Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?

THE VASE

A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart? The brilliant professor from Bethel University? Or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.




Monday, October 16, 2017

Playlist Completed - First Songs Ready to Hear

Okay, I managed to complete a playlist of my Volume 12 Rockin' the Cosmos on SoundCloud, but you have to kind of play around on it to hear the songs in the proper order if you happen to go there. If you do go there by clicking on the Rockin the Cosmos icon on the right margin of this blog, I hope you can listen to the songs in the correct order. I finally managed to put them in a playlist. So I hope you can manage to find the playlist if you wish to hear it. And if you do, I'll try to the best of my ability to explain how you can go about it.

First you first click on the icon in the right  margin of this blog. It's the icon of the outer space scene where is says "Volume 12" above and "Rockin' the Cosmos" below. After you click on that, the first song "Sensurround" starts automatically. You'll also see the lyrics. At first it's all good. You can listen to the first song and even read the lyrics, but only for the first song. After that first song, some weird Hip Hop song follows, and that is NOT my song. I have no clue why it follows my song.

Ideally, the second song in my playlist would follow, then the third song, then the fourth, and so on until the tenth and final song.

So what I suggest is after clicking on the icon which takes you to SoundCloud, hit pause in the header right away to pause the song, and then click on "View All" just below the header to the far right. That will take you to a lot of other strange songs, but then click on "In playlists" which is near the top, just under the "Sensurround" title and space image. That will bring my Playlist which is Rockin' the Cosmos. Then click on "View 10 tracks" and all ten tracks will appear.

To listen, just click on the first song Sensurroud and it will play. After Sensurround, each subsequent song will automatically follow in the proper order. Meaning, Song 2 Green Lady will play next, followed by Song 3 In This Place, followed by Song 4 Death of the Super Men, etc. After each song, click on "Mr D" to return to the Playlist so as to access the next song's lyrics.

To see the lyrics while the song is playing, you'll have to double click on the song title. If it doesn't happen right away, it will happen with a little bit of persistence. I think the lyrics are just as important as the music, so if you're like me and you want to see the lyrics at the same time, it is possible, but you have to keep on clicking on it until it works.

As for the performance of the music, just remember. I don't pretend to be a singer. But I already explained how that came about. I have another album, Volume 13, Rockin' the Afterlife, which I'll post one day. And I have Volume 2 ready to go also. As for all the others? We'll see.

Enjoy.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Music Getting Posted

Computer experts are nice to have as friends. I'm finally getting some of my music posted to the blog, but right now it's kind of mixed up. I'm starting with my Volume 12, which is Rockin' the Cosmos. It's an entire album's worth of space oddity songs. Like Bowie's Space Oddity. Or Elton John's Rocket Man. Of course, they don't compare to those classic. I'm a nobody in the music world. Those guys are giants. But to me, anyway, the music is great. I don't need to hear anyone else's opinion.

I just want my music out there. What I do know is I can't sing. I can compose music. I can't sing. I wish i could find a singer. I tried. I even advertised on Craig's list at one point. It was a hassle having strangers answer my ads and come over to my house. After a bit I found it unsettling, and I stopped. Yeah, I heard of some disturbing stories of Craig's list ads going wrong. And having a wife and two kids and a grandma in the house, and well, I thought I better stop with the Craig's list ads.

So I just did the singing myself. I admit straight up the singing sucks. But the music, and the songs, at least, to me, for me, are quite good. But that's only if you can get past the singing.

But wait. Don't go over there yet. My arrangement is still mixed up. I have all my songs mis-arranged. The computer guy taught me how to upload the songs onto sound cloud but not how to arrange the tracks and make them play in order like in an album the way they should play. I'm still trying to figure that out. So until then, they will play in any odd way. They are supposed to play in this order:

1 - Sensurround
2 - Green Lady
3 - In This Place
4 - Death of the Super Men
5 - Merging
6 - Spaceman
7 - Like a Curse
8 - Never Ending
9 - I'm Not the Bad Guy
10 - So Many Years

So until I can make a sountrack in order stay tuned. will let you know.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Stand for the National Anthem

Protest this or protest that. Or move to anther county. How about that? That's the great thing about this country. It's a free country. You can do what you want. You can protest. You can move. You can even sit during the nation anthem. But if you do, you will draw the ire of your fellow Americans. And that ire will be justified.

Because no other country is as great as this one. Don't agree? Then find another country and MOVE there. Go ahead. Move to another country if you can find a better one. Of course no country is perfect. No one said America is perfect. There is no place where every person in every profession is perfect. That's what these idiot professional football players don't seem to understand. And all the people who follow their lead don't seem understand. Like the players in other sports, and now college players and high school players, and students who aren't even athletes.

