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Jun 06 2006

To Whomever Is Missing Two Cows Near Rattlesnake, TX

Brown cow
Mystery Cow #1 (not pictured: Mystery Cow #2)

I have your cows, man.

71 comments

  1. Cass

    I knew those electronic collars were bullshit.

  2. aldahlia

    Ha! I love how cows are expert shade-finders. It’s all like, “What? Would you want to stand out in the sun in leather?”

  3. Sylvanite

    Maybe they just come with the property? After all, how can it be El Rancho Deluxe and not have cows, especially in Texas? Bertie can become a cowdog.

  4. saltyC

    I thought this was one of those fun picture games where I’m supposed to find the second cow in the picture.

    Or am I?

  5. saltyC

    Oh, just read the caption.

    Can’t read, I’m just too upset that a woman governer is about to sign away women’s rights to their own lives in yet another U.S. state. Yes I know what they say about Louisiana: It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity. But I lived there and it hurts. Especially considering how much hetero sex is going on plus poverty. I guess there weren’t enough babies in dumpsters for them.

  6. Ms Kate

    Um, Twisty, that is SO utterly not a cow!

    You trying to tease us with this bull?

  7. Ms Kate

    Or just give us a bum steer? http://www.mccullagh.org/image/d30-17/longhorn-steer-2.html

  8. kathy a

    we get some weird stuff in the yard, but not of the bovine variety.

  9. Sara

    Cow, steer, whatever — s/he has very, very cute ears, and I adore that freckled nose.

    Too bad s/he’s probably doomed to be tacos someday.

  10. Mandos

    That cow looks horny.

  11. Mandos

    That cow also looks tasty. Am I evil if the first thing I think when I see a cute animal is how good it would taste?

  12. norbizness

    Start making unreasonable demands that must be met immediately or you let them loose on Lady Bird’s favorite flower garden.

  13. kreepyk

    I’m such the Farmer’s Daughter. What GORGEOUS cattle!

  14. Twisty

    Nope, it’s really a cow. I promise. I’m not as dumb as I look. And yeah, she is good-lookin, isn’t she? I can’t make out the specific breed, but she’s definitely got some Brahman in her. Which in Texas is pronounced “braymer.”

    Believe me, if I could drop’em on Ladybird’s doorstep, I would. Better her garden than my post oaks.

  15. BC

    Ok, this has nothing to do with cows, but much to do with patriarchy, so I thought I’d ask y’all for some research help: I’m looking for recent studies of bias in the judicial system against sexual assault/dv victims. While it sounds fairly obvious, I’m having trouble finding really recent (i.e. within the past two years) statistics. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks, blamers!

  16. alwaysarousedgirl

    When I was a kid, we lived on a farm. A neighbor’s sheep got loose one winter and wandered onto our property, all the way up to the driveway.

    They ended up licking all the salt-slush off my parents’ car. In the process, their teeth scratched both sides, front to back, of the car.

    I hear it was an interesting conversation with the insurance adjustor.

  17. Jodie

    There’s a chicken that’s been living in the parking garage at the University for months. It seems to be a giant campus conspiracy, because no one seems to know about it. Periodically, someone will come in to work with a stupified look say “There’s a CHICKEN in the parking garage!” only to have one of the docs chime in with, “No! It’s NOT A CHICKEN! IT’S A ROOSTER!”

  18. Kelley

    Nah, that’s not a cow. That’s lunch!! :)

  19. thebewilderness

    For the sake of we who have been deprived of sufficient patriarchy blaming, giblets is back.
    http://fafblog.blogspot.com/

    How does Bert feel about cows in the yard? My Dane tried for years to make friends with the deer that wandered through the garden. No success whatsoever. It made her very sad. She had successful relationships with everything from squirrels to possoms. Deer, no dice.

  20. schatze

    The wild bovine in its native habitat. Handsome beast.

  21. Mandos

    tb: YES! I was in, like, the third and a half stage of grieving already.

    BOW BEFORE GIBLETS NOOOWWWW!

  22. Ms Kate

    I’ll see you one cow, and raise you that wild turkey I saw biking the kids home from school.

    Actually, I’d rather raise a Wild Turkey in your honor, but all we gots is Maker’s Mark.

  23. lymie

    So, am I the only one to notice the Irony of Twisty moving to JOHNSON city, hmmmmmm?

    Who cares about the cows until they eat your ornamentals?

  24. Sylvanite

    Do they eat hostas? I might be willing to import one for the job.

