all of you out there who still think you’re going to win Jeopardy one day). In 1953, Eggo frozen waffles were developed. Did you know that the Ancient Greeks were the first waffle makers? They cooked flat cakes between two metal plates held over burning embers.
Now that you know the basic history of the waffle, here are some eggo-celent waffle quotes from the baddest bitch in Pawnee, Indiana.
“We need to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third.”
“Everyone should love waffles. If they don’t they’re crazy.”
Leslie measures time in terms of waffles: “Maria, I’m going to need two hours worth of waffles.”
JJ: “Sure, anything for my favorite customer.”
Leslie: “I bet you say that to all the girls.”
JJ: “Oh no, no. Actually you are my favorite. You’ve spent over a thousand dollars last year on waffles alone.”
In 2001 I was in sixth grade, and I wrote a short story about a girl who died in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24, 79 AD. When I found out we celebrate Vesuvius Day at Kards Unlimited, I was inspired by my sixth grade self and knew I had to write a new story. So here it is! Enjoy! And if you like historical fiction, Kit Harrington sexy-man extraordinaire is in a film aptly named Pompeii. Clearly, he still plays someone who knows nothing because his character doesn’t leave Pompeii when a “mountain” i.e. super dangerous volcano, starts going all wibbly-wobbly.
10:00AM August 23, 79 AD
I am spending my summer in Pompeii and I’ve just arrived! Mount Vesuvius is so green and beautiful I wish I could live here year round. Pompeii may be the lushest and greenest place I’ve seen in all of Rome! There are orchards and vineyards everywhere; just a testament to our favor in the eyes of the gods. Although the villas, grand baths, and painted caryatids are lovely, I always prefer natural beauty. The hustle and bustle of the working class has a beauty all its own; another reason I love vacationing here. This city is a true melting pot. I can walk next to slaves and freemen alike. Like worker bees in a beehive, people move rhythmically, with purpose. Merchants, manufacturers, and farmers all work together to make this wondrous city run smoothly. I admire the workers and the slaves. My days are so unbearably mindless and boring. Although I am “noble” and wealthy, my life seems so unimportant compared to theirs. They live; I watch. Even the prostitutes have a more glamorous life than I.
I want more than anything to live. I guess I’m only sixteen, so there’s plenty of time. But isn’t that always what people say before something tragic happens? “I thought I had more time.” Even eighty year olds on the brink of death mumble about thinking they had more time. It’s sad really. I’m so tired of waiting for my life to start.
I am going to a festival tonight with my best friend, Octavia! She knows how to live! Octavia has been our house servant for the past eight years. I cannot believe she has been a slave her whole life. I look forward to spending my summers with her every year. Last year, before I left to go back to Rome, I kissed her. I don’t know what came over me. It just felt right. I never had a chance to talk with her about it. Daddy saw and smacked me later. He said that that sort of behavior is for whores and serving girls. He says the only girls that do that are the ones who get paid. It isn’t a thing proper girls should do. I don’t like any of the boys in Rome. I also don’t like that I will most likely be a bargaining chip for my father to gain more political power once he decides to marry me off. With my luck it’ll be to a man just like him, but maybe even older.
Daddy doesn’t want Octavia and I to have any sort of friendship. He says that a politician’s daughter should not associate with people below her station. Daddy is such a social climber, soon enough I won’t be able to associate with anyone. Mother doesn’t care about my friendship with Octavia, as long as Mother’s wine glass is full, she doesn’t care about anything, least of all me.
8:00AM August 23, 79 AD
Today is the day Lucretia finally arrives for the summer! This past year has been so trying, I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with my best friend. I just hope her father isn’t too overbearing. I’ll just make sure his wine goblet is overflowing at all times and he’s occupied with the appropriate kind of flesh. I haven’t told Lucretia about her father’s lascivious ways. I’m sure she has an idea; how could she not? I’ve walked in on him with the stable boys more times than I can count. Sometimes, I’ve even walked in on him with the horses. His wife definitely knows; why else would she keep herself in a constant stupor? I work in a house filled with secrets and balancing them so that no one is the wiser is my most important responsibility. Lucretia’s father is the most controlling man I have ever met.
They are decent enough people to work for though. They never abuse me, like other slave owners have in the past, they feed me well, and, for the most part, they let me have a friendship with Lucretia. Slaves have upward mobility, so one day I hope they decide to grant me my freedom. I could also marry a freeman and declare a child before the magistrate, but marriage has never been something I want. I may be a slave, but I have freedom. I look at Lucretia’s life and it’s more controlled than mine is. Sure, she’s protected from a lot of terrible things in this world, but she doesn’t have any real friends and rarely leaves her little protective bubble.
