28 Jul
2015

Beatrix Potter: Our Spirit Animal

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Beatrix drew the animals she observed throughout her life

Beatrix Potter, the mastermind behind The Tale of Peter Rabbit, lived a quiet way life, appreciating simple pleasures.  She shared these simple pleasures with the masses.  She was born in London on July 28, 1866 and lived a lonely and sheltered Victorian childhood.  Her parents discouraged her from making friends her own age.  Beatrix had the privilege of meeting famous artists, politicians, and thinkers, but this means little to a young girl who just wants a friend.  She was educated at home by governesses.  Having little opportunity to make friends, nature became her one true friend for the rest of her life.
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Beatrix spent summer holidays with her family in an area of the country known as Lake District.  She drew from a young age, observing her pets, other animals, and plants.  She devoted much of her life to farming and countryside conservation, probably due to her early life and love of her memories at Lake District.

Beatrix Potter's house

Beatrix Potter's house

A bit of a late bloomer, Beatrix did not begin her career as a children’s author and illustrator until she was 35 years old.  She was quite dedicated to her vision of Peter Rabbit.  More than six publishers rejected The Tale of Peter Rabbit, so she printed two hundred and fifty copies privately.  Beatrix was interested in all aspects of book production, from the conception of the story, to the binding.  She made her books as cheap as possible to reach as many children as she could; after all, they could buy it with pocket change.  Her books were tiny to accommodate her readers’ tiny hands.  By the end of 1903, over 50,000 copies of Peter Rabbit had sold.  The publishers that rejected this classic tale must have been regretting their rejection.
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Being a keen businesswoman, Beatrix paid close attention to what her audience desired.  She looked for innovative ways to capitalize on her creations.  Shortly after publishing Peter Rabbit, she created a Peter Rabbit doll, which was followed by wallpaper and a board game.  She tested her prose on her friends’ children who were always thrilled by her tales.  The merchandising began with Beatrix’s interest in finding new ways to expand her imaginary world.  Her tales have been translated into over 35 languages and have been published all over the world.

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Beatrix always wrote what she knew and was inspired by real animals and their unique personalities.  The real Peter Rabbit was Beatrix’s pet, “Peter Piper.”  She often sketched him in front of the fire lying on the hearth rug.  The Tale of Benjamin Bunny is modeled after her first pet rabbit who she smuggled into the nursery in a brown bag.  His name was “Benjamin H. Bouncer” and he was fond of treats and hot buttered toasts!
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Beatrix with Peter Rabbit

Beatrix with Peter Rabbit

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The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, is based on a farm duck who often scampered off to lay eggs in secret nesting places.  Sometimes Beatrix had to use a hen to sit on Jemima’s eggs.  Jemima was always scampering off somewhere, neglecting her eggs.  Beatrix blended fantasy and reality flawlessly.  Her imaginary world was filled with truth.  This tale in particular is so closely associated with Hill Top Farm that it has been described as a “poem of the farm itself.”  The farm’s idyllic landscapes are still recognizable today.

For the last thirty years of her life, Beatrix focused on preserving her beloved land that inspired so many stories.  She preserved Lake District for future generations and ensured the area would be untouched by developers.  In her seventies she wrote, “as I lie in bed, I can walk step by step on the fells and rough lands, seeing every stone and flower...where my old legs will never take me again.”  Towards the end of her life she stated, “If I have done anything -- even a little -- to help small children appreciate honest, simple pleasures, I have done a bit of good.”

Beatrix at her beloved Hill  Top Farm

Beatrix at her beloved Hill Top Farm

Beatrix Potter has done quite a bit of good.  We at Kards Unlimited love her to pieces!  She shares our love of animals, nature, simplicity, gardening, children, and imagination!!!  We have a complete collection of her tales that includes even more information on this amazing woman’s life.  Did you know she was engaged and within a month her fiance died?  Yep, that tragic bit of information is in the book, along with much more!  If you have kids, or you are a kid at heart, these tales will warm your soul and make you want to find animals to observe!  So come in to KU, grab a sketchbook, then go back out and bond with nature!  And if this post gave you the gardening itch, we sell “Garden-in-a-Bag,” it makes gardening a sitch.  Go forth into the world and make Beatrix Potter proud on her birthday!!!!
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23 Jul
2015

A Tribute to Daniel Radcliffe

Today's Daniel Radcliffe's birthday and we wanted to celebrate the wonderful man he is.

Here he is rapping Eminem.

Here he is walking like, a billion dogs.

Daniel Radcliffe films a scene on the set of the motion picture "Trainwreck" in Bryant Park. CREDIT: Abaca USA/AKM-GSI [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

Daniel Radcliffe films a scene on the set of the motion picture "Trainwreck" in Bryant Park. CREDIT: Abaca USA/AKM-GSI [Via MerlinFTP Drop]

Here he is um, being HARRY POTTER.

