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.



Friday, June 12, 2015

STARZ show Outlander - big let down

I've been watching the STARZ show Outlander with mixed feelings, but I believed it was good enough to keep on watching. It was a tough sell at first. After watching the first episode and seeing it was a Romance time travel premise, I tried watching another show with a time travel premise called Atlantis. I was hoping for action adventure instead of romance, and I hoped Atlantis would fill the bill.

The first thing I noticed when comparing the two shows was that Outlander was the far superior show. The production values, the scenery, the writing, the directing, the acting, heck, everything was far better than the Atlantis show which reeked of very low quality production values. Atlantis was that bad. So bad, I couldn't even finish the opening show.

Outlander, on the other hand, was a great production. So great it would rival any top A list feature film. But it's a Romance genre, and I'm not too keen on those. It's a show about a woman, and it's a show for women, so I'm watching with my wife, you know, to spend time with the wife. But we just watched the show's first season finale, and my god, it was so bad, I mean like over the top bad.

STARZ has proven already from prior shows to be over the top. For example, Spartacus was over the top, as I may have mentioned before, but it was over the top violence, blood, gore, and sex. Outlander, especially this last episode, was just over the top disgusting, and I'm glad it's over. I probably won't watch the second season if there is one. It's just not worth my time anymore. Even my wife couldn't take it. I just can't buy in to the protagonists, the female lead and her male companion, being captured, imprisoned, tortured, whipped, flogged, and victimized over and over again, every episode. It's one thing after another, and all of it to the point of disgust. I mean, come on, enough is enough.

And the evil antagonist, Captain Black Jack Russell, is so unbelievable, he makes Adolph Hitler seem like Cinderella. I don't buy into that character. He's sensationalized to the point he's just disgusting. No. Don't waste your time getting into that show. Like I said, it was the production values that made me think at first it was worth watching, but the constant and never ending victimization and over the top brutalization was just too much for me.

Outlander -- you blew it. No one is as evil as Jack Russell. Not Hitler, not anyone. It's like the guy lives only for hurting innocent people, who've never done anything to him. It's like he's thinking let me go out and find some great, innocent people, and let's hurt them, rape them, whip them, torture them, maim them, and when they escape, hey, let's capture them again, and torture them again. And then when they escape again, let's capture them again and torture them again. And then, let's do it again, and again, and again, and again, and again...

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