Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Hot Baby of Substance (Donna Summer)

Language: Russian

If there's one common saying I hate, it's "Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it." I hate it because, of course, everybody already is careful about what they're wishing for, and by definition, nobody intends the unintended consequences of wishes.

It is, nevertheless, the saying that best applies to my current life situation, unfortunately.

It turns out that I don't so much mind the work; I'm not really in shape for it yet, and there really is a lot of lifting and standing and pulling and what have you, but that's not especially worrisome, since my body will adjust to that in time, I assume. What I'm having more trouble with is the heat. I've done actual work at work now on six different occasions, and on at least three (maybe four) of those occasions, I've experienced symptoms of heat exhaustion.

Which maybe that's something that can be adjusted to too, given time, but, well, here's the story. I was scheduled to work Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On Monday, I didn't go in due to a misreading of the schedule. On Tuesday, I worked a full day: it was hot (and in fact the greenhouse temperature got as high as 96F, which when combined with the 100% humidity in there means a heat index of 167.5F, according to the forumla the National Weather Service uses to calculate heat index)1, and I was pretty miserable for the last half of it or so, but I worked, and I lived through it, though I was pretty exhausted when I got home, and I woke up at about 3 AM Wednesday morning with a screaming headache. It's been a long time since my body woke me up to tell me that we had a headache, but no big deal, it didn't keep me up very long.

But so anyway. I go in at 8 AM on Wednesday morning and more or less immediately felt like I was either going to barf or faint, which didn't go away when I moved into a cooler, non-greenhousey part of the building, or when I tried to work a lot slower, and the thing is that it wasn't even that hot yet, at that point (I don't remember the temperature exactly, but I do remember looking at the thermometer in there and being shocked and frightened to see that it hadn't even gone above 80F yet2. The outdoor temperature yesterday was supposed to be hotter than on Tuesday, and I was already feeling barfy/fainty, so I left early. I have no explanation for why this would have kicked in so soon in the day; the best I can come up with is, well, maybe I hadn't recovered entirely from Tuesday.

So but here's my situation now. I've been scheduled to work, so far, seven times. One time out of the seven, we have a fluke no-call-no-show because of the boss's quirky scheduling system, which isn't going to happen again. And two or three times I show up and work my shift and everything is fine. But this business of showing up and experiencing life-threatening heat3 every other day that I work is fucked up. Maybe this is something I'll adapt to in time, too, and even if I don't, the temperatures are all downhill from now until mid-January, so this could theoretically work out for a while. But I'm not making enough money that I can miss a day here and there and still get by, either.

It's still too early to tell for sure what's going to happen, but I'm not optimistic about this. Which sort of sucks, because I do kind of like the work otherwise. It's a lot less customer-intensive than cashiering was, and what little customer interaction there has been has been pretty enjoyable so far. But for as little money as I'm getting (and of course no benefits like health insurance or whatever, that might actually cover expenses if I were to, say, pass out at work and crack my skull open on some concrete), and the level of discomfort and actual danger I'm experiencing, there has to be something better somewhere out there. So maybe this isn't going to work out. And even if it does, maybe it's not going to work out for more than seven or eight months. I really can't be drinking more water at work than I already have been (which is what everybody at work keeps telling me to do: "Are you drinking water? You should have some water." In an 8-hour shift, I probably have 64 to 96 ounces of water4, plus whatever I have before I go in and whatever I have after I get home. I'm not dehydrated, I'm just too fucking hot.), so I'm not left with a lot of options.


1Metric equivalents: actual temperature of 35.6C, heat index of 75.3C.

2so, less than 26.7C.

3Body temperatures above 104F/40C are considered life-threatening; at this temperature, one typically experiences mental confusion, profuse sweating, drops in blood pressure which lead to faintness, and cramping or vomiting, which reads a lot like my day yesterday. Prolonged, continued exposure to heat fills in the following other spaces on the Hyperthermia Bingo Card: abrupt cessation of sweating, hostility, headache, behaving as though intoxicated (staggering, slurred speech, etc.), increased pulse and respiration, flushing followed by pallor, chills, shivering, muscle weakness, convulsions, temporary blindness (!), unconsciousness, coma, death. Plus, obviously, the free square in the middle of the card. All this is from Wikipedia except for the bingo stuff, which is my own addition.

4(1/2 to 3/4 of a U.S. gallon, or 1.9 to 2.8 liters)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I ate my heart here to await, to sit,
to call a certain lover of
approximately a thousand numbers. I collected
it, almost rang the telephone from the wall

to look for a certain hot baby of substance this evening,
a certain hot baby of substance tonight,
I want a certain hot baby of substance (which I was) this evening.
Gotta have a certain hotter substance;
certainly gotta have love tonight for
myself. A hotter substance:
I want a certain hotter substance.
I need the hotter substance.

He does not want another lover: others look for the
night. In my own portion
with the warm-blooded lover, my love is that which wanna . . .
wanna bring the tail end of the house (the reactionaries of it).


