Oak Island Redux (again) 7th Season

DATELINE: Petering Out Pathetically

X marks the spot, as usual. Gary calls it the biggest “smash and grab” in history. It is Gary Drayton who once again makes the biggest discovery of the show: a bobby trap nail.

They are looking for the money and finding mostly old wood, but is it the cover for the treasure? When Gary finds a large needle in a claystack, he jokes about it. However, expert Carmen Legge makes a shocking comment upon observing it.

Legge thinks it was a booby trap item. It was a form of a punji stick: an object that could have, hundreds years ago, been covered with a poisonous substance. The big three go to visit Legge: it is Gary, Marty, and Alex.

Legge noted these were sail repair needles or spikes, called a marlinspike. It is more indication that a ship was wrecked in the “swamp.” He finds the needle was part of a booby trap that could be from a time as early as 1500—and it was part of a planking that was meant to do damage to human flesh.

Other spoils are cleaned out of the wash table. They continue to find leather of book cover thickness. Yet, they also find a hinge. Of course, the optimists want to say it is part of a treasure chest.

Of course, again, the deeper they go, the less they find. So, they did not find the Money Pit. How many disappointments and dead ends can there be in a treasure hunt.

The biggest news of the night is now a contest, the Oak Island Sweepstakes, to win some kind of memento from the Lagina Brothers. Oh, my, talk about following in the steps of P.T. Barnum. Oi vey, it’s the viewers who are cursed.

 

 

 

Words from the Village Idiot

DATELINE: The World as You No Longer Know It!

It takes a coronavirus to see behind the masks. The world is now filled with covidiots.

The world has changed totally when the people you know change abruptly and completely.

Oh, that COVID-19, what a card to play! It seems perhaps that any crisis or panic of this magnitude would make the true character of people to emerge. Make no mistake. It has done so.

Of course, this is not just any crisis. It is a monumental game-changer, something not known since the Pied Piper went toot-toot-tooting along.

We have known people for decades—or thought we knew them. However, the frightful situation now facing so many states of being has made alterations to the basic attitudes of those we used to socialize with near and distantly. Six feet is not distant, nor deep enough.

Some friends have become skittish and unbearable to bear. Others have become insensitive louts who think they can lick any disease and care not one whit who dies, even themselves.

As the body bag toll rises, those who want to spread the word of God, fail to realize they are spreading the virus in God’s name.

The Pearl Harbor of our time, as one wag called it, will be dwarfed by Mother Nature not liking to be compared to man-made war, pestilence, and grief.

Some friends want to listen to New Age music, as if the age of Aquarius might be better than the age of Black Death.

Binge-watching junk like Exotic Joe and his tigers seems to be the escape du jour.Others are actually more dedicated to saving animals, as if that goodness might be less of an obsession and more of a humanitarian effort. All is vanity.

Who will feed those horses when the equestrian handlers are hospitalized or dead? Those will likely become the four horses of the apocalypse.

Oldsters are venturing out, without masks, several times a day as if to challenge the Death Wish syndrome, as if to prove they’ve lived their allotted time on Earth. Heaven help them.

If you are not sickened by the viral spread, you will be sickened by the political genocide advocated by some. Kill your enemies, or even your supporters, to prove a point.

The world is too much with us—for now.

Cold Warrior Spy: Richard Burton

DATELINE: Don’t Make’em Like This Anymore

 Dazzling Burton!

The extraordinary 1965 film of John le Carré’s classic,The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, has been listed on Prime as an action thriller. Of course, it is neither. It is a bleak, sober, cold and dreary film about moral turpitude among the espionage community.

John le Carré himself was an agent of MI-6 who turned into a novelist.

This was a seminal Richard Burton performance: and no one ever, even today, can convey the dissipation and ennui as he can. To watch him staggering around (as a double agent) in rainstorms and walking around bleak streets, avoiding a tail is in itself remarkable. We even see him in a Volkswagen, as an M-6 agent pretending to defect to the East.

George Smiley, the most famous of all the LeCarre agents, is here in the form of an unimpressive figure (actor Rupert Davies) working for Control. We believe it is the first Smiley appearance in a movie, as he later became known for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spyin several movie incarnations (Alec Guinness and Gary Oldman, notably). Here he is a plot key, but mostly as a spoken name.

Claire Bloom is the female lead. It was one of the few movies that Elizabeth Taylor simply could not play with her then husband. She would not make a convincing demure librarian—and had to pass on the role when director Martin Ritt put his foot down and said, “NO!”  Bloom is perfect. Burton was peeved and Taylor hung around the set causing mischief.

