Posts Tagged ‘ ESSAY ’

PERSONALIZED OSCARS TO BEAT PREJUDICE!?

THE WILD AND WOOLLY HUMAN RACE

 

     DIVERSITY has many faces. They come in

different colors, creeds, genders, logic, ethnicity,

religions, prejudices, levels of narcissism and

variances of naivety. As the Academy of Motion

Picture Arts and Sciences proved with its Oscar

show on Sunday, we are an unpredictable species.

Each of us, in our own inimitable way, is a little

goofy. We tote these eccentricities wherever we go:

Showbiz, Wall Street, politics, the workplace,

into personal relationships, even sports. While

watching the Oscars and listening to comic Chris

Rock’s one-liners, the thought, loony as it may

sound, occurred to me: Why not create a dozen

golden statuettes each individually honoring white,

black, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay and

lesbian artists and technicians? Sure it’s a

logistical challenge. But the film industry has

a year to cope with it. To get them started, I

did a quick sketch of what these golden statuettes

might look like. Granted, it ain’t migraine proof.

But at least it’s a thought that might save the entire

celebrity industry from going bonkers.

 

Boots LeBaron

GET A LIFE: SAY HELLO TO THOSE WHO IGNORE YOU!

THE HUMAN RACE

 

WILDEBEESTS NEED RECOGNITION, TOO!

As we trudge along the wild uncharted

trails of civilization, there’s nothing

more refreshing than recognition

from another Earthling.

You know, a little eye talk, a smile,

a nod, a wink, a pinch, a salute,

or simply a pleasant, “Hi.”

It’s invigorating to encounter a

stranger smitten with acute benevolence.

After all, our journey is quite brief.

It can end abruptly, or painfully

last far longer than expected.  

So what’s the sense of traipsing

through life as sour-faced

scaredy-cats or pompous schmucks?

The laws of civilized-jungle-survival

are obvious: Steer clear of

grizzly bears in dark alleys.

Don’t tweak a werewolf’s snout.

Even at safe havens like

the Coffee Bean or Starbucks,

never fall for a line delivered by

an amorous silverback sporting a Rolex.

That beast wants nothing more than

to drag you off into the brush.

Predatory creatures definitely exist.

But that’s no reason to curl up

like a porcupine trying to hide your

very essence from pass’ers-by’.

If you bump into a wildebeest,

try not to be intimidated

by his scraggly demeanor.

Pounding beneath that gruff exterior,

you might discover a caring heart.

As those mousy mortals with

their deadpan pusses parade by,

startle them with a harsh, “Boooo!”

While they’re scurrying away,

eyes cast downward and

tail tucked between their legs,

howl after them, “Hey!

I’m just a fellow traveler

in search of a kind word…

I don’t even bite!”

— Boots LeBaron —

LISTEN TO SUSIE! SHE’D CUTER THAN A GREYHOUND BUS!

 

THE HUMAN RACE

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MEET SUZIE, A HORNY SPINOSAURUS FROM EGYPT

My name is Suzie. I’m bigger and more voluptuous

than a Greyhound bus. Paleontologists gave

me the name Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. I prefer

Suzie. Some 90 million years ago, during

the Cretaceous period, I hung out in the

river beds of Egypt in northern Africa.

And that’s where they dug me up in 1912.

Interested in my measurements? I’m 50-feet

long. That adds up to a statuesque 6-to-7

tons of girlishness. Scientists say that

I was the largest of predatory dinosaurs and

the only one of my kind who thrived in water.

Problem with having webbed feet is I could

never wear stilettos. My favorite tidbits

were huge fish, alligators and turtles.

You might say that among dinosaurs, I was one

primeval cutie who didn’t need eyelashes to

flutter or pouting lips to entice boys.

It was my glistening seven-inch fangs and

flirtatious glances that turned them on.

My fashion plate was my six-foot sail-

like fin that sprouted from my back.

Girls envied it. Guys adored it!

Surprisingly, I don’t miss the days of my

youth when my species were struggling for

survival. It didn’t come close to what you

power-hungry, self-righteous Homo sapiens

must cope with in today’s troubled world.

