Posts Tagged ‘ Workplace ’

A LION STUDIES WILDLIFE AT STARBUCKS’ WATERING HOLE.

 

From the files of : THE HUMAN RACE by BOOTS LeBARON

 A LION STUDIES WILDLIFE AT STARBUCKS’ WATERING HOLE.  Clean shaven and reeking of Eternity, the old lion sat alone licking his chops and sipping coffee at Starbucks in the early morning.  As he scribbled thoughts on a notepad he studied a parade of creatures waiting in line for fresh-brewed concoctions.

     For weeks he had perched hungrily watching a variety of scrumptious  smorsels slurping dark liquid on the stage of life.  It was a jungle better than Broadway.  Where else can one observe and even chat with such an entertaining cast of characters — asking questions that only a scraggly old beast like me who’s focused on his prey could get away with.

     Take a look:IMG_1973

An unemployed gorilla (actor) with a debilitating hangover sipping decaf delight.

A gregarious old rooster whose wealth, despite his vanity, attracts a handful of clucking young chickies.

A beaky young vulture 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 that 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 who religiously reads the sports pages, turns out to be a racist.

An antelope ex-convict who calls himself “The Poet” and survive

eight years doing hard time in three state zoos.

A powerful rhino (Los Angeles County deputy district attorney) who has successfully prosecuted and won more than 100 murderer cases, proudly sending three men to Death Row.

A striking gazelle (blonde female banker) who’s tired of being hit on.

A raccoon (physicist) who reached middle age before he told his mother, who raised him as a single parent, of his childhood crime.  He hated liver.  Whenever she served it for dinner, he’d pocket it.       An eagle (entrepreneur from Indiana) who almost 20 years ago maxed out a credit card to start a pharmaceutical head hunter business that now has offices nationwide.

An ostrich (buxom young female, bellybutton exposed), is poured into a clinging blouse, mini skirt, with shapely legs stretching into spiked shoes.    She’s looking for work.

An army officer dressed in camouflage 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 their native Mandarin.

A chimpanzee (ironworker) who blows about an ongoing love affair he’s having with the woman who happens to be the mother of his children.

A porcupine (homeless young woman) sits on the bricks outside Starbucks.  Her face is dirty.  Her features are classic.

A friendly and squirrely orangutan in her mid-80s who blesses every person she comes in contact with and 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 works through it.

What a parade fascinating creatures.

What a world.

What a life.

What a collection of morsels.

Too bad I’ve already had breakfast.

Boots LeBaron

 

 

A BROKEN PROMISE: CIVILIZATION’S MAJOR CRIME

THE HUMAN RACE

A BROKEN PROMISE AIN’T NO MISDEMEANOR!

 

A broken promise can scar the

soul of every individual who’s convinced

that trust is humanity’s cornerstone.

It’s capable of shattering the

confidence of any trusting person

whose confidence in another

has been desecrated.

In any court of

dignity where the indignant

act is exposed, the culprit

will either be exonerated,

mentally shackled with feelings

of guilt and anxiety for life,

stuck with a misdemeanor thanks

to the power of forgiveness,

labeled as a liar and a cheat,

or, depending on the severity

of the mental or financial anguish

inflicted on another. Of course, those

suffering from life’s broken-promise

syndrome, especially those whose lives

have been wrecked in the midst of a

lovey-dovey relationship, has every

philosophical right to reward that partner

with a seat on the electric chair.

Humanity consists of so many ridiculous

men and women in search of peace of mind

and a perfect life, which is never perfect.

No matter how benign or devious, a broken

promise can cause humiliation, hyperventilation

acute anxiety or psychotic short circuitry

despite the admirable intentions that kick off

any kind of human relationship. Yet, no matter

how intolerable the plight, a broken promise

should rightfully be labeled guilty as charged

on every victim’s shit list. Forever!

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) 

DESPITE NEGATIVISM, NEVER GIVE UP HOPE

THE HUMAN RACE

 

SANTA’S TALLEST ELF BEATS ADVERSITY!

 

Life is difficult. Even at Christmastime.

Daphne, one of Santa’s many Elves, is living

proof that when you’re teased, ignored and

cast aside, you can rise above your heartache.

All you need is courage and the will to smile

despite your imperfections. Daphne experienced

such adversity regularly at, of all places,

Santa’s workshop in the North Pole. That’s

where the itsy-bitsy Elves harassed the hard-

working Daphne because they judged her for

being too lanky. At six-foot-one, she

towered over them like a skyscraper above

an igloo. Since she loved to trip the light

fantastic, to overcome her feelings of

inadequacy, after an exhausting day making

puppets and other surprises, she’d dance

her way to bed. That’s when her fellow toy

makers would look down their large noses

at her chanting, “Twinkle Toes, Twinkle

Toes with your teeny-weeny nose-e-nose.”

