Saturday, September 8, 2012

Out Texting In Their Field

Great technological breakthrough in the field of, um, fields, wherein cows can now be fitted with a device that allows them to text their human caretakers, and it's just like you'd think: you can't imagine ever using such a thing, but once you have it, you're texting like crazy. A similar device is being used in sheep herds so that the sheep can advise the shepherd of marauding wolves and the like. This allows a degree of remote shepherding that really wasn't possible before. Shepherd gets a text that a wolf is in the fold and he can arrange for a horn blast to scare the wolf away, theoretically, although in practice if he manages to scare the wolf he is likely to find his entire herd with their feet up in the air in a slick of panic diarrhea. Shepherds who cannot afford to buy a good sheepdog especially are interested in the texting technology. Although one might think that texting devices for a good-size herd might run into some serious money, it turns out that you only really need to outfit one sheep, and the rest pretty much go along with what he says.

Tater and Mr. Greenjeans. Note fishing line.
The cows are capable of transmitting texts concerning their general health and the state of their fertility, allowing the caretaker to get quite a bit more rest (see "fanny farmer"). The ability of cows to text had been thought to be years away. There's a lot of stuff that needs to be overcome for animals to get any good at texting. Hooves, for instance.

Our cat Tater might well be interested in anything that would make communication easier. She thinks she lives with The Stupids. Every day she asks for the exact same thing and half the time we act like we don't know what she's talking about. She would like to play with Mr. Greenjeans. Mr. Greenjeans is one of several rattle-mice she plays with (along with Orange Slice, Goldie, and Professor Plum), only Mr. Greenjeans is attached to a stick with fishing line and we can cast it back and forth for her to stalk and catch. Generally speaking she gives him a good pounce right off the bat and then after that it's all stalking. There you are, flinging the little green mouse back and forth for twenty minutes, and she's all hunkered down watching him. From the human standpoint, there's not a lot of reward, and so she doesn't get to play it as often as she wants to, which is every minute.

The previous cat, (Saint) Larry, was such a stellar citizen that I was able to overlook her main fault, which is that she wasn't near as particular as we were about where she took a dump. She would drop a deuce in the litter box if she happened to be walking across it when the urge struck, but otherwise she'd just plant a dookie any old where. She wasn't trying to make a point. It was just that, as far as she was concerned, the problem was solved when the doot made the exit. So when Tater came along, and right away went down to the basement and found the litter box and put something in it, we gathered around and praised her to the high heavens like she was a five-year-old we were trying to insert some self-esteem into. "Way to GO!" we said, and she looked at us like, "how else do you go?" Tater has no problem with self-esteem.

But we would like her to be able to express herself in a different manner. She is very fond of us, Dave especially, and when she gets really worked up about that, she likes to gnaw on our foreheads. She's never spindled anyone, but the object of her affection could at any time be in for a bit of a denting. Our communication about this has gone nowhere. "Quit biting!" we say, and she says, "I am not biting. I am loving you very much with my teeth."

So it would be pretty cool if we could set her up with some kind of texting device so she could address us more appropriately. It wouldn't be too difficult. We could  have it preset to fire off with "I would like to play with Mr. Greenjeans now," and she could stomp on it all day long. Because she has little feet.

Which was a problem for the cows, at first, on account of the hooves. The breakthrough in bovine communication came when someone realized they only needed to set up the device with two giant keys, "M" and "O," and then it was Katie bar the door.

65 comments:

  1. Buddy just learned to dial the landline. I was hoping his cellular activities were years away. Now, he's going to read this and be texting all his friends, which means Bruce and Bella on the other side of town. Where will this thing end? I see doodling on an IPad in our future.

    It sounds like your own transformation to Cellular Mobile Telephone Communication is complete.

    Another good Saturday morning.

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    1. Maybe if they get good enough devices, they'll have their snouts buried in them all day long and leave the rest of us alone.

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  2. Not only do I find your blogs very entertaining (!!!), but also find the labels of folders at the end quite interesting (!!!)

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    1. I don't really know what the labels are for, so I don't really know what to put in them. If anyone knows, let me know.

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  3. What happened to that poor sheep in the first picture? I hope it was just cooling off. Tater is probably very sad that she has two humans that can't read her mind. Some cats are burdened with us, superior beings that they are. :-)

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    1. Tater isn't capable of sad, but if she knew how to roll her eyes at us, that's all she'd do.

