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Let’s face it. The news has not been good. I wish to be clear on my politics:

  • The news makes me cry. Just about every day now it seems.
  • I support our brave police forces. They lay their lives on the line every day. I thank them and salute them.
  • I believe black lives matter- yes, they all matter, but if I’m a mother of a black child… I’m a little more nervous. And rightly so.
  • I want to be informed, but the information I glean hurts.

This past weekend my sweetie and I went to a wedding. It was the marriage of two people I’d never met. The groom works with my boy. I like the groom. I like the bride. It was a delightful gathering with fun people. We danced. I adore dancing.

Before we go any further… I have to say… these are LOVELY people. I mean really, lovely. And I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Thank you, Heather and Brent, for reminding me of what humanity’s greatest defense against hate, intolerance, and flat-out idiocy has always been…

LOVE. KINDNESS. COMPASSION.

Every day people living every day lives… opening a door, giving a hug, smiling while making eye-contact. We survive because of a shared warmth, a community, and desire to better ourselves.

Heather and Brent- As your song, your first dance played, I immediately teared up. I had not yet met you, but I felt a profound connection with you. And that’s our shared connection… that’s humanity. And that is why we’ll get better, we’ll do better. The news has been dark before but we have survived, even thrived. We will do so again… so long as we have someone to Lava

Go… Hug someone…I mean it! Go….listen and find someone to Lava.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uh4dTLJ9q9o

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

 

2016 has already proven to be the year of the dead rock star. Especially if you happen to be a male, say 68-72. We’ve lost some greats: David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Dale Griffin, Paul Kantner, Natalie Cole, Maurice White, and, this one hits closest to home, Jimmy Bain, long time bassist to Rainbow and Ronnie James Dio. My blog threatens to become an obituary column, which I NOT want, yet how can we allow these greats to pass without a note?

Friday, as I eagerly looked forward a superb evening with my dear friend Michelle (aka “Mitch”) which entailed a dinner out and a concert, translation food, wine, and heavenly music, I heard yet another piece of terrible news. Keith Emerson died.

Three words, but unless you are a music fan, geek, aficionado such as myself, you can’t know the pathos laden in those sixteen letters. Keith Emerson is likely the greatest keyboard player of our time. No, he is, or was, that good. I remember seeing Yes (many times) with my amazing friend and college roommate, Jim. Rick Wakeman’s keyboard skills amazed me to such an extent that I said, “Surely, he has to be the best there is?” Jim turned to me and said, “No, because Keith Emerson exists.”

It was a couple of years until I got to see Emerson one summer night at Cal Expo in Sacramento, CA. At the time he played in Emerson, Lake and Palmer. However, my favorite lineup remains the Emerson, Lake and Powell- they rocked a bit harder. Substitute the perennial Carl Palmer  for the late, lamented Cozy Powell (awesome drummer!!!). Five minutes into the show, I remember turning to Jim and saying, “Because Keith Emerson exists.” Jim smiled. “Yep,” he said.

Sample Emerson on the piano here.

And that pretty much summed it up. Keith Emerson towered above the other rock keyboardists of the century. As good as they were, and some are VERY good, Alan Parsons, Jens Johansen,the above mentioned Rick Wakeman, Jon Lord, Rod Argent, Mark Kelly, and Tony Banks among others. If you were unfortunate enough to miss his time, Google it- you’ll see.

The song everyone knows even if they don’t realize it, Lucky Man.

To top sadness off with tragedy, Emerson shot himself. One bullet to the head. He was 71. I don’t know what demons he fought, the dragons he failed to slay. I only know that the world is bleaker for his passing. Music lights our lives, inspires us to seek the road ahead, and coaxes us to dream anew.

My personal favorite Emerson tune (originally Emerson, Lake & Powell)

So Mitch and I sat at dinner, with our very nice bottle of wine and toasted to the genius, the amazing proficiency, passion, and gift that Emerson brought to rock. There was mourning as well to be sure. But if you have to lose someone so great, an artist of such power then at least have the right way to honor him. For Michelle and I after we toasted the man we went to a concert. We saw Nightwish, a band from Finland whose keyboardist, Tuomas Holopainen, comes from the neo-classical, power rock tradition that the great man so loved.  Hearing one Emerson’s heirs on stage? Well, it wasn’t the man himself but the passion lived on.

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We listened to metal with a driving keyboard edge, metal that owed something to Keith Emerson’s genius and followed his tradition. Click here for a sample of Tuomas Holopainen’s solos.

