THE MAGIC QUESTION IS: WHO ARE WE?

THE HUMAN RACE

DISCOVERING OURSELVES IS THE TRUE CHALLENGE

 

Life is all about discovery.

 Discovering oneself in others.

 Searching for reason.

 Experimenting with compassion.

 Isolating the hypocrisy in you.

 Experiencing failure.

 Sampling humiliation.

 Monitoring your own ignorance.

 Grappling with bigotry.

 Witnessing death.

 Finding strength in heartbreak.

 And finally,

when your days are full,

basking in the knowledge

you’ve absorbed and dissected

over a lifetime.

     — Boots LeBaron —

(This is one of many poems, essays and

human interest stories featured in  Boots’ book,

“THE HUMAN RACE” available on Kindle

 and in paperback on Amazon)

WRESTLER GRAPPLED WITH IMMIGRATION AND MAN MOUNTAIN DEAN!

THE HUMAN RACE

 DANTE REMEMBERS LIFE IN RING DURING THE GORGEOUS GEORGE DAYS.

 

    More than a half century ago Leonardo Rica, a 22-year-old Italian-born immigrant accompanied by his mother and younger brother, arrived by ship in New York Harbor.

     Like millions of foreigners who come to America, their mission was to find a better life. They spoke no English, only Italian and Spanish.

     Leonardo, a ruggedly handsome, mustachioed 225 pounder who grew up in Argentina and trained as a Greco-Roman wrestler in Buenos Aires, was determined to become a professional wrestler.

     With no command of the English language, finding his way around New York City was at times difficult. “If I was in Brooklyn asking directions to 33rd Street and someone would call it, ‘toity-toid’ street, I’d be lost,” said Leonardo, laughing.

     A long time resident of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Leonardo had initially intended to compete as a wrestler in the Olympics. Instead, he began “free-style” wrestling in Argentina before coming to America.  

     His childhood hero was Argentine Rocca, a world famous “no nonsense” champion known as the Bare’footed Warrior. Rocca helped bring his young protege Leonardo into the profession where even in those days theatrics sold tickets.

     It was a non-steroid world dominated by a collection of powerful characters using box office monikers like Gorgeous George, Man Mountain Dean, The Great Moto, The Destroyer, Killer Kowalski

The Strangler, The Syrian Assassin, Chief Blue Eagle, Mr. America, Kayo, Mister Terror, The Jumper and Gentleman Jim (who was anything but a gentleman).

     As a professional wrestler, the Italian kid from Argentina became Dante.

     “I liked that name because it sounded evil. Most of the hundred or so matches I had on the East Coast, I was the straight man.”  

     Playing the bad guy, he said, “was part of the act. If the audience booed, hissed, or even threw objects into the ring, it was a successful performance. One time, a little old lady was so mad, she climbed into the ring and hit me over the head with an umbrella.”

     For Leonardo, “that was like an Academy Award nomination. Just like today, there was eye gouging, arm twisting, body slamming, lifts and drops — all sorts of spectacular moves.”

     Of course, he noted, the “big guys” who dominate the sport today could overpower most of the pros when I wrestled.

     “In those days, we didn’t rely on steroids. My enhancement drugs came from Argentina: Beef, beef, beef and more beef.

     “We were gladiators just like they are now,” he said. “We were like a team. You helped an opponent lift you over his head. He knew how to slam you to the canvas or throw you out of the ring. And you knew how to land. I can’t tell you how many times I was thrown out of that ring. More than a dozen.

     “We didn’t have mats at ringside. So the safest way to be thrown out of the ring was to land on the audience.”

     Man Mountain Dean was one opponent he couldn’t lift or heave anywhere. He sported a black beard, wore dungarees, weighed 450 pounds and was built like a Sumo wrestler.

     “I wanted to beat him,” said Leonardo. “Believe me, I tried. But lift him onto my shoulders! Are you kidding? When he finally pinned me and the referee counted me down, he refused to get off of me. When the crowd started booing, they gave me the match. So I beat Man Mountain Dean.”

     Although he wrestled on the same card with the legendary Gorgeous George, who climbed into the ring wearing a golden cape accompanied by a corner man who played the violin, Leonardo never locked arms with the glitzy celebrity who was also known as “The Orchid Man”.

