Posts Tagged ‘ fear ’

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 —

MOGULS LACK COURAGE! PROOF: SUNDAY’S OSCAR RACE!

A PEEK AT HUMANITY’S WILDERNESS

FOR SUNDAY’S OSCAR RACE: TALENTED WOMEN

AND OTHER MINORITIES GET THE COLD SHOULDER!

     Want a dose of truth? Watch the Oscar ceremonies on the ABC-TV Network Sunday, February 28. Think about the talented minorities who are being ignored by the motion picture industry. They deserve a crack at recognition despite the color of their skin, their ethnicity, the massive gender inequities, the indignities they must suffer as they climb the theatrical ladder en route to prove their creative and technological abilities in a celebrity-obsessed glamour world where all powerful schlumps, narcissistic moguls, and greedy decision makers reign supreme.  

     Are we so blind to our imperfections, unaware that we are devoid of compassion and lack the intuitive integrity to recognize and reward the talent that stands before us? Some minorities are struggling for recognition. Others deserve praise — even Oscar consideration.

     Are we so absorbed by our own insecurities that we fear makingwaves, using professional clout to enhance the recognition of those who deserve such praise?

     What a bunch of political bullshit! Such cowardess is not only a Hollywood felony, it is a flaw that affects the entire corporate and blue collar world.

     Hollywood is not the only industry that ignores and suffocates the hopes and dreams of highly talented men and women who have paid their dues bleeding, sweating and surviving in workplace environments to prove their worth.

     All levels of management, experienced in walking the corporate tightrope to power, are guilty of turning their backs on talented yet highly skilled, underpaid women and other minorities, who deserve recognition.

     Granted, there are capable decision makers in myriad businesses who have the integrity and foresight to evaluate the potential of an artist or up-and-coming financial wizard.

But at Sunday’s Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences’ TV fiasco hosted by a black man named Chris Rock, where are these self-anointed geniuses hiding? In a closet?

     Nevertheless: Hurray for Hollywood, the news media and the crusaders for justice and equality for bringing this slice of prejudicial outrage to the limelight in a world that could use an enema the size of Pluto (or Planet 9) to cleanse its tarnished soul.

                        — Boots LeBaron —

BEAUTY QUEEN TELLS ABOUT HER ADVENTURES IN LIFE

THE HUMAN RACE

LIFE’S REALITIES FROM A FORMER BEAUTY PAGEANT WINNER

 

     Lee Turner was one beauty pageant queen who wasn’t afraid to tell her true story,  looking at life and death as she lived it.

     Here’s the still-timely interview I wrote 26 years ago:

     Despite their years, the expressive brown eyes are youthful and unmistakable trusting. As we sat across from each other in a corner booth at Buffy’s coffee shop in old downtown Torrance, California, Lee Turner revealed what those eyes had seen in 74 years of life.

     I’ve never used the word sweetness to describe a woman’s face. But in Lee’s case, it was a perfect fit. Even before she spoke, her eyes would reveal the emotional thoughts behind them.

     It wasn’t all good. It wasn’t all bad. Yet there were moments of terror that still lingered in her memories. There were moments of love, restlessness, confusion — and times when she felt “on top of the world.”

     For Lee, motherhood was one dream that never materialized. After several miscarriages, she could never have a baby of her own.

     The last pregnancy lasted six months.

     “It broke my heart,” she remembered. “But looking at the world today, maybe it’s just as well.”

     Although she shrugged away those memories, she recited “My Great Desire,” a poem she wrote after she lost her last child, as if it happened just yesterday.

     “I wish I had a darling boy to tuck into his bed,

     To put away each baby toy and smooth his tousled head.

     I’d walk so proudly down the street

     And take his chubby hand

     And smile at ever one I’d meet

     And look upon his face so tan!

     God, is that too much to ask,

     A favor which seems quite small?

     I would try to master the heaviest task

     If you would heed my call.”

     A half-century before we met, in the former Torrance Auditorium, Miss Leila (Lee) Mae Combs, a striking 24-year-old brunette paraded across the stage in a one-piece swimsuit and high heels.

     In competition with nine other young women, she won, selected as the first Miss Torrance in that city’s history.

     “The country was still very poor then. The Torrance Moose Lodge sponsored the beauty contest. I came prepared to sing a ‘song poem’ I wrote. But it wasn’t necessary.

     Lee walked away not only as Miss Torrance 1939 but was awarded a new swimsuit, a beach towel, a robe, a free hair shampoo and set at a local salon, and the opportunity to compete in the Miss California beauty pageant in Venice, Calif.

