Animal Group Names

Most official names for things are dull. But group names for animals are a hoot. Here are some of my favorites (Source: The Oxford Dictionary):

Appropriate  (What else could they be called?)

  • Cats – Pounce or Glaring (often both at the same time)
  • Cockroaches – Intrusion (so appropriate)
  • Flamingoes – Flamboyance (perfect–I mean, they’re really just storks in drag)
  • Giraffes – Tower (well, duh)
  • Gnats – Cloud (what else?)
  • Goldfish – Troubling (fortunately, guppies are excellent therapists)
  • lounge_lizards_tHippos – Bloat (“I’m lactose intolerant.”)
  • Jellyfish – Smack (well, yeah)
  • Lizards – Lounge (“Another fly martini, please.”)  ⇒
  • Owls – Parliament (love those little mouse-fur wigs)
  • Porcupines – Prickle (at the very least)
  • Rhinos – Crash (Humvees of the animal world)
  • Sharks – Shiver (“Dude, paddle for shore–now!”)
  • Storks – Muster (because they couldn’t muster up the costumes to be flamingoes?)
  • Tigers – Ambush (not quite as scary as a shiver of sharks. Still…)
  • Weasels – Sneak (frequently employed by tigers)

Awww, Just Awww!

  • adorable-ottersButterflies – Flutter
  • Chickens – Peep
  • Ducks – Paddling
  • Monkeys – Cartload (even more fun than a barrel)
  • Otters – Romp (this one’s for my wife)
  • Squirrels – Scurry
  • Unicorns – Blessing


  • Alligators – Congregation (“Good morning, please turn in your hymnals to #243, Shall We Gather at the River”)
  • Apes – Shrewdness (um, kind of…?)
  • Crows – Murder (the hitmen of the animal world)
  • Emus – Mob (“An angry mob of emus gathered outside the Australian Parliament yesterday, shouting, ‘Stop those murdering crows!’”)
  • Gnus – Implausibility (indeed)
  • Rattlesnakes – Rhumba (what we do when we see a group of rattlesnakes)
  • Ravens – Conspiracy (they’ll plot against you, then send a murder of crows to finish the job)
  • Seals – Harem (“Welcome to my tent, leetle one, take off your veil. Arf! Arf! Excuse me, I got a leetle beet excited.”)
  • Toads – Knot (ew, just ew)
  • Wombats – Wisdom (like apes, only more trustworthy)


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If your question is, “Have I been chosen?”

His answer is, “Do you want to be?”

If your answer is,


Then His answer is,


Psalm 37:4   ∴   Matthew 7:7    2 Corinthians 1:20

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How to be Hip

hipster-lincolnHow do you define something that is, by definition, always changing? Hipsters are nothing new, of course. Eve was made from Adams’s rib (close to his hip), and refused to accept the status quo. Abraham Lincoln was into abolition before it was cool (“Racism is so 1850s. I’m into equal rights. But you probably haven’t heard of it.”). And, of course, old people are always having hip replacements; I mean, how cutting edge can you be? The trick is to stay of ahead of the curve.

Hipsters, circa 1958:tumblr_me90lsz29E1rll36lo1_500

Get the app before it comes out.

Be a princess, and then refuse to be what a “princess” is “supposed to be.”

Suffer ironically.
Expect resistance from people who just don’t get it.

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Savor the Flavor


I’ll fell into the habit when I was in my 20s of eating very small portions. I’d done it a few times almost by accident, and discovered I liked chewing slowly and savoring the taste of thick, grainy breads, ripe peaches, almonds and Brazil nuts, steamed vegetables sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan. It didn’t work with processed foods, though (white flour turns to school glue in the mouth), so at the same time I got into the habit of eating whole foods. Hurriedly consuming large amounts of predigested pseudo-foods was far less satisfying than slowly savoring small amounts of natural substances. Without even trying, over the next six months I lost nearly fifty pounds of spare tire.