One night as the aurora borealis lit up the

sky, Daphne hopped the first available sleigh

and headed for the Big Apple (also known

as New York City). Despite her height and

large pointy ears, Daphne was given a warm

welcome by a group of charming  chorus girls

who judged her for her ability to dance,

sing and smile brightly. They didn’t care

that Daphne didn’t meet their height require

ment of 5-foot-8 or so. She was as tall

and she loved to smile . Although she missed

 the tiny North Pole co-workers, Daphne a

reason to be cheerful. She became the

newest member of a world-famous troupe

of high kickers known as The Rockettes.

Peace of mind, you see, is a precious gift

that even old Kriss Kringle can’t deliver.

— Boots LeBaron —

(Boots’ current book THE HUMAN RACE is now

available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon.

It contains human interest interviews as well as

essays and light poetry about life, courage, love, etc.)

DOUGLAS FAIRBANKS SR. WAS NO BERT LeBARON

THE HUMAN RACE                                                                                December 10, 2014

TO MY LATE  SWASHBUCKLING ACTOR-STUNTMAN

DAD I SHALL FOREVER LOVE:   HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

 

This story about my dad is in my book, THE HUMAN RACE.

Since it’s true, I don’t want to offend him or my mother who

shed him twice in divorce courts.  I was so lucky to have had

them as my parents.   And God bless Mr. Fairbanks, too!

 

     More than a dozen years after Douglas Fairbanks Sr. left the Broadway stage in 1908 to begin a skyrocketing career as a silent screen actor, my father Bert LeBaron, a ruggedly handsome hoodlum in his mid-twenties from Southeast Philadelphia, got permission from the mob to go to Hollywood and become a movie star.

     While Fairbanks became one of Hollywood’s first superstars, my old man proved to be one of the worst actors ever to set foot in front of a camera. Since he was an exceptional athlete, he wound up as a Hall-of-Fame stuntman who always believed that he could be another George Raft, a thug from Hell’s Kitchen who despite his lack of talent reached star status.

     Maybe it’s not fair to compare my father with Fairbanks who rose to fame when Celluloid City was still in its infancy. But when I watched Fairbanks on cable TV starring as the masked swordsman in the silent 1920 film, “The Mark of Zorro,” I was convinced that at least in real life my papa was more of a swashbuckler and Casanova than Big Doug ever could be.

     Before time and the fast lane made a mess of him, Bert was a muscular six-foot mass of flesh and bone with chiseled features, wavy black hair and a matching well-groomed mustache.

   Although he played mostly thugs and bad guys during his 36-year actor-stuntman career, when he walked into a restaurant or any room filled with strangers, people took notice. Who is this dude? Is he an athlete? Is he an actor? Is he a hood, a gigolo, an adventurer? Is he a somebody? Is he a nobody?

     He was all of those. And certainly, by Tinsel Town standards, he was a nobody.

     After watching Fairbanks play Zorro, I had to disagree with some journalists who wrote gushy descriptions like: “the camera loved [Fairbank’s] flashing smile, and his joyous physicality electrified the screen.”     

     Baloney.

     I’m well aware that Fairbanks:

     (1) Died in 1939 a wealthy man. (2) Formed United Artists Corp. with Charlie Chaplin, actress Mary Pickford and director D.W. Griffith in 1919. (3) Handed out the first Academy Awards from his office. (4) Was the first (with Pickford who later became the second wife to divorce him) to press his hand and foot prints in the cement at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. (5) Never appeared in a talkie.  

     What I found sitting through the silent “Zorro” movie was a Fairbanks in his mid-thirties who didn’t move with the grace of an athlete, whose physique was anything but sinewy, who had a proboscis that belonged to Ray Bolger (the scarecrow in “The Wizard of OZ”), whose portraits even in those days were touched up.

     My dad was a street fighter skilled in judo and savate, a high-platform diver, a powerful swimmer who raced the treacherous Mississippi River, a polo player who could handle a horse like a rodeo cowboy, a capable swordsman and an avid Hollywood Y.M.C.A. handball player. At the age of fifty-six, he died on the court in 1956.

     Artistically, he might not have been an actor’s actor. But as a bona fide thug, he certainly qualified as a hoodlum’s hoodlum. As a kid, I always felt very safe in his presence.

     In fight scenes, fencing, swinging from chandeliers, taking tumbles and absorbing punches, the internationally famous silent screen “Zorro,” was no match for Bert LeBaron who was at the beckon call of Mother Hollywood. No matter how dangerous the gig, all she had to do was flutter her glamorous eyelashes and Bert LeBaron would leap into action.        

     Like most stuntmen and women today, he remained silent while high-profile actors took credit for his athletic performances that never even received screen credit. And that pisses me off!

