Articles by " Adam"
24 Jul
2013

Happy birthday to the Count of Being Rad, aka Alexandre Dumas

Dumas1

He's so smarmy. Look at that smarmster.

So the last blog entry I did about a writer was about Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  One interesting fact about whom is that he was a Count.  Today I'm blogging about Alexandre Dumas, who was not a count, but whose father did come from the French aristocracy.  These facts have led me to theorize that all good French writers are aristocrats.  Not sure what this theory really means or if it really even counts as a theory, but I'm going with it for now.

July 24th is Dumas's birthday, so let's talk a little about how amazing The Count of Monte Cristo is.  It's probably my most favoritest book.  And believe you me, that's saying something.  I loves me some books.  But that book is the one I love the most.  Probably because it's about the most spectacular revenge ever and that rules.  I'm not a hugely vengeful person.  I pretty much just move on with my life.  Every once in a while, though, I feel like I want to totally go all out exacting the world's most perfect revenge for some not very serious slight.  Just every once in a while, though.

I think that's pretty much the reason that people love the story.  Sometimes a jerk just totally cuts in front of you in the Starbucks line and you're really tired and you just want a hazelnut macchiato and he orders one too and they give him his first and you just want to buy all the hazelnut syrup in the entire world and then make him bathe in it for all eternity while you sit back and enjoy his misery.  Welcome to Crazy Town, population: you.  And yet, in your mind, it's a 100% reasonable reaction.  Imagine if your whole life was like that, except for people had actually screwed you over royally and you had basically unlimited money to help you make them pay.

Then there's The Three Musketeers, which is another of my favorite books.  It's kind of much less enviable, since it's about some upstart kid who's kind of egotistical who wants to get into a job that pretty much doesn't exist anymore.  But it has swords and hot babes, so that makes it good.  Interesting side note, Dumas is known to have had 40 mistresses over the course of his life and to have fathered 4 (but probably 7) illegitimate children, one of whom was also named Alexandre Dumas and also became a successful writer.  Let me just reiterate that this man, who was married, had 40 (but probably more than 40) mistresses.  Forty!  Mistresses!  I.e., women who he had lots of sex with and also probably paid for their incredibly lavish lifestyles.

What a BAMF.

musketeers

I love Oliver Reed so much in that movie.

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17 Jul
2013

Make sure you have a poop scooper ready, ’cause it’s Zookeeper Week!

tigers

The tigers at the Pgh zoo are Amur tigers, which are one of the rarest subspecies. Amur is also a gorgeous word to say.

A lot of kids go through a bunch of answers when someone asks them what they want to be when they grow up.  Astronaut, president, princess, the stock responses.  Mine was, for a long time, that I wanted to feed the tigers at the zoo.  Sometimes I think it's still my ambition.  There's no real reason it can't be, other than the reasons for which I decided against it in the first place, which were that I didn't want to spend years studying things like Organic Chemistry and other only vaguely related gibberish.

lion

This guy literally has my dream job. I want to hug a lion. I want my job title to be "Lion-Hugger"

The nerd in me (i.e., almost 100% of me) finds this difficult to admit, but I frequently find formally learning hard science to be unbelievably boring.  I don't know why, because I find science and mathematics fascinating, but there's just something about classroom biology that is a total snoozefest.  Oh well.  I do, however, love science documentaries.  Particularly nature films.  When I was a kid, my grandmother would tape nature documentaries that she saw on television for me and every time I went to her house, I would spend hours watching movies about lions, tigers, bears, and all other kinds of wildlife.

I also had a million pets as a kid.  A dog, several cats, lizards of various kinds, snakes, a newt, toads, birds in many varieties, fish, and a ferret all were part of my menagerie.  I've severely downgraded now (we only have three cats at my apartment) and I'm not sure I would repeat the experience, but there is certainly something profound about being responsible for other lives and something amazing and humbling about receiving the affection and trust of animals. It's the best.

So anyway, since it's National Zookeeper Week, maybe go to the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium, it's an awesome place.  One of my favorite places, actually.  If you see any of the zookeepers while you're there, tell them that they rock.  If not from you, tell them from me.

Hey, here are some awesome zoo animals!

 

 

pander

World's happiest panda.

Amur Tiger Cub

Baby tigers are literally the world's best thing. If I ever get to heaven, I'm assuming it'll just be fields upon fields of baby tigers.

girafffffffes

Baby giraffes also classically trained in cuteness.

Hasani, Bawang

And I'll leave you with a mom and baby gorilla because d'awwwwww.

 

 

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3 Jul
2013

I Forgot Day is here! Or there, actually. Since it was yesterday.

forgetfulkitteh

This kitten's name is Homer. This is his D'oh! face.

Did you ever get that feeling like you had something really important to do and you completely blew it?  I think we all have.  Sometimes there's just too much life in life and things slip through the cracks.  I have a pretty good memory; I remember things that happened years ago, I remember all the important dates I need to (and several that I don't), I can almost always find a place after being there only once, and I remember exactly how to fence people I only see once a year, and I can quote movies, TV, and books like you wouldn't believe.  I am, however, really bad at remembering a ton of other stuff.  Like whether my friends have met each other.  And lists of more than 4 things.

