ATD 397-428

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

Page 397

syntonic wireless
United States Mint image
United States Mint image

syn·ton·ic (sĭn-tŏn'ĭk) adj.Psychology. Characterized by a high degree of emotional responsiveness to the environment. Electricity. Of or relating to two oscillating circuits having the same resonant frequency. [From Greek suntonos, high-strung, intense, attuned, from sunteinein, to draw tight : sun-, syn- + teinein, to stretch.]

Syntonic Wireless Telegraphy. Ayrton Prediction. Electrical Review, June 29, 1901, p. 820.

a homeless boy who has been abandoned and roams the streets. wordnet.

some koindt of a sailboat pitchuhv on it
The reverse of the coin shows Columbus' flagship Santa Maria (the obverse has the navigator's portrait).

Columbian half dollars were struck in 1892 and 1893. CoinLink

Columbian Half-Dollar
The 1892 Columbian Exposition half dollar was the first commemorative coin authorized by Congress. [1]

"ten yeeuhz ago"
Places this action in or around 1903.

Page 398

Casually, a messenger; more formally, a permanent official Papal representative at a foreign court.

Evening Quarters
A muster of the ship's company at the end of the day.
Is this at 1800 Hours?

H.G. Wells
Herbert George Wells (1866-1946), one of the 19th Century science fiction writers whom Pynchon is both emulating and parodying in ATD. H.G. Wells was an English novelist, sociologist, journalist, and historian. He wrote series of fantastic scientific romances The Time Machine (1895), The Invisible Man (1897), etc. In combination with scientific speculation he developed a strain of sociological idealism in The War of the Worlds (1898), First Men on the Moon (1901) and many others. He also wrote the well-known Outline of History (1920). For more see Wikipedia entry.

jeu d'esprit
French: play of wits. Witticism. Here, Lindsay places Wells' masterful Time Machine (see above) in opposition with the more flashy and vulgar versions ("adulterated") of time travel offered in dime novels. Interesting that this comment would be made by someone who is himself a character in a dime novel.

National Imprest
An imprest system is a system using loans as control against fraud and theft. The most common imprest system known is the petty cash system. Wikipedia. Interesting that the Chums' petty cash system goes under the rubric National, not International?

"Plug" Loafsley
Plug-ugly loafer/oaf?

Lollipop Lounge
Lollipop is vulgar slang for an underage girl. There is at least one 'pornographic' magazine called Lollipops featuring supposedly underage girls.

2) A city district notorious for vice and graft. [After 'the Tenderloin', an area of New York City (from the easy income it once offered corrupt policeman). Cf p.334. From the American Heritage Dictionary.

squalid empire
Cf Alan Parker's 1976 movie "Bugsy Malone". IMDb

Page 399

indigo... yellow
Clashing-colors motif. Bright full-of-life colors.

A hat [2], perhaps of the style now known as "baseball cap"[3].

opopanax and vervain
Two fragrant, medicinal substances derived from flowering plants. They bloom yellow and violet, respectively. Wikipedia pages for opopanax and for vervain.

Though Wikipedia prefers the spelling opoponax, the OED suggests Pynchon's.

contrabass saxophone
A rare but spectacular piece of hardware, somewhat taller than the person playing it, patented by Adolphe Sax in 1846. Pitched in E-flat—if you are keeping track—two octaves below the alto sax. Wikipedia

slide cornet
A brass instrument with the voice of a cornet but using a slide instead of valves. Very, very rare.

An eight-stringed instrument shaped like a mandolin but tuned the same as a viola. It is originally an Irish instrument.

"tin pan" piano
A reference to New York's Tin Pan Alley. Probably, the tag means to indicate that the piano was out of tune or sounded 'cacophonous'. Wikipedia entry

anchored by . . . piano
It's hard to imagine the sound of the ensemble: big reedy bass, lots of rhythm from the mandola, the abandoned wailing of the cornet, fuzzy arpeggios on the piano. Like a children's Fourth of July parade, plus hallucinogens.

According to the OED, a "nymph of the Muslim Paradise. Hence applied allusively to a voluptuously beautiful woman." [1]

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "houris" is the plural of 'houri', as defined above.

Over 21yo, if he's aged.

A female singer of popular songs, esp. in France. [2]

Page 400

2. a spangle used to ornament a dress or costume. [from Old French,diminutive of paille,straw]. American Heritage Dictionary.

of questionable taste or morality. From Old French, losche= squint-eyed, ultimately from Latin, luscus = blind in one eye. Source: American Heritage Dictionary.

OED Oblique, not straightforward. Also, dubious, shifty, disreputable. [3]

The OED suggests that the spelling here was always more popular than jass, as used on p. 370. It makes sense that a musician like "Dope" Breedlove might use a less conventional spelling, as he would be familiar with the term before common usage had regularized its spelling. By contrast, within the "dime novel" idiom of the Chums of Chance narration (dime novelists not necessarily being, especially in those days, the swingin'-est of cats), while jazz still registers as a slang term, its spelling has already been regularized.

Dey high-hats us uptown
They scorn or snub us.

Dey low-balls us downtown
They underestimate us.

Missus Grundy
Mrs. Grundy, proverbial looker-askance at any improper activity. "[A]n extremely conventional or priggish person" after a character alluded to in the play Speed The Plough, by Thomas Morton (1764-1838), British playwright. Source: American Heritage Dictionary.

"Yen"? And play/contrast with yang?

Page 401

Angela Grace
I.e., Angel of Grace

Gophiz... Hudson Dustuhs
Gophers, Hudson Dusters. New York street gangs.


slickin up

Mr. Mawgin
J. Pierpont Morgan. Dr. Zoot has funding from the same source that supported Tesla earlier.

Upright structural member, here part of the El trestle.

find it
(Small-penis joke.)

Actually, on p. 154 we learn that when these structures were erected, they were intentionally antiqued, "deliberately burned, attempts being made to blacken the stylized wreckage in aesthetic and interesting ways," a description that applies also to Pynchon's historical fiction with its antiquated language and its generally favorable view of all things black. Though, of course it's been a decade since the shrine was erected, and some actual time-corrosion may have occurred.

seeming to date from some ancient catastrophe, far older than the city.
When, what is that catastrophe in ATD, pages 149-170?

There's more than a hint in the geography. From Central Park to the Tenderloin, on a street where you can smell the waterfront; west and south till you hit (literally) the Ninth Avenue El; south on the El line. Eventually you get to the World Trade Center site.

Italian: "Per me si va nella città dolente". Phrase first appears on p. 154, where it is inscribed over the shrine that the citizens erect to the Destroyer. It is a quote from Canto III of Dante's Il Inferno, where it is emblazoned over the gates to Hell.

I.e., ozone or O3, which is a molecule composed of three bonded oxygen molecules. Wikipedia.

Page 402

solenoidal relay
Solenoid: a cylindrical coil of wire hollow in the center. To make a relay, stick an iron rod partway into the middle. Turn the current on, and the magnetic field pulls the iron in. Attach the rod to the bolt on the gate and you can unlock it by pushing a button.

Dr. Zoot
homage to Zoot Sims, jazzman?
Most often combined with Suit, as in Zoot suit - Wikipedia. Often zoot suiters wear a felt hat with a long feather (called a tapa or ... By their dress, Zoot suiters expressed defiance, at a time when fabric was ... There is a contemporary "zootsuit" radio station devoted to old radio shows. Historically, much later than the period of ATD here, there were riots in Los Angeles called the Zoot Suit riots (alluded to in, wasn't it, The Crying of Lot 49?)(Edit- nope, GR.)

