(Quizzical looks around blinking after many, many hours of watching and listening to the World Figure Skating Championships and suddenly realizes:
I've got an article to write!')
Run, Cow, Run
Speaking of cows, let's see what our bovine buddies have been up to. A couple weeks ago, so says the Associated Press, a cow in Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA took off from her barn and led her pursuers in a merry dance. First the renegade, a 1000-pound Black Angus, rammed a Ford Explorer driven by a police officer trying to herd her back to the barn. Next someone got the bright idea of lassoing the creature; he managed to get the rope around the cow's neck but couldn't hold onto it1. The cow's owner finally stopped the cow by parking his car on the loose end of the rope. You'd think at this point the cow would admit defeat and come along quietly, but you would be wrong. Police officers tried to coax the cow into a trailer, but its momma didn't raise no fool and it wasn't having any of it. It took a jerry-rigged pulley system to finally haul the critter into the trailer, but not before the cow tugged the rope and cut the tendon of the officer's ring finger.
Most stories of this sort involve cows running away, but on occasion one animal decides it isn't going anywhere, no matter what its owner thinks. In 2003, a Barnacarro, Ireland woman was attacked by a cow on the family farm when she tried to move it out of the stable. Said the victim:
'I went in to take the cow and calf out of the stables. She had calved about ten days earlier. I was turning them out when she attacked me and got me up against the back wall. I fell down which was lucky for me. She went on her knees and continued to puck me.2
'The first time she came over, I went to hit her and she went wild and that was the time she hurted my hip.'
Despite these cautionary tales, we love our cows. Here in the US a number of cities have adopted an animal 'mascot' to symbolise the cities' history, and cows are particularly popular. In 1999, for example, Chicago celebrated Cows on Parade, with a few hundred decorated life-sized fibreglass cows on display around the city. Not to be outdone, in 2000 New York City got into the act with Cow Parade 2000. (Around here, though, we're more into porcine pulchritude, as the year-long event called The Big Pig Gig shows.)
Lest you think cows run amok are unusual, you can Goggle the words 'cow escape' and find some 350,000 entries on the Web. Where will it all end? Norwegian multimedia expert Bjorn-Magne Stuestol has an idea. He created the animated short Cows with Guns, a spoof of the classic 'spaghetti westerns' filmed by director Sergio Leone. The page loads a bit slowly if you have a dial-up connection, and you'll need to have speakers to hear the song, but it's worth the wait.
Pretty incredi-bull, huh? Herd enough about cows yet? Yes, well, moooving right along....
'Roos with Attitude
Meanwhile on the other side of the globe, people are having problems with hopping things. From the Associated Press comes the story of a Brisbane woman who was taken to a hospital with various injuries after being attacked by a kangaroo. Sylvia Aldren was picking roses in her garden when she noticed several kangaroos watching her. One approached her, then pushed her to the ground and kicked, bit and scratched her. Said Aldren:
'The look in the kangaroo's eye... I knew I was in trouble. I thought this is it, he's going to kill me.'
The kangaroo is still at large and presumably up to no good. It's apparently one of a mob of about 50 kangaroos that live in the area, terrorizing the human residents. It's probably not a good idea to go eyeball-to-eyeball with one of these bad boys:
'You lookin' at me? You lookin' at me? You must be lookin' at me, I don't see any other marsupials around here...'
This made me wonder about the other animals in that part of the world, say the sheep in New Zealand. I'd assumed all the sheep in that country had appeared as extras in 'The Lord of the Rings' movies, won this year's Oscar for 'Best Animal in the Role of an Animal', and had taken to hanging out in the hills, putting on airs and acting insufferable.
Which may be the case, as the following news from Anova.com suggests.
Two police officers were recently called out to deal with escaped sheep at a farm in Dunedin. When they arrived, one of the animals panicked and hid in a garage. An officer followed it into the garage, where it attacked him and generally resisted arrest. His colleague (the constable's, not the sheep's) managed to wrestle the fugitive to the ground and handcuff it, whereupon he discovered that the key to the handcuffs was missing. A third officer was called in to release the sheep.
Over here the animal rights groups would be deploring yet another instance of human-on-sheep violence, but police spokesman Sergeant Andrew Bardsley reported that the sheep was 'facing charges of assaulting a police officer and unlawfully entering a building'. I think he was kidding about that.3
I also think that the authorities ought not to take this incident lightly, as it will give the rest of the sheep ideas. Next thing you know, they'll be banding together, ramming Ford Explorers, eyeballing women and attacking them in their gardens. You have to take a hard line on crime if you have any hope of maintaining a peaceful and safe community.
Apropos of Nothing...
So what does all this have to do with April Fools Day? Well, not much, other than the fact that we like to make monkeys of ourselves on that day. Over here a favourite prank to play on co-workers is leaving a phone message from a 'Mr Lyon' with the telephone number of the local zoo. This particular stunt is a bit harder to pull off these days, thanks to the advent of voice mail which may allow the victim to recognize the prankster's voice and maybe smell a rat. If you're at a loss for ideas, you can't beat your basic, old-fashioned Peep Prank. What with Easter looming, the raw materials are readily available.
More fun with cows and other animals:
- Cow Patty Bingo
- Cow Tipping
- Cow and Chicken, and I am Weasel - two animated cartoon series
- Wallace and Gromit - Animated Legends