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.



Saturday, July 16, 2016

Gregg Rolie - Nice Guy

I'm not the kind of person that really likes to go to rock concerts. I used to be. But for the last 20 years I've only been interested in seeing one rock band - Black Sabbath. But last night my wife said she wanted to go to the free Santa Cruz Boardwalk rock concert. There was a guy, she said, named "Gregg Roller" playing that night.

I said, "Gregg Roller? Do you mean Gregg Rolie?"

She said she didn't know, but she wanted to go anyway. I figured if it was Gregg Rolie, then I'd want to go. My old rock band way back when, used to play some of those Santana songs on which Gregg Rolie was the organist and lead singer. Some of you might remember those songs. Black Magic Woman, Evil Ways, and No One to Depend On are just a few.

So we went, and we found a place to sit easily enough. The place was an outdoor venue, so squeezing into a spot was pretty easy. I'd say we were about 30 yards away. And sure enough, it was Gregg Rolie who took the stage with a band that resembled the old Santana band as far as music pieces are concerned. One guitarist, a bassist, Gregg Rolie on organ, of course, with a drummer and a guy playing the congas, and another guy playing timbales. The only difference was they had an additional keyboard player up there. But that guy didn't have his keyboard set up sounding like an organ. It was more like a synthesizer, which was understandable, because Gregg Rolie, being the featured musician on the night was the organ player.

So it did bring back a lot of memories of my old band with Ed, Rocky, Joel, Tim, and Harvey, especially since Mr. Rolie played many of the songs my old band had covered forty years ago. From 30 yards away, Mr. Rolie still looked like how I remembered him. But from close up you can see age had set in. He must be about 70 years old by now, so for being 70, yeah, he looked good.

What do I mean from close up? After the concert, Mr. Rolie descended from the stage and talked to the fans. I didn't go over there at first, but then I thought maybe I could shake the hand of the second rock star in my life. The first was Bill Ward, the drummer from Black Sabbath. That happened when my friend and I sneaked on stage a couple hours before show time, when Mr. Ward was tuning up his drums. The great thing about that was when Mr. Ward saw us, he came over and talked to us. I shook his hand and talked to him for a few minutes. It was great.

So I decided to go over to see if I might talk to Gregg Rolie, but too many people were already ahead of me on that. And by the time I could get near enough to say something, Mr. Rolie was clearly tired, and he was saying 'no more, I have to go.'

At that point, I decided not to say anything. But then some dude shouted out for a photo, and Mr. Rolie obliged him. After that he said again, 'No more, I have to go.' But then my wife grabs Mr. Rolie's coat sleeve and said, "One More."

Elizabeth with Gregg Rolie
Now, if I were Gregg Rolie I don't know how I would have reacted to some strange woman grabbing my coat sleeve after I had said twice 'no more' and that I was ready to go. But Mr. Rolie smiled and said 'Okay' after which my wife gave me her cellphone and I took a couple pictures with her posing with Mr. Rolie.

Because I didn't want to try Mr. Rolie's patience, I was trying to snap the photo in a hurry. The photo turned out a little blurry, and because the flash wasn't on and it was late at night, the photo turned out kind of dark, but here it is to the left after I brightened it up a little.


Oh, btw, the Gregg Rolie band played two sets, and we saw both sets. I was glad we did, because even though the second set was mostly the same songs as the first set, they did insert a few songs which they didn't play in the first set. Look Into the Future, a Gregg Rolie Journey song was one, and I was very pleased to hear another which was the song they wrapped up the night with: Soul Sacrifice!

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