Druids Take on Ancient Aliens

DATELINE: Stone Chambers!

stone chamber

The seventh episode of Season 14 of Ancient Aliens  puts attention on the strange stone chambers that permeate New England and upstate New York. These rock formations were first noted by settlers in the 1600s but may go back thousands more years.

Nearly all these structures are noted for their roofs of flat stone, weighty and impossibly piled atop smaller braces of stone.

Our ancient alien theorists are not content to leave these structures to chance. In their opinion, Druids and Celtic priests came to these places because of magnetic anomalies.

Alignments with the sun mean these locales were not exactly root cellars.

No doubt about it, the stone formations and Balance Rock and their ilk have resemblances to Stonehenge.

There are also human sacrifice tables with drainage, which seems a bit much for aliens, but likely in logic when it comes to humans trying to appease or attract these Shiny People.

Yup, according to Ancient Aliens, those red-haired and blue-eyed Irish or Celtics may be descendants of a space tribe that colonized England and Ireland but sent emissaries to New England’s Mystery Hill.

The episode is more in the line of David Childress who tours some of the sites—and much evidence of Whitney Strieber is linked to the forces from other dimensions that emerge from ancient stone chambers. Communion may not be a story of mere space aliens.

This leads to time travel, portal and vortex issues. Frozen time and space in New England is a common theme, as the series cites Rip Van Winkle—yet the same could be said of Portrait of Jennie too.

They seem to tie ghosts to extra-terrestrials, but we suspect that spirits are indeed beyond the terrestrial world we live in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rogue Male: Peter O’Toole Wasted

DATELINE: More or Less Dangerous Games!

rogue assassin Roguish Assassin?

In 1976 Peter O’toole was still looking like a major star. When he did Rogue Male, he seems to be going down the rabbit hole to disappear. It’s The Most Dangerous Game, redux and doubled-down.

The film postulates in 1939 that Neville Chamberlain was worse than a Nazi sympathizer and appeaser. As Sir Robert Hunter (no joke), he goes to assassinate Hitler, is foiled, and uses his British pluck to go after the Fuherer. This Fredric Raphael script is based on a Household novel.

The film is a string of incidents that reveal some smart, intriguing supporting characters along the way, from a German who aids escape, to O’Toole’s Jewish lawyer, his tailor, and on and on. Alas, the film does not rely on this network of adventuresome people.

They are ultimately all for naught.

The picaresque adventure of Hunter features many veddy veddy English creatures, but there are enough enemies to undercut the social amusement. He finds escape to England after torture simply means he trades in one set of vicious Nazis for the collaborators (Jon Standing) in Chamberlain’s government.

We know Winston Churchill is around the corner to save the day. And O’Toole is too busy embarrassing his uncle (Alastair Sim) who is a high-ranking cabinet member. Most film fans recall Sim as the best Ebenezer Scrooge on film 25 years earlier.

The film features one of the final performances of Sim as O’Toole’s breezy Earl of an uncle. He is all too infrequently seen. He is delightful with his nephew whom he calls “Bobbity.”

Les Miserable approach to having O’Toole parallel hunted by a clever government agent is heavy-handed. The agent reads a book by the would=be assassin on hunting and uses its contents to track him down.

Worse yet, O’Toole is literally trapped in an underground rabbit hole for the finale, but we are left puzzled as to motivations and logic between these dark characters.

 

 

American Experience: Gilded Age

 DATELINE: 1%ers Around 1900!

photog meets Morgan dollar Silver Dollar J.P. Morgan

Once again, the PBS series gives us an education. It’s rather painless and extremely informative with a political edge. “The Gilded Age” may not be what you think, or it may not be what PBS thinks. According to this two-hour documentary (with no re-enactors, thankfully) details the world of business and society from 1880 to the early 20th century.

That means a healthy dollop of Vanderbilts, Carnegie, and J.P.Morgan and their money-first philosophy of America’s business being business.

Gilded means there is a patina over the rot.

And, you can say that the urban blight and immigrant climb started with the Gilded Age. They wanted to have a good life, but found out it mostly came with wages, however high, or however low.

Though Americans wanted to be proud of their trade or profession, they learned through their socialist and unionist leaders that they were mere pawns for the 1% of super-rich.  And, this age is when those folks started amassing power and wealth.

