Articles by " Adam"
1 May
2014

Kards Unlimited Calendar of Events: May!

maypole

And THAT'S why May is the best month. You know why.

Ah, May!  The second month of the year that starts with M!  The month with the shortest name of all the months!  The month of merriment!  Other stuff about May!  So exciting!  Click READ MORE to find out what's happening at KU!
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12 Apr
2014

Drop. Everything. And. Read.

dearday

This is our sweet DEAR day card, obviously.

Here's the thing about reading, guys: it's the best thing in the world.  Now, plenty of people have waxed poetic about the joys of a new hardcover fresh off the shelves, the iconic smells of books old and new, and the literally awesome power of books to engage and entrance the imagination.  And I fully endorse and agree with all those things.  I'm not saying there isn't anyone who loves books as much as I do, folks, I'm just saying those people are rare and if they and I could move to a deserted island and build a city out of words, we would.  And we would love it.

But on this Drop Everything And Read Day, I'm gonna talk to you about something slightly different (but still very much word and information-related, this isn't Crazytown.)  One of the most surefire ways to get me to drop everything and read is to point me vaguely in the direction of Wikipedia.  It's a bit of a running internet joke that reading any Wiki article can easily become an hours-long marathon of reading, since there are so many links in every article and they all link you to other pertinent articles!  It's like a conspiracy to give people information!  Of course, information on ye olde wiki is not necessarily to be taken as Gospel, and students everywhere are uniformly admonished never to cite it as a source in papers, but I think that gives wikipedia an unfairly bad wrap.  Most wikipedia articles, at least the ones with real information (i.e., not the ones about pop culture icons and active political figures) cite their sources with links to the information across other media.  Randall Munroe really says it best in this comic:

xkcd

It's exactly like this.

Except by problem, he obviously means incredible glory.  It's literally an almost infinite amount of information.  That's amazing!

My point is that while books are great, (I seriously cannot stress enough that books are great.  For about an infinite number of reasons.) there's plenty of reading to be done in other areas.  Literacy is probably the single most important skill a kid can learn in the information age, and a love of reading instilled at an early age is super important.  And that's why Drop Everything And Read Day rules.  Thanks Beverly Cleary!

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4 Apr
2014

The Game Begins Again!

So at the end of last season, the Red Wedding happened.  It garnered a lot of negative reactions from people.  Some lovely, sadistic souls who knew what was coming even filmed or tweeted their unsuspecting loved ones' reactions.  It was serious business, y'all.

got reactions

Yeah, it was pretty much like this, only instead of just covering their mouths in horror, most people either went into uncontrollably ragey diatribes against GRRM and/or HBO or simply collapsed on the floor in a puddle of disillusioned and despairing jelly.

 

Nevertheless, those of us who haven't sworn off the series (and/or life in general) are getting ready to continue the saga this coming Sunday.  And we are so excited.  Like, whoa.

renly-clapping-game-of-thrones

Like a kid in a candy store.

KU is absolutely the place to come for all your Season 4 needs.  We've got a bunch of great new Game of Thrones stuff like House shot and pint glass sets as well as House patches and t-shirts.  Not to mention fairly boundless enthusiasm and excitement for the new season.  There's also Feast of Ice and Fire, a cookbook featuring recipes for many of the dishes mentioned in the series (a literal must-have for your season premiere party)

feast

Aw yeeah, time to Feast.

We also have all the books (singly and in a convenient boxed set), and did I mention fanatical love of all things Game of Thrones?  So, just hypothetically, if all your friends are tired of talking to you about how hard it is to pick a favorite character, or if none of them have any interesting theories about what's going to happen and who's going to murder who, you definitely need to come see me because I will have all the GoT conversations with you.

stuffs

So so so good.

Season 4 starts this Sunday, so get ready!  You win or you die!

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1 Apr
2014

Kards Unlimited Calendar of Events: April!

maybs

Oh man, guys, it's almost Easter!

April is here, friends, and with it the lovely spring weather (finally!)  This month has plenty of great things in store like Easter (yay candy) and Administrative Professionals Week and Talk Like Shakespeare Day!  Whoo!  Something else that's getting us excited is the second meeting of the KU Book Klub on April 13th!  We're busy busy bees around here, so click READ MORE to find out what else is up!

Read more >>

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19 Mar
2014

Happy Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day!

mrrogers

You probably want to give this card to everyone you know today. Just sayin'.

