NTMP 74: Beaver bombing
Sincerely yours, Dr. Smoke
New-to-me Phrases, July 9, 2023
The Phrases, With Context
This week we have June poll results, a Sophie’s Choice over which rodent-related phrase to select, SEVERAL punny animal names (here for this!) and double stuffed stoners.
June poll results
And the winner is . . . Night Poops! Now there’s a sentence I’ve never written before. As you can see, I pulled hard for Vinegary personal feuds, to no avail. Congrats to the Night Poops crew, apologies to poor Tom Volk, and thanks for voting.
And now for this week’s phrases: Let’s get to it!
1. The Pablo Escobar of beavers
I couldn’t decide between two phrases from this article at Coda Story about beavers called The secret movement bringing Europe's wildlife back from the brink. It was a toss-up between The Pablo Escobar of Beavers and beaver-bombing. Informal polling on BlueSky and Notes and got two responses each—both ties.
My friend Charlie refused to choose, writing: “This is the classic chicken tenders or quesadilla philosophy problem. I will be equally happy with either option and am therefore paralyzed.”
So I chose, and then I used the other phrase as this week’s title, so it’s wins all around—including for Charlie, sitting there in his high chair in a bib with side-by-side entrees.
Back to the story where this phrase originated - Who doesn’t love the idea of altruistic subversive activism? Especially when it’s led by someone named Olivier Rubbers?
These are the sorts of things that make great screenplays or caper novels, but once you scratch the surface, the same old libertarian nonsense rears its ugly head. Predictably, the results of “maverick rewilding” described in this Coda Story piece are a mixed bag of beneficial and disastrous.
Turns out not having expertise in wildlife management, ecology, or conservation can be a liability. Who knew? For the European beavers, so far things seem to be going well (except for the ones shot on sight by farmers in Scotland). But the actual experts (remember expertise? it was a pre-internet thing) are concerned that other armchair experts may introduce or reintroduce wildlife that can cause more harm than good. Then again, the rewilding movement— in some circles supported by rich elites and skeevy politicians like Boris Johnson—says bureaucracy moves too slowly compared to the need for biodiversity. Fair point! But the shift from a rando reintroducing beavers to another country by transporting them in a kitted out van to King Charles having a rewilding farm in Transylvania feels ominous to me. “I have money and power, and therefore I know better, expertise be damned,” is seldom a good thing. See also: Every billionaire-run venture ever.
This was a great, chewy (ahem) read and I recommend it.
2. Timothee Chalameow
Here we have another punny animal name, via ever-faithful fan of the phrase, Rebecca. We’re big fans of punny names at NTMP HQ. I’m glad little Timothee was reunited with his family.
I believe that because it’s in beta and not open to everyone, you can only view BlueSky links if you have an account, so here’s a screenshot and the link for my weird compulsive phrase recordkeeping and attribution.
I am really digging BlueSky; it feels like old Twitter. But I refuse to call BlueSky posts skeets—sky tweets—you can’t make me. I’m sure I’ll give in with a month, however.
3. Thought-terminating clichés
Found this one via a tweet by author Colin Dickey
Sorry, Colin but Wikipedia does this one better by calling them “semantic stop signs.” I also liked “bumper sticker logic” because it’s a sweet burn.
I HATE these things. “It is what it is” especially.
“Things happen for a reason.”
It is interesting that semantic stop signs are often used by totalitarian regimes and religious groups to shut down questions and debates.
4. Tony Honk
Last week Emily atgot a tattoo of ::checks notes:: a goose doing a kickflip that she named Tony Honk. A+, no notes.
I found this in a Garden Study discussion thread. A welcome offshoot of’s Culture Study, plant nerds and n00bs are converging to talk all things plants and I couldn’t be happier about it.
A commenter mentioned that her father was a “rosarian,” which I learned is a person who cultivates roses, often for a living. A new one on me, an uncultured rube. I rather like the romantic functionality of this word.
6. Heckin Chonkosaurus
(via my pal Rebecca, who deserves some sort of trophy at this point.)
Incidentally, Heckin Chonkosaurus is my burlesque name.
7. Entertaining cheese
This phrase appeared in a weekly ad for my local grocery store and it made me laugh. “Entertaining how? Does it dance?” Tell stories? Go on a one-cheese roadshow?
The Federal Trade Commission is being a total buzzkill by saying the packaging on certain cannabis snacks are too similar to brands that kids love, thereby making them tempting for ankle biters to sample.
Stoneos (LOL) is one of those brands told to knock it off and repackage themselves, which they’ll get around to, eventually, except they keep forgetting.
Some of the products told to sober up included:
Double Stuf Stoneo (LOL) by “Dabisco” (A for effort on the punny names)
Jolly Rancher Gummies Sours (I mean, that’s not even a punny name, gang)
Cheetos Crunchy XXTRA Flamin’ Hot (you’re LITERALLY calling them Cheetos, brah)
Also in this article: “A person who signed an email “Dr. Smoke” said the company did not make the products in question . . . “
🗑️ The greatest story ever told about workplace rebellion - “The note drew 16 thumbs down emoji, 11 wastebasket emoji, six clown emoji, two face palm emoji and two poop emoji, according to screenshots of the Slack conversation.” WaPo gifted link to a story about writers pushing back against AI-generated content at Gizmodo
🦄 My friend Kelly Jensen has a Substack!covers “Books, feminism, mental health, culture, yoga, and more, with wit, sarcasm, and intellection.” Highly recommended.
That’s it for this week! Thanks for reading.
On a minor editorial note, I’m dropping my longtime signoff “stay curious and remain furious” because I don’t want to end this newsletter with anger each week—even though those of us with empathy who care about democracy have every right to be pissed off in ways that spur us to take action for good. I will remain salty AF throughout each edition of NTMP, however.
I’ve felt conflicted about ending with that phrase for a while, so I’m sunsetting it and will conjure another sign-off that feels like a better fit for this project.