Saturday, March 31, 2012

At Night

Midnight vigils make me happier than sleep or rest.

Hello Indigo
The evening is the hardest time for me. That's when I'm the loneliest. There is a lot of activity going on outside which I am not a part of nor would I be. My noisy neighbors generally knock off their fighting and turn in about 9:30. The cars start up and leave or else come in and park. The kid with the basketball usually gets tired around eleven. That's when the second part of my day begins. The cerebral part.

The morning is the ritual of moving things around, trying to make sense of the distopia I'm still living in. The afternoon is for shopping which manipulated on crutches or one crutch and a shopping cart is a one legged race. How many places along the way can I stop and rest without being mistaken for a vagrant (or a vagabond perhaps).

Ah but at eleven o'clock PM, when the noise is over, my journal is written and ready to post, that's when the books come out to play and my thoughts with them.

Why do I feel like napping at 4:30 in the afternoon but at midnight I'm wide awake. Some of it comes from my Pavlovian conditioning of life in the theatre, where the evening was always the busiest time and everyone was at a peak of energy. It was also a time when a bunch of creative people came together to work and i miss that a lot. That's probably why the evening is the loneliest time for me.

But at night my books are my friends and I admire and respect every one of them. There isn't a deaf ear among them. They entertain me and make me think. What more could you ask of a friend?

DB - The Vagabond
Never Give Up

Friday, March 30, 2012

Vagabondism 304

Vagabondism #304 "When in doubt, write it out."


One's perception of other people is usually always bigger or smaller than those people really are.

Dana Bate
Hello Ken
I don't like being underestimated. Who does? It happens frequently to me. There's an old saying "Still waters run deep." I see it often assumed that I don't have the capacity or knowledge to do something simply because I'm thinking about it. One can't see thoughts and sometimes more facets and particles of something come in to occupy my thoughts than it appears to others. My mother used to call me a dreamer because she would see me sitting and appearing to stare aimlessly into space. When I tried to describe what I had been thinking about she would just shake her head. She was by necessity a doer, not a thinker.

Underestimating people usually comes from judging the book by the cover. The ugly runty guy at the back of the classroom may offer the answer to the math problem on the board. But who would ask him? I was once told that I could never play a role that I went on and played somewhere else. Underestimate me and you hurt me.

On the other hand, overestimate me and you may hurt yourself. People who expect things from me that I am really in no position to give can lead to all sorts of problems and bad feelings. While my tendency is to say yes to whatever comes along in my life, sometimes I have to back up and pull my oars in the other direction.

One of my biggest problems is my bad habit of overestimating other people. I tend to give everyone the benefit of whatever doubt I may sense and accept people as being who they say they are or who they present themselves to be. I will sometimes suffer great disappointment and awful pain as a result. Friends I though were really friends, artists who I thought were sincere artists and lovers I thought were constant and faithful have fallen by the way simply by being who they really were and I overlooked the truth. I assumed.

There's another old saying "To assume makes an ass out of u and me." I admit to wearing the asses head on many occasions.

The answer is to not assume one way or the other, to ask the right questions at the appropriate time and withhold judgement and most certainly feelings until the facts are known and a person's values and character are ascertained.

It is most surely not an easy thing in this frothy, surrealistic dream of mortal life to find someone's true value and that person's real place in the cosmic scheme of things. Sometimes we meet someone with whom we have an equal stature in the world but we know for some other reason we will never be friends. So we part respectfully and go on our separate ways.

I value and cherish the friends I have, not because we are the same "type" of person but because we are open to experiencing life from a similar level of character and intelligence. And we gave up evaluating each other long ago.

Dana Bate - The Vagabond
Never give up.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vagabondism 303

Vagabondism #303 "Imagine the future, not the past."

A Guy Like Me

I'm a guy.
I'm a pipe and slippers kind of guy.
I'm a spoon in the mug kind of guy.
I'm a Bach and Mozart kind of guy.
I'm a buttered bagel kind of guy.
I'm a Braque and Picasso kind of guy.
I'm a listen to the waves kind of guy.
I'm a Kant and Plato kind of guy.
I'm a walk in the rain kind of guy.
I'm a Shaw and Shakespeare kind of guy.
I'm a feed the seagulls kind of guy.
I'm a book and bath tub kind of guy.
I'm a break for animals kind of guy.
I'm a sit by the fire place kind of guy.
I'm an I love children kind of guy.
I'm a heart on sleeve kind of guy.
I'm an ask directions kind of guy.
I'm a thinking, feeling kind of guy.
I'm a peanut butter sandwich kind of guy.
I'm a freedom loving kind of guy.
I'm a no nuts in my ice cream kind of guy.
I'm an as few clothes as possible kind of guy.
I'm a stay up late kind of guy.
I'm a Verdi, Wagner kind of guy.
I'm a pumpkin pie at Christmas kind of guy.
I'm a beer with the boys kind of guy.
I'm a wash the dishes kind of guy.
I'm a search for wisdom kind of guy.
I'm a hugging kind of guy.
I'm a guy.

DB - Vagabond
Never Give Up

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Vagabondism 302

Vagabondism #302 "Search for the light that knows no darkness, that casts no shadow."

Kindle One

The sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.

Carl Jung
Hello Lora
One of the great mysteries about human beings is that so many people don't believe or understand that goodness, virtue, honesty and excellence are really the most important qualities in life to be strived for. Oh, you can call me an innocent fool of you wish, but too many thinkers of the present and past have agreed that we survive only because we shun the self destroying evils that grow in the swamps of ignorance. I often wonder what dangerous weed it is that people suck on to make them oblivious to any wrong doing. Cheating, lying, stealing, infidelity, crime and revenge are justified up and down the stairways of our lives and they leave behind a small but loving group of stunned victims.

I read a lot of philosophy, and the best thinkers have agreed through the centuries that the pursuit of virtue is man's greatest responsibility and when achieved his greatest reward. While hedonism, egotism, nihilism and a false sense of entitlement have been liberally handed out to the unsuspecting non-thinkers. Where do those come from? A talking serpent? ("You shall not surely die.")

When I read the comments iI get about what I've written I always think I'm preaching to the choir and trying to convert the converted. Do the people who really need to read this read it? How much light can one man shine in the darkness and how much compassion can he show for the people living in it.?

People who live in the dark don't care about themselves, even as they appear the most self-concerned, self-righteous and self-important. People who live in the dark are squeamish about true courage, the courage it takes to be good. People who live in the dark are morally corrupt and they don't' know it.

The darkness is always around wherever there are shadows and it's ready to entrap any one of us, even saints. And that is why the light must always be lit, as the ancient Hebrews learned. One match can't do that much, but it can light another and that can light a candle and the candle light can set some rolled up paper on fire which will get the wood stove going. Twigs form the wood stove will light the lamps. So there is heat and light.

If you have one match, one good idea, one simple desire to help, one chance "to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being," there is no telling what can come of it for the benefit of those who aren't listening to my sermon.

DB - The Vagabond
Never Give Up

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What Peace?

One path alone leads to a life of peace The path of virtue.

I have searched my soul. I didn't say or do an unkind thing. I didn't judge or criticize. I taught her some things. I gave her money. I gave her some winter gloves. I bought her flowers. I was getting ready to do a lot more. I admired, respected and believed in her. I gave her my purest affections. I loved her like a daughter. And now there's a nasty thorn stuck onto my blameless heart that won't dislodge. Where is my peace?


Vagabondism 301

Vagabondism #301 "Walk in the light if you see it and pay no attention to those who walk in the dark."

Carpe Diem

Catch, then, O catch the transient hour, improve the moment as it flies.

Saint Jerome
Hello Ally
I was born in 1939. That was known as the Post Depression Era. There were wealthy people of course. There are always wealthy people, most of whom know nothing at all about wealth. But for the average guy, facing the horrible memories and echoes of the depression, the most important thing was to have a job. It really didn't matter, in many cases, what the job was as long as it provided a living wage. I grew up with that ethic drummed into me. I shouldn't think about having a career. Get a job.

In my recent move I've uncovered many things that have been packed away for want of space. Now that I have some room I'm unpacking boxes and discovering what is inside them. One of the things I found is my original Social Security card. I never had it replaced because I haven't had to show it to anyone for many years. You might say it's a collectors item.

