OneNote About The World Famous Cowbell… #AtoZchallenge

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

In honor of the one-year blogiversary of “More Cowbell,” Jenny and I are trading posts today (with host commentary, of course). 

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.

1400s:  The Swiss, who take their cowbells and cows (and later, chocolate) very personally, have a celebration called “Alpaufzug.”  [Jenny: I knew  I liked the Swiss…]

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!)

1930s:  Mississippi State introduces their iconic cowbell to football games. [Jenny: *Ooooh, shiny! Can somebody get me one of those??!]

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):

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.

Jenny: Oh mama, I rocked that Farrah do...


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

2005:  SNL’s “More Cowbell” skit airs.  For Jenny, everything clicks: 

It is the Holy Grail..
       the Fountain of Youth…
               the Ark of the Covenant. . . 
                      the El Dorado. . . .
                              THE MISSING LINK…. 

‘Nuff said.

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:

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.

You can find Kathy on Twitter at kbowenwriter, on Facebook, or at her fantastic blog,

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm ( Write on!
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73 Responses to OneNote About The World Famous Cowbell… #AtoZchallenge

  1. Pingback: Techie Tuesday – guest post by Jenny Hansen: Microsoft’s OneNote – K.B. Owen, mystery writer

  2. KB – Holy crap what an amazing and fun post.. 🙂
    Love those pictures.. That poor cow! Gosh, I can’t imagine walking around with some giant dingaling thing around my neck.
    Love the cowbell tune choices… and that SNL skit is freaking hysterical!
    Happt Tuesday!


  3. Holy Clanging Cowbell, Kathy!

    Why isn’t there a LOVE button to click? The factoids about the cowbells origin and many uses in celebrations make sense of Jenny’s MORE COWBELL theme. Not that it didn’t before, but…

    ERK! Tiptoeing through wet paint to get out of this corner.

    Jenny, we now have proof you’ve rocked that smile for decades. Except in that cute big-headed-baby-wonders-where-her-teeth-are picture.


    • K.B. Owen says:

      Glad you liked the post, Gloria! I loved going through the pics of Jenny – she was always smiling! The post was a lot of fun to research and make up – I mean, compile – information for the timeline. 😉


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I KNOW!!! I lovelovelovelovelovelove-loooooove this post! (And I still can’t believe I had such a big head. Good God!)


  4. K.B. Owen says:

    Jenny, thank you SO MUCH for your fab OneNote post on my site, and for letting me guest blog here! And I didn’t knock over/break/misplace anything, LOL (I didn’t, did I?). 😀

    In the true spirit of More Cowbell, I had an absolute blast putting this together, and working with you on the swap. Happy Blogiversary!!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks bunches and bunches, Kathy! You only knocked US over with your brilliance. Everything else looks like it’s still in place. It’s kind of hard to break anything on a blog about MORE. 🙂


  5. An awesome post, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from Kathy! She knows how to make history fun and interesting. What a great blogoversary present, indeed. And I’ll be singing “Don’t feel the Reaper” all day now. So thanks for that!


  6. Amber West says:

    Informative and dare I say, adorable? How cute is Jenny?

    Kathy, thanks for filling us in on the history (and doing it in a way that kept me entertained).


  7. Reetta Raitanen says:

    This is pure awesomeness. The best history post I have ever seen. The videos were hilarious.


  8. I also want a LOVE button for this post lol Super fun!


  9. Marie Trout says:

    Nice history of the cowbell. Never thought anyone could connect Swiss cows, SNL skits, Jenny in a bikini – and a search for MORE…. and actually make it interesting and fun! Well done!


  10. Julie Glover says:

    Perfect. One of those posts that simply couldn’t be any better. *shaking my happy cowbell* (Still laughing at the ninja-quiet cow comment.) Happy blogiversary to Jenny and kudos to Kathy for an amazing post. By the way, Jenny, I think our childhood closets were very similar. I couldn’t pull off the Farrah Faucett hairdo, though, because my parents had given me something more like a Dorothy Hamill (which looked a lot more like Mark Hamill to me). Great stuff!


