Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sandy Is Coming To Town

Blow winds and crack your cheeks ! Rage, blow !
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched our steeples, drowned the cocks !
You sulphurous and though-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers of oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head ! And thou, all-shaking thunder,
Strike flat the thick rotundity o'the world,
Crack nature's moulds.

Hello Ernie
According to the latest predictions the full force, thought-executing and oak-cleaving fury of Sandy should be arriving exactly on my back porch some time around Tuesday morning. I've put out some milk and cookies for her, just in case.

Wait a minute. You think I am not taking this matter seriously? I've been through hurricanes before and I know how destructive they can be. If my power goes out no one will hear from me for quite a while. A hurricane is one of those events that present Nature at its most violent. It's very interesting until it's your house that gets blown apart. But it's also one of Nature's cleansing mechanisms. After the storm is over the cleaning up and repair work begins. In many cases, a new beginning.

We live in a world of natural disasters. And every time one occurs it is treated as if it was the worst thing that ever happened. The weather reports tend to scare people and folks get busy preparing for it, if they're smart. But how many people actually get mentally prepared?

The first thing is to accept the fact that whatever it is will be big and difficult and cause a lot of trouble.. Over prepare for it. The next step is to not allow yourself to fear. The worst thing you can do is to go into a panic. Be sensible, rational, prepare properly then get out of the way as best you can and stay there. Get out of town if you can, get into the basement or the attic or wherever you have to go. Prepare yourself with some good positive thoughts. Make plans for what you are going to do when it's over. Adjust. It isn't Judgement Day. The world is not ending. It's just another nasty storm. And when it is over be grateful for what you still have left. You're not alone. The night owl knows.

DB - The Vagabond
Never give up.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Hello Sandy

If you don't have a sense of humor, you might as well pack it up.

Lori Hackman
Hello Barbara
According to the latest forecast the full force and nastiness of Savage Sandy is due to arrive at my door sometime Tuesday morning. So I, with many others. am sitting in the bulls eye of a hurricane. Am I ready? Who is ever ready for a hurricane?

There are a few things I would like to have, a battery operated radio, a battery operated lamp, some company for instance. But I have enough food and other creature comforts, so I'm theoretically prepared.

I think it's appropriate that they are calling this one a Frankenstorm since it's coming to us at Halloween, a massive scary gift from Mother Nature dressed in her wicked witch costume. Fortunately I live on the second floor, with windows on three sides and nowhere near the river, so I should have a good safe front row seat when Sandy does her dance.

The quote of the day (above) is from a woman who lives here in my town. I've never met he but the quote comes from a local newspaper of several years ago after another hurricane whose name a forget. Ms. Hackman's house is on the river and during that storm her first floor was flooded. She and her husband had a choice to either move to a different safer location or raise their house. They chose to spend the thousands to raise the house, jutting in a whole other floor under the one that was flooded. They did that because they love living next to the river. Now if the Delaware decides to throw buckets of water at their house this time it will flood the basement and not all the carpets and living room furniture.

When asked what they would do when another hurricane comes and floods the river she replied "If you don't have a sense of humor, you might as well pack it up." A woman after my own heart.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
Never give up.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Crazy Man

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Marcus Aurelius


Hello Ken


Now what, I ask you, could be more insane than your computer? Not only does it persist in doing the most irrational things but it takes great delight in hearing you yell and curse at it. And that makes you even crazier than the computer. Nothing in my life is more maddening than the gadgets and machines that I am convinced I can't live without.

In other words I am on the side of the majority of those who live with these certifiably psychotic creatures without which life would be sublimely and deliciously boring.

Imagine driving down a super highway and you slam on the breaks to avoid hitting the car in front of you, but instead of slowing down you get a message that says "That file is not available. Please try again later." Or imagine putting a cake in the oven to cook and every two minutes the oven shuts down and restarts itself. Or imagine dialing 911 to report an emergency and hearing a recording say "Please confirm your password."

Now I am by no means a Luddite. I think modern inventions are great things. This computer allows me to attempt to write this journal entry and then it will allow me to attempt to post it. No doubt some excellent minds went in to the design and manufacture of it. But there is no doubt that some far from excellent minds were also involved. I hope whoever designed the keyboard and put the Caps Lock next to the A has been duly arraigned, tried, convicted and is spending the rest of his life in solitary confinement surrounded by a cell full of capital letters (SERVES YOU RIGHT).

