As another working week rolls to a close, I’m left with a few pressing, unanswered questions.

1. What is the difference between ‘terminate’ and ‘exterminate’?

I mean, if you terminate something, you end it. And if you exterminate something, you…also end it. Should extermination only apply to a group of things, possibly? But if so, then why do Daleks threaten to ex-terminate individuals? And why, when the meaning is almost identical, is the prefix ‘ex’ used? Ex means from, terminus means end, so exterminate feels like it should mean ‘from the end’. The end of what, Webster? The end of what?

Stupid language.

2. Why would anyone make a spoken email alert that sounds like an angry Cylon?

There are three people in surrounding cubicles whose email software, on receiving a new message, goes ‘bleep!’ and then intones, in a low, electronic, so-robotic-you-can-feel-the-corners synth-voice, ‘you’vegotamessgage’, providing the constant background fear of being laser-blasted into space dust. The question isn’t why the voice software exists, but why it’s apparently the default spoken setting on our office computers. It’s downright unsettling, and – even worse – not one of the people whose alert this is has ever heard of a Cylon, meaning that my brilliant Battlestar quips are utterly wasted.

3. 300 pigs have stampeded through a Victorian town.

They were headed for the slaughterhouse when the truck they were in tipped over. It’s like the Great Escape, only without Nazis. Wouldn’t it be fair if we let them go rather than rounding them back up – sort of a, ‘You win this time, pig, but I’ll be watching you!’ dealie? Poor little dudes. If only they weren’t so tasty.

  1. With respect to the Dalek-related question, surely we should be wondering not whether they should be saying “terminate” or “EXterminate”, but how they envisaged doing so with a sink plunger for a weapon.

    Just sayin’ ……

  2. fozmeadows says:

    Those plungers might look dorky, but I’ve seen ’em in action. Sucked a man’s face *clean off*. But still, yes – I mean, props to the props department (chortle!), but it was like, ‘Hey, you know what’d be awesome? Let’s get a sink-plunger and an eggbeater and stick them on the robot! It’ll scare the domestically challenged!’

  3. Iain Hall says:

    I too was going to make a Dalek reference but mine was to suggest that in the first instance you think of Arnnie “I’ll be back” Schwarzenegger and in the second you think of the Doctor’s nemesis.

  4. bejewell says:

    I’m conflicted. I feel terrible for those cute little pigs, and a very large part of me is rooting for them to make it.

    But bacon is Delicious.

  5. fozmeadows says:

    Homer: Lisa, why’d you want to be a vegetarian? Animals give us lots of good things, like ham, and pork, and bacon –

    Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal.

    Homer: Yes, Lisa – a “magical” animal!

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