Odd Letters ---
And Our (Sometimes) Odder ResponsesOver the years, we have received
some very odd emails, leaving us with
equally odd thoughts about the nature of
the people who enjoy or at least check in at our magazine.
Here are several dozen of our favorite letters:
crank or love, threatening or caring,
astute or mad, gentle or steamy.
Note that we always try to respond
in the same spirit with which emails were sent.
Offer from the Libyan Government
Re: REQUEST FOR EXPRESSIONS OF SUPPLY INTEREST
Following the successful transition of a new Libya Government and the announcement of investments in several infrastructure and construction projects, Libya has become a desirable country to invest in. Kindly advise if your company has the license or capability to execute a mutil million contract supply project for the Government of Libya. If your answer is yes, kindly furnish me your response. Thank you and treat very urgent. Due to numerous emails received in my official email, Please for my quick response to your email, send your reply to both private email: email@example.com and Official email: firstname.lastname@example.org for my urgent attention--- Tijani
Thank you for your fascinating offer, and I am happy to inform you that we have the "capability to execute a mutil million contract supply project for the Government of Libya."
We are surprised and pleased that such an august political institution such as the Libyan state would be intent on putting out a monthly book-review magazine aimed mostly at codgers, geezers, and other bed-wetters. Since few if any of our writers are versed in Libyan Arabic or Berber, we would hope that we could continue to publish in English although Wikipedia tells us that because of your historic ties with Italy, we could perhaps put out an article or a poem in Italian with every issue of the magazine.
And the thought of "a multi million contract" seems awfully generous. We are not sure if you are going to be paying us in the Libyan dinar (LYD) but, if it is no problem to you, we would prefer dollars or --- given the generally uneasiness in the financial markets nowadays, if you could pull it off --- we would accept gold bars (or oil futures) as well.
As far as location, we are not sure if you would let us continue to operate out of our present small studios in southern California, but if you insist, we could perhaps have a second office in Tripoli or Benghazi although we understand there are occasional uprisings in those areas, so we might be more content with a quiet beach-side compound in or around Sidra. Or, if it is available, a small office near the temple of Zeus in the ancient city of Cyrene.
I have to warn you that most of our staff does enjoy sitting about in the sun, drinking margaritas and working on their tans, so if you have no problems with a half-dozen old duffers lounging about in their cut-offs, the ladies in their old-fashioned swimming-skirts, all of us making small talk in the late afternoon sun over a cheery drink, I think we have a deal.
Because of our possible alliance, I have instructed our writers to bone up on your country's national anthem, "Libya, Libya, Libya," so oft-times if you drop by our offices here, you may hear us beginning our staff meetings by all joining in, in close harmony,
O my country,
O my country,
With my struggle and gladiatorial patience,
Drive off all enemies' plots and mishaps
Be saved, be saved, be saved, be saved all the way
We are your sacrifices
Libya, Libya, Libya!
I have just one request, and I hope it is not too onerous for you. Since our finances here at RALPH have been a little, shall we say, shaky over the past few months, if you could possibly send along by wire transfer a little downpayment ... I can get our bank number to you asap if this is possible, assuming of course that those ninnies at Bank of America haven't closed down our account again in the meantime. NSF, indeed!
We would be very grateful even if it has to be done in dinars --- hoping that the rate of exchange remains steady for the rest of this month until conversion. We could accept those, as long as there is enough there for us to begin our plans get our djellabas bought and make the other arrangements to transfer all our more adventurous staff members to join what may be a completely different world entirely.--- Libya, Libya, Libya!
§ § §
Why do not you write?To: email@example.com
Subject: Sunshine, I miss you!
Hey, why do not you write? You forgot about me? "I am very unhappy without you, remember me?" It's me, Fatina from Russia, Moscow, remember? I'm waiting for you on his page on the Internet, and miss you terribly!--- Fatinayklen@xxx.comFatina:
How many times do I have to tell you to cool it, stop being so noisy. The little lady is sleeping. If she found out about you, my goose would be cooked. Parboiled, really.
As you recall, I offered to meet you on my birthday, November 22, there in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. I'll be the one with the smile on my face and the rose in my ear.
Meet you there then, and I promise --- all night for us to play there under the Northern lights, you in my arms, love in your musty eyes, vodka on our breath, and the soul of young virgins together in our dancing hearts.
Until then, hush up!--- Carlos
§ § §
A Personal Letter from
Mr. Warren Buffett
From: Mr. Warren Buffett
Greetings to You:
You have been gifted $5 MILLION USD donation fund. Contact us at this email for your claim:firstname.lastname@example.orgI hope this information meet you well as I know you will be curious to know why/how I selected you to receive a cash sum of $5,000,000,00 USD, our information below is 100% legitimate, please see the link below: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jul/08/business/
My wife and I decided to donate the sum of $5,000,000,00 USD to you as part of our charity project to improve the lot of 10 lucky individuals all over the world from our $12 Billion Usd I and My Wife Mapped out to help people. We prayed and searched over the internet for assistance because i saw your profile on Microsoft email owners list and picked you. Susan my wife and i have decided to make sure this is put on the internet for the world to see. Susan isn't so chipper anymore and I'm feeling a bit peckish myself and this is why I have decided to do this one thing i promised her forever. As you could see from the webpage above, I'm not getting any younger and you can imagine having not much time to live although am a Billionaire investor and we have helped some charity organizations from our Fund.
You see after taken care of the needs of our immediate family members we decided to donate the remaining of our Billions to other individuals around the world in need, the local fire department, the red cross, Haiti, hospitals and some other organizations in Asia and Europe that fight cancer, alzheimer's and diabetes and the bulk of the funds deposited with our payout bank of this charity donation. we have kept just 40% of the entire sum to our self for the remaining days.
To facilitate the payment process of the funds ($5,000,000.00 USD) which have been donated solely to you, you are to send us
your full names.................
your contact address................
your personal telephone number ...............
bank name & acct. no. .................
so that i can forward your payment information to you immediately. I am hoping that you will be able to use the money wisely and judiciously over there in your country. please you have to do you part to also alleviate the level of poverty in your region, help as many you can help once you have this money in your personal account because that is the only objective of donating this money to you in the first place.