Andrew Carnegie tried to save his reputation with charitable works, but it was a patina over rot. And, banker and heartless monster John Pierpoint Morgan never pretended to be anything but a creep with a huge purple nose who hated the press and media. His face should be on the Morgan silver dollar.

1% wealth is with us today in spades, as billionaires think they own the world. And, perhaps they do.

You may find the injustices against hard-workers hard to take, but even by today’s standards of enlightenment, you have an army of people who hate Bernie Sanders and his message. He would have been at home during “The Gilded Age,” and that may be a sad commentary after all.

 

Appalling Holmes & Watson

 DATELINE: Elementary, School That is.

elementary school.jpeg 

We were warned, and now you are warned.

The Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly remake of a comic Conan Doyle couple is not exactly a blue-plate special. It is going for .99 cents on Amazon streaming video. You know that price is rock bottom for rock bottom quality. This is a step down for the Step Brothers.

The film is horrific in terms of anachronisms. There are references to killer bees, protein shakes, and headlines that smell of National Enquirer in the 1950s.

Worse yet are the fake British accents on our traditional heroes, showing that they cherish good acting as much as a paycheck. The actors playing them as children speak with American accents (as do all the kids in London).

Mrs. Hudson is a trollop—and not from the British pages of classic literature.

We almost expected Judi Dench was likely offered the role as Queen Victoria—and that would have set us off on a tangent. Instead, we have Ralph Fiennes acting in a separate movie as Moriarty.

He has no flair for comedy.

Perhaps the most surprising couple in the film are the Road Trip movie stars: Rob Brydon as Lestrade and Steve Coogan as the one-armed tattooist.

We almost wish they had played Holmes and Watson. Of course, this may be the only version in which Lestrade is smarter than Holmes.

The movie moribundly moves from one witless encounter and set-up to another. Killer bees are inexplicably in a glass case at 221b Baker Street, allowing for a madcap moment without suspense.

Another stupid setup is Holmes surprise birthday party thrown by the Queen.  Who wrote this drivel? Mindless is the Zeitgeist of the age: and if this is you, you will be in your element.

Yes, it’s elementary.  Elementary school.

Unidentified Episode 5, Going Nuclear!

DATELINE: Guadalupe & Minot

Elizondo Pentagon’s Man of La Mancha?

If you want to descend into a typical UFO show, you simply re-hash the stuff that has been examined by a dozen other shows, and you re-interview the now aging witnesses.

So it goes on Unidentified, for their fifth episode. It looks at the British Roswell, so misnamed because there was no crash and no alien bodies recovered.However, you had a Christmas time incident near an American base in England. Here over the course of several nights, strange lights were seen in the woods next to the base. Of course, the military base had one of the biggest stores of nuclear arms in 1980.

To interview the officer in charge, Col. Holt, and one of his security non-coms, Luis Elizondo covers the same old ground, but tells these men they don’t have to answer if there is some military secret involved. Talk about hamstrings.

We figure by the fifth episode we should spell the guy’s name correctly:  Luis Elizondo. He visits Guadalupe this time to find the homing device of both sharks and UFOs. Brilliant researcher Mauricio Hoyos shows up here to note that the sharks are only one element of the mysterious ocean off Mexico.

The most interesting aspect of the interview is that one military policeman suffered injuries as a result of the incident—and even disappeared for an unknown amount of time, scooped up the extra-terrestrials is the theory.

Of course, years later he tried to win some kind of medical disability—and the military claimed he was not in the service at the time, and his records were lost. Yikes. Sen. John McCain’s top aide went to bat for this unfortunate man and helped him win his medical coverage.

She said she never saw such opposition to recognizing what he sacrificed. It was part of a massive coverup of strange ships around nuclear facilities. It can be traced back to the mid-1940s and the Manhattan Project, years before Roswell.

They also spend time detailing the mystery around the Minot base near the Canadian border where nuclear weapons were armed and disarmed by unknown forces.

Once again, we hear that the government has lied to the public (a crime) and that we are at the mercy of forces that do not subjugate us for unknown reasons.

