The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 171

Very Early Spring 2008

Reviews, poems, readings,
and articles that seem to be most
beloved of our readers ---
ones that most regularly show up
on our server's monthly hit list.

Sister Bernadette's Barking Dog
"She has a fine time
with one of Bush's speeches,
not only quoting it,
but going on to diagram it:
page 58 is half-filled with
a dangling structural illustration of
what the President told
his audience to expect
of our teachers."

Broken Land
"One day
horses will live in the taverns
and furious ants
will attack the yellow skies that
take refuge in the eyes of cattle.
Another day
we'll witness the resurrection
of dead butterflies,
and still walking in a landscape
of gray sponges and silent ships,
we'll see our ring shine and
rose spill from our tongues."

Fulgencio Batista
"We knew, certainly, about
the famous Tropicana nightclub and
the gambling and the whores of Havana.
But we had no idea what
these had to do with a
thirty-two-year-old colonel
named Batista who found himself
in 1933 with astonishing power, backed,
ultimately, by the United States."

The First Total War
"Extermination of the enemy,
as opposed to disarming it,
has hardly every served
a serious military purpose.
We destroyed the village
in order to save it.

It is General Salomon's excuse:
to defeat the enemy,
we must become him."

Behind Closed Doors
"La Mèrica whispers
stories of work and riches,
so the man goes and if he comes back,
he's aged and drawn, sickened
by working in a world
that could break any man.
If he stays there, he finds
another woman, leaves behind
wife and child to
fend for themselves."

Sibelius: The Orchestral Music
"In 1929 Sibelius got bored and
stopped composing and
finally died thirty years later of ennui.
This may be a familiar feeling
to those who know
his symphonies."

Great Reviews of the Past
City Requiem, Calcutta
"It is far richer than some
graduate-student's thesis on
Indian urban life.
Roy's citations not only
come to us from major works
on urban use, planning, feminism
and the sociology of the poor,
but from such unlikely sources as
Virginia Woolf, Adrienne Rich,
Kurosawa, Joyce, Eliot,
Mozart, Márquez,
Baudelaire, Sartre."

The Surgeons
Américo Paredes

In each issue, we offer
a quote that some may find weird,
out-of-order, altogether other-worldly.
Here are six that, paradoxically,
continue to garner large numbers of
monthly hits.

Adverse Outcomes of
Cataract Operations
Multiple Personality Disorder


Cryptic Letters of the Month
I Am
Pretty Female

Great Articles of the Past
The Øresund Fixed Link

"One Copenhagener was quoted
in a newspaper as follows:
'The prices are high,
the Swedes are boring,
and there is nothing to do.'
He obviously didn't know about
the mini-zoo in the basement of
the Malmö city museum,
a worthwhile destination,
at least if you have nothing else to do."

The Birth of History
"I'm not going to have a baby, really?
I'm not pregnant? I asked.
And the doctors looked at me
and said, No, Ma'am,
we're just taking you
to attend the birth of History."

The Prophet of Literature
"James Joyce shall be
reincarnated as a Chinese boy
in the year 2124.
Thomas Mann shall become an
Ecuadorian pharmacist
in the year 2101.
For Marcel Proust,
a desperate and prolonged period
of oblivion shall begin
in the year 2033."

Great Readings of the Past
Couples Therapy for the Disabled
"I touch Ralph and
he goes into spasms.
His breath smells ferocious.
He's surrounded by so much metal and
plastic on his wheelchair
that it's impossible to get close to him.
He has far more important things
than sex to think about."

"He is sneaking guns into the Vilna Ghetto
part by part scrap by scrap and then the explosives.
This isn't easy he says, but it's necessary
Think of the working class, think of the revolution.
Think of the heroes at Warsaw , think of the pits at Ponar.
All we need here is a little solidarity
All we need now is one good uprising."

The World at Night
"My mind was actually
seven or eight minds, all but one of them
composed of helicopters. The other one
was sad. Satellites could tell I was sad.
When another subway came I crawled on
and technically I passed into death, but
passed through and awoke at Coney Island
and saw black cowboys galloping on the beach."

Great Poems from the Past
A Cricket in the Telephone (at Sunset)

"I find that if I think too much
On you and on my love for you,
The stars begin to talk to me,
Talk to me of Standard and Poors, and
Sweet Virginia peppermint pie, and
The Decline of the Roman Empire, and
You half-hidden under the bedcovers,
And the new, complete, unabridged
Memoirs of Jacques Casanova."


All the back-issues of RALPH,
including titles of books under review,
along with author, subject, and publisher,
plus links to readings, articles, and poems
that have appeared on-line
since 1994.

of our most notorious reviews
as collected in the hard-copy

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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
Behind the Scenes

The Faces of Those Who Make Up the Face of RALPH
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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