DATELINE: Gob-Smacked by Gary Drayton
At long last, not even bad delaying tactics of the show’s producers can stop the progress to something important. Long-suffering fans who have put up with endless recaps and repetitive reminders may now be able to see a mystery unfold.
Well, it’s not quite the same as having the UFO land on the White House lawn, but finding giant structures under a long-submerged bay area tells us that the rise in oceans has complicated the treasure hunt.
Young surveyor Steve Guptill has emerged this season from nowhere to be Rick Lagina’s right hand. He is in on every discovery and has the complete trust and attention of Mr. Lagina. We are happy he has found a true companion with talent, beauty and brains. He has located the first tunnel made to avoid the flood drains in 1805.
Once again, members of the team find unusual features—and then Rick Lagina shows up. Yet Smith’s Cove now has giant logs, not smaller, meaning the engineering was overwhelmingly difficult. What were they doing hundreds of years ago?
The other big news is the Swamp. They may have found the Eye of the Swamp as the theoretical center of the treasure. Again, an art expert has used French paintings to reveal secret information—which makes Marty Lagina particularly cynical.
Expert Dr. Ian Spooner returns—and Steve Guptill is in charge of digging in the swamp eye, a coring operation to determine the swamp’s age.
Not to be undone, Gary Drayton finds a wooden peg or two at the cove. What we have here is massive structure made on a grand scale 1220 A.D. in Nova Scotia. Significant human activity is discovered in 1675 or so, as well.
We are now in the area of Knights Templar.
DATELINE: The All-Seeing Video Eyeball
What’s with video cheating and Boston’s managerial brain-trusts? Their genius may be all in the eye of the camera.
We have somehow come to accept every sordid charge that Bill Belichick somehow in some way has cheated his way to win six Super Bowls. From Deflategate to Spygates 1 and 2, he seems to appear in sequels more than Rocky.
This is now the New England championship ring of truth around the world. World champs here come from the bottom of the barrel. The ring is worn on the wrong finger.
And if you had any doubt, you had only to note that now Alex Cora, winner of the 2018 World Series for the Boston Red Sox is up to his video eyeballs in cheating for both the Houston Astros and the Red Sox.
He was awarded the Sox job, it now appears, on the false pretense that he was a mastermind of winning. Well, it now appears he was indeed the mastermind—of a video spy scandal in Houston as their coach. The manager and his general manager have now been fired as a result.
Cora is hiding in plain sight. MLB states he is being investigated for making a video conference room in the Red Sox clubhouse for cheaters to view signs and other insider activities of the opposing dugout.
How long Cora stands up to this withering accusation is anyone’s guess! Chances are, like Belichick, he will hunker down and figure winners never face punishment. Don’t look for Cora to resign in disgrace any more than Trump will for his impeachy behaviors.
Those old interviews in which Alex Cora waxed eloquent on his admiration for Bill Belichick now take on sinister tones.
No, it will be for the true-blue Red Stockings front office to fire him. Will they? It now seems like he may fall under the New England umbrella of winners never quit and winning is the only deodorant. Managers like Casey Stengel belonged to a different century and a different club.
DATELINE: Hitler Clones
Peck as Mengele!
Back in the day, Ira Levin was one hot writer. He was knocking out Broadway and movie hits with aplomb, and writing novels too. He was entertainment and controversy, wit and delight. Apart from Death Trap, he gave us Boys from Brazil.
One of his least favorite set-pieces was the novel and movie about Josef Mengele. How short-sighted they were back in those days. The main criticism centered on Atticus Finch, the hero of all things American, being done up as a pasty and hideous looking Mengele. Yes, sir, that’s Gregory Peck in the lead role, horrifying.
He is magnificent, but back then he was stung by severe criticism. His performance may be one side of over-the-top , but when you ae playing one of the evilest fiends in history, it’s hard to pull back.
The cast is utterly astounding
Playing the old Jewish Nazi hunter whose efforts have gone past relevance is Laurence Olivier. Even Peck’s Mengele has no respect for the old-timer who warns young and hunky Steve Guttenberg to get out of Paraguay before there is one less nice Jewish boy. In an early role, Guttenberg is a sacrifice to plot, replaced by his clone John Rubinstein.
James Mason, who always accounted for Nazis of varying stripes, plays a Prussian aristocratic Nazi. Every nuance of his performance, especially with Peck, is a subtext of delight. And, you have to stand back in sheer horror at a gala soiree of Nazis in Paraguay in the 1980s.