 

This stuff can be called alarming news. These guys are all wearing placards and sandwich boards that read: “The End is Near.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unidentified Episode 4, Going Nowhere Man!

 DATELINE: Half-way to the Stars?

head mellon Mellon Head?

Luis Elizando wants to uncover what is going on in the skies for a hundred years—and that is why he quit the Pentagon program that resisted investigations into these unknown objects. It isn’t a coverup as much as a denial of truth.

By the fourth episode of Unidentified, looking at the three released videos that raise all kinds of questions, the former Pentagon leader finds that two were East Coast encounters, not far from Washington. In fact, the young pilots (Ryan Grave and Danny Aucoin) risk their reputations to reveal that they were stalked by an armada of craft acting in ways that go beyond all aerodynamic rules.

Everyone wants to say these could be enemy on Earth vehicles. No one wants to believe that because it would mean sure subjugation by political enemies.

That leaves the unpleasant notion that no one in the government wants to face the inevitability of a smarter, more advanced civilization. Or, conversely, they know that these ships that stalk our nuclear-powered ships and their jets, even into war zones, are benign creatures or light energy from another dimension.

As weird as strikes everyone who witnesses these, there seems to be a reluctance to identify and to confront what they are. It could be someone knows what they are—and hands are off any confrontation.

As the show’s military-based investigators note, to cover this info up is a federal crime. But, the black budgets of top secrecy for decades may render that idea moot. These are not merely ancient alien believers, but men who want to move policy toward open discussion and revelation. Good luck with that.

Chris Mellon may want to shake his congressional associates and wake them like the Rip Van Winkles they are. That thunder in the sky is not elves bowling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stonewall Uprising, 50 Years Later!

DATELINE: American Experience’s Documentary

stonewall Pioneer Gay Fighters!

Was it ten years ago that American Experience produced its historical film, Stonewall Uprising, on the fortieth anniversary of the so-called gay riots in that gay mecca of the 60s, Greenwich Village?

This year some said five or six million marched in those streets for twelve hours of parading. Forty years ago, three drag queens walking down the street would constitute a riot.

Ten years ago some witnesses were aging, both as cops and gay patrons of one of those blue-collar, sleazy, unpleasant gay bars of the times. Yes, folks, those places were dubious if you had more professionalism and dignity.

Yet, it was those people who first stood up to undue harassment. The first 45 minutes of the PBS documentary recounts the hideous conditions of the 1960s when homosexuals were considered one step short of psychopathia.

Perhaps the interviews with “experts” trying to terrorize children that gay predators lurked on every street corner were the worst dregs of the era, yet these were the cornerstones of civilization. It is infuriating to see these people treat gay men and women with such cruelty. On the plus side, most of those creeps are now dead.

They were about to be shocked by the three days of rioting against a half-dozen belligerent cops who started a movement. They were barricaded in the bar in abject terror when thousands attacked in return.

The gay bars were the purview of the Mafia who ran them to rake profits off the benighted gay men and women on the outskirts of society. They gave gays a place to congregate but would soon lose their upper-hand to political awareness.

This documentary shows how the anti-war and civil rights movement simply transferred to gay rights overnight. Fifty years later, it is intriguing to see the roots of this powerhouse of politics. Millions of young marchers were not even born when the uprising started.

Those who still decry it may be better advised to watch out and watch this little film.

 

Brooklyn Bridge Revisited

 DATELINE: Ken Burns Classic

great art Amazing!

In 1982 Ken Burns made a name for himself with this small, unassuming and brilliant documentary about the fifteen-year process to build the iconic, magical Brooklyn Bridge.

The film made his reputation and sent him on a career as a ground-breaking documentarian. What’s left nearly forty years later is the masterpiece of film on the masterpiece of engineering.

To take it in again after so many decades and find it as fresh and charming as when first seen is like the chance to walk across the East River like one of those who saw it like the first man to walk on the Moon.

John Roebling came from Germany as Hegel’s favorite student and a brilliant bridge maker. He designed the way to cross the river between New York and Brooklyn in three months. Then, fate intervened, giving him tetanus and killing him. It left the job then to his 30-year old son and Civil War hero Col. Washington Roebling.

David McCollough lends his narrative presence, but familiar voices dot the film: Julie Harris, Kurt Vonnegut, and others.