Even tough-guy Plug fears the time machine. Pynchon's perspective on artificial light, "already harsh illumination".

Electrical generator. Converts any rotational motion to AC or DC power.

Grandmother's day
Pre-Civil War.

A distinctive fine watch of French design, usually with open circles ('moons') near the ends of the hands. (See also p.140) Wikipedia entry

Insertion of thin material to make two parts line up. Think of the matchbook under the table leg.

revenue diverted
(Why not no-revenue?)because revenue was spent---very cheaply: in only "the simplest upkeep."

Page 403

gutta-percha gasketry
Gutta-percha (Palaquium) is genus of tropical trees native to southeast Asia and northern Australasia, from Taiwan south to Malaya and east to the Solomon Islands. It is also an inelastic natural latex produced from the sap of these trees. One use of gutta-percha was the "guttie" golf ball with a solid gutta-percha core, which appears later in Against the Day. Wikipedia

Bodywork. Panels concealing frame, wiring, etc.

undog this hatch
Nautical: disengage whatever is holding the door shut.

(Blind, not humble.)

nervous organizations
Cf drugs. Cf. sympathetic vibrations, a physical kind of empathy.

Riding two to a horse. Refers specifically to the "passenger seat", separated from the main saddle. Also applies to motorcycle riding where the small passenger seat is called a "pillion". Metonymically, pillion can be used to describe the passenger.

8 million horses were killed in WW1. At first battle of war, Mons, cavalry used extensively. This was before the war became fought through trench warfare. Shows how blindsided the direction the war took and how out of control it became for all involved. Note that "galloping" calvary has often been associated with romanticizing and glorifying of war in American lit. Cf. Rev Hightower in Faulkner's Light in August. (Recall, too, that Pynchon nicked AtD's title from Faulkner's famous Nobel Prize speech.) Cavalry?

arrays of metallic points
Bayonets? Appears to be a depiction of the (still future) Great War, WWI.

Or, if we are observing the future dead, the metallic points are the bullets fired, now holding static in the places where they interrupted the living.

Page 404

shockwaves of the Creation
Anachronistic Big Bang theory?
I must say that in the Big Bang theory, stars were first created out of the bang; here the metaphor seems to accept that the stars already exist and "are blown through by the shockwaves of the Creation", capitalized, a common Pynchon touch, as in a Biblical allusion.

chamber shook
(It didn't on p403.)

not beasts
Airplanes? Or Missiles/rockets? 'A screaming comes across the sky'....

Cf GR on Passchendaele.

Page 405

latest Oldsmobile
(Dates.) 1903.

Candlebrow U.
So what is a "candlebrow"? Consider those phallic ex voti candles offered up to St. Cosmo. The head of the candle-phallus, brow shaped, sits atop the cyclindrical candle-shaft and is, metaphorically, the candle's brow. And, natch, Gideon Candlebrow made the bucks necessary to fund Candlebrow U. with the miracle product "Smegmo," the "Messiah of kitchen fats" (Imperial Margarine was advertised as "The King of Margarines") — smegma is the "cheesy secretion" that collects atop the "candlebrow" beneath the foreskin. Ewball Oust's name has similar connotations.

Maybe I'm pointing out the obvious, but it seems to me like Pynchon's way of saying Dickhead University. --Pomopaulrevere

'dome' is slang for the human brain, of course. [Amer Heritage] and seems to mean, in humorous context, two-headed or double-brained thinkers...(more doubling motif--as joke?)

Or possibly a sexual double entendre...consistent with the rampant sexuality in AtD. Why, several double-dome images come to mind, almost faster than "egghead"...
also possibly a reference to numerous "mad scientist" contraptions that connect two (unwilling?) patients, hooked together by metallic helmets (domes), in order to "switch" "souls" from one body to another. Seems far-fetched, but in a book dominated by the idea of dopplegangers created by the refraction from Iceland spar, not so much...
Also a possible reference to phrenology, the pseudo-science of skull shape in relation to personality traits. "Dome" in phrenology seems to refer to a desirable head shape, with the top of the skull large and rounded, like an egg with the larger end up. This seems to indicate morality, reason and self-restraint, in phrenology. Thus, could "double-dome" refer to someone with two possibly conflicting systems of morality, or reason? It seems a bit of a reach. But phrenology is probably something Pynchon would've paid attention to in his survey of the riot of pseudo-sciences clamoring for respect during that era.

Traveling salesmanship.

a saloon down by the river called the Ball in Hand

The Ball in Hand isn't the river, it's the saloon. Still, the name does have an English ring to it. The Bird in Hand is a common pub name in Britain.

Another cricket allusion? If so, rather obvious. Surely a straightforward sexual joke.

Oh yes. As discussed a couple paragraphs down!

Ball in Hand might refer to the "orb," an emblem of sovereignty held in the monarch's left hand in many state portraits; the orb is a small globe usually surmounted by a cross. Or a physics allusion, though anachronistic by some 30 years: the dome of a Van de Graaff generator. The museum visitor places her hand on it, the docent cranks the machine, and the victim's hair flies into an aigrette. Or a more carnal connotation, not anachronistic at all. Or fortunetelling. These remote connections do make cricket sound pretty good:

A term used in pocket billiards (especially 9-ball) when a player has scratched (sunk the cue ball) and the player who follows is allowed to place the cue ball wherever he/she wants.

Given all the other sexual references in AtD, this definitely has a sexual ring to it. Consider that the Oxford English Dictionary defines "ball" as "5. Any rounded protuberant part of the body." It is thought that "ball" is derived from the Indo-European word bhel, meaning to blow, swell; with derivatives referring to various round objects and to the notion of tumescent masculinity. Derivatives include boulevard, boulder, phallus, balloon, ballot, and fool. [4]
Alonzo Meatman

Meatman translated to German is Fleischmann, as in Fleischmann's, makers of yeast, margarine, and assorted spreads.

Yes, perhaps a cheesy spread, like that smegmo! In 1973, Jerry Lee Lewis recorded an homage to his oral talents entitled "Meat Man" in which he brags of having "a maytag tongue with a sensitive taste." This fits in with The Sexual Angle in AtD. Read the lyrics.... And there are those great balls of fire known as ball lightning.

they don't like to cross running water
A preference shared by witches, vampires and in some accounts the Devil.

Page 406

counterfeit of the Timeless
Thematic. Whole sentence seems the sharpest indictment of 'the Academy' as exemplified by Candlebrow U.

fatal discovery
Note the contrast with "fateful discovery" on p.398.

Imum Coeli
Latin for "bottom of the sky." In Astrology, it is the point in space where the ecliptic crosses the meridian in the north, exactly opposite the Midheaven. Wikipedia entry

Of masonry, parts of buildings, etc.: Rendered rustic in appearance. [4]

managing present an aspect of terrible antiquity
Perhaps because [very mild one-page spoiler ahead:] there's some truth to the conjecture of Professor Vanderjuice on the next page that "there's nothing to keep us from going back as far as we like, and holding the Conferences then, even back when this was all prehistoric around here, dinosaurs, giant ferns, flammivomous peaks everywhere sort of thing..."

Gideon Candlebrow
made-up founder whose scandalous fortune underlay Candlebrow U?

a gross dale?

great Lard Scandal of the '80s'
Real event? (There were a couple of 'Lard Scandals" in last ten years but in countries other than Great Britain.)

