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.

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.

Oak Island Box Out

DATELINE: Wait till Next Year

 Inexplicable Log Boxes

They now have evidence from science that material buried in the cove dates back to 1620, around the time of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. With the end of the season rapidly approaching, The Curse of Oak Islandhas more mysteries and fewer answers.

The original Money Pit shaft has wood dating back way before the original searching. How many people were on an uninhabited island doing this engineering? And why? We may have to tune into the UnXplained to hear what Shatner states.

At Smith’s Cove they have found a bizarre wooden log box. It was either meant to be part of the flood booby traps or to circumvent them. Their digging nearly destroys the box. It collapses. However, it was not tied to the drain systems.

They are off to the next spot: the swamp. There, Gary Drayton finds another hinge or bracket. It was a match to one found last year that blacksmith expert said was 400 years old.

When Alex and Marty show up at an area between the cove and Money Pit, it looks like a war zone of a no man’s land from the Western Front excavation. That is how much work has been done on this small island. Millions have been poured into this money pit.

They never expected to find another tunnel, well-constructed and with no historical record. They had discovered another massive building project on a small island. It leads to conclusions that define historical mysteries of Arks of the Covenant and Holy Grails.

Carmen Legge joined in to identify various metals that he placed around the mid-1700s.  Who was making those tunnels?  He found it amazing that tunnel tools were in a swamp (or maybe it was not a swamp). He finds the strapping is from a sailing ship. He felt it was a ship from as early as 1710. Gary thought it was from a pirate ship, and Legge said the metal was in a big fire.

We are realizing that another season will be required. They are nowhere close to revealing the truth. But it may be worth the wait.

More Lunacy: Whitey, UFOs, and MK-Ultra

DATELINE: Conspiracies Gone Amok?

Whitey as Man in Black

With more circumstantial evidence coming out about James ‘Whitey’ Bulger, you begin to think he will soon be the subject of Ancient Aliens as the Manchurian candidate of choice.

Yes, it appears that MK-Ultra, that mysterious CIA organization may have had more to do with LSD experiments on criminals and that could account for 16 years of missing time for Whitey when the Feds couldn’t find him.

Good heavens, can it be he was abducted by aliens who used him with the same experimental enthusiasm of our government agencies? After all, men in black have divided loyalties. Whitey would be the ironic Man in Black.

After all, Whitey was a split personality in his own way: preying off older gay men he picked up at gay bars around Boston in the 1950s, but also reserving the right to meet movie star Sal Mineo for some nefarious sexual purpose.

MK-Ultra is an off-shoot of the kind of occult UFO tie-in that the Nazis had with their notorious “Bell” project. You know, the one where the Nazis were experimenting with time travel with the help of ancient aliens living in Antarctica.

There are those who think Hitler and other high-ranking Nazis used the technology to speed away to another dimension, or through another dimension in their bell-shaped curve of time and space.

We once believed all this was fanciful and hallucinatory stuff coming out of the mouths of MK-Ultra victims who wanted an insanity defense at their trials.

Now we wonder if their fantasies and insanities correlate with other dimensional beings. Call us anything, but we haven’t done mind experiments with LSD. Our mind is more apt to be under the control of the Twilight Zoneof TV sci-fi.

You know those who know too much end up like Whitey, under federal prison protection, and assassinated. Only recently we saw the same scenario worked on Jeffrey Epstein. If you know too much, you are a sitting duck in a prison cell.

 

 

Crosby in Search of a Crosby

 DATELINE:Haunted by Uncle Bing

The nephew and godson of Bing Crosby has been documenting his uncle Bingle for decades. Now, he has produced, directed, and written up, all his film records as he tries to uncover the truth behind the legendary crooner.

The film is not merely vanity; it serves a genuine purpose in dissecting a legend. Chris Crosby was close to greatness, and he documents it well.

