NTMP #36: Giant Wayward Cupcake
Nobody expects the hagfish inquisition
New-to-me Phrases, October 9, 2022
We have a winner from the September “favorite phrase” poll — one in which I begged my friends to vote in to break a tie between “Fart Louderdale” and “suspicious slime trail.”
The tie is broken! Fart Louderdale wins!
Never assume your vote doesn’t count.
The Phrases, With Context
I only found four new-to-me phrases this week so I went back into the archives, where they were once new-to-me and are probably also new-to-you. (I think I’m done hyphenating now.) This week we have an unsolved mystery, unnaturally large mammals, a spicy chip trail, a real estate listing gaffe and more.
Let’s get to it!
1. Guinea bigs
My friend Rebecca only sends the best texts, including this tweet:
I’ve been making my way through the Maintenance Phase podcast and I love it so much. I’m learning a ton about the wellness, fitness, and diet industries (spoiler: none of it is good). Co-hosts Aubrey Gordon and Michael Hobbes are also smart and funny as hell. I highly recommend this one.
Michael used the word “Poopisode” as he was introducing the episode about Olestra.
Honestly, these two generate at least three funny phrases per episode and I could start an entire Google doc just for them.
3. Andrew Cuomo’s nipple mystery
Melissa is one of my friends who will text me in all caps after weeks of radio silence:
FOR THE DOCUMENT
and then she’ll drop a phrase into the next message. And I love her for it.
I replied that I think it’s best that this mystery remain unsolved. I stand by my decision.
4. Titanic dining room
My friend Kelly emailed this one to me, with a link to a real estate listing describing the dining room as “titanic.” She added:
“Sorry but I don't want to be in a Titanic dining room. I know what happened on that ship.”
5. Hagfish Slime
The title? Nobody is Prepared for Hagfish Slime.
Have I mentioned that I keep a running list of funny headlines? This one’s in there, along with “Meetings. Why?” (gifted NYT link) and “Godzilla vs. King Kong: Whose Poops Would Be Bigger?”
I’m definitely going to check my Substack stats to see how many clicks that last one gets.
I also keep a list of things members of my hag group chat say on Marco Polo that we deem the titles of our sex tapes (if you’re a Brooklyn 99 fan, YK). I love a Google doc!
In this article, Yong interviews a scientist named Douglas Fudge ::adds to phrases doc:: and then refers to him as “Fudge” throughout, which is a great bonus to a fascinating piece. He also drops this gem, for which I’d nominate him for another Pulitzer:
“Hagfish produce slime the way humans produce opinions—readily, swiftly, defensively, and prodigiously.”
6. Weird cupcake
This was the subject line of an email an editor sent me back in 2019 along with an assignment to profile a psychic.
7. Giant wayward pig
In 2018, an enormous pig was recaptured by San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies, who lured him back home by leaving a trail of “Poppin’ Jalapeño” Doritos.
This would also 100% work on me, unless they were Cool Ranch.
8. Henry Winkler Knives
Someone in a fiction writing group I belonged to mentioned the company Winkler Knives in conversation, and someone asked “Did you just say Henry Winkler Knives?” and we all giggled because writers LOVE to procrastinate.
I do love the idea of such a gentle and funny human stockpiling a bunch of knives.
I actually met Henry Winkler once. He got onto an elevator with my family and my husband and I did that thing where you look at each other, eyes and mouth wide open, wordlessly saying OH MY GOD.
Normally I’d have left the man alone, but my brother, who has Down Syndrome, loves the ‘70s TV show Happy Days and The Fonz is one of his heroes. So I and asked for a photo to send to my brother, and Winkler excitedly obliged. As he got off the elevator, he said “Let’s do one more—the right way,” and did the thumbs-up gesture for the camera.
He was not carrying any knives that I could see.
I’m off to go canvassing door to door in my town for a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives. Democracy, man. What a concept. I hope we keep it around. Remember to vote, or register to vote and then vote; this election is an important one.
That’s it for this week! Remember to remain curious and stay furious!