19 Feb

Son of a Bat: The Story of Damian Wayne

Not every superhero is lucky enough to have a family. In fact, it's often the lack of loved ones that propels a "Mask" into the battle, as it were, and what pushes them to keep searching for justice.

We know Bruce Wayne lost his parents at a very young age due to violence, and Batman has never been one to show much emotion. He's reserved and quiet when it comes to his feelings on...feelings. However, every now and again we get a peek into the softer side of the Bat. Especially when it comes to his son, Damian.

There's a father-son bond between these two that isn't often seen in the many worlds of comics. Bruce was unaware of his son's existence; Damien was brought up by Talia al Ghul and trained by the League of Assassins to be able to destroy Batman. The plans went awry and Damian ended up being adopted by Bruce and trained as his next Robin. Bruce worries about his son in the way only a man who has lost his whole family can, and vice versa. They keep each other in line. It can be quite dramatic and even adorable to see their interactions together.

But where Bruce is very strict and straight-laced, Damian is easy-going and loves to laugh. Damian's sassy attitude is quite amusing and his rule-breaking can often get him into trouble with Bruce and the other members of the Bat-family. There was always a conflict within Damian that had him, on one hand, looking to Batman as his father and mentor, but on the other hand, looking to his grandfather Ra's al Ghul (the Demon's head) as an influence. It's all too easy to kill your enemies and walk away. Damian struggles with his inner demons on a daily basis.

Because Damian has chosen to stay with Bruce and chosen the path of not killing, Talia and Ra's want revenge. They feel that he has betrayed the family and all of their teachings, so they set out to assassinate him and to hurt Bruce in one terrible moment.

The assassination plot a success, Damien is killed, but as long as the Multiverse flourishes and the Lazares Pits boil, all is not lost...



18 Feb

A [Star]Fleet of Fun on Flirting Day

Why thank you Neil deGrasse Tyson, you are out of this world, too.

Why thank you Neil deGrasse Tyson, you are out of this world, too.

Here at KU, the staff isn't shy of flirting. We flirt with customers, with each other, and even with ourselves (OK, I can't speak to the rest of the staff on that last one, but all I'm saying is that if you've never looked yourself in the mirror and said aloud 'my, my, someone's looking adorably nerdy/damn sexy/pleasurably pleasant today,' then you're missing out. Makes the soul feel good.) So Flirting Day on February 18 should probably be one of Kards' official holidays, behind May the Fourth Be With You Day, Pierogi and Taco Days, and, you know, actual holidays.

Flirting Day, or, alternatively, Flirting Week if one needs more time for the flirtage, takes place each year in the third week of February as part of a post-Valentine's week dedicated to celebrating singlehood. Other days include Singles Awareness Day and Perfume Day. There's not a whole lot of background for this holiday, but it's pretty self-explanatory. Find a person and have a good-natured, friendly, and most importantly, not creepy flirt session.

Don't know how to flirt? It's cool, me neither. (Have I brought up the fact that I'm a crazy cat lady way too many times while trying to woo a stranger? Yes. Yes, I have. And I will again and again and again because, well, you can't teach an old cat new tricks.) However, thanks to the interweb, I have compiled a list of some of the best nerdy pickup lines to help you get your foot in the door. Once wooing is initiated with these flawless lines,* you are free to flirt on, my friends.


For the science nerd:

Are you made of copper and tellurium? Because you are CuTe.

Do you like science? Because I've got my ion you.

Do you have 11 protons? Because you are Sodium fine!

For the music nerd:

I bet you and I could get into some serious treble together.

You must be a choir director, because you make my heart sing.

You had me at cello.

 For the literary nerd:

Charles Dickens may have given you Great Expectations, but I can meet them.

I believe in The Importance of Being Earnest, so I'm just going to say it: I'm Wilde about you.

I like books, you like books, why don't we start writing the story of us?

If it was 1984, and I was Big Brother, I'd only watch you.

For the computer nerd:

You must be wi-fi, because I feel a connection here.

Is your name Google? 'Cause you're everything I've been searching for.

Roses are #ff0000, violets are #0000ff, all my base are belong to you.

For the video game nerd:

Are you wearing Pegasus Boots? Because you've been running through my mind all day. (Zelda)

Are you a pikachu? Because you are shockingly beautiful. (Pokemon)

I think something is wrong with my auto-aim. I can't take my eyes off you. (Halo)

Will you be my Final Fantasy? (Not explaining this one. If you don't get it, you probably shouldn't use it.)