Keith Emerson- R.I.P. Much love.

 

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller.Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

I owe my dear friend, Debbie Oakland, an apology. She asked, and I promised, for a Musical Monday derived or inspired in some way from this year’s Grammys. Debbie, I’m getting there, I swear. However, I had to go where the passion took me and I just had to use this song.

Like so many Americans, I am floored, shocked and profoundly disturbed by our current state of presidential politics. The idea that enough of the country can be so backwards, deluded, and hate-filled to support, even turn out in droves for a man like Donald Trump is beyond depressing. I didn’t think I still possessed this kind of naivete. Apparently, I would be wrong. Color me a heart-broken Pollyanna.

Let me get this straight, feel free to stop me at any time, Trump hates foreigners, but married two. Breast feeding women are disgusting but in Melania we’ll have a First Lady with her very own nudes. (We’ll pause while some of my readers run off to Google her.) Mind you, I don’t mind immigrant wives or nude pictures, but don’t tell me breast feeding is disgusting and then expect me not to do a double take at what you married. Also, don’t say you love women and then claim that one who asks you a difficult question must be on her period. Oh yes, and we aren’t allowed to use the bathroom. I can NOT wait to introduce him to Angela Merkel because that will be super fun. Not.

So, that’s half of humanity he hates. Who’s left? Mexicans are drug dealers and rapists. Oh, and Mexico, Trump says we need a wall and you need to pay for it. Come on? After all those years of trying to get the Berlin Wall down? Really? Muslims need to leave the country and so do “brown people.” Although, interestingly enough, perhaps not blacks. as Trump says, “The Blacks” love him. I guess he’s right. After all, Louis Farrakhan sure seems to be a fan. Of course, Trump can barely bring himself to disavow the KKK, so maybe not.

He has no plan- for anything. No strategy for health care, immigration reform, foreign policy, tax reform, the future of the Supreme Court, women’s issues, race relations, poverty, child hunger, and the list goes on. Without a thought in his bulbous orange head, he bumbles his way across America, spouting invective as he goes. Don’t even get me started on the last debate when he bragged about his genitalia. Again, I’m fine with all these body parts, but really, you’re gonna brag at a presidential debate? Can you imagine if a female candidate started bragging about the merits of her special places? (Yes, I am being facetious.) And did I fail to mention? He’s a bully.

And somehow in the midst of all this, his support continues, even grows. What have we as a nation become?

This. Is. Nuts.

This week’s song is The Mob Rules by Black Sabbath. The album featured: Tony Iommi, Ronnie James Dio, Vinny Appice, and Geezer Butler. This song was later performed by the same Sabbath line-up but renamed Heaven & Hell. The clip I am including here is from 2007, their Heaven & Hell days, prior to the untimely death of Ronnie James Dio. I cannot help but wonder what Dio, himself once a Democratic presidential candidate, would make of today’s antics. Click here to enjoy!

While the lyrics might initially appear as inciting as Trump himself, it is, in fact, a cautionary tale against the forces of chaos. I devoutly do not wish to live in a country where the mob rules. Come on, America, come to your collective senses. Pretty please.

Okay, vent over. I’m just going over here to bang my head against this wall. And not in a cool metal way.

“The Mob Rules”

Close the city and tell the people that something’s coming to call
Death and darkness are rushing forward to take a bite from the wall, oh

You’ve nothing to say
They’re breaking away
If you listen to fools…
The Mob Rules
The Mob Rules

Kill the spirit and you’ll be blinded, the end is always the same
Play with fire, you burn your fingers and lose your hold of the flame, oh

It’s over, it’s done
The end is begun
If you listen to fools…
The Mob Rules

You’ve nothing to say
Oh, They’re breaking away
If you listen to fools…

Break the circle and stop the movement, the wheel is thrown to the ground
Just remember it might start rolling and take you right back around

You’re all fools!
The Mob Rules!

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This post was written by Erika Gardner. She’s a native Californian, lifelong lover of fantastical adventures, and a dedicated Whovian. If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on www.erikagardner.com   Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner, “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Or check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

This week’s blog, like last Monday’s, is something of a bonus. You get a two-fer. Meaning, this is an introduction to a stellar book and a fabulous song to act as its soundtrack. Win-win.

