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, November 30, 2015

Walking Dead is in a Slump

Walking Dead ended the first half of season seven with another poorly written episode. You have stupid characters acting stupidly, and that's not how you keep an audience interested. But because it's the seventh season, perhaps the writers are running out of interesting story lines, and interesting characters. That's too bad. I've never read the comic book, so maybe they're just transferring the comic stories, loosely or strictly, I know not, but if they are, then I'm glad I don't read them.

The main example is this: You have a teenager who wants to murder another teenager because that teenager's father killed his father, but the killed father had murdered a beloved citizen of "Alexandria" and he was not only a murderer, but a wife beater and a child beater.

Now I've heard of wives who continue to "love" their abusing husbands, but it's not the same when it's a kid and he/she is being beaten by a parent. That kid will hate that parent. Not just for being beaten, but for being witness to his/her mother being beaten.

More true to life was the Daredevil TV show, when they showed the backstory to the Kingpin, who witnessed as a child his father beating his mother. The Kingpin hated his father for doing that, and even killed his father for doing that.

Now I'm not saying it's okay to kill your father for any reason, but I am saying that the Daredevil story had it right, whereas the Walking Dead story is, well, stupid.

I know, I know, you need conflict to keep a story interesting, but when you have stupid characters doing stupid things, it's boring. There are so many intelligent characters on the show, I wish they would feature them since they are far more interesting. Or make the stupid characters smart. Or just have the stupid characters killed off, as this world really has no room for stupid characters.

Which is probably what the show is intending to convey. Let's see it happen, then, and I'll give it props. But when the stupid characters are only there to keep bringing the others down, like, say, Dr. Smith kept on doing in the old TV show Lost in Space, it will be just another stupid show like Lost in Space became. Please, do not extend the roles of the stupid characters, otherwise, the demise of the show will result. As it did for Lost in Space. That's all.

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