     “Before every match, George would have his hair curled. Like Argentine Rocca, women were crazy about him. He’d strut around the ring pulling bobby pins out of his hair tossing them to lady admirers. They scrambled after them like hungry sharks.”

     But Dante was developing his own fan base. “Kids would circulate in the crowd selling my autographed photos for $2. That was a lot of money in those days.” Despite only a year of professional wrestling, in 2008 he was inducted into the New York State Wrestlers Hall of Fame.

     Alas, the promising career ended abruptly in 1954 when he was drafted into the Army. When the Korean war veteran was honorably discharged, instead of returning to wrestling, he went into the wholesale jewelry and the photo-finishing business in Yonkers, New York.

    A memory he would forever cherish was the sight of the towering Statue of Liberty that greeted his family when they arrived in New York Harbor from Argentina.

     “I’ll never forget that beautiful lady holding the torch,” said Leonardo. “If she wasn’t so big, I would have hugged her. What do you expect, I was an immigrant, born in Belvedere Marittimo, a small village about 30 kilometers south of Naples in southern Italy.  

     “I was only five when my mother (Victoria), who did without to feed and cloth me, brought me to Argentina so we could be with my father (Francisco).   My mother meant everything to me. We were very poor. As an infant, she would chew up the food and spit it in a bowl to feed me.   

     “She sacrificed so much. My father was a decent man with ways of the old country. He taught me to rely on common sense. Throughout life, I have tried to do that.”

     “I was an immigrant twice,” he noted. “Once as a very young boy coming from Italy to Argentina. Again, as a young man immigrating to the America. I can identify with people from any country wanting a better life.  

     “We open the door for them,” he went on. “Finally, they have something to eat, money to raise a family. Yet, there are those who complain: ‘They are taking my job!'”

     What I would he tell immigrants arriving in United States?

     “You want to live an honorable life? Welcome to America. If you are a criminal, GET OUT! Never come back. Never!

     “As for sending millions back to poverty — good people who work our fields, cut our lawns, do so many menial tasks for so little money — punishing these innocent men, women and children is un-American. Come on! It’s so unfair to turn them away. They come here like so many of us with hope in their hearts.  

     “I believe in amnesty. They deserve it,” said Leonardo. When we met, he had three sons, grandchildren and was divorced. He lived with his brother, Carlos, an aerospace/missile scientist, in Palos Verdes, Calif.

     He died in 2012 at the age of 83. Although he knew their significance, Leonardo couldn’t recall the words written by Emma Lazarus inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning

to breathe free…”

                                     — Boots LeBaron —                                     

             (THE HUMAN RACE, written by Boots, is an

            inspirational self-help book interspersed

          with stories about people, essays and light

  1. It’s available on Kindle as well

                    as in paperback on Amazon)

 

A FRIENDSHIP NOW ENDED WITH DEATH.

THE HUMAN RACE (Written on August 15, 2014)

 

                  NO TEARS, BUT LOSING HOEF, WOW!

I just had a hunk of flesh bitten out of my soul. I

lost my old 10th Air Force buddy, Richard (Hoef)

Hoefferlin just a few hours ago. His wife Marilyn

called from Florissant, Missouri. Hoef died from

a lifetime of smoking cigarettes. Lung cancer was

the cause. We were both smoking when we became

bunkmates at our squadron’s barracks at Clark

Air Force Base in the Philippines. We’d flip a

spent smoke into the darkness and called the act

“Pulling a Bogie.” Humphrey Bogart used to do it

in movies. When I first met Hoef at the 6207th

AC&W Squadron, I had visited a brothel outside

the base at Angeles Pompanga. It was called the

Uno Bar. I was 19, had a few Manila Rums, went

upstairs with a gal who thought I was “adorable.”

During the heat of the night, a man hiding behind a

curtain, stole my wallet. The Air Police wouldn’t

let me back on base, but Hoef came to the rescue.