For the fandom nerd:

I've fallen harder for you than Bran Stark. (Game of Thrones)

You're the Obi-Wan for me. (Star Wars)

The fires of Mount Doom aren't nearly as hot as you. (Lord of the Rings)

Your phaser's on kill, but you're stunning me. (Star Trek)

You must play Quidditch. I know a Keeper when I see one. (Harry Potter)

You must be an angel because your beauty is blinding. (Supernatural)

Are you a weeping angel? Because I can't take my eyes off you. (Dr. Who)


All right, you are ready to head out on your flirting adventure. Happy Flirting Day!

*Pickup lines have not been personally tested on humans, only my cat, who seemed to appreciate them. Or maybe she was purring at the bowl of food in my hand. Either way, results not guaranteed.

15 Feb

(Puff Puff) Pass the Bill


February is National Marijuana Awareness Month, though I'm sure if you're reading this blog, you're probably very aware of that, or you forgot, and that's cool too, because like, not every one is perfect, man. This funky smelling, seed bearing plant has its roots planted deep in American history, culture, and has sprouted in the medical field in recent years.

With all these "alternative facts" getting passed around like a joint at a Snoop Dogg concert, it's hard to filter out the the primo stuff from the schwag. The history of Marijuana is long and well documented, and if you'd like to learn about that, you can here, but we're focusing on modern times.

imageEveryone knows about marijuana, I don't think it needs an introduction. What I think it needs is a re-branding. Marijuana isn't just a plant that makes you sit at stop signs waiting for them to turn green. While I'm not one to claim pot is the end all, be all savior we need (but do deserve), there is no denying that marijuana has plenty of uses that we're not utilizing simply because of outdated laws, for-profit prisons, and legislators in bed with pharmaceutical companies.

This country cannot move forward with changing the laws regarding the plant if the people are not properly informed. The laws do not represent the public opinion. Sixty percent of Americans are in favor of legalization.

Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule One drug, defining it as "a drug that currently has no accepted medical use." Other Schedule One drugs include heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote. There is an argument for each of those having some medical use. Hell, heroin was the name Bayer used to sell their morphine concoction under. But one of these things is not like the others. Marijuana has no confirmed overdose deaths in the history of humans, marijuana is not chemically addictive, and, most important, marijuana is the only schedule one drug currently legal for recreational use in nine states and medical use in twenty eight states.


We all know about the stereotypical stoner: Forgetful, long hair, red eyes, constantly hungry...so Shaggy from Scooby Doo?  Come to think of it, the smoke was always coming from the back windows and not the muffler... but I digress. Marijuana use among adults has risen in the past few years from seven percent in 2013 to thirteen percent in 2016, that's one in eight American adults. Look around the office you work in, there are most likely a few smokers working hard just like everyone else. And if you work in the food industry, all your co-workers are stoned. Your TPS reports still get done, and your pizza is still delicious, though it would taste even better high.

Not everyone who uses marijuana is a recreational user either, there are over 1.2 million medical marijuana users in America, averaging about 8.6 per 1,000 residents. My mother was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, she has been through radiation, chemo, morphine pumps, and hospice care. Nothing has been able to curb her spirit, but most of these medications do curb her appetite. She was never a heavy pot smoker, the occasional joint with friends was about as much as she could take. One night, I got tired of her saying she wasn't hungry, so I asked if she'd smoke. She agreed and, it only took a few puffs for her to look at me with the goofiest expression I've ever seen, and cackle, "I want some fucking Wendy's."image

Dave Chappelle, star of the cult hit "Half Baked" and legendary stand up comedian has a famous bit that goes along the lines of, and I"m paraphrasing here, "When white people get high, all they do is sit around and talk about other times they got high." As true as that may be, if we want change, we need to act like adults and support the causes, talk to legislators, get the right information out there. The Pittsburgh chapter of NORML is a great website to get started. They organize functions, raise awareness, and you can register to vote on their site. Medical Marijuana and decriminalization have both been passed in our Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, though the struggle for full legalization rages. Now, I'm not saying to start making signs and chanting, that isn't going to help anything. Use your brain, don't let let marijuana define who you are.

10 Feb

Get Lit This Valentine’s: 10 Literary Gifts For Your Book Nerd!

