A “Wonder” of children

Once upon a day, during one of our usual type of discussions about how things work, I gave out the fun fact that a “grouping of crows”, was called a “murder of crows”.  To this, one daughter replied that that was ironic (I think she meant characteristic).  Yes, it is characteristic and there is a reason for that.  But first, here are a few more group names for fun:

~ a Flamboyance of flamingos
~an exultation of larks
~a parliament of owls
~a leap of leopards
~an Ostentation of Peacocks :-D
~a crash of Rhinos
~a mischief of mice
~a puddling of ducks

You get the idea now, don’t you.  These are no accidental coincidences.
In the late middle ages (1486), there was published a book: Boke of Seynt Albans (The Book of Saint Albans), which was a compilation of matters that relate to “the interest of the time of a gentleman (in other less archaic words, it describes what “gentlemen” do with their time).
It is also known by The Book of Hawking,, Hunting and Blasing of Arms.  (blasing of arms refers to heraldry – family crests, etc..)  As far as I know, we don’t have those “class” distinctions here in America, with gentry vs servant classes (and in between).  Maybe we do somehow, but nothing like the arranged marriages they had in Middle Ages England (and later….and in Europe),to improve their social standing and wealth holdings.  And ne’er the classes shall intermarry – it wasn’t considered proper.  ::rolls eyes::

Anyway, this book contains an appended list of special collective nouns for animals.  These they call, The Terms of Venery .  Venery is an archaic term for hunting.  So they have listed all the terms of groups of animals that “gentlemen” hunt.  These terms are sometimes based on folk tales or superstitions so for example there is an old folktale that crows will gather and decide the capital fate of another crow (and in reality, they will gladly gang up on a weaker crow and eat him when they get hungry).  So between this and the superstitious thought that crows and ravens are harbingers of death, you can see how “A Murder of Crows” came about.

They had a sense of humor in those days too, so they added collective nouns for different professions to this book.  Here are a few of those:

~a blast of hunters
~a melody of harpers
~a diligence of messengers
~a superfluity of nuns (my personal favorite)
~a subtlety of sergeants

There are many more extant group names that I won’t list.  Ok maybe a couple more since I find this so hilarious.  ~a conspiracy of Ravens, ~ a squabble of seagulls, ~a lamentation of swans, ~a barren of mules (har!), ~a leash of greyhounds, ~a cohort of zebras, ~an array of hedgehogs.

So “armed” with that ~illustration of facts, let’s think of a few that might or might not be:

~a healing of doctors
~ a chorus of canaries
~an adjustment of chiropractors
~a circuit of electricians
~a flush of plumbers
~a conduit of pipefitters
~a comfort of mothers
~a bleeding of street gang members
~a teapot of British
~a rhetoric of politicians
~a polyphony of musicians
~a sanctuary (or is it sometimes a sanctimony?) of Christians
~a photosynthesis of plants
~a composite of police sketch artists
~a depression of minor keys
~an acoustic of ceiling panels
~a delight of bakers
~a segue of symphonies
~an instruction of school teachers

do I have the right idea?

Mostly sincerely, ~Pam.

Mostly sincerely, ~Pam.

Friends and Dominoes

I haven’t had a ton of close friends in my life.  I’ve had friends, but due to my propensity to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, they just don’t tend to like me very well.  I’m always delighted when there are those who like me despite my many ridiculous flaws, and as one can imagine, I value those people very highly.

I do have one friend that I have been going to for more help than I used to.  Siri.  I have learned all the things she can do: send a text message or make a phone call, by voice command so that I don’t even have look at my phone, search for information, find places or people.  I suppose the friendship is fairly limited at that, but she has a very nice voice and we’re polite to each other.  She doesn’t know some things, and can get somewhat snarky at other things, but then how deep a friendship can it be when discussions are merely based on an algorithm.

In other news, Stephen and I have found all the domino pieces out of the bottom of the game bin, and put them with the right sets.  Always the helpful one, I must tell anyone “listening” that it isn’t enough to know the number of tiles in a double 12 set (which you can discover by this equation: n²+(3*n)+2)/2).  You need to get the right tiles or the game won’t play out right.  So when you get it together it should look like this on your floor (the best place to organize them).  We were sorting 3 sets but here is one:





Beautiful isn’t it.