     Bert was the bruiser in a mob scene being tossed through a plate-glass window, having a whiskey bottle broken over his head or fighting under a spooked horse’s hoofs. He was the cowboy being knocked off his horse by a rifle-wielding John Wayne, the desperado being shot off a roof in a Roy Rogers western, a pirate doing a high fall off the mast of a windjammer in a Tyrone Power flick, and a villain being flipped off a wagon by Danny Kaye in The Inspector General.

     He did savor a few moments of glory: In the 1947 Burt Lancaster film, Brute Force, he performed a 30-foot leap from a coal car onto a machine-gun nest manned by prison guards. Not printing his name, Esquire magazine ran a full-page photograph of him in flight. In The Three Musketeers (1948), he dueled with and was done in by Gene Kelly (D’Artagnan) a couple of times.

     Errol Flynn skewered him at least twice in the 1949 classic, The Adventures of Don Juan, and broke his nose once at the Lakeside Country Club bar near Warner Bros. Doubling Raymond Burr in one fencing scene on a balcony, Flynn lunges and Bert goes flying head first in what appears to be a neck-breaking plunge onto a table. In another fencing scene, Don Juan knocks a huge candelabrum on top of him.

     My favorite Bert epic was in the 1940 15-chapter serial, The Mysterious Dr. Satin, in which he sends Copperhead, the hooded crime-fighter, plummeting to his “possible” death. He’s finally done in by a hokey “death-dealing” robot. In the first comic book movie version of Captain America, another popular kid series released while he was serving as an able-bodied seaman in the Merchant Marines during World Was II, he almost cool-conks the star-spangled superhero in a fight scene.

     As a womanizer, my father also left Fairbanks in the dust. Bert had collected so many ex-wives, fiancees and girlfriends that their names were lost in the mist of his mind. It was as if Cupid had stuck him in the ass with a mystical arrow that caused him to fall in love with every woman he ever conned or seduced.

     That included my mother Thelma Anna Gangloff-LeBaron, the daughter of a prominent Pittsburgh, Penn. physician. She was long-legged, shapely with an angelic face framed in brown hair. She spoke intelligently with a sweet tongue that not always communicated her deepest feelings. But heartbreak and even fury poured silently from powder-blue eyes which could conceal nothing.

     Thelma grew up at a time in American history when women were obligated to kowtow to anything that sported a mustache, smoked a cigar and came with a penis. That aptly describes my grandfather. Like many others, he would have brazenly rejected Bert, who never got past the 8th grade, as a “suitor.”

     Although she had other romances, she had an intense love affair with a wealthy young man named Guy Fuller who enlisted in the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. While fighting in France, he was severely crippled when his outfit was exposed to mustard gas.

     When he returned from the war, he refused to see her. At the age of 30, he suffered an aneurism and died on Christmas Day.

     Throughout her life, Guy Fuller would remain her Sir Galahad. And finally, she would settle for Sir Bert, a knight of the streets with a penchant for flim-flam. For good reason, she had married and divorced him twice and raised me as a single parent.     

     I remember her teary eyed, hiking up my short pants and straightening my Peter Pan collar preparing me for a day at the Crenshaw Nursery School in Los Angeles, describing my dad as “that sonuvabitch of a goddamned bastard.” He was precisely that.

     Gallivanting around, chasing other women, disappearing for days, pawning my mother’s jewelry, coming home with lipstick marks tattooed across his drunken face, he had broken her heart a million times.

     Douglas Fairbanks Sr., whom they’re still twittering about in Twitterville, will always be nothing more to me than just another movie star.

     But Bert and Thelma — I’ll love them forever. And today, I know my mom would sincerely wish my dad a Happy Birthday because she never stopped caring for him.

                                                                         — Boots LeBaron —

CAPT BLOOD GAVE POPE’S BLESSING TO FELLOW FISHERMEN.

THE HUMAN RACE

 THIS FISHERMAN TOLD IT AS HE LIVED IT!

     Gerrard Fiorentino made the sign of the cross with his left hand, blessing one of his own, fisherman Turk (Flame Eater) Emirzian. After seeing action in the South Pacific as a sailor aboard a mini aircraft carrier during World War II, a clergyman aboard ship “brought me back to God,” said Gerrard, adding, “Them Japanese kamikazes helped, too!”

     When he returned to commercial fishing at the docks in San Pedro, California, he began blessing his fellow fishermen, their boats and their catches. Since then, he was known by many on the waterfront as Father Gerrard.

     Yet Gerrard would be the first to admit that he was never 100-percent saintly. Proof: As a young fisherman, he was also known on the waterfront as Captain Blood.

The last time we talked, the (at times) cantankerous, white haired mariner was pushing 80.

     “I’m not an ordained priest,” said Gerrard who was standing at a long table cluttered with paper in the office of his waterfront marine supply store. “But when I bless these guys, all kinds of fish come.”

