25 Sep
2015

The Karaoke Bars are calling because it’s One Hit Wonder Day!

The sweetest revenge.

The sweetest revenge.

One Hit Wonder Day was established by music journalist Steve Rosen in 1990 to pay tribute to those who technically didn’t even have their five minutes of fame, because most one hit wonders are less time than that.  Celebrate by listening to an artist that contributed one enormously successful song, and not much else, to humanity. Or go to a karaoke bar and show your love by singing a painfully heartfelt rendition of “I Touch Myself.”  People will either sing along with you, or leave.  Good luck!  

Everyone knows what song this happened to!

Everyone knows what song this happened to!

I totally thought I was up on my one hit wonder knowledge.  I thought I would know all the bands and songs.  As it turns out...I do not.  I failed miserably, aside from the few songs on mix CD’s expertly curated by my brother in the early 2000s.  I played those CD’s from middle school well into my high school days on my Sony Walkman and it baffles me that I have to look up the artists, but I remember the song lyrics by heart.  Because they are just that catchy and memorable.  

Oh yes...this was the one.   So sleek.

Oh yes...this was the one. So sleek.

And all those arguments about whether or not ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ was sung by Bob Marley can finally be put to rest; it wasn’t.  And did you know that Chumbawamba was originally an anarchist band?  They were actually quite good before they sold out.  Seriously check out “Timebomb,” their talent was wasted on early 1990’s ravers, so sad.  They fed into the system they wanted so deeply to change.  It’s the nature of the beast.  But let’s not be angsty, we love all music!!!!  So let’s celebrate all the bands, decades, and one hit wonders to grace us with their presence, however fleeting.  

Yep, that's a pretty anarchist song title.

Yep, that's a pretty anarchist song title.

And here's a list of One Hit Wonders!  Enjoy!

 

-Los Del Rio--’Macarena’  (Calling all 90's kids!  Watch this!)
-Lou Bega--’Mambo #5’
-Soft Cell--’Tainted Love’
-Sir Mix A Lot--’I like big butts’
-Vanilla Ice--’Ice Ice Baby’
-Blind Melon--’No Rain’
-Tag Team--’Whoomp! (There it is)’
-4 Non Blondes--’What’s Up?’
-Eddy Grant--'Electric Avenue'
-Aqua--’Barbie Girl’
-Billy Ray Cyrus--’Achy Breaky Heart’
-The Waitresses--’I Know What Boys Like’
-House of Pain--’Jump Around’
-Minnie Ripperton--’Lovin’ You’
-The Weather Girls--’It’s Raining Men’
-Falco--’Rock Me Amadeus’
-The Cardigans--’Lovefool’
-Frankie Goes to Hollywood--’Relax’
-The Verve--’Bittersweet Symphony’
-Modern English--’I Melt with You’
-Meredith Brooks--’Bitch’
-Starland Vocal Band--’Afternoon Delight’
-Buster Poindexter--’Hot Hot Hot’
-EMF--’Unbelievable’
-Devo--’Whip it’
-Wild Cherry--’Play that Funky Music’
-Sugarhill Gang--’Rapper’s Delight’
-Deee-Lite--’Groove is in the Heart’
-Lita Ford--’Kiss Me Deadly’
-Norman Greenbaum--’Spirit in the Sky’
-Baha Men--’Who Let the Dogs Out?’
-Men Without Hats--’The Safety Dance’
-The Knack--’My Sharona’
-DiVinyls--’I Touch Myself’
-Psy--’Gangam Style’
-Bobby McFerrin--’Don’t Worry Be Happy’
-LEN--’Steal My Sunshine’
-Chumbawamba--’Tubthumping’
-Wheatus--’Teenage Dirtbag’
-The Buggles--’Video Killed the Radio Star’
-Afroman--’Because I Got High’
-The Vapors--’Turning Japanese’
-Lipps Inc--’Funkytown’
-Bobby Day--’Rockin’ Robin’
-Nena--’99 Luftballoons’
-Toni Basil--’Mickey’
-The Archies--’Sugar, Sugar’
-Dexys Midnight Runners--’Come on Eileen’
-Right Said Fred--’I’m Too Sexy’

22 Sep
2015

Dear Diary…..

