Super Sunday Hamster Blender Blog

17 September 2007

I From You Hope

Let’s pretend I have a friend in Korea. Or, more realistically, I have a friend who knows Korean but lives in, say, Utica or some other impoverished country. In any case, they cannot speak English. If you were to talk to them in English, they would smile and shrug at you in amiable puzzlement, just like our president.

So I write an email to this Korean non-English-speaking resident-of-wherever-who-somehow-is-a-friend. Because that’s what friends do. They write to each other and reply to each other and it never ends until your inbox is overwhelmed with hollow one-liners and links to exhausted web sites.

(Public Service Announcement: Please be conscious of the overuse of the “Reply All” option. A corporate mass email will go out; something like “Bill Splitmire lost his keys in the parking lot. If anyone finds them, let me know” and at least half-dozen witless cubicle pirates will respond with the provoking and necessary “will do” or “hope they are found!” or something similarly worthy of telling every soul in the company. Inboxes are becoming the McDonald’s PlayPlace of the inane)

Anyway, my letter goes as such:

My dear friend,

I had a lousy, awful day today. I dropped my car keys in the tomato soup, the factory closed down and now I don’t have a job, and I have this odd rash on my leg that resembles a cross between purple seedless grapes and a homeless person.

I hope to hear back from you soon.

Now, the smart, cheeky reader will be quick to realize that “Aha! He’s had that same rash for years!” The more observant reader will wonder how my Korean friend will read this if it is in English.

The answer lies in the greatest invention on the internet; better than YouTurd and Goofle and MySpud and FecesBook combined – the Altavista Babel Fish language translator.

Many of you are already intimately familiar with this mystical application. It works very simply – you enter in some text (that’s computer talk for “words”), and select from the drop-down menu from what language it is in to what language you want to translate it to, like from English to German. Then, little underpaid multilingual gnomes from the countries you specified work diligently to make the translation.

So if you took my email message from above, and typed it in, and selected “From English to Korean,” I get the Korean translation which I can then cut and paste into my email and send it off to my friend. Presto! Instant cross-cultural communication! Hugs for everyone!

Slight kink in the gnome’s armor, though. To gut check, I cut and paste the translated Korean wording back into Babel Fish and re-translate back to English. Technically, this is what they are going to “read.” So my English-to-Korean then Korean-to-English comes out as:

My love the friend whom it does,

Me it causes death, today there was a day when it is severe. Tomato possibility phu inside my car key in me by falls, factory now me which it closes is day and Ji Anh, frequently, my, leg where the person company who the color gun tile house is not resembles the cross there is a tumor where is odd in.

I from you hope the fact that it listens to quickly after.

We can assume that my Korean friend will think I am going to die, probably from a tumor. Or, wielding a tumor, I killed someone. At the very least, they believe I am completely insane. No matter, he’s imaginary anyway. But I do think I may have stumbled onto why all these countries mock us. They have no idea what we are saying. This may explain why Korea hates us, why we are in Iraq, and why we make movies like “Beerfest.” Our president may be better off blaming Babel Fish for the mess we are in. Imagine if President Bush sent this kind of letter to Korea:

Dear Korea,

I just want to be perfectly clear that we are your friends and not your enemies. Even though we desperately need another nation's oil and somehow we believe you are tangled up in that, we have no intentions of ever bombing or destroying your great nation.

And, yes, Dick Cheney is kind of a wiener.

Using the translator, it would read to them as -

Korea which is valuable,

That we are the your friend and your enemy who is not, me it is complete only and under clearness Sip it increases. Inside that it spreads out to comfort Ung height doing we under despairing about do the different national oil in necessity and under it sprouted we believe and attempt, us it bombs your company one nation until now, it destroys, there is not.

And, it is like that, tik Cheney is your sausage of up of Ul E about.

Holy crap! Not only can they infer that we will attempt to bomb their country, we are telling them that Dick Cheney is their sausage. This would incur international outrage on any weird little nation’s behalf, therefore resulting in President Bush shrugging his shoulders and saying “Why are they so mad? Stupid jerks. Guess we gotta bomb ‘em.”

However, if we look beyond these minor political implications, we now can understand and unravel some of life’s deepest mysteries. Like what the hell R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe is ever singing about.

