Posts Tagged ‘ Integrity ’

EXPERIENCING SELF PITY? USE HUMOR AS YOUR WEAPON

PUTTING A FACE ON THE HUMAN RACE

EXPERIENCING SELF PITY? TRY TAP-DANCING

IT AWAY ON THE STAGE OF LIFE!

We are all starring in The Theater of the

Absurd. Look into the mirror. See yourself?

Even at your saddest moment of

wretchedness, study the character gawking

back at you. Notice the bloodshot eyes, the

twitch, the frown etched in deep furrows.

Pretty pathetic, huh? Now look deeper. There’s

a gladiator hiding behind that gloomy

facade. I don’t care how you’ve failed

or how your spirit was damaged. Give your

memory sack a good shake and there’ll be

an assortment of memorable moments spilling

out. Guaranteed, you’re gonna find something

to howl, growl or smile about. I know, I know.

You’re uncomfortable. But don’t hide. You’re

tap-dancing under the glare of the spotlight,

sharing the stage with billions whose tragedies

would dwarf the grief you’re experiencing.

You’re suffering an ego attack. Maybe a broken

heart? Everybody gets them. So stop fretting!

Even in the midst of catastrophic sadness,

there is humor. When my childhood friend,

Dick (Bumbo) Channon died at 52, I had his mother

and sister laughing. I dropped a handful of

bubble gum into his open casket. Memories are

made of happiness. Fun, never dies easy.

When my Irish pal, Frank Francis O’Leary

recently kicked the bucket, I wrote a

story turning the portly aerospace

physicist into a leprechaun stuck in a

tree. Death might be an emotional disaster for

many, but beyond those woe-be-gone tears lurks

the soul of truth that’s ready to spring forth

and bite you on the buttocks, infecting your

solemnness with happy memories. Truth harbors

a helluva sense of humor. You just gotta remember

the good times. So, if you want to temporarily

overcome those doldrums, here’s my suggestion:

Go into the bathroom and lock the door. As I

suggested earlier, find the mirror. You’re all

alone, right? Now bend over and give yourself

a kick in the ass. If you’re not double-

jointed, pull down your pants or panties and

“moon” the mirror. That act, I suspect, will give

you good reason to rise above self pity. You might even

realize what a pathetic looking asshole you are.

Remember: Laughter beats tears.


— Boots LeBaron —

DONALD TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT? NO LAUGHING MATTER!

THE HUMAN RACE

CANDIDATE TRUMP LANDS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS

WORTH OF FREE PUBLICITY!

 

     Wouldn’t it be worth a $20.00 ticket and five-buck bag of popcorn to see a Woody Allen movie about a billionaire blabbermouth like Donald Trump who, despite overwhelming media ridicule, is miraculously elected to the highest office in the land? Could you imagine Trump as U.S. President?! Wow! It’s a frightening thought that could materialize in this land of the free and home of the brave.

     I know that storyline’s hard to swallow, but we’re talking comedy and farce here. If I was Woody, I’d cast an actor like Bill Murray as the Trump-type character. Give him a pompadour, of course.   And dress him pretty with groupies hired from Screen Actor’s Guild to follow him about praising his every word.

     What candidate Trump is giving presidential politics is a shot in the arm. His is a performance never before witnessed in a presidential race. It’s slapstick. It’s revolting. But at arm’s length, the unbelievable bigotry is almost laughable. So call it comedy.

     This controversial guy with his repulsive public demeanor is, I can’t believe I’m saying this: entertaining. He even made the cover this week of my favorite magazine, “The New Yorker.” Of course, his headline grabbing approach is winning him millions of dollars worth of free publicity. Yet the reality is exasperating.

     Next step: “Playboy Magazine.”

— Boots LeBaron —

MY DAD BERT LeBARON: A MOVIE STUNTMAN WITHOUT A FACE

THE HUMAN RACE

 

  THIS  STUNTMAN HAD A LOVE AFFAIR WITH HOLLYWOOD

imageStuntman Bert LeBaron, with arms spread in flight,

was about to knock out a machine-gun nest manned

by prison guards in the 1947 Burt Lancaster classic

movie “BRUTE FORCE.” Esquire Magazine ran a full-page

photo of my airborne dad without giving the Hall of

Fame stuntman-actor credit. That’s the way it was

in Hollywood back then. Although today their names

are entombed with crew members in end-credits, stunt

people are still ignored by the motion picture and

television academies. Since more than 50 stuntmen

and women have died for Hollywood over the years,

don’t you think the survivors deserve Academy

recognition? At least for valor? What pisses me off

is to hear actors ooze B.S. (Don’t tell me they don’t!)

taking credit for “gigs” performed by athletes like

my old man. And now, digital animation is replacing

the acts of such stalwart guys and gals. After

35 years of proudly calling himself an actor-

stuntman, Bert LeBaron, who would never qualify as

another Laurence Olivier or Tom Hanks, developed

a heart problem that put him out of action physically

and financially. (His last stunt was doubling actor

William Bendix in a TV sitcom) When the film capital

of the world showed no compassion, he tried selling

encyclopedias. When that failed, he couldn’t even

support himself peddling newspapers on the streets of

Hollywood. Having nowhere to turn, he stepped into a

handball court at the Hollywood YMCA where he was renting

a room for $10 or $15 a week and purposely popped his

heart playing the game he loved more than women. He

died in 1956. I call Bert and his unheralded comrades

“stuntmen without faces.” I loved that womanizing rogue

whom my mother shed twice in divorce courts. My father

had so many ex-wives and girlfriends, they were lost

in the midst of his mind. Nevertheless, stuntmen and

women deserve to step up to the podium and accept a

golden statuette for their sensational athletic feats.

