R  A  L  P H
  The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities

Number 149

Mid-Summer 2006

THIRTY-THREE BIG HITS
(Part I)
Articles, reviews, readings, art and
poems most often called up
over the last few months by
visitors to RALPH.

NEW TITLES
The Art of Rockefeller Center
"The only caveat I have is that
the replacement fresco by José María Sert
is so ugly that it makes one wish that
Rivera had simply surrendered and stuck
a fright mask on Lenin so that the original
would still be there."

Meditation in a New York Minute
"What does he teach?
'Calm, bliss, love, compassion.'
Think of it, you're one of those driven
corporate types (complete with options)
at McDonalds, Disney, Wal-Mart, General Motors,
and Thornton is there beside you,
there on the meditation cushion,
the two of you blissed out
on what he calls 'hypermeditation.'"

Cottage Water Systems
"Safe drinking water
may be an oxymoron.
Those of us who live outside
the Homeland Security Safety Belt
would never drink water from a spigot;
some of us even go to the extreme
of scrubbing our teeth with
last night's beer."

The Woman in the Row Behind
"Under the influence of her new styling,
he stretches back like a cat.
She nibbles his ear and
'melts with pleasure,'
not unlike, we assume,
processed American cheese.
Or, better, pure Camembert."

In Memory of Hawks
Part I
"Not fuzzy, warm, cute: bleak.
Not science's 'Nature' --- consoling warm,
predictable, rational, dependable, random.
You can rely on that Nature.
It won't babble answers like priests,
Puritans or psychiatrists, but
it won't lie to you either."

Part II
"Inhaled Cutter's Ointment and sweat,
black flies and small bugs.
Slogged along on bog
and ankle-breaking tundra.
Thought Times Square.
Nathan's hot dogs.
Painted women.
Fleshpots."


Great Reviews of the Past
The Story of My Life
"Sometimes, it is true,
a sense of isolation enfolds me like a
cold mist as I sit alone and wait at life's shut gate.
Beyond there is light, and music,
and sweet companionship; but I may not enter.
Fate, silent, pitiless, bars the way.
Fain would I question his imperious decree;
for my heart is still undisciplined and passionate;
but my tongue will not utter the bitter,
futile words that rise to my lips,
and they fall back into my heart
like unshed tears.
Silence sits immense
upon my soul."


BRIEF REVIEWS
Shoshone Indians
Black Farmers in America
The Autobiography of
Benjamin Franklin


LETTERS
Golda Meir
Louise Gluck's
The Seven Ages

MORE LETTERS
Fritz Wolff
Hiroyuki Itsuki
The Crying Frenchman

EVEN MORE LETTERS
The Poem Death
George Washington and
Hessian Soldiers


ARTICLES
Disneyland, Outer Space and
Microsoft Word

Part I

"Those of us
who spend a lot of time
with Microsoft Word
grow familiar with the way
things appear and disappear.
Whole paragraphs, for example."

Part II
"As soon as
each new wave appears,
the congregants all break into
unison hosannas, and shake their arms
in the air like lunatics. It seems to be
a religious practice of some sort."


READINGS
William Faulkner
"He could see no point
in holding a funeral,
since in those five days the little girl
had only had time to become a memory,
not a person. So her father
put her in a tiny coffin and carried her
to the cemetery on his lap.
Alone, he placed her
in her grave,
without telling anyone."

Great Readings of the Past
A New Kind of War
"The history of violence
in the 1914 - 18 war thus
cannot be separated
from a history of the body,
for bodies had never previously
suffered so much and on such a scale.
The fate of those who were wounded was
by and large atrocious, and a history
of military medicine is indispensable
to understand the war."


POETRY
The Coming of Age in Palo Alto

"In the wind, my hair was like fire or cotton candy.
I lay stoned in a field of stars.
Deer came out of the forest and destroyed our gold tomatoes.
Dinner was never on time."

The Underneath
"When she's PMSing
she kicks the bottom of my mattress
to keep me awake. I punish her
by taking away her cable.
She pouts, spends all day looking at her mirror
instead of me. I get her a fist-sized disco ball:
we kiss and make up."


THE OFFICIAL RALPH
Paradox-of-the-Month


GENERAL INDEX
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.


A PITHY SAMPLE
of our most notorious reviews
as collected in the hard-copy
"FOLIO"


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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.
History
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

lolitalark@yahoo.com


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