Great Letters
RALPH receives dozens of emails each week
commenting on our reviews,
offering things, asking things,
praising or belittling our masterpieces.
Here are a few that, we believe,
deserve our affection.


Dada

To: lolitalark@yahoo.com

RE: dada

do you guys know what Dada is as i don't

So could you tell me

Also what you see below did Dada make this or did I

DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA DADA

--- Al & Sue Gersbach
asgersbach@bigpond.com

Go to the
review
that may have inspired this letter


Pest Control

To: carlosamantea@yahoo.com

Hi

My name is Emma Edwards. I've just visited your website ralphmag.org and I was wondering if you'd be interested in exchanging links with my website. I can offer you a home page link back from my website which is

http://www.pestcontrolnowonline.com/

As mentioned, your link would be placed on the site home page, not on any "links" pages which may be buried in the site somewhere. I'm sure this exchange would be benefitial for both of our sites, helping towards increasing our visibility in search engines. If you are interested, please add the following information to your website and kindly let me know when it's ready. I'll do the same for you in less than 24 hours, otherwise you can delete my link from your site.

Title: Fly screens
URL: www.premier-env.co.uk
Description:
Fly screens for windows and doors.

I hope you have a nice day and thank you for your time.

Best regards

--- Emma Edwards
Web Marketing Consultant


Hi, Emma:

Thanks for your note, but we had better not bite, even though we are tempted.

Pest-control ... of course! We are more or less in the pest-control business ourselves. Trying to control the flood the waterfall the avalanche of annoying repetitive ear-buzzing soul-nipping heart-robbing bad books that seem to have taken over the world of publishing. If we could only put a screen up, one that would stop these pests...

If we only could!

--- L. Lark


Sailing
To: poo@cts.com

Subject: Your Review --- "Sailing To The Far Horizon"

Hi Carlos,

I'm curious. What sailing experiences have you had?

Jim Allen
jim@azbw.com
Publisher Arizona Boating &
Watersports News Magazine

§     §     §

Hi, Jim:

When I was ten-years-old my brother took me sailing in his old leaky wooden ten-footer, "The Honorable Admiral T. Head." We were out there on the windless St. Johns River for eight hours, back and forth, back and forth, with all the shit and the water-hyacinths for eight hours (Jacksonville had not yet created a sewage system; the river was the sewage system.) I thought I would go bonkers, but my brother --- a stolid sort --- didn't seem to care.

That was the last time I went sailing unless you count as "sailing" the five days I spend on the old French Line Liberté in the fall of 1959 going from New York to Le Havre. Now that's sailing! (French beer! French food! French kisses!)

--- Carlos Amantea
Go to the
review
that may have inspired this letter


The Barnes Foundation and
Violette de Mazia

To: carlosamantea@yahoo.com

RE: The Barnes Foundation

Sirs:

In reference to your article, "Doing the Tarantella at the Barnes Foundation:" Violette De Mazia appears briefly in [the novel I am writing]. I have read magazine articles which stated she dressed in accordance to what she was teaching on any given day wearing flowered dresses when she was dealing with paintings of flowers etcetera.

My question concerns your reminiscence concerning Violette's French accent, her dress, her dancing, and the use of Beethoven's 5th. How much was truth and how much was fiction?

--- William Snyder
billsnyder@sbcglobal.net
Oakland, CA.

§     §     §

Hi, Bill:

"Doing the Tarantela" was written forty years after our studies at the Barnes Foundation. In addition to our flowery imagination, it is likely that we dolled up the facts some. As you know, fantasy has a habit of sneaking in the back door when a "factual account" pretends to come in the front.

Our vision of Violette de Mazia is static. Except for her red tinted hair (we may have just made this up) she seemed gaunt and monochromatic. If she changed her voluminous skirts to accommodate the flowers painted before us, we never noticed.

I don't think we're wrong about the tinted glasses, nor the various original paintings that she had in her house, nor our brief flirtation with the ups-and-downs of grand larceny. And the layout of the foundation and the paintings remain severely etched in our memories, the result of some fifty to seventy-five classes we took at the foundation.

Her accent did not strike us as particularly French, even though it is said she was born in Paris; it might have been Slavic, and she could have made herself up much as we have.

Her dance before the canvas, the scratchy 78 RPM version of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, her swirling dress: these remain true, since this rather violent Violette came in such sharp contrast to her cool --- no, let's say cold --- presentations both before and after.

You ask, "How much was truth and how much was fiction?" Surely, Bill, you certainly must know, in your own experience in the craft of novels, not to say readings of such as Javier Marías, Vladimir Nabokov, Marcel Proust and the good Kinch himself that this dichotomy is one that lies as much as in the realm of myth as "reality." We can attest to the slam-bang wonder of the epiphany; as well as Violette de Mazia's kindnesses; and the hand-pushed lawnmowers (that may or may not have muttered as Joyce believed.) Beyond that, we like you are and will continue to be rendered blind, deaf and dumb by the years. .