Hotter, it's hotter, it's hotter, it's a hotter substance --
hotter, it's hotter, it's hotter.
Hotter, it's hotter, it's hotter, it's a hotter substance --
hot, hot, hot!


It sat here, ate my heart for no reason;
it carried another night out on me.
I collected it about 100 numbers, which babies
jumped to, finding "someone" home: I am.

It's gotta have a certain hot baby of substance this evening,
a certain hot baby of substance tonight (which is me).
Looking for a certain hot baby of substance this evening,
I'm your baby of love,
of your love tonight.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Say It to Yourself, Say It to Me (Lionel Richie)

Language: Spanish

And I am employed again. Barely, but still. I got a job at the greenhouse / garden center in town that I like, and where about a third of my 200-odd houseplants originally came from, and this is a good thing, though I don't actually know what kind of wages I'm getting. Or what my hours will be. Or how many hours there might be. Or whether I'm physically up to the job: there's a lot of lifting, which doesn't worry me that much, but then there's also a lot of work in very warm, humid conditions, and I am not very good at dealing with heat. I hate summer, I hate humidity, I hate heat. So, naturally, I get a hot, humid job in the middle of the summer.

I'm also severely underslept: I was anxious about the job last night, plus thinking about a previous job that ended catastrophically and which I'm still not entirely over, and so when I woke up at 3:30 AM I found myself unable to go back to sleep again.

There's potential for this new job to be good, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I always expect new jobs to turn into that one. Makes stuff scarier than it really has to be. I'll let you know.

The song here, which didn't wind up being terribly good after Babelfishing, was one that I heard a lot when I was at the catastrophic job. There are (mostly pleasant) associations.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

[a] Say it to yourself, say it to me; always say that, for
it must be that way.
Say your opinions to me, who is;
say it naturally, together.

That'll have an ideal, impressive dream: had
people in the park played games in the darkness?
What he played was masquerade, and
he shouted outside, "Behind walls of doubt and a voice!"


Because we go under the solitary highway of life,
we must find a friend (the hardest thing to seem to do.): we
understand the hand that helps. Some of the two, she or whomever,
feel that you have lost your way. When (to him)
you have some there to demonstrate, to say I will --


So you think you know the answers. Oh, no, you
have the entire world! Because to him, the dances
are correct. I'm saying to him, that one,
that it is the hour to begin to think; oh,
you are shining, yes. Who are you? A star that she creates?


say it naturally, together.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Are You Still Crazy (Alanis Morrisette)

Language: Italian

I didn't mean to take such a long break, there, but things have been weird. I'm not sleeping well, for the past few weeks, and my unemployment is about to run out (one more full check, on Friday, and maybe a partial check in two weeks, but that's it otherwise), and there's always something more important than Babelpop! to be done, so there you go. Today, the exciting thing was that the ceiling started to pour water, out of nowhere, around 9 or 10 this morning: the upstairs neighbors recently moved out, and apparently left the place utterly trashed, because there's been construction / maintenance noises from up there for a couple weeks now. Until today, the noise was the only real inconvenience, but this morning, I heard dripping noises, and upon investigation, found water dripping from the doorframe of the bathroom door. Then water started coming from the air conditioning vent, the room vent, and the light fixture in the hall. Took a while to mop up, and I had to call maintenance to get it to stop -- which leaves me wondering whether it's maybe going to happen again. I'm a little afraid to leave the building.

Anyway. The above picture is something I found with Galaxy Zoo, which is an effort to catalog hundreds of thousands of pictures of galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey using human volunteer eyeballs, like my own. The picture is easily the coolest one I've found so far, but there are others:

The second picture is a galaxy that was previously known, and the first one might be, for all I know, but considering the magnitude of the project, there's a good chance that you might be seeing pictures of galaxies that nobody has seen, and so there is much potential coolness. If you're interested, go to the Galaxy Zoo site and sign up: there's a quick and pretty simple test, to make sure that you can tell the difference between spiral and elliptical galaxies, and that you know clockwise from counterclockwise, and then you're on your own. Some of the pictures are quite pretty.

Anyway. There are still a couple more songs in the Strawberry Trilogy to come, so be watching for that. I just thought, after all this time, that I needed to put something up, and I'd been meaning to post about Galaxy Zoo for a while, so there you go.

This song turned out okay, I think. The original is, of course, "Are You Still Mad?", and the whole mad-to-crazy joke gets pretty tired pretty quickly, but even so, I think it did nicely for itself.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Are you still crazy? You've given yourselves to the soccer base.
Are you still crazy? I've given you ultimatums.
Are you still crazy? I had all my forty-year-old male friends confront you.
Are you still crazy? I've communicated our problems with you to everyone.

Are you still crazy? Impressionable, I had a transaction without you.
Are you still crazy? Have you tried to model who you wish I could be?
Are you still crazy? I don't trust you there, your intentions.
Naturally you are,
naturally you are.