Throw in a passel of well-known character actors—from Anne Meara and Uta Hagen to John Dehner and Denholm Elliot—and you have a hoot of acting. What other movie features two 70ish stars in a dirty, knock-down fight to death at the climax?
Yes, Ira Levin knew how to entertain and write a film that was 40 years ahead of its time.
What brought the fiercest criticism was the crypto-science of the age: genetic research! The public could not accept Mengele’s theories that he could clone humans—and create a new Master Race leader. How silly they were back then! It would only take 30 years to make the story less crypto.
The boys back in Brazil were hardly your run of the mill Nazi party members: Mengele was after the big fish. He had enough DNA from Hitler to make a bunch of them from now until kingdom come!
Today, that is cutting edge. It’s quite a movie.
DATELINE: More Data
Curse of Oak Islandhas returned with big insights.
Has another discovery been made? They have found a structure that could be a booby trap design to send water into flood tunnels on the island. No historical record exists, but how did people go out under ten feet of water to build floodgate?
Creating a bump out has revealed a possible engineering marvel. Of course, Marty Lagina and son Alex are not there for this important stuff, which likely means they are out filming the Civil War Gold series in Michigan. Operative term is “away on business.”
All the second bananas are here for this one: Laird, Crowall, Henskee, Gary Drayton, Begley, Bill Gearhardt, Terry Matheson. Of course, Gary immediately finds cribbing spikes from the 1600 or 1700s. You may notice that Dave Blankenship, Dan’s son, has been further marginalized.
Another “expert” on French art shows up to show that secrets of Oak Island were recorded in oils during 17thcentury.
A French art expert claims a French painter named Poussin painted a map in his painting to show where the Ark of the Covenant could be buried on Oak Island. Why did he have secret knowledge? Guesswork connections.
We also go back into the swamp this week with Tony Sampson, the diver who has been on many times. They are looking for newer anomalies using GPR. It’s suddenly cold in the swamp and they are heavily insulated. They are looking for the point overlaid in the French painting.
Permits again are going to be required.
They also joke that Alex is going to have to get his hands dirty in Smith’s Cove. Every five minutes is a new most important discovery yet.
The word of the show –and day—is dendrochronology, or dating by tree rings. We are now in the exact time of 1795.
DATELINE: IMF Gone Wrong
George Sanders Goes Out in Flames!
In 1970 if you wanted a thinking man’s spy thriller, you went to a film based on John LeCarre, and if you wanted a thriller with twists, you went to Mission: Impossible. If you wanted laughs, you turned to James Bond.
If Huston wanted to do Mission: Impossible,he needed the music. This movie version is rife with sex talk and use of sexual blackmail as part of the work habits of spies.
All these spies are retired and go by weird nicknames or coded identities. No matter.
So, it figures that John Huston would manage to straddle the fence and give us a spy thriller that has all these elements—and the imprimatur of one of the great directors: John Huston.
The Kremlin Letteris sheer, unadulterated nonsense with twist of logic that defies explanation. Yet, it is glorious in its location settings—and startling cast of giants.
You will see in no particular order: Orson Welles, Max Von Sydow, Raf Vallone, Richard Boone, Dean Jagger, and Patrick O’Neal, and in a career killing performance—George Sanders in drag.
We don’t know if this movie led to Mr. Sanders’ untimely exit in Spain shortly after making this movie. He claimed he was bored. Well, we never saw him offer so much energy than as a piano-playing crossdresser in a gay club.
There is talk about two gay characters hooking up: Welles and Sanders. That would have been worth the price of admission, but the film really devolves into one of those sex-talk double-cross twisters.
What has any of this to do with retrieving a letter that seems worthless (but everyone will kill for it). That’s the old McGuffin of Hitchcock.
And Huston had turned to appearing on camera by then—and again gives himself a role in the picture. No spies come in from the cold, and everyone has a license to kill.
We knew this was going to be a treat from the opening credits. Huston still had the juice in those days—and could deliver a real movie in a world of nouveau auteurs.
DATELINE:Roots of Career Destruction
If you want to trace the root of all the problems of the great director Orson Welles, you can go straight to Rio. After the fame and accolades of Citizen Kane, Welles took on two simultaneous projects –Magnificent Ambersons and Journey into Fear.
They filmed at adjoining sound stages at RKO, and he ran from one to the other in costume, trying to act and/or direct. Both are stunning films, but flawed. If only he had put full attention to each.