That's right. Kids are sitting during the pledge of allegiance in the classrooms now. It's out of control. And all started by some idiot football player, influenced, I understand, by his America-hating girlfriend. He used a lie, which was Ferguson, and then protested. Sure there were other incidents that weren't lies, incidents that were cases of bad cops, but this idiot cited Ferguson. The "hands up, don't shoot" lie. And used that as his protest. It was a lie.

But here's my point. All professions have bad cases involved. There's going to be bad cops. There's bad doctors, too. Is there going to be a protest about bad doctors? There's bad professors, too. There's bad researchers, bad politicians, bad mayors, bad governors, bad manufacturers, and bad janitors. But MOST of the above are good. I'd say the overwhelming majority of the above are excellent. And that includes cops.

So these idiot protesters don't take that into consideration. To hell with the football players. To hell with the basketball players. They never did anything for me. We need cops a lot more than we need football players and basketball players. Cops save lives. I don't know of any lives saved by a basketball player. Or a football player. They can all go to hell as far as I'm concerned.

God bless America. And God Bless the American Flag. Stand for the National Anthem. Or move to another country. Stand and be proud during the nation anthem. Or sit and be an idiot.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Vase Submitted to Big Five

I have finally submitted a manuscript to a "Big Five" publisher. Two "Big Five" publishers in fact. Penguin/Random House and MacMillan. Albeit those two Big Five publishers are not the American versions. They are Penguin/Random House - South Africa and MacMillan - Australia. I had submitted to South Africa's Penguin/Random House for my John Dunn book, but they didn't accept it. Maybe it wasn't ready yet. I might have waited until now when it's more ready at this point, but alas, John Dunn is published already. And The Vase is way more ready too, btw.

So if it's so ready, maybe now is the best time to submit. Thus my thinking. And so maybe all is for the best that The Vase is available again. Perhaps it's true what they say. Perhaps things do happen for a reason. And so the reason Penumbra went out of business and reverted all rights to The Vase back to me is so that I can find another publisher for it. And this time, maybe, just maybe I can finally crack the Big Five and really "make it" as an author. Until then, I really will have fallen short.

Other people might not agree. Other people might say, Hey, you got published. Be glad for that. And I am. To a point. But the dream is the "Big Five." Fall short of that, and the dream is unfulfilled. Unless you make the best sellers list and movies are made and you become a millionaire and even a billionaire like J.K. Rolling and her Harry Potter books. They didn't get published by the Big Five, but they became best sellers and became movies and she's rich and she can care less at this point who published the books.

So, yeah, I guess it's all relative. Still, I'm hoping Penguin/Random House - South Africa or MacMillan - Australia will pick up The Vase. Fingers crossed. Won't know for another three to six months. So until then, will keep improving it. It's all I can do.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Guns - Bad News

Guns are bad news. I don't say this because of the recent horror in Las Vegas. Or the other horrors that have occurred in so many other places in so many other instances. I say this because guns exist for only one reason. To kill. Whether it's people or animals, the reason is the same. Kill.

Hunters use guns to kill deer, ducks wild boars, or whatever else they're hunting. Soldiers use guns to kill enemy soldiers. Murderers use guns to kill innocent people. Whatever the target, the result is the same. Killing. With guns.

I am not a hunter. And I am not a soldier. I know police have guns. I will defend a policeman's right to have a gun for self-defense. Because criminals will use guns against policemen. It's a necessary evil. Necessary because evil exists. And policemen are in the front lines fighting that evil.

But during these modern times, does hunting really need to exist? I don't have the right to say it doesn't. I don't have the right to say people should not be hunters. But I do have the right to have an opinion. My opinion is that hunting is an obsolete sport. Killing a deer, or a duck, or a wild boar, or whatever... I don't see the sport in that. So I don't think hunting is a very cool sport. That's my opinion. Hunting...killing...guns...I wish those things would go away.

Of course the next argument is self-defense, like I was using for the police. There is evil out there. Thus we have police. And they have guns. Which I just admitted they need. So why don't everyday citizens also need guns for their protection? That's where I'm going with this post. Those citizens would not need guns if criminals did not have guns to use against them.

But how can that be? Criminals always have a way to get guns. Well, if Martin Luther King could have a dream, why can't I? My dream is this: What if all guns could go away? All guns except those in the military and law enforcement. No guns anywhere else. Wouldn't that be nice? Then the nuts like in Las Vegas and Sandy Hook, and Columbine, and San Bernardino, and everywhere else would not have had the ability to do what they did.