And Bing has had his share of Mommie Dearest moments. His eldest son Gary wrote a scathing book about his father’s cruelty and bad parenting. A few think he added the worst to sell the book to publishers. Yet Bing was at heart a Daddie Dearest, and nasty too.

Chris Crosby is fairly even-handed, trying to learn how bad his uncle truly was. What he finds from his father Bob Crosby, and Bing’s friends like Bob Hope, Anthony Quinn, Mel Torme, Stewart Granger, Donald O’Connor, Terry Moore, Rhonda Fleming, and many others, is that he was exactly what you saw: an easy-going, charming person with a hard veneer. He was always friendly, but you never broke below the surface.

Like many celebs, he was smart with money, shrewd with people, and kept his foibles well-hidden. Oh, you will hear the stories of his womanizing, his drinking, and his sadistic treatment of his sons (two of whom committed suicide after his death).

You will hear he cut you if you did not adhere to his strict Catholic views. If you were divorced, you may have lost him forever. He went to church every Sunday, and he was secretly charitable to a fault.

Many show biz friends knew the image, and never wanted much more. He never gave more because it was generous in a cut-throat business. He meant it when he sang “White Christmas.”

He died on a golf course in Madrid, whistling and singing, one day after visiting a long-time friend after 20 years. It was spooky.

Chris shows the drickle down talent, watering by generation. He seems to be haunted, if not possessed, by Bing. His sister was less fortunate. When she chose to live with a man they disapproved of, she was kidnapped and given electro-shock treatments.

But, if you were a fan, or a friendly associate, that stuff never intruded on what you saw and knew. Bing was complicated, as they say nowadays.

Tom Brady Offers Sadistic Photo to Fans!

DATELINE: Fake Promises

We’d like to call Tom Brady cryptic black and white photo walking away from football stadium a cheap trick. It probably cost Hulu a pretty penny to pay him. Tom doesn’t come cheap.

He said he’s not going anywhere while the moving truck emptied out his house in Massachusetts.

Having created a clamour and a firestorm, he has become a phenomenon like the coronavirus. We almost want to put him in quarantine until his free agency period passes. He needs Midol, not Hulu.

So, the photo shot over the bow of fans was meant to be a commercial teaser for a TV network. It had only a bit to do with football and his career. In his tones of a funereal march, he tells us that all good things must end.

So, switch to Hulu.

As for him, he’s not going anywhere. Even that is cryptic. You mean he’s not going to live it up like Elvis in Viva Las Vegas?

This commercial looks like a French art film.

They now say the Patriots plan to throw $30 million or more at his feat of clay, even as a young upstart witns the Super Bowl and likely will win six more in the next decade.

As for Tom, surround him is Hulu receivers and he will catch on like a pandemic. He expects to play until 50, and he will rival that Mahomely kid all the way. (By the way, the kid tends to flab; he does not have TB12’s regimen in his skill-set).

Tom’s here to offer sadism to his fans for a few more years.

 

Madman & Rebel: Dennis Hopper

DATELINE: Don’t Forget Drunkard!

 He’s Not in this Doc!

Dennis, Our Favorite Menace!

A semi-interesting documentary on James Dean contemporary, Dennis Hopper, whose career went through many incarnations, is allegedly told by his “co-conspirators”! The film on his life is called Along for the Ride. With friends like the intense Hopper selected, he was in for a long run toward Doom.

Hopper underwent many transformations in his life—and it mirrored his career, or vice versa. He started out as an All-American wholesome-looking boy, became a slimy and bushy-bearded druggie and drunkard, and ultimately became a haggard and highly respected character actor. He survived, which is the truly amazing fact.

Like most under-educated people in Hollywood, Hopper was sensitive to his intelligence and self-education. The film ignores his youth and early years—and picks up with his personal assistant in 1970 who owns most of his correspondence and memorabilia. He is the power behind this portrait, which really puts emphasis on his directorial ability in The Last Movie, a big flop. Having made a fortune with Easy Rider,his counter-culture friends and attitudes were given free-reign in the 1970s Hollywood-in-transition.