Sadly, a few years later, while touring with a comedy act, I began falling into the old pattern of consuming large amounts of processed foods–no savoring required (or desirable). I also relocated that spare tire I’d misplaced; one friend called me “Michelin.”

Now, some decades on, I’m renouncing the rubber and learning once again to savor the flavor. Less is more: Small amounts of real foods fully savored are far more satisfying than over-sweetened, over-salted, over-priced styrofoods so quickly consumed one never truly experiences them.

Uh-oh, I feel a metaphor coming on. Anything in life that is natural and healthy—friendships, family, serving others, worship—will stand up to being savored. It’s the over-processed, repackaged pseudo-experiences that demand quick, thoughtless consumption. Savoring the flavor of life conditions us to seek more of the same, and before we know it we begin to shed the layers of fat that have insulated us from what is good and real and, yes, God-given.

We plough the fields, and scatter
The good seed on the land,
But it is fed and watered
By God’s almighty hand;
He sends the snow in winter,
The warmth to swell the grain,
The breezes and the sunshine,
And soft refreshing rain.

We thank thee, then, O Father,
For all things bright and good,
The seed time and the harvest,
Our life, our health, our food:
No gifts have we to offer
For all thy love imparts,
But that which thou desirest,
Our humble, thankful hearts.

~Matthias Claudius (English adaptation by Jane Montgomery Campbell)

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I’m Insensitive. Respect Me!

BW_SeriousI have decided to adopt Insensitivity as a way of life, and demand that you respect me as a member of a persecuted minority!

What’s that? You say I’ve offended you? Stop persecuting me!

Just a snarky little comment on our confusing times.

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Unshakable Hope

What to do with “Wishing Wednesdays”? After four years, the serialized episodes of my fantasy novel The Wishing Map have reached an end. (If you’ve never read it, or would like to read it again, click here.) And now?
It seemed to me that nothing could better capture the spirit of Wishing Wednesdays than featuring a blogger each week who, in his or her own unique way, is making the world better. And I can think of no one who does that better than Bill Sweeney. I’ve never met Bill in the flesh. Nevertheless, I consider him a dear friend–and a personal hero.
He has that effect on people.
Bill was diagnosed with ALS (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s Disease) on his 36th birthday. He was given 3-5 years to live. He recently turned 58. Living nearly two decades beyond that death sentence would be impressive in itself, but what’s far more impressive is how Bill lives. Completely paralyzed, he types challenging, life-affirming messages using only his eyes. Eyes filled with compassion, wit, and wisdom.
And so, without further delay, I’m sending you to discover Bill Sweeney and his message of Unshakable Hope!

Unshakable Hope

I finished this post on perseverance on the 23rd of last month and was planning to post it the following day. But it seemed that I had another lesson on perseverance to learn and more paragraphs to add before I posted it.

I woke up that Monday morning and was not feeling well, but I stuck with my routine of Mary getting me dressed and out of bed at 7:30. I found it so difficult to breathe, much more difficult than usual when Mary removed my breathing mask. Still, like thousands of times before, I lied to myself about being a tough guy and surged ahead.

When Mary finally got me propped up in my wheelchair in front of my computer I couldn’t breathe, even after Mary put my breathing mask back on. I struggled even to open my eyes, which is a real problem when you control your computer’s…

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Happy Boss’s Day (Maybe)


 It’s Boss’s Day!* Yay!  Maybe.

To borrow an old bit:

“I quit because of religious differences.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“Yeah, my boss thought he was God. And I disagreed.”

Good leaders know how to find the delicate balance between leading and listening.

If your boss has learned that balance, celebrate them today and tomorrow!

If not, earnestly pray for them.

(Or hire a hit man.)

*In the U.S., Canada, Lithuania, and India. So buy your boss a hamburger. Or some maple syrup. Or borscht. Or a spicy curry. Or…?

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