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

Number 144

Very Early Spring 2006

In Defense of Animals
"According to UNESCO,
over thirteen million children worldwide
die of hunger every year.
For me and most of my friends,
'speciesism' requires that we
care for my own: namely, humans.
Chickens and pigs will come later."

Don't Look Back
"The mystery of
a good mystery writer is
how he or she leaks out
the action and the information
in a way to keep us going,
and, then, at the end,
sews everything up so neatly,
in a package."

The Brighter Side of Terminal Depression
"The hostilities of 1861 - 1865
were nakedly and shamelessly futile.
Slavery was on the decline, and
would have gone out of existence
by the start of the 20th Century
from simple determinism.
The economic structure of the
industrial revolution and the ownership
of humans are incompatible."

What Goes Up
Part I

"Johnson responded that everyone would win.
Shareholders, his friends. 'I'll get rich.
My investment bankers will get rich.'
He figured there would be a chicken in every pot.
The only people who would get screwed
in all this were the bondholders.
And nobody really cares about bondholders anyway."

Part II

"The last word,
the one we might choose
to trust most of all,
came from the mouth of Jerry Corrigan,
then-President of the New York Fed:
Anybody who tells you
that they know exactly why
the market came back
is full of prunes."

Our Post-Soviet History Unfolds
"I'm still worried about the assassination. I think
it was lonely Oswald, but that leaves me out on a limb with
Norman Mailer. Dear Norman: I agree that his return to New
Orleans may be a red herring, as was his trip to Mexico and
the famous photo in the backyard. Still, I am troubled by
new evidence.
Norman does not write back. Without
his endorsement, how will I get my book deal, or funding
for my documentary? Even my Guggenheim is on hold."

Great Reviews of the Past
Farm Motors
"Although the animal differs
from other forms of motors,
being an animated thing,
it is possible, however,
to consider it as a machine in which
energy in the form of food
is transformed into mechanical energy."

Gustave Flaubert's
Sun Tzu's
Art of War

Big Liars
My Bloody Life

Old Age
Diabetes and 2DG

Prosthesis and Evolution
"Every technological device signifies evolution,
but we always forget that the evolution
of one element involves the atrophy of another.
Nicanor Parra said this
in a beautiful way:
'The automobile is
a wheelchair.'"

Lovely Nia
"For a while
the young psychiatrist
worried about the consequences
of the choices they had
made in treating her.
They had removed
a stigma of the mind
and replaced it with
a stigma of the body."

"Children can recognize friends
from two blocks away
by their walk,
while even powerful computers
cannot reliably recognize a face
from twelve inches distance
in bright light."

Fountain of Youth
"The only experimental means yet discovered of
prolonging life in laboratory animals is calorie restriction.
This strikingly increases the life-span and
reduces the symptoms of ageing in rodents,
but a corresponding reduction in human calorie intake
would mean a drop from
an average 2500 to 1750 calories per day.
Such a dismal regime would certainly make
one's existence seem longer."

"The great molecular biologist
Sydney Brenner has told how he reacted
to the euphoria of a colleague who
claimed to have discovered 'the obesity gene.'
He, too, Brenner replied, had long ago
discovered the obesity gene:
it is the gene that
opens the mouth."

Great Readings from the Past
"Slops comprise a stew of such things as
coffee grounds, fruit parts, rotten vegetable bits,
cigarette butts, grit of unknown origin,
and the sort of gooey canned mush
epitomized by Chef Boyardee ravioli;
somehow, in the course of every
garbage bag's journey from kitchen to truck,
all of these substances find one another
and intimately coalesce."

That Sure Is My Little Dog

"What else did you expect from the
brainiacs of my generation? The survivors, the nonbelievers,
the oddball-outs with the Cuban Missile Crises still
sizzling in our blood?"

"This is what life does. It lets you walk up to
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman
down beside you at the counter who says, Last night,
the channel was full of starfish.
And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?"

My Vision
"Serge is svelte, kind, greedy,
Eats lady-fingers before he goes to bed,
Is a bit of a pig.
After an exhausting day tending to the queen.
He has me float jasmine-scented candles in his bathtub
Drop in goldfish to nibble on his pectorals,
his fingers, and the unmentionables."

Great Poems of the Past

"I believe in the roses that burst forth
from the adolescent corpse of Ophelia
I believe in the silence of Achilles weeping before the sea
I believe in a small and distant ship
that left a century ago to meet the sun."


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.

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