NTMP 96: Pecky McPeckface
You can't spell "shame" without "ham"
New-To-Me Phrases, January 14, 2024
The Phrases, With Context
After a freakishly warm winter, we got some serious snow this week—a good 12”—and are now hunkered down for a polar vortex. And the Great Lakes region is supposed to be a good spot to endure climate change, yikes. While it snowed, I got to see our local flock of nine wild turkeys fly down from their roost high in the trees across the street, clumsily sliding through the snow, one by one. Many people are surprised to hear that turkeys can fly. They can, but they also seem a bit surprised by this fact when they do.
This week, we have unwelcome surprises, discerning corvids, a regionalism that is always fun to see in a headline or serious academic study, some dumb things I said this week, and more. Let’s get to it!
But first: NTMP updates
1. Last year I wrote about the word enshittification, coined by Cory Doctorow to describe the inevitable decline in the usefulness and joy of social media outlets. Recently, the American Dialect Society voted for enshittification as its 2023 word of the year.
What I love most about the link above is the seriousness of a formal press release detailing how they chose a word like enshittification.
3. I found a flag uglier than Illinois’!
As covered previously on NTMP, Illinois has an incredibly ugly state flag.
Thanks to’s LOL (Lots of Links), I present the Brown County, Nebraska flag. It appears to have been designed using Microsoft Paint. What a power move. And why do the cows only have three legs?
And now for this week’s phrases:
1. Keister egg
According to expert phrase detector and Hag Supreme Kathleen, a keister egg is
“a poop left on the floor by a pet.”
A+, no notes, hall of fame, makes me laugh every time I read it.
2. Mr. Swoopsalot
This phrase comes from one of the best feel-good stories you may ever read, via longtime NTMP reader, my friend Randal.
In Australia, a magpie nicknamed Mr. Swoopsalot was dive-bombing people as they approached an elementary school that is part of his territory. One student there, eight-year-old Emma Glenfield, set out to understand who Mr. Swoopsalot swooped. Were certain people triggering his ire, while others were allowed to pass un-swooped?
Emma’s math teacher supported her in this endeavor, and she gathered data by watching who Mr. Swoopsalot targeted, and then displayed her findings using Legos. What is not to love about this kid? She also keeps a journal to explore things she’s curious about. Future NTMP reader? Let’s hope so.
The findings from Emma’s research?
Tall men with thinning hair got the swoops. We don’t know why, but just understanding who because an inquisitive kid wondered about it is pretty great.
This is the name of the Reddit for breadmaking. Chef’s kiss for real.
4. Whippin’ Shitties
I am mildly surprised I had never heard this phrase before, but it’s not like all Midwesterners know each other or share the same regionalisms beyond a love for ranch dressing. Where here in the Chicago area, the act of driving fast while turning your steering wheel to make your car spin is called “doing doughnuts,” Minnesotans say whippin’ shitties. (h/t toat Men Yell at Me for this one.)
I would very much like to know how this phrase originated; cursory research doesn’t turn up much so I’ll dig into this one later.
5. Heaver in the Fartland
Nothing here except me being an idiot and nicknaming the book I’m reading, A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan’s Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them by Timothy Egan. You know, just a little light reading, for funsies. I’m sure the author would be thrilled to see what I’ve done to the title of a book he toiled over for years.
My friend got me a subscription to Sharon McMahon’s governerds book club for Christmas and this is the first book we’re reading. Turns out I rather like being forced to read something I wouldn’t normally read, so long as the writing is good and I get to learn cool and/or unsettling new stuff.
And it looks like this book will pay off. I’m just into the intro and it’s shocking (although it shouldn’t be) how much overlap there is between the rhetoric of the Ku Klux Klan from 100 years ago and Donald Trump/the current iteration of the Republican party.
6. Poverty cosplay
The Cult of Perfect podcast by Virginia Sole-Smith and Sara Petersen is paywalled but I did spot this incisive phrase in a promo describing the latest minimalism trend being pushed by influencers.
7. Stompy-stompy, chompy-chompy
This is how I described what the AppleTV show Monarch: Legacy of Monsters lacks. This is a show that I should love—Godzilla! Kurt Russell!—and yet, I bailed on it due in part to the lack of what every good giant monster story needs: Stompy-stompy, chompy-chompy. I think the creators got caught up in trying to write a smart mythology for Godzilla & Friends while unintentionally sacrificing dramatic tension and sufficient stompy-chompies.
You can’t spell ‘pirate’ without ‘irate.’ Recently I had this exact thought and wondered whether I am extra-special and clever for making it up or if I was just remembering an ancient throwaway tweet or joke from a TV show. I did find a deleted tweet, along with a writer and a t-shirt using this line. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Speaking of irate, one of my favorite shows in recent years that asked, “What if we wrote a trauma-informed, queer-as-fuck, very funny show about two legendary pirates falling in love?” . . . was not renewed for a third season. 😭
Here’s the series trailer for Our Flag Means Death. At least there are two seasons to rewatch over and over.
That’s it for this week! Stay furiously curious, and keep making it weird.