I like to re-assure you of the legitimacy of this services as we will not be involved in any fraudulent act and will never be. use the money wisely, we only want to feel good by helping people this time of the year, this is the only thing that makes my wife happy too even now we have too much to give away. I will advise as you as the prospective lucky Person to be calm not to loose this great opportunity which millions of people are trying to entangled but the chances just couldn't come for them because a lot of people are out there to discourage them as they don't know how it works, and have never seen such before.
Thank you for accepting our offer, we are indeed grateful You Can Google my name for more information: Mr Warren Buffett.--- God bless you
Mr. Warren Buffett
Dear Mr. Buffet:
I can't tell you how excited we are to have you offer us such a fine gift. I have been an ardent fan of yours since I started investing in the stock market back in 1955, and although I am pleased and impressed with your generosity (and I am sorry you are sick: the newspapers have been so laggard in telling us this bad news) I still have a favor to ask of you. It's this and I am hoping you will not be put off by what I have to ask here.
I have been investing in the stock market almost as long as you, and I have spent many an hour huddled over The Wall Street Journal, Barrons, Forbes, Businessweek trying my damndest to make it in the stock market. But what I find is that when I plunk down a few hundred dollars for a favorite stock, it immediately takes a plunge. You think I am kidding, but it's been my experience for almost sixty years now. Someone says, "Buy American Express," so I dutifully plunk down part of my nest egg --- I did this back in 1958, remember? --- and then the next day, or week, or month, someone comes along and says that American Express owns some oil tanks in New Jersey only, you know, these tanks are not filled with oil, but with water, and some jerk has put in a little tube with oil in it but all around and under that little tube: nothing but water. And not even branch water. You surely remember that scandal, no?
Then a couple of years later, someone says I should buy U. S. Tobacco --- remember them? --- and then a month or so after I buy 500 shares of UST along comes the surgeon general of the United States (remember him?) and announces to the public at large that cigarettes are a known source of cancer for not only smokers but people who live in the same room or even the same house with full-time smokers. And my UST goes to zilch and I barely get out with my life.
You think this stuff only happened long ago? Well, I have news for you. Still, after all these years, after getting stiffed about a zillion times, I still have faith in America (although not American Tobacco) so last month, after watching and waiting for three count them three years, I find an obscure little stock in a paper company called Orchid (stock symbol TIS --- just like Shakespeare would have it) so I invest my last little bit in TIS (this just happened I remind you) and immediately the price drops from 33 where I got it down to 27 and since I am on margin (I'm so broke now that's the only way I can invest) and so my broker calls me, he always sounds so sad when he talks to me, he's never called me "LOSER" to my face but I know just what he is thinking and he says, "Mr. Amantea, I am very sorry to tell you this, but you remember those 100 shares of Orchid that you bought?" and I know just what he is going to say, but I don't reply, and then he says, "Well, because it fell out of bed (that's the phrase he uses) we had to --- I'm sorry to tell you this --- to close your position out because as you remember it was on margin, and ..." but as you can guess, I'm no longer listening.
My question of you Mr. Buffett, and since I trust you so much, I am going to ask you straight ... even though you might think this a little odd.
My question is this. Is there somewhere in the major stock market computers a little (what do they call them now? An "app?" Yes that is what it must be) an app that sends out a signal when I am in the very act of buying a stock that says to the world of investors everywhere: "Listen up! Five minutes ago, Carlos Amantea just bought 100 shares of Orchid Paper at 33. You know what that means: you have now been informed."
I know, it all sounds a little paranoid but please Mr. Buffett, I have to know. I figure with all your connections, you have to know the truth, and will be honest with me. I mean, now is the time for the straight skinny since I'm feeling somewhat geezery at age 81 (and neither you or I are spring chickens anymore ... just peckish old fogies.)--- Yours, not in greed but more in grief,
C. A. Amantea
§ § §
Pest Control at RALPH
I have created a video for Pest Control Specialist, this video will help you a lot in promoting your business on web
You can view video by clicking the link below
If you have any questions, just respond to this email.
--- email@example.comDear Pest:
Thanks for your concern about our many eight-legged friends. We are not so sure how a video on spiders, rats, and bedbugs will help this buggy magazine survive, though we do seem to have, occasionally, maggots in our motherboard, snakes in our sensors, twilobites in our Twitter, bees in our bonnets, and worst of all, mice in or around our mouse (and feet).
We'll take you on faith, though, look forward to further correspondence about cancelling the Cinch Bugs in our lunch-buckets, deleting the Slugs in our socks, freezing out the frogs in our ferns, and outsourcing all the bats in our belfry.--- LL
Bonsai AbuseTO: Mr Carlos
FROM: F Viljoen
With my newfound unimaginable interest in this article and Pamela Wylie I would ask of you to forward this email to her and tell me: is this article as a whole approving Bonsai and making mock of the mentioned artist or is it genuine in its final opinion that Bonsai is cruel and should be stopped in its practice?
I am undecided
Looking forward to hearing from either or both you and Pamela--- Good day to you,
firstname.lastname@example.orgGo to the
that inspired this letter.
Dear F. Viljoen:
Thank you for your letter of inquiry about organizations established to prevent people from torturing normal happy trees --- merely to turn them into expensive bonsai --- as outlined in Pamela Wylie's review of the Abbeville Press edition of Fine Bonsai: Art & Nature.
We questioned Ms. Wylie closely about these allegations, namely, to verify her call to arms against those who are, as we speak, devising new tortures for innocent plants whose only crime is that they wished to Grow Free . . . now subject to a cruel bondage, forbidden the very heights they deserve, enchained by these arboltrary masochists who seek only to enslave.
Her response to me, and I quote directly, is: "I would never knowingly fabricate a story merely to doll up one of my reviews. If you editors think I could be so crass, perhaps I should take my reviewing talents elsewhere. It's your call."
Not daring to antagonize such a talented and long-serving writer, we immediately apologized, and said that --- as far as we were concerned --- we would back her to the hilt, no matter how queer her fancy.
She seemed satisfied with that, assured us she would continue sailing on the Good Ship RALPH till the very end, whenever that may be.--- Ed.
§ § §Dear Lady/ Sir,
We are a Chinese tin box maker, we can produce tin box as per customer's requirements.
our tin box is suitable for pencil, candle, wine, coffee and tea, as well as candy, chocolate....
If you have got any further questions, please contact us !
We shall be very sorry if this mail bothered you!
we wish you a very luck day!--- Jack Kiang
Dongguan City Jingli Can Co., Ltd.