Oskar Werner has the other smallish but central part as the nemesis to the British secret agent. He is the elusive and dangerous East German spy that has hamstrung MI-6—and must be discredited to the Soviets.

That’s Burton’s job: not glamourous or exciting, but could mean his life is up for Cold War grabs.

Climax is at the Berlin Wall where double-crossing takes on a double meaning.

 

Burton’s angry speech near the end is worth the entire film.

 

 

TB 12’s New Abode

DATELINE: Home Sweet Home!

 Cottage On Bay.

Tom Brady has moved to Tampa Bay. TB to TB.

Brady is renting a mansion that belongs to Derek Jeter and has 9 bathrooms. We aren’t sure how many roommates Brady is taking in. Alex Guerrero, his business partner, may be among the freeloaders.

The price is a tad pricey: $70,000 per month. It is about 30,000 square feet, including a billiard parlor. The house had to be renovated with a higher security gate, which required town permission.

Davis Islands is a resort of sorts, that is sprawling.

Some wonder why Brady chose TB. We have learned that Tampa’s neighborhood is actually one hotbed of Trump support. Yes, there is a political angle to the Brady neighborhood.

As an old fan of MAGA (he has a red hat), Trump’s former golf partner may have selected this Jeter house because it is six miles from the Bucs stadium—but even closer to Trump RE-election headquarters.

We aren’t sure how many Trump fund-raisers will be held on Brady’s rental house, but he certainly has plenty of room for all his fellow Republicans to come by for a visit.

We understand the house comes with several Ring security cameras at the front door and facing the oceanfront where canoes may start sailing past with cameras at the ready.

 

 

Skinhead or Skinwalker Ranch Dressing

DATELINE:  More Lulus from History

 Desolate, but more?

Just call this one, “Spookyworld.”

The Secret of Skinwalker Ranchis supposed to be the gold standard of paranormal, or at least the vortex to another dimension. And, even if you never heard of it, it’s about to be the next big paranormal, supernatural, UFO twister.

Perennial mystery astrophysicist, Dr. Travis Taylor is brought on board by the usual cadre of tough guy male platoon. Arrogant billionaire Brandon Fugal (are there any other kind?) has spared little expense and travels in fast sporty car to a supersonic helicopter where his brother is the chauffeur. You may become a little unsettled when the pilot needs to say a prayer because he fears for his safety.

On ground, Skinwalker Ranch (named after the 200-year old legendary shapeshifter whose skin changes), the desolate location has been spared no expense with cameras, security, automatic rifle toting guards, barbed wire, state-of-the-art command centers, and so forth.

Considerable resources have been dropped onto the Utah property—and there must be some reason to throw such money around that usually the purview of black budget Pentagon types.

History Channel has done so many specials on this lately, we feel like it is a rerun.

The oldest, abandoned homesteads are known for the most peculiar, paranormal, UFO-centered phenomena. Travis Taylor is ready to dive in, though we are never sure why he is invited, except to be a TV host. His scientific methods could be handled by several people already on site.

When Taylor discovers that there are dangerous levels of microwaves floating about, he proposes doing a few experiments to map out the conditions and uncover the cause. One of the hard-nosed, non-scientific types, states there can be no digging on the ranch. It causes unspoken dangers.

Taylor seems miffed rightfully that stuff has not been revealed to him—and only with permission of billionaire Brandon Fugal can he be told why they cannot dig anywhere. This mystery sets the table for future episodes.

One of the ranch managers ignored this advice and had some nearly lethal skull damage that doctors could not explain. Travis does learn that radioactivity from nuclear testing in the 1950s might be a contributing factor.

It seems a big deal to digest when research methods are circumvented.

Ring-a-Ding on Oak Island

DATELINE: Empty Shaft

Rick Lagina compares their efforts to Winston Churchill’s “blood, sweat and tears,” as we draw to a close. Brit Gary Drayton is more akin to another ring-a-ding moment, as we find the season running out in Nova Scotia, and nary an Ark of the Covenant to be seen.

With the winter coming inevitably, they have now the biggest shaft ever.

The two who have found so much over the past few years, Gary Drayton and Rick Lagina come together for one last search of the swamp. These two are quite lucky in tandem: and there appears to be one last bit of luck in those metal detectors.

They find an elaborate ring, highly embossed, but without jewels. It has a flower or sunburst with some silver. One expert places it at pre-1730. They bring in a gemologist named Lewton-Brain. He finds two repairs to enlarge it. It is Spanish and likely belonged to a woman.

They also find part of a metal shield that was buried over 100 feet in 1936. Below this is likely original shaft.

Also coming out is large bit of human bone—and barrel casings! Something is so close that you know you will have to survive the coronavirus to see what occurs next season.