“You were rolled,” he told me the next morning. So

“Roll ‘Em!” for 60 consecutive years was (Besides

pulling a Boggie) one of our cherished code words we

used on the long-distant phone and ending letters

Knowing that Hoef was in deep trouble and the Hospice

was helping he and Marilyn, I called. But he was

in a hospital bed inside their home. Marilyn answered

the phone, whispered that his lungs just aren’t working

and he can’t get on the phone. So I told her, “Just

tell Hoef, Roll ‘Em!” She did just that. She told me

that when she delivered the brief message, Hoef smiled.

That smile was worth a thousand words. The memories

he took with him. Speaking on the phone a few months

ago, I asked, You know what’s doing you in?” “What

else… cigarettes,” he said. “But I’ve enjoyed every

smoke.” He knew that I had quit smoking over 40 years ago.

We talked long distance and wrote letters regularly,

usually signing off with “Roll ‘Em!” At Clark we shared

lower-bunk cots and weren’t the tidiest airmen. We kept

our dirty laundry in bags. We called our space, The

Cobra Den. We’d go to the non-com officers’ club and

get slightly stewed on 3.2 beer. Unlike a lot of airmen,

we never passed out. When that happened, guys would carry

the “cadavers” outside, line the bodies up on stretches of

grass and trucks and jeeps would transport then back to

their squadrons. Hoef talked me into trying out for the

Raiders, one of the base football teams that played at the

Clark AFB stadium. Clark was like a small town. When I

made the All Star team, he acted like a big brother. We

were supportive of each other. He was a clean liver. I

was experimenting with life. But we were anything but the

odd couple. Our friendship lasted more than 60 years.

Following our discharge, we both pursued life in different

ways. He lived in St. Louis; was a buyer for Emerison  

Electric. I was reporter, a publicist and a free-lance

writer. We communicated by phone several times a year.

Every Christmas, he’d send JoAnne and I letters about life

in St. Louis. Many times, I told him he should’a been a

comedy writer. I can’t find his letters. But he made us

laugh many times. I had sent him many stories I had written

about ordinary people and celebrities. “My big brother”

seemed to really enjoy them. Hoef died at 84. Truly,

I’ll miss my old pal. Let me end with this meaningful

message: “Roll ‘Em!”

                        — Boots LeBaron —

IS EARTH EVERY FOOL’S PARADISE? YOU BET’CHA!

THE HUMAN RACE

WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE WE HEADED?

 

Not knowing that we’ve

been living in Paradise, fools

(that includes all of mankind)

have been frolicking here

since our first breath of life.

Hard to believe?  Look around.

We’re everywhere.  Since we’ve

created this mess, we’re obligated

to co-exist with our own species!

Unless you’re an astronaut,

Earth is the only place

  available to earthlings.

So, the “civilized” has no alternative 

than to try to share this place

with anybody and everybody.

There’s nothing avaliable on Venus. 

So don’t buy tickets.  Venus might

be a mythical love goddess, but

that doesn’t mean she has

condos to let.  Somehow, we

all must cope with our menacing

nightmares and heartaches.

To name a few:  war. greed.

 street violence, the polluted

 atmosphere, water shortage,

an anemic ecosystem, hunger,

 disease, enviromental apathy,

You name it.  We’ve got it.

We are living in the midst

of a  human tragedy of

our own making.  But don’t

give up.  Hope for our society

is just over the disappearing

horizon.    Think positive.

But don’t blink.  Challenge is

 what makes our survival as

individuals so electrifyingly

eloquent.  Without the need

to serve our material comforts

first, human existence wouldn’t

be so profusely screwed up.

No matter how trivial or

ridiculous, life on our

Planet must be taken at

least somewhat seriously.

So live and weep, citizens.

Live and weep and try to

enjoy this brief journey.

There’re billions of us

scurrying around on this

 over-populated merry-

go-roundFace it:  Nobody

lives forever.  Rather than  make

the worst of it, build a 

 perspective.  Get pissed at

the self-serving  corporations

that dominate Wall Street,    Then

try scrutinizing the predicament

we’ve  got ourselves into

right here in Paradise.

Ain’t life a hoot?

 

— Boots LeBaron —

(Boots’ book, “THE HUMAN RACE,” is available

on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon)

CAPT BLOOD GAVE POPE’S BLESSING TO FELLOW FISHERMEN.

THE HUMAN RACE

 THIS FISHERMAN TOLD IT AS HE LIVED IT!

