Charles Brian Orner
SOSTENUTO - A Novel

Notes

Interested readers will discover additional details here in a wide variety of areas, including the arts, astronomy, business, culture, environment, gaming, geography, language, history, literature, music, mythology, philosophy, politics, religion, and science. Spend a little time with the notes; it'll pique your interest. Then buy the book. Most notes have been taken from public sources such as Wikipedia. The remainder are given attribution.

Chapter 1

1    The Checkers speech or Fund speech was an address made by Richard Nixon, the Republican vice presidential candidate and junior United States Senator from California, on television and radio on September 23, 1952. Senator Nixon had been accused of improprieties relating to a fund established by his backers to reimburse him for his political expenses. With his place on the Republican ticket in doubt, he flew to Los Angeles and delivered a half-hour television address in which he defended himself, attacked his opponents, and urged the audience to contact the Republican National Committee to tell it whether he should remain on the ticket. During the speech, he stated that regardless of what anyone said, he intended to keep one gift: a black-and-white dog named Checkers by the Nixon children, thus giving the address its name.

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Chapter 2

1    In August, the constellation Hercules is upside down with respect to the horizon.
2    From the episode “Déjà Q,” the sixty-first episode of the television series Star Trek, The Next Generation.

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Chapter 3

1    Julius Chambers, F.R.G.S., (November 21, 1850 - February 12, 1920) was an American author, editor, journalist, travel writer, and activist against psychiatric abuse. Chambers is considered by many to be the original muckraker. Chambers undertook a journalistic investigation of Bloomingdale Asylum in 1872 by having himself committed with the help of some of his friends and his newspaper’s city editor. His intent was to obtain information about the alleged abuse of inmates. When articles and accounts of the experience were published in the Tribune, it led to the release of twelve patients who were not mentally ill, a reorganization of the staff and administration of the institution, and eventually to a change in the lunacy laws. This later led to the publication of the book A Mad World and Its Inhabitants (1876).

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Chapter 4

1    A Jimmy is a railroad freight car used for carrying coal. Coal Jimmies date to the start of railroading and continued in service until the end of the nineteenth century.
A coal tipple was typically used at a bituminous coal mine, where removing impurities was important but sorting by size was only a secondary, minor concern. Coal breakers were always used (with or without a tipple) at anthracite coal mines. While tipples were used around the world, coal breakers were used primarily in the United States in the state of Pennsylvania (where, between 1800 and the mid-twentieth century, nearly all the world’s known anthracite reserves were located). Prior to entering the breaker, the coal would be crushed and sorted in a coal tipple and, if necessary and if water was available, washed. All coal was screened in the tipple as it came out of the mine so that steam-sized or smaller pieces could travel immediately to the coal washer and/or coal breaker. Chunks of coal which were too large were then crushed (sometimes several times) in the tipple until it passed through the screen (e.g., was of acceptable steam size or smaller).

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Chapter 5

1    The stone is a unit of measure which, at the time it ceased to be legal for trade in United Kingdom in 1985, was defined in British legislation as being a weight or mass equal to fourteen avoirdupois pounds (about 6.35 kilograms).

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Chapter 6

1    Pura vida is a characteristic Costa Rican phrase. It literally means pure life, however, the real meaning is closer to “plenty of life,” “full of life,” “this is living!,” “going great,” or “real living.” The phrase can be used in many ways; for example, it can be used both as a greeting or a farewell, as an answer expressing that things are going well, or as a way of giving thanks.

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Chapter 7

1    The Council of the North was an administrative body set up in 1472 by king Edward IV of England, the first Yorkist monarch to hold the Crown of England. Its purpose was to improve government control and economic prosperity, to benefit the entire area of Northern England. Edward’s brother, Richard Duke of Gloucester (later Richard III) was its first Lord President. Throughout its history, the council was always located within Yorkshire, first at Sheriff Hutton Castle and then Sandal Castle, before being relocated to King’s Manor, York.

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Chapter 8

1    Heynaboics is an informal term for the colloquial lingo of northeastern Pennsylvania. The term originates from a metalinguistic exploration of the speech patterns of northeastern Pennsylvania. by the comedy troupe One Laugh at Least. The sketch takes place in a classroom, with a hyper-demotic teacher instructing clueless outsiders in “the unofficial dialect of northeastern Pennsylvania.” The troupe has been performing the sketch since 1998, when the Oakland Ebonics controversy was still fresh in the national consciousness.