It's almost Valentine's Day and flowers would be a great gift if your Valentine didn't prefer the smell of a new book over a fresh rose. This Valentine's Day, make an evening of the things your favorite book nerd loves most with a literary-themed night in. Here are some of the romantic, funny, and fun bookish gifts available at Kards Unlimited to help you plan the night!

1. Out of Print T-Shirts

Set the tone for the evening with literary shirts from Out of Print! Throw on matching Where the Wild Things Are tees before showing off your wild sides (ahem). The Alice in Wonderland design (pictured) will lead the way down the rabbit hole of love (ahem). Comfortable enough for sleepwear, trendy enough for daywear, your Valentine won't be able to get enough of their shirt.

2. Bookish Jewelry

Gift the one you love (or really really like) book-themed accessories to finish the look. Voz cuffs and pendants are perfect for a Valentine-on-a-budget. Designed for pop culture and literary buffs, designs range from the bold ("Books are sexy") to the romantic ("You have bewitched me body and soul").

Kathy Bransfield Necklaces are hand-stamped necklaces will sweep your sweet off her feet. Made of sterling silver with gold-plated brass overlays, romantic themes include Tennyson's iconic quote, "If I had a flower for every time I thought of you I could walk through my garden forever." Cue the swoon. Here are some others, including for your bestie; don't forget Galentine's Day is the Monday before Valentine's Day!

3. Get Cookin'

Once you're both dressed for the occasion, warm things up in the kitchen with dinner from a lit-inspired cookbook. From the playful 50 Shades of Chicken to cookbooks inspired by the Outlander and True Blood series, we've got plenty of cheeky, sexy, and delicious options to choose from. Make the meal solo or turn it into a team adventure; sometimes two cooks are more fun than one!

4. Harry Potter Games

Ron and Hermione. Harry and Ginny. Always. Anyone who says the Harry Potter series isn't romantic is a dirty filthy liar. While the 32nd shade of chicken is in the oven, have some lighthearted game time with Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit, Hogwarts Battle, or Harry Potter Clue. I'm sure there are ways to make it sexy, if that's your kind of thing. Remember, Gryffindors, this is Valentine's Day, you don't have to win.

5. Temporary Tattoos

Now that you're all romantic over HP, you've probably realized you're soulmates. But before you go get matching Always tattoos on your first Valentine's together, try something a little less permanent. Go the sensible, romantic route with a set of Jane Austen tattoos, or the dark but just as fun Edgar Allen Poe set. "The Tell-Tale Heart" is kind of Valentines-y, right? I mean, it's got a heart.

6. Coloring Books

All right, the Ravenclaw won Trivial Pursuit in five minutes flat and temporary tattoos are now plastered over arms, legs, faces, and the dog, but there are still fifteen minutes before dinner is ready. What to do? Let your love relax and color pictures from their favorite books while you set the table. Whether coloring sizzling scenes from Outlander and Game of Thrones, or re-living childhood with The Little Prince, Little House on the Prairie, or Harry Potter, coloring books are all the rage right now for a reason.

7. Poetry

What's sweeter than dessert? Poetry. All right, don't skip dessert. That would be a bad choice on Valentine's, but certainly add to the sweetness with some poetry recitation. Not a poet? We have you covered. Love poems are always a great choice, but if you’re looking for something for year-round, we also offer themed books of poetry covering just about everything, including pets and animals, music and the blues, marriage, parenthood, solitude, and even a book of erotic poems. Take your pick, it's hard to go wrong.

8. North Ave Candles

Time to get cozy before the evening's main event: reading! (What's better?) Pull out the plushest blankets and add some ambiance with a North Ave Candle. Heat things up with a Fahrenheit 451 inspired candle, which smells of smoked pine and parchment, or play some jazz and light a gin, juniper, and daisy Great Gatsby candle. Offering more than a dozen book-inspired scents, North Ave Candles are made right in Pittsburgh!


9. Tea

Almost ready to cuddle and read, but don't forget the best friend of book nerds: tea! Tea Forte's heart-shaped gift sets will warm your Valentine's heart, but any of the samplers are strong choices. Chocolate tea will satiate the sweet tooth, while teas for the heart will show you care. The Tea Forte Noir flavors are especially fun for after dark. Don’t know where to start? Our staff happens to love tea, and we love to talk, so feel free to askfor recommendations.

