Page 477. " danced the Pony right in the middle of the restaurant "

"The Pony" was a popular 60s dance that originated from the song "Pony Time" by Chubby Checker. It includes various arm and hand motions that are sometimes cowboy-like.

 

 

Page 478. " I don't know. Karl Marx! Isn't he still in charge of Russia? "

Karl Marx was a German philosopher, sociologist, historian, political economist, political theorist and revolutionary socialist, who developed the socio-political theory of Marxism. His Marxist ideas played a significant role in both the development of modern social science and also in the socialist political movement.

Page 478. " Dr. Henry Kissinger himself "
Kissinger
Public DomainKissinger - Credit: Library of Congress

Henry Kissinger served as the 56th Secretary of State and the 8th National Security Advisor. He played an important role in US foreign policy. He extended the policy of détente, which was introduced in the 1970s, relaxing tensions between the Soviet Union and the US.

Page 487. " But the King of Kings aroused the anger of Antiochus against the rascal "

The punishment of Antiochus is to be burned atop a high tower, much the way Nathan Price dies in The Poisonwood Bible.

Page 498. " an old, soft pagne printed with yellow birds "

A pagne, or wrapper, is a type of clothing commonly worn by women in West Africa. Pagne is an umbrella term, and it can mean anything from a loincloth to a full ensemble of draped clothing.

A pagne is usually worn with a matching headscarf or head tie. The type described in this  passage appears to be "fancy print," which is an informal and less expensive type.