Since Gideon had to testify before congress about it, said Scandal must have happened in the States. He seems to have shipped lard that was deemed too "adulterated" to be sold in the US to good old Britain, thereby, as Pynchon puts it with a good dose of mean-spirited humor, "compromising further an already debased national cuisine". What did he use to adulterate the lard? The secret ingredient in Smegmo, maybe?

In V. Pynchon mentions the "Great Sewer Scandal of 1955."

Christmas pudding controversy'
Lard could certainly be used while making Christmas Pudding, aka Plum Pudding Wikipedia entry, the quintessential British holiday treat. The traditional ingredient, though, is suet. Some families might have tried to substitute lard in the recipe, which would have radically altered the taste of the pudding, sparking bitter fights about the importance of culinary tradition. Could this "controversy" be a metaphor of the effects of American cultural imperialism? Maybe I should just do a taste test...

Page 407

Smegma is a secretion of mammalian genitals Wikipedia.

The word derives from a transliteration of the Greek word σμήγμα for soap.

As an "artificial substitute for everthing in the edible-fat category" pronounced kosher by an "eminent Rabbi of world hog capital Cincinnati, Ohio," Smegmo may be a code name for Crisco, a Procter & Gamble creation invented in Cincinnati in 1911 -- an anarchronism or time shift in the text -- and marketed through various ethnic cookbooks, including a Yiddish/English kosher cookbook published in 1933 with the "Hechsher (or certificate) of a prominent Orthodox rabbi, "denoting that Crisco contained nothing animal-based." [5]

"Smegm"a + crisc "O" = Smegmo

Interesting(?) sideline: Here in Denmark the slang word for smegma is 'nakkeost' -i.e. 'neck-cheese'. And of course anyone who's seen 'Red Dwarf' will know about the current British use of 'smeg' (Not smeggin'likely, get the smeg outa here! Smeg off!). What do Americans call it?

Smegmo and Candlebrow: "The initial purpose [for Crisco] was to create a cheaper substance to make candles than the expensive animal fats in use at the time. Electricity began to diminish the candle market, and since the product looked like lard, they began selling it as a food." Yet another Lard Scandal? [6]

Also P&G was founded as a candle (Procter) and soap (Gamble) company, making profits from the fat of slaughtered pigs in "Porkopolis," Cincinnati.

Finally, the stock ticker for P&G is PG which is pretty close to one of Pynchon's favorite animals -- PIG.

Cf. cottonseed oil p. 546.

1887 saw the introduction of the Margarine Act in Great Britain, which required margarine to be labeled as such. This was in response to the adulteration of butter by oleomargarine (made from animal fats).

Candlebow + margarine reminds me of Camille Paglia on Renee Zellwegger as "margarine-browed" (which I don't really understand).

four thousand years
Refers to the time believed to have elapsed since Abraham and the foundation of Judaism Wikipedia. Under kosher laws Jews are not allowed to mix milk and meat products in the same meal. The rabbi's proclamation about having waited 4000 years refers to the arrival of Smegmo as a non-milk substitute for butter that can be eaten with meat dishes.

"you kept hearing different stories about exactly what was in it"
Refers to wide range of urban legend-like attributions as to the origins and/or makeup of smegma that exist especially among children.

There's a resonance with Coca-Cola, too: exaggerated secrecy about the formula, fanatical market development, endowment of a university (Emory in the case of the Woodruff and Candler fortunes).

First International Conference on Time-Travel
MIT students held a Time Traveler Convention on May 7, 2005. The organizers did only modest publicity, claiming that the event would be reported and people in the future would read about it and decide to attend. One of the principals pointed out that only one such convention would ever need to take place. Vanderjuice's reasoning is almost a mirror image of that.

The Time Machine
A short novel by H. G. Wells, written as a series of articles in 1888 for The Science Schools Journal, and published as a book in 1895. The central character, Time Traveller, tells a group of friends that he has invented a machine which can travel through time, enabling him to investigate the destiny of the human species. In the year 802,701, where he is temporarily stranded, he finds the meek and beautiful Eloi ling in apparently idyllic circumstances, but discovers that they are the prey of the degenerate Morlocks, descendants of laborers who have lived underground for centuries. In later eras he sees the life-forms which survive the extinction of man, and thirty million years hence he is witness to the world's final decline as the sun cools. (Taken from The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English, 1988 Edition.) For more information from other source see The Time Machine.

Wells' The Time Machine portrays the splitting of the Human Species between the Upper-worlders and the subterranean species called Morlocks. Wells compares the Upper-worlders and Morlocks to our own social differences between the Capitalist and the Laborer, the Haves and the Have-nots. When the Time Traveler first encounters a Morlock in chapter 5, he sees "A pair of eyes, luminous by reflection against the daylight without,...."

this year
??? 1903.

back when this was all prehistoric around here
See previous page "managing somehow..."

Vomiting out flame. [5]

sophomoric slogs
Slog can be a forceful hit and a Cricket term. Link

"nooky" is synonymous with "pussy" both of which are used metonymically to denote either the sex act or, in this case, women who are desirable as sex partners.

1925 or thereabouts
Lindsay's unfamiliarity with the term "nooky" could continue until it becomes an accepted part of the English language, which occurred, according to the OED, with its first substantiative written usage in 1928. The OED, by the way, prefers the spelling nookie (the Shorter OED prefers "nooky"). However, the term was certainly in the vernacular long before it made it into the OED and is speculated to be of British origin, perhaps derived from "nugging" (having sex) or "nook" which a vagina could be considered, I suppose.

Most likely a simple "chummy" joke, implying that poor old Lindsay wouldn't get to experience the pleasures of the flesh for another 25 years. Considering that the Chums don't seem to age, I really can't say how old he will be when the blessed event finally comes.

Actually, this seems like a fairly obvious poke at exactly the kind of scholarship we're participating in here-- Miles admits and acknowledges that the use of "nooky" here is an anachronism, which will only be of a concern to readers who were actively trying to get laid in 1903, and the kind of people who look up the origin of a word 100 years later to say "...but they didn't say 'nooky' in '03!"

(Has he been absent?)

Page 408

telegraphic messages
(Why at night, particularly? Email parody?) Seems many telegraphic messages were delivered at night, perhaps because they could be picked up during the daytime and many came after evening began.

When telegrams were a customary means of communication, you could send a "straight wire," which would go right on the wire and get delivered promptly, or a "night letter," which would go into a queue for transmission in low-traffic times and be delivered the next morning. The rate for night letters was lower than that for straight wires.

"Goes with everything"
Cf Al Capp's Shmoos?

a million uses for Smegmo
Tracing out just one parallel: Coke—foundation of the Candler fortune and the Emory U. endowment—is a beverage, a sweetener and flavoring agent (Coca-Cola Cake a Southern favorite), a solvent (best thing for removing bugs from windshields) and a cleanser (MythBuster-tested for polishing automotive chrome). In an emergency you can fill your radiator with it, and used with care it will raise bread dough.

Tracing out another parallel: Crisco, not only the first but also emblamatic of all synthetic shortening, is "ubiquitous in the cuisine and among the table condiments..." It is found in baked products (breads, cakes, muffins, etc.), salad dressings, soups, potato chips, mayonnaise, cheese spreads, peanut butter, cake and biscuit mixes. Raisins are sometimes coated with it. You will find them in most processed foods.

in the way that certain odors can instantly return us to earlier years
Recalls Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu in which the taste and smell of a madeleine cookie summons a collection of childhood memories.

