Monday, February 07, 2011

Ach! those oxen!

Anybody who knows me can tell you I spend far too much time on a certain social network, frittering away my life in its endless apps. I kinda like them. a little.

Okay, I'm a bit of an addict.

But one thing that gets me in a mood to ditch them all is misinformation. Sometimes, it's the misspelling of a simple word, such as a kestrel being labeled as "kestral," or the redundancy of "narwhal whale". But, most of the time, I simply utter an "aargh!" and move on.

Still, one thing that keeps popping up in a number of games is of the bovine ilk. To be more specific, the ox. In one game, I was awarded "an oxen". In several others, I see cows are grown from "baby cow" while oxen -- or, in one game, "oxes" -- come from "baby ox". It appears the folks who write these programs are city kids who might not even be able to tell the difference between a cow pony and a cow patty.

For those whose experiences do not entail... er... oxtails, let me make this a little clearer.

You begin with a calf. It comes from a cow. That cow was once a heifer, but she got old enough to become mate to a bull. Now, that bull was once a calf, too, and grew up, grew a pair, and took an interest in reproduction. Not all male calves get to do that. In fact, the majority of male calves in western civilization are neutered. They don't live very long, after that -- not because they are pining for what they've lost. No. In truth, they have foreshortened lives because, once they are snipped, they are encouraged to become soft and lazy, producing massive amounts of meat, for which they will be slaughtered at the end of a couple of years, at most. So, an altered bull is a steer... under normal circumstances. Under optimal circumstances (for the steer), it gets a job. Hitch it up to a cart or a plough, and it becomes an ox. Two or more of these, combined, will be oxen. It's as simple as that.

So, let me rehash that, in plain, clear English, for programmers:
Cow + bull -> calf.
Girl calf = gonna be a heifer = probably gonna be a cow.
Boy calf = maybe gonna be a bull.
Boy calf - testicles = steer.
(Boy calf - testicles) + career = ox.
x(Boy calf - testicles) + career = oxen (when x >1).

Clear enough?

Not that I think it's going to make a difference with these apps... that would be as delusional as thinking I'm going to win the lottery, or something. But I feel better, now.

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