Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Inventor’s Little Helper

By now you’ve read 19 hilarious stories about Bow-Lingual, the device that translates dog barks into English. I direct your attention to episode 8F23 of the Simpsons, Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes? Here, Herb, an entrepreneur and half-brother of Homer, introduces the Simpson clan to his new invention idea – a baby translator:

It measures the pitch, the frequency, and the urgency of a baby's cry, and then tells whoever's around, in plain English, exactly what the baby's trying to say! Everything from "Change me" to "Turn off that damn Raffi record!"

Herb gets $2,000 from Homer to build a prototype, and it actually works:

Lisa: Maggie? Maggie? [covers her eyes]
Maggie: [babbles]
Translator: [monotone] Where did you go?
Lisa: Peekaboo! [uncovers eyes]
Maggie: [laughs]
Translator: [monotone] Oh, there you are. Very amusing.

If anyone reading this seeks a recommendation about idea theft from the Simpsons, might I suggest Gum N Nuts, a fictional (for now, anyway) product with the slogan "Together at Last":

Lisa: It's awful being a kid. No one listens to you.
Grampa Simpson: It's rotten being old. No one listens to you.
Homer: I’m a white male, aged 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me! No matter how dumb my suggestions are. [opens kitchen cabinet, removes can of Gum N Nuts, tosses some into his maw]