Articles by " Adam"
26 Apr
2013

Loosen your belts a notch, the National Pie Championships are this weekend!

pies2

All yes.

I don't remember if I've told you guys this, but I love pie.  (Wait, yes I do.  Remember Pi day?)  My favorite is Pecan.  There's just something about the caramel-y deliciousness that I find completely irresistible.  Then again, most baked goods have at least one quality that I find irresistible.  Low-carb diets are not a thing that I can get behind, as you might imagine.  Literally that thought makes me tear up a little.  Baking is one of my favorite pastimes, probably because I was exposed to it really early in life and because duh, cake is amazing.

When I was little, my father worked nights at a bakery, my mother frequently makes all kinds of desserts from scratch, and my family gets together and makes several hundred dozen Christmas cookies each year.  Baking is kind of our schtick.

Anywho, back to pie and championships.  Evidently there's an organization in this country called the American Pie Council.  Just for a moment let's pause and laugh a little about how something as simple and classic as pie got a 'council'.  That just seems superfluous (and more than a little pretentious) to me.  (And believe me, I know pretentious.)  Anyway, apparently every year the APC holds Pie Championships in a number of categories to determine the best pie in the nation.  You can learn more about the organization as a whole at their website.

If I had known this was a thing, I totally would have entered, like, years ago.  I've been wanting to experiment with an Orange Meringue pie for years.  I think it would rule, my mom doesn't think it would work, for some reason.  I'll show her.  Orange Meringue Pie will win it all next year, mark my words!  (Slash, a quick look at Allrecipes.com tells me that there's even already a recipe!  Wtf!)

So I know some people don't get as excited about homemade pie as I do.  To those people I give a hearty pshaw and good day.  Pies rule!

 

Thanksgiving-pies

Alllllllllll the pies!

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10 Apr
2013

Get Ready to Knuckle Down!

Knuckling down has that very business-y connotation.  "I've got to knuckle down and blah blah blah something productive."  Sounds like the kind of phrase that came out of the steel mills of the 19th century.  "Knuckle down there, boys!  These beams need to get out today!"  So if someone were to tell you that April was National Knuckles Down Month, that would not necessarily sound like much fun.

However.

Close-up shot of brightly colored glass marbles of varying designs, including classic cat's eye, swirling rainbow patterns, and twisting, psychedelic shapes and colors

National Knuckles Down Month (and the phrase itself) actually refers to the game of marbles.  So the 19th century thing is pretty accurate, at least.  I somehow seem to always blog about stuff from bygone days.  I'm sure that says something about me, but I'm not entirely sure what...  Marbles and evidence of marble games have been found commonly in Roman writings and tombs, ancient Egyptian pyramids, and among the archaeological remains of many proto-Indo-European cultures.  As with many objects, though, marbles only really became popular when their production was industrialized in the mid 1800s.

There are many different games one can play with marbles (all (or most) of them simply and unhelpfully being called 'marbles') and you should definitely look at the wikipedia page about it because it's hilarious and weirdly fascinating, but evidently when you start any game of marbles, you 'knuckle down' which is just placing your knuckles against the ground in a marble-shooting stance.  Hence Knuckles Down Month.  Obviously.

marbles3

Here's another pretty cool marble story.  So there's a National Marbles Championship in this country.  (Because why not?)  It's been held annually since 1922.  Over the last 90 years (this year's tournament hasn't happened yet.  It's scheduled for June 16th-22nd.), champions have been from the Greater Pittsburgh Area 36 times (the tournament has held separate championships for girls and boys since 1948).  In 2011, both girls and boys National Champions were from Allegheny County.  Also, around the city, there's a big marbles culture, apparently.  Read more about that on their website, here.

One final note about marbles:  I'm not really into collecting things.  I don't have that magpie gene or something.  But if I did collect something, marbles would totally make the short list, because they're totally cool-looking.  For instance:

marbles2

Ahh, the swirly goodness.

