ATD 119-148

Revision as of 08:43, 3 December 2006 by Pschmid1 (Talk | contribs) (Page 126)

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A camouflage painting technique used on WWI ships. Link: [1]

intelligence centers on the surface such as the Inter-Group Laboratory for Opticomagnetic Observation (I.G.L.O.O.), a radiational clearing-house in Northern Alaska
Perhaps a reference to the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) site in Gakonka, AK, which is ostensibly engaged in ionospheric research (Wikipedia entry). Also suggestive of the ECHELON network (Wikipedia entry), comprising a number of signals intelligence sites, which are capable of intercepting a wide variety of communications signals throughout the world.

Lloyd's of the high spectrum [...] the next fateful Lutine announcement.
The HMS Lutine (Lutine translates as "the tease") was a ship commissioned in the French Royal Navy which was later given to the English Royal Navy during the Revolution. In 1799 she sank in the North Sea while blockading Holland; her hold was full of gold. Lloyd's of London, an independent insurance market still known for being willing to assume large insurance risks for the right price, had insured the gold, and paid the claim in full, acquiring nominal ownership of the still-unsalvaged cargo.

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Igor Padzhitnoff
The whole passage that introduces the rival airship captain is a play on Tetris. Igor's surname is similar to that of the creator of Tetris, Alexey Pazhitnov. Also, the captain himself flies a ship called "The Great Game" and drops "bricks and masonry, always in the four-block fragments which had become his "signature," to fall on and damage targets designated by his superiors."

Tovarishchi Slutchainyi
Tovarishchi translates as comrades; the literal translation of "Slutchainyi" is "accidental", leading to one possible reading of the phrase being: Chums of Chance.
The phrase "Tovarishchi Slutchainyi" could also mean someone who is friends, but not intentionally, ie: perhaps people who are conscripted into a situation where they are forced to be communal. (Thanks to Anna Zaytseva for the idiomatic help!)
A third reading is introduced when the homophonic correspondence between the final two syllables of Slutchainyi and Vice-President Cheney's name is noted.

Ice Pirates
This turn of phrase echoes the spoof movie of camraderie and dangerous "space herpes" that was released in the 1980s. There's no textual evidence that Pynchon means to refer to the movie, but the satirical humor and outlandish situations presented in the film might be attractive to someone with his sensibilities.

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They passed around rumors--the Captain was insane again, ice-pirates were hunting the Malus like whalers...
This phrase seems evocative of Moby Dick, not only in the intimation that the Captain might be insane and the rumors that might result, but also with the explicit references to "whalers" in the subsequent clause, "the subtle insanity of Ahab." Moby Dick of course contains many scenes when two whaling ships come together to exchange messages. Chapter 131, "The Pequod Meets the Delight," features particularly sinister omens. It is safe to say, however, that none of the captains who meets Ahab quite resembles Padzhitnoff or has a "signature" resembling the game of Tetris! Pynchon once again lightly tweaks the "line" linking his body of work to Melville's (cf. p. 73).

Étienne-Louis Malus
Etienne-Louis Malus (July 23, 1775 – February 24, 1812) was a French officer, engineer, physicist, and mathematician. Wikipedia Entry
Malus is best known for his law describing intensity of light as it passes through polarized materials. There are delicious metaphorical implications for any reader of a Pynchon novel.

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See also Ynglinga Saga, or the story of the ancient Norse kings. Wikipedia entry

... even of days not yet transpired.
Reminiscent of the Borges short story "The Library of Babel" about an "infinite library" which contains every possible book. Wikipedia entry

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visitors from elsewhere, of non-human aspect
Extraterrestrials. "Visitors", in popular culture, is a term sometimes used to describe ETs. The alien race from the television miniseries V was named The Visitors. In the fictional world of South Park, aliens are referred to as "visitors".

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a large brass speaking-trumpet
As in the ubiquitous W.A.S.T.E. symbolism in The Crying of Lot 49.

Bréguet-style arrowheads
A distinctive fine watch of French design. Wikipedia entry

Poulson's Telegraphone
Invented in 1898, the first magnetic recording machine was patented by Valdemar Poulson. The theory behind this machine was worked out theoretically by Oberlin Smith of the UK in 1888. Poulson's machine recorded by passing a thin wire across an electromagnet. Each minute section of the wire would retain its electromagnetic charge, thus recording the sound. Sound could be both recorded and played back. Unfortunately, because the machine's output wasn't very loud and there was no way to amplify the signal, the Telegraphone was not much of a success. External link

a human caul
caul (Latin: Caput galeatum, literally, "head helmet") is a thin, filmy membrane, the remnants of the amniotic sac, that covers or partly covers the newborn mammal immediately after birth. It is also the membrane enclosing the paunch of mammals, particularly as in pork and mutton butchery. In butchery, the caul is used as offal. A third meaning refers to a type of women's headdress.

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The description of the single-file line at the train station basically describes current security conditions at American airports. A single line (i.e. linear thinking) does not seem to be a 'positive' in the Pynchon world.

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