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Chapter 9

1    Waiting for Godot is an absurdist play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, wait endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone named Godot. Godot’s absence, as well as numerous other aspects of the play, have led to many different interpretations since the play’s premiere. It is regarded as one of the most significant English language plays of the twentieth century.

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Chapter 10

1    Estelle Rigault and Joseph Garcin are characters in Jean-Paul Sartre’s 1944 existentialist French play No Exit. It is a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for eternity, and is the source of Sartre’s most famous quotation, l’enfer, c’est les autres (“Hell is other people”).

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Chapter 11

1    The Q code is a standardized collection of three-letter message encodings, also known as a brevity code, all of which start with the letter Q, initially developed for commercial radiotelegraph communication, and later adopted by other radio services, especially amateur radio. Although Q codes were created when radio used Morse code exclusively, they continued to be employed after the introduction of voice transmissions.

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Chapter 12

1    Danny Devito in the film The War of the Roses: “My father used to say, ‘There are four things that tell the world who a man is. His house, his car, his wife, and his shoes.’’‘
2    In medieval Europe, blue dyes were rare and expensive, so only the most wealthy or the aristocracy could afford to wear them. (The working class wore mainly green and brown.) Because of this (and also because Tyrian purple had gone out of use in western Europe after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in AD 476), Europeans’ idea of purple shifted towards this more bluish purple known as royal purple because of its similarity to the royal blue worn by the aristocracy. This was the shade of purple worn by kings in medieval Europe.

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Chapter 13

1    Peter Sellers stared in Stanley Kubrick’s films Lolita and Dr. Strangelove. He was one of only two actors that the normally controlling Kubrick allowed free rein to heavily improvise his own dialogue and have enormous creative input into his character. The other was R. Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket.

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Chapter 14

1    The Bolt of Lightning by Jar Perfumes is one of the world’s most expensive fragrances.
2    Chaos was personified as a primal deity in Greek mythology, as the first of the Protogenoi and the god of the air. Primal Chaos was sometimes said to be the true foundation of reality, particularly by philosophers such as Heraclitus. It was also probably what Aristotle had in mind when he developed the concept of Prima Materia in his attempt to combine Platonism with Presocraticism and Naturalism.

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Chapter 15

1    Rabbit at Rest is a 1990 novel by John Updike. It is the fourth and final novel in a series beginning with Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; and Rabbit is Rich. There is also a related 2001 novella, Rabbit Remembered. The novel won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1991, the second “Rabbit” novel to garner the award.

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Chapter 16

1    “And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.” - J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

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Chapter 17

1    Sado-monitarism is a term coined by William Keegan, a writer for the Observer and author of The Spectre of Capitalism, in the early 1980s. At that time it was used to describe the policies associated with the rise in unemployment in Britain from one million to over three million in Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s first term in office. The term has been revived by the US commentator in the Financial Times, Gerard Baker, to describe the doctrine of those urging the Federal Reserve in America to raise interest rates despite high unemployment.

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Chapter 18

1    The Abbie Hoffman Incident happened during The Who’s set right after the song “Pinball Wizard.” Abbie Hoffman was able to get on stage and grab a microphone while Pete Townshend tuned his guitar. He said: “I think this is a pile of shit! While John Sinclair rots in prison…” Hoffman was protesting against the imprisonment of John Sinclair (leader of the White Panther Party and manager of the left-wing hard-rock band MC5) who had been convicted and sentenced to nine years of prison because of marijuana possession. Townshend, angry that someone took the stage, screamed profanities and hit him with his guitar.

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Chapter 19

1    Used in this context, the term “clink” is modern urban colloquialism, referring to the sound made when the metaphorical dagger in one’s back falls onto the hard cold ground after a harsh comment is made.

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Chapter 20

1    October 17 1896, Denver Post, “Further Facts in the Case of Mark Hanna,” pg. 6, cols. 6-7: “Those of us who are well fed, well garmented and well ordered, ought not to forget that necessity makes frequently the root of crime. It is well for us to recollect that even in our own law-abiding, not to say virtuous cases, the only barrier between us and anarchy is the last nine meals we’ve had. It may be taken as axiomatic that a starving man is never a good citizen.” - Alfred Henry Lewis (January 20, 1855 – December 23, 1914), an American investigative journalist, lawyer, novelist, editor, and short story writer.

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