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.



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Turn - the TV show

I'm enjoying the AMC TV show called Turn, which is about the American Revolution and the spy rings which the Americans used to gather intelligence about the British and their military movements. It's taken some wrong turns, lately with how they took the character of Major Hewlett out of the show, but at least they didn't kill off the character. He was one of those British officers who upheld honor and was a good guy, even though he was on the "bad" side of the conflict.

And then there's Captain Simcoe who is a bad guy through and through. He's murdered people, and even though he was arrested for that, the British have now placed him in charge of Roger's Rangers. They had made Robert Rogers a bad guy, and I guess he still is, but now he's working for the Americans. Not because he believes in the cause, but he was betrayed by the British high command, so that was enough to turn him around. He's a tough guy, and so is Simcoe, and both are turning out to be very hard to kill. Both have been shot, stabbed, and hunted, and neither seems capable of dying, despite all the attempts on their lives. You're actually rooting for them to get killed.

Meegan Warner as Mary Woodhull
Episode Seven was particularly entertaining for me. You have a female character named Mary Woodhull, (pictured left) played by Meegan Warner. She's a typical colonial housewife, but not so typical. She's feminine, and attractive, but she proved to be more than you thought she was. And I liked it. She shot Simcoe, (but he didn't die of course,) then she did kill one of the Rangers, and an observing colonial was impressed, saying to himself that she's running these Rangers around in circles. And she was. And the way it happened was believable. At least to me. I was very much enjoying that episode. And that from a guy who doesn't generally believe in a woman playing the role of a "tough guy." Meaning a tough guy that beats up people, including other tough guys. I'm not a chauvinist. I just don't believe that women want to be tough guys. Sure they should be assertive and self confident and independent, but I've often asked the question, do women want to beat people up? Do they? Do women want to go around killing people?

I don't think so. I don't doubt there are exceptions, but I just can't believe women want to do that, or see other women do that. I don't buy it. But in the case of Mary Woodhull, in that episode of Turn, I was a believer. And the actress pulled if off. Great acting.


Heather Lind as Anna Strong
You know, there's another great female character on Turn. The character's name is Anna Strong, played by actress Heather Lind (pictured left.) She's another assertive woman, and a strong character, pardon the pun. Unlike Mary Woodhull, she's part of the spy ring, and what a great job she's done, and at great peril to her life.

Both of these women Anna Strong and Mary Woodhull are turning out to be great characters, strong, assertive, independent, and at the same time, they're not running around beating up tougher men, and killing off tough guys. (Well, Mary did kill a Ranger.) The point is they're not running around kicking everyone's ass, as if they're Bruce Lee, but they don't have to do that to prove how tough they really are.

It's believable and entertaining. It's how strong women should be portrayed, and I'm enjoying this show very much. Keep it up writers and actors in Turn. Doing a great job.

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