Lost Tomb of Genghis Khan

DATELINE: Literate & Bloody Genghis?

Genghis Khan? Gold with Genghis?

Another superior French production marks the visit of three scientists on the search for the burial spot of the Mongolian leader known for his bloodthirsty strategies of wiping out populations.

The Lost Tomb of Genghis Khan is somewhere in the hinterlands of Mongolia but has been kept hidden by a cult of devout worshippers—even until today. Not one scintilla of evidence from the tomb has ever appeared since his burial in the mid-1200s.

It is thought he was buried with immense wealth in a desolate spot where his sons and grandsons also now are entombed, notably Kublai Khan.

No one is sure of the exact spot because the funeral cortege murdered anyone who saw it along route. They did not want anyone to know the great Khan was dead: it would undercut his divinity until he was safely buried.

So, even in death, his cut-throat, brutal tactics were in place.

Yet, Khan was also known as the first Mongol to codify laws and create a written language to solidify his people. Nothing like writing laws to ban murder while you cavalierly murder your way to top!

Genghis received more than bad press outside his homeland, but he was revered as someone special within.

By use of drones and mapping without touching the ground, three scientists risk their lives to go to the secret location. They travel through bogs and across rough terrain as tourist academics, never letting anyone know their real purpose.

Yet, when they return a year later, it is clear that the cult of worship has known of their appearance: the burial mountain has fresh totems in stone around the area. It makes for hair-raising research.

Rough editing seems to come out where commercial interruptions might happen, and there is one English-speaking American expert in Chicago offering his sage wisdom.

This is an intriguing hour of history.

Aliens & Your DNA

DATELINE:  Latest Ancient Aliens Horror!

Nick Redferne Nick Redferne

There’s a whole lot of blood-letting going on in the latest episode of Ancient Aliens on season 14 when it comes to your blood type and those space creatures messing with your genetic code..

Those pesky aliens appear to be planning to create a hybrid race.  It’s like a bad flight out of that old chestnut movie Mars Needs Women.  Except there won’t be any marriages, just some splicing of your DNA .

The latest episode hits on familiar themes of animal mutilation, interfering in the family tree, and alien abduction to take your precious bodily fluids.

We see the catalogue and history of images of animals with human heads .  According to the shows experts, this is the work of experimentation thousands of years ago by nefarious space creatures. For good measure, they show presents evidence of Russian experiments  in the 1950s when they put two heads on one dog.

Yes, they have the hideous photos to prove this contention.

All this goes to show that those little gray men are green with jealousy over human evolutionary jumps. We may still be in the middle of a great experiment.

Heaven help you if you are RH Negative As they seem to be targeting your blood type. The experts seem positive about this.  Perhaps 50% of all kidnapped victims by aliens have that blood type. And nearly all of those seem to be Basque descendants.

Nick Redferne and Linda Moulton Howe are ringing alarms, like hero Paul Revere. Only they are coming by air!

Titanic 2 in the News

DATELINE:  Now, Voyager!

Percival on Titanic deck Percival White, Titanic deck, 1912.

Another billionaire is challenging the world with his money.

This time it is an Australian known as Clive Palmer who decided in 2012, on the 100th anniversary, to build a duplicate of the original unsinkable catastrophe, Titanic, and let it set sail under the Blue Flag Liners.

Delays can never be put aside, but the latest press releases are touting the ship as nearly ready to go out to sea in 2022. The ship will leave from Dubai for New York.

It may be an expensive voyage: first-class compartments may go for $100,000 for a few days of fun. The former owner of our home was one of the victims in 1912: Richard White died on Titanic as his college graduation present went awry.

Now Mr. Palmer plans to honor victims like Richard with an expensive, but safe, re-enactment. The ship is scheduled to sail right over the sunken wreck of the original ship, which should irritate enough paranormal spirits to evoke more than a few chills aboard Titanic 2.

This one will be modern, with plenty of lifeboats, and such unheard of items as wi-fi, tv, and re-enforced hulls. The lower decks where the hoi polloi will bunk for about $500 to $900 will be completely contemporary. The replicas start with D-deck.

The upper segments will be totally copied from original with restaurants, menus, and bistro areas, in ship-shape a la 1912.

We might be willing to go along for the trip and offer the passengers (about 2000) and crew (about 900) a lesson in history. As we have three books about Titanic and lecture on college campuses in New England, we could be persuaded to give a series of presentations aboard Titanic 2, to prove that the trip is meant to honor the victims, not to cash in on their tragedy. By providing historical background through an academic lecture, this will negate charges of “classless” cashing in that some news reports circulated.

