Fountain pens: Pros and cons

By: Jocelyn Knorr

Taken by Jocelyn Knorr

Fountain pens—here defined as pens holding a reservoir that can apply ink to paper via a combination of gravity and capillary action—are thought to have been invented for the caliph Al-Mu’izz li-Din Allah of Arab Egypt. Reportedly, he requested a pen that would not leak or stain, and was presented with a rudimentary fountain pen made of pure gold.

They continued to be used, but only on a small scale, by modernists or the technologically inclined. Until the 1850s, that is, when popularity skyrocketed. Technological advancements enabled the fountain pen to gain dominance, and it continued to be dominant until the sixties.

Today, they’re seen mostly as status symbols, or fancy collectible antiques, made to look at but not touch. But, they’re still being manufactured today, and sales are actually rising!

So, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of fountain pens.

Pro: Ergonomics

Because fountain pens are designed to collaborate with gravity, inkflow is autonomous, while with gel pens pressure must be applied. This can lead to hand cramps and, in extreme cases, arthritis later in life.

Con: Cost

Unfortunately, fountain pens can be a bit of an investment with a good pen sometimes costing upwards of $30. Ink of higher quality, like Sailor or Noodler’s, can sometimes reach up to $24 for 50ml.

Pro: Smooth writing

Fountain pens are widely purported to offer one of the smoothest writing experiences, especially with a higher-quality gold nib. I, for one, find this to be the case, even drafting this article with a comparatively cheap, steel-nibbed, fountain pen.

Con: Ease of use

Fountain pens can be difficult to get used to, especially for beginners. While converters—especially squeeze converters, notoriously finicky for even experienced users—open up your choices of ink, they can definitely take some getting used to. Cartridges, meanwhile, are incredibly convenient, but limit your options for ink; especially if they’re proprietary.

Pro: Environmental benefits

Fountain pens do not come in a disposable variety, but can rather be filled and refilled for decades on end. This greatly reduces the amount of waste one produces. Disposable pens are one of the biggest contributors to ocean plastic, with just the United States throwing away 1.6 billion pens annually.

Con: Availability

The average store is simply not stocking its shelves with LAMY Safaris or bottles of Iroshizuku ink. I had to go to a specialty store to pick up what is now my go-to bottle, but as an upside, that bottle is liable to last me for the rest of the school year.

I’m not expecting everyone who reads this to go out and buy a shiny new $100 pen, (my journalistic powers aren’t that strong—yet) but here are my recommendations for anyone who’d like to dip their toes in the water.

  1. Buy a Pilot Metropolitan. Retailing for $18.99 on Amazon, these pens are incredibly good quality, especially for the price, and come in plenty of fun colors.
  2. Get a good black ink. My recommendation is Noodler’s X-Feather, ($15 for 100 ml on Amazon, designed to behave well on notebook paper) but you’re free to experiment. Goulet Pens (www.gouletpens.com) even offers little sets of mystery ink colors.

At the end of the day, fountain pens can be pricey, but with that investment comes quality. Hopefully, I’ve helped a few of you shift your opinion—and enabled one or two of you to take the plunge.

‘Reservation Dogs’ TV show

By: Leticia Bugg-Sam

Image taken from:

*Warning, spoilers and talk about suicide*

The TV show ‘Reservation Dogs’ took place in Oklahoma and is about four indigenous kids talking about how they want to go to California for better lives, but things take a wrong turn.

The four kids, Willie Jack, Bear, Cheese, and Alora, were on the reservation for a long time; there were five in the group before they called themselves the “Reservation Bandits”.

Let’s talk about the characters in the show and their lives.

They’re a family as the four grew up and called themselves family. Alora didn’t really have that much regular family. She only had an Auntie and an Uncle and her Grandma. We don’t know what happened to her father, but her mom, well, she passed away when Alora was little.

Her Grandma, in season two, passed away, and her Auntie wasn’t around much. Her Uncle also wasn’t around much.

Willie Jack, she had her mom and her dad but her brother passed away.

Bear had his mom, but his dad left to be a native rap artist and so he just had his mom.

Cheese, it doesn’t say if he had any family in season 1, but later on in the season, he meets a old woman in the hospital and so now he calls her Grandma.

Why they called themselves that.

