Formica is a manufactured by the Formica Corporation and is its classic product. It is a hard plastic laminate that is used to cover work surfaces. It is heat-resistant and easy to clean.
Mills & Boon is a publishing house most popular for its romantic novels. It was founded by Gerald Rusgrove Mills and Charles Boon. When used in this way, it refers to one of these novels that is being read.
The Bomb Circle is the monument to Frank’s second murder – that of his younger brother. After a heavy storm, a bomb was uncovered, and Frank persuaded his brother that it was a bell. He told him that the harder he hit it, the louder it would ring. Obviously, hitting the bomb would cause it to explode. It shattered the rocks around it and created a circle of pointed stones. These were partially covered when the sand returned, and a circle remained to remind Frank of his deed.
A trip-wire is a wire that is stretched close to the ground so someone walking past will trip the device to which is it attached - the device is meant to detect or react to physical movement. Sometimes it is attached to a bomb, which will go off once someone “trips” the wire.
A snare is similar to a trip-wire, except that it is an anchored noose, and once tripped it pulls tightly around a leg or limb, restraining the victim. The video below combines a snare and a trip-wire.
A shotgun is a long-barrelled metal weapon that shoots out shot, or a lot of small metal bullets, when the trigger is pulled. It is designed to be fired from the shoulder, and the shot is stored in a solid projectile or slug, which disintegrates, setting the shot free to do its damage.
A .22 rifle, although also featuring a long barrel, shoots out a single bullet, and allows for a more direct aim and shot. It is also designed to be fired from the shoulder, but its barrel has a pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The grooves contribute to angular momentum, which improves accuracy and range.
America is known for its relatively loose laws on guns and weapons. There is evidence of this in the infamous Columbine High School shootings, as well as the more recent Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. Here are some articles on the subject that might be of interest:
Speaking with a contralto voice means that it is lower than the normal range - it applies to women's voices in particular, and is considered quite rare. Here is a sample in .ram format or here is a sample in .mp3 format
Once again, we see Frank’s love of ritual. He has to name the catapult, and the ceremony is a sort of initiation ceremony – the catapult is “baptised” with Frank’s fluids, thereby embalming them with his power. A baptism is a sacred ritual used by the church, in particular Christian churches, that uses water to initiate a person as a member of the Church. It is a symbolic cleansing, and just as a priest would baptise a child, Frank has "baptised" his new catapult, initiating it into his service.
The opposition party in government is one that competes against the party that has been voted in and has the most power.
“Parliament” refers to the group of people that have been elected to make and change the laws of a nation or country. It is usually made up of a balance of leading and opposition party members.
A racist is someone who is not fond of people of colour. However, Frank is clear that his opinions in this matter come from his upbringing, and he is willing to change them and make an effort to treat everyone the same.
Here is quite a comprehensive short history of racism.
In Hinduism and Buddhism, karma is what is collected by a person in one life – the sum of their good and bad deeds – and returned upon them in their next life.
A wicker hopper is a basket, made from wicker, that is attached to a bicycle to allow the driver to carry items.