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Guardian 452, Bob is the main character for the first two seasons of Reboot. He has funny-looking metallic-colored hair, a frequent target of light-hearted ridicule for many Reboot fans, and a neat outfit. He carries Glitch, his trusty keytool, which can take the shape of nearly any object or tool. He defends the system of Mainframe from such foes as Megabyte, a virus who seeks to corrupt and conquer Mainframe, Hexadecimal, Megabyte's nigh-omnipotent sister who torments the citizens of Mainframe with her chaotic tomfoolery, and The User.

boat anchor = B = BOF

bob n.

At Demon Internet, all tech support personnel are called "Bob". (Female support personnel have an option on "Bobette"). This has nothing to do with Bob the divine drilling-equipment salesman of the Church of the SubGenius. Nor is it acronymized from "Brother Of BOFH", though all parties agree it could have been. Rather, it was triggered by an unusually large draft of new tech-support people in 1995. It was observed that there would be much duplication of names. To ease the confusion, it was decided that all support techs would henceforth be known as "Bob", and identity badges were created labelled "Bob 1" and "Bob 2". ("No, we never got any further" reports a witness).

The reason for "Bob" rather than anything else is due to a luser calling and asking to speak to "Bob", despite the fact that no "Bob" was currently working for Tech Support. Since we all know "the customer is always right", it was decided that there had to be at least one "Bob" on duty at all times, just in case.

This sillyness inexorably snowballed. Shift leaders and managers began to refer to their groups of "bobs". Whole ranks of support machines were set up (and still exist in the DNS as of 1999) as bob1 through bobN. Then came alt.tech-support.recovery, and it was filled with Demon support personnel. They all referred to themselves, and to others, as `bob', and after a while it caught on. There is now a Bob Code describing the Bob nature.

--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.

"Bob" was also the name of the generic human civilian in Bungie Software's 1995 first-person shooter Marathon. As the story goes, the U.E.S.C. Marathon's voyage from Mars to Tau Ceti took long enough for at least one new generation of colonists to be born; some colonists took to naming their sons Bob, short for Born On Board. It caught on quite well, and now Marathon players happily refer to every civilian aboard the ship as Bob - affectionately or, as is somewhat more common, not so affectionately.

Bobs first appeared in Marathon 1 completely unarmed. They just ran around and got in the way, often suffering unspeakably at the player's hands (for no particular reason). In Marathon 2 and Infinity, however, they worked up the courage to grab some guns and fight alongside you, despite the countless deaths you caused them. Pretty forgiving of them, if you ask me. Of course, if you massacre enough of them within plain view, they'll start to get a bit angry.

The Bob is also known for his random chatter: such timeless phrases as "Frogblast the vent core!" "They're everywhere!" and "I'm comin' outta the booth!"

"Bob," from the 2003 album "Poodle Hat," is certainly one of the most interesting songs ever put together by parodist Weird Al Yankovic. Unlike his more typical hits, this is not a new set of lyrics set over some other musician's tune, but is an entirely original song sung in the style of another -- here, Bob Dylan. It's not clear whether Yankovic first had the idea to do a song parodying Bob, and then decided to make it a collection of strung-together palindromes, or whether the palindrome concept came first, with the Dylan stylization following, but either way the two concepts combine ingeniously. Dylan is done just right for a parody -- with nasally elongated vowels and a hint of a twang, backed by acoustic guitars, a piano, tambourine, and a lively harmonica, the listener can immediately tell both that it is Weird Al singing, and that it is Bob Dylan being referenced.

The music video (watchable here) is suitably stripped down, in black and white, and its very existence has its own story. Yankovic had not planned to make a video for this song at all, instead expecting an Eminem parody to be the centerpiece of the album, envisioning a very involved music video taking beats from throughout Eminem's career. But the rapper had a last minute change of heart, allowing the song to be included in the album, but vetoing the video. In order not to have an album completely unsupported by a music video, they turned to the Dylan parody as the simplest one to put together an idea for. And the idea is indeed simple -- it is (as Tem42 pointed out to me) "a variation on the videos recorded for Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues" -- and goddamn, it is exactly the same setup!! Weird Al, in a white shirt, black vest, and familiar-looking wig, stands in an alley piled up with garbage bags, tossing out a series of cue cars. The cards have the lyrics -- one palindrome per card -- written in thick, scripted capital letters. (INXS did the same for their 1987 video for the song "Mediate.") In the background, two older men with walking sticks appear to converse in the alley, another detail lifted from Dylan, one tall and thin with curly hair, the other heavier, bearded, and bald. Weird Al's face appears stern -- he isn't singing -- and like Dylan, his glance casts about disinterestedly as he tosses out the next card, and the next.

