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Year of the Jackpot – Opus G.097b
http://www.heinleinsociety.org/thsnexus/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=709
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Author:  BillMullins [ Sun Jun 20, 2010 12:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Year of the Jackpot – Opus G.097b

Just re-read this. A few random thoughts:

1. One of several places in Heinlein's work where public nudity appears. The Doukhobors, an exiled Christian sect from Russia, are mentioned in this context. They had mass nude protests in Canada – see Wikipedia.

2. "I tell you three times" – this phrase shows up several times in RAH's work, usually in the context of an automated control system (typically a sentient computer) having redundancy (so that two elements may outvote an outlying third). "Jackpot" was first published in 1952, a time when redundant computer control wouldn't be well known. Is there another context from which RAH took this phrase?

3. "Silly Season" This phrase, used in "Jackpot", is also the title of a short story by C. M. Kornbluth which Heinlein included in _Tomorrow the Stars_ (also 1952). Both times, it is used in a journalistic context to refer to the part of summer in which wacky stories overtake "real" news. Is it journalism slang, perhaps picked up by Heinlein in the 1930s when he worked on _EPIC News_? Or maybe he just picked it up from the Kornbluth story (originally published in 1950). Heinlein also used the phrase in a non-journalistic context in a letter excerpted in _Grumbles_: "No other news save that the Silly Season has opened and we have many visitors; this will continue until fall."

4. Twice in the story reference is made to a major earthquake in Long Beach in 1933. This really occurred, on 10 Mar (see Wikipedia, "1933 Long Beach Earthquake"). A contemporary account says: "In Long Beach alone 4000 marines and sailors were sent ashore from the Battle Fleet and assisted the police in treating the injured." Was Heinlein homeported on either the Lexington or the Roper there then? (The Lexington participated in a 120 ship review on the 10th off San Pedro) Was he involved in relief efforts?

5. You could make an argument that the climax of the story is set in 1956. The "54-year cycle" was high in 1929, and was troughing at the climax. 1929 + 54/2 = 1956.

6. "Mother Shippey" is mentioned in passing as a fortune teller. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Heinlein was talking about a real person, but I can't find any reference anywhere to a real prognosticator by that name.

Author:  JamesGifford [ Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Year of the Jackpot – Opus G.097b

BillMullins wrote:
2. "I tell you three times"

It would take a historian of computer technology - I am merely a curious observer of computer history - to nail this down, but I believe the notion of triple calculation wherein two matching results would "outvote" a third comes from early analog computing, which would have been well known to someone as broadly read as Heinlein. Complex analog calculators did not have the inherent precision of digital calculation, so executing the calc in triple-tandem and then picking two matching results if all three did not agree saved time and recalculation efforts, while providing some margin of error over a single calculation.

The notion undoubtedly came from "Never go to sea with two chonographs - take one or three."

Quote:
3. "Silly Season"

Real phrase, dates from the early 20th.

Quote:
6. "Mother Shippey" is mentioned in passing as a fortune teller. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Heinlein was talking about a real person, but I can't find any reference anywhere to a real prognosticator by that name.

Mother Shipton - Ursula Southill. I don't know if this was a typo/mem-o by Heinlein or if he was obfuscating the real name for possible legal or copyright reasons. There are many instances of this in the canon, where Heinlein has a name almost right. Most seem to be from-memories he did not bother to look up or later correct, or perhaps regional spellings or variants.

Author:  BillMullins [ Sun Jun 20, 2010 2:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Year of the Jackpot – Opus G.097b

JamesGifford wrote:
BillMullins wrote:
2. "I tell you three times"

but I believe the notion of triple calculation wherein two matching results would "outvote" a third comes from early analog computing, which would have been well known to someone as broadly read as Heinlein. Complex analog calculators did not have the inherent precision of digital calculation, so executing the calc in triple-tandem and then picking two matching results if all three did not agree saved time and recalculation efforts, while providing some margin of error over a single calculation.
I'll buy that, especially given that one of the early drivers of digital computing was to replace the analog fire-control computers used to aim artillery tubes and naval guns, with which Heinlein was surely familiar.
Quote:
The notion undoubtedly came from "Never go to sea with two chonographs - take one or three."
"A man with one clock knows what time it is; a man with two is never quite sure."