     Gerrard Fiorentino made the sign of the cross with his left hand, blessing one of his own, fisherman Turk (Flame Eater) Emirzian. After seeing action in the South Pacific as a sailor aboard a mini aircraft carrier during World War II, a clergyman aboard ship “brought me back to God,” said Gerrard, adding, “Them Japanese kamikazes helped, too!”

     When he returned to commercial fishing at the docks in San Pedro, California, he began blessing his fellow fishermen, their boats and their catches. Since then, he was known by many on the waterfront as Father Gerrard.

     Yet Gerrard would be the first to admit that he was never 100-percent saintly. Proof: As a young fisherman, he was also known on the waterfront as Captain Blood.

The last time we talked, the (at times) cantankerous, white haired mariner was pushing 80.

     “I’m not an ordained priest,” said Gerrard who was standing at a long table cluttered with paper in the office of his waterfront marine supply store. “But when I bless these guys, all kinds of fish come.”

     The husky seafarer folded a pair of powerful hands across his chest. Anchored to thick wrists and muscular forearms, the hands were heavy and calloused from pulling in a lifetime of shrimp, tuna and other fish from the sea, splicing rope and cable, mending nets as well as handling the wheel and captaining his own boat.

     “The blessings seem to work,” claimed Turk, a commercial fisherman who operated The Fortuna, a gill-net boat. “Just like the Pope, Father Gerrard gives me his blessings and I come back to port with a boat full of bonito or shark.”  

     “Don’t laugh,” Gerrard warned, pointing a threatening finger. “We were all put here for a reason. The good Lord gave me this gift. I’m very religious. I bless everybody, even the priests at St. Peter’s in San Pedro. That’s a poor man’s catholic church. I don’t go to Mary Star of the Sea because that place is for aristocrats.”

     “Fishermen are like children,” Turk explained. “We need to have faith because every time we go to sea we face the possibility of death. It’s a very tough life.” He also noted that Father Gerrard’s blessings “miss sometimes. But so do the Pope’s! “

     Gerrard recalled an incident that happened many years ago on his own boat, the Santo Antonino, off the coast of Mexico. “We had been out on the water for 45 days and couldn’t find nothing. I was alone at the wheel, feeling very depressed, while everybody was down in the galley eating.

     “I go, ‘Please God, let me find a mountain of fish.’ I no sooner say that when I see the silver in the water right under the bow. I yell to the guys, get ready, we’re going to lay out a seine (large fishing net)! We pulled in 60 tons of tuna. No joke. Now that was a miracle. Think about it!”    

     “Go ahead, ask your questions,” he snapped restlessly.

     Did you go to college?

     “I went to San Pedro High School to eat my lunch. When I was 14, they took me off the dock and I went fishing on the St. Augustine. They told me, ‘Boy, this is temporary.’ Ha!” he bellowed.  

     “Fishing is in your blood. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s born in you.   I had the pride, the talent, the desire to succeed. You got nothing if you don’t have those. They used to pay me extra money to keep me on the boat. I was an animal. I mean it.”

     He pointed to several huge black-and-white photographs covering the walls behind him.

     “My entire life’s on these walls. See there,” he pointed to a young muscular man cradling a huge Amberjack. “CAPTAIN BLOOD” was printed in bold letters at the bottom.

     “That’s me!” he said proudly, pointing a thumb at his chest. “One time we were sitting on a school of tuna off the San Pedro Channel and the fish, they were getting out of the net. In my apron and boots, I jump overboard.

     “This is true. I go down into the net, get hold of the purse lines and bring them up so no more fish can get away. I was down there so long, my brother (Lorenzo) thought I drowned in the net. When I got back on board, that’s when they started with Captain Blood. They took the name from an old Errol Flynn pirate movie.

     “When you’re young, you take chances because you don’t know no better,” he said. “In those days I could do the work of five men. That’s the truth. Even today, if I thought I could handle it physically, I’d be out there fishing, right now. That’s how much I loved it.    

     “So now I’m Father Gerrard,” he said. “I do blessings with my left hand. It don’t work with my right. Go figure. I’m an Aries. A born leader. I hate monotony and routine work. But I am a humble person. I mean it! I care about the poor. But I’m still attracted to women. ‘Course, I’m not the man I used to be.”