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    2. I believe that sheep is pinin' for the fjords.

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  4. Its a big dilemma to animals that humans can;t understand them and their needs. It would be a relief if there would be a breakthrough that we can read their minds. lol. That would be stellar.
    send gift to uk

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    1. I used to ask Dave, about one of our pets, "what do you think she's thinking?" and he used to make a noise like radio static.

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  5. Well, another reason why I would like a weekend part-time shepherding job.

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    1. If you could just sit at a desk and wait for texts, it'd be like a lot of other jobs. And you'd work with a crook.

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    2. I used to work with a crook. When he was jailed I got a new job.

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    3. What? No "thanks for the setup?"

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  6. I've heard of dogs dialing 911 but a text from a cow...that would be a moooooving experience.
    Tater is beautiful by the way...I have a thing for black cats.

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  7. I'm glad my cat can't text. We've gifted him with a 5-month old little sister and I'm pretty sure he is very angry. I wouldn't want to read the abuse he would send us. Hissing is bad enough.

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  8. Dude... I think my cats are gonna have to get in line... I'm still trying to teach my MOTHER to text and email! HAHAHAH!

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    1. I can totally email. Working this new cell phone (and it's a dumb one) is still problematic.

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  9. "I am not biting. I am loving you very much with my teeth." The kids I work with use that one a lot. Maybe I should give in and buy them cell phones.

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    1. I'm pretty sure buying kids things calms them right down. Right?

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  10. Mr. Greenjeans, huh? I remember Captain Kangaroo and the original Mr. Greenjeans...my little brother was a huge fan of early morning TV "back in the day" as my students would say.
    BTW,Lucifer, (tuxedo cat who allows us to serve him) is a nibbler of hands in the similar fashion.

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    1. I remember Captain Kangaroo, and who was it who had that Do Bee and Don't Bee? And Video Village. And then I had to go to school and there wasn't any TV anymore, until they rolled the big black and white one in the classroom when Kennedy was shot. Okay, that's my childhood in a nutshell.

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    2. Do Bee was on Romper Room. There was a huge scandal when it became known that Miss Sherri had an abortion in Sweden. (Wasn't legal in the US.) She had taken thalomide and feared severe deformities. (No ultrasounds back then.) She was immediately fired. Sorry to drift off subject.

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    3. Romper Room. Of course. I would never have come up with Miss Sherri's name, but that is NOT off subject. Very interesting. I might need to look into this.

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  11. My cat walks on my keyboard to get my attention. It either means, "my bowl needs to be refilled" or "go lie on the couch so I can sit on your lap".

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    1. When I lie down my lap disappears.

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    2. When Tater needs attention she walks on the keyboard. When that doesn't work she chews on our eyebrows. Then she goes away and after a bit we start hearing knickknacks crashing down from the hutch. She's got her Plan A, B and C.

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    3. Oh, right, Anonymous.

      It means "go lie on the couch so I can sit on your stomach and sharpen my claws on your new slacks."

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  12. Wow! At first I thought this was going to be a post about the 'drying a sheep' process you introduced last time! You always keep us guessing!

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    1. I'm guessing half the time myself. I don't always end up writing about what I start out writing about.

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  13. Gnawing on your foreheads? Okay, now I'm thankful our newest little bundle of teeth only chews on our limbs.

    At one time we had a cat who would walk across our (old-fashioned) telephone answering machine - always hitting the "record" button. We'd come home to a flashing light indicating messages, only to fine they were of the snuffling, paper crackling type as he wandered through the adjacent paperwork.

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  14. I don't see where hooves should present any real problem to texting, after all, the cows do a pretty good job with all of those signs on the Eat Chikin commercials. It's the farmers that concern me. Those guys tend to be pretty portly in the first place. If all they have to do now is sit around with the iPad... well.

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    1. They still have to collect them and attach them to the milking machines and...oh never mind.

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  15. All the toys my cat ever got were pieces of aluminum foil, wadded up loosely into balls. When we moved, we found a million of those balls behind the stove and the fridge.

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    1. The people who buy your house are going to think you have armored dust bunnies.

