NTMP 98: Splatatouille
Happy two-year anniversary to New-To-Me Phrases!
New-To-Me Phrases, January 28, 2024
Happy two-year anniversary to NTMP! 🎉👏🏻🦄📓
Two years ago, I decided to expand a “project” I’d started in 2018, where I began keeping track of new phrases or words I’d heard, read, or said in a humble Google doc. Read the story of the phrase that started it all.
I had zero plans for growth, monetization, popularity, ::shudder:: going viral, etc. Marketing was the LAST thing I wanted to do. I was burned out from over-working to cope with pandemic malaise, and I needed a creative outlet. Amazingly, several of you came along for the ride from the start and are still sending me phrases, cheering this weird thing on, and even paying to support my work here.
Whether you’re an OG weirdo or new to New-To-Me Phrases (NTNTMP?), thank you. I really appreciate your support.
Ninety-eight almost-weekly editions later, and here we are. I plan to keep doing this for as long as it’s fun, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. I also have some fun small things in the works that I hope you’ll enjoy; because this is a side project, that will take some time, but we’ll get there eventually.
The Phrases, With Context
But first: a poll!
The NTMP monthly poll is a completely unscientific ranking of a handful of phrases from the past month, presented without context. For the curious, you can always look up phrases at the archive, or browse the new and growing directory.
There are some true winners up there; it’s so hard to choose a favorite.
Okay, on to the phrases. This week, we have plant pilfering, a dancing dinosaur, babby racists and more.
Let’s get to it!
Via Austin Kleon’s blog, proplifting is the act of picking up fallen leaves or other plant parts at a nursery and pocketing them to grow, or propagate (hence the name) instead of buying the plant from a nursery. A sign that went viral claimed that this was theft, and a debate ensued online. I don’t know if it rises to the level of a crime but it feels pretty shitty to me personally, especially if we’re talking about an independent grower. Cry me a river for a big box outfit, though. What do you think?
2. Murder bird bebop
NTMP reader and supporter Tim coined this phrase after enjoying a reel I posted of my African grey parrot dancing to the theme from the beloved ‘90s hit show Northern Exposure (which is still a total bop!). I’ll add it to the NTMP Instagram account so you can see it for yourself.
We are maybe 1/3 of the way through season one, which is streaming on Prime, and the show mostly holds up. Joel’s baggy pleated pants are a constant source of hilarity for me. It’s fun to see how the creative constraint of not having internet or cell phones are part of what deepen Joel Fleishman’s sense of isolation in small-town Alaska.
I literally almost moved to Alaska because of this show, but then I met my husband and I did not do that. We did visit Roslyn, Washington (the site of the mural in the intro) on our honeymoon, and they still had the KBHR radio station set preserved back then. I have photos somewhere . . . printed. In an album. Talk about creative constraints!
3. MOAR FOAR
While chatting with a friend I mentioned that I planned to “fuck off and read” at the end of my day. She made it an acronym and added MOAR to it.
Why can’t we be paid to just be charming and hilarious and spend all day reading?
Normalize MOAR FOAR.
4. Statie McStateface
Don’t let the internet name stuff! Or do; it could be fun!
(Via my pal Mike and the place formerly known as Twitter.)
5. Ku Klux Kiddies
I’m still working my way through Timothy Egan’s A Fever in the Heartland as part of the Governerds book club, and wow it is WILD how much radical racist shit was happening in this country a century ago that seems to have returned today. Their comms are more savvy and they’ve ditched the hoods. I am not exaggerating or going for yuks when I say this, by the way. One of the most interesting aspects of this book is how the Klan marketed itself as pro-American. “We’re not a hate group, we’re just trying to keep America for Americans.” Sound familiar?
Anyway, the Klan really had a “kiddie” edition featuring the kids of parents who were already on board with their American purity nonsense. The kiddies wore hoods and marched in hate parades and undoubtedly said the darndest things in places including Indiana, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. If you want to learn more, first of all read this book. It’s compelling, and horrifying, and eye-opening.
Un-fun fact: My friend the librarian told me that back in the 1920s, the Klan used to hold picnics at a nature preserve two blocks from my house in northern Illinois.
Also, Sharon McMahon did a podcast series called Momentum about civil rights in the 1950s that covers SO MUCH that you didn’t learn in history class. I definitely want to read Devil in the Grove after listening to that series; it explains so much about the factors that made a Ron DeSantis possible.
I miss Twitter sometimes. I also love this person’s handle. I feel like I’m having a bit of a Bartleby year myself. “Due to not wanting to, I will not be.”
This image is a bit funnier if you play the NYT Connections game, where you have to combine a set of words into four groups of four. But hopefully it’s still funny regardless. Source
An update about the Chicago Rat Hole! I reached out to Michael Antman, an author and former marketer to talk about his discovery of a nearly identical Chicago Rat Hole in another neighborhood. Michael spotted Chicago Rat Hole 2: Electric Boogaloo near the Printer’s Row neighborhood in 2012. He theorizes that the rat hole was part of a prank or art project. He also agrees that it’s more likely a squirrel hole, but that’s just not as much fun to say.
After I bothered him on Instagram, Michael graciously agreed to talk with me about his discovery for NTMP. He even trekked out to Printer’s Row to try and get an updated photo, but it’s been paved over. #artcrime
But! All is not lost: He posted his 2012 photo to his Instagram, and wrote a bit about his discovery of it long before the Roscoe Village rat hole went viral. Thanks, Michael!
Related: someone created an Instagram account for the Roscoe Village Rat Hole and nicknamed it Splatatouille. LOL
That’s it for this week! Remember to keep making it weird, and stay furiously curious.