A) A lion, an elephant, and a squirrel walk into a bar.  Then they all run out the back door and down the alley, racing each other.  Who wins?  

B) A panda bear, a giraffe, and a pig form a criminal gang and kidnap a groundhog. You only have three police officers on duty that night, a rabbit, a kangaroo, and a polar bear.  Which one is fast enough to catch the gang of criminals?  

C) You head to the barnyard to catch Sunday dinner and can’t decide whether you want turkey or chicken.  They both see you coming and decide to make a run for it.  You decide to catch the slower of the two because you are tuckered out from attending a race the night before.  It was a three-toed-sloth race, one-mile run.  You came home right after the race, but it took you another half hour after the race ended before you could get to bed.  The race started at 7 p.m. What time did you finally get to bed?  And what are you having for Sunday dinner:  the turkey or the chicken? 

A)  The lion wins the race.  According to the 2022 Almanac, the lion can make it up to 70 miles per hour in short distances.  The elephant clocks at 25 mph and the squirrel at a mere 12 mph.  B)  Send the rabbit after the criminals.  Both the bear (25 mph) and the kangaroo (25 mph) will be able to catch the pig (12 mph).  But only the rabbit (30 mph) will be able to overcome the panda bear (25 mph) and giraffe (32 mph), although being that it is a rabbit, she may need to wait for backup before trying to arrest them.  C)  You didn’t get home from the three-toed sloth race until 2 a.m. It takes a three-toed sloth six and a half hours to run a mile.  You had chicken for Sunday lunch: they only run 9 mph compared to a turkey’s 15 mph.   

 These animal speeds are found in the 2022 Almanac.  The scenarios above are what I come up with when it is time to write this week’s sermon and I procrastinate instead.

And while we are on Almanac 2022 animals:  what adult animals are called by these cute baby names?  A) cheeper, B) hoglet, C) kit, D) polliwog, E) spat?   And what animal would you expect to find in the following groupings:  Congregation, Troop, Gang, Intrusion, Murder, Flamboyance, Skulk Tower, Kettle, Prickle, Bloat, Smack, Mob, Knot, Bouquet, Rafter, Committee?

If your true love gives you a baby partridge in a pear tree, you’ve got yourself a cheeper.  If a frisky groundhog actually comes out of the burrow on February 2, the result is more likely to be a hoglet rather than an early spring.  Beavers, rabbits, and ferrets have kits, not kids.  A cute little baby grog is a polliwog, and a baby oyster is a spat.

It is a congregation of alligators; a troop of apes or monkeys; a gang of buffalo, an intrusion of cockroaches, a murder of crows, a flamboyance of flamingos, a skulk of foxes, a tower of giraffes, a kettle of hawks, a prickle of hedgehogs, a bloat of hippopotamuses, a smack of jellyfish, a mob of kangaroos, a knot of toads, a bouquet of pheasants, a rafter of turkeys, and a committee of vultures.

So much for animals.  The 2022 Almanac also has a section on the six dwarves.  “Seven” you say?  Dopey, Doc, Bashful, Sneezy, Happy, Grumpy, and Sleepy?  No.  The six dwarves are the heavenly bodies in our solar system that don’t get to sit at the big planets table:  Eris, Gonggong, Makemake, Haumea, Pluto, and Ceres.  Gonggong is not even at the kid’s table, however, as it is still awaiting final approval as a dwart.  Sadly, I still think of Pluto as the ninth planet, however. 

As I wrote several weeks back, I love the Almanac, as it gives me something else to do when I’m looking to procrastinate.  I’m beginning to wonder if half my intelligence comes from how I amuse myself when procrastinating.  

I will not remember most of these factoids I’ve just shared.  In fact, I’m very likely to get them all twisted around when recalling them later.  I know just enough to be bold and dangerous if you put me on a trivial pursuit team.  I do best if I stick to presidential and Bible trivia.  

So, while I may not remember much of this if you ask me about it next week, I know that the world is full of joy and variety, amusement and wonder.  Entry into the almanac, or a National Geographic magazine, or a nature show on TV is a way of celebrating both God’s creation and our place in it.

One final trivia note, not from the almanac:  It turns out that I might have been a bishop this last month.  When I did a search for Geneseo Grace Church on the Bing search engine, they indicated that we are a church/cathedral.  A cathedral is literally, “the seat of the bishop.”  Every cathedral has a cathedra:  the actual chair where the bishop sits.  I thank Bishop Palmer for appointing me here, even though he failed to tell me that a bishopric and cathedra came with the appointment.  

I have looked for my special chair here, thinking it would look something like a throne.  Supposing it would be in the sanctuary, I checked there, found several chairs and benches, but nothing so worthy as to host a bishop’s gluteus maximus.  Bishops don’t sit on just any old chair, you know.  If I can’t find my throne, how will they know I’m a bishop?  When I ask people if they know where my cathedra is, they just look at me as if I’ve lost something other than my chair.  Then I thought they might not call it a cathedra here. (They’re not much for Latin words in this neck of the woods.)  Perhaps they call it a throne.  But when I asked where my special throne was… Well, let’s just say that’s no way to talk to a bishop.  

Anyway, it turns out that being a bishop is not such a great deal after all, as they are not remunerating me at a salary I think appropriate for my position.  Nor does anyone seem ready treat me with the deference I would have expected.  In our system, bishops appoint pastors to their charges.  Knowing that I am possibly a bishop, I have increased my efforts at telling other pastors where to go.  I am sad to report, however, that not only are these pastors NOT kissing my ring, but they keep mumbling about something I should be kissing.  

Perhaps everyone would take me more seriously if I could ever find my cathedra in the building here.  The best chair I’ve been able to rustle up so far is the glider that Jean and Jerry Hahn loaned me for the parsonage.  It even has an Ottoman for my feet.  It’s not exactly a cathedra; more like something you’d find in a retired bishop’s home.  But I like it.  And I take naps in it.  And I dream that someday someone will recognize my exalted position and actually do something I tell them.