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

Number 143

Late Late Winter 2005 - 2006

The Ballad of Reading Gaol
"Mr. Hardy,
my twelfth grade English teacher,
patiently pointed out that Reading
was a city on the Thames, 'redding' ---
and that 'gaol' was the strange
British version of the word 'jail'
and that it was what
we vulgarly termed 'the pokey.'"

The Death of Ivan Ilyich
"He sought for his
former customary fear of death
and could not find it.
Where is it?
What death?
There was no fear,
because there was no death either."

The Company of Ghosts
"One day I decided, Monsieur,
to become my mother's mother ...
Mama your drops, fifty,
and your three tablets,
you say they knock you out,
not enough, they don't!
Mama don't go out in that outfit,
you're grotesque,
Mama, don't do this,
don't do that.
What would you
have done in my place?"

The Sancy Blood Diamond
"After such a history of calamities,
Harry Winston Inc., donated the Hope
to the Smithsonian Institution on November 10, 1958.
So far, the Smithsonian has demonstrated
few problems of bankruptcy, suicide, or death,
though it may be suffering from
a slightly more malevolent force ...
the oversight of the
U. S. Congress."

Opening the Door to Bön
"When your mother sleeps,
you feel pressure as though
you were under a huge mountain.
When your mother moves,
it is like 'riding a wild horse.'
When your mother eats hot or cold food,
you have the experience of suffering
from hot or cold."

Establishing Congress
"The idea of
some of our present-day representatives
being forced to share bed if not breakfast
with each other
does make one long for the old days.
Can you imagine Ted Kennedy
snoring next to prissy Trent Lott,
ruffling up his impeccable hairdo?"

Great Reviews of the Past
A Passion to Win
"It was a startling sight:
no hair, terribly seared face,
one hand partially destroyed.
The other thing that was astonishing was
that he went right out in public,
allowed his picture to be taken,
kept up with business in the public eye.
Most who go through
an immensely damaging experience like that
want to hide until their bodies can be rebuilt.
Not Redstone."

The Devil
The Mammy
Look at the Dark

Maori Tattoos
Hessian Mercenaries and
The Civil War

Hunter S. Thompson
Hugh Gregory Gallagher

Sybille Bedford
Comin' in on a Wing and a Prayer

Waking the Dead
"Dead Awake is a protest organization
struggling to be born.
The founder is seeking help
to 'stop the zombiefication
of Americans.'"

Great Articles from the Past
Multiple Personality Disorder and
the Hi-Rise Novel

"Desire slides through language;
from bustles, to bras, to minis,
clothes are our ever-changing symbols
of sex,
our language for
sexual exchange and interaction,
the indices to wealth, power
and lust."

Mexican Buses
"My neighbour
has a live turkey hen on her lap
and the bird simply cannot help it,
she must partly sit on my lap too.
Supported on six pointed claws,
one set of them on my knee,
she digs her weight into us
and shakes herself.
Dust and lice emerge."

War and Peace
"Humans do not like peace,
they are at home in war.
They cannot stand happiness,
they require resentment and complaint."

"I'm not exaggerating when I say
that a Cambodian can
spend three or four hours straight
sitting in a chair (alone or together with others)
just staring off into the distance
without any respite of magazine, book, TV, or
even conversation. They 'chill out'
for excruciating stretches of time
without seeming to grow restless."

Red Roses

"Some people praise red roses
But I beg leave to say
That I prefer red noses ---
Red noses are so gay."

The Disappearing Man
"Between the fourteen villages
destroyed in the war,
forty-two stray dogs wander aimlessly
picking at human remains.
A road atlas contains a minor, two-lane
highway that doesn't exist,
but the driver who follows the map
finds a ghost town in the mountains."


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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Suggestions for would-be reviewers --- and payment schedule.
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     We've been around (in different guises) for over thirty years.     
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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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