Articles by " Adam"
30 Dec

Happy birthday to Rudyard Kipling! Or, no, I’m not an Imperial Apologist, I just love The Jungle Book.

Seriously, look at that face.

Seri­ous­ly, look at that face.

So back in the day, many coun­tries of the world, great and small, decid­ed that it would be super cool to trav­el around the world steal­ing oth­er peo­ples’ land.  This obvi­ous­ly wasn’t the most pop­u­lar deci­sion ever, and nor was it real­ly moral­ly defen­si­ble when you think about it, but hey, things were crazy back then.

ANY­way.  There were some pret­ty great things to come out of the British Empire (and oth­er empires, don’t get me wrong), and one of them was Rud­yard Kipling.  Born in Bom­bay, British India on Decem­ber 30, 1865, Kipling’s inno­v­a­tive short sto­ries, nar­ra­tive poet­ry, and beloved nov­els make him an endur­ing favorite of read­ers of all ages. Fun fact: Kipling won the Nobel Prize for Lit­er­a­ture in 1907.  He was the first Eng­lish-lan­guage writer to receive the award and its youngest recip­i­ent to date.  (He was 42.)

Kipling is prob­a­bly best known for his children’s short sto­ry col­lec­tion The Jun­gle Book which, along with its sequel The Sec­ond Jun­gle Book, is one of my favorite books ever.  The Jun­gle Books tell the sto­ry of an orphaned boy who gets raised by a kick­ass group of jun­gle crea­tures which, I think, is every kid’s fan­ta­sy at some point or anoth­er.  Plus they have oth­er sto­ries like Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, about a mon­goose who saves a fam­i­ly from a pair of cobras, and The Mir­a­cle of Purun Bha­gat about an old holy man who saves a town from a mud slide.

Kipling also wrote a short sto­ry col­lec­tion for younger chil­dren called Just So Sto­ries.  The sto­ries are fan­ci­ful fables about such things as how ele­phants got trunks (The Elephant’s Child), How the Leop­ard Got His Spots, and How the Camel Got His Hump.  They are the cutest ever and you should read them to your kids all the freak­ing time.  Ok, I guess that’s it about ol’ Rudy.  Read on, friends!

just so stories

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16 Dec

Happy birthday to my historical soul mate, Jane Austen!

Who wouldn't love that face?

Who wouldn’t love that face?

So here’s the thing.  Some peo­ple don’t like Jane Austen.  As a rule, I wouldn’t real­ly mind that, because I’m not the kind of per­son who needs every­one to agree with him, but I kind of real­ly need every­one to agree with me that Jane Austen is the best thing in the world.  Most­ly because of all the anti-Austen opin­ions I’ve ever read, the most com­mon com­plaint, by far, is that her books are bor­ing.  False.  Patent­ly, hilar­i­ous­ly, stu­pid­ly false.  I’ve actu­al­ly con­clud­ed that peo­ple who don’t like Jane Austen prob­a­bly can’t actu­al­ly read.  And since Decem­ber 16th is her birth­day, I shall here and now school you all on the love­ly Jane’s intense awe­some­ness.


Because if you can read, and you picked up Pride and Prej­u­dice, how could you not be inter­est­ed in Mr. Bennet’s quip, “You mis­take me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you men­tion them with con­sid­er­a­tion the­se twen­ty years at least.”  That’s gold!

Who can read Emma Woodhouse’s hilar­i­ous­ly snarky blun­der, “Ah! ma’am, but there may be a dif­fi­cul­ty. Par­don me, but you will be lim­it­ed as to number–only three at once.”  And not lit­er­al­ly lol?  She’s so ridicu­lous­ly self-sat­is­fied that she becomes a bitch!

And the dry wit of Sense and Sen­si­bil­i­ty, “It is not every­one,’ said Eli­nor, ‘who has your pas­sion for dead leaves.”  So great.  Point being, Jane Austen rules, and you (if you don’t love Jane Austen) drool.  Full stop.


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9 Dec

KU’s Simple, Two-step Program for Upping Your Christmas Card Game!