     “I lost that one,” she said, smiling.

     Beauty contest winners, Lee noted, “have it made today. If they were asked to compete for the kind of prizes I won, they’d say, ‘Forget it!’ In my day, the honor of being selected as a pretty woman was important.”

     As a young women, her favorite actress was Clara Bow. “I wanted to be like her,” Lee said. “In 1940, she moved into a girlfriend’s apartment in Hollywood, worked as a waitress and taught ballroom dancing while pursuing an acting career. But Hollywood never beckoned.

     “A couple of producers offered to show me their etchings,” she said, giggling. “I told them, ‘No way!'”

     She would never forget the Sunday morning of Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. “Even now when I think of it, I break out in goose bumps.”

     On that fateful day, Lee and her first husband, Eddie Guillow, a crane operator, were newlyweds living in a small house near Honolulu Airport.

     “I was sitting at a breakfast table writing a note to my mother on a Christmas card when I heard the sound of a plane,” Lee recalled. “It kept getting louder and louder. Suddenly, the house seemed to explode.”

     A Japanese Zero riddled her home with machine gun fire, the bullets penetrating the breakfast nook only a foot from where she was sitting. “I ruined the note,” she said, laughing at the irony. “I dove for a door jam, thinking it might be an earthquake.”

     Then a second plane zoomed overhead, dropping a bomb that exploded across the street, sending chunks of shrapnel into her house. About the same time, her husband was operating a crane near the battleship USS Arizona, which was under heavy attack. “When the Arizona exploded and sunk, Eddie had to dive off the crane and swim under the burning oil to safety.”

     A year later, back in the U.S. while walking with her sister-in-law, Lee said she “hit the dirt” when a plane passed overhead. “I felt embarrassed. But when my sister-in-law started laughing, I told her, ‘It’s not funny!'”

     Her husband was killed in a crane accident in 1947. Five years later she married Ken (Buck) Turner. A maintenance supervisor for the Torrance Parks Department, her husband died several months later.

     “It seems that everywhere I go, something drastic happens,” said Lee, who grew up in Torrance in a family of eight children and graduated from Torrance High School there.

     Another calamity she found herself in the midst of was the devastating Long Beach earthquake in 1933. “It was a very foggy Friday afternoon,” she recalled. “I was in the kitchen of my second-story apartment fixing french fries when the building began to sway and shake.

     “Polytechnic High School was right next door. It’s tower collapsed and fell onto my front yard. I was 18 years old and terrified. When I sat down at the breakfast nook, a second temblor tore the gas stove from the wall and knocked me out! When I came to, I was covered with french fries.

     “I was trapped in the kitchen. Rescuers had to break into the room to get me out. Other than a bump on my head and being scared half to death, I was fine.”

     At that time, I asked, “At your age, with all these experiences, what have you learned about survival?”

     “I live today as if it were tomorrow. I have girlfriends. I like to go places. I was a liberated women long before my second husband died. I don’t like to see what’s happening in the world. But I love visiting downtown Torrance.

     “I plan to be around long after everyone else is pushing up daisies,” she said with  that sweet-faced smile.

     Suffice to say: Lee Turner, if she’s still alive today, was my favorite beauty queen.   Ever!

 

                        — Boots LeBaron —

 

 

OLD LION STUDIES WILDLIFE AT STARBUCKS WATERING HOLE

THE HUMAN RACE

THE  FASCINATING PREY THIS OLD CAT GETS CHUMMY WITH       

 IMG_1973 Reeking of Eternity cologne and badly in need of a haircut, the old lion sat in a corner licking his chops, slurping coffee at a Starbucks watering hole in Manhattan Beach, Calif. It was early morning. As he scribbled thoughts on a notepad he watched a parade of morsels line up for fresh-brewed concoctions.   For weeks he had perched ready to pounce on a variety of unsuspecting characters who were sampling the dark liquid on the stage of life. It was a jungle more fascinating than the best of Broadway. Where else can one observe and even chat with such an entertaining cast of wildlife creatures — asking questions that only a scraggly old beast like me could get away with.     