Are you still crazy? Who flirted wildly?
Are you still crazy? You have had a tendency to generate one of them.
Are you still crazy? The outside hatch is a foot towards that.
Are you still crazy? After we slept, that concluded it. Also, we had that in its entirety.
Naturally you are,
naturally you are.

Are you still crazy? I carried the pants more of the time than you did.
Are you still crazy? I seemed to put yours on fire only to upgrade them. Have that.
Are you still crazy? I've thrown that in the napkin.
Are you still crazy? I gave in much before that.
Naturally you are,
naturally you are.

Friday, July 06, 2007

That Strawberry Wine (Deana Carter)

Language: Portuguese

The husband and I went to my childhood home (from age 2 to 11) on the 4th of July. It wasn't the first time we'd been there; the first time was maybe two or three years ago, which is when I found out that the house I grew up in had been (briefly) a methamphetamine lab, then was bought and demolished by the neighbors. Now, you can't really even tell where it used to be. These neighbors had two daughters, considerably older than I, and one son who was a year younger, and who was, for all intents and purposes, my nemesis when I was a kid. We didn't ever actually hurt one another that I can recall, but we weren't friends, and there were fights. Unpleasantly, it turns out that he, the son, is still living in town there somewhere, which means that he's probably the one who's going to inherit the land when his folks kick, which seems grossly unfair to me. Not only does the neighbor family get to buy and knock down my old house, but then they give the land it used to sit on to Jared?

So but anyway. The town isn't much to look at -- it had about 150 people in it when I lived there, and is now down to about 125-130, depending on whose numbers you believe. But our old property used to be nice. There was a row of walnut trees along the west side of the property, and then a gigantic, ancient weeping willow in the front yard, in the northwest corner. A small patch of rhubarb in the middle of the back yard that we never did anything with, though I occasionally broke off a leaf to taste the stems, which tasted good. Sour-appley. A bunch of raspberry canes ran wild in the southwest corner, and were very very good when they got ripe -- I remember we used to collect bowls and bowls of them, and they were awesome. One or two mulberry trees on the southeast corner, which Dad cut down before we moved away, because when birds eat mulberries and then sit on Mom's clothesline, which birds are wont to do, they get purple bird poop all over whatever clothes are on the line.

There was also a crabapple tree by the rhubarb, which wasn't any good for eating, but provided things to throw at Jared (they had a tree in their yard too), and a few smallish lilac bushes on the east side of the house -- my main memory of the lilacs is that at some point, for reasons I maybe didn't even know at the time, Mom took me with her to break into a neighbor's house (oh yeah -- nobody locked their doors, but you should have guessed that) to leave a giant vase of lilacs on the neighbor's table. I don't even remember it being a neighbor we were especially friendly with, so it was kind of weird, and stuck in my mind. As far as I remember, it only happened the one time, too.

There was also a strawberry patch in the back yard, sort of in the center along the south side of the lawn. Like with the raspberries, when they ripened, they all ripened at once, and we used to have strawberries morning, noon and night for a week or so. They were awesome. Strawberries are bigger now than these were -- the huge mutant strawberries you can get in the grocery stores actually alarm me, sometimes -- but they're not any better. And God, I miss that kind of stuff, just having edible stuff just out growing in the yard, instead of getting them at the store. We didn't even have to work for the strawberries and raspberries, as far as I remember. They were just there.

What pisses me off is that none of this is still around: the neighbors not only bought the house to tear it down (which I understand it wasn't in the best shape anymore: despite what you may have heard, meth users aren't really fastidious house cleaners), but everything else got torn down at one time or another. The loss of the willow tree still pains me to think about, but that wasn't the neighbors, that was my uncle, who we sold the house to when we moved away, and he destroyed the tree rather than clean up the fallen branches. And Dad did the mulberries. But the rest -- the lilacs, rhubarb, walnuts, crabapples, raspberries, strawberries -- gone, at the neighbors' hands. I guess just so it would be easier to mow.

It makes the place kind of depressing to go back to, but there was also a little marker in the ground by the elementary school (where I went to kindergarten and first grade before they closed it for lack of students) saying that a time capsule was buried there. They'd put it in the ground in 1976 sometime, I forget the date, and they were going to open it on July 4, 2007. Which, growing up, I must have seen that marker hundreds of times, and 2007 would have been kind of abstract, but I figure I must have thought about it, what would I be doing in 2007, where would I be. I know I had to have done the math to figure out how old I'd be, though that would have been abstract, too -- when you're eleven, it's hard to visualize yourself much older than fourteen. I figured I owed it to my younger self to try to get back and see what was there, even though the objects in it wouldn't have had anything much to do with me -- my parents didn't contribute to the time capsule, so it would have just been some random 70s crap, other people's tastes, other people's memorabilia.

We got there too late, though. It was like 4 PM, and it had all been over some time before. Nobody around, no indication where the items might have been. A big area in the vicinity of the time capsule marker had been dug up; apparently nobody knew where it had actually been located. Which is funny. But otherwise, nothing. Just the neighbors, on a swing out in their back yard, which I could have gone and asked -- he used to be the mayor, and they knew the town, they would have known what happened. But I didn't feel up to dealing with them.