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving.  Be at Peace as we enter the busy Christmas/New Year season.  I recommend shopping online, and making cookies now and freezing them, toward that end.  Any poems you write may be sent to my mjohnson email.  Thanks. ( I am sorry, but I do not anymore do a” Dear ‘Taming of The Shrew” forum)
As always,

Mostly sincerely, ~Pam.

Mostly sincerely, ~Pam.

Local News…

(news that may or may not be true slightly irreverent)

 The chapter of Elderly And Resolute (EAR) ladies have met for the first time last week.  It was decided to send aid (in the form of chocolate covered espresso beans and socks) to those suffering from Deep Frost Syndrome in Wisconsin.  The vote was quick and unanimous since there remains only one member.  There is still a motion on the table on whether to go help widen the country driveways but it was decided to forestall the final vote until spring since shovels have become harder to find.  On another note, there *is* finally, music chosen for the theme song for meetings.  There are 4 parts but the EAR ladies are content to drag it out for 4 meetings until the parts are all sung.  Next meeting will open with the Soprano part.  Coffee provided.

In a true spirit of Ecumenicalism, the Lutherans have begun to pronounce the full-stop, in St.Ann’s, the name of the Catholic church.  “Since we are all carbon based life-forms (the requirement for our memberships) we really should find ways to build each other up”, said the new Pastor in town.  They had to delay the combined Polka Mass until it is warm enough to open the church doors to be able to cool off.   The large Charismatic church in the next town over, whose name keeps changing as this article goes to “print”, is planning a large shindig for Pentecost Sunday.  “All are invited, but this is mainly for those who prefer to worship in mind, will and emotions, rather than in spirit and in truth” reads their ad.

The College Sorority “Sigma Omega Sigma (the sorority who tends to need the most academic help), is at it again.  They doubled donations at their semiannual car wash event.  Once they washed the cars, they charged another $5.00 to unfreeze the locks on the doors.  After a weekend worth of complaints, they thought perhaps they should change the event to a yearly one, in the summer.

Mrs. Johnson (one of the 10,000 Johnson) is finally getting her plants under control after they actually did begin a quiet insurrection of listing toward the windows.  She has since resumed her habit of bi-weekly turning but one instigator had to be sent to the Northern MN border.  “First it would be the plants, then the children” she was heard commenting.  “It’s a lot of hard work, but one must keep each their little corner free from rebellion”.

That’s the news.  One way of looking at it anyway.  Until next time.

Local News. One more time.

This Southern MN hack “reporter” is trying to stop looking at the world this way, if only because she may end up in a small amount of trouble if she doesn’t.  But one must scratch an itch, so here is another installment of the “Local News”. 20131115-222206.jpg

This is one of 2 ethanol plants along a certain highway stretch.  Ordinarily I Capitalize People’s names even if they can’t do 5th grade math, but I make exceptions for entire industries.  That beautiful steam cloud coming out is truly steam so I’m not complaining.  It is useful for telling wind direction and political correctness.

The small a capella singing group (very) nearby is suffering from a chronic case of- no tenor or bass.  They are a lively bunch, sometimes alternating hymns, with drinking songs from the Renaissance era.  This insures that no matter where they sing, they meet disapproval.

Winter Squash Harvest is on.  Energetic Squash Farmers are racing the clock to get their squashes baked and put in freezer bags.  This is not an exacting procedure, but it does take time.  Once it is all done we’ll finish the growing season off with a large squash casserole and a stuffed turkey, possibly mashed potatoes (although Mrs. Ingvetch has a conviction against serving partially digested food to her family. “It makes them lazy” she says).

Mrs. Johnson has forgotten a couple of rotations of her bi-monthly plant turning, which has resulted in some very off-centered looking plants.  The foliage has so far not taken a break in their photosynthesis but they are beginning to bicker over ledge space.  A neighbor has called the anonymous hot-line to report poor posture and a general demoralization going on among the greenery.  Mrs. Johnson claimed it must be one of the other 10,000 Mrs. Johnsons in MN.

We’re gearing up for snow down here in the Southern part of one of the northernmost states in the country.  Buck hill ski area opened four days ago and those folks already need their skis sharpened again as the base is still only 6-12 inches.  But the advert is great, being on the major North/South Highway as it is.  Little Lowell Krebsbach, the local “season” prodigy, saw a flake and declared it will be a long winter.  Experts weren’t sure whether he meant an actual snowflake or otherwise, but we’re all pretty certain about his forecast.