The bone is large and likely human. Why is a large human bone buried over 115 feet below the surface?

They even find a keg part. Yet, they hit bedrock and nothing. Yet again. They suspect it “shifted” through earth tremors or whatever. They once again are more ready to step back to think. They need to go back to Dan Blankenship’s office in his house (left to his daughter, now resident).

Next season looks like another fresh start to find Money Pit (if it isn’t simply a legend).

There is more talk now of history, not of treasure. These set-backs are bringing us to despair.

Oak Island: Time Running Out

DATELINE: Reckless 7th Season?

 Mercury Dunk?

Dr. Ian Spooner shows up to assess another breakthrough in the swamp. Can it be some kind of megalithic creation that is manmade? Bigger is more desperate on Curse of Oak Island as we wrap up another season of empty-handed potential.

Big trouble is coming because the coffer dam must be removed within weeks, with the permit running out after one year. Not only must the dam be removed, but the area must be made to look as it was. Why can there be no extension of the permit? There is no explanation. Did they even try?

Finding a potential tunnel to the Money Pit means that Rick Lagina will go down on a bucket into the hole. If this seems a bit extreme and likely to be dangerous, we must recall that this is a cliff-hanger series with death-defying (or something akin to it).

Another lead artifact now has a strong mercury component, which suggests that Francis Bacon may have done some experiments on the manuscripts of Shakespeare. The lead also can be traced to the Middle East. More inconclusive but tantalizing hints. We are hooked again and reeled in.

Another curious discovery occurs at the home of original finder Daniel McGinnis whose root cellar was a secret tunnel, leading to something hidden. Because permits will not allow them to dig deeper, whatever treasure buried under the house cannot be excavated for a year in all likelihood.

If you want frustrations, they are everywhere this week. They have found more 1760s tunnels and shafts. Rick Lagina plans to go down in the bucket. They have to insist he come out before it caved in on him (which likely is his preference). Of course, Marty Lagina must put on a harness and goes down.

So they put a camera on the long-range excavator. Even that is inconclusive: we feel like we are no closer to knowing anything.

With time running out for this season, it becomes clear that a new sequel series is in the ready with the Lagina boys: it’s called, naturally, Beyond Oak Island.

Thee’s a sucker born on Oak Island every minute.

 

 

 

TB12 Knocks Coronavirus Off the Scorecard

DATELINE: Deflated at Last

Tom Brady is taking his football and heading south.

You can blame the Patriots for not wanting to invest in a man who claims he has found the Fountain of Youth. We recall from history that another gentleman of the old school went to Florida on his quest: Ponce de Leon also thought the elixir of eternal and immortal life awaited him in the bays of Florida.

Bill Belichick now will show he is the genius by winning another Super Bowl without Brady. Heaven help him if his team tanks.

As for Brady, he is trading Paul Revere for Jean LaFitte. He is a trader of the first order, heading for the world of Disney and smart dolphins like Flipper.

If you wonder if he will be motivated, you never followed Deflategate, which sent him reeling into a new stratosphere.

Some never believed Belichick would let it go this far, but that parallel universe: In Bill We Trust, now is on confederate tender.

The all-seeing eye of money is looking back at the Patriot Place and finding that TB12 is a franchise that will sell more jerseys with a new logo.

As for Brady in New England, it was NEVER his home, and if you think he won for Boston, you are deluded. He happened to win while in the Greater Boston area. He would have been just as elated to win in Tampa Bay over the past 20 years.

He never spoke a bad word about Aaron Hernandez, and we figure he will give Belichick the same courtesy.

Now, the curiosity factor will follow him, eyes moving across the gridiron looking for a train wreck.

Just Friends is Just Marvelous!

DATELINE: A Sleeper to Wake You Up!

 New Stars!

We had the pleasure of watching a Dutch movie that was not insipid, nor overly obvious. Just Friends is a gay movie with a light touch.

Subtitles are secondary to the beautiful production and images, and Josha Stradowsk is stunning to look at, and he meets a Syrian played by Majd Mardo. They have chemistry and are delightful in their growing friendship.

The usual angst over coming out and family conflict are truly not part of the sophisticated tale. They are sexy, chic, and well-to-do. There are other conflicts that impede their relations, but Majd takes a job as housekeeper at Josha’s grandmother.

She is a delight too, as matchmaker and wise old lady.

These are intelligent young men, and their maturity makes for a story that appeals to all viewers. Josha is the one who has a hobby with his drone, and he sees Madj surfing from above. It is intriguing how connections are made.

Without a doubt, you seldom meet people in character movies that you really would like to spend time with, but these two are pleasant dinner companions.