And this!

marble1

Whoa!

And finally this!  Whaaaaaaaaaat?

marbles4

Seriously. What. Even.

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27 Mar
2013

There are a lot of ways to interpret “Game of Thrones Party”…

now it's a party

Look at that hair. Now it's a party.

...And not all of them are as fun as you might think. Any party, for instance, at which Cersei Lannister is a guest is not the party for me.  That bitch cray.

On the other hand, if you're having a party to celebrate the Season 3 premiere of Game of Thrones on HBO, that's a party I'm into.  Hey!  You'll probably need mugs for all the mulled wine and/or cider you'll be drinking!  Fortunately for you, we have those!  And they're hot.

mugs

Love. I want a set for all my guests.

Make sure you grab a T-shirt for your house!  (You can see which ones we support...)

shirts

I'm in favor of pretty much anything with a three-headed dragon on it.

You know what else we have?  House patches!  Show your allegiance with an embroidered emblem of the House you support! (*cough* Targaryen *cough*  (Actually, I'm a Martell supporter, but they haven't appeared in the show yet *hipster glasses*))

patches

That Lannister patch is hot and you know it. Much like Jaime.

In case it hasn't really come through, I'm really excited about GoT coming back.  I love love love these books and the show is a fantastic adaptation.  Can't wait.  Finally, if you haven't read the books (or if you've read them so much that you need fresh copies), we have those too!  As well as the graphic novel AND A Feast of Ice and Fire, recently featured on CST (the facebook edition)!  It's a cookbook featuring recipes inspired by the food of Westeros.

full GoT display

So much awesome!

If you look to the top left of that picture, you'll find The Lands of Ice and Fire, a map book of Westeros and the surround lands.  Are you kidding me?  How do you not geek out about that?!  Basically what I'm saying is that you probably need to come in and pick this stuff up.  Season 3 premieres at 9 p.m. on March 31st!

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26 Mar
2013

Cool Stuff Tuesday! Easter Basket Gifts!

You still have a few days to get everything you need to fill those Easter baskets, folks!  Come in this week so we can fill (see what I did there?) all your Easter gift needs!

[galleryview id=18]

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26 Mar
2013

Kards Unlimited Calendar of Events: April!

Everyone loves April.  The weather gets warmer, the flowers bloom, everybody's twitterpated, you know the drill.  Twitterpation aside (or concurrent.  Whatever.) there's a whole bunch going on at KU this month!  Click READ MORE to find out what!

Read more >>

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25 Mar
2013

Crack open your Silmarillions, it’s Tolkien Reading Day!

jrrtolkien

If for no other reason than the pipe.

March 25th is Tolkien Reading Day!

In case you needed a refresher, I. Love. Tolkien.  There's way too much to appreciate it all at once, so for today, let's talk about the insanely good dialogue in Tolkien's work.  This is especially salient because the excuse that most people use when they talk about how they can't get through LotR is that it's too dry and has too much description.  If that were true (which it decidedly is not), it would only be because Tolkien's dialogue is too good and any more of it would make ordinary mortals cower in fear.  Here's a passage from The Two Towers that happens during the meeting of Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli with the Rohirrim led by Eomer.

"'Strider is too poor a name, son of Arathorn,' he said. 'Wingfoot I name you. This deed of the three friends should be sung in many a hall. Forty leagues and five you have measured ere the fourth day is ended! Hardy is the race of Elendil!'"

That's what Eomer says to Aragorn when he finds out how far/fast they traveled.  Also, it includes an epithet and epithets are the best thing ever.

Then there's this little scrap of verse that Aragorn recites when he glimpses his country from afar.  Not dialogue, exactly, since it's said to himself, but a good example of the poetry pervasive in the text.

"Gondor! Gondor, between the Mountains and the Sea!
West Wind blew there; the light upon the Silver Tree
Fell like bright rain in gardens of the Kings of old.
O proud walls! White towers! O winged crown and throne of gold!
O Gondor, Gondor! Shall Men behold the Silver Tree,
Or West Wind blow again between the Mountains and the Sea?"