Shuiji Industrial Zone, Tianbian Manage District, Shipai Town,
Dongguan City, Guangdong Province, China
§ § §
It was with mild interest I read your review of A Round-Heeled Woman, My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance by Jane Juska.
You seem to have something about sex.
About one out of three of your reviews on occasion talk about other things: trees, history, philosophy, poetry, art, biography.
But then in the next review down it's back to the old grind.
What's with you? If we want pornography, there's any number of places on the Internet where we can go.
In addition I receive in my e-mail box daily offerings of extensions for my penis (even though I am a woman) "hot chixx from Russia "or "hot, wet teens" (even though I am a normal adult heterosexual) and devices to "make you climax faster" even though I prefer the simpler things in life.
Could I suggest this? Why don't you give the sex routine a rest for awhile?
Give us more Chinese pottery, readings from H. G. Wells, architecture, Greek history, psychotherapeutic theories, contemporary culture studies, and, if you choose, rock gardening.
Leave this wet stuff for the late teen-agers and the professional moondance pornographers.--- Sincerely,
B. J. Walters
Blue Days Black NightsTO: lolitalark
FROM: Eccy de Jonge
RE: Ron Nyswaner
Was searching the internet for something else --- recently woke up in hospital after a blackout but had not been attempting suicide --- and came across this.
What a great story. Could only happen in the States though! No Bible bashers here...
Thanks for this.--- EccyGo to the original
§ § §
Kinda WantingFROM: laura_janke
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,
§ § §
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)
Science Fiction WritersTO: Editor, RALPH
FROM: Dr. Phage
RE: Science Fiction Writers
TNR has a review of a biography of Robert A. Heinlein, the crusty, ex-Navy science-fiction author. One paragraph, in particular, caught my eye:
Going further: Isn't the truly self-made man also self-engendered? In his explorations of the mechanics of self-pleasuring and self-creation, Heinlein made Philip Roth look like a piker. In Heinlein's 1959 story "All You Zombies," a combination of time travel and a sex-change operation allows the protagonist to become his/her own mother and father. In "I Will Fear No Evil" (1970) a 94-year-old billionaire first has his brain implanted in the body of a 28-year-old black woman and then has his frozen sperm impregnate that body.
Hombre! . . . this surely brings new dimensions to the concept of incest.
I once read a long memoir by Isaac Asimov, which described the personal characteristics of all the sci-fi authors we used to read in our youth. Heinlein comes off as very unlikeable. On the other hand, A.E. Van Vogt (remember "The Weapon Shops of Isher"?) was apparently the soul of courtliness and generosity. Cyril Kornbluth --- the most brilliant of them all, who died young --- was neurotic and difficult. Poul Anderson spent part of his childhood in Denmark, and retained a dead-pan, Danish sense of humour. In one of his stories, the nations of the world entrust Sweden with overseeing universal disarmament, with the result that they end up living under the heel of the restored Swedish Empire.
Asimov himself, between the lines, emerges as an irrepressible wise-ass who could never, from childhood on, keep his mouth shut. I guess this explains how he produced an average of about ten books every year for 50 years --- which must be the world record. This kind of logorrhea also yielded up an instructive object lesson. "Nightfall", a marvelous early story of Asimov's, is a classic, and was voted the best sci-fi story ever written by a panel of fellow sci-fi authors in 1968. But his compulsion to churn out those ten books per year led him to turn it into a novel many years later, and the novel is a real dog; it may not be the worst sci-fi novel ever written, but it comes close.
A correspondent reminds me that the correct term for Isaac Asimov's affliction is hypergraphia. Patients suffering from this lunatic, uncontrollable compulsion to write, also called graphomania, included Asimov, Stephen King, Rod Serling, J.K. Rowling, and Noam Chomsky. Until quite recently, it was so rare that psychiatrists considered the disorder as exotic as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease or Korsakoff's Syndrome. In the 21st Century, however, the onset of Facebook and Twitter have converted graphomania into a world-wide epidemic. The World Health Organization has begun searching for a vaccine.--- Dr. Phage
Two HottiesFROM: Elizabeth
RE: Sarah and Suzy want a threesome with you tonight!
Dear Sir or Madam:
Sarah and Suzy have seen your profile and decided to message you.
Go here to see their profiles and chat with them right now at
When is the most recent time you tried a one night stand or a threesome?
Ladies you are about to meet here only want threesomes or one night stands
If you're interested, perhaps you should definitely check'em out ... you will NEVER be single again.
Go here to enjoy a one night stand with two hotties, tonight !--- liz1980.hotmail.com
§ § §Dear Madam:
Please tell me where you found my "profile," the one that snagged sultry Sarah and sexy Suzy. In what strange nook or cranny of the internet did they find a shot of me to be so spellbinding? I must have it.
The last photograph produced for public consumption was taken for the U. S. State Department for a passport back in 1910, I mean, 2010. I peeked at my photo once it was in place and thought, "this is obviously a poltroon pretending for some reason to be me." I thought: "a fakery, a travesty, a sourpuss copycat geeze dropout phony fraud space-case dingbat! This can't be me!"
When you say you were going to "message" me . . . are you planning some sort of secret meeting at Western Union, where we will conjoin under lascivious ticker-tapes of Morse Code at the Western Union office down on Broadway? Does Western Union still exist?
And what, pray tell, is "texting?" Ought I be wary, rather than just weary, my forgetful old bod on the edge of tipping over forever into the void? Will these "hotties" extend (or distend) my expected life span?
A threesome? I expect with my angina we might think of it better as a two-and-a-half-some. I hope there are some defibrillators at hand with a couple of cartons of nitroglycerine to see us through the night. And please be sure that Susie has gone through a full course of resuscitation in case their "messaging" overloads my stents.
On second thought, I'd better stay at home safely in my Geri Chair with my books (my wife Gert and I are re-reading all of Dickens this year). I'll be with her, a comfortable pal of so many years, along with my favorite cat (Hodge), and my canary (Twitter-Belle).
But thanks for the generous offer anyway. You have filled my heart full with a rousing case of what-could-have-been ... had I a bit less than 300,000 miles on my now rusty transmission.--- Yr. friend indeed
Carlos A. Amantea
I have just discovered your magazine online and enjoy it very much. I found it through a Google search on the topic of PR and immediately loved it. Though you would have to ask why someone in PR would love RALPH after reading a critique on Confessions of a PR Man, my answer is simple.