Step 1!  Buy awe­some Christ­mas cards like the­se!

Look at this adorable owl!

Look at this adorable owl!

Look how happy that ice-skating deer is!  He's the definition of jolly!

Look how hap­py that ice-skat­ing deer is! He’s the def­i­n­i­tion of jol­ly!

OMG Rudolph!

OMG Rudolph!

Take THAT fruitcake apologists!

Take THAT fruit­cake apol­o­gists!

Edward Gorey ftw!

Edward Gorey ftw!

It's like a Christmas Where's Waldo!

It’s like a Christ­mas Where’s Wal­do!

When in doubt, flowers and glitter.  In all situations.

When in doubt, flow­ers and glit­ter. In all sit­u­a­tions.

Ugh.  It's so cute I just wanna punch it in the face.

Ugh. It’s so cute I just wan­na punch it in the face.

Yes, those are penguins on a ski lift. And they pop. out.  Like, wtf. Too cute.

Yes, those are pen­guins on a ski lift. And they pop. out. Like, wtf. Too cute.

Dude, pop out cards are the coolest.

Dude, pop out cards are the coolest.

Funny Christmas cards are so good, guys.

Fun­ny Christ­mas cards are so good, guys.

Foiled cards are also super classy.

Foiled cards are also super classy.

And my favorite card ever, Santa with all his North Pole friends.  So great, you guys.

And my favorite card ever, San­ta with all his North Pole friends. So great, you guys.

Step 2:  There is no step 2, dum­my!  You did it!  Christ­mas card mas­tery unlocked!  Send those cards!  All the­se and much more here at KU!  Come and get ‘em!

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8 Dec

KU’s Great Gift Ideas: The Christmas Series! Stocking Stuffers for the Reader(s) in Your Life!

Let’s be hon­est, KU is pret­ty much stock­ing stuffer cen­tral.  San­ta shops here for the stuff he puts in your stock­ing.  Seri­ous­ly.  Also he loves us.  Obvi­ous­ly.  Any­way, here are some stock­ing stuffer ideas for your favorite bib­lio­phile!

Letterpress tattoos!  So you can make your favorite book quotes on your skin!

Let­ter­press tat­toos! So you can make your favorite book quotes on your skin!

Literary wristwatches!  (Also we have a ton more that aren't literary but are frickin' epic, so, there's that.)

Lit­er­ary wrist­watch­es! (Also we have a ton more that aren’t lit­er­ary but are frick­in’ epic, so, there’s that.)

Book cover t-shirts!  They rule so hard, you guys.  Again, we have a ton more designs.

Book cov­er t-shirts! They rule so hard, you guys. Again, we have a ton more designs.

Secular Saint devotional candles!  Here's Vonnegut (he's the patron saint of humanity, misanthropes, and the fantastic!) pictured with his books, but we also have Freud, Darwin, Shakespeare, and several other secular saints!

Sec­u­lar Saint devo­tion­al can­dles! Here’s Von­negut (he’s the patron saint of human­i­ty, mis­an­thropes, and the fan­tas­tic!) pic­tured with his books, but we also have Freud, Dar­win, Shake­speare, and sev­er­al oth­er sec­u­lar saints!

Shakespeare's Star Wars (and The Empire Striketh Back and The Jedi Doth Return) does double duty as the perfect gift for a Shakespeare fan AND THE BEST GIFT FOR ANYONE EVER BECAUSE IT'S THE COOLEST IN THE WORLD!!!!!!

Shakespeare’s Star Wars (and The Empire Striketh Back and The Jedi Doth Return) does dou­ble duty as the per­fect gift for a Shake­speare fan AND THE BEST GIFT FOR ANYONE EVER BECAUSE IT’S THE COOLEST IN THE WORLD!!!!!! Plus, who doesn’t want a Darth Vader cook­ie jar?

The Greatest First Lines of LIterature mug needs neither introduction nor explanation.  Get it.  Got it?  Good.

The Great­est First Lines of Lit­er­a­ture mug needs nei­ther intro­duc­tion nor expla­na­tion. Get it. Got it? Good.

