ATD 273-295

Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.


Page 273

the electric
The Denver Tramway Company, beginning in 1886, operated electric railcars between central Denver and outlying communities. Citation

Page 274

Arapahoe
Since Frank is at the moment in Denver, "on Arapahoe" would mean on Arapahoe Street. From the native tribe. Also a county in eastern CO and a scattering of places in US.

the Christian daring of Scarsdale's gesture
To outside observers Vibe appears to be turning the other cheek.

drygulched
In this context, ambushed and killed drygulch.

after Repeal in '93
Refers to the Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890, which required the U.S. government to purchase an additional 4.5 million ounces of silver bullion every month with notes that could be redeemed for either silver or gold. Repealed by Congress after the Panic of 1893 to prevent depletion of the country's gold reserves. Wikipedia entry.

Lake County
Colorado county of which Leadville is the county seat.

Haw Tabor
Horace Tabor, a prospector, businessman, politician, and one of the wealthiest men in Colorado in the 19th Century. Tabor moved to Denver in 1859, later settling in Leadville in 1877. With the wealth he accumulated from his silver mine, Tabor established newspapers, a bank, and an opera house in Leadville (which still stands), and the Tabor Grand Opera House and the Tabor Block in Denver. In 1878, Tabor was elected Lieutenant Governor of Colorado and served in that post until January 1884. He served as U.S. Senator from Colorado for two months in 1883. Tabor ran unsuccessfully for Colorado governor in 1884, 1886, and 1888. In 1893, the repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act devastated Tabor's fortune and his far-flung holdings were sold off. He died from appendicitis in 1899, and his legend still persists in Colorado.Wikipedia entry.

Matchless
The Matchless Mine in Leadville, formerly owned by Horace Tabor. Oscar Wilde visited the Matchless in 1882. The "widow" is Elizabeth Bonduel McCourt Doe, a/k/a "Baby Doe" Tabor, Horace Tabor's second wife (and his mistress before he married her in 1883). Baby Doe and her stubborn retention of the Matchless Mine is another Colorado legend. When Horace Tabor fell ill with appendicitis in 1899, his final request of Baby Doe was that she "hold onto the Matchless." This she did, with tragic results. After living in a shack beside the mine for 36 years, she froze to death one night in March 1935 after she ran out of firewood. Her body was found frozen with her arms crossed peacefully across her chest. After her death, 17 iron trunks that had been placed in storage in Denver were opened, as well as several gunny sacks and four trunks that had been left at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Leadville. All that was left from the Tabor fortune were several bolts of unique, untouched and exquisite cloth, several pieces of china, a tea service and some jewelry, including a diamond and sapphire ring. Baby Doe's story has inspired numerous works, including a movie and an opera by Douglas Moore, The Ballad of Baby Doe. More on Baby Doe Tabor, including pictures of the Matchless and the shack she lived and died in, can be found at these links: Baby Doe Tabor.com; BabyDoe.org

Zinc Rush
Leadville had "rushes" on gold, silver, molybdenum, zinc...

the best-priced ore to be dug
A mining engineer calculates the value of ore as the market price of its valuable constituents minus the cost of mining, concentrating and refining. Zinc metal brings less than gold or silver, but its ore may be attractive if it is rich in zinc and processing costs are low.

some bright engineer
???

Page 275

concentrating mills
First step in treating ore is concentration or beneficiation: breaking it into small pieces and separating the fragments that contain zinc from those that don't.

Molly-be-damned
Molybdenum, which is still mined outside of Leadville.

Wren Provenance
Let's not forget that one manifestation of V. was Victoria Wren. One could see this as the "provenance of wren?" There appear to be many allusions to V. in ATD.

heaps
slag heaps. For their picture see Wikipedia.

Sons of Heaven section
This is a term for the emperors of China. Cf. references to the Chinese as 'the celestials', e.g. in the HBO series Deadwood.

Bear Paw
An almond-flavored yeast-raised pastry shaped shaped like an irregular semicircle resembling a bear's claw. Octopus Ink seems to be a joking reference to the coffee. [I think the speaker here (Wren) is making a joking reference to the strange food that the Chinese saloon serves, not to pastry and coffee.]