They called themselves the Reservation Bandits because they steal things, but they do it for a good reason. On the reservation, they’re poor; they don’t have money. There are not that many jobs around there so the four decided to steal things and go to a person who gives them money to see if that stuff is viable.

One thing that was viable was copper; copper and street lights. Another thing that they stole was a chip truck and plenty of other things.

You may think to yourself “Why don’t they just get a job?” Well, where they live which is Oklahoma, on the reservation, they didn’t have plenty of jobs, or jobs that pay good money, and some of those jobs you have to have experience to get the position, and none of them had that experience. So that’s why they decided to start stealing things, and that’s the way they got money.

Now, let’s talk about how there were five in the group.

Well, before the TV show started, they started off as five, but as you get into the show there is an episode called “Hunting” where they start to talk about Daniel, which is Willie Jack’s brother. The reason they didn’t start off with Daniel in the show, was because Daniel, well, he had a rough life and his parents were fighting. He was going through a lot of things, like bipolar depression, and his parents fighting, that all affected him until one day he decided to give up life and attempt suicide. It was very sad, that’s why now, during season 1 and 2 there is only four.

They all decided they wanted to leave Oklahoma and go to California. Well, first it was Daniel’s idea to go but when the word got out, they all decided to go to California. But when Daniel died, they still decided to all still go for Daniel, and for better lives.

But that all took a wrong turn in the last episode of season 1.

Overall, I would rate this show a 10/10. You can watch it on Hulu.

‘The False Prince’ – Review

By: Abisola Dosunmu

In a kingdom named Carthya, war is coming. To bring the divided people together, a nobleman named Conner devises a plan to find an orphan boy who looks enough like the king’s son, (who was thought to be lost at sea) and may be the last link to the royal family, as the entire royal family—king, queen, and heir— all recently died under mysterious circumstances. His plan includes three orphans, one of which is a cunning thief named Sage. Sage knows Conner’s plan is far from honorable—yet he’s forced to play the part of his puppet as his life hangs in the balance. Yet as more lies unfold, and more blood is shed, one lie becomes more important than the rest and all of it comes down to a single question.

Who’s really the puppet?

‘The False Prince’ is the first book in a five book series written by Jennifer A. Nielsen, and the name of the series is called the Ascendance Series. I read the books for the first time in 8th grade, and now they are one of my favorite books to read. From the fleshed out characters, to the humor, to the cliffhangers and the various twists and turns, once you start this book, you can’t put it down.

The book immediately introduces us to Sage, a clever and wily orphan, trying to steal some meat from the market to share with the other boys at the orphanage. He is quickly apprehended by Conner and loaded into Conner’s wagon along with the other orphans he’s found, Roden, the athletic one, Tobias, the smart one, and Latamer, the sick one.

When they finally stop the wagon, Conner reveals his plan to the boys. He’s trying to find the orphan boy who looks and acts enough like King Eckbert’s youngest son, Prince Jaron, who had been missing for the past four years. His plan is that whoever is named to be Prince Jaron can stop the country from going to war. The boys have two weeks to learn everything there is to know about being a prince, and then to be able to fool the king’s court into thinking they’re Jaron.

After that, Conner tells them that any boy who wishes to abstain from his plan can do so, and Latamer, being as sickly as he is, decides that he can’t be the fake prince because of his condition. Conner tells him it’s fine and he can return to the wagon, and Sage immediately senses something is wrong and tries to warn Latamer. Before he can, Cregan swiftly shoots Latamer with an arrow, killing him before he even reaches the wagon. The boys now understand that it’s too late to back out of Conner’s competition.

Sage is soon trapped in Conner’s deadly win or lose all game with the two other boys, just to have a chance to be Prince Jaron. The downside? The price of losing the game may be his life. As Sage moves from being a rundown orphan, to having the chance to be a king, and have everything at his fingertips, he’s racing against enemies, trying to save his life, his past, and most importantly, his country.

I definitely think this series is worth reading if you’re into medieval fantasy. I loved the humor, the fleshed out characters, the plot twists, the main character, and the way the book kinda threw you off and made you work to get to the conclusion.

I would rate the book a 4/5. The only reason I won’t give it a full review is that it’s not really a book that’s short and ties itself up quickly, which I understand kinda turns off some people from certain books (and I definitely had trouble putting all of my attention on the book, but it was worth it).