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Shì shì shì shí shī, shì shǐ shì, shǐ shì shí shī shìshì
September 2, 2007 7:21 PM   Subscribe


 
Reminds me of the poetry machine taking commands in "The Cyberiad" by Lem:

"Have it compose a poem--a poem about a haircut! But lofty, noble, tragic, timeless, full of love, treachery, retribution, quiet heroism and in the face of certain doom! Six lines, cleverly rhymed, and every word beginning with the letter s!!"
...
Seduced, shaggy Samson snored.
She scissored short. Sorely shorn,
Soon shackled slave, Samson sighed.
Silently scheming,
Sightlessly seeking
Some savage, spectacular suicide.
~ from The Cyberiad, originally written in Polish and translated by Michael Kandel into English

posted by McLir at 8:24 PM on September 2, 2007 [2 favorites]


That is cool.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:15 PM on September 2, 2007


Wow.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 10:01 PM on September 2, 2007


Sayang, sayang... sayang sayang sayang. Sayang sayang sayang?
Sayang.

Sweetie, sweetie ... I love you. Do you love me?
Yes.
(Malay and Indonesian)
posted by Xere at 10:40 PM on September 2, 2007 [3 favorites]


Neuromancer has one of the best opening sentences of any book, ever.

That opening line is um, not.
posted by empath at 11:20 PM on September 2, 2007


MeFi is also the color of television tuned to a dead channel.

That Buffalo thing buffalos me every time.
posted by Foosnark at 11:34 PM on September 2, 2007


I still can't figure it out past eleven Buffalo.

One of my favorite signs in Taiwan was 默宰羊烤肉店 (I think I'm getting the first character right, the others I know I'm getting right), which was definitely in Taiwanese. The first three characters can be read in Mandarin, and would mean "Silently killing goats" (silence of the lambs?), but kinda nonsensically. But read them in Mandarin and they make a great transcription of the Taiwanese phrase "Don't know" or "I don't know". Oh, and it was a BBQ restaurant. Great wordplay there.
posted by jiawen at 2:28 AM on September 3, 2007


But read them in Mandarin and they make a great transcription of the Taiwanese phrase "Don't know" or "I don't know". Oh, and it was a BBQ restaurant. Great wordplay there.

Considering that without Unicode fonts installed it renders as ?????? in Firefox it's even more awesome that it can mean "I don't know."
posted by public at 3:03 AM on September 3, 2007


Hee hee!
posted by jiawen at 4:11 AM on September 3, 2007


delmoi- it's not the opening line, it's at the end of a paragraph in chapter two.
The world outside the restaurant’s windows, beyond words in a red plastic Cantonese neither of them could read, was the color of a silver coin, misplaced for decades in a drawer.
The folks over on that blog thing are doing an excellent Viking Plate Of Beans job on it. It's just the author informing us passively that the characters are in a Chinese restaurant and that they are not Chinese. That's it. Gibson probably used "Cantonese" simply because it looks good.
posted by sidereal at 4:27 AM on September 3, 2007


this FPP urgently needs the tags chicken, chickenchicken and buffalo from the previous MF posts:

Chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken
and Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

the tags homonyms and homophones (as well as maybe badgerbadgerbadger) would be good tags (but less fun) to generally classifiy these kinds of posts
posted by umop-apisdn at 5:24 AM on September 3, 2007


Now that I think about it, is there any way Badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger mushroom mushroom could be a sentence? Is there a city named Badger?
posted by fungible at 7:17 AM on September 3, 2007


:-) Thanks for this post!
posted by honest knave at 7:29 AM on September 3, 2007


The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to America's Next Top Model.
posted by nasreddin at 8:52 AM on September 3, 2007


the hungry poet's pursuit of lions is a better story that buffaloes intimidating each other.
posted by ioesf at 9:01 AM on September 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


For the buffalo trick to work, the word doesn't have to be a city name. It needs to be a (plural/collective) noun and a verb that can be either transitive or intransitive. There are at least 10 others that it works with reasonably.. someone did a project on this at my undergrad institution. Can't remember them now... maybe fish?

Here are examples of how the parsing works, with other words substituted. It's an increasingly deep hierarchy of scared buffalo who lash out at the buffalo below them.

1. buffalo
(Intimidate!)