Tonight, Lucretia and I are going to the festival to appease the god Vulcan. Vulcan is the god of metal workers and destruction. I hope to show her a grand time! She kissed me before she left last year. I’ve been thinking about that kiss all year. Lucretia has the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen, soft and cat-like. That night on the dock, when she kissed me goodbye, her eyes seemed to glow like fireflies. Lucretia’s parents are having a feast before the festival. I will have to cook and serve, but they always get the highest quality food so I don’t mind. I’m expecting a feast of grapes, apples, figs, and fish. Fish is a staple here in Pompeii. Our shell middens are huge! Anyway, I should probably get to cooking, if I’m going to be prepared for this feast. I want everything to be perfect!
Noon August 23, 79 AD
It’s another rumbly day in Pompeii. Tremors are pretty common here, but they are more powerful this year. Maybe it’s all in my head, but Vesuvius also looks larger and the sea level looks lower. I have never heard of a mountain growing in size, so it must be in my head. Unless of course it’s a warning from the god Vulcan.
In 62 AD, I was born. My mother says that Vulcan was angry because I was stubborn and wouldn’t leave her belly, so he sent an earthquake to shake me out. The ground shook and Mother’s water broke, then I came screaming out! I wish mother would tell more stories like she used to. Now she’s always staring into a goblet of wine. She used to be so full of life; and now, she’s dead. I think being married to my father killed her. She’s a walking corpse, so far removed from reality she doesn’t even realize I’m here. I try to take her on walks to the sea with me, but her hands shake like Vesuvius when she’s away from her wine.
Anyway, strange signs have been occurring for days. I hope the oracle predicts that Vulcan is pleased with Pompeii, but it doesn’t seem likely. After the earthquake in 62 AD destroyed temples, homes, and altars, people rebuilt them bigger and grander than ever before. This, of course, was in an effort to please Vulcan. I don’t think the gods listen anymore. A mountain that rumbles and grows in size and a shrinking sea can’t be good. Maybe the first earthquake was to warn people to leave Pompeii for good. I love it here, but I feel uneasy. There’s an eeriness about that mountain.
10:20 AM July 23, 2015
I have never worked at such an important archaeological site! I am documenting all of it! I’m on my cookie break writing in you! I am so fortunate to work at Pompeii! My aunt is in charge of an excavation group here and I was lucky enough to join. Ever since I was a young girl, Pompeii has fascinated me. Pompeii is tomb and time capsule. It shows how real ancient Romans lived, even the commoners. No other sites show the commoners in such an illuminating light. A trade hub filled with vacation homes, the people never knew they were living on an offshoot of a lava flow. They never knew they lived inside the “death zone” around Vesuvius.
In 1748, a farmer found traces of Pompeii beneath his vineyard. Ever since, excavations have taken place. I am a descendent of said farmer and so is my aunt. I guess being fascinated by Pompeii is inherited! Archaeologists have been digging through the massive pile of volcanic ash and mud for hundreds of years unearthing death poses, statues, altars, villas, mosaics, and, my personal favorite, the beautiful marble caryatids. It’s funny to think we understand so much about their lives from their deaths.
We have been excavating since early May and I found something that could be one of the most important finds to date. Even more exciting than finding out that caryatids were painted! I have found two diaries which may contain firsthand accounts of the eruption. I believe they belonged to two girls who lived in a vacation villa. We are excavating around two bodies in the lower section of the house now. There are two shapes in the frigidarium, roughly the same size lying next to each other hugging. It’s like they were trying to seek shelter in the coolest place imaginable. They must have been burned terribly before they died together. I don’t know if they were best friends, lovers, or two strangers united by their confrontation of a grim and terrifying death. I can’t wait to get it translated. The only firsthand account in existence is by Pliny the Younger and, no offense to Pliny, but the diaries of two teenage girls would be the find of the century!
One things for sure, they were never going to escape a ten mile mushroom cloud of ash and pumice that erupted for twelve hours. A giant cloud of hot ash and gas surged down Vesuvius, engulfing the city and burning or asphyxiating all the people who stayed in their cellars. The lethal cloud was followed by a flood of volcanic mud and rock which buried the city. The eruption lasted three days. The only way to survive was to leave and many who tried didn’t make it out in time. After the eruption, the sea retreated and a tsunami rolled in. If the gods truly did favor certain cities, Pompeii and Herculaneum were not those cities.
