Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Quintessential Quality 10/14/09

Friday, July 25, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008
1:33:00 AM EDT

Quintessential Quality

There are glimpses of heaven to us in every act, or thought, or word, that raises us above ourselves.

Robert Quillan

If you want to know the truth about something you did in the past, ask 3 separate people who were there. You will get 3 different versions and none of them will match your own.


Fearsome Fact 10/14/09

Saturday, July 12, 2008
12:15:00 AM EDT

Fearsome Fact

Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training.

Anna Freud


Don't put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington,
Don't put your daughter on the stage,
Though they said at the school of acting
She was lovely as Peer Gynt,
I'm afraid on the whole
An ingnue role
Would emphasize her squint,
She's a big girl, and though her teeth are fairly good
She's not the type I ever would
Be eager to engage,
No more buts,
Mrs. Worthington,
Mrs. Worthington,
Don't put your daughter on the stage.

Noel Coward

I don't think there is any enterprise that has more phonies in it than show business (except perhaps politics). I have seen and, unfortunately, had to work with a lot of "actors" and "directors" who didn't know what they were doing. I think I will address the question of good directors and idiotic directors on another day. Now I'll discuss the poor creatures who think they know how to be actors, but don't.

It seems so easy. Someone goes to see a play or a film and says "What's the big deal. I can do that." They start imagining themselves in front of a cheering audience or up on the silver screen, bigger than life. So they get into an amateur production somewhere and come out with some if the most egregious bad acting; artificial, rubber stamp, cliched nonsense. Their friends all tell them how good they were and they're convinced. Or maybe they have a favorite actor. Then they come out doing a bad impression of Marlon Brando or Katherine Hepburn.

Maybe they are really serious about it and go to an acting school. Some of the biggest and most dangerous charlatans in the business are acting teachers. A lot of them haven't been actors themselves, or if so, not for very long. Usually what they are are directors. I always tell youngsters, if they ask me, to study with an actor not a director for the simple reason that if you want to learn to play the clarinet, do you study with a clarinetist or a conductor? What they learn from a director is only how to deal with that director.

I've seen kids come to New York with some moronic theory about acting from some Drama School somewhere and face the misery of having to have that theory beaten out of them by the brass knuckles reality of professional theatre.

I did a show in Florida years ago, All the members of the cast were seasoned professional, of all ages, except the girl, who was a recent graduate from some big fancy Academy of the Arts somewhere in the South. This girl didn't know anything. She had no idea at all what we do as actors, but she thought she did. One of the other actors in the show said to me, on the sly, that she should go to that school and ask for her money back.

There was an acting teacher in New York who said to his students not to audition for anything or do any acting work at all, but to study with him for three years, do what he said and at the end they would be ready to be actors. I hope he was arrested. There was another teacher who said that if he got an acting job he would be away from the class and that he hoped his students would do the same. He was a very popular, very good teacher. Some of his students are famous.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wise Words 10/13/09

Wise Words

Sunday, May 11, 2008
Wise Words

"Money spent on getting mad or getting even is money wasted."

Richard Wagner
What this world really needs is a War On Vengeance.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Great Grievance 10/12/09

Sunday, July 13, 2008
12:13:00 AM EDT

Great Grievance

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

Kahlil Gibran

I have a friend, David, who's a potter. I watched him work one day. I saw him brutally cut off a chunk of clay, thump it on the table and then throw it on a wheel. Then, while it was spinning within an inch of it's life he wet his hands and started strangling it. He forced it out of it's natural shape and then, as if that wasn't enough, he stuck his thumbs in it and then his fingers and carved it even more into something round, Then he poked and scraped down into it's innards with some fiendish instruments, covered it all over with some sticky stuff and tucked into an oven that was hotter than hell. When it finally came out it was a beautiful, delicate, gentle bowl asking to be filled with the elixir of life.

I don't know about you, but I have been cut and thumped by the meanness of life, thrown on the wheel and spun into confusion, strangled with poverty, pushed and squeezed with hard work until I was rebuilt and reformed, poked and scraped by lies and betrayals, glazed over with tears and baked in the oven of hellish experiences. And when they finally took me out I had a joyous smile on my face

DB - The Vagabond.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Daring Do 10/11/09

Daring Do

Thursday, July 10, 2008
12:38:00 AM EDT

D's Daring Do

Greatness is a road leading towards the unknown.

Charles deGaulle

Star Trek
The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see.