PR needs to be more than a propagandist persuader but a philosophical social conscience of business.
I teach this corporate philosophy urging transparency and philosophical understanding behind the bottom line. So many companies are soulless institutions, which neither it nor its management accepts as its own responsibility, it is time to bring accountability through the public voice.
Your magazine is a breath of fresh air to me in Poland. I cannot pay a subscription, yet, but I very much enjoyed the snippits I have read.
I look forward to reading more. Keep the aspidistra flying!
--- R. Whipple
§ § §Dear R. Whipple:
Thanks for your letter on Confessions of a P R Man by Robert Wood. It can be found at
We include the complete text below.--- Lolita Lark,
A PR Man
Robert J. Wood
(NAL)We once had this vision of the PR man hired on in 1938 to explain to the denizens of the city of Auschwitz why they were going to have all this ugly construction work going on in their neighborhood. "Don't worry," he says, speaking before the regular monthly luncheon meeting of the Auschwitz Chamber of Commerce, "We're going to bring in over six million marks in local construction --- carpentry, cement, wiring, fencing, and towers. Add 1,000 guards, officers, and clerical help on the permanent labor force. We're talkin' jobs." And the members of the Auschwitz Better Business Bureau look around and nod their heads and vote to give backing to this newest project as they think of the Deutschmarks pouring in.
Now, we'd be the last to make any parallels between this and the various works of Robert J. Wood with his Byoir PR firm over the last thirty years --- but he does lay some unlikely strutting on us in this roman à thèse. Northeast Utilities wants to build a nuclear plant, and the neighbors don't dig it. Turn it over to Woods. He proves to those nervous nellies that radiation is no worse than slutswool under the bed; soon enough everyone wants their own nuclear plant there next to the backyard barbecue.
An "atomic radiation center" scheduled for construction by CIT Corp in Ohio? No prob, babe. Woods has these heavy-weight friends on the AEC, they'll pull some strings --- the radiation center gets built, and the citizens just love it. That bastard Jesse Jackson giving you a fit at the A & P, with his Operation Breadbasket? No worry, sweets --- a few meetings with some friendly newspaper folks, a couple of arrests (complaints signed by a front man, not the Atlantic & Pacific), executives never at home when those cats come calling --- and ol' A & P is out of the woods.
Finally, there's that Hyatt Regency in Kansas City, you remember, the one owned by Hallmark Cards, the one where the suspended walkway collapses, killing a hundred people, injuring two hundred more. Bad press for Hallmark? Not to worry: Woods is on the job. When the carping critics start in on the sin of cheap construction and corporate profits, we take it right on the chin:
I assigned a Byoir staffer to work in Kansas City full time, dealing with the daily PR problems that kept cropping up as a result of the investigations, the lawsuits, and related matters. These were mostly minor matters. Mostly minor.
Got a problem with death, dismemberment, crippled-for-life, personal trauma, physical ruination. No prob. Just call on Woods, the PR man's PR man. He'll take care of anything and everything. For no more than a little blood money.--- R. R. Doister
Subject: Please take this site off the web
I am a history teacher. First of all this is simplifying history. Putting down so many american lives to two songs per war is ridiculous.
I do not know if you realize this, but $950,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 exceeds the worlds supply of money. Do not put this information out, because students may look at this information and take it as fact.
Additionally, Not all soldiers want to just go to war. Some soldiers want to serve their nation, or find a better life for themselves.
Expand your wine savvy and get some great new recipes at MSN Wine.
http://wine.msn.com--- Tom Washington
Go here if you
can remember which review
inspired this letter.>Hello hello hello!
>I don't know what has been wrong with me all these long years that I have been on-line and never once did a search on The Fessenden Review, but today, I finally came to my senses.
Good. We wish we could come to our senses too.
>I am so absolutely ecstatic to have found you! I was a loyal subscriber to TFR and still have every edition.
Someday, surely, they will be auctioning them at Southbys. Or at the near-by Veterans' Thrift Store.
> I must catch-up on almost a decade of RALPH.
We hope you are able to. We can hardly remember the issue from last week.
>Welcome back and where do I send the check!
Best to send it to us, not to The New Yorker.--- Nikki
I'm from Hotdog film magazine in the UK, and we're after a little picture of Fatty Arbuckle for one of our features. There is a great one on your site of him with police card --- credited to the Bison Archives. I can't find a website or contact details for Bison Archive or Marc Wanamaker --- could you pass them on to me please? Or even better would we be able to use the image on your site as long as we credited him? It's quite urgent because of deadlines so please let me know.
--- Thank you for your time,
§ § §Dear Janine:
We are agog that there is a magazine around called HOTDOG. We thought RALPH was pretty silly because back in college, "to ralph" meant "to upchuck." There's no accounting for taste in either direction, is there?
Anyway, we borrowed the mug shots of Fatty from the San Francisco Museum, at
http://www.sfmuseum.org/photos15/fatty.jpgI think they would appreciate your giving them credit and if you are really a hotdog, we would like a bit of credit ourselves if there is any room left there between the relish and the pickles.
--- Lolita LarkHello,
I happened to visit your site "www.ralphmag.org," the official website of "Ralph". I understand that your site presents the Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities. The content of your site is fabulous. The review of Popular Music from Vittula is very impressive. The Outlaw Sea was wonderful. I appreciate the fact that you have made a significant effort to provide a lot of relevant information about art reviews in the site.
I visited quite a lot of sites, and would like to kindly recommend a professional makeover for your entire web site (http://www.ralphmag.org). I work at ADDR.com, and would like to offer you to redesign your complete web site absolutely free of charge. You will only be asked to pay for the monthly hosting, which is only $9.95/mo. There are no other fees, and there is absolutely no risk from your end. If you are not satisfied with our work, you will not be asked to pay anything. Please let me know if you would be interested in this offer (in fact, I can't imagine why you wouldn't be). Take a look at http://www.addr.com/free-design for details. When signing-up, please indicate Eva Dale (that's my name :-) ) in the "How did you hear about this offer?" field.
Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you!
--- With Best regards,
§ § §Dear Eva:
Thank your for your thoughtful comments about RALPH.
I should tell you that we have never stopped working on our layout, tweaking it here and there, adding a bit of color here, taking it away there, fretting about spacing, wanting to be spacious --- but not too much so.
