Family, Frankenstein and Fountain Pens

No Complaints #167

I’m sorry the Pocket links did not work last week. At least I know some people use them now.


Things to read

“The degree at which the tail is held also tells its own story. An erect wagging tail held high up in the air, for instance, shows that a dog is aroused by something and may be more likely to unpredictable responses. A tail held firmly backwards and gently wagging may display gentle curiosity. A dog with its tail between its legs doing a nervous little waggle tells its own story.”
Why do dogs wag their tales? Tell me everything. Email to Pocket.

“A lot of people use electronics with little to no idea of what actually happens inside of the little box they have on their desk or in their pockets. Sure, we might talk about the chips inside of that machine, or the processing power, but rarely do we think about the connective tissue holding many of the circuits onto the silicon. That tissue is solder, the meltable filler metal that has existed in one form or another for more than 4,000 years—long before electronics even existed as a modern context.”
You need to know more facts about soldering, trust me. Email to Pocket.

“Mr. Goulet, now 34, opened his namesake e-commerce site at 25, in 2009, with his wife, Rachel Goulet. His affable but rigorous social-media presence and tantalizing website are credited with making the old-fashioned tool not just literary but lit. During his store appearance, he at first was standing by himself. As the evening drew on, and free champagne flowed, attendees edged closer to him, the way children may shyly creep toward a storyteller.”
Fountain pens are cool again! Thank goodness, it makes it less awkward that I’m constantly covered in ink. Sidenote: this, to me, is the archetypal trends piece. Email to Pocket.

“My firstborn is old enough now that I can hazard guesses about her temperament, and I feel acutely aware of my own and my ancestral deficiencies, both on the macro level and in the more immediate ways. Family seems inescapably to be about inheritances — genetic, financial, ideological, aesthetic. My parents gave me a houseful of books; an exciting, peripatetic childhood; long car rides in which to be bored; a wonderful education. They gave me love and money. The things I would desperately like to do differently are more national, more generational, than specific to them.”
A writer muses on what she would like to pass on to daughters, and what she would like to keep from them. Email to Pocket.

“During the months when Godwin was turning her ghost story into a novel, and nourishing yet another creature in her belly, Shelley’s wife, pregnant now with what would have been their third child, killed herself; Clairmont gave birth to a girl—Byron’s, though most people assumed it was Shelley’s—and Shelley and Godwin got married. For a time, they attempted to adopt the girl, though Byron later took her, having noticed that nearly all of Godwin and Shelley’s children had died. ‘I so totally disapprove of the mode of Children’s treatment in their family—that I should look upon the Child as going into a hospital,’ he wrote, cruelly, about the Shelleys. ‘Have they reared one?’ (Byron, by no means interested in rearing a child himself, placed the girl in a convent, where she died at the age of five.)”
I’ve studied Frankenstein a fair bit, but I didn’t know about all of Mary Shelley’s pregnancies. Also: Byron was the absolute worst. Tune in next week for more deeply predictable literary opinions! Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

I love the Sleep with Me podcast. I mean, it has an episode that promises to “be the sleepy syrup in the background of your dreams”. What’s not to like?

+Free stuff alert: I’ve got five more of those free three month subscriptions to my Browser podcast recommendation email (usually $5 a month, you get what normally costs $15 for nothing) left. First five people to reply to this email can have them.


Things to watch

There is a whole genre of videos on the internet that is just people listening to Bohemian Rhapsody for the first time and filming their reactions. Their faces when they hit the ‘scaramouche’ bit is brilliant every time.

I want a go on this.

Creepy abandoned shopping centres. Oooh.


Compulsory medieval thingamabob

I will have my revenge.


The guest gif

Me, when someone else is talking.