PE Check123 Chapter 14 - Thomas Pynchon Wiki | Bleeding Edge

Chapter 14

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Page 146

E-rated video game
E is for "everyone", i.e. a non-age-restricted rating.

James Bond at the baccarat table
See ultra-cool Bond introduce himself at the baccarat table, a game he played throughout the books and films. (Some later post-Ian Fleming) films had casino scenes shot twice, with Bond playing baccarat in the international release, and poker or blackjack in the dumbed-down North American release.)

Page 147

third ballet position
One foot is placed in front of the other so that the heel of the front foot is near the arch of the back foot. [1] This position is rarely used anymore, because now most professional dancers are so flexible that they can rotate the front foot even further, so that it is parallel to the back foot, but pointing in the opposite direction, ie the "fifth position"

Lennie on Law & Order
Lennie Briscoe was a detective for 12 seasons on the TV show Law & Order.

Page 148

Zabar's is a specialty food store at 2245 Broadway and 80th Street, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City, founded by Louis Zabar. It is one of the best known commercial landmarks of the neighborhood, and is known for its selection of bagels, smoked fish, olives, and cheeses. Zabar's is frequently referenced in popular culture. From WIKI.

Page 149

In Korea, Karaoke is most commonly called "Noraebang" Noraebang is even conducted in transport vehicles such as tourist buses. Noraebang is the equivalent to the Karaoke-Box in Japan. Karaoke boxes consist of multiple rooms containing karaoke equipment, usually rented out for time periods, whereas singing before an audience in a karaoke bar is called Karaoke in Korea.

Streetlight People, Don't Stop Believing, karaoke boilerplate
A proper karaoke boilerplate would certainly include Journey's 1981 hit "Don't Stop Believin'" which is the top-selling catalog track in iTunes history with over 5 million digital copies sold, as well as the best-selling rock song in digital history until it was over taken by Imagine Dragons' "Radioactive" in January 2014.[2] And it's also in the top 15 most popular karaoke songs, according to this site.

Regulation D
Reserve Requirements for Depository Institutions (Regulation D) is a Federal Reserve Board regulation that limits the number of preauthorized withdrawals and transfers from a savings account or money market account. The regulation applies to all United States banking institutions offering such accounts. From WIKI.

Filene's Basement
A store where designer clothes are sold on discount. (cf pg 13)

Page 150

From this news site:

The low-grade synthetic fiber indelibly associated with North Korea's failed "juche" or self-reliance ideology has become fit only for rags, Radio Free Asia reported on Thursday. Once touted as the future of the socialist clothing industry, Vinalon fabric is now chiefly used as rags, or as wallpaper paste by heating it to high temperatures, RFA quoted North Korean expatriates in China as saying. Developed by Dr. Lee Sung-ki during Japanese colonial rule in 1939, Vinalon is made from limestone and anthracite, unlike other synthetic fibers that are made from petroleum by-products. It is produced only in North Korea. The problem is its inefficiency. A Unification Ministry official said, "The North has to use too much electricity to extract Vinalon from anthracite. It would be more cost-effective to import finished textile products, even at a rip-off price." - 9/30/11 More...

Actually, the main reason for vinalon's poor quality is because it is made from polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), a terrible polymer for making synthetic fabrics, and not because it is derived from coal. In South Africa, Sasol has been making petrochemicals from coal since World War II, and these are used to make a wide variety of "normal" high quality synthetic fabrics. North Korea ended up with vinalon only because it is much easier to turn coal into acetylene and acetylene into PVA than it would have been to master Sasol's process or turn acetylene into (say) nylon. Electricity consumption in the first step is indeed an economic problem.

comfortably bridge-attired
Bridge attire is a pricing and styling category of misses apparel. Typically, bridge designers are one notch under designer (luxury) lines. Bridge lines have more unique styling than contemporary misses but are usually not as pricey as designer lines. The name comes from the fact that they are a "bridge" between less expensive lines and luxury lines. [3]

The hierarchy with regard to styling, price and exclusivity from highest to lowest is:
Haute Couture

Designer RTW


Japanese jewelry company, pretty much top of the line in pearls.

Tim Horton's
A ubiquitous doughnut/coffee shop in Canada.

Page 151

feeble snow
"neige faible" is a common French expression, and would normally be translated as "light snow". I'm not sure why Pynchon would call it "feeble snow". Even in other contexts, "faible" is hardly ever translated into English as "feeble", instead "weak" usually comes pretty close. Actually, Montreal gets less snow than many other cities in Quebec (Sherbrooke, Trois Rivieres, ...), and even less than Buffalo NY, so I'm confused as to why this is even brought up.

we're trying to go legit . . . like Michael Corleone
The main character in the Godfather films. After he becomes the head of his family, he tries to make his family's business legitimate.

Amy & Joey, an Off-Broadway musical
This fictional musical is about Joey Buttafuoco (from Massapequa, NY). In 1992, he had an affair with Amy Fisher, who then shot Buttafuoco's wife Mary Jo. Mary Jo survived.

Funny, we're 150 pages into a Pynchon novel and this is the first song. Must be some kinda record.

Page 153

like Gloria Grahame in Oklahoma!
Gloria Grahame starred in the 1955 musical film Oklahoma! ChrisSch (talk) Gloria Grahame did not star in the movie of "Oklahoma!", the female lead was Shirley Jones as Laurey. Grahame played the soubrette character Ado Annie, "a comedy character who is vain and girlish." Wikipedia Entry Gloria Grahame had already starred in other films, "The Big Heat" f'rinstance, so she did bring "leading lady presence." The stage musical "Oklahoma!" was written by Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (words), who later wrote "The King And I."

