R  A  L  P  H
  The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy and the Humanities 
Volume XIV, Number 2 --- Summer, 1998

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NEW LISTINGS
Books that have been sent to us
within the last fortnight or so, including:
A Guide to Raising Beef Cattle,
a new Jesus by Norman Mailer, and
Dachau --- 29 April 1945.


REVIEWS
American Radio, 1946
Part II
"That Philco dropped the walls for me.
From my rather desultory world,
I was given access to another:
lively, funny, and with no limits of space, nor of time."

GREAT REVIEWERS OF THE PAST
H. L. Mencken on Christian Faith
"How is it possible for a human brain to be divided
into two insulated halves, one functioning normally, naturally,
and, at times, brilliantly, and the other
capable of the ghastly balderdash
which issues from the minds of Baptist evangelists?"

Midlife Queer
"We should keep the paradox of Narcissism in mind
for gays are forced by themselves to accept the choice of
loving the self, all the while not knowing it is the self."

Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie
"Red Dirt is about poor rural whites,
and why they feel the way they do
about gun laws, and abortion, and school prayer."


BRIEF REVIEWS
WWI's aftermath in Germany, Thomas Merton, The Ugly Side
Of Dr. Seuss --- and an undiscovered play by Samuel Beckett

MORE BRIEF REVIEWS
Bird Watching, Conrad Hilton, Discovering Happiness,
Intercity Busses, City of Joy, and William James


THE WEEKLY RALPH
"The Tijuana Titanic should be setting sail shortly,
and I hope to be on board at the launching.
The grand ship, filled with lights and music and glamour,
setting sail to another Byzantium."


ARTICLES
The Worst Journey in the World
"Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way
of having a bad time which has been devised.
It is the only form of adventure in which you put on your clothes
at Michaelmas and keep them on until Christmas."

Fighting With Rotifers, or A Journey to Sciatica
"I always travel the Internet by means of LYNX.
This is a vintage, pre-windows vehicle
which you start with a hand-crank, and drive,
with keyboard rather than mouse,
while wearing goggles, a linen cap, and a silk cravat."

Smells
"The formaldehyde in which he has been soaked
has macerated his skin, giving him an ageless look.
The cartilage of his nose has dissolved in the pickling juices,
making him look as though he has gone
one round too many with Archie Moore."


READINGS
On Foot, Near the South Pole, in Mid-Winter
"Thus impiously I set out to die, making up my mind
that I was not going to try and keep warm, that it might not take too long,
and thinking I would try and get some morphia from the medical case
if it got very bad."

Through The Anakil Desert (1928)
"The Sultan then asked about those iron birds which flew with people inside them,
and wanted to know how many soldiers one of them could carry.
Further, he asked, was it true that I was putting
all of the country on a piece of paper?
I replied that all the world was inside a few books."

Anorexia Case #2: Lisa
"A good girl needing help
is a godsend to any expensive private school...
and the schoolmistress, turning her into a case,
had isolated her and had deprived her
of the support and sympathy of her classmates."


POETRY
The Box Fan
"My stepfather was drinking Jack Daniels
From a TV tray pressed with the faces
Of our dead and live presidents.
The trouble with you,
He said, is that you don't respect the law."

Fleas

"Fleas interest me so much
that I let them bite me for hours.
They are perfect, ancient, Sanskrit,
machines that admit of no appeal."

Aubade

"This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels. Religion used to try,
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade
Created to pretend we never die..."


LETTERS
"It is rather unkind, don't you think, to ridicule
what works for one, if you don't have more of the pieces
than I think you had as you did this review?"


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


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Titles, authors, and publishers
of all books reviewed in RALPH ---
arranged chronologically.

1995    1996    1997    1998
 

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 twenty-five years. 
The Fessenden Fund
Other activities of RALPH's godparents, including
Mho & Mho Works


Ralph R. Doister, Editor-In-Chief
Post Office Box 16719
San Diego CA 92176
poo@cts.com

THE OFFICIAL RALPH
PARADOX-OF-THE-MONTH

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