If Mr. Palmer or ranker.com or AVIC wants to call on this expertise to fend off paranormal anger, we are ready and willing to discuss premonitions in 1912 of disaster and post-sunken spirit visits from various victims.

But, for heaven’s sake, don’t call us “a re-enactor.”

Dr. William Russo, Professor Emeritus, is author of three books on Titanic, including a paranormal history. He regularly presents and lectures around New England colleges on the topic. He is available to join the Titanic II voyage! His books include Tales of a Titanic Family, Chess-Mate from Titanic, and recently, Titanic Mysteries on Mill Circle. Percival White was born and lived at Mill Circle.

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.

Underwater Ancient Aliens

DATELINE: 20,000 Leagues

from outer space Take Us to Your Leader.

Let’s go deep with the ridiculous heading down to the sublime. Ancient Aliens took the plunge again this week, finding our alien counterparts in jellyfish.

You have to admire a creature that can regenerate its own brain. On top of that, we now learn that some species of jellyfish are immortal. Rather than die, they simply go back a couple of stages and re-live their teenage years.

These bizarre creatures may have elements that are clearly transplanted here by pan-spermia. The aliens have been in USO (unidentified submersibles) vehicles for eons.

The next jump is by a creature on Earth with nine brains. Yes, nine brains indicate that there may be an animal of the aquatic mode that is smarter than people or chimps. The octopus may also be better adapted for space flight and colonizing new worlds, owing to their ability to adapt and to change shape.

In a lesson we never wanted to learn, we hear that the octopus has twice as many genes as humans. And, they can gene splice without a lab coat.

All this leads us to underwater bases that may have been there under five miles of seawater for a million years. Talk about hiding in plain water.

Giorgio and the crew are blown away by the notion that where there’s jelly there’s the peanut of civilization from outer space. When he goes to a research laboratory where Dr. Queenie Chan shows him amino acids and water drops on meteors, you know that his fertile imagination has left us behind.

You may get your feet wet like a daffy duck swimming downstream as Ancient Aliens goes where no man has gone before—straight to the Mariana Trench. More strange life exists in Bermudan water tunnels than on Jupiter.

Don’t forget your snorkel.

Ancient Aliens: an Elemental Approach

DATELINE:  Return of Bob Lazar

out there

“Element 115” was once a fantasy of UFO metal worker Bob Lazar, but now it has come true like a Cinderella story.

Giorgio sort of falls by the wayside for this show, and more attention is given to Nick Pope and David Childress as commentators. However, the latest addition to the expert gang is some producer of a Bob Lazar documentary. They clean this guy up, but he is still creepy.

So, Ancient Aliens recycles footage from Bob Lazar’s recent new documentary interview, which featured a raid by FBI/NSA/CIA and other alphabet acronyms. It appears he suggested he had kept a sample of this highly unstable element.

According to Ancient Alien theorists who have been taking the road to the stars for over a decade, this stuff was deliberately given to mankind to help join the member community of space patrols across the galaxy.

The notion is posed that two UFO crashes in 1947 were staged in Russia and the US in order to magnanimously bestow each with another reason to compete.

This allegedly will lead to peaceful exploration of outer space by providing humans with a fuel that alters the time/space continuum.

Ancient Aliens gives the show over to author Mike Bara and Travis Taylor to visit a Hollywood special effects lab and analyze some recent UFO footage released (suspiciously) by the Pentagon. They contend the government is giving us the drip by drip information that we are not alone.

The upshot is that, if the new Element 115 can be made to remain in a shot glass for more than a gulp or two, we can conquer the solar system and beyond.

We’ll drink to that.

Secrets of the Red Planet

DATELINE: Lies, Rover Photos, & Statistics

Face on Mars  Face on Mars: Don’t Trust NASA!

We give you a real twist on the usual Mars ancient civilization fake documentaries! This is a Russian production, with English subtitles. It drives the less discerning to the remote control off-button. Too much information, and words too.

This is not your usual streaming ancient space civilization films. Secrets of the Red Planet actually has substance.

As you might expect, its science is a cut above what Americans can handle. What’s more difficult for the poorly educated, the subtitles are fast-moving, requiring a level of attention you might find missing in a typical reality TV audience.

The film is short and fascinating, perhaps one of the most sledge-hammer attacks on NASA that we can recall. The Russians pull no punches: they believe that the American space program is pulling a fast one—on the world. Coverup is a term not big enough for the Russian experts.

The contention is that NASA actually puts a red hue on all the Mars rover photos to obfuscate the images. On top of that, the American agency withdraws any picture that seems to spark interest. The Russians contend that NASA is hiding the archeological roots of another civilization, perhaps a Martian world from a billion years ago.

The science may be out there, but it seems on terra firma. One Russian scientist explains his theory on an asteroid about 50 miles in diameter nearly breaking Mars apart when it hit, causing a crater that caused the evaporation of Martian oceans and decimation of any life there.

It certainly makes us pause when they talk about these Near Earth travelers that pass us regularly.

You may have to watch this little film twice, but you won’t find such amazing documented pictures and science explanation of the American Mars program anywhere else.

Seeing American scientists translated into Russian, with English subtitles seems redundant, but the American academics used as the spine of this documentary lend credence. This showcase of brilliance is not from your usual cast of fake experts, or discredited journalists. Your Ancient Aliens talking heads are not here.

Highly recommended for discerning minds and thinking brains.

Discovering Bigfoot: Standing Off

DATELINE: Devotee Snares Academic

meldrum Dr. Jeff Meldrum.

We are all for intriguing documentaries about conspiracy theory and crypto-zoology.  And, we love it when our favorite academics, like Ph.D., Dr. Jeff Meldrum of Idaho, decides to partake of the antics.

In this case, the highly respected scientist and expert on Sasquatch seems to have been roped into Todd Standing’s self-promotion, self-directed, vanity project.

Standing may not have much academic standing, but that does not let him think any the less of himself. Indeed, we admire his courage to spend time out in the Northwest wilderness and be harassed by mysterious howling creatures in the night.

He stands alone in the dark whilst rocks are hurled at him and nine-foot tall things that go bump in the night threaten to bump into him. What courage!

He has even photographed these figures up close, and it is pretty amazing stuff. No wonder a bigwig like Doc Meldrum was drawn in. Alas, he must listen to the prattle and pushy stream of verbiage from his host. Standing cannot stand still, nor keep quiet.

He presses again and again to have his obsession validated.

We admire Meldrum’s self-control in face of the director’s out of control energy. Everything is kept in check by some of the strange videos presented. Watching apples disappear in the dark by unknown hands hardly proves it was Bigfoot.

There are also the large structures created by some force with superhuman strength. Whether these are signposts, religious totems, or warnings from Bigfoot, director Standing has the answer. Don’t contradict him.

We think this is a sincere effort to prove something is out there, and it is not extra-terrestrials.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Twonky: 1st Artificial-Intelligence Movie

DATELINE:  Non-conformist Weirdo Stuff !

twonky To Twonk or Not to Twonk?

When the protagonist of your movie is a pedantic philosophy professor (the ubiquitous Hans Conreid) in 1952, you likely had a bomb of a movie on your hands. When star Conreid said this to director Arch Oboler, the temperamental auteur noted he needed a tax write-off for the year anyhow.

The Twonky was based on a Lewis Padgett short story, one of the earliest visionaries to see computers and AI as the controlling force of the future.

Robbie the Robot and Gort were the mechanical men of the age (though a primitive slave robot was at work in Gene Autry’s Phantom Empire in 1935). It was the Twonky, a creature from the future who took up life in a modern TV set.

As eggheads decried television as a wasteland back in the 1950s, it is all the more ironic that the future visitor and time traveler would end up as an animated TV set.

Though Professor Conreid finds it distasteful to be at the mercy of a trained computer that tries to fulfill every wish, it would today make for a great weekly series on TV. The Twonky is there to make life easier for humans—and to monitor them, depriving privacy and free choice.

Its comedic elements are frightful, and the man who sees it all to clearly is the college football coach, an old geyser played by Billy Lynn. He drops pearls of insight and knocks the hero for not knowing his science fiction.

Arch Oboler’s weird film is decades ahead of its time, criticized for its humor and poor technical effects, the movie is actually on the marvelous side. We enjoyed watching the Twonky climb stairs, throttle a TV repairman, and strip a bill collector down to the birthday suit.

The best moment for us, as former college professor, was when the doctor offered Professor Conreid a sedative. He demurred as he had to write his college class lecture that night—to which the doctor noted, “Oh, well, then you don’t need a sedative.”

God, Man, & Drunks @ Yale

 DATELINE: Patriotic Republicans in Youth

 march of time news

The cold-heart of the GOP and National Review founder was author of a conservative book that became a bible of sorts. William F. Buckley, Jr., went to Yale, just like Brett Kavanagh, though a generation earlier.

It would appear that Yale prepared young Republicans by having them indulge in binge drinking to the point of belligerence. It may be why so many of these young political hacks went into politics, via public service.

Law seemed a good choice after a privileged life of undergraduate misfeasance. Having taught at a college of privileged young and rich for many years, we saw first-hand the problems they swept under the rug.

Now they are a middle-aged generation of deadbeats who have either run their family business into the ground or become high -ranking members of our American government.

They thought nothing of using women as sex toys, passed around their social circles. We could tell hair-raising stories of their violence and anti-intellectualism at Yale or other standby private colleges for the privileged few.

Let’s all stand for the National Anthem, deadbeats. Why, isn’t that friend in a bar fight with Kavanagh the man who ran for governor of Oregon in 2010 as a Republican? He doesn’t remember much from his drunken undergraduate days either. Chris Dudley is a patriot, even with a drunken violent past he shared with Kavanagh.

Nor does he want to talk to the FBI. If they don’t remember their blotto nights out, we doubt they learned much in the classroom except how to cheat their way through. You might say Kavanagh and Dudley minored in AA and Gamblers Anonymous, while charter members of the college Republicans.

Pardon us for our cynicism. We watched this generation of low-life (as their President might say) up close and know of what we observed.

Edgar A. Poe/ American Masters’ Whitewash

 DATELINE: All This, and Nothing More?

poe Actor Denis O’Hare

When PBS tackles the life of Edgar Allan Poe in a re-enacted biographical documentary, you may have something special—or not.

In this case, the superior production values and participation of actor Denis O’Hare as Poe is high-end, though the actor is a bit long-in-the-tooth for the role. The film is Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive.

What’s buried alive, akin to one of his plots, is his sordid lifestyle and the likely truth.

The problem with Poe, and with the hypothesis of the film, is that he was the victim of bad press: not mad, not a drug addict, etc.  Alas, that is not-quite honest. You could accurately say he lived up to his press clippings or musty grave stories.

Poe was an American master in terms of knowing that he had to become his own character, much like Hemingway and other writers, to play himself as flesh and blood page turner to be a social media darling.

Poe’s mother was an actress—and he certainly inherited her stage presence. He loved to present his poetry in narrative drama on stage. His “Raven” was to die for, one hot ticket. O’Hare recites a few lines, making us wish the entire show was comprised of his reading Poe poetry.

Eddie, as his experts call him with all too much familiarity, was combative, especially when drunk—and he did drink, like many talented authors. The so-called experts cited in interviews are mostly novelists who admire his style, and act as apologists for his bad behaviour.

And bad it is by modern standards. There is no way to sugar-coat his marriage to a 13-year old cousin (faked ID marriage license said 21), and the experts here in the #MeToo age are winking and nodding, even the women fans of Poe.

Having middle-age O’Hare (age 55) play Poe at 27 with his interest in the pre-pubsescent girl makes it even more lascivious. You can’t sweep the stench of pedophilia under the grave or under the floorboards.

Poe’s mad, unreliable narrators and tales of murderers may nevermore be disparaged, but Poe himself is the epitome of one of his horrors. His mysterious death at age 40 stands as his greatest unfinished tale.

This is nevertheless a brilliant tell-tale heart-felt documentary. Well, let’s at least quoth the Raven.

Every Picture Tells: Fascinating Doc

DATELINE: Picture This, Part One

 Mr. & Mrs. Mr. & Mrs. Andrews

Art critic Waldemar Januszczak  makes great paintings accessible and stresses how they endure.

From its galloping opening credits, you know this is not Kenneth Clark pontificating. It is art with a large dollop of droll and snide insight. The host begins with a barrage of witty puns.

The mini-series covers a couple of disks with four major paintings and painters on each. Waldemar knows enough to start off the series with his aplomb dropping wit applied to Thomas Gainsborough.

You might think he’d do “Blue Boy,” but instead he goes for an unfinished masterpiece called “Mr. & Mrs. Andrews.”  He savages them totally in about 25 minutes.

In the host’s estimation, Gainsborough did not like Mrs. Andrews much—and the family cancelled the picture before it was finished. He wanted to show the hard-hearted Mrs. Andrews throttling a pheasant her husband just shot on their massive estate.

Gainsborough insights abound from the critic. He notes how the painter’s father was into satin manufacturing—and his artist son always makes his subjects wear the most gorgeous clothes.

As for the subject of portraiture, he did not favor it. The first episode is lively and wonderful. Succeeding pieces on Rembrandt, Giorgioni, and Boticelli, are less amusing, though he provides many startling facts.

You will find that Rembrandt enjoyed the lessons of dissecting human bodies, and Venus on the half-shell is more than an appetizer.

You can’t turn away from great art, or great education, and we look forward to what he has to say about Da Vinci and Caravaggio in the subsequent episodes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Code-breaker: Rebel Genius

DATELINE:  Einstein of Computers   

 real Turing

Alan Turing, age 14.

The inspiration for the movie with Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, entitled The Imitation Game, was a small British documentary called Codebreaker back in 2011.

The term “codebreaker” refers to two distinct segments of Turing’s life. He was a war hero who invented computers in the early 1940s and broke the German Nazi secret code.

Later in his life, he broke the social morays of staid British sexuality with his gay lifestyle.

Some dim-bulbs on IMdB have criticized the film for forcing them to endure his terrible, tragic second half of life, that included sex scandal, arrest, and chemical castration by the government he worked assiduously to save.

The film is also strengthened by the performers who re-enact Turing and his psychiatrist, Franz Greenbaum. With many moments of fraught faces, we have a definitive portrait of anguish.

Ed Stoppard and Henry Goodman give masterful performances. They regard each other perfectly as patient and doctor, later as friends. Goodman’s paternal father figure looks with pain upon Stoppard’s victim of cruel treatment.

Their looks make the re-enacting of Greenbaum’s medical journals quite compelling.

The film is fleshed out with interviews from Greenbaum’s now elderly daughters who knew Turing and his coworkers in breaking the Nazi code.

What you have here is a powerful indictment of how governments abuse and use people ruthlessly. In many ways this documentary is far more fascinating than the tale of the man who invented computers in the Imitation Game.

Endeavour 5.4, Colours

DATELINE: Nazis at Oxford

 Jack Bannon

Jack Bannon, as Sam Thursday

With the latest episode of Endeavour entitled “Colours,” referring to racial and military problems, the focus switches to some extent to the adult children of DCI Fred Thursday.  Sam and Joan are definitely problems (Jack Bannon, Sara Vickers) to their by-the-book policeman father.

Sam has been in the military for the past two seasons but returns as a suspect and witness to a murder on a local army base. Jack Bannon returns to the series for a shot and a conflict with Fred (Roger Allam). Daughter Joan has begun to be socially conscious and is arrested at a protest against segregation.

We are in the midst of 1968 where Fred and his wife Win may be entering ballroom dancing contests, but murders seem to be rampant at Oxford. Endeavour Morse (Shaun Evans) always closely tied to Thursday and his children must remain objective.

Indeed, Chief Bright (Anton Lesser) takes Fred Thursday off the case because of his family connection to the death of a model (whose parents were Nazi sympathizers during World War II).

If all these complications seem to be mounting up, you need only see one suspect who has a photo of Hitler at her wedding in the early 1940s. It ties in neatly with the racial turmoil and prejudice at Oxford in the 1960s.

Characters continue to evolve: as two women in Morse’s life are moving onward to other police colleagues (DCI Strange and Joan & policeman Shelley and DC Fancy). This will certainly leave Morse in the lurch and explains 20 years later his bachelorhood in the original series.

Complex, subtle, and filled with red herrings, the series continues to provide challenging mysteries.

 

Spin Dry Man

DATELINE: Smarty Pants

spin dry

If you want a movie that gives a disservice, try The Spinning Man. This is one of those intellectual mystery movies, which is to say, you won’t have clever a plot, only an overwrought one.

The movie has all the ingredients for an excellent film, so what went wrong? The movie deals with a prickly, pompous, persnickety, philandering professor of philosophy who is suspected of a murder by a persistent police detective. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled plots too.

Stars are Pierce Brosnan and Guy Pearce. We presumed Pearce was the cop and Pierce was the suspect. How wrong we were to fall into the plot hole. That’s a great start.

However, we’ve known our share of philosophy professors at small private colleges—and none has been as obtuse and arrogant as Guy Pearce’s Dr. Birch. He antagonizes the police needlessly when they question him about a missing female student whom he may or may not have known.

Pearce is snide, even to his long-suffering wife (Minnie Driver) who also begins to think he not only sleeps with an array of beautiful nubile young students but may be responsible for something dastardly.

Pierce Brosnan’s detective is an intellectual equal to the professor, and he may be put off by the abject hostility. Okay, we know some professors see police as enemies. And, personal flaws render some police detectives to a parochial beat.

We then are thrust into one of those philosophical conundrums like you found with Guy Pearce in Chris Nolan’s film about memory. Lightning does not strike twice.

The audience is hung out to dry when solutions seem to come tumbling out. We were left a tad irritated more than intrigued, which is never good.