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

Number 107

Early Winter 2003-2004

How I Earned the Ruptured Duck,
The Encylopedia of Birds,
Clarence Thomas:
Fighter with Words

Native State
"He pulls Dexter Gordon, Bud Powell, and
Memphis Slim out of the hat and, as well,
Nancy Sinatra (met her in high-school),
William Burroughs (tried to get in his pants),
Richard Fariña (lived down the way in Big Sur),
Joan Baez (ditto),
Alan Watts (drunk),
Mike McClure (beat)."

My Last Sigh
The Autobiography of Luis Buñuel
"Both Alberti and José Bergamín
share my aversion to Guernica;
in fact, all three of us would be
delighted to blow up the painting.
But I suppose we're too old
to start playing with explosives."

Love After War:
Contemporary Fiction from Viet-Nam
"One comes away from
a story like 'The Saigon Tailor Shop'
wondering where on god's green earth
could one writer get whatever is necessary
to come up with such a brew of magic
in such a short space."

Great Reviews of the Past
Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust
"When one equates Jews in the holocaust
with pigs going to slaughter,
something very screwy is going on.
A people is not a pig.
Au contraire, if I call someone a pig,
it's insult of the highest order."

Tiffany Lamps,
Building the Empire State Building, and
The Encyclopedia of Trains and Locomotives:
1825 to the Present

Samuel Beckett,
Gabriel Garcia Marquez,
Gay's Mother's Boobs, and
Books about Sex

The Department of
Motor Vehicles' War Against Geezers

Part I
"Ms. Medusa looked at me
with that chill stare brought to perfection
by bureaucrats who know that all of us are liars
and have been so since the day we were born.
She said nothing more, dismissed me
with a wave of the hand."
Part II
"I am now going to tell you
something hard for you (and me) to believe.
The Safety Branch of the DMV may be
staffed by guards on loan from Guantanamo Bay,
but, on occasion, HMO's
can show heart."

Breast vs. Bottle
Part I
"The bottle-fed infant receives
none of the protective substances in mother's milk.
In seven villages in the Punjab studied in the 1950s,
mortality among infants bottle-fed from birth
was fully 95 percent during the first eleven months,
compared with 12 percent among infants
breast-fed from birth."

Part II
"In 1999 a Chicago newspaper
found a local four-year-old preschooler
with his own computer
who scandalized guests at a parental party
by taking such a milk break,
raising his fists Muhammad Ali-style,
and declaring, That was sooooo good."

"I must confess that I, too, like it:
the poem that's filed up flat and fast with condiments
on a sesame seed bun. Steamy, grease-spattered,
and juicy, fluent with salt, piping hot
from the grid, glazed with bubbling oil."
The Bad Sonnet
"It stayed up late, refused to go to bed,
and when it did it sang loud songs instead
of sleeping, disturbing its siblings --- couplets, quatrains
in their small rooms, began caterwauling ---
and soon the whole neighborhood was awake."


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

Help perpetuate honest, noisy, pesky book reviews.
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a free copy of one or more of the titles from
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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 thirty 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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