Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?
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, March 28, 2016
Killing off Dennise last week, to me wasn't a bad thing. Dennise was not one of the stars. She was a later addition to the cast, and not a strong character. Meaning, she really didn't add much to the story line. But I must say that the way she was killed was unique, well-written and well performed. Maybe it was the best "killing" ever done on television. Maybe. If not the best, then it's up there.
But flirting with killing off any of the other above named characters may well ruin the show. I don't know how many more seasons this show is going to have. Since next week will wrap up the sixth season, it could be on its last leg. Meaning next season might be its last season. I say that because often shows deliberately stop after the seventh season. So next season could be it. But not all shows do that. Some shows just keep on going and going.
But another thing about this show that's bothering me is the captive thing. It's becoming a repeated story line at this point when characters are captured by a group of bad guys. And the plot becomes all about saving them. It's repeatedly happening, so much that it's tiring by now.
One thing I'm still waiting for is some intense "partner" scenes with Rick and Michonne. I want to see the two of them having some adventures where they prove to be the ultimate team. Like Kirk and Spock, James West and Artemus Gordon, Jonathan Steed and Emma Peele. But they're not doing that. Instead, Michonne and Rick are off on separate adventures, and guess what. Michonne is now captured. (Along with Darryl, Glenn, and Rosita.) Sigh.
Sunday, March 27, 2016
So yeah, I was all for Cavill being superman. It occurred to me that I never saw the first Superman movie with Cavill in the lead role. You know, the movie called Man of Steel. I learned that the current movie, Batman vs Superman has a lot to do with Man of Steel, so I went on Xfinity on Demand and found the Man of Steel movie. Watched it yesterday, and it was good. It was probably the best superman movie ever made.
There are a lot of reasons why I say that. First, of course, Henry Cavill is the best actor to ever play Superman. Better than George Reeves, Christopher Reeve, and a lot better than Brandon Routh. Another reason is the story line. It was better than all the other Superman story lines put together.
Did I like everything about it? No. I did not like Lois Lane. I did not like the actress they cast as Lois Lane, and I did not like the way they portrayed her in the movie. I did not like the little touches of comedy they put in surrounding the Lois Lane role. How she always seemed to be around the action when everything around the action was being pulverized. Somehow Lois seemed as invulnerable as superman was. Which of course, she isn't, but to have gone through all of what she went through without a scratch, you would think she was.
What really ruined the part of Lois Lane for me was her comedic comment after they kissed. It was something like "They say it's all down hill after the first kiss." Something like that. But it wasn't right at the time for her to say that. I mean it came right after pretty much the entire city had been obliterated by the Kryptonian terra forming machines, and the fighting between the super-powered Kryptonians. And who knows how many people were killed during the multiple crises. And then Lois starts cracking jokes? It wasn't right.
I can buy the kiss, but not the comment. Not then. But okay, everything else about the movie was good. Even Kevin Costner was acceptable.
Anyway, I'm primed for the Batman vs Superman movie now. But from what I understand it's not really going to be a Batman vs Superman story. Not for more than a few minutes anyway. It's really going to be Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman against a villain called Doomsday. But whatever. I'll be watching it soon enough. And after I see it, then I'll comment on it. So, until then.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Ricky and Lucy
Fred and Wilma
Rob and Laura Petrie
John and Maureen Robinson
Ward and June Cleaver
Archie and Edith Bunker
George and Louise Jefferson
Ralph and Alice Kramden
Maxwell Smart and 99
Al and Peggy Bundy
Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock
Napolean Solo and Ilya Kuryakin
James West and Artemus Gordon
Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott
Jonathan Steed and Emma Peele
Briscoe County and Lord Bowler
Fox Mulder and Dana Scully
Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo
Walter White and Jesse Pinkman
Batman and Robin
Of course that list is limited to my very narrow knowledge, meaning only those TV shows that I have actually watched. So I'm sure I left out a lot of other couples and business partners. I'm sure Starsky and Hutch should be on there, but I never watched that show, so they're not.
My only point to all of this is that I would very much like to see Rick and Michonne make that list. But in order for that to happen, the writers of Walking Dead will have to make some great story lines involving the two of them facing and overcoming some serious crises. And in the world of the Walking Dead, that should not be too difficult. The only obstacle is that it seems the writers are focusing on the other characters. At least so far, they are. And the show is already near the end of its sixth season. So how many more seasons are left in that show? It may never happen.
Monday, March 21, 2016
Or it could be rationally explained that, like in last night's episode, there are other characters to follow. Like Darryl, Denise, Rosita, Abraham, and Eugene. In last night's episode, we only got a glimpse of Rick, and Michonne was never seen. Okay, like I pointed out, there are other characters to follow, and the above named characters were out and about in this episode.
