Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sacred Sights 1/31/09

Come with me and let us see what we can see.


Good day interesting one.

I have fallen in love with American names,
The sharp names that never get fat,
The snakeskin-titles of mining-claims,
The plumed war-bonnet of Medicine Hat,
Tucson and Deadwood and Lost Mule Flat.

Steven Vincent Benet

I have always been and wanderer, a wayfaring man, the stranger in town, a vagabond. It all began in 1945 when the family was slowly plunged into poverty. Between then and 1959 we moved 26 times, always because we couldn't afford the rent, until we were finally in a shack with no central heating and sometimes no electricity. I learned to do my homework by the light of a kerosene lamp, my mother learned to cook on a Sterno can (I'll bet you don't know what that is).

So wandering got into my system at an early age. I learned to hold on to the essentials and let the luxuries go. I also learned the among the essentials imagination, fortitude, patience, determination, acceptance and adventure are among the most valuable. A few books have always traveled with me along with my talent, ingenuity, interest in human beings and appreciation of the vision of great artists.

In November of 1960 I hitchhiked from Boston to Los Angeles. Along the way I met all kinds of people and saw some amazing sights. I have often thought of writing about that trip but I suppose I won't. Being almost 50 years ago it has become more of a metaphor for my life than a travelogue. It's also a spotty but far ranging memory of the country I live in. I've touched on certain things about it in this journal, in the past. I guess that's enough.

The one great opportunity of being a vagabond is to discover things. To be alert and open to where I am and what and who are around me makes everyday an adventure, a big one or a small one. A friend of mine and I went for a short hike in the woods one day. There was a brook, some interesting rocks, wildlife. I kept stopping to look at things. My friend got frustrated with me. I finally realized that a hike in the woods to him meant exercise, period.

Another friend and I were sitting on the boardwalk in Brooklyn. The ocean tide was coming in and the waves were smashing and smacking on the beach, I was delighted. He was bored.

My career took me all over the east coast and out to the Midwest. I usually didn't go to the big tourist areas when I had time off. But I enjoyed finding the tiny museums about the lives and works of some almost forgotten personage and signing the book. Those are treasures in my memory. Now in my senior years my wayfaring and explorations are more literary and cerebral, but they are just as interesting.

DB - The Vagabond

May angels drop blessings on your head.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Reality Reach 1/30/09

We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snow flake. Let us use it before it is too late.

Man Ray

Good day special one.

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;


If you're like me you spend most of your time planning for or worrying about the future, and remembering or regretting the past. And what does the present consist of. A wee speck of time, an immeasurable fraction of a second. The moment you clicked on this journal is gone, it's part of the past. You will finish reading sometime in the future and then that will be past. Of what use can I make of a snow flake that is melting in my hand? How can we make best use of the now?

The present seems to be so much a product of the past that we dwell on it. It is not as easy to see that the presnt is also so much affected by the future, even though we don't know what that future is, because we dwell on that also. How can we leave both the past and the future behind us and live in the present?

Time is such an arbitrary and vague thing. It's simply a measurement of how long it takes something to move from one place to another in comparison to how long the same journey takes for something else. If we have to be there at 8, then we need to start at 7 because it takes an hour to get there. Will I be able to do everything I need to do and be back in time for dinner? We grow old because time tells us to.

But what if we could do away with time? What if the past and the future could exist in one bundle of the present? What if all life experience could be held in the hand like a snow flake that is not melting? I read where some advanced theoretical Physics is completely doing away with the idea of time as part of its calculations.

This subject interests me. I once wrote a short story about two people together in the same place but at two different times.

The intent of Ray's quote, I think, is to grasp each moment of life as it is and live in it completely on its own terms, and to not let the moment be unfulfilled in our experience of it, to be alert at all times to the life around us and in us on all of its levels, in all of its aspects, with all of its shadings and nuances and to hold on to it "to the last syllable of recorded time."

DB - The Vagabond

May you have a day filled with a grateful heart.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quaint Quantification 1/29/09

The difference between human wisdom and Truth is the difference between a marble and the solar system.

DB - The Vagabond
Good day fellow seeker.

I find it a very positive, upbeat and intriguing idea that we know so little about what is. It means there is always something to learn and discover. I enjoy reading history and science magazines because of the information that is being always uncovered about the past and the future. As in the iceberg, most of which is under water, there are scientists in laboratories right now discovering things, archeologists and anthropologists digging in the desert, people walking through jungles, swimming in the ocean or gazing through a telescope who are about to come up with something that will make the news. That excites me. We don't know it all. It isn't done. Nor will it ever be.

I'm reminded of that quote by Sir Arthur Eddington "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine." I know that remarks like that give some people a sort of an intellectual vertigo. After all we like our knowledge to be nice and neat, respectable and predictable. But we can't settle for that. If we did you wouldn't be reading this.

Things get discovered and made because someone is willing to imagine the unimaginable, discover the undiscoverable, build the unworkable and make it work, do the impossible. And in the process we all benefit, not only by seeing and using what is uncovered but even more by being able to share the knowledge that comes with it.

Some day some of us will go to a far off distant planet and have a look around. We will do that because it's impossible. But there are far off distant planets still to be discovered in your own neighborhood. Sometimes when I'm walking down the sidewalk I like to remind myself that I am walking along a ledge in the universe.

DB The Vagabond
Learn something new today, whether it's mundane or cosmic, and make a note of it.


This is not a contest.

What one person, living or not, would you most like to have dinner with?
What is the first question you would ask them?

You have the winter to answer. Please leave your response on my email or journal with your name, or journal title or email address. Thank you.

10 responses so far.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Precious Perspective 1/28/09

I wish to be always at the point of discovering.

DB - The Vagabond
Good day citizen of the world.

One of the nastiest tricks we play on ourselves is making an assumption. I know someone who is fond of the phrase "To assume, makes an ass of u and me." If there is a set of three things, x (A+B+C) and A and B are true, it is easy to assume that C is also true and that therefore x is true. But we may discover that C is not true. Then what? We are surprised.