We've been doing this for about ten years now and we think the layout of RALPH is just dandy. The reason: no screaming-meemies, no show-off graphics, no scrolls, no blinks, no blops, no puff-ups, pop-ups, pop-overs, or whatever they are called.
Just simple letter-press, simple black-and-white (mostly) photographs, with type colors and background colors we made up ourselves from the huge variety available in HTML. (It's somewhat like mixing paints, or making mudpies --- we love it.)
The "professional makeover" you suggest would probably make us look like everyone else on the web, or at worst, like the other RALPH, that rave-and-beer mess coming out of Australia.
We favor being original, and we think we well might be, with our plain vanilla 19th Century letter-type format, our doughty layout, our antique perspective on placement of words and figures which, we would hope, might make what we want to say consistent with the way we say it.
To put it another way, if it was good enough for H. L. Mencken, then it's good enough for us.--- L. Lark
I don't like the comments about the men in Dominican Republic ... so what if they brag and have time in there hands to attend to cock-fighting and chomp cigars. That is none of your concern and don't worry about other people's culture and way of life get your own and, by the way, Americans don't have any culture or real historic background. Why don't you write about that? You can title it the fantasy American world how Americans made up history.--- Milengua
email@example.comSee the review below
that inspired this letter.Intervention in
The Dominican Crisis of 1965
Gen. Bruce Palmer, Jr.
(University of Kentucky Press)It's always seemed passing strange to us that the United States has considered the countries to the south of us to be our personal playing ground. First it was Mexico: we helped ourselves to half their territory 150 years ago. Then, in the last half of the 19th Century, we went after Cuba and Nicaragua, among others. (William Walker --- a "filibusterer" --- came to Nicaragua in 1855, took control of Granada, proclaimed himself president, took several concubines, and opened the country to slavery. He was recognized shortly after by President Franklin Pierce.)
This century began with our taking over the northern half of Columbia and renaming it "Panama." Self-determination, claimed Theodore Roosevelt, who should have known better. We moved into the Dominican Republic, ran it from 1916 to 1924, and stayed a total of nineteen years in Haiti as well, just to be sure that all of Hispanola was under control.
El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Cuba were and are countries with their own laws, their own citizens --- presumably with the ability to run their own affairs. But somewhere, somehow, it's been decided that the United States had the right, duty, and obligation to move in and take over whenever we don't like what's going on. A country that expresses the strange desire to be in control of its own land, rather than being owned by an American corporation, seems to irritate us no end.
In the old days, we never bothered about disguising our invasions: we just moved the hell in, and damned if we would let anyone tell us otherwise. We called it "The Monroe Doctrine." However, after the Bay of Pigs and the Dominican Crisis of 1965 which, for some reason, outraged the Organization of American States, it was decided that we should turn our foreign policy over to the folks at the CIA. In this way, if an invasion was needed, they'd do it hush-hush --- and no-one would ever find us out. Thus, the quiet murders of the 70's and 80's --- mostly in Chile, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. In keeping with tradition, Oliver North changed the names of American-drafted "soldiers-of-fortune" to "Freedom Fighters." We aren't sure to this day whose Freedom he was talking about.
§ § §
General Palmer learned about world affairs in West Point and, later, in Viet Nam, where he was Acting Chief-of-Staff for the Army. In 1965, in the Dominican Republic, the followers of Juan Bosch, the "Constitutionalists," took power from the pro-American "Loyalists." Lyndon Johnson decided that this was a Bad Thing. He knew that Bosch's people had lingering doubts about the good-will of American corporations. In addition, whatever it was we were trying to do to Cuba next door --- like trying to murder their leader --- made the Dominicans a bit uneasy. Johnson tapped General Palmer to step in and fix everything up.
Without consulting the OAS, the U S Marines and 82nd Airborne moved into the Dominican Republic in late April of 1965, and the author of this book arrived on the first of May to, as he phrases it so archly, "calm the situation." (He admits that the problems that erupted in 1965 probably stemmed from the thirty-one year dictatorship of one Rafael Trujillo, who had been trained in the Dominican Military Academy --- founded by the U. S. during one of our decades of occupying the country.)
Palmer's attitude towards the country he was instructed to "pacify" is wonderfully descried in Intervention:
...many Dominican males with much time on their hands enjoy such pursuits as gambling, cockfighting, and baseball. At the lower levels the Dominican society is a matriarchy: the mothers raise and feed large families, eking out a bare existence, while the men brag about how many children they have sired. To make life more interesting, however, Dominicans have a tradition of violence in settling the disputes that erupt all too frequenty. It is said that a Dominican boy becomes a man when he starts wearing a pistol in his belt.
Palmer, needless to say, thinks that we did right in the Dominican Republic. Who's to know? The people who live there, and their neighbors, might think differently, but who cares about the word of men who spend their days bragging about how many children they have and, presumably, spend their nights doing something about it.
We can't gainsay that Palmer is gung-ho, and loves his buddies in the military to death. They are all really good fellows, under all that soldierly bearing:
Brig. Gen. Robert Taber was a slender, incisive and tough-minded soldier....Equally hard-nosed and efficient, [Brig. Gen. Ernest] Hardin was a big, raw-boned cigar-chomping Kentuckian whose troops, air force or army, would go to hell for him. Military professionals and leaders don't come much better than "Moose" Hardin.In other words, those cigar-chompers can beat a cockfighter, or baby-maker, any day of the week.--- B. B. McCarthy
Not SweatingFROM: Daryn Mister
RE: Daryn C. tells that she LOVES YOU
Allow me Please sweeting..
Here is Daryn .
I found your e-mail via facebook . I was excited! You're attractive :-)
I want to have a hot talk with you, sweet ..
Your YAHOO mailservice sucks !!
So Click on the link bellow and then click OK button again ;-)
I wish to meet you soon!
Bye-bye darling *KISSING*
§ § §
RE: You're sweeting, I'm sweating.
It's been so long since I have received a love-letter as steamy as yours.
I can't tell you how excited I am. My day nurse had to jab me with an extra dose of Beta-blocker.
When I first got your email, I was worried that I might be a bit over the edge for you what with the dewlaps not to say the Tranquility Premium OverNight Protection. But your email reassured me.
Here I am on the other side of . . . well, you don't want to know. Are you still with me, crow's feet and all? If you are game, I'll be your little raisin. Wrinkled but sweet!
