My Purple Cow Avatar
Posted by David Richards on March 26, 2009 9:00 PM EDT
It has nothing to do with Microsoft... or does it?
Okay, I was thinking I need to blog about why I'm using a purple cow for my avatar when I got a note from my friend Fred wondering why I was referencing Microsoft with my "handle". Decision made.
I graduated (with honors, though not necessarily of the scholarly type) from Williams College in 1981. Williams is a small liberal arts college in New England and our most notable alum is the assassinated President Garfield -- his legacy for unfortunateness haunts many of us even today. Anyway, the fearsome mascot of Williams is a purple cow. Nobody understands the true lineage, but the following is from the Williams College website. Go EPHs!
Purple Cow Mascot
"I've never seen a purple cow
I never hope to see one
But I can tell you anyhow
I'd rather see than be one."
-- Gelett Burgess, 1895
The "Royal (hued) beast" that has evolved into the Williams College mascot has no known genealogy! Unsubstantiated rural legend has it that she* is descended from those bovines that grace the earliest prints of the college campus. It is also conjectured that she became part of the college community due to the popularity of a student publication that used the college color along with the hooved creature.
In 1907, the Purple Cow humor magazine went to press for the first time with a plethora of student authored pieces and clever cow graphics. The name for the campus publication was the winner among many suggested. The editorial staff, of course, gave credit for its whimsical title to Frank G. Burgess and his jingle was included on the cover of the first issue.