--- C. A. Amantea
Go to the
article
that inspired this letter


Diamonds
To: lolitalark@yahoo.com

RE: Exchange

Hi :-)

I was checking out your website and saw you had good information about diamonds.

I'd like to place a few links on that page. I can send you over exactly what I'm looking for. If you decide it's a good fit we can work something out :-)

I am only interested a few words or maybe a simple words linked in your content( i don't like ads that are eyesores ).

I am sure we can work something out as far as financial compensation that will be fair.

Hope to Hear back from you!

All the best!

--- Kyra Winters
kyra@dimacc.org


Hi, Kyra:

Thanks for your e-mail, though we're hard-pressed to see what would be so attractive about a review which points out some of the foibles of the diamond: a scarcity that is made so by naked manipulation of the marketplace, not to say the manipulation by outsiders of the politics of certain countries unlucky enough to have diamond mines buried in their midst.

We get invitations for links all the time, from the most bizarre sources. (One wanted to do dark glasses, another bathroom fixtures, and one we recall, was interested in clothing for dogs.)

We apologize for not being able to help you. We are, alas, committed to being non-profit, and take pride in the fact that none of our pages are sponsored by anyone except our exasperating balance-sheet.

--- L. Lark
Ed


The Ethics of
News Photographers

To: poo@cts.com

Dear Sir:

Can you please tell me how to obtain permission to use the weeping man that appears on your website

http://www.ralphmag.org/CV/briefs.html

as part of an advertisement to be included in a newspaper?

It appears the photographer is unknown, but perhaps you would be able to tell me if copyright permission is necessary.

--- Kelly Price
Dublin, Ireland
kprice@pricewebdesigns.com
Hi, Kelly:

Years ago when the photograph first appeared, we read that it was a Frenchman on the streets of Paris in June, 1940, the day the victorious Nazis marched through the Arc d'Triumphe. Other authorities claim it was taken on the streets of Marseilles as the French troops shipped out that month. One even has it that it is of a man viewing the French army abandoning Toulon.

Of all the photographs, drawings, and etchings that RALPH has placed on-line these last fourteen years, it is the one that continues to outdraw all the others.

We introduced the picture in our discussion of Carole Naggar's book on the photographer George Rodger. Our reviewer said,

    I've often wondered about the photographer who took this astonishing shot. What did he think? What did he feel? Did he worry about invading a man's sacred space? Did he think that because he was behind a camera he had a right to extract, even gain from another man's grief? Was he weeping too? Did he excuse himself for intruding himself on the man's sorrow (capturing a sorrow that can --- even now --- capture the rest of us?)

    Every time I look in the newspapers or magazines or on TV and see just such a picture --- a woman after her son has been murdered; the face of a man whose son has died in the military service; a granny who has been divested of her home by some charlatan --- I think of the photographer who suddenly appears on the scene and without permission envelops someone else's tragedy, stealing it for his own.

That you would want to use this astounding photograph as "part of an advertisement to be included in a newspaper" makes us feel uneasy. Would you not be using "someone else's tragedy" for your own purposes?

--- Lolita Lark
Editor


RALPH and
Sunglasses
To: carlosamantea@yahoo.com

Subject: Nice Website

Hello,

I recently found your website by simply browsing online for other good websites like yours. I run my own website called HiSunglasses.com, and I am trying to link to other sites I think my visitors might like to visit once they are done on my site.

Since my website is visited by 1,000's of online shoppers daily, I am positive many of my visitors would be interested in visiting your site once they leave mine. I figured you wouldn't mind if I link to your site since we are not competitors, and you would could have increased traffic. Please let me know if this is OK with you? Do you think you can link back to my website also? T

--- Murris
info@hisunglasses.com
Hi, Murris:

I couldn't think of an unlikelier pairing: a testy, geezer-filled, off-the-wall, sometimes otiose if not puerile on-line book review magazine ... and a purveyor of sunglasses.

Although sometimes, when I look back at some of the reviews we published in our infancy then I think that many of our editors and writers ought to be wearing sunglasses: not to keep out the light, but to evade the literate public.

Yours in obscurity,

--- Carlos Amantea


Onanism
and
The Importance
of Time

[Cryptic Letters of the Month]

To: carlosamantea@yahoo.com

how iam doing the onanism and what is the denger about it?

--- Batbot Pooh


The Banner Joint

From: virtualvideoshow.com

To: postmaster@ralphmag.org

Subject: Banner Exchange Request

Dear Webmaster,

I am Carine the webmaster of www.virtualvideoshow.com which is a very good adult website and generates a high volume of qualified traffic.

Been into online marketing, I am taking care of link building campaigns for my website and am very impressed with it and would like to exchange banner with your website.

If you are interested in a mutual link exchange please insert in your page this code:

IMG height=60 alt="virtual Video Show"

Or insert the banner joint at this mail.

