NTMP 81: Methanol bliss
Timothy Olyphant takes a nap
New-to-me Phrases, September 10, 2023
The Phrases, With Context
In my corner of the Midwest, we’ve arrived at one of the two times of year with dreamy weather: 70 degrees, sunny, a light breeze, no mosquitoes. Lots of hungry bees, though. It’s always something, isn’t it, Midwest? I’m wearing my periwinkle blue Duluth Trading Company overall shorts that make me look like a cartoon character (which suits my personality just fine) and plan on doing some garden cleanup after I send this newsletter to you.
This week, we have nefarious customers, the best cured meat of its generation, keys that open very different portals, and more.
But first: Poll results!
Out of 20 participants, United States v. Donald J. Trump won 40% of the vote, with the badger’s knackers coming in second with 25%. Congratulations and thanks for voting!
And now for this week’s phrases. Let’s get to it!
1. Bleach-infused rice surprise
According to The Guardian, New Zealand grocery store chain Pak ‘n’ Save added a “Savey Meal Bot” to its app that uses AI to create recipes for customers. And those customers immediately began messing with the Savey Meal Bot by asking it to create meals using non-food items, one of which resulted in “bleach-infused rice surprise.”
Other Savey Meal Bot treats included:
Oreo vegetable stir-fry - weird but okay, at least it’s not deadly
Methanol bliss - turpentine-flavored French toast 😳
Aromatic water mix - a recipe for highly toxic chlorine gas 😵
2. Bed rotting
My pal Mike sent this phrase, which brings to mind clinomania from a recent edition of NTMP. In a rare non-disgusting post, bed rotting is defined by Urban Dictionary as “The Gen Z term for staying in bed for days on end, binging on Netflix, Tik Tok and Hinge.”
Sidebar: I would’ve sworn that “bingeing” is the proper spelling of the present participle of “to binge,” but it looks like either is acceptable and that “binging” was the original form, according to Grammarist.
3. Church key
I heard this phrase on an episode of “Justified: City Primeval,” which was . . . fine, I guess? Less than fine. (The show, not the phrase.) The original show Justified, based on novels and short stories by Elmore Leonard, was pretty good and this miniseries version was nowhere near up to par1. I’d watch Timothy Olyphant Builds a House on HGTV, a fictional show I just created. So I watched this and got some Olyphant screen time and a new-to-me phrase out of it.
Unbeknownst to me until I saw this show, a church key is a bottle opener. My husband was surprised I hadn’t heard it, as he felt it’s pretty common. The etymology of this phrase is murky, but appears to be less a joke about opening a beer bottle as a metaphor for religion and more about how bottle openers used to resemble church keys.
4. An errant Frito
My friend Charlie is a gifted musician, artist, and most recently, a photographer (and those aren’t even his day job). This year on Instagram, he’s been using his strong eye for design to capture the disconnected American blandness of Fort Worth, Texas, rendering each place as a beautiful abstraction.
Charlie also has a highlight reel of GIFs representing his feelings when his wife makes chicken pot pie that is one of my favorite things on the internet. I can only imagine what the algorithm does to his feed after he posts one of those. Ope; I just watched them again and laughed like a drunken monkey. Tag yourself; I’m “truck skidding on snow and ice through like three intersections.” It’s been too hot down in Texas for chicken pot pie, but hopefully soon.
And now for the phrase: Charlie started a YouTube diary that I am enjoying quite a bit (link to the episode with an errant Frito). I’m not much of a YouTuber but I might become one for this.
5. Time confetti
Coined by journalist Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play when No One has the Time, time confetti “refers to all the seconds and minutes lost to unproductive and unsatisfying multitasking." As an ADHDer, I know all too well this high cost of multitasking.
I found this phrase in the book The Power of Fun: How to feel alive again by Catherine Price, based on a rec from Nicole Antoinette, who writes. (If you’re into well-crafted, honest introspection, you need some Wild Letters in your life.)
At times I’ve wondered if The Power of Fun should’ve been a newsletter series—as is often the case with so many nonfiction books. But this book keeps surprising me; I enjoyed how Price set about defining what she calls “True Fun.” It has me thinking both broadly and deeply about how I spend my time, what I actually consider fun (versus what society says we should), and how I can live more intentionally. I even bought a copy, something I’m reluctant to do with nonfiction despite my desire to support writers. As the author of a book called How to Break Up With Your Phone, it’s unsurprising that Price finds technology and social media at the root of our current societal malaise, but I honestly don’t disagree. She’s not anti-phone, but rather anti-how-we’ve-been-tricked-into-using-our-devices by people who lack a moral compass or give a single chocolate chip shit about the negative impacts of their technology.
Because we all need something to look forward to, I’ve gathered a couple of more phrases from this book that I’ll feature in upcoming newsletters.
6. Streep Ham
This magnificent phrase comes from Suzy, an NTMP reader and longtime pal of mine.
Here’s her description of a work convo that led us here:
“We were talkin’ ham (as one does in the food mines) and it turned to talk about baked ham retailers and how Honey Baked Ham was in a class of its own. I said it was the Meryl Streep of baked hams… unable to stand trial by jury as it has no peers (Onion reference).”
Bonus NTMP chef’s kiss for “in the food mines.”
7. Stool bus
This is such an awesome riff on school bus that I’m honestly mad that I’ve never thought of it.
After all, I substitute “squirrel” for “girl” and “fart” for “heart” in songs, so this seems pretty logical if you’re me. Except I guess nobody writes songs about school buses. I also call the grocery store chain King Soopers “King Poopers,” because how can you not? See also: My Nards. (I need you to know how very much I enjoyed writing that last sentence.)
Oh yeah, lest I forget: Stool Bus is the name of a real company based in (I am not making this up) Pie Town, New Mexico. Their tagline? Become a regular. The buttons and icons on the site are brown. However, points off for not having a tiny version of the bus as the favicon on their website. (via NTMP reader Kathleen.)
That’s it for this week! Except:
I have another poll for you!
Are you furious? Are you curious? But have you tried being furiously curious? Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
I would, however, like to know who made the creative decision to have the (extremely boring) bad guy hang out in enormous tighty whities in nearly every scene. I guess to let us know he’s truly evil?