- Editors: Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel. And please pay attention to formatting and grammar. Preview your changes before saving them. Thanks!
- 1 ☽ (Mid-November, YDAU) - WYYY Engineer goes "sunning"
- 2 November 11th, YDAU - Mealtime at ETA
- 3 May 1st, YDAU - Steeply & Marathe discuss an obsession with M*A*S*H
- 4 November 13th, YDAU - Kate Gompert & Geoffrey Day discuss It
☽ (Mid-November, YDAU) - WYYY Engineer goes "sunning"
a unit of one bit per second in data transmission
high-fashion women's clothing
carpal neuralgia, phospenic migraine, gluteal hyperadiposity, lumbar stressae
hand pain, migraines with flashing lights, fat buttocks, and lower back pain
"...all three O.N.A.N. time zones..."
Three is considerably fewer time zones than the five the U.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii) currently span, plus the Atlantic Time Zone, in which some of Canada can be found.
kneeling to the ground on one knee, esp. to convey respect
Perhaps a play on the popularized military term 'spec-ops,' meaning 'special operation(s).'
traffic delays caused by rubbernecking, i.e., blocking or retarding traffic by stopping to gape at the scene of an accident
the process of being raised to godlike status
uncontrollably disposed to the use of profanity
pertaining to the nuclear force, which binds protons and neutrons into atomic nuclei
patent medicines, i.e., quack medicines
Cultists in saffron with much percussion
members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Hare Krishna movement) in their distinctive saffron-colored (orange) robes, likely carrying Mridangams and tambourines
loosely woven fabric in a generally half-circle shape; red-white-and-blue ones can be seen hung on podiums, porches, baseball stadiums, etc, especially on the 4th of July and other patriotic holidays
abbreviation for circa, Latin for "around," used here in the sense of "approximately"
From phylogeny, the study of changes and developments in organisms' lineages. Phylogenetic is the more common adjectival form.
a neologism for taking on the shape of a Möbius strip
someone who derives pleasure (usually sexual) from looking at something
martial at ease
a military stance with feet shoulder's width apart and hands clasped behind the back
a long, flowing skirt usually featuring bands of embroidery
Page 622 (cont'd)
scope of vision
covered with grayish-green rust
statues of ducklings in a row
Wallace is referring to an actual statue in Boston Public Garden shown here
Robert McCloskey (1914-2003) was an American author and illustrator of children's books.
Make Way for Ducklings
Read about this book here.
stretch of grassy turf
slim and gracefully flexible
...play a game with a small beanbaggy ball...
a reference to hacky sack (or "hackey sack")
weakened, also pertaining to the propagation of waves in telecommunications
opposite of the nautical term moored meaning fastened or secured in place (as in a boat)
apparatus or instruments
Bread & Circus
a small chain of health-food stores that first opened in Brookline, MA, in 1975 and acquired by Whole Foods Market in 1992
dark brown, as in the pigment used to make very early photographs
chanting very softly 'Smoke'
i.e., surreptitiously peddling marijuana
the making and conducting of alloys
Massachusetts Community College(s)
Intensive Care Unit
swarthy, i.e., dark-skinned
related to or situated at the base, especially the base of the skull (as with the basilar artery); capitalization could suggest a fictitious branding, perhaps a competitor of Otis
half a house
a half-way house
Metropolitan District Commission, a former Massachusetts state agency that was responsible for maintenance of public parks and roads in the Metropolitan Boston area
players of a game (hacky sack) where people in a circle kick a small leather bag around to one another (see "game with a small beanbaggy ball" on page 623)
an ATM (automated teller machine)
bumps of the kind often seen in snow on ski slopes
November 11th, YDAU - Mealtime at ETA
Rank Has Its Privileges
greedily, in the manner of prisoners of war
To be exact, it's three miles via Route 83 to the Oklahoma border.
Country & Western
rulings from a court of law
a British brand of gin
a long, thin board, thicker along one edge than the other, used in covering the outer walls of buildings (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)
eau de toilette (French: toilet water) is used mainly by women and is less concentrated than perfume, but more concentrated than eau de cologne, which is used more commonly by men
Birkenstock is a German brand of sandals and shoes (see right)
a mixture of wheat proteins
refers here to small towers of the kind seen on medieval castles and other fortifications, often built with battlement crenels (notches) for use by defensive archers
"...like Roosevelt at Yalta..."
a reference to the supposed bullying by Stalin of FDR at the conference at Yalta in 1945 to cede Eastern Europe to Soviet control
potassium nitrate or nitre, an ingredient in gunpowder, it was (is) commonly believed to be used in food fed to prisoners and even military enlistees (or other predominantly male populations, such as boys' schools and Boy Scout troops) to curb libido; there is no evidence that it causes erectile dysfunction, but large amounts can have dangerous (poisonous) side effects
a brand-name of non-drowsy antihistamine
a herb mixture that prevents gastrointestinal pressure and gas
carb-caloric (from page 630)
Cranberry juice is higher in carbohydrates than other juices because of the larger amounts of sugar added to sweeten it, cranberries being less naturally sweet than, e.g., oranges or apples.
resembling or having to do with breasts
a mixture of fats found in milk and other foods
otherwise, it's a comma splice
perhaps used here in the sense of digestion, although the term actually refers to self-digestion, the destruction of a cell through the action of its own enzymes
i.e., the right to butt into line
R.H.I. literal P.
Rank Has Its literal Priveleges (see R.H.I.P. on page 627)
i.e., trying to
apparently a slang term for "dollars"
From French for "already seen," it's the sense that you're re-experiencing something.
the Cross of St. Andrew
referring to fossils formed by meteoric impacts
to insert deceitfully
The trick answer to the question is "no one." As the tomb is above ground, Ulysses S. Grant is technically "entombed" and not "buried." The obvious answer is Grant himself, and, in fact, he and his wife Julia are both entombed there. The General Grant National Memorial overlooks the Hudson River, in Riverside Park in Manhattan (New York).
the one about what do Canadian girls put behind their ears to attract boys
Presumably a reference to this old riddle: Q: What does a blonde put behind her ears to make her more attractive? A: Her ankles.
suggestive of Cubism, the early-20th-century avant-garde (not après-garde) art movement
also regional enteritis, an inflammatory disease of the bowels
garbage, particularly rotting meat
Page 634 (cont.)
after eating a meal
referring to a particular branch of Hinduism, but very particularly to the sexual aspect of this branch, which emphasizes long sessions of sexual intercourse
a parlor game produced by Hasbro that involves contorting the body
tending to keep one's thoughts to oneself
a scope used to examine the internal female reproductive organs
an area of Boston known for prostitution and sex shops
naive and childish
not sexually active or not attracted to either sex
beginning to develop
i.e., lesbian, the reference being to Sappho, the ancient Greek poet from Lesbos
in other words, a female prison warden
a Greek sculptor of the fifth century BC
the messenger god of Greek mythology
a hero of Greek mythology
i.e. swarthy - of dark complexion or color
in music, notes sounded in a detached manner
sharp or biting
a person from a rural area
a spitball, in baseball
a pot for making stew, or stew itself
a fruit and vegetable casserole
French: new riches; here an inversion of nouveaux riches, i.e., "newly rich"
the American-based international direct-sales retailer
inane, like the fad phenomenon of the small stones marketed as live "pets," requiring care and feeding, in the silly '70s
May 1st, YDAU - Steeply & Marathe discuss an obsession with M*A*S*H
MASH stands for "Mobile Army Surgical Hospital."
Latin: at first sight
Troy, New York
a college town about ten miles from the state capital of Albany
harmless cysts on the scalp or face
Canadiens of the N.L. of H.
the Montreal Canadiens, a team in the National Hockey League
prerecorded laughter used on the soundtracks of some filmed comedies (which are not "filmed before a live studio audience"), but also a reminder of the incident involving the can of macadamia nuts (page 580)
German: Brocken is a German mountain and the brockengespenst refers to the large shadow an observer on the mountain casts in a certain lighting. This is an allusion to a scene from Thomas Pynchon's 1973 novel Gravity's Rainbow.
Marsh or Swamp
The principal male characters in M*A*S*H lived in the same tent, which they called "the Swamp."
the smaller format of videotape that was eventually pushed out of the market by VHS
Page 642 (cont'd)
French: penetrating across
a "villain" character played by Larry Linville
a tabloid-style daily newspaper for the city of Troy, NY
Steeply is misremembering Larry Linville.
'In the South Korea of history.'
sort of implying that in the time of the novel, there's only one Korea again
'You are not meaning your sister was a goat.'
bearing in mind that "kid" also means a baby goat
Korean Police Action of the U.N. This is a reference to the Korean War, which involved military support from United Nations member nations (in defense of South Korea from the invading North). The war actually lasted three full years.
This would seem to be a mix between "baroque" and "rococo".
a reference to M*A*S*H star Alan Alda
one of two of the four chambers of the heart
a spiny shrub with bean pods
There was a spy named Richard Willis (1613-1690) active during the English Civil War (1642-1660). This is also the name of a professional peer of Steeply in the novel, first mentioned earlier.
turned to bone
a misspelling (likely) of "pleura," which is a thin membrane enclosing the lungs
November 13th, YDAU - Kate Gompert & Geoffrey Day discuss It
something like nothing else (i.e., an outlier)
magna cum laude
Latin: with high honors