Where fresh octopus is available, the ink is a not uncommon ingredient in Chinese and Japanese cuisine. It [and squid ink] is also used in a number of Mediterranean dishes. "Bear Paw in Octopus Ink" is Chinese/Coloradoan fusion. Real bear paw, not pastry. And it's Frank, not Wren, who is speaking.

Page 276

Jennie Rogers's House of Mirrors
Jennie Rogers (1843-1909) was a notorious Denver madam who built the "House of Mirrors" at 1946 Market Street in Denver in 1889 and ran it until her death in 1909. The House of Mirrors embodies the Romanesque architecture of the era, and was specifically designed as a bordello. It was later taken over by the even more notorious Mattie Silks (1846-1929), who operated it until 1915, when it fell victim to so-called "reformers." The House of Mirrors still stands, and today operates as a bar and restauant. (This contributor has been drinking there many times.) More on its history, including pictures, and on the history of Denver's Market Street red-light district, can be found at this website.

"and there she was, not much on, what there was all black, tightly laced, stockings askew, standing in an open polyhedral of mirrors, examining herself from all the angles available. Transformed."
Cf. Mélanie l' Heuremaudit in V., pp 397-8.

dress cavalry helmet
A collection of pictures of various dress cavalry helmets can be found here: cavalry helmet pictures.

peignoir
A negligee. Wikipedia.

Page 277

Aztlán
Legendary or historical homeland of the Aztecs. Northwestern Mexico up to Utah in some reckonings.

He had a passing acquaintance with the Mancos and McElmo country...
This is a clear reference to Mesa Verde [1], on the Mancos River between Mancos and Cortez, CO, southwest of Telluride. Pynchon has taken considerable liberties with the history of the area, as recounted by Wren Provenance, although perhaps not with what was known for certain at the time, to perhaps heighten the area's mystery. The Mesa Verde inhabitants had been building pueblos on the mesa from the 7th and 8th centuries, building cliff dwellings from the 9th to the 13th centuries, ranging far to the north and west for game and firewood. The surface ruins were known from the 1870s; the famous Cliff Palace (shown in [2]) was discovered by local ranchers in 1888, and archaeological activities were underway by 1891. By the time the area was made a national park in 1906 it was clear that the cliff dwellings had been relatively rapidly abandoned in the 13th century. It has never been clear exactly why; theories include drought leading to loss of water and loss of essential firewood (the area is quite cold in winter) to overlogging or fire. Pynchon is accurate in noting evidence of intense fighting among the last cliff dwellers, even cannibalism, in the ruins.

images of creatures
The ancient Puebloans of both the Mesa Verde and Chaco centers left numerous images, called petroglyphs [3], many of which are as eerie as Pynchon suggests here (the Wikipedia article shows Newspaper Rock in Canyonlands National Park in Utah). They include figures of humans and other creatures, and of comets and the 1054 supernova now known as the Crab Nebula (there are more than 14 pages of pictures of Pueblo Petroglyphs on Google Images: [4]) ... and the cover of the UK paperback edition of AtD bears some resemblance the petroglyph on Newspaper Rock.

Page 278

the report
??? (Answer:) Wren was on an anthropological expedition. This is the report on the findings of that expedition.

If they were the same ones who made the exodus...and became the Aztecs
The earliest interpretations of the Pueblo ruins, from those found first, was that these were Aztec ruins, as at Aztec Ruins National Monument in Aztec, NM ([5]). The Puebloans were in contact with mesoamerican civilizations, as indicated by findings of trade goods like parrot feathers, but these were probably traded through intermediaries. In fact, the Mesa Verde inhabitants were the ancestors of the modern Rio Grande Pueblos, e.g. Taos Pueblo ([6]).

Albany... bar mirror
???

Booth Virbling
This seems to be one of Pynchon's made-up names. As a crime reporter at the time, he was probably given to a heavy use of verbs...warbling verbs, one might say? Booth-- staid place where 'crime reporters' work? Last name pronounced German sounds like "fear bling"?

Page 279

Bulkley Wells
Easier to find under correct spelling Bulkeley. Here is an account of some of his activities as mine manager and militia commander.

Ice Saw murder
I saw murder?..eyewitness.??? Yes, a pun. Also, here is a picture of an ice saw, used to saw through ice for the purpose of ice fishing. And there is more fun and games if the saw is made of ice, recalling the scenario where there is a dead body, some blood and a pool of water. How did the body die? It was hacked to death with the saw made of ice which is now melted.

