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NTMP 54: Wordy Spice
Ooh la la Raccoon
New-to-me Phrases, February 19, 2023
The Phrases, With Context
What a week in phraseland; I found 14! I tucked a few away for slower weeks, because covering 14 in one newsletter is a bit extra even for me.
This week, we have doting cetacean mamas 🤌🏻, a trash panda frat house, ICU fine dining, and more.
Rename NTMP? Share Your Ideas Below:
Let’s get to this week’s phrases!
I found this Science News article via the daily Outside Magazine newsletter.
The headline reads:
Orca moms baby their adult sons. That favoritism pays off — eventually.
My hat’s off to this writer for the subheading:
Salmon-hunting Pacific females feed their sons for years, boosting chances of grandwhales.
There’s a joke in here about Orcas being Italian American but I’m not going to make it.
2. Dumpster Spice
This is my favorite nickname for snowboarder and filmmaker Jess Kimura, whose documentary Learning to Drown (CW: suicidal ideations) tells her story of grief, mental illness, and healing in the wake of the death of her boyfriend.
What would your Spice Girls nickname be?
3. Capitalism diet
I feel like my friend Rebecca should have a NTMP byline or honorary mention of some sort because she is a regular source of great phrases.
Here’s the context for this one:
Who pitched this story? Who approved it? It’s so offensively tone deaf and emblematic of these late-stage capitalism times.
Were I still on Twitter, I’d have written: “Maybe instead of skipping breakfast, we should eat the rich.”
4. Hospital crab legs
I know my friend Suzy has a goal to make it into NTMP. This is your week, girl! This phrase came up during a work convo about where to sell crab legs.
I’d be hard-pressed to think of something more questionable than hospital crab legs. Hospital steak tartare? What do you think?
This Spanish word is as beautiful as the context in which I found it, an achingly poignant, honest, and beautifully written essay by Sarah Wildman about her teen daughter's cancer (gifted link, highly recommended read).
"My worries hover in the back of my mind, keeping me awake in the dark hours poetically called madrugada in Spanish — the time before the dawn, when the world is quiet."
6. Codex Sassoon
This is the name of a 1,000-year-old Hebrew Bible coming up for auction this year. The book is absolutely stunning and I cannot imagine the joy of being able to read and translate such a precious object. I wish it would go to a museum or temple rather than a private owner, though. I also wish it would carry a name other than the surname of one of the rich dudes who’s been hoarding it in a private collection.
7. Racoon Saloon
OK, “Want to see what shenanigans some wild raccoons are up to? Watch ‘Racoon Saloon,’ 24/7 live feeds of an abandoned house in an undisclosed location where some of these critters have taken up residence.” (YouTube link)
The living room with the “Raccoons Playing Poker” painting on the wall is perfection.
That’s it as far as phrases for this week! Remember to stay curious and remain furious!
Shout-out to NTMP paid subscribers! 💪🏻 Thank you!
Mike * Ellen * Lindsay * Suzy * B.D.
Special shout-out to my pal Rebecca
For sending so many great phrases on the regular. 😘
When I started this project a year ago, I did it as a creative lifeline. I was crispy-burnt out and needed something fun to work on. I didn’t think to ask for monetary support because it was just a lark, I didn’t know where it was going, and I didn’t have any shiny “extras” to offer paid subscribers.
I’ve since come to realize that this project is here to stay for the foreseeable and that creators don’t need to offer shiny extras to receive support for our creative work. (Though if I do conjure some fun stuff, I’ll let you know!) I would keep writing NTMP for free and with zero audience, I love it that much. But it’s even better being able to share this fun with you, so thank you for coming along for the ride.
If you’d like to join the esteemed ranks of paid NTMP supporters, get in here:
Other ways to support NTMP:
Hit that heart button at the top or bottom of the email or the top of the Substack page. It gives writers like me an emotional boost.
Tell your friends! Forward the emails, or send the link to the main page.
Leave comments! Profound or silly, I want to hear what you think.
Answer polls—feedback helps me understand what’s working and what’s not.
Send me phrases! Give me context, and let me know if you want credit or wish to remain anonymous.
Stay curious and remain furious!
Curious: A new calendar design? Why not?
Furious: The NYT posted an op-ed defending J.K. Rowling the day after about 200 contributors sent a letter to the Times editorial board asking them to stop equating transphobic coverage with the journalistic inquiry of “all sides.” Here’s a great response GLAAD posted from dozens of LGBTQ+ orgs and activists. If you’d like to put your fury to good use, you can also submit a letter to the NYT editor. I will add that I’m reconsidering renewing my NYT subscription.