I also wonder about the sanity of the person who designed the Spell Check which will often gives me a choice of a word that has nothing whatsoever to do with the one I misspelled.

So why do I spend hours in this uncomfortable chair, squinting at a screen that has impossibly small font sizes, trying to write something that I hope someone may enjoy reading?

Clearly, it's because I am in the ranks of the insane.

DB - The Vagabond

Never give up.


Monday, October 22, 2012

New Idea

This nation is never finished. It has to be re-created in each generation.

Lee Hamilton


Hello Geo


Old ideas are like old shoes. They are very comfortable but you wouldn't want to wear them to the ball or to the audition. So why wear them to the political debates. What we most need are new ideas. As some wise man asked Why are people frightened of new ideas. We should be frightened of the old ones. I have a friend who earnestly believes there should be a third party in the political coleseum.

The nation needs an overhauling of its perception of itself. The stratified society may be a fact for some countries but in the United States it is morally corrupt. There is too much talk about the Upper Class and the Middle Class (we won't mention the Lower Class). Why are we focused on how much money someone has instead of focusing on how valuable they are to the rest of us.

Any talk of leveling the classes has a nasty chain reaction in people's minds. Spreading wealth must mean Socialism - Marxism - Communism. Those are old shoes that need to be thrown out or put in the closet and forgotten about.

The topic of money, dollars, million, billion and trillion dollars are being spit back and forth in the Presidential debates. But there isn't much talk about goodness, self-sacrifice and true worth. Instead the therapy offered for our worn out wardrobe is the same old worn out idea.

This country is in a terrible financial mess, but how does any thinking person expect to cure it by the same old means. As Einstein said "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." The only solution is to divest ourselves of the age old ideas of what America is and redesign ourselves according to higher levels of class and value.

Some thinkers have spent thousands of years trying to define and understand the concept of virtue. Why has it become no more than a cross word puzzle answer? Because few consider it valuable.

No man or woman in this country is more important than any other. Why are food stamps necessary? And they are. Why must Indian tribes, homeless shelters, ghetto dwellers and reformed criminals rely upon heartfelt donations to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner? Why must young girls whore themselves to afford food or because they've been tricked into a drug dependency? .Why is there extortion, fatal kidnapping, police brutality, cruelty to animals, bullying, teen age suicide, violence in sports, infidelity, laws against gay people, hatred, religious intolerance? And why do some people amass their wealth far beyond any practical use while they make only pathetic, tax shelter contributions to their popular causes?

Somewhere out there is someone who has a vision of America that has nothing to do with wealth, politics, votes or yesterdays ideas, someone who has a new mode of thinking and can provide our favored land with a future.

"Value is moral strength in pursuit of one's duty, a duty which should never be a matter of habit, but should always proceed fresh and original, from one's mode of thought." (Immanuel Kant)

DB - Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Saying Yes

You can't betray yourself too often. Or you become somebody else.

Ed Harris


Hello Beth


Know thyself, as the old saying goes. I think getting to understand yourself is like a treasure hunt, a fishing trip or a walk through an unknown forest. One of the amazing facts of life is that there are things about you that you don't know yet, discoveries to be made, talents to uncover, values to find, surprises to experience. But those adventures can only happen if we are true to ourselves, to the selves we already are.

Wishing to be like someone is not the same as wishing to be that person. It's not a bad idea to emulate one who has skills and abilities one would like to have. When I was a working actor there were a few men I watched carefully and admiringly, who did some amazing work that I wanted to be abler to do myself: specifically Lawrence Olivier, Paul Scofield, Rod Steiger and Al Pacino. I wasn't dissatisfied with my own work, I just wanted it to be better. I never wanted to act like any one of them, I just wanted to perform as well as they did.

Since then I've made some major discoveries about myself as an artist and a person. One of them is that they are not separate entities. My artistry and my humanity are the same thing. I never expected to be a writer and now I've written a lot of fiction and over 1,900 Vagabond Journeys as well as countless emails.

What's growing in your back yard or lurking in your forest? Or, more importantly, how many blessed qualities do you possess that you are denying you have. "I'm not good enough" "I have disappointed myself and others." "I'm not smart enough to understand things." "I'm probably going to fail." "It's easier just to give up and not waste my time trying for anything bigger." "I should be content with what I am." All of those remarks and many others like them are the worst kinds of self betrayals there are.