"There's a seminar on that tomorrow ... Or do I mean day before yesterday?"
Are all the folks at Candlebrow time travellers? Unlikely. This remark seems to be a typical collegiate witticism about classes. Seems about everyone can STUDY time travelling at Candlebrow.

Finney Hall
Probably a Hall/Auditorium/Room in Candlebrow U. named after American author Jack Finney (1911-1995), who wrote a famous time travel novel, Time and Again (1970). See Jack Finney for more.

flowering, blooming.From florescense. Amer Heritage Dictionary

Page 409

Gibson Girls
From illustrations of a kind of woman first made by Charles Dana Gibson. Besides certain physical features--see wikipedia---such women were thought to be 'independent', often college girls, although not suffragettes.

"Why you insufferable little --"
This line, paired with St. Cosmo's observation at the end of the following paragraph: "And might I add, Mr. Noseworth, that these constant attempts to strangle Suckling do our public image little good," seem a fairly direct reference to a well-worn trope from the Simpsons [7], in which the splenetic Homer, as played here by Noseworth, expresses his no-longer-controllable frustration with Bart, here the increasingly smartalecky Suckling.

Pynchon, as has been widely reported, has appeared on The Simpsons a couple times.

More than even "Vineland," it seems, this book is fraught with pop culture/low comedy asides.

Relating to Orson Welles. On page 412 the term 'Wellsian optimism' is used in a clear reference to H.G. Wells.

Orson Wellesianism seems correct: The scene, an immense inventory of discarded time machines, is reminiscent of the final scenes of Citizen Kane which show Kane's enormous collection of objects in rows of stacks extending seemingly to infinity.

Also, Orson did the infamous War of the Worlds broadcast that sent people shooting in the streets. The Wells/Welles blurring would imply Vanderjuice knew of a future event/movie and I don't think such characterological foreknowledge (in the prof's case) or authorial intrusion is active in this text. So I think that it's a typo and not a really obvious/belabored pun.

Since this is followed by listing "Asimov Transeculars" among the discarded time machines, we may reasonably conclude that discussion of time travel frees Pynchon to insert what would otherwise be an anachronism. Relax and enjoy.

Asimov Transecular
Interesting to find one of Isaac Asimov's time travel machines on the pile of "picked-over hulks of failed time machines." Of course, it would have to have been deposited there from some time in the future.

Adj "that is made through the centuries" (Portuguese) Btchakir 16:48, 19 December 2006 (PST)

Rather than troubling to search for a Portuguese word, isn't it more likely that Asimov or Pynchon coined this in a nearly trivial way? Trans, across, plus secular, ages or centuries (from Latin sæculum, an age, a generation, 120 years; also yielding French siècle, a century).

Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), Russian born American biochemist and science fiction writer. His family emigrated to the US in 1923 and he was naturalised in 1928. He graduated from Columbia University and had been Professor of Biochemistry of the University of Boston since 1979. He began contributing stories to science fiction magazines in 1939 and his first book Pebble in the Sky was published in 1950. Many others followed. The Foundation Trilogy (1963) made an international reputation as the master of science fiction. Since 1958 he had published few novels, preferring to concentrate on text books and works of popularized science such as Intelligent Man's Guide to Science (2 Vols. 1960). And he also wrote Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare (1970). In his life time he wrote over 500 books that spanned the realm of human knowledge. Asimov Home Page and Isaac Asimov.

Tempo + morph = Time change

FM station? The weapon used by Loony Tunes character Marvin the Martian is called the Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator

Flow of Time.

Star Trek allusion? A kind of mineralized rubber.

a hard, readilly cut and polished rubber, obtained by vulcanizing rubber with a large amount of sulfur or some sulfur compound under a moderate heat (110-140 degree C), used in the manufacture of combs, buttons, and for electric insulation.

Heusler's alloy
any of various alloys of manganese and other nonferromagnetic metals that exhibit ferromagnetism. Named after Conrad Heuslet, 19th-century German mining engineer and chemist.

Synthetic ivory, used to make billiard balls.

An alloy of gold and silver, presumably not the same as argentaurum.

lignum vitae
The very hard heavy wood of any of several tropical American guaiacum trees. In Latin, literally "wood of life."

An alloy of copper, nickel, tungsten and zinc, formerly used in elecric coils.

Magnesium-aluminum alloy.

packfong silver
A Chinese alloy of nickel, zinc and copper, resembling German silver. packfong.

The Ball in Hand
See annotations to p. 405.

safe harbor
Paradoxical, I think.

auto = Self,same. Morph = to change. The theory of automorphic functions concerns a generalization of periodic functions such as the Earth's revolution.

Eternal Return
A fascinating interpretation of history in which Time is a single cycle and once it has reached its conclusion begins anew, and each repetition of the cycle is utterly identical to the first. Perhaps originating in The New Science by Giambattista Vico, though made most famous by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who used it as the basis for his moral philosophy. Cf. Nietzsche, The Will to Power.

Notice that at Candlebrow, the conferences converged to a "form' of Eternal Return. The almost instantaneous way the conferees can be "resurrected' and seem never to age, makes this form of the Eternal Return a lot like Never-Never Land.
A-and perhaps a Pynchon jape at Nietzsche's vision of history?

Page 410

Related to revenant, a ghost, a returner from the dead.

River of Time
cf "the invisible river, the flow of Time", p.252. Herein a 'parable' drawn from the flowing of a literal river, by some Candlbrow conferees.

Cf. "The River of Time" (first published in 1981 as "Coexistence" in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine)

Cf. M&D's "in America, time is a river that goes through hell"

Cf. Heraclitus's Flux and Fire Philosophy. [8]

Symmes Street
possible reference to the Symme's Hole which leads into the hollow earth, i. e. a street on the extreme fringe

Symmes Street = Symmetry ?

Lightfuel motif.

St. Louis Fair

Also "Pygmy boyfriends escaped from the St. Louis Fair" - in the book Ota Benga, about a pygmy who appeared in the St. Louis Fair, there is a reference to pygmies escaping from their exhibit and disappearing into neighborhoods of St. Louis, never to be found

kielbasa sausage
Often referred to as Polish sausage (which is uncooked), Kielbasa sausage is a precooked, smoked, traditionally made of pork that is highly seasoned with garlic.

also used to describe a very large penis. Judging from the "disreputable" nature of the Ball in Hand, it wouldn't seem too far-fetched to imagine Polish comedians hitting themselves over the head with their own appendages.

Traditional Chinese gambling game; also a card game [9].

Or "life-preserver": slang, a blackjack or cosh.

Clashing-colors motif. This combination appears in a bandana in Gravity's Rainbow (Viking p. 69 line 14).
Life colors in Pynchon, it might be argued?, as is a bandana.
The clashing of (anarchic) life motif, maybe?

magenta is a color that was renamed for a battle, the Battle of Magenta! see wikipedia.

There's something else striking about magenta and green: In the field of color mixing, these are complementary in the sense that magenta results from filtering all the green out of white light and vice versa. Green is an additive primary (red-green-blue), while magenta is a subtractive primary (cyan-magenta-yellow). This does not hold for some other AtD color schemes (red/indigo comes to mind, but there are a dozen or so of these binary combinations).

Page 411

Finding of Unusual Circumstances Questionaire
Also, presumably, known as the "F.U.C.Q." or "fucq" for short.