  25. Ms Kate

    But would they be safe in Hosta Territory?

  26. wheelomatic

    Ms Kate, How did the wild turkey learn to ride a bike?

  27. Sara

    I am every bit as stupid as I look and, unable to see between Madame’s legs due to the angle of this shot, I am also completely unable to determine that she is in fact a cow and not a steer. Therefore I shall take Twisty’s word for it.

    Another thing which confuses me, and always has: the who/whom conflict, as beautifully exemplified by the title of this post. I never know which to choose in a case like this where the pronoun is not only the object of a preposition, but also the subject of a verb. How does one decide?

  28. CafeSiren

    Forget the cow/steer identification difficulties; I am dumber about animals then anyone here. To wit: until a few years ago, I thought a goat was just a male sheep.

    BC: Have you got access to the Lexis Nexis database at your local library? If you live near a college or university of any kind, they’re sure to have it, and a reference librarian who can show you how to use it. L/N specializes in two things: news items, and legal cases. Sounds like just what you need to find your info.

  29. danthelawyer

    I’d be willing to bet a chicken it’s “whoever,” and not “whomever.” But I’m not going to have a cow about it.

  30. finnsmotel

    Blatant attempt at hijacking the thread:

    Anybody see Jon Stewart carve up Bill Bennett last night on the Daily Show?

    There’s a link to a video of the segment here: http://www.crooksandliars.com/

  31. anne

    This critter does look rather like a steer. Unless I’m seeing an umbilical hernia there ventrally, mid-abdomen. It’s a bit hard to tell from the photo, though.

    Lovely animal regardless!

  32. saltyC

    I’m placing my bet on “whoever”.

    Holding on steer v cow.

  33. thebewilderness

    Mandos, Mandos, Mandos,
    You may not call me tb. Please retract instanter. Wooo, creepy. I am bowing, nooow.

  34. Mandos

    Fine. I retract the tb. I’ll call you “the-be” from now on.

  35. darkymac

    This critter does look rather like a steer. Unless I’m seeing an umbilical hernia there ventrally, mid-abdomen. It’s a bit hard to tell from the photo, though.

    The apparent hernia is a conserved breed characteristic of Bos indicus – the Brahman species – and is part of a fat storage location, same as the “hump”, the “brisket” and in some cases the tail.

    Here’s a little heifer – beautiful little girls, these Brahman-based breeds – demonstrating all the fat storage locations before they’re developed.

    The head on that beautiful stray in Twisty’s garden is unmistakeably a female. The frame is also just not male, castrated or not.

    Note for city-slickers: tits only get obvious when a cow is lactating and even then they are rarely the dimensions of the ghastly creations of the dairy industry. Those poor Holsteins are as much giant goats, with metabolisms in overdrive, as anything like the proper cattle they arose from.

  36. Ms Kate

    The head on that beautiful stray in Twisty’s garden is unmistakeably a female. The frame is also just not male, castrated or not.

    I’m not a cityslicker, at least in my youth I was not, and I was thinking “young steer” due to the size/frame, abdominal doolap, and horns. I know about the udders bit, having milked Holsteins on my great-grandparents’ farm and dealt with longhorns and other arid zone beef-on-the-hoof ranch cattle.

    But Darkymac, you are right in that breeds differ enormously. Judging from the pictures, this may be some sort of longhorn-brahmin experiment. Given the climate and terrain, that sort of cross might make some sense. Longhorns also like to roam and bust out of fences. They aren’t stoopid like the standard-issue farm cow.

  37. anne

    Thanks, Darkymac! I’m not used to her breed/crossbreed. She is indeed a beauty. Thanks for the lesson.

  38. CafeSiren

    No, Twisty is right: it’s “whom”: “to” is a preposition that takes the dative case; therefore it gets dative prepositions. (You give something to her, to him, and to whom.)

  39. CafeSiren

    Sorry — that should have been “it gets dative pronouns.” Typos have ruined my attempt to be pedantic; I’ll just slink away.

  40. vera

    Hmmm. This may be a case where it is correct to write, to whoever, not to whomever. “When who introduces a subordinate clause, its case depends on its function in that clause.” (Elements of Style, the version with cartoon drawings, page 22.) In the title of this post, the pronoun in question is the subject of “is missing two cows near Johnson City”; hence, whoever is the correct choice.

    On the other hand, the title of this post is not a full sentence, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about. I blame the patriarchy for filling my head with tedious trivia about the “great men” of history instead of teaching me grammar.

    On an unrelated subject: I just got back from China! I had a great time!