It reminded me of my first job, a stand up job running a machine that wrapped up to mail issues of the Port Chester Daily Item of Port Chester, New York. For an entire summer I stood at a table with a stack of brown wrappers in front of me each with a number on it. The numbers repersented the number of papers I had to wrap. I would slide them across the wrappers into a small forked arm of metal and step on a switch. The machine did the rest. I put the wrapped papers in a pile and later someone came by to collect them. I took a bus back and forth to work and at lunch break I had a burger at Scotty's Diner. Four years later I had my first professional acting job.

The theatre became my career, my profession and my job. But I got side tracked into a radio announcing job that was very good. Although a cornucopia of difficulties and tensions, radio can be a lucrative and satisfying endeavor, I made money, I was satisfied, I was self-satisfied, life was good, the future was rosy, I thought. I didn't have to worry about anything. I had a job.

I was the afternoon announcer. In the evenings, after dinner and a few drinks I would put myself to sleep watching aimless, inane television. I did that for seven years. SEVEN YEARS.

Today that is one of the greatest regrets of my life. What did I do with all that time I had given myself? Nothing. At about the same time as that was beginning to worry me I was growing dissatisfied with just broadcasting. Although for some announcers going on the air everyday was a thrill, for me the thrill was gone. Then I heard the Paul Simon song "One man's ceiling is another man's floor." It hit me that what I was doing was bumping my head on the ceiling. I had to move on. (What? And give up your job?)

I did, and went back into the theatre which kept me active and busy, challenged and involved with life up to it's full cup and running over. No regrets, except that I didn't do it sooner.

Now I write every day and paint often. I am busy, productive and reasonably happy, in spite of personal problems. I don't want to waste another moment of life, and I pass along the same advice to everyone.

There is a useless, pointless life to be lived drinking yourself silly every night or getting high on drugs and playing stupid games on a screen or in a bed. Life is the most important thing you have. Why waste it?

The present is what we have and what we always have, in fact it's all we have. It should be grasped, seized and improved on in every way possible. It doesn't matter what you do with the present moment as long as you don't waste it.

Dana Bate - The Vagabond
Never Give Up

Monday, March 26, 2012

Vagabondism 300

Vagabondism #300 "My mind is a museum of oddities and paradoxes."

Bits And Pieces

In small proportions we just beauties see,
And in short measures, life may perfect be.

Ben Johnson
Hello Beth
"Every Little Movement Has a Meaning All Its Own" (Otto Harbach).

One of the things a good actor will do is to break down his part into small pieces in order to understand how they fit into the drama. They can be called anything,but usually they're known as "units and objectives." Each unit is connected to an objective which motivates it, and each objective is connected to the main desire or purpose of the character in the play. His goal. Sort of like life.

Let's say you need a loaf of bread. And let's say that means going to the market and buying one.
Unit 1. See if you have enough money.
Unit 2. Put on your coat.
Unit 3. Turn off the necessary lights.
Unit 4. Open the door and go out.
Unit 5 Close the door and lock it.
Unit 6. Walk to the store. (Including simple units of crossing streets, etc.)
Unit 7. Enter the market.
Unit 8. Search for the bread.
Unit 9. Take it to the cashier.
Unit 10. Pay for it.
Unit 11. Take the bread.
Unit 12. Leave the store.
Unit 13. Walk home.
Unit 14. Unlock the door and open it.
Unit 15. Put the bread down.
Unit 16. Close the door.
Unit 17. Turn on the lights.
Unit 18. Take off your coat.

Overall objective: To have a loaf of bread.

(I don't know why this is underlined. Please ignore it.)

Our whole lives are spelled out in simple units tied to objectives. There is a good side and a bad side to that.

The bad side is that we can become so involved in the simple units of our daily lives that they become more important than the objectives we are really living for. Our lives become fragmented and we cease to hold on to the dreams and hopes we once had.

The good side is that as we go through life we can become so much more enriched if we take the time to enjoy the units along the way. Our path is full of interesting thngs to be observed and enjoyed.

The grander our objectives, our hopes, dreams and goals, the better our lives. And the more we see our units in small portions ansd short measures the happier we will be attaining or goals.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Vagabondism 299

Vagabondism #299 "The purpose of life is to translate oneself into a better, happier person."

Hot Water

He knows not his own strength that hath not met adversity.

Ben Johnson
Hello Val
The quotation above is very similar to the one I have heard from various sources all claiming to have made it up: "A man is like a tea bag. He doesn't know how strong he is until he gets into hot water." As far as I know it came originally from Kay Kyser, the band leader.

Some of the things I consider adversities are things that don't work right, things you have to wait too long to find out if they work and things that don't work at all. Certain computer systems and human relationships fall under those categories.

Not having enough money is another awful depressing attack on one's sense of right and wrong. After careful planning and budgeting, with all things factored in you still come up $17. 24 short at the end of the month.

Illness is a big one. Nothing is more detrimental to a happy life than having to compensate for a body that doesn't work right. It's expensive to take care of and if there is pain involved we are forced to focus on the wrong things.

Lost opportunities rank up there with the adversities of a struggling life. Along with them come regrets, those dirty rags in the drawer you somehow can't throw out.

Another adversity is the lack of advantages and resources. He gets the job or he gets the girl because he has a cell phone and you don't.

Being misunderstood, minimized, underestimated, scorned, scoffed at, ignored and criticized by some self satisfied moron, are back door adversities that sneak up on one from behind.

Having your wallet or your idea stolen, hearing someone else being praised for your work, being blamed for things that aren't your fault, being unprepared for the thing you are suddenly called upon to do. are more adversities to fight with.

Plans that go awry, people who don't show up when they are expected, being trapped someplace with no escape, make life over difficult.

For me today adversity is the continuing memory of betrayal, deception that went on every day for twenty days under my feet where I could hear it, a broken heart, with a healing process that is taking too long to work.

How strong am I?
DB - The Vagabond
Never give up.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


I gave my heart to someone and she stomped on it with lies and betrayal. It's an old story. But just because it's an old story doesn't make it hurt less.

Vagabondism 298

Vagabondism #298 "You can't awaken one who is mentally asleep unless you first convince them that they are sleeping."

The Museum

We can draw lessons from the past, but we cannot live in it.

Lyndon Johnson
Hello Arlene
Sometimes I think the concept of time is one of our worst enemies. It's a vast, somber, dimly lit museum where live all the events of our lives, most of them forgotten about. But there are two rooms where the lights go on and off at random times and in those rooms are displayed some of the more colorful artifacts and anecdotes, the shards of experience. One room is The Happy Memories Room and the other is simply called Regrets. I try not to visit that room although sometimes I'm coaxed into it. I visit the Happy Memories Room on occasion, usually to cite some experience for this journal or to tell a story to a friend. The fact is I see no point at all in visiting either of those rooms, or the entire museum as a whole. Everything in there is from my past, or rather my memory of my past. To walk through either of those rooms is to invite a particular form of irreversible trouble. The temptation is to stay. It's a mesmeric trick that takes over our sense of direction and destination. (The same trick that makes us take the wrong exit off the highway.) If we think we are being asked to stay and enjoy the lagony and ecstasy of the past in either room, we should get out fast before the door closes.

Today marks one month I have been in my new home. I should actually call it my home because my former dwelling was anything but a home if home is where you are supposed to be comfortable, at ease and safe.

Since moving here I've acquired some furniture, have my paintings out of boxes and leaning up against walls and windows where I can see them, have had my books arranged, disarranged, rearranged, disarranged again and in the process of being rearranged. Thanks to the tireless Linda R. and her visits I'm slowly getting myself in the proper alignment with what I have in my mind as a home. I'm down to about 98% of the pain I brought with me and most of that has turned into disgust.

I have noisy neighbors, not the rock and roll noisy types with their ear splitting entertainment. These are the argue-with-each-other type which I don't mind. There are no dope dealers in the place as far as I can tell. No one could sneak in anyway since their apartment door is right outside my bedroom window. "Let the dead bury their dead."

I think the most important item I brought with me is my future. As memories and regrets, past and current, take their places in the dusty museum of my former life I look forward at what can be, what should be and what will be.

