No Complaints #79: Fall, Fnords and Forecasts

Welcome to subscribers, new and old. Here is your friendly reminder that you can find the newsletter’s archive here, and if you feel like contributing towards the time it takes me to put this together or the hosting costs of said archive, you can do that here. Happy reading/listening/watching.

Things to read

“February 30 was a real date in Sweden in 1712. Instead of changing from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar by omitting a block of consecutive days, as had been done in other countries, the Swedish Empire planned to change gradually by omitting all leap days from 1700 to 1740, inclusive. Although the leap day was omitted in February 1700, the Great Northern War began later that year, diverting the attention of the Swedes from their calendar so that they did not omit leap days on the next two occasions and 1704 and 1708 kept leap years.”

—I learned about the existence of February 30 as a real date from this amazing index of “unusual articles” on Wikipedia, where you can also find out about a feud over which of two typefaces was more “German” and what a fnord is. Email to Pocket.



“Like many modern conveniences, delivery is often seen as an extravagance – an indulgence for those craving a late-night pizza, or who find it easier to order a healthy dinners than to prepare it themselves. And, like so many of those conveniences, delivery can be a lifesaver for people living with chronic illness and disability.”

We think of services like Deliveroo and UberEats as being luxury conveniences. But for some people with chronic illnesses, they’ve provided a way of eating properly again. Email to Pocket.


“If you are a woman in Hollywood, if you are of colour, particularly if you’re black, the founding images of cinema are adverse to your very humanity. And if the images of the medium you work in are adverse to your very humanity, then every action is a reaction. So everything I do tries to provide contrast. I try and pivot from the characterisation of what women should be, what black people should be, what black women should be.”

A great interview with film director Ava DuVernay. Email to Pocket.


“Like the royal reporters, these writers track Kate’s every move. They show up for her events and give context to the meaning of her various engagements. They rigorously cover Kate and her husband Prince William’s royal tours and know what it’s like to stay up all night waiting for her to emerge from the Lindo Wing after a royal birth. But these aren't British newspaper journalists. They’re Kate Middleton style bloggers, and most aren’t even located in Britain.”

Kate Middleton might be the most tracked woman in the world, and people essentially just do it as a hobby. Email to Pocket.


“If there's something I could redesign about the umbrella, I would make it possible to only be there when I need it, and go away when I don't. If we figure out how to teleport stuff one of these days, the first thing we need to teleport is umbrellas into the hands of people walking out into rainstorms.”

Why it's actually really hard to make umbrellas good. Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

Alan Bennett reading the shipping forecast is wonderful. You don't really need to listen to anything else this week.

Things to watch

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

Don't let decapitation stop you.

The guest gif

Hit it.

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THE END. See you next time!