Hawaiian volcano
Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, established in 1916, displays the results of 70 million years of volcanism, migration, and evolution — processes that thrust a bare land from the sea and clothed it with complex and unique ecosystems, and a distinct human culture.

The park encompasses 333,000 acres and ranges from sea level to the summit of the earth's most massive volcano, Mauna Loa at 13,677 feet. Kilauea, the world's most active volcano, offers scientists insights on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and visitors views of dramatic volcanic landscapes. Over half of the park is designated wilderness and provides unique hiking and camping opportunities. More on Hawaiian references in Against the Day...

Practitioners of Zen Buddhism.

Caged Women of Yokohama
Possible: Yokohama was one of the first Japanese cities with the heaviest industrialization...wherein many young women from the surrounding rural areas came to work in dreadful working and living conditions? "The early 20th century was marked by rapid growth of industry. Entrepreneurs built factories along reclaimed land to the north of the city towards Kawasaki, which eventually grew to be the Keihin Industrial Area. The growth of Japanese industry brought affluence to Yokohama, and many wealthy trading families constructed sprawling residences there, while the rapid influx of population from Japan and Korea also led to the formation of Kojiki-Yato, the largest slum in Japan at the time." Wikipedia.
Misc. Like Telluride in the U.S., Yokohama had the first gaslit streetlamps in Japan. Wikipedia.

Page 412

Japanese. A ko-an is a story, dialogue, question or statement in the lore of Zen Buddhism. koan.

"Does a dog possess the Buddha-nature?" [...] "Yes, obviously"
According to the Zen parable the answer to the question is "Mu", which is both "No" and the sound of a dog's bark, thus neither simply yes nor no. See the explanantion given by the Learned English Dog in Mason & Dixon (Ch. 3, p. 22).

apricot and aquamarine
Clashing-colors motif.

As Alonzo Meatman goes right on to explain, F.I.C.O.T.T. is the acronym for the First International Conference On Time Travel, but readers of Gravity's Rainbow will recall also "Fickt" from the line "Fickt nicht mit dem Raketemensch," or "Don't f--k with the Rocketman."

Typo? Should be hootenanny, an informal performance by folk singers, typically with participation by the audience. The OED says that it can be spelled either way, and also hootananny.

Bohr... Mach... young Einstein... Spengler... Wells... McTaggart
All of these people did work involving either speculation about time (Wells) or other subjects that reached their highest expression in Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which had implications regarding the nature of time and spacetime Wikipedia. Pynchon refers to the fact that this work was underway and 'in the air' at the time of the novel. History and Discussion...

Notice how, among this stellar cast of scientists, Wells seems to be placed above the rest (cf: "Mr. Wells himself"), as if the writer of fiction trumped "real" scientists when it came to the idea of time travel.

dismissing . . . the existence of Time
In a 1908 essay, The Unreality of Time, McTaggart said "Our ground for rejecting time . . . is that time cannot be explained without assuming time." For the full text of the essay The Unreality of Time (1) and other information The Unreality of Time (2).

the McTaggartite
disciple of Mctaggart?

St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), in his autobiographical Confessions, is credited with reconceptualizing the notion of time in Christian terms. Throyle, on p.143, summarizes what he terms "Christian time," as a "linear way of regarding time, a simple straight line from past, through present, into the future." See also Eschatology.

fatal steamed pudding

Presumably the subject of the "Christmas-pudding controversy" mentioned on p. 406. In the context of Prof. Taggart's disbelief in time and the Augustinian's presumed belief that time moves inevitably toward Christ's return, a Christmas pudding (which, one should mention, is prepared with suet or similar animal fat, though presumably Smegmo can be substituted) is a symbol, insofar as it invokes the birth of Christ, of a pivotal moment in the proper sequence of Augustinian time. The pudding, which context here suggests the neo-Augustinian dropped on the McTaggartite, at once symbolizes the Fall of Man, as well as the McTaggartite's inevitable descent into Hell. The whole arrangement is problematized, however, by the comments of the County Coroner, who describes the outcome of the event dependent on "wagering," chance being irreconcilable with Augustinian time.

vertical distance
Of pudding-drop?

Old Stearinery Bell Tower

A stearinery (probably made-up word) is a facility where stearin is made. Chemically, stearin is an ester of glycerol with stearic acid, or stearic acid itself. The name also denotes the solid component of a fat. Smegmo undoubtedly contains stearin, so the Old Stearinery was a key part of the original production process.

"Until 1863 lard stearin was used to produce the stearic acid for candle making. With lard expensive and in short supply, a new method was discovered to produce the stearic acid using tallow. What lard and lard stearin was available was instead developed into a cooking compound. The same process was later adapted to create Crisco, the first all-vegetable shortening." [10]

Page 413

322 feet
The average acceleration produced by gravity at the Earth's surface (sea level) is 32.2 (or 32.17405 to be exact) feet per second per second. This apllies "in any direction out to the curve of the Earth, notorious locally for exerting a fascination upon minds healthy and disordered alike."

Pedantry Alert: From a height of 322 feet, you see the horizon at a distance of 22 miles.

Eg clocktower assassins?

Also people who may be moved to knock towers down.

One who practices homeopathy.

"the lycopodium type"... Fear
Lycopodium is a common homeopathic remedy for many disorders. Homeopathy being the introduction into the body, in infinitesimal amounts, of a possibly toxic or irritating agent that ends up stimulating the body to heal itself.

??? My take was that he was assuaging any hurt feelings with Meatman by placing him on the level of a fellow "Chum of Chance".

Hmm... maybe Chick is implying that he and Meatman are indeed of the same cloth, not bound by the earthly realm, the former spending most of his time in the air and the latter being able to travel to other dimensions.

other Promise... resurrected... two millennia

maybe this refers simply to the Resurrection (and therefore the end of Time); the Promise is that the trumpet (Chick's?) shall sound, and the dead shall be raised.

God's promise of eternal life vs. Time Travel's promise of making you immortal.

speaking trumpet
Brass forerunner of the megaphone. Abstract of a 1671 paper; photo of a ship's speaking trumpet, 1799; catalog entry for a replica American fire brigade speaking trumpet, mid-19th century.

Page 414

outskirts, outlying areas; also (OED) "meaner streets about some main thoroughfare; a mean, squalid or disreputable street or quarter."

This whole section is a progress into the outlying areas, the fringes (Cf. Pynchon's story Low-lands, which takes place at a town dump)

woodwork, doors, molding, wainscotting, etc, but cheap, prefabricated, not custom-fabricted on site.

A penumbra is the outer and lighter part of the shadow created by an eclipse. "Penumbrae" is the plural form.

His name suggests a purveyor of meat, and he does "deliver" Chick to Mr. Ace.

Page 415

"Mr. Ace"
This could be a nod to the 1946 film Mr. Ace starring Sylvia Sidney and George Raft who plays Eddie Ace, the head man of a crooked political machine who intends to scuttle the gubernatorial campaign of female senator Margaret Wyndham Chase (Sylvia Sidney). He uses every dirty trick in the book to destroy Margaret, but she perseveres on the strength of sheer honesty and integrity. Through her example, Ace mends his own ways, earning Margaret's love as a bonus, and he helps her to run as an independent on a clean-government ticket.

It may, more specifically, refer to the old-time radio show called The Cases of Mr. Ace which had a very limited run mostly on WNEW in New York in the late forties. Raft played Eddie Ace, the sole owner of Ace Detective Agency on 6th Avenue. In the episode from June 25, 1945, Ace described one gangster thus:

"The face of a small fragile old man. His hair was glossy and deep black. His eyes were glossy and deep black."