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  16. Tater looks a lot like Jazz. Who doesn't knaw on us - just on me. A lot. And he isn't fussy where he gnaws either. I suspect 'loving with teeth' is precisely how he sees it, and Jewel is there to lap up the blood so 'whats your problem?' I have never met a cat who didn't effectively roll their eyes (without doing so). Both J & J are partial to their current toy - halved acorn shells which they bat around and carry to places where the noise is better. Like the toilet. Or the bathroom.
    Brilliant post - thank you.

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    1. At three a.m. Right? Tater has never once drawn blood. She chews on us more or less like kids chew on their pencils. Dent dent dent.

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  17. I just looked up this technology and sent the link for that along with your post to my neighbor. Chicken/ coyote problem, don't you know. But I had no idea that one of the first signs of cow illness is they start to sit down and now I do so thanks for piquing my curiosity. BTW, you're familiar with The Stupids of Cleveland? I particularly like the one where the fuse blows and they think they've died.

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    1. Hi Vickie! Incidentally, you sent my own link to me, and mentioned the chickens. I'd check back to see if you really did send it to your neighbor. Unless you were just being kind and cc-ing me.

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    2. No. I did just send it to you. I'm under a lot of pressure with all these damn lexulous games weighing on me.But now I've sent it on to my neighbor, Sydney. She is the proprietor of Farmer Jane's Goats Milk Soaps and they are very fine soaps indeed.

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    3. Well in that case, I do believe she should get her own Farmer Jane's Soap Link.

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  18. I suppose openid is better than closedsuperego but it's just me, Vicki. I move so fast the internet can't keep up with me.

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    1. Crap. I knew who you were, but I didn't spell you right. Please accept my apologies.

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    2. That's alright. for 45 years my mother thought that my middle name was Anne, although she put Ann on my birth certificate.

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    3. Something about you just makes people want to vowel you up.

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  19. That sheep - and I know sheep - that sheep has achieved the acme of sheep ambition. Every one of them, in their muttony little hearts, yearns to go somewhere awkward to die - preferably in your primary water supply. That is one happy dead sheep there!

    I had a cat who would, in a paroxysm of affection, take my nose in his teeth, one fang on the outside, one on the inside, and just sigh in bliss. If he wanted, he could have pierced my nostril.

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    1. You know sheep.

      Huh.

      I hope Tater never does the nostril thing. Because that cat is purty but she has some nasty-ass breath.

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  20. Forget the sheep dog. To guard the fluff and mutton on legs, get either a llama or a donkey. Both have proven to be much more effective than dogs.

    And loving you with her teeth? Quaint expression, that. And, in Tater's case, so very apt.

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    1. Friend of mine once noted she was very "oral." I said she was more dental.

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  21. That sheep is past the point of communicating anything that can't be said with a massive release of decomposing abdominal gas... and really, what other form of communication does anybody truly need?

    P.S. Tater's so cute! I miss my furry friends, but I don't miss the hairballs and puke stains and cat-fur-upholstered furniture.

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    1. Naw. Sheep just sleepy.

      Hey! We've never gotten a hairball out of this cat. I guess they're all still in there.

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  22. Hey Murr! As a chap who writes the odd bit of whimsy, I have to salute this mail. Bonkers, ma'am, bonkers. By the way - "it turns out that you only really need to outfit one sheep"? Lovely. Indigo

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    1. It works just the same with humans too. OMG! LOL!

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  23. Since the ability to text appears to be the only qualification for voting, maybe we can register a few herds as Democrats? They'll cancel out all the human sheep ... and that would be a good thing come November.

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    1. Now you made me wonder what the actual world populations of donkeys and elephants are.

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  24. Oh lordy, I'm way out of the loop. I still use a land line and the cows I remember wore bells. Doreen Cronin's farm animals might move into texting now that they've mastered typing but the sheep and cows at the farm next door are still hoofing it out any gap in the fence and leaving old fashioned calling cards (which can be recycled into garden fertilizer).

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    1. Oh, those pesky calling cards. You can only fit so many in your pocket.

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  25. I have to wonder what the farmer does about the text message overage fees. Those could be pretty steep with a large herd.

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    1. I heard one farmer was done in when his entire herd took up Words With Friends. Even with only the "M" and the "O" they all had to think about it every time.

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  26. Murr, you are total comedy!

    "I am not biting. I am loving you very much with my teeth." That is flippen hilarious.

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    1. Easy for you to say. It's not your forehead.

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