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.



Thursday, November 17, 2016

Person of Interest Still Not Better Than Blacklist

I had blogged about how I started watching Person of Interest, and I was lukewarm to it. I still am, but I'll admit it's getting better. I'm nearly through season two now, and the story is getting more and more complicated. I did not like the super-girl spy, however. I mean, the bad guys are trying to kill her, but instead of shooting her, like everyone else does when they want to kill someone, they keep trying to inject her with some kind of poisonous serum. But of course, the serum has an antidote, so she doesn't die. Meanwhile, she outfights, outmaneuvers, and outsmarts everyone else, including our heroes, John and Harold. It makes for a boring and stale story line. Not fun.

I've mentioned before that I do believe in strong female characters. But to be a strong female character, that doesn't mean the female character goes around beating everyone up. I'm sorry, but actually, I'm not sorry. I'm not a chauvinist, or a misogynist, or whatever you want to call men who think like I do. It's not an opinion, really. Women just don't go around beating everyone up. And I refuse to believe that women want to see other women going around beating up people or killing people. Is there a woman out there who really wants to see that? I didn't think so.

Being a strong female character is a lot more complicated than going around beating up and killing people. And there are plenty of examples of strong female characters who don't go around beating and killing people. I can think of one woman right off the top of my head who doesn't go around beating up and killing people, yet she's as strong as anyone. Violet Crawley, from the TV show Downton Abbey. I mean this woman is 90 years old, and yet no one gets the better of her. She is smart, and although sheltered, never let's anyone get the jump on her in any way.

I know that TV and movies, or any fictional story, reality is stretched. But the reality is that there are no women anywhere, ever, that go around beating people up and killing them. That doesn't mean there haven't been women murderers or female assassins. And sure, I'm willing to believe that some women can be proficient in martial arts. But that doesn't mean a top female martial artist can defeat a top male martial artist. Ever. Maybe a top female martial artist can take out a dude who's a bookworm and knows nothing about fighting. But against a man who's 6' 4" and weighs 250 pounds and in his prime? I don't think so. Not reality. Not believable fiction. Ever.

So this superwoman spy is going around beating up professional soldiers, guards, fighters left and right, and it's boring, if only because it's so unbelievable. And then she goes around killing everyone to boot. Yeah, she was supposed to be a good guy, I mean, um, gal, but it was so hard to watch. Look, if I want to see a supergirl or a superwoman, I'll read the comic books.

So if this chick in POI is made out to be a better fighter than John, I'm done. Back to Blacklist. It's the better show anyway. Elizabeth is a strong character, but she's not a superwoman. She doesn't go around beating everyone up. She doesn't go around killing everyone. She's a much better character. She's a strong female character, and she's believable. Yes, it's true. Blacklist is the superior show. It has a superior cast, and it has superior characters. Hands down.

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