Discover more from New-to-me Phrases
NTMP 60: World's largest wombat
That's MISTER Pickles to you!
Mr. Pickles * World’s largest bat * Brookie * Apricity * Mandemic * Semantic infiltration * Broken clouds * [redacted] * Daylighting
The Phrases, With Context - Also, a Poll!
This week, we have quite a few nature-themed phrases and I have zero problem with that. Also: say no to clowns.
And here’s the poll for March - clicky-clicky/tappy-tappy! As usual, the poll is open for 7 days. Make your voice heard!
And now for the phrases: Let’s get to it!
1. Mr. Pickles
I just love this name. It’s awesome, whether it’s someone’s unfortunate surname or a cute pet name. It’s great for anything but a clown, really, because hard no on clowns.
This Mr. Pickles is a radiated tortoise at the Houston Zoo who at age 90 became a parent for the first time this year. Mr. and Mrs. Pickles are now the proud parents of Dill, Gherkin, and Jalapeño.
Fun fact: While sourcing an image for this post, I noticed that the search feature in Unsplash pulls up turtle images when you search for tortoises. As I read up on the difference between turtles and tortoises, I learned that all tortoises are turtles, but not all turtles are tortoises. Then I needed a nap.
I did enjoy this bit from Brittanica:
If tortoises are turtles, why not just call all turtlelike creatures “turtle”? Because if the animal you’re referring to is a tortoise, some wise guy is going to correct you every time.
Tortoises are land-based, and a key physical distinguisher is that tortoises have elephantine legs and toes where turtles either have claws or flippers.
If you haven’t yet, you need to click that link above to see the baby tortoises. DO IT.
2. World’s largest bat
I like bats. They eat mosquitoes, which is a vital public service. And they’re a mix of kinda cute/kinda creepy that I find rather charming.
But a bat that could attend elementary school? I’m gonna nope out on that. I do, however, love that the giant golden-crowned flying fox is classified as a megabat (an awesome new-to-me word!).
The IG account for my town’s Dairy Queen is wholesome and enticing, just like DQ. Last week they shared an “Oreo Brookie” Blizzard and no one in my house knew what a brookie was. Turns out it’s a brownie-cookie hybrid, according to Preppy Kitchen. I’ll allow it.
I found this word via Sketchplanations - it means “the warmth of winter sun:”
From the latin aprico, 'to warm in the sun', and in turn aperio, 'lying open', it has been around since at least 1623. It feels to me like we'd benefit from its resurgence.
Especially because living in the Midwest in April (get it?) feels wintry at least half the time.
My Hag friend Wendy used this word to describe her partner being home sick with a man cold. Totally snagging this one to use later.
6. Semantic infiltration
I saw this video clip going around the socials last week, where Lawrence O’Donnell at MSNBC described semantic infiltration as “the art of forcing your opponents to use your language.” O’Donnell cited “Fox News” and “pro life” as examples. Not as fun as semantic satiation but it’s a good tactic to be aware of and stomp on when you see it.
7. Broken clouds
I saw this phrase come up briefly on my weather app, and I’d never seen it before. I think it would make a great name for a poem, tbh.
Broken clouds are distinguishable from scattered clouds or overcast skies by the fractional amount of cloud cover present. Here’s an explanation with a handy chart. Imagine the amount of clouds in the sky as slices of pie (mmm pie). Are you seeing 5/8-7/8 of cloud cover? You’re looking at broken clouds. But if you only see 3/8 - 4/8? Sorry, now you’ve just got scattered clouds. I’m not sure who sees 5/8 or 3/8 of anything, but okay, weather and aviation nerds.
If you suck at fractions like I do, at least you’ll always get overcast right: 8/8 clouds, or one cloud. One big, miserable cloud circle blanket that feels like it’ll never leave.
I hid this phrase because it’s the punchline to a joke that one of my kids (who does not read this newsletter) sent me from Instagram. Click here to reveal the phrase, which I have indeed added to the NTMP master database.
Here’s a great read from Smithsonian by my colleague Jim Morrison about how cities around the country are addressing more frequent floods via “daylighting.” This term refers to restoring once-covered waterways and adding native plantings. Shocking that nature is better at humans at self-regulating. A lovely upside to daylighting is that it enlivens neighborhoods by creating spaces where people want to gather.
Allow me to make your day
Pedro Pascal as mushrooms A thread. (h/t to my Hag friend Kathleen for this gem.)
That’s it for this week! Thanks for subscribing and remember to stay curious and remain furious!
Stay curious: Did you know that Lake Superior isn’t a lake at all, but rather, an inland sea? (h/t to my pal Rebecca, a NTMP superfan and paid subscriber who also noted that the amazing Lake Superior Twitter account temporarily changed their username to reflect this status.)
Also, did you know about Patrick, the world’s largest wombat? (I didn’t when I wrote this week’s headline!) Now you do.
Remain furious: It’s hard to even know what to pick to be mad about these days, with so many politicians prioritizing their desperate grab for power over literally everything else. The mass shooting at a school in Nashville last week was deeply traumatizing to Americans. Again.
I made like Abe Simpson and sent some emails and I’m going to make calls and send more emails this week, too. (The disappointingly tone deaf form letter I got from Dick Durbin (D) needs a follow-up.) We all should be mad as hell about kids having to endure active shooter drills (which might not even help) only to continue being shot at school, while people in suits who are supposed to serve their constituents do nothing but spout platitudes about mental health and send thoughts and prayers.
Politicians don’t know what we think unless we tell them, and in some cases, if they hear enough opposition or support about a topic, it can move the needle on how they draft legislation and vote. Make some noise, and don’t back down.