Sunday, February 12, 2012

That's no bull!

All of my life, I have been intrigued by cows.  In fact, there is no time that I can remember when I have not opened the car window and called "MOO!" to my friends grazing in a farmer's field.  However, did you know that cows speak foreign languages?  That's right.. in France, cows say: "MOI!" and in Poland, they say: "OOM!" 

Once, my daughter Diane mentioned that she liked cows too, and from that point on, whenever anyone tried to think of a gift for her.. they got her some form of a cow.

Diane worked for a large purveyor of foodstuffs, including milk, and had a role to play each year in their massive display of available wholesale items.  She elicited my help one year.. and I was allowed to draw white lines on the mustache areas of good-natured attendees and take pictures for the famous "Got Milk?" program.  Lots of fun.

I've always thought there was something mystical about cows, and recently I found out that I was right. In reading an eye-opening book titled "Beef" by Andrew Rimas and Evan D. G. Fraser, I came across the following quote from The Prose Edda (Norse Creation Myth):

"Then said Gangleri: 'Where dwelt Ymir, or wherein did he find sustenance?'  Haerr answered: 'Straightway after the rime dripped, there sprang from it the cow called Audumla;  four streams of milk
ran from her udders, and she nourished Ymir.'

Then asked Gangleri: 'Wherewithal was the cow nourished?' And Haerr made answer: 'She licked the ice-blocks, which were salty; and the first day that she licked the blocks, there came forth from the blocks in the evening a man's hair;  the second day, a man's head;  the third day, the whole man was there.'"

Cows are considered sacred in India.  To quote an interesting excerpt from "God's Lunatics" by Michael Largo: 

"From ancient times, Indians considered cows as a symbol of wealth and providers of life-sustaining milk.  In Hinduism, the cow's sacred status is tied to the religion's story of creation: Lord Krishna, an important figure in Hindu mythology was reincarnated five thousand years ago as a cowherd.  Coming back through reincarnation as a cow in India would be a positive turn, since the animals are treated with the rank of the highest Brahmin priests.

Feeding a cow in India is considered good luck, but injuring or killing one is still a criminal offense.  The cow remains a representation of generosity and motherhood; in 2008, a population of more than 200 million Indian holy bovine roamed the countryside and city streets.  If you step in cow dung it's still thought of as a blessed omen, and Indian cowpies are believed to have antiseptic qualities as effective as any industrial-strength disinfectant."

Cows are helping out in lots of other ways.  For instance, if it wasn't for the aorta from a friendly cow, Robin Williams would not be making jokes today.

Sadly though, I've been informed that "house licking" is not covered by some insurance policies.

Ah.. oh yes, it will be Valentine's Day shortly, and there is a great website that combines love items and items of our love (namely: cows).  Take a look:

At that site, you can also find some "cow jokes," such as:

Q. What do you call a cow with no legs?
A.  Ground beef.

Q. What do you call a cow that has just given birth?
A.  Decalfinated.

If you GOOGLE "cow jokes" you will discover that there are a number of sites devoted to such. Meanwhile, to close out, here are a few classics from my files:

Q. Why do cows wear bells?
A. Because their horns don't work.

Q. Why did the cow jump over the moon?
A.  Because the farmer had cold hands.

Two cows were browsing in a farmer's field.  One says: "MOO!"
The other says: "Hey! I was just going to say the same thing!"