Discover more from New-to-me Phrases
NTMP 71: Grimace's Mustache
The anatomical gift that keeps on giving
New-to-me Phrases, June 18, 2023
Buddy the wolverine * The poisonous guise of even-handedness * Vinegary personal feuds * A national security full monty * American Button Machines * Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois * Illinois Gay Rodeo Association * Platypusary * Ridiclious * Theoretical Berry
The Phrases, With Context
Happy Father’s Day to all who celebrate, especially to my husband, who is a kind, generous, and hilarious dad. I know holidays like this are complicated and can suck, but today also offers a good reason to give a shout-out to dudes who are breaking cycles of toxic masculinity for future generations. Here’s to you, dads who are making an effort.
This week we have more Illinois content than usual (you’re welcome), brilliance from not-that-David-Roth, feminist platypus icons, and more.
Let’s get to it!
1. Buddy the wolverine
Outside recently wrote about a wolverine sighting at a California ski resort. This is big news because they’re pretty rare in the Sierras nowadays. Rare as in: Before this, there was one known wolverine in the area, and his name was Buddy.
Read more about Buddy in this Smithsonian article written by my pal Sarah! You will probably not be surprised to learn that they were hunted to extinction early in the 20th century. So when a wolverine arrived in 2008, it was a big deal. Scientists named him Buddy and tracked the economy-sized weasel for a decade before they lost track of him, likely due to his timely demise.
What a cool job, though! Wolverine Biologist. I’d be glued to Buddycam if I had that gig. I haven’t yet seen a name for the new weasel in town but I’d like to offer Logan as a suggestion.
2. The poisonous guise of even-handedness
Here, my internet fave Drew Magary aptly describes the NYT’s trans panic coverage in a column on SFGATE from earlier this year. He also calls the Times “a lukewarm fart of an organization.” #accurate
I bang this drum often - “all sides”-ing and “very fine people”-ing an issue when one side seeks to do harm to a marginalized group further perpetuates that harm. Legitimizing bad actors as if their shitty morals deserve equal time is not good journalism.
I feel like this phrase captures these sentiments perfectly.
3. Vinegary personal feuds
Do you enjoy reading the work of writers who are smarter and and vastly more talented than you can ever hope to be? David Roth at Defector is one of those writers. His recent post about Trump’s federal criminal indictment, So It’s A Crime Now To Have Boxes Full Of Cool Folders With Various Words Printed On Them? is a great example of how he combines brilliant analysis with biting humor and hoardable phrases.
Behold this delectable sentence:
“While he is certainly one of the most bribe-able individuals of his generation and unquestionably unbound by any higher or finer concerns whatsoever, and while that would not really be the sort of person you’d want having a bunch of sensitive documents in their possession, it is equally salient that Trump is fundamentally an absolutely whopping bitch whose deepest personal desire and abiding life’s passion has always been showing off in weird ways and pursuing vinegary personal feuds.”
Is there a better way to describe Trump’s pettiness than vinegary personal feuds? There is not.
Other winners in this article include:
Off-brand Beltway reptiles
A blowsy weirdo
4. A national security full monty
This Twitter thread by a criminal defense attorney explains just how very bad the Trump indictment is. Seriously, read the whole thing.
5. American Button Machines
My friend and poetry antagonist Dawn has a button-making machine that I covet. Imagine, for a moment: NTMP buttons!
When I asked her where she bought hers, she said American Button Machines. What she didn’t tell me is what a completely awesome website they have. It feels like they’re being intentionally internet-retro with this thing. They have an “Ask ABM” column and “The Button Blog” if you want to do a deep dive on button-making, which I 100% do.
6. Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois
If you saw this phrase and were hoping that this you can FINALLY be able to mail an actual human butt to your enemies, you’re out of luck.
This organization was in the news recently for extremely gruesome and hateful reasons.
This Chicago Tribune headline says it all:
3 severed heads from donor bodies left at employee’s desk after complaints raised about alleged misconduct
People make fun of Illinois as a cornfield with Chicago, and rightly so. But you’ve gotta admit, there’s always interesting shit going on here.
Speaking of Chicago, in response to some right-wing actual human butts shit-talking about Chicago, Harebrained Design is making an amazing series of tees and mugs. They keep cranking out these ideas and it gets funnier every time.
Empire Carpet (lol at 800-588-STFU)
Da pizza box (IYKYK)
And the requisite sportsball teams, including the old school White Sox logo that I’m particularly fond of.
I can’t decide which one to buy, but I’m leaning toward either Old Style or the White Sox one.
Also: I want this pin.
7. Illinois Gay Rodeo Association
So this exists, and I couldn’t be happier about it. See what I mean about Illinois?
These folks marched in the Woodstock PrideFest parade last weekend and everyone I know was like, “I NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS.”
My Hag friend Wendy shared this one and I later saw mention of the must-read story of Penelope Platypus (disappeared) on Depths of Wikipedia (written by Annie Rauwerda at, a Substack I recommend.
I don’t know the source that my friend shared, but it reads:
“Penelope made headlines for her repeated refusal to mate with the zoo’s male platypus, Cecil. The New York Times said that Penelope was not lovesick but “sick of love” when she escaped from the zoo’s platypusary in 1957, never to be seen again.”
Goddamn, Penelope. What a legend. This might be the most relatable content on Wikipedia. Imagine being thrown into a pen with some rando who’s all “BUILD THAT FUCKIN’ WALL!” Actually, don’t. It’s not good for your digestion.
Orcas, platypuses: They’re smarter than us.
This is how my friend’s younger son pronounces “ridiculous.” Update every dictionary immediately.
10. Theoretical Berry
My friend Derek recently reviewed the new Grimace milkshake from McDonald’s in a friend Slack group (aka Midlife Discord) we’re in.
Here’s what he wrote:
The shake is not really the color of Grimace. It’s lighter than that. This, however, does not seem to help.
If I had to name the flavor I just experienced I would probably call it Theoretical Berry.
It does appear to want to be berry flavored, and it is right at first, but then the aftertaste kicks in and wipes your taste buds’ hard drive.
It is a deeply chemical aftertaste. Medicinal. Like Grimace was made entirely of rejected Robitussin flavors.
I eventually had to go get a handful of chocolate chips to chase the aftertaste away, like the Scouring of the Shire.
Summary Statement: The Grimace Shake is an undrinkable horror.
Unrelated to the shake, this week, after looking at and thinking about Grimace more than I have for my entire existence, I noticed that the purple menace has a mustache. At least I think it’s a mustache? Or is he supposed to be a sort of engorged platypus? Imagine Penelope’s reaction to that!
Did they add that mustache, or was it always there? Is it a porn ‘stache from the ‘70s? Does Grimace porn exist? These are the sorts of things that occupy my mind, and exactly why I will never be successful at anything.
That’s it for this week! Remember to stay curious and remain furious!