But the best element of the song is the intricate arrangement of the lyrics. It would be a mistake to think that a bunch of palindromes were randomly drawn and then jumbled together. They are instead carefully woven so that there is a hint of abstract meaning in certain verses, and a bit of attitude infused through the flow of the whole:

I, man, am regal, a German am I
Never odd or even
If I had a hi-fi


Commentary: Could've started with any line, but this is an "I am...." statement, the second line asserts balance, and the third references music.

Madam, I'm Adam
Too hot to hoot
No lemon no melon
Too bad I hid a boot


Commentary: The first line of this verse is another "I am" sort of statement, and one of the most famous palindromes in history; the third line didn't have to come close to rhyming with the first, but they made that happen anyway.

Lisa Bonet ate no basil
Warsaw was raw
Was it a car or a cat I saw?


Commentary: It's just funny that a palindrome incorporating Lisa Bonet was thought of. This could have been ordered the other way around, but it's better ending this one on the question....

Rise to vote, sir
Do geese see God?
Do nine men Interpret? Nine men I nod


Commentary: This verse on the other hand seems structured almost as if it always intended to tell this story -- that the singer is amongst some sort of jury of nine all solemnly rising to vote on the middle question, of whether geese see God.

Rats live on no evil star
Won't lovers revolt now?
Race fast safe car


Commentary: This too seems to tell a whole story -- rats not living on an evil star raises the question of whether lovers will revolt -- mandating racing fast. Perhaps to escape the revolt?

Pa's a sap
Ma is as selfless as I am
May a moody baby doom a yam?


Commentary: This one is the family verse -- Pa, Ma, and their moody baby. Again, this verse makes sense ending on the rhetorical question. A harmonica solo is interposed at this point. In the video, Weird Al actually holds up a cue card reading "(harmonica solo)."

Ah Satan sees Natasha
No devil lived on
Lonely Tylenol
Not a banana baton


Commentary: This verse manages to juxtapose two Luciferian palindromes before correctly noting that a Tylenol is, in fact, not a banana baton.

No X in Nixon
O stone, be not so
O Geronimo, no minor ego


Commentary: This is the history verse, beginning with a comment on one historical figure and ending with one on another. And the contrast presented between them is perhaps the most actually Dylanesque moment in the entire piece.

"Naomi" I moan
A Toyota's a Toyota
A dog, a panic, in a pagoda


Commentary: I pause to note here that a lot of the palindromes selected are first person action statements, 'I did' this, 'I saw' that, 'I won' the other. I feel that's no accident; this makes the song as a whole feel more like a personal narrative. Beyond that note, this verse sports two contrasting aspects specific to the culture of Japan.

Oh no, Don Ho
Nurse, I spy gypsies, run!
Senile felines
Now I see bees I won


Commentary: This verse is just fun. It sort of carries over the sense of 'panic' from the last line of the previous verse, and then shifts into demented cats and pollinating prizes.

UFO tofu
We panic in a pew
Oozy rat in a sanitary zoo


Commentary: This verse does something interesting, which is to rhyme all three lines, which creates a new beat, a sense of chaos coming together in an orderly manner -- and with another line including 'panic' to underscore that the frantic buildup of the song is about to culminate.