DB - The Vagabond
Never Give Up

Friday, March 23, 2012

Vagabondism 297

Vagabondism #297 "One should never lose one's enthusiasm for right thinking."

The Arts In You

Walk on. Walk on. Nothin' ever stays wrong that long

Reba McIntire
Hello Jen
The creative act should be a joyous one whether you're designing a tea cup or a temple. A person can sit feeling that their life is in shambles, take a pencil and make a few marks on a piece of paper, even if it's just a doodle, and things immediately start to get better. Maybe the improvement is barely noticeable but if the creative process picks up it will have a measurable effect.

Maybe drawing and painting isn't the right road for the pursuit of your particular form of jollity. Try writing. Put down on paper just how miserable you feel and then try to make it humorous.

No? OK, then try one of the other forms of creativity. Don't just nest in front of the TV and hope the distraction will make you feel better. It will, temporarily. But when the soporific horror story of personally uninvolved pursuit of justice wears off you will still be miserable. The endless playing of games is just as hypnotic as TV and robs us of many hours of life.

Art is a mixture of physical activity, imagination and discovery. As an actor it was always a pleasure to find the mental imagery that described the goal or desire that took me through a scene. It was graphic and interesting.

Dip the brush in blue paint and put it on the canvas. The color announces itself in graphic terms and asks to be spread around in your life and connected with others. There may end up being no blue at all in your picture, but that is a matter of discovery.

I'm a terrible typist. I make so many mistakes it takes me twice as long to write something as it should. Even so the process of writing is a pleasure for me, and often a necessity. I enjoy putting the words on the page because I know the words are there. When my life is miserable the words can say what my silent screams can't. I often wonder if my writing is important enough. Is it a tea cup or a temple? In the theatre there's a saying: There are no bit parts, only bit players. Miles Davis said that there are no wrong notes. And Reba McIntire says "Nothin' stays wrong that long." If you set out to design a temple and it comes out a tea cup, so what? You might start out with a tea cup some day and come up with a temple.

As human beings we have been given imagination, creativity, the ability to see, hear and think, to articulate what we think, to discover and design. It's an insult to life if we don't.

I miss the theatre very much and the people in it. I miss art class. I miss playing in an orchestra. But I can write and paint. I have a new home and a new life. Creativity lives here. Joy will follow.

DB - The Vagabond
Never Give Up

Thursday, March 22, 2012


A deceiving dope user erases her life as she goes.

Vagabondism 296

Vagabondism #296 "Look for the things you can't do, and do them."


Set your goals high and don't stop till you get there.

Bo Jackson
Hello Arlene
There are too many obstacles in the way of achieving our goals. The higher and more noble the goal the more obstacles we encounter. There must be some kind of sinister law about that. Some people will say not to want too much out of life and that way avoid the troubles that come with trying to get it. There's an old saying I've heard that goes "You always get what you want, so be very careful about what you want."

The human spirit is a flexible thing, thank goodness, and can stretch out to grasp ideas that are higher than the day by day views we have of life. Marcus Aurelius said "A noble man compares and estimate himself by an idea which is higher than himself, and a mean man, by one that is lower than himself." So why not grab a noble idea and pursue it?

I've known people in the past who I admired for their ability to face up to whatever obstacles come up and simply deal with them without getting upset or side tracked. It's the obstacles of life that make us forget what we were really doing before they occurred. It happens to me all the time.

I love to read. I get very bored with books that don't point out new and unusual trails for me to consider. I may get side tracked wandering onto one of those But the adventure is worth it. Sooner or later, however, I have to get out the trail guide and find my way back to the goal that really motivates me, the goal of enlightenment.

Human relationships can also pose enormous obstacles. Did I waste my gentle affection on someone who wasn't worth it? Maybe. But it sure took me down the rocky road to nowhere for a while. On the other hand when Linda R. comes over she jumps in rearranging my books, my furniture and my life. But at the same time she is an artist and a woman of insight and positive energy. If she distracts me from my goal it's a pleasure, doesn't last long and doesn't send me down into the cul de sac. I also have email friends I can count on for words of sanity and sooth. The right companionship is important.

But most important is the size, quality and value of the goals you set for yourself. Don't stint yourself. Don't come short of your potential. Don't be mean to yourself and compare with ideas that are smaller than you are. just to avoid obstacles On the contrary reach for something bigger. The Bible says "Set your affection on things above," (Colossians) Emerson said "Hitch your wagon to a star.."

DB - The Vagabond
Never Give Up

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Sad Story

What was a pure, innocent, beautiful friendship between an old man, Dana, and a young woman, Teresa, was torn to shreds by drugs, deception, a lesser dope dealer and an awful misunderstanding. Did I waste my years of gentle affection? Who knows? Now my prayer is: Send me the friend I can love.



Concentrate on the things that grow in the garden of your mind and don't play with imaginary toads.

Dana Bate
Hello Jon
Years ago, when I was preparing an Off Broadway play in New York, there was a director who took much fiendish delight in playing stupid games with his actors. Some directors, unfortunately, are like that. This was a serious play about drug addiction called "A Hatful Of Rain." My intuition told me that I probably didn't want to work with this director but the two younger actors in the show were very sure that I was the one they wanted for the role, so I signed the contract.

All of the other actors had been working on the play for several days and were familiar with the script. I had only read it once, but the director wanted us to start off improvising. Now improvisation is an old technique in theatre but it is only useful if you know something about the story and the character you play. It is unfortunate that a lot of English teachers don't understand that principle.

One of the actors in this play was a very good improvisor and took up about a half hour treating us to a long and involved scenario which was very interesting but had nothing to do with the play. When my turn came I had nothing to say since I wasn't that familiar with the story. The director pushed me to do something and I came up with an improvisation that was of no use to me or anyone else. Finally I insisted that we were just wasting time. We had 2 weeks before opening and I needed to learn the lines and study the script. The director had no choice but to relent.

The human being is an endlessly fascinating creature. We are capable of understanding great ideas, of making elaborate plans and carrying them out, of creating great beauty and contributing great value to the society in which we live. And what do we do? We fret. We worry about tomorrow, we think of all the things that could go wrong, we imagine complex but totally fictitious scenarios and let them fill our thoughts, we get caught up in strange rituals which govern our daily activities for the sake of a false sense of security, while at the same time we ignore the things that are really important until they insist themselves upon us. We play with toads and let the garden go.

Mental discipline isn't all that difficult. It just takes a choice. And it takes focus. I admit I can fill up my thoughts with all sorts of slimy things hoping around in my mind. Who can't? It seems to be a law of nature that if you leave something alone long enough it will disintegrate. The correct therapy to cure a disintegrating mind is to start using to think in a positive and disciplined manner.

Good conversation is another healthy activity, but it has to be "good" conversation not the negative, down focused junk talk that some people like to engage in. When you witness an exchange of ideas slowly morphing into a toad change the subject or walk away. That's an improvisation leading nowhere.

Projects that occupy your mind are excellent therapeutics against toads. I find it in writing, painting and lately rearranging my new home. It isn't hard to find something to do to focus your mind out of the cobwebs of low level toad mentality onto a higher plane of experience. If in doubt read a good book.

An actor has to have intense concentration when he is on the stage. Whenever my inner monitor told me I was losing concentration I would ask myself a question about something that had just been said or done in the play. It gave me a fresh approach to what I was doing there and what followed was like new to me, an improvisation.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vagabondism 295

Vagabondism #295 "Wisdom flutters through the mind like a butterfly only to be captured in someone's net and pinned to the wall in the dead form of words."

The Good And The Bad

Self-respect is the corner stone of all virtue

John Herschel
Hello Marty
Evil sneaks into our lives with charm and subtlety. It is interesting, exciting, entertaining and beautiful in its reptilian way. Evil always begins by telling us something true. So we believe it. Then it tells us things that maybe aren't quite so true, but we believe them also because the first thing was true. If we keep on believing and accepting we eventually say strange things and do things we never dreamed we would do. Eventually we wake up and discover that we've been debauched, degraded and corrupted. Evil has won.

After years of shameful acts, guilty endeavors, malicious, regretful deeds and a degraded life, enjoying a victim's pain and distress,can one, who wakes up to what has happened to them, actually regain any innocence and self respect? Some people do survive. Others do not.

