Destinations: Spotting the cow sites


Friday, September 8th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


Just cows. This week we wanted to take a topic like, uh, cows — and see what came back from the Web. There was no lofty goal in the scheme, no social study of man's relationship to cows. We simply wanted to visit the online cow as a marketing and design tool, symbol of commerce and prosperity, and Internet icon. Needless to say, we emerged from the journey better people for taking this rambling tour of just what our bovine friends mean to us —besides grazing lower than us on the food chain, that is.


Cattle Cam

www.almaden.ibm.com/cattlecam

It was stunning how hard it was to find a camera trained on a live cow or two, though oodles of sites promised just that. We went from New Jersey to Texas to England in search of a working one, but most offered mere reruns of video cow action. Finally, we headed west, out to an IBM research center on the outskirts of San Jose, Calif., to get in a live shot of a cow. Granted, watching a cow can be an endeavor that only peeling paint or growing grass can top www.amused.com/cinema/grasscam.html So to keep adrenalin junkies happy, click on the 24-hour time-lapse photography for some high-speed stampedes of commuter traffic and the cattle. High drama, folks.


Top Cow

www.topcow.com

There's little about cows here, really, but the host is a stick-to-your-theme kind of guy. This phenomenally well-designed home page for a comic book publishing company of the same name features elaborately drawn characters from the creative mind of an artist who spent years working for Marvel Comics, penciling in more famous characters such as the X-Men. Maybe only diehard comic fans will recognize series such as Cyber Force and Witchblade, but we found our tour of this company's work worth the time. A cable TV network recently produced a movie inspired by one of the series posted here, and visitors can also take a look at the trailer of actors who "fleshed out the saga" on celluloid.

Tucows

www.tucows.com

This site has nothing to do with cows, either, except for its well-known yin-and-yang dairy cow logo. For years now, Tucows has been a wonderful place to download all sorts of retail software, shareware and a ton of free stuff. Its mirror sites are a great help when it comes to transferring massive collections of files, and the site is easy to navigate. On today's subject, Tucows also has about four free computer desktop themes that incorporate dairy cows into prepackaged screen savers and desktop wallpapers — some with moo music, some without — to keep the bovine theme running night and day at home or office. For those who can't stand cows, choose another theme, such as frogs or goats or chickens. No skin off our backs.


MooMilk

www.moomilk.com

Here's a mix of general cow-lover themes and a slightly slanted view of the dairy industry —brought to you by folks in the dairy industry, of course. That's not a slam on cows or dairypersons — we're just being udderly upfront. We suggest starting off here with the heartwarming Story of Milk, a virtual journey from the pasture to the tanker truck to the table. Sure, most of the page is designed for kids, but there are recipes here, a butter contest for aspiring chefs and toys, er, collectibles featuring dairy cows. Unfortunately, the site went too far in its What's The Cow Thinking picture contest. That's a lot like the timber industry sponsoring a What's the Tree Thinking contest.

The Bovine Bazaar

bovinebazaar.bizland.com In the e-commerce category of cow-related sites, be sure to look in on the site solely dedicated to cow merchandise — "and nothing but cow merchandise." Geez. These people have posters, plaques, magnets, paper towel holders, figurines, baby bibs and anything else that can incorporate a cow image. About the only thing not included are cowhides, mercifully. A search will allow visitors to hunt down valuable cow collectibles and antiques through the Cows Anonymous Web Ring. And in a heifers and Hollywood salute, the hosts have posted films that have — you guessed it — cows in the cast. Even Erin Brockovich included a scene, and we're not talking about the restaurant scene where her kids order hamburgers.


The Cow Dance

www.cowdance.com

If there are any doubts about how some people will take a theme too far — this column should have already proved that— this page could persuade Fort Worth to give up its Cowtown nickname. Animated beyond belief, this page features Elvis cows (or maybe they're Saturday Night Fever disco cows), cancan cows (heifers and Holsteins in perfect synchronization) and yaks playing electric guitars. And it gets worse. The hip-hop Hammer Cow Dance is allegedly a new item, not to mention the atrocity the host committed with a bucket of black paint on a 1987 Oldsmobile station wagon. If you need more aversion therapy, the site links to a lot more.