RE: My Father and Myself

your review read might have led me to suspect you were from san diego if I hadn't been able to read on your site that that is in fact where you belong, informed as it is less by intelligence or erudition than by suburban prejudice


---Supermarky de Sage

come come atomic bomb!

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I read with interest your article in the March 2000 issue of RALPH, "Return of the Duck." I have travelled around Central America a bit and share your affinity for the land and the wonderful people.

I do a lot of birdwatching and was intrigued by the colonel bird you mentioned. Is there another name for it, possibly a Martial Bird? Several searches of ornithological references have yielded nothing.

The actual reason for searching for this, besides my true interest in birds, is that John Wayne, playing Davy Crockett in a terrible movie about him, made a reference to a MAR-SHEEL bird (phonetic) that went "colonel, colonel colonel." I work for Tennessee State Parks and am transcribing an interpretive video for the Davy Crockett Birthplace in Limestone. It contains a clip from aforementioned movie that has the line and we are converting it to DVD format and providing closed captioning.

If you know the "real" name of this bird, or any other names the campesinos call it, it would help solve a great mystery for TN State Parks Exhibits, and help many park visitors as well.

If you can provide this information I'll send you a T-shirt from the Davy Crockett Birthplace.

My e-mail address is: jdfroesch@yahoo.com
Snail mail: 258 Thuss Avenue, Nashville, TN 37211

John Froeschauer

Muchas Gracias and keep up the great writing!


While doing a web search on Salvador Minuchin I came upon your review by Gary McCourtney of "Images of Violence and Healing." I found the review delightfully entertaining and right on the mark. I guess that I am a Minuchinsta and I attempt to practice Family Therapy in his inimitable style. But Minuchin's wit, wisdom and natural empathy are hard to achieve. I am looking forward to new issues of your on line magazine.

Thank you,
W. A. C. MSW, LSW.

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Dear Ed:

I am a retired journalist, a "Beat" poet & writer & I must tell you how much I cherish Senor Amantea's column.

I used to live & work in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and just a whiff of his writing can carry me away to those happy years of desert & Mexico; nights spent with mates drinking tequila con sangrita. He has a fine hand, a rare ability to "paint" a lively picture with sparse, well-chosen words. He takes a simple, everyday occurrence & makes you feel it, which is what good writing is all about, after all.

Don't ever lose him!

Jack Ames
Sydney, Australia

In our last letters section, we published one --- reprinted below --- from Elizabeth Gips, known to her many fans as "Granny Wisdom."
For years she has been a part of the Enlightened Geezer Network in and around Santa Cruz-Santa Clara, California.
Shortly after sending us the letter, she went into the hospital (she suffers from emphysema), and when, after a few days, she was released, we sent her the following response and appreciation:

§     §     §


I don't know about my article, but you certainly published the testy of all testies with Mencan. Menkan, Mencham, Mencken, oh, my mooshy mind.

His anti Semitic, anti-gay anti-everything shows up because the pictures don't come up and the link is no good!!

I'm tripping out breathing less and worse. I go through all sorts of changes every day. Could be worse but it sure could be better!


"We clutch at truth to keep from dancing in the Void"

Go to the Review in Question

Dear Madam:

Your testy letter about H L Mencken had been mounted at


We would like to agree with you that he was racist, sexist and homophobic, but he was also the only columnist in America of his time willing to take on that awful Rev. Billy Sunday, the Baptists, and Southern Senators like Bilbo and Talmadge. Also, he spent the last five years of his life unable to move or speak (or write) as a result of a stroke. Thus we figured that the karmic chickens came home to roost, and he probably was forgiven all those sins. (He wasn't unaware of his weakness for hyperbole; remember --- one of his finest series of writings was called Prejudices.)

I feel about him as I do the whole human race, especially men of letters. When I find out that the great Ignazio Silone was, they say, probably on Mussolini's payroll, and that George Orwell kept a list of radicals for British intelligence, I am forced to acknowledge that despite the appearance of saintliness in their writings, that they too, were humans, with human foibles, and human weaknesses. This does not make them more loveable --- but it also doesn't make their writing any less pertinent.

Someone wrote me an e-mail, said you were in the hospital, and the tone of it, sounded as if they feared for your life. Perish --- if you will pardon the expression --- perish the thought. Don't they know that anyone who on the brink of the emergency room who could still write RALPH such a testy letter is far from the final main (as Faulkner called it). Your impatience with doctors, sickness, hospitals, and medications --- outside the spiritual ones --- convinces me that you will not depart this vale lightly, nor any time soon. This is just a guess on my part, but the toughness that we have come to know and love as part of your character will, I suspect, prevail for many more moons.

--- Yours in Truth,

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