The dangerous caissons gave Roebling the bends, and he recovered but never fully. He managed to oversee the bridge construction from his third-floor bedroom with binoculars. His wife supervised and learned engineering to carry out on-site work.

Great Lewis Mumford lends his presence here to the cultural viewpoint with a poetic expression of his walk across the bridge as a young man. There are clips of Frank Sinatra in a movie in love with the Bridge, and even Bugs Bunny puts in an appearance.

The Bridge is monumental, inspirational, beautiful, and a cathedral of the national pride.

This is definitely American pie.

 

 

 

 

Secrets of the Dead? WWII Pep Pills!

DATELINE: Deadline Pep!

james holland Holland Invades Germany!

We never heard of this PBS marvel of history documentaries. It sounds like a bad show from the History Channel, something morbid about ghosts or Egyptian mummies.  It is entitled Secrets of the Dead!

Of course, it is none of the above. It is an intelligent look at historical events, uncovering little known information and formulating new theory.

For this episode from Season 17, it is called World War Speed. It is about the shocking notion of amphetamine usage during the second World War!

Who knew?

What’s worse, who suspected that the governments of England, United States, and Nazi Germany, condone and required drugs to stimulate the soldiers.

We’d like to think that only craven Hitler demanded his soldiers take amphetamines to remain awake for days: like good Aryan supermen.

However, Generals Montgomery and Einsenhower learned of the practice and decided it was a good strategy. You see, not only did it keep men awake but made them act out in deranged, but heroic ways. Men would volunteer for death missions and do utterly suicidal actions.

Hitler had experimented on victims of concentration camps to see how the pep pills effected people who were starving to death. However, even Hitler decided the side-effects were too grave to continue on his army. Not so with the American and British.

They gave pep pills to men in tanks that were deathtraps. It gave them courage beyond logic. We are horrified to think that this show, hosted by James Holland who most recently worked on the History Channel “Hunting Hitler”—and he has not lost his yellow journalism style here.

It is appalling to think that innocent young men had no idea that “pep pills” drugged them out of their minds.

We may tune into this series again. It is a shocker and provides teachable moments.

 

 

 

Great White Shark: Fear Uncaged!

DATELINE:  Mermaid & Great White Shark Playtime

Mauricio Hoyos Mauricio Hoyos!

 

The little shark documentary Beyond the Cage of Fear, narrated and directed by Steve Morris, may be a looney gem of entertainment.

At a time when Shark Week is all the rage, we were intrigued by the lack of cage.

The experts here are among that group that insist we have misunderstood the Great White Shark and confused his life and mind with the jaws of death.

It seems every shark documentary demands a scene of the shark exposing his rows of teeth and biting off more than he can chew.

So, a bunch of cowboys of the sea gather together to challenge their fears and show off their courage. Aging danger freak Mike Hoover leads the charge.

These are beautiful young men who have lung capacity that you might find unfathomable. They can hold their breath for many minutes under water and swim like a fish.

Among them are Hannah Frasier, Brandon Whaley and Mark Healy. They are among the bravest young fools you will ever encounter as they try to create a relationship of friendship with a great white shark.

Mauricio Hoyos looked familiar at Guadalupe Island, and we recognized him from a recent show on Unidentified, the UFOs. He is perhaps the foremost, young expert in great white sharks on the planet and hangs around their favorite haunt in Mexico. He knows these hotshots are crazy, but what can he do?

Perhaps the craziest of all is Hannah, who swims in a mermaid suit, so to speak, with tiny pasties to cover her tiny pasties. She too swims without snorkel or tank with Bruce the Shark.

Yeah, they named him Bruce as if that demeaned his danger. The point is that fear drives our lives: yeah, it’s called survival.

We love these beautiful daredevils and admire them, but we doubt they will live long lives.

 

 

 

Haunted Bowdoin College: Ready for a Closeup

DATELINE: No Ghouls Here!

Bowdoin class of 1912 Class of 1912.

With deep interest and fascination, we awaited a chance to read the insider study called Haunted Bowdoin College by David R. Francis, senior techie over in the Brunswick, Maine, area.