Those who are given the opportunity and freedom to follow a line of study as far as it can take them are blessed with the possibility of discovering areas of unrevealed knowledge and understanding. It is what no one has ever encountered before, where no one has ver been. Mathematicians, astronomers, physicists, those practicing on the esoteric edges of science, anthropologists, architects, composers of music and, yes, also poets, when engaged to their utmost, may reach the end of the traveled path, step into an unknown territory of discovery, put down a marker for the future and try to describe what they find.

I don't know much about science, but I know something about art. The first and every time I see "The Piano Lesson" by Matisse I am taken gently by the hand and led into a world of painting I know nothing about.

I have heard Beethoven's "Grosse Fugue" for string quartet many times and it is still a mystery. What was it that Beethoven saw in his deafness and what was he trying to tell us about it?

On what obscure mountain top was Shakespeare when he wrote "The mightiest space in fortune nature brings to join like likes and kiss like native things."? And what was he saying when he wrote to lead us there "Impossible be strange attempts to those who weight their pains in sense and do suppose what hath been cannot be." ?

The air is thin and hard to breathe, the way is treacherous and the terrain frustratingly difficult to describe but though we may be standing on the shoulders of the great ones who went before us the experience of our own genius can only be won by moving off of the shoulders and placing a foot carefully but steadily down onto a step we cannot see.

DB - Vagabond Journeys

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tested Truth 10/09/09

Saturday, July 26, 2008
12:09:49 AM EDT

Tested Truth

The whole worth of a kind deed,
is in the love that inspires it.

The Talmud



It happened like this. When no guards were watching I snuck around to the back of the castle where I found a door leading down to the lower levels of the AOL prison. I opened the door and entered. Immediately I came upon another flight of steps going down into the darkness. Lucky for me I had brought my Bic to flick, and my mouse. I came next upon an iron gate which was fortunately not locked. I pried it open and entered a tunnel with cobwebs everywhere, bats flying around and slimy things crawling all over my feet. I kicked them away and kept walking.

Up ahead I could see some sort of a cavern with flickering lights. Just before entering it there was a moat, with crocodiles. There were evidently well fed, probably with chunks of disgraced tech support workers, because they didn't bother to move as I stepped on a couple to get into the cavern. There I was met by some troll-like creatures. They were very nasty and vicious. But a few sharp stabs with my mouse and they scattered, whimpering like the cowards they were. Presently I came upon a door with a sign over it saying "Abandon hope all ye who enter here." I figured that this must be the right door. I knew it would only open with the proper password. But I had cleverly overheard one of the guards talking with another guard just the day before and he mentioned the password. So I stood in front of the door and spoke it loud and clear. "GEEKS" Slowly the door began to rumble and tremble. I heard the unmistakable sound of stone on stone and the creaking of rusty hinges exposing a dark, dank, airless cavern. I flicked my Bic and there they were, languishing, pathetic and at the point of death. I recognized them, every one, my deleted journal entries. A few were tucked into various cells and pens. Some were missing, but not many.

When they saw me they began to revive. Some even had the strength to come over to me and hug me. The rest struggled to their feet and obeyed my command: "Come on, guys. Let's split this scene."

So they followed me through the forbidden door, across the cavern where the trolls were still trembling from my mouse attack, over the dopey crocodiles, down the cobweb and bat infested tunnel, kicking slimy things as they went, through the iron gate, up the steps, through the back door and up the cellar stairs to the broad daylight of GOOGOOLAND.

Once back in Vagabond Journeys they completely revived, even the wounded ones, (except for 20 I couldn't find, who, I guess, have gone to journal heaven, alas). Then they all started behaving like a litter of puppies. Everyone wanted to be on top. It was quite a struggle but, even though they are not in any recognizable order, I did manage to find homes for all of them somewhere in the journal.

Whew! What a day.

Db - The Vagabond

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Untimely Understanding 10/07/09

12:15:51 AM EDT

Untimely Understanding

Time is but a ship that bears thee, not thy home.


Oh God! methinks it were a happy life,
To be no better than homely swain;
To sit upon a hill, as I do now,
To carve out dials quaintly, point to point,
Thereby to see the minutes how they run,
How many make the hour full complete;
How many hours bring about the day;
How many days will finish up the year;
How many years a mortal man may live.
When this is done, then to divide the times:
So many hours must I tend my flock;
So many hours must I take my rest;
So many hours must I contemplate;
So many hours must I sport myself;
So many days my ewes have been with young;
So many weeks ere the poor fools will ean;
So many years ere I shall shear the fleece:
So minutes, hours, days, months, and years,
Pass'd over to the end they were created,
Would bring white hairs unto a quiet grave.


