Saturday, August 28, 2004

reduce the entire convention floor to a quivering Saturnalia

Cloudbuster (photo from bop-c)

Brooklyn Orgastic Politics Collective:
Imagine the Republican delegates so consumed in fucking and sucking that they forget to nominate Bush.... On Thursday, September 2nd, for several hours prior to and during George Bush’s re-nomination ceremony, the Brooklyn Orgastic Politics Collective (BOP-C) will be conducting Orgone operations with several of our Cloudbusters, attempting to suck the fascism from the Republican National Convention at Madison Square Garden.  From an undisclosed location on the Brooklyn waterfront, we will be redirecting the flow of Life Energy above the deadly concentrations of hatred and greed accumulating in midtown Manhattan.  If indeed our theories prove correct, it may be possible to reduce the entire convention floor to a quivering Saturnalia.   The moans of Love shall ring out across the Land!
Gravity's Rainbow, p. 155:

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

the A4s of Kapustin Yar

Googling for the intriguing piano music of Nikolai Kapustin, pynchonoid found 11 post-WWII A4 rocket launchings in Kapustin Yar, with photos (including these two) and a brief history, excerpted below.

road to Kapustin Yar

A4 at Kapustin Yar

Along with working on prospective designs during summer of 1947, NII-88 completed assembly of several A-4 rockets of the "T" series, in addition to "N" series assembled back in Germany. Both batches, along with auxiliary hardware from Germany were shipped to a newly founded test range in Kapustin Yar. On July 26, 1947, the Soviet of Ministers officially scheduled test launches of the A-4 missiles in Kapustin Yar during September-October 1947. (52)

One day, to the surprise of Gröttrup's family "half of the Ministry" (of Armaments) descended onto his house for a meeting at the conclusion of which, he had to gather his winter clothes and leave in the unknown direction. Gröttrup, joined all leading officials from NII-88 at Kapustin Yar.

According to Irmgard Gröttrup's memoirs, she followed her husband to Kapustin Yar several weeks later -- the claim vehemently denied by the veteran of the Russian space program Boris Chertok. Yet, discounting some confusion with dates and few misinterpreted technical details, Mrs. Gröttrup's descriptions of events and the atmosphere in Kapustin Yar can now be confirmed almost by the letter from Russian witness accounts published half a century later.

By the time, the NII-88's "rocket train" arrived to the range, soldiers were still erecting most essential infrastructure at the site. The construction of a special test stand out of hardware shipped from Germany was hardly completed, as the first rocket No. 02T was installed for the test.

After some troubles with fueling, the live firing of the A-4 engine was conducted on October 17, 1947 at 0:30 Moscow Time. Next morning, Russians and Germans started preparing another rocket for launch. At the end of the day, at 21:00 Moscow Time, the vehicle No. 010T was rolled out to the launch site.

The first launch of the A-4 rocket designated No. 010T, was preceded by a short delay caused by the failure of the ignition system. Three Russian technicians run to a fully loaded rocket and replaced pyrotechnic device initiating the launch. The vehicle blasted off on October 18, 1947 at 10:47 Moscow Time and after a short arc into the stratosphere impacted 206.7 kilometers from the launch site deviating around 30 kilometers to the left from the target. Absence of the large crater at the impact site showed that the rocket apparently disintegrated before crashing.

The second launch took place on October 20, 1947 at 11:14 Moscow Time and proceeded in the wrong direction due to control system failure. It fell 231 kilometers from the launch site. (170)

Search for the cause of the failure, forced Gröttrup to summon two of his compatriots from NII-88 to Kapustin Yar. During the flight to the range, the security policy officer, who escorted two men, tried to get them drank as a way of preventing Germans from figuring out the geographical location of the "secret" test site. In spite of such treatment, engineers set out to work immediately upon landing and soon were able to resolve the problem.

Gravity's Rainbow, pp. 272-273:
Here's a man running loose who knows everything it's possible to know--not only all about the A4, but about what Great Britain knows about the A4. Zurich teems with Soviet agents. What if they've already got Slothrop? They took Peenemunde in the spring, it appears now they will be given the central rocket works at Nordhausen, another of the dealings of Yalta. . . .

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


The Seven Deadly Harveys

Nearer, my Couch, to Thee

(sez The Modern Word: In 1993, the NYTBR ran a series in which various authors were asked to write about one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Thomas Pynchon's subject was "Sloth.")
Unless the state of our souls becomes once more a subject of serious concern, there is little question that Sloth will continue to evolve away from its origins in the long-ago age of faith and miracle, when daily life really was the Holy Ghost visibly at work and time was a story, with a beginning, middle and end. Belief was intense, engagement deep and fatal. The Christian God was near. Felt. Sloth -- defiant sorrow in the face of God's good intentions -- was a deadly sin.
Perhaps the future of Sloth will lie in sinning against what now seems increasingly to define us -- technology. Persisting in Luddite sorrow, despite technology's good intentions, there we'll sit with our heads in virtual reality, glumly refusing to be absorbed in its idle, disposable fantasies, even those about superheroes of Sloth back in Sloth's good old days, full of leisurely but lethal misadventures with the ruthless villains of the Acedia Squad.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

the kid knows it

Ripping open the Vietnam War scar - that's the effect of WWII generation Bob Dole's fatuous suggestion that Baby Boomer Kerry apologize for opposing a war that Kerry and and millions of other Americans, Vietnam veterans and others, in the US and around the world, rightly saw as criminal. This generational conflict poisons the heart of this election, as it did Clinton's, with Bush Jr. serving and continuing the belligerent foreign policy of Dole and the rest of Bush the Elder's generation: they are the ones who should should apologize for sending American forces into a criminal war and for the millions of people - Vietnamese, Americans, others, combattants and bystanders - they killed, injured, terrorized and otherwise hurt in that war. Then Bush and his backers should beg forgiveness of the families and loved ones of the victims of their butchery in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are the murderous fathers who hated their sons for opposing the war in Vietnam, the sons who dared to break the chain; they never have forgiven Baby Boomers for that implicit insult to the violence they suffered and inflicted in their own "great" wars, they will not stand by and see another Vietnam War protester elected President.
Unexpectedly, this country is pleasant, yes, once inside it, quite pleasant after all. It is this typical American teenager's own Father, trying, episode after episode, to kill his son. And the kid knows it. [GR 674]


1924 photo from the archive of the Canon City, Colorado library
(via Boing Boing)