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 24

1    “I Shot the Sheriff” is a song written by Bob Marley. The song was first released in 1973 on The Wailers’ album Burnin’. Marley explained his intention as follows: “I want to say ‘I shot the police’ but the government would have made a fuss so I said ‘I shot the sheriff’ instead… but it’s the same idea: justice.”
2    The Vogons are a fictional alien race from the planet Vogsphere in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—initially a BBC Radio series by Douglas Adams—who are responsible for the destruction of the Earth, in order to facilitate an intergalactic highway construction project. The ships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet were described as “impossibly huge yellow somethings” (the color being a parallel to bulldozers that demolish the protagonist Arthur’s house) that “looked more like they had been congealed than constructed” and “hung in the air in much the same way that bricks don’t.”
3    In literary criticism, a bildungsroman, a novel of formation, novel of education, or coming-of-age story (though it may also be known as a subset of the coming-of-age story) is a literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood (coming of age), and wherein character change therefore is extremely important.
The Byronic hero is a variant of the Romantic hero as a type of character, named after the English Romantic poet Lord Byron. Both Byron’s life and writings have been considered in different ways to exemplify the type. The Byronic hero first appears in Byron’s semi-autobiographical epic narrative poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812–1818), and was described by the historian and critic Lord Macaulay as “a man proud, moody, cynical, with defiance on his brow, and misery in his heart, a scorner of his kind, implacable in revenge, yet capable of deep and strong affection.
4    A Föhn or Foehn is a type of dry, warm, down-slope wind that occurs in the lee (downwind side) of a mountain range. It is a rain shadow wind that results from the subsequent adiabatic warming of air that has dropped most of its moisture on windward slopes. Föhn winds can raise temperatures by as much as 32 °C (58 °F) in just a matter of hours.
5    Blackthorn is depicted in many fairy tales throughout Europe as a tree of ill omen. Called Straif in the Ogham, this tree has the most sinister reputation in Celtic tree lore. The English word ‘strife’ is said to derive from this Celtic word. A long, hard winter is referred to as a Blackthorn Winter. Often in fairy tales, blackthorn forms the thick, impenetrable thorn bramble that hides the magic castle from intruders and princes alike. In order to prove worthy, the prince must cut through this thorn forest to rescue the princess. Blackthorn is said to bloom on Christmas Eve, as is the holy thorn at Glastonbury. It is one of the trees which were reputed to form the thorny crown of Christ at His crucifixion.
6    According to Christian folklore, Blackthorn is seen as a sinister tree and associated with witches. Blackthorn was often used for ‘binding and blasting.’ A black rod is a blackthorn wand with fixed thorns on the end, used to cause harm to others. In British folklore, a witch will use blackthorn in rituals of cursing. The sharp thorns were reputedly used by English witches to pierce poppets in their curses, called the ‘pins of slumber.’ In South Devon folklore in England, witches were said to carry blackthorn walking sticks, with which they caused much local mischief. Witches and heretics were burned on blackthorn pyres. The Devil was said, in medieval times, to prick his follower’s fingers with the thorn of a blackthorn tree.
7    1 Thessalonians 5:17, King James Bible
8    “The dogs are barking” is urban slang for feet that hurt. This is an old expression, typically associated with the South, and especially concentrated around the Appalachian Mountain chain. Older usage didn’t connote smelly or dirty feet, just sore feet.