    • K.B. Owen says:

      Oh, well, Mark…Dorothy…it was a famous person, yes? That’s the important part, LOL. Ninja cows – now THERE is a post! Thanks for visiting, Julie!


  11. Stacy Green says:

    LOL, Kathy. What a fun post. And well researched. The photos make me happy I wasn’t a teenager in the 70s, lol. Cowbell to me will always be the Will Ferrel skit. I still laugh out loud whenever I see it.


    • K.B. Owen says:

      Oh, yes, Stacy – count your blessings that you missed the 70s! But you never know, the platform/wedge shoes have already come back, who knows what’s next? Bwahaha!


  12. LauraDrake says:

    Oh Kathy, a fitting celebration for a funny lady! Damn, Jenny, you fogged up my screen with that mini-skirt! Wow, look at those LEGS!

    Happy blog-verdary, my friend. Now off to your post…


  13. LOVED the old pics of Jenny.


  14. Fabulous post Kathy!! Happy blogiversary Jenny!!


  15. Piper Bayard says:

    Love it! I always wondered about the history of the Cowbell and how it came to choose Jenny as its voice and representative in the blogosphere. Thanks for a great post, Kathy. Always good to see two of my favorites in one place.


  16. Hi-frikkin-larious! Ohmygosh Kathy you are so funny! Jenny is totally smokin’ with her Farrah ‘do. This was too much fun, I just might have to read it again!


  17. tomwisk says:

    Thanks for the history lesson. We’ve got an oldies station in CT that works cowbell songs into the mix after midnight.


  18. Adorable! That Farrah do is priceless. 🙂


  19. Funny you posted this – just had a friend on FB said the other day that she’d never heard of the Walken skit. So much history went into that catch-phrase. Thanks for letting us know!


  20. What a hilarious post! You rocked it K.B. and I enjoyed the history lesson too. I’m not sure if I like the flower bedecked cow pic best or Jenny as a baby. Happy blogiversary Jenny!


  21. Kathy, what an entertaining way to celebrate the More Cowbell anniversary. All this facts and tidbits are so interesting.

    Happy anniversary, Jenny!


  22. Sharla Rae says:

    I love history more than most but I have to say I sure have NEVER ever seen any history on cowbells. 🙂 Enjoyed the gonging laughter.


  23. Jess Witkins says:

    By and far my favorite post read today! Why can’t all blogs have such wonderful fashion sense AND side comments?! WHY?!


  24. Seriously, Kathy, where do you find this stuff? (Not the rockin’ hairdo shots of Jenny, but the obscure historical facts.) I’m in awe of your research skills 🙂


    • K.B. Owen says:

      You know, Debra, it’s kind of like pulling a thread, which loosens another thread, which leads you to…and so it goes. Sometimes I kind of wander around and follow the threads.

      But you know, I often wonder the same about your blog posts, too! Yours are amazing!


  25. Eden says:

    Merging Blue Oyster Cult, writing and Alpine milk (chocolate, of course…) How could this have gotten any better? Well, I did learn about several more cowbell songs, and I got to rest easy knowing that my parents weren’t the only ones to make thei kids wear crochet bikinis. 😉

    Thnk you both, K.B and Jenny, for such a fun filled post. Off to finish reading Kathy’s page and your post about OneNote, Jenny. I love the program, but maybe you’ve got some idea for ways to stop it from trying to possess all of my computer’s processor everytime it starts up that I haven’t found.


  26. Pingback: The End is Near (and we deserve it). . . . Government Employee Gets Workman’s Comp for Sex Injury « Author Piper Bayard

  27. susielindau says:

    Thanks for your in-depth perspective on Cow Bells! Hahaha! Too funny. Love the photos. Congrats to Jenny!


  28. Karen McFarland says:

    Wow. Wow. Wow Kathy! You ROCKED IT girl! What a great tribute to Jenny!
    Ah yes the Farrah cut. Someone once told me that my bangs had wings! LOL! Very adorable pic!
    Sorry for being late for the blogoversary party. I was under the spell of a wicked fever. Oh boy.
    But Happy Blogoversary Jenny! And Happy Cowbell! 🙂


  29. OMG Awesomeness!!!! Luved it all – you guys rocked it!


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