The Steely Dan Dictionary: I

Listing 4 entries:

(No lyric — appears only in song title)
Song: I.G.Y.   Album: The Nightfly

The International Geophysical Year (IGY) was an international scientific effort which lasted from July 1957 to December 1958.

67 countries participated in total, performing experiments and research projects across 11 different Earth sciences such as meteorology, oceanography, seismology and geomagnetism; the most famous project was the launch of Sputnik 1, the world's first man-made satellite.

The IGY has been described as "the beginning of a new era of scientific discovery at a time when many innovative technologies were appearing", which certainly fits the song's theme of optimism about the future.

Link: The International Geophysical Year

Straight to IHOP / Where it's well-known / The world's junkest pancakes are
Song: Little Kawai   Album: 11 Tracks of Whack

International House of Pancakes, an American chain of family restaurants.

Founded in California in 1958, IHOP currently has nearly 2,000 locations across the US and Canada, plus a handful of international locations in Central America and the Middle East.

The menu, not surprisingly, consists mainly of pancakes, but also includes waffles, omelettes and burgers.

Link: Official IHOP website

Just picked up your message / 'Bout those Balinese ikats you thought I might buy
Song: Surf And/Or Die   Album: 11 Tracks of Whack

A type of woven fabric in which sections of either the warp or weft threads (and sometimes both) have been tie-dyed to make specific patterns.

The term "ikat" comes from an Indonesian word meaning to tie or bind.

About my age my height and weight / What is the payout on an inside straight?
Song: Door Number Two   Album: Circus Money

A hand in poker, also known as a "belly buster" or "gut shot".

An inside straight is a hand containing four of the five cards needed for a straight, but missing one in the middle. For example, 9-7-6-5 (in this case an 8 would be needed).

Because a card is missing, an inside straight by itself is worthless — no doubt the irony of this was Walter Becker's intention when penning the lyric.