So in the end, there's just one more thing from my childhood that's not there anymore. All the plants are gone, the house is gone, and now the time capsule marker. It's not that there's nothing left, but even the things I remember are different -- I haven't been in the elementary school in maybe 20-25 years, and I don't know what they're doing with it now exactly but I think somebody's living in there. Maybe multiple someones. Also, there's a horse penned up in what used to be the school's back yard, right about where the slide used to be, which feels surreal.

I know you can't go home again, but still. Gosh. So much of the rest of the town is just like it was: only the stuff that was specific to me seems to be different.

This seemed like a good song for the occasion. It'll also be the beginning of a strawberry trilogy, even though I liked the raspberries better. (People don't write songs about raspberries so much.)

Possibly I should also note that slightly more liberties than usual have been taken with the song: normally I restrict myself to a fairly small number of changes1, and it's still not like I rewrote it all from scratch or anything, but it's less like the lyrics that came back from Babel Fish than usual. Not that you'll notice.


1rearrangement of word order; pluralization/depluralization; change of verb tense; deletion of words that just can't be made to fit into the song; addition/subtraction of articles (a, an, the); addition/subtraction of helping verbs and forms of "to be;" occasional reversion to the original word; changes of gendered pronouns. Most of these things are effectively randomized by the Babel Fish code to begin with.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The college worked it out through
grandpa. In my farm,
I thirsted for knowledge and had a car
stopped someplace. Yeah, I was agitated, in between a woman and summer --
a child finding the love of a wild one. We grow
in the banks of the river, in a well-beaten passage.
Those memories lasted; they were as funny as we were.

Seventeen: as the strawberry wine and
the hot moon of July capsizes everything,
my first taste of love was bitter candy,
as was the strawberry wine in the green grapevine.

I remember the thirty distillers well. When the elderly were
to go (when they had that mine), they were "Great September!" The fears
were absent: some cards, and letters, and an inter-urban call
that drifted. We were like fall foliage in the
place, but in the year after the year I came back to this,
only the taste of the strawberry wine was remembered.


The fields have grown an excess now, in the years since
the plough capsized them. That -- is not that,
that is nothing. The time didn't touch
my innocence, really, or -- is it that the loss of it is
so very lacking to me?

[a] [a]

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Fifty Ways to Leave His Lover (Paul Simon)

Language: Spanish

When the husband and I moved into our current apartment, he signed us up for DirecTV, among other things, because it was kind of a bargain, the way that Qwest and DirecTV had it arranged. Since then, many, many things have gone wrong.

DirecTV, at least in our area, comes with two satellite dishes, one for local channels and one for everything else. The one for everything else hasn't really caused us any problems, but the one for the local channels was installed so that it was pointed right into a tree. For the first couple months, this was a problem, because the leaves of the tree block enough of the signal that all our local channels cut in and out unpredictably. And we called DirecTV about this, and they told us that there was a software upgrade they could do, or something like that, and they talked the husband through a reinstallation of the card that programs the receiver, and stuff like that, but it didn't really get any better until winter happened, when the tree shed its leaves.

So all winter, we could watch TV just fine, and we knew that this was going to suck when the tree grew leaves again, but there wasn't anything else to be done, really -- the guy who came to install the dishes didn't tell us that he was pointing one of the dishes directly into a tree, and he didn't tell us that this might cause problems with the reception, and as far as I know, DirecTV customer support never asked, even, if there was anything blocking the signal.

When the tree leafed out and we began having problems again, DirecTV said that they'd be happy to send someone out to fix it for us, but they'd have to charge us for a service call, which I don't remember how much that was but it was a lot more than we wanted to pay. Considering that none of this was our fault, and that we weren't told that the installer was going to have to point the dish into the tree, and this was, therefore, entirely DirecTV's fuck-up, asking us to pay anything to get it fixed was, frankly, a little insulting.

Of course part of the deal was that we had to commit to a whole year of service from them, so we are only now getting around to the point where we can start thinking about getting out of the deal and having something else put in instead. The husband called DirecTV yesterday to get the service cancelled (and the weasels hung up on him, put him on hold for half-hour stretches more than once, tried to argue that our contract actually extended a month longer than it was supposed to, and all manner of other corporate vileness), and today we're supposed to have a cable guy come in and give us regular, good old-fashioned cable TV like Mom used to make. Which means I have to be around here all day, but it wasn't like I was anxious to go anywhere anyway.

So, moral of the story: the service provided by DirecTV isn't that great to begin with. They're awful to deal with in the event of technical problems, and you will almost certainly have technical problems. Where they're not malicious, they're greedy; where not greedy, they're inept. Save your money. Read books if you have to. Just don't sign up with DirecTV.