Don’t take my word for it. Just read the

news or watch the talking heads on TV.

There were no mortals anywhere when this

horny Spinosaurus was on the prowl. What

does that tell you about your superiority as

Earth creatures? Evolution might be fascinating

to ponder. But it doesn’t guarantee perfection.

— Boots LeBaron —

http://www.amazon.com/The-Human-Race-Boots-LeBaron/dp/1494218526

WHO LURKS BEHIND THAT FINAL DOOR?

CONTEMPLATING MORTALITY

What’s behind that final door?

Do I have the courage to open it?

Will I find a congenial St. Peter?

Or a menacing Satan ready to cuff me

and send me to the brimstone pit

without reading me the Miranda Act?

Or will there be a sorceress

with a ravishing smile sporting

a Miss Universe type sash with

OBLIVION printed across it?

I’m really not prepared

to leave this troubled World

where I’ve battled defiantly

over the past eighty-some years.

I still have unfinished symphonies

to complete before I open that portal

 to Valhalla where Odin might honor

me with a glimmering diploma for

a lifetime of writing meaningful

prose and creating soulful art.

Narcissistic as it might sound,

as a writer and artist, I’m proud of

of my work. So I’m not ready to take

that final step. My favorite Woody

Allen quote just about sums up my

feelings: “I don’t want to achieve

mortality through my work. I want

to achieve it by not dying.”

When I’ve finished my memoir

and published my illustrated book

of essays and human interest stories

that took me a half century to create,

I’ll  give ODIN a high-five and

welcome MISS  OBLIVION  with

open arms.

— Boots LeBaron —

WILL YOU VOTE FOR SUPERMAN OR WONDER WOMAN?

The Human Race

ONLY THE SHADOW KNOWS WHO’S THE RIGHT CANDIDATE!

Who knows what skull-duggery lurks in the hearts

of politicians running for this year’s

presidential election? Not even The Shadow

knows. Some of you might remember the

spooky crime fighter who petrified radio

audiences before the advent of television.

He had the ability to “cloud men’s minds.”

Thanks to politics, it’s not a lost art.

Today on TV, politicians and other talking

heads constantly cloud voter’s minds.

For proof, tune in to the New Hampshire

primary and listen to mudslingers doing

the hootchy-kootchy as they compete for the

the world’s most influential position: The

U.S. presidency. The current political

extravaganza is not only a sad act to

witness, but at times highly entertaining.

How do we separate the incomprehensible

gobble-dy-gookers from trustworthy

political warriors? Who will be the most

prolific fighting for our individual rights?

         It ain’t funny. The challenge for voters is monumental.

Many these well-financed combatants are

brilliant debaters. Don’t tell me a scant number

of these political saints aren’t dancing the

waltz to garner votes. They focus on whatever

issue their target audience needs to hear:

Immigration, energy, the economy, gay rights,

taxation, separation of church and State.

a woman’s right to choose, stem-cell research,

gun control… You name it. We

fall for brilliantly conceived lines delivered

by TV’s talking heads, radio babblers and scores

of Internet twiddlers voicing their slanted

messages into the ozone. Who should we trust?

Remember, Superman and Wonder Woman are

are comic book characters. Yet U.S. citizens hunger

for the kind of conscientious integrity in humans

that such superheroes are identified with.  

Who should voters with such diversified demands

know which political barrister in the race

for commander and chief is the most righteous?

How do we convince voters to first do their

home work and then turn out to vote en masse

relying on keen instincts governed by

hearsay evidence?”

Got me!

                      

           — Boots LeBaron —

SOCIETY’S POWERBALL HUMAN GAMBOL!

PUTTING A FACE ON THE HUMAN RACE

 

THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND SINKING YOUR LOOT IN POWERBALL

 

     The POWERBALL hysteria which ended Wednesday, January 13, 2016, revealed society’s hunger to fulfill their dreams of reaching instant billionaire status by at the very least purchasing a two buck POWERBALL ticket. Who are these millions of hopeful gamblers who lined the streets and jammed places like service stations and 7-Eleven type stores to hit life’s alleged jackpot?

