Category Archives: mystran

Quality Nonsense

I’ve long been a fan of nonsense. (It seem me who they look where to sit down one’s.) Unlike its near relatives—noise, lies, and bullshit—real nonsense is surprisingly hard to construct, because the sense-making instinct runs deep with us humans. So when I see a performance like Vanessa Bayer’s as “Dawn Lazarus” in this SNL skit I tend to take notice. Which then leads me down a rabbit hole of related arts like double-talk (which is easier if you do it in a foreign language) and good old Engrish menu fails. Meanwhile, the glorious internet digs up treasures from the pre-Google era, like the player names in Fighting Baseball:

Now, in 2017, machine learning comes on the scene and opens entirely new frontiers for nonsense-lovers. Witness this attempt to train a neural network to generate paint color names based on the contents of the Sherwin-Williams catalog (producing some names that could have come straight out of LiarTown, USA):

I wasn’t sure about machine learning before, but it’s growing on me.

Links via @golan, via @annaleen, and via the great glorious Internet, long may she reign.

Good to Eat Mountain

Good lord of bad translations! I haven’t laughed this hard since I don’t know when. I’ve always been a huge fan of good language turned bad, no matter what the source. I once ate at a restaurant in Brazil that offered “Homelike Candies”, “Soaked Gold in Pieces”, “Half Kilo of Meat of Male Goat Roasted in the Ember”, and my all-time favorite, “Meat Fudge”. That same trip, I made my first and most glorious mistake in Portuguese when I asked the coconut-seller for “three shit waters, please”. Much eye-rolling ensued. But no two languages are more awkwardly matched than English and Chinese.

I dare you to read the whole menu and see if you can finish it without weeping real tears.

If that doesn’t do it, this one may send you over the top.

Thanks to Dado for the link.