9    The Cumberland Valley Railroad pioneered sleeping car service in the spring of 1839 with a car named Chambersburg, which ran between Chambersburg and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
10    The name Harlequin is taken from that of a mischievous “devil” or “demon” character in popular French passion plays. It originates with an Old French term herlequin, first attested in the 11th century, by the chronist Orderic Vitalis, who recounts that he was pursued by a troop of demons when wandering on the coast of Normandy at night. These demons were led by a masked, club-wielding giant and they were known as familia herlequin (var. familia herlethingi). This medieval French version of the Germanic Wild Hunt, Mesnée d’Hellequin, has been connected to the English figure of Herla cyning (“host-king”; German Erlkönig). Hellequin was depicted a black-faced emissary of the devil, roaming the countryside with a group of demons chasing the damned souls of evil people to Hell. The physical appearance of Hellequin offers an explanation for the traditional colours of Harlequin’s red-and-black mask. The first known appearance on stage of a Harlequin figure is dated to 1262, the character of a masked and hooded devil in Jeu da la Feuillière by Adam de la Halle, and it became a stock character in French passion plays. The name also appears as that of a devil, as Alichino, in Dante’s Inferno (cantos 21 to 23).
11    Hari Seldon is a fictional character in Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. In his capacity as mathematics professor at Streeling University on Trantor, Seldon develops psychohistory, allowing him to predict the future in probabilistic terms. His prediction of the eventual fall of the Galactic Empire is the reason behind his nickname “Raven” Seldon.
12    Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation” in Psychological Review. Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity. His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, some of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans. Maslow used the terms Physiological, Safety, Belongingness and Love, Esteem, Self-Actualization and Self-Transcendence needs to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is often portrayed in the shape of a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental levels of needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualization at the top.
13    “Incidentally, I use the word reader very loosely. Curiously enough, one cannot read a book: one can only re-read it. A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader, is a re-reader. And I shall tell you why. When we read a book for the first time the very process of laboriously moving our eyes from left to right, line after line, page after page, this complicated physical work upon the book, the very process of learning in terms of space and time what the book is about, this stands between us and artistic appreciation. When we look at a painting we do not have to move our eyes in a special way even if, as in a book, the picture contains elements of depth and development. The element of time does not really enter in a first contact with a painting. In reading a book, we must have time to acquaint ourselves with it. We have no physical organ (as we have the eye in regard to a painting) that takes in the whole picture and then can enjoy its details. But at a second, or third, or fourth reading we do, in a sense, behave towards a book as we do towards a painting. However, let us not confuse the physical eye, that monstrous masterpiece of evolution, with the mind, an even more monstrous achievement. A book, no matter what it is—a work of fiction or a work of science (the boundary line between the two is not as clear as is generally believed)—a book of fiction appeals first of all to the mind. The mind, the brain, the top of the tingling spine, is, or should be, the only instrument used upon a book.” - Vladimir Nabokov, Lectures on Literature
14    The Mariana Trench or Marianas Trench is the deepest part of the world’s oceans. It is located in the western Pacific Ocean, to the east of the Mariana Islands. The trench is about 2,550 kilometers (1,580 mi) long but has an average width of only 69 kilometers (43 mi). It reaches a maximum-known depth of 10.911 km (10,911 ± 40 m) or 6.831 mi (36,069 ± 131 ft) at the Challenger Deep, a small slot-shaped valley in its floor, at its southern end, although some unrepeated measurements place the deepest portion at 11.03 kilometers (6.85 mi).
15    Numerology is any belief in divine, mystical or other special relationship between a number and some coinciding events. It has many systems and traditions and beliefs. Numerology and numerological divination by systems such as isopsephy were popular among early mathematicians, but are no longer considered part of mathematics and are regarded as pseudomathematics or pseudoscience by modern scientists.
       In modern numerological terminology, arithmancy is a form of divination based on assigning numerical value to a word or phrase by means of a simplified version of ancient Greek isopsephy or Hebrew/Aramaic gematria, as adapted to the Latin alphabet. Arithmancy is associated with the Chaldeans, Platonists, Pythagoreans, and the Kabbalah. The term arithmancy is derived from two Greek words – arithmos (meaning number) and manteia (meaning divination). Arithmancy is thus the study of divination through numbers.
16    Poppy Flowers (also known as Vase and Flowers and Vase with Viscaria) is a painting by Vincent van Gogh with an estimated value of $50 million to $55 million; it was stolen from Cairo’s Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in August 2010 and is still missing.

Brian Orner