Sunday, March 31, 2013

Wake It Up

Art occurs at the point where a form is sincerely honored by awakened spirit.

Lawrence Durrell


Hello Bruce


In much of the world it's Easter Sunday,a day for bunnies, bonnets and resurrections. Outside my window Spring is trying to happen. And inside the juices are stirring in me, the budding signals that tell me I have work to do. The signals don't tell me what the work is, they merely tell me to get reedy because an order is coming from near or far, and it will start my engine. I had better be ready to get in and drive.

Why do painters clean their brushes, why do violinists tune their fiddles, why do dancers keep their legs limbered up, why do writers make notes? Because they don't want to be caught unprepared when the orders come.

One of the ways artists sometimes work is to make chaos and then make order out of it. It's a process of going from the unreal to the real. Out of the chaos will an order suggest itself? No, it will demand itself. And when it does the artist should embrace it as one who has rescued the artist from the darkness.

The form the work of art will take is then a present reality even though the work still has to be done. That's when the dialogue begins between the artist and his work, the great waking up process.

There is a lot of waking up and resurrecting going on this Easter season. As for me, I humbly await my order.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Am I A Fool

Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can.

Elsa Maxwell


Hello Sandy


What is happening on the day between Good Friday and Easter? I don't mean what happened years ago in Jerusalem. But what is happening right here, right now? According to the Farmers Almanac "everything is." Spring is happening in the North, Autumn in the South. Everything is changing. Even in the darkest places in the world there may be the twitter of a bird or a baby bud poking it's head out or a full grown adult leaf fading into a brilliant color. Everything is changing, but some things never change.

Do you remember what comes after Easter this year? That's right. All Fools Day. Now if there was ever a day in which every human being in the world could celebrate it's April Fool's Day. It's my day. It's your day. It's everyone's day. There has never been a human being who walked the earth who wasn't fooled at one point or another, and most of the time we are fooled because we allow ourselves to be fooled. And that's what makes us fools.

I recently had an encounter with two fools. One was a bully, the most obvious kind of fool. I male person who considered himself strong, intelligent, sexy and profound. That was the fools costume. Underneath was a person who couldn't keep a job and who had to resort to underhanded tactics to pay his rent. I refer to him as a male person because, while he considered himself a man, his manhood was artificial. Bullyhood is not manhood. He fooled himself and he fooled others. He may have fooled many others, except another fool.

The second fool I encountered was in my own mirror. Unlike the first fool, my foolery is on my sleeve for all the world to see and scorn. I have allowed myself to be fooled by many who may not be fools themselves but are clothed in other costumes, robes of dishonesty, theft, deception, ignorance, prejudice and other garments of malicious behavior. Why did I allow myself to be fooled by those people? Because I'm a fool. And I will celebrate along with every other fool, on Monday, All Fools Day.

It is perfectly all right and honest to acknowledge your own foolishness. If you do that you can then have a good laugh at yourself, which is the best defense against the scorners. But you should never neglect to be watchful, to look out for the foolers. Every day the question should be asked "Who is fooling me?" A politician, a pastor, a teacher, a coworker, a relative, a friend. Foolers come from many places and you can't tell them by what they're wearing.


DB - The Vagabond

Never Give Up


Thursday, March 28, 2013

What A Mess


I was off line for 17 days. My computer originally went berserk on March 12th, my birthday. (Happy Birthday Dana). I called AOL and the fellow there was able to get me back on line that night. But only that night. The next morning, nothing . It behaved like an old mule that wont do anything but eat grass and poop.

It took 20 minutes to finish setting up the windows, another 10 minutes of a blank screen after which a white arrow magically appeared. Eventually, during a period of time when I could have gone to the market and back, the desk top popped up. But it only had a few icons on it and they were very large. I clicked on the one that said AOL and got nothing, not even a pink slip or a nasty note. Nothing.

I clicked on Internet Explorer, got that page and typed in The reply was "unable to show this web page" or words to that effect. I typed in yahoo and google and got the same compassionless result.

I had a phone conversation with a friend in Princeton who said they had a good computer, a Dell, they were going to have recycled, why not give to me instead. As wary as I am of any computers entering my home I agreed. So they brought it. I should have set it up while they were there but I wanted to visit with them instead. After they left I set it up, made certain all the cables came from the old computer to the new one in the exact order and turned it on. No good. No going on line, naturally. I say "naturally" because computers and I have an adversarial relationship. Who was I to think this one was going to work?