What is wrong with our society that people are not taught to respect themselves at an early age? Why aren't people warned to beware of the pleasant smiling face that holds out the gentle hand of evil? One can forgive a trusting child who in it's innocence is taken in by the predator. The kidnapping of a child is not the child's fault. The question is what happened to the predator that turned him into a kidnapper? What has evil done to that person to bring them to that mentality? What has taken control of the liar, the deceiver, the betrayer, the destroyer, the thief, the torturer, the killer and allowed that person to justify their actions by saying the victim is a fool, when the victim is perhaps one of the most reliable and respectable people in the world. What evil causes the predator to go after a blameless mind?

Those are hard questions and one's this journal is not qualified to answer. The larger question of what it takes to regain one's innocence and self-respect after a contract with evil is important enough to conjecture upon. We learn behavior, good and bad, by observation, example and emulation. Evil doesn't demonstrate anything but itself and is eventually self-destroyed. Goodness, on the other hand, shows itself in many ways. One of the most important is in not responding in kind to evil, aiding it or supporting it an any manner, pointing out to others evil's masquerades and offering alternatives to evil's recipes for disaster. The good man doesn't lie to get gain, doesn't cheat on people, betray their feelings, trick them, disrespect them for being trustworthy and doesn't malign them for their goodness.

A good man will no doubt have regrets, but he will know why and how to avoid those pot holes along they way as a result. The good man will have achieved a healthy measure of self-respect. A good man will be more virtuous today than he was a year ago. And he will attain more virtue in a year's time because he works at it. He learns more and more how to recognize evil when he sees it and how to avoid it and why.

He may treat the crook with compassion or disgust, but he will not do less than provide an example of virtuous life to the extent he is able.

Some day I may be wise enough to consider what warps an otherwise intelligent person into a state of degradation such as I recently witnessed with a former friend. But for now I am gladly returning to a comfortable level of self-respect and trying to wash my thoughts clean of evil.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up

Monday, March 19, 2012

Vagabondism 294

Vagabondism #294 Why is it the so-called pious ones are the first to pick up stones and throw them?

A Good Man

The time has come to reprint this. The actual event happened 13 years ago and first appeared in my journal last year. As a result of some evil treatment I received not long ago I think I need it now and hope it has dimensions for you.
Even the fear of death is nothing compared with the fear of not having lived
authentically and fully.

Frances Lappe
How do we authenticate a life? What yardstick do we use to measure a life's worth? What map do we have to chart a life, even a short one, that is lived to the fullest? I'm such a humanitarian that I believe the only way we can take the dimensions and value of anyone's life is in how it affects, directly or indirectly, other people's lives.

There have always been a few people in my life that I look up to and think about whenever I'm involved in any project or activity. Even if they never know about it, I want to make sure they would be pleased if they did.

About twelve years ago I worked on a play about two old vaudevillians who flee the city in retirement and live in a cabin in the woods. When neighbors come to call who recognize them, they ask the two old guys to do one of their routines. So they do.

Ed, the other actor, and I got along very well on stage. We were a real two man team. But backstage he was a problem. He was one who liked to criticize, and make jokes at other people's expense. Sometimes I was the butt of his jokes, but I refused to let it bother me. Instead I treated him with equality, equanimity and respect.

Because there was a song and dance number in the show we had a choreographer. One day in rehearsal during a ten minute break, instead of going outside as I usually did, I took a seat in the house directly in front of him. He leaned over and said "I really am impressed by what you are doing and I admire the way you are with Ed. You treat him with respect. You're a good man Dana."

I turned, smiled and thanked him. Then I went out to the park in back, sat by myself on a bench and wept.

Why did I weep? Because something occurred to me right then that I had never realized before. No one had ever called me "a good man" in my entire life. They said I was a good actor, or a good announcer or I did a good job. But never the plain, simple, genuine recognition that I was a good man. I had to wait until I was 60 before somebody actually said that to me. I will never forget that choreographer and that moment. It brings on a tear just now, thinking about it.

If you know someone who is a good person, don't just keep it to yourself, tell them so. And be genuine about it. You will never know how much it means to them

DB - The Vagabond
Never give up.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Strong Ones

Some people strengthen society just by being the kind of people they are.

John Gardner
Hello Jen
Doing the right thing by someone they've badly hurt is beyond the ability of drug users..

To man up or woman up to take joyous responsibility for the society they live in is beyond the ability of the sluggards of the world.

To provide genuine welfare for the society they live in is impossible for the sub-human parasites of life.

To feed the hungry, heal the sick and help the poor is out of bounds for the stupid.

To face the challenge of doing an honest day's work is anathema to the crooked.

And to rely on the gratification of the senses to solve the difficult problems of living is prurient, self righteous suicide.

In a flippant mood I've said that there are two kinds of people in the world: those who leave a mess and those who clean it up. Maybe, since I just had another birthday, I am finally becoming an old curmudgeon. I don't think so though. I'm not running out of compassion, I'm just running out of patience. The worst and most difficult kind of mess to clean up is one who has made a mess out of their lives. If someone wants to really be a member of the low life, antisocial, human trash, let them. And if someone really wants to ally themselves with those weaklings, let them. Who am I to try to take a mop to those unfortunate souls?

I want to continue to be the kind of man who can strengthen society in whatever way I can, which in these days is fairly limited to Vagabond Journeys. And I want to continue to admire and support others who are doing the same strengthening.

I have no patience with the selfish, self serving, self gratifying, self indulgent wastes who seem to people the planet. If someone wants to grow up to be a perpetual adolescent, with no purpose except self destructive behavior and no strength of character what can one person do except to keep pointing out the way and preaching the sermon to those who aren't listening One can always hope that an awaking will come. But for some hopeless people the awakening comes too late in life. Then there is desperation, a fear so deep and suffocating it kills.

Fortunately for us who live there are people who keep civilization from toppling just by nature of who they are. I wish to know only those people and to be one of them in my humble way.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Note

Doing the right thing by someone they've badly hurt is beyond the ability of drug users and drug dealers.

Vagabondism 293

Vagabondism #293 "A good cigar is like a visit from a friend."

The Lights Are On

At some moment I did answer Yes to Someone - or Something - and from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life, in self-surrender, had a goal.

Dag Hammerskjold
Hello Arlene
Yesterday I took a long walk to get to a particular market that is much further than I usually walk. I took one crutch and my shopping cart. I left at about noon and was home again at 4. It was another cold and rainy day. If someone had seen me they might have said "Aw. Look at that poor old crippled man with his cart full of things. It must be so difficult for him to get around." Or words to that effect.

But if I had heard that remark I would have said "You're talking to the wrong guy." Sure it was hard and painful, but I did it, and that's the important thing. Having recently come through a horrid experience of lies, loss and betrayal and having survived it, my point of view about life has a fresh energy and a unique new fire.

I vividly remember the day, when I was just a lad, that I said "Yes" to being an actor. It wasn't a choice, it was a realization. What I didn't know at the time was that the moment of acceptance was going to lead me into a full life of troubles and triumphs. From theatre I eventually moved on into radio and television, music and dance, drawing and painting and now writing. The world of a serious artist is a commitment to the personally unpredictable.

At night there are lights outside all the windows in my new home. If I happen to wake up in the middle of the night there is a beacon across the way that shines in my bedroom window. I don't mind it at all. In fact I find it comforting. It means that the world is still there, energy is flowing, life is still going on, I am not the only living thing.

We are all amateurs at living no matter what we do, but life itself is a constant which knows what's it's doing. Our task is to try to understand it, to see all the sub-human people and things that drag us down, eliminate them and thus get a grip on the intangible, super-human things like, purpose, future, destiny, enlightenment. I believe the only way to live a righteous life is to look forward at it, to be proactive in whatever enterprise is current, even if on crutches, to walk, with certainty and curiosity into the land of the living, to say "Yes."

DB - The Vagabond
Never Give Up

Friday, March 16, 2012

Vagabondism 292

Vagabondism #292 "At the contest between creationists and evolutionists both sides miss the target."

A Story

The Great One.
Dana Bate

A can of coffee, a quart of milk, a bag of potatoes, some apples and a can of tuna fish. That was Sam's shopping list as he entered "The Great One" a supermarket on New Vista Road. It wasn't his usual market. In fact he had never been in it before, but since he had to take a different way home this evening he chose to fill his list there.