An actor has to deal with things called "discoveries." A performance is real life for everyone involved, but the play is not. It's fiction. It resembles real life, and the closer it does that the more entertaining it is.The actor deals with perspective, which is different from an artist's perspective where the sizes of things in relation to each other can determine how far they are from the viewer. For an actor perspective is about what the character knows and what he doesn't know. Though the actor knows how the play ends, the character does not and hence the actor can't play the end of the play.

The various events that occur during the working out of the plot must come as discoveries, as surprises to the actor, if he is playing the role correctly.

So how does the actor accomplish that and be believable? One way is by making assumptions. He assumes he knows what's happening or what's going to happen, and he may mentally talk himself into it, he temporarily brain washes himself one might say, that is the artistry. so that when the unexpected happens it's a surprise. It may be an event, an arrival of someone or just a vital piece of information. Whatever it is , it's a discovery. Within the course of the drama his life is changed to some degree, sometimes drastically.

The portamento into our real lives is to avoid making assumptions, so that discoveries do not affect us in any drastic way. In fact, a better approach is to look for those surprises wherever we are.

I think discoveries come about in three ways: past, present and future.

Future discoveries are the ones you can realize if you stay alert and not make assumptions about things, and if you experiment and investigate. Turn over the rock to see what's underneath it, take a walk in the woods, if your in a restaurant order a dish you've never had, don't assume you're not going to like it. Go into a book store and open a book on something you know nothing about. I remember talking a friend into reading "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert Pirsig. He didn't want to read it because he assumed it was about motorcycles.

I also remember going into the Museum of Modern Art in NYC when they were renovating it. The paintings were up on peg boards and primitively displayed. As a result a lot of people stayed away. But I turned a corner and came upon "The Piano Lesson" by Henri Matisse. It's now my favorite painting. I thought it had been painted specifically for me. (I still think so.)

Present discoveries are about things that are right there in your life, right now. They are in the attic, the bottom drawer of the dresser, the trunk, or in my case, in the big white box under the window. I was looking for something one day and came upon the Appalachian Mountain Club Trail Guide which prompted me to write about my hike up Tremont Mountain (see Knuckle Knowledge 9/07/08). It was a joy to discover and relive that adventure.

Past discoveries are perhaps the most personal. Those are discoveries you made about yourself that have become lost or transformed by life and other people. What was it that you knew when you were a boy or a girl that you have forgotten about? When it was clear that my life as an actor was put on the shelf I tried to remember what I wanted before that ever came about. I always loved music, but as I realized I had little talent in that direction I didn't give it much time or energy. Then I remembered how I used to entertain my friends by telling stories. I literally rediscovered myself as a story teller. So now I write stories.

There are a great many things, too many to number, in everyone's life waiting to be discovered and rediscovered.

DB Vagabond Journeys

Appreciate yourself.


This is not a contest.

What one person, living or not, would you most like to have dinner with?
What is the first question you would ask them?

You have the winter to answer. Please leave your response on my email or journal with your name, or journal title or email address. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Optimun Opportunity 1/27/09

We must internalize the idea of excellence. Not many folks spend a lot of time trying to be excellent.

President Barack Obama
Good Tuesday to you.

My rule is if you try for good, you'll be okay; if you try for very good ,you'll be good; if you try for excellent, you'll be very good; if you try for perfect, you'll be excellent. No body does it perfectly, at least not often, and depending on how complicated it is (whatever it is), but too many people settle for okay or good when they could achieve so much more.

You've no doubt heard the old saying "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well." But too often that only applies to things that you do to impress other people or to keep your job. Those are acceptable motives for sure but they aren't the best ones. But what about our personal lives, what about the tasks that no one sees. "Oh that's good enough for me. If I was cooking for others I'd make it better."

"Good enough" was a rule of life for people around me when I was growing up and that's why later in life I adopted the rule that says "it can always be better." I try to use it in all aspects of my life. I'm not a "perfectionist" nor do I always achieve excellence, but whatever it is, I know it can be better and so I strive for it as much as I can. I think any self-respecting person does.

Circumstances prevent us from achieving everything as well as we might. Laziness and exhaustion put up their fists. Time runs out. But here's my tactic.

Make a list of all the things you want and need to accomplish this day. Do each one of them as painstakingly and as perfectly as you can. If you don't get through the list it probably means that you've done the ones you did with some degree of excellence.


Thumb thy nose at the winter blues.

Winter Quiz

This is not a contest.

What one person, living or not, would you most like to have dinner with?
What is the first question you would ask them?

You have the winter to answer. Please leave your response on my email or journal with your name, or journal title or email address. Thank you.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Dear Journal Lighters

I've spent the past few days trying to untangle the mysteries of Facebook so I haven't done much journal reading. But I'm still in Google Land, so I'll back around to check up on you. DB

Numerous Natures

Just because you can do a bunch of things doesn't mean that you are a bunch of things.

Bebe Newwirth
Hello. Welcome to Vagabond land

In the film "Sea of Love" there is a scene in which Al Pacino plays two conflicting actions at the same time. He does it so smoothly that only another actor, probably, would notice. I was once rehearsing a play when a director asked me to do the same sort of thing. I said "only Al Pacino can do that." It's very tricky business. It's not quite as difficult as juggling three oranges while sewing a button on a shirt, but it's close.

I believe there really are exceptional people who can hold more than one idea in their heads at the same time. We sometimes think we're doing that when we are just going back and forth from one to the other rapidly. But to actually allow the brain to consider more than one idea concurrently seems magical to me.

I am sometimes curios, when I step back from my own thinking, to consider the fact that we live in such a linear way. All we are really aware of is the present, the strange condition that disappears as fast as it comes. Yes, we have memories and hopes, but we live our lives in a line. It is in those moments of mental clarity that I come close to recognizing myself. I realize that all the tasks I perform, the problems I solve and the questions I answer do not define who I really am. We are not our jobs or our titles.