It may take a little time to get hetted up what with the pacemaker and arthritis and the orthopedic corset and all. But my friends tell me I'm a game old cookie. A regular Fig Newton. You'll help me craank up the Model T? ...
Please say yes. What got me was your offer of ***KISSING***
How much time has it been since I've whipped off my bridge plate and just puckered up??? If you're game, I'll be your melting chocolate-chip . . . blood sugar be damned, to hell with the Januvia!®
To think of you joining me under the electric ortho-blanket gets me all hot. With you at my side, we won't even have to put it on HI. Blow my fuses!!--- Your Sweet Puckery Old Sugar Daddy
Attention: Webmaster of ralphmag.org
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§ § §Dear Patrick:
Good Lord! "The 153,421 most visited site on the Web." We are impressed that we are one of your "top sites," although to us the number 153,421 sounds much like what we used to call "damning with faint praise." We had always thought that with our 3,600,000 or so hits a year that we were at least up at 153,420.
As far as using you for "our own promotional, marketing or advertising campaigns," please be informed that our promotional and marketing campaigns consist in prodding our slug-a-bed reviewers to get their goddamn copy in on time so that we can meet our deadline, and nagging the army of friends of RALPH, numbering at least in the tens of dozens, to mail in their $25 ASAP so we can have the beans to pay our lone secretary so she can pay what is left of our server's bill on time so they won't suddenly up and cut off our water.
As far as our competition goes, we have yet to find any competition, except for the kids who compete with us for our old-fashioned wood-burning computer, so they can use it to play their dreadful computer games, taking up endless hours on-line so that we are restricted, by them, solely to working the hours between midnight and six, when they are, presumably, asleep and free of the cares of the world.--- L. Lark
EditorJ. S. Bach and
WagnerRALPH:The St. Matthew Passion and some of the Cantatas sure are Bach in Wagner territory. Or in Debussy territory. In one of the cantatas there is an aria about rocking in the sea, and the accompaniment does exactly that. Baroque composers (especially the French) loved tone-painting of this sort, and Bach is typically masterful at it. Also typically, he achieves this mastery with minimal resources: a few instruments, no percussion section, no wind machine, no computer graphics.
Bach's ability to create monumental music on a small scale approaches the supernatural in his Chaconne in D minor. In its orchestral guise (by Leopold Stokowski) it blew me away when I was in my teens, and still does: its 15 minutes have more musical substance --- more power, more catharsis, more depth --- than all the Mahler symphonies put together. Stokowki's skillful orchestration is quite light, transparent, because the piece was written for solo violin. In time, I discovered that a performance by solo violin has as much power as the orchestral version, although in a different way. In fact, I have versions for violin, for piano, for guitar, for trio, and, of course, the Stokowki orchestral version. I have yet to find a version for mandolin quartet, or for xylophone and kazoo, but will pick those up as soon as I encounter them.
I also have CDs of music by other members of Bach's family, including some of the older generation. And, of course, some music by JSB's sons, including that one who became a chartered accountant, CPA Bach. It is mostly good stuff, but nowhere near the towering level of old JSB himself. A true phenomenon, the composer from the planet Krypton, who neither inherited nor passed on his superhuman abilities. Incidentally, listening to music by Bach's reasonably talented but by no means superhuman sons, like Wilhelm Friedemann or Carl Phillip, the thought comes to me that they must have had a lot of guts, sheer blind chutzpah in fact, to compose music in the shadow of a father like theirs. Is it possible that they didn't realize what Papa's music was?--- Dr. Phage
I know that this is about an old article, but if you guys could help me, that would be great. I thought that you're review on Marya Hornbacher's memoir Wasted was very interesting. Actually, I'm doing a huge research project on Marya Hornbacher, and was wondering if you guys would mind if I quoted from your review in my paper.
All I'm asking for is your permission, and if you can provide it, the name of the person who wrote the review so that I can cite the article correctly. Thank you for your time.--- Katie H.
Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia was originally reviewed by the then editor of RALPH, R. R. Doister. You are welcome to quote from it. It appears at
and has generated more mail than any other review published in RALPH, although our discussion of poetry in a review of a book by Caroline Bird may well be its equal.--- Lolita Lark,
Improving RALPH's Business ImageFROM: Randy Greenberg
Subject: Improving Business for RALPH
I am briefly reaching out to you today to see if there's a way I can improve business for your publication --- RALPH and additional offerings.
Good. We need some reaching out around here. Most of our staff are reaching inside their pockets to see if they have any spare change after buying lunch on what's left of their miserable salary. So while you are out reaching, do get us a Grant's. Or better, a grant. From the Ford Foundation, say.
For 25 years, we've partnered with publishers to help generate incremental revenue via telesales. Supplying your digital publication with new additional customers will help you reach your 2013 goals and allow your team to focus on other key initiatives. Our revenue generating applications fall into 2 general buckets:
Did you say buckets? Of incremental revenue? And goals? The only goals we have is the goal not to answer the telephone on bill collection day, while we are awaiting the goals from 1984 or even 1999 to catch up.
And you say we are gonna get "partnered." Our trusty Webster's doesn't show a listing for "partnered." "Partner," yes. And "partridge" ( the American ruffled grouse.) We also found an entry for the "partners desk," being "a large desk with an open kneehole which allows the use of the desk by two people seated opposite each other." If that's what you have in mind, remember that we are an extra twitchy bunch, especially around open kneeholes (and manholes). And also around people with goals.
1. We call expired subscribers and bring them back on board and/or we call your current subscribers and cross sell additional products/services (i.e. a print subscriber, driving them to a web subscription or attending a paid event). We of course also call brand new prospects for new subscriber acquisition to increase your readership.
You're going to nag our old subscribers to come back? All 351 of them? Good luck. We sent a letter recently inviting them to resubscribe; they ignored us, or wrote back to cite one of our less savory reviews; told us, as one did recently, in so many words, to "stuff it." Could maybe use some cross selling here? Big ones, old and hoary. With nails.
2. Advertising-based revenue - Are you monetizing your web content? Are you selling any online advertising? We drive ad-based revenue through lead generation/appointment setting. We qualify the advertising decision makers, introduce your value proposition and generate interest. If the prospect meets your criteria, we will take the call to a certain point and then schedule an appointment with one of your team members to close the deal.