The pictured saw--and the presumed murder weapon--is used to cut blocks of ice during winter to be stored in sawdust-insulated cellars for use in summer. Holes for ice-fishing on lakes are generally made by drilling and chipping. Never heard of much ice-fishing in Colorado.

sparking
v. tr. "to court or woo". intr. "to play the suitor"

hurdy girls
In an article titled [Boys' Nite Out in Leadville], the following:

in the 1870s, the Colorado Miner described the hurdy-gurdy houses of Leadville as "breathing holes of hell, where customers imbibe torchlight whiskey and indulge in the quadrille and the whirling sinuosities of the waltz."

and

"The very first women in the mining camps of California were German girls who were called hurdy-gurdy girls after the musical instruments of the same name, and the name also became attached to the dance hall. While a long way from virginal status, the first girls were so prized that they did not have to participate in prostitution"

[Elsewhere] mention is made of "hurdy-houses" which appear to be the same thing

Page 280

South Pacific islands
Cf Margaret Mead (1901-78), a cultural anthropologist who visited and published extensively on Samoa. Wikipedia entry

Page 281

Telluride as it appears today (source)

first city
The first extensive use of the alternating current was in arc lighting, the kind used in street lighting. There is some dispute in histories as to which city was first, but Telluride was among, if not the, first.

This Telluride chapter seems to express overtly part of Pynchon's key themes: when electricity hit the streets, it was Hell. Passim 280-281, "the end of the world remained a possibility" to explain the unholy radiance [of the arc lighting]. Only a 'lunatic' argued it was not too late to turn back. And Telluride is where the "owners" who had Webb killed, live.

"Beside the tracks at one bend stood a local lunatic"
Like starting an amusement park ride.

"To-Hell-you-ride"
To-Tell-u-ride

Page 282

level of hatred
Cf capacitance?

drifts and stopes
A drift is a horizontal or nearly horizontal underground opening. A stope is a usually steplike excavation underground for the removal of ore that is formed as the ore is mined in successive layers.

vagging bee
"vag" is slang/shorthand for "vagrant"; the word "bee" as used here comes from the English dialect been or bean. These were variations on boon, once widely used in the sense of “voluntary help, given to a farmer by his neighbors, in time of harvest, haymaking, etc." In the early 1870s, the idea of bee began to be extended to situations that had some kind of communal basis, but weren’t farm work, some pretty sinister such as hanging bee, lynching bee (this occurs in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn) and whipping bee. It is in this sense of a social gathering to perform some task that bee is used in Against the Day. From World Wide Words

Bob Meldrum
"Bad Man" Bob Meldrum served as agent to Pinkerton’s Detective Agency and a watchdog for the big cattle outfits around Little Snake River, gaining a reputation as a mean man with a quick trigger finger. He was rumored to be responsible for over fourteen wanton killings. Pynchon's characterisation of Meldrum (with his huge mustache and quick temper) is very similar to the Loony Tunes character Yosemite Sam.[7]

Page 283

"joven"
Young fellow (Spanish).

Ellmore Disco
Elmore = (H)ell More, i.e. More Hell?

Possibly also an allusion to Elwood Blues, Dan Akroyd's character in The Blues Brothers.
Or—with less distortion of the name—to Pynchon's near-contemporary Elmore Leonard, who writes many scenes of inventive and unconstrained violence.
The explanation is simpler: Ellmore Disco sounds exactly as El Mordisco, The Bite in Spanish (remember, Ellmore is said to be Mexican, maybe "El Mordisco" was a nickname or alias he had there and when in the States he adapted to sound like an English Name). Why Ellmore Disco is El Mordisco I don't know. Perhaps being him the guy to see to in Telluride it means that he gets "a bite" (money) of the people who need favors from him.

headgear, tending to fancy black beavers
Another instance of "beaver on the brain"?

when it was still Leadville
where 'lead' is exchanged in gunfights, as here? Leadville, CO.