“If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”
I admit from the outset that I am not a very good Bradbury fan. Bradbury, born 22 August 1920, published at least 27 novels and over 600 short stories (and likely wrote a ton more-he wrote religiously every day for almost 70 years) and I’ve only ever read one of his books, Fahrenheit, 451 and I only thought it was ok. One of his works that has stuck with me since I first saw it, though, is the made-for-TV movie The Electric Grandmother written by Bradbury and based on his short story I Sing the Body Electric (named for a Walt Whitman poem).
The movie tells the story of a widower and his three children who obtain an android grandmother to help assuage the loss of their wife/mother. It’s a lovely and heart-wrenching story and it affected me very strongly as a kid. Ray really knew how to hit you right in the feels, man.
Despite not having a great grounding in his works, I do really love Ray Bradbury for his love of and commitment to the art and craft of writing. Aspiring writers now have so much discouraging them (us) from pursuing our goals that it’s great to have the moral support of someone so influential in the field.
“I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.”
- His first published work was about his children’s bunnies!!!
- Went through Peace Officer training at UCLA.
- He was the first member of his family to earn a college degree. It was an associates in police science.
- One of the founding members of the Association for Professional Law Enforcement: “We are of the opinion that professional ethics and practical police work are completely compatible and we intend to meet together to promote this compatibility.”
- Obtained his pilot’s license through the US Army Air Corps.
- He wrote scripts under the pseudonym “Robert Wesley” because a fortune cookie advised that, “A change of name will bring you fame.”
- He flew 89 combat missions during WWII.
- He passed his police sergeants exam on his first attempt.
- He believed all contemporary religions would disappear by the 23rd century.
- He was friends with Ray Bradbury and even asked Bradbury to write for Star Trek; unfortunately Bradbury refused.
- Wesley Crusher’s character was modeled after Roddenberry as a teen. (Man, he must have been an insufferable teen!)
- Star Trek was created in 1964. Star Trek: The Next Generation was created in 1987.
- He worked for the “Public Information Division” of the police as a speechwriter.
- He was an avid fan of the John Carter of Mars series.
- He was a major drug abuser which added to his health problems later in life.
- In physics, a “Roddenberry” marks the distance traveled at light speed during a “traveler year”…whatever that means…
- He was an adulterous man-slut. Sorry Gene, you were.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife were avid Trek fans! It was one of the only programs they felt comfortable letting their kids watch.
- In 1992, his ashes were flown into space.
On Sunday, Book Club got together to talk about the book that is now an FX TV-show: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The TV show based on the trilogy of books is now in it’s second season, and is pretty bloody and gross and presumably wonderful. I have personally not watched it, but we’ve had a lot of people looking for the books because they enjoy the show.
So what did we think about this book? Well, as a whole, we were pretty underwhelmed. This book was sufficiently gross for those of us who wanted something bloody and full of bodily fluids, but otherwise it wasn’t really scary and sometimes was a little too full of facts that hindered the plot movement.
One of our book club members did read the entire series before book club and was able to tell us what happens in the later books. Normally we try to be spoiler free, but this time there was no one who read the books and cared so much about the story line that they didn’t want to be spoiled. And in fact the majority of us have agree that we aren’t interested in reading the sequels.
Okay, so full disclosure though, the people who were most vocal about not caring for the book don’t really care for horror. So maybe if you’re really into the genre it would be better or different or something.
However, that being said, let me just say that as a person who hates reading scary things, I was not impressed by this book. I personally read the first couple of chapters hesitantly because I was afraid that I would get scared. but I never did. Not once.
Positive thoughts on the book were that we did like the new take on the classic Vampire story. It was unique and interesting. It was not a virus though, despite the title and the book eluding to it as a virus. That was a bit misleading.
Anyway. that’s what we thought about the book. If you have thoughts, we would love to hear them! Please tell us why you love/hate this book series!
Our next book continues in the dark vein: We’re reading Ray Bradbury’s classic, Something Wicked This Way Comes. Join us on September 27th to talk about it!
Today is Steve Martin’s 70th birthday! He is an incredible and intelligent man who can literally–I mean figuratively–do anything. He’s a talented actor, playwright, comedian, writer, and musician. He taught himself to play the banjo at a young age, had his first child at 67, and is an ardent collector of fine art. He has written many screenplays, such as The Jerk and Roxanne, and three excellent fiction novels and novellas: Shopgirl, The Pleasure of My Company, and An Object of Beauty (available at Kards!). Just this year he won an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame. So, why not celebrate the day he was born with some of his bluegrass music, All of Me (arguably one of his best films), his comedy, or one of his novels? Or, create a drink named after him (A “steve martin(i)” perhaps? No, not that Steve Martini.) to toast his existence, if you’re into that sort of thing. For now, I’ll leave you with a clip from one of my favorite Steve Martin movies:
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)