Saturday, November 07, 2009

If This Is The Penultimate Post At The Dept., I Can Udderly Live With That

It's time for a new post, and I'm not too sure what I feel like writing about. Or if I even feel like writing. There's sort of a pervasive cloud hanging over a lot of the Minor Blogworld lately, I think. Oh, some people got all jazzed up after attending a conference; some people are making their blogs their business; some people are are participating in NaBloMyHeadOff, and that leaches readers/comments away; some people have hooked up with a comment promotion blog whose members zip around and comment only on the sites of whomever leaves the top comment on the list (or something) and then post a badge on their blog. Sigh. It's all very worky. And calisthenic. But it's all making me, for the first time ever, start to question whether or not the Dept. of Nance has run its natural course. I don't know. I'm not alone in this quandary, I do know that. No one wants to play to an empty theater; I guess it's the age-old conundrum of the tree falling in the uninhabited forest.

For now, I will continue to reflect upon the Original Mission of the Dept., and whether or not this enterprise is still satisfying to me. Maybe I'm just suffering from An Eeyore Episode, and a lengthy one at that. But maybe it's just time to gracefully fade away. I'm not sure yet. I'll decide in time. For now, let's move on.

Thanks to Google News, this arresting headline was brought to my attention, and I think it must be brought to yours. I'm not sure I even want you to know anything else. Period. Here is that headline, in all its wonderful imperative glory: VET SCHOOL 2.0: STICK YOUR HAND UP A VIRTUAL COW BUTT. Well? What did I tell you? Is that arresting and wonderful, or what? If you insist on knowing more, here is the link to the article. But you know me: I will be more than happy--overjoyed, even--to give you the most germane bits right here. Because, as I have said time and time again, when there is a good animal story to impart, I am all over it; that is my vow to you.

But I digress.

The lead of the article states, and I quote: "There’s nothing tidy about sticking your arm deep into a cow’s backside, getting up to your elbows in warm and gooey bovine innards. But for new vet students, there’s no avoiding the procedure: To diagnose pregnancy or check for infection, you’ve got to reach into a cow’s rectum and feel for the uterus, ovaries and stomach. Unfortunately, proper palpation is a tough skill to teach, because once your arm is buried inside a cow butt, no one can see what you’re doing." End quote.

Would anyone care for a hamburger?

Oh, I hear you. "Nance," you ask earnestly. "Is it in any way possible for this machine to get another headline almost as wonderful?"

Dearest, dearest ones. It is my extreme and uddermost pleasure to share. Please, please finish drinking any and all beverages as to avoid any spray onto keyboards and monitors. (If it is not too late.) If you are reading this in The Workplace, try to be Discreet. Are you ready? Here, then, it is: ROBOT COW RECTUM: FOR EDUCATIONAL, NOT RECREATIONAL, PURPOSES. (I especially adore the comma usage, don't you?) The writer of this post chose to take a distinctly more titillating tack and observed of its inventor, "with robotic organs and a monitor, she can teach students exactly what they should (and definitely should not) be grabbing." O-kay...! Someone is a little too preoccupied with teats and rump roasts.

This Informative Post would not be complete without a picture of said device. Especially entertaining is the Actual Cow in the photo. And the incredible posture of the Woman Whose Arm Is Elbow-Deep Into The Virtual Cow Butt. And...oh, hell. Just look for yourself.

Now, seriously...aren't you glad you stopped by?


  1. I'm nearly speechless. That's just absolutely silly! And I'm sure the machine cost them a butt-load of money.

  2. Thank you for the warning; I had put my coffee down.

    Seriously? Snork.

    Nance, I too am feeling cold draughts as the door opens and closes but I am going to keep on blogging. And I would miss you a great deal if you left. Here's to us - damn few like us.
    Love the description of November blog fever. Too true. Especially the headless bit.

  3. Nance, don't you dare stop blogging. How would learn about all the crazy animal stories out there?!?!?!

  4. DON'T YOU DARE STOP WRITING! I need you now more than ever.

    The fact that you can take the craziest thing and make it funny is a gift. Please keep sharing that with the rest of us.

    By the way, my blog will be taking a whole new turn very soon...just as soon as I figure out how to talk about our latest news.

  5. Blog apathy must be contagious. About a month ago, I stopped posting on three blogs. I had been posting several posts a week on each. The problem was feeling the obligation to comment on everyone else's posts. I used to be a teacher and commenting is like running out of encouraging things to say to students when they turned in work that was so mediocre that I could think of absolutely nothing to say about it. Do you ever have that problem?

    I guess some people live for comments ---they need an audience. I don't. Sure it's nice to receive comments, but I'd post if I never received any feedback. I can see who has hit my posts with a live traffic feed. Sometimes there are only 2 hits a day, occasionally 20. Just so I know someone is looking ---even one a day is fine with me.

    So for about a month, I stopped posting and stopped reading other's posts. And now I'm back but at a slower pace and determined to comment only when feel like it.