Take a look:     

An unemployed wildebeest (actor) with a debilitating hangover sipping a decalf delight.   A lonely old rooster whose wealth, despite his vanity, attracts a handful of young chickadees he loves to impress.    A vulture with a prominent beak who’s always dressed in a blue suit and tie. Where’s he going? To work at the mortuary.     An award-winning body surfer who’d rather ride the waves than be the aerospace engineer whose salary pays for his surfing expeditions.   A belligerent homeless hyena who grabs the discarded newspapers, then exits Starbucks to find his own solitude.    A soft-spoken well-groomed spotted leopard, an authority on sports, turns out to be a racial bigot.    A gray wolf who calls himself “The Poet.”   He survived eight years doing hard time in three state prisons.     A fearless rhino (Los Angeles County deputy district attorney) who has successfully prosecuted and won more than 100 homicide cases, sending three men to Death Row.      A statuesque gazelle (female banker, heavy on the eye shadow) who’s tired of being hit on.     A racoon (physicist) who reached middle age before he confessed to his elderly mother who raised him as a single parent that liver made him gag. Whenever she served it for dinner, he’d wrap it in a napkin and pocket it.     An eagle (entrepreneur from New York) who decades ago maxed out a credit card to start a pharmaceutical headhunter business that now has offices nationwide.      An ostrich (buxom young woman, bellybutton exposed, butterfly wings tattooed above derriere), is poured into a clinging blouse, mini skirt, with shapely legs that stretch into stilettos. She’s looking for a “job that pays good.”          A Bengal tiger (army officer dressed in camouflaged fatigues and combat boots) who has fought his share of wars in the Middle East.      A couple of friendly pandas (English-speaking Taiwanese) who came to America 30 years ago. They diligently read the Chinese Daily News printed in their native language and discuss the editorials in Mandarin.      A chimpanzee (iron worker) who blows about walking the high beams and gushes about an on-going love affair he’s having with the woman who happens to be the mother of his children.          A porcupine (homeless young woman) coiling on the bricks outside Starbucks. Her face is dirty. Her features are classic.      A charming yet squirrely orangutan in her mid-80s who blesses every person she comes in contact with.  She claims one night she actually spoke to God.      A Hollywood gorilla (stuntman) who had injured his back when the car he was driving in a film crashed. Despite the pain, he intends to return to work.      What a parade of fascinating creatures. All tantalizing tidbits.      What a world.      What a life. Too bad I’ve already had breakfast.

                                                                                — Boots LeBaron

Click to read a preview of my nearly completed Memoir.

https://bootslebaronsworld.com/2015/01/18/conversation-with-a-dead-man-5/

(Boots’ new book, “THE HUMAN RACE,” consists of humorous and philosophic essays, poems and human interest stories focusing on life, Showbiz, love, courage, even death. It’s available on Kindle and in paperback via Amazon)

RABBI KAHANE LEARNED TO SMILE DESPITE THE HOLOCAUST

HUMAN RACE

RABBI KAHANE WAS A MAN OF WISDOM.

     For some, wisdom doesn’t come easy. Lots of people go through life with a half-a-thimble full. I knew a rabbi who could fill a barrel with his brand of knowledge collected over a lifetime. Seated amongst an early-morning gathering of mostly Christians sprinkled with other denominations at the Manhattan Beach Community Church, I told Rabbi Leon Kahane who was the lecturer that he was a man of wisdom. His reply: “Tell that to my wife. She makes me sleep in the garage!”

     Wisdom grows with pain and a touch of improv humor.

     Leon was a youngster growing up in Poland when in the mid-1930s, he said, “Germany brought anti-Semitism” into his country. “The writing was on the wall. We were a bright people, but our attitude was, ‘God will help us, don’t worry!’ We were sitting like passive ducks floating in a pond.”

     As a youngster, the rabbi had harrowing experiences evading the Nazi troops during the Holocaust. Hiding in bunkers, forests and once at a farm house half submerged in human feces, he wound up as the only Holocaust survivor of the entire Kahane family.

     He was a teenager when in 1943 on Yom Kippur he was hiding nearby when he heard the shots that killed his brother Jacob. His mother, father and relatives were all taken to death camps.

     The memory of a pleasant childhood that erupted in tragedy, plus finding the courage and inner strength to survive, eventually brought Leon and his wife, Peppa, to America.

     As refugees with a limited command of the English language, it was a lifestyle far removed from Poland. The fear, the heartbreaking emptiness of being wrenched from your loving parents by Hitler’s Nazis during the Holocaust when more than six-million European Jews were systematically killed is beyond my comprehension.

     How did this gentle, compassionate, mentally strong man, who in his late eighties died in 2011, manage to live with memories of such genocidal atrocities? Although his story of survival is poignantly horrific, it was a World War II tragedy suffered by untold millions who have their own nightmares to cope with.

     “When tragic memories enter my thoughts I hear my father’s words, ‘Be an overcomer!’,” he had told me. “It boosts my spirit and doesn’t allow me to be stuck in self-pity.”