Nehru says "What we really are matters more than what others think of us." And what we really are is a very difficult thing to describe. Even to ourselves. It's the big question, the big search. But we get sidetracked from the search by all the things we have to do in life, the living. And then we get labeled: He's a baker. She's a bookkeeper. She's a lawyer. He's a cop. None of those things describe "what we really are" but those are the ways others think of us. And if we do "a bunch of things" then what? How do you label someone who is busy with a lot of activities?

A few days ago I wrote a piece here where I mentioned that Peter Falk was an artist. Why should that have been surprising to some? Why is it strange that a person who does one thing very well should also do something else very well? It's because of those labels.

I am a retired actor who writes and paints. What am I? I am a human being. How do I make a living? I live.

DB - Vagabond

What is life? Make it up as you go along.


This is not a contest.

What one person, living or not, would you most like to have dinner with?
What is the first question you would ask them?

You have the winter to answer. Please leave your response on my email or journal with your name, or journal title or email address. Thank you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Manufactured Messes 1/25/09

It is one of man's curious idiosyncrasies to create difficulties for the pleasure of resolving them.

Joseph de Maistre
Hello Friend.

When will I ever learn?

When I was a tot, still in the crawling league, out of curiosity I stuck my head in between the posts on the banister of a flight of stairs. When I couldn't remove it I cried. My mother came to see what the trouble was and said "You got your head in there, you've got to get it out." With great difficult and discomfort I did. And did I learn my lesson?

I have been getting myself into impassible fixes as often as I could for the past 6 or 7 decades. I am a great authority in how to get myself extricated from awful problems that I have created for myself. But, as for knowing how to prevent getting into them in the first place, I'm a dunce.

Why do we do those things? Is it because we're stupid? Or is it because life isn't interesting enough? Or are we all amateur Houdinis as de Maistre suggests, giving ourselves painful challenges just for the joy of solving them, putting ourselves in life threatening situations for the pleasure of surviving, getting stuck in some desperate bondage that we can't get out of just for the glee of escaping?

Every time I work my way out of some trap I've set for myself I give thanks that I've learned my lesson and go on my eccentric, vagabond way knowing that I wont let it happen to me again. Ah, but the subconscious spider is already at work preparing my next disaster. And when I get caught in it I know that one day I will be able to raise my arms and shout "free at last," But for how long?

At least now, when I see a mountain, instead of trying to climb it, I walk around it.

To those of you who keep getting your heads stuck between life's banister posts, I say "I know, I know. Grow up. Knock it off. Take it from me. Don't do it."

I wish you a safe and simple Sunday
DB Vagabond Journeys

This is not a contest.

What one person, living or not, would you most like to have dinner with?
What is the first question you would ask them?

You have the winter to answer. Please leave your response on my email or journal with your name, or journal title or email address. Thank you.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Lost Legitimacy 1/24/09

You have to fight against being an antique.

Burt Lancaster
Happy weekend my friend.

Sometime during the past few days I wrote to one of my journal buddies about a strange antique I discovered one day. When I was in school I worked part time as a night watchman. As a watchman I made rounds and carried a large clock with a shoulder strap. The clock was about 5 or 6 inches thick and inside was a circular piece of paper that was slowly revolving around a spindle, once every 24 hours. Here and there along my route I would come across a small black metal box attached to a wall. It had a lid and when I lifted the lid inside was a large key. The clock had a key hole in the side. I would insert the key into the key hole and turn it. It made a mark on the paper so that the head of security would know that I was in that exact place at that exact time.

About 25 years later I went into an antique shop to look around and there, sitting on a table, with a price tag on it, was one of those little metal boxes with the key inside. I thought, here, a tool I used to use to make a living, was now an antique. Does that mean I'M an antique? I didn't think so and I still don't, but it was a bit of a shock.

I did one show with an older actress who was good on the stage, warm and dependable, but off stage she was artificial and self important. This was in a summer theatre. She had been a resident member of a theatre company in a large city. She took a year off. During that year the producers and directors of the theatre changed. When she returned she went to the first meeting of the company to decide what roles she would play. They asked her to audition. She refused, citing that she was a resident member of the company, everyone knew her work and she had the authority to choose the roles she wanted. She was told: not any more. She went away in a rage.

What she should have done was to roll up her sleeves and give them an audition that knocked them off their chairs. Instead, she faded. She became an antique. Sad story.

DB Vagabond
Today, add a new way of being joyful.

To follow find WINTER QUIZ and Saturday Puzzle.


This is not a contest.

What one person, living or not, would you most like to have dinner with?
What is the first question you would ask them?

You have the winter to answer. Please leave your response on my email or journal with your name, or journal title or email address. Thank you.

Saturday Puzzle

Saturday Puzzle
fill in the consonants Answers Thank you Beth





New Hampshire

Rhode Island







Enjoy your trip.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Kindly Kindling 1/23/09

The difficulty lies not in the new ideas, but in escaping from the old ones.

John Maynard Keynes

Hi. Come on, give me a smile.

I like rain. When it rains most people run inside and hide. But I like the rain, especially in the summertime, not just because it cools everything off, but because it cleans the air. It's like Mother Nature giving one of her children a bath. After the rain everything looks so clear and clean. It creates a fresh look at the world.

Many people also don't like the bathing that makes them take a fresh look at themselves, their lives and the world around them. A fresh look implies the possible necessity of changing things. People refrain from taking up and considering new ideas or seeing old ones in a brighter light.

Why adopt some new idea or some new way of doing things if it hasn't been tried before? Because if we don't, it will never be tried. Why hold on to old ideas and old ways of doing things even though they have proven to be ineffective and incorrect? Because they are familiar. That kind of thinking is like the serpent swallowing its own tail, slowly poisoning itself to death. The focus is in the wrong direction.