     I don’t care who the new moguls are or what gold mine granted them a “promissory” existence in a better world for a two-dollar ticket to financial bliss. Sure I’d like to buy bundles of happiness. But this mass performance of men and woman who invested anything from a paltry $2.00 to as much as $10,000.00 for POWERBALL tickets, is one soap opera that exposes everybody’s psyche.

I found a few pros and cons about contemplating billionaire station in life. For example:

     Sally Stowe, an actor-director and stage producer, who soon intends to be greeting friends at her own memorial service while she is still kicking, told me, “I don’t think that my Maker could care less if I stood in line to buy a two dollar ticket that could make me a billionaire. The life I’ve shared with my husband, Charlie, and our kids, can’t be bought for ten billion. My life has been a priceless gift.”

     Bob Aaron, a retired mechanical engineer from Torrance, Calif., had never bought a LOTTO ticket. “I have no idea how much money I have saved over the decades,” he said. “If I failed to buy

a ticket and learned that I would have become a billionaire, I guess I’ll live with it. Sure, I’d take the money and run. On the other hand, if my wife, Sue, who’ve been my best friend for many years, drew a winning ticket at POWERBALL, first thing she’d do is trade her husband in for a newer model.” Bob laughed at that joke.

     Widow Marilyn Hofferlin, a resident of St. Louis, Missouri, said, “The world if falling apart. The headlines are focusing on POWERBALL. It just goes to prove how greedy we are. I didn’t buy a ticket. At the moment, biggest, most frustrating loss I can think of is when Stan Kroenke, who owns the Saint Louis Rams football team decided to move the team to Inglewood, California.

     “Right now, they are pulling down the banners at the Dome, where our Rams packed the stands. That breaks my heart more than losing out as a billionaire. My husband, Richard, if he was alive today, would totalle agree with me. I know the odds of me winning at POWERBALL is laughable. I’m 84. Life is short. I’m not so naive to think I can beat the odds.”

     Marvin Thurman from Rushville, Illinois, who buys and sells farming machinery, didn’t purchase a ticket because, “I don’t think that would be too smart of an investment. When there’s millions buying a chance, one ticket isn’t worth a hill of beans,” he said.

     Entrepreneur Tom Ruff, who years ago maxed out three credit cards to create the Tom Ruff Company, which is now a long established national head-hunting organization, said this: “I’d rather earn an honest wage than gamble against the odds trying to win a billion dollars.” Ruff, who lives in Main and enjoys a comfortable yet busy life with his fiancee, Meg, and dog, Tank, obviously wasn’t compelled to buy a POWERBALL ticket.

     Roland Hueth, an avid fisherman and former paint company executive, asked, “Do you really think you’re going luck out against hundreds of thousands of other dudes who all want to make a quick killing? It’s like casting a hook with yummy bait into an ocean that’s bubbling with fish, and not coming up with a single nibble. Donald Trump can keep his money. I don’t envy him one bit.”

                        — Boots LeBaron —

http://www.amazon.com/The-Human-Race-Boots-LeBaron/dp/1494218526

 

TWO UNIQUE VIEWPOINTS ABOUT HOMELESSNESS

HOW TWO VERY DIFFERENT MEN SAW LIFE ON THE STREETS

 

     I’ve had the opportunity to spend time learning about life from two very different homeless men: The late Mitch Snyder who spoke for our nation’s homeless, and Doug Grindeland, who spoke for himself.

     Mitch, in his forties, was a tough, angry, pensive activist. He had gained notoriety when he went on a 51-day fast losing 60 pounds, reaching an emaciated 118 pounds.

     That same year, 1983, the CBS-TV show “60 Minutes” made his plight famous. The objective of his fast was to force the Reagan Administration to renovate an empty federal building into an 800-bed shelter for homeless people in Washington, D.C. It worked.

     Several years before he committed suicide (1990) he told me: “Human beings are basically decent and caring creatures. But because we are a highly competitive and individualistic society, we’ve learned how to step over the broken bodies of our neighbors without seeing them.”

