Pages 198-219

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November 6th, YDAU - ETA Weight Room

Page 198

Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment

German: corn chip ["Korn" means corn or grain, "Span" means chip or flake, but "Kornspan" makes no sense in German]

While this is just another name for isometric exercise, it's not clear how Pemulis would be making his face stronger. ...Perhaps he is just making faces as a result of his trying to eavesdrop and in response to the other shouts in the weight room.

Page 199

Bacon's Study after Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X

like one of Bacon's popes
Francis Bacon (1909-1992) was an Irish artist. His portrait of Pope Innocent X can be seen to the right.

Page 200

another spelling of "resin," this resin being used to provide a better grip in weightlifting

having a muscular, husky body type

Facts About Addiction and Tattoos

Page 200

Department of Social Services

having papules, i.e., inflamed, raised elevations on the skin not filled with pus (insect bites produce papules in most cases)

tecato gusano
a worm from Tecate, Mexico, a small city in Baja California, bordering the U.S. Perhaps, but tecato is slang for a drug user, as web search will inform. Gusano indeed means worm.

Page 201

a brand name of earplugs

of a speed less than that of sound

in music, a chord played in parts (i.e., one note at a time) rather than together

a very loose translation from Latin would be "with due reference to"

Page 202

Human Immuno-Virus
HIV, i.e., the virus that causes AIDS

a piece of information; usually used in its plural, i.e., data

a means of connection

the end of the penis

Digital Equipment Corporation, now a part of Hewlitt-Packard

Endnote 70

National Rifle Association

including 12-Step fellowships themselves
See Chuck Palahniuk's novel Fight Club.

Page 202 (cont'd)

'Texas Catheter'
This is "a condom-like device with a plug where the condom's reservoir tip would be, and an adhesive at the base. This device allows for urinary catheterization without the insertion of a true catheter" (Wikipedia).

Page 203

Plural for "colloquium," these are akin to academic conferences, albeit slightly less formal.

50 proof
i.e., 25 percent alcohol


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

adjective form of "epiphany," a moment of sudden and great revelation or realization (Oxford Dictionary of English).

without any interesting qualities

Page 204

a town in Massachusetts, about 25 miles northwest of Boston

short for "vigorish" (the bookie's fee for his services; see also p. 912)


Page 205

inflammation of the pancreas

Page 206

Morally degenerate; corrupt.

one of two types of wine made from two related sorts of grapes

A soldier receives a Purple Heart when s/he is wounded

Store 24
A New England chain of convenience stores that often include both self-service gasoline and a deli, the website of which is here.

Page 207

200 kilos
over 440 pounds

Scooter Puppies
This is likely a term that DFW coined, although Spin magazine used it in a blurb in 1996. I suspect that they were inspired by DFW.  ?? Spin does provide one of the reviews in the front of the 2006 edition.

Gothic script
Click here to see examples.

moving in a wavelike motion


White Flag group
A white flag is a military signal for "surrender." Many AA groups' names quote or allude to phrases or concepts from the AA program; this name alludes to the concept of surrender/abandon/acceptance or "turning over [one's] life and will to the care of God."

Page 208

A misspelling of "majuscule," meaning a capital letter, or uncial.

engorged with blood

having four or more leaves emanating from a single point

a suburb of Boston, ten miles to the west

a half-meter, or nearly 20 inches

resembling a gonfalon

[New Oxford American Dictionary, henceforth NOAD]:[Botany] [Zoology] ending abruptly in a short sharp point or mucro.

St. Vitus's dance
a nickname for Sydenham’s chorea

Misspelling and slight misquotation of the last line of the poem "Buffalo Bill's/defunct," by e.e. cummings: "how do you like your blueeyed boy/Mister Death". The full poem appears here: [1]

Gestalt is "a configuration, pattern, or organized field having specific properties that cannot be derived from the summation of its component parts" (Random House Unabridged Dictionary).

Page 209

White Flag reference to senior AA members, who sit under a picture of crocodiles sunbathing on a riverbank

St. Columbkill
a place name here, named for an actual Irish saint. There is a real Roman Catholic parish in Brighton called St. Columbkille.

St. Elizabeth's Hospital
St. Elizabeth's Medical Center is a real hospital in Brighton. Its Web site is here.

disagreeable, argumentative

Rita Hayworth
The era of Rita Hayworth would be the '30s and '40s.

SUBIKBAY is probably Subic Bay. USN would be U.S. Navy.

