- 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.
"Rhus" is the formal name of the plant genus commonly referred to as Sumac. It includes various desirable plants, but also Poison Sumac and Poison Ivy. See: Plants of Inherent Vice
"Thought you'd never want to speak to me again."
So, now Doc and Penny deal with her betrayal (handing him over to the FBI on page 72) which was never mentioned when they spent the night together in between (page 120).
indict a bean burrito
An amusing local twist on the common adage, which virtually every lawyer probably learned in law school, that a prosecutor can get a grand jury to "indict a ham sandwich."
Midnight, pitch dark . . . blind cannonball
That's quite a metaphorical excursion!
the playoffs, even though it was Eastern Division
The fifth game of the NBA finals was played in New York Monday, May 4, 1970. The Knicks won 107-100 over the Lakers.
Then it appears that the narrator has made a slight error here: the text leads us to believe that the Eastern Division (now Conference) finals are being played; this is the round before the actual league championship. The Knicks defeated Milwaukee in the Eastern Division finals that year. The 1970 NBA finals were played between the Eastern and Western Division champions, New York and Los Angeles.
it was time for the eleven-o'clock news..."Give it a rest Bugliosi"
11:00 P.M., Monday, May 4, 1970. Given that this is the day of the killings at Kent State, it seems odd that the late news would be taken up by the Manson case.
A promo came on for the late movie
Late night, Monday, May 4, 1970.
Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster
Godzilla film released in the USA in 1965 with the name of the titular monster slightly altered from Ghidorah to Ghidrah. Later re-releases of the film have corrected the spelling.
1953 film starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn. Believe it or not, the similarities of this film's ending, reporter saying goodbye to a princess he's romantically involved with at one of her public events, with "Ghidrah, the Three-Headed Monster" are so striking that a real connection seems plausible. Pynchon isn't the only one to have noticed the parallels: DVD Savant and IGN.
Next day was as they say another day
Oh, it's another day all right. Pynchon has inserted an "extra" day in between Monday, May 4, 1970 and Tuesday, May 5! This day continues until the end of chapter 17, a total of 34 pages, making it the day with the most pages in the book. Enacts the Dark Shadows and The Time Tunnel time-travel ideas already invoked in the novel (128; 261; etc.). Also: Mason's time-travel journey in chapter 56 of Mason & Dixon into the "Eleven Missing Days" deleted in 1752 from the calendar by eighteen-century reforms, the better to align the calendar's "count" of days with the actual position of the earth in its orbit around the sun. (They'd gotten misaligned over the years due to small inaccuracies in the earlier calendar count, which eventually added up to being almost eleven days "ahead" of time.) Mason's fantastic voyage involved a trip into lost time, days that never existed. The journey Pynchon takes us on in chapters 16 and 17 in Inherent Vice involves travel into an "extra" day in 1970, one marked by a broken clock (282). Yet in many ways Inherent Vice is suggesting that this period of the late '60s and early '70s is lost time too--"lost" or misinterpreted in U.S. cultural memory and yet endlessly haunting and secretly revising that recounting of our past. This is a major theme of Pynchon's--see for example Mason's meditation on the possibility of a hidden "Loop" "tangent to the Linear Path of what we imagine as Ordinary Time" (555). Chapters 16 and 17 are the major instance in Inherent Vice of how its chronology is both very precise and simultaneously blurred and "out of time"--and not just because of Doc's doper's memory.
The phrase echoes Bigfoot's "Tomorrow is another day," from page 13.
The events of this day are unusual, to say the least. See later annotation, for those who don't mind a spoiler.
This would be the actor Edward G. Robinson, whose vocal style while portraying Caesar Enrico "Rico" Bandello in Little Caesar has become synonymous with "gangster talk" ever since.
Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme
One of Charles Manson's devotees, not charged in the Tate murders, but later jailed for coming at President Gerald Ford with a loaded gun. Coincidentally, she was paroled after 30 years in jail, the very week Inherent Vice was released...
Gummo Marx Way
A fictional location. Gummo is often referred to as the "forgotten" Marx brother. One legend has it that his nickname came from "gumshoe" (detective), based on his rubber-soled shoes. Gummo was the first straight man in the act before he left to serve in World War I. He was replaced by the youngest Marx brother, Zeppo.
Someone with a better grasp of idiomatic Spanish can correct this, but:
"Huevon" is a vulgar slang insult, implying that that the subject is lazy and stupid. The "cito" is a dimunitive suffix. I suppose an English translation might be "little lazy asshole" or something along those lines.
Jefferson also makes a brief appearance on page 395 of Mason & Dixon. The transcription of TJ's language (like "traffick in Enslavement") echoes the faux-vérité 18th-century style of Mason and Dixon too.
the tree of liberty . . .
This quote is from a 1787 letter Jefferson wrote to W. S. Smith.