Monday, March 16, 2015

Illuminations 3.16.15



The Apparent Ridiculousness Involved in Naming Groups of Animals


These are all actually accepted terms. Share in my befuddlement:

A congregation of alligators - Aww the alligators just want to be part of the baptism. OH GOD NO THEY DON’T.

A raft of auks - BILL STOP TRYING TO MAKE A BOAT OUT OF THE AUKS.

A culture of bacteria -
Heliobacter pylori: “Could you please pass the ’78 Cahors Malbec? I think it will pair nicely with the snapper.”
Bacillus Anthracis: “Pairing a red with seafood? You philistine!”

A grist of bees - I don’t know why they didn’t go with the much catchier “a grain that has been separated from its chaff in preparation for grinding of bees.”

An obstinacy of buffalo - A group of buffalo are so stubborn that when they come together THEY BREAK THE LAWS OF PHYSICS AND COLLECTIVELY BECOME AN ABSTRACT CONCEPT.

A kaleidoscope of butterflies - This one is just pretty.

A wake of buzzards - Aww they aren’t eating dead things, just holding little parties for them.

A glorying or nuisance of cats - I like that these are complete opposites but also a perfect description of the internet.

An intrigue of kittens - Kittens you say? Tell me more…

A destruction of wild cats -


A coalition of cheetahs - “We the cheetahs have formed the CRC, the Cheetahs’ Rights Coalition, in an effort to prevent hyenas and lions from taking our food. Refreshments are on the table in the ba… DAMN YOU HYENAS.”

A quiver of cobras - If you’re like me, you immediately imagined an archer’s quiver filled with snakes instead of arrows, and then wondered at the efficiency of shooting snakes with a bow.

An intrusion of cockroaches - This makes them sound like an old lady inviting herself to a tea party. How terribly rude!

A lap of cod - How many cod do you think can fit on your lap? We’re about to find out.

A storytelling of crows - Everybody knows about a murder of crows, but how about a storytelling of them? Or how about a parcel of crows?

A mute of hounds - This… this doesn’t seem right.

A cowardice of curs - “You stray dogs are cowards for being homeless and having mixed bloodlines.” Sounds like Republicans. OOOOOOHHHHHH he went there.

A fry of eels - “That looks like the correct amount of eels to cook in oil.” Or maybe it refers to the exact amount of electric eels needed to kill a person?

A memory of elephants - Another rather poetic one. They are after all the only are they the only other species on earth to mourn their dead. And if their numbers keep dwindling they really will only be a memory. :(

A mob of emus - Ah the old organized crime syndicate of large flightless birds.

A fesnying of ferrets - Microsoft word says this isn’t a word and I'm inclined to agree. It also doesn’t show up in the OED? Man, ferrets be makin up shit.

A drought of fish - This also seems…wrong?

A flamboyance of flamingos - Of course.

A business of flies - They have a business model and everything. Sometimes they wear little suits. But not on Casual Thursdays. Never on Casual Thursdays.

A knot of frogs - BILL STOP DOING THAT TO THE FROGS, THEY DON’T LIKE IT.

An earth of foxes - If you gather enough foxes together, they form a sphere and gain a gravitational pull. Who knew?

A skein of geese in flight - This one is pretty. A V of flying geese compared to a length of string.

A tower of giraffe - Apparently, giraffes stack when together.

An implausibility of gnus -
That is an implausible number of gnus, Bill.
Okay then, it's official, a group of gnus is called an implausibility.
No wait, what?

A flock of goats - Are goats birds? I think goats are birds.

A troubling of goldfish - They are gathering? This is indeed troubling… Beware, for the goldfish insurrection is approaching and with it, the rise of our new bulbe-eyed leaders.

A leash of greyhounds - Apparently, you can use a group of greyhounds to walk your dog. They just sort of like, chain together I guess?

A confusion of guinea fowls - In the news today: Confused Man Tries to Count Baby Turkey Things. Fails.

A kettle of hawks - And then when they spiral, they’re called a boil! (Not making that up.)

An array of hedgehogs - Would you like to look at my hedgehogs? I have quite an array; chubby ones, trim ones, French ones, pink ones, purple ones, ones with silly hats…

A bloat of hippopotamuses - Hippos, a bloat upon this earth!

