Now hold on just a second there! Don't throw away that Takara Bow-Lingual translator just yet!
Recommend this product?
Of course you were a total idiot for buying it in the first place, after all it is just about the most ridiculously needless application of technology that could ever have existed. But let's face it, all is not lost even if you were one of the 5 or 6 people in the world who were dumb enough to actually cough up good, hard-earned U.S. currency for one of these silly things (maybe you bought into that nonsense about it letting you talk to dogs like a veritable Dr. Doolittle). There may still be a use for the silly thing...
A dog translator. Can you believe it?
Will there ever be a more complete and utter waste of good plastic than this? Heck, it was a waste of 5 cents worth of plastic back when it was first introduced in the market, about two years ago, at the absolutely ridiculous price of almost $100. Now that pet stores are dumping their leftover stock for as little as $10, you're starting to see them show up in garage sales at their true value of about 50 cents or best offer (barter for can of Alpo will be considered). If you can snag one for 50 cents, I would definitely recommend snagging it for use for its one useful purpose in life --- as a great party toy!
What Is the Takara Bow-Lingual?
Okay, you've seen little pocket gadgets to translate english phrases to french, or russian, or whatever. Well, this thing works along those lines, but translates dog barks to english.
There's 2 parts to the package: a hand console that shows you little picture icons reflecting one of 6 "moods" of the dog and a translation of what he or she is saying, and a microphone transmitter thing that you can clip to the dog's collar.
Theoretically, the device uses sound imprints to figure out the dog's mood, and then it chooses one of 200 pre-programmed phrases (about 80 per mood) to display on the screen. The dog could be happy, needy, anxious, etc. It's all explained with the unit.
What matters is, allegedly, the folks at Takara employed real scientists to waste their time listening to dogs barking to figure out the difference between a Doberman who wants to rip your heart out, and a yipping Chihuahua begging to be mistaken for a football that needs to score a field goal from the 30-yard line.
Naturally, dogs are different, and you do need to run through a little bit of setup to tell the device what breed of dog is you're listening to. After all, you can very well expect a bold German shepherd to speak like a wimpy little French poodle now, do you? Of course not!
So you run through the setup screen to choose the dog type, then away we bark!
Who Let the Dogs Out? Woof! Woof!
Last week, I had the distinct pleasure to be at a party, and the host had snagged himself one of these little gems and it was the hit of the party! Yessirree, the device may be idiotic as all get out, but THAT, my friends, is where it's frivolic genius shines!
The device's owner was showing us how it worked with his border collie, Sampson (a cool little canine, if ever there was one). People tried jumping up and down to get him barking, but the only thing that really seemed effective was when Sampson's owner waved this chewed up piece of rubber around --- that thing sent the dog bonkers! (And made for LOADS of sampling and recording opportunities).
Now most of my friends are rather educated sort of people with bohemian bents, and such folks being arguably over the legal limit for driving under the influence in most states (including the great state of Texas), they proceeded to take over Sampson's role as dog.
We all contented ourselves for a while trying to calibrate the unit to pick up on different people's barking sound (I seem to bark more like a retriever than a spaniel, so I've got that going for me!)
When people weren't barking, they were laughing uproariously. All except for Sampson, who quietly stood at the side of the porch, looking at everyone like they were some kind of certifiably insane imbeciles or something.
It wasn't too much longer before someone had enough beer under his belt to try translating some other sounds. Clapping, banging a shovel on the sidewalk, flushing the toilet, etc. This was all extremely educational, but what got the most smiles was when Bob decided to fire up his Harley Davidson FatBoy and see what the Bow-Lingual thought it was saying. The bike is sitting there idling with the typical Harley snarl that sounds like a slow "bleedy bloody bleedy bloody...." and it took us a little playing with the bigger dog breeds before we found out that we really only got the Bow-Lingual to acknowledge us when it was set to "Saint Bernard". So, according to the Takara Bow-Lingual, an idling Harley Davidson FatBoy is in an "on guard" mood and is saying "I'll bite you!"
Wow! These things evidently do work. Maybe I'll have to get one and bring it into marketing meetings so I can figure out what the yipping little twits in suits are trying to say. Bet I set it to "Pekingese" for those characters...
Sure, Takara's Bow Lingual is one of the stupidest inventions to ever get out of the lab and onto retail shelves. That doesn't mean it's completely useless though, it's more entertaining at parties than a big screen TV. I definitely recommend snagging one if you see it in a garage sale or flea market.
Now, in order to be as maximally consumerly helpful as I can be, here are a few recommendations for settings that you can start with when you bring the Bow Lingual to the next keg party:
* Blender making margaritas --- Airedale
* Harley Davidson idling --- Saint Bernard
* Young girl barking into mike --- Poodle
* Man barking into mike --- Labrador Retriever
* Man urinating in toilet --- Chihuahua
* Baha Men singing Who Let the Dogs Out? Woof! Woof! --- Rottweiler
Want me to show up at your next party?
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