Compare this to Pynchon's Mr. Ace: "Glossy black eyes, presented like weapons in a duel."

Relating to speech that serves to establish social relationships rather than to inform.

Those of us who spoke this truth were denounced as heretics
Yes, the old Pynchon theme of those in control, the oligarchs, silencing the counterforce.

Taking of refuge in a planet's past was the plot of a Captain Kirk-era Star Trek episode; the unintentionally transported Kirk is taken to be a religious dissenter; fortunately his judge is one of the "refugees".

certain of your great dynamos
Cf. Henry Adams, author of The Virgin and The Dynamo. Pynchon has written of being influenced deeply by Adams, and his ideas are particularly evident in Pynchon's V..

Fraternity of the Venturesome
Mistranslated 'Chums of Chance'.

Electrical short?

Suggests "he" could be a holographic image. Time traveling holograms were one feature of the "Temporal Cold War" subplot of Star Trek: Enterprise; one such manifestation (complete with "nzzt's") is set in a huge dynamo station in a Nazi-occupied New York. This is two possible Star Trek allusions in a single page.

Electrical short is certainly relevant. The mistranslation is a kind-of short-circuit, then he gets the right phrase from his data bank. Bit like C3P0 in Star Wars?

You are not aware that each of your mission assignments is intended to prevent some attempt of our own to enter your time-regime.
Aha! A little peek into the True Mission of the Chums. Time to take another look at those various adventures:

  • Chums of Chance and The Evil Halfwit (p.5)
  • Chums of Chance and The Curse of the Great Kahuna (p.5)
  • Chums of Chance at Krakatoa (p.6)
  • Chums of Chance Search for Atlantis (p.6)
  • Chums of Chance in Old Mexico (p.7)
  • Chums of Chance and the Bowels of the Earth (p.117)
  • The Chums of Chance and the Ice Pirates (p.123)
  • The Chums of Chance Nearly Crash into the Kremlin (p.123)
  • Chums of Chance at the Ends of the Earth (p.214)
  • Chums of Chance and the Caged Women of Yokahama (p.411)
  • Chums of Chance and the Wrath of the Yellow Fang (p.1019)

Page 416

Cf 415.

"irreversible processes"
In thermodynamics, an irreversible process is one in which the intermediate states cannot be specified by any set of macroscopic variables, and which are not equilibrium states. Since the intermediate states are unknown this process cannot be reversed.

Squanto and the Pilgrims
Squanto (Tisquantum) was one of the two Native American Indians (Samoset being the other) that assisted the Pilgrims during their first winter in the New World. Squanto.

Ironic (although Chick means it sincerley) since in this case the Chums of C are "Squanto" and their strange interlocutors from another dimension are the pilgrims. Chick innocently suggests that the strangers from the future just want help (as, like the pilgrims, they have just arrived and are low on supplies, so to speak). It is implied that just as the Indian's helping the pilgrims was re-payed with disease, genocide and war, the payback the Chums reap for helping these visitors from another dimension may not be what they expect.

A term first used in 1850s by the German physicist Rudolf Clausius (1822-1888). It is the name of a quantity in thermodynamics, statistical mechanics and information theory variously representing the degree of disorder in a physical system, the extent to which the energy in a system is available for doing work, the distribution of the energy of a system between different modes, or the uncertainty in a given item of knowledge. In thermodynamics absolut entropies cannot be determined, only changes in entropy. One way of stating the second law of thermodynamics (Cf page 238) is to say that in any change in an isolated system, the entropy increases. This increase in entropy represents the energy that is no longer available for doing work in that system. See Entropy & Laws of Thermodynamics.

"It's our innocence . . . ."
Speculation about the motives of people who come from the future claiming to need something from the past. It is a common fallacy in all ages to think back to the past as a 'golden age' and an age of 'innocence'. Lindsay elaborates further down the page: "[I]magine them... so fallen, so corrupted, that we — even we — seem to them pure as lambs. And their own time so terrible that it's sent them desparately back...." Think also of the kind of 'golden age' rhetoric often employed by certain politicians.

Page 417

"we're totally—"

"He is not what he says he is."
Pynchon denies Chums backstory/explanation.

In addition, his story would be plausible — almost too plausible — in terms of the thermodynamic theories of the day, i.e. the Heat Death of the Universe (about which Pynchon has written before: see V. and Entropy).

Presumably individuals in the company of Mr. Ace and Alonzo Meatman, whose intentions toward the Chums of Chance are apparently sinister and for their own benefit. They appear to travel back through the stream of time without any kind of permission to execute their plans, thus making them trespassers (or parasites).

The idea of trespass could be thought of in another way too. Miles mentions Mr. Ace knowing him as a 'peeper' who observes the trespassers as they come to his time. We could think of the 'trespassers' as anyone in any time who looks back at a point in history. As such, they are actually 'peepers'. That these seem to have found a way not just to peep but actually to participate makes them more than peepers, in fact, it is this that constitutes their 'trespass'.

Pynchon seems to be playing with how we view history and the past, a theme common to all his work. The Chums, whose existence is, to an extent, fictional even within the work of fiction, are a nexus meant to control boundaries between points in time (e.g. the future and the present, or its past). Historians and other future observers want to use the past for their own purposes. If they become visible to the people in that past, they will appear as 'trespassers' and violators. As Miles says, they do "not have our best interests in mind".

We ourselves (readers and perhaps even more, Wiki authors) are also trespassers from the standpoint of the Chums. We read about them in the novel, which takes us to the past, to their present, and inserts us in a way that is invisible to them. We then write up entries and think thoughts about what they do. We are in their world in some way that to them is utterly mysterious and sinister because, again, we have own agendas in mind and not theirs.

Right: And what about the biggest trespasser of all - the author himself. After all, he's the one who can offer them immortality.

As opposed to Tyrone Slothrop, who seemed to have taken on a life of his own and escaped from the book totally in GR.

I see them pointing something back at me — not exactly a weapon — an enigmatic object.
Hmmm. Could this have anything to do with the Q-weapon?

— – – mmm... does anyone think that it might be just a remote control, and that the window through which the trespassers and the Chums see each other might be just a TV set? [[[User:Sonni|Sonni]] 09:19, 21 February 2008 (PST)]

Page 418

With a capital T.

evidence... everywhere
Cf Crying of Lot 49.

An abnormal and usually degenerative state of the nervous system or nerves.

With Devil. More specifically, like Faust with Mephistopheles.

Other Units
(So our five gossiped to others?)

Cf Trekkies.

came to recall
Cf PK Dick.

red and indigo

Marching Academy Harmonica Band
In this episode the academy goes by seven permutations of the name:

  • Marching Academy Harmonica Band
  • Harmonica Band Marching Academy
  • Marching Harmonica Band Academy
  • Harmonica Marching Band Academy
  • Harmonica Band Marching Academy
  • Marching Harmonica Band activities
  • Harmonica Marching Band Training Academy

Its identity is not very securely tied down. Clearly it's mutable, a kind of mirage. And surely there's a resonance with 'laughing academy'? And a hint of the Hogwarts train in 'Harry Potter'?

