- Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.
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a: 23, b: ? - Sick Dick and the Volkswagens
Fictional, but a 1970s New York City punk band adopted the name.  "I Want to Kiss Your Feet" no doubt an allusion to the 1963 Beatles hit, "I Want to Hold Your Hand." Might this mean that Pynchon was fond of the Beatles but "did not believe in" them?
a: 24, b: ? - printed circuit
Many people have undoubtedly seen civilization from a plane or high place and been reminded of a circuit board, but this description is probably one of, if not the first time it's been set down in American fiction.
a: 25, b: ? - believe in his job
Echoes the "believe in" language from two pages back. Pynchon is drawing a metaphor between "believing in" a band and "believing in" a job.
' "Believing in" here seems to mean something like identifying with; being one with (sorta); not being alienated from. Which seems thematic to the mystery within the story.
a: 25, b: ? - religious instant
May be a stretch, but Pynchon's works seem to have many such "religious instants," in which a character experiences a flood of ideas and emotions in just a few moments. Similar to the "Proustian moment" or Joycean epiphany? - Encounter with the Holy, or numinous, rather; prefiguring Oedipa's terrifying/fascinating encounters with the manifestations of the Trystero System. The pattern is taken from The Idea of the Holy by Rudolf Otto. While much has been made of the Mircea Eliade connection, Otto's direct influence has been largely overlooked, although Pynchon himself drops the clue word numinous in the novel.
Excerpt [from Idea of the Holy] - page 6: "... AND THE NUMINOUS' implied in `holy'.
Numinous (IPA:/ˈnuːmənəs/ or /ˈnjuːmənəs/) is a Latin term coined by German theologian Rudolf Otto to describe that which is wholly other. The numinous is the mysterium tremendum et fascinans that leads in different cases to belief in deities, the supernatural, the sacred, the holy, and the transcendent.
The word was used by Otto in his book Das Heilige (1917; translated as The Idea of the Holy, 1923). Etymologically, it comes from the Latin word numen, which originally and literally meant "nodding", but was associated with meanings of "command" or "divine majesty". Otto formed the word numinous from numen in a manner analogous to the derivation of ominous from omen.
Numinous was an important concept in the writings of Carl Jung and C. S. Lewis. The notion of the numinous and the wholly other were central to the religious studies of Mircea Eliade. It was also used by Carl Sagan in his book Contact.
In Carlos Castaneda's 'Don Juan' books the 'nagual' seems to correspond to a concept of something wholly other, or at least to something our neural net has not yet fit into a template or cookie-cutter 'recognition' (Casteneda's so-called 'tonal').---Wikipedia
a: 25, b: ? - giants of the aerospace industry
Pynchon worked as a technical writer at Boeing from 1960-62.
a: 26, b: ? - horse
a: 26, b: ? - the Paranoids
Some fan has made a mock-up of what a CD by The Paranoids might look like, here.
a: 30, b: ? - Gallipoli
The Battle of Gallipoli took place at Gallipoli from April 1915 to December 1915 during the First World War. A joint British and French operation was mounted in an effort to eventually capture the Ottoman capital of Constantinople (Istanbul). The attempt failed, with heavy casualties on both sides. Wikipedia
a: 31, b: ? - hierophany
Physical manifestation of the holy or sacred. This manifestation can be in many forms, often in symbols or rituals. An example of a hierophany would be an apparition or image appearing on a window bearing resemblance to the virgin Mary.
a: 31, b: ? - Book of the Dead
ancient Egyptian funerary text used by the ancient Egyptians as a set of instructions for the afterlife. Not all the spells were used for every burial; some depended on wealth and status. Some spells were gifts to the gods, while other were used so the person could walk, a spell for not dying again in the afterlife, and even a spell 'For preventing a man from going upside down and from eating feces' Wikipedia
a: 31, b: ? - singling up all lines
Pynchon was in the Navy for a spell and "single up all lines" is a common nautical term. Ships are docked with lines doubled -- that is, with two sets of ropes or chains holding the vessel to the dock. To "single up all lines" is to remove the redundant second lines in preparation to make way.
Pynchon uses this term in almost all his novels, notably as the first sentence of Against the Day. For more, see ATD page 3.
a: 33, b: ? - a cash nexus
a phrase of Karl Marx that refers to the way interpersonal relations in a (Capitalist) society are 'reduced' to economic relationships.
a: 33, b: ? - Manni di Presso
a: 36, b: ? - Botticelli
Botticelli is a guessing game which requires the players to have a good knowledge of biographical details of famous people. The game has several variants, but the common theme is that one person or team thinks of a famous person, reveals their initial letter, and then answers yes/no questions to allow other players to guess the identity. Wikipedia
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