September 22, 2015

Dear Diary,

Today I want to tell everyone about Dear Diary Day!  Each year, I tell myself that I am going to keep a written diary, and each year I fail.  Well, not this year!  I have plenty of journals and they’re going to feel the wrath of my pen pretty damn soon.  So, to celebrate Dear Diary Day, here are four quick and easy steps to follow:

1. Acquire a journal (or a stack of loosely stapled together papers flipped upside down and backwards...the principle is the same though.)
dear-diary-300x2682. Acquire a pen (or a pencil, if you’re one of those people.)
MjAxMy02Y2Q5NWZkYTg4ODEyNDJj3. START WRITING (believe it or not this is the trickiest part, probably because in America we’re bred to consume, not to create...it’s sad really.)
images4. Stay the hell away from your social media profiles!!!!  (A journal helps you be more yourself.  You explore who you are.  Ruminate, if you will.  Social media will NOT help with this.  What do you want to leave behind for your kids?  A social media profile that’s almost as well groomed as a Victoria’s Secret model, or a diary/journal/stack of crumpled napkins that truly show who you are, or were, at a specific time.  We all change so much year to year.  I guarantee your future descendants will want it, they will want it more than most things you could leave behind.)
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20 Sep
2015

National Dog Week!! Puppies Everywhere!

Basket_Of_PuppiesGuys. National Dog week is happening. Specifically, it's happening September 20-26.

I love dogs. In my mind, all dogs are puppies. People get upset with me sometimes because I say something about puppies, and they're all like, OMG, newborn baby dogs?!? And I'm like..... No. Just regular dogs. but I call them puppies.

I think it's because people get really extra excited about the idea of hanging out with a goofy, wiggly, fur and kisses machine. But see, I get that excited about ALL dogs. They are all wiggly and wonderful and GAH! so much love.

0aedf75071a7461549442fb532fec1bfSo, I'm going to be working a bunch during National Dog Week, and my hope is to see as MANY puppies (dogs) as possible!

Shadyside is very puppy friendly. You can go into most of the store with your furry friend, ours included! And for National Dog Week, we will have treats for any puppy that stops in to say hello. (or woof.)

We will also be collecting pictures of puppies in our store! Do you have a puppy that loves Kards Unlimited? Send us a picture of your snugly pooch and we'll make them famous! (Well, as famous as they can get by having their picture shared on our social medias.)

Happy National Dog Week! We wish you lots of snuggles. <3

12 Sep
2015

Roald Dahl Day is September 13!

For being remembered as the greatest children’s storyteller of all time, Roald Dahl had a somewhat tragic existence.  His childhood was permeated by loss (a sister and a father), as was his adult life.  He spent his childhood away at boarding school where he suffered abuse.  He was in WWII and rumored to be a James Bond type spy. Despite a somewhat troubling life, it was filled with love.  Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here.  This is to have succeeded.”  Well, Mr. Dahl, you have succeeded.  More than most people, you have succeeded.
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Thirteen Facts to Celebrate Roald Dahl’s Life and Birthday on September 13th:

 

  1. A high ranking church official once said that although Dahl’s young daughter who passed away was in Paradise, her beloved dog Rowley was not.  Dahl stated, “I wanted to ask him how he could be so completely sure that other creatures did not get the same special treatment as us.  I sat there wondering if this great and famous churchman really knew what he was talking about and whether he knew anything at all about God or heaven, and if he didn’t, then who in the world did?”

    Okay cranky church man, we all know all dogs go to heaven!

    Okay cranky church man, we all know all dogs go to heaven!

     

     

  2. Dahl acquired a traditional Romanichal gypsy wagon in the 1960s, and used it as a playhouse for his children.  Later, he used it as a writing room.  Um cool and magical, just like he was!!!!

    Well doesn't that look magical!

    Well doesn't that look magical!

     

     

  3. In the 1960’s he wrote screenplays.  He even began adapting his novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Much like all artists, he failed to meet deadlines and someone else was given his project.  He eventually disowned the film entirely stating that the movie put far too much emphasis on Willy Wonka and not enough on Charlie.  He was infuriated with the plot deviations.  I wonder how he would feel about the Tim Burton version.
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  4. Dahl’s mother, Sophie, used to tell him tales of trolls and other mythical Norwegian creatures.  His novels were inspired by his childhood.  He was an avid reader, loving ghost stories and tales of heroism and triumph.  He said of his mother, "She was a great teller of tales. Her memory was prodigious and nothing that ever happened to her in her life was forgotten."
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  5. His autobiography Boy: Tales of Childhood detailed the abuse he suffered in boarding school.  Is there anyone that ever had a decent boarding school experience?  Judging by memoirs, I’d say no.  
  6. In 1960, his four month old son, Theo, was severely injured when his pram was hit by a taxi.  Theo suffered from hydrocephalus.  Subsequently, Dahl involved himself in the development of the “Wade-Dahl-Till” (WDT) Valve.  This WDT Valve was a device to alleviate this condition.  It was successfully used on thousands of children worldwide.  
  7. In 1962, his daughter Olivia died of Measles and encephalitis at age seven.  He was wracked with guilt over her death.  He felt as though her death was avoidable and became a proponent of immunization. (Hear that anti-vaxxers?...Roald Dahl HATES YOU!!!!!)
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  8. His grave is at St. Peter and Paul’s Church in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, England, where children continue to leave toys and flowers.
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  9. He served in the RAF during WWII.  During one flight, he couldn’t find an airstrip and attempted a landing in the desert.  The undercarriage hit a boulder and he crashed.  He fractured his skull and was temporarily blind.  Luckily he dragged himself out of the wreckage before the plane burst into flames.  His first published work is about this crash.
    Roald Dahl and Ernest Hemingway...29 May 1944, London, England, UK --- War Correspondent Waits for Invasion. London, England: Ernest Hemingway (right) walks a London street in the company of an RAF officer. Hemingway is in England and awaiting the opening of the second front. The luxurious foliage decorating his jaw is there on his doctor's orders. He has been forbidden to shave it off for two months. --- Image by  Bettmann/CORBIS 