What impediments to their friendship that must be overcome are not melodramatic and work out, making your time with this story fly like the drone, over the Netherlands and its beautiful world.

If you’ve been stung by horrible gay-themed movies of all stripes, you need your faith in a good film restored. This is the antidote.

Time Travel Under the Ancient Alien Dome

DATELINE:  Mojave Haven

 Van Tassel Castle

Not too often Ancient Aliens devotes a show to an important person in the UFO business, like Nikola Tesla, Leonardo, or Werner von Braun. This week they have selected the ever-forgotten George Van Tassel on the 8thepisode of season 15.

Van Tassel invented something out in the Mojave Desert forty years ago called the Integratron, a machine that ancient aliens helped him build for time travel, spirit communication, and portals to other dimensions.

Immortality is not what it used to be: Van Tassel was about to announce his invention’s possibilities when he abruptly died at age 67 of an unexpected heart attack. Almost immediately, your favorite federal government gutted the building where immortality lurked.

Van Tassel’s white dome house out in the desert had its guts removed: all those particle trackers and collider stuff were carted off.

As for Van Tassel, his death seemed to be regarded at biting irony for a man who wanted immortality and his premature death was dismissed as fate, rather than cold-blooded murder.

Van Tassel was considered a genius—and among his benefactors was Howard Hughes. And, if he is to be believed, a series of extra-terrestrials who came to him in the desert.

Not surprisingly, he held major outings each year in the 1950s that attracted bigger and bigger crowds, allowing Ancient Aliensto compare him to Moses– of UFOs.

He built his Integratron on Ley Lines, on a latitude with the Great Pyramid, which he also believed served a similar purpose ten or twenty-thousands of years ago. Most intriguing is the resemblance between this building and a depiction of Solomon’s Temple by Raphael, which housed the Ark of the Covenant.

 

 

 

 

Trump Turns into Typhoid Mary

DATELINE: NBA Comes in Second! 

If you need a little coronavirus history lesson, we are here to oblige.

Typhoid Mary was a 19thcentury Irish woman who was Patient Zero of her day. She went around the world, dispensing typhoid to anyone within her earshot. She herself never contracted the disease.

She was put into quarantine and only went to the supermarket to pick up hand sanitzer.

In that way she was like Johnny Appleseed, going around the countryside, planting infection.

Nowadays, the closest thing we have to Typhoid Mary is Donald Trump. Corona Trump seems to avoid having a test to prove his diseased body, but manages to meet with other world leaders. If you believe he has been tested and is negative, you probably are a U.S. Senator.

We think it’s time he went to North Korea again.

As for the NBA, no one likes to kick a basketball when it is out of bounds, but we will kick the can down the road.

Another NBA player has tested positive. He was guarding Rudy Gobert last week. It takes more than three days to develop coronavirus, and a player on the Detroit Pistons was in Gobert’s shirt last week, as they say of good defense.. Oh, well, do your job.

No one is mentioning that two kids from Rhode Island met Rudy Gobert at TD Garden in Boston, received an autographed ball, and a case of coronavirus. It took almost ten days to develop.

Nothing like spreading goodwill, NBA.

So, we are back to Typhoid Donald: he only had dinner and shook hands with people this week while being an incubator. We expect to see world leaders fall flat on their test kits within the next week. He and his crony, the Brazilian president, love to say “Fake Flu,” before you can say, “corona.”

We think Trump would be a better candidate for swine flu.

As for Trump, he just keeps sailing on, spreading cheer and coronavirus wherever he goes.

 

 

Knives In and Out of Fashion

DATELINE: Old-Fashioned Murder Comedy

Massachusetts mansion.

The comedy murder mystery of the year, of perhaps the decade, is a Charlie Chan rip-off that is as trendy as it is traditional. Knives Out  raises the question of why would anyone have a display of hundreds of knives in his parlor.

We think the set designer deserved an Oscar, or a strait-jacket.

An all-star cast of suspects seem to have as much fun making, perhaps more than those of us watching it. Director Rian Johnson moves his cast to the real star of the movie: a gothic house most suitable for his plot outside of Boston.

The lunacy of the house furnishings is like a Victorian nightmare, hardly something anyone would design, even an Agatha Christie murder mystery writer (Christopher Plummer) who hates movie versions of his books.

The family gathers for his 85thbirthday—including his mother who must be 100 at least. And, the family members and staff are equally troublesome.

The cast even gathers for the reading of the will, which entails just about everyone—except the murder victim.

The best line delivered by Chris Evans is about cornpone Daniel Craig, playng super sleuth Benoit Blanc as “CSI- KFC,”   in shades of Sherlock with Hercole thrown in. But, we keep seeing James Bond slumming.

