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Never surrender when you’re faced

with nothing more than hope.

Don’t give up your very own impossible

dream. You own it exclusively. Whether

we understand the logic of it or not, there’s

an inner strength that exists in every mortal.

Despite the ferocity of adversity,

the pomposity of naysayers, the magnitude

of force inside you can be tapped.

Surprise yourself. Experiment

with possibility… With chance.

If you refuse to test the philosophic

muscles that are capable of giving you the

boldness to capitalize on the power

of your humanness, then you may never

reach the dignity and potential

greatness that belongs to you alone.

Never fail to probe what you’re

convinced you can accomplish in life.

Lock on to hope now, damn it!

Do it soon before the chance of triumph,

no matter how big or small, becomes

lost in the futility of self-doubt.


— Boots LeBaron –


(Boots’ book, THE HUMAN RACE, contains

interviews, essays and light poetry focusing

on the essentials of life.  Available on Kindle

 and in paperback on Amazon, it contains

philosophic people stories interspersed

with essays,  light poetry and humor)




     Strictly for profit, what if poachers in Africa and other countries of the world killed Dumbo, Ruby the Rhino, Tony the Tiger, Smokey the Bear, Simba the Lion King, Magilla the Gorilla, or Peter Potamus the hippopotamus?

     Of course, they’re all mostly beloved cartoon characters. But what if they were real-life animals? If Dumbo, Walt Disney’s adorable cartoon elephant, and the others were killed for cash and body parts, wouldn’t that piss you off?

     Let’s focus on Dumbo. Imagine him today as a full-grown mountain bull with massive 6-foot ivory tusks roaming the jungle in Africa’s Northern Kenya. He’s the same precious little rascal with the big heart we all remember as kids. He’s just grown up.

     Now picture this: Poachers armed with automatic weapons and poison-tipped spears or arrows are stalking him, earning as much as $2,500 a kill. They hack off his massive tusks and leave his mutilated carcass for the vultures. Loads of ivory tusks are shipped to China and other Asian countries where they are carved into small ornamental knick-knacks, jewelry, priceless chess pieces, and other crafted items earning fortunes for their remorseless marketers. Are you going to buy one?

     Since premeditated murder of innocent animals for profit is a sin, how can those who worship various Supreme Beings explain why they are making fortunes selling or buying religious artifacts made from the tusks of endangered pachyderms or horns of rhinoceros? And why, pray tell, do some of the devoutly God-fearing customers purchase such religious statuettes?

     I guess you can chalk it up as a classic case of ignorance, pomposity or a blatant act of hypocrisy.    

     By now, the slain adult Dumbo would have his own breed of babies leaving behind a grieving widow — for elephants do grieve lost ones just like humans. Experts on the subject report that in Africa alone, at least 25,000 tuskers are slaughtered yearly for profit.

     The reason I used Dumbo as a metaphor is to make this point: How many of you know of feller named Satao? Not many, I’ll wager. The legendary 6-ton pachyderm who roamed Tsavo East National Park in Kenya was killed by poachers on May 30, 2014. Some reports say he “died a painful death” caused by poison-tipped arrows or spears. Another report was he died suffering eight bullet wounds fired from automatic weapons.

     Since you might not know who Sato is, I substituted Dumbo’s name. The information I gleaned from a variety of sources including CBS-TV’s Sunday Morning News, National Geographic and The L.A. Times.

     Paula Kahumbu, a Kenya-based wildlife conservationist for Wildlife Direct, said that Sato was a celebrity in his own right; that he was highly respected not only as a “magnificent pachyderm but as major tourist attraction.” A National Geographic story quoted her saying: “All the killers wanted was his tusks so somebody far away can have a trinket on their mantelpiece.”

     The soul-searching question is: How deeply would you care if you learned an elephant named Sato was slaughtered for his tusks? After all, Sato was only one of an estimated 100,000 elephants who was assassinated across Africa over the past couple of years. If the victim was actually Dumbo, revered by children as well as adults, wouldn’t that leave a marked emptiness in your soul, a painful feeling of remorse in the pit of your conscience? I hope so.

     I realize that our society has its own stalkers, killers and drive-by shooters on the loose. And who truly cares about some big old elephant named Sato in an African reserve tens of thousands of miles from our shoreline.

     After all, there are as many as 690,000 African elephants alive today. That’s a lot of Dumbos. But compare that number to 5 million back in the thirties and forties. According to experts, more than 30,000 elephants are killed annually for their ivory. And their tusks are shipped to places like China, Thailand, Korea and Vietnam.

     Foreign criminal organizations with sophisticated weaponry kill viciously, reported CBS-TV. In a 2012 episode an estimated 300 elephants were gunned down inside a national park in Cameroon, a republic stretching from the Gulf of Guinea to Lake Chad in West Africa.     

     In recent years, says one report, “dozens” of rangers were killed fighting to protect wildlife from poachers in Africa. Is waging such a war against those who kill animals for profit so horrifying when humanity is hard at work killing its own kind by the millions? For God sakes, we’re even decapitating the heads of journalists to make a political point, and stoning women to death because they refuse to obey the demands of the ruthless males who dominate their lives.  

     Since we’re talking about cartoon animals, let me ask one last question: If you were a poacher, how much would you charge to kill an adult Dumbo for his valuable tusks and his sturdy legs used occasionally for coffee tables, Ruby the Rhinoceros whose horns are made into dagger handles or ground into power used for medicinal purposes as well as an aphrodisiac, Peter Potamus the hippopotamus for his cute ears and big toothies, Magilla the Gorilla using his powerful hands and feet for trophies, Tony the Tiger for use as a throw rug which includes his handsome head and sharp fangs, Simba the Lion King for his mane and mandibles, Smokey the Bear for his huge paws and claws?

     You already know how I would feel.

        — Boots LeBaron —

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

Kindle and in Amazon paperback. It contains

inspirational and humorous stories, essays and

light poetry dealing with the trials and

tribulations of people confronting adversity)





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)



                                      SURFBOARDER-ARTIST’S GLIMPSE AT LIFE



                                                                                                   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




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)






      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 —

(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)

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