Page 151. " Balsam, does that ring a bell? "

Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeJewelweed - Credit: Cj.samson
Balsam is a sweet-smelling plant used as a natural air freshener. Such plants are usually found in temperate and tropical regions. Notable members of the Balsaminaceae family are Jewelweed and Busy Lizzie.

Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBalsam - Credit: Guerin Nicolas

Page 154. " Is that Karl Marx? "

 Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a German philosopher, economist and revolutionary Socialist. Born into an aristocratic life, Marx put forward a philosophy of "equal" societies that became known as Marxism. Although his ideas were initially met with bemused contempt, Marxism soon merged with similar ideals to form what modern scholars identify as "communism" and "socialism".

In 1848, Marx and Friedrich Engels co-published The Communist Manifesto, setting out Marx's vision of equal societies and social change. Consequently, Marx is considered a founding father of Socialism and Communism. Marx was voted "thinker of the millenium" in a worldwide BBC poll in 1999.

Page 154. " Or is it Lenin? "

Vladimir Lenin was a Russian revolutionary leader in the October Revolution of 1917. As the leader of the Bolsheviks, he commanded the Soviet Union in its early years, from 1917 until his death in 1924. 

As a communist politician and theorist he would ultimately establish Leninism, a Russian form of Marxism.

Page 154. " Or Stalin, without his uniform? "
Joseph Stalin
Public DomainJoseph Stalin - Credit: US Army Signal Corps

Joseph Stalin was premier of the Soviet Union from 1941 until his death in 1953. He was General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party's Central Committee from 1922.

Born in 1878, Stalin was a member of the Bolshevik group responsible for the October Revolution of 1917. He was ruthless in crushing opposition, systematically murdering or exiling anyone who opposed or challenged him. Under his leadership, millions died of starvation.  However he also conducted a successful if bloody defence against Nazi invasion, and built the USSR into the world's 2nd largest economy following WWII. To this day, Russians have mixed feelings about him: some consider him a tyrant, others a visionary leader.

Page 160. " we went over all the ways of procuring an abortion "

Vacuum Aspiration Abortion
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeVacuum Aspiration Abortion - Credit: Andrew C
Abortion is the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion of the fetus.

When done properly, abortion is considered to be one of the safest medical procedures in the world. But, sadly, many people have illegitimate, unsafe abortions out of desperation or necessity. There is much debate as to whether abortion is ethically or morally defensible, and it remains one of the most hotly discussed topics in politics.

Page 160. " they might live the life of Robinson Crusoe attended by a secret agent turned Man Friday "

Robinson Crusoe is a novel by Daniel Defoe, published in 1719.

The novel is the fictional autobiography of Robinson Crusoe, an English castaway who spends 28 years stuck on a tropical island near Trinidad. There, he encounters cannibals, captives and mutineers and has a series of adventures before being rescued.  On one occasion, he rescues Man Friday, who becomes Crusoe's servant and companion.

The novel is thought to have been influenced by the story of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish castaway who lived four years on a Pacific Island called “Mas a Tierra”. The island was renamed Robinson Crusoe Island in 1966. However, Crusoe’s island was probably based on the Caribbean island of Tobago. It is also likely that Defoe was inspired by the Latin or English translations of Ibn Tufail's Hayy ibn Yaqdhan, an earlier novel also set on a desert island. The latter was the first notable literary work whose story was independent of mythology, history, legend, or previous literature.


Robinson Crusoe on Book Drum

Page 163. " while the women argued about whether I needed an opthalmologist or an otologist "

Opthalmology is the branch of medicine that deals with the physiology, diseases, and anatomy of the eye. Otology is concerned with the ear.

The first opthalmologists began operating during the Islamic Golden Age. Today, common opthalmologist duties include performing eye exams and other basic eye medical services. More qualified opthalmologists may perform eye surgery. Thus opthalmologists are usually considered both medical specialists and surgeons.   


Modern Opthalmology
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeModern Opthalmology - Credit: Rakesh Ahuja MD

Page 165. " gaining access to the gynaecologist "

Gynaecology is the branch of medicine that is associated with the female reproductive system (uterus, vagina, and ovaries). Its counterpart is andrology, which deals with the male reproductive system.

Common issues are prenatal care, pregnancy, fertility, contraception, gestation, and diseases of the reproductive system.  Many gynaecologists are also obstetricians.

Page 166. " the University of Beijing "
Peking University
Creative Commons AttributionPeking University - Credit: Gisling

The University of Beijing (Peking University) is a major university in China and a member of the C9 League.  Founded as the Imperial University of Peking in 1898, it is considered the first modern university in China.

The University has educated many important Chinese figures, including Mao Zedong, and has thus played a major role in influencing events in Chinese History.

Page 166. " After his exposure as a member of the Christian faith "

One feature of the communist revolution in China was the persecution of religious people.  Religion was seen as a threat since religious ideology often contradicted the agenda and ideals of the Communist Party. Atheism was strongly promoted by the regime.

Even today, Chinese laws dictate that religious officials must be government approved. Consequently, religion in China is a complicated and sometimes corrupt affair. The Chinese Communist Party strictly prohibits the import of religious articles into China. Religious leaders are reported to have been beaten and maltreated by the authorities.

Page 167. " He was on a saline drip "
saline drip
Public Domainsaline drip - Credit: Harmid

A saline drip, also known as intravenous therapy, delivers fluid directly into a vein.

Many IV systems include a drip chamber, hence the name saline drip. IV therapy is most commonly used for blood transfusions and fluid replacement. The fluid may include nutrients, volume expanders, and blood elements.

Saline is a sterile solution of sodium chloride (NaCl, or salt) in water.


Page 169. " he said his final prayers in Latin "

Although widely spoken in the glory days of the Roman Empire, Latin is now considered a dead language. Nevertheless, it is still studied extensively for various reasons. Scholars consider it a useful base for the study of modern Romance languages, while Catholic clergy still conduct some services and read holy texts in Latin. Many mottos are also written in Latin.


Latin Speaking Areas
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLatin Speaking Areas - Credit: Ssolbergj