That’s when Nelson Rockefeller called and told him he had a duty to build bridges with South America to stop any Nazi foothold from developing. He went there on a good will trip to make a documentary—and the rest is catastrophe.
It’s All True is the name of this doc, and it was to be the name of three films made in Brazil. Alas, he went down there with no specific plan—but to research and film. He decided to make a film about the political and social conditions by showing the history of samba. Welles is quite a sympathetic figure here.
In the middle of trying to put together rushes and a plot, RKO underwent change of ownership—and shelved his project, leaving Welles in the lurch.
As he was about to film a voodoo ceremony, he could not pay the participants. One ringleader visited, quite upset, and put a spike with red ribbon through the script It was a curse of the moviedom and doom.
Welles knew it, and he spent the rest of his career trying to finish films when money ran out. He knew he should have simply moved on, but could not.
This film would have been fascinating if it had focused on the problems of making his movies—but most of the footage he made was found in 1985. It actually comprises (without soundtrack) more than half of this film.
Beautiful footage may well tell us masterpieces were lost. However, we don’t need more than one bite to prove the point. Overlong and overkill marks this 1993 attempt to show the master’s work, rather than the master at work.
DATELINE: New Discovery!
What is it?
Two searches seem to be reaping rewards for the treasure hunters on Curse of Oak Island as the seventh episode of the seventh season airs. Another search is, as usual, highly speculative and a tease.
We finally receive word after a year that the stone located at a former bookstore from 1919 and thought to be the notorious 90foot stone with hieroglyphs written on it, was some kind of replica.
Once again, interesting info is simply withheld as a story fades away. Now Rick Lagina reveals there was nothing on that bookstore stone found in the old basement.
However, the family that owned the bookstore may have moved it to their ancestral home in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. There, buried under a rhododendron bush could be the stone. Why? No one can say, but permits will be gathered to dig.
Back on the island, there is a shortage of appearances by Marty and Alex Lagina. So, Rick has recruited his other nephew Peter Fornetti and Billy Gerhardt to do some travel and research (for no reason except to highlight their appearances).
On the west side of the island, usually not explored, Gary Drayton and Jack Begley start to locate what seems to be an ancient wharf. Spikes, pins, and nails, indicate a structure from pre-1795 to unload or to repair ships was there.
At Smith’s Cove, the new 50 foot bump-out instantly reveals some kind of ancient box of logs (and tar paper) that predates any record. It is under 10 feet of water usually, but the area may have been flooded since the oceans have risen in the past few hundred years.
It could be a booby trap flood tunnel, or something else. It is intriguing and indicates a growing number of historical possibilities. Something is indeed afoot.
DATELINE: Waiting for Results Again
Shaft #9 was originally dug in 1865 as a means to divert flood tunnel booby traps. It is a big job requiring the big man Billy. This lost shaft was given up when the group only decades after finding the Money Pit ran out of money. So, we have additional and new background on Curse of Oak Island.
It’s hard to believe they only now mention “The Highlands,” after five years of episodes.
This episode provides contrasts with the smaller discoveries of Gary Drayton, teamed with Peter Fornetti and Alex Lagina. Fornetti is no longer the callow teenager of five years ago and now provides muscle for Gary Drayton’s searches. He is working on piles of dirt that render iron work from Spanish galleons that may have been laden with the treasure of the Aztecs.
Though Marty Lagina once disparaged the notion of Montezuma’s gold bags, he is enthralled when journalist D’Arcy O’Connor tells him the same thing. He adds that the Spanish lost about 200 ships going back and forth with gold spoils. Some may have gone sideways to Oak Island to hide their stolen loot.
Gary Drayton, meanwhile, has found a cribbing spike, greatly corroded. He and Alex take it to Carmen Legge, the latest expert to become a big man on the side of the search. He dates the find as 1600s.
The other big project is setting off 18,000 dynamite charges to map the underground, down to levels of 300 feet. The tease is that results won’t show for several weeks.
Interestingly, Marty Lagina was mostly absent from this episode, showing up on Skype mostly, which hints that he is busy working on the sister series of Civil War Gold.The team of Gary and Alex likely will show up on that one too.
DATELINE: O’er the Seas, Let’s Go Men!
Young Privateer Henry Morgan circa 1660.