We always have a chance to bag up all the trash and take it to the dump. It's not a new beginning, it's a new look, without all the clutter, at the same things that hove been going on ever since there were humans walking the earth.

I know there are people who disagree with me, even in this email/journal land, people who will say the rain only brings mud, but I say let the rain come, let the bathing begin and let's have a fresh look at this strange, unpredictable, mysterious thing known as the world we live in.

DB Vagabond Journeys

Check out WINTER QUIZ and Friday Puzzle below.

Tell someone you like that you like them today.


This is not a contest.

What one person, living or not, would you most like to have dinner with?
What is the first question you would ask them?

You have the winter to answer. Please leave your response on my email or journal with your name, or journal title or email address. Thank you.

Friday Puzzle

Friday Puzzle

Bush past tense drip off. (9)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Just Joining 1/22/09

I sing the songs that people need to hear.

Etta James

Happy New Era.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Intriguing Interruption

Most creative work is a process of people passing ideas and inspirations from the past into the future and adding their own creativity along the way.

Joichi Ito
Hello y'all.

This quote reminds me of an acting exercise I was involved in many years ago. It was an exercise that developed a whole bushel of things that actors need to be able to do: concentration, listening, alertness, improvisation, story telling, etc.

We would stand in a circle. The director had a small kitchen timer, one that would go "ding" when the time was up. At first he would set it for 30 seconds and the first person in the circle would start to tell a story which he made up on the moment. When the bell dinged the next person would immediately pick up the story, even if it was in mid sentence. Meanwhile the director reset the timer for another 30 seconds.

The rule was that you had to include all the characters that were brought into the story unless you found some way to get them out of it.

On another day he would set the timer for various times, so we didn’t know how long we would have to speak and invent, it may be 15 seconds or 2 and a half minutes.

Then one day he brought in a ball (it was actually an orange) and when the timer dinged whoever was speaking would toss the ball to someone else so then, not only didn't we know how long we would have to speak, we also didn't know when our turn was coming.

At first we hated this exercise. But we eventually got to love it.

Y'all have some merriment today.


Check out WINTER QUIZ and Wednesday Puzzle below.


This is not a contest.

What one person, living or not, would you most like to have dinner with?
What is the first question you would ask them?

You have the winter to answer. Please leave your response on my email or journal with your name, or journal title or email address. Thank you.

8 responses so far.

Wednesday Puzzle

Wednesday Puzzle


(This is easy)

The answer to Tuesday's puzzle was: depot

Scroll down to Tuesday Puzzle to read an explanation.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hiddden Horizons 1/20/09

Hard work without talent is a shame, but talent without hard work is a tragedy.

Robert Hall

Good day lucky one.

Welcome to the fable of the tortoise and the hare.

In my career I had the great pleasure of working with some very talented performers and entertainers. The best ones were those who took their work very seriously. They were the ones who took the script or the songs home every night and went through them finding new levels of meaning and expression, They were dependable, original and very interesting to watch and work with. They defined art and life.

Unfortunately, I have also worked with those who had talent and not much desire to work on it. Those people were not interesting to watch for long and any originality was not often enough to be applauded. The sad fact is that talent unaccompanied and unsupported by hard work eventually, almost without exception, falls into repetition and predictability.

The musician, whether classical or rock. who doesn't pick up his instrument in the morning and practice, doesn't last long.

I have also worked with those who had little or no talent. Some of them had good training and got by on that. Some just admitted defeat and walked away. But others would dig in and work at it, and seemingly get nowhere. After days of mediocre work they would suddenly show up with something real and good. It didn't happen by accident.

Are you a tortoise or a hare? If one has talent and works at it, that's great. If one has no talent and works at it that is also great. Remember the tortoise crossed the finish line first.

If one has talent and does not work at it, it's a tragedy. Unfair in all it's ways.

Posted by DB The Vagabond

May you have such frolic as befits you.

Check out the WINTER QUIZ and the Tuesday Puzzle to follow.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...
That is the difference between good and great, effort.

Winter Quiz


This is not a contest.

What one person, living or not, would you most like to have dinner with?What is the first question you would ask them?

You have the winter to answer. Please leave your response on my email or journal with your name, or journal title or email address.

Thank you.
8 responses so far.

Tuesday Puzzle

For crossword puzzle fans:

Ride your bicycle backwards to the train station, without Al.

5 letters

(It's easy.)
Posted by DB

1 right answer. (shame, shame)

Answer: depot ride your bicycle to - pedal to backwards ladep ot without al = depot.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Guaranteed Growth 1/19/09

Guaranteed Growth

If you are not too large for the place you occupy, you are too small for it.

President James Garfield

It seems we are all under a moral obligation to grow, to make our world, our universe expand to accommodate a bigger existence. Only we rarely know that until we are forced up against the walls and ceiling of the place we "occupy."I have learned certain skills and crafts in my life by being forced to jump in the water and being willing to lose sight of the shore for a time. Now, in my retirement, I have asked myself if I am willing to peer out of the nice, snug, tidy rabbit hole again and see what's out there.

There is an entry in Nutwood Junction for January 17 on the topic of boredom. Nobody should ever be bored, (unless they want to be, which is a pity). But when boredom sets in, I think it's a sure sign that we have grown too large for the rabbit hole. If there is nothing more to do in here, why not get out of it.

Of course, the computer gives one the ability to peer out of the hole and look around without leaving the physical safety of the hole. But it doesn't provide the safety of new ideas for the mind to discover. And without that risk the deterioration of the brain, overstuffed with safe thoughts, is in danger without knowing it.

I'm reminded again about the toad who crawls into a hollow rock to escape its enemies and that feeds on whatever bug happens to pass the hole. It keeps on growing and one day it is too big to leave the rock. It's stuck in there for the rest of its life.

So I keep gathering knowledge that i can grow into until I'm too big for it, but I won't stay inside my rock or my rabbit hole. Not for long anyway.

Think some nice warm thoughts before it ges too hot.