    Hey, what's with your cow fettish? I think I mentioned before that I used to publish "the MOOsletter" ---the cow lovers' international quarterly, featuring "all the MOOs that's fit to print." We had subscribers from every state and about 20 foreign countries, but it was a lot of work and I finally gave it up. If there had been blogs at that time, I would have published it on a blog. Printing and mailing were the worst. Sometimes I think I ought to dig up the old articles and post them. I bet you'd read them. But my plate is full now, so maybe some day.....

    By the way, I enjoy your blog, even though I visit only occasionally.

  6. I too have felt the blogging blues. Can't think of anything to say, and comments just fade away before I can get them on paper (or monitor). Everything seems boring and pointless, and real life has been very busy. I just need to re-group and post something, even if it's just to say that I'm alive.

    PLEASE do not stop blogging! I really enjoy what you have to say, and your sly take on most subjects puts a smile on my face and makes me wish I had thought of it first. I don't read a ton of blogs (don't have the time or interest), but yours is definitely one I always check. Smart and funny is my favorite, and you're all over that. Please please please don't stop! (Ok, I'm done pleading and whining now...)

  7. I've got the bloggy blues, and am not sure yet what that means for my blog. Right now it means I got nothin' to say. Sigh.

    That story is, well, GROSS. Thanks for sharing.

  8. J@jj--Oh, you're welcome. I just HAD to. Sometimes Google News is too good to keep to myself.

    Life at the Funny Farm--It's not my intention to incur pleas nor whines. It's nice to be wanted and to hear that, of course, and I'm painfully aware of this Awful Malaise that has settled on everyone and everything in the world. It's terrible, and that's partly the point I'm making. If I'm not having fun and no one else is, either, then WTF is this all for?

    CJ--As a teacher in the classroom right now, I can very much relate to what you are saying. I only leave comments on blogs when I honestly feel I have something to say that makes a point. Likewise, I only post what I think is good writing; I hate to think I've ever put up anything that's mediocre, but I suppose that assessment is, in the final analysis, in the eye of the reader. Be that as it may, I work hard on each post and only post when I know I can turn out a good one.
    My original Mission here at the Dept. was to make sure I was WRITING, period. I constantly was harping at my own creative writing students that in order to BE a writer, one had to WRITE. And write to be READ. So, I started this blog to keep myself and my voice sharp and to be disciplined. My second blog, The Brian Williams Tie Report, can still accomplish that, I suppose, and the blog that I keep with my son for fun can, too. I'm really not a comment whore, and I took down my hit counter because I really don't care, but comments are a nice dialog with my readers. I take care to answer them and my email. Even other bloggers that I have traditionally supported have sort of just dried up as they work hard to "build their brands" via their blogs. I get that, but it's a bummer.
    Anyway, the cow thing. I've always just liked them and had a thing for them since I've been little. I heart cows, everything about them. We chatted about this when you hit up my last cow-intensive post. I went back and read your stuff. Loved it.

    Karen--Threats!? Wow. LOL. I look forward to reading about your new ventures. And thank you for your kind words.

    Nina--Oh, you're so tough. As I said, I'm taking time to think about it all. I've been at this a long time, you know. Comparatively speaking, and it's kind of levelling off. Some things just run a natural course, and it seems a lot of readers have drifted away but haven't been replaced with new ones, you know? That should be telling me something, right?

    Mary G--Thank you. It would be lovely to be missed. And I'm glad I could forestall a pricey trip to the computer store! ;-)

    Mikey--If Nancy L. were still hanging around, she'd stomp right through that Pun Door you just opened! Actually, the machine is awfully useful, I'm sure. It's just the headlines and writing that are goofy.

  9. Nancy6:46 PM


    I don't want that poor bovine to be the butt of our jokes so I would spend all the moolah I have to see that she is protected from cracks about her anatomy.

    We cud and should do this. I would have to use my cowculator to figure out the number of time I have heard poor bossy called a Milk Dud when she went a little dry.

    Seeing her sad face as she looked at that fake rear end I have to ass you if you can get that pitcher pasteurize. No? I teared up,too!

    We could milk this subject all night but I'd rather listen to the Moody Blues.

    Please don't give up blogging, Nance. Who else would print this crap?

  10. Nance, A follow-up to a comment I left earlier.
    I just found this little gem:

    It's about refusing to feel obligated to blog or apologizing when one doesn't. Everyone has times when they are too busy or too uninspired to blog ---so we all ought to be OK with that.

    And isn't absence supposed make the heart grow fonder? If you miss a week or two, everyone will be that much happier to have you posting again.

    I so enjoy your witty posts. (I couldn't tell you one minute after a newscast what B.W. was wearing, so that blog isn't going to replace this one for me.)

  11. Oh goodness. I don't know which is more disturbing. The thought of you not blogging anymore or the robot cow butt. Both are making me shudder!

    And there is definitely something off in blogland. It really is quite palpable isn't it?

  12. Anali--I think there's an Overall Malaise everywhere right now, but especially among some blogs, yes. I've never been a fan of blogs merely existing to pat other blogs/bloggers on the back or trumpet other people's content, as some blogs do. I pride myself on always being myself. I don't post other people's stuff or simply link all over the place and be done with it. And I still visit and support the same blogs I always did unless those bloggers simply have stopped coming by here entirely. And some have. That's fine. I understand tastes change, and if that's the reason, I've got no problem with that. I also understand that sometimes, life gets in the way. But if I'm no longer relevant and if I'm also not having a satisfying experience, it's time to rethink. Thanks for your kind comment.

