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The Rolling Stones: 'M-S-G' 
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Post The Rolling Stones: 'M-S-G'
Re-reading The Rolling Stones for the nth time, I noticed an odd usage.

Toward the end of Chapter 7, In the Gravity Well (page 102 in the Scribners edition), the spaceship receives a dangerously delayed radio message:

"Now they tell us!" Hazel exploded. "Oh, those cushion warmers! Those bureaucrats! I'll bet that M-S-G has been holding in the tank for the past hour waiting for someidiot to finish discussing his missing laundry."

So what is 'M-S-G' doing here? My first thought was that it's a leftover typo for 'msg'; but typos are vanishingly few in the Heinlein juveniles. Or perhaps Heinlein's typescript read 'msg' or 'MSG' and Scribners' typesetter inserted the hyphens rather than expanding Heinlein's abbreviation.

My friend and fellow Heinlein reviewer, Ron Grube -- who has an extensive background in radio as well as in the Navy, suggested that it may be spelling-for-emphasis. For instance, I might say, "I wasn't in the Navy, I was in the A-R-M-Y!" This seems the kind of thing that Heinlein might have recalled from his Navy or WW2 days, and dropped into the scene for an extra bit of color. 'Message Sent Glacially' or something like that.

What do you think?

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Thu Jun 19, 2008 4:44 pm
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Post Re: The Rolling Stones: 'M-S-G'
I think it just evolves from "message" "msg" "MSG" "M-S-G" with the last being special emphasis. I'd bet that any Navy contemporary of Heinlein's would confirm the usage.

Unless Hazel is making an early covert rant against the use of monosodium glutamate in ship's food.

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Sun Jun 29, 2008 3:13 pm
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Post Re: The Rolling Stones: 'M-S-G'
I'm not sure on the M[moon?modern?merchant?] but I'd bet the S-G is space gram.


Sat Sep 19, 2009 1:40 pm
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Sun Sep 20, 2009 7:26 am
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Post Re: The Rolling Stones: 'M-S-G'
Speaking from the British Army point of view - M S G is the "short" for for message especially when written down as a form of shorthand. (eg Msg for Mr Heinlein from Keith Jones) I certainly interperet it as message. As previously said, RAH showing his military background!

This often confuses people who arent in the know - for example we used to have Self Loading Rifles - S L R - but as everyone know this is a camera! (Single Lens Reflex) this could get very weird at times! ;)


Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:48 am
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Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:09 am
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Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:18 pm
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Post Re: The Rolling Stones: 'M-S-G'
Thanks, Fred, that's truly interesting. I've read a lot on the Titanic and never come across that.


Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:27 pm
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Thu Nov 12, 2009 10:17 pm
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