Discover more from New-to-me Phrases
NTMP 89: Grunge Bunny
The banal tyranny of diet culture
New-to-me Phrases, November 19, 2023
The Phrases, With Context
This week we have comedic interference, more punny names, further proof that googly eyes make everything better, making spreadsheets fun (?), a wellness check callout for the Crocs product development team, and more.
Let’s get to it!
You may have already seen stories about this “weird puking” New Zealand native bird that comedian John Oliver supported to win the honor of New Zealand’s Bird of the Century, a contest sponsored by conservation group Forest & Bird. He took out billboards around the world and in ::checks notes:: Wisconsin advocating for this indigenous crested grebe, and he appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in a Pūteketeke costume. (Thanks to NTMP reader Mel for sending an article on this my way.)
My favorite detail was the Lord of the Wings bus stop ad.
“Pūteketeke began as an outside contender for Bird of the Century but was catapulted to the top spot thanks to its unique looks, adorable parenting style, and propensity for puking,” said Forest & Bird chief executive Nicola Toki.
“We’re not surprised these charming characteristics caught the eye of an influential bird enthusiast with a massive following.” (The Guardian)
2. Bohemian Scrapsody
Last weekend my husband and I drove to Memphis and nearby Mississippi for elder care reasons. Only after we’d visited did we learn that (according to Consumer Affairs) Memphis has the worst drivers in the U.S., along with Mississippi having the highest number of uninsured drivers.
Well, we didn’t learn these things, we affirmed them based on our experience there. We lived it, man. I’m talking, people REGULARLY coming to complete stops in the far left lane to exit by crossing three or four lanes onto or off of a highway. One car came to a complete stop next to a concrete berm, appeared to try to turn left INTO it, tires screeching as they came to a complete standstill while facing SIDEWAYS as oncoming cars, including mine, swerved around them.
The metro area has multiple tires, wheels, and car bumpers strewn along the highway shoulders. The Last of Us is a weird municipal aesthetic, but okay.
Anyway, Bohemian Scrapsody (with the catchy URL boscrap.com) is the name of a quilting shop in Missouri that we saw on a billboard on the drive down. Perusing their website I found a fabric called Grunge bison, another awesome phrase. Someone please start a band with this name.
I think it would be really fun to work for a paint or fabric company and just make up the most random names for stuff.
Canary Yeet (bright yellow), Bludgeoned (for a deep brick red), Colorado (beige), Seasonal Depression (greige).
I would excel in this role, please hire me.
This looks like a fun word until you learn it’s a mashup of the “paleo” and “vegan” diets.
If you really want to hear (or read) something great, their coverage of Ozempic was fantastic.
4. Indiana Bones
Spotted on Instagram, this is the name of the cat that calls the Museum of Osteology home. Another NTMP-approved punny name. I think I need to start a database of these.
The museum website dedicates an entire webpage to this feline, whose full name is Sir Indiana Bones (he goes by “Indy”). One perfect detail of his bio is that the staff wanted an office cat because “a dog would chew on all the bones.”
Related: NTMP rocket booster Rebecca sent me this Instagram post with an epic comment thread about pet nicknames that’s definitely worth a read if you need a laugh (or want to comment to share yours).
My faves were “Poopert” for a cat named Rupert and:
“My cat’s name is Dracula. We call him Dirty Pete.”
5. Wormione Granger
Two punny animal names in one newsletter, Toni?
Yes. We’re doing this!
Wormione Granger was the name of a competitor in the annual Wooly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, North Carolina (links to a charming video clip), where fuzzy friends compete in a race to predict the coming winter weather and then are released back into the wild to hibernate.
I have a friend who is legit terrified of caterpillars and I don’t want to contemplate her visiting this place unaware. h/t Rebecca for this one.
6. The untalented Mr. Ripley
In a recent Dingus of the Week installment, Lyz Lenz ofdescribed Representative George Santos thusly. It’s perfect, no notes.
8. The banal tyranny of spreadsheets
This phrase caught my eye while reading an article at Epicurious with the brilliant headline “Nothing says Thanksgiving like a spreadsheet.” Very niche, and very relevant to my interests. And yes, I added it to my Google doc list of awesome headlines.
Other recent entries include:
Hitman hires hitman who hires hitman who hires hitman who hires hitman who tells police - Source
Drugged-up fan covered with excrement fell naked into new Bills stadium site - Source
Nobody likes Mike Pence - Source
Black bear breaks into vehicle, guzzles 69 cans of pop - Source
Back to this terrific phrase: Here’s a quote by software engineer David Yee that gives context for it:
“It actually gives me joy to undermine the banal tyranny of spreadsheets generally,” says Yee. “I looked at a spreadsheet today, and it just made me sad. When I look at it and think about turkey—or I can in my head see what it’s like to scrape onions from the chopping board and put them in the stuffing, or to take out the dry bread and replace it with the brussels sprouts—all of that feels joyous to me. So for me, it actually changes my perception of spreadsheets to be more joyous.”
Also mentioned in this piece is the Thanksgiving spreadsheet, complete with Gantt Chart that went viral around 2015. Sadly, the woman who created it passed away earlier this year, but her adult children plan to keep the tradition alive by using it during the holidays. An heirloom more useful than china, tbh.
1. Are the folks at Crocs okay?
Now you also can’t unsee this image from a recent company email promoting their new Crocs x McDonald’s offering. I need to see the sales numbers for these and would literally die from a mix of joy and horror if I saw those Grimace slides out in the wild.
2. From the “googly eyes make everything better” files
Stash Teas put googly eyes on a teabag on their homepage (scroll down to the footer). There are more on their About page. This delights me, although some mental health advocates would not love their “a little bag of crazy” tagline.
Take action to ease your despair
So much happening in the world sucks dirty balls right now. Acts of kindness help us cope because it feels like we’re doing SOMETHING to mitigate the state of things.
Here are two concrete ways to do that today:
Get good food to folks experiencing horrific trauma - Founded by Chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen is doing incredible work around the globe, including helping get food to people in Gaza. Donate here.
Happy Gender-Affirming Holidays - It’s coming up on Transanta time, a charity I am passionate about. Transanta is a mutual aid fund that provides holiday gifts to trans teens and young adults. I will admit, it’s rough reading some of the letters from these folks; I cry every year. That’s why I donate. Whether or not you do the whole holiday thing, Transanta offers you the chance to help these kids feel like someone cares about them during a time in their lives when they feel the exact opposite.
Here’s how to help:
That’s it for this week! Thanks for reading, and remember to stay furiously curious.
I’m leaving open the possibility of taking next weekend off because elder care and burnout but if I am feeling adequately rested, I’ll be back in your inbox next week.
I am aware some people need to eliminate certain foods for health reasons, and I am not knocking that.