Wednesday, May 29, 2013


May 29, 2013

Vagabond Journey No. 2, 004


The woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the best.

(Henry Van Dyke)


Hello Linda


The other day I heard an opera broadcast on the radio. (It was The Masked Ball by Verdi, for those of you who know opera.) The performance was from a provincial opera company in Italy. Though some were better than others they were not the best singers in the world. But they all sang with an earnest passion and love for the music. And that alone made it an enjoyable experience.

Listening to them I felt a kinship with them and their lives. I may not have been the best actor in the world but I was good enough to be appreciated by my peers and sometimes even by the critics. But the one remarkable blessing that stands as a pinnacle in my memory is the joy of performing. For the performing artist a performance is a time of being totally alive. For the actor the place he occupies on the stage is his own private tree branch from which to sing his song.

I happened to run into a group of actors from the local theatre during a short break and realized how much I miss being with those people. It made me feel like the show was going on and I was on the other side of a closed, locked door.

But there will be no more acting for me until I get myself out of debt, my body repaired and my address changed to a place in the cosmos where theatre lives. In the meantime I write blogs and stories, paint pictures, am solitary, alone, lonely and sometimes depressed.

Draw me looking ahead but color me blue.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up


Tuesday, May 28, 2013


May 28, 2013

Vagabond Journey No. 2003


Better shun the bait than struggle in the snare.

(John Dryden)


Hello Sandy


For a year I lived across the street from a high school playground. I would sometimes see a man in a dark blue zippered jacket enter the playground and approach one of the boys who was obviously expecting him. They wouldn't look at each other but the boy reached behind him and dropped an envelope on the ground. Blue jacket would pick up the envelope, look inside, reach into his pocket, take out a plastic bag and drop it where the envelope had been. Then blue jacket would turn and leave and the boy picked up the bag. Any guesses as to what was in the bag?

When I was young teen I watched a documentary of a heroin addict who was coming off the dope unassisted. There were no medications to help withdrawel in those days. He was alone in a room under constant surveillance. The film, which spanned a few weeks, was over an hour long. The horror that poor man went through, which I won't describe, was a more articulate lesson, than anything I could imagine, to stay away from drugs.

I knew a young man, a good musician. He had his own band, and it was successful. One day he took too much cocaine and he died.

Over the past several months I've seen some documentaries about meth (Methamphetamine) addicts, in Europe, Asia and the United States. There are a very few people who can take such a drug and come out fine. But most of them are lost. And most of them are young. Their arms, legs, necks and gums are filled with injection wounds. Many of them got hooked because their parents gave it to them. Many of them have to steal or whore themselves to buy it. If they are on the street they have to go into alleys and behind buildings to cook the stuff so they don't get arrested. If they do they may get clean while they suffer in jail but when they get out they go right for it again. One addict said he has to have the meth just to feel "normal." Many of them admit that they began by smoking marijuana and went down from there. They never expected it to happen to them.

Legalizing drugs may take a huge chunk out of organized crime and smuggling, but what is it going to do for the determined addict, depressed, forlorn, wasted and lost. Besides meth you can make in your own kitchen. The ingredients are obtainable, all poisonous, and the recipe is on the Internet.

I don['t want to hear anything more from politicians about a high moral ground or from pastors saving people from sin. Our government needs to protect us from cyber attacks before our enemies get the technology to destroy us and society (pastors, teachers, doctors, parents, people who really care and don't just make talk and TV shows) needs to focus on why drugs are destroying the lives of so many young people.

Peace and power.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up


Monday, May 27, 2013


May 27, 2013

Vagabond Journey No. 2,002


If you can still hold hands, then you know the romance is still going on.

(Joannie Thayer)


Hello Jon


Yesterday I watched an older couple get out of their car and head for the church. Right away he held out his hand, she took it and thus they proceeded, side by side, on their way.

I knew of a man who, getting ready to board a train for a long trip and for which he had a ticket, stopped to buy a poinsettia for his wife. While he was doing that the train whistle blew and the train started to leave the station. But he finished his transaction, ran after the train and caught it. The wife and her poinsettia were more important than the ease of getting on the train.