Hopper was never helped when friends like Satya keep telling him he’s a genius. Inevitably, his Last Moviebecame Waterloo in Peru. Hopper was a colorful show-biz personality, but he was notOrson Welles. The low-lifes and sycophants around him convinced him otherwise.

You won’t have to see The Last Movie to know from this picture that it is an unmitigated disaster. When working on Apocalypse Now, Marlon Brando refused to do any scenes with him. He had told the most powerful Hollywood moguls to go “f” themselves. He was on Ruination Row in a self-constructed prison.

There is a passing nod to his mentor and progenitor, James Dean, but really he was on his own trip far from his rebel youth movies.

Blue Velvet resurrected him. He always felt he was personally difficult, but not professionally so. In the end he made so many movies that any idea that he was blackballed cannot be believed.

Hopper’s right-hand man and behind-the-scenes acolyte does his job to the bitter end.

 

New England Legacy: Video Cheating?

DATELINE:  The All-Seeing Video Eyeball

Spygate crashers?

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.

Boston Stars Join Police Lineup in California!

DATELINE: Wine Chaser?

Call it Selfie Destruction?

Julian Edelman is preparing for off-season surgery by jumping on the hood of an expensive car in Beverly Hills. It’s called drunken vandalism.

Only in Beverly Hills is jumping on a MB SLK considered a misdemeanor.

Now arrested for vandalism, he will appear in the airport courthouse next month—that is, if he’s out of the hospital and Bill Belichick’s doghouse.

Tom Brady’s close chum was out celebrating not being in the Super Bowl with a bunch of former Boston stars; Danny Amendola (his usual mate and partner in crime, and the unusual addition of Paul Pierce, notably of the Celtics Past).

One can presume the stars were imbibing beyond the limits of good sense.

It may be that Edelman is planning to jump ship and is checking out the teams on the West Coast (he is originally a Bay butt). If he is on a mission to scout out teams for Brady, they may be going there in tandem. He may be practicing his jump skills by jumping on car hoods.

We presume Pierce is a technical advisor, and Amendola (as always) is a partner in crime and unnatural activities. They have also done Mexico last year on a skateboard tour.

The latest scuttlebutt from the butt buddies of Edelman is that he will have at least 2 surgeries to repair damage from his insane play at age 34. It’s enough to figure that Bill Belichick wouldn’t take him back or give him a plug nicklel for his future.

No wonder Tom is sending him out to test the TB12 market in the Bay area. Unfortunately, Julie has been derailed in Beverly Hills, a far cry from the Raiders  franchise. Josh McDaniels can have Cleveland! Give the Brady Bunch something of Hollywood.

The Peter Pan Syndrome is alive and well in anyone who thinks they can play NFL football beyond a certain age. How low can down-low go?

Patriots Receive Their Come-Uppance!

DATELINE: The Empire Collapses 

 

Many Patriot haters have waited 20 years for the moment. The parallel in history may be the Fall of the Roman Empire: the barbarians are at the gate, and Belichick and Brady are fleeing the chaos.

The Mighty Patriots have struck out.
There is no joy in Mudville or Foxboro. The Pats have lost their bye week—and probably their souls.
If anyone is stunned by the Dolphins beating the Pats, you have not been paying attention. For weeks now Tom Brady has been playing like a man who will be at quarterback until he is 50—in the sandlot league.
Bill Belichick is like one of the Magnificent Ambersons: he is receiving his come-uppance.His vaunted defense looked like Swiss cheese and most of his players will leave in free agency. Even Brady is expected to go out with a bang elsewhere.
History runs in cycles, and the Patriots have been top dog for a couple of decades, but now they are heading back to the rubbish pile years of the 1970s. They may spend the next two decades as outliers in the AFC.
We expect that Josh McDaniels and Julian Edelman will jump ship. Already the Florida authorities are emboldened to file new felony charges against owner Robert Kraft for human trafficking, however preposterous that seems.
Now they will feel Miami is on a roll.
On the eve of an ice storm in New England, the New England Pats may be entering a new Ice Age. The berg has hit their flank—and the unsinkable franchise has sprung a leak.
About 20 members of the team are ready for free agency—and don’t let the door hit your rear on the way out.
Don’t cry for the Patriots, Argentina. Tom will be playing there next season.