There you go again. Our dictionary could come up with "mites" and "miters" and "mitreworts" and even "Mithras" (being the the Persian god of light.) But "monetizing." It don't exist, at least when they were making real dictionaries for real people who cared for the language. As for "team members," most of us here in reviewerland have a certain unexpressed antagonism towards these so-called "teams." When we are at Le Target and they announce "Attention, team members," we get the hell out in case they are planning to send over one of their 250-pound tackles before we get out the door.--- The Ed
i have to ask a questionTO: firstname.lastname@example.org
FROM Angel Reece TO You
RE: i have to ask a question
I am completely losing my mind, along with my boyfriend, we are covered in "hives" we are incredibly itchy.
its driving us nuts. Our dogs have mange but at first I had no idea and let one of the puppies sleep in our bed and I looked up mange on humans and it says it called scabies(well you know what its called I just cant remember the whole name) can you PLEASE tell me the cream you were prescribed so we can rid our bodies of the forsaken evil!!!!!?????--- AngelHi, Angel:
I haven't seen the article for awhile, but I think it mentions one of the cures. It can be found here.
And all my sympathy.--- LL
I am Mario Jeffs of Danny's Warehouse and I will like to make an order in regards to 5ft bah tubs .I will like you to send me a link to your tubs so I can select from and also the type of credit card you do accept for payment.I am shiping the tubs to Malaysia and will have a freight company come pick it up.I will be waiting to hear back from you with a link for the tubs to choose from. Best Regards. Mario Jeffs
The Newest Folio:
Getting Locked in the Looney WardDear Friends,
The latest Folio sure is a good one. I began by reading the Dr. Phage piece about Seattle in the old days and the monster, and was predictably pleased by it.
But there was also much else to enjoy. I particularly liked the review of Hidden America, and the review (and further correspondence) about courthouses in Texas.
The articles on Hitchens and on Larkin's poetry struck a chord --- I too have been thinking about mortality more than I used to. I wonder why?
The hospital advice would have been valuable, if I had followed any of it. I would never have turned up my nose at canned grapefruit or pineapple for breakfast, and I never dared turn down anything all the nurses, technicians, and trolls inflicted on me.
By the way, there was one nurse, a grave, middle-aged Vietnamese-American angel of mercy, who was able to install and remove the dreaded Foley catheter while inflicting only very slight discomfort.
This all reminds me of an instructive story. My friend Arthur's brother once went to a hospital just to visit someone there.
He took the stairs, rather than the elevator, and happened to leave the stairwell at the wrong floor.
After the door closed behind him, he discovered two things: (A) that the door locked behind him, so he couldn't return to the stairs; and (B) that the floor he had inadvertently entered was the locked Psych Ward.
So he made his way to the front, where the main door, also locked, had a window, and tapped on it to attract the attention of the staff, nurses, orderlies, ANYONE.
"I don't belong in here," he shouted at them, "I came in by mistake!" Needless to say, the staffers had heard that one many times before. Arthur's brother may still be there.--- Anon
STOP CONTACTING THOSE PEOPLETO: undisclosed-recipients@, @
Subject: STOP CONTACTING THOSE PEOPLE.
FROM: Connie Dutton
Attn: My Dear,
I am Mrs Connie Dutton, I am a US citizen, 51 years Old. I reside here in Silver Springs Florida. My residential address is as follows. 7008 E Hwy 326 Silver Springs FLorida 34488, United States, am thinking of relocating since I am now rich. I am one of those that took part in the Compensation in Nigeria many years ago and they refused to pay me, I had paid over US$20,000 while in the US, trying to get my payment all to no avail.
So I decided to travel down to Nigeria with all my compensation documents, and I was directed to meet Barrister Daniel Mba, who is the member of COMPENSATION AWARD COMMITTEE, and I contacted him and he explained everything to me. He said whoever is contacting us through emails are fake.
He took me to the paying bank for the claim of my Compensation payment. Right now I am the most happiest woman on earth because I have received my compensation funds of $850,000.00 Moreover, Barrister Daniel Mba, showed me the full information of those that are yet to receive their payments and I saw your email address as one of the beneficiaries, that is why I decided to email you to stop dealing with those people, they are not with your fund, they are only making money out of you. I will advise you to contact Barrister Daniel Mba.
You have to contact him directly on this information below.
COMPENSATION AWARD HOUSEYou really have to stop dealing with those people that are contacting you and telling you that your fund is with them, it is not in anyway with them, they are only taking advantage of you and they will dry you up until you have nothing.
Name : Barrister Daniel mba(Esq)
The only money I paid after I met Barrister Daniel Mba was just US$250 for the paper works, take note of that. . .
There'll Always Be an England
Cat-on-Shoulder DivisionSir, ---
Gigi Santow ... is greatly mistaken
when she claims that "cats don't sit on shoulders".
They certainly do.
Pong Collins, now seventeen,
has done so routinely ever since she was a kitten.For the targeted humans,
the benefits of a warm and talkative fur collar in winter
have to be weighed against the inconvenience of
sudden pain and loss of blood in the event of
her being startled.SIMON COLLINS
L'Horte, 11250 Saint-Hilaire
France--- Letter to the TLS 18 October 2013
Penguin Aux Gousses D'ail
Your piece about Antarctic Food gave me all sorts of ideas. I particularly liked the story about the penguin who waddled into the kitchen tent to discuss how it should be cooked. Were I involved, I would ask the penguin to rub itself all over with garlic before jumping into the pot to become Penguin Aux Gousses D'ail. On the other hand, the part about seal brain omelette somewhat diminished my appetite. I hope it will recover before this evening, if I don't read any more.
So, to avoid reading any more, I turned on a DVD of "Pan Tadeusz" by Andrzej Wajda, the first part of which I watched last night. What appeared on the screen was a Polish nobleman with a drooping mustache, declaiming: "All we really possess is what we eat and drink!"--- A FriendGo to the
Bewear Sinner!I read your "Proof of Heaven" Bewear Sinner! The False Prophets (Nehemiah 8:13) are loose again. The socalled 'doctor' flies into the 'core' with angels and almost naked girl flyers. This is Statan's work and you give fame to false gods. You too will be cursed (Isa 22:15 - 17:) There is one god come to us in form of JESUS CHRIST the Only Begotten Son Lord Christ and Bewear! The devil is among you and they "acted presumptuously and stiffened their necks and did not obey your commandments" (Nehemiah 9:1-2) and there will be a violence on the land, the earth will shake and tremble, the sun and the moon shall a voice to rise from the deep:
The mountains saw you, and writhed;
a torrent of water swept by;
the deep gave forth its voice.
