Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. First active during the Battle of Gallipoli in World War I and disbanded in 1916, it resurfaced in Greece in 1941 when Australian and New Zealand forces combined again. Anzac troops were primarily active in the battles of Greece and Crete. They were not active again under the name until the Vietnam War.
Understand? Get it? (Italian)
What does it mean (Italian)
What? Sorry? (literally, “How?” - Italian)
Immediately, right away (Italian)
Always used as a negative, “not worth a tinker’s dam” is merely a superlative version of “not worth a damn.” Tinkers, the term for traveling tinsmiths who repaired household utensils made of tin, were generally known as particularly colorful employers of swear words. So if something wasn’t worth even a “tinker’s damn,” it was particularly worthless.
Living like an animal (Italian)
Finished, all done (Italian)
What the Italians call the city we know as Naples.
You’re crazy (Italian)
Because I can’t get married (literally, “Because cannot step into marriage” - Italian)
But I can’t marry you (Italian)
Because you want to get married (Italian)
I love you very much (Italian)
Quickly, fast (French)
Farewell, goodbye (Italian)
“Hippolytus” is an ancient Greek tragedy by Euripides (c. 480-406 BCE) that dates from fairly late in the playwright’s career, about 428 BCE. The title character, son of the king of Athens, Theseus, has taken a vow of chastity in honor of the goddess Artemis. However, his stepmother Phaedra has fallen in love with Hippolytus, and when her feelings become known to her stepson and he explodes in a misogynistic tirade, she hangs herself in shame. An enraged Theseus, under the misapprehension that his son has raped his wife, curses Hippolytus to death or exile. Condemned to exile, Hippolytus is mortally injured in a chariot accident. Artemis reveals to Theseus that Phaedra lied to him, not his son, and Theseus realizes Aphrodite was to blame. He curses the goddess and his son forgives him before dying.
The gods and sexual license play large roles in this play. Scholars believe the goddesses Aphrodite and Artemis, representing the battle between passion and chastity, appeared on stage during the play as statues. So Clevinger is reminded of this play by Yossarian’s sufferings from venereal disease.
The mythical founder and king of Athens, Theseus was the subject of many ancient Greek myths, from slaying the Minotaur and rescuing Ariadne to defeating and marrying Hippolyta, the queen of the Amazons. He has turned up as a character in many works of literature since, from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Chaucer’s “The Knight’s Tale,” and Racine’s “Phèdre” to Mary Renault’s novel The King Must Die.
Adolf Hitler (1889-1945), was chancellor and dictator of Nazi Germany; Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), was prime minister and dictator of fascist Italy; and Hideki Tojo (1884-1948), was prime minister of Japan during the Second World War. They represent the three Axis Powers of the Second World War: Germany, Italy, and Japan. Thus, Yossarian reasons that “they were all out to kill him.”
In a long list of things that could kill him, Yossarian includes Hodgkin’s disease, the more familiar name for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells named after Thomas Hodgkin, an English physician who first described such abnormalities in 1832. The disease spreads from one group of lymph nodes to another, but in recent decades has responded well to chemo and radiation therapies. Microsoft founder Paul Allen and “Six Feet Under” and “Dexter” star Michael C. Hall are among the celebrities successfully treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Yossarian also fears leukemia, the term for a broad array of cancers of the blood or bone marrow. Also a treatable disease, nearly a quarter of a million adults nevertheless die of it each year.
Often referred to as ALS or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is the most common of five motor neuron diseases. Due to the progressive death of nerve cells, people with ALS experience rapid muscle weakness and increasing difficulty speaking, swallowing, and breathing. The disease is usually fatal within three to five years after diagnosis, though the celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking is unusual for having lived with ALS for more than 50 years.
More accurately termed “Ewing’s sarcoma,” this disease involves a small, round, blue cell tumor that turns up in soft tissue or bones such as the pelvis, femur, humerus, ribs, or collar bone. Named after American pathologist James Ewing (1866-1943), who first described it and identified the sarcoma as distinct from other lymphomas, it occurs more often in males, and more frequently in teenagers and young adults.
Yossarian knows the epidemiology well, because Ewing’s can include swelling and extreme bone pain, and tends to metastasize. He says Hungry Joe appreciates diseases that are “lingering” and “fulminating.”
A magazine for general readers, Reader’s Digest was founded in 1922 and for many years was the best-selling consumer magazine in the U.S. In the summer of 2012 it had a U.S. circulation of 5.5 million, but with 49 editions going to 70 countries in 21 languages, that number almost doubles, and it reaches an estimated total of 40 million readers around the globe. Thus, it is the largest paid circulation magazine in the world.
Reader’s Digest samples, summarizes, and rewrites articles from many other sources, and had a longtime reputation for a politically conservative and specifically anti-communist orientation. Instantly recognizable by its “pocket” design – roughly half the size of most American magazines and two or three times as thick – the parent company has reported a net loss every year since 2005 and filed for bankruptcy in both 2009 and 2013.