When he entered the market through the only door from the street he noticed first of all that it was full of shoppers, very crowded. He finally found a basket under one of the counters and proceeded to shop. He was unfamiliar with this market so he had to try various aisles to find what he wanted. Everywhere he went there were people standing around chatting.
Some were eating food out of cans or plastic containers. There was a group of people somewhere laughing uproariously at some joke. He managed to find the tuna and put it in the basket. A man asked him "Open that for you?" The man had a can opener in his hand. "No thanks" said Sam. "Well, later then" said the man with the opener. While he was putting the tuna in his basket other people entered the store with strange looks on the faces as they observed the antics going on within.

He found the coffee section and took a can from the shelf for his basket. A woman standing near him said, "There's fresh at the back. Help yourself." "No thanks" said Sam and pushed on to try to find the milk.

Someone shouted "Here comes the beer !" Cans of beer were being passed overhead from the shelf at the back as people grabbed and opened them. Soon the party was getting louder as people began to get high from the beer. More people centered The Great One and seemed to join in quickly to the fun that was going on.

It was very crowded and Sam had to push his way through to the milk section, but no one seemed to mind. He saw a man munching on a raw potato and asked him where he got it from. The man pointed over his shoulder down the other end of the aisle and bit another piece off the potato.

"Why are you eating that raw?" asked Sam. "Can't cook it in here" the man said, chewing. "Why not take it home and cook it?" asked Sam. "You're kidding. Don't you know yet? We can't leave. The door won't open."

Sam pushed past the man down to the place where he found a small bag of potatoes and put it in his basket. Near the potatoes were some apples. He tossed a couple of those in his basket and pushed his way to the front of the store.

When he got to the check out area people were sitting on the counters talking and laughing, some eating, some drinking. A girl who looked like a cashier was having a pint of ice cream. Sam asked her if she could check out and total up his basket. "What for?" she asked. "So I can pay for them and get out of here" he said. "You aint goin' nowhere mister, you can't leave. Door's locked."

Sam grabbed a plastic bag from the counter, put his things in it and pushed his way toward the door. When he got there he found that, in fact, the door was closed firmly, there was no way of opening it from the inside. He vainly tried to wedge his fingers into the side to pry it open, but it was too tight.

He turned and looked back at the party that was going on. Somewhere an argument had broken out. In another place people were singing. He wondered if all these people had come through the door expecting to buy a few things and leave and once they found they couldn't decided to stay, eat, drink and party.

Some one brushed past him as they entered the store. Sam quickly turned to catch the door before it closed, but he was too late and the door slowly hissed to a close before he could reach it.

Sam stood for a long time watching the people pass by on New Vista Road outside. Finally someone approached the door to open it. When she saw Sam standing there she hesitated. But he smiled and motioned her to come is as he stepped aside. He quickly grabbed the door from her and explained that the door was locked on the inside and no one could leave. She shook her head in disbelief and with a scornful look went on into the store.

Sam put his bag of groceries down to prop the door open and then shouted into the market "Hey. Everybody, the door is open. The door is open. Come on. It's open !" A few people looked up at him smiling, but they turned back into the crowd.

Sam waited for a few minutes, then picked up his bag of groceries, stepped out onto New Vista Road and let the door slowly hiss shut behind him.

The End

Dana Bate - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vagabondism 291

Vagabondism #291 In the poker game of life you have to play with the hand you're dealt. And sometimes you have to bluff.

Moving Day Two

I will take care of today and let the future take care of itself.

Hello Stuart
Life is unfinished business, I have often said. It's a refreshing thing to realize that the thing you took care of yesterday you don't have to deal with today, and the thing you deal with today you won't have to face tomorrow. And tomorrow's tasks are the things of tomorrow, not today. And so each day unfolds with it's separate challenges and deeds. Today is the day you live. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow.

I was talking last night with two friends who, like me, just moved into a new home. We were comparing the processes of discovery, that strange and magical moment when you open a box and find something you forgot about or maybe even thought you lost. Then comes the head scratching dilemma of finding the thing you know you kept and packed somewhere. But all cardboard boxes and shopping bags look the same, they don't announce what's in them. If you were smart you labeled the boxes "summer clothes" or "kitchen stuff." But you probably didn't. Then when you finally uncover last years' tax returns you wonder how they got packed with the kitty litter.

There's an old saying you've no doubt heard "It takes o' heap of livin' to make a house a home." One of the joys of moving into a new place is knowing that one day soon it will be the place where you can comfortably start that heap of living. As you stare at the chaos you can know that it will get harmonized one day into a living space.

I've noted that every important decision I make, every step in the learning ladder of life experience, every realization of a previously unknown truth presents an upheaval of my thinking, a minor or major mental chaos. I've learned not to expect an instant straightening out of the mental mess or immediate answers to some of the questions. It is enough for me to know that eventually, some time in the future, it will get sorted out if I deal with as much of it as I can today and not worry about tomorrow.

That is not to say that people shouldn't have hopes, dreams and plans. But even those must be dealt with one task, one day at a time. They will never be fulfilled unless they are. But for today the dream is unfulfilled, like your home, like your life, it's unfinished business.

DB - The Vagabond
Never Give Up

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vagabondism 290

Vagabondism #290 "Harken to the cry of the street and regard it. It is the whisper of wisdom."


People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unkown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.

Thich Nhat Hanh
Hello Jon
I don't like the phrase "It's not too late," as in, It's not to late to learn a new skill or a foreign language, because the phrase implies that one day it will be too late. I can't think of anything more suffocating than a bunch of folks sitting around talking about "the good old days" or "when they were kids" or what "used to be." I've done that myself and I'm trying to break myself of the inclination I don't want to be identified by what I did or didn't do. What an ash can idea !

In my profile it says I'm a retired actor. I should amend that somehow to state that I'm an actor who in his retirement hasn't done much work lately.

Another phrase I don't like is "Time is running out." We all live, laugh, cry, play, sing, dance, cook, eat, sleep, dream, plan, hope and do things on the edge of time. Time is a constant. It isn't running out.

I knew an actor who in his 70's learned tap dancing and became a cabaret performer, a song and dance man, with a straw hat, a cane and a piano player to accompany him. He just wasn't buying the theory that time was running out on him. On the other hand I knew a young actress who proudly claimed that she knew what her limitations were. To think you have limitations at any age is profoundly anti human, but to think so when you're young is double barreled disaster.

Fear is man's worst enemy, I think. Why do we sit in a cocoon and feel sorry for ourselves because we are afraid of what might happen if we step outside. It may be boring in here and maybe there is adventure out there but in here there is safety and out there are dangers. So let's stay inside with the door locked because that's what we always do, that's the way we always think, it's consistent, it's predictable, it's regular. Uta Hagen, a great actor, wrote "We must overcome the notion that we must be regular - it robs you of the chance to be extraordinary and leads you to the mediocre."

We are human beings, we have rights. We are entitled to solve problems, get out of troubles, make things work, make things better, to learn, to understand, to share, to enjoy, to fulfill, to be extraordinary.

There are too many creatures, human and otherwise, that are stuck in locked dungeons of poverty, illness, addiction, cruelty and neglect. What can one do about it? One can do what one can do. If everyone did what that one can do how much better the world would be. But it means stepping outside of the door into the dangers and excitements of real life.

I look forward at life. The older I get the more I look forward and the less I look back. Fear is a paper dragon that is consumed by the fires of reason and enthusiasm. Fear and uncertainty about the unknown is a room with all the doors and windows closed. You may think the doors are locked, but they aren't. Open the window and let in some fresh air. Open the door and step outside. Open your mind and let the ordinary, the regular, the predictable, the safety bugs fly away. Go for a walk in the wilderness. You'll find me there, tinkering with life, trying to make it better. for myself, for you and for anyone else who comes along. Join me.

DB - The Vagabond
Never Give Up

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Vagabondism 289

Vagabondism #289 "If you don't do at least one foolish thing every day you aren't living right."

Thank you

To all the wonderful people who wished me joy on my birthday, please accept a banquet of gratitude from my heart.

No Pain

In the darkest, meanest things
Something always, always sings.

Hello Bruce

I will go deep and hear the forest song.
Maybe I will be alone.