Look at yourself in the mirror, point your finger at yourself and say "That's not all there is to me. There's a whole lot more. And I'm going to discover it." The start saying "Yes" to yourself and to all the new ideas, wishes, interests, desires and projects that occur to you. Some of them will stick to you like skin.

Dana Bate - Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Unstick Thyself

Having hit a wall, the next logical step is not to bang our heads against it.

Stephen Harper


Hello Marty


There;s the story of the hypnotist and the cave. Somewhere, I think it was in the Southwest, was a cave owned by a hypnotist who dared anyone to walk all the way into the cave and back out. Many people had tried it and were taken out bleeding, haggard, frightened and ill. A journalist wanted to investigate this strange phenomenon. So he paid a visit to the hypnotist who took him to the cave. The journalist entered the cave and walked all the way to the back with no problem. But when he turned around he was mat with jagged rocks and boulders he hadn't seen before. He had to squeeze his body between them to get through. He cut his hands on them. He came across a fetid pond which he had to wade through. There were then vipers that attacked him and bit his legs. And when he finally reached the mouth of the cave it was completely blocked off by a solid brick wall. He put his hands on the wall and felt the bricks.

Then he got an idea. He knew that the wall was not there when he entered the cave. He reasoned that the wall must be an illusion brought on by hypnotic suggestions, as were the other obstacles he had faced. Then he reasoned that if they were illusions they must be of his own imagining. He had always been afraid of snakes and of being hemmed in and unable to move. He sat down and dealt with each one of those fears, denying that they were of any power or presence in that cave or in his present life. He affirmed the clean simple cave he had walked into originally. And finally he expunged the power of the hypnotist to control his rational thought. In other words he did some clear, correct, high energy thinking.

He stood up and waked toward the wall which vanished as he approached it. He left the cave with no bruises, wet feet or snake bites anywhere on him. Once out of the cave he found the smiling hypnotist who congratulated him.

The question is How many unsolvable, impenetrable illusions are you facing today? Have you been tricked into believing in the existence of dangers that aren't there? Are you beating your head against an adamant blockade to your future? Or are you sitting down and reasoning things out, waiting for the right information you need, which is surely available to a calm, reasoning, expectant mind?

As long as we believe we're stuck, we're stuck. When we cease to believe we're stuck and begin to know that we aren't stuck, the way out will eventually present itself.

DB - The Vagabond

Never give up.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I've moved

Vagabond Journeys can now be found at
Meet me there.
DB - The Vagabond

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Change again

Plese ignore the previous entry.  I think you will now find me at Wrodpress
I hope to see you there.
email me if there is a prblem
Never Give Up

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Site

Vagabond Journeys has set up shop at  Meet me there.


Sunday, October 7, 2012


If it works don't fix it.

Vagabond Journeys, number 1,900
Hello, friends, readers and others.
I've come to a crossroad in my journey. It is partly due to the new Google system for writing and posting entries on my blog which is totally unacceptable to me. It is slow, cumbersome and impractical. Three times instead of posting my entry it deleted it. It's spacing is awful. So this is probably the last time I will use it. I'm searching for a better one.

In the meantime I'm also considering some changes of format. I will continue to write to those on my Friends List (if you're not on it and wish to be just say so) but my writing will be looser, less structured, more stream of consciousness. I will still write about things that are important to me, but with a more relaxed approach.

Hopefully this will give me time to work on my other writing and to read more of yours.

Dana Bate
Never Give Up

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pursuing Action

Let the beauty we love be what we do.



Hello Rose


Action is the secret of life. I love being an actor. I may never get a chance to do it again, but I was an actor for 45+ years. I guess that's good enough. What is an actor? An actor is one who does something. Don't let the crossword puzzles fool you. We do not go out on the stage and "emote."

I love music. Music is not only the so-called "universal language," it is much more than that. It goes to places language can't reach. The more I hear the more I understand.

I love to read. My books are on philosophy, history, religion, science and cultural matters. People in my past have scorned and doubted me for my reading. "After all how could a simple actor with no education possibly be interested in all those esoteric subjects. He must be putting on airs to impress us."

I love to write. I've written two novels and flock of short stories. I've also written 1,899 issues of Vagabond Journeys, most of which still exist. I may be stopping that soon.