     Another meaningful weapon he used to cope with unforgettable recollections of escaping the Nazi troops during the invasion of Poland was a sense of humor.

     “That’s how Jewish people survive.

     “Suicide is not a virtue. Forgiveness is. Yet I can’t forgive the Nazis for their vice. I owe that to the people who were massacred not to forget.”

     At the age of five, Leon began studying the Scriptures. The results of his never-ending examination of the holy words were, “You live up to the values of the Bible — serving God and others.”

     At war’s end, with anti-Semitism still rampant in Poland, Leon had joined hundreds of Jewish men, women and children fleeing his country on foot along “secret roads” in total darkness across mountains and valleys. Although the fate of their long journey was unknown, their goal was to reach the Holy Land.

     It was at a refugee camp in Italy where he was reunited with a pretty brunette named Peppa Gastfreund. Three days later they were married. Prior to that, they had met only briefly at a kibbutz in Poland.

     “My wife has been married to me for 63 years,” said the rabbi. “I have been married to her for 126 years and have the scars to prove it. Of course, they are all heart-shaped.”

     Catch that sense of humor?

     From his bucket Leon the Rabbi, a tall, slender man who has seen healthier days, poured his inspirational words willingly and unaffected.

     I listened as he addressed a gathering of intellectually hungry Christians — each searching for their own solutions to life’s problems. Impressed by his simple yet profound logic, they were also entertained by the obvious humor buried in his irony.

     He joked about the non-believer who announced, “Thank God I’m an atheist.” He spoke of greed: “If more is better, then whatever you possess is not enough.”

     For more than four decades the Rabbi had labored diligently on the words he delivered from the pulpit. With obvious pride, he claimed he had never repeated a sermon.

     What’s the secret behind the popularity of his spiritual and light-hearted words presented to diverse believers?

     “I’m talking to myself,” he said. “People just happen to be there to hear it.”

   At one small gathering, with the help of a blackboard, he explained the difference between two religious factions. Traditional fundamentalism assumes that every story in the Bible is “literally correct.”   Non-traditional progressivism, he said, allows for “interpretation of the scriptures.”   

     Has the Rabbi ever questioned the existence of God? Although he gave no yes-or-no answer, he offered this response:   

     “I asked Him: ‘Where were you? Why didn’t you show up?'”           Then with humor Leon answered for God: “‘Look, I gave you brains… Intellect! What else do you want?'”

     When I read him a farewell toast from my Italian friend, “If I don’t see you again, have a happy death,” Leon’s instant reply was, “Death cannot be happy because you die alone.”

     Here are a few more Rabbi Kahaneisms:

     “We must have an anchor in life. If not, life becomes iffy.

     “The force of life is stronger than the force of death.

     “No matter how long we live, it’s too brief. So there must be a goal.   

     “Die doing something worthwhile.”

Boots LeBaron

Chapter 1 of my nearly finished Semi Autobiographical memoir is avail below. Tell me what you think.

https://bootslebaronsworld.com/2015/01/18/conversation-with-a-dead-man-5/

Also

In Boots’ book, THE HUMAN RACE,  Rabbi Kahane is one of many features, essays and light poetry available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback. The popular work features humorous and inspirational views of life, death, love, courage, showbiz, war, the workplace and woman’s rights.

WEATHERING LIFE’S STORM!

THE HUMAN RACE

FACING THE RIGORS OF A THUNDEROUS EXISTENCE

 

Like columns of attacking Roman legions,

waves smash against the pylons

of the Manhattan Beach pier then charge

the shore with a suicidal fury.

One after another they strike.

Threatening. Magnificent.

Big invincible bruisers crashing

recklessly, angrily spewing mist

high into the air as they break.

The shore must fear the pounding.

For each giant wash kidnaps the sand,

wrenching it from its mother’s embrace.

Beyond the dark horizon a tempest is

brewing. Its rage has not yet ebbed?

You can feel it in the air.

Humanity goes through life

bracing for turbulence,

then weathering it.

The threat alone forces us to

fear, fret, worry, cower, think.

We do our damndest to batten down the

hatches. Some of us face the unknown

boldly, ignorantly, hopefully. When

tumult strikes, we must ride the waves.

Many become forever lost in the

unrelenting grip of a riptide.

Ironically, storms are like

waves, they never end.

So survivors may rest assure

that somewhere out there,

another rampage is brewing

and heading for shore.

 

       — Boots LeBaron

(Boots’ book, “THE HUMAN RACE,’ speaks of

life, courage, art, religion, love, war, etc.  It’s

available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon)

DAVID KENNERLY FOCUSES iPHONE ON THE WORLD

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