Point being, even people who are great at remembering some things are terrible at remembering others. That's where today comes in.  And by today I mean yesterday.  Because I forgot to tell you this yesterday.  July 2nd is I Forgot Day!  DeMotte, IN native Gaye Anderson came up with I Forgot Day some number of years ago that she doesn't remember because she had a habit of forgetting important dates.  Birthdays, anniversaries, and the like.  Anderson decided that July 2nd was the perfect day to make up for her forgetfulness.  She therefore sends cards on this day to whomever she's forgotten since last I Forgot Day.  Brilliant.

IMG_4043

This is what all my I Forgot Day cards will look like forever more.

The one problem that I can discern with this plan is that she must also forget at least one person that she's meaning to send a card to on I Forgot Day.  Does she send them one next I Forgot Day for the previous year (as well as for the original offense)?  Or if she forgets both the actual day and the I Forgot penance, does she just give up .  Like, if I can't remember either your birthday or the fact that I forgot your birthday, I probably don't care about you enough to send you a card at all.  That could just be me, though.  There are probably people out there who would just trap themselves in an infinite loop of needing to send someone a card and forgetting and then needing to send someone a card because they forgot.  Exhausting.

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1 Jul
2013

Kards Unlimited Calendar of Events: July!

kujuly

I don't know if there's a snow cone month, but it should be now!

July is going to be super busy, you guys.  Like, unbelievable.  All the events.  Get excited.  For instance, July is National Independent Retailers' Month!  Unsurprisingly very near and dear to the hearts of everyone at KU is the appreciation of independent retailers.  We love appreciation.  Love it.  Come appreciate us with us!  <3!  And click READ MORE for our other exciting July hijinks!

Read more >>

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29 Jun
2013

It’s Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s birthday!

Yes, June 29th is the birthday of one of the 20th century's greatest philosophers: Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  Or, for the purposes of this blog, AdSE.  His full name was actually Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint Exupery.  In case you thought your name was cool.  Also, in case you missed it, he was a Count.  That's awesome.  If there's one rank in aristocracy that is way cooler than all the others, it's Count.  All the coolest people are Counts.  The Count of Monte Cristo, the Count de la Fere (Athos), Count Dracula, Count von Count, Count Duckula, you get the idea.

saint exupery

Look at that skeptical face. I wish I could look that skeptical.

So, we've established that AdSE was cool because he was a Count.  He didn't stop there, though.  He was also a great pilot.  After a childhood of family tragedies and academic difficulties (though some people think he did poorly in several exams on purpose), AdSE spent his young adulthood taking odd jobs before finally joining the French military, taking private flying lessons, and becoming a pilot.  After a transfer to the air force (and the first of several plane crashes), however, his family's concern for his safety forced him to leave the air force and take and office job.

"So he was a Count and a badass pilot," you might say.  "So what?"  You might say.  Let me just also add that during World War II, he spent time in America trying to convince the US to join the war (i.e. being the Anti-Lindbergh.) and then went back to the war to join the Free French Air Force even though he was over the maximum allowed age and was in near constant pain from old plane crash injuries.  In other words, the coolest guy ever.

If all that isn't enough for you, though, I suppose there's also the fact that despite being a pilot (stereotypically brash and arrogant) and an aristocrat (stereotypically disengaged from the real world and arroganter) AdSE was, if his writing is anything to go by, one of the world's most compassionate and wonder-struck souls.

lil p

Also, world's cutest illustrations.

I won't give you a blow by blow of AdSE's most famous book, The Little Prince, but suffice it to say that if you haven't read it, read it.  If you have read it, read it again.  I'm in the market for more books by this man, so hit me up!  

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18 Jun
2013

Cool Stuff Tuesday! Chris Van Allsburg!

Good afternoon, fine friends!  Today is Chris Van Allsburg's birthday!  Van Allsburg's children's books are beloved for their fantastic and uncontrolled stories and for their charming illustrations, most of which are drawn from a child's height perspective.  We sell several of Van Allsburg's more than twenty books but we love the illustrations from all of them.  Here are a few to whet your appetite!

[galleryview id=22]

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11 Jun
2013

Cool Stuff Tuesday! Father’s Day!

Remember that one time I showed you all those amazing things that we had for Mother's Day?  This is gonna be like that, only more Dadlier.  Which totally is a word.

One of the best things about Father's Day is that dads appreciate a nice, wide range of gifts.  Anything goes for Father's Day!  Anything like all of this!

[galleryview id=21]

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4 Jun
2013

KU’s Book Bites: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

miss p book cover with border

I think the cover really says it all...

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Bizarre, macabre, and absolutely fabulous, Miss Peregrine reads like a picture book for dark-minded adults.  Sprinkled throughout the story’s pages is a series of weirdly wonderful sepia-toned photos, all of which – the author claims – are genuine images he collected after countless trips to flea markets and rummage sales across the country.  The photos, arranged in groups of twos or threes, coincide with character descriptions in the text and are meant, I suppose, to spark the reader’s imagination – but honestly, Riggs’ writing is so richly descriptive, you’ll hardly need any help envisioning the odd world he’s created for us in Miss Peregrine.  This’ll be a hit with fans of Gaiman or Gorey, or really anyone who can appreciate a good ghost story.

*We're carrying the sequel, Hollow City as well!
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