Two meek and mild characters, Eugene and Denise, who have not been the fighters the other characters are, seemed eager to prove their worth in the fighting department. At least insofar as fighting off "walkers" is concerned. Eugene failed miserably in his attempt to kill a walker, and reacted with great resentment when Abraham came to his rescue. Denise, after a huge struggle, managed to kill her first walker, but her ascension to the status of "walker killer" was short-lived because she was shot from behind by another group of bad guys. It was a very unique scene, I must say. A very well acted and well written scene.
But that doesn' t mean the writing is all good. Once again, we see Carol still smarting from her newfound "humanity." She was one of the better characters who had come to grips with the need to kill bad guys. As I posted the other day, Carol has regressed to the "I don't want to kill anyone, anymore, not even those bad guys who want to slit our throats" type of person. And to me, those types of characters are sickening. What's more sickening is that Carol was not like that.
I'm for character growth, of course, but I'm not for character regression. But since I've already posted about that, I'll stop right now. I want to see Rick and Michonne again, acting like the team they've become. At least we saw a hint of that a couple episodes ago, when Rick was sucker punched by some chick, (yeah, a chick,) and then Michonne hustled over and knocked the chick down. But that was too little for me. I want to see more of that and more intense versions of that.
Yeah. Rick and Michonne. That has the makings of one of television's greatest partnerships. I hope they develop it into just that. Here's hoping in happens.
Friday, March 18, 2016
Well, the news today is that Amber Heard has finally landed what might be a decent role. The role of Mera in the upcoming Justice League movie. I must admit that I've never heard of the character Mera. But that's where Google comes in handy. After Googling Mera, I learned that she's an inter-dimensional character in the Aquaman comic book. And she's Aquaman's wife.
I never knew this because, as a kid, I was mostly reading the Marvel comic books. Rarely did I read DC which is the universe in which Aquaman exists. You know, the universe where Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman exist. The Flash, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern round out the more popular DC superhero characters.
But Mera was, to me, at least, an unknown character. Not anymore. After a little more research I learned that the marriage between Aquaman and Mera is far from a happy one. There's no telling how the story line will play out in the movie. Hollywood has a way of changing comic book story lines. It really won't matter to me, though, because I never followed any of those characters.
To me, this news is only important because finally Amber Heard may have an opportunity for her long awaited breakout role. And it's not like comic book movies can't be a vehicle for a breakout role. Look what the character of Wolverine did for Hugh Jackman. That was the epitome of a breakout role.
Other good examples are Christopher Reeve and Henry Cavill. Superman movies put both of them on the Hollywood map. Mera, unlike Superman, is a minor character so it might not be the same. But still. At least Amber can have something to brag about other than being married to Johnny Depp.
Next thing we need is for Corey Yuen to make another martial arts movie. And the one that would be great for him to make is Killer of Killers starring Dustin Clare as Trent Smith and Amber Heard as Samantha Jones. Can't wait.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
So the bottom line is I totally disagreed with that article. Basically it's saying movie makers should change the ethnicity of established characters for no other reason than political correctness. And that's Bullshit. Total and complete bullshit. Political correctness? I'm so sick of that. The writer didn't use the words 'political correctness', but that's really what the writer meant. Here's the link.
Changing ethnicities of traditionally white characters has happened, though. In the recent string of Marvel movies, Nick Fury changed from white to black. In the movie Daredevil, the Kingpin changed from white to black. In Thor, Heimdall changed from white to black, which was totally ridiculous. Heimdall is from Norse mythology. It's comparible to changing a black mythological character from black to white. It wouldn't happen. But for the Norse mythology, they did it. More ridiculous is that Heimdall is described as the whitest skinned of all the Norse gods. Here's the link.
My opinion is that if you want a black or Asian character, (and I love black and Asian characters, btw,) you CREATE them. Bruce Lee played plenty of great Asian characters, created for him to play, and so what? They created them. Bruce Lee deserved to be in the movies, because he was a great, and perhaps the greatest martial artist. But they didn't take an established white character and turn him into an Asian for Bruce Lee to play the part. Not at all. They did the right thing. They created Asian characters for Bruce Lee to portray. Heck, it's a no brainer.
Comic books back in the day had the right idea. During the civil rights era, Marvel created the Black Panther, a great black character, which had nothing to do with the Civil Rights movement, btw. And then they created The Falcon, as we see in the Captain America movies now. And they created War Machine, and Luke Cage. They didn't turn white characters black. They created black characters.