God, a red nugget, a fat egg under a dog
Go hang a salami, I'm a lasagna hog


Commentary: This is the only verse which includes only two palindromes, each taking half the verse, with the first being its own sort of hodge-podge of thrown together things. Now this may just be my own sense of things, but I think the very last line was chosen to go out on because Weird Al has a famous lyrical association with food, with many of his most famous songs having eating-centric themes -- one of his first parodies was "My Bologna" (lifted from "My Sharona"); others included "I Love Rocky Road", (from "I Love Rock 'n' Roll") "Eat It" (taking off of Michael Jackson's "Beat It"); and "Fat" (a sequel of sorts to the tune of Michael Jackson's own sequel of sorts, "Bad"). And so, including lines referencing a lemon and a melon, basil, a yam, a banana, and tofu, and closing on a line referencing salami and lasagna, solidifies a subtle foodie thing going on all along. And it is again a first person declaration -- the song begins with him calling himself regal, and ends with him calling himself something seemingly less than regal -- a lasagna hog. In its own way, it seems like a refutation of the building theme of panic and collapse from the three preceding verses, running up to the first line of this verse.

In closing I reiterate my impression that it would be easy to throw together a list of palindromes, find a few couplets that rhyme, pair those, and call it a song. But what Weird Al has done here is much more than that. Even for the listener unaware that this was a collection of palindromes, he has structured a sense of something happening over the course of the lyrics, and happening around himself (if not exactly to himself) as narrator, building in a sense of rising pressure and an edible release.



IRON NODER: TOKYO DRIFT

Bob (?), n. [An onomatopoetic word, expressing quick, jerky motion; OE. bob bunch, bobben to strike, mock, deceive. Cf. Prov. Eng. bob, n., a ball, an engine beam, bunch, blast, trick, taunt, scoff; as, a v., to dance, to courtesy, to disappoint, OF. bober to mock.]

1.

Anything that hangs so as to play loosely, or with a short abrupt motion, as at the end of a string; a pendant; as, the bob at the end of a kite's tail.

In jewels dressed and at each ear a bob. Dryden.

2.

A knot of worms, or of rags, on a string, used in angling, as for eels; formerly, a worm suitable for bait.

Or yellow bobs, turned up before the plow, Are chiefest baits, with cork and lead enow. Lauson.

3.

A small piece of cork or light wood attached to a fishing line to show when a fish is biting; a float.

4.

The ball or heavy part of a pendulum; also, the ball or weight at the end of a plumb line.

5.

A small wheel, made of leather, with rounded edges, used in polishing spoons, etc.

6.

A short, jerking motion; act of bobbing; as, a bob of the head.

7. Steam Engine

A working beam.

8.

A knot or short curl of hair; also, a bob wig.

A plain brown bob he wore. Shenstone.

9.

A peculiar mode of ringing changes on bells.

10.

The refrain of a song.

To bed, to bed, will be the bob of the song. L'Estrange.

11.

A blow; a shake or jog; a rap, as with the fist.

12.

A jeer or flout; a sharp jest or taunt; a trick.

He that a fool doth very wisely hit, Doth very foolishly, although he smart, Not to seem senseless of the bob. Shak.

13.

A shilling.

[Slang, Eng.]

Dickens.

 

© Webster 1913.


Bob (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Bobbed (#); p. pr. & vb. n. Bobbing.] [OE. bobben. See Bob, n.]

1.

To cause to move in a short, jerking manner; to move (a thing) with a bob.

"He bobbed his head."

W. Irving.

2.

To strike with a quick, light blow; to tap.

If any man happened by long sitting to sleep . . . he was suddenly bobbed on the face by the servants. Elyot.

3.

To cheat; to gain by fraud or cheating; to filch.

Gold and jewels that I bobbed from him. Shak.

4.

To mock or delude; to cheat.

To play her pranks, and bob the fool, The shrewish wife began. Turbervile.

5.

To cut short; as, to bob the hair, or a horse's tail.

 

© Webster 1913.


Bob, v. i.

1.

To have a short, jerking motion; to play to and fro, or up and down; to play loosely against anything.

"Bobbing and courtesying."

Thackeray.

2.

To angle with a bob. See Bob, n., 2 & 3.

He ne'er had learned the art to bob For anything but eels. Saxe.

To bob at an apple, cherry, etc. to attempt to bite or seize with the mouth an apple, cherry, or other round fruit, while it is swinging from a string or floating in a tug of water.

 

© Webster 1913.

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