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

Number 138

Mid-Fall 2005

For some reason,
RALPH receives unconscionable numbers of
testy letters, complaining about
our reviews, our poems, our articles ---
or even our letters. Here,
we offer a dozen or so of the most
trenchant and libelous.

African Sculpture
"The most astute way
of seeing this art is
not as craft,
but as a way of life.
Their creators would never use
the word 'art.'"

"Somehow, through a combination of
chance, guile, brains (or perhaps lack of them),
Pétain was able to stall, for two years,
despite tremendous pressure,
the inevitable occupation of
all of France by the Germans,
which finally came about
in late 1942."

The Lives of the
Kings and Queens of England

Part I

"Henry I was succeeded by Henry II,
who 'died from a surfeit of lampreys'
which says volumes about English food.
Henry III followed Henry II,
then came Henry IV (Part 1)
and, finally, Henry IV (Part 2)."

Part II

"Members of the House of Windsor
included George V, George VI
and Edward VIII. The latter
wanted nothing to do with being king,
giving it up for 'the woman I love.'
Her name was Wallace Simpson,
mother to Homer,
grandmother of Bart."

Just Enough Liebling
"The food and drug administration
might want to put A. J. Liebling on
their Schedule III series of drugs.
I picked this one up
to leaf through it,
and that was all she wrote
for the next few days."

Three Men in a Boat
"This one carries
not only the story of a single journey,
but dozens of memories of other equally silly journeys,
in this case of George, Harris, and J,
their friends and family,
near relatives,
distant cousins,
complete strangers."

A Funny Thing Happened
On My Way to Old Age

"Baldwin turns out to be
a not-so-happy-camper.
He reveals,
inadvertantly or not,
several facts-of-life
in the darkening reaches of Wrinklelandia
not emphasized in mailings from AARP."

"What the author has done here
is to commit charactercide.
By murdering the gay and cutting the story short
the author has shied away
from what could have been a powerful,
unusual and diverting drama."

Great Reviews of the Past
Skin Deep
the Disappearing West,
Very Bad Men, and
My Deep Love for Them All

"At my time of life
I have a choice between
shuffleboard in Miami,
poker in Las Vegas,
or getting a dragon tattooed on my tum
from the masterful (and loving)
Ms. Griffin.
Which would you choose?"

Being Right Here
We reviewed James Low's book a year ago,
but our editor forgot
to link it to our home page
So it has been floating around out there,
unfound, unloved, unappreciated
all this time.

Waking Up America
Secret Lives of Common Birds
A Portrait of the Artist
As a Young Man

Anorexia: Wasted
Carolyn Kizer Poetry

Recently, Michael Pickering,
editor of the other RALPH,
wrote to let us know that
our namesake magazine had reached
its 100th issue.
Our thoughts at the time
were on the order of those of
Samuel F. B. Morse, e.g.:
What Hath God Wrought?

My Bloody Life
The Mirror of Clear Meaning

The Ninth Amendment to the Constitution
Part I
"The problem is that
a small ragged band of radicals ---
people with fiery rhetoric and
reckless disregard for the odds ---
won the American Revolution.
They wrote the concept of
'liberty for all' into
the Constitution. "

Part II
"Yet the plain words of the Ninth
as well as documentation of the intent of the Founders
must lead any reasonable person to conclude
that the Constitution acknowledges and
retains for the people
unstated rights."

How to Make Irish Stew
"The dog who had evinced great interest
in the proceedings throughout,
strolled away with an earnest and thoughtful air,
reappearing, a few minutes afterwards, with
a dead water-rat in his mouth,
which he evidently wished to present as
his contribution to the dinner."
How to Make English Tea
"Harris and I followed his gaze,
and saw, coming down towards us
on the sluggish current, a dog.
It was one of the quietest and peacefullest
dogs I have ever seen.
I never met a dog who seemed more contented ---
more easy in its mind.
It was floating dreamily on its back,
with its four legs stuck up
straight into the air."

Woodcraft Manual for Boys

"It is what I imagined it'd be like
to kiss an Indian warrior: earth
and firewater. I carried to bed the rich malts
of all the scotch my father had drunk that day
so he could sleep that night."

That'll Be the Day
"While my progenitor and the soon-to-be
candidate for vice president
talked corporate incentives and tax breaks
I turned up my radio
and kept I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill
blaring, even after
being asked politely to turn it down."


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.
With your $25 subscription, you get
a free copy of one or more of the titles from
Mho & Mho Works

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
Copyright Notice
The Reginald A. Fessenden Educational Fund, Inc.

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


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