A bike of hornets - Hey Bill, could you go get my bike for me? NOT THAT BIKE BILL, OH GOD, NOT THAT BIKE.

A charm of hummingbirds - Being surrounded by a group of hummingbirds does sound like the most magical thing possible.

A party or scold of jays - Man, jays are confusing. Are you partying or scolding? Make up your bird-minds.

A smack of jellyfish - What did the five fingers say to the face? JELLYFISH.

A flock of lice - Lice are also birds.

An exaltation or ascension of larks - Larks have some awesome PR, because both of those terms are beautiful!

A lounge of lizards - Man, lizards sound sleazy.

A plague of locusts - Most people know about this one, but it seems to cheapen the impact of a biblical plague:
Look at those ten grasshoppers Bill. 
IT'S A PLAGUE PHILLIP, GOD HAS CURSED US WE MUST APPEASE HIS WRATH. 
No wait what?

A bite of midges - So someone at one point saw a large swarm of biting flies and said, “Yeah, that looks like about one bite. All those flies will collectively bite me exactly one time.” Right.

A steam of minnows - BILL STOP TRYING TO BOIL THE FISH. IT WILL NOT PRODUCE SMALLER FISH.

A carload of monkeys - Like…a sedan? Or like a sportscar? Because that could be a difference of four or five monkeys. I’m just trying to establish how many monkeys we’re talking about.

A romp of otters - A+, 10/10, perfect word.

A parliament of owls - I like to think that during the day owls convene in old tree trunks and yell at each other about obscure laws: 
“The 1313 statute on armor in House is ridiculous and outdated.” 
“But it’s tradition old chap!” 
“*coughs up pellet*”

A pandemonium of parrots - This amount of parrots can only result in one thing— RIOTOUS UPROAR AND UTTER CHAOS, RUN FOR THE HILLS PHILLIP.

A pomp of pekingese - Man those dogs are pretentious assholes.

A singular of boars - So wait a group of boars becomes a single boar? I don't even.

A crèche of baby penguins - Baby jesus penguins.

A gaze of raccoons - THEY ARE ALWAYS WATCHING.

A rhumba of rattlesnakes - It's so festive, like a party. 
NO BILL STOP, NOT A PARTY.

An unkindness of ravens - A little girl in Seattle disagrees.

A stubbornness of rhinos - What happens when a stubbornness meets an obstinacy? Maybe an unkindness is flying overhead and a cowardice is slinking away? What am I even saying anymore? What is happening?

A congress of salamanders - Order in the salamander court!
None of this makes sense.

A wreck of seabirds - Bill, why do you keep trying to make boats out of birds? I told you it wouldn’t work.

A harem of seals - Phillip these here are the ugliest women I ever seen. 
NO BILL, OH GOD.

An escargatoire of snails - Oh snails, you so fancy.

A fever of stingrays - I GOT A FEVER… AND IT'S STINGRAYS.

A pack or trip of stoats - Why are stoats always movin' around? Always packin' or takin' trips. What's wrong with settlin' down stoats?

A mutation of thrush - MUTANT BIRDS.

A posse of turkeys - More like posse of jive turkeys, amirite?

A pitying of turtle doves - You poor sad turtle doves. Well, we can’t all be larks can we?

A generation of vipers - Allen Ginsberg was actually talking about his collection of pet snakes.

A venue of vultures - But if they’re circling, they’re called a kettle of vultures! That's neat.

A gulp of swallows - You know what birds always make me think of? Esophageal puns.

A plump of waterfowl - Man that can't help with their body image.

A gam of whales - You see the gams on her, Bill? 
WHAT? PHILLIP, WE NEED TO HELP HER, HELP ME GET THOSE WHALES OFF OF HER.

A wisdom of wombats - Pretty ironic considering how often they're hit by cars in Australia. Like, if they're so wise, why can't they read walk signs?

A bunch of worms - Whatcha got there Bill? 
Aw just a bunch of worms. 
Don't you mean a clat of worms Bill? 
NO PHILLIP, BUNCH IS ALSO ACCEPTED AS THE OFFICIAL NOMENCLATURE. AND MY NAME IS JEFF.

In short... who the hell comes up with these?

(Editor's note: Ivan, please go to sleep.)

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