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.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

TV Shows-Premium Channels Have Advantage

When it comes to TV shows, which I watch upon occasion, the Premium channels really do have an advantage over network TV. No commercials. That's the advantage I appreciate the most. And they are not burdened with the "family"guidelines in terms of nudity, sex, violence, and foul words. They are able to be on a par with Hollywood, in that they can be rated R, or even X.

Cable channels, like AMC are in between. They can go a little farther than network channels, but not as far as Premium channels. At least not where sex and nudity are concerned. But when it comes to blood and gore, the sky seems to be the limit.

For example, The Walking Dead is on AMC, and it has more violence, blood, and gore than most shows I've ever seen. No sex or  nudity, though. I guess the Premium channels have a monopoly on that. But The Walking Dead doesn't need it. It's the number one show on TV. I watch it, and I like it. I like zombie movies, and The Walking Dead does it very well. A lot of people must agree with me.

But it does have commercials, unfortunately, and that's the only drawback. I don't like commercials. Never did. But you deal with it if you like the show, and I do. AMC has another show out now that has caught my interest. TURN. It takes place during the American Revolutionary War, and focuses on America's first spy ring. I think it's done pretty well, and it's worth watching. Despite the commercials. It's not quite as bloody as The Walking Dead, but it doesn't have to be.

You see, when it comes to blood and gore, and sex and nudity, too, btw, when a channel is allowed to have that, like the Premium channels, sometimes, imo, they take it too far. Like the recent HBO show Spartacus. I liked that show, but the violence, the blood and gore, and even the sex and nudity were deliberately over-the-top. It was as if the makers of that show, knowing they had the green light for all of that, decided to go overboard. And they sure did. Go overboard, that is.

They didn't need to. The slow motion shots of blood spattering were not necessary. And the needless full frontal nudity, (mostly of men, btw,) seemed more in tune with gay porn to me. It just wasn't necessary. The long and graphic scenes of sexual activity were just not necessary. I'm no prude, mind you. But it seemed to be an executive decision to go over the top in all areas not allowed on Network TV. And it was way overdone.

Did it ruin the show? No. It was still a good show. I still liked it. But not for the blood and gore. And certainly not for the sex and male nudity. I could have gone without that. I happen to like historical epics. Like Historical Novels. I'll automatically like anything that has to do with the Roman Empire. And the American Revolution. And the American Civil War. And the era of Leonardo DaVinci, like the current STARZ show.

The bottom line is the writing. Is it good? That's what counts. But even when the writing is lacking, like DaVinci's Demons, I'll still watch if the subject matter is appealing to me. And whenever a subject matter includes Leonardo, then that's enough for me. Until the writing gets so bad it makes it difficult to watch. DaVinci's Demons has almost reached that point. But not quite yet.

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