  41. Summer

    That there is a lovely cow.

  42. Kaethe

    It’s a conspiracy, this confusion about bovines. While Twisty has been distracted by actual cows in her yard, the patriarchy is trying to co-opt cows in the imagination of kids: Barnyard. Male voices, male names, and they’ve all got udders. Can someone explain this to me? Who do I blame?

  43. speedbudget

    whom is the indirect object of the verb–it does not directly receive the action. Therefore, in the sentence “Give the ball to him,” HIM is the indirect object, the BALL is the direct object and receives the action. A good way to remember this is if you can replace the whom with a him (sorry, patriarchy blamers; maybe I should have said her). Anyway, she is addressing this post to him who lost his cows.

  44. Mandy

    A lovely, lovely, sweet cow, just look at those eyes and that natural poise. Soft and sweet.

    Finnsmotel – yes I did. I thought Stewart was absolutely brilliant this time, doing the entire show around the “Defensive of Marriage Act” – the very name makes me want to puke. But he was so good and he really took Bennett to task in his own, inoffensive yet unsubtle, nail-you-to-the-wall-with-your-own-words, affable way. Made the whole disgraceful issue less painful, but just for a little while.

  45. CafeSiren

    You have a point, Vera. We could avoid the whole controversy if English had a vocative case: O Cow-owner!

  46. FamousSovietAthlete

    This cow seems to have three horns. I blame the trees.

  47. Sylvanite

    Kaethe’s link to that movie about the weirdly masculine cows reminds me of my own particular animal-related pet peeve; ants and bees that are presented as male. If you see an ant or a honeybee around, you’re looking at a female. Male honeybees spend all summer in the hive, waiting for a new queen to emerge so they can try to mate with her. The act of mating kills the male honeybee. If there are any virgin males left in the hive at the end of summer, their sisters drive them out, at which point they die of starvation. Ants are pretty similar, except I don’t think ants even tolerate males hanging around the nest all summer. The males just seem to emerge to mate with future queens. The mating act kills them,too. I can’t beleive how many times I’ve contfronted people who can’t seem to wrap their heads around the idea that the males of other species could be completely marginalized, and hardly ever seen outside of the hive/nest. Kind of like women in a harem, come to think of it.

  48. Ms Kate

    So, sperm donors are otherwise excess population?

  49. Jennifer

    Exactly!

  50. Twisty

    1. “Whomever” is correct, o ye of little faith. Implied in the title is the clause “I address the following post [to whomever]“. You don’t write “To who it may concern,” yall.

    2. To put the cow/steer controversy to rest, allow me to assure you that the thing you are all mistaking for a weenie is in fact an umbilical protrusion. Even if you don’t trust me to sex a bovine standing 3 feet in front of me, I have had independent confirmation from an actual DVM.

  51. rumblelizard

    That cow is sticking her tongue out. Look close.

    “Take a picture of me, will you? Well, pthhbbth!”

  52. Kaka Mak

    Only Twisty could generate 53 Comment with nothing more than a picture of a cow and five words! Mighty impressive!

  53. Jodie

    No, SovietAthlete, on THIS blog we blame the patriarchy.

  54. MissPrism

    To whomever it may concern, but to whoever has concerns.
    The cow-owner is the subject of the subordinate clause.
    I fink.

  55. MissPrism

    and by I fink, I mean I think but I’m not sure I’m right because this is Twisty and she is always right. At six different levels. Before breakfast.

  56. vera

    Tell you what. I’m about to start a new gig as a writer at Apple. (Yay!) I’ll ask my editor, as soon as I have one, about the whoever/whomever question. Not that an editor has the last words on such matters, mind you. Though I must obey them, even when they (shudder) add commas.

    (Sometime soon I’m going to announce the Apple position in my blog, and explain why if one must work in the male-dominated high tech industry, it’s better NOT to work in the open source community. It’s sad, but true.)

  57. vera

    So of those Twisty readers who have raised heifers, how many here insisted on referring to all critters as “she” in order to balance the entire partriarchal culture? (As in, “Oh look honey, there’s a squirrel eating our plums; let’s squirt HER with the hose!”)

    When my older daughter began learning her ABC’s in kindegarten, she came home one day chanting the alphabet song she’d been taught: “A, A for Andrew Ant, B, B for Bobby Bear, C, C for Camel Clyde…” etc. Twenty-six letters in the alphabet, and only two of them were girls. So I marched into school and insisted that half of the letters undergo gender re-assignment.

