A Picture Worth a Billion Jokes!

DATELINE: DEADLINE

Hole in One Your Inevitable Singularity?

Black Holes, unite! You have only your invaded privacy to fall back upon. Yes, the secretive monster of the universe has been exposed, or perhaps over-exposed.

Scientists think they have a black hole in one, but the hole is in their proverbial heads.

Einstein was right. The ultimate emoticon is smiling at us.

Smile, you’re on Candid Camera, you self-important denizens of Earth.

Scientists have taken a gleeful approach to the first photoshop of a black hole. No, this is nothing like the Black Hole of Calcutta. This is the laughing visage of universal death.

We see no reason for joy in Mudville or NASA.

To our poetic eyes, we see the metaphor of a Grim Reaper in the throes of the biggest smiley face of history. He will devour you.

Yes, it’s true:  scientists call it spaghettification.

That’s the process in which you are brought into the Black Widow’s orbit, never to escape, and as you sink in to the Singularity, you become one long noodle strand until you break up in the smile of the Black Hole.

Apparently, the shadow of your smile is not just a pop tune. That black edge you see in the photo is actually the shadow of some tiny center of nugget that has neither height, weight, or normal dimensions.

The only die-mention is your demise.

So, while science puts on a happy face over the first picture of their bouncing baby Doom, we feel that to look into the one-eyed Cyclops of Death with his broad grin is too fateful for fun, or ready for Funny or Die.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sy-Fy Life After Non-fiction Death

DATELINE: The Ultimate Special Effect?

Forry Forry J Ackerman.

In this fascinating study of what normally is paranormal, an intelligent consideration seems to indicate that physics is alive after death. Paul Davids provides the thinking man’s answer to The Life After Death Project.

The focus is entirely on a most unusual man named Forrest J Ackerman, no period after his initial. He was as necessary to Hollywood horror movies as a monk to a monastery.

As a Pied Piper, Ackerman spent over 90 years charming, enticing, educating, and befriending young filmmakers, actors, writers, and hangers-on. They all loved him for his wit and insights. As a Hollywood para-professional, there are bountiful film clips and photos of Forry to spice up this film.

When he died, an avowed atheist, he did what Harry Houdini could not: he began sending weird technological and personal messages to his friends, including director and writer Paul Davids.

Among the Friends of Forry were Richard Matheson and Whitney Schreiber, no slouches in the sci-fi sweepstakes. They all seemed to find he was somewhere in time. Astrophysicists and academic PhDs offer their insights into the messages. These are not phony experts: they are scientists. Hours and hours of expensive research lab time goes into their study. Davids has connections that transcend the usual crack-pot discussions.

Of course, noted skeptic Michael Shermer shows up to give No-Nothing, Ignorance is Bliss types their due. Yet, Dr. Gary Schwartz is hardly to go on a fool’s errand, and his insights into light study as a technology of communication is fascinating.

Yet, the amazing coincidences from Forry tend to indicate someone is out there (the mysterious theoretical “white crow”)—and the other side is bigger than we thought. A painting he commissioned a few years before his death featured Poe-like images, including a clock that showed three minutes to midnight, the exact time he died a few years later.

As a punster and humorist, much of Ack’s messages from beyond have a distinct sly quality. If you knock on his crypt, he will indeed answer his friends. The best brains and money of modern science has not laid Forrest J Ackerman to rest.

History of Time Travel: More or Less

DATELINE: Time, Relatively Speaking!

time bottled   At least in theory!

We admit to having a soft-spot for those mockumentaries that can fool us with their close imitation of traditional documentary form.

When you enjoy a steady diet of history through re-enactors, you certainly can grow complacent.

We tip our cap to Ricky Kennedy, director and creative force behind History of Time Travel, an ingenious little film that manages to weave a connection between reality, history, and outright fiction. He does it seamlessly and with a flourish of subtlety.

The historical overview is utterly perfect, but the focus on one “scientist” and his sons with an obsession for tripping up with a time machine takes on a large focus. Yet, that too is a sharp decision for pop appeal.

Not only are the conventions of movie-making and re-enacting spoofed, so are the so-called experts who seem both vapid and convincing: he cites professors from Harvard, Yale, and MIT, and throws in a couple of fake best-selling authors to spout their insider knowledge.

Interviews are interspersed with “home movies” from the 1940s. Oh, the technology existed, and that does ring truthful, but a few glitches in costumes and set will tip off the anachronistic lark to careful viewers.

We half-expected Dr. Strangelove to show up on the MIT faculty, and we are always receptive to a setting of Cambridge, Mass., our ancestral home.

People who like to find continuity goofs receive their come-uppance at the hands of this director. Without selling the store, we would advise any time travel theorist to pay attention to moveable props. We enjoyed the coffee mugs and backdrops: the doctor’s coffee pot is an amusing target.

Short and pithy, this 2014 film would be on the highlight reel of any proud film writer and director.

Miner or Minor on Oak Island?

 DATELINE: Rick Lagina Always Finds Them !

Miner or Minor Rick’s Hard Rock Geochemist!

The famine of discovery continued for the most part early on: the seismic mapping appears to be fraught with false positives. As usual, Rick Lagina puts a happy face on unhappy news that dry sand had been read as tunnels. There are no metal casings, only bedrock.

So, the drilling comes up empty yet again.

In the meantime, 95-year old Dan Blankenship made a rare appearance, remaining in the car as Rick took him down to the cove to see the new retaining wall being constructed. As one might expect, he is duly impressed at the new technology. This true figure of heroism remains our most favorite figure.

Rick Lagina must have quite an international network of references when he does a stellar manhunt. Another interesting development is calling in a German geochemist to analyse the Templar Cross of lead. Tobias looks like a teenager but must be some kind of doctorate in the field. He can take the lead out of your worries.  He knows when it was mined and where.

He looks like a minor, not a miner expert. But Tobias is on the money from Germany on Skype. He brings the best news of the night’s episode.

Once again we have been impressed with Gary Drayton who knows all too well what they find by giving it a cursory look. He found the Templar Cross and was on the money from the start.

It appears that Templars may have come to Oak Island to hide their religious artefacts: and those may be too glorified to speculate upon. Oh, well, let’s shoot: it could be the Ark of the Covenant, or some suitable items from John the Baptist who was the Templar patron saint.

They talk to another expert writer on the Templar secrets, but are fairly dismissive of her research.

In the final analysis, this week’s discovery is so titanic that it makes all the waiting worthwhile. We feel closer than ever to some kind of revelation of Biblical proportions.

Do You Trust This Computer?

DATELINE: Person of Interest?

Nolan Auteur Jonathan Nolan!

It’s a loaded question, perhaps more nefarious than asking whether you still belittle women in the ERA of #Metooism! (jk omitted in earlier version).

A documentary on the doomsday likelihood that artificial intelligence is already here may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It does not stop the filmmaker from stacking the deck.

Do You Trust This Computer features a couple of the brainiest culture commentators—and a gaggle of AI experts from Sanford and MIT.

Elon Musk (of Mars colonization fame) and Jonathan Nolan (creator of Person of Interest and Westworld, two of the most intelligent computers on the tube) offer extraordinary insights.

Nolan is so handsome that it almost seems unfair that he is brilliant too.

If you need villains, you can find them on your devices: Facebook and Google, both of whom are working on super intelligent computers that may endanger humankind.

As one observer notes, psychometrics means that computer are already able to tell your intelligence, religion, sexual orientation, and politics, from facial recognition. In the hands of dictators, or even a Trump, this could prove frightful.

An expert notes that artificial intelligence is the true psychopath: no conscience or morality to stop it from fulfilling every mission.

Autonomous robots are already out there in killer drones. If you are the target, you are dead meat. War will make AI public enemy #1. Medical robots may decide who lives and dies, as humans begin to lose all skills that have been usurped by artificially intelligent creatures.

As people come to rely on these monsters, they will have fewer skills to combat the AI abuses. They are already winning at Jeopardy, chess, and other games, years ahead of schedule.

Androids will soon look like us and have no foibles.

Do you trust your computer? It’s already too late to be suspicious if we are to believe this documentary.

Oak Island 6.2 & 700 Years and Counting

DATELINE: Exciting Discovery

seconds.jpeg

 

We are all aging rapidly as the sixth season moves along for Curse of Oak Island. You can see it in the faces of the Lagina Brothers, and even in their young hotshot heir apparent, Alex.

As we proceed deeper into the sixth season, the scope of the enlarged budget for treasure hunting is impressive. Now, technology that has heretofore been ignored, is dropped onto the small island.

Seismic scanning with a dozen experts setting off small explosions will render a seismic map of what is below the surface at 200 or 300 feet. That alone may be revealing in ways nothing before in five years of episodes has shown viewers.

However, this season’s discovery of a second brooch by metal detective Gary Drayton proves again to be the shocker.

Taking it to experts as far away as Calgary, Marty and his son Alex receive some stunning news. Though the red ornament inside the setting is glass, it could be 700 years old.

We are always first to throw cold water on the hyped discoveries. Just because it is made around the time of the Templars (or earlier) does not mean those folks were on Oak Island around 1300. The item could have been dropped, lost, or buried anytime in the past few hundred years.

However, it does not alter the stunning news that something is happening, though it is still not clear. We’ve stuck with the show and its padded episodes because we have kept faith that a mystery will be solved.

It may take a few more weeks for revelations to be dumped into the series, but we are constantly impressed at how this team manages to keep its secrets for months before shows are aired.

 

Five, Actually Six, but Who’s Counting?

DATELINE: First Post-Apocalyptic Nuclear Movie

real star of Five Wright’s Eaglefeather

The 1951 unknown classic by Arch Oboler is called Five, about five survivors of a nuclear holocaust. It was way ahead of its time, but lost count somewhere in the post-apocalyptic shuffle. There are actually six survivors, including a black man, a baby, and a crypto-Nazi.

Director Arch Oboler was a radio writer and producer who went into movies. He was thought to be the poor man’s Orson Welles, and his movie productions were sporadic.

He used his Malibu estate to film the 1951 movie about a handful of people who come together to figure out what happened to the world. They actually surmise that it is genetic that they are immune to radiation, like those who were immune to the Black Death.

Director Oboler was a bit of a character, temperamental and an auteur who did what he wanted. His list of films is intriguing, but the real star of this low-budget film is Frank Lloyd Wright.

Yes, you got that Wright. Oboler had FLW build a mountain top aerie called Cliff House on his estate in 1941. Well, actually, they fought about it—and Eaglefeather became a truncated Wright home. Oboler filmed it from the backside to make it look smaller and more rustic.

The characters note that a rich man’s house is further down the Malibu coast: take that, Frank Lloyd Wright.

As you might expect, the film features Oboler’s particular political perspective. The villain of sorts climbed Mount Everest as a point of monumental ego, and the hero is a graduate of Harvard who specialized in literature. William Phipps has a recognizable face.

Susan Douglas is the innocent girl who goes back to the neutron bomb city to find her husband. She too is remarkable. But, the film has the feel of an early Twilight Zone episode. And, not surprisingly, Rod Serling loved Oboler’s films and used them for inspiration.

Called science fiction, the film is a character drama and low key with its racial angle and Transcendental approach. Fascinating movie.

In Search of….Mind Control

DATELINE:  Voodoo to Implants?

 candidate 1962 Manchurian Candidate & Mother!

In the latest encounter with the new History series, In Search of host Zachary Quinto seems nearly to lose his mind in this episode by joining in more experiments. He is zapped with ultra-sound waves to protect his mind from being undone by the kind of experimental sonic attacks that hit American embassy personnel in Cuba.

The quick overview of the history of mind control can go from primitive brain operations to brain-washing to the less elaborate forms of voodoo. Torture today to bend a mind is far more psychological and psychiatric.

The goal is the same: to make mental slaves.

Experts seem to indicate yet again that only the weak-minded can be vulnerable to attack. Yet, the show also proves that media manipulation is like a mass hypnotic suggestion. You cannot defend against sound waves that are unheard but can give you a concussion, latent headaches, and disable the victim.

Appalling as it may be, the United States CIA engaged in human experiments from 1953 with their MK Ultra program that zapped many unwilling and unknowing citizens. Heaven help us from our patriotic friends.

Sonic weapons once were thought to be the mental dreams of paranoid schizophrenics. Today you don’t know who can be trusted. Without naming Putin, the show hints that Russia is in the sound race to destroy enemies.

If someone can slip an implant into your head whilst you sleep or are out cold, you may become the proverbial zombie.

In Search of….once again hits us with a disturbing hint of a dark future.

 

 

 

Is Anybody Out There?

DATELINE:  Phone Home!

SETI@home No Robots Need Apply!

When we ask if anybody is out there, it sounds as if we are wondering whether anybody actually reads these blogs. Some may say that our outreach indicates there is no intelligent life behind the message.

The question and answer is somewhat bigger. A documentary about intelligent life in the universe raises some traditional questions about whether we humans are alone in the universe, and it runs through the SETI organization for the most part.

In case you have been hiding from ET, SETI is the acronym for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. It sounds like an oxymoron, not an acronym.

We don’t even have intelligent life in college faculties, let alone the entire planet.

The hour-long recap of info deals with the Drake Formula and the Fermi Paradox. One tells us how many intelligent planets there could be in the Milky Way (only a fraction of the universe), and the Fermi pessimism stated that all intelligent life forms have come and gone by now. We are indeed all alone.

If there is one point of interest from the doc, it is that there is something out there called SETI@home, which is a means that all of us, everyday idiots, can scan the skies for a phone call from ALF.

In 2010 Stephen Hawking warned against trying to reach out and touch an alien. SETI dismisses that idea.

We noticed on the application form that robots are not allowed to join SETI@home.

We prefer not to have furry aliens living in our garage, or mind-controlling our children, but it would break up the monotony of daily existence for the vast majority of intelligence-challenged humans.

You should watch this little science kindergarten show-and-tell because education has to start somewhere.

 

 

Yellow Brick Road Leads Out of Foxboro

 DATELINE: Patriots in Munchkinland

bosch Gillette Stadium?

Something has happened to the New England Patriots in the past month. You may not be in Kansas, but it sure doesn’t look like New England.

Less than kind Patriot-haters might say the rats are leaving the sinking ship.  Whatever your thoughts, the good ship SS Belichick is listing badly after hitting an iceberg in the Super Bowl.

Key players have opted to leave in free agency—and teammates remaining are wishing them good luck and happy voyage, almost as if they are envious.

Foremost among the congratulations on social media are coming from Tom Brady and Gronk.

Gronk still has not dispelled rumors he is going Hollywood on New England, and Tom Brady dropped a hint that he is a man of his convictions in his TV autobiography series—and he appears to have switched convictions in mid-stream.

Life begins at 40—but not in Foxboro.

These key Patriots (Nate Solder, Amendola, Butler, Lewis, and who knows who else) have talked among teammates. If you don’t realize that, you don’t know what’s happening.

It’s like a bad Bob Dylan song: the mattress is now balancing precariously on Bill Belichick’s head. Someone is ready to drop a house on Wicked Witchy Belichick. His former coaches and underlings are picking up the pieces Belichick has shed. And they are happy to have them.

During the season, opposing players attacked the Foxboro as being as unpleasant under the control of Ebenezer Scrooge Belichick before any ghosts haunted him. It was worse than Hieronymus Bosch’s depiction of Hell.

We see the end as coming in a whimper, not a bang. Brady and Gronk are packing their bags, and everyone else is cashing in their chips.

Oh, my. Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my. The gold brick road is leading to ruination for the Kraft family of marshmallows.

Wrap Up Oak Island: Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

DATELINE:  Like a Hunt for the Maltese Falcon

Falcon.jpeg

If ever a season of hope was upon Oak Island, the fifth year of the series dig was it. Yet, the curse of the treasure hunt was that hope may be their worst enemy.

As the team of hunters gathered at the end of The Curse of Oak Island for an assessment, we came away yet again with a great respect for 94-year old Dan Blankenship. He cut through all the discoveries and made a simple pronouncement. He felt 90% of what they found was on the surface, not under ground.

He wondered about the expense. Yet, he was also even as he comes around the bend toward a century of life, allured by the mystery of the place where he has spent half his life.

We went around the table at the faces of we have come to know quite well: Dan, the wise elder, to Gary Drayton, our metal detector, to Alex Lagina, the hot young nephew of the expedition leaders, to his bearded cousin—and a couple of historians who lead the scribe element of grand expeditions from Alexander the Great to Lewis & Clark.

Dumb luck was lost to dumb decisions, that made the dive team into a 75-foot shaft disheartening. The wish for a steel plate over a treasure chest is the stuff of dreams. If Oak Island is just another Maltese Falcon, we are satisfied with the adventure of it all.

Will there be another season? You can bet your Nielsen ratings on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patriots Come Up with More Plots than Dickens

DATELINE:  Turn of the Screw?

Belichick Hit Man Hit

Yikes! Babe McDaniels will not leave the New England Patriots.

What gives? You may wonder why or how someone comes to the decision to back out of a promotion to head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

The team that created treachery by accusing Tom Brady of “Deflategate” was about to introduce Josh McDaniels at a press conference in the morning—when he changed his mind.

Yes, on the heels of a dozen present and former players sending out supporting tweets on behalf of Malcolm Butler, whom Belichick benched for no good reason during the Super Bowl, and all against Bill Belichick, we have the offensive coordinator, and close friend of Tom Brady, reneging on a deal to coach the Colts.

We haven’t seen this sort of machination since—gulp hard, fans, since Bill Belichick reneged on the Jets!

History is repeating itself. But why?

Can it be that Belichick is closer to leaving the Patriots than anyone can possibly imagine by hook or crook?

Can it be that Robert Kraft has indeed sweetened the pot to keep Josh McDaniels—by promising him the job as head of the Patriots in the near future?

If Bill Belichick is leaving, Josh would be the natural choice to succeed him and keep Brady in clover for a few more years.

We are among those who are now thinking that the house of cards constructed by Swami Belichick has dry rot.

We are among those who wonder how much longer Belichick will be coaching in Foxboro. Is it retirement that drives him, or a job with another team?

Shock waves usually create a tsunami. Head for the high ground because we think that Foxboro may be inundated shortly and deeply.

Crossing Your Heart on Oak Island

 DATELINE:  Medieval Cross Amazes Hunters

lagina's cross

Rick Lagina crosses our hearts.

 

You may be surprised that we are up to Episode 10 of the fifth season on Oak Island. They have hit a plateau with the boring stuff.

Yes, their 50” drill, supposedly to be used with great care, has fallen through some vault and down 10 feet without meeting any resistance. So much for smashed objects.

There really is no where to go but down.

While waiting for more water (they are out of water on an island?) that is used to sift through the debris located at 150 feet to locate more bones, pottery, or whatever else is down there, Rick Lagina and Gary Drayton, the Australian metal detector guy, went to a rocky beach area at low tide.

With the expensive metal detector, Drayton made one of the more intriguing discoveries of a season of odd items. He located a rough-hewn cross made of lead.

Rick Lagina immediately recognized it as resembling the crosses he had seen from Knights Templars—and Drayton was convinced, without any other confirmation, that the style of the cross meant it could be from as early as 1200.

The Templars were wiped out as heretics in the early 1300s.

There is no way to know if the cross came to Oak Island, improbably, years after it was made, lost off a ship, brought by waves to its present location. No, we suspect it was dropped there by a visitor. But, jumping the gun becomes the norm when your patience is at a nadir. We want some official inspection by experts.

We feel the long wait may be about to pay off on Oak Island.

Patriot Destiny Calls—and the Ringing Phone is from Nemesis

DATELINE:  Nemesis Rears Its Ugly Head

lord

Teams of destiny, uh-oh. The Patriots may have answered the call this weekend, but the call was for two other winners: Jaguars and Vikings.

The stench of inevitability, not inability, turns people against teams:  whether it’s the New York Yankees or the New England Patriots. If you win the dynasty game, you are fair game for nemesis. That is the ultimate retribution for being a lucky winner ad nauseum.

Thank you, Alex Guerrero for putting the Patriots on notice with TB12’s curse. Tom smashed that mirror in the pre-season as a challenge, and now the piper must be paid.

Tom Brady has won enmity more than anything else since his Deflategate and his five Super Bowl rings. So, you know that people love to hate him. His new documentary series will be a hit because those haters want to see the icon up close for disparaging. These boots were made for disparaging, for us too.

As far as worry, the Patriots ought to be scared s***less, if we may borrow one of their biggest fans favorite epithets. Trump will send endless curses on the Patriots, his team of destiny.

Now there are two other teams of destiny:  Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings. They were not meant to win much, certainly not a Super Bowl. But they have become the nouveau Jack the Giant Slayer.  Either they are that or they are old-fashioned jackdaws. That’s the dirty old crow that likes to steal baubles for no reason and bring them back to their nest.

The Pats may have their pockets picked by either one of these new teams of destiny. Someone up there doesn’t like the Pats—and may be nothing can stop these perennial also-runners up from hitting the dizzying heights of metaphor Destiny.

You may hear the term in the next few weeks, if not already. Team of Destiny.  And let us be the first to tell you: it is the Patriots who are headed for an ugly fall, sooner or later.

Scorched Earth of Belichick

DATELINE:  What Follows

Saluting BB

Fans may be a little disconcerted to learn that, if Bill Belichick leaves the New England Patriots in a snit, he will destroy everything he has created and leave mere ashes to his successor, whoever that dumb associate is.

If you think Josh McDaniels or Matt Patricia is prepared to pick up the pieces, or capable of saving the franchise, you will not be surprised they are moving onward.

Scorched Earth will mean that whatever is left will be in a messy state: like an aging Brady and his guru Guerrero running the team. Doddering Robert Kraft will surrender more power to his dim-wit son. We’ve seen in other cases of primogeniture how that works out in the NFL.

Will Bill depart after this season, perhaps with yet another Super Bowl trophy, and return the Pats back to their pathetic Patsie ways before he arrived? Ah, yes, the happy days of Pete Carroll!

Look at what may happen. The Patriots will have a 41-year-old quarterback on his last legs. His successor-in-emergency will be Brian Hoyer, a man who has lost in seven franchises.

Coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia will happily move on to other teams.

Front office genius Nick Caserio will leave for greener pastures.

Without Jimmy G, the Patriot future is bleak. Perhaps he will re-sign in free agency.

Otherwise, Brian Hoyer will mostly help the aging Brady on and off the field for the next five to ten years.

It was always the strategy of the Roman emperors to leave the nation in worse hands after his departure.

The logic was that the former emperor, now gone, will be much better appreciated if those taking up his job and his successors are deplorable.

Time and time again in Ancient Rome, the Empire crumbled because worse and worse emperors followed each other, rewarded because they would insure the previous leader was missed, appreciated, and honored.

There is no head coach on earth who can follow Bill Belichick.  The crying of fans will have just begun.

 

What comes in his wake when he leaves is the fall of the Patriot Empire.