Seven-Toed Pete
Seven Card Stud

Page 284

battered 'from the day'

thunderstorm-proof mayonnaise
Mayo is an ATD leitmotif. There is a folk belief, enshrined in no less an authority than the Joy Of Cooking, that mayonnaise will separate if it is made when a thunderstorm is imminent.

jaconet... tartalan... crepe lissé
jaconet 1.a soft, white, lightweight cotton textile 2. cotton cloth glazed on one side and dyed.
Tarlatan (another printing error, apparently) is a kind of thin open muslin (the general name for the most delicately woven cotton fabrics) used especially for ball-dresses.
Crepe lissé is a thin, transparent, smooth or glossy gauze-like fabric, plain woven, without any twill, of highly twisted raw silk or other staple.

Liberty's of London
A famous department store in Regent Street, London, notable for its prints and fabrics. Opened in 1875 in a mock-Tudor building.

Grand Rapids style
A simple, non-ornamental design style of furniture, with heavy emphasis on office furniture. Mostly oak, it seems. From the 1860's, the office furniture was "mass-produced", whatever that means for the times. A kind of furniture allowing no "moral turpitude", as one online remark has it. (see Time.com use in 1978 below!) Grand Rapids was a furniture center and major location for regular furniture exhibitions for decades before and after the time of ATD. Source: Grand Rapids Public Library catalog, passim.

"The rooms are furnished in Grand Rapids style. The beds have pallets, but no springs, no Western-style mattresses, no top sheets; maid service consists of dumping a clean sheet and a blanket on the bed, to be made up by the guest."
---Time.com...1978...on certain hotel rooms in China.

"Grand Rapids" doesn't imply a lack of ornamentation, not at all. The industry makes chairs and other items to the current taste. Once it was heavy oak bookcases with cornice moldings; today it's hi-tech office chairs. What marks Grand Rapids is design that lends itself to mass production.

Oh, and those Chinese hotels? They bought perfectly good Grand Rapids bedsteads and dropped plywood in to save the price of springs. The pallets don't define the style!

Four Corners Boys
Deuce and Sloat? Perhaps nicknamed so after what they did to Lake on page 269: "They took her down to the Four Corners..."

the only historical reference I could find about a shooting in Cortez involving "Four Corners Boys" is rather recent: on May 29, 1998, City of Cortez Patrolman Dale Claxton was gunned down by three young men. Here's an exerpt from a news story dating back to october 2005: "The three suspects who made up the Four Corners Group appeared to be nothing more than weekend warriors and good old boys who talked more they acted. However that all changed when best friends Alan Pilon, Jason Wayne McVean and Robert Mathew Mason decided to take it to the big leagues. After the execution of Officer Claxton, the three men fled in the water truck heading toward Utah and its endless wilderness not known for its warmth and hospitable surroundings." Here's the complete article [8]

Page 285

million apiece
From 1900, a million dollars would have the value of @20 to 23 million in 2005, depending on ways of measuring purchasing value. It would have over $100 million dollars in value, measured against the worker's average wage at the time. See Measuring Worth site. Note: The prediction is accurate. Think of such well-heeled communities as Aspen, Colorado that are to spring up. music-hall Chinese
What the hell is up with Pynchon's perennial mentions of China and Chinese?

There were a lot of Chinese in the west, starting with the gold rush in California, then building the transcontinental railway. Many remained, and Chinese laborers were pretty common out there.

C major... A miner
A pun on the musical key of A minor. One octave of the C major scale consists of the notes c-d-e-f-g-a-b-c (all white keys on a piano). One octave of the A minor scale (technically, A natural minor) consists of the same note names as the C major scale, but starting on the "a" note, not on the "c" note: a-b-c-d-e-f-g-a. Because of this, A minor is called the relative minor of C major.

It is possible that the identical physical shape of the C major or A minor chord on the keyboard is depicted in Disco's smiling mouth, raising the possibility that he is missing 3 teeth corresponding to that schema. 'Ruinous' suggests some sort of dental deficiency. That, or he is missing all the teeth but those 3 which constitute the chord, though this would perhaps benefit from a more explicit description.