DB - The Vagabond

Posted by DB at 4:08 PM

Beth said...
Thanks for the linky, D. Sometimes you just have to push the envelope a little bit, right?B.
January 18, 2009 4:22 PM
Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...
Good reminder that we all need to leave our holes occassionaly to make sure we do not get stuck :o)
January 18, 2009 4:22 PM


This is not a contest.What one person, living or not, would you most like to have dinner with?What is the first question you would ask them?

You have the winter to answer. Please leave your response on my email or journal with your name, or journal title or email address. Thank you.

8 responses so far.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Victorious Voices 1/17/09

Victorious Voices
Everything has its own song.

Josef von Eichendorff

I hear the music of creation.

I hear the sounds of nature.

I hear the songs of life.

I hear the vigorously loud and the beautifully silent.

I hear the rolling tympani of thunder, the cymbal crash of lightening, the snare drum of rain on the window and the sweet celesta of falling snow upon my cheek.

I hear the adagio of the drifting clouds, the harp notes of sunshine and the oboe song of the moon.

I hear the trumpet calls from the mountain tops, the trombones in the forest and the gentle horn upon the surface of the lake.

I hear the flute tones of the humble pebbles on the beach, the whisper of the sand and the parade of marching bands as the tides come in.

I hear the choir of autumn colors, the sopranos in their nests in spring,

I hear the largo of the growing flowers and the presto of the squirrels.

I hear the siren song of stars and the humming along the garden path.

I hear the bubbling madrigal of children on their way to school.

I hear the opera of the busy city streets.

I hear the strings that sing of love and friendship, of hope and faith.

I hear the sounds of nature.

I hear the music of creation.

I hear the symphony of life.

"And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."
Isaiah 55:12

DB Vagabond Journeys

This is not a contest.

What one person, living or not, would you most like to have dinner with?
What is the first question you would ask them?

You have the winter to answer. Please leave your response on my email or journal with your name, or journal title or email address. Thank you.

7 responses so far.

Friday, January 16, 2009

First Focus 1/16/09

I'm just looking to get through the day.

Peter Falk
Double Greetings.
See the WINTER QUIZ at the end of the entry.

New York City is a theatre town. Los Angeles is a movie and TV town. Many actors who work in film and television will tell you that they really miss working on the stage. In fact some of them will even take time out from a busy and lucrative career in front of a camera just for the joy of working in front of a live audience.

I was astonished one day while appearing on a soap opera. I worked with three regular actors who played every day and made a lot of money. I was there for only a few days and made a lot less. After my last day of work they invited me to join them at the bar. I thanked them but said that I couldn't because I was in rehearsal for a workshop production (no pay). They looked at me with envy and one of them said "You're in a play??!!"

The rule in New York is that you don't bother famous people that you happen to run into somewhere unless they invite you into their lives.

Peter Falk was in my drawing class at the Art Students League. He was an intense, serious artist, a nice man, but he didn't talk much. The one time he opened up and chatted was when someone asked him about the play he was doing Off-Broadway.

Even though I never got rich, I'm thankful that I spent most of my career on the stage.

May you have blessings with left overs.

This is not a contest.

What one person, living or not, would you most like to have dinner with?
What is the first question you would ask them?

You have the winter to answer. Please leave your response on my email or journal with your name, or journal title or email address. Thank you.

Four entries so far.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Eternal Exploration 1/15/09

Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.

Sir Arthur Eddington
Hail Hardy One, cold enough?
Check below for WINTER QUIZ.

Georgia O'Keeffe found the universe in a flower, the wandering eye of the Hubble Space Telescope is looking for it in the cosmos. It seems there is always more to discover, whether it is in the immeasurably vast cauldron full of stars and planets swirling and bubbling around in outer space or gently stretching and unfolding itself in the back yard.

Last night I heard a piece of music called "Tzigane" by Maurice Ravel. Ravel was a great composer. I've heard this piece many times before and I love it. It's for solo violin and orchestra, but the violin plays alone for the first half of the piece, swirling and bubbling into all corners of the theme, a song of discovery. Then the orchestra enters, quietly at first with just the harps, but gradually the other instruments follow and at last it ends with a wild, joyful dance. The word "tzigane" means "gypsy." Why do I love it? Because I'm a vagabond? Only one who does it can know the fear, passion and joy of the wanderer and his discovery of the strange. And I have danced on more than one street corner in this universe.

The search goes on still for the new, the strange, the unknown, the inconceivable, the unimaginable. As long as there are wanderers through the garden or the stars the gypsy dance will go on.

If you get some sunlight today, seize it.

This is not a contest.

What one person, living or not, would you most like to have dinner with?
What is the first question you would ask them?

You have the winter to answer. Please leave your response on my email or journal with your name, or journal title or email address. Thank you.

DB - The Vagabond

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Definitive Devotion 1/14/09

Faults are thick where love is thin.

Danish proverb

Happy Wednesday Dear One

"Faults are thick where love is thin." This little seven word proverb is amazing. It's a deep, deep well and a two edged sword.

Have you ever been relaxing on the back porch in a beautiful Spring day, or on the beach in the Summer sun, trying to set your life in order and take better care of yourself, when a friend, a family member, some one close to you who has used the words "I love you" in your direction, comes along, sits down with you and begins disrupting you with all the things that are wrong with you? I have.

Or have you ever held a microscope up to and shone a light on someone's failings under the name of tough love? I have.

Have you ever done something in secret or in private that would hurt the one you love if he or she found out about it? I have.

Or have you ever loved anyone so much that all you wanted to do was to please them, including overlooking their faults? I have.

Have you ever been the receiver of that kind of love? I have.

And have you appreciated it as much as you should have? I haven't.

Everyone has faults, even my enemies. I try to make mercy, love and forgiveness be the rule. Do I succeed? Not yet. Not always. Who does?

But the time has come to thicken the love and thin out the faults.


Be jolly and smile at a stranger today.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Careful Construction 1/13/09

We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same.