     He recalled an incident from the past, long before he married his first wife, Kay: “I was a wheelman aboard Matt Flamingo’s boat, The Discoverer. Matt’s still around today. We had been to sea well over a month.

     “When we put in to Costa Rica, I took on eight prostitutes in eight hours. I’m serious.

     “I don’t know about all this infidelity; all this sexual harassment people talk about. When I was married, I never cheated on my wife. I loved her. She died a long time ago and went right to heaven.  

     “But when I was single, sure, I chased women. I still chase them!” He laughed harshly, then added, “You know, prostitution and commercial fishing are the two oldest professions? That’s why I’m proud to be a fisherman. Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. She became a saint! That tells me one thing: God forgives everybody. I don’t care where or how you worship. In God’s eyes, we’re all the same.”

     Gerrard believed that all fishermen go to Heaven. “When I go, Heaven will be filled with sardines. I love fishing sardines. They got more brains than some people. I used to call them my brothers. I’d kiss them whenever I’d see them. In my lifetime, I must have brailed maybe 16,000 tons of sardines… And lots of the other fish, too!”

     The sea, he said, is like a woman. “She smells good. She makes you laugh. She makes you cry. She feeds you. She humbles you. She is so beautiful, you can’t take your eyes off of her.”

   — Boots LeBaron —      

 

(THE HUMAN RACE, by Boots, is an inspirational self-help book interspersed with humor and light poetry for those who are in search of themselves. It’s available on Kindle as well as in paperback on Amazon)

 

CONFRONTING YOUR OWN YOU??? OUCH!

THE HUMAN RACE

 

FACING YOUR REALITY THE HARD WAY!

 

Don’t tell a person how to live.

Every man and woman has

their own regrets to bear.

Their own insecurities.

Triumphs. Blunders. Failures.

You can tell a person

that he or she can find

happiness despite sadness.

It ain’t easy!

But it can be accomplished.

To find a sense of humor

about your pathetic self,

look into the mirror. There’s

truth behind those sulking eyes.

On a wretched day, hard-core

humility can throw pomposity and

denial out the window. Painful truth

plays a vital part in discovering

who you are and where you stand

in life’s intense spotlight.

Why shouldn’t reality hurt?

Nobody knows precisely

who and why we are we.

It’s like handling your own

confession: The old “forgive-

me-for-I-have-sinned” routine.

In that looking glass,

the real you is staring at you

alone, winking slyly, making

your conscience twitch.

Don’t be afraid. Wink back.

 

Boots LeBaron

(THE HUMAN RACE written by Boots is an

inspirational self-help book containing

philosophies interspersed with humor for

those who are in search of themselves)

SURFBOARDER/ARTIST’S VIEW OF LIFE

THE HUMAN RACE

                                      SURFBOARDER-ARTIST’S GLIMPSE AT LIFE

 

20140804-222340-80620285.jpg

                                                                                                   A Craig Cambra original           

     The lone surfer, a young man in black trunks, straddled the shortboard looking out to sea, waiting for a wave at 15th Street in Manhattan Beach, Calif. It was going to be another hot Tuesday in August.

     As it is today, the world was in turmoil. Bad news was everywhere. The O.J. Simpson double homicide, the Whitewater mess, the Rwanda refugee crisis, the bloody turf conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the AIDS dilemma, drive-by shootings, suicide terrorists…

     At the time, Craig Cambra, a promising young artist, sat on his board unperturbed. The water was refreshingly cool on that early overcast morning. In fact, the 25-year-old graphic designer and fine artist left all the news and personal woes on shore with the rest of the city which was just beginning to stir.

     For Craig, there was more important things than politics and catastrophes on his mind. For example: The wedge. It was breaking just right. And he was in the perfect spot to catch it. He began paddling. Harder. Faster. Harder. Into the foam. Up on his feet. God, what a feeling. There was no describing it.

     The wave belonged to him. He was on top of it. He caught a right, pulled into a bottom turn, smacked the wave straight up… And bam! He threw the tail, slid with the crest of the wave, reversed, executed another bottom turn, then another and another until the wave pooped out.    

