No Complaints #70: Puppers, Padding and Pork Ribs

I don’t want to jinx it, but I think the news might have realised that it’s meant to be summer...

Things to read

“Nor is she particularly interested in creating a sound bite. Hurwitz has become the gentle enforcer of the First Lady’s speaking style, and she takes pains to nix any lines that sound like something a politician would say. Obama is more interested in telling a story, and Hurwitz has come to know her personal story intimately. More often than not, Obama weaves tales of her working-class childhood in Chicago into her speeches.”

An interview with Michelle Obama's speechwriter. Email to Pocket.


“As I suspected, doggo and pupper really took off over the past few months. One cool thing is that the usage of doggo and pupper are very highly correlated with one another, which is explained by the fact that they’re generally used in similar contexts and by similar crowds. I was interested in why doggo and pupper took off at that time. KnowYourMeme claims that the first use of ‘pupper’ was in Good Night Pupper, an image macro which promises you a good night’s sleep if you comment “sleep tight puppers”.”

Crunching the data on “Dogspotting”. Email to Pocket.


“As I strolled through, the piece that stopped me in my tracks and made me think, wow, look at that dinosaur! was not an old Victrola or a bulkily primitive jukebox – but a first generation iPod, circa 2001, complete with a clunky pre-touch click wheel and (get this) a FireWire port.”

I really hate Apple. We don't all want all our stuff in our phones, you know. Some of us liked having iPods. Email to Pocket.


“His most-watched recipe, with nearly a quarter-million views, is for Chinkiang-style pork ribs. I remember eating these when I was growing up. He would use a cleaver to chop spare ribs into two-bite cubes, wok-fry them, then sauce them with a viscous glaze of Chinese black vinegar. The result was fatty and sticky and crisp, and I would slurp the meat clean off the bone in one motion. Watching through nearly two dozen more videos, I realised every single dish had been served in my childhood home. Macau-style Portuguese coconut chicken. Pan-fried turnip cake. Sweet-and-sour pork. This time, the wave of nostalgia washed over me: I was 12 again, sitting at the kitchen table, my family’s mouths too preoccupied to squabble.”

A tale of immigration, and cooking, and unlikely YouTube stardom. Email to Pocket.


“In the course of these journeys, Bell documented, planned and photographed the remains of many hundreds of ancient and medieval structures, from Hittite, Babylonian and Assyrian archaeological sites to the minarets, mosques and palaces of early Islam. A few weeks into the first expedition her party came across Ukhaidir, an extremely well-preserved castle in the Iraqi desert, seemingly never before studied. Bell systematically recorded it and then spent two years collecting comparative evidence, in Rome and back in Mesopotamia, in order to date it and understand its historical significance.”

On the “female Lawrence of Arabia”, Gertrude Bell. Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

I have listened to three great podcast episodes this week.

1. A Luminous Bubble – Nocturne

This narrates what sounds like a very recognisable bus journey for anyone who has lived in London – until it turned weird. 

2. Making the jump – Hiding in the Bathroom

Interviews with some very interesting women about how you tell when it's the right time to jump from one kind of work into another.

3. Disappeared – Reply All

A good story about the mess caused on the internet when someone got cross and pulled a tiny bit of insignificant open source code off a database.

Things to watch

Eggs spinning in milk are relaxing.

Watch this on a mobile.

How floppy discs work.


Compulsory medieval thingamabob

His left knee never could get on with his right.

The guest gif

I'm listening. Honest.

THE END. See you next time*!
*Next time will probably be next Friday. If you want to suggest things I should include in the next one of these, please do reply and send me links.