Page 154

Soju Wallbangers
Soju is Korean rice liquor. A "Harvey Wallbanger" is a cocktail made with vodka, Galliano, and orange juice.

DarkEden is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online role-playing computer game that's big in Korea. From WIKI.

Brand of Cuban cigars.

"Volare" . . . Domenico Modugno on Ed Sullivan back in '58
This happened. Watch it here.

Pynchon's commentary on Volare lightly recalls a central theme of Gravity's Rainbow-- flying in the sky, above it all, defying gravity...

Young man dreams he's flying . . .
This paragraph is a faithful summary of the lyrics of "Volare" (which means "to fly"). Knowing that 9/11 is right around the corner, I found this unsettling. Full lyrics here.

I don't think it's 'I left my brains down in Africa'
Spud is singing "Africa" by Toto. The actual lyrics are "I bless the rains down in Africa."

Page 155

Gematria is a traditional Jewish system of assigning numerical value to a word or phrase. From Wikipedia: "The best-known example of Gematria is the Hebrew word Chai ("life"), which is composed of two letters which (using the assignments in the Mispar gadol table) add up to 18. This has made 18 a "lucky number" among Jews, and gifts in multiples of 18 are very common."

tables versus CSS
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a style sheet language used for describing the presentation semantics (the look and formatting) of a document written in a markup language. CSS is designed primarily to enable the separation of document content (written in HTML or a similar markup language) from document presentation, including elements such as the layout, colors, and fonts. From WIKI.

This small scene in the novel captures a transitional moment in the development of web design. Positioning content by the use of tables was the original layout technique for web pages in the 90s/early 00s. In the early 2000s the capabilities of CSS were being extended to include new methods for formatting web pages, an approach that - as noted above - distinctly separated content from the means of its presentation (within the underlying code). CSS-based layout was more technically complex and required a fairly specialized skill set to work with. Advocates of CSS-based layout could be quite evangelical about its adoption ("a controversial issue of the time, which has always, given its level of passion, struck Maxine as somehow religious") and were sometimes vehemently dismissive of those still employing tables. Hence Lester Traipse's subsequent remark (p.156) "the partners were all morphing into CSS nazis ... and I'm just an old die-hard tables person". It represented something of a paradigm shift that would shape the appearance, development and capabilities of the web over the following years. CSS-based layout has now come to dominate as the de facto standard technique for formatting web pages.

Page 156

some telltale fidgeting of the Florsheims
Florsheim is a brand of shoes.

Brings to mind the comment of Lucas or Justin in regard to getting out of DeepArcher, i.e. just gotta click your heels three times. Also, all of the special focus on shoes so far... And the comment at one point of Maxine, I believe, that in NYC shoes told everything, or something to that effect.

John Romero's Daikatana, or simply Daikatana, is a first-person shooter video game developed by Ion Storm and published by Eidos Interactive. The game is known as one of the major commercial failures of the video game industry. Daikatana was delayed multiple times from its conception in early 1997 to its eventual release in 2000. By this time, numerous games based on more advanced graphical technology (such as id Software's Quake III and Epic MegaGames' Unreal Tournament) had already been released, causing Daikatana to lag technologically in the market with its dated Quake II game engine. From WIKI.

Page 158

"When information wants to be free"
Allusion to the technology activist slogan, coined by Stewart Brand [4], first usage is reported to be at the 1984 Hacker's Conference. "Information wants to be free" is invoked by advocates against government or corporate control of the flow of information at the cost of the public domain.

Full quote below:

"On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it's so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other." - Stewart Brand, 1984

"Are You with Me, Dr. Wu"
Actually, the song is simply called "Doctor Wu," from Steely Dan's 1975 album Katy Lied. Does Doctor Wu metaphorically stand for a drug habit? The harmony lyrics in question are:
Are you with me Doctor Wu?
Are you really just a shadow
Of the man that I once knew?
Are you crazy; are you high?
Or just an ordinary guy?
Have you done all you can do?
Are you with me, Doctor?

Danceteria ... Paradise Garage
well-known New York nightclubs active at the time. The former was mainly disco, the latter had multiple locations and a broader scope.

haewoned passengers
Korean slang: to "haewon" someone is to mislead or confused them. [5] So these passengers are confused.

Chapter 1
pp. 1-7
Chapter 2
pp. 8-19
Chapter 3
pp. 20-29
Chapter 4
pp. 30-40
Chapter 5
pp. 41-52
Chapter 6
pp. 53-67
Chapter 7
pp. 68-79
Chapter 8
pp. 80-86
Chapter 9
pp. 87-95
Chapter 10
pp. 96-111
Chapter 11
pp. 112-120
Chapter 12
pp. 121-133
Chapter 13
pp. 134-144
Chapter 14
pp. 145-159
Chapter 15
pp. 160-171
Chapter 16
pp. 172-184
Chapter 17
pp. 185-197
Chapter 18
pp. 198-210
Chapter 19
pp. 211-218
Chapter 20
pp. 219-229
Chapter 21
pp. 230-238
Chapter 22
pp. 239-246
Chapter 23
pp. 247-255
Chapter 24
pp. 256-264
Chapter 25
pp. 265-273
Chapter 26
pp. 274-287
Chapter 27
pp. 288-300
Chapter 28
pp. 301-313
Chapter 29
pp. 314-326
Chapter 30
pp. 327-337
Chapter 31
pp. 338-346
Chapter 32
pp. 347-353
Chapter 33
pp. 354-364
Chapter 34
pp. 365-382
Chapter 35
pp. 383-394
Chapter 36
pp. 395-407
Chapter 37
pp. 408-422
Chapter 38
pp. 423-438
Chapter 39
pp. 439-447
Chapter 40
pp. 448-462
Chapter 41
pp. 463-477
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