2. buffalo buffalo
(dogs intimidate)

3. buffalo buffalo buffalo
(dogs intimidate cats)

4. buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo
(cats dogs intimidate intimidate)
(cats that dogs intimidate, themselves go on to intimidate.)

5. buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo
(cats dogs intimidate intimidate mice)
(cats that dogs intimidate, themselves go on to intimidate mice.)

6. buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo
(mice cats dogs intimidate intimidate intimidate)
(mice, that are are intimidated by cats that dogs intimidate, themselves go on to intimidate)

7. buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo
(mice cats dogs intimidate intimidate intimidate ants)
(mice, that are are intimidated by cats that dogs intimidate, themselves go on to intimidate ants)

8. buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo
(ants mice cats dogs intimidate intimidate intimidate intimidate)
(ants, that are intimidated by mice, which are intimidated by cats that dogs intimidate, themselves go on to intimidate.)

And so on. From there you can see how the pattern of even and odd additions goes.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:41 AM on September 3, 2007


That is, up past eleven buffalo it's just more of the same thing. It just starts to sound increasingly like nonsense even in substitutions because we overrun our mental buffers for embedding.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:44 AM on September 3, 2007


Now that I think about it, is there any way Badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger mushroom mushroom could be a sentence? Is there a city named Badger?

No, but with rising and lowering intonation I could make it sound like it was a sentence.

Badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger badger... and now badger doesn't even look like a word anymore. Nevermind.
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:49 AM on September 3, 2007


LobsterMitten: From the other post on this, you can overrun them pretty fast:

Bulldogs fight. (OK)
Bulldogs bulldogs fight fight. (Ooooooookay... oh, yeah OK.)
Bulldogs bulldogs bulldogs fight fight fights. (Wait, what?)

That last one is not (just) some kind of football cheer, its a sentence that overloads the buffer. You CAN figure it out, if you really try, but you'll never actually get it on reading.
posted by The Bellman at 12:37 PM on September 3, 2007


Sorry -- not "fights" but "fight".

"Bulldogs bulldogs bulldogs fight fight fight."
posted by The Bellman at 12:37 PM on September 3, 2007


Another one is "police". Who polices police? Police police. Who polices police police? Police police police. Ad nauseam. I'm not sure it's entirely sensical, however.
posted by jiawen at 1:01 PM on September 3, 2007


Anyone else reading the book at the moment? I'm about 2/3rds through, and it's quite good.

I'm not sure if it's as good as Pattern Recognition (yes, I want a black Buzz Rickson MA-1 jacket), but it's classic Gibson so it's better than most things you'll read.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 3:39 PM on September 3, 2007


MeFi is also the color of television tuned to a dead channel

Except a circa-1979 television tuned to a dead channel would be an entirely different colour.
posted by arto at 6:17 PM on September 3, 2007


Hey, I had never thought about the implications for the blue `dead channel' we see these days.

So, people growing up with older TVs would think of Gibson's "sky the colour of a TV tuned to a dead channel" as a gritty grey, more recent TV watchers would imagine it as a bright blue.
posted by tomble at 6:54 PM on September 3, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was never sure myself. I originally assumed it was grey, but somewhere along the line I decided it was blue, without noticing.
posted by Foosnark at 9:04 PM on September 3, 2007


tomble - exactly how I read it at first, too - having grown up with static.
Some years later, I realized what he meant, while at a BestBuy or something on a beautiful day.

Finished the new book about a week ago and thought it to be pretty good. I related to it a little more than Pattern Recognition, but like you said, they're both likely to be better reading than the majority of the alternatives.
posted by bashos_frog at 5:37 AM on September 4, 2007


Anyone else reading the book at the moment? I'm about 2/3rds through, and it's quite good. - WinnipegDragon

I finished it a couple of days ago. I found it a bit disappointing, to be honest. I've always really enjoyed Gibson, but his writing in this one just seems a little flat in parts. Particularly in the end, where the action just sort of trails off, the motivations of the characters seem hollow (and silly?), and Gibson ties everything up with a big, pink, Hello-Kitty-style bow that left me incredibly unsatisfied.

After a couple of days of reflection, though, I'm not entirely sure that wasn't his point...

Regardless, this book does show us Gibson with an ax to grind, and I think I like him to focus on the rich environments and interactions we expect from him, rather than on the point he's trying to make. Just my two cents...
posted by rush at 12:58 PM on September 4, 2007


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