And, Qwest -- you might want to rethink your business partners here. Associating yourself with DirecTV is not going to make anybody think more highly of you or the service you offer.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The problem within his head is everything, she said to me,
if the answer is easy. Are you taking that logically?
She wanted to help him in his fight to be free.
There must be fifty ways to leave me to your lover.

She said, "Not to impose, really: my habit is
hope (or meaning -- in addition,
I interpreted that so it isn't lost to me; it isn't bad),
but I will repeat myself." At the risk of being crude,
There must be fifty ways to leave me to your lover,
fifty ways to leave me to your lover.

As soon as the cat's rear part slips,
they formulate a new plan. They're you, Stan.
No, Roy, they just need to be timid.
Get the free jump in the bus, Gus:
we don't need to discuss that much.
The key is the right drop of the lees,
and geting itself to freedom.


I said, "To see him is in such pain, so troubled,
could make a smile." (That desire had something to do with it.)
I said, "Please. That esteem again? Would you explain that to him,
on the fifty ways, and --"

She said, "Because we don't sleep, do it tonight, as soon as they both
begin to see the light in you, and I will create him in the morning,"
and then she kissed me. (She was probably right to.) And I realized that
there must be fifty ways to leave me to your lover,
fifty ways to leave me to your lover.

[a] [a]

Monday, July 02, 2007

Song of the Superman (Crash Test Dummies)

Language: Portuguese

The year 2007 is halfway over, as of today. I'm not a huge fan, but it's been a better year so far than some.

Grumpy at the moment because I was just out riding my bike, and a couple was jogging toward me on the sidewalk, and they didn't get out of my way so I had to get out of theirs. Rode off the sidewalk into some grass, and then when I went to get back on the sidewalk again, I didn't make a hard enough turn, so the front tire of my bike skidded along the edge of the concrete until the whole bike tipped over on its left and scraped up my left arm and both hands. I'm okay, but pissed all the same. Also the bike wasn't working quite right on the return trip, though that may or may not be major, or permanent.

Anyway. What we've got here is the bonus fourth song in the Superman trilogy. I probably like this song better than the other three; not that those ones are bad or anything, but I like the Crash Test Dummies aesthetic, and especially on the album this song is from (The Ghosts That Haunt Me), I think the CDT were doing a good job. Later on, they got a little less interesting to me, but that sort of thing happens.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Tarzan wasn't a man of the ladies:
it would only come longitudinally, and it would excavate them.
Under his arm quickly as that one, as a cat in the forest above.

Now Clark Kent had a real gentleman.
Wouldn't be stopped around in junglescape seat; none is as dumb as a monkey
that doesn't make nothing.

Superman never made all the money
that conserves Solomon Grundy's world, and at times I despair of the first world: never
will we see another man as he does.

Hey Bob, Supe had straight work,
that could've torn it into pieces through all the banks in the United States –
he had the force, but not.

The family said its peoples were all inoperative.
But Superman, he forced that disintegrated planet to continue,
to forget it and keep going to Krypton.


Tarzan was king of the forest, and the excess gentleman of all the monkeys,
but he could badly moor together four words:
"I Tarzan, You Jane."

The times when Supe stopped crimes,
I'll bet that the man was tempted to stop and turn his back part in,
join Tarzan in the forest.

But he remained in the city, and he remained in the clothes.
The change in dirty old telephone cabins finished its work; it didn't until
the rest had nothing to do but go in completely.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Or Superman (Laurie Anderson)

Language: Spanish

And the third song in the Superman trilogy. This didn't wind up all that far from the original song -- sometimes there isn't a lot to work with. That's how it is sometimes. I believe I've made my feelings for Laurie Anderson quite clear in a previous post; that kind of leaves me without a whole lot to say right now. Plus I've only just gotten up -- it's between 9:30 and 10 AM, but I haven't been sleeping well for the last four or five days. So I'm not really able to come up with much to say about this post.

Looking at the picture, there, I realize that the husband and I never did see that movie. We intended to. People said it was good at the time; I don't know whether or not it actually was. There just always seemed to be better things to do, somehow.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Superman's Mama, or Dad. And / or "Judge Dad."
Mama, or judge, or Papa and / or Mother. Or "Superhombre and Mother-Papa."
I'm not homemade now.
But if you wish to leave a message, that speaks right at the beginning sound of the tone.
Hello? This one is its mother. Are you there? You're coming to the house?
Hello? He's a caretaker? Well, you don't know me, but I know him,
and I have a message to give him.
Here the planes come.
So you better get a list ready to go. You can come as you are, whereas you go pay.
But payment is as you go.

And I said: AUTHORIZATION. Who's this one, really?
And voiced this: This one is the hand, the hand that takes.
This one is the hand, the hand that takes. This one is the hand, the hand that takes.
Here come the planes. They are flat Americans; America, in fact. Smoking or not-smoking?
And voiced this: neither the snow, nor rain, nor the nightly discouragement,
will complete the fasts of these messengers. They remain
because of their designated round ones.