The sun raised high its hands;
the moon stood still in its exalted place,
at the light of your arrows speeding by,
at the gleam of your flashing spear. (Habakkuk 3:10-11).
Your come among us with the evil of false soothsayers that cause His Hand to reach down and smite you in the fire and in the pestelance:
and I will cut off sorceries from your hand,
and you shall have no more soothsayers; (Micah 5:12)
Your like the sheep dealers and the neighborts will come to smite you and your land will be devasted and none to be deleivered from there hand:
For I will no longer have pity on the inhabitants of the earth, says the Lord. I will cause them, every one, to fall each into the hand of a neighbour, and each into the hand of the king; and they shall devastate the earth, and I will deliver no one from their hand. (Zechariah 11:6)
Your rebellion against Our Lord and Savior will cause retrubition the Hand of God Almighty to come from the clouds above you and smite you with a furie that will send you spinning in your death there on your very landhomdins:
Therefore thus says the Lord: I am going to send you off the face of the earth. Within this year you will be dead, because you have spoken rebellion against the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord: I am going to send you off the face of the earth. Within this year you will be dead, because you have spoken rebellion against the Lord (Jeremiah 20:12)
Youre Sin will deliver you from the face of the earth, and within this year you worshipping the devil when the word of GOD ALMIGHTY is abroad in the land:
Therefore thus says the Lord: I am going to send you off the face of the earth. Within this year you will be dead, because you have spoken rebellion against the Lord. (Leviticus 10:6)
And you are consorting with the evil spirits which say you fly in the air along with you in that place you call 'core' yet it is a place of debaucherie prostitution and remember ye what passed to them who fell into that pit of slime and offel, the City of Bloodshed:
Ah! City of bloodshed,
utterly deceitful, full of booty ---
no end to the plunder!
he crack of whip and rumble of wheel,
galloping horse and bounding chariot!
flashing sword and glittering spear,
piles of dead,
heaps of corpses,
dead bodies without end ---
they stumble over the bodies!
4 Because of the countless debaucheries of the prostitute,
gracefully alluring, mistress of sorcery,
who enslaves nations through her debaucheries,
and peoples through her sorcery,
I am against you,
says the Lord of hosts,
and will lift up your skirts over your face;
and I will let nations look on your nakedness
and kingdoms on your shame.
I will throw filth at you
and treat you with contempt,
and make you a spectacle. (Nahum 3:1-6)
For youre Sind you are to be rebuked, and the Lod God will spread dung on your face and you will smell of death:
I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and I will put you out of my presence.(Malachi 2:3)
Becasue what you write is the fruit of lies, and you have ploughed the wickedness and you shall reap injustice:
You have ploughed wickedness,
you have reaped injustice,
you have eaten the fruit of lies.(Hosea 10:13)
So for your sins one day the sun will stand still, the moon will be stopped, and willnot hurry to set for about a whole day. THERE HAS BEEN NO DAY LIKE IT, SINNER! ---
Sun, stand still at Gibeon,
and Moon, in the valley of Aijalon.
And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,
until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.
Is this not written in the Book of Jashar?
The sun stopped in mid-heaven, and did not hurry to set for about a whole day. There has been no day like it before or since, when the Lord heeded a human voice (Joshua 10:12-14)
Hark ye sinner!!!--- Enid Washrow
Bach Blows His WigTO: email@example.com
FROM: Jon Gallant
RE: Johann Sebastian BachSomewhere in RALPH, one of its stable of contributors (either Ignacio Schwartz or Lolita Lark, I think) commented on how puzzled the good burghers of Leipzig must have been every Sunday at the weird, visionary music of Herr Bach, the kapellmeister. I have to take issue with this notion, to some extent.
First of all, Bach enlivened the Sunday services at St. Thomas with more than just music. Take the following account:
The new rector of the Thomasschule, Johann August Ernesti, claimed that it was his right to appoint prefects (those who acted as Bach's assistant music directors and teachers). Ernesti, a man who had no musical taste or talent whatsoever, wrote an avalanche of letters to the town council complaining about Bach's output and performance. Contemporary accounts from this period describe shouting matches in church services where Bach would remove one of Ernesti's appointees and substitute one of his own.
Another of Bach's feuds was with an organist named Görner: "It is reported that on one occasion Bach became so upset with Görner's playing that he snatched off the man's wig and threw it at him." In short, Sunday services in Leipzig during Herr Bach's tempestuous time there seem to come right out of a Marx brothers movie.
Moreover, although the tone-painting in Herr Bach's weekly cantatas was unparalleled, the musical idiom he employed was relatively conventional, even a little old-fashioned. I think the good burghers of Leipzig were probably more bemused by the Sunday shouting matches and flying wigs than by the music.
It was in his instrumental rather than choral music that Bach ventured into regions far ahead of his time. Some of the organ toccatas and fugues reveal a fantastic imagination. Parts of the Musical Offering sound as if they were written in the 20th century. And the Well Tempered Clavier, that bible of serious music, seems to span everything from the Baroque through the Romantic right to the Modern.
Two of the pieces in the Well Tempered Clavier have themes which would be described as 12-tone rows, when Arnold Schoenberg thought he had invented that concept 180 years later. The crucial difference is that Bach brilliantly integrates the 12-tone chromatic theme into the standard key system (even though any one key contains only seven of the 12 tones). Schoenberg used the 12-tone row instead to escape the key system entirely, resulting in a form of music with no topography: it is never going to or coming from any definable point. The resulting aimless mishmash was so unlistenable that Schoenberg's system was abandoned by everybody about a generation ago. Herr Bach's music, on the other hand, has the remarkable property that it was modern three centuries ago, and still is.--- J. GallantGo to a Bach
Go to another
Subject: Trust God
Before its too late make peace with GOD, and make sure the ones you love do also.
Its the greatest pleasure you can ever have and it lasts foever.
See you in heaven.
In marionette we can compellable as always inappeasable slurry theirfore puddly is irishmen and combatant.--- Branden Willard
firstname.lastname@example.orgGo to more
odd letters to RALPH
[with a few repeats from this page]