NTMP 72: Alf's Sporting Goo
Summer spudnuts at The Whippy Dip
New-to-me Phrases, June 25, 2023
The Phrases, With Context
In case you didn’t know, my family and I live with three parrots and we all love birds. This weekend, a neighbor stopped by to say that he’d found an escaped parrot hiding under his RV. He wanted to know if it was ours or if we could help in any way.
I called to my kids, “Who wants to help rescue an escaped cockatiel?” Within sixty seconds they emerged from their tech caves and we gathered a travel cage, food and water dish, and spray millet (a fave treat for smaller parrots).
Within the hour, thanks to a local Facebook group, we’d found the owner, who will be coming by to pick up their sweet little ‘tiel today. Our new avian friend is eating, drinking, preening, chirping, and pooping—all good signs of optimal health—and appears happy now that he knows he’s safe with us.
The entire experience gave me good feels about humans (rare).
On to the phrases! This week we have a knock on the wellness industry’s tendency to prioritize optimization and privilege over enjoyment and accessibility, an unexpected TikTok subculture, and my—and now probably your—first time contemplating ‘80s TV character Alf’s nether regions.
Let’s get to it!
1. Soylent for girls
While this phrase takes a bit of explaining to get to the context, it’s really an excuse for me to share a fine bit of writing with you:
Jessie Gaynor’s “Have We Finally Hit Peak Wellness Food?” in Taste is just chef’s-kiss great.
Backstory, in case you’re unfamiliar with the reference to Soylent: It’s a dudebro-founded meal replacement company that (un)ironically adopted the name from the 1973 cult sci-fi film Soylent Green, which was adapted from the 1966 Harry Harrison novel Make Room! Make Room!
In the novel and film, “Soylent Green” is a fictional product developed to account for increasingly scarce resources on a planet dying from the effects of climate change. (Sounds totally fictional, yep.)
This circles us back to Gaynor’s Taste essay about the joyless and esoteric recipes found in Amanda Chantal Bacon’s Moon Juice Manual, where a friend of Gaynor’s described one recipe as “Soylent for girls.”
I realize that this was a long way to go for context, but it was a solid burn and we love salty takes at NTMP.
Further listening/reading: Maintenance Phase did a Moon Juice episode that’s worth listening to, and they have transcripts, too if podcasts aren’t your thing.
According to a Washington Post article about “life hacks from Grandmas (gifted link),” spudnuts are potato doughnuts, and can I have some?
You can find the recipe for spudnuts here.
Here’s a corner of TikTok I did not know about or want: TedTok, for people who support the ideals of recently deceased murderer Ted Kaczynski. Morning Brew shared this 2021 piece from The Baffler along with news of Kaczynski’s death on June 10th of this year. It’s a nice, chewy read that explores the irony of people using corporate-owned tech to celebrate a man who wanted to dismantle industrialized society.
4. Dick’s Sporting Goo
A funny Gmail subject line truncation and/or error on the part of a spammer:
I’ve been chosen. I feel so special.
5. Alf’s hog
Are you ready to be disturbed on more than one level? Well buckle up, because now we’re gonna start thinking about ‘80s TV sitcom character Alf’s genetalia.
After joining Twitter alternative BlueSky recently, my friend Tom offered the following pointers for using the still-in-beta social media channel:
Set up content filters.
Beware the hellthread. Alf’s hog lives there.
This is simultaneously one of the best and most disturbing interactions I’ve ever had.
Tom’s admonition led me to learn from Know Your Meme that the BlueSky hellthread is “a massive thread that users can’t mute and anyone who replies to it receives endless unmutable [sic] notifications.”
Anyway, I guess an image of Alf’s hog is in there somewhere, if you’re an intrepid and adventurous soul who wants to try and find it. BlueSky is aware of the hellthread and is reportedly working on a fix.
6. Hairy Puccoon
This is the common name of a wildflower native to Illinois and surrounding regions and not a euphemism. 🤌🏻
Why can’t it be both?
A quick etymology romp through Wikipedia found that the word puccoon comes from the Powhatan word poughkone (red dye). Apparently the root of the Hairy Puccoon plant was used by some tribes to make dye. The name pokeweed may also derive from the same word and can also be used euphemistically if you’re a dork like me.
7. Whippy Dip
While friends were visiting this weekend, one of them off-handedly mentioned “We had ice cream at The Whippy Dip,” which of course triggered my phrase antennae.
Here’s the cover image from the Facebook page for the Decorah, Iowa Whippy Dip, because they don’t have a website. The sign reads “CONSIDER A BLUEBERRY MALT.” What a polite, open-ended call to action. What are you, Canadians?
That’s it for this week! Remember to stay curious and remain furious.
Here, for your heart: When John Oliver heard that users were using images of him to protest Reddit’s decision to monetize its API, Oliver posted a treasure trove of photos of himself in a Twitter thread. I would buy this coffee table book.