S. J. Perelman
The Crane Report
Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition

Dear Ralph:

Your Early Summer 2002 issue contains Mr. Gallagher's response to Richard Malmud's letter regarding the discussion of the Crane Report. The response is a wonderful example of propaganda in its purest essence.

In rebuttal to Malmud's question about the vote of Muslim woman, Mr. Gallagher lists Muslim countries that he claims rival Israel's democratic institutions. The two Arab countries set forth are: Iran and Jordan. Now any learned person knows that Iran is a theocracy; and Jordan is an aristocracy ruled by a king! Please Mr. Gallagher, enlighten me, when is the last time people voted for a mullah or a king?

However, the most egregious example of Gallagher the propagandist, is his retort to Mr. Malmud's questioning of Mr. Gallagher's proclamation that "Jews took jobs from the Arabs." Mr. Gallagher opines that, "Palestinian farm workers were displaced by European Jews." Au contraire!

Fortunately, there is an unbiased record of conditions in Palestine (the geographical area comprising Israel, Jordan and the west bank) in the 1870's. The eyewitness (no less than the esteemed Mark Twain) states, in part, that "It is a desolate country, the rich soil is given over to weeds, we have never seen a human being on the whole route, hardly a trace of a tree or shrub anywhere." Then what happened?

Beginning in the early 1880's there was massive Jewish immigration into Palestine, and the Jews rid the lands of swamps and malaria. The Jewish effort created the economic opportunities and medical availabilities that induced the Arabs to immigrate. In fact, over 90% of Arabs migrated to Palestine in the last 100 years. Thus, if anything, the Arabs should have been paying the Jews for their ability to earn a living.

Taken as a whole, Mr. Gallagher's response is nothing more than an embodiment of the "Big Lie." The quintessential misinformation intended to inflame anti-Israel feelings.

--- Sincerely,
Michael Sheber
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The King Crane Report


In Yucatan the main highway has the picturesque name The Puuc Road. Nearly all of the traffic on that road is comprised of gigantic excruciatingly new buses with mysterious colored lights shining from the inside.

At intervals along the Puuc Road, every 500 yards or so, there is/are small villages; my favorites are named Muna, Amun, Unam, and Manu.

As you approach each village there s a small yellow sign on the highway: TOPES.

In most of the villages the topes are, in fact, concrete or asphalt speedbumps.

In some of the towns the topes are small children, or dogs, or even turkeys.

To get past the topes it is necessary to slow your car to about 5 mph to avoid a bone-breaking jar.

The mysterious buses do not slow down, and pass through the villages at breathtaking speeds.

By some miracle none of the animals or children ever gets run down.

I have considered this phenomenon for a number of years, and I now think that I know what is happening. The Puuc Road is built along the paths followed by the ancient Maya of the area in the performance of their unknown and unremembered rituals. The buses are the ectoplasmic expression of the ancient Mayan priests, assuming the appearance of the fiercest creature known to the descendants of the Maya, who populate these villages. The buses are the closest thing to a jaguar that now exists in that part of the world.

--- Phil Ehrens

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The Silent Policemen


In A. W. Allworthy's review of What the Ice Gets: Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition 1914 - 1916 by Melinda Mueller,he stated, She even drags in Apsley Cherry-Garrard whose adventures were somewhere else again, being in the North Pole, not South Pole.

Apsley Cherry-Gerrard was a Southern Explorer. He accompanied Scott's expedition, went on the trip with Bowers and Wilson to gather Emperor penguin eggs, discovered the tent where the returning polar party perished, all in Antarctica.

Also, Shackleton's Endurance trip was an effort to be the first to cross the Antarctic continent, the pole having already been discovered. He and his men spent time aboard a ship that was frozen, more time on frozen ice and ice floes, and a short time on some rocky icy islands. I don't believe permafrost was a factor.

How can a reviewer spout off about things they don't know?

I haven't read Mueller's work, but I certainly would not choose to read anything else written by the reviewer.

--- Mike McNamara

Go to the review in question


Do you have an e-mail address for your reviewer L.W. Milam? He says, among other things in his peculiar review of books by and about S.J. Perelman, that Perelman's son committed suicide. This would come as rather a surprise to the son. I believe Milam should be corrected.

--- Prudence Crowther

Milam responds: Mea culpa. Mea maxima culpa.

Go to the review in question.