Discover more from New-to-me Phrases
NTMP 84: Fiasco City
Hurriquaking in your shoboots
New-to-me Phrases, October 8, 2023
The Phrases, With Context
As of today, I have joined the ranks of the COVID boosted, with a special appearance from the flu vaccine as well. Don’t be jealous of my exciting life.
This week, we have a nice balance between the wonders of nature, a major hypochondria trigger that is the stuff of germaphobes’ nightmares, and some pure silliness. Plus, Harrison Ford, who can still get it!
But first: September Poll Results!
I . . . don’t think this has happened before, but as you can see above, we have a tie for both first and second place. So I’m going to do another NTMP poll and see if we can’t narrow this down.
If you didn’t vote last time, suit up! Now’s your chance to make your voice heard:
And now for the phrases. Let’s get to it!
1. 32 Chunk
If you haven’t yet heard of Fat Bear Week, then here’s a new-to-you phrase and an annual event for you to look forward to. Hosted each year by Katmai National Park, Fat Bear Week is designed to foster awareness and wonder about grizzly bears and their ability to gorge themselves in anticipation of winter hibernation. There’s also a webcam and each year you can vote on your favorite round bois and grllz (I made that up as a grizzly girl joke; just go with it).
Is Fat Bear Week fatphobic? As a small-to-mid-fat person, I like to think not, but I also think these are always conversations worth having.
32 Chunk is the name of one of the bears competing for top status as the awesomest fattest bear. Personally, I think the Katmai crew needs to up their game in the naming department. Holly? Some are just the numbers? If we can name snow plows, fish, and library carts, we can name some danged fat bears! Share your ideas in the comments, remembering to stay more on the “ursine bulking up” and “puns about a brawny bear who likes to eat” side of the aisle and avoid tired fat-shaming cliches. It’s possible, I know it is. I believe in you.
2. Tachymenoides harrisonfordi
This is the name of a snake that scientists named after Harrison Ford, who also has an ant and a spider named for him.
Here’s Ford’s response (via BBC.com, pic of the snake at the link):
“These scientists keep naming critters after me, but it's always the ones that terrify children," Ford told Conservation International. "I don't understand. I spend my free time cross-stitching. I sing lullabies to my basil plants, so they won't fear the night."
Ford also described his “quick kinship” with the snake:
"The snake's got eyes you can drown in, and he spends most of the day sunning himself by a pool of dirty water — we probably would've been friends in the early '60s.”
Native to the Andes Mountains in Peru, Tachymenoides harrisonfordi is not harmful to humans (wish we could say the reverse were true!) and is a very pretty boy.
3. Cream City
I’m letting this phrase in on a technicality because I think I’d heard it before, but the technicality is “I do what I want here,” so here we go:
Cream City is the rather unfortunate nickname for Milwaukee, and also the title of your sex tape.
Here’s an explainer for the nickname, which derives from cream-colored bricks first made in the city in 1835.
This portmanteau saw a surge in popularity in August of 2023 when Southern California braced itself for the arrival of a rare hurricane (Hilary) and then experienced an earthquake near Ojai.
I like that toward the end of this article about the hurriquake in the Santa Monica Observer, they wrote:
#hurriquake trended on Twitter, formerly X (emphasis mine). A new word, the etymology is well, obvious.
We can dream, can’t we?
According to Wiktionary, hurriquake was “first attested in 1999 as a nonce word.”
A nonce word? That sounds cool! (It means a word invented for the occasion.) Also, is the person writing over at Wiktionary a ghost from Victorian England?
Here’s a link from that Wiktionary entry to what it claims is first known instance of the word, in a Google Group by a user with the handle Old Curmudgeon, who is likely to be a Dead Curmudgeon after 25 years.
Maybe they’re the one writing Wiktionary entries.
5. Fecal fiasco
Here’s another newsworthy phrase from a few weeks back and boy howdy is this one the stuff of nightmares. I found this phrase in a New York Post article that opens with,
“It was a crappy situation.”
And boy, was it. The Guardian also covered the story of a flight delayed by over eight hours because
“We had a passenger who had diarrhea all the way through the airplane so they want us to come back to Atlanta.”
All the way?
All the way through?
ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE AIRPLANE?
From what I’ve been able to read, that poor passenger was okay and ended up being able to continue the flight after the plane was cleaned up.
Bodies are gross, shit happens, I’m never leaving the house again, etc.
But isn’t fecal fiasco a great phrase?
OK, we need some fun after that last one.
I also like that they snuck the name “Gary” in there with belugary.
Once you watch this TikTok, you won’t be able to see this phrase without yelling it. ShoBOOT!
That’s it for this week! In the coming weeks, look for a special interview about a new-to-me-phrase and a further investigation into the etymology of the word jagoff. I’ll probably send these as special bonus mid-week editions of NTMP, or I might just replace our usual Sunday fun with something new to enjoy.
Remember to stay furiously curious!