10. Books

Now the best part of the evening, it’s time to read! We may be called Kards Unlimited, but we also have a pretty awesome selection of books. Better yet, we've compiled a special section with our favorite love and romance books to make shopping for your Valentine even easier. From Pride and Prejudice to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and tear-jerker Me Before You to Aziz Ansari’s comedic Modern Romance, there’s something for every taste and romance level.

Come on in to Kards Unlimited for more great ideas to make your Valentine's Day one for the history books. And don't forget your Valentine's Day card while you're here!

6 Feb

Learn to steal like Neil Gaiman!

I read a book a while ago called Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.  The book isn't really about stealing, of course, but about how to go about capitalizing on inspiration and understanding the differences between emulating a style because you appreciate it and straight up copying someone else's work.

When I heard Neil Gaiman was going to publish a book of Norse mythology (inventively entitled, Norse Mythology), I immediately thought of Steal Like an Artist because one of the things Kleon talks about in the book is getting to know the influences of your influences.  If you want to paint like Van Gogh, find out not only all you can about him, find out all you can about the painters that he admired and that influenced him.

Gaiman's appreciation for Norse myth is very obvious when you read his novel American Gods, since several characters directly from Norse mythology are transformed into main characters of the novel.  However, I'm excited to read the Norse myths retold by Gaiman himself, since they are such a significant influence on his writing.

Norse mythology is not nearly as well known in America as its Southern European counterparts.  Indeed, the word mythology in and of itself generally gets people thinking of Olympus and Hercules and the rest of the Greek pantheon.  Norse mythology is quite different.  The gods are more heroic and human, their enemies are much more diverse and, frankly, weird, and the nine worlds that make up the Norse universe provide a multitude of paths a departed soul can take from life instead of a simple trip across a river to the Underworld of the Greeks and Romans.

Anyone who has asked for book recommendations at Kards Unlimited has undoubtedly been pointed in the direction of Neil Gaiman.  All of his books have been picked as favorites of at least a few of the staff and the KU Book Club has read three of his novels over the course of our meetings.  I'm certainly not alone in being excited for Gaiman's newest book, and I think you will be too.  Come pick up a signed copy, on sale tomorrow, 2/7/17!

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5 Feb

Superb Owl

Are you still salty about the New England Patriots beating the Steelers and making their ninth Superbowl appearance? Nothing sucks as much as watching your team get bested by a bunch of dirty, cheating pretty boys, coached by the most repulsive man on this planet. So what better way to help heal the wound by being a sore loser and making fun of the Patriots! Here's my top ten list of why you should hate the Pats:


  1. TOM BRADY/Bill Belichick Both Left Pregnant Woman, For A Younger One

Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen have been together since 2007, but are you aware of Bridget Moynahan? Brady left her for Gisele when she was more than three months pregnant with his child. Gisele is also nine years younger than Bridget. It goes to show you that the man has commitment issues. It's no wonder why him and Belichick get along so well, Bill also left his wife and high school sweetheart Debby Clarke while she was pregnant with their third child together for his now girlfriend Linda Holiday.

2. Robert Kraft Gave a Superbowl Ring to Putin

Ok, while he technically didn't give him a ring, it's still questionable why the owner of a sports team would want to meet the Russian President. While on a "business trip" Kraft was introduced to Putin, to whom Kraft showed his superbowl ring. Apparently, Putin tried it on and never gave it back. Just knowing that Vladimir Putin is a fan of the Patriots, one can only speculate the shady deals Kraft and him have done over the years.

3.  Deflategate

Now this one is really the only unbiased reason I have on this list. In May of 2015, the NFL began their investigation into the claims that the patriots were tampering with their footballs; deflating their balls to make it easier to grip and throw during the AFC championship game against the Colts. How could America's team be cheaters? Have they no morals, have they no shame?

The bottom line is, they cheated, they knew about it, regardless of what they say. The Golden Boy himself was in hot water, though only being charged a measly four game suspension. This wasn't the first time the Pats were caught though...

4. Spygate

If deflating footballs gets you all worked up, you probably forgot when the Patriots were caught taping the New York Jet's defensive coaches' signals during a 2007 game. Taping coaches isn't against the rules if done from designated areas, but the Pats were filming from their own sideline, which is not allowed. Belichick was fined 500k for this, the team itself was fined 250k and their first round draft pick in the 2008 draft. It came out later that they were taping the St. Louis Rams practice before the Superbowl in 2002 as well. Caught cheating twice, but they must have an excellent PR team, because Pats nation is as strong as ever. (Sounds familiar...)