If you were a kid watching TV at any time from 1968 to 2001, you almost certainly experienced the forthright, quiet cultural phenomenon that was Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.  (If you're one of the unhappy few that somehow missed that, I'm deeply sorry for you.)

The fact that I didn't have cable as a kid was, I guess, a big part of why I love shows like Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and Arthur (Mr. Rogers totally cameo-ed as himself on Arthur that one time and it was awesome.)  I was not really exposed to things like Rugrats and Ren & Stimpy and stuff.  In fact, I only kind of know what those things are.  When I was a kid, I was watching Marty Stouffer's Wild America and Zoom and, of course, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.  Don't get me wrong, cartoons are great and I now have a strong appreciation for them, but there's just something so amazing about PBS that I don't quite know how to describe.

I think Mr. Rogers actually verbalizes it best in what became kind of a motto for his and other public television programs.  He said many times that children are to be respected.  His program never condescended or talked down to its viewers.  Where other shows were just so much fluff and noise and circus, Mr. Rogers and the other great people at PBS were teaching kids science and classic literature and how to deal with complicated social and emotional issues.  That's so great, you guys.

Anyway, I think I've been clear about how much I love public television (and, therefore, Mr.Rogers, who, if you didn't know, was basically responsible for making public television a thing when he testified before a Senate committee about it in 1969 and got an increase in federal funding from 9 million to 22 million dollars.)  March 20th is Mr. Rogers's birthday, so we celebrate Won't You Be My Neighbor Day to commemorate the man whose earnestness, caring, and commitment to education made him an American icon.

Here's Mr. Rogers being unbelievably charming talking to Joan Rivers on The Tonight show.  It's unreal.

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15 Mar
2014

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! A Bagpiper’s Favorite Holiday!

Ryan Randall Playing Fiery Bagpipes In Las Vegas

This is not me. My bagpipes do not flame. This dude is totally metal, though, so I had to show him to you.

But not for the reasons you might think.  Bagpipes are a funny instrument.  They're one of those instruments that you either love or hate.  Now, many (probably most) people seem to love bagpipes.  Especially at certain events.  Weddings, funerals, parades, you know.  The Big Three.  But the minority of people who hate bagpipes seem to really really re-hee-heeeeeeally hate them.  And that's sad for them.  But also for me, as a bagpipe-playing person.

St. Patrick's Day is the one day a year when, since everyone's Irish, everyone loves bagpipes!  (Because, you know, all Irish people love bagpipes.  Because bagpipes are obviously a totally Irish instrument.  Don't even get me started.)  So that's one reason that St. Paddy's is a bagpiper's favorite holiday.  Once people see you in a kilt with that giant noise-making contraption, you are their favorite person.  Doesn't matter that the day before they called the cops because you were practicing at 8 p.m., which they deemed too late for great music.  As soon as the morning of 3/17 dawns, you are persona non grata no more!

grebee

Mmm...

Which leads me to the next reason that pipers love St. Paddy's, which is that since everyone loves you, they buy you drinks.  Lots of drinks.  Like, so many drinks, you guys.  On no other day can I walk into a pub fresh from playing a few impromptu outdoor tunes and immediately have offers of free green beer.  It's magical!  (Ok, admittedly, that was probably the reason you expected.  Sue me.)

The last reason pipers love St. Patrick's Day doesn't really have anything to do with bagpipes.  It's that the coming of St. Patrick's Day means that it's almost spring!  Almost time to take the pipes to the park and play outside 3 days a week!  You have no idea how loud bagpipes are until you play them inside a one bedroom apartment.  So, so loud.  So loud that your belongings literally vibrate on the shelves and furniture and mantles.  So loud that your upstairs neighbor is afraid, for a second, that the machines have finally risen and that the robopocalypse has arrived!  But seriously, it's super loud.  Bagpipes are the instrumental avatar of the outdoor voice.

IMG_4929

So many great things, you guys.

Obviously, I'm totally ready for St. Patrick's Day, but for the non-bagpipers of the world, KU has everything you could possibly need, from the Port-a-Pint (seriously the coolest drinking gadget ever!) to awesome t-shirts, to perfect St. Paddy's Day cards!  Our supplies are dwindling fast, so come in today!

