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.



Friday, May 5, 2017

American Gods - TV Trash

I recently stated in a post here on the blog that the TV show Into the Badlands was a show that couldn't be worse. Well, that's not true. American Gods is worse. I managed to at least watch the first season of Into the Badlands. It was shortly into the second season that I couldn't stand watching it anymore. The reasons were many. Bad writing, bad directing, bad story lines, bad characters, bad acting, and you get the idea. But again, I at least managed to watch the first six or seven episodes. (I think the first season had six episodes.)

I had seen some trailers about the new show American Gods, and although it didn't really prompt me to want to watch it, I went ahead and started watching the first episode when I happened to be channel surfing and came across it. Talk about a show failing to hook an audience, this show's first scene, the Viking scene, was so bad I turned off the TV before the scene had concluded. It was that bad.

At the very start, the show American Gods seemed promising. It opened with a journalist who was writing about the first Vikings who made it to America. Then the scene switched to a Viking ship apparently approaching the Americas for the first time. Certainly, we all know by now that the first non-native Americans to come to America were the Vikings. Evidence has been found that indicates they started a colony on the east coast of Canada. But it wasn't this group of Vikings. And that's because, according to this show, these Vikings were too stupid to do anything right.

Shortly after stepping off the boat, they were met with an avalanche of arrows, all of which embedded a single Viking. He was the one who had taken the first step off the beach. The other Vikings watched with dumbfounded imbecility as all five hundred (or so) arrows impaled the body of this Viking from head to toe. After about ten seconds of this, the dude looked like a porcupine and he fell dead. All the while, whoever it was shooting these arrows was nowhere to be seen. Another Viking took a step forward and another five hundred (or so) arrows embedded the land in front of his foot. At this point I'm thinking, okay, whatever. So, the Vikings got the message and they stayed on the beach with no more desire to explore who or what lay ahead.

By now I'm thinking, really? These are the "brave" Vikings we've all heard so much about? It turned out these Vikings were the dumbest Vikings you ever saw. At this point, they wanted to leave but they couldn't. They were stranded because there was no wind. It was like, what? Really? Was it suddenly the case that Vikings can't row? Don't we all have firmly entrenched in our minds the eternal image of Vikings with oars rowing their ships across unknown waters whether there's wind or not?

Are the writers of this show really expecting their television audience to believe that an entire crew of Vikings forgot they have oars to row their boat? That's an expectation that carries with it the belief that an entire television audience is as stupid as they (the writers) are. And then, after forgetting they have oars to row their boat, what do these brainless Vikings do? To make the wind come back, they each burn out one of their eyes. That's right. Each Viking takes a burning stick and burns out one of his eyes. Yeah, that'll bring the wind back. But it didn't come back. So then the Vikings decide to butcher each other. Of course, the graphic scenes showed heads, bodies and arms chopped off and blood flowing like a water fountain. Yeah, that'll bring the wind. Um...it didn't. So they start burning each other to death. Hooray. That brought the wind and they sailed away.

But they weren't sailing. They were rowing, which is what you might have thought they would have done from the start. I mean before burning out their eyes, butchering each other and burning each other in a bonfire. I turned off the TV at this point. Because my take on this is that anyone who watches this garbage will prove to be more stupid than the show itself, and more stupid than the writers. I won't be among them.  Sheesh. And I thought Into the Badlands was bad.

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