Pynchon devotes enough attention to that whole baffling "Academy" episode to make it appear fairly pivotal. The word order variations suggest an anagram _ "ham," as in "pig" again? "MBA," as in academic initiation into capitalism? "Bam!?" Maybe that whole episode hints at a naive, early 20th-century romanticized myth of military service _ boys seeking some adventure story, equated with a goofy lark like a harmonica band, but being thrust into the horrific mechanized slaughter of WWI. All the while, though, the anarchic jazz symbol of the harmonica, that other side of classic American soul, is trying to sneak through.

Page 419

"El Capitán"
Sousa march. "El Capitán" was played by a military band on the deck of Admiral Dewey's battleship as he steamed into the Bay of Manila in 1898, to "liberate" the Philippines from Spain and also, not coincidentally, achieve access for U.S. capital and goods to East Asian markets once the Philippines became a colony. Thus the references to the "intricacies of greed as then being practiced by global capitalism" a few sentences later on p. 419 is hardly out of place for TRP, particularly when mixed with comments on how patriotic bromides and marching tunes go together. The harmonicas and the comment that improvisation is definitely NOT welcome in marching band arrangements, of course, provide Pynchon's own inimitable caustic/satiric touch; cf. the kazoos in GR. On "El Capitán": see Hess, Carol A. “John Philip Sousa’s ‘El Capitan’: Political Appropriation and the Spanish-American War.” American Music (Spring 1998).

"Whistling Rufus"
A cakewalk song written in 1899.

[11] "1. To declare or set apart as sacred: consecrate a church."

Richardson Romanesque
Style of American Romanesque architecture from 1880s-1890s, named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson, notable for use of brown stone, rounded corners, arches and cylindrical turrets. Wikipedia Entry.

modal theory
Context is suggestive of music theory, types of scales and keys of tonal music. However, Modal Realism is the view, notably propounded by David Lewis, that possible worlds are as real as the actual world. Possible worlds exist; the actual world is merely one among an infinite set of logically possible worlds, some nearer to the actual world and some more remote. [12]

Piece of military or bureaucratic paperwork; context suggests "request for transfer".

Bing Spooninger
Like "Bing" Crosby, a crooner.

Current military and collegiate slang for "bed"--an anachronism.

Page 420

every note

say "Wall"

Yippy dippy dippy, doo!
cf. Gravity's Rainbow (p. 66) where Slothrop goes down the toilet after, appropriately, a harmonica.

Now, it ain't that I wouldn't, 'cause I can but I won't,
And I would if I wasn't, but I am so I don't
This sounds very similar to a lyric from Frank Zappa's 'Stink-Foot:'

He said: "IT DOESN'T, 'n YOU CAN'T!





He told me NO NO NO!

I told him YES YES YES!

I said: "I do it all the time . . .

Ain't this boogie a mess!"

difficult vocal feat

A deejaying term for moving from one song/track to another with no noticeable break if done correctly.
Cf. Gravity's Rainbow, Viking p. 70, line 36, where the phonetic spelling "segway" appears.

An African-American entertainment having a cake as prize for the most accomplished steps and figures in walking; also, a stage dance developed from walking steps and figures typically involving a high prance with backward tilt. From this, slang for a one-sided contest or an easy task.

Note played on harmonica by "drawing" air through reed by sucking in rather than blowing out (insert crude sex joke here).

Page 421

Masochistic love of oppressors.

cover identity
Burden of resistance.

unannounced punishments . . . Combat-Inside-Ten-Meters
Points up the Kafkaesque nature of the Academy.

This bit in re: the Academy-- including the Combat-Inside-Ten-Meter-- could echo the Enfield Tennis Academy, one of the central locations in D.F. Wallace's "Infinite Jest."

Lombardy poplars.
A large deciduous tree, reaching 30-40 m tall. They resemble large shrubs, due to their tall, slender appearance. They grow tall very quickly and usually die within 15 years of first planting.

Out the window...
The longest sentence so far in ATD.

Chromatic Harp
A harmonica that plays all notes in an octave rather than a scale in a certain key. Examples.

Pitch Integrity Guard
To prevent tampering with the notes in the ways described below - i.e. monitoring any tendency towards the 'Negroid'.
= PIG - pigs long have held a fascination over Pynchon.
A-and a Pitch Integrity Guard is a kind of cop, right?

harmonica-reed files
Filing the reeds would alter the notes slightly, allowing you to get 'in-between' notes that aren't in the normal major or minor scale.

sucking the tonic chords...Negroid sound
Standard technique for playing blues harmonica ('harp'), also known as cross-blowing. The sucked notes are easier to 'bend' and wail with, so you can get the blues 'third', not quite minor, not quite major. Another technique that helps you get the 'Negroid sound' is soaking the harmonica, which gives the reeds a rougher, more bendable quality. That's probably the point of the 'late night visits to the latrine'. Compare with GR, where Slothrop (at college!) loses his harmonica down the toilet (he finds it much later in a stream in Germany! Gone back home, so to speak). There's a harmonica-soaking scene in Pennebaker's Dylan film 'Don't look Back'. It wouldn't surprise me if there was some kind of folk wisdom that piss is even better than water for soaking the harp. Pee-culiar.

Page 422

I.G. Mundharfwerke
Interessen-Gemeinschaft Mundharfwerke (Harmonica-works Association of Common Interests). "Mundharf" is Swabian German for "Harmonica". By analogy with I.G. Farben in GR: the Mouth-Harp Cartel.

Cf. Slothrop's desk in GR.

the sprightly Offenbach air "Halls of Montezoo-HOO-ma!"
The "Marines' Hymn" borrows the tune of the "Gendarmes' Duet" from the opera Geneviève de Brabant (1859) by French composer Jacques Offenbach (1819-1880).
The lyrics of which are not entirely irrelevant:
And if we meet a helpless woo-o-man
Or little boys who do no harm
We run them in, we run them in,
We run them in, we run them in
Because we are the bold gen-darmes!

into the Latrine
Cf. Slothrop's hallucination in GR.

A powder or other preparation for rubbing or cleansing the teeth; a tooth-powder or tooth-paste; also applied to liquid preparations.[6]

vapor bearing...minerals
Rows of mirrors facing each other (thus creating regular patterns, "chaining away for uncounted leagues") have been stained with images formed by regular use: breath, tiny bits of toothpaste or powder ("atomized dentifrice"), "shaving preparations," and mineral deposits from tapwater.

Aide-de-camp, administrative assistant to a commanding officer.

but they could find no entries in any of the daily Logs to help them remember
Their situation has no precedent in any of the Chums novels. They have been betrayed, isolated and brainwashed, and they even doubt whether they are the authentic Chums. The following is not a spoiler: Any elementary handbook of plotting will tell you that they can't just single up all lines at the end of this episode and fly their ship "cheerly" on to the next adventure.

Page 423

revisit places where destinies took a wrong turn, or revisit in dreams the dreaming body of one loved more than either might have known...
As far as we know, none of the Chums has actually experienced this. Sounds to me like an allusion to Faust and Gretchen/Marguerite, since this actually happens in several of the Faust versions. Especially in the context of the Faustian bargain they have made with Mr. Ace.

None of them...
Cf Chuang Tzu's dream: is he a man dreaming he's a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he's a man? On the rhetorical level of the story, this passage reiterates the dreamlike, near-delusional nature of the Chums' latest escape from what seems to have become their most dangerous foe. (418: "As if in a dream...").

volunteer decoys
Decoy = is usually a person, device or event meant as a distraction to conceal what an individual or a group might be looking for.
I think this surprising phrase has Pynchonian meaning about the meaning of fiction like the Chums': 'escape', 'adventure' fiction is a decoy from reality?