I will let the winds take me far across the sea.
I will not be tied to wrong.

I will bring a light into the darkness.
I will find a sacred stone.

I will mark the path with rain drops.
I will not fail the song.

I will dance the wild meadow unconfined.
I will not know alarm.

I will cast all cords and cares aside.
I will be lost in time.

I will see my love spelled out in clouds.
I will do no harm.

I will not dwell with foolish folk.
I will not sit near crime.

I will breathe the ocean's silver air.
I will speak of right.

I will bury my book in mystic ground.
I will hear no evil mirth.

I will search on consecrated ground.
I will find the light.

I am unfettered, free from lies.
I walk the earth.

Things unravel in irrational ways behind someone else's closed door.
Let them. I will turn and freely walk the earth

Nothing lost, all is gain.
I do not need to feel the pain.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up

Monday, March 12, 2012

Vagabondism 288

Vagabondism #288 "Everything we do has a purpose even though the purpose may not become evident for 500 years or more."

The Fire

You need your passions.

Daniel Goleman
Hello Marty
No, I haven't lost my mind. No, I haven't taken leave of my senses. No, haven't flipped out. I have turned over a new leaf. And what did I find under it? A fire.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes the reason is to teach a lesson that you should learn without being told. The less attention you pay to life's conditions the harder the lesson is when it comes. One of those things that should be learned is how to value yourself.

When I first came to this town eleven and a half years ago I came with a mission. I had an important project to do. Alas, it turned on it's heels and disappeared within six months. But I had an apartment and a lease so I tucked myself in and stayed. After all it was quieter here than in New York City where I had been living. The people seemed nice. The rent was good. Why not stay? That's when I lost my mind.

I began to read, paint and write, turning out a vagabond journey almost every day. I thought I was alive. It didn't matter that the only intelligent people in my life were all at other ends of the phone or the email world. At least the mental stew was still being stirred, I thought.

Then the penultimate experience came which began to wake me up. Learning that I was living in the neighborhood of a paranoid, low level, small time, dope dealer and the cruel tactics of one of his regular customers, a mentally disturbed young woman, shook me awake. And that realization led to the ultimate experience so far.

I moved to a much nicer apartment, away from the C, and in a decent neighborhood. Once I got here I slowly began to realize just how much of a cave dweller I had been. Once the boxes started opening and the paintings were coming out of hiding along with all the things that had been safely tucked away I discovered the pilot light, the original source of the passion I had when I first came here..

I may have been temporarily robbed of my peace and freedom but the fire still burns.

DB - The Vagabond
Never Give up.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Vagabondism 287

Vagabondism #287 One should have the courage to carry one's light into the darkest abyss even if one never has to.

More Life

What's past is prologue, what's to come in yours and my discharge.

Hello Sienna
I have been writing and posting entries in this Vagabond Journey for many years. (Don't believe what it says in the side bar. It's been more years than that. I don't know how to change it yet.) There are about 1,400 entries not counting Vagabondisms, all of them original documents of my own musings and devising. And what does it all mean?

I am not one to moan about years gone by. I would rather look forward than back. That's the only healthy thing to do. But it is easier to look ahead when your young, there are less anchors to weigh.

The recent traumatic experience of lies and betrayal by a friend, which can only be explained as some sort of insanity, has left me sad and frightened, sad over the loss of friendship and frightened because it has the hint of a last chance gone, with no further life or love to know. That's the kind of suffocating fear only an older person can know.

I look back at some of the vagabond journeys I've been on and I can read a lesson of growing, learning, turning experiences into metaphors for life, finding light in the dark places and not giving up.

I think fear is our worst enemy. That's been said before by wiser men than I, but it is a fundamental truth. Fear of failure keeps people from trying. Fear of loss keeps people holding on to things they should let go of. I've recently seen paranoia turn a man into an enemy of everyone around him. Fear of death is a constant in some people's lives. But even worse is the fear that there is nothing more to live for, that there is no future, that the past is all there is. It is a frightening thing to consider. It's like being entombed without light and without human contact but being kept alive anyway. Fear of having nothing to look forward to.

I am facing up to this fear right now.

The Bible says "Where there is no vision, the people perish." (Proverbs 29) And there is the answer to what happens to many and how to fight against it. A few days ago I wrote an entry entitled "Worthy Life" and in it I said "Only the man or woman who is willing to look at themselves with stern objectivity can measure aright the person they see and thus compare it with the person they could be. To change, to improve, to become better than yourself is a noble task for the benefit of yourself."

But one can't just arbitrarily decide to be someone or something, can one?. Along with the fear of death or fear of aloneness comes the danger of the feeling of futility and despair, of being trapped, the loss of enthusiasm and excitement about life. Making some choice about the future may not be the best choice but it will open up the thought to being led to a better choice and once enthusiasm lights the fire there's a vision, there's a future, there's more life to live.

Dana Bate - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Vagabondism 286

Vagabondism #286 "Why is every day a fight? So that every day you can be a winner."

New Stuff

We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves, otherwise we harden.

Johann Goethe
Hello George
I recently moved from a smaller apartment to a larger one. Everything I own was packed in suitcases, bags and a score or so of cardboard boxes. I moved in here on a Friday evening. Then and the entire weekend I spent unpacking. Thinking I was going to move sooner than I did most of the boxes and suitcases had been packed and waiting in my former apartment. for a couple of weeks Thus when I got to unpacking here opening every box was a discovery. Nothing was labeled. So was it books, clothes, paintings, letters, artifacts of my life in the theatre, important papers, my published writings, kitchen stuff, art supplies, my telephone, parts to my computer or something I had almost forgotten about? Almost every opening was a surprise.

I am still on the treadmill of figuring out where to put certain things. Since it's a larger apartment I can spread out more. Ah, but the other apartment being small and more compact I am used to having things within easy reach. Here I can spread things around more. But do I want to?

There's a question to ponder. Goethe says I must change. All right. As I look around at the empty spaces in my new home I wonder what's going to fill them up. I don't want to just go out and acquire "stuff" as George Carlin put it. There must be real personal meaning to the stuff that occupies the now empty places. My life has changed to provide me with a new perspective on things. Am I ready to change with it? Am I going to continue to think of myself as a cramped attic dweller or can I spread out my arms and greet my new home with a different energy?

Goethe says I must renew. I'm reminded that there are things I've kept packed away because I didn't have room to display and enjoy them. My paintings for one. I have undecorated walls all over this place, perfect for hinging art works. And that brings me to the realization that painting is one of the things I do that I enjoy. It is one of the activities that makes me who I am, but in the former abode it was a difficult, almost tragic, exercise in futility to set up the easel, paints and brushes. So I generally ignored it.

My friend Linda came by to day. looked at some of my pieces, gave me some advice and said "You should paint more." She's right. It was such an important part of my life when I first started it's time to renew that interest and excitement I originally had.

Goethe said I should rejuvenate: "to make young or youthful again : give new vigor to, to restore to an original or new state." (Merriam-Webster)

To make myself young again. I'm all for that. But at 72, 73 in a few days, I'll settle for "youthful." But then there's "give new vigor to.' With the spreading around and filling out of space I can do, the uncovering of pieces of my life that have been hidden away and appreciating again what I have accomplished it is an awakening, the gathering up of positive energies that have been dormant and letting them play again like children. Not only can I restore my life to it's original state of productivity and fascination with ideas, old and new, it is an opportunity to expand my life into new directions, filling out the spaces of my existence with brand new, interesting "stuff," the stuff of a creative mind, youthful, renewed, rejuvenated.

Dana Bate - The Vagabond
Never Give Up

Friday, March 9, 2012

11 Questions

Geo has tickled the Internet with the following 11 questions. I at first thought I wasn't going to take the time. But here are my answers anyway.

1. Red or white?
White. A bank canvas or blank sheet of paper invites its own destruction into great art or great ideas.

2. If you could meet one living person who would you choose?
Al Pacino. There are very few great actors alive these days. He's one.

3. Who gave you your first kiss?
I don't remember my first kiss, but I remember my last one. It was 14 years ago. She was a young actress named Sabrina and she was a bit baffled at why she was kissing this older man.

