TCA Shoppe


With many many thanks to Atlas, who spends far too much time making me laugh.


C’mon d00ds! You know you want some Tetherd Cow swag! These are just some of the groovy-as designs in the Shoppe! Wear your Cow Colours and show a world full of Philistines what fashion really is!

The more astute among you will have noticed a distinct ‘commercial’ aspect to The Cow in recent times, what with the adding of the Tetherd Cow Ahead Gift Shoppe and my nauseating pleading, at every opportunity, for you to buy my fine wares. I want to assure you all that this is not a prelude to Tetherd Cow Ahead franchises opening up in your street, but is part of an experiment I’m conducting to see if there’s any relatively non-intrusive way to have the considerable time and effort I put into The Cow make any kind of headway in ‘earning-real-money’.

Tetherd Cow Ahead is not, and was never, designed as a money-making enterprise, and in all truth, I don’t really care if it ever pays its way – it’s a great diversion for me, and a terrific way to interact with my many friends, both from real life and from teh intertubes.

But as we hobble into a new era of artistic creation, a big shakedown of the status quo is occurring, and as an artist it is affecting me. There is no longer any question that my former avenues of income are starting to show some signs of wear and tear. It is obvious that new things must occur, but unlike most of the rest of the artistic world I’m not content to sit on my ass and moan about how much better it was in the old times. The new landscape interests me, and I’d like to see what it has to offer.

I don’t really have a clue where the new avenues for earning a living as an artist might be. I don’t like the idea that everything is fuelled by impersonal and anonymous advertising – it annoys the crap out of me – so I have never bought into the Google Ads-style concept, where a web page supports advertising material in return for some kind of kickback. My personal belief is that such an idea is eventually doomed to extinction as people become sick of the constant wash of advertising that floods through their lives. ((I may be wrong on that score, but it certainly is a big turn off for me to visit websites that constantly assault me with ads.)) My philosophy has always been (in the old media and the new) that I’d rather pay a few cents out of my own pocket to have my entertainment unencumbered by unrelated, meaningless and usually tasteless distractions. I hope you feel the same way.

To this end, I’m putting some experiments in place. None of these things will (I hope) make much material difference to The Cow – you will still be able to do as you please and go where you will and say what you want. As usual I will not censor The Cow ((Well, except when I make egregious boo-boos of grammar, fact or spelling. I reserve the right to fix those things in order to maintain the illusion that I am an uber-genius.)) except in the most extreme of cases. ((I have, in the past, removed material that was highly offensive from the Comments on some posts. This is necessarily a subjective decision on my part, but I think you know that I am liberal enough that any such material must be pretty awful.)) I don’t want you to change any of your usual habits, ((Well, except for Malach, I guess. We’d all like to see him change some of his usual habits)) nor do I want anyone to feel that they are in any way obligated to donate to The Cow – your time here is valued by me more than any monetary reward, and I’d give up any whim of earning a few dollars well before I’d turn you away.

Treat The Cow as you might a busker, or indeed, a religion. ((I’m speaking in the generous sense here – I don’t want any spitting or profanity)) If I make something that particularly amuses you, or write something that gives salve to your soul, drop a coin in the Collection Plate (over in the side bar there). ((The Collection Plate costs you nothing in actual monetary terms. It is just a measuring device. But, for the sake of the experiment, pretend that you’re throwing in a few cents.)) And if you should find you actually need a new coffee mug, or a t-shirt, consider a Cow alternative to the cheap trash that you were going to buy from Walmart.

There is some lengthy philosophizing on this stuff coming, ((I heard that groan Polanski!)) but I would like to know your thoughts. Not just about how this might be relevant to Tetherd Cow, but on how you view the whole new landscape in general. What do you think of what you see on the web in the way of entertainment and art? Do you pinch music? Would you pay if it was a few cents? How about news – will you pay when Rupert Murdoch tries to charge you for the privilege of reading his half-baked excuses for journalism? If not, why not? We are constantly berated by the movie studios and the record companies who want us to believe that ‘pirating’ their goods affects the livelihoods of their artists – do you believe them? Do you think these kinds of tactics work? Is there a better way?

The 5th Birthday of Tetherd Cow Ahead has just passed. Don’t worry if you didn’t notice – I missed it myself. But I look back and to me, at least, it’s a pretty magnificent achievement. Possibly the biggest, most comprehensive, most elaborate and meaningful artwork I’ve ever done. It’s not my day job, but in a strange kind of way, it’s my life’s work. Vanity leads me to think that this effort should at least pay its way. Maybe that’s a misguided notion, but I’d feel remiss if I didn’t at least explore the possibility.

Off you go now. Have fun! The Cow, as always, salutes you!

Well Faithful Acowlytes it’s fast approaching the time of year when we once again remember the only good thing that Christians have ever done for the world, namely, the active keeping alive of the pagan traditions of the Yuletide. The antecedents of the Yule predate Christianity by an unknown period of time, but it is bedded much more deeply in reality and meaning than the johnny-come-lately fairy story spun by the Christian Church will ever manage. ((The pagan tradition of the Yule was so strong that the Early Christians knew they didn’t have an ice-cube’s chance in Hell of getting their prospective converts to ditch it. So, politically and cynically in my view, they contrived the birth date of Christ to occur at exactly the same time as the already entrenched festival. Seriously – why do so many people fail to see through this deceitful and manipulative behaviour?)) Try as they might, the Christians have never quite succeeded in dampening down the original excesses of the festival, which was pretty much all about feasting, drinking and having a jolly good time – or, as the Norse Grettis Saga puts it: a time of ‘greatest mirth and joyance among men.’ This excessive indulgence and pleasure continues to be a great annoyance to Christians who routinely whinge about ‘the true meaning of Christmas being lost’. Well, pals, you don’t know the true meaning of Christmas from your ass. You can chuck ‘Christ’ in there if you want, but it’s still just Yuletide-by-another-name to those of us who haven’t drunk the Kool Aid. People continue to eat, drink and be merry just like the pagans did, and for most of the same reasons. ((About the only valid addition to the Yuletide sentiment has been the introduction of a desire for ‘Peace on Earth’. And, whilst admirable, that’s not really worked out well for most Christian countries, has it? (Israel and Palestine? Still at one another’s throats?) And yet, the Norse countries are doing pretty OK these days, having gotten the raping and pillaging out of their systems like grown-ups a couple of thousand years ago. Do I need to draw a more detailed picture?))

