A Bevy Of Beauties

Yesterday started peacefully enough…having coffee and reading The Times.  That was when I came upon one of the  brief essays that Verlyn Klinkenborg  writes about life on his farm.  In some wondrous way, his writing almost always transports me to his doorstep.  His essay started with a recount of some geese-like sounds he was hearing outside his window.  When he went to investigate, he was surprised to find that it wasn’t geese at all but rather a bunch of crows making a racket.  Actually, not a “bunch” of crows but a murder of crows.  Unbeknownst to me, that is the collective noun associated with crows.  Wanting more information, I  googled “murder of crows” which led me to a site that listed about 500 animals and the collective nouns associated with them.  What fun!

Oh Look...A Murmuration Of Starlings!

Oh Look…A Murmuration Of Starlings!

Whenever I come across a term or word that’s new to me, I wonder if it’s I alone who is ignorant; was I absent the day that everyone else in world was taught this?  Which would explain (sometimes) the gaps in my information base that can occasionally make me look like a moron.  So I went over to the office to see if I could find out if I was uniquely uninformed.  There, I found Luap (remember him?) who, as I’ve often mentioned, is my Everymanmy representative of the world at large.  When I asked him if he had ever heard that term, he said that he had.  And then he added that he was surprised I hadn’t.  Which either meant he can’t believe how stupid I am, or (as I prefer to believe) he was taken aback that he knew something that I didn’t.

Then came the fun part.  I printed out the list of collective nouns I had come across and started peppering him with stuff like, “what do you call a group of nightingales?”, “of emus?”, “of ferrets?”.  (With stuff like that, wouldn’t you love to have me at your next party?)   Fortunately, Luap didn’t know any of these, which indicated  that maybe I was  absent only the one day.

 This went on for a few hours until it became apparent  that Luap was starting to lose interest. (You may want to rethink that party invitation.)  So, even though I was somewhat bereft, we moved on to our weekly Homeland discussion.  Which was not nearly as much fun.  So I tried to insinuate my collective noun list into our conversation. We were trying to figure who the mole at the CIA might be when I casually mentioned that if there was a group of them, it would be called a “movement of moles”.  (At this point, you’d probably ask me to leave the party.) Luap muttered something to himself and then said that he needed to leave to go rotate his tires…and that was the end of that.

For reasons that are unclear to me, Verlyn  makes a point of writing that he’s not a  big fan of these collective nouns., So it was with his tongue in his cheek that he ends the essay writing about an identified sound that he hears in the distance. ” And then I realized it was a freight train, one of the oldest and most settling sounds I know, wheels clacking, rails ringing as a boredom of boxcars raced down the valley.”

Note: It’s a watch of nightingales, a mob of emus, and either a cast of ferrets, a business of ferrets or my absolute favorite, a fesnyng of ferrets.  By the way, When IS that party?

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9 Responses to “A Bevy Of Beauties”

  1. Hcir Says:

    Took me a moment or two to figure out who Verlyn was in the next to last paragraph. Nylrev? What a name.

    By the way, you at least have endless time on your hands as a retiree. I’m still working, yet find the time in my workday to expend (waste?) on this. There’s a good topic – “wasting time.” What a concept.

  2. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    if there’s a compliment here, it eludes me. Reading the blog is anything but a waste of time; I do it all the time. It’s quite fun.

  3. Ymmij Says:

    Have you seen the list of collective nouns in the MJBI Bible? “A pride of Christians,” “a murder of Jews,” etc.

    • iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

      Don’t know how I missed that. Guess I was too busy paying attention to a baggage of bloggers I came across.

      funny to hear from you .i was just thinking about you. Hope all is well. BTW..the absolute best collective noun: an implausibility of gnus.

      best to all

  4. evad Says:

    How about this one: A congregation of alligators. Not kidding.

  5. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    Is that a congregation of reformed or orthodox alligators?
    See….isn’t this fun? just came across another cool one: a lounge of lizards (hence, lounge lizard, i guess)
    I’ll see you at that party.

    • David Says:

      It’s likely reconstructionist…and btw, how about a parliament of owls. Sort of like a congress of yahoos. and btw, I should have said “David” not “evad”–the one from DC

  6. Rob Says:

    This is a particularly funny one!

  7. iron(ic)man triathlon Says:

    thanks Rob.

    i keep trying.

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