When the love goes away, there is always justice.
And when justice goes away, there is always force.
And when the force goes away, there is always Mother. Hi, Mother!

Hold me so, Mother, in your long arms.
Hold me so, Mother, in your long arms.
In your automatic arms, your electronic arms. In your arms.
Hold me so, Mother, in your long arms.
Your arms of petrochemical products. Your arms of the military. In your electronic arms.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Super Man (R. E. M.)

Language: Dutch

Part 2 of the Superman trilogy. The song here isn't terribly interesting, because the original repeats itself so much, but oh well.

I have yet to hear anything official, but I think it's safe to assume that I didn't get the job I interviewed for, and it probably has been safe to assume this for some time. I have mixed feelings about this, many of which are depression.


- - - - - - - - - - - -

I'm a super man, I am, (Am I?) and I know what I happened.
I'm a super man, I am, and I can do, no matter what.

Do you make love with that guy? Now it's not really you.
I know that guy loves you, 'cause I see it exactly; you cannot.


I will trust you, little girl, if you leave me a million miles below, on
the way to your heart. Follow when I say I know.


[a] [a]

Friday, June 29, 2007

Superman (Sister 7)

Language: French

It's been such a long time since we had a good trilogy around here, don't you think? So here you go, the first (and most obscure) in a Superman trilogy. Why Superman? Because people name songs after him.

Sister 7 is an Austin, TX band, now split up, that a co-worker of mine a few jobs ago liked and introduced to the rest of us. This isn't their best song by a long shot1, but you know how these things are. The lead singer, Patrice Pike, has gone on to have a solo career; I couldn't tell you what the other members of the band have done, not being a big follower of the Austin music scene. In any event, the CDs are still out there, though they're not easy to find and apparently never were.

This is the only video footage of the band I could find on YouTube. They do a little bit of "Superman" from about 7:55 to 6:55 remaining, but I'm pretty sure the whole song isn't in there. It's hard to tell for sure: it's been a long time since I actually heard the whole song myself. I'm not even 100% sure that the lyrics I used here are all the lyrics the song has. Call me irresponsible.

1I liked "Nobody's Home," myself. "Bottle Rocket" was pretty awesome also.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I feel that, then.
To roll you up around me,
to note that I'm still awake.
The devil's laughing at me, counting each hour:
I only said that I loved you since you were leaving.
Then I speak a prayer in favor of
Mary: with the cause of anything, there's
Superman on the left, saying
"What I made could never save me!
Suffer with my twisted head!"
(You said that!)
You would run one defect above.

I guess your notification didn't
please, but – remain!
The heat of summer is surplus,
but I always need your chocolate jolt.
(Which I like it when you seem amused.)
I call you a word that you always liked,
but all your softness was employed, and I leave.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Energy is on Your Mind (That Which is Pure) (Information Society)

Language: Italian

My parents were fans of Christian rock music when I was a kid, though they, like many other Christians of the time (and probably many Christians now, for all I know), considered ordinary secular pop music a tool of the devil which would lead to abortions and homosexuality and devil worship (or atheism, which was plausibly worse), all things they were afraid of.1 This led to certain in-retrospect funny moments, like when I was traumatized in grade school by a classmate playing a single of Toni Basil's "Mickey" at 45 rpm.2

This wasn't the first secular song to be interesting to the 16-year-old me, but it's pretty close. It wasn't even the song I liked best on this album (that was "Tomorrow," which apparently Insoc and/or Tommy Boy Records never cared for enough to try to market it as a single, though that probably wasn't a bad call -- I'm not sure what I liked about it so). But it was still a song that happened to be in the right place at the right time, I guess, and sparked many years' appreciation for tinkly-boop electronic dance music (e.g. Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys3).

I don't necessarily still like the song, though it still sounds to me like an improvement over the band it's clearly trying to rip off, the Human League.

Decide for yourself. Here is the video:

1Some of these did subsequently happen, though I'm not sure that Mom and Dad were right to be afraid of them. My life hasn't really turned out how I'd envisioned it, but I hardly consider it ruined.

2If I remember right, I cried and everything. Very scary stuff, to have the devil attempting to brainwash you when you're nine years old and there's nothing you can do about it.

3Pet Shop Boys songs are, in general, Paula-Abdul-like in difficulty, though I did manage to do one, once.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

(spoken:) It's worked up now, but we're still not outside.

I desire to know what that's been thinking.
There are some things that you cannot hide.
I wish to know what that's been thinking.
What that says to me is, it's on your mind.

(spoken:) The pure energy. The pure energy.

An indication is around here in the hush: without observing,
I still find myself all alone. Is it the same with you?
I can see your things; I don't know that, behind the eyes,
our love can be developed. You hide from me, as if . . . .


So I could break it off in order to drain it,
but would that make it good?
I couldn't know for sure
what you align. That is to say,
they're here in the hush;
I must play that game. It's
you in the hush, and
the others, with nothing to say.


(spoken:) The pure energy. The pure energy.