After we joint me and I insert your banner or your code, follow me this information.

Please get back to me for any other concerns. I look forward to your reply.

--- Carine
Webmaster

"Your favorite porn pay per view movies collection."

§   §   §

Hi, Carine:

Blessed if we can figure out how we got on your list, much less rated an offer to exchange links. And we are even more buffaloed over the invitation "to insert the banner joint at this mail." What can this mean? Ought we know?

We are a book review magazine mostly dominated by geezers, most of whom are past the age of performing, much less contemplating, the acts apparently to be found at Virtual Video. "Banner-insertion." As the late Harold Ross would interject, "Who he?"

Still, we are honored that you have thoughts of sharing, say, Debbie Does Dallas with The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Although we must, with regret, as we have over the past twenty years, decline. And fall.

--- Carlos A. Amantea
Exchange Editor



What Is RALPH
Promoting
????

To: carlosamantea@yahoo.com

Subject: WHAT BOOK ???

I am not signing up, at this point in time, as you and the purpose of your organization is unknown to me!!!

Please supply some information...what are you promoting??

--- John Edmonds
Adelaide, Australia
owenbrooks12@gmail.com

Hi, John:

Thanks for your puzzled letter.

What are we promoting? Damned if we can figure it out.

Many years ago, we read book reviews in magazines and newspapers that seemed to have no little pith and vitality.

They didn't come with the Sunday papers, certainly not with the Times or the Post or the Chronicle.

Mostly they appeared in the more lively magazines and newspapers of the day, from England, France and Canada: The New Statesman, The Guardian, the old Herald-Tribune of Paris, and Saturday Night magazine.

I'm guessing we are trying to promote an ancient idea: that book reviews (a more universal art form than most) should be funny and alert, remorseless to the very bad (no matter how famous), forgiving to the very new (no matter how experimental), more caring for the reader (no matter how blasé).

--- Yours in faith,
Ed
Kinda Talking
Kinda Wanting
FROM: laura_janke

TO: www.ralphmag.org

RE: Autumn

HELLO, it's , perhaps you still remember me. We kinda talked a year ago !!

So ummm, I kinda wanted to get in touch as I was kinda bored for the past few days. I was going through my photos and I posted a few of pretty naughty / amusing ones.

My newly favored website lets you do all that without any filters or disabled profiles ! I stopped using all social media websites because they never allow all my kink ! Borrrring , LOL !

So here's where I put up all the photos and all my girlfriends come and gossip, you have to see it !

Well anyway, check me out! I need a real opinion for all my pics :)

My online nickname is SaraDreaming24. And yes, my age is 24.

Confirm my friend request on twitter and let's talk ;)

Lots of Love,
Sara

§   §   §

Hi, Sara,

I'm sending along a picture of me they say when I was younger they say I was very handsome and I hope you like older men. I'd come see you but problem is, they never let us out of the Senior Citizens Heath Care Center. It would be bad for us they say. I tried to get out a couple of times last year but they always catch me at the gate and lead me back to my room. Then they bring me the pills and won't leave until I have taken all of them. Then, I sleep OK for a few days but then when I try to get out of my room they always send Carlos and he follows me around so I won't try to go to the gate again. They say it's bad for morale here at SC3 ... that when I get close to the gate they catch up with me and people outside maybe can see me and when I put up a fuss they have to somehow get me out of sight again. I try to call to people on the other side of the fence but they always look away and so that makes me sad and then when they get me back to my room I don't feel like fighting anymore. Maybe if you have a number I could call you and you could pretend to be my daughter or something and we could get away from here. The best time would be late at night, especially during the week because the only one here is Nurse Meeker and she always falls asleep around midnight and doesn't wake up all night no matter how many times we ring her. I would get out of here when she's snoring but I found out they have all the outside doors locked. I tried to get out of my window once but it is a six foot drop to the ground and I knew I would break something I'm too old now (but I hope not too old for you) and if they caught me they would lock me up for a month like they did to my "girlfriend" Rachael. She got some sheets and tied them together and got herself to the ground but when she got to the gate an alarm went off and they took her back to her room and they came and gave her shots every six hours and wouldn't let any of her "boyfriends" (like me) into see her and when we tried to sneak in they told us that they would start giving us shots too if we told anyone so we stopped trying. When finally after six weeks they let her out she I don't know it seems like they had taken something from her, she didn't wash anymore, didn't care about dressing up like before, and when I would try to hug her she would just sit there loose and look like she didn't care. She died a couple of weeks later and I always felt bad but I was scared too that if I said anything they would start giving me the shots too and when my cousin came to visit they told her that my heart was so bad they couldn't allow any visitors so I knew they was watching me. I'm still scared of the shots but if they thought you were part of my family they might let me out of my room its pretty scary now so call before you come because you and I have to work it so you can get in and get me out of here without anybody noticing PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME!!!.

Hank
"The Night Watchman"
(That's What They Used to Call Me From Before)
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