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Angsty Harry was my favorite

Don't you just want to be BFF with him?

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He gives to great charities, and look, here he is with a cute PUPPY!

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I have no idea what this picture is for/about but I don't really care.

He's weird, but he's my kind of weird.

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To conclude, HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAN!

21 Jul
2015

Zoo Keeper Week

I went to the Zoo just about every year when I was a kid. But for some reason, my most vivid memory from the zoo is scraping my knee and crying by the polar bears. It was a great time.

However, when we were choosing blogs this month, I just knew that I needed to write something. Because despite not really being like the most enthusiastic person when it comes to zoo visits, I can personally tell you about my time at Steve Irwin's house.

Okay, no. That's a lie. I was at his Zoo. But he grew up there! At the zoo! his house is on the property! He got to wake up every morning and feed those crocodiles.
Crikey!

The day I was at Steve Irwin's zoo, it was pretty cloudy. So my pictures aren't the best. But I wanted to share them with you, because it was super cool to be walking the same ground that Steve Irwin walked on. In Australia. Oh, hey. did I mention that I went to Australia? yeahhhhh.

Anyway, here are some pictures of Steve Irwin's back yard. Literally.

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There were pictures of Steve everywhere.

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We got to pet this guy.

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So sleepy! ....Which was mostly what they were like the whole day.

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You get to just wander loose with the Roos

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Roo Kisses!!

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I got to feed the little guys! And also scritch them.

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no, that is not a real croc. It IS, however, a life-sized model. OMG.

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This crock is about to get fed. in front of us.

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That really brave guy is handing the giant male croc meats. From his hand. He does it multiple times a day, but he was still nervous as hell.

 

20 Jul
2015

Who Said That? A Guide to Ventriloquism Week

The late, great Edgar Bergen and his pal Charlie McCarthy

The late, great Edgar Bergen and his pal Charlie McCarthy

Pretty much everyone knows what ventriloquism is, but in case you don't, ventriloquism is the art of throwing one's voice.  The ability to speak while appearing not to speak.  Great ventriloquists can have full conversations with thin air!  Can give life to otherwise inert objects!  (Usually a puppet of some kind, but it's fun when it's something else too!)  Ventriloquists, in short, make boring (and, depending on the puppet, sometimes creepy) things fun!

National Ventriloquism Week is coordinated through the Vent Haven Museum in Cincinnati.  William Berger, a Cincinnati industrialist, founded the museum using his large collection of ventriloquist's dummies that he had accumulated over many years and business trips.  The week is celebrated on the third week of July every year (that's the 19th through the 25th this year).

Even if you can't make it out to Cincinnati for the celebration, appreciate the fine art of ventriloquism by seeing a show or watching one on Netflix if there isn't a live one convenient.  Or practice some ventriloquism of your own!  You never know when it might come in handy!

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19 Jul
2015

Happy National Ice Cream Day!

Ice cream is the ultimate treat. I don't care what time of year it is, ice cream is permissible. If you're one of those people that's like, "OMG I don't eat ice cream when it's cold out," we are not friends. And there is always room for dessert, even if I've just eaten a 7 course meal. ICE CREAM IS THE BEST! Here are a bunch of gratuitous ice cream related gifs.

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I want to live in this place.

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See also: Ron Swanson eating a banana. Priceless.

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AND WE ARE BIG FANS OF YOUR CAPTAIN AMERICAN BUTT.

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Wuv, true wuv.

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<3 <3 <3

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True dat.

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ICE CREAM SANDWICHES!

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And, the best for last.

13 Jul
2015

Jean Luc Picard MAKE IT SO

Captain’s Log.

 

Lieutenant LaForge still has no explanation for the strange man who materialized aboard the Enterprise.  His appearance is strikingly similar to my own.  His name is Patrick Stewart.  He claims to be from Earth year 2015.  He even has the same birthday as me, though he was born 365 years before me.

Am I Picard or Stewart???

Am I Picard or Stewart???

He seems to have no nefarious motives and was as surprised as we were at his mysterious sudden arrival.  Patrick Stewart has led an interesting life that parallels my own in many ways.  We share a kinship of sorts.  He is an English actor who rose to fame playing a starship captain on the show Star Trek: The Next Generation with a crew much like my own.  The similarities are eerie, especially since his character on the television program even shares my name.
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When I asked Patrick to describe his starship captain he said that his captain is known for his vast intelligence, mastery of diplomacy and debate, patience, tactical cunning, and moral compass.  Who am I to argue with that?!  Thats quite the character reference!  Stewart said, “It came to a point where I had no idea where Picard began and I ended.  We completely overlapped.  His voice became my voice, and there were other elements of him that became me.”  This Patrick Stewart isn’t only a force in the science fiction world, he is also known for his charity work and activism.