Sure, they might still have driven cars or trucks into crowds of people. Or concocted some kind of pressure cooker bombs, like the Boston Bombers did. Or figured out some other means of mass murder. But with no guns the other types of killing wouldn't happen. Impulsive killing. And killings of passion. Like when someone loses it, and then there's a gun and he or she  uses it, like that guy who went into that beauty parlor in LA and shot eight people because he was mad at his wife. If that gun wasn't at his disposal, I'm betting at least seven of those people would still be alive today. Maybe I'd lose that bet, but I'd still make that bet.

I have a dream that there is a way to get rid of every gun from every house in every city and town in every state in the entire country. That's my dream. I know at least half of the people in this country don't share that dream. Maybe half of the people reading this are vehemently disagreeing with me right now. And if they are, they need not worry. Unlike Martin Luther King's dream, it's a dream that will never come true. And the killings and murders and mass killings and mass murders will continue. Year in. And year out.

Monday, October 2, 2017

New Star Trek Show - The Feminists Are Taking Over - Yikes!

I've talked a bit about tough chicks. They exist. But do they beat people up? Do women want to see women beat people up? Do women want to go around beating people up? Do they believe in that? Do women want to see other women going around killing people?

I argued they don't. I still believe I'm right. But the trend in Hollywood is not strong women, but tough chicks. You know. See above. Whatever. That's not what I want to repeat here. The topic today is the new Star Trek show, Star Trek Discovery, which I watched and will  probably not watch again.

I'm not a Feminist, and that's why I won't watch it. Star Trek Discovery is a show that caters to the Feminist audience. I know that in this time of equal rights, there should be equal rights. But I will never agree that women should be fighting wars. Why would women want to fight in wars anyway? Do women want to fight in wars? Heck, men don't even want to fight in wars. That's why men like Muhammad Ali dodged the draft. He'd rather be in jail and fed than to be in Vietnam and dead, isn't that what he said? And I'm not saying I blame him, by the way.

So do women want to fight in wars? Do they really? Do they want to get their heads blown off? Do they want to come home from a battlefield with their legs blown off? With their faces blown off? Crippled for life? Why don't women get it? War and fighting is not some glorious thing like Wonder Woman would have you believe. It's not like Star Trek. Which brings me to my point.

Starships are warships. I don't believe a woman should command a warship of men. It just isn't right. I know women are good leaders in a school. I am a teacher and most of my principals have been women. And (for the most part) they have been great. But a school is not a battlefield. And women, imo, do not belong on a battlefield. Do they want to be on a battlefield?

I can't imagine why a woman would want to be on a battlefield. Anyone who would want to be on a battlefield would be by definition unqualified to be on that battlefield. Because that person would be mentally unstable. That ends the argument right there. Who would want to be led by an unstable person. No one. And too many times leaders have been unstable, because men who had wanted to be on a battlefield to lead have indeed been unstable. So there you go.

Okay, so again, back to Star Trek Discovery. We already had the woman starship captain in Star Trek Voyager with Captain Janeway. Quota fulfilled. Nope. Now we not only have another woman captain, but on top of that, we have the first officer also a woman. So the top two stars of the show, the captain and the first officer are women. Okay. No men. None. No testosterone, so to speak. But the first officer is providing the testosterone. She has a man's name, Michael, and she's all gung-ho in firing the first shot at the Klingons, as advised by Spock's dad. (Presumably, before Spock is born.)

So yeah. There are no men in the show, except in very minor and subservient roles. The men are the lowly officers and crewmen, relegated to taking orders from the women, and that's the premise of the show. It's a Feminist's dream, so to speak.

So if you're a Feminist and you like the Star Trek universe, this is the show for you. I like women, of course, been married to the same woman for almost thirty years, and I am all for equal rights and equal opportunity. But I will stand by my belief that women do not belong on a battlefield and women should be glad that society doesn't require them to be on a battlefield. And I will repeat this point because I think it is important. If a woman wants to be on a battlefield, then she is probably mentally unstable. And the same thing is probably true for a man.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Vase - Waiting for the Big Five

Since my book The Vase is in Limbo right now I have options. Go with my current publisher, Knox Robinson, (nope). Go with my other current publisher, Melange Books, (nope). Find another POD publisher, like its former publisher Penumbra, (nope). Self publish, (nope). Don't publish it, (nope), or once again try for the Big Five, (yes). But that takes an agent and agents are not interested in a nobody like me. Yes, but there are ways around that.

So I will examine publication via non-agent access to the Big Five publishers. It will be a last ditch effort on my part. At the same time, I will be undergoing a last ditch effort in my music. I'm at that age, I guess, where everything is a last ditch effort. My kids are in high school and college now, so even that part of my life is in its later stages.

Here's to hoping things work out.