...it's out with that wackyzacky...
The 'wakizashi' is a Japanese sword - 12 to 24 inches - often worn by a Samurai together with a Katana - another sword - and the two together are then called a Daish or somesuch. Although it would appear that this sword would have sometimes been used during Hara Kiri it is not the normal Hara Kiri weapon. That is usually a short - 6 to 12 inches long - double edged knife/sword called a Tant.'

hari-kari
Japanes: belly cutting. Properly harakiri, but the distorted rhyming form has been in colloquial English for a long time. What became a ritualised form of suicide in Japan chiefly amongst the nobility. It was sometimes offered to a nobleman as an honorable alternative to execution. A short knife or sword is plunged into the abdomen, drawn through and across the bowel laterally, with a small upwards twist at the end. Now extremely rare in Japan. More commonly referred to by the Chinese name for belly cutting - Seppuku - because eventually the Ritual was seen as being somewhat distastaeful, even dishonourable

Cal Rutan

Cal Rutan, on the left
J. Calvin ("Cal") Rutan was the Telluride County sheriff during the labor struggles of 1902-1904.

Page 286

menudo
Mexican tripe soup, so peppery it should come with a warning placard.

Loomis
Loomis Disco. Possible reference to Adore Loomis, child victim of Homer Simpson in Nathanael West's novel The Day of the Locust (1939).


lowland alkali
Any of various soluble mineral salts found in natural water and arid soils. And 'lowlands' are good places in Pynchon's vision.

hardpan
A bedrock, foundation. Hard, unbroken ground. A layer of hard subsoil or clay, also called caliche.

Page 287

chicharrones
Fried pork skins.

Ristras of .... dark purple chilies
Strings of .... dried red peppers.

tortas
Mexican sandwiches.

tamales
Cornmeal paste wrapped in corn or banana husks and stuffed with chicken, pork or turkey and/or vegetables, then steamed.

sixty-degree wedges
One-sixth of a pie.

Por poco te faltó La Blanca
Spanish: You just missed La Blanca.

In fact, it's a literal translation to Spanish of the English sentence. It should have been "Por poco te encontrás con La Blanca" or "Acabas de perderte a La Blanca" to be accurate and have some meaning (unless Lupe is saying "You almost get short of cocaine", since "la blanca", "the white one", is one of the slang names for cocaine).

Page 288

Montrose
A city on Colorado's Western Slope. Wikipedia entry.

popcorn snows
Apparently an informal meteorological term for giant snowflakes.Google

The popcorn snows were first mentioned in L. Frank Baum's The Scarecrow of Oz (1915): 'In the Land of Mo the snow's made of popcorn, not frozen water crystals as it is in other places.' Popcorn Snows. Of course, Mr. Baum also wrote the classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).

A popcorn blizzard also figures into one of the tales of Paul Bunyan, the legendary destroyer of American landscapes. It likely appeared in newspapers after 1920. This contributor taught fourth-grade reading last year and first came across it in a textbook retelling. More can be found at [9].

Popcorn snow is also a term used to describe springtime snow conditions for skiing. Not far off base considering Telluride is now predominantly a ritzy ski town.

vanning
in context, 'a winnowing device". Archaic, from American Heritage Dictionary.

Loopy
Anglo pronunciation of Lupe, a diminutive of the given name Guadalupe. Lupita is another.

masa
Spanish: mass; also short for masa harina: corn (maize) flour.

comal
A Mexican style skillet, usually made of cast iron in round or oval shape.

Page 289

Pobrecito
Poor little boy.

half a cubic foot
12" by 12" by 6".

Page 290

miner's gad
According to the OED, "1. a steel wedge, 2. a small iron punch with a wooden handle used to break up ore."

McBryan's
Now-defunct brand of whiskey.

trick animal
???

Page 291

seguro
Spanish: "sure"

parlor houses
Brothels

Cosmopolitan Saloon and Gambling Club
Cf p.260. In Telluride, CO.

bullion day
From Tomboy Bride: A Woman's Personal Account of Life in Mining Camps of the West (1969) by Harriet Fish Backus:

George was promoted to his position taking charge of recovering gold amalgam and delivery it to the mine office. Two or three times a month it was prepared for shipment on what was called Bullion Day.
This was a day of importance on which the gold, free of quicksilver, was melted and poured into three bar-molds each approximately nine inches long, five wide and four deep, containing five hundred ounces and at that time worth ten thousand dollars. The crucible, filled with molten gold, was lifted from the furnace by a chain block and swung to a point directly above the molds in a proper position topour. Using long tongs the superintendent tipped the crucible just enough to let the white hot liquid flow into the molds. (p.71) [10]

Mr. Edison's scheme ... static electricity
In the summer of 1900, Thomas Edison erected a plant at the Ortiz Mine in Dolores, New Mexico, to extract gold ore using static electricity. However, dry gravels could not be obtained and, due to the poor quality of the ore, the tests were deemed a failure.