Destruction. The pure energy.
Destruction. The pure energy.
Destruction. The pure energy.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Joy to the World (Three Dog Night)

Language: Spanish

Another placeholdery post. I could come up with something to say, probably, under normal circumstances, but I just got back from riding my bike not too long ago and my body and brain haven't entirely recovered from the heat and exertion yet. I will say that although I'm not, as a rule, fond of music written between about 1963 and 19831, I actually like this one okay. Frogs are nice.


1(I don't know why.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Jeremiah was a frog, a bullfrog,
was my good friend:
he never said a single word.
I helped him to drink, but who understood his wine?
(He always had a certain and
powerful singing of the fine wine.)

Joy to the world!
All the joy of the boys and the girls is
into the blue depths now. The fish
from the sea are joy to you and me.

If the king of the world were outside,
what would he do? Say it to me:
the cars would send the bars and the war far away, and
the sweet love does that to him. It sings
to him now.


You know that love of the ladies? That's for me.
My diversion has a love
of life; I'm the high aviator.
I threw the rider and a son-of-one-weapon straight to that rainbow; I
said, a son-of-one-weapon threw that straight.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Friends in Low Places (Garth Brooks)

Language: German

Nothing much going on at the moment: the weekend kind of went by without anything getting accomplished (or even attempted), so this is just kind of a placeholder song.

On the more positive side, for a placeholder song, it's a really good one. A few very nice lines scattered around in there. Especially toward the ending.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

He blames it all on my roots,
which I showed. In the loadings above,
I ruined your last affair of the black latch-plate.
In order to know
the latter, show me over to
the latter. Your thought was that
you'd see it.
And I saw the surprise:
his eyes can be in fear.
When I took his glass of champagne
and I roasted you, I said, "Honey, through
the weight, you heard me, but never myself."

Because friends of mine are in the low places,
in which the whisky and beer
drown my blue pursuits away.
I'm okay, and have
handled forms. I'm not social;
I thrash to Oasis. (Think on that!) The large are to slide
in low places. Oh, I have friends.

I estimated properties. I
wasn't wrong then; however, I belonged. As straight
as I was then, before, with
everything in order,
I didn't mean that. Good night, straight legend;
point me to the door. I and
he, I, a large fair
to cause a scene --
give me one hour and then
I'm as highly well as
this ivory essay, and
you live in that.


I'm not straight. I estimate I belong,
however. I was wrong then;
I've been there before.
I say everything straight, and am
completely good, right? That night has the facts,
and I point myself to the door.
I didn't mean for a large scene to cause
me to terminate this waiting period. Until the fair,
sweet, small glass lady
precedes me, then, I'm back to the staff.
And, I mean, you can kiss donkeys.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

It Really Makes Me Want to Wound It (Culture Club)

Language: Portuguese

Moderately upset right now, because I just found out that the ongoing indoor pest problem I've been having since February or so, which had been limited to a small set of about six plants, has moved on to two new ones, a couple gigantic cacti that I've had for over three years and am kind of attached to.

The pests in question are called mealybugs, for those of you who aren't into indoor gardening. I thought that I had them more or less under control -- in fact, I hadn't even seen any of them get big enough to be positively identifiable; I only knew that gray-white oval spots appeared on my plants sometimes and that they were way too symmetrical not to be insects of some kind. Now, there are some bigger ones, big enough that I can see some details.

The problem doesn't seem to be serious yet, but the gigantic cacti in question are big enough that they're hard to move -- over six five feet tall, with, of course, spines, so you can't just grab them and move them, you have to do it really carefully, and sooner or later the spines get you anyway, which is generally surprising, which if you're me often results in reflexively jerking away from whatever caused the pain, which if it's a six five-foot cactus is just going to result in more problems. No serious injuries yet.

So there has been a pretty hard-core shower (blasting them with water from a detachable shower head will physically knock off a good portion of the problem), followed by insecticide (which may or may not have given me a slight headache), and we'll see how well that worked. Even if it does, it was kind of a bummer to find out about this. Mealybugs are not supposed to be among the easier pests to get rid of, and it'll be some time before I know if they're gone or not.

This seemed like an obvious enough song to choose, given the circumstances, and it only got more appropriate after being run through Portuguese.


(Edited: the cacti are five feet tall, not six.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

It gives me to the hour
to carry my crime through to itself.
Left me to love and steal,
its eyes had danced inside of me; they
can be as real as I.

It really makes me want to wound it;
it really makes me want to make a shout.
The precious words
of the kisses that burn me
never ask the loving ones that.
Because in my heart, if the fire is burning
(my choice),
finding the color of a star
is a stage. The precious people always say to me that it
is the stage of the much-too-distant one.

It really makes me want to wound it;
it really makes me want to make a shout.
It really makes me want to wound it;
it really makes me want to make a shout.

