The Ghostway (1984)

The Ghostway (1984)


Slug is a vernacular expression often used to describe bullets. Slug is also a specific reference to a bullet without its cartridge. The cartridge of a piece of ammunition contains the casing, which holds the gun powder and the slug, whereas the slug consists of the metal projectile only.

long-barreled rifle

One of the first firearms to be used in warfare, the long-barreled rifle is characterized by its extended barrel, and is an early example of modern rifling technology in which spiral grooves inside the barrel's bore allow for greater accuracy and increased stability of bullet trajectory. It used to be a common personal weapon utilized in warfare, but now is mostly used for hunting.

Salt Cedar Clan

A Navajo clan mentioned in several of Tony Hillerman's Navajo detective novels, with land near the fictional No Agua Wash, which may be imagined to be somewhere in the vicinity of Teec Nos Pos, Arizona. Because the salt cedar, or tamarisk, is an invasive species introduced into the Southwestern US at the turn of the 20th century for the purpose of erosion control along river banks, it is highly unlikely that the Diné would have named one of their kinship groups after a plant that didn't appear in their territory until after Euroamerican settlement.

The Navajo, or Diné, are comprised of more than forty family lineages, or clans, that claim common ancestry.

death hogan

In Navajo culture, when a person dies inside a hogan, the traditional Navajo house, it is believed that the person’s spirit, known as “chindi,” can remain trapped in the built structure and potentially cause ghost-sickness, an affliction that can manifest in physical or mental illness. Because the Navajo take great care to avoid any contact with dead bodies and the deceased person’s possessions, generally when people are nearing the moment of death they are brought outside of the hogan to die in the open, which will release the chindi into world to disperse. In the case that someone does die indoors, the dwelling must then be vacated and abandoned, and the family constructs a new hogan elsewhere. In order to enable the release of the lingering chindi in the old hogan, a hole is created in the northern wall of the hogan. This hole also functions as a mark indicating that the structure is contaminated by death and is never to be inhabited again.


Sometimes referred to as the "safety button" or "catch," on a firearm the safety, when engaged, prevents the firearm from accidentally firing. In order to discharge a round, the safety must be disengaged, enabling the firing mechanism to work.


A term referencing influence from or connection to the the sovereign state known as Korea, which was divided into the countries of North and South Korea in the early stages of the Cold War, which emerged on the global stage as World War II was waning. The Korean people are historically based on the Korean penninsula and Manchuria, and today many live in Pacific Rim countries, with he largest population of ethnic Koreans outside of Korea living in New York and Los Angeles. The result is a well-established Korean diaspora, which finds Korean language, pop culture, technology, and art ever present as global influences.


Built on the banks of the Eurotas River, Sparta was an ancient city-state run by a stalwart military oligarchy that rose to dominance in 650 BCE. In order to develop the most formidable military force in the Mediterranean world, Spartan citizens forewent any education in the arts, instead sending their boys at age seven to begin the rigorous training in the Agoge system. Concentrating in weapons instruction and extreme athleticism, male students also were taught the philosophy of war and the logic of battle. Men were expected to marry and start producing a family the age of twenty and serve in the militia until the age of thirty, if they lived that long. It is from the intensity and intimacy of this male-only period of training and service that theories regarding homoerotic relationships between Spartan soldiers stem, acknowledging the bonds of friendship, love, and loyalty that develop over prolonged periods of intense engagement.

Although they did not receive military training, women were educated as well and enjoyed relatively more rights than women in other parts of the classical world. Regardless of gender, however, the Spartan existence consisted of deprivation, endurance, and profound dedication to its ideals. It is from this sense that today's use of "spartan" derives its meaning, in terms of lifestyles or choices that reject luxury in favor of austerity, frugality, stringency, and severity.

Today, Sparta is the capitol of Laconia, Greece and its main economy is in citrus and oils.


A sing is another way of referring to something as formal as a Navajo healing ceremony, as well as something as intimate as an individual prayer, because the use of songs or chants is a central element of Navajo spirituality. There are nearly 100 Navajo healing sings of varying range and intricacy, each originating from the Navajo Creation Story. These formal sings are so nuanced and complex that a Navajo singer, also known as a hataałii, learns only one or two sings over many years of apprenticeship. Sings can last anywhere from one to nine days and can include chants, songs, prayers, lectures, dances, sweat baths, the use of prayer sticks, and the creation of sand paintings. Of course, prayers and observances that are sung by individuals on a daily basis might last only a few seconds and involve merely the ability to observe, appreciate, and maybe sprinkle a few grains of corn pollen.

Other Native American traditions also have ceremonies, traditions, and healing practices in which songs are significant components. Hillerman mentions Hopi singing in some of his novels, for example. The Hopi believe strongly that these dances and songs, when combined in the proper way, work to give them a good life full of rain for agriculture and therefore success and prosperity for the people.


A bundle of blankets and bedding materials that have been rolled up and tied together so that they can be transported from place to place. A bedroll can be easily rolled out and used for camping outdoors or sleeping on the floor, and then rolled back up. These days, lightweight sleeping bags have replaced bedrolls, but the principle of a transportable bed is the same.

Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California

A world famous street that stretches from west Los Angeles to the Pacific Ocean in the Pacific Palisades. This boulevard began as a road that connected Los Angeles with Hollywood. The completion of the road was celebrated by a grand opening parade. In the 1920’s, Sunset Boulevard became a hang-out for both celebrities and notorious gangsters such as Bugsy Siegel and Mickey Cohen. Along the boulevard are cafes, restaurants, clubs, hotels, and bars that have been a part of pop-culture since the 1950’s. Some of these famous places include: The Viper Room, Whiskey a Go Go, The Playboy Club, Café Trocadero, and the Sunset Tower Hotel.


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