I love to draw and paint. I love to see the work of other artists. I want to be invited into an artists world as the never ending search for beauty takes place.

I pursue happiness, I pursue beauty and I pursue perfection. I may never really achieve any of those dreams, but if I don't pursue them there is no point to life. To pursue, to discover and to share, those are the great activities of life, the actions of life.

That's what I love and that's what I do.

Dana Bate - Vagabond Journeys

No. 1,899

Never Give Up


Friday, October 5, 2012

Walking Solo

Anything you fully do is an alone journey.

Natalie Goldberg
Hello Sandy
I recently read an article written by a man who had found his marriage falling apart and what he did to save it. He and his wife had two grown children and a comfortable life. But it seemed to them that the romance and adventure were gone out of their relationship, they were bored with each other and felt divorce was imminent and unavoidable.

He began to think about what he wanted in a marriage. He thought about companionship, sharing of interests and ideas, respect, compassion, moral and emotional support, a sense of adventure, affection, comfort, admiration, love. He determined that he possessed many of those qualities himself and didn't need to go looking for them in someone else. He further determined that since he had those qualities he could express them. He then saw himself as a man who would make a good husband for some lucky woman.

He made a list of the qualities and abilities he thought were the best about himself and began trying to express them at work and at home with his own and soon to be divorced wife.

Unknown to him his wife was also making a list of her own. She reasoned that after the divorce she would probably be looking for another love affair and maybe a marriage. So she began to describe to herself what kind of a man she would be most attracted to, what qualities he should possess and how he would behave toward her.

They were both on their individual, alone journeys, but the wife began to realize that the man she had been describing to herself as the ideal husband was more than adequately realized in the husband she had. and because he was trying out the good qualities he found in himself on a trial basis at home, his wife began responding to them. Voila. A new love affair. No divorce.

It became a sharing of him with her and of her with him. That's a big secret. The pursuit of happiness is an alone journey. It may include other people, but happiness doesn't come from them it comes from us. And we can share it.

One never knows what the future may hold but this Vagabond Journey of mine is an alone one. There is no one else involved except an a once-in-a-while basis. But I have qualities, abilities and talents tht put a smile on my face whenever I think of them. And that's good enough for me..

Dana Bate - The Vagabond
No. 1,898
Never Give Up

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Love Music

Music is the most profound, magical form of communication there is.

Lesley Garrett
Hello George
I love music.

On an evening I went to a concert in Lincoln Center by the New York Philharmonic. The conductor was Kurt Masur. It is customary after a performance for the conductor to ask the orchestra to stand and acknowledge the applause, but Maestro Masur asked the orchestra to stand before the concert began and they received an ovation from the audience. I turned to the person was with me, who perhaps was surprised at that and said "We love our orchestra."

I remember going to two different clubs in NY to hear the wonderful Mable Mercer sing. She brought tears to my eyes when she sang "Both Sides Now."

I sat with two friends in Greenwich Village to hear two sets from Junior Manse and his trio.

I saw Doc Watson play in the band shell at Lincoln Center. In the same place I saw a concert by Percy Sledge.

I spent another evening with a friend at some out of the way place in a corner of Manhattan to hear an Irish band playing.

I went to a big theatre on the upper West Side to hear Patti LaBell and her singers perform.

I liked going to hear my friend Charlie, the jazz pianist, play in New Hampshire.

I stopped to hear two tuba players at a sidewalk cafe in NY playing some Bach duets.

I stopped on the side walk in upper Manhattan to listen to a salsa band.

I used to play drums for a jazz pianist in Boston.

I played cello and tenor recorder for a Renaissance music group in New Hampshire.

I played bass drum for the Mount Washington Valley Town Band.

I played small roles in 2 operas.

I sang and danced in 3 musicals.

When i got back from the supermarket today I had to get the Bach Brandenburg Concertos going on the CD player before I unpacked the groceries.

I love music.

Dana Bate - The Vagabond Journweys
No. 1,897
Never Give Up

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dig Out The Truth

Things don't turn up in the world until somebody turns them up.

President James Garfield
Hello Frosty
James Garfield, Republican, was the 20th President of the United States. He had a long and active career in politics before narrowly defeating his Democratic rival for the Presidency. Unfortunately he was the victim of assassination shortly after taking office.