We found a general overview of the tours often conducted (over three hours) along the various sites of the campus. Since the College goes back to the start of the 19th century and has maintained its historical integrity, we found the breakdown done by various locations.

Our main intention was to see if graduate Richard Frazar White (who died on his graduation gift—a first-class trip on the maiden voyage of RMS Titanic) might have encountered some of the spirits during his time at the College.

Alas, the book is short on example: often taking the reader off-campus to ancillary paranormal history. There are a few nuggets, such as the Hubbard Stacks, a darkly unchanged library haunt.

Richard White loved libraries: he likely spent much time at the library dedicated to illustrious grads, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The book recounts their thematic work but does not indicate they learned first-hand about supernatural at Bowdoin.

Richard White came from a haunted background. He was born and grew up in Winchendon Springs in the family manse that was a house of many gables (and at least one murdered peddler). His family renovated an old tavern along the carriage route where murder was most foul in 1826.

Richard’s great-grandfather, Zadoc Long, wrote a poem in the Longfellow mold about the family’s haunted house. So, Richard had a long background in ghostly encounters—and perhaps was not much impressed with Bowdoin’s resident spirits.

Oddly enough, many of the reported ghosts are women—at an all-male college until the late 20th century. It seems girls of the town couldn’t resist the Bowdoin men—and paid an eternal price for it.

The work is slight, but the author has peppered the tales with his research photos—and those who matriculated a century ago may be still there. Each year the classes had their photos taken on the steps of the art museum, but we didn’t find any ghostly takers—except for Richard who has returned to Winchendon Springs.

At least one former exchange student from Bowdoin, now living in Brazil, told me that he traces his own haunted life from his days in Maine and the fatal attraction spirits seem to have for the ivy-halls.

 

Free Agency Strikes America!

DATELINE:  No Free Lunch Anywhere?

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This week we heard a comment that we stopped writing about sports because of “free agency.”  Well, no, not exactly, though it is an appalling condition in society in general.

You have to understand that lack of loyalty and love of money is rampant across America, not just in basketball where Avery Bradley has signed up to re-join Rajon Rondo, and Kyrie Irving left the place he swore he would stay in front of a million fans.

We have seen “free agency” at work everywhere. If there had been DNA tests thirty years ago, we would have exercised free agency and gone to Harvard University to work as a professor: we have learned we are a descendant of Miles Standish and Massasoit (for whom Massachusetts was named). If we knew we had more Native American in us than Elizabeth Warren, we might even be running for President today.

We have seen free agency in the legal profession. The same lawyers who work for Donald Trump also work for Jeffrey Epstein. You go from billionaire to billionaire. Is it more money? Better opportunity? More challenges? It is not loyalty to a brand.

You might switch banks for better interest rates, or switch social media to be with different influencers.

In recent years we have experienced our primary care doctor whom we loved, move to the Sun Belt, where she said in her letter of departure to patients, there were “more opportunities.” To what? Cure cancer? Lower blood pressure? Deal with fewer insurance forms?

This year our dentist, who had a beautiful office and seemed happy, left for “more opportunities.”  That likely means “more cavities to fill,” or “fewer teeth to pull,” or just where weather allows for fewer snow days.

Free agency is everywhere in society today, and it simply means people can go where they want, for whatever dumb reason strikes their limited fancy. We have an endemic pandemic epidemic of movers and shakers in sports, law, medicine, education, and politics.

Heaven help our society. We need a new prayer, and it must be time to move on from the Lord’s Prayer. Hell, no, I won’t go.

Unidentified, Improving Episode 3

DATELINE: Old Hat Re-lined?

AATIP

Having the tenacity to stick with the weaker opening episodes, we found the series hit its stride in the third showing. Of course, yet another member of the “team” is introduced, a former Chief Petty Officer named Cahill.

We continue to question how and why Luis Elizondo was ever put in charge of a top-secret project at the Pentagon. It is a bigger mystery than the presence of forces more powerful than any country on Earth.

What’s more, we discover that the Trump evangelical generals in the Pentagon regard any investigation of UFOs as placating the demonic. Yes, they oppose any investigation on religious grounds. These people kept any reports from reaching General James Mattis who was Trump’s most respected Secretary until he wasn’t.