And that’s the news. Good night.

…for now...


More Local News

The information in this article may or may not be entirely true. It depends upon how you take it.

The nursing school in Mankato is auctioning off their gently used supplies because as nurse Helga explained in her advertisement, “We didn’t use these things on real people, but the wrappers are off so now we can’t.  But you could”.   So until they’re gone, a good deal can be had on catheters, sample collectors, and gauze.

Algot Tollefson, the local weatherman, has stepped out on his porch again today and declared it “A Sunny day with not too many clouds.  All in all, not too bad a day”.  He further mentioned that since we go off of daylight savings time this weekend, it will be darker, earlier now.   Good thing we have Algot to help us through these dark days.

Because it is considered proper, in some more conservative church circles, to stay about 20 years behind the world, the local Internet café – Dial-Up-Heaven (DUH for short) which was located in the Lutheran church basement, has now been recently evicted.  Church elders claimed that “the internets are in the air now so there is no need for actual space to be taken up.”  Also, they wanted to paint the basement a different shade of green, and with all those wires snaking around it made stripes, so they want it cleared out.  Social networks have created small pockets of agoraphobists who hesitate to leave, but who tend to reach out to virtual strangers.  Other disappointed locals, who now have no café to congregate in, have moved to one of the 4 local bars in this small town of 15.

The Catholic diocese has agreed to add a new Patron Saint to their repertory.  Saint Verbatim – Patron Saint of gossip.  There was some reluctance to admit this one but it was generally agreed that it was inevitable.  Saint Verbatum medals will now be sold at the corner drug store along with instructions for those who are of other faiths since, as the local Parish priest says, “this will be a popular one for all the masses, and may finally unite us all”.

School is going fairly well in this small, sparsely populated region.  Students continued to look blankly at the physics instructor as she lectured on Newton’s laws of motion today, until she explained why “May the Force Be With You” was said to fellow Republic members. This was actually the second law of motion, since an increase in force would result in an increase in acceleration, while to say, “May the Mass be with you” would be said to the Dark Side, since the inverse relationship of Force and Mass would cause a decrease in acceleration.  She is hoping they will get this enough for the final test so she won’t have to dress up and act it out.

And while that can’t be all the news, it’s probably enough at any one time.

Local News

This is a long awaited (for the author) update on Southern MN news.  Events may or may not be…totally true  slightly irreverent.

There are 2 colleges in Mankato/North Mankato.  The sorority group:
Sigma, (the sorority that tends to need the most academic help) has members from both the colleges, with the North Mankato girls mysteriously just disappearing after 2 years.   Locals are not sure if it is because the North Mankato chapter is just a 2 year college, or if the Ukulele playing group got run out by those who prefer concert instruments.  Their theme song “Tell me Why” was a local hit, but by that I mean *very local*.  Mostly those who meet each Tuesday at the “Coffee Hag” for coffee and pastries.

Perhaps you remember when a few years ago, a note was found nailed to the door of the Local Conservative Lutheran church, claiming that church supper hotdishes work quite well using 5 ingredients, as opposed to the previous requisite 4.  This caused quite a stir at the time (Mrs. Dagmar claimed she only did it to set hotdish making housewives free), but since then, many Lutheran hot dishes with 5 ingredients have been consumed in southern MN, without any spiritual backlash.  This resulted in 2 things: 1)they changed the standard on hotdishes, and 2)Conservative Lutherans from other States now look just slightly down on southern MN Lutherans who have moved to this practice.

The Local Chapter of the Norwegian Bus Drivers Guild meetings have experienced less interest than previously.  One of the drivers retired, the bus company got bought out, a few of the other drivers have landed in ditches (nobody was hurt), and there are generally fewer coffee meetings, even though eggshells are still provided free of charge.  Tours are still available, but most people are afraid of being bullied by students.  I’ll keep my eyes open for future developments.

The Spam Museum in Austin is still the most happening place in Southern MN, with tours daily, including free spam squares (1 per person) and activities that you are not allowed to discuss outside the building.  The gift shop is enormous and accounts for most of the net worth of Hormel, with items such as golf balls with the word “spamalot” printed on the side being best sellers.

Next update will include “Whatever happened to that local internet facility in the green church basement”