So, yeah, you create black characters or Asian characters, or whatever. My thoughts are this: you don't have to be Asian to be a great martial artist. How many MMA champions have been Asian? Well? How many? Answer: not many. The majority of MMA champions have been white. I googled the top ten greatest MMA champions. Six of the ten are white. Another one is half white, (and half Asian,) two are black, and one is brown. Here's the link, but the list is as follows:
1 - Fedor Emelianenko - white
2 - Anderson Silva - black
3 - George St Pierre - white
4 - Chuck Liddell - white
5 - Randy Couture - white
6 - Matt Hughes - white
7 - Royce Gracie - white
8 - Jon Jones - black
9 - Jay Dee Penn - Half White, Half Asian
10 - Antonio Nogueira - brown
But really, I hate talking about race. My point is you don't have to be Asian to be a great martial artist, or a marital arts champion. Trent Smith in Killer of Killers and Killer Eyes is a white man. If those books were to be made into movies, and I sure hope they are one day, I would be very disappointed if they turned Trent into an Asian, just because he's a great martial artist.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
But being a Middle School teacher, I thought I would go ahead and write a Middle Grade book. As for Second Chance - a Football Story, I'd classify that one as a YA book. Meaning for young adults. Stress the word "adults" on that. There's no sex scenes and no killing, but there are a lot of swear words in there, which would be labeled as profanity. I included the profanity, because on a football field, or in a young man's apartment, there is profanity. Young men swear a lot, while playing football on a football field and in a living room drinking beer watching a football game. It's what they do.
So because of that I would not recommend Second Chance for a Middle School reading list. High School, perhaps, but not Middle School. Which is where Inside the Outhouse comes in. No swearing in that one. No sex scenes and no graphic violence. There might be some scary scenes in there, but not violence. And no blood, other than a scene in a blood bank. But there is no blood being spilled.
So, yeah. Inside the Outhouse is definitely an MG book. Not sure how I'll conclude it yet. Not even I know how it's going to end. That's why you write the book. you get to the end and you end it. Until then...
Sunday, March 13, 2016
To me that's BS. In tonight's episode, she's victimized, brutalized, and faces being murdered by a gang of murderers, and she reverts back to her timid, second guessing, I don't want to kill anyone self? Well, at least the show ended with her doing them in, but she regretted it. It's a far cry from the person she had become. As fans of the show know, Carol had evolved into the kind of person who killed when she needed to, and she didn't have any qualms about it. Now she's back to having qualms, and I hate that kind of writing.
It's as if the writers are trying to instill in the audience a sense of morality. I don't need anyone instilling in me any sense of morality. I don't watch shows to be lectured to. Why? Because I don't need anyone telling me how I should act or behave or what to believe in. I certainly don't need any TV shows telling me that.
Actually, as I was watching tonight's episode, I was thinking that if I had written this episode, I'd have Maggie and Carol fight their own way out, kill all of their captors, and rejoin Rick and the gang no worse for the wear. It's the way it ended up, albeit with Carol's regressed sense of morality or humanity, which at this point in the show, (season six) they should have a good handle on by now. Meaning they know what they have to do to survive. If others can coexist and contribute, then great. But if others are nothing more than cold blooded killers out for only themselves at the expense of everyone else, than all gloves are off.
So no more regressions. Please. That will ruin the show for me. One thing readers can count on is they won't be lectured in my books. And there will be no character regressions. My characters grow, evolve, and become better. They don't revert to square one in their development. Because when characters do that, it makes it as though the journey to that point was for nothing. And I don't like wasting my time.
Saturday, March 12, 2016
As for Second Chance - A Football Story, which is scheduled to be published first, I'm revisiting that one again. Meaning I'm reading through it page by page, word by word, like I did for John Dunn, Heart of a Zulu. What is surprising is that I am finding typos. I thought I had those corrected last time I read through it. But again, those pesky typos...they have a way of hiding. I won't be surprised as careful as I am, that there are some I'm missing this time too.
But it will be the fourth time I send a corrected manuscript to Dana, which is better to do it now, than after she's got it on the publishing rack. I'm making the most of my time, that's for sure. I'll just tell her that while I'm waiting, I'm making it better. Who could argue with that? I've already learned from experience, you make it better while you have the chance. And that's what I'm doing. Going by experience. The more experience you have at something, the better you get at doing it.
Monday, March 7, 2016
Friday, March 4, 2016
One thing I thought was cool was that they mentioned "warp drive" as the holy grail of space travel. As any Sci Fi fan knows, "warp drive" is the method used in the Star Trek universe. It's a theory, only, at this point, not something that is physically possible. The article I linked to only explained the methods that are physically possible at this point in human history. And seeing as how the fastest method possible today would take more than a lifetime to get to the nearest star, well, that makes interstellar space travel for humans, anyway, not too feasible.