Garfield once said that the best university is a log, with you on one end and your professor on the other. These days it would probably be a park bench, but the image still holds true.

I once read a book in which a professor gave a final exam to his graduate student while the two of them were riding in an elevator. If both professor and student know the subject thoroughly the right questions will bring the answers and once the answers are known the questions become unimportant. As Susan Sontag wrote "The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions."

I loved to read philosophy, which calls itself a search for truth. In many ways however it is the search for questions. The right questions may provide the right answers. Socrates' persistent dialogues with his friends uncovered, turned up, many profound questions. But did they provide all the answers? I would say evidently not because philosophy didn't stop with Socrates or Plato.

Philosophy continued through the Roman, Greek and Arab civilizations, the Jews and Catholics of the Middle Ages in Europe on into the Age of Enlightenment, and on into the Modern World where there are philosophers in every country pondering the same old questions and turning up new ones.

Long may they dig.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
No. 1,896
Never Give Up

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

No Going Back

All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.

Edward Gibbon
Hello Jon
Hicks Park, Rye, New York. We lived there only for a year but it was one of the nicer places we moved through. It was a 2 story house. We lived on the first floor. The house was heated by a coal burning furnace. Once a week a truck would back up to the side door, put down a metal shoot and a load of coal would come rumbling down into the bin. When I got home from school I shoveled coal into the furnace so the house would be warm for my mother when she returned from work. I was 10 years old.

Out ftont there was a forest, big enough to get lost in. The neighbors on one side had a large back yard, so their house was not near us. There was another house behind us, over a fence. I nice lady lived there. I used to rake her leaves and clear up her yard. I had a bicycle.

On the other side was a mini forest with a dirt road that went around it. At the back was a garage no one used. It was in there that I made a model airplane. Down a sharp hill was Blind Brook.

It's a shame we couldn't afford to stay in that house. The house, the forest, the bicycle and the airplane all disappeared from my life somehow.

Decades later a friend in New York offered to drive me around to see some of the many places I had lived. I was so looking forward to Hicks Park again.

What a shock.!!

The forest was gone, replaced by a cheap housing development. The neighbor's large back yard now had a couple of houses. The mini forest was now a mess of two and three story houses much too close to each other. Even the place where the coal truck used to come had an ugly three story house, right next to the original house. The houses were all big and ugly, and none of them were occupied.

I learned a big lesson from that moment. Life the way you think it used to be can never be that way again. I wanted to get away from there as fast as I could.

You and I, our families, our neighborhoods, our country, the world has out grown the past. To try to return to the past is impassible. Forward into the known and the unknown is the only direction we can take if we expect to survive.

DB - Vagabond Journeys
No. 1895
Never Give Up

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Strings

There comes a point when a dream becomes reality and reality becomes a dream.

Frances Farmer
Hello Jen
I look at what needs to be done and I feel helpless. But I push on. Am I just cutting stones or am I building a temple? Am I designing spoons or spaceships? And what's the difference?

For various reasons I had to cut back on my life as an actor, so I started drawing. I took lessons at the Art Students League in New York. Eventually I started painting. All I was doing was keeping the creative strings tight and properly tuned.

I knew people who had had years of formal training as artists and here I was a rank beginner. I was intimidated by viewing the work done by the artists I knew. I didn't take my paintings seriously. Until one day, years ago, someone bought one of them. He asked me how much I wanted for it, gave me the money and took the painting. At first I was sad. I liked that picture and would have enjoyed looking at it for a long time. But then I thought that if I enjoyed it and he enjoyed it then others might also and it would be selfish of me to hoard it. That changed my perspective about my art work. My dream became a reality. Since then I've sold several others.

I wrote to a friend today that I wish I could get more training. There are so many things I would like to know: water color, sculpture, lithography and other graphic arts. That's my dream now. Will it ever become a reality?

I also began to write. Other than almost two thousand issues of Vagabond Journeys I have 2 novels and a flock of short stories. Nothing is published but some news items for a local paper. Even so it is much easier to think of myself as a writer than a painter. But maybe that's a reality that is really becoming just a dream. Maybe as I sit at the keyboard I'm just cutting stones, making spoons.

The most sturdy but scary perception I have is that of imagination, intelligence, natural law and the cosmic creative process all of which actually do the work. I'm just the harp. Something grander than I am plucks the strings. That's the reality.

DB - The Vagabond
Never give up.