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.



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams Had a Successful Life, no?

Everyone is talking about Robin Williams, and his suicide the other day. It's a tragedy, of course, and to me, a very confusing one. I was under the impression that people who committed suicide were people who were failures. Robin Williams was anything but a failure. I mean if anyone, and I mean anyone in the world, could be considered a success, it would be Robin Williams. He made it big in Hollywood when he was still a young man. He was famous, popular, beloved, and rich!

I don't pretend to know everything about Robin Williams. I read about some things that could have contributed to his depression and suicide, including drug addiction, alcoholism, and two divorces. So, yeah, Robin Williams was successful, but that doesn't mean he was successful at everything he did. I don't know a lot about drug addiction and alcoholism, but I could imagine it took a toll on him somehow. And two divorces. I don't know much about divorces, either, but I have to guess that it's a horrible thing to go through.

But despite all of that, he was still a success. And making it as big as he did in Hollywood, I think is like a dream come true for anyone. I read that Robin Williams was depressed that he was compelled to make movies for financial reasons, roles that he didn't want to play. But then I think about all the struggling actors and actresses who would kill for those roles, or for ANY role. Here is a man who is in high demand, being paid top dollar, or more like top MILLIONS of dollars for a single movie. How a man who can take in big paychecks like that can be hard pressed for money is beyond me. I'm struggling on a teacher's salary just to pay my bills, which include a house mortgage, car payments, and food to feed my kids.

Still, who knows what a man goes through in his own personal life and in his own mind. No one, that's who. I readily admit that I don't. But when I think of Robin Williams, I think of a man who made it. A man who was a huge success in life. More successful than 99% of the world's population, or more than that. He was everything most people can only dream of being. But that was on the outside. On the inside? Apparently not. RIP Robin Williams.

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