     The gaunt face and those dark, narrow-set despairing eyes bore the conscience of a man who had slept with hunger and degradation. Mitch literally walked in the shoes of the homeless.

     When I asked, if there was one meaningful statement he’d most like to make to the American public, what would it be? Here was his reply:

     “I was about 48 days into my hunger strike and was prepared to die when ’60 Minutes’ asked me a similar question. I knew I had millions of people out there listening to my last words. After I thought about it, I realized it was something we always say.

     “The public must reduce the distance between themselves and the suffering and lonely. The next time you see somebody sitting in a doorway, on a curb or wandering aimlessly, someone you know is alone and hurting, do something. Reach out in your own way and say to that person, ‘I care about you!”

     Mitch, at least in my book, was a rogue angel and the voice of America’s homeless.

     Doug Grindeland could have beat Mitch handily in an arm wrestle. He was a tall, thick-shouldered man with a graying goatee, clear blue eyes, and a salty sense of humor.

 When I met him, he was sitting at the counter of a Manhattan Beach restaurant having a cup of coffee. He was in his mid-fifties and had a “Want to Neck?” badge pinned to his sweater.

     The two men had never met. Each had their own skeletons to rattle. Mitch was riding a newswave while Doug, with his own set of loose marbles, lived on the beach. After he was layed off as a packaging designer at Hughes Aircraft Company’s Radar Systems Corp., the twice-divorced one-time B-29 Air Force crew chief with three years of college, “just gave up.”

     He blamed some of his woes on industry bottom liners. The saying he quoted was this: The purpose of life is finding your gift. The meaning of life is giving it away.

     “Because of greed,” he said, “the financial community today is too busy lopping off heads not really considering what’s inside of them. Sure that bothers me. Sometimes in life, you are given no alternatives. I put my time in grade. I want to enjoy life. For me, being homeless is still an adventure. I have no complaints.

     “People come to California on vacation to sleep out under the stars. I do it every night. I live off my bike. It’s not that easy. I don’t think a lot of people could handle this. When I’m out of money, I’ll go into a bin behind Winchell’s and pull out about 30 pounds of doughnuts. I’ll eat a few and feed the rest to the sea gulls.”

     A few years ago I ran across Doug at the beach. He was no longer homeless. He had spent a year at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in West Los Angeles being treated as a manic-depressive. He was drawing disability and taking medication for what he describes as his “mental short-circuit.” But his opinion about the human race hadn’t changed.

     Here’s what he learned after living homeless for more than three years: “Before the VA took me in, I looked at people going to work every day, putting up with office politics, job abuse and other social pressures. They had to make a living wage to pay the rent. Me, I didn’t have to answer to nobody!”

     He admitted that surviving as a homeless person on the beach wasn’t Paradise. “I was mistreated, even bullied. One time three young men took my bike and the cans I was collecting, and threw them off the pier. Then they tried to egg me into a fight. I might have been a little touched, but I wasn’t crazy!” He laughed at that.

     As a homeless person he discovered that humanity has different faces. “You find good and bad. There are people who detest the fact that you’re not working. There are many more compassionate people than vindictive ones!    “So you learn humility. You learn how to survive on doughnuts. When you dig into a trash can because you’re hungry, you learn to discard your ego. Ego is such a handicap. When you’re homeless you see life from the streets on a day-to-day basis. The pretty little house with the white picket fence is like shooting for the moon.

     “There were a lot of things I appreciated,” he continued. “Every single day at the beach, you look up at the sky and it’s like a beautiful picture. Every day is different. People will see you digging for cans. They’ll come up, talk, give you some change. There were people who gave me twenty dollars. Despite the rotten eggs, you see a lot of caring people when you’re down.”

     Today, whenever Doug runs across a homeless person, he might say a few friendly words. “Usually, I’ll give them some money. Maybe a few bucks. Whether they spend it on food or booze, that’s up to them.”

     One time, during his homeless period, he met a woman in a saloon. “When she asked where I lived, I told her, I live at the beach. When I brought her home with me, was she surprised!”

 

              — Boots LeBaron

 

 

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