Posts Tagged ‘ Heartbreak ’

WATCHING THE PREAKNESS: A THOUGHT ABOUT COURAGE

EX-JOCKEY LEARNED THE HARD WAY

 

     Stewart I. Haupman was petting a $2,300 cockatoo when I met him several years ago at his parrot shop in Redondo Beach, California. But he wasn’t always in the exotic bird business.

     He grew up in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, a tough tenement section brimming with poverty and controlled by gangs. At the age of seven, he sold magazines and sang on weekends at Jewish weddings to help support the family

     Sharing a small two-bedroom flat in a tenement house with his parents, grandparents and a brother who had polio, he slept on a cot in the hallway.

     When he turned 14, he quit school, forged his father’s signature, and became a stable boy at the old Jamaica Race Track. A year later, he became an exercise boy at Hialeah, a track in Florida.

     It was there he got his first mount as a jockey. The third horse he raced, won! Within eight months, he had won 127 races and had become a full-fledged jockey.

     Over a period of eight years, riding for Sonny Jim Fitzsimmons, whom he described as “the dean of trainers,” he had won 832 races. “Being a jockey, that was my education. I rode and I broke yearlings for the DuPonts, the Vanderbilts, the Whitneys… “I owe a lot to those people. They taught me to be a human being. I learned to function in an area of society I never even dreamed I could be a part of.”

     As a winning jockey, the kid from Hell’s Kitchen not only rubbed elbows with the rich and famous, but found a pride within himself. “The racetrack gave me self-esteem. I had a great time. Winning a big race is an unbelievable experience.

     “You hear the crowd yelling, screaming. And You’re whipping and driving. Well, it’s exciting. You wave at the judges in the winner’s circle. There’s smiles. Applause. The track gave me the feeling of being somebody special. Like a track star.”

     During a race at Hialeah, his mount “snapped an ankle” and Steward went down in front of the pack. Trampled by six horses, he was “busted up bad” and spent nine months in the hospital, gained weight and lost that competitive edge to win.

     “To have success suddenly taken away from you — it was devastating! When you’re a kid, nobody paints you a rosy picture. Nobody tells you there’s a rose garden out there. You find it. Then, all of a sudden, it’s gone. It seems that nobody really teaches you that in life, you win a few and lose a few. You should never quit when you’re down.”

                                                               — Boots LeBaron —

 

 

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 —

JUST WHO IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?!

THE HUMAN RACE

WHO ARE WE?

Lovers can be friends.

Friends can be enemies.

Enemies can be teachers.

Teachers can be preachers.

Preachers can be hypocrites.

Hypocrites can be gigolos.

Gigolos can be heart breakers.

Heart breakers can be liars.

Liars can be users.

Users can be abusers.

Abusers can be cowards.

Cowards can be heroes.

Heroes can be brutes.

Brutes can be romanticists.

Romanticists can be manipulators.

Manipulators can be politicians.

Politicians can be swindlers.

Swindlers can be believers.

Believers can be dreamers.

Dreamers can be schemers.

Schemers can be tycoons.

Tycoons can be ignoramuses.

Ignoramuses can be patsies.

Patsies can be voters.

Voters can be celebrities.

Celebrities can be impostors.

Impostors can be charmers.

Charmers can be shysters.

Shysters can be lovers.

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 —

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 —

MEET PROF. LUKE BERTALDO CORTESE, A SPECIAL NEEDS KID

THE HUMAN RACE

THIS MOM EXUDES AN ABUNDANCE OF JOY,

THANKS TO HER DEVELOPMENTALLY- DELAYED SON

When I asked my daughter Brooke

Cortese to explain what joy means to her,

she said, “When I come across some mothers

with or without special needs kids, a few

of them just stare at my son, Luke, who’s

developmentally delayed. They can’t figure

why I’m so happy. I tell them to look

for joy. If you don’t have joy in your life,

it can be very hard to find. Thanks to Luke,

I found it. So did my family. At times, I’ve

overheard [my husband] Rocco when he’s in

a room alone with Luke. More than once,

he’s told Luke, ‘I’m so lucky… I’m

going to keep you forever!’ It’s not an act.

He’s not blowing smoke. Rocco cares

deeply for all of our mischief makers.

The words come from his heart.”

     I’ve described my grandson Luke as

“the family professor” because throughout his

twelve years of life, he has taught all of

us so much about ourselves. He’s just learning

to walk. He speaks with eyes that smile.

His twin brother Max and sister Natalia, love

him. Because of Luke, the Cortese clan

are intimately acquainted with joy.

 

                     — Papa Boots LeBaron —

 

 

 

 

 

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