It is clear to me (and my imaginary Korean friend) that Michael Stipe uses Babel Fish to write his lyrics. How else would he have come up with this from their song “Orange Crush” -

We'd circle and we'd circle and we'd circle to stop and consider and
Centered on the pavement stacked up all the trucks jacked up and
Our wheels in slush and orange crush in pocket and all this here county
Hell any county it's just like heaven here and I was remembering and I
Was just in a different county and all then this whirlybird that I
Headed for I had my goggles pulled off I knew it all I knew every back
Road and every truck stop

I am guessing the original lyrics were more like -

I bought a truck today and I drove it in circles
And there was snow on the road
And my glasses fogged up
So I pulled over and took a nap
Dick Cheney is a wiener.

Michael, wishing to be obtuse, simply runs these through Babel Fish a few times, back-and-forthing its way through Korean, Japanese, Russian, Greek, French and whatever he feels like (maybe based on what he is eating), until you get this nonsense about whirlybirds and jack-off trucks.

But is it nonsense…or absolute genius? Just what if Don Henley and Glenn Frey and Weird Al Yankovic of the Eagles had taken their horribly insipid, putrid, and pretentious lyrics of “Hotel California” and ran them through the Babel Fish ringer?

Let’s try with this classic example of soppiness -

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
relax, said the night man,
We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like,
But you can never leave

And after we are done vomiting wildly, we run it through Babel Fish. But since it is so deeply rooted in dreadfulness, I run it back-and-forth through Korean-English three times, then to Greek, then to French, to German, and finally back to English. The result -

It comes out also, or if, so that he peels the last thing,
of which it thinks these comes out, the exit made side in the place,
since he will bind, this program, which he receives.
It will always outside of A to become, and which will examine small mouthfuls it you,
and it owing to whole setting in doses will make, which publicise outside a movement outside,
and to that it releases dangerously the thing l is necessary,
a thing l, which it will make, so that also the occupation runs from night,
which speaks, outside from it publicises outside,
and positively and from the external water,
but the possibility requires that the indispensable person will give the expenditures of this region to Anh of the mountain and it uncovers

It’s as if Michael Stipe joined the Eagles and beheaded Don Henley and Glenn Frey and let Weird Al go free in a field miles from home. It’s not that bad. If it weren’t for the horribly characterless, cheesy, and self-righteous guitar riff, it may actually become tolerable, thus saving countless lives and marriages, not to mention preventing Eagles cover bands from experiencing the equivalent of publicly defecating on themselves.

One band that could use Babel Fish, Michael Stipe and a battalion of imaginary Korean friends is the thankfully-defunct band Boston. They simply could not write anything remotely interesting. To point, here’s the chorus from their song “Rock & Roll Band” -

Rock and roll band
Everybody's waitin'
Gettin' crazy
Anticipating love and music
Play, play, play, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

“Play, play, play, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah?” That’s the best they could come up with? How many seconds of detached, preschool thought did they use for this? Did they endlessly contemplate and debate that there should be one more “yeah” than “play”? I won’t even attempt to put this into Babel Fish, lest I totally sicken the gnomes, who I imagine, are pretty much fed up with my frivolity at this point.

Now, however, I am an opportunist, much like other great opportunists such as Al Gore, who has squeezed opportunity from everything, like when he claimed he invented the internet, global warming, and the Irish. One thing we learned from Al is that if life gives you lemons, ask for more, even if you don’t need them. And then take credit for them. All of them.

Sensing my Goreiffic opportunity, I take the translated letter to my Korean friend and make that into a song. Here are the lyrics pretty much verbatim as the email, along with a link to a demo recording of the song (click on the title). I call this gem “I From You Hope.” It’ll be a big hit with the emo crowd. Maybe the Korean emo crowd.

I From You Hope

Me – it causes death
Today there was a day when it was severe
Tomato possibility (Phuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu)
Inside my car in me by falls (in me by falls)
Factory now me which it closes is day
And Ji Anh
I from you hope
The fact that it listens to
Quickly after (quickly after)
Frequently my leg where the person company
Who the color gun tile house
Is not resembles the cross (Phuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu)
There is a tumor (there is a tumor)
Where is odd in? (where is odd in?)
And Ji Anh
I from you hope
The fact that it listens to
Quickly after (quickly after)

I’m onto you, Michael; I am onto you.


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