Carlos Castaneda
Hello from freezing Pennsylvania

There's a modern Kabbalist scholar who likens our minds to a radio which only plays two stations, One station only gives us good news, the other only bad news. We can choose to listen to the bad news station if we wish, the bad news coming from our heads, and many people do. Or we can listen to the good news, the good thoughts.

But here's the catch. According to the Kabbalist, Satan will come and switch the dial from the good station to the bad station the moment your back is turned. So you have to pay close attention to what you're hearing and keep you eye on that dial.

My analogy has always been a stream. If you're sitting in a row boat in the middle of a stream and you wish to go upstream you have to row. If you sit there and do nothing but wish your were upstream, you will float down stream. It's inevitable.

"Oh how can I think positively with my life in such a mess? I just can't" But now is the best time. Things take time. Some of the misery you have today is the result of things you used to think about. So knock it off. Throw a grain of light right into the face of all the darkness in life and keep doing it.

Thoughts affect not only our lives but the lives of others also. Even though we're all humanoids and as different from each other as flowers are, there is such a thing as group think. Collect a bunch of nihilists, antagonists and fatalists in a room and then add a few, just a few, positive thinkers and watch the change.

I was doing a play in Cincinnati and it was generally well received by the audiences. But one afternoon the folks who came were a particularly good group. After the performance we had a talk back session with them where they could ask us anything they wanted to. And the end of the session I said to them that if they treated actors the way they treated us they would never see a bad performance. One of them asked my why. I said I wasn't sure but I thought it was because they came in to the theatre expecting to have a good time, they came in with a good attitude and it affected us, the actors. They made it easy for us to give our best.

Years ago I spent a winter all by myself in a house upstate New York. I had a store of food, plenty of wood for the stove and some books, But there was no one else around. I had no one to talk to except my cat, who was a nice guy but not much of a conversationalist. I vowed that if I ever got the chance I would talk about what I learned from going through that dark, cold tunnel. And so I do.

Do something good for yourself today.
The Vagabond

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fair Findings 1/12/09

Eat an apple every day from the tree of wisdom and plant the seeds in someone's garden

DB - The Vagabond
Greetings friend.

Today's quote defines my life in many ways. Especially now, in my senior years, when I have so much time to read and think about things.

"Everyone knows actors and actresses are a vain, ignorant group who only read the trade papers or visit the beauty parlor, who primp and posture and are only concerned with how they appear to others. He says he reads philosophy? Ha! Don't believe it. He's just grandstanding, putting on an act, trying to make us think he's smart."

Underestimate me and you hurt me. Overestimate me and you hurt yourself.

There are a great many things I don't know and can't do. I defer to scientists, athletes, doctors and others. But I do know the things I discover and determine on my own. And why not share those things with other people? It's a joy and privilege for me.

I have shared some of my experiences as an actor, not to brag, but to find examples and metaphors for life lessons. When I first began to uncover ideas, the truth behind and under things, I thought I had been blessed with a wonderful opportunity to explore all the caves and summits to see what I could find.

While there is no wisdom in the plow, there is in the plowman. More than we know. More than he knows. And there is no music in the cello until the musician draws his bow across the strings and then only if the music is already in the musician. More than we know. More than he knows. These may seem like simple truisms, and they are, but they point to a great and fundamental fact of life. It is trying to understanding that fundamental fact that keeps me busy now. One's thinking can be fooled in both simple and crucial ways by how one defines something. One must look beyond the obvious to properly define anything. "The cello is a musical instrument." No. "The cello is a devise upon which a musician, if he knows how to manipulate it, can make music." Better. "This poem is a sonnet." No. "This is a major statement about beauty in the form of a sonnet." Better. But there are still deeper levels to find. So I keep on biting and chewing.

The bites from the apple are healthy even if the apple is a little sour sometimes (and please no lame jokes about worms).

challenging standard ways of thinking, speaking and doing things,
expectation of discovery:
these are the tools of this baffled vagabond as I go through the orchard and along the road.

I intend to keep chewing apples and planting seeds for as long as I can. It seems to be what my life is about.

Thank you for reading this entry.

Throw love at them. If they throw scorn back, throw more love and duck.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Basic Beneficence 1/11/09

We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.

Omar Bradley
Hello my invisible friends.

Oh how I solemnly wish I could sit down and write a letter to Leonardo Da Vinci, Johann Sebastian Bach, the anonymous, enlightened writers of scripture, Shakespeare, Plato and all the other people who have given me so much beauty, wisdom, wit and instruction for life.

I'm sure many of them were not fully appreciated during their fleshly lives, but I wish they knew how much alive they are today.

A former girl friend used to refer to me as "a classic." I was never sure what she meant by that. Was I an old car, a leather bound novel or a great film perhaps?

I guess there are some "classics" in the world today, living and breathing and being underestimated. But when I was a youngster I first became fascinated with classical music and consumed as much of it as I could get my grips on, in my impetuous youthful manner. I didn't know why and probably still can't tell you why it was so important to me at the time. Now I know.
Music led me into literature and that led me into art. When I finally pecked my way out of my egg shell of adolescence I became an actor and I carried all of that music with me.

I can enjoy the latest film, folk singer, novel and TV show. But I always look for the roots. Does what I'm seeing and hearing come out of the solid, nutritious ground of importance? Does it connect? Is it another link in the history of love, the love that inspires greatness. Or is it a passing ship?

A lot of ships have passed my way. The stars of my life are still shining.

Now you have a pleasant Sunday, you hear me?

DB - The Vagabond

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Amiable Advice

I am too blessed to be stressed.

Hail, fascinating folks.

"Count your blessings." How often have you heard that advice from somebody? Every time I hear it, it gives me a twinge of guilt that I'm not being grateful enough for what I have. Well, sorry, but I can give you a whole long list of things that aren't right about my life. I can generally count more of those than I can my blessings. Moreover, if I started to count my blessings I'm bound to leave one out. And blanket gratitude such as "I'm thankful to be alive" or "I'm glad I'm an American" won't go very far unless you know why you are.