5. Any Fan 23 and under only knows winning

Don't you just hate people that win everything? But don't you hate it more when those people weren't there from the beginning? Welcome to Patriots Nation. The epicenter for bandwagon fans. A fun fact, if you're 23 and under, you've only witnessed seasons with at least 11 wins. They've never really had much to complain about. No young Patriots fan is even remotely humble about winning, and if you bring up cheating, they turn into a little kid covering their ears and eyes, blind and deaf to the truth.

6. Week 17 2000 was the last time they played a game already eliminated from playoff contention

Stats like this just rip people's hearts out when they read them. Lions fans have witnessed a winless season, Jets fans have suffered from mediocrity, and Rams fans have watched their team pack up and move. But for the past seventeen years, Patriots fans have had the hope of making it to the playoffs. They can't relate to any other team or fan, they just live in this little fantasy world where they never lose, and that's why Pat fans are just so insufferable.

7. Aaron Hernandez

A local boy from my home state of Connecticut, ended up playing tight end for the Pats in 2010. In 2013 he was arrested for the murder of semi pro football player Odin Lloyd. He was released from the team, found guilty of the crime, and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was also indicted for the double murder of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado.  I know the Pats really can't control these terrible things, but it just throws fuel on the fire. It leaves a stain on their reputation.

8. Why does Belichick cut the sleeves off his shirts?

This one is purely a matter of taste. Is it for movement? Style? Does he need to air his pits out constantly? Whatever the reason, I think it's the stupidest thing in football and I will make fun of him for it until the day he retires.

9. Fans just suck

Patriot's fans are simply the worst fans in all of sports. They're loud, rude, entitled, bandwagon-y jerks. I have yet to meet a fan I get along with. 





TE Rob Gronkoski is the quintessential douche bag. He's dumb, he will sleep with your girlfriend in a heartbeat, and he's admittedly pretty good at what he does. Nobody likes that type of person.







There are plenty more as to why you can hate the Patriots, but hopefully this give you some motivation.


3 Feb


...is why we LOVE Valentine's Day!

and also we love love. Like a lot. It's our thing.

I'm going to try my very best to stay calm and not to shout at you during this tour of our best Valentine's Day cards. Look how calm I am. No hyperbolic exclamations. NBD. Whatev. I could care less. Ok let's look at some cards.



Pun Love

Not only are these cards the CUTEST, and fair-trade recycled, they also happen to support an amazing cause.  The card makers are women who have escaped sex trafficking in the Philippines and young adults orphaned by disease in Rwanda. Each card is signed  and so connects you to the life you are helping to transform. I know. Crying. I can't even. Also from Good Paper, some adorb gay/lesbian designs because LOVE IS MOTHERF***ING LOVE! Ahem.


Maybe puns aren't your thing. How about some SCIENCE! I'd say the more romantic sciences are Chemistry (duh) and astronomy (man crush on Neil Degrasse Tyson):



Science not your thing? How about the 80s! The 80s is everyone's thing. Except curmudgeons. These cards are by a new company we are IN LOVE with called The Found:


Retro Love

Maybe you want that vintage vibe; check out these beautiful water color cards from Driscoll:


How about these naturally occurring hearts in nature from the lovely Hearts Happen line, we have a bunch and they are all so sweet:

Hearts Happen

Hey if you like nature, maybe you like NPR? Eh? Safe assumption? Animals? Eh? Try out these cards from Lady Pilot, also a new favorite:


Let's get serious now. Let's get down to the best kind of love. NERD LOVE. And the best kind of cards, OUR CARDS! That's right, these are homemade fresh out the oven best served with geek sauce.




But seriously, we have serious cards too. We have it all, and we sincerely love to help you find the perfect card so if you need some ideas, just ask! Hedgehog card? Yep! Cats? Duh! Dogs? C'mon. Cards from my grams? Of course! And don't forget, Galentine's Day is real, don't forget to send your friends some love. This party isn't just for lovers anymore;-)

with love,







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1 Feb

February 2017 Calendar of Events

Kards Unlimited February 2017 Holidays and Birthdays

It's February and you know what that means: love is in the air! Ah, l'amour... Not to mention the billion other awesome things we're celebrating this month. There's Valentine's Day, of course, but there's also Groundhog Day, Did You Fart? DayNational Sticky Bun Day, and Tell A Fairy Tale Day just to name a few. Read on to see all we're in love with this month! Read more >>