I called Verizon and had them fuss around, passing me back and forth to several different "experts" until they finally decided to send out a technician to see for himself what the problem was. He came. Fussed around, told me all the connections were right, got on line with his lap top and told me the problem was with the Dell, and left. So I called Princeton.

Not believing that the Dell was faulty she agreed to take it into the shop to have it checked out and repaired if necessary. In the meantime she brought a lap top she wasn't using for me to use while the Dell was being made ready. But her lap top wouldn't go on line either. Surprise.

She took it and the Dell with her. "Now I am alone" using my old useless HP as a table top. During the weekend I went to the supermarket where my shopping cart broke down. I made it home with the groceries but the cart is now on the parch in a pile.

On Monday I called and was tole that it would take at least a week to find out about the Dell. I did a lot of reading. Finally I was told that there was nothing they could do with the Dell. More surprise.

Today she brought two lap tops and managed to get one to work. After much Amazonian effort, while I watched, expectantly but suspiciously, she got on line and I sat down in front of 120 emails.

Now I have a Rube Goldberg arrangement. The lap top is sitting on my HP. It's internal mouse doesn't function so my mouse is plugged into it. In front of me I have a keyboard and two monitors. One of them works. Attached to the lap top is a four way UBS socket so my printer can go into it. There is no way to plug in the speakers, so the only scratchy sound comes out of the lap top Not good for music. Some of the wires are stretched to an micro inch of their lives. And you should see the mess of wires that drools off my desk and onto the floor. No you shouldn't.

"Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we try to attached all the wires to our computers and the various devices that serve us so unpredictably.

So the Vagabond is back, with scars and with regrets that he missed out on a couple of weeks of your company.

Dana Bate

Never Give Up

Monday, March 4, 2013

March Winds

Blow, blow thou winds of March.

Scatter the leaves and the plastic bags.

Rattle the windows, clean the air,

But mind the lawn chair on the porch.   

 Dana Bate Vagabond Journeys

Saturday, March 2, 2013

True Story

Summer In NYC, With Horses


Hello Rose


I'm telling you a story which you are not going to believe. But it is true. I know it is because I was there and I saw it happen. New York, as other major cities, has mounted police. It isn't unusual to see a pair of horses, with police on them moving slowly through the major areas of the city. The are very good for controlling crowds and breaking up traffic jams. This story is in 2 parts. Don't read Part 2 until you have read Part 1. That way you will get the full effect of an event that defies belief but is true. For scoffers I refer you to the New York Daily News which printed a story and a photograph of the closing moments.



There used to be a restaurant in New York called "The Cattleman." It was a steakhouse that provided a special deal to patrons wanting to go to the theatre. They offered a pre-theatre dinner special followed by a ride to the theatre district That ride was in the Cattleman Stage Coach. A team of two horses would pull it through the streets of midtown and deposit the riders at Shubert''s Alley (the center of the theatre district).

One summer evening I was sitting in a bar on 45th Street, east of Broadway, the regular route of the Cattleman Stage Coach. It was a warm night, the front door of the bar was open and I was sitting near it. I heard the stage coach coming at a fast clip, probably running a little late. I watched it from the open door and just as it came into view a small yellow Volkswagen, the driver evidently unaware of the approaching horses, pulled out of its parking space and onto the street. The horse nearest it, reared up and came down on the car with both front hooves, denting the car but otherwise causing no particular damage. The teamster pulled the horses out away from the car and continued on down 45th Street, across Times Square and on to its destination.



Now here's where your sorry, skeptical disbelief might begin to set in. But with my right hand on my complete Shakespeare and my left hand raised I vow to you that what happened next really, genuinely occurred.

The driver of the Volkswagen was standing there looking dazed. But another man, near by, obviously a western movie fan, stepped out into the street, pointed toward where the stage coach had gone, looked up the street in the opposite direction and shouted ""They went that-a-way." I looked up the street and there were two New York City mounted police coming down the street in full gallop, chasing after the stage coach. It was a posse. It was Marshall Dillon and Hopalong Cassidy. It was the good guys chasing down the bad guys. It was the Wild West right in the middle of Manhattan on one warm summer evening.

It was wonderful


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up