 

 

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11 Mar
2014

Johnny Appleseed Was an American Hero: An Ode to Cider

appseed

The early 19th century was a crazy time in America, man.  The revolution was recently over and a lot of people were kind of thinking that they just needed more room to spread out.  There was plenty of land to the West, but the trouble was that there just wasn't any booze out there.  Enter John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed.  Ol' Johnny knew what the people needed, and that was apples.

That may seem like a slight non sequitur, but stick with me, I promise it all makes sense at the end.  First I have to tell you a bit about apples and how they grow.  If you've ever planted a seed in your life, you are probably aware that it grows into a little, baby version of the plant that the seed came from.  If you allow it to keep growing (and you remember to water it or whatever), it usually becomes pretty much the spitting image of the parent plant, right down to producing its own little seeds.  Apples, though, are different and weird.  If you took a seed from the next Red Delicious (or Macintosh or Granny Smith or Crispin or whatever apples you like) you ate and planted it in the ground, it would still grow into an apple tree, but it would not produce anything even remotely resembling a Red Delicious.  And it probably wouldn't even produce anything that remotely resembled food.  What it would produce, though, in copious amounts, would be little, crabapple-like fruits that would be not very tasty to eat but extremely tasty to turn into hard cider or applejack.

appjack

Need to try this asafp.

Short sidenote:  Applejack, if you don't know, was traditionally made by leaving hard cider out to freeze, and then periodically removing the ice, thereby increasing the alcohol content of the remaining liquid.  The lengths people will go to get a buzz, you guys.  I'd like to also take this opportunity to briefly tell you about how much I love hard cider.  Hard cider (or just cider to non-Americans) is one of the most delicious beverages in the known universe.  Pro tip: if you don't like beer and all your friends make fun of you all the time, try a cider next time you're out at the bar.  It's a lot like beer, but without all the parts that you probably hate about beer.  (Let me be clear that I actually love beer, I just also love cider.  More.)

ciderrrr

Pioneers in early America were often required to plant orchards of apples or pears to uphold their claims to land, so Johnny Appleseed would plant a nursery of trees, tend it for a while, and then sell it to a settler.  Which was genius, really.  And the big reason that cider was so popular was that, in addition to being delightful, it was much safer to drink than the water at the time.  (Because I guess no one had really discovered the whole thing where you could just boil the water.  Or whatever.)

Johnny became a legend in his own lifetime which is why today is even a thing.  Though John Chapman's birthday, September 26th, is sometimes cited as Johnny Appleseed Day, it's celebrated today, March 11th, in most places because it's nearer to planting season.  Apple trees in today's orchards are almost all genetic clones of each other that have been grafted in order to produce apples of uniform color, size, and taste.  That is, every single Red Delicious tree in the entire world is actually just a clone of the first tree that happened to produce those specific fruits.  Crazy, right?

Although cider isn't drunk with the (totally baller) regularity that it used to enjoy, you can still get tons of great cider at most watering holes, and let me just tell you that they are amazing.  And that's why Johnny Appleseed is still a part of the collective American consciousness.  That and the fact that he was one of the earliest champions of conservation and junk.  He was like a drunken, roving John Muir.  Also he was a Swedenborgian, which is mostly just some crazy cultish religion but it has a super crazy name because its founder was named Emanuel Swedenborg.

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1 Mar
2014

March 2nd is Dr. Seuss Day!

teddymeboy

Oh man, hipsters would kill for those glasses, Doc.

Dr. Seuss's birthday (March 2nd) was also chosen as Read Across America Day by the National Education Association because of his lasting contributions to education in America.  The book that really started that ball rolling was The Cat in the Hat, first published in 1957 after an editor at Houghton Mifflin approached Seuss about producing a book for young children using no more than 250 individual words.  After being given a list of between 300 and 400 words "first graders should know," Seuss reportedly became so frustrated that he decided to make a story of the next two rhyming words he saw.  They were cat and hat and that's how legends are born.  (The book contains 236 words.)

drseuss

Lookin' Sly and Feelin' Fly.

drseusscard1

This card rules, you guys.

As for all days worthy of celebration, we have a great card for Dr. Seuss Day and we are generally excited for and in favor of reading across America and Dr. Seuss.  Like most people, we have a nostalgic love of those crazy rhyming stories and a love of reading that persists to this day.

Whether you have the innate entropy of the Cat or the ineffable crotchetiness of the Grinch or even the outspoken environmental leanings of the Lorax, let your Seuss flag fly on Dr. Seuss Day and read on, friends!

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