"At a Georgia Camp Meeting"
a song by a Kerry Mills originally published in 1897. Became a very popular 'cakewalk' tune.
A camp meeting took place, by the colored race; way down in Georgia. There were folks large and small, lanky, lean, fat and tall, at this great Georgia camp meeting. When church was out, how the "sisters" did shout, they were so happy. But the young folks were tired and wished to be inspired, and hired a big brass band.

Chorus: When the big brass band began to play pretty music so gay, hats were thrown away. Thought them foolish people their necks would break, When they quit their laughing and talking and went to walking for a big choc'late cake.

The old "sisters" raised sand, when they first heard the band; way down in Georgia. The preacher did glare and the deacons did stare, at the young people prancing. The band played so sweet that nobody could eat, 'twas so entrancing. So the church folks agreed it was not a sinful deed, and they joined in with the rest.

:definition within above definition: 'cakewalk'
Cakewalk is a traditional African American form of music and dance which originated among slaves in the US South. A cake, or slices of cake, were offered as prizes for the best dancers — a rare treat during slavery — giving the dance its name. The dance was invented as a satirical parody of the formal European dances preferred by white slaveowners, and featured exaggerated imitations of the dance ritual, combined with traditional African dance steps. One common form of cakewalk dance involved couples (one male and one female, with their arms linked at the elbows) lined up in a circle, dancing forward alternating a series of short hopping steps with a series of very high kicking steps. Costumes worn for the cakewalk often included large, exaggerated bowties, suits, canes, and top hats.... The dance became nationally popular among whites and blacks for a time at the end of the 19th century. The syncopated music of the cakewalk became a nationally popular force in American mainstream music, and with growing complexity and sophistication evolved into ragtime music in the mid 1890s. The music was adopted into the works of various white composers, including John Philip Sousa and Claude Debussy; the latter wrote Golliwog's Cakewalk as the final movement of the Children's Corner suite (1908).

Dep. from American Heritage Dictionary = 1. department 2. departure 3. dependency 4. deponent 5. deposed 6. deposit 7. depot 8. deputy
barring any other allusion, I think 'deps' here might stand for 1) departures or 2) departments (given words about other Chums above.

Surrogates, decoys, escape: Surely these all make it certain that "deps" means "deputies."

Also, another set of duplicates (or duplicate/shadow existence) in the section on Iceland Spar, the duplicating material.

route out of the past
The nostalgia trap.

We wish we could tell you about everything that's been going on, but it's not over yet, it's at such a critical stage, and the less said right now the better. But someday . . .
The Chums imagine "the real Chums" as being engaged in a secret war that demands only one sacrifice from "the people," that of their innocence.

Page 424

'coon' material
Songs and humor in which African-Americans were stereotyped (as lazy, immoral, stupid, vain, etc.) and held in contempt. The most popular coon song, though, was written by an African-American, Ernest Hogan; titled "All Coons Look Alike to Me," it has an AtD resonance. Coon material was extremely popular between about 1880 and 1910; stripped of the word "coon," a diluted form still appears nightly on your TV. Wikipedia has a strikingly good article. For a partial list of coon references in AtD, see annotation to p. 48.

the quality or condition of being equal along all directions. For more technical information see isotropy.

R. Crumb did a comic like this: pic
Nice find. That comic succintly summarizes TRP's view of the effects of railroads and "civilization."

(Was unconscious, now conscious?)Are the Chums now able to intercede in 'human' affairs, unlike their earlier mandate?

That's exactly it, their stretch in the camp—sorry, the harmonica academy—has modified the terms of the C of C Prime Directive.

dropped from altitudes
(Cf pudding above, Padzhitnoff's four-block fragments)

Page 425

"After the Ball"
Music and lyrics by Charles K. Harris. This number was interpolated into the score of the hit musical A Trip to Chinatown (1892) during its record-setting Broadway run. It was introduced by J. Aldrich Libbey. When Kern and Hammerstein wanted to add period flavor to Show Boat (1927), they used "After the Ball" in the Trocadero scene — where it was performed by Norma Terris. Read the lyrics...

See also the pantomime song in Gravity's Rainbow (pages 174-175):

"And the lamps in the stairway are dying,
It's the season just after the ball . . ."

Either the Emirate of Bukhara, a former country in Central Asia or its capital

Abbrevation for Temporary Duty. weblink

submerge beneath the desert or sand.

A plant/tree native to the deserts of Central Asia, particularly the Gobi desert; it has a very hard wood and is covered with knobs Wikipedia pic

It may be significant that the saksaul tree is often planted in order to stabilize the sands. Part of western Europe's civilizing mission?

Q. Zane Toadflax
(Sounds like Douglas Adams?). Toadflax is the common name for a group of plant genera which includes the snapdragon.

Hypopsammotic... Hypops
Hypo- (under) + psammot- (sand, from Greek psammos) + -ic. Pynchon explains the device's function on the next page (426).

Page 426

beating their prices
Contradicts p. 425 "no further expenditure".

P. 425 merely says that "no further expenditure for that purpose [i.e. for Hypops rigs] will be approved." Presumably, the Chums have some additional discretionary fund from which to draw cash for emergency purchases such as these.

that medium which is wavelike as the sea, yet also particulate
Alluding to the æther theory and the dual (wave/particle) nature of light.

Page 427

temporarily lapsing into English
Contrasts with the technical jargon the Chums have been steeped in over the past few days, including lectures by Roswell Bounce (they're only boys, after all). Often, mathematicians, physicists, and their students fail to explain their theories "in English." This little phrase can be taken as a professorial joke, aimed at both the author (for always coming back to obscure or difficult theories) and the reader (for never understanding them).
I thought it was contrasting with Miles' frequent babbling habit.

pigs fly
Lindsay = pig. "When (or until) pigs fly" = never.

But Darby's surname is "suckling," which of course is highly suggestive of a young, maturing "pig," and he does seem to be exhibiting some legalistic _ fascist? _ tendencies.

The Executive Officer (XO) is the second-in-command, reporting to the Commanding Officer (CO).

Yes, Darby is now Legal Counsel.

Page 428

ill-starred Bell Tower
Referring back of course to the Old Stearinery Bell Tower and the Fatal Pudding, and in turn to the Campanile.

The Campanile picture has me wondering. According to the sources, the old picture of the collapse of the Campanile is actually a fake. And it doesn't have the airship. It's a fun picture, but what is its status? There doesn't seem to be an appropriate place for this information in the wiki, or have I missed something?
The Campanile picture is an illustration. Doubtful that anyone had their camera all set up for the awesome event. The airship was photoshopped in for, um, color...
See also last paragraph of page 255.

Cf. Renata's tarot reading on p. 253, the last card of which is The Tower.

Cf. The Bell-Tower by Herman Melville, a famous short story — from The Piazza Tales (1856) — with an "ill-starred bell tower" for sure. "Glancing backwards, they saw the groined belfry crashed sideways in.", a line from it which echos the picture used for the pynchonwiki home page. Full text of The Bell-Tower

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:

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


  1. The Oxford English Dictionary 2nd Ed. 1989.
  2. The Oxford English Dictionary 2nd. Ed. 1989.
  3. The Oxford English Dictionary 2nd. Ed. 1989.
  4. Def. 3a. The Oxford English Dictionary 2nd. Ed. 1989.
  5. The Oxford English Dictionary 2nd. Ed. 1989.
  6. Oxford English Dictionary 2nd. ed. 1989.
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