Director Johnson is utterly cruel with his camera. We have never seen these old stars looking so old. Every crevice, crease, and open pore, is ready for your perusal. Even Daniel Craig looks surprisingly aged in the wood.

The red herrings fly by at an alarming rate, so quickly it’s hard to keep track of the lies and false statements. We suppose Plummer’s nurse may be from Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, or Paraguay, as everyone cites a different locale.

The few scenes around Boston are amusing for those of us who are homebodies—and we snickered when Gary Tanguay, a Boston sports reporter, showed up as a newsguy at another station.

It’s a silly romp and more like what old movies used to be, and those Sherlock/Chan/Poirot stories were more succinct. We suppose there could be a new series for James Bond here if he so chooses.

Water, Water Everywhere on Oak Island

DATELINE:  Still Waters Not Found

We have arrived at the 16thweek of the 7thseason. It’s clear they will find nothing this season.

But the coconut hair indicates that they are near the booby trap of flood tunnel. Out of the muck, Gary Drayton starts to find a couple of spikes from the 1700s. These were original people who were digging to bury something.

Also, seismic explosions from earlier this season and used to produce sound waves have created a map of voids under the surface of 300 feet. However, they find a linear tunnel about sixty feet near the Money Pit from the Cove.

Their excavation with a huge new machine obviously finds a flood tunnel. Of course, the cavalier digging means a cave-in, having unstabilized the area. It’s almost like they sabotage their own hunt to extend the season till next year.

So, they move to the eye of the swamp where they believe the Templars may have hidden something.

But Gary wants to go to the spots where Hurricane Dorian stripped away the ground cover. His hunch proves right yet again. So, once again, Rick and Gary find some piece of lead that may have etchings on it.

But the swamp has large deposits of blue clay, an water sealant that is there to protect and make watertight something underneath.

The highpoint of the show is Dr. Christa Brosseau’s return to analyze the spikes Gary found. Alex brings them to her for an elemental analysis. She delivers the good news that the iron has phosphorus, meaning it is 18thcentury. She thinks they were from Britain or Northern Europe.

We are delighted that Drs. Spooner and Broseeau are now the voice of academic insight on Oak Island.

No Coronavirus Test, What me Worry?

DATELINE: Walking Along the Dead Line 

The President of the United States is the New Alfred E. Neumann.

Donald Trump is prepared to kill himself with coronavirus—and infect you too.

We know that self-destructive behavior is the mark of people who think they are immortal demigods. So, it does not surprise us when Donald Trump deliberately fills his Air Force One and his winter home in Florida with people who have shaken hands with a man who died of coronavirus.

Madness is a relative condition, and flu symptoms are not usually associated with losing your mind. However, opening the barn door to let the microbes enter may be a first for a world leader who thinks he is part Ghengis Khan and part-Superman.

Without a flu shot and without a coronavirus test, Trump is able to leap over CDC doctors in a single bound.

Whether he starts to cough and then re-enacts the role of Von Aschenbach in Death in Venice may be the third act of his election campaign.

Ted Cruz has yet to respond to calls to infect his president, but others have taken off their gas masks and gone into the lion’s den. Next, they will stick their heads into the lion’s mouth, bad breath and all, to defy the medical advice of science.

Self-quarantine is for those who have humanity at heart, not for those who enter King Tut’s tomb before going home to Downton Abbey or Mar-a-Lago, or whatever that black hole of Florida is called.

 

 

UnXplained Takes on Precog

DATELINE: Shatner on the Future

Seeing the future, having vibrations, dreaming of some event?  Shatner’s cynical UnXplained gives him a chance to look askance at the camera yet again.

We love it. 

Starting with a British psychic or clairvoyant, he cannot tell you why or how he has the ability. It is something he grew up with—and then enhanced with study in India and mystics. Then, there is a short mention of Biblical prophets who had no training. You learned as you went along.

Of course, we end up with tiresome Nostradamus and his incomprehensible quatrains, which border on ridiculous. Shatner suggests he is either a fake or psycho, but the usual expert talks about Hister and the S in the name written like a Swastika.

 The real surprise of the episode was the footage of 9-11 and the discussion of many people having premonitions that they would die or experience something a WTC. It is chilling to hear of these incidents. The usual experts (Nick Pope, Dr. Kaku) claim it is intuition, a natural condition in all people who make sense out of patterns they see.

 The kicker for the show is the Universal memory somewhere out there: it is , you guessed it, the Akashic Record, where all past, present, and future floats in some distant dimension—and a few lucky souls have a library card.

 Not the best in the series, but still better than most!