On the stage you can't play the role if your action is to be grateful. One of the basic rules of acting is "Be Specific." The actor has to know precisely why the character is grateful and exactly what the character is grateful for. Being specific is a way of identifying the single realities that go to make up the character's life and also our own lives.

While reading through the journals I follow on Thursday afternoon I came across a great one by Maria called Are You Positive?. Check it out.
In it she suggests making a short list, 5 items, of things one is specially grateful for on a single day. When I read that I began to apply it right away. It's like breaking down a very difficult job into small individual tasks, the climbing of a flight of stairs one step at a time.

Today: I am grateful:

1 that my space heater works
2 for my friend Karen down the street
3 for the Wagner opera that filled my afternoon
4 that Ken and Beth are back from Las Vegas
5 for Maria's journal

May you have a cheerful day.

DB - Vagabond Journeys

Friday, January 9, 2009

From the past

Kinetic Knack

Being a writer is like having homework
every night for the rest of your life.

Lawrence Kasdan


Good day friends

I write every day. I spent my working life as a performing artist. Due to physical problems I can't work at that trade anymore, so now I write. I am amused to see that Google in its profile section under "industry" has no category marked "theatre," "film" "entertainment" or "show business." So I had to go with "arts." I guess that's okay. Artists have always been considered sub-citizens by the big corporate world, especially actors (except rich and promiscuous movie stars, some of whom are not "actors" in the strictest sense of the word). I'll settle for "arts."

Somerset Maugham said that if you want to be a writer you have to write everyday. In my case I write everyday whether I want to be a writer or not. I write because somehow I feel obligated to. I don't have a publisher or an agent tapping his impatient foot, nor a teacher gleefully giving me impossible assignments. I just think that if I didn't write something and put it in my journal every night I would be letting myself down and also possibly a few readers. So I write whether I feel like it or not.

I often sit at this keyboard and know I have nothing to say. So I check the mail, go for a walk, do a little reading, ponder, take a nap (old folks do that), wake up and have another cup of coffee, while I try to put a sentence or two together. Soon I give up, hopelessly admit a blank mind and an uncreative day. It's pure drudgery. I heave a sigh over my lumpish nature and decide that I'll just leave a quote and forget about it.


Silently and suddenly, like a squirrel showing up on the porch outside the window, a thought comes to me. And then another, and soon there are a few that line themselves up in a good order, Some words pop up, a phrase or two, an example, some language that appeals to me, colors and sounds, pictures, a new way of saying something and a feeling. The squirrel becomes a deer. And then everything begins to circle around a main idea like planets around the sun, each sending out its own energy and beauty and light. The marvelous English language starts caressing my mind. I can't type fast enough. I'm in love again.

I want to see you smile today.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Zany Zaps 1/08/09

Those who realize their folly are not true fools.


Merry day, my friends.

One of the things about being in show business is that most of us have a slightly tilted view of the world and so we tend to recognize each other. Given our unorthodox ways, anything is liable to happen.

I used to live in a large residential hotel in New York City. There was a bank of elevators to take us up to our floors. One day I got on the elevator to go up to my apartment. A very old lady got on with me and also a young woman. I had never met either one of them.

They were doing some renovations on the building, so there was a lot of construction noise. Just as the elevator door closed the old lady said "They make a lot of racket everyday."

I said, "Yes they do.'

Then she said, with a twinkle in her eye, "Well, that's the way the mop flops."

I looked down at her and said "Yup, that's the way the cookie crumbles."

She responded "Yup, that's the way the wind blows."

And we were off!! Without missing a beat,we went back and forth, agreeing with each other, and it went something like this:

That's the way the tail wags,
That's the way the door slams.
That's the way the kite flies.
That's the way the horn honks.
Yup, that's the way the beagle barks.
That's the way the shoe squeaks.
That's the way the bacon sizzles.
That's the way the book opens.
That's the way the acorn falls.
That's the way the worm wiggles.
That's the way the whip cracks.
That's the way the blimp floats
Yup, that's the way the pumpkin grows.
That's the way the bull snorts.
That's the way the gavel bangs.
That's the way the horn toots.
That's the way the moustache droops.

She reached her stop, the door opened and she got off. But the young woman held the door open and said "I want to tell you two that this was the most entertaining elevator ride I have ever had."

I said "That's because we're both in show business. Am I right?" And the old lady said "Yes you are" turned and went on her way.

May you mix in some foolish fun with your day.

DB - The Vagabond

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Yeoman Yield 1/07/09

Only when the sense of the pain of others begins does man begin.

Hello Good Ones.

"Blessed is the man...that sitteth" not "in the seat of the scornful."

How impotent I feel, sometimes, when faced with the barbarity and cruelty of the world, when forced to look on at the agony of other living things and not be able to do anything about it.

I have, unfortunately, witnessed in my life the actions of otherwise seemingly intelligent people who thought it was great fun to torture dogs, cats, humans and other living creatures. I will spare details because I don't want to think about them. People who do those things are unaware that their sadism is a deep sickness of the soul. And if you tell them that they aren't interested.

To pass cavalierly by any creature's suffering is bad. The human thing to do is to soothe distress, heal pain, protect from danger and help not hurt.

But to laugh at another creature's suffering is the lowest form of sub-bestiality. Yes. Even animals don't do that. Laughing at a crippled man walking in the park is no worse than laughing at a crippled pigeon.

We eat animals and we use them, but safer, saner ways of doing those things can be found if anyone is willing to look for them, just as more heinous ways of hurting them can be found if anyone, from his twisted mind, wants to find them.

The troubles that infect human life do not deserve to be scorned. A grimace may mask terrible agony, or it may not, a whine may be just the tip of frozen hopes, a sharp remark may hide inexpressible desperation, a stern frown may mark great fear. We cannot judge other people's woes. What we can do is to be compassionate, attentive, sensitive and helpful.

