The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 253

Early Fall 2014

When we put together a new
list of The Best of RALPH,
we found that many of them
were just too funny for words.
Here then are a dozen readings, articles,
and reviews from past issues that will
leave you heaving.

Mommy Man
"This is Daddy.
Well, one of your daddies.
The other daddy thinks it's dumb to talk to a belly.
Maybe you'll think so, too, but too bad.
You're stuck in there, so you're going to listen.
I really can't wait to meet you guys."

Time and Again
"It is possible that by plucking a leaf here,
brushing against a person there,
dropping a match on the street,
he can ripple the river of time
just so slightly so that, by 1970,
someone may go missing, a chain of events
may change the world entirely. "

The Secret Keeper
"Families often hide from
out-of-the-ordinary events that
could upset a family system.
It can be true, even --- no,
especially --- in the case of murder.
Laurel never did figure out why
her sweet, loving mother would rise up
to stab a stranger to death, a man
who greeted her by name."

The Debt Resisters' Operations Manual
"A man in Spokane, Washington was
incarcerated for two weeks for
failing to pay $60 worth of
'legal financial obligations.'
His jail stay, meanwhile,
cost Spokane County over $1,500."

The Free
"If I try to clean up his room with
its seven million CDs ---
the Blue Öyster Cult, The Queens of
the Stone Age, The Smashing Pumpkins

--- he accuses me of spying on him."

Two Art Books from the University of Oklahoma
Vincent Soboleff in Alaska
"The climate is still considered 'mild,'
which means you have to wait all night to freeze to death.
You are more likely to drown, because Juneau
to the north gets 50 inches of rain a year,
Ketchikan in the south, 150 inches.
In Angoon, you can expect
eight feet or so per year."

San Francisco Lithographer
"Grafton Brown embarked
on a full-scale act of theatre art:
Passing was a performance in which the actors
assumed their roles temporarily or for a lifetime."

Great Reviews of the Past
A World of Watchers
"His tale of the life and times of
Roger Tory Peterson is fetching,
and has a suitable detour for another
great in the field, Joe Hickey,
who defined bird watching as
a mild paralysis of the central nervous system
which can be cured only by rising at dawn
and sitting in a bog."

Family Reunion
"If you are planning to have any children
in the next twenty-five years ... don't. Unless
you are looking forward to fifty years (or more)
in which you get to deal with alcoholism, anorexia,
sullenness, blame (you!), sickness, lack of appreciation,
inability to communicate, self-destructive behavior,
late-night telephone calls, crying jags,
grandchildren with life-threatening illnesses,
and endless money-begs."

Two Hotties

Bach Blows His Wig

Where Will We Live?

The Finger
"You can pull the plug on me
if it gets to the point where I can
no longer give the finger.
I like to express my emotions and if
I couldn't express that particular emotion
I don't think I could bear it."

Great Articles from the Past
The Making of a Porn Movie

"What I found was
a sincere sense of awe and envy for
their ability to be straightforward about sex
and still get pleasure from it.
I have never met a group of people
who were so relaxed about their bodies
and their function."

Living on the Margins of the Debt System
"What happens to the yogurt
after its fateful sell-by date?
It goes in the dumpster ---
and there is where you're likely to find
edible items that have been discarded
largely for aesthetic reasons."

Buying a Baby Stroller
"Most of the time, Drew and I probably 'pass' as straight in public.
Two guys, hanging out, joking and laughing, like a couple of
frat brothers or a beach volleyball tandem.
But when two men are shopping for a double stroller together,
it's pretty clear they're more than just drinking buddies."

Great Readings from the Past
Theodore Roosevelt: An Intimate Biography
"Directly Roosevelt was safely shelved for life
as Vice-President, President McKinley was shot dead.
The greatest prize in the United States
fell into his hands without an effort.
That was the sort of thing that
always happened to Roosevelt."

The Return
"He went round to all the people
A paper crown on his head.
Here is some bread from my father.
Take, eat, he said.
Nobody seemed very hungry.
Nobody seemed to care.
Nobody saw the God in himself
Quietly standing there."

Great Poems of the Past
Tootie-Fruit ME and Ass-Grasp LA
"All the babies were behaving as if they were moons,
Crawling out of seashells, stuffed blind as turkeys.
They smelt of the flat fever of love, with chancres
      Born of Vanilla Bean WY, or Sewer Stop AK.
We brought them up to believe in wombats fed on
Shroud thighs, with crowds of crying turtles, &
Peasant armies of hymn singing, drug-ridden geckos,
      All singing "Om Mani Padme Hum, Om Mani."

(Still Hot Off the Press)

The Noisiest Book Review in the Known World
was published last year.
It contains 200 or so of what we believe
to be the best articles, readings, reviews and poems
from this magazine --- from our very first years to now.
Here you will find all necessary information
on ordering this two-volume set,
which recently received the Kirkus star.


All the back-issues of RALPH,
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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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     We've been around (in different guises) for over thirty years.     
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Behind the Scenes

The Faces of Those Who Make Up the Face of RALPH
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