Welcome to Techie Tuesday here at More Cowbell! This is the day each week when I unleash my inner geek and we talk about some groovy piece of technology or a technical point of writing.
Only, I’m changing things up today in a BIG way. K.B. Owen is going to entertain you here in grand Cowbell style while I mosey over to her place to tell you how Microsoft OneNote can put your research at your fingertips.
Take it away, Kathy…
It’s all about the Cowbell, baby! A Cowbell Timeline
by K.B. Owen
Check out Jenny’s guest post on my site, where she helps us technologically-hapless folks figure out how to use Microsoft’s OneNote, an amazing little program for writers (once you get the hang of it).
In the meantime, here I am at Jenny’s blog (squeee!!), with a chronicle of the history of the ever-sacred “cowbell.”
[Jenny: Double-squeee!! I've got my own Cowbell historian IN 'DA HOUSE... ]
Early Cowbell History:
1300s: Bells suffer the indignity of going from purely religious functions to being placed around the necks of lead sheep and cows. Since cows are, you know, ninja-quiet, farmers weren’t able to find their herds before now. A definite plus for humankind.
It occurs in May/June (and still goes on today), where farmers from each village, in an elaborate procession, give their cows to the cowherds to graze in the upper Alpine pastures for the summer.
For the procession, the cows are adorned in floral wreaths, and the best milk-producing cow wears the largest bell, with other cows wearing bells of varying smaller sizes, depending upon their past year’s milk production. At the end of the season, the cows return to their villages in similar style. This is also a tradition in the Alpine areas of Germany, and goes by different names there.
[Kathy: I’ll bet the poor cow in the above pic wishes she hadn’t produced so much milk last year. The bell for Miss Congeniality has got to be a lot smaller.]
In Modern Times:
Mid-1800s: We have the first civilian alpine ski races. This, of course, brings on “more cowbell” – in other words, cowbells wielded by human hands, for the purposes of cheering and attracting attention.
In the rural areas around the alps in the winter, the cowbells weren’t being used by the cows, since the animals were snug and cozy in the barns for the season. So everyone would grab their cowbells and go cheer on the racers. [Jenny: Oh dear, I fear I'd be in the barn where it was warm...]
Clapping in mittens just wasn’t the same. Think about it: if two mittens collide in the snow, do they make a sound?
1900s (here we go – relevance!)
Even though a 1974 Southeastern Conference rule banned artificial noise makers from the stadium, nothing could stop fans from ringing them outside the stadium (and you know how far the sound of a cowbell can carry), and of course cowbells were (and still are) everywhere during non-conference games and other sports competitions at MSU. In 2010, the rule was modified so that cowbells can be used during non-play intervals (when music can be played over the loudspeaker, basically). Yeah, good luck with that one.
1960s/70s: We get a rash of “cowbell” songs (this is just a sampling):
- 1966: The Chamber Brothers “Time Has Come Today”
- 1969: The Rolling Stones “Honky Tonk Woman”
- 1973: Grand Funk Railroad “We’re an American Band”
- 1975: War “Low Rider”
- 1976: Blue Oyster Cult “Don’t Fear the Reaper”
1968: Jenny makes her debut in the world. You can see here that it wasn’t long before she was taking a good, long look at herself, asking how she could get “more.” (There must be MORE!)
[Jenny: OMG, did I always have such a freaking big head?!]
1973: Jenny Hansen as a young girl in the San Diego, California area, discovers the joys of the exhuberantly loud cowbell. Notice the “smokin’ hot” bikini, a foreshadowing, perhaps, of the “undie” chronicles, especially the crocheted version.
1983: Since the internet hadn’t been invented yet (despite Al Gore’s claims), Jenny has to contact her “More Cowbell” peeps the old-fashioned way. Notice the shag hairstyle, a la Farrah Fawcett, and the mini-skirt and overblouse, skinny-belted-oh-so-fashionably. It’s a shame we didn’t have Skype back then.
1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway: Cowbells are now widely used to cheer on skiers, and commemorative Olympic cowbells are offered for sale. The cowbell goes on to become a fan staple at many outdoor competitions, including marathons and bicycle races.
Jenny starts getting ideas. Crazy ideas, growing in her brain.
2000s – The New Millenium
It is the Holy Grail..
the Fountain of Youth…
the Ark of the Covenant. . .
the El Dorado. . . .
THE MISSING LINK….
2011: Now a blogger/tech guru/writer/momma, Jenny fully activates her “cowbell” side, and launches the “More Cowbell” blog, sought out and/or envied by all who seek…MORE.
Happy Blogiversary, Jenny!
Websites for more info:
- A look at the use of the cowbell in Olympic skiing.
- A good overall look at the history of cowbells.
- A history of MSU’s mascot and sporting traditions.
- A description of the tradition of springtime cow processions.
- A fun video of the cowbell in pop culture! Just a little off-color… [Jenny: Bahahaha!]
- This post, from The History Blog, includes a video clip of the Italian police recovering a collection of “hot” cowbells, stolen from 90-year-old Mrs. Bertral, the widow of a cattle breeder, who had won them over the years in competitions. The cowbells were unharmed, although the same could not be said for the poor old lady, who was bound and gagged during the robbery. It turns out that an avid collector, with a fever for “more cowbell,” had hired the robbers. [Jenny: How on Earth do you find this stuff?]
- Lack of Cowbell in American Top 40 Scares Parents: This post looks at the conspiracy to create a “cowbell-less America,” LOL.
Here’s to “More Cowbell” for all!
[Holy cow, she ROCKED it! OMG...a round of applause for Kathy!!]
I’m completely blown away…what a fantastic blogiversary present! I’ve got to watch all the videos and listen to the songs now! When you’re done with all that, I hope you come get your Techie Tuesday fix at Kathy’s place.
What’s your fave song featuring the cowbell? Which of Kathy’s cowbell facts made you laugh? And what did you think of that wacky 70′s bikini? Kathy and I have downed some serious caffeine and we’re dying to party down in the comments section, so let ‘er rip!
About K.B. Owen
K.B. (Kathy) Owen holds a Ph.D. in 19th century British Literature and taught college literature and writing classes for a number of years. Since she has always loved mysteries (cozy, historical and otherwise), she decided to turn her hand to writing one of her own.
She recently finished her first novel in a planned series, set in a nineteenth-century women’s college in Hartford, Connecticut. It’s a world filled with quirky, beguiling characters, and mischief mixed with murder. Dr. Owen drew upon her own delightful and varied experiences as a college professor, though unlike her central character, she thankfully did not have to conduct her lectures in a bustle and full skirts.