4. What are you most proud of?
Having my own all night classical music radio program in New York City.

5. You can be a ruler of one country, which one?
Monaco, lots of money and the Mediterranean Sea.

6. What's the best clothing outfit you ever had?
Believe it or not I prefer to be naked.

7. You must pick having six children or six large dogs.
If they weren't large I might take the dogs. But I love kids and they grow up to be people.

8. Pie or cake?
Pie, but it depends on what's in it.

9. What corny/sappy/uncool things do you secretly love?
Gilbert and Sullivan

10. At what age did you start reading?
Who knows. I've always been a reader.

11. Who influenced you most in life?
Edward Thomman. He was a strange, flamboyant, bisexual man whom a lot of people didn't like and didn't trust, but he knew more about theatre than anyone else I have ever met.

There for better or worse are my answers.
Anyone else out there have the nerve?

Vagabondism 285

Vagabondism #285 An actor never experiences rejection who isn't good enough to get an audition.

The Night

No special entry.

I'm pondering the beauty of the night. It is solemn and quiet here. There are pieces of knowledge falling into place with gentle clicks like a safe being opened. Daytime is for my anger. I must rage, I guess, for the night to be peaceful. And a calm night is for the soul to relax in obscurity.

What will I dream, I wonder. Lately my dreams have been of great significance. They give me issues to consider when I wake up. Sometimes they are frightening issues, but for me the day is when to be frightened. The monsters are clearer then. But the day is also the time to be certain, a time to do as well as think. When I sleep I dream in madness, as we all do. But when I am awake I don't trust the madness of my dreams. They have to be seen for the symbolism they are. And that takes thought, clear as daylight.

I learn as I continue my vagabond journey, and for that I am grateful.

DB - The Vagabond
Never Give Up

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Vagabondism 284

Vagabondism #284 "There's many a slip between the cup of the Holy Grail and the lip of the priest who tries to preach from it."

Be A Star

Man is his own star and the soul that can render an honest and perfect man commands all light, all influence, all fate.

John Fletcher
Hello Holly
To be a perfect man is a difficult achievement. I don't know if anyone has managed it. But surely the first, baby step in that direction is honesty, to be honest with others, honest with ourselves and honest in our approach to truth itself.

To be honest is to be loving. Loving our neighbor as ourselves and the greatest love of all, the love of wisdom. Shakespeare calls love "the star to every wandering bark, whose worth's unknown although his height be taken." Once mariners discerned the constancy of the North Star navigating the oceans became easier and more profitable. "Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds" Shakespeare also says. The same is said for honesty, truth. It is a constant amid all the lies, opinions, theories, beliefs and fantasies. It is the star to every wandering soul through the uncertain sea and which leads to the shore of the perfect man.

For centuries we have depended upon the stars for light in the darkness, for illumination, and for inspiration. Poets and scientists have pondered the stars and now they are probing into their secrets for knowledge of the universe.

The astrologers of old and new have seen constellations and read them to make choices that affect the fortunes of men and nations. I read somewhere that when Alexander the Great was born the doctors held off the delivery until the stars were in their exact location to produce an auspicious birth.

The reading of stars has also been one of the world's most popular forms of predicting the future, the fortunes and fates of people and civilizations. People have given over their destinies to what it says about them in their constellations. Zodiac signs are used to describe the influences and fates of everyone. I'm a Pisces, two fish swimming in opposite directions. What does that make me?

And yet Shakespeare again says "The fault ... is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings." And John Fletcher is saying "man is his own star." That asks the question are we really responsible, after all, for our own light, our own influences and fates? And the answer is, we are, or else we are reluctant, we refuse or we are ignorant.

I may be ornery, but I choose to shine my own light on my life, as dim as it may be, than to wait for two fish to tell me who I am and what to do.

Dana Bate - The Vagabond
Never Give Up

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vagabondism 283

Vagabondism #283 "The impotent arrogance of fundamentalist literalism cannot prevent spiritual enlightenment."

Worthy Life

Try to be better than yourself.

William Faulkner
Hello Arlene
I used to remark that all those self help books began with Chapter Two. Chapter Two is entitled "You can have whatever you want out of life if you really want it" or something similar. Chapter One, which isn't in the book, says "You can know yourself well enough to know what you want out of life." If you don't know what you want from life all those self help books are useless. Eventually some books were written which addressed the topic.

I also used to think that the purpose of improving myself was for other people, due in part to my life as an entertainer where how I appeared to others was crucial to my work.

Lately however I have learned to turn the other cheek on myself and find the flaws, my failings as a human being and the ways in which I don't come up to my own standards. The smack on the cheek comes because we aren't as aware as we ought to be about the things that cause us to drop from those standards. We go through a wrong door and wonder how we got where we did. We make choices without considering the consequences. We respond impulsively and not from thought. We simply may be fooled by something or someone. We do dumb things and think we will get away with them.

Maybe some people will spend their whole lives and never take stock of themselves. But I think those people will live worthless, wasted lives, as a life lived in a pit of shame and self disrespect never noticing it. Pity them.

Only the man or woman who is willing to look at themselves with stern objectivity can measure aright the person they see and thus compare with it the person they could be. To change, to improve, to become better than yourself is a noble task for the benefit of yourself. As Janis Joplin said "Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got."

Along the rocky road of existence stumbling is inevitable, but it won't matter if the steps you take are sincere: not acquiescing to the wrong, not answering folly with folly, avoiding immoral circumstances and people, testing every thought and theory against the touchstone of your own standard, seeing the hills and valleys of your life as only part of the journey, approving of yourself and congratulating yourself for every victory over selfishness. "In the way of righteousness is life." (Proverbs 12:28)

It's a simple journey, one step at a time. But the destination is a worthy life.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vagabondism 282

Vagabondism #282 "One good, close friend is better than a party of people."


Where is the joy?

Joy is a deep and concentrating quality which can turn every errant dirty spot into humor and unimportance. It is also the result of right actions and good trails of thought. Many excellent things have happened to me since I left the nasty world of the sub humans. The devious, degenerate, dishonest, betrayers of friendship. But I still don't have my joy back.

I am successfully struggling back to health after the month of attacks of evil and I patiently await the return of joy.

I think it's time to write a blog entry about evil, something I unfortunately know something about. And what I write may surprise the evil doers.

DB - Vagabond
Never give up.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Vagabondism 281

Vagabondism #281 "The snow spreads its icy hands across the roof and waits. Then, when the warmth inside the house gives the signal, it slides off the roof, with a roar of joy, to the ground below, like children on their sleds."

A New Cycle

Adventure is not outside man, it is within.

George Eliot
Hello Ernie
Every now and then there comes a day which demands contemplation. Such a day was yesterday, Sunday, March 4. I have a list of important chores and I may accomplish some of them. But others are out of the question for now. Putting up the shades to block the views from the sight seers and paparazzi is one of those. Someone has to do that for me anyhow. I'm concerned I might fall trying. Straightening out the tangled octopusial web of cords under my desk leading from the computer to all its essential parts is another. That will require some floor time and I'm not up to that. I may get my beard trimmed and my hair washed before the day is out. But otherwise it was a day of contemplating adventure.

Today, Monday, I'm off on another one but yesterday was a day of thought. I am at last free of the Babylon I was living in with the drug king and his slaves, the cruel and dishonest false friend and her frequent crazy stealth visits, all the liars that surrounded them and the whole sinister and toxic atmosphere that filled the place unknown to the doped up and giggling fools.

I definitely feel that the relatively rapid manner in which I departed happened by some sort of divine influence. How else, except my extreme desire to leave, can explain that I am here in a new home with a new life to live? So the time has come to "go up to Jerusalem ... and build the house of the Lord." (Ezra 1:3)

Numerologically my new address is a 1. So is my new age in 8 days. I don't know what those things mean but I like the sound of them. The beginning of a new cycle is a promise of even more opportunities, more accomplishments and, of course, new adventures.

I'm surrounded by light. Bright daylight comes into my new home from three sides with no tall buildings near me. There are clear indications of the mending of a broken heart and a broken spirit. The therapy of silent reason, awakening sanity, opening its eyes and stretching to meet the daylight accompany me more every morning.

To my email friends who stayed constant and positive during my raging February nightmare of anguish and anxiety please accept a banquet of gratitude from my heart. Did I give up? What do you think?