These guys are not exactly Annapolis types, and only Chris Mellon comes across as a true patrician and of a high rank in government.

This week they follow the UFOs to an isle about 150 miles off the coast of Mexico where they allegedly dived into the ocean. Talking to fishermen (with a translator) is interesting because universal whoosing noises and hand gestures speak volumes about describing the unknown, unidentified tic tac craft.

What is a bit of a shocker:  Americans are not allowed on the island of Guadalupe because of its environmental protections!  Hunh? Well, apparently, this location is one of the hotspots for great white sharks: more here than anywhere in the world. This surprises us as we thought the Australian Great Barrier Reef was their favorite spot.

A wildlife expert notes that the sharks come here because of magnetic anomalies near the island—perhaps caused by the submersed UFOs.

The show focuses on the Nimitz sightings from 2004, and its infamous video released by the Pentagon for reasons unfathomable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lonely Man, 1950s Latency Period

DATELINE: Another Oddball Western

not so lonely Tony Meets Jack at Gay Bar?

The Western lone rider is the loneliest guy this side of the Maytag repairman in the 1950s.

After appearing as the despicable gunfighter in Shane, there was only one place to go for Jack Palance: revisionist hero from hell. So, he was cast as the good guy in The Lonely Man. This was a trend, as Ernest Borgnine had just transformed into an Oscar-winner after a villainous streak. Rod Steiger was around the corner.

In 1957, the way to do this was to play either a wronged teenage son or a well-meaning father. The James Dean phenomenon was at work: so, they cast Anthony Perkins as the fey son, long separated from his gunslinging father (called an ‘aging’ gunfighter).

Perkins plays it so silly as rebel with a cause that James Dean would have laughed. He likely would have laughed too that mid-30s Palance was considered aging as a father to mid-20s Perkins. It could have been Tab, but Tony will do.

Yet, that was the style of those days. Daddy didn’t know best, but he tried.

And, you use the baritone country music of Tennessee Ernie Ford instead of Tex Ritter.

Some bad guys are unremitting: Neville Brand, Lee Van Cleef, and Elisha Cook.  They are planning on gunning down Palance first chance that comes their way. Elisha Cook’s revenge comes after Palance gunned him down in Shane.

Brand would turn goodie on TV within a few years, but it would take Van Cleef more than a decade to turn to goody-two-shoes roles. All are in their evil-doer prime here.

If you have a strong sense of homoeroticism in this movie, you are not paranoid. Palance “picks up” his son in a bar for the price of a drink. Perkins boasts anyone can have him at those prices. These guys are all interested in their male on male relationships over all else.

As a piece of Hollywood Western ersatz history, this film is a true curio.

 

Endeavour Wraps Up Season 6

DATELINE:  Shootout for Morse!

Dr. Max in the library Dr. Max in the Library!

We never expected our intellectual detective show would go big time corruption at the highest levels of government. And, we have to admit surprise when the show’s climax turns out to be Gunfight at the OK Corral.

The old gang re-gathers in high form. And, corrupt politicians may escape, but never dirty cops.

Some shocks do occur along the way: Dr. Max DeBryn (James Bradshaw) hardly seems the sort to be a mob target, but threats to nearly every member of the cast leads us to worry some may not be returning for season 7.  Yes, there will be another year, 1970.

In the meantime, we almost thought we were watching Ancient Aliens or Curse of Oak Island when the foremost villains turn out to be Freemasons.

We can almost be assured that next summer there will be a few more of these precious and rare gems. Endeavour has behaved badly to end this season, which may be a cliff-hanger for this series, but we already know the middle-aged and older Inspector Morse survives to make the prequel post-quel episodes with the late John Thaw as Endeavour.

Nevertheless, you should not say “nevermore,” to this Shaun Evans outrage. Abigail Thaw (John’s daughter) remains a staple news reporter here to bring the two series into some kind of karma.

Some of the highlights of the finale include Inspector Thursday noting to an Oxford don that he was partial to Holly Martins (good grief, shades of The Third Man). We did enjoy seeing Dr. Max DeBryn in the library with the ice pick.

Well, we love this show for a good reason. You will have to wait for a year to see the good works rewarded fully with crime busting for four more episodes.