Ditto for the Jane Austen mug!  (We also have Poe and Vonnegut mugs which kill!)

Dit­to for the Jane Austen mug! (We also have Poe and Von­negut mugs which kill!)

All this and much much (MUCH) more at KU this hol­i­day sea­son!  Come down and see us! <3!

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4 Dec

St. Nicholas Day! Or, a story about being a kid!

Man, St. Nick is a baller.

Man, St. Nick is a baller.

Ok, so.  First of all, my par­ents nev­er real­ly had us believ­ing in San­ta.  I don’t real­ly know why, seems like a harm­less enough myth to me, but it wasn’t for us.  When she was in sec­ond grade, my sis­ter appar­ent­ly was telling peo­ple that San­ta wasn’t real.  So her teacher runs into my dad and goes, “Mr. Marthens, Ros­alie is telling the oth­er chil­dren that San­ta Claus isn’t real!”  and my dad goes, “Well you know he isn’t, right?”


ANY­who.  St. Nicholas is a real saint from whom San­ta Claus derives.  He was a Greek bish­op who lived in the 4th cen­tu­ry and because of the many mir­a­cles attrib­ut­ed to his inter­ces­sion is some­times called Niko­laos the Won­der­work­er which, if I’m being hon­est, is a pret­ty B.A. moniker.  He had a rep­u­ta­tion for giv­ing many small gifts, espe­cial­ly to chil­dren, hence San­ta being derived from him, but his feast day (12/6) is also cel­e­brat­ed by the giv­ing of small gifts in many coun­tries.

So when we were kids, my grand­moth­er whose father came from a fam­i­ly of Ger­man immi­grants would always remind us to leave out our shoes on the night of Decem­ber 5th so that St. Nicholas could leave us presents.  As with San­ta, I think we knew all the time that the gifts were from her, but some­how St. Nicholas Day always seemed a lit­tle more mys­te­ri­ous and fun I guess because the gifts weren’t labeled.

So if you like giv­ing your kids or grand­kids cute lit­tle toys and oranges and can­dy, teach them about St. Nicholas and leave them some mys­te­ri­ous presents!  It’s the best!

BONUS INFORMATION!  The Euro­pean tra­di­tions sur­round­ing St. Nicholas also encom­pass the cau­tion­ary tales of Pere Fou­et­tard (some crazy butcher guy who kills bad kids or some­thing.  It’s all very con­fus­ing if you’re not French) and Kram­pus! (The super­nat­u­ral Ger­man ver­sion who’s like a hairy dev­il or some crazi­ness.  We have a book about him!)


This is Kram­pus. Pret­ty much the oppo­site of St. Nicholas vis-a-vis looks and/or moti­va­tions.

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1 Dec

Kards Unlimited Calendar of Events: December!


This pic­ture is from The Dai­ly Mail, but in spir­it, the dri­ver of that car is KU.


Read more »

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17 Nov

Let’s talk about the miracle of Homemade Bread!

Dear god, yes!

Dear god, yes!

Ok folks, here’s the thing.  I do not go in for this New Age, wheat­less non­sense.  Give me carbs and give me a lot of them.  I could eat noth­ing but bread for the rest of my life and die a hap­py man. This man could live by bread alone.  And the best kind of bread, the very best kind, is home­made bread.  Bread is one of the old­est cooked foods known to man (it’s approx­i­mate­ly 30,000 years old!) and there’s a good rea­son why.  Bread is freak­ing deli­cious.  Also it’s a way bet­ter way to eat wheat than just as cream of wheat or what­ev­er (ugh.)

So Novem­ber 17th is Home­made Bread Day, i.e. the best day ever.  So in hon­or of the best day ever, let me give you the recipe for my favorite home­made bread, Eng­lish Muffin Bread!  (From which is the best web­site.)