Those who hurt and enjoy it will continue to do so until they achieve manhood.

May all good radiance shine on you today.

Vagabond Journeys

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Elevated Epiphany January 6

The life of the individual only has meaning insofar as it aids in making the life of every living thing nobler and more beautiful.


Monday, January 5, 2009

A blast from the past

Laughable Loss

If you're trying to invent something new,
you're going to reach a lot of discouraging points
and most people give up.

Steve Lacy


Hello Blog Spotters

It's okay to give up. Giving up is fine. Giving up is good. I give up several times a day. When the pen falls on the floor and disappears into the black hole, I give up looking for it. I gave up trying to get my scanner to work so I could post some pictures in my journal. I gave up trying to get my journal started on blogspot. Everything I have and I've done I gave up on.

What giving up does is to relieve the growing emotions like frustration, desperation and rage. It enables one to let go of the trash that's gathering at the front door of one's thinking. It then enables one to open the door and let fresh air into the mind. It thumbs its nose at failure and disappointment. It justifies tears.

But if you don't take yourself too seriously, it also enables you to go back and start over. The air is cleared, the bonds have been removed and the fog has drifted away. It's a splendid emotional cleaning. It can help to turn misery into joy.

This afternoon I watched a friend accidentally drop a small piece of her telephone as she was trying to assemble it. It fell to the floor and disappeared. She was angry and frustrated because she couldn't find it. Groping around on the floor in the only places it could be just made her more upset. Finally she gave up. We had a chat, shared a few laughs and she went and sat down. From her chair she could see under a cabinet and there was the piece she had been looking for. Not where it should logically be.

Years ago I was doing a play down south. It was a terrible experience. I didn't like the theatre, the director, the other actors or the town. I was miserable. I finally made up my mind to leave. I quit the show, left the theatre and went home. It was a long bus ride to get from there back to New York. And all the way I kept asking myself what I thought I was doing. I was walking away from a job, from my career. I had never done anything like that in my life. But there was a quiet voice inside me which kept saying "You're doing the right thing." I wouldn't have paid any attention to it if it had happened only once. But the voice kept repeating over and over again "You're doing the right thing."

When I finally got home I relaxed and went to sleep. When I woke up the next day I started processing what I had done and I realized that I had accepted that job for the wrong reasons. It was a money choice, not an artistic choice. There was nothing wrong with the play itself. It was the production that made me unhappy.

A week or so later I received a call from another theatre asking me to come and play the very same role I had walked away from. A bigger theatre, a better director and a nicer group of people all around; it was a very happy experience. Obviously I had done the right thing.

I spent my life working as a performing artist. Now I'm retired with physical problems. I've given up acting and quit show business. Will I ever work again? I don't know. But as my actor/director friend Jim. I have sung my swan song so many times I no longer take myself seriously.

May all of your friends be thinking good thoughts about you right now.

DB - The Vagabond

Xenophilic Xylograph 1/05/09

You are not very good if you are not better than your best friends imagine you to be.

Johann Lavatar

Never make assumptions about people.

I like the prayer which says: Lord, make me the person my dog thinks I am.

Why does your dog have a higher opinion of you than your best friends do? Maybe it's because your dog asks no questions and makes no assumptions.

There's also a song: "Nobody knows the trouble I've seen." Even our friends, who know more about us than our dogs, don't know the real weight of the burdens we carry around with us, the pains of the present and the past, dreams we cherish for the future and the fears that lurk in the dark corners of our minds.

Even worse is when a friend underestimates us, places us on a lower level of experience, knowledge and ability than we rightly deserve. Overestimate me and you are liable to hurt yourself. Underestimate me and you hurt me.

I have sometimes had to redefine my relationship with people who persist in wrongly patronizing me about things they have no knowledge of. I've also lost friends who made wrong critical judgements about me.

I once had a friend who believes that I made a long and expensive call on his telephone. We knew each other for many years. Why he would assume that I made that call without telling him and, certainly, reimbursing him for it is a mystery, as is his continuing belief that I lied about it. I still care for that fellow. We were friends. But so be it.

I am a better man than he thinks I am and I know it, and since I have no dog to back me up, that will have to do for me. Which it does.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

From the ancient archives

We die daily. Happy those who come to life as well.

George MacDonald

Every day is a disaster, to one degree or another. Things explode, or they implode. Things break down and refuse to get fixed. Other things don't work right. Things don't go the way you want them to or expect them to. You tried, you failed. So what's the solution? The solution is: tomorrow.

I used to have an early morning radio program in a big city. I went on the air before most of my listeners were awake. As they came to they relied on me to tell them what day it was, what time it was, what the weather forecast was for the day, etc. I would also remind them frequently that they had another chance to do great things. I would pepper my announcements by saying "Thank heaven we have another day on our hands." Then, since I was in a big city with a lot of commerce going on I would say things like "Make that sale!" "Win that case!" "Pass that test!" "Sign that contract!"

People would often write and tell me how much they appreciated that gentle boot in the rear as they were getting ready to leave the home and head out into the jungle.

When you get up tomorrow remember that you have another day on your hands, and make a mole hill out of that mountain you made today.

DB - The Vagabond

From the ancient archives

I really just want to be a warm yellow light
that pours over everyone I love.

Conner Oberst

I spent my life as an entertainer. As an actor, the motive was to share the talent and ability I was blessed with and the craft and experience I developed, to touch people's hearts and minds, to heal.

Now, since I can't work any more, due to illness, I am trying to do the same things through my writing. I try to share my thoughts and feelings, my impressions and lessons, and, though the payback is sparse, I seem to keep doing it.

But I'm pushed down hard with the burdens of sickness, pain, poverty, debt, threats and other troubles. And one day I will stop. It's inevitable.

One of these days I'm gonna set my burdens down.
One of these days, Lord, I'm gonna set my burdens down.
One of these days I'm gonna set my burdens down,
And carry my song away.

The Vagabond