     As he paddled back out to sea, the muscles in his arms, shoulders and chest were tight. The thighs and calves ached just enough to tell him that the muscles and tendons did their job. His heart was pounding in his neck. For a surfer, it was a great feeling. It had been what he had described as “a good ride.”

    As he balanced on his 6-foot-2 board, manipulating the power of the breakers, Craig Cambra’s paradise was licking at his feet, propelling him through the water like a wild, untamed force compliments of the Pacific Ocean and Mother Nature.

     Despite politics and escalating global perils, the sinewy young dude’s world beneath him was clean and fresh and exhilarating.

     To a non-surfer, there’s no describing the experience of catching a “wedge” or a “peak,” harnessing the power, and “ripping away” from start to finish.

     “You’re just amped,” he explained. “It’s like a movie. You’re thinking about it as you leave, remembering all the surprises, and you go, ‘God, that was great!’ People who don’t surf can’t comprehend the exaltation you experience. Lots of people try to compare other sports to surfing. You can’t. Every ride, every wave is different.”

     During that watery moment, for Craig at least, there was nothing more in life than riding out a wave. Nothing. No problems. No gridlock. No bills. No heartaches. No anxieties.  

     In other words, for a surfboarder whose father died when he was three, who was raised by his mother, Nora, and whose older brothers, Rick and Phil “took my father’s place and did the best they could with a rowdy like me,” King Neptune was his psychiatrist.

     When he was 12-years-old, his oldest brother, Phil, loaded the youngster and an old 7-ft. Kanoa surfboard in his car and took him to 15th Street.

     “At the time,” recalled Craig, “I was scared. The waves looked awful big. He put me on the board, walked me out to the midbreak, turned me around and shoved me into the whitewash.

     “The hardest thing about catching a wave,” he said, “is learning to balance and stroking. I stood up, fell, stood up, fell.” He laughed. “When I finally rode one, I was on my own.”

     Ever since the first lesson, he has been surfing. And in recent years, surfing alone.

     “For me,” he said smiling, “it beats psychiatry all to hell. I mean, you wake up and the sun is shining. Rather than stare at the ceiling, you grab your board and head for the beach. There’s no one else around. You catch a few fun waves. When you get out of the water, you’ve had a good workout. You know you’ve done something for your body and your mind.”

     As he sat on his board waiting for King Neptune to blow a wave his way, he saw the world from a different vantage point than the people preparing themselves for life on the job in the city.

     “Every day when I’m out there, I can look out at the horizon. The sky is never the same. Gray, black, blue, speckled with clouds, it’s always beautiful and never the same.

     “I usually surf on week days — that’s when everybody else is making money,” said the free-lance graphic designer and fine artist who graduated in May from California State University, Long Beach, with a degree in (what else?) art.

     “Almost every time I go into the water, I see schools of porpoise, sometimes as many as 40. I’ve never seen a shark in these waters (like the great white that attacked a swimmer off the Manhattan Beach Pier in July 2014). But I’d recognize one if I saw one. As they move, their dorsal fin cuts across the water while the fin of a porpoise rises and falls.

     “Believe me,” he went on, “if I spotted a shark fin, I’d be outta there so fast you’d hear a sonic boom.”

     Pelicans, he said, are frightening birds. They are huge and powerful. One time while I was surfing in Malibu, one got hung up in my cinch line. It came after me like a dive bomber. Maybe he thought I was a big sardine.”

     Ordinarily, he said, “pelicans will gain altitude and dive, splashing into the water after a meal. Then they’ll bob to the surface with their breakfast in their pouch. Awkwardly, they’ll take off, flapping those giant wings.   Then awkwardly with a considerable amount of effort will take off, gain altitude and soon will be of sight.

     “Pelicans like sea gulls can’t surf but they can’t love this ocean more than I do,” said the graphic designer-artist-surfboarder who’s now an expert on all three arts.

 

                        — Boots LeBaron —

 

(Boots’ book, THE HUMAN RACE, is available

on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.com)

CIVILIZATION NEEDS A KICK IN THE ASS!

THE HUMAN RACE

CAN HUMANITY CURE IT’S BOO-BOOS?

To breathe the air

and smell the flowers.

Toil the soil.

Touch heaven’s showers.

 

Watch the night

turn into day.

See our children

hard at play.