The artist Henri Matisse on leaving his studio for the day went to look for a gift for his wife. His friend said to him "You are still courting her." He replied "C'est vrai." (It's true.)

I live a solitary life. I don't have a hand to hold or a wife or lady friend to buy flowers for but, in this cruel, disintegrated society, it pleases me to know that some relationships are still solid and romance in it's best form still exists.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up


Sunday, May 26, 2013


May 26, 2013

Vagabond Journey No. 2,001


The illusion of the good inside ourselves must be wiped out, and the veil, with which self love conceals our moral infirmity, must be torn away.

(Immanuel Kant)


Hello Sue


How much of who you think you are are you willing to relinquish? I've observed that the creature who eats, sleeps and walks around inside my skin is often someone I don't want to know. I think I'm a fairly good guy, until I start remembering the stupid and cruel things I've said and done or the intelligent and beneficial things I haven't said and done.

Oh, I can dwell on the good things about me, just as most people do about themselves. But I've also come to realize that those blossoms come from the same meadow as the weeds do.

It is certainly a good thing to respect oneself, but who this self is I am trying to respect has become elusive and enigmatic to me. Knit together, the characteristics, patterns, traits and talents that go to make my person, resemble the skins of the onion, the veils that are covering the naked Salome who doesn't reveal her true selfhood until the veils are off.

The troublesome thing about those veils is that the more we live the more veils we have woven for ourselves and the more we believe the pretensions they display and the less likely we are to peek behind them to see our naked selves.

But to live with our true selves with self respect and no regrets is a strip show, taking off those self made veils, one at a time until we uncover what needs to be cleaned, repaired, focused and saved. Unlike the onion which has no center there is an amazing being behind the veils.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up


Thursday, May 23, 2013


May 23, 2013

Vagabond Journey no. 2,000


You have created love in my soul and it has grown to be a mountain.

(John Newbrough)


Hello Everyone


I received some very good suggestions about what to do with my 2,000th Vagabond Journey. Some of those thoughts tended to looking at my life with an analytical eye. So I decided to dip into the recent past to see what I had written 4 years ago and trace the changes and improvements, if any, in my basic views and writing ability. So here, unedited, is my blog for May 23, 2009 complete with some excellent comments, two from people who still comment and one from someone I never hear from any more. After it I will make my own comments


Veritable Values 5/23/09
Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.

People often waste a lot of time criticizing other people for this and that, finding fault and down grading what they do. Why is that? There usually is some low grade reason for it, such as making comparisons, which Shakespeare says are "odorous" or simple prejudice. Other times the reasons are more sinister such as envy, jealousy or hatred.

I used to be a critical, fault finding fellow. I was brought up that way. But, thank heaven, I learned the pointlessness of it. I also learned the detriment to myself of not appreciating what others do, no matter what it is. I learned to enjoy what I see others do and to be grateful. As an actor, I can enjoy great acting when I see it without feeling jealous. Just as I can enjoy a great musician or a great ball player. It seems strange but I can also feel a sense of participation in what they do.

But then it's not strange. Even though the work of some artists is so magical that it seems they came to earth from another planet or as a result of a meteor shower, the fact is they are human beings and thus are doing what a human being is capable of. Those who excel at something are the leaders, teachers and way showers. I may not take the path of the ball player or opera singer but I can see what I am capable of if I did. It is in me because it is human.

As my friend Barry Pearl wrote "One's appreciation, admiration for another's abilities, means that there is a place inside the admirer that has the same ability."

Those who do things that we admire show us that we have the capability to be admired, and those who excel at what they do show us what excellence is and that we are also capable of it, because we, like they, are human.

DB Vagabond Journeys
Blow some bubbles of joy today.

Posted by

: Cathysaid...It's close to impossible NOT to entertain the human desire to be critical. And ppl learn from that too - if no one expressed their critique for what I say and do I'd have no feedback hence no way to calculate if I'm offending someone, being sympathetic, or just wasting time. Your ability to have a critical eye is, to my mind, a talent. May 23, 2009 at 1:21 AM

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken)said...I had to learn to operate in a negative environment when I went into nuclear power. Because our focus is the health and safety of the public, we have 2 second celebrations when things go well, but we focus on what can be improved most of the time, which means you are always finding fault. I find my time away from work I am quieter because I need to think about what I am going to say, and make it positive. It is like having two personalities. May 23, 2009 at 7:14 AM

Arlene (AJ)said...I've always found criticizing anyone only ends friendships without the one realizing that doing this is hurtful to not only them but, you also. I find accepting someone for who they are is the best route to go, I don't have to agree with their stance or thoughts, etc. but I'll listen with respect. Keeps the friendship and door open to my friends and loved ones, to enjoy another day with them.