Orson Welles Undone

DATELINE:Roots of Career Destruction

  Distraught Orson!

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.

 

 

 

 

Darwin, Living in Death Valley!

Darwin: Evolution of Death Valley

 No Services Ahead.

Death Valley is the end of the line. How fitting that Darwinis the end of the road. The subtitle here is “No Services Ahead.” It is meant to discourage people from visiting. You cannot go to a place that is the polar opposite of Downton Abbey—unless it is Darwin.

This film is not a documentary about the collapse of the New England Patriot dynasty and the end of Tom Brady.

The film is nearly ten years old, and we figure half of those in the movie are now buried in the town cemetery. Who could be left?

If your idea of stark beauty with the sty of trashed junk cars and beat-up trailers is a town, you have found your niche.

About 35 souls live there, mostly old and waiting for nothing in particular. It looks like a spot the Grim Reaper might visit when he is not busy. Two residents, the youngest, prepare to leave: they are a transgender couple. One is undergoing testosterone therapy.

The town folk are quite tolerant, despite the history of violence and death for over 100 years. Nowadays, even the graveyard is fading away. Locals bury their own, and many cannot recall who is buried where.

On a short trip outside of town, a couple takes you to the place where Charles Manson lived in the desert with his motley crew of despicable types. One resident described Manson as a piece of human refuse.

The place has been vandalized.

We kept wondering about electricity (there are poles and wires) but no wi-fi reception. There is a post office run by a woman with an attitude, though she hasn’t killed anyone, she boasts.

You may not want to visit, and you may not want to watch this show of reclusiveness. We puzzled over how they were all overweight when there seems only to be a few small vegetable gardens around.

Darwinmay be home to these lost souls, aging hippies, and mentally challenged motley crew. You won’t want to spend the full 90 minutes on this film. It’s more depressing than watching Tom Brady’s deterioration.

 

 

 

Micro-Budget Thriller: Ascent, Going Up!

DATELINE: High Quality Thriller 

 Stephen Buchanan as suspect!

 

It was shot in two weeks with a miniscule budget, but without expensive special effects, you can have a shocking and well-produced supernatural horror. The Ascent will surprise, delight, and amaze.

With intense closeups and perhaps one of the cleverest screenplays this side of Sherlock Holmes, you have a Latino LA detective (Miguel Perez) playing Henry Cardenas whose brilliant psychological insights solve cases and bring criminal confessions.

He is on the verge of setting a new police department record of 75 confessed homicides: when he comes face-to-face with a daunting murder, allegedly committed by a koo-koo bird who insists he is Lucifer’s Kid Brother, making Charles Manson look like a fallen angel.

The performances are to die for:  especially Miguel Perez as the cardiac detective of heavy-set middle-age, not your usual Holmesian type. His banter and back-and forth with the suspect (Stephen Buchanan) as the egomaniacal suspect covered in blood is utterly fascinating.

You don’t need a big budget with sharp delineations and even crisper dialogue—as suspect and interrogator match wits and switch positions. You know something is amiss when the suspect knows the detective’s name is Henry without being told.

The Ascent  features a descent into hell by elevator that requires only improv acting style to achieve its horror.

Director and writer Tom Murtaugh will require monitoring in the future. We don’t know whether it will be possible to match this kind of style if he’s given a big budget to handle.

If you are in the mood for a smart movie that will test you, this is the gem of the year.

Big Dig and Little Dig on Oak Island

DATELINE: Waiting for Results Again

  Teammates!

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.

Aunt Diane’s Mystery

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.