R  A  L  P H
  The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities

Volume XXX, Number 4

Late Mid-Summer 2002

Being a list of twelve books
that we have received
over the last few months
that stand out as being
especially interesting, funny or wise.

Peters World Atlas,
The Secret History of the FBI,
The Death of Sweet Mister

Novice to Master
"Many of us who have heard of Zen
and who want to achieve enlightenment (who doesn't?)
have toyed with the notion of joining a monastery.
Those who entertain such notions should read this book.
The theory and practice of Zen is very much
like joining the Marines or being sent off to prison."

Learning to Fall
"To try to pin this stuff
on the divine is nothing better than
false advertising. In truth, the divine has other fish to fry,
hasn't the time to mete out painful lessons
to you or me or good people or bad people or terrorists
or world corporate greedyheads or eco-destructives
or pious millionaires."

Great Reviews of the Past
Untamed Seas
"Heroism seems to be in short supply
with these five characters.
The dialogue that goes back and forth
while they are presumably fighting for their lives
is worse by far than anything
you've ever heard from the Bickersons."

Sacred India, and
Ceramic Toilets of the 19th Century

Ticks, Blackflies and God's Other Punishments

"Black flies don't sting, they bite,
leaving us pocked with scabs
that we tear off when scratching.
The flies crawl up sleeves and noses, burrow into ears.
If New Hampshire people are tight-lipped,
perhaps it's that black flies have taught us
the cost of opening our mouths."

"But pain has no face
because it is not alien. It is from myself.
Pain is my body signaling that something is wrong.
It is the body talking to itself,
not the rumblings of an external god.
Dealing with pain is not war
with something outside the body;
it is the body coming back to itself."

Great Articles of the Past
Eating Spanish Omelette with Bondo

"The historical Sweden or Sverige
takes its name from the Svear,
a tribe of foresters, miners, trolls, and Social Democrats
whose origins are shrouded in mystery,
except that most of them have cousins in Minnesota."

A Black Swimmer
"a land of zombies where death jackals are devouring
the entrails of a half-starved woman to the drumbeat
of carnival and the lecherous dancing of Baron Samedi"

Poem for Our Dog Afraid of Thunder on a Rainy Day
"Shivering uncontrollably in the mud
as men whose duty it was to kill me filed by
As men whose duty it was to kill me filed by
only a little more than a yard away
Only a little more than a yard away"

Speedbumps, S. J. Perelman,
The Crane Report (Again), and
Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition


A complete list of all books reviewed in RALPH,
arranged by title, including author, subject, and publisher,
plus a listing of all readings, articles and poems
that have appeared since 1994.

of our most notorious reviews
as collected in the hard-copy

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T H E  F A C T S
Submitting Books
The best way to get books to RALPH for review.
Submitting Reviews
Suggestions for would-be reviewers --- and payment schedule.
RALPH didn't spring full-blown from the brows of the gods:
     We've been around (in different guises) for over twenty-five years.     
The Fessenden Fund
Describing the good works of RALPH's official godparent

Lolita Lark, Editor-In-Chief
Post Office Box 16719
San Diego CA 92176


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