Gary's Third Pottery Blog

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Gary's third pottery blog

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010


My pal G.H.F. Gal is talking cow with red spots. I hope she will consider white with black spots. This is a pretty awesome teapot, I gotta make MORE!

(teapot by Gary Rith)

From an article on the science of COW TIPPING:

Cow tipping is the supposed rural activity of sneaking up on an upright sleeping cow and pushing it over for amusement. Some variants of this urban legend state that the cow is then unable to get up. The appeal of this myth derives from the belief that cows are slow-witted and top-heavy, and the corollary assumption that relatively little force would need to be applied to the top of such apparently precarious ruminants to tip them over.
1 Evidence that cow tipping is an urban myth

There is no evidence aside from (mostly unreliable) eyewitness reports that any cows have ever been tipped in this manner. In addition, there are a number of problems with typical accounts of cow tipping. Unlike horses, cows do not 'lock their legs' when they sleep. Most of their sleep is very light and easily disturbed - typical of herd prey animals. They take short naps at regular intervals throughout a 24 hour period, which means that at any given time, some members of the herd are aware and alert. The vision field of a cow is larger than that of a human, and they have acute senses of hearing and smell. Cows are not easy to sneak up on, and quickly communicate to the rest of the herd that something is amiss.

Cows are large, and would be a challenge even for several people to tip over. A grown cow can be over 5 feet high with a mass of on the order of 700 kg (1,500 pounds) and sometimes reaching 900kg. By way of comparison, a typical sumo wrestler masses only 140 kg (310 lb). The four corners of a large domestic refrigerator (or a small European car) fairly closely approximate the spread of a cow's legs. If the refrigerator were cut down to five feet, filled with 400kg of lead weights, and placed in a muddy field, tipping it would offer a comparable challenge to tipping a cow.

Finally, attempting to tip a cow is a patently dangerous activity. Despite the animal's reputation for being placid and slow-moving, a cow is easily capable of hurting someone when provoked or nervous; a herd of cows or a bull (not always easily distinguished in the dark) would be even more dangerous.

Some versions of the cow tipping story attempt to evade these objections by claiming, for example, that although cows lie down to dream, they can still doze while standing. Others appeal to a paper published by the University of British Columbia's Zoological Physics department, which calculates that, given a sudden push, as few as five people could reasonably topple a cow.


Anna M. Branner said...

I must say. Cow tipping DOES exist. My husband grew up in the mountains of rural Virginia where cow tipping, if not common, was an occasional sport! You are correct in stating that it is a dangerous past time. He watched as his brother skillfully dodged the cow pies....tipped a calf (because a cow takes more than one person and felt sure he could push a calf on his own....) and proceeded to be kicked in the head!

cookingwithgas said...

put the cow down and back away- it happens here as well.

Unknown said...

If I tip the cow, all my tea will spill out... and that's no good.

Nicki said...

Cow tipping! What else will teenagers do in a rural area? LOL!

Hilary said...

Isn't that the last line of "I'm a little teapot? (tip me over and pour me out" Seems quite necessary in this case.

I think it turned out perfectly. You did a great job.

Gordo said...

Anna's right. Cow tipping used to be quite common around here. In some areas it's a teenage right of passage: tip a cow to become a man sort of thing.

Farmer*swife a/k/a Glass_Half_Full said...

GR, the black and white cow tea pot is fantastic and a perfect masterpiece!

I would love a red and pink but I think you are right. This one matches my cow with udders coffee cup perfectly!

I'll take it!

Jay said...

I was the cow tipping champion around these parts growing up. In fact I was so notorious among the cows in Boone County Arkansas, that they would tip themselves before I could get to them out of respect for my skillz. ;-)

cindy shake said...

Holy Cow! That teapot is FAB! I love the black & white with pink and how you made it's nose!!

Unknown said...

That cow teapot is THE BEST cow teapot I have ever seen!!!!

Gary's third pottery blog said...

she vomits out tea, I s'pose you could say.....naturally there are pink TEAts underneath....

Julia said...

I love this teapot! Given my upcoming cow arrivals, I may need to ask you to make a Jersey version. :)

Susan as Herself said...

I grew up in dairy country, and cow tipping happened, but I never went... I love cows too much! Their eyes are so pretty, and they are so sweet. Plus, I love cheese too much to risk hurting a cow!!!

I love that teapot too!

Barbara said...

I would tip your cowpot at least 15%.

Kari Weaver said...

How can I tip her when she wears no garter?

Jeannette StG said...

You mean to say that your cow-pot is a heavy one?
Love the "research" that you did on the myth (wink wink)

Anonymous said...

i had a friend in grad school that swore he used to tip cows with his friends in high school

Cheryl said...

I wouldn't try such a thing as I wouldn't want to step in a cow pie or two or three! Love the cow teapot!!

cm said...

Never mind cow tipping, how awesome is zoological physics?
The teapot is pretty awesome, too, btw.

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I am a full-time studio potter, sculptor, and dog walker, married to superhawt Missus Tastycake.