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NTMP #23: American Idiots
The hard yakka of upholding democracy
New-to-me Phrases, July 3, 2022
Hard yakka * Udder up * “Open thigh” lemonade * The GLOAT * Skynest * Gigantic Cheez-Its * Dartying * Internal shower * Norks * Radical Street Librarian
The Phrases, With Context
I know I’ve promoted this newsletter as a break from doomscrolling and the many difficulties we face amid a pandemic, war in Ukraine, climate change, and the death of our democracy, but desperate times, yada.
Anyway, this week we have some political talk, along with several phrases from Down Under, a salty freshwater lake, senseless beverages, and filaments of hope.
Let’s get to it!
1. Hard yakka
This phrase is Australian slang for “hard work.”
Here’s a great piece for your word-nerdy heart in the NYT about the linguistic detective work done by the patient archivists at the Australian National Dictionary Center. (That’s a gifted link, you should be able to read even if you don’t subscribe).
The dictionary entries were originally compiled on handwritten index cards, which I find both charming and awesome.
2. Udder up
This phrase comes via my friend Jessica, who heard it on a TV show. A naturalist was talking about checking Dartmoor ponies to see whether they were pregnant, or “uddered up.”
“Let’s try to replace ‘man up’ in the lexicon with this,” she wrote.
Given the way things are going in this country, we’ve got a lot of uddering up to do, especially because it’s literally life-threatening to be pregnant in America right now.
It would be great to see the Biden administration and the Dem majority in Congress udder up, or to do literally anything besides acting like Charlie Brown trying to kick a football before Lucy yanks it away.
Speaking of Australia, uddering up worked there in what the media dubbed a genderquake, as women fed up with recent white male Christofascist minority rule there formed their own party and voted them out, replacing them with female candidates.
Here for this!
I know exactly nothing about Aussie politics, but I do know that the Fox News brainwashing isn’t as widespread or effective there as it is here. But my thinking is that “if it happened in one place, it can happen elsewhere.” Same for my feelings about universal healthcare — it’s not impossible, just really, really difficult. And we’ve accomplished difficult things in this country when enough people rose up and did the hard yakka of demanding change. I’ll take possibility and action over hopelessness and giving up any day.
3. “Open thigh” lemonade
Not a gross phrase in the way you might think. (You’re welcome!)
Via Smitten Kitchen, here’s a TikTok showing how to stand in order to drink a lemonade and soda in Naples without spilling it all over yourself.
This is the Al’s Beef “Italian stance,” but for lemonade! (IYKYK: Chicagoans edition.)
Leave it to the Italians to savor food and drink that is so messy you need to stand in a specific way to avoid getting it all over yourself!
4. The GLOAT
So someone created a Twitter account for ::checks notes:: . . . Lake Superior. And it's an unequivocal delight:
(Scroll UP from this tweet to view the thread, found via my friend Richard.)
Lake Superior's Twitter bio self-describes as the GLOAT - Greatest Lake of All Time. I’m inclined to agree.
If Elon Musk buys Twitter and immediately turns it into the next Truth Social, I’ll miss the comedy accounts the most.
This is the name that Air New Zealand gave to its . . . ::checks notes:: “economy bunk beds” on their planes. (I’m not including “economy bunk beds” on this list because it’s too disturbing to me.)
I don’t know about you, but when I think of a nest, I think of cozy comfort and blissful sleep. I realize this is a fantasy nest, since actual nests are made of bird spittle, nature’s trash, and errant bird poop.
However, Skynest doesn’t sound much better than nest reality. Sleeping in a cramped triple bunk bed with the flatulence, B.O., and snoring of strangers? HARD PASS.
6. Gigantic Cheez-Its
This one comes from my friend Randi, who shares that this is what the youngs call day drinking. I like it. (The portmanteau, not day drinking/partying, which at this point in my timeline would probably kill me.)
To be honest, I think “day drinking” is funnier and catchier than dartying. Thoughts?
8. Internal shower
Social media loves a diet trend, don’t they? This one isn’t even as bad as the one from a couple of years back where people made lattes with activated charcoal to “detox.” If you weren’t aware, activated charcoal is used in medical and veterinary settings to remove poisons or drug overdoses from the body.
I learned while writing this that they’re called goth lattes; great phrase, dumb idea, as the charcoal can interfere with the absorption of medications (including birth control), vitamins, and minerals, and in a toothpaste it can erode tooth enamel and lead to tooth loss.
Fun fact: The best way to detox is ::checks notes:: having a liver.
On to the newest dumb trend: According to TikTok, an “internal shower” involves downing a shit-ton of chia seeds in water to clean yourself out. This sounds like a terrible time! And totally unnecessary!
Even without knowing the meaning, this word is very funny.
Bonus: It’s Aussie slang for boobs!
10. Radical Street Librarian
This year, my friend Ashley convinced me to follow Sharon McMahon’s Instagram, @SharonSaysSo. Careful to not share her own political views, McMahon is a former government teacher on a mission to educate people across the political spectrum about how our government works. She patiently answers questions—none are too “dumb”—and encourages critical thinking.
One of the things I like about McMahon is that she is fully herself, unapologetically. Another is that she leverages her sizeable following to do good, including raising a massive amount of funding for Ukrainians after the Russian invasion began.
Last week McMahon introduced her followers to the Radical Street Librarian behind the Storybook Maze Project and encouraged us to donate. A pile of books arrived soon after. Who doesn’t love a feel-good story and an excuse to take action during an extremely difficult era?
Led by librarian Araba Maze, she started the project to support literacy for children in her community, who couldn’t go to the library and didn’t have books at home. So Maze decided to bring the books to the kids.
The project seeks to distribute free book vending machines throughout Baltimore and in other places where kids lack access to books. Here are a whole bunch of ways to donate.
That’s it for this week! If you’re not feeling particularly patriotic right now, I get it. America needs to be put in a time-out. But if you want an activity that doesn’t involve fast fashion flag tees or finger loss, consider taking the time on the 4th to write your senators and representatives to tell them your feelings about the current literal threat to our democracy posed by this rogue Supreme Court. They DO respond with action when citizens send in waves of emails—even if you write in support of what they’re already doing—as we saw after Uvalde. Also consider donating to a local mutual aid fund or similar good cause, like StorybookMaze. If you need help writing a script, hit me up.
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