R  A  L  P  H
  The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities 
Volume XVI, Number 3 --- Late Spring, 1999

The Jahid and Afghanistan,
Disability and Depression, and
Anti-communism in the 50s

The Practical Guide to Aging
"We can't go swimming in the ocean without fretting about the bacteria count,
and we can't go zipping around in the sand-dunes in our buggies
without stewing about the goddamn gophers or gnat-catchers.
We're living in a world of spoilers --- and they won't hush up."

Beer Cans in the Rio de la Plata
"This one is hard to put down,
especially if you are fond of picaresque tales in the style of
Tropic of Cancer, The Ginger Man, and Ham on Rye."

Art as Politics in the Third Reich
"For those interested in the beastly soul of the Third Reich,
this is a powerful and revealing tale. The author has a way of interlarding facts
of which artworks ended up in whose hands
with personal vignettes of these very peculiar men."

"It may be epistolary, but this ain't no Clarissa. Mud, gangrene, gas,
gasmasks, bubbling lungs, groins shot away, brains exploded, shellholes filled
with bloated humans (and bloated rats), hands and legs torn off, maggots that glow
luminously in bodies, blood-leaking mouths, and, of course,
front line soldier dirty talk."

Kew Gardens, Loves That Bind,
Arcanum, and the Caribbean as a Vulva

A Letter To Jesse Helms
"I've heard that there are special subsidy programs for tobacco growers,
and I understand that you help fund these programs,
which means I can have a crop coming along by next fall."

A Visit to the Sweet Witch of the Mountains
Part I
"I think of the aches and pains of old age as just so many bugs on the
windshield of life; they come in such profusion --- and so messily, too.
Liver-splotches, high blood-pressure, general fatigue, herringbone wrinkles
(face, upper arms, upper legs), lumbago (great word, there),
and all the many new surprises..."

Part II
"I'm all for making contact with the American Sleep Disorder Society,
to tell their members to drop their pills and come to Oaxaca so I can
put them in touch with my sweet old Lady of the Mountains. I'm even thinking of
learning her language so I can get her to tell me how the hell she does it.
Can you see me running my own home-town sleep clinic with this magic in my pocket?"

Getting out of a Warm Bed on a Cold Morning
"I would grit my teeth and spring in a single leap to the fireplace,
drench the logs with kerosene, and touch a match to them.
Then, when the oil had flared up, and I had succeeded in crossing back to my bed,
I would snuggle down again in its grateful warmth."

Travel Tales by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky
A Bumpy Ride on an Elephant
"Every step of Peri made acrobats of us, forcing us to perform
most unexpected stunts. When she put her right foot forward,
we dived forward; when it was her left foot, we fell back
like so many sheaves of grain, all the while being tossed
from one side to the other.''

A Visit to the Burning Ghats
"One of them, a little girl of ten, small, thin, far from being fully developed,
sobs bitterly. She is the mother of the dead child, whose body she will soon
throw into the cold waters of the dirty river. Her trembling hands
are not strong enough to throw the poor little figure, more like
a tiny brown kitten than a human child.''

"New York's dawn has
four columns of ooze
and a hurricane of black pigeons
that splash about in the rotten waters."

I Finally Figured Out About Dying
(And I Wanted To Tell You Before It Was Too Late)

"Once we depart, we can scarcely believe our eyes
Since we no longer have eyes
(Nor nose, nor mouth, nor body, nor anything to speak of.)
We turn to a soaring fire (or flower) with all our non-senses intact."

When I Was a German and
Samuel Beckett's All That Spring

This will lead you back through previous issues of RALPH
(at least as far back as Winter, 1994 - 1995.)

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Titles, authors, and publishers
of all books reviewed in RALPH ---
arranged chronologically.
1995    1996    1997    1998    1999


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Post Office Box 16719
San Diego CA 9217692107


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