This is what a feminist looks like

This is what a feminist looks like

His political leanings stem from his belief in equality.  He is a self proclaimed feminist and socialist.  In July 2012, he was honored with the privilege of carrying the Olympic torch in London.  Although he has also been knighted by Queen Elizabeth, he says that carrying the torch was more impressive.  I’ll wager he drank earl grey tea (hot) over crumpets with Her Majesty the Queen if he’s anything like myself.

Picard Maneuver my ass!

Picard Maneuver my ass!

And when he isn’t winning awards for his acting or receiving some of the highest honors on Earth, he enjoys racing his neighbor Jeremy Clarkson, flying helicopters with James McAvoy, though apparently he found it quite terrifying, Starship Captain indeed!  I don’t think he would be comfortable engaging the Picard Maneuver!  He showed me photos of him rescuing a baby bird and playing in a ball pit with a wife half his age (maybe there’s hope for Beverly and I yet!).  He even had early onset baldness like myself.

This is something I'm going to have to work on programming into the holodeck for Beverly.

This is something I'm going to have to work on programming into the holodeck for Beverly.

Lieutenant LaForge is working on a solution to get him back to his proper time period, but for now we are all enjoying this man’s company.  He is putting on a Shakespearean performance tonight with the help of the crew.  We are all excited.

Look he ran into the Doctor too!

Look he ran into the Doctor too!

Captain’s Log Supplemental
Patrick Stewart vanished after his riveting Shakespearean performance.  I have never seen a soliloquy quite like his.  We are all fortunate to have met such a talented man from a century long before our own who shares values with Starfleet.  Men and women from the past like Patrick Stewart were the beginning of a much larger movement on Earth towards a united planet that values peace.  Yes, we are lucky to have met him.

Stewart on Halloween

Stewart on Halloween

We don't carry this fake perfume, but we do carry Star Trek cuff links, mugs, and lunchboxes.  Quick, #1 to Kards Unlimited!  Engage!

We don't carry this fake perfume, but we do carry Star Trek cuff links, mugs, and lunchboxes. Quick, #1 to Kards Unlimited! Engage!

8 Jul
2015

All of July is AC Appreciation Days!

You know what's awful? Being out, sweating practically to death, and then coming home to your sweltering home. And sweating fully to death.

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Or you know, a lot. Whatever. I've died about a million times in my melodramatic life.

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She's actually outside? So IDK WTF is going on but IT'S FINE, Gil Elvgren.

The point is, ain't nobody got time to be sweating their dick off in summer. Especially when they're trying to sleep.

"The actress recalls having to have the air conditioning angled at her while on the set of Harry Potter." Sort of related.

"The actress recalls having to have the air conditioning angled at her while on the set of Harry Potter." Sort of related. AND YOU GO GURL. Anyway.

Or better yet, has your car's AC ever stopped working in the dead of summer? It's like when you first get into your car after it's been buttoned up, except it never really cools off and you're essentially riding around in a giant, sun powered toaster oven. No thank you.

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*Psh might as well ride my horse everywhere* Cars with no AC. PUH-LEASE.

These are all of the reasons I appreciate AC. These dogs are not enjoying AC but the output from an AC. But THEY ARE STILL SO CUTE.

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As always, here at KUAC 2

 

7 Jul
2015

Cheers to the guy who invented the waterbed.

Happy Birthday Robert A. HeinleinI'll admit right away that I still have so much reading to do when it comes to Robert Heinlein. I've only read a few of his books. But two of those books totally shaped my growing years. Those books were good friends to me.

Those books also introduced me and made me fall in love with science fiction. Heinlein wasn't just writing about monsters from space or ray guns and floating cars. His books dealt with a lot of social issues, provoking his readers to think about the way the world was heading. He also dealt a great bit with things that were super important to a young me: he challenged the ideas of sexuality and gender.

If you haven't yet, you should read Stranger in a Strange Land. As soon as possible. And while you're reading it, you should keep in mind that it was published in 1961.

Also, just FYI, if you like waterbeds, you should thank dear Robert. He invented the idea after staying in the hospital and wrote it up in one of his books. He never patented it, but he used a detailed description in his book that allowed someone else to make it a real thing.  Also, on the note of him being a man before his time, he also wrote about this thing that was really a cell phone before people had cell phones. What a clever guy.

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Here are some amazing quotes from his work.

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” - Stranger in a Strange Land

"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea." -not from a book

"Happiness consists in getting enough sleep. Just that, nothing more." -Starship Troopers

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<3 <3 <3