DB - Vagabond Journeys

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Vagabondism 280

Vagabondism #280 "Some people pluck your string just to see if you're still in tune, but then don't play anything."

The True Love

We have left our thumbprints in the thick, moist clay of each other's lives.

Hugh Elliot
Hello Linda
It has been said, and I believe it, that if we truly love someone we go on loving them forever no matter what the circumstances. That's because love itself has an immortal, universal, invisible substance untouched by the storms and vagaries of human existence. The challenges to our expressions of love such as time and distance, even death, affect only the expressions, not the love. True love is strong, patient and enduring.

There are many challenges and intrusions upon our expressions of the enduring love. There are other emotions that interfere such as frustration, boredom, anger, disgust, even hate. Cupid's arrow may turn into a dart or a javelin. Those aren't the destroyers of love, they are just the cover ups.

Real love must manifest itself somehow even if it is invisible and unknown. And even if it is seemingly unwanted. It is always expressed in some way and it is specific.

In my own recent experience of a love that had to be forsaken, or rather translated, I learned some lessons about love, now at the cusp of my 73rd year. For a few years I held in my heart a pure affection for someone, an honest and innocent love uncomplicated by any form of romance or desire for intimate physical contact, a father's love. It ultimately broke my heart.

In my thoughts she is the perfect child of universal love: kind, good, honest, pure, brave, innocent and strong. And even though she turned out to be none of those things and not the person I thought she was, but a user of narcotics, devious and dishonest, which left me bereft and sorrowing, I still hold her in my thought as the perfect child she could be and might be.

My affection, my love is pure and good and thus it is immortal. Regardless of what has happened to attempt to destroy or tarnish her true being, I have no choice but to let the duplicitous false friend be what she is, I will know nothing of her in my thoughts but the perfect child she might have been and try to let that be the thumbprint she makes in the moist clay of my life.

DB - The Vagabond
Never give up.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Vagabondism 279

Vagabondism #279 "That I approve of my work and my work approves of me is more necessary than anything else for a contented spirit."
Confession In A Cave

I once saw an excellent one act play about two men who were investigatng a cave. When the curtain went up the stage was pitch dark. Gradually two figures emerged with flashlights, crawling on their hands and knees through the imaginary rock formations around them.

Soon, as I remember it, the second man's flashlight began to flicker on and off. The first man asked if the other hadn't prepared well enough for the trip. The second man said he borrowed the flashlight from someone who told him it was in good shape with new batteries in it. When the first man asked him who he had borrowed it from the second man mentioned a third man's name.

As they moved along the first man asked if it was true the second man had had an affair with the third man's wife. The second man laughed and said that it was true and that once he got her into bed she was hot, she went at it non stop, she couldn't get enough of it.

The first man asked how it had come about. Drugs, the second man responded. At first, he said, it was just grass but she wanted better stuff, so he gave her coke and some other dope. At first we were just playing around in the bed, simple stuff. But then she couldn't do without the drug. she said. So then to earn it I made her do whatever I wanted, he said.
And boy she did some crazy things. She liked it. He laughed.

The first man said they were getting to a place where they could sit up. When they reached it the second man's light was completely out. The first man said that he and the third man were sort of friends. They had been buddies in the Army. The second man was amused.

The first man then said that there was still a distance to go before they were out of the cave but that he would go out, get a good flashlight and come back for the second man. He told the second man to start counting and by the time he reached 30 he would be back . They agreed and the first man left, obviously never intending to return.

The second man started counting. After a while he opened his flashlight to try to fix it but the batteries dropped out. He couldn't find them in the dark so he lit his cigarette lighter. He found the batteries but needed both hands to put them back in the flashlight, so he held the lighter in his teeth. But the lighter burned his face so he let go of it. Now he couldn't find anything. Meanwhile he was still counting.

When he got to about 20 he wondered where the first man was, why he hadn't come back yet and what would happen if he didn't come back. He wondered if maybe he shouldn't have told him about the third man's wife. He was frightened.

He sat in the pitch dark counting: 27, 28, 29, 30.


It was a good play and an excellent piece of theatre. One can't help seeing the moral lesson in it. The second man's careless, callous, self gratulatory, bragging about seducing his neighbor's wife, plying her with drugs until she was dependant upon him and became his private sexual toy, put him in the dark space of his own night of the soul. With every act of degradation he forced her to do and enjoy he degraded himself. The pleasure he took corrupting them both could only be shown as deep night when the light of shame and reason got turned on. But he was entombed in darkness before he ever entered the cave.

The first man, the good man, at least the better man, left the second man in his self praising darkness to die there, and went away.

Just as I did one week ago.

DB - The Vagabond
Never give up.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Vagabondism 278

Vagabondism #278 "The gates of wisdom leading to other gates open only to those who are persistently vigorous and patient."

Man Up. Woman Up.

Who are the heroes?

Wednesday was a day of freezing rain here. I took one crutch and my shopping cart and walked a very long way to the drug store and then to the supermarket. I returned with the cart full of food. It was a difficult and very painful trip. I only had two chances to sit and rest, both on a ledge outside the drug store. "Aren't you afraid your pants will get wet?" There are many things to fear, getting the seat of my pants wet is not one of them.

The trip took a few hours but when I finally pulled the cart up the final steps, through the cold and the rain, into my home I was a hero to myself. I had faced the crisis of no food, and now had food.

This may not seem like an important event, and it isn't. But it got me thinking about how some people, when facing a crisis in life survive it with reason and right action, and some don't.

I had a friend. I lost her to drugs. The poor girl was so desperate for it she would sometimes climb through the dope dealer's bedroom window to get it, thinking she wasn't seen. I sometimes saw her anyway. How she paid for the drugs I don't want to imagine. My last sight of her was escaping through the back yard, then getting into her car and driving away with her bag of dope. It stuck a knife in my heart. How could someone I once loved fall to such a level of decadence? I did the only reasonable thing I could. I moved on and let her be.

When I was a young man I picked up a venomous copperhead snake and threw it into a bucket because it was threatening some children who were camping.

I knew an old man who pushed his way into his hopelessly burning house to rescue his invalid wife. I met them both. I wrote about them in a previous journal entry.

I spent 4 nights and 3 days with an exposed nerve in my jaw. I have never known such pain before or since. It was a long Easter weekend, there was a severe snowstorm and there were no clinics open. The jaw cracked on Friday night and it wasn't until Tuesday morning before I could see the dentist. There was a taxi strike so I had to stand on a crowded bus. When the dentist looked in my mouth he said "You've been going through hell."

I knew a woman who had lost her sight and hearing when she was a teenager. Against all odds and advice she went on to earn a PhD and became a popular lecturer in the field of Psychology.

One January night I found myself on a strange street corner in Los
Angeles with all of my belongings in a suit case, a dime in my pocket and no place to go. I survived it.

I saw a team of fire fighters take a construction elevator up to 2 or 3 stories above a furious fire on the tope of a building under construction and jump down directly into the fire not knowing where they would land. We on the sidewalk watched in amazement.

Years ago, in a remote part of the country, I pulled two of my own teeth. It was a very painful and frightening experience but it was necessary at the time and place.

While preparing fire wood for the winter a Vermont farmer's chain saw slipped and cut severely into his arm. He shut off the saw and tried to remove it. He was unable to because it had lodged too deeply into the bone. So he restarted the saw, cut through the rest of his arm and holding it in his lap he drove to the hospital where they replaced it.

There are many stories of men and women facing up to one sort of crisis or other and solving them with acts pf courage, reason and righteousness, people who are real heroes to themselves or others.

The dope dealer mentioned at the beginning of this entry, the one with the open bedroom window, is a tall, strong, imposing fellow, but there is very little of the man about him. When faced with his own life crisis instead of solving it with courage and right action he collapsed into crime, selling illegal drugs, narcotics, dope. He will never be a hero to himself or to anyone else, except junkies, like my former friend.

Now who is the happier person? Is it the one who never has to face the extreme struggle of proving his or her worth against terrible odds, who never faces the dangers of survival in a frightening world, who never has to prove the genuine reality of manhood or womanhood but just lives a wasted life of pretense and paranoia? Or is it the hero?

That's a question that deserves to be addressed.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vagabonidism 277

Vagabondism #277 "I am not afraid to occasionally stick my head in the mud puddle and blow bubbles."