And add to my list in the first post:

7. An article by A. G. M. Dynkowski gives Breen his definite prediction of the end of the world. Dynkowski also shows up as an upperclassman's name in _Space Cadet_. Knowing that Heinlein had occasionally named characters after people he had known, and thinking that "Dynkowski" was an uncommon enough name that I might could research it, I struck pay dirt with a 9/7/1947 Long Beach Press-Telegram article about Chief Boatswain Stanley "Battling Ski" Dynkowski, who had recently retired after 35 years in the Navy. He had been a boxer and coach for enlisted men in the Navy. Money quote: "As a coach and athletic director aboard the U.S.S. Lexington from 1927 to 1935, he received personal commendation from Adm. King for building and preserving morale." Dynkowski was also Chief Master-at-Arms on the ship while King was captain. Heinlein undoubtedly knew "Ski", and was paying tribute to him.

Author:  TinaBlack [ Sun Jun 20, 2010 3:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Year of the Jackpot – Opus G.097b

"What I tell you three times is true" -- Lewis Carroll. Google it.

And we know RAH was a fan of "The Hunting of the Snark".

Author:  DavidWrightSr [ Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Year of the Jackpot – Opus G.097b

BillMullins wrote:
7. An article by A. G. M. Dynkowski gives Breen his definite prediction of the end of the world. Dynkowski also shows up as an upperclassman's name in _Space Cadet_. Knowing that Heinlein had occasionally named characters after people he had known, and thinking that "Dynkowski" was an uncommon enough name that I might could research it, I struck pay dirt with a 9/7/1947 Long Beach Press-Telegram article about Chief Boatswain Stanley "Battling Ski" Dynkowski, who had recently retired after 35 years in the Navy. He had been a boxer and coach for enlisted men in the Navy. Money quote: "As a coach and athletic director aboard the U.S.S. Lexington from 1927 to 1935, he received personal commendation from Adm. King for building and preserving morale." Dynkowski was also Chief Master-at-Arms on the ship while King was captain. Heinlein undoubtedly knew "Ski", and was paying tribute to him.


F.X. Dinkowski appears as one of Lazarus' squad in France during his stint in the Army in WWI from Time Enough For Love

Author:  JamesGifford [ Sun Jun 20, 2010 4:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Year of the Jackpot – Opus G.097b

TinaBlack wrote:
"What I tell you three times is true" -- Lewis Carroll.

Undoubtedly another influence, if not the source for this particular quote. Good 'membering.

Author:  BillPatterson [ Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Year of the Jackpot – Opus G.097b

I believe the computer use came because early computer scientists were all fans of Charles Matthew Dodgson, the mathematician who wrote some keen mathematical fiction. Remember the teatime with Dodgson in Number of the Beast.

Silly season is a perfectly ordinary journalistic slang, exactly as it was explained in the Kuttner story. Heinlein used the term often of summer in Colorado Springs in the correspondence.

Author:  BillPatterson [ Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Year of the Jackpot – Opus G.097b

Re the Long Beach earthquake of 1933 -- Heinlein was in it, but he was on sick leave at the time, taking treatment in Arcadia. As it happens, he was writing a letter to his brother (who was already at Fitzsimmons) also being treated for TB) when the quake hit, so he describes it blow by blow.

The letter is extensively quoted in the biography, so you'll have a good shot before the whole thing comes out in the Virginia Edition too.

Author:  JamesGifford [ Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Year of the Jackpot – Opus G.097b

BillPatterson wrote:
I believe the computer use came because early computer scientists were all fans of Charles Matthew Dodgson, the mathematician who wrote some keen mathematical fiction.

Was that the brother or the cousin of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson? I didn't know they were both writers.

:lol:

Author:  JusTin [ Mon Jun 21, 2010 5:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Year of the Jackpot – Opus G.097b

JamesGifford wrote:
TinaBlack wrote:
"What I tell you three times is true" -- Lewis Carroll.

Undoubtedly another influence, if not the source for this particular quote. Good 'membering.


Interestingly, my first take on that was Jesus to Peter--you'll deny me three times before the cock crows...Also in googling found a reference to islamic divorce (say it three times to make it official).

And my cinema teacher in college told us that if you wanted an American audience to catch something in a movie you had to show it to them three times....but that's another use. ;)

Anyway, seems like Carroll would be the straight line...Tina had it.

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