2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
2 table­spoons corn­meal
6 cups bread flour
2 (.25 ounce) pack­ages active dry yeast
1 table­spoon white sug­ar
2 tea­spoons salt
1/4 tea­spoon bak­ing soda
1. Warm the milk and water in a small saucepan until very warm (125 degrees F/50 degrees C). Light­ly grease two 8x4 inch loaf pans; sprin­kle corn­meal inside pans.
2. In a large bowl, mix togeth­er 3 cups flour, yeast, sug­ar, salt and soda. Stir milk into the flour mix­ture; beat well. Stir in the remain­ing flour, 1 cup at a time, until a stiff bat­ter is formed. Spoon bat­ter into pre­pared pans. Cov­er and let rise in a warm place for until near­ly dou­bled in size, about 45 min­utes. Mean­while, pre­heat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
3. Bake in pre­heat­ed oven until gold­en brown, about 25 min­utes. Remove from pans imme­di­ate­ly and cool.
Here it is in all its toasted and buttered glory.  Bask in its amazingness.

Here it is in all its toast­ed and but­tered glo­ry. Bask in its amaz­ing­ness.

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7 Nov

Get out your deerstalkers and greatcoats, it’s Sherlock Holmes Weekend!

This is an actual promo picture from the Cape May Holmes Weekend.  Yes, you need to be there.

This is an actu­al pro­mo pic­ture from the Cape May Holmes Week­end. Yes, you need to be there.

Yes, my dear Wat­son, Novem­ber 7th through the 9th is a week­end of Sher­lock­ian shenani­gans in Vic­to­ri­an Cape May, New Jer­sey.  But even though the actu­al events are hap­pen­ing out there (I was TOTALLY there this sum­mer, but it wasn’t Sher­lock week­end then sad­face) any­where is per­fect for cel­e­brat­ing how awe­some Sher­lock Holmes is.

Anyone with a mustache game this strong must have been awesome.

Any­one with a mus­tache game this strong must have been awe­some.

First of all, if you’ve nev­er read a Sher­lock Holmes sto­ry, read one right now.  This blog post will still be here when you’re done.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote some pret­ty baller crime sto­ries.  And while they’re not exact­ly what you will have come to expect from oth­er mys­tery writ­ers, they have this fan­tas­tic ten­sion and the char­ac­ters of Holmes and Wat­son are just so great.

They are so perfect it hurts.

They are so per­fect it hurts.

So now that you’re famil­iar with the source mate­ri­al, let’s talk about two of the recent adap­ta­tions of the­se works to the screen.  The BBC’s Sher­lock is prob­a­bly the best show that is cur­rent­ly avail­able.  Peo­ple are con­stant­ly com­plain­ing about how the series (which is what the BBC calls sea­sons, i.e. the first sea­son of Sher­lock is called the first series) are so short, but they kind of have to be con­sid­er­ing each episode is about as long as a nor­mal fea­ture-length film!  Fea­tur­ing the act­ing tal­ents of Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch as Sher­lock and Mar­t­in Free­man as Dr. John Wat­son as well as an absolute­ly flaw­less sup­port­ing cast, I’m real­iz­ing that this post is start­ing to sound like a review/commercial for Sher­lock so suf­fice it to say that every­thing about the show is per­fect and you need to watch it.

The oth­er impor­tant adap­ta­tion (IMO) is the duo (soon to be trio!) of films fea­tur­ing RDJ as Holmes and Jude Law as Wat­son.  Peri­od pieces as opposed to the mod­ern update pre­sent­ed in the TV show, RDJ and Jude Law are almost as per­fect as Holmes and Wat­son as are Cum­ber­batch and Free­man.  Plus the movies are a lot more star-stud­ded and have peo­ple like Rachel McAdams and Stephen Fry in them, so that’s pret­ty BA.

These two: also perfect.

The­se two: also per­fect.

So enjoy this week­end, my fel­low Holmes lovers!  And take heart!  Series 4 begins film­ing some time in 2015…  That’s not actu­al­ly good news, is it.  It’s ok, though.  It’ll be worth the wait, I’m sure.  In the mean time, enjoy the­se posts about Sher­lock from Buz­zFeed!  Here’s one!  Here’s anoth­er!  Here’s a third!

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