     

  10. In 1920, Dahl’s older sister died of pneumonia, followed weeks later by his father who died whilst on a fishing trip in the Antarctic.
  11. In 1983, Dahl reviewed Tony Clifton’s God Cried, a picture book about the 1982 Lebanon War.  It depicted Israelis killing thousands of Beirut inhabitants by bombing civilians.  Dahl's review stated that the book would make readers "violently anti-Israeli", writing, "I am not anti-Semitic. I am anti-Israel."
  12. He was named after Roald Amundsen, a polar explorer and national hero in Norway.  
  13. Dahl’s writing influenced film director Tim Burton who was impressed by his "mixture of light and darkness, and not speaking down to kids, and the kind of politically incorrect humour that kids get."

Thank you Roald Dahl.  Thank you for the beautiful stories I love to rediscover.  Thank you for not talking down to me.  Thank you for the macabre, and your dark sense of humor.  Many people don’t think children can handle real life issues, so they shield them from death, despair, and tragedy, but honestly, these people aren’t doing their kids any favors.   Kids are perceptive and can handle more than people think.  

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8 Sep
2015

Star Trek Day 2015!

SpockNimoyThis day is hereby dedicated to Star Trek.

If you are in anyway informed about Star Trek, you should know that this show isn't just about Science Fiction. It's about humanity, evolution, hope. Look guys, I know that you're maybe expecting a fun little ditty on how cool star trek is, but I'm going to get a little serious. Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek was, in its time and possibly even today, Far Before its Time.

Let me tell you this story that gives me chills every time I think about it: Once upon a time, Nichelle Nichols. who plays Lt. Uhura (in the original series), resigned from the show. A few days, she changed her mind (thank god) because she got a pep talk from an American Hero.  Martin Luther King, Jr. saw her at an event and told her he was a huge fan and why her role was so very important.  In an interview, she recounts, "he was telling me why I could not [resign]. He said I had the first non-stereotypical role, I had a role with honor, dignity and intelligence. He said, 'You simply cannot abdicate, this is an important role. This is why we are marching. We never thought we'd see this on TV.'"

gene-roddenberryGot goosebumps? I do. Luckily she took his word and went to Mr. Roddenberry the very next day to take up the role again. When explaining her reasons to him, she says, "He sat there and looked at me and said, 'God bless Dr. Martin Luther King. Somebody does understand me.'"

After Star Trek was canceled, Nichols volunteered  as a recruiter for NASA, successfully recruiting minorities into the space program. She helped get the first woman into space, as well as the first African American. And it was all because she was on this one Science Fiction show.

Look I don't care about whether you think that Star Trek is cheesy and campy. It kind of is. But it was also a movement.

Uhura_and_Kirk_kissStar Trek had the first interracial kiss on TV, between Shatner and Nichols. And they knew it was a big deal, so much so that they actively flubbed every scene filmed without the actual kiss so that they editors had no choice but to include the kiss on the show!

In season one, some of the men in the background wore skirts. Because Roddenberry and his team figured that was the most logical progression of equality between the sexes.

Roddenberry envisioned the first officer being played by a woman. That was a little too far for the executives, so they put the Alien, Spock got the role.

There are just a few ways that Roddenberry tried to change the world through the magic of Television. We should all demand such excellence from our modern TV shows!

On a lighter note, here is a fun fact that has nothing to do with changing the world: Neither Shatner nor Quinto could make their hand do the quintessential Spock gesture, the Vulcan salute. Shatner resorted to fishing wire, while Quinto had his fingers glued together.

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6 Sep
2015

Bee a darling and get me some honey!

honey1The time has come for visiting pumpkin and apple farms. It's like the best time of the year. The air is crisp and full of leaves. The sun is soft and the wind is slightly chilled. I just freaking love fall.

Any way, the actual point of this blog is to remind you that when you visit your local farmstead, like Tripple B or Trax Farm or Soergel Orchards,  to stock up on your pumpkins and apples and hay bales, make sure you don't forget to add local honey to your shopping list!

