Articles by " Athena Flint"
11 Mar
2015

Raise a glass to Johnny Appleseed!

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Johnny Appleseed didn't need shoes.

Bonus points if it's a glass of crisp apple cider!

You remember Johnny Appleseed, right? He was this super rad guy who decided to roam the wilderness with nothing but a tin cup for a hat and a bag full of apples. He roamed the great land of America eating apples and planting the seeds wherever he went. He didn't wear shoes, and was one with nature. He had feet so durable that he was once bitten on the foot by a rattlesnake and just shrugged it off.

Johnny Appleseed was the Father Christmas of the frontier. Except instead of presents, he just gave out apple seeds. And also he didn't just come one night a year. And also, he didn't really wear a red coat or anything. Okay, so maybe not Father Christmas.

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There was at one time a real Johnny Appleseed Stamp!

The very best part about the legend of Johnny Appleseed is that it is a story about a real person. John Chapman started his journey at age 18 (around 1790!). He would collect appleseeds for free from cider houses and plant nurseries of apple trees in the wilderness so that when the pioneers arrived they wouldn't have to wait ten years for their first harvest. (Because it takes Apple trees about 10 years to produce fruit.) He spent about 50 years traveling the northeastern and midwestern United States. (they weren't quite united at the time, clearly.)

There is, of course, one VERY big difference between the myth and the truth: The apples trees that John Chapman planted were not for producing delicious crisp apples for eating. No. At the time, apple's main purpose was to form the hard cider that was the most common drink at the time. you know... instead of water. Wouldn't it be nice to live in a time where you just drank hard cider all the time?? YUM.

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John Chapman's memorial in Johnny Appleseed Park, IN

 

According to some, there is one tree left alive that was planted by John Chapman. The tree is about 180 years old and lives in Nova, Ohio. Sadly, many of the other apple trees from Chapman's time were cut down during Prohibition. The FBI was like, what? These apples aren't for eating? they're just for alcohol? Well I guess we'll have to destroy this whole acre to keep you all from breaking the law. Jerks.

 

 

When I was young, we celebrated Johnny Appleseed day at school buy bringing apples to eat for lunch. Now that I'm older, I get to celebrate the REAL way: with a cold glass of Hard Cider.

Celebrate responsibly, folks! No Rattlesnake bites are necessary! 

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Cheers!

 

4 Mar
2015

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

american-gods-1Okay, I'll be brutally honest. Sometimes I'm a skimmer. Sometimes I just really get so invested in a book that I skip paragraphs so that I can learn what happens next. It's a really bad habit that I'm trying to fix.

There is one book that I've read, however, that sucked me in so solidly that I read every sing word and lingered on all of them. This is that book. In fact, when I read this book, instead of rushing through it eagerly, I was so invested and interested and everything that I would put the book down for days after each chapter because I just really really didn't want it to end. To some people it might sound a little backwards that the book that I love the most is one that took ages to read. But it's how it happened.

I have read American Gods three times now. And each time, it was even better, and more full of hidden bits of truth and secrets.  The very first time I read American Gods, I was in Ireland for six months. I was already surrounded by this feeling of magic behind the leaves of the world, and the hope that maybe I would see a fairy over the next hill. Reading a tale of Gods in our world while living in a place where there were surely fairies was intense. Magical. Wonderful.

But you don't have to be in Ireland to feel the magic in this book. Okay, maybe magic is a strange word.... Power? Mysticism? It definitely instills a sense of mystery, of pondering. It is not a happy magic. It's a magic that drinks your darkness and eats you up in the night.

I highly recommend this book. In fact, if someone comes into the store and asks for a book recommendation, this is my second choice. (My first is Good Omens, because it's lighter, and sometimes people just don't have energy for a book that pulls you alllll the way in.) But if you are a fan of Neil Gaiman at ALL, you must read this book.

Also, side note, if you read this book once and liked it, you should probably read it again. It's now available in the 'Author's Preferred Text' version, which is how Neil wishes it had be done the first time around. So you should read that version for sure!!

 

 

27 Feb
2015

Cooking with Kards: True Blood Holy Hoecakes

Here at Kards, we love good food. We are pretty proud of our interesting selection of cookbooks. I mean, if you don't know already, we are the #1 go to spot to get any books by Jamie Oliver or the Barefoot Contessa. We are the fans.