The book is The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller by M. Pepper Langlinais. M is a member of my critique group, The Beer & Bacon Babes, so I am very familiar with Peter and can truly attest to how special it is. It has that fabulous spy cloak and dagger thing working with a sensitive love story. Peter is a story of loss and betrayal, discovery and friendships- old and new. It defies guessing which makes it a super fun read. Here’s a bit more about it:

In 1960’s London, British Intelligence agent Peter Stoller is next in line to run the Agency—until he falls in love with cab driver, Charles, and his life goes off the road. When Charles is accused of treason, Peter is guilty by association. Peter manages to extract them both, but the seeds of doubt have been planted, putting Peter’s mind and heart at war. Is ignorance truly bliss or merely deadly?

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Peter is available for download via: Amazon (US and UK), Kobe, Smashwords, Apple, and Nook. Click here to purchase.

M chose this week’s Musical Monday tune. It’s a lovely song titled After the Fall by the group October Project. They remind me a bit of the prog rock band, Marillion. You can enjoy the song by clicking here.

 

Lyrics to After the Fall

In a city of faces
That never look back
Where doors never open
And eyes never meet
Someone behind me was tracing my steps
As I ran
Through the fog down a cobblestone street

In a city of crossroads
That never lead home
Where secrets unravel
And fates intertwine
Someone was calling my name in the night
As I ran
From a voice that was echoing mine

The farther you run
The more you recall
The loss of your innocence
After the fall

The farther you run
The more you recall
After the fall

In a city of magic
That spins out of time
Where God has no image
And Man finds no grace
Something inside me was seeking itself
As I ran
From a shadow who’d stolen my face

The farther you run…

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This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog. To purchase Erika’s new release, The Dragon in The Garden visit her page at Tirgearr Publishing.

I am a Lost Boy. So I’m a girl. I still am a Lost Boy. I fell in love with Peter Pan on a summer night somewhere in my childhood. (Yes, that would be in the seventies… shudders. Where DOES the time go?)

But honestly, who doesn’t fall in love with Peter Pan? The story represents the best of our childhoods, combined with some of the worst. Our desire for love and sheltering, combined with that wild streak to run away, run far, run fast. Of all the fairy tales, with the possible exception of Cinderella, this one resonates the deepest. We sink back into it so easily, with relief and joy.

With such an iconic tale, eternal thank-you’s to the incomparable J.M. Barrie, it is a daunting task to imagine you might be able to add to this legend’s lore. My dear friend and critique partner, Wendy Spinale, has undertaken exactly such a Herculean endeavor and her forthcoming novel, Everland is the result of all her love and passion. Available for preorder NOW, her actual novel drops (and auto-downloads to all preordered devices) on May 10th. A steampunk retelling of Peter Pan, this time it’s Wendy, er, Gwen, who saves the day. But there are still pirates, crocodiles, and Captain Hook trying to foil the Lost Boys! Never fear! Bella, pixie dust, and clockwork wings are there to combat them! To live will be a very big adventure indeed!

Please preorder Everland here!

Here is what to watch for- my friend’s simply gorgeous cover. Look for it in book stores, on line, and in Scholastic Book Fairs everywhere!

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Please enjoy the video to Lost Boy

“Lost Boy”

[Intro]
There was a time when I was alone
Nowhere to go and no place to call home
My only friend was the man in the moon
And even sometimes he would go away, too

[Verse 1]
Then one night, as I closed my eyes,
I saw a shadow flying high
He came to me with the sweetest smile
Told me he wanted to talk for awhile
He said, “Peter Pan—that’s what they call me.
I promise that you’ll never be lonely.”
And ever since that day…

[Chorus]
I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy,” they say to me,
“Away from all of reality.”

[2x]
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

[Verse 2]
He sprinkled me in pixie dust and told me to believe
Believe in him and believe in me
Together we will fly away in a cloud of green
To your beautiful destiny
As we soared above the town that never loved me
I realized I finally had a family
Soon enough we reached Neverland
Peacefully my feet hit the sand
And ever since that day…

[Chorus]
I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy,” they say to me,
“Away from all of reality.”

[2x]
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

[2x]
Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Wendy Darling,
Even Captain Hook—
You are my perfect story book
Neverland, I love you so,
You are now my home sweet home
Forever a lost boy at last

And for always I will say…

[Chorus]
I am a lost boy from Neverland
Usually hanging out with Peter Pan
And when we’re bored we play in the woods
Always on the run from Captain Hook
“Run, run, lost boy,” they say to me,
“Away from all of reality.”

[2x]
Neverland is home to lost boys like me
And lost boys like me are free

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This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

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