And so what has become of those four years? I've done a lot of reading and writing since then, many blogs, some stories. I've been published in a local paper. I've also made some interesting paintings, exhibited them and sold a few.

I've lost three friends, one is quoted above, because in spite of the well intentioned but miscalculated urges of two of them I refused to take the path in life they had decided for me. The third lost friend betrayed my friendship and broke my heart.

I had to go from a cane to crutches in order to walk, but by determination have overcome the crutches. I moved from one apartment to another, from despair to hope.

I haven't been on the stage for 12 years, but I look forward to some day, perhaps, going back to it. I accumulated some staggering debts which are being taken care of. I will e solvent by October. Then I can focus on repairing myself and maybe even returning to New York City, my true home.

I still agree with everything I wrote above in '09, and maybe I've added some lightness and humor to my thoughts, and more love I still look for the summit of that mountain and am ready for the next 1,000 journeys.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up



Wednesday, May 15, 2013


May 15, 2013

Vagabond Journey No. 1,999

The glory consists in doing what deserves to be written, in writing what deserves to be read.

(Pliny the Elder)


Hello Rose


I once knew a country music singer who said that everyone's life is a song. She meant that a life lived could be told in the music and lyrics of a song, with all its metaphorical lessons and experiences.

Similarly I have said that everyone's life is a book, a story, some longer than others. "We spend our years as a tale that is told." (Psalms 90) I have also written that

"Life is unfinished business." We face our daily tasks with one degree or another of joy, satisfaction, weariness or dread. But hidden between the pages of our experiences, our past, our current affairs and our hopes, plans and worries about the future, is a greater objective which when identified and understood will generate a grander perspective about who we are and what we mean to the world.

The country song, the book, the "tale that is told" are evidences of a life being lived, a manifestation of being. What a wonderful opportunity that realization gives us. We set down not only footprints and trail markers but the actual experience of life in its most graphic form.

But with that opportunity comes a personal obligation to live life in its fullness, to live a complete life, for ourselves and for those whose lives we touch.

My daily tasks need to be done but I believe they are better done with my eye on the biggest objective possible, the book my very existence is writing.


Dear Reader, according to Google this is my 1,999th blog entry. If my computer keeps working the next one, whenever I post it, will be a landmark for me. I want to make it special. So I'm open to any suggestions you may have for what I should do. You may leave a comment here or email me at I would really like your input. Thank you.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up


Sunday, May 12, 2013


May 12, 2013

Vagabond Journey No. 1,998


I know how to do anything, I'm a Mom.

(Roseanne Barr)


Hello to all you mothers


Last night, at about 1 a.m., I heard a baby crying. It's very rare to hear a baby in this neighborhood. There are a lot of children running around and shouting outside in the afternoon, but the sound of a baby, a brand new human, is an unusual event.

I knew from whence the sound was coming. It was on the other side of my bedroom wall. The folks next door brought the little girl home from the hospital about a week ago. So not only is there a brand new baby but there is also a brand new mommy. Of course, as could be expected, a couple of brand new grandmas showed up to assist in the process of adjustment.

So the little girl. Emmy, set to a good healthy bawling to express her outrage at being taken from the soft security she knew and thrust into an alien world she doesn't understand and in which she is incapable of taking care of herself.

The baby's cry is the language. It's the only way for the infant to communicate that she needs a diaper change, she has a pin sticking into her, she's hungry, needs to burp or just needs some company. So, immediately,, Mom is on the case.

Her crying does not disturb me in the least. In fact I'm happy to hear it. It's good to know there is new life happening right next door to me. Proud parents, fussy grandmas, healthy little girl.

A child is a wondrous thing. Life goes on.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up