So tell the actors who, for the sake of publicity

or self-aggrandizement, to: Put A Cork In It! Their

crime is they continue to take credit for stuntwork

achieved by filmdom’s “faceless” others. In my book,

that’s a felony punishable by truth.

 

Boots LeBaron

THIS GLADIATOR HAS BATTLED LIFE’S TRUE SCOUNDRELS

THE HUMAN RACE

FOR FOUR UNPRECEDENTED DECADES, REV. JOHN R. CALHOUN

HAS SERVED ONE CHURCH     


     My favorite gladiator isn’t Russell Crowe (Maximus), Kirk Douglas (Spartacus) or Brad Pitt (Achilles). It’s Rev. John R. Calhoun. All 5-foot-7-inches of him. The villains he’s crossed sabers with over the past half century as a minister and religious scholar, are death, degradation, greed, violence, drug addiction, loneliness, hypocrisy, racism and heartbreak.

     Let’s see Hollywood top that.

     On Sunday (March 15, 2015) he will be named minister emeritus of the Manhattan Beach Community Church where he had served as senior minister for 40 years. (He retired in 2010) During that period he married and baptized a flock of kids. Including those belonging to my wife, JoAnne, and I.

     As a religious scholar, he also coped with the risque cartoons I drew of him. (as illustrated)  So John Robinson Calhoun maintained a sense of humor about himself and the world he lives in.

     Since his battles on behalf of others are for God’s eyes only, nobody knows precisely how many knock-down-drag-outs he’s won or lost during his long tenure as the senior minister of the Manhattan Beach Community Church.  

     As one who identifies himself as spiritual, and facetiously as a heathen, I interviewed this caring son of a congregational minister from Billingham, Washington a number of years ago.

     Here are his words:

     “Life is hard. It’s difficult, complex, intricate. You have to be awful brave to get through it because there are so many disillusionments, disappointments — things that are really hurtful.

     “Tragedy comes to all of us. God doesn’t single out people to punish. When your expectations, hopes and dreams are dashed, you have to keep on keepin’ on.

     “We live in a very violent world. It would be nice if this was a kinder and gentler place without war, crime or greed. God is not responsible for the man-made problems.  

     “My heroes aren’t athletes, movie stars, politicians or corporate icons. My heroes are average people who deal with a wide variety of tough issues. I know their stories. They are the bravest.

     “You’d be surprised at the grief I’ve seen. The first rule of being a minister is to be able to share intimate thoughts, to keep a confidence, to be forgiving, not judgmental. I’ve tried to be that way.

     “In every life there are tragedies that seem to have no logical answer. Life is a mystery. It’s unpredictable. We all search for reasons for our personal problems. On this side of Heaven, we may never know the answer. Maybe on the other side more light will be shed on the subject.

     “I believe strongly in the long run; that the final outcomes belong to God. I try to take God more seriously than myself.

     “Years ago I attended a memorial service in Maine for a fundamentalist friend who had fallen into a river and drowned.  People at the service blamed his death on ‘the will of God” or said that ‘God needed him more.’

     “I think my friend was just careless.

     “There are many things that people attribute to God that aren’t attributable to God. The world is as it is. There are difficulties and adversities we can’t control.     

     “God’s agenda and our agenda sometimes don’t coincide. But if we put our shoulder to God’s agenda, good things can happen.

     “Like everyone else, I’ve experienced good times and bad times. What helps me keep the faith is I have very low expectations. I don’t think God is going to solve our problems. We are quite capable of working out most of our dilemmas.

     “When people disappoint you, it’s all right to be aggravated. You can love people but you don’t have to like everybody. Those who have aggravated me, I can see the tragedies in their lives that make them upset with life. Many times when they hurt others, they do so because they are sad and disillusioned with their own lives. If they take out their frustrations on me, I don’t take it personally. There’s an old Arab proverb: ‘The dogs may bark but the caravan continues on.’

     “I try not to be judgmental. We all fall short of our expectations. For the elderly — and I guess I now fall in that category — life becomes more harsh, more difficult to deal with.     “In spite of everything, we must maintain a sense of humor. You can’t take life too personally. Now that I’m 78 (he said recently), I’ve found that old age is highly overrated. It’s not the Promised Land.

     “You don’t need to take yourself so seriously. As a minister, I’ve always seen myself as just part of the gang. We all fall short of our expectations and must face our own woes.

