Wuthering Heights

images-1.jpgBack in the early 1960s I was the sleepy blond surfer with the denim Converse and the sea-salty epidural itch. I was an inadvertent undercover scholar who passed for being bored in class because I was bored in class. When the teacher asked a question I often allowed the tense quiet to build before I almost imperceptibly raised my arm and grunted the correct answer.

My favorite class was English and in my senior year I happily read lots of books, drawled out correct answers, aced all the quizzes and tests, all while affecting a bad boy attitude toward school and learning.

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Racism: Chopped and Channeled

3540-004-1F568E2EI grew up in post-war San Diego. My family lived in plywood rooms tossed up for the influx of the wartime factory workers. We could have conversations with our neighbors without leaving our mutual homes. When I went to school I was exposed to a lot of people who didn’t look like me—tow-headed blue-eyed white speaking kindergarten English. Spanish was common and I often wished I had been dark haired, dark skinned, and dark eyed. Years later I learned that my brunette mother had considered brown eyes preferable but she kept having blond haired, blue-eyed children.

My early school class was probably a third black; I remember thinking there was something wrong since at least half of those kids had no shoes so the light skinned soles of their feet showed a contrast with their dark skin. Other than that, I was mostly concerned if a classmate was bigger than me (I was a wimp).

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In What Furnace Was Thy Brain?

If you consider yourself empty and distraught trying to survive without a steady diet of classic films and the artistic thrust of black and white films with wartime credentials, and especially if you are still in mourning for the Filmstruck cable channel, I highly recommend taking a peek at the new Criterion channel that just premiered.

I have been thoroughly enjoying a wonderful sampling of Columbia noir films from the 1950s. One selection was Murder By Contract, starring a young and hairy Vince Edwards.

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