A few shy of a parliament (friday foto finder: rook)

This week’s friday foto finder theme is “rook,” which gives me the excuse to post these photos of this little guy I met in Howth, Ireland back in May. After pecking around on the ground scavenging for crumbs from my snack of oatcake, this rook hopped up on a railing and posed for a few photos.

I was not entirely sure that this bird was a rook, and not some other type of crow, but according to the Wiki entry for rook, he seems to fit the bill:

Rooks are distinguished from similar members of the crow family by the bare grey-white skin around the base of the adult’s bill in front of the eyes.

This one does indeed have that telltale gray skin about the beak.

In my research, if skimming through a Wikipedia page counts as such, I also came across this tidbit:

Collective nouns for rooks include building, parliament, clamour and storytelling.

Such a lovely bit of information to come across. I had certainly heard of a murder of crows, and would have guessed that a collection of rooks might be similarly called a murder. In a delightful coincidence, my friend at Mouse-traps and the Moon shared a post today as part of a series on beautiful books about collective nouns:

…four collections of visually witty takes on those delightful and often improbable collective nouns for animal groupings: A Drove of Bullocks (animals) A Filth of Starlings(birds), A Shiver of Sharks (sea life) and A Crackle of Crickets (insects).

Clearly, there are many more collective nouns out there for me to learn!

To see what other types of rooks have been sited, and maybe even a whole clamour or storytelling of them, flock over to the fff blog.

Who’s who?


With the excitement building for the new episodes of Dr. Who to start¹, there has been a lot of who-buzz. But Dr. Who is not the only Who who is out there. I offer you this list of whos: a sort of Who’s Who of Whos.

  • who: an English interrogative word a relative pronoun used to stand in for a person².
  • WHO: The World Health Organization
  • who: the sound made by a hooting owl
  • Dr. Who: A British sci-fi/fantasy TV show that has been on for decades, about The Doctor, a time-travelling alien who gets to have a new body every so often.
  • Whovians: Fans of Dr. Who (you know who you are)
  • The Who: A British rock band, originally formed in the 1960s
  • Who Are You? A hit song by The Who. (And the title track of the album “Who Are you?”)
  • Who am I? A 1998 Jackie Chan movie where he plays an amnesiac spy. (It features this very memorable fight scene with a man with very long legs and very good balance. [youtube])

  • Who dat? A phrase used to show support for the New Orleans Saints (a football team)
  • Who’s Who: a type of publication listing biographical information
  • Whoville: a fictional town (or possibly two towns of the same name) in two Dr. Seuss stories: Horton Hears a Who and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
  • Whos: Inhabitants of Whoville. Cindy Lou Who is one such Who.
  • Who’s on first? Abbott and Costello’s famous comedy routine of name/pronoun ambiguity. (If you don’t know it, you can read the full transcript. Better yet, watch this clip from the 1945 movie The Naughty Nineties on [youtube])
  • whodunnit: a nickname for a type of story where the reader (or viewer) tries to solve a mystery along with the protagonists
  • Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

  • “Guess who?” Something sometimes said by a person sneaking up behind another person, often while preventing that person from seeing by covering the eyes.³
  • The Guess Who: a Canadian rock band best known in the 60s and 70s
  • Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?: A 1967 drama/comedy movie starring Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn. (It’s not actually about dinner with a Canadian rock band, but about a family coming to terms with an interracial relationship.)
  • Who can it be now?: A song by Men at Work
  • Who’s that girl?: A song by the Eurythmics
  • “Who’s a good boy?” Something often said to dogs.Cf this Onion article:
    Nation’s Dog Owners Demand to Know Who’s a Good Boy

    With canine-cuddliness levels at an all-time high and adorability-boosting ribbons and chew toys plentiful at pet stores across the nation, no resolution to the good-boy-identity issue appears to be on the horizon.

  • “Who cares?” A question sometimes asked by someone who doesn’t⁴

Who’s got more whos?

¹Season 7, part 2 starts this Sunday, March 30th
² Prescriptive grammarians will say that who is only to be used in cases where the pronoun/interrogative is in the subject, or nominal, position, and that whom is what you must use in object positions. However, contemporary usage allows for use of who in object positions.
³ I’ve never enjoyed this game.
⁴ I care.

Whose whos are whose? (image credits):Horton Hears a Who!, Whoville from the 1966 animated movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas (based on the book), Who Dat, The Guess Who Greatest Hits album cover, The Who logo, Jackie Chan’s Who Am I?, Who’s On First? screenshot from youtube clip from The Naughty Nineties,Tardis, World Health Organization logo, and Introspective Pug.