Anyhoo, all that aside, the other main reason for the season, as you know, is to indulge in commercial excess, and keep our ailing banks and their managers living high on the hog. Life’s been tough for them this year, and they probably had to sell one of their Mercs, so make sure you make the effort to spend that extra dollar that you can’t afford! Preferably in the newly opened Tetherd Cow Ahead Shoppe! Yes Acowlytes, you’re accustomed to having The Cow with your morning coffee – now you can have the coffee in a Cow cup (plus a whole lot of other things, and more to come!) Look for the easy-to-click portal to Zazzle in the side bar, and remember, every purchase you make helps keep the Reverend in whisky!

Go on, what are you doing still reading? Click on it now!

(But please don’t spend your money on this. You have been warned).

The Continuing Misfortunes of Simple Graphics Man ~

#38: The Embossed Escapade.

Simple Graphics Man’s entire life is summed up in this embossed panel from an ‘Ancient Monument’ site in Wales. I don’t think a more accurate depiction of SGM’s existential angst is even possible.


Thanks to Pete for capturing this SGM caper whilst on his recent Welsh adventure!

And don’t forget that you can now get your awesome Simple Graphics Man coffee mug from the Tetherd Cow Ahead Gift Shoppe – be the envy of your friends whilst simultaneously avoiding scalding!


So, as we recover from the longest-running Cow Competition ever, only one question remains: who gets the trophy?

Well, as we’ve explored at length in previous Cow discussions, what makes a person laugh is a highly individual thing and so I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on my decisions (yes, decisions – with 200+ entries, there has to be at least one runner up…), but I think you will all agree that this was one of the all-time best laugh-fests we’ve had on the Cow.

Numerous entries had me cracking up on first reading, and many of them are still funny on multiple visits. Joey’s very early entry ‘Okay. We stampede in two minutes. Twenty bucks says Billy’s ass outruns his head again’ set the tone for the hi-jinks to follow, but most importantly gave us ‘Billy’, who went on to be quite a Cow Headliner. Cissy Strutt chimed in with the hilarious ‘Tits!’ to be followed by Atlas’ classic ‘This ain’t what I had in mind when I told you to bring a Trojan’ (after a slightly surreal detour into existentialism from Joey).

And from there it never faltered. I won’t elaborate further – you can revisit them at your leisure for years to come. Or, if you’re really keen, download the pdf of the whole competition in situ, as kindly provided by Atlas Cerise.

Anycow, let’s cut to the chase. In my view, the competition peaked early, and no-one quite reached the rarified heights of entry #50 by Joey Polanski, which I declare to be the overall winner:

I can’t explain quite why this makes me laugh every time I see it, but to me it encapsulates the perfect comment on this photograph: the assertion from the speaking cow is condescendingly self-evident, but its implacable acceptance of the guys in the cow costume plays out the kind of humour that I really like. It does have a certain bee-joke-esque quality as Joey says, but it is very ‘cow’ in its own right. So, Joey, the question now must be – how the heck do I get you your SGM coffee mug?

Now, I’m going to award two runners-up, and I think you may find them just as puzzling as the main winner – but they both made me laugh a lot, and that, of course, is the only criteria for any Cow competition!

Honorable Mention number one goes to Cissy Strutt for:

This needs some explaining too. This is an excellent variation of an old situational gag that I invented quite some years ago, with which Cissy is quite familiar. The schtick goes like this: a bunch of people I know are standing around at a party or somesuch and a newcomer arrives on the scene. As they enter, someone proclaims loudly ‘…and that’s what happened to the cheese sandwich!!’, whereupon everyone else (clued-in by previous arrangement) bursts into laughter. The newcomer is then frustrated to find that no-one wants to tell them the (obviously hilarious) Cheese Sandwich joke. It’s a form of ‘meta’ humour that really tickles my funnybone. You can see how a cow performance elevates it into humour worthy of a prize!

So, Cissy, another SGM mug on its way to you for Christmas.

The second Honorable Mention goes to Queen Willy, for yet another in-joke, but one that was played as a marvellous slam-dunk to create a perfect end for the competition:

It does, of course, refer to this post, and elevates the scenario to a strange situation where two men in a cow suit become the bovine analog of the Archangel Gabriel presenting a mooing Virgin with strange news in the form of text speak. It doesn’t become any weirder than that!! ((But, it has to be said, makes for an interesting commentary on the ‘actual’ event…)) A collectible SGM coffee mug for The Queen too!

Even though I found the above three the funniest of the funny, don’t think I didn’t laugh at mostly everything. It remains only to thank you all for providing such hilarity on The Cow, and contributing to an escapade that I suspect will go into Cow Lore. With 230 comments, How Now Brown Cow? ranks as the highest commented Tetherd Cow Ahead post of all time. Of course we want to do MUCH better than that come January 1, 2010, n’est ce pas?

Oh, and be sure to check out Queen Willy’s Cow Wall for the last laugh!

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