Recently, I thought it would be a fun idea to try to learn how to cook things. And of course, I turned to the cookbook section here at KU. I mean, where else can I find a whole book full of recipes that all use Heinz ketchup AND  50 Shades of Chicken. (or Kale! 50 shades of Kale. Who wrote these things???)

Now, the people who work here all have varied opinions about the 'best' cookbook, but in the interest of starting a really awesome conversation with you, our lovely readers. I've decided to try out some recipes and tell you how they went. And also hope that you all share your favorite recipes with us!! Spread the food love! Bring Samples! ... Okay, well you don't have to bring us samples, but we would totally eat the heck out of them...

This brings us to my first recipe review/ discussion!!! Are you ready for it? Truebloodcover
DUN DUN DUNNNN
True Blood; Eats, Drinks, and Bites from Bon Temps. 

If you are a fan of True Blood, you should probably check this thing out. It has recipes from like all the main characters, and they all have blurbs written in the character's voice. It's pretty dang cool.

Also, the food looks pretty NOM worthy. And the drinks are totally fun things to get you in the Vamp mood.  There is a basic recipe for a "Ruby mixer" which is supposed to be just like Trueblood. ...you know. Without the blood.

For my first Recipe I chose Letie Mae Davis' Holy Hoecakes. (It comes right before the recipe for Stake and Eggs. Get it?)

Holy Hoecakes are basically a corn meal pancake. The secret is that you cook them in bacon grease. YEAH BACON.

These things are ridiculously easy to make, and they have only like 4 ingredients. I used regular yellow cornmeal instead of the white cornmeal it asked for, mostly because I couldn't find white corn meal at the grocery store. And it took me like 10 minutes to make them. (not including bacon cooking time....)

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This was my final product! So good! So easy!

The end result was pretty delish. They're kind of like pancakes, but dense. But hot diggity dog, put some maple syrup on them and they were like way good to go. YUM!

So if any of you lovely people own the Trueblood cookbook, or any other cookbook, we would really like to hear all about your delish (or not so?) meals! Send pictures! We will make you famous.

Peace Out, Kard-lovers!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white (or yellow) cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat (rendered from about 4 slices bacon), plus more as needed
  • Maple syrup or cane syrup, for serving

Instructions

  1. Combine the cornmeal and salt in medium bowl. While stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, pour in the boiling water in a steady stream. Beat until smooth. Let stand a few minutes.
  2. Heat the bacon fat in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When very hot (but not smoking), reduce the heat to medium-low.
  3. For each hoecake, drop about 2 tablespoons of the cornmeal mixture into the skillet and pat gently into a flat circle, about 4 inches in diameter. Cook several hoecakes at a time until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side, turning with a wide spatula. Transfer to a plate. If needed, add more bacon fat to the skillet to make the remaining hoecakes.
  4. Drizzle with maple syrup and serve.
22 Feb
2015

Curling is Cool! (February 23rd! It’s a National Holiday, guys!)

....no I don't mean curling your hair. If anything, that's hot. (ba-dum-shhhh) get it?

 

I first fell in love with curling, not through watching the sport itself, but because I was in love with the Canadian actor Paul Gross. I decided to watch all the movies he had ever made (all of which are pretty damn good, even the weird ones!). The movie that made me fall in love with curling, the sport, is called Men With Brooms.

That tag line, guys. Also, yes. Leslie Nielsen. Sometimes he's even a serious person in this movie.

Okay, so this movie is a Rom Com, but it is also a heartfelt story about adults finally growing up and overcoming their fears. It features this curling team that reunites on a day long past their prime, solely because their former coach died and asked in his will that the team play (and win) with the rock (curling stone, for those of you who need translation) that now contains his ashes. Yes, that's what I meant.

Through the movie's exploration of curling, I found myself absolutely falling in love with the sport. And I'm not a sport person. (When I was young, I told my teachers that my favorite sport was reading. Seriously.) They talk about the sport with such reverence that it is almost impossible to not feel your whole world shifting a little. Suddenly that shot of a guy sliding down the ice, gently but forcefully convincing a giant rock to land right on the button is just magical.

And of course, the movie is just chalk full of the strangest humor.... I mean it has Leslie Nielsen in it. He plays a former curling champion who now lives on his farm growing mushrooms. (The special kind, duh.)

So, I seriously recommend celebrating today's holiday, Curling is Cool Day, by finding a copy of this wonderful movie and falling in love with the sport.

Oh, and if you know someone who is a Die-hard curling fan, don't forget to stop by and get one of our Curling is Cool greeting cards! (We have cards for everything, don't you know.)

