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

5 Jul
2015

International Kissing Day (aka Everyday)

My first french kiss.

My first french kiss.

It was 1989, I was 8 years old, in the 3rd grade.  I lived on a military base in Winter Harbor, Maine. Every Friday, a van would come and pick up all the kids a (in a legal non predatory way) and take us to Millbridge, the nearest town to see a movie. [INSERT EPIC MINDBLOWING UPDATE: while writing this I googled the theater, which is like googling an image in a dream you had or like that scene in High Fidelity where John Cusack finds his ex listed in the phonebook and screams "She's an extra terrestrial, a ghost, a myth, not a person in a phone book!"...basically you don't really expect it to exist outside of your brain because it's YOURS and it's the PAST...anyway, an article posted TODAY telling me that the owner died and the theater will be closing after 36 summers. True story: here's the article.]

milbridgetheaterSo despite my tears I'll keep typing. There was a boy I liked, but he couldn't decide between my friend Sarah and I (I eventually fell for her too, oof.) We all compromised and he asked both of us to be his date that night (yes, 3rd grade.) During the movie he had his arms around both of us and I was happy and sad and full of existential angst. On the ride home I started to pull away as the new Aerosmith song "What it Takes" (To Let You Go) played on the radio. It was raining, and I had my head against the window-it was pretty epic; one of those moments that NO ONE IN THE WORLD COULD EVEN UNDERSTAND because YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW because I was the ONLY PERSON TO EVER LOVE ANOTHER PERSON, etc.

So we get back home and as I go to get out at my stop, he takes my hand, pulls me toward him and says "let me french you goodbye" but without waiting for an "ok" from me. Everything went into slo mo and all I could see was his mouth open really wide and coming toward me like Alien to Sigourney Weaver. I closed my eyes and parted my lips for my first kiss:

wetness

strange suction

a tickle on the roof of my mouth

a slick tingle around my lips

what actually happened: his mouth was just on top of my mouth, we kept them wide open, he licked my hard palette and then circled my lips like he was Burt's Bees. Done. Over.

Suddenly, all that angsty existential darkness lifted as I realized I NEVER wanted him to kiss me again. I looked at Sarah and smiled as I gave up my claim on him and turned my sites toward her. Let's just say thanks to playing house I learned how to really enjoy kissing, and haven't stopped since. My fiance and I were featured on the cover of DC's city paper kissing at the Pride parade because we are both huge Allies, and because we both looked pretty hot. pridekiss (1)Just saying. I mean but really. When I'm 80 I'll remember these boobs fondly and be happy they made it onto the internet.

So, kissing pro tips:

1. Don't force it; move with your partner, compromise your styles if they are different and find your rhythm.

2. As I learned when I was 8, don't go in with your mouth wide open and don't try to eat your partner.

3. Remember to swallow once in a while.

4. Date or be engaged or married to someone super hot.

5. KISS THE ONE YOU LOVE EVERY TIME YOU THINK IT. If you're like me you worry about death a lot. So kiss before sleep, at goodbyes, and every moment in between. Because, death.

6. Don't think about death.

HAPPY KISSING EVERYONE!!!

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3 Jul
2015

It’s Kafka’s Birthday!

Franz Kafka by Andy Warhol

Franz Kafka by Andy Warhol

Need another suggestion for #KUBookBingo's Classic Fiction square? A novel or collection of short stories by Franz Kafka (or by one of the authors he influenced) may be just the sort of weird classic you'd like to read. To do so would be the perfect way to celebrate his birthday, for on this day in 1883, Franz Kafka was born in Prague. Some of his most famous works include A Hunger Artist, The Metamorphoses, and The Trial. Kafka's writing, although witty and hilarious, can often be dense, so it's worth starting with his short stories, such as A Hunger Artist or The MetamorphosisA Hunger Artist is about a man who starves himself for a living and struggles to find relevance in a world that no longer finds entertainment in his "art." The Metamorphosis, his most famous story, is about a man who wakes up one morning to find that he has been transformed into a giant, cockroach-like creature. The reason for his transformation is never explained, and he must accept his new life as a feared and despised creature unable to provide for his ungrateful family.

If you're into River Song-style SPOILERS, check out Sparky Sweets' Thug Notes' summary and analysis of The Metamorphosis below, because it's great:

But if you're in need of a challenge, Kafka's novel, The Trial, (Ya know, "light" summer reading), is a must-read for all future lawyers, or anyone who hates lawyers, or anyone who hates themselves, because although humorous, the story often drags in order to show what a "drag" the judicial system can be. Kafka actually studied law in college, so he knew first-hand the absurdity, complexity, and often straight-up BS of the judiciary. Kafka's absurdism and style of writing influenced some of the best (and my favorite) 20th century authors, such as Albert Camus and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. His style of writing even inspired the word "Kafkaesque," which is demonstrated in this comic below:

kafka airplane comic

So, here's to Kafka's birthday! Let's celebrate with absurdist fiction and hope that the day isn't remotely Kafkaesque and never ends. Because that would suck.

kafka-dumala

2 Jul
2015

World UFO Day

 

 

 

Clamp on your tin foil hat, look up to the stars, and hide under your bed, Alien Abduc­tion Day is here!

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 March 20 is Alien Abduc­tion Day, when the skies are care­fully watched by those expect­ing / wish­ing to be abducted by an alien life form. Although you may ask your­self, how can I, a rea­son­ably sane indi­vid­ual, cel­e­brate Alien Abduc­tion Day? For starters, you can keep track of all your alien and UFO sight­ings. If you are new at this sort of extrater­res­trial stuff, UFOcenter.com can help. You will find “The Web’s most com­pre­hen­sive and up-to-date UFO infor­ma­tion source; pro­vided by America’s fore­most UFO Report­ing Agency; in con­tin­u­ous oper­a­tion since 1974.” The site even fea­tures a UFO sight­ing report form.

x_files___i_want_to_believe_by_ramaelk-d4zlmrd

Where’s Mul­der when you need him?

If this is all a lit­tle too far out, go more main­stream and sim­ply enjoy an alien abduc­tion movie on March 20. Here are a few sug­ges­tions: “Close Encoun­ters of the Third Kind,” “Fire in the Sky,” “The X-Files: Fight the Future,” “The Thing,” “Com­mu­nion” and “Signs.”

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Watch the skies. Every­where. Keep look­ing. Keep watch­ing the skies.”

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