Wetherill's magnet
An apparatus for separating magnetic minerals from nonmagnetic minerals, a Wetherill magnetic separator consists of two horseshoe magnets placed side by side and parallel to each other. Three belts are employed with each pair of magnets. The first belt brings the ore in horizontally under one pole piece of the upper magnet. The second belt operates under the surface of the upper pole piece, rounds the tips, and moves up the bevel of its wedge, bringing with it magnetic particles which, as they get above the magnetic field, fall off. The third belt accomplishes the same for the other pole piece of the upper magnet. [11]

Page 292

pocket Kodak
Possibly the "No. 3 Folding Pocket KODAK Camera" produced by Eastman Kodak from 1900 to 1915.

Hieronymus Wheel
Seems to describe a roulette wheel. Google and the OED turn up nothing on "Hieronymus Wheel," but Pynchon's bizarre choice of language obviously suggests the Dutch painter, Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450-1516). Wikipedia entry. Perhaps Pynchon alludes to a certain wheel in a Bosch painting? Bosch's "Circle of Hell" depicts a wheel coming out of (or going into) the mouth of a fishlike creature, but that doesn't really make sense of the term, either. See discussion page 273-295

It refers to the Bosch painting 'The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things' (1485). It involves a wheel of the 7 big ones. Quite fitting in the dissipated environment of Hell-u-ride. Also, its divided in much the same way as a roulette wheel.

Dieter
Oldfashioned German first name. Pronunciation: [diːtər]. Short for Dietrich. Popular male name in Germany after WWII.

Since "Dieter" is "the barkeep" the English word dieter for someone who prescibes a diet comes to mind.
Seems like a stretch. Bleakhaus 13:28, 5 February 2007 (PST)

Possibly a reference to H. Dieter Zeh [12]and his "Many Minds" interpretation of the multiverse issue [13].Bklyn48 19:37, 1 January 2007 (PST)

How so? Bleakhaus 13:28, 5 February 2007 (PST)

The multiple interpretations of what is going on in the bar, which will become more apparent in the following pages, suggest the exemplification of this solution to the "multiple universes" problem.

Nippon
Japan in Japanese.

bellows
For explanation, see Bellows Camera.

Page 293

Japanese
Sumimasen = "Pardon me" or "Excuse me"
Bobusan desu = This is Bob
Gonnusuringaa = "gunslinger"
("Gansuringaa" is a more appropriate Japanese transliteration of "gunslinger", but no Japanese will recognize the word anyway.)
mottomo abunai desu = he is extremely dangerous
(This is a bizarre Japanese expression.)
Anna koto! = That sort of thing!
(This does not seem to make sense contextually.)

Bit of a stretch, but the film Lost in Translation (2003, Sofia Coppola, director) features a character named Bob who visits Japan, where he is repeatedly called Bobusan.

fulgurescence
n : an emission in flashes or sparks, like lightning. [14]

profanity... much of it in Japanese
The Japanese language has little profanity in the Western sense: words considered vulgar and which cannot be spoken in polite company. Wikipedia entry on Profanity in Japanese

"The loss of clarity . . . . in the dark"
See the note for Hieronymous wheel in discussion. If the "Hieronymous wheel" refers to a Bosch painting, perhaps this scene continues some kind fo parallel to Hell or something else. The painting includes several unknown creatures, including a barrel with legs, while “thrashed about” suggests the central fish monster image of the painting.

