No Complaints #93: Sisters, Saki and Scolds

Apologies for the unscheduled lack of email last week. I was parted from my laptop for a few days, which caused moderate chaos and meant a temporary cessation of NC services. New subscribers since last time - hi! You can find out more about what this is here.

Things to read

“You have lived through the unbelievable pressure of the White House. You have listened to harsh criticism of your parents by people who had never even met them. You stood by as your precious parents were reduced to headlines. Your parents, who put you first and who not only showed you but gave you the world. As always, they will be rooting for you as you begin your next chapter. And so will we.”

The Bush sisters write to the Obama sisters, offering their advice on how to navigate life as former First Children. No, there's something in YOUR eye. Email to Pocket.


“'After all,' said the Duchess vaguely, 'there are certain things you can't get away from. Right and wrong, good conduct and moral rectitude, have certain well-defined limits.'

'So, for the matter of that,' replied Reginald, 'has the Russian Empire. The trouble is that the limits are not always in the same place.'

Reginald and the Duchess regarded each other with mutual distrust, tempered by a scientific interest.”

I've been rereading the short stories of Saki - aka H.H. Munro - recently. This one, "Reginald at the Theatre", is one of my favourites. Email to Pocket.


“On the screened-in porch of her weathered grey wooden house in Massachusetts, Janet Malcolm has laid a table for lunch. She is almost 80 now – small, contained and gentle in her bearing. The food is delicious, and spread out on about five times the number of plates as there are people. Malcolm is unstintingly solicitous. ‘Would you like another piece of chicken?’ she asks. ‘Would you like another plate?’”

There are few things I would find more stressful than trying to eat lunch with Janet Malcolm at a table full of empty plates. She would definitely be able to discern all of my bad writing habits in the way I dished myself salad. Email to Pocket.


“When researchers stood near the food with dead crows or hawks, nearby crows would 'scold' loudly in front of their fellow crows; sometimes they would even attack the masked volunteer. Even when researchers returned multiple times afterwards with no dead birds in hand, the crows would still re-up their warning cry, suggesting they retained knowledge of potential threats.”

Probably the best thing about this study is that we now have scientific proof that crows really couldn't care less about pigeons. Email to Pocket.


“Before I had cancer, I could pretend 'poverty' was performance art. My clothes mostly used to belong to other people: an old man's plaid bathrobe, a silly mom sweater embroidered with chessmen. My gaudy dishes came from garage sales and antique stores. The couch came from the returned-or-irregular section of Ikea. Money seemed like such a silly thing until I needed it.”

A story of having cancer while poor. Email to Pocket.


Things to listen to

I've spent a lot of time with the Speed Dial podcast in the last week or so (because we were reviewing it on our own podcast, podception anyone?). It's a really excellent, unflinching, funny take on the world as it is now - they're on a hiatus until February, but I recommend starting with their final episode of 2016 and working your way back from there.


Things to watch

Compulsory medieval thingamabob

Love each other as much as these snails do.


The guest gif


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THE END. See you next time!