With Chinese New Year having brought us into the Year of the Ox, it seems a good time to bring on the bovines.

Seeing as oxen aren’t all that plentiful in the universe of things in my head, Babe aside¹, I’ve decide to round up some more plentiful bovines instead. This ThThTh brings you cows².

A herd of cow things

  1. Cows are used in the branding of several companies, such as Ben & Jerry’s (ice cream, which is a dairy product), La Vache Qui Rit/Lauging Cow cheese (more dairy products), A black and white cowhide pattern is also used for Gateway Computers, which are computers made entirely out of cheese. Or are they made out of beef?
  2. ben_and_jerrys gatewaylogo vache_qui_rit

  3. cow pie: Not anlagous to a chicken pie, this is not a beef-filled pastry.
  4. cowlick: a section of hair that grows in the wrong direction, sticking out as if licked by a cow.
  5. Vachement: a French slang adverb. Vache being the word for cow, and -ment being an adverbial suffix along the lines of -ly, vachement could be translated as “cowly.”
  6. Graceless, Aimless, Feckless and Pointless: the cows from Cold Comfort Farm (1995), one of my all time favorite movies. (Also in the novel by Sella Gibbons). Loads of other movies featuring cows, can be found at a cow-obsessed website called Bovine Bazaar.
  7. “The cow jumped over the moon”: a famous line from “Hey Diddle Diddle”
  8. cow_jump_over_moon

  9. sacred cows: Cows are holy in the Hindu religion, and are allowed to roam the streets freely in India.
  10. holy cow! An exclamation of surprise. Holy cow! That’s a lot of cows roaming the streets!
  11. “Cows,” A chorus-line inspired song off of Sandra Boynton’s album Philadelphia Chickens.
  12. Cow Parade: a large scale art project/event in which life-sized plastic cow models are painted and/or decorated as works of art and put on display. First seen in Chicago, and later in other cities around the world.
  13. Mrs. O’Leary’s cow: the cow blamed for starting the Great Chicago Fire by kicking over a lantern. She has since been cleared of the arson charges, as she didn’t really exist.
  14. Don’t have a cow, man. An expression meaning “don’t get upset.” A catchphrase used by Bart on The Simpsons.
  15. How now, brown cow? A saying used to practice the diphthong [aʊ], which is contained in each of the words.
  16. “I never saw a purple cow.”: a children’s rhyme.

    I never saw a purple cow.
    I never hope to see one.
    But I can tell you, anyhow,
    I’d rather see than be one.

  17. till the cows come home: an idiom meaning “all day long” or “for a long time.” I could list cows till the cows come home.


¹ The blue ox, not the pig.
²I’ll spare you the bull, or at least the bulls, for now.

21 thoughts on “moo

  1. And don’t forget the Pamplonian bovine event extrordinaire – “The Running of the Bulls.”

    Thanks for the comment at my blog. I’m feeling oh so much better today.

  2. There was an expression when I was a teen — ‘Cowabunga’. Since I was a hopeless square, I have no idea of the provenance.
    How do you do all this stuff. You set quite a standard. You might even say I am cowed.

  3. my daughter has a cowlick. I was quite surprised when my mother commented that it was “just like mine.” I guess I don’t look at the back of my head too often.

  4. Magpie-
    Ha! The Cow Catapult! Thanks. (And I’m glad that you are also fond of Cold Comfort Farm. Funny screensaver idea1)

    I’m glad you’re feeling better, and sending bovines my way.

    “Cowabunga.” Huh. Funny, that’s something Bart Simpson would say, too. I have no idea about the origins. As for how I do this stuff, it’s kind of a sickness. (And cowed! A cow pun! Hurray!)

    Theo has the same “swirl” pattern on his head that Phoebe had, which I guess is a cowlick. I think I may have the same one, as well.

  5. I always liked the second stanza of that poem:

    I never saw a purple cow,
    I never hope to see one.
    But from the milk we’re getting now,
    there certainly must be one!

    And don’t forget “cow-eyed Hera” (sister, rape victim and then, of course, wife of Zeus … gotta love those Greek gods!).

    And all the job titles that contain use the word: cowpoke, cow puncher (are these the same thing?), cowhand …

    There is also this weird little YouTube vid with an excellent cow cameo at the end:,

    And finally, the touching, heartwarming tale of the the moose that fell in love with a cow.

  6. I, too, am cowed. As always (doing the “I’m not worthy” bow).

    I love the next stanza of the poem:

    I never saw a purple cow,
    I never hope to see one.
    But from the milk we’re getting now,
    There certainly must be one!

    And then there’s “cow-eyed Hera” (sister, rape victim and then wife of Zeus … oh, those wacky Greek gods!)

    And all those job titles that have cows in them: cowpoke, cow punchers, cowhand …

    And that adorable seen in the movie Mac where Michael Badalucco hugs and kisses a cow and talks about how much he loves cows.

  7. The man who wrote the purple cow poem (Gelett Burgess) later wrote:

    AH, Yes! I Wrote the “Purple Cow” —
    I’m Sorry, now, I Wrote it!
    But I can Tell you Anyhow,
    I’ll Kill you if you Quote it!

  8. mtae-
    Yeah, that cow does look a bit out of control. More catapulted-looking than jumping.

    Good ones! Thanks for adding to the herd.

    That’s a lot of cows! I didn’t know the next purple cow stanza–funny. Plus I’m not familiar with Mac.

    I wouldn’t recommend, but far be it for me to dictate your menu!

    Ha! Thanks for that. I hadn’t even realized there was a poet to attribute it to.

  9. There’s a Canadian (based in PEI) ice cream chain called Cows Ice Cream. They make most of their money selling cow pun knock-offs of pop culture: e.g. Finding Nemoo onesies and Hannah Mootana T-shirts. You’d love them.

  10. Woody Jackson, acclaimed cow artist of the Middlebury, Vermont area, is responsible for the cow art of the Ben and Jerry’s cartons.

    My favorite bovine by far is Ferdinand, the bull from Spain who “liked to sit just quietly and smell the flowers” rather than fight.

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