The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 228

Late Summer 2012

Twelve Great Readings
Each issue of RALPH
features one or two readings
from books we are reviewing
or those from the past we admire.
Out of the more than 500
we have posted over the years
here are a dozen of our favorites.

Fifty Shades of Grey
"These books are everywhere.
If you happen to collide with one,
I hope you get off massively.
You have no chance of that with, say,
Dick Cheney's bio."

Peterson Field Guide to Moths
1500 Shades of Grey
"Just like the rest of us,
every one of them has a number,
called a Hodge number.
I thought it was a tribute to Samuel Johnson's
cat named Hodge who
liked to play with the occasional
visiting moths and,
after enough play,
eat them."

A Natural and Unnatural History

"Breasts embarrass us.
They're unpredictable.
They're goofy.
They can turn
both babies and
grown men into lunkheads."

The Patagonian Hare
"Turns out that
Hyppolite lives not far from
Lanzmann's parents' apartment,
and so his step-father finds a lawyer,
and the lawyer says that
they might beat the rap
if they can find
a philosopher to attest
on his behalf."

Life Everlasting
"The sky burial
was a convenient, fast,
and inexpensive way
to dispose of the dead,
and ideas of the afterlife
could naturally be incorporated
into rituals and religious customs."

The Majesty of Mobile
"Those of us who grew up
in towns with large pulp mills
will remember with a certain fondness
the rank smell that overwhelmed our cities
(and our nostrils)
on those days when
the factories were operating
full tilt."

Teenie Harris, Photographer
"One photograph shows a young Billy Eckstein
with Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker.
There is a very youthful Ahmad Jamal on one page,
and opposite, Sarah Vaughan,
and on the overleaf,
Lena Horne."

To Capture the Sun
"We have here various frog,
monkey and human effigies
that look to have been designed
by a deranged Picasso,
which is why they gave
the Spaniards (and me)
the heebie-jeebies."

The Car Thief
"We'd say
How's it hangin'?
and he would mutter something,
look down at the floor, and
trail on down the hall.
Not exactly Porky's
when he's on the scene."

Great Reviews of the Past
"Some drunks
reported that geckos
hang out (literally: on the ceiling)
of a Malaysian billiard room
produced "clicking sounds"
not unlike that of
the billiard balls.."


In late 2012, we will have on hand
a boxed-set double hardback
with over 900 pages,
The Noisiest Book Review in the Known World.
It will contain more than
200 reviews, poems,
readings, and articles from
the first eighteen years of RALPH.
If you are interested, please click here:
and you will find more than enough information
about our latest escapade.

The New Folio
Black Elephants

Who Is This Dude?

Cryptic Letters of the Month
Gold Miner Farm

A Visit to Geezer Jail
"His grasp of the
location of objects
(such as himself)
in space and time has declined,
he gropes for words
more often than I do,
and his conversation often flies off
into odd, obsessive tangents."

A Visit to Treblinka --- Part I
"I fulminated on the inside,
harangued, cursed and reproached myself.
How could I have thought
even for an instant of making this film
without the man sitting opposite me."

A Visit to Treblinka --- Part II
"It was vital,
it was imperative to preserve
this purity, this spontaneity;
this Poland was a treasure
not to be squandered."

Morning Song
"Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements."

Drop Dead
"The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead."

Great Poetry from the Past
Heaven: A Definition
"I hope that you will regard Heaven as just another
Bad argument, and carefully avoid Saint Peter
And his crafty, semiotic archangels. Make your way
To the back of Heaven's gates, the servant's entrance
Near the fiery chariot's metaphorical garage."


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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