Cf. also:
  • p. 136, "and for that brief instant it would be possible to move from one version to the other.", i.e. from "Venice of the Arctic" to the secular Venice.
  • p. 221, "Lateral world-sets, other parts of the Creation, lie all around us, each with its crossover points or gates of transfer from one to another, and they can be anywhere, really . . . . An unscheduled Explosion, introduced into the accustomed flow of the day, may easily open, now and then, passages to elsewhere,"
  • p. 230, "'Let us imagine a lateral world, set only infintesimally to the side of the one we think we know.'"
Cf., also the transdimensional travel of Buckaroo Bonzai in the Pynchon inspired film, The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984), especially the images of 8th-Dimensional creatures that Bonzai sees as he passes through the mountain. IMDB entry.
Cf., further, the notion of a "multiverse," that is, a physical ur-structure, comprised of many, if not infinite universes, of which ours is only one. Several contemporary cosmological theories require that a multiverse exist, though its existence remains highly conjectural. Wikipedia entry.

It became possible to believe that one had been spirited, in the swift cascade of light-flashes, to some distant geography where creatures as yet unknown thrashed about, howling affrightedly, in the dark.
A possible reference to the phantastic dreamscapes of the Japanese animation-filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. Among his works, plausibly coded into this lengthy sentence, are Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakukushi / The Spiriting-Away of Sen and Chihiro, 2001) and Howl's Moving Castle (Howl no ugoku shiro, 2004).

"the American West--it is a spiritual territory! in which we seek to study the secrets of your--national soul
It is possible that Pynchon needs a link from the Colorado Mine Wars to the Russo-Japanese War, but why place a Japanese Trade Delegation seeking to learn the spiritual secrets of the American West (which Merle Rideout correctly points out, lacks any) in the middle of a gunfight or brawl in Telluride? This could be a sly allusion, in a book about alternate histories and timelines, to arguably one of the best "alternate history" books ever written, Philip K. Dick's "The Man in the High Castle". In a 1962 in which the Axis won World war II, Nobusuke Tagomi is head of the Ranking Trade Mission to the (Japanese-occupied) Pacific States of America. He, like many Japanese, are fascinated with the artifacts of "pre-War US Culture", most especially with artifacts of the Old West and with its martial arts, which possess the spiritual power of "Historicity" (much as American occupation troops in Japan collected swords and studied Zen Buddhism). Tagomi, in short, collects old six-shooters, and practices quick-drawing and firing, a fact which is central to the book's action. Colorado figures heavily in the book's action as well; in the relatively free Rocky Mountain States (a buffer state between the PSA and the German-occupied USA) a solitary author has written a novel in which the US and Britain won World War II...[15]. And don't forget that this 'K' in Philip K. Dick's name stands for Kindred...

packing out pyrites
Mining fool's gold. Or wasting your resources by loading it into cars or skips instead of throwing it on the tail heap.

katana
Japanese samurai sword.

Page 294

Baron Akashi
A Japanese general whose career included spying, but, anachronistically, his career did not begin until 1889. He was a spy in Europe during Russo-Japanese War (1904-05). So would he've been famous even to the lengths of backwoods CO? How much spyin' can a poor boy do if he's famous?

The burden of fame doesn't seem to have kept James Bond or Austin Powers from succeeding in their espionage activities.
Baron Akashi himself was famous, but his sidekick was not. The former didn't show up at Telluride but the latter did as 'some li'l laundry runner'.

planning a hoist
Heist is now universal, but originally it was a dialect form of hoist.

cuspidors
Spittoons would be quite inconvenient if overturned.

Squirrel and sarsaparilla
Squirrel Whiskey and Sarsaparilla Soda. Squirrel whiskey was so called because it was supposedly so strong it would drive its drinkers up a tree. Sarsparilla, by contrast, is derived from the roots of the Sarsparilla tree.

Page 295

summer of '89
Butch Cassidy and his accomplices robbed the San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride on 24 June 1889 (Wikipedia)

Annotation Index

Part One:
The Light Over the Ranges

1-25, 26-56, 57-80, 81-96, 97-118

Part Two:
Iceland Spar

119-148, 149-170, 171-198, 199-218, 219-242, 243-272, 273-295, 296-317, 318-335, 336-357, 358-373, 374-396, 397-428

Part Three:
Bilocations

429-459, 460-488, 489-524, 525-556, 557-587, 588-614, 615-643, 644-677, 678-694

Part Four:
Against the Day

695-723, 724-747, 748-767, 768-791, 792-820, 821-848, 849-863, 864-891, 892-918, 919-945, 946-975, 976-999, 1000-1017, 1018-1039, 1040-1062

Part Five:
Rue du Départ

1063-1085

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