NTMP 93: Flando Calrissian
Hatching big ham plans
New-to-me Phrases, December 24, 2023
The Phrases, With Context
If you’re new here, welcome! If you’ve been reading a while, thanks for sticking around. I love this project so much, and it brings me great joy to share it with people. I intentionally don’t paywall content, but I do gratefully accept paid subscriptions that help make this work possible.
I’m writing this edition on Christmas Eve because I enjoy the hell out of doing so. Every year I say I’m going to take the last two weeks of the year off and then I just . . . don’t. The reasons why vary each year; I might have a big project that goes to year-end, or unexpected expenses that my self-employed PTO savings can’t cover, or end-of-life elder care and grief to attend to, or unexpected home renovation cleanup duties.
I finally got smart this year and asked a friend to kidnap me and destroy my laptop if she sees me working at the end of December 2024. She replied to say that she was totally down with a kidnapping and could just, you know, hide my laptop rather than destroy it. #priorities That’s a true friend right there.
I’m trying to decide whether to do a New-to-me Phrase of the Year for 2023 next week—the last edition for 2023. Substack polls only let you do five options and there are twelve months in the year. Maybe I’ll build a Google Form and have at it. I will do a December fave phrase poll next week, so you’ve got that to look forward to.
This week, we have Lucas-inspired jiggly eats, northern cardinal nonsense, soup-and-sandwich strategies, and more.
Let’s get to it!
NTMP stan Rebecca sent this my way - someone made The Mandalorian out of flan (links to ex-Twitter). And then they posted a video of them eating it. Because why not? Missed opportunity for Flan Solo, if you ask me, to go along with some Pan Solo.
Here’s a screenshot for posterity, because who knows when a link to that site will work in the future:
2. Iggy Pop’s recliner
If you’re reading this, you’re probably not as bird-obsessed as I am. You also probably haven’t had a decades-long crush on Iggy Pop. But hey, stranger things have happened.
All this to say, you may not know that Iggy Pop adopted a cockatoo named Biggy Pop, or that they have their own Instagram account, which as you may have guessed, was an IMMEDIATE follow for me when I first discovered it.
In a recent post, I noticed that Iggy has a recliner—an over-the-top-posh recliner, but a recliner nonetheless.
Time comes for us all.
3. Underground zombie streams
I’ve been sharing new-to-me phrases for almost three years now—longer if you count me showing people the original Google doc from 2018 that is so full of words it takes a decade to open. In all that time, my husband has never sent me a new-to-me phrase, although he’s spontaneously generated a few because he is funny.
Anyway, he sent me this phrase and I, an uncultured rube, had no idea D.C. was swampy like Chicago—probably swampier. According to this fascinating WaPo read (gift link), D.C. is built on a low-lying delta like New Orleans because humans are dumb. Engineers covered up an entire creek, and there are other waterways lurking beneath the city’s surface.
With climate change, all sorts of fuckery awaits the city, which will have to remove 300 iconic cherry trees in 2024 to raise a sea wall and prevent further flooding. 400 new trees will be replanted after the project ends.
It’s all in interesting problem to solve, and pretty cool to learn about the history of a city that holds so many historic monuments and museums. Reading this piece is like watching a season of The Wire, where you realize how complex urban systems with disparate bureaucracies can unintentionally conspire to fuck shit up.
This article also introduced a new-to-me word: Piezometer - an instrument that measures the pressure of a liquid or gas.
A friend sent this post with an image that’s been going around recently and I saved it until I had time to research it further:
Because I knew at first glance that there was no way that image was real. First off, if you know your birds and you examine this bird’s face, it has a chicken’s eye and beak, not a cardinal’s, which is a shorter, wider triangle (see this week’s photo of a female cardinal, above). Second, as this newsletter’s weekly image at the top shows, female cardinals aren’t snowy white; they’re a dusky reddish-tan.
Snopes agrees with me, theorizing that this is an AI-generated image.
Gynandromorphism (not ‘gynandromorphy’ as shared in the post) is a real biological phenomenon that occurs in multiple species, including butterflies, lobsters and crabs, and rodents. The New York Times and National Geographic both reported on a gynandromorphic cardinal reportedly spotted in Pennsylvania in 2019. Here’s a non-paywalled piece about that from the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia.
Saw this tweet viaat Everything is Awesome. However awesome this may be, I doubt that scurryfunge was really a word—a bit of research didn’t find much concrete evidence beyond websites sharing this same sort of vague detail. I’m not saying it wasn’t ever used; the jury’s still out and I have cookies to bake.
I like it as a concept, however:
This confirms my thinking that a good 20% of the internet is just chronically reshared sort-of-true or just plain made-up, mostly benign memeish content developed to look legit, like Cardinal Chicken up there. All part of its charm. I’m sure AI won’t make this worse at all.
6. Hut Life
Did you know that Pizza Hut has a blog? Now you do. Hut Life isn’t just a blog; it’s The Official Blog of Pizza Hut. As a marketing writer, I can think of worse gigs. And they celebrate Pride month, unlike those cowards at Target, so I guess I like Pizza Hut more than I did before I found this blog.
Here’s a Hut Life blog post that reveals what your favorite pizza topping says about you (tag yourself; I’m olives, only because they didn’t have artichoke on there).
I checked and neither Domino’s nor Little Caesar’s have a blog (Little Caesar’s has an “In the News” page, snore), but Papa John’s has The Sauce (a decent name, at least) and Chicago fave Lou Malnati’s has Lou’s Blog. Chuck E. Cheese has “Blogs.” There’s plenty of potential work out there for us marketing pros, is what I’m saying.
Side note: I have three kids and have never set foot inside a Chuck E. Cheese. What do I win?
7. Ham plan
So we’re having our bathroom redone (five people + one bathroom = nightmare scenario). Our contractor gave us a ham because three clients had given him hams on the same day.
Is giving large smoked meats to people who work on your house a cultural expectation I wasn’t aware of? I feel like I really missed a memo here.
For our guy, three hams was one ham too many (he gave one to his mom). I can relate; we did a ham one year and by day two we were So. Sick. Of ham. That was like eight years ago and I still haven’t done a ham for a holiday meal.
My husband said, “We need a plan for when we’re going to eat the ham. A ham plan.” We consulted our calendars and decided we’d have ham on Christmas Day and then make sandwiches and split pea soup after that. Ham plan hatched!
Do you enjoy gorgeous, meaningful writing? Then my good friendhas got you covered. She’s new to Substack; check out her writings and art about becoming your own best friend in midlife at Both Things Can Be True.
Not all heroes wear Santa hats (Instagram, via my Hag pal Kathleen). One time I bought monogrammed towels that spelled FART and set them up in my parents’ guest bathroom. It took them a couple of days to notice.
Need a pick-me-up? Giving back feels good. It’s not too late to donate to Transanta - their Instagram is the best place to get started and learn more about this 501(c)3 organization that helps fulfill holiday wishes for trans teens and young adults through wishlist donations.
That’s it for this week! Remember to stay furiously curious.