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The Steely Dan Dictionary: G

Listing 7 entries:

In a room right off the kitchen / There's an old gas centrifuge
Song: Memorabilia   Album: Sunken Condos

A device that allows different isotopes of a gas to be separated from each other.

A typical gas centrifuge is a tall metal cylinder, inside which an inner container rotates at high speed, using centrifugal force and convection currents to separate gas molecules of differing weights.

The primary use of a gas centrifuge is to separate uranium-235 atoms from uranium-238, in order to produce "enriched uranium", a key fuel for nuclear fission reactors and nuclear weapons.

Link: How the Gas Centrifuge Changed the Quest for Nuclear Weapons

Flame is the game / The game we call gaslighting Abbie
Song: Gaslighting Abbie   Album: Two Against Nature

Attempting to undermine someone's sanity.

From the 1938 British play Gaslight, where a man tries to steal his wife's inheritance by slowly driving her insane (a dimmed gas-powered light forms a pivotal plot point).

The play was twice adapted into a movie: the more well-known 1944 version starred Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman and Angela Lansbury (in her film debut).

Link: Gaslight (1944) at IMDb.com

Who is the gaucho, amigo / Why is he standing / In your spangled leather poncho
Song: Gaucho   Album: Gaucho

A South American cowboy.

Originating from the pampas in Argentina, gauchos were familiar figures in the 18th/19th centuries, and typically were daring and skillful horsemen and plainsmen.

Immortalised on film thanks to the 1927 Douglas Fairbanks swashbuckling epic The Gaucho.

Link: Gauchos: The Wanderers of the Pampas

Smashed in the yellow Jag / I've got my life and laundry in a Gladstone bag
Song: The Second Arrangement (unreleased track)

A large travelling bag made out of stiff leather with a hinged opening on top.

So called because they were the favoured hand-luggage of 19th century British Prime Minister William Gladstone (1809-1898).

Note that while Fagen phonetically pronounces it Glad-STONE in the song, it should really be Glad-STUN, to match the correct pronunciation of Gladstone's name.

The future looked desperate and dark / Now you're the wonderwaif of Gramercy Park
Song: Janie Runaway   Album: Two Against Nature

Manhattan's only private park — located on East 20th Street, between Third Avenue and Park Avenue South.

The park has been private since it was originally developed in the 1830s. Nowadays, it is only accessible to guests of the nearby Gramercy Park Hotel and to local residents — if they pay $350 a year for the privilege of owning a key.

Link: 16 Things You Never Knew About Gramercy Park

Two against nature don't you know / Who's gonna grok the shape of things to go
Song: Two Against Nature   Album: Two Against Nature

A slang term used by computer nerds, meaning to understand or comprehend.

The term originated in the 1961 Robert A. Heinlein science-fiction novel Stranger In a Strange Land, and implies intimate and exhaustive knowledge. You grok?

Link: The Jargon Lexicon

I'm gonna take her down to Mexico / She said oh no / Guadalajara won't do
Song: My Old School   Album: Countdown to Ecstasy

The second-largest city in Mexico, with a total population of 4.3 million.

Known as "The Pearl of the West", its most famous landmark is the 16th century cathedral, rebuilt after several earthquakes and hence a unique architectural medley of Gothic, Baroque, Arabic and Greek.

Link: All About Guadalajara