The Review of Arts, Literature,
Philosophy and the Humanities

  Number 264

Late Summer 2015

And a Couple of Stinkers
We don't specialize in murder mysteries,
but they do pop up from time to time ---
most recently, in the form of audio books.
Here are a dozen or so that blew us away
(in a matter of speaking)
and a couple that left us over-satiated,
up to our knees
in buckets of gore
(and boredom).
Rust: The Longest War
"The answer to rusting and collapsing bridges
is something known as 'thermoplastic lumber'
which is an aggregate made of pressure-
treated wood, old dumptrucks, lard, pigbone, used
baby diapers, refried beans and pickleweed."

Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness
"We have to wait for the answer
because we have to get that
raspberry Tootsie Pop
out of his mouth so he can talk.
He 'placed it in the wrapper ...
His lips wore a delicious garnet stain.
I kissed him and tasted the candy's
chocolate center.'"

The Small House at Allington
"There Eames laid his foe prostrate among the newspapers,
falling himself into the yellow shilling-novel depôt
by the over fury of his own energy;
but as he fell, he contrived to lodge one blow with his fist
in Crosbie's right eye, --- one telling blow; and Crosbie had,
to all intents and purposes, been thrashed."

My Depression
A Picture Book
"'I've had depressions
on and off for most of my life,'
says Ms. Swados, and we are
right there with her, but wonder if we
should be bragging."

Blue-Eyed Boy
"Who are we when
we face the world with a face that's
not the one we grew up with.
Who do we become when
we can no longer appear to be
the one they thought we were?"

The Hollow Land
"It charms with a deft touch,
never pushing further than its limited aim.
Don't ask too many questions.
The stories might best be read
in front of a fireplace, under a blanket,
on a cold winter's night to help set the mood."

Papyrus --- The Plant That Changed the World
"Cassiodorus openly admitted that
he did not know how the civilized Western world
had got on without papyrus, since by his day
it was used for books, records of business,
correspondence, orders of the day for the Roman army,
even the first newspaper."

"Scientists at Kobe University have recently
created the world's first 65-pound hummingbird.
Named Tubby the Terrible for his
phenomenal girth and rotton disposition,
this fugitive from a gland gang can,
unfortunately, no longer twitter.
He merely groans."

Two More Murder Mysteries
Matadors and Moons
"He observes your muddy boots and
a glop of cheese cake on your sleeve, along with
the scar on your upper left cheek and the bank receipt
sticking out of your coat pocket and deduces thereby
where you came from, how you got here,
where you are staying, and when you plan to leave
(and when you were born)
(and what you had for breakfast)
(and weather you like strawberries or not)."

Great Reviews of the Past
The Chrysler Building
"One of the miracles is that somehow
those who own the city have not yet decided to murder
that funny monument to the Moderne,
the Chrysler Building."

Tropical and Sub-Tropical Trees
"For lovers of sheer smell:
Stinkwood, Stinking Pea, and Stinking Toe ---
no explanation for the last,
but it is also known as the old Locust Tree.
And for those of you who don't like trees at all,
there is the Cabbage Bark, otherwise known as Pig's Turd."

A Passionate Affair from the Past (Reworked)
'Til the Well Runs Dry
We published our review six months ago,
looked at it recently,
decided we didn't do the book justice ---
so we've rewritten it
because it's a terrific first novel,
one that hasn't gotten all the love and attention
it so richly deserves.

Pictures of neuropsychological syndromes.

The man sitting on the car

Letters We Never Finished Reading
Making a killing in Afghan treasure

Car Title Loans and Chopped Liver
"Welcome all our Spanish-speaking
brothers and sisters who have
nothing but a raggedy-ass
beater of a car to their name.
Please come in.
We'll be happy to ream you, too."

Bisphenol-A and Aluminum Cans
"If you take a plastic bottle and
put it in the microwave and you heat it up,
it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen.
So the worst case is some women may
have little beards."

Running into a Crocodile
"Here we were, aimed straight at an animal
that was about 2 or 3ft longer than our canoe
and at least three times as heavy, and to make matters worse,
if we continued in this direction the prow
would poke him right in the nose."

Classic Imagist Poem
"A touch of cold in the Autumn night ---
I walked abroad,
And saw the ruddy moon lean over a hedge
Like a red-faced farmer."

Great Poems of the Past
The Meaning of Life
VOICE: Which came first, day or night?
YUDHISHTHIRA: Day, but it was only a day ahead.
VOICE: What is the cause of the world?
VOICE: What is your opposite?
VOICE: What is madness?
YUDHISHTHIRA: A forgotten way.


The Vivisection Mambo
will be published later this year.
It consists of 125 poems
from the newly discovered
new Neo-Realist School,
many exposed here
for the first time.

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.
If you subscribe to RALPH, you get a free copy of this anthology ---
which was just listed by Kirkus as
"One of the Best Books of 2014."

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.

b. 1985 - d. 1989
Our predecessor magazine received
enthusiastic encomiums from media writers at
The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times,
The San Francisco Chronicle,
and on
National Public Radio --- among others.
You can now find links here to all thirteen riotous issues.

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

With your $25 subscription,
you help perpetuate honest,
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plus ensure the survival of
this rare if odd online literary journal.
You will also receive
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the two-volume Best-of-Ralph
which, is, in the real world, they say, priceless.

T H E  F A C T S
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Submitting Reviews
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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
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The Reginald A. Fessenden Educational Fund, Inc.
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