There are people who are all, "I don't like Tolkien.  I couldn't get through it," and there are people who are all, "Tolkien's over done and played out.  Fantasy has moved beyond him and his tropes," and there are people who are all, "Tolkien's sexist."  All of these people are idiots.  I say this unapologetically.

Now certainly there are people for whom the fantasy genre simply holds no allure.  These people have my profound pity.  For everyone else, though, Tolkien Reading Day is extremely exciting.

So if you're new to Tolkien, crack open The Hobbit today!

Hobbit_cover

Usually not a fan of dustcovers, but damn, son.

If you're a well-established Tolkien fan, (re)read LotR!  (Christopher Lee, who plays Saruman in Peter Jackson's film adaptations of Tolkien's books, rereads it every year.)

lotr covers

Mmmmmm, leather-bound.

If you're a big Tolkien nerd, read The Silmarillion.  (Also, if you're into High Fantasy, read it because it will show you what goes into the creation of an entire universe from scratch.)  You could also read The Book of Unfinished Tales or The Book(s) of Lost Tales.  Again, super nerd-dom.

silmarillion

Seriously, read it. No nerd is complete without having read this book.

Finally, if you're just too nerdy for words to accurately encapsulate, you should probably read Hobbitus Ille.  Yeah.  The Hobbit in Latin.  Because dorks.

hobbitus ille

I can't even.

Basically what I'm saying is that there's a Tolkien book for all seasons and every walk of life.

 

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19 Mar
2013

Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won’t you be my neighbor?

mrrogers

March 20th is Won't You Be My Neighbor? Day.  A day for celebrating the life of one of the greatest Pittsburghers (and humans writ large) ever, Fred Rogers.  (Fred McFeely Rogers, if you were wondering, which I'm sure you were.  So that's where that comes from.)

So remember that time when a beloved TV personality turned out to be a huge disappointment (or worse, a creepy, disgusting criminal) in real life?  Yeah, I do too.  I bring this up because Fred Rogers, by all accounts, was the diametric opposite of that.  His personality on the set of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood (which aired new episodes for 33 years from 1968 - 2001) was open, loving, deeply empathetic, wise, and a million other positive adjectives.  In his personal life, he is said to have been exactly the same.  Once, when asked which of his puppet characters from the Neighborhood of Make Believe resembled him most, he answered that it was the shy but immensely kind Daniel Striped Tiger.  (Daniel was also the first puppet to be used by Mr. Rogers on TV.)

I am not at all alone in having been positively influenced by Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood as a child.  PBS was pretty much the only station that I watched from age 5 to age 14.  I haven't really thought about those shows in a while, but as I write this, I'm really wanting to watch Mr. Rogers again.  Of all the PBS shows that I miss: Arthur, Reading Rainbow, Wishbone, Zoom, Sesame Street, etc., Mr. Rogers is the one I most want my eventual offspring to experience.  His unaffected love and empathy were unforgettable and impossible to ignore.

It says enough about him, I think, that in the time I've spent researching and writing this post, I've felt and am feeling a touch of grief for all of us who lost Mr. Rogers in 2003.  Mourning a man that I didn't ever know in person.  I won't presume to know how Mr. Rogers would have liked to be remembered, but I hope, if he were here, he'd be gratified by the positive impact he had on my life and on those of countless others.

Thanks, Fred.

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17 Mar
2013

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

No crazy big post today, folks!  Just wanted to say I hope you're having a great holiday!  It's a great day to celebrate!  The weather's nice (for March) and there's plenty of drinks of all kinds for everyone!

If your St. Paddy's Day travels take you through Shadyside, make sure you stop in and see us!  We love visitors!

Young parade-goers Harley and Presley Ei

Everything about this picture is perfect.

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