A preliminary archaeological dive team visitsIle a Vacheoff the southern coast of Haiti to locate HMS Oxford, the flagsthip of privateer or pirate Henry Morgan. The Australian film is called Henry Morgan’s Mystery Ships.
Though it might seem a pleasure cruise, there are more than usual diving perils: Haiti is in full-scale chaos in Port-au-Prince and security guards are needed even in the remote area far from the city strife.
There are dangerous waves and currents that can pull divers off to the “Madness Reef,” yes, its name. And they have no idea really where the Oxford sank in mid-1600s.
The magazines of the royal ship blew up (maybe even taking down a few other nearby ships) while at anchor in one of the bays. By scouting the area and reading old maps, they come up with a few possible places to dive.
Local residents belong to the state-sanctioned Voodoo religion, and they kindly sacrifice a white goat and a black goat for the prayers of the divers. The team is grateful for all augurs on their behalf.
Morgan may have hidden more treasure on Ile a Vache than there is on Oak Island—and he retired to nearby Jamaica as a governor where he lived until 1688. He survived a sham trial as a pirate in England—after all, a huge bounty of riches was paid to the Crown. And, a larger share was kept for Morgan and his men. He had sacked Panama City for its gold and gave the Spanish and French their most difficult time, preventing the future United States from becoming a Spanish-speaking nation.
What they uncover is stunning—and will benefit archaeologists for decades to come. They hope there will be a museum or tourist haven made on Ile de Vacheto help the residents who live in relative isolation and poverty.
DATELINE: 8 Highway Deaths
Moments before accident, looking for painkillers?
If there is anything shocking in the documentary called There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane,it’s the idea that an ordinary life of a 36-year old Long Island suburban mother can be so documented. Her life is more under surveillance than under the influence.
There are photos and videos of her at McDonalds and at a service station in the time before the car crash that killed 8 people, including three innocent men in another car—and four children. Her young son, only five, said his mother wasn’t feeling well and could not see.
Yet, she continued to drive on: driven on by personal forces or demons that led her to be a mother-of-the-year type.
Within a week the state toxicology reports stated she was highly intoxicated and used marijuana. No one who saw her during the four hours of her mad-house driving thought she was drunk.
What happened indeed. A forensic psychiatrist notes that when people are demonized as Diane Schuler was after the tragedy, friends and family move toward sainthood in defense.
Did she have a nervous breakdown? Did she mistake vodka for water? Did she think alcohol would dull the pain of her aching abscessed tooth? Did she have a stroke? Any or all may have contributed to her final condition without alcoholic tendencies.
We cannot imagine how a woman who had a highly important director’s job with a major cable company could function while having such addictions as alcohol or drugs.
Her sister-in-law thinks an abscessed tooth was causing her pain, and might have poisoned her ultimately with pain, blindness, and bad judgment. It is possible. It seems more likely than a sudden mental crackup or a drunken binge with a car full of kids.
If she overachieved in life, with people putting more and more expectations on her, she could have a mental crash—at the point where it was least possible to help her.
When the foundation and pillar of our society, the suburban mom, becomes unhinged, we are looking at mysteries that defy explanation. When privacy marks her personality, we are left without answers.
We feel great sympathy for Diane’s plight and her hard work during life that ended up a mess on a highway and in a coroner report. We are reduced to such simplicity in this society when you merely do your job and try your best. This is the ultimate tragedy.
DATELINE: Brady Boys Up a Tree
New England’s Patriots have done the near impossible: they have kicked themselves in the keester after a cramp nearly decapitated them of a head below the belt.
Bill Belichick has reached a stage of joking.
This week he thought about recalling Wes Welker out of retirement to be his emergency kicker. You know this idea did not emanate from Tom Brady—or it would have been seriously dead on arrival.
Welker is now coaching Jimmy G in San Fran where the Pats’ true heart is in little cable cars, halfway to the stars.
Brady himself pulled his foot out of the kicker sweepstakes by claiming his boot is in Denver. It may be where he ends up playing for the next five years.
With appendectomy, halitosis, and assorted ills, every kicker in the Patriot backfield has found himself unable to lift his leg to do more than pretend to be a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall for the holiday show.
Can a team go to the Super Bowl without a man with the kick-ass power to kick ass?
Julian Edelman may want to consider his role as slot receiver unfulfilled when word filters out that slot receiver and former Brady favorite Welker holds a record of sorts for kicking while catching.
So Julie may need to catch Welker while he can.
Practice makes perfect, but a full-blown rehearsal may be needed.