The article didn't mention the Star War method, which I believe they called "Hyper Drive." And it didn't mention other Sci Fi methods, like traveling through "worm holes" and/or "portals" which would breach vast distances in an instant. The TV show Farscape used the worm hole method.
With this renewed discussion, I've found myself more interested in revisiting Sci Fi stories. I read a Sci Fi book recently, and it was cool to get back into the genre. I had been out of it for so long that I was thinking I didn't really like it anymore. Even blogged about that recently, too. So maybe after my current WIPs are finished--Inside the Outhouse and Killer on the Payroll--I might just go back to that Sci Fi story I started writing when I was a kid. We'll see.
Thursday, March 3, 2016
But that doesn't mean there weren't some great Sci Fi movies. There certainly were. Here is a list of my all time favorite Sci Fi movies, not necessarily in any particular order.
I know there has been a lot of criticism about this movie. But as someone who never read the book, I was very much impressed with this movie. I thought the writing, the plot, the actors, the casting, the directing, and the overall production were nothing less than great.
Unlike Dune, this movie had no one criticizing it. And rightly so.
I think this movie is vastly underrated. Imo, it was a movie way ahead of its time.
The original, of course. The George Pal production. It was an excellent updated version of the HG Wells novel. Those Martian war machines were awesome.
Yeah, the title is corny as hell. The acting and production are dated. But this movie is a sentimental favorite. Those flying saucers by Ray Harryhausen were amazing. Liked the aliens, too.
The first two installments of the Star Wars franchise definitely make my list. But only the first two.
Sure there's a lot of other Sci Fi movies that would probably make other peoples' lists. Like Avatar, the original Day the Earth Stood Still, Blade Runner, Close Encounters, Terminator, Alien, and many more... But for me, the above listed movies are my personal favorites. Sadly, as I was saying yesterday, not a single Star Trek movie makes this list. That's too bad, because if I were talking about TV series, then the original Star Trek would be #1.
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
And that was a shame. Because when the first one came out, Episode IV, that is, I was thrilled. As a kid, I loved Science Fiction stories. I loved Sci Fi movies like War of the Worlds, Forbidden Planet, and Earth vs. Flying Saucers. Loved them. And when I first saw the trailer for Star Wars, with no prior clue that it was even being made, I was overjoyed. I remained overjoyed when I saw it. And I was even more overjoyed when the next one came out. Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. But it all came tumbling down with that ridiculous Episode VI.
The same thing was true for Star Trek. I absolutely loved the original Star Trek TV series. But it was cancelled after three seasons, and that was that. Until the movies came out. But they sucked. Every single Star Trek movie absolutely sucked. It was astonishing. Finally, they had a big budget, and they couldn't do anything worthwhile. Then Star Trek, the Next Generation came out. And that sucked, too. The magic was gone. As with the Star Wars franchise, the magic was just gone.
When the next Star Wars trilogy came out, meaning Episodes I, II, and III, the magic was still gone. At least for me. That Jar Jar Binks character was simply unforgivable. Just like the teddy bears. Credibility was nil. Even the latest Star Wars movie that came out this past year had no magic. It was simply a rehash of Episode IV. And the magic was just not there. Not for me, anyway.
Is it because I'm a grown up now? Is magic in a movie or story only a kid thing? For example, the remakes of Sci Fi classic movies recently, like War of the Worlds with Tom Cruise and The Day the Earth Stood Still with Keanu Reeves were completely void of the magic the originals had. But when I re-watched the originals recently, they stood the test of time. They were still great. The magic was still there. So it's not just a kid thing.
As a young man, I was actually writing a Sci Fi story. I was trying to make it a graphic novel. But writing and illustrating a graphic novel as a one man show was not going to work. Now, as a novelist, with five books being published, I've considered revisiting that story. As a novel, that is. But no. For me, as an adult, the magic of Sci Fi is gone. Maybe if another Sci Fi movie comes out that can rekindle that magic, I could change my mind. But that remains to be seen.
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
As for John Dunn, that one is slated for a later release. So I'm reading through that one, and improving it while I can. And every time it gets better. That book just might be my best book. Not necessarily my personal favorite, but it's based on a true story, and books or stories like that are well received. Not to mention, the story is really a fascinating one. Like the old saying, truth is stranger than fiction. Or in this case, better.
But the waiting is a very trying thing. You are anxious to get going on it. And you are impatient. You want action. And you want it now. In the meantime, you just get as much done as you can. And every time, it gets better. That's what you want. Better. So until the edits begin, it will just keep getting better. Stay tuned.