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.



Monday, August 31, 2015

Kanye had a point

I am no Kanye West fan. I haven't heard a single one of his "songs." I can't even name one. I know nothing about him aside from the fact that he's some kind of rapper or something. But when my son played back the speech Kanye gave at last night's award show, I heard part of it. It seemed like a rambling rant of sorts, during which he even admitted to being stoned at the time.

But during that speech there was one point Kanye West made that resounded with me. And that point was that he couldn't understand awards shows because they turned artists into "losers." His point was this: an artist will dedicate his life to the production of an album of music into which he put his heart and soul, only to be labeled a "loser" to whomever it was that won the award for the year's "best" album. It makes these "awards" a negative thing.

I felt the rest of his "speech" was nothing more than a self-serving rant, but that one point, I felt was right on. In singling out one song, or one album, or one video, or for that matter, one movie, or one actor/actress, or whatever, the byproduct of that "award" is to infer all other artists are losers.

I believe as did Marlon Brando and George C. Scott, that awards of this type are bogus. It's all political, which is another subject I find abhorrent. Art is something that can be shared by all. Whether it's music, movies, acting, writing, novels, etc, art is a subjective thing.  And since tastes and opinions vary, you really can't label one a winner and all others the losers. One person's favorite song, movie, book, etc, could very well be another person's most hated song, movie, book, etc.

I say get rid of these award shows. But then, they'll lose out on a money making machine, so it will never happen. Plus it promotes their products, and for those reasons these shows will endure. But Kanye's point is valid, and I agree with it.

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