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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My Papa’s Waltz

images.jpgI am enjoying another month of somewhat light reading. I can’t simply say “light reading” because I am encountering twisted or barely-conceivable plot elements, putrid and gory dead bodies, cockroaches, and an occasional virgin or two. One pleasure I find is references to Los Angeles, whether by a struggling script writer or a grizzled homicide detective.

I left Los Angeles in 1968 but have nurtured a nostalgia for the city since the early ’50s. I have admitted this before when discussing the Philip Marlowe stories. I was born so I could experience the Los Angeles of ’30s and ’40s just as that world was slipping away. My college years at the university, my struggles of (too) early marriage, and a 1950 MG TD with the doors tied together by a frayed rope and a rag-top permanently fixed in the down position, gave me further insight into the city. My most vivid image: riding in that MG down Wilshire Boulevard in a misty rain with an large umbrella held over my head.

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Dance with Me Harry

Yet another fact that nails down the commonality between human males and other hairy creatures:

download.jpgThousands of hairy, dancing male tarantulas are emerging from their hidden burrows of the western U.S. in record numbers in search of the perfect eight-legged partner. The annual mating season lasts from late August to October and this year experts say there are more tarantulas on the make than usual. The male tarantulas are not mature for the first five to eight years of their life, but when they reach their sexual maturity they join with other randy arachnids in search of female burrows. In an interview with the Guardian, Forest Urban, manager of the invertebrate program with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, explains that the tarantula genitalia are near the spider’s face and look like boxing gloves. “They use this glove-like apparatus to dispel sperm, and then it deflates like a balloon,” he said. The male then high tails it out of the female den before she eats him.

Barbie Latza Nadeau, THE DAILY BEAST

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