I’m afraid this doesn’t even have any Estonian in it, so it’s kind of hard to justify its presence here, except that I figure we can all use a laugh; as Robert Mackey says in his NY Times “Lede” post, which embeds it, “this note-perfect Estonian television ad for an evening news show, which reimagines the opening of ‘The Simpsons’ set in rural Estonia, is a cult hit on YouTube.” (Thanks, Sven!)

Addendum. Trond Engen reminds me that I seem never to have posted about the wonderful Medieval helpdesk video; it’s in Norwegian, with English subtitles, so it actually fits in LH without excessive shoehorning. (And as Trond says, “the comment section, as of today, is evidence that anything can be turned into a discussion for or against Nynorsk.”)

Update (July 2019). The clip has vanished from the Times page, but it’s available here (for now).


  1. it is funny, but why the blacksmith drops the hot horseshoe on the floor and several seconds later fishes it out of the back of his shirt?

  2. Sashura: I guess they were trying to approximate the bit in the Simpsons opening sequence where Homer “drops a bar of uranium, which ends up stuck to his back,” but it was too difficult to get the horseshoe to stick to the blacksmith’s back.

  3. DeeXtrovert says

    That’s absolutely great. It reminds me that when I saw the Simpsons movie in Romania (in English, with Romanian subtitles) with an American friend, and we laughed like crazy at certain jokes during which the rest of the Romanian audience was totally quiet. Afterwards, a group of ten or twelve people came up to us – some with little notebooks – to ask us the specific reason we laughed at this or that point in the movie. We explained the jokes as best we could. They were from a “students’ film club,” and as there were only three movie screens in Cluj at that time (only a couple of years ago, but now there are more than twenty-five!), every showing of a foreign film was sort of an event and well-scrutinized by film fans. For whatever reason, the Simpsons seems better-loved in Eastern Europe than even in America.

  4. Homer “drops a bar of uranium
    oh, I see, thanks, I should pay more attenton during the Simpson sit-downs with my son.

  5. Here’s another one by the same people as Trond’s link; it’s about how hard it is to understand spoken Danish. (I got it from Des von Bladet).

  6. That one I actually did post, but I’m glad to have it pointed out for anyone who missed it.

  7. Trond Engen says

    Here’s another one by the same people as Trond’s link
    No, those are completely different people. But still NRK. And it’s well worth seeing. (I didn’t send it since I knew it had been linked to before.)

  8. Oh, sorry you’re right. My people are much better, actually.

  9. @DeeXtrovert When I saw “Good-bye Lenin” in Dublin, I laughed a lot of the time, and the rest of the time I just listened to pockets of Germans laughing in surround sound.

  10. Terry Collmann says

    Anyone know what Estonian “Bart” is writing on the blackboard?

  11. Incidentally, for some reason, this is all reminding me of this Soviet-era Estonian ad for minced chicken. Or, as they say in Estonian, kanahakkliha.

  12. Something about kama?

  13. Kama ei ole väetis!
    ‘Kama is not fertilizer.’

  14. джошуа says

    This mixup reminded me of Karamzin’s characterization of Estonian as similar to “Livonian” and consisting mostly of German words in Pis’ma russkogo puteshestvennika:
    “Я не приметил никакой розницы между эстляндцами и лифляндцами, кроме языка и кафтанов: одни носят черные, а другие серые. Языки их сходны; имеют в себе мало собственного, много немецких и даже несколько славянских слов. Я заметил, что они все немецкие слова смягчают в произношении: из чего можно заключить, что слух их нежен.”

  15. Actually, Livonian is closely related to Estonian, so he was on the money there. I can’t answer for the caftans.

  16. Trond Engen says

    They can answer for themselves. Is there a native speaker of Caftani in the audience?

  17. The last speaker of this ancient language just died.

  18. Trond Engen says

    One might hope there’s a Caftan waiting to come out of the closet somewhere.
    And, surprisingly, I gather that Caftan society was held together by Sash.

  19. John Emerson says

    Chieftain Iffucan of Azcan in caftan
    Of tan with henna hackles, halt!
    Damned universal cock, as if the sun
    Was blackamoor to bear your blazing tail.
    Fat! Fat! Fat! Fat! I am the personal.
    Your world is you. I am my world.
    You ten-foot poet among inchlings. Fat!
    Begone! An inchling bristles in these pines,
    Bristles, and points their Appalachian tangs,
    And fears not portly Azcan nor his hoos.

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