    CJ--Thanks. My issue isn't so much that I don't feel like posting. My issue is that I don't feel like posting if no one cares when I do. I hate waste and I hate exercises in futility. (All teachers do! LOL) Thank you for your compliment. My other blog "Stuff on Our List" is also witty and has the benefit of my twentysomething son's perspective also. Might like to sample that. There is a link in my sidebar, jic.

    Nancy--Oh, there you are! I've missed you. I'm afraid to count the puns in there, but I love them all. I visited your space over at the Elderblog. Didn't you see me???

  13. Nancy6:26 PM

    PHEW! You are still here. I was getting extremely nervous when I didn't see any additions to your comments.

    Nance, I would miss you so much if you stopped blogging. I read every word you write but I don't always comment because a lot of times I simply cannot come up with something worthy of your witty and wonderful site.

    I wish you could install an icon on your blog that we could click on that said,"Wow,I loved this post but do not have a comment. But, please know that I am here reading and enjoying your work."

    Or, would you rather we just say that in the comment box. No repartee, just say "I enjoyed reading this post but I do not have a comment and I do not expect an answer."

    I did not see you on Tuesday at the Elder Storytelling site. If you commented to me it did not appear...

  14. I post so rarely these days (and get by other blogs even less) that I've seriously considered quitting once my blogaversary rolls around...which as it next week. Cow made me laugh.

  15. As I was reading all of this, I came up with several, I thought, witty and original puns about butts and teats and cows.

    But Nancy took most all of them ahead of me AND made them funnier than I ever could! So now I have nothing clever to say.

    What a poopy way to start the day!

  16. J.--Nancy really cleaned house on this one, didn't she? LOL.

    apathy lounge--glad to provide a chuckle for you, especially in light of your new challenges on the job. we colleagues have to stick together!

    Nancy--So many people say that to me: that they feel intimidated, even, by the wittiness or intelligence of commenters here and are unable to comment. That's incredible to me. I thought the Dept. was a welcoming and fun and encouraging place to chat and just say almost anything regarding the post or piggyback on other people's comments. I know what you mean, though, that sometimes the post might be something that you just read, smile, or nod at. Why go through the beastliness of the blogger/Google commenting process just to say, "Good post!" or "Funny!" or "I hear you!" if that's really all you have to say? Having a button there to just indicate "thumbs up" is a neat idea. And I know that a lot of people subscribe in a reader or have my posts emailed and read them there and don't even stop by here. I have no way of knowing if they even read them anymore because this post didn't bring any of them out to protest the closing of the Dept. I still have some thinking to do, and I am doing just that.

    I don't mean to minimize the Very Loyal and Vocal Commenters/Readers here; I really don't. You know how I value you. I just need to decide what's In It For Me at this point and weigh it all out.

  17. Hee... On the other end of the spectrum here. I fell off the wagon of blog last year and lately have been feeling the urge to get it all out there again. Funny how that works. Hope you are well.

  18. Laura--I check in at your place almost every day, just in case you decide to rejoin the blog world. I know you mentioned that you use Facebook, so you probably have substituted that for blogging.

    I think that and Twitter have probably begun to ring the death knell for a lot of blogging. It's too bad. I think blogging is much more cerebral--more journalistic; certainly the quality of writing is better.

    At any rate, thank you for stopping by. I am reasonably well, yes. I hope you are, too. You've been missed, both at your spot and here at the Dept.

  19. I can't imagine why you'd want to give up something as fun as this. As my Grandpa used to say, "Never had so much fun since the cow ate my little brother." Amen to that, I say. Amen!

  20. Melissa B--Thanks for stopping by. I see your grandfather had a good grasp of how I feel!

  21. Leave it up to you, Nance, to give us the latest in animal-related craziness. In the movie, Food, Inc., the vet actually sticks his hand through an opening in the cow's stomach to measure the differences in E coli levels when the cows are corn fed and grass fed (BTW--the levels go down significantly after a week of eating grain vs grass; who knew?). The cow is just standing there oblivious and the vet said the "procedure" doesn't cause the cow pain or anything. Bizarre.

    As I said in the other post, I'd hate to see you give up blogging here at The Dept. But even one blog is a lot of work and you are doing three! Do what feels right for you and we'll understand. But, frankly, I don't know of any other blogger who can fill the void created if this is the end of The Dept.


  22. Shirley--How did I miss THAT cow story? I blame GoogleNews.

    As far as giving up the Dept., you're being overly generous, I think, but thank you. Comments are way down, although my sitemeter remains steady. I think the draining away of what I considered to be my base is what is most disheartening. I see it all over, that's true, but it's disheartening nonetheless. I try to keep things here top quality and to avoid tossing all kinds of extraneous junk in that isn't "me", like a list of links, how-tos, recipes, cutesy pictures, etc., just to have a post up, and I will continue to if I decide to stay active here. I just want to make sure it is worth it for me.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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