 

Allow the breeze

to caress our soul.

Sip fresh water

from Nature’s bowl.

 

With wars and

destitution everywhere,

this life on Earth,

it just ain’t fair.

 

If our moral obligation

is to cure humanity’s woes,

why are so many countries

inundated with such pathos?

 

– Boots LeBaron –

 

(Boots’ book, THE HUMAN RACE, is available on

Kindle and on Amazon in paperback)

KUNG-FU MASTER WEIGHS REALITY WITH HOLLYWOOD.

THE HUMAN RACE

 

HOLLYWOOD VS TRUTH IS LIKE ‘YIN AND YANG,’ HE SAYS.

 

      Gerald Okamura is to Kung-Fu what Babe Ruth was to baseball, cowboy Casey Tibbs was to rodeo, Muhammad Ali was to boxing and Jim Thorpe was to football. He is a master of his art.

      When I asked the 73-year-old grandpa what he did for a living, he gazed at me with dark, unrelenting eyes accentuated by menacing eyebrows. The head was clean shaven. The well-groomed billy goat beard reached below his muscular neck.

     “I am an actor-stuntman,” he said.

     With that beard and hairless dome, I told him, he looked like one of those Shaolin priests who performed with David Carradine in “Kung-Fu,” a popular TV series in the mid-1970s.Kungfu

    “That was me,” he admitted.

    “What kind of actor are you?” I asked.

     “A lousy actor,” he said as his tight lips cracked into a smile. “For God’s sake, Gerald, you’re smiling!” I teased.

     “Those who look into this face don’t realize there’s a sense of humor behind it,” he said. “Society is too caught up in images. Though I’m a lover at heart, I guarantee that Hollywood would never cast a guy with this face to replace Brad Pitt in a romantic lead. If you asked my wife (Maude), my three daughters and four grandkids, they’ll tell you I’m a sweetheart.”

    Yet Gerald, a Japanese American born in Hilo, Hawaii, had delivered karate chops to stars ranging from Mel Gibson to James Caan. How does a Grand Master in Kung-Fu and San Soo compare Hollywood with martial arts?

     “Yin and Yang,” he explained, “is an ancient Chinese philosophy: Two different worlds representing the passive and active forces of life.”

     When I asked, “What if I yanked on your beard?”  Mr. Kung-Fu warned, “You wouldn’t want to try that.”

     When I asked the Carson, Calif. resident for a philosophic thought for a quote, he quickly replied, “Even after death, you can still change the world.”        

     Then he added with a laugh, “But don’t take me too seriously.”

— Boots LeBaron —

http://www.amazon.com/The-Human-Race-Boots-LeBaron/dp/1494218526/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406497409&sr=8-1&keywords=boots+lebaron

(Boots’ current book, “THE HUMAN RACE,” is available

on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon. It contains

humorous, inspirational and philosophic essays,

light poetry and interviews about life, death, love,

courage, Showbiz, religion and everything in between)

FREEDOM IS THE ELUSIVE GIFT EVERYBODY CRAVES.

THE HUMAN RACE

Freedom is ignoring the consequences,

speaking truth in the midst of bellicose critics.

 Freedom is refusing to take shit from

an abusive lover or partner.

 Freedom is choosing the best path

to take when prison gates open.

 Freedom is confessing your love

for a women who might not love you.

 Freedom is buying love when

there’s absolutely no alternative.

 Freedom is having enough cash in

your pocket to feed your family.

 Freedom is the act of conquering denial.

Freedom is coping with the pain of losing a

loved one in life’s erratic parade of fate.

Freedom is to brazenly face life’s pitfalls

despite wounds to the ego you must endure

 Freedom is ignoring negative impact

with a sense of humor.

 Freedom is that feeling of elation

after you’ve said your piece.

 Freedom is forgiving but never forgetting

the act of  a back-stabbing blabbermouth.

Freedom is returning  the wrath a

 bully with your own brand of gusto.

Freedom is a gift to cherish, yet

such a pain in the ass to maintain.

 Freedom is standing bold

against any kind of indignity.

 — Boots LeBaron —

(Boots’ book, THE HUMAN RACE, is available

on Kindle and Amazon in paperback. It consists

of human-interest stories, essays and light poetry)

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