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.



Friday, September 16, 2016

Black Sabbath Live

Ozzy Ozbourne and Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath performing in Oakland last night
For more than forty years, the heavy metal rock band Black Sabbath has been my favorite band. So much so, that Black Sabbath is the only rock concert I care to attend. And last night, in Oakland, they performed what might be their final appearance in the Bay Area. I was there with a friend. Black Sabbath is his favorite band, as well. And it was a great night. This poor quality photo I took with my cell phone shows how close I was to the stage.

I remember my first Black Sabbath concert I attended back in 1975 with another friend. I also remember it cost five dollars. I won't say how much I spent this time, but it was far more than five dollars. Suffice it to say being in the third row was worth it. I would have preferred the first row, but that would have cost 2.5 times more. And the cost was already prohibitive.

But I never miss a Sabbath concert. Black Sabbath invented the sub-genre of rock since dubbed Heavy Metal. Tony Iommi invented the new sound that instantly reeled me in as a fan. And a fan I have remained ever since. I'm not really big on going to any concerts, but sentimentality is strong in my appreciation of this band from England and their personal stories. No need to relate them here, as most people already know about Ozzy. But Tony and Geezer Butler, (the bassist) have equally compelling stories, and Bill Ward, (the drummer) has one of his own, as well.

Unfortunately, Ward was not present last night. I had relayed that point in my posting last February. A founding member of Sabbath, Ward belongs on the stage with the other three. And as I expressed last February, I still hope Sabbath will go on tour with Ward even it's one final time.

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