 

21 Feb
2015

“Spoon? Why a Spoon, Cousin?”

If your response to the title is "Because it's dull, you twit", than you love Alan Rickman. or Robin Hood. But probably you love Alan Rickman.

Today is Alan Rickman's birthday.  YAY!

Why is Alan Rickman so great? LET ME TELL YOU:

--Alan Rickman loves the theater so much (AS HE SHOULD) that he has turned down multiple movie roles in favor of live theater. You can often see him in shows in New York, and he is amazing.

Private Lives

Private Lives

--When Alan Rickman was young, he had a speech impediment and had to have vocal training. This leads us to today, where is voice is the most amazing thing ever. It even has its own facebook page.

yeahhhhh.... we all do.

--I'm sure all you geeks knew this like a million years ago, but it needs to be mentioned again. Alan Rickman was J.K. Rowling's first pick for the character of Snape. In fact, she gave him insider tips about the character BEFORE BOOKS WERE RELEASED. HE KNEW ALL ALONG.

No one else could have done Snape like Alan Rickman. <3

--According to IMDB, Alan Rickman turned down the role of Sheriff in Robin Hood; Prince of Thieves twice before he was told that he could have complete control over his interpretation of the character. And then he did an amazing job creating the Sheriff of Nottingham. like whoa.

"That's it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas."

-- In the filming of Die Hard, the shot where Hans Gruber falls from the top of the building was  was actually Alan Rickman being dropped by a stuntman from a 20-foot high model onto an air bag. To get a genuine surprised look, the stuntman dropped him on the count of two instead of three.

what about THREE?

That's just a few things in the list of Awesome Alan Rickman Facts.

And to finish it off, here are some amazing pictures and videos of him being sexy and amazing!

 

 

6 Feb
2015

Gifts to give some one with a brand new office job! Or the same old boring office job!

 

 

 

Do you spend your days in the cardboard box they call cubicles? Do you know someone with a brand new Adult Job? Well here are some things that you should probably have to fill the tiny space you call 'office'!
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- A beach wall calendar to stare at when you get tired of working.
- A page a day calendar so you can waste 5 minutes a day ripping that page off.
- A mug that you will recognize when your coworker steals it.
- Some hand sanitizer for when you meet the guy who wanks at the water cooler.
- A lunch box that will make you feel like a kid again for 5 minutes so that you forget how old and responsible you are now.
- Snarky file folders to put the stupid office memos in.
- A mouse pad that doubles as a note pad because really you only have so much room in that cubicle.
- Office citations that you can write up...but really shouldn't actually send to your new coworkers
- A fail button for when you attend your first office meeting. Seriosuly. Use that thing. People will love it. 

Happy Job-Having, you adult, you!

4 Feb
2015

Books to read if you think girls should be taken more seriously

These books feature strong women, young and not young, who change the world in a big way even though people thing they're 'just a girl'.

Hero-and-the-Crown

dragon

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blue sword

yesplease

LionWardrobe13

bossypants

sab

10 Jan
2015

National Letter Writing Day: A (Sappy) Letter For You All

To my Beloved Reader,

I once went to a rather strange play. It was about a young man who traveled to Paris in search of his past, taking with him a bundle of love letters. The letters were old and faded; they had been written by his grandfather to his grandmother long, long ago.
As he read through the letters in a small apartment in Paris, he encountered the all-engulfing , romantic, fiery love that his grandparents had shared. But the letters only told half the story, as his grandfather had saved none written to him.
This young man in continually inspired by the words of love put on paper. Finally, he reads one last letter. This one spoke of deep sorrow. His grandfather had outlived his beautiful wife, and dearly regretted not saving the letters she wrote to him. She had saved every word he ever wrote to her in a beautiful box so that she could remember his love at any moment. But he did not and, once she was gone, wished that he had something to hold in his hand and read with his heart.

As I walked out of the theater at the end of the play, I thought through all the keepsakes I have: playbills from shows I loved, pictures of friends, movie ticket stubs and dried flowers. The ones that are most precious to me are the letters that were written to me. They are there when I need them to reread and remember that I am loved and full of potential.

Today is National Letter Writing day, which is why I have written this letter to you, dear Reader. The month of love is just around the corner. The world will tell you that you should be buying chocolates, flowers, shiney gifts, but sometime the best most precious gift you can give is a heartfelt letter full of the reasons that your special someone is just so special.

Write well, dear Reader.

With Love,
A. Lirael Flint