Short for Semper fidelis ("always faithful"), motto of the U.S. Marine Corps

having undergone autolysis, i.e., the breakdown of tissue over time

Better Late Than Never

Page 210

A taxonomical term just below Kingdom (in humans, Animal), the phylum of mammals is Chordata, which means they have a spinal cord.

To foment is to instigate or stir up but the proper word here would be "ferment"

Massachusetts Department of Corrections

brand name of pentazocine, a narcotic painkiller

Page 211

a card game

set at an oblique angle; this can also mean having rounded corners

The Incredibly Potent DMZ

Page 211

According to Wikipedia, film noir (French for "dark film") is "a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize moral ambiguity and sexual motivation. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as stretching from the early 1940s to the late 1950s."

Whereas psychosensual would have a more sexual connotation...

...psychosensory would be more nearly precise, as it would apply to sensory stimulation, not necessarily sexual.

Page 212

CIA-era military experiments
probably a reference to MKULTRA

several species of flowering plants, the color of whose blossoms ranges from pink to blue depending on soil acidity

having no essential heart of the matter

to extract soluble parts by boiling

an optical or magnetic instrument used to conduct spectroscopic analysis of matter (in the case of a mass spectrometer) or light emitted by heated matter, plotting intensity v. wavelength, to determine its constituent elements, or combinations of elements

Ram Das
A reference to Baba Ram Dass (born 1931 as Richard Alpert), an American-Jewish spiritual leader, author of Be Here Now, and large influence on Pete Townshend.

Page 213

A frustum is a truncated cone or pyramid, or specifically "the part of a conical solid left after cutting off a top portion with a plane parallel to the base" (Random House Unabridged Dictionary). "Cut a cone off the top of a cone, and a frustum is what remains." [editor]

Lamb's Breath cannabis
a type of potent marijuana

a 20-gram amount (about .7 ounces)

Sierpinski gasket

Wacław Franciszek Sierpiński (1882-1969) was a Polish mathematician and one of the innovators of set theory. The Sierpinski gasket is a fractal, also called the Sierpinski triangle. See picture at right.
Sierpinski gasket

having separate panes, when used for a window

fenestration 1 : the arrangement, proportioning, and design of windows and doors in a building.

philatelic forceps, a loupe
Philatelic refers to stamp collecting, in which stamps are handled with forceps and examined with loupes, the latter being essentialy a magnifying lens one screws into one's eye socket or orbit. A loupe is also used by a jeweler to view flaws in diamonds, and forceps have many other uses.

Bunsen burner
a laboratory burner invented in part by Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen (1811-1899), a German chemist.

the process of determining the strength of a compound

Lysergic acid diethylamide - LSD

(also known as agarin or pantherine) is the principal psychoactive constituent of Amanita muscaria and related species of mushroom.

Wide Area Telecommunications Service: "bulk-rate telephone service that enables a subscriber to make an unlimited number of long-distance telephone calls within a given service area for a fixed monthly charge or to receive calls from given areas with no charge to the caller" (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)

5-methoxy-diisopropyltryptamine often termed Foxy Methoxy or just Foxy, is a psychedelic tryptamine.

fit via vi is a Latin phrase from Book II of The Aeneid, line 494, that can be translated as “the way is forged by strength” or “Force finds a road.”

Effects of poisonous fungus that can infect grains. It has convulsive and gangrenous symptoms. Overuse of Methylergometrine and Ergotamine (which is a migraine medication) can also cause the disease.

to type in at the same time as search terms on a computer

Page 214

a scholarly study on a particular subject, usually published as a book

the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Leavenworth, Kan.

Ethel Merman
an American actress, primarily known for her roles in Broadway musicals wikipedia

Absent Without Leave, a military term

Page 215

I.e., like Motrin, the original brand name of ibuprofen

A reference to An Essay on Man, a lengthy poem by Alexander Pope (1688-1744), a British poet of great renown: No Place so Sacred from such Fops is barr'd,
Nor is Paul's Church more safe than Paul's Church-yard:
Nay, fly to Altars; there they'll talk you dead;
For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.

psychomotor seizure
a seizure characterized by psychic manifestation, and an older name for a complex motor seizure

referring to Buddhism ultimately, although here it applies more to perfection or transcendence

Here it means sign language or mime, but the term has a longer history in theater, where it refers to a preview of a part of a play done without lines.

