Well Dear Acowlytes, the clocking over of the New Year is virtually guaranteed to bring out the loonies. Above is the cover from the new issue of some rag called Psychic Reader which I swiped off a stand at the local railway station this morning. In it, a ‘spirit medium’ alleges to have been channeling our old friend Rasputin. According to her, the Mad Monk is not just mad – he’s completely furious!

I’ll spare you the interminable claptrap that makes up the majority of the article and just give you the bare bones. Madame Zora, a clairvoyant of dubious credentials (she claims to be the reincarnation of Gilbert Einstein, Albert’s lesser-known brother) believes that she has become the chosen vehicle for Rasputin’s beyond-the-grave communications:

Rasputin came to me in a dream and told me that I was to bring his message to The Earthly Plane. He said that his penis is to be returned to him or he will visit his wrath on all those who have participated in its defilement!

Yeah, right. And I suppose Madam Zora speaks fluent Russian. Oh, wait – she doesn’t need to:

He sort of talks inside my head. It’s not in language – I hear his thoughts.

How entirely convenient.

Rasputin’s penis was removed from his corpse shortly after he was murdered on December 16, 1916, and has gone on to enjoy notoriety in its own right. According to Madame Zora, Rasputin’s spirit has been tagging along with it on its corporeal adventures and is far from impressed:

He is offended that it was put in a museum for all to see, and that it has now been cloned by Chinese scientists and is sold all over the world.

Madame Zora claims that in her dream Rasputin appeared wielding a huge knife and vowed to cut off the member of any man who has offended his name. She doesn’t specify what will happen to women who have crossed the Mad Monk.

Rasputin says, according to Madame Zora, that with her help he will find his penis wherever it may go. I guess it’s a good partnership – you obviously can’t hide the salami from a clairvoyant.

Seriously – how do people believe this stuff? It’s so implausible I couldn’t make it up if I tried.

With 2009 being as chock full of cretins and swindlers as it was, I’m really nervous as we head into 2010. Could this be the year that Scientology claims a US President and Shoo!TAG™ makes a cool billion on the NYSE? Could this be the year where homeopathy gets accorded WHO approval and Jasmuheen is granted credibility as a bona fide religious leader? Could this be the year when the followers of Catholicism exceed 1 billion in number? (Oh wait, that already happened…) As the world becomes more and more stupid, the possibilities are grim. But remember – when things look the very blackest, when the churning storms of the preposterous threaten to overturn your little boat of commonsense, Tetherd Cow Ahead will always be a lighthouse of rationality, reason and logic. And the lighthouse keeper will always have whisky. I hope 2010 brings each of you fulfillment, wisdom and contentment – all with a minimum of cash imparted to crackpots and mountebanks.

Oh, and in case it needs to be said… let the games commence!

Happy Birthday!

Edgar Allan Poe is 200 years old today (but still doesn’t look a day over 40!). So break out the Amontillado and raise a glass at midnight to one of the Great Dark Geniuses of our age.


Time to review ’em.


(Also, be sure to catch The Trailer over at Old Fish and Lemonade… Really, you do want to…)


A Closeup of Pickled Herring

Today,while looking for something else entirely* I came across an image of a curiously titled painting, ‘In Praise of the Pickled Herring’, by the 17th century Dutch painter Joseph de Bray (someone of whom, until today, I was entirely unaware).

The website where I learned of Joseph, which is dedicated to ‘Food in the Arts’, leads me to believe that this painting is a fine example of ‘Fish Still-Lifes’, an artistic niche that had also previously (and regrettably, I must add) passed me by.

The Full Picture

This is the full version of the painting (click to get a closer look), which features, as a centrepiece, a stone table drapped with herrings and onions, and inscribed with the poem that gives the painting its name. It was penned by preacher and poet Jacob Westerbaen, and contains the picturesque declaration that the consumption of pickled herring:

Will make you apt to piss
And you will not fail (with pardon) to shit
And ceaselessly fart…

I immediately set about attempting to track down a complete rendering of Westerbaen’s poem, because if anything at all in this world is certain, it is that Cow readers will be clamouring to learn all that is to be known about literature that involves soused fish, poetry and bodily functions. It appears, alas, that no-one has seen fit to bring the genius of Westerbaen’s herring musings to the digital world, which is a shame because I feel it is more than obvious that there is a monumental dearth of pickled fish verse in our lives today. To that end, faithful Acowlytes I know you will more than rise to the occasion, so I’m declaring a TCA competition:

Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to write a paean to preserved fish. You may include references to the digestive process if you wish. Most importantly you should understand that you toil in the shadow of greatness – make Jacob Westerbaen proud!

There will be a real prize this time.


*Another reason I love teh internets.



Pay no attention. This is just another filler post.

Spam Observations #47

You may remember some suggestions previously here on The Cow for methods by which spammers might… hmmm… let’s say elevate… their craft, a concept inspired originally by a shining example from one of the Masters of Literature at how it could conceivably be done.

Well, this morning I had a communication from one Carmelo Butcher*, who is pitching what I assume to be some kind of health tonic in the following verse:

The more you think
The more stars blink
They are young today
But were elder yesterday
Want to live free and become a star
Get a good health and be the best by far

Oh someone pluck out mine eyes and feed them to the crows.

Carmelo manages, in one fell swoop, to demonstrate that he is challenged in literature, physics, philosophy and salesmanship.


*Interestingly, a qualified Google search turns up only two results for a ‘Carmelo Butcher’ (and I suppose I’m adding another one with this post). One Carmelo appears to be a randomly generated name in something called ‘The Nashville Guide’ and the other a spammer.


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