     The husky seafarer folded a pair of powerful hands across his chest. Anchored to thick wrists and muscular forearms, the hands were heavy and calloused from pulling in a lifetime of shrimp, tuna and other fish from the sea, splicing rope and cable, mending nets as well as handling the wheel and captaining his own boat.

     “The blessings seem to work,” claimed Turk, a commercial fisherman who operated The Fortuna, a gill-net boat. “Just like the Pope, Father Gerrard gives me his blessings and I come back to port with a boat full of bonito or shark.”  

     “Don’t laugh,” Gerrard warned, pointing a threatening finger. “We were all put here for a reason. The good Lord gave me this gift. I’m very religious. I bless everybody, even the priests at St. Peter’s in San Pedro. That’s a poor man’s catholic church. I don’t go to Mary Star of the Sea because that place is for aristocrats.”

     “Fishermen are like children,” Turk explained. “We need to have faith because every time we go to sea we face the possibility of death. It’s a very tough life.” He also noted that Father Gerrard’s blessings “miss sometimes. But so do the Pope’s! “

     Gerrard recalled an incident that happened many years ago on his own boat, the Santo Antonino, off the coast of Mexico. “We had been out on the water for 45 days and couldn’t find nothing. I was alone at the wheel, feeling very depressed, while everybody was down in the galley eating.

     “I go, ‘Please God, let me find a mountain of fish.’ I no sooner say that when I see the silver in the water right under the bow. I yell to the guys, get ready, we’re going to lay out a seine (large fishing net)! We pulled in 60 tons of tuna. No joke. Now that was a miracle. Think about it!”    

     “Go ahead, ask your questions,” he snapped restlessly.

     Did you go to college?

     “I went to San Pedro High School to eat my lunch. When I was 14, they took me off the dock and I went fishing on the St. Augustine. They told me, ‘Boy, this is temporary.’ Ha!” he bellowed.  

     “Fishing is in your blood. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s born in you.   I had the pride, the talent, the desire to succeed. You got nothing if you don’t have those. They used to pay me extra money to keep me on the boat. I was an animal. I mean it.”

     He pointed to several huge black-and-white photographs covering the walls behind him.

     “My entire life’s on these walls. See there,” he pointed to a young muscular man cradling a huge Amberjack. “CAPTAIN BLOOD” was printed in bold letters at the bottom.

     “That’s me!” he said proudly, pointing a thumb at his chest. “One time we were sitting on a school of tuna off the San Pedro Channel and the fish, they were getting out of the net. In my apron and boots, I jump overboard.

     “This is true. I go down into the net, get hold of the purse lines and bring them up so no more fish can get away. I was down there so long, my brother (Lorenzo) thought I drowned in the net. When I got back on board, that’s when they started with Captain Blood. They took the name from an old Errol Flynn pirate movie.

     “When you’re young, you take chances because you don’t know no better,” he said. “In those days I could do the work of five men. That’s the truth. Even today, if I thought I could handle it physically, I’d be out there fishing, right now. That’s how much I loved it.    

     “So now I’m Father Gerrard,” he said. “I do blessings with my left hand. It don’t work with my right. Go figure. I’m an Aries. A born leader. I hate monotony and routine work. But I am a humble person. I mean it! I care about the poor. But I’m still attracted to women. ‘Course, I’m not the man I used to be.”

     He recalled an incident from the past, long before he married his first wife, Kay: “I was a wheelman aboard Matt Flamingo’s boat, The Discoverer. Matt’s still around today. We had been to sea well over a month.

     “When we put in to Costa Rica, I took on eight prostitutes in eight hours. I’m serious.

     “I don’t know about all this infidelity; all this sexual harassment people talk about. When I was married, I never cheated on my wife. I loved her. She died a long time ago and went right to heaven.  

     “But when I was single, sure, I chased women. I still chase them!” He laughed harshly, then added, “You know, prostitution and commercial fishing are the two oldest professions? That’s why I’m proud to be a fisherman. Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. She became a saint! That tells me one thing: God forgives everybody. I don’t care where or how you worship. In God’s eyes, we’re all the same.”

     Gerrard believed that all fishermen go to Heaven. “When I go, Heaven will be filled with sardines. I love fishing sardines. They got more brains than some people. I used to call them my brothers. I’d kiss them whenever I’d see them. In my lifetime, I must have brailed maybe 16,000 tons of sardines… And lots of the other fish, too!”

     The sea, he said, is like a woman. “She smells good. She makes you laugh. She makes you cry. She feeds you. She humbles you. She is so beautiful, you can’t take your eyes off of her.”

   — Boots LeBaron —      

 

(THE HUMAN RACE, by Boots, is an inspirational self-help book interspersed with humor and light poetry for those who are in search of themselves. It’s available on Kindle as well as in paperback on Amazon)

 

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