Page 152. " There was a mat in front of the door which said Welcome in twelve different languages. "

This one, in binary, would probably appeal to Oskar:

Binary Welcome
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBinary Welcome - Credit: TheMuuj, Flickr

And now for another 325 languages

Page 153. " Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, my boy! A Great Author! "
F Scott Fitzgerald, 1921
Public DomainF Scott Fitzgerald, 1921 - Credit: Gordon Bryant

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) was an American author whose most famous work is The Great Gatsby. Though not particularly popular upon publication, the book is now considered one of the finest examples of an American novel.


Page 153. " I decided that it would be better to Google Winston Churchill when I got home "
Winston Churchill
Public DomainWinston Churchill

Winston Churchill was Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War II.  He bolstered the nation's morale with extraordinary speeches broadcast on radio:

Listen on Spotify:

Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat

We Shall Fight on the Beaches

This was their Finest Hour

Winston Churchill was recently voted  Greatest Briton of All Time in a BBC poll.

Page 153. " And the MG34! "
Public DomainMG34

The Maschinengewehr 34 was a German air-cooled machine gun, introduced in 1934 and used throughout World War II.

Page 156. " Something in the Way She Moves "

Something in the Way She Moves is a Beatles song from the album Abbey Road (1969).


Page 160. " a frictionless, perpetual yo-yo. "


Yoyo motion
GNU Free Documentation LicenseYoyo motion - Credit: brews_ohare

Here's how to build a yo-yo with maximum return height, posted by an MIT graduate student.


Page 162. " now I'm thinking of Debussy's Sunken Cathedral "

This prelude, La Cathédrale Engloutie by Claude Debussy, is also known as The Engulfed Cathedral or The Drowned Cathedral

Listen on Spotify: La Cathédrale Engloutie

It is based on the legend of the city of Ys in Brittany, drowned beneath the sea through the treachery of the King's daughter, Dahut. It is said that one can still hear the church bells ringing beneath the waves.


This sonnet by Ian Grose captures the myth and the prelude together beautifully:

Par-Ys Debussy's piano speaks of a silence / More quiet than air: a city sinks at night. / The breath of buildings finally exhaled; / The highest tower catches the last light. /For Ys, whose submerged walls are weak with weight, / I wonder if it would be a disgrace / To see its name become a syllable; / It's beauty borrowed by another place. / The borrower, not knowing what it took, / (It's tower swimming still in light and air) / Is subject to the rule that things will end / (All the more transient, all the more fair) / Suggesting that its fate will be the same: / The price of beauty built into its name.

Page 163. " where do they all come from? "

Eleanor Rigby is a Beatles song from the 1966 album Revolver

Listen on Spotify: Ray Charles version

Douglas Coupland, author of Generation X, used the name as the title of his 2004 novel exploring loneliness. 


Page 167. " Illustration: Birds in Flight "