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.

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Another Season 5 Snooze Fest on Oak Island

 DATELINE:  Pass the Bottle of Rum

 heartthrob Alex Lagina Alex Lagina

We love any tribute given to Dan Blakenship, the 94-year old treasure hunter from the 1960s who devoted his life to solving the mystery of The Curse of Oak Island.

Today we see  a mere shadow of what a lively, witty, insightful man he must have been back in his day. So, we enjoy seeing him throw the switch, literally, on another phase of the hunt. We hope he sees it through.

However, Oak Island is exasperating for other reasons.

Waiting for the oscillator to dig a 50” bore hole into what may a treasure vault seems to be taking forever. Yes, it is coming from South Korea on a banana boat. In the meantime, we are left to library research.

Yes, we would love to spend time in a library mode, trying to find vague French references to Parisian royalty of 1600 with Alex Lagina. Yet, the entire operation of four men poring over old volumes is almost as exciting as watching paint dry.

We know not much is happening next week either: Rick Lagina and Alex, his nephew, will be off to see the Paris sites and find more graffiti from the Knights Templar.

It is significant that a Middle Eastern man was buried 150 down in unmined area where something is hidden around 1700. It is intriguing that there is a correlation between early French explorers on Oak Island and Crusaders who may have plundered the Ark of the Covenant and buried it in Nova Scotia.

Yet, we know too that not much is expected to happen for two more episodes. You need to learn how to appreciate suspense and delay gratification.

Old Applegate’s Treasure & Two Brothers

DATELINE:  Oak Island Inspiration?

 best boys

Tommy Kirk & Tim Considine as Hardy Boys

With The Curse of Oak Island not far from our thoughts, we certainly never expected a 60-year old TV series from Walt Disney to rival the Lagina Brothers. However, there is much parallel in the boys’ adventure notion of the Hardy brothers inspiring the Lagina boys.

The long-forgotten show is The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure, which had been serialized into ten-minute chunks on the old Mickey Mouse Club show.

We can certainly tell you that there is far more action on the old TV show as the young Hardy Boy detectives use their skills to locate a lost pirate treasure on the old Applegate estate.

The 3000 gold dubloons and pieces of 8 are mentioned as being worth thousands (in 1956 dollars