- Please keep these annotations SPOILER-FREE by not revealing information from later pages in the novel.
Page numbers refer to editions with 369 pages, where the story begins on page 1. Not sure if there are other editions with variant pagination. Please let us know otherwise.
Around nightfall Tito let Doc off
Early evening, Saturday, May 2, 1970.
Compare the parallel universes that fascinate viewers of the TV soap Dark Shadows, referenced earlier in Inherent Vice (128, etc.). Manhattan Beach also happens to be the California seaside town where Pynchon lived for many years in the 1960s and early 1970s while working on Gravity's Rainbow; it's loosely the model for Gordita Beach.
Some college break or something.
Saturday, May 2, 1970, six days after Easter. It's plausible that Spring Break could be going on. [No--this is wacky chronology. Since when do universities have spring break in May? That's about when the spring semester ends. More likely the hazy chronology here marks Denis' own spaciness, hardly helpful to Doc trying to get his space-time bearings. It's nice to have Pynchon-Wiki give us such precise dates for the book's events, but readers need to remember that Doc's mental state often isn't so precisely locatable on a space-time coordinate grid.]
Denis drifted off to watch Lawrence Welk.
Evening, Saturday, May 2, 1970.
She performed on the Lawrence Welk show and, in the story's period, looked approximately like this.
This ARPAnet trip is eating up my time
Fritz is perhaps the world's first Internet addict.
mind if we call in the lab on this one?
Bigfoot is caught by a variation of his own gag from page 22: "we left the rottweiler back at the station."
if it happened to Thomas Noguchi
Thomas Noguchi, Los Angeles' widely admired chief coroner, was fired by the LA County Board of Supervisors in 1969, and only reinstated after a month-long hearing. The firing was a cause celebre at the time, involving accusations of racial discrimination (against the Board) and of egotism, publicity-seeking, an inordinately gleeful attitude toward death (especially celebrity death), and other personality issues (against Noguchi). In 1982, he was demoted to Deputy Coroner for similar reasons.
I had been enjoying a quiet family evening...watching Lawrence Welk
Evening, Saturday, May 2, 1970. Saturday was the usual night for Welk. Bigfoot seems like a more likely fan of the show than Denis. Welk's show was probably the least hip show on TV, without even the ironic laughs of a Dragnet.
...a steep front edge to it and very short decay time
Wikipedia has an article about the ADSR envelope (attack, decay, sustain, and release). It is described in terms of synthesizers, but all sounds have these components.
The Saturday horror movie tonight was
Late night, Saturday, May 2, 1970.
Producer of "I Walked with a Zombie."
I Walked With a Zombie
1943 horror film directed by Jacques Tourneur. Trust me, the ending is confusing.
Real late-night TV host. Listen to a lo-fi clip.
Famous Art Deco landmark/theater in Los Angeles.
Next morning...Sunday Times
Morning, Sunday, May 3, 1970.
Shoot the Pier
In surfing, to "shoot the pier" is to ride a surfboard in between the pilings of a pier.
positioning the Book Review over his lap
He's hiding his erection.
Which didn't keep Doc from driving up to Venice that evening
Evening, Sunday, May 3, 1970.
Pynchon makes lagans - which are literally left by Wolfmann earlier, and by Venice dopers here - into a metaphor for things that are deliberately lost and found again. Among other people and things, this could allude to Coy Harlingen, Mickey Wolfmann, pieces of information (a basic element of nearly all detective stories), Mickey Wolfmann's conscience or lack thereof, and innocence and purity generally.
ah you poor Swedish Fish
Used here in the slang sense of "a weak or inferior fellow" which is an old angler's term, according to A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, 8th Ed. by Eric Partridge  or perhaps more on point, in cards, slang for "an incompetent player whose incompetence can be exploited."  Also, see note for page 49.
Eleventh Commandment about criticizing a fellow flatfoot [...] Is it okay to ask if this party is still on the job?
A bad pun on the Reagan-era Republicans' "eleventh commandment" not to criticize other Republicans. See note for page 48.
as Elvis always sez, when you have such luck
Doc is quoting "All Shook Up":
- My hands are shaky and my knees are weak
- I can't seem to stand on my own two feet
- Who do you thank when you have such luck?
- I'm in love
- I'm all shook up
This was probably a common enough phrase, but perhaps--just maybe--there's a connection to Bob Dylan here. In Dylan's iconic video for "Subterranean Homesick Blues" (the one in which Dylan holds placards with snippets from the lyrics), there are only three cards Dylan holds up that are not part of the song lyrics, including one that says: "Dig Yourself" (the other two, which appear in succession, say "Watch it!" and "Here they come!"). See the video here. The card in question is at 1:51. (I know that that might be a stretch, but a guy can dream, can't he?)
See note for pg. 166.
They approached a courtyard building nearly dissolved in the evening
Evening, Sunday, May 3, 1970.
The moon rose
Night, Sunday, May 3, 1970. Almost a full moon.