Time is a mortal measurement, a human idea. We measure it by space, how long it takes something to go from one place to another in comparison with how long it takes another object to do the same. The universe does not concern itself with time.

Why shouldn't the church bell ring 13? Because we have determined that a day is 2 sets of 12, 7 of those make a week and 52 of those make a year. But it's inaccurate, which is why we have to have the paradox of a leap year now and then. Why doesn't the earth revolve around the sun according to the nice neat pattern we have determined for it? Because the solar system does not concern itself with time.

People look through crystal telescopes at what they say is the past, stars which no longer exist but are only now announcing their light to us, because they were so many billion light years away, also a human measurement. Another person looks through a crystal ball at what he says is the future and what he sees is a projection of the unconscious thoughts that already exist in his mind.

The philosopher Hans Jonas was fond of citing the Psalmist's prayer "Teach us to number our days, that we may get a heart of wisdom." That statement implies that the information is already known. The obverse side suggests that Jonas wanted to know how many hours of daylight he had to accomplish what he wanted to do in life. The reverse side may suggest that he wanted to know when the moment would be that he would surrender his "white hairs unto a quiet grave."

I have a seed I picked up off a grassy field with some tall trees in it. The seed is about the size of a golf ball, A botanist I know looked at it, told me what kind of a tree it came from and then explained that everything about that tree was already contained in the seed. The seed knows how tall the tree will grow, what it will look like, haw many branches it will have, how many twigs, how many leaves it will put out and how long it will live. The future of the tree already exists in the present seed.

So we can measure water levels, pollen counts, wind chill factors, topical storm categories and measure out our lives "in coffee spoons" (T. S. Eliot) or by any other means only to find that nature is (benignly or malevolently) indifferent and uninterested in our efforts. The sun and the earth identify themselves to each other, The moon talks to the ocean, the flowers listen to the sun. The ground welcomes the rain when it comes. And we, with our rulers, scales and "dials," are simply eavesdroppers in this cosmic conversation.

DB - Vagabonf Journeys

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Vital Voyage 10/06/09

12:12:09 AM EDT

Vital Voyage

Morality without a sense of paradox is mean.

Friedrich Von Schlegel


I have always loved paradoxes, those things that can't be but are, the wrong way of doing something that somehow works, the unchangeable fact that sometimes changes, the sign that reads "this lane must turn right" over a sign that reads "no turns." Finding my lost journal entries after having been assured with no doubt by the experts and authorities that it was impossible and that they were gone for good.

One of the first paradoxes I remember was of an actress who was auditioning for a musical. She sang an upbeat number and was quite good. The director asked if she had a sad ballad. So quietly, very slowly and with an innocent pleading quality in her voice she sang "Take me out to the ball game," (this was a girl who never has a date) "take me out with the crowd," (she just wanted to be with people) "buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks," (it was heart rending) "I don't care if I never come back," (bless her).

I used to do summer theatre in Provincetown, Massachusetts, which is out at the end of Cape Cod. Provincetown is many things. There's an artists community, a gay community, some old time Yankees and the hundreds of tourists who visit every summer. But what it actually is year round is a Portuguese-American fishing village.

One summer I had a unit in a motel owned by a very nice couple. She took care of the motel and he was co-owner of a fishing boat. It was early summer and time for the Blessing of the Fleet. He invited me to come out on his boat for it, which I was eager to do. We circled around the bay with all the boats in a parade. When we approached the pier there was the Bishop of Fall River or New Bedford (I never knew which) and the local priest. The Provincetown priest was named Duarte and people used to call him Our Father Duarte in Heaven. While the Bishop said the prayer, Father Duarte flung the holy water on us. Then we all went out to the ocean for a while.

But the most paradoxical blessing I ever saw was a video of the Blessing of the Fleet on Kodiak Island, Alaska. It being Alaska, the clergy were of the Russian Orthodox branch of Christianity. The Bishop and local Priest were there, bearded, and in colorful robes. People were holding banners and icons and everyone had big smiles. They were having a joyous time. But there was a steep drop from where the priests were to the boats below, a bit too far to fling the water. So while the Bishop was saying the prayers the priest had a white plastic squeeze bottle in his hand with black letters that read HOLY WATER. I thought it was a hoot. Squirt the captain in the face if you have to but get the blessed water on the boat!