Can it be the Patriots are ready to lose every game for the remainder of the season? Can it be they will be out of the playoffs sooner than later?
Kick the Patriots in the scorecard and maybe they will wake up with their boots on.
DATELINE: A Lost Generation
You may never find a more flattering sense of duty and obligation than to have a niece who barely remembered you as a child make a documentary of your life 30 years later. The little documentary is called Memoirs of a Penitent Heart.
Cecilia Aldarnondo was on a mission. Only after making her film did she seem to have second thoughts about letting the dead stay dead. She uncovered more than the tragic death of an uncle who passed away from AIDS during the height of the epidemic.
She tracked down his lover, a former priest who spent twelve years with the young Puerto Rican transplant to New York. They might have been an odd couple, but the family of Michael had no use for him, never followed up on his whereabouts, or even his name. It was for a niece to dredge it all up: to discover an old man who still carried the flame for his lost lover.
Father Bob had saved everything; the love of one’s life is like that.
What Cecilia discovers is the fanaticism of religion and how it set up terrible and irreconcilable conflicts between mother and son’s lover. She even tells him on his death bed to remove the friendship ring or he will be denied entrance to heaven.
The director sticks it to her own mother for abandoning her brother Miguel. No one is spared from the hook.
This is a personal film, showing conflicts between gay and straight, between living la vida locain Puerto Rican and immigrating to New York. It shows the genetic horror of learning about a parent’s own sexual secrets.
The film may seem irrelevant if you are not a Catholic, a Puerto Rican, gay, or even promiscuous. Yet, it is relevant and it is moving. The past is always with us, ever changing—and the future is immutable. It’s called irony.
DATELINE: Voice-over Satire?
…of a Big Paycheck!
Sometimes you see or hear celebrities in the least expected places—or exactly where you thought you would hear one.
While watching the Celtics play a game on the local sports channel, we thought we saw a commercial for the Quinto series In Search of…
Apparently we were ignorant of the fact that Zachary Quinto is a frequent endorser of products, often in voice-over. However, we think he has not done such an overt parody of his own TV host persona.
Yes, those dulcet tones were talking over the image of an asteroid heading to Earth. Quinto spoke with his deadpan authority about how the world likely was to end around 2023 with doomsday because of an asteroid. Only a week earlier he had hosted the final season episode about the subject.
However, as we watched an asteroid hurtling toward the planet, Quinto reveals that we can buy furniture –all interest free until 2023 or the rest of our lives!
Apparently you can watch sports events not only to see your favorites sitting in the stands, or courtside (Gronk was there enjoying the game, and not dancing with the Celtics cheerleaders).
Watch and listen carefully for what you may hear and see.
DATELINE: End of an Era?
Football fans of the New England Patriots have asked what’s going on! Is it the zombie apocalypse? We have bad news beyond two feet of snow burying us.
After seeing Zachary Quinto discuss the fall of civilization and the end of empires on In Search of, has it come to the Patriots like the Rapa Nui and Mayans?
We can only add two cents, after ten books of blogs on the Patriots. No, it is not the apocalypse. It is more like the inevitable enemy of mankind: a bad case of the flu.
No expert dared to cite that nearly half of the team came down with the flu this week. The miracles of IV drips and antibiotics, and the prodding of Captain Bligh Belichick, made no man look at illness as an excuse.
There were two planes: one for the lepers who needed to avoid being cast out and cast off at 37,000 feet without a parachute. We can only imagine the Belichick cure-all.
We now have a view of the bleak future: based on the fact that on top of the plague, the Patriots have sent every decent receiver reeling out of Foxboro in a uniform of tar and feathers, with better contracts elsewhere.
Tom Brady is adrift and out to sea like the victim of an iceberg hitting the unsinkable Patriots. There was no room in the lifeboat for such a thing as Tom’s receiving corps.
Like the band on Titanic, the team played on while sinking with the franchise.
Can the Patriots recover? Not this year, and maybe not for another decade. This loss will hasten Tom’s departure to another team next year: one that will give him joy of playing for the few years he has left in this world of football.
As for the Patriots, the zombie apocalypse may be settling in at Foxboro. Remember the good old days when the Pats stunk up a storm? NO? Well, history is about to show you what it was like back before six Super Bowls, Brady & Belichick. Return with us now for the Keystone Kops aka Patriots.
It happened to the New York Yankees of the 1950s & 1960s, and now it is the Patriot turn of events.