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


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, April 11, 2014

Captain America Movie

Movie Version of Captain America
Just saw the Captain America movie last night with my two sons, and one of their friends, and I liked it. I thought it was good. A lot of action, intrigue, and everything. Even a touch of romance. Actually less than a touch, maybe a hint would be more accurate.

But my older son didn't like it. He thought it was too cliché, and too formulaic. Wow. But as I thought about it, he was right. I still liked the movie, but he was right. You could predict who the bad guy was, even though it was supposed to be a shocker near the end.

And ditto for the twists in the plot. They were all predictable. But I still liked it. Maybe I was just falling back on my Jack Kirby days. Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, are the real creators of Captain America, not Stan Lee. Back in the day, Jack Kirby was king. And I still remember all of those great characters he created and illustrated while working for Marvel.

And even though I've complained that most of Marvel's characters have been allowed to be changed, (many significantly, and most not to their betterment,) the movie version of Captain America, at least, is still pretty much true to his comic book roots.

Captain America drawn by Jack Kirby

Would I have preferred a different actor? Yes, but the actor was acceptable. At least he was the right size for Captain America. And he had blond hair. These were musts for the part, and Chris Evans had that. I would have chosen someone with the face like Jack Kirby had drawn it, but maybe I'm being too picky. What face might that be? Well, a face like Robert Redford's would have been good. (In his prime that is. Ironically, he had a part in this latest movie.)

But the story was just another Hollywood formula story. I would like to see a movie that is true to a comic book story. Sadly, it will never happen.  Bottom line, was it a good movie? Despite my son's opinion, my answer is yes.

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