DB - The Vagabond

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wise Wayfaring 10/05/09

12:06:20 AM EDT

Wise Wafaring

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker.

Thomas Watson


"Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained"
You Can't Learn To Swim By Standing On The Diving Board

I spent too many hours of my life being a dope. Part of growing up is having those humbling moments when you realize you don't know as much as you thought you did. And when you finally come face to face with your own ignorance is the moment you either give up or start to get smart.

Any adventure, whether physical or mental, means leaving where you are and going someplace else. For a thinker it means discarding old worn out ideas. I have no patience with the "tried and true" and I get mental claustrophobia whenever I hear it spoken or see it written. The friendship that underlies small talk is sterling and should not be overlooked or forgotten about. It's the safe, soft and cozy mentality that I abjure. It's the rusty thinking that no longer rings when you thump on it that is so uncomfortable to me.

Because I have seen people slowly sink into inanity who don't want to challenge the way they have been thinking or taught to think, and jump into a whirlpool of uncertainty, I want to come and shake their houses. Not to do harm, but to let people know that there is so much more in their mental world than they have any awareness of. Because at one point in my life I began to discover and open doors to rooms in my house I had never opened, I want to encourage people to find their own secret doors. And because I was willing to step into a jungle of knowledge I had never known about and feel my way along, I want to invite people to do the same, whichever way they turn. To follow the road less traveled is one thing, but to travel where there is no road is the best. The discoveries you make and the destinations you reach are completely your own. Is it risky business?

DB - Vagabond Journeys

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Xenophilic Xray 10/04/09

12:19:09 AM EDT

Xenophilic Xray

You should examine yourself daily. If you find faults, you should correct them. When you find none, you should try even harder.

Xi Zhi

How clean is your shed? How well do you know yourself? Have you discovered enough about yourself that you are trying to change? Are you willing to dig deeper?

Years ago I read this story about Booker T. Washington. After he became a freed slave, he wanted to get an education. The woman who was in charge of the school asked him first to clean out a one room shed. He entered the shed, pulled some things out that didn't belong there and straightened things up a bit.

When the woman came to inspect it she was not satisfied with what he had done. So he went back in and pulled more things out. He found a snake living in there. So he dropped a rock on it's head, killing it. He took that out and thought he was finished.

But when the woman came back she was still not pleased. So this time he was determined to satisfy her. He took everything out. In the process he discovered a window that was covered up. When he uncovered it light came in and he could see all the dirt, cobwebs and other junk. He realized that his problem had been that he had never in his life seen a clean shed. He got a broom and completely swept it clean and replaced the things in an orderly fashion.

This time, when the woman came she was happy with the job and Booker went to school.

How clean is my shed?

DB - The Vagabond

Saturday, October 3, 2009

October 3, 2009

Believe in what you are doing.

Try harder.

Don't give up.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Zeroing Zone 10/01/09

Thursday, July 31, 2008
12:11:25 AM EDT

Zeroing Zone

Flow with whatever is happening and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.

Here's your exercise for the day.

Get a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Not a small piece, a good sized note pad will do. I'll wait here while you do that.

Ready? Good. Now beginning at the top, leave a space and then draw a solid line from the center of the top down to the center of the bottom of the page. Next draw a line from the upper left hand corner, again leaving a space, down to the right hand corner, bisecting the line you just drew. Now this is the tricky part. Draw a line from the upper right hand corner, leaving a space, down to the bottom left hand corner, but making sure that it crosses the other two lines at exactly the place where they meet. Got it?

Okay. Now next to the place where those three lines meet draw an arrow pointing to it.

Now on top of the center line write the word ME, on top of one of the other lines write the words MY LIFE, and on top of the third line write the words MY CAREER. Your career is whatever you do that puts something good into the world: a lifetime enterprise, a job, a family a garden, etc.

What you have here is three roads, so somewhere on the page, but not near the arrow, write VIA, the word for road.

And since there are three of them, somewhere else on the page write the word for three, TRI.

Now next to the arrow put them together and write the word TRIVIA.

Every single thing you do, no matter how insignificant it may seem, every moment you spend, including the reading of this sentence, is important to you, your life and your career, all three. It's vital.

It's trivia - the crossing of three roads.

DB - The Vagabond