NTMP 86: Water Bottleboy
Leave pandas alone!
The Phrases, With Context
This week, we have a bizarre mascot, ursine takebacks, a callback to this classic comic by The Oatmeal, and more.
Let’s get to it!
1. Panda diplomacy
I was unaware of the practice of China gifting or lending giant pandas to other countries as an act of diplomacy. But they’ve been doing this since the 1940s, a practice known as panda diplomacy.
During the Nixon era—you know, the point that most history classes skim through after weeks of covering the World Wars—China’s gift of giant pandas was big news. It had been a while since they’d shipped a bear over here, apparently. In the ‘80s, China switched from gifting to leasing the animals. A weird flex, but okay.
Can we just pause here and ponder how awful this whole deal is? Leave these pandas alone! Let them be wild!
Back to the phrase: Recently, the Chinese government decided to be even bigger dicks than usual and have recalled their giant pandas from American zoos, which is making a lot of people sad while also sending the phrase “panda diplomacy” back into news stories, which is where I found it.
It’s complicated, right? I get the value of zoos for conservation, education, and memorable school field trips. And not everyone has the means to travel where the wildlife are around the world, and thank goodness for that because the world has had enough of entitled travelers as it is. But I also think zoos are terribly depressing for the animals, while at the same time, I can only imagine how staff and regulars feel about losing a beloved longtime inhabitant like this. I have a good friend who adores giant pandas and goes to see them every chance she can. This has got to a blow for her. Like I said: It’s complicated.
Wow, sorry to bum you out. 🐼
Researching this phrase (aka reading a Wikipedia entry) got me wondering whether pandas attack humans in the wild like other bears do. (I haven’t paid good panda attention, okay?) Turns out they can, but are unlikely to do so unless they feel threatened. One drunk dude hopped into an enclosure to pet a panda at the Beijing zoo and, well, it didn’t work out well for him. Leave pandas alone!
2. Piss Jugman
Okay, this one is SO stupid and yet it makes me laugh so much when I contemplate writing about it. ::cracks knuckles::
I found this one on Instagram (h/t NTMP reader Suzy!) but it originally went viral on Twitter:
I mean, I’d have believed it was real. I started researching the practice of dumping pee bottles on the side of highways to see if it was a real thing or just an urban highway legend. I found a website called ::checks notes:: Drivin’ and Vibin’ that made an admirable attempt at SEO blogging about these so-called trucker bombs. Honestly, do I need to dig deeper into this phenomenon? Doesn’t matter; I’m not going to. But it does seem to be an actual practice among some truckers.
As far as Piss Jug Man (Piss Jugman if you’re nasty) goes, he’s a fake mascot created by a possibly also fake truck stop social media account.
I absolutely would’ve paid to get a photo of him with my husband, who collects pictures of himself with mascots. Because you know I love collecting weird shit, I even have a Shutterfly album of them:
Final, but important thought: I wonder if anyone who is extremely online will go as Piss Jugman for Halloween? Please make this happen and send me photos.
I found this portmanteau in a GoodReads newsletter. Sidebar to GoodReads: When are you gonna design a site for this century?
As the word implies, romantasy is a romance story with fantasy elements. Sign me up!
Here’s a breakdown of the spectrum within this genre that includes an infographic (we love an infographic here at NTMP HQ).
There’s also an offshoot genre—well, it’s more like a limited series of novellas but I hope it catches on—called STEMinist romance. Yes! STEMinist is a boss bitch word and I love it.
I’ve been reading Heather Lende’s blog for years. I enjoy her stories of life and family in Haines, Alaska. The current writer laureate of Alaska, Lende mentions her faith frequently in her writing, which is normally a non-starter for me.
But she represents my idea of a solid person of faith: She practices what she believes and does a lot of good in her community. This allows people like me who don’t practice a religion and who resent the decidedly un-Christlike behavior of the Christofascists in this country to be able to share space with a believer and actually choose to hear what they have to say, even if I might not share their religious beliefs. I value that quite a bit, especially nowadays.
Lende’s book, If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name is a favorite of mine. It’s a memoir about her time as the obituary columnist for the Haines area. Highly recommend.
A fly-tel, according to a recent blog post, is “a floatplane-friendly hotel by the airport.”
Cool, but a bit NO THANK YOU to a tiny shaky plane that lands on water unless I am either unconscious by choice or huffing laughing gas! But someone else can definitely enjoy that instead of me.
5. Flesh chandelier
If you, like me, enjoy funny-and-gross humor, this is your phrase:
Major bonus points for crafting an extremely clever and extremely gross metaphor for dropping the chewing gum out of the ol’ waste bin.
6. Raw egg nationalist
Heard this one on a recent episode of the Maintenance Phase podcast, “Soy Boys,” which was a wild ride through toxic masculinity. This is actually a thing that an actual dude calls himself.
I have no notes except:
I don’t know if anyone else is doing this, but Dr. Motion compression socks is running a Socktoberfest campaign on social and my hat is off to the marketer who came up with this one.
Now if that marketer could get manufacturing over there to design socks for people with short calves like mine, I’d be a superfan. People have short legs! Make socks for us! And this isn’t your problem to solve, Dr. Motion marketer, but can someone get on making wide-calf boots for people who DON’T have wide feet? This is a hill I will die on, in ankle boots because no one will make boots for my mighty mighty bosstones.
That’s it for this week! Remember to remain furiously curious and send me any fun words or phrases you encounter in the wild.