French: against you, as in opposed to you, opposition not propinquity being implied

When DFW describes his teenage years in Derivative Sport in Tornado Alley, he mentions his tennis partner named Gil Antitoi.

a pejorative term for a French-Canadian, presumably shortened from "Canuck"

Page 216

Tenuate Dospan
Tenuate is a brand name of diethylcathinone, an appetite suppressant and mild amphetamine; Dospan is used for the time-release pills.

idle, superfluous or useless


"... the way W. Penn in his Quaker Oats hat in like the 16th century must have felt trading a few trinkets to babe-in-the-woods Natives for New Jersey..."
William Penn (1644-1718) was the British-born founder of the colony (and later state) of Pennsylvania. For the hat, see right. In 1677 a group of prominent Quakers that included Penn purchased the colonial province of West Jersey (half of the current state of New Jersey), before founding Pennsylvania, and ultimately permitting 3 schismatic counties to break away to become what would in time be known as Delaware.

a port, city, or other center to which goods are brought for import and export, and for collection and distribution.

In economics, this is what one loses in income, pleasure, etc., from engaging in another activity rather than the one that would have paid said income, pleasure, etc. Wallace (or Pemulis) is using the term incorrectly.

rotator cuff
the group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder

unemotional or impassive

optimistic or positive, especially in an apparently bad or difficult situation.

Literally French for "against-foot," this term is used to apply to a direction taken (mistakenly) by dogs in pursuit of an animal who has taken a different direction.

Serving to purify of sin; expiatory.

128-256 Alphabetville
Because of his injury, Schacht was ranked in the lower 128 seeds in the tournament just after his hurt his knee. Alphabetville could refer to a ranking convention. A common 'Equal Point Score' guideline for when two or several players have the same Ranking point score decides the position according to the player with most tournament participation within four years, and if these conditions should apply with both or several players then the Ranking position is arranged alphabetically after the surname.

November 5th, Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment

To grow together; fuse.

having long narrow fingers and toes, evocative of the long legs of spiders

Page 217

Order but not the same Family
Like "phylum," these are also taxonomical terms. Human beings are Homo sapiens, with Homo being the genus and sapiens being the species. Dogs and cats are in the same order: Carnivora (meat-eaters); but they are in different families: Dogs are in Canidae and cats in Felidae. However, the hyena, which resembles a dog, is actually in the Felidae family. Q.e.d.

town in Massachusetts about 25 miles west-northwest of Boston

Port Washington Academy
PW in Long Island is the largest indoor tennis facility on the east coast. It's also a nonprofit and looks small Compared to ETA/IMG

Why is PW like Xerox? Xerox let Apple employees see their GUI in the 70s. Some say they could be as rich as Apple if they hadn't. Because they failed to be the ones to bring their new GUI to the market, they don't have the eco/social damages of major computer chip manufacturing companies. Compare John McEnroe and Vitas Gerulaitis developing their games at PW.

Since PW is an after school program that only charges tuition for those who can afford to pay; it can hardly be called Gargantuan. It calls itself a Tennis Academy on it's website but it can hardly be compared to ETA. The word Gargantuan brings to mind François Rabelais 16th century story of Gargantua, a story which can be considered a point-by-point critique of the educational practices of the age and promoting free education. So then PW could be compared to The Abby of Thélème

I can't find anything on Testar but on page 261 the court coverings at PWTA are referred to as lungs. From context, perhaps a truncated portmanteau of Tessellated Tarpaulin. It might not be findable if DFW made it up.

cut apart while still alive

the weekend right before Thanksgiving week and the Whataburger Invitational
Hal and Permulis set a date for a 'window of opportunity' to take DMZ. Compare Page 16, where Hal says that the only other emergency room he has ever been in was exactly one year back from November, Year of Glad. So, this may provide a nexus explaining what happened to Hal at the beginning of Infinite Jest.

Page 218

twins Siamese
The Vaught twin-sister tennis players are actually conjoined at the head.

a city in Ohio and rubber capital of the world

the dance, not the city

a term from track, this is the final lap of a race

12/12's Boards
probably SATs or something like them

the tissues that encase the brain

a clearing in a forest

Endnote 76

Attention Deficit Disorder
old terminology for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. Hal's objective symptoms describe the Inattentive Type.

port or starboard
left or right

bell curve
the curve formed by the normal distribution of IQs -- a concept fraught with problems of political correctness, racism or racialism, and different concepts of what "intelligence" is

having a surface devoid of hair, generally said of skin or a leaf

Random Access Memory

Page 218 (cont'd)

prosperous, happy

Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken

Endnote 77


H. Bosch's triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights
Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516) was a Dutch painter. You can view the aforementioned triptych here.

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