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.



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Tough Chicks

As I've said before, I'm not a believer in "tough chicks" that go around beating everyone up. Of course, there are tough chicks out there. A lot of women are plenty tough. And I don't doubt that some women can beat up some men. But any man who gets beat up by a woman can't be so tough himself. He's probably a pretty weak man.

I say this because too many times in movies, and in books, too, I suppose, the hero is a heroine who goes around beating everyone up. Think "Kill Bill" or other 'like' movies or stories. I'm sorry, but movies or stories like that just need too much imagination. It's so over the top that it's not even enjoyable. If you had a great swordsman like you had in Cyrano de Bergerac taking on a hundred other swordsmen like he did, then even that's stretching your imagination, but you know what? Great swordsmen like him really did exist.

I'm not saying a woman can't be a great swordsman, er, I mean swordswoman, but taking on a hundred men, or even 88, as in the Crazy 88 like in Kill Bill, I don't think so. It ruined the movie for me. Like I said, a woman might be able to beat up one man, (one weak man, that is,) but 88 men, nope. Not even two, and not even in your wildest imagination. So movies like that, well, they're just not for me.

I get it that female writers want to write about female heroes. And that's fine, there's plenty of female heroes who are tough chicks who don't go around beating people up. Take Scarlet O'Hara, for example, in Gone With the Wind. No one could say that she wasn't a tough chick. But she didn't go around beating up anyone. That's the kind of tough chick I would say is very believable. She got what she wanted without throwing a single punch. Well, at one point she did throw a punch. But when she did look what happened. The man she was trying to punch, (her husband, Rhett Butler, who was no weakling,) dodged the punch, and Scarlet's momentum sent her tumbling down the stairway. That was believable. Of course, had Rhett Butler been a weak man, he would have been slapped silly. But he wasn't weak. He was a real man.

And being a real man, he never hit a woman. That's what I believe in. A real man would never hit a woman. Therefore, why wouldn't the opposite be true? I'm tired of this double standard, and double standards are everywhere. Why do books and movies glorify the tough chick who goes around beating people up? Self defense is one thing. And I've no problem with that. But let's be real. Do women actually have secret fantasies that they WANT to beat people up? Do women secretly wish they can fight people and hit people, hurt people, men or women? I don't think they do. So why do they write stories that call for them to get in fights and hit people? To me, that's just weird.

I know a woman, like a man, can have a temper. But I choose to believe that being a woman means you are less likely to want to resort to violence. And I think I'm right.

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