     “Culture and society has changed — not all for the good. Life has become more impersonal than personal. Yet life is filled with small victories. We’re all in the same boat rowing up stream against the current.”

     Over the years, I’ve peeked into the conscious of John Calhoun. At times I’ve found pride, loneliness, humility, a liberal bent and a passion to make others laugh. He comes with a philosophic intellectualism that’s fueled by a sense of Godliness.

     It allows him to comprehend his own inadequacies as a mortal and battle relentlessly for anybody he can help.

     Yeah, active or retired, old John R. Calhoun is still my favorite gladiator.

Boots LeBaron —

DRACULA AND FRANKENSTEIN’S MONSTER SHARED THE SAME BARBER

THE HUMAN RACE

 BARBER AL’S TEACHERS WERE HOLLYWOOD LEGENDS

     Beginning in the 1930s, Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi

and Boris Karloff, a British character actor, terrified

moviegoers throughout the world portraying Count Dracula

and Frankenstein’s Monster. About 60 years ago, they

were followed to my late friend Alfredo (Al) Hernandez’

barbershop in Hollywood by James Dean, Errol Flynn,

novelist Louis L’Amour, Steve McQueen, John Carradine and  

Peter Lorre to get their hair snipped. “In the spring of

1953 Lugosi came in smoking a green cigar,” recalled Al.

 “He just sat down at my chair and told me to leave a little

bit full at the temples. Then he leans over and spits green

tobacco juice on the floor. l was speechless. He looked

up at me with those X-ray eyes and hissed, ‘What did you

expect me to do, swallow it?’ I didn’t like him spitting

on the floor, but he was my first movie star customer and

I didn’t want to lose him.” In 1956 Lugosi died. Al was

at the Utter McKinley mortuary where the body of the

Hollywood Count, dressed in his vampire costume, was on

display in an open casket. The room was packed with

mourners when his friend Boris Karloff walked up to the

casket, leaned over the cadaver and in that melodramatic

voice announced, “Come now, Bela, get up. You know

you’re not dead!” For a moment, the mourners watched in

silence. When Count Dracula didn’t stir, the crowd broke

into hysterical laughter. “When I went into this

business,” said Al, “I couldn’t speak proper English,

even Spanish. Mr. Karloff had a great grasp of the

English language. As I cut his hair, I’d listen to the

way he pronounced words and would repeat them over and

over again. I learned a lot from him.” He was the only

customer Al addressed as mister. “He was a real

gentleman. Soft-spoken. Always wore a coat and tie and

had wavy hair.”   Working with actors, Al’s policy was:

“Never talk about show business — unless they bring up

the subject.” James Dean, he remembered, “was very

withdrawn, almost shy. He’d curl up in the chair and say

very little. Not long before he crashed and died in that

silver Porsche, I remember him talking about how great it

was speeding around in that car. He had a good head of

hair. I used to leave about three or four inches and

comb it up from the forehead into a kind of pompadour.

In ’55, he died in that car with my haircut.”

Steve McQueen, said Al, “Was pretty outgoing. What

surprised me was he stuttered. He had his favorite car, too —

a   Lotus sports car; had it painted a special shade of

green. He smoked in the barber chair. Smoking did him

in. You go through life, you learn things. Actors come

in here to get away from all that BS. To  relax. I never

asked one of them for an autograph.”

            — Boots LeBaron —  

 

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

 Kindle and  may be purchased on  Amazon  paperback.   It contains

humorous  and inspirational views of life, death, Showbiz, the  

workplace, love, courage and everything in between)

DISCOVERING THE POWER OF WISDOM WITHIN YOU!

THE HUMAN RACE

 BUILDING BLOCKS FOR THE POWER OF YOU!

      As you stumble through life’s dense garden collecting painful cuts and abrasions, like it or not, you will absorb knowledge. What might hurt like hell becomes an irrefutable lesson that builds wisdom. Such pain is a common denominator every human being must endure.     

    It doesn’t matter if you’re young, old, brilliant, non-technical or simple-minded. You’re ripe for multiple doses of humiliation, infuriation, praise, bullying, vandalism, heartbreak, divorce, abuse.  

    You’re gonna get bonked as you walk the streets of civilization. Don’t search for wisdom. It finds you.

    So brace yourself. The experience will be etched like a tombstone on your memory banks.

    Once you the suffer the unpredictable wounds that play such a valid part in your life, only then will you enjoy the mental fortitude you’ve been hammered with.

    That’s wisdom, baby!

    No matter how famous or infamous you are, for better or worse, you must pay your dues. The distress might not always be exhilarating. But chances are, the final trophy you’ll hang on the wall is the inescapable lesson you’ve learned about life, death and everything in between.  

    Be grateful for the experience. You own it! You collected it!  You lived it!  It will always be available in that library between your ears.  Chances are, it will help enlighten your life.     Don’t let spurts of narcissism or greed distort your lifestyle because what you’ve learned on the streets, in the corporate towers, or behind locked doors, might lead to a better existence and a profound future. Not only for you. But for those who believe in you.           

— Boots LeBaron —

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

Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.  The book contains stories

about people, essays and light poetry) 

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