The blogosphere is a funny place, defined as it is by ephemeral digital bits that flit around the planet at speeds that were once inconceivable, and turn up on luminous screens as words and pictures of pretty much every imaginable sort. At this point in time there are probably somewhere in the vicinity of 200 million blogs on the web, ((It’s actually hard to get an exact figure. This number is based on a best-guess estimation from Technorati and Google. It’s probably an underestimate if all foreign-language blogging is accounted for.)) and although the boom years of blogging have probably passed, the number is still growing.

Of course, of these 200 million offerings, barely a hand full are worth attending to, as we all know. And even of these, most settle into the well-worn, usually pedestrian, reiterations of the kind of media that we’ve had for centuries: magazines, news reports, gossip, diaries and opinionated grumblings.

In my opinion, the real potential of blogging has been overlooked by all but a very special few. Joey Polanski, or ‘Sir’ Joey as he is known around these parts, is one of those special few. Or, I should say, was one of those special few, for as many of you already know, a couple of days back, Joey brought down the curtain on his blog The Joey Polanski Show. I watched the lights go out in the JPS theatre with the greatest of sadness, because over the years, the flitting digital bits that have made their way to my screen from JPS Central have formed themselves into something quite remarkable: a friend. ((And a strange and wonderful kind of friend; the person who I know in my head as ‘Joey Polanski’ is a fiction concocted by a real person. I’m sure there’s a lot of that real person in Joey Polanski’s character, but I am always aware that ‘Joey’ does not exist in any corporeal way. And yet, I still conceive of him as a friend. What a remarkable a magic trick that is!)) When I started blogging, I would never have thought something like that possible. Now Joey’s retirement is certainly not the same as if he suddenly disappeared and I never knew what happened – indeed, I even had warning that the Show was going to fold. But it does leave me with the feeling that an actual real friend has left town and that when I wander past his place all I’ll see from now on is windows with drawn shades and cobwebs forming under the eaves.

I think I do understand Joey’s reasons for closing up the show though. Sometimes a thing just runs its course, and the time becomes right to leave it be. I can’t imagine that happening at The Cow just yet, but I know I couldn’t absolutely rule out the possibility. Whatever the reasons, Sir Joey says that even though the theatre has gone dark, the old hoofer isn’t averse to a special appearance now and then and I hope that’s so.

I said before that Joey was one of a special few that, in my opinion, understood the real potential of blogging. The way I see it, anybody can write a diary, but it takes skill, and humour and prescience to understand the idea that a blog works best as a two-way street. This, indeed, is one of the reasons I think that the traditional media is having so much trouble with their presence on the net – they don’t understand the fundamental appeal of being an active part of the thing you’re reading. ((The Guardian gets it – there is an increasing involvement of readers in the Guardian site. The comments on many articles rage into enormously entertaining debates, and there are Guardian photography and writing competitions – active communities that feel like they are part of The Guardian world. Contrast that with Rupert Murdoch’s cloistered communities, dotted with doddering old fogeys who are wondering why the Letters pages are so empty all of a sudden.)) That was one of the very first things that attracted me to The JPS – even when I first started visiting YEARS ago, there was a constant amusing, sometimes hilarious, banter going on. It was like wandering into a party in full swing, and being handed a beer at the door.

The best thing was that Joey started coming to my parties too, and brought some of his infectious irreverent humour with him, and I know you’ll all agree that his shtick in the comments of some posts has often been more entertaining than the posts themselves. On more than one occasion I’ve even had to step back into the shadows and let Polanski and Atlas steal the stage entirely, and indeed, those two guys are responsible for big chunks of Cow Lore. It is without doubt a situation of the sum being greater than the parts.

Joey’s Shelf will remain permanently installed at The Cow. It’s in the basement (which I confess, is prone to flooding) but I do make sure that Sister Veronica dusts Joey’s trophies every now and then, and removes any of the crap that Atlas has dumped there. I urge you to visit The Shelf from time to time as a sort of homage to Joey. You never know what you’ll find.

Joey, thanks for all the good times over at the JPS. Thanks for the laughs and the pomes. And thanks, above all, for getting it.

So, as this sad era comes to a close, only one thing remains to be said:

Sir Joey Polanski: The Cow Salutes You!

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!

…and he’s MAD!


Reuters, Thursday, January 1:

In what amounts to one of the most extraordinary technical achievements ever to ring in a New Year, scientists from the University of Xuanpu announced today that they have successfully cloned the penis of the ‘mad’ Russian monk, Rasputin. An unusual alliance forged between Xuanpu and St Petersburg’s Russian Museum of Erotica and funded by Russian internet spam czar Sergei Korzhanenk, now promises to be able to literally sell millions of potential customers a bigger penis.

Rasputin’s preserved member was stolen one year ago from the St Petersburg museum by Italian underworld figure Raphael Spinoza, in a daring daylight heist. It was recovered by police in April after information from an in ‘inside source’ led them to Spinoza’s secluded residence in the Italian alps, and is now under heavy security at the museum. The pickled penis was only made available to the Xuanpu science team for their newly discovered cloning technique after extensive intellectual property negotiations.

Korzhanenk says that the planned market release of the penises to coincide with Christmas was delayed by technical challenges, but that they will be available to customers this week, priced at around $US250.

The Price Is Right!

Ah faithful Acowlytes! Another year has veritably rocketed past, and a new one is galloping upon us. I know it’s been quiet on The Cow these last few months, but I can assure you, my loyal readers, that you were never far from my thoughts, and I have been assembling all manner of succulent tidbits to inflict upon you offer up for your amusement in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here’s wishing yez all a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous 2009!

Oh, and in case it needs to be formalized: let the Festivities commence!


Time to review ’em.


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


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