Local honey isn't just super yummy. It is also really good for you. Here's a story from personal experience about why I always buy local honey!

My brother has always had TERRIBLE allergies. Like for serious, his face would get all red, he couldn't breathe, eyes were all runny, and sometimes he even ended up in the hospital. All because he was allergic to everything in the air during fall and spring.

So when someone told us that the solution was simply to eat local honey, we were all kind of like, yeah, that's not going to work, because his allergies are too terrible for a simple folk remedy.

But! just on a whim, and mostly because we really love the taste of honey, my brother started eating local honey. Not like by the gallon or anything, just like in his morning tea and with cereal and stuff. And then fall rolled around, and we all braced for his imminent mucus explosion..... but he didn't explode. Sure, he was still a little itchy and watery, but his allergies were nowhere near as bad!

honeybee

Honey Bee SO CUTEEEE!

So, honey is the answer to allergies. It's actually the answer to a lot of things. For instance if someone asks you, "What is super sweet and yummy and something I should put in my mouth right now?" the answer is probably honey.

If I haven't convinced you yet, maybe this will: buying local honey gives money to local honey farmers, and therefore the local honey farmers will keep housing local bees. In case you're like living under a rock, you probably know that everyone is pretty worried about the diminished population of honey bees. There have been a million studies done, and some people say we're safe, and other people say that we're literally going to die without bees and it's happening tomorrow. Regardless, bees are really important for the environment. And they're so cute and fluffy! So support your local bees and buy local honey!

Happy Honey Day! 

1 Sep
2015

Library Card Sign-up Month is here!

Back to school.  Back to school.  To prove to Dad that I’m not a fool.

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It’s September, and that means it’s Library Card Sign-up Month!  One of the most important school supplies, and life supplies, is a library card.  Books are expensive, and there’s magic in the ritual of going to the library.  I know I was entranced by Roald Dahl’s character Matilda, who spent hours in the library delving deep into stories.  

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When I was a child, my mother took me to the library regularly.  It was a ritual I will always associate with her.  I loved it.  The children’s section was in the basement and even though the elevator at my local library (don’t worry it wasn’t in Pittsburgh...go to the library!) smelled like pee, I always looked forward to my visits to the library.  It always felt like a special treat.  The adult section looked so grand in comparison to my dear little children’s area.  

My first library card.

My first library card.

When I got older I am ashamed to say I stopped going to the library.  I never went to the library at my university, mostly because it was a giant petri dish filled with coughing college students who still hadn’t learned to cover their mouths whilst sneezing.  That was a missed opportunity.  That library was gorgeous and had amazing resources.  Ahhh hindsight, you bitch.  This year I am determined to sign up for a library card!  

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If you are interested in getting a card at any of the Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh, there’s some things you should know.  To receive a card you must show a valid form of identification and proof of address.  You must also fill out an application  There’s plenty you can do with your new library card.  

 

I’m sure I’m not the only girl to fantasize about being Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  Belle with the beautiful library!!!  Which brings me to my next point, libraries are beautiful.

I WANT!!!

I WANT!!!

And have you heard of New Zealand’s teeny tiny libraries that connect isolated communities through a shared love of books?  It's pretty interesting...

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So get out there!  Go get that library card!  With a library card you can travel through space and time.  With the right story, you can go anywhere.

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24 Aug
2015

It’s Leslie Knope’s Favorite Holiday: Waffle Day

 

I hope you’re eating breakfast all day because it is Leslie Knope’s favorite holiday: National Waffle Day!!!  On August 24, 1869, Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York, patented the waffle iron (Patent number 94,043 for all of you out there who still think you’re going to win Jeopardy one day).   In 1953, Eggo frozen waffles were developed. Did you know that the Ancient Greeks were the first waffle makers?  They cooked flat cakes between two metal plates held over burning embers.

I don't know Leslie, I don't know...

I don't know Leslie, I don't know...

Now that you know the basic history of the waffle, here are some eggo-celent waffle quotes from the baddest bitch in Pawnee, Indiana.

We all like waffles, especially when we're in the hospital.

We all like waffles, especially when we're in the hospital.

“We need to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work.  Or waffles, friends, work.  Doesn’t matter, but work is third.”

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“Everyone should love waffles.  If they don’t they’re crazy.”

All waffles should be friendship wafles!

All waffles should be friendship wafles!

Leslie measures time in terms of waffles:  “Maria, I’m going to need two hours worth of waffles.”

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JJ: “Sure, anything for my favorite customer.”
Leslie: “I bet you say that to all the girls.”
JJ: “Oh no, no.  Actually you are my favorite.  You’ve spent over a thousand dollars last year on waffles alone.”