The few words
that I have said myself
could waste a thousand years.
I'm involved in symbolic words of sorrow.
Come inside, and stop my rips: I'm to
believe you have spoken, but to me,
you will be yourself. True,
you didn't know that
this boy loves without a reason.
Are you prepared to leave it? I'll go.

If you want love of me, it will be
moved away. Then the examination makes
everything. That's not what
you saw that on today.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

You and Your Hand Control (Pink)

Language: Italian

This is the 200th Babelpop! post that's a reworking of song lyrics1, so I wanted to do something special. And this is special, to the extent that it's a song that's even kind of contemporary -- unlike some of these, they actually play this on the radio sometimes -- and it's one I really like. Which I couldn't even tell you what the last song I heard on the radio that I actually liked was. It's pretty few and far, these days. You might disagree that this is a good song, and that's fine. I don't blog for your entertainment2, muppetfucker.

How did it turn out? Well, I like the idea of being "sweeping drunk." I'm picturing the kind of drunk where you decide to start cleaning the house and rearranging the furniture and shit. This has actually happened to me before, so I'm pleased to have a term for it now.

I also kind of like "you turned your drinks upside down to me," which seems like one of those obscure cultural signals that get American tourists accidentally committed to duels and stuff. In the movies. ("But it was an accident! How was I supposed to know what it meant?")

The video:


1The awkward phrasing is because two of the posts are for the same song, "American Cake (Don McLean)," parts I and II. So I can't actually say that this is the 200th song, though for all practical purposes it is. There's also one post that doesn't count, because it's just an index.

2(Mostly, it seems, I blog for my own entertainment. For other people to be entertained, other people would have to visit the blog, and almost everyone who does so, sad to say, is a non-English speaker who's hoping to find a translation of either "I'm Too Sexy," by Right Said Fred, or "Comfortably Numb," by Pink Floyd. Seriously. Those two get a completely unreasonable number of hits. The rest, not so much. Which for the record -- I do feel a little guilty about all the non-English speakers I'm confusing. It's mostly accidental.)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

To indent it, towards the outside,
to exit the late night, that
tight sensibility seems pleasant.
I can fight it, tap that area.
This evening, as soon as I know that he's going,
we go down to the hatch. They don't attend because we know
the bar blows. Hardly six of them had begun,
when the dickhead put its hands on me. It's that,
but you see --

Your entertainment's not here.
The disorder this evening isn't with me; I really wished to
arrest the just, and be necessary a second.
I walked very well before you were in my life.
Knowing that before that ended,
the conservation began.
Your drink just gave me money! It's
you and your hand this evening, right?

Midnight: I'm sweeping drunk.
I do not wish to dance.
Fotune touched the support; the conjectures are from me.
Not to happen, not to listen -- is it just "bye-bye?"
You can say that that's hardly what your boyfriends wished to have;
you want to have my diversion this evening?


The breach of the breach
of the breach of the --
it's down.

In the angle with your boys, five bucks bet on
the girl: they sucked, but in order to obtain. She's walked in, hardly thinks that
you see -- you've hardly obtained the entire order. You're not that dressed up,
so who renounces you? You turned your drinks upside down to me, yeah --

You're high fiving, know shit,
not talking, but you've been going to the house alone.

Because it's not for your entertainment.
I'd really not wished for disorder this evening:
take a second to arrest the just, and
(just to arrest and be necessary a second)
walk here. My life's cause was very well before you were in that;
you know you're surplus.
(knows that ended)
Before the conservation began, that
drink of yours just gave money to me.
Are you and yours "of the right hand" this evening?
(are you and your right hand)

I'm not for your entertainment,
(No, no, not here)
I really wished to disorder this evening with myself, not
to arrest the just and take it to a second
(just return for a second)
life. You walked in very well, that was my thing.
Because, you know, that ends
before that begins.
Your drink just gave me money to conserve!
Are you and your hand right this evening?
Oh, yeah.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I Love Rock 'n Roles (Joan Jett and the Blackhearts)

Language: German

I think this one came out better than most. Something about the way "another dime comes into the jukebox" works out rhythmically appeals to me.

I don't really have any news or anything much to talk about. Still waiting to hear back about the job, though I think I'm hoping I didn't get it.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Seventeen: I saw him dancing by the record machine. I was to have been there.
(I could approximate it, which I did.)
The impact must go strongly.
My favourites were playing a song,
and I couldn't explain that to him
until he was with me. Yeah, I was singing, and you were longing.

I love rock, and roles;
therefore, another dime comes into the jukebox. You set a
rock in, and love rolls
the baby; thus, your time lasts, and I dance with myself.

He smiled, so I rose and asked for his name,
which he said doesn't constitute
the same thing (because he is a whole).

I mentioned your house, in which we could be alone.

And we shifted to following
it. Yeah, I was with myself.

First, we shifted to
it and sang. Yeah, I was with myself.

I love rock, and roles;
therefore, another dime comes into the jukebox. You used
the rock to roll your baby, and I love time,
so dance with me to the last.


We moved on
to sing the same old song.
Yeah, sing that with me: