- 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; see Wiki for page 60, where this paragraph appears almost word-for-word.
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).' In this case probably meaning 'spectation opportunities'; i.e. opportunities to be a spectator of a live event such as the draining of the duck pond.
traffic delays caused by rubbernecking, i.e., blocking or retarding traffic by stopping or slowing to gape at the scene of an accident
the process of being raised to godlike status
uncontrollably disposed to the use of profanity
a malaprop; DFW means pertaining to the nuclear force, which binds protons and neutrons into atomic nuclei, but this word means of or pertaining to nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA (OED)
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"
The pond is perfectly round...
Two things wrong here, actually. There is no 'duck pond' in The Public Garden. There is a large lagoon on which the swan boats ply their trade, but it is irregular in shape. Make that three things as the lagoon is not drained in the fall. I suppose he could be referring to the 'frog pond' but that' in the neighboring Boston Common. [Or, welcome to the Boston of Subsidized Time™, part of O.N.A.N.]
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
neologism: covered with verdigris, NOAD: a bright bluish-green encrustation or patina formed on copper or brass by atmospheric oxidation, consisting of basic cupric (copper in the +2 oxidation state) carbonate
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)
state of near-unconsciousness
equipment, e.g., clothing, tools, or instruments, used for a specific purpose or style of living
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
lacking sufficient funds to complete a business transaction
an upward current of warm air
the making and conducting of alloys
NOAD: the pulpy acidic fluid which passes from the stomach to the small intestine, consisting of gastric juices and partly digested food.
Mass Comm. graduate student
Mass Communications? This is unclear. The uppercase M and C suggest it is intended to be the name of a college, though the absence of a period after 'Mass' suggests the word 'mass'. To me the uncial M & C suggest what the uncial I in Internet suggests: the Teutonization of English spelling. I vote for the person so described being a [post-]graduate student in the specified department of an unnamed university.
put to rest
NOAD: a picture or relief carving on three panels, typically hinged together side by side and used as an altarpiece
reduced in particle size to only a few microns (millionths of a meter) in diameter
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), recalling the site is the building built in the form of a human head as detailed in the text on page 183 and its neighbors; basilar is also applied to an emergency slide as part of that same building on page 186; capitalization could also suggest a fictitious branding, perhaps a competitor of Otis
half a house
malaprop: 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)
NOAD: verb, moves or races in a winding path, avoiding obstacles
a bumps on a ski slope formed by the repeated turns of skiers over the same path
an ATM (automated teller machine)
see previous page's note
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 displaying an image of a Yeoman Warder on its label.
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)
that ETA is said to have served sugarless bread is remarkable indeed. By the onset of Subsidized Time™, almost no commercial bread was free of sweetener, however obtusely labeled
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
replace the grout (construction material used to seal the gaps between tiles)
a brand-name of fexodenadine, which claims to be a non-drowsness-inducing antihistamine
a drug that relieves flatulence
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 and more naturally bitter than, e.g., [non-Seville] oranges or apples.
a neologism by Hal's criteria, presumably resembling or having to do with breasts
a phospholipid found in soybeans, milk and other foods, also widespread in many human tissues. If broken into its component parts, it yields choline, phosphoric acid, glycerol, and two fatty acids.
neologism, witty: converted from a comma to a semicolon; 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
neologism, 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
neologism: of or pertaining to textites which are (OED) small, roundish, glassy bodies of unknown origin that occur scattered over various parts of the earth. [[now presumed to result from impacts]
NOAD: impose an unwelcome or unnecessary person or thing on
he thinks a manila folder's a Filipino contortionist
Manila being the capital of the Philippines
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. (indeed, that is answered on page 634 by Coyle)
suggestive of Cubism, the early-20th-century avant-garde (not après-garde) art movement
also regional enteritis, an inflammatory disease of the bowels
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
a former area of Boston known for prostitution and sex shops
naive and childish
the tendon connecting the patella (kneecap) to the tibia (shinbone)
not sexually active or not attracted to either sex
group of people sharing a common trait within a larger group
beginning to develop
i.e., lesbian, the reference being to Sappho, the ancient Greek poet from Lesbos
in other words, a female prison warden
more commonly Polykleitos, a Greek sculptor of the fifth century BC most commonly known for his canonical sculpture Doryphoros (see right)
the messenger god of Greek mythology
a hero of Greek mythology
i.e. swarthy - of dark complexion or color
marked with irregular patches or smears of color
in music, notes sounded in a detached manner
sharp or biting
a person from a rural area
a spitball, in baseball
more cheerful and irreverently indifferent
a pot for making stew, or stew itself
a Jewish sweet stew typically containing vegetables and dried fruits
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
sudden or unexpected monetary gain
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
Knights of Columbus
the world's largest Catholic fraternal organization
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: piercing or transfixing
a "villain" character played by Larry Linville
a tabloid-style daily newspaper for the city of Troy, NY
Steeply is misremembering Larry Linville.
care of, signifying an intermediary responsible for transporting the piece of mail to the final recipient's address
'In the South Korea of history.'
possibly 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
Funny that Steeply explains it as a pet name here, but everywhere else calls her "Mummykins"
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".
the sense of what to do to avoid offending or souring relations with someone
analyzed and developed in detail
a play on no-goodnik, i.e., lowlife, presumably meaning do-gooder
fatigued and unwell
a reference to M*A*S*H star Alan Alda
one of two of the four chambers of the heart
All was calm. All was bright
seems like a reference to the lyrics of Silent Night: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Night#Lyrics
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