    The following week I visited the classroom and heard the revised version:

    “A, A for Andrew Ant (or Abigail)
    B, B for Bobby Bear (or Betty)
    C, C for Camel Clyde (or Cathy)…”

  58. Mandos

    I thought that most ants and bees don’t have the capacity to reproduce and can’t be mistaken for ever having any capacity. Is male vs female even relevant there? Ant hills and bee hives are more like single hermaphroditic organisms. The sole reproducing female and the bunch of males are really just the gonads of this organism.

  59. Twisty

    If you were, say, a Crystalline Entity or something, wafting hugely through the cosmos, wouldn’t H. sapiens, or any other species, for that matter, appear to you to be a single hermaphroditic organsim?

  60. Sara

    (sheepish)

    All right, I got off my ass, hopped two steps to my reference bookshelf, and looked this up. Finally. It’s what I should have done in the first place, and then just kept my mouth shut, but I am lazy sometimes. Sorry.

    Just for the sake of group satisfaction, according to my college grammar book, The Little, Brown Handbook (1980), here’s the deal with who/whom or whoever/whomever and subordinate clauses:

    In subordinate clauses, use who and whoever for all subjects, whom>/i> and whomever for all objects.

    Remember that subordinate clauses themselves function as subjects, objects, and modifiers (see 5c-4). The case of a pronoun in a subordinate clause depends on its function in the clause, whether the clause itself functions as a subject, an object, or a modifier.

    Give the clothes to whoever needs them. [Whoever is the subject of the clause whoever needs them. The entire clause is the object of the preposition to.]

    (brackets in original; emphasis in original)

    So, in this case, the clause “Whomever is Missing…,” etc., is actually, in its entirety, the object of the preposition “To.” Consequently, “Whomever,” as subject of the subordinate clause which is itself, in its entirety, an object, is technically incorrect. Of course, it’s funnier this way.

    Oh, well. I’m told by reliable sources that proper grammar is just a middle-class pursuit. Wabi sabi, and all that. I just wanted, strictly academically and in all my heteronormative middle-classedness, to know the technically precise answer.

    I suspect, sadly, that it will not take another 26 years for me to forget this again. (sigh)

  61. Sara

    (screwed up HTML tags not in original — sorry)

  62. Sylvanite

    Well, yes, Mandos, the queens are the only reproducing females. However, the workers are all sterile females. I would still be biologically female, even if I were sterile, and the same is true for bees and ants. The males (drones) are all capable of reproduction, but in honeybees and ants at least, are not capable of work. I’m not sure about other bees (other than bumblebees) or wasps. Termites, on the other hand, have both a reproducing female and a reproducing male (her mate-for-life), and the worker and soldier castes consist of sterile members of both sexes. The big difference seems to be due to Hymenopterans (ants, wasps and bees) being haplodiploid (males only have single copies of chromosomes where the females have the standard pairs of chromosomes). Isopterans (termites) are standard-model diploid critters. Being haplodiploid seems to strongly select for marginilized males. If it’s any consolation, if you see a bumblebee, it could very well be a male. Apparently, the females don’t tolerate them in the nest, but they aren’t helpless like honeybee males, and spend the summer being rugged outdoorsmen.

    Entomological pedantry over.

  63. R. Mildred

    I thought that most ants and bees don’t have the capacity to reproduce and can’t be mistaken for ever having any capacity. Is male vs female even relevant there? Ant hills and bee hives are more like single hermaphroditic organisms. The sole reproducing female and the bunch of males are really just the gonads of this organism.

    It wouldn’t be hermaphroditic either, it’d be asexual in nature, reproducing via fission (which is what happens when ants and bees form new nests, the new queen takes workers with her.

    Human social constructs do not reproduce at all, behaving more like bacteria colonies than any sort of single organism.

    The crystal entity type thing might however mistake this bacteria colony like system of a single entity much like itself, but made out of steel and glass and concrete, if it stayed around long enough to actually observe the totally non-reproductive nature of those constructs might eventually realise that those concrete entities are made of people!

    Then it could take us back to where ever it came from in a giant glass sided thing full of silicon, steel and leaves, all the substances we apparently need to maintain our bacteria like civilisation.

    The idea of us farming stuff will probably not be a concept that would make any real sense to the entity, and all those taken back to its home will promptly starve to death, and our bodies will be stuck through with pins and displayed in crystal entity museums as a rare oddity found in a backward section of the galaxy.
    Until the relativistic bombs destroy such things, obviously.

  64. Mandos

    I’m sorry but the Crystalline Entity’s job is to suck out the planet’s life energy, you included, not go around examining things. And to conspire with positronically-brained people.

  65. Mandos

    What defines “female” anyway, in a biological sense. My own definition is that an organism in a species that uses sexual reproduction that has the capacity to produce and/or gestate eggs, or will have or has had this capacity or would look to the untrained eye that it does is female. I was under the impression that ant queens were rather more swollen than worker females and that you could tell nonreproducing “females” and queens easily apart.

  66. darkymac

    Mandos, have a look at the Family Syngnathidae, with the better-known genera being Phycodurus, Hippocampus and Syngnathinae – the Sea Dragons, Seahorses and Pipefish.
    The males gestate. Only the males. Moreover, in the case of Hippocampus, that gestation involves salinity regulation of the egg-pouch and makes it, for all definitions of gestation, a basic womb.
    Syngnathidae males look more or less swollen when gestating.
    The sexual dimorphism is otherwise insignificant.
    A bit like the apes.

  67. Sylvanite

    I guess having the chromosomal complement of females is one general way (in humans XX, in ants and bees, being diploid). Having female genitalia helps, though in hymenopterans the ovipositor is altered into a venom-injecting stinger. Males hymenopterans can’t sting; they lack the modified female parts that comprise the stinger. So I guess having a stinger comprises femaleness in hymenopteran species that have them (yes, not all hymenopterans have stingers). I’d guess the sterile females also have the withered remnants of internal female anatomy (ovaries and what-not).

    Of course reality is messy, and there are, among humans at least, pseudohermaphrodites that are XY, but are androgen insensitive. They develop as females (usually rather beautiful females), but their vaginas just dead-end. They don’t have a uterus, and they have undescended testes in their abdomens. They’re infertile, and never menstruate. The testes usually become cancerous, and have to be removed.

    I guess it is of little value to assign gender based on fertility. A sterile female fire ant is still a female, even if she’s only capable of stinging the hell out of you with her genitals, rather than laying eggs with them.

  68. Joanne

    That cow’s mine. It wandered over from the tiny English village of Devon.
    Please send it back by airmail, along with a stamped address envelope, and I shall fully re-emburse courier costs. Ta.

  69. R. Mildred

    I’m sorry but the Crystalline Entity’s job is to suck out the planet’s life energy, you included, not go around examining things. And to conspire with positronically-brained people.

    Oh yeah, just because an entity is made out of crystal you impose all these presumptions about behavior and identity upon it.

    What if it’s a caring, loving crystalline entity, an entity that loves the universe and wishes to make love to, and take scientific observations of, the universe in all its myriad glory and complexity?

    It’s bad enough when you see this kind of bigoted stereotyping being thrown at the Large, green and bug-eyed (Oh just because they’re “bug-eyed” they’re monstrous? just typical of the corneacentric attitude I encounter so often in our fucked up society) at DKos, or LGF, but at twisty’s pad?

    I have to say I’m disappointed.

    P.S. Maybe the cows are their own “master”, maybe they were sick and tired of being locked inside the corporate cage man, maybe they were lesbian cows, trying to escape to the heady freedom of massechussets or toronto, where a lesbian cow can marry who ever it wants, whenever it wants and buy vibrators and stuff, free from the oppression of the dildo hating homobigots of texas. Maybe these lesbian cows just wanted to go where they can be the best damn lesbian cows they can be, but oh no, you had to sick the establishment on them.

    Twisty is a fink! Admit it, you hate these cows for their freedom!

  70. Karen

    I can’t resist weighing in on the grammar, two years later and with no new post for over a month. The title is wrong. The object of the preposition “to” is the phrase “whoever is missing two cows near Johnson City.” It is not parallel with “to whom it may concern,” because in that phrase, “whom” is the object of the verb “concern.” “It” is the subject of the verb “concern.” The object of the preposition “to” is the phrase “whom it may concern.”

    Just for fun, here’s a way to render the title correct with an extension: To whomever: is missing two cows near Johnson City a fun way to spend your vacation?

    Thanks to my 10th grade English teacher, Paul Lamar, and also to all those who helped me learn Russian, a language in which the who/whom distinction is preserved by all, not just by a bunch of wonky blamers.

  71. Kowhead

    I find it demeaning when women are called cows. Actually cows are beautiful so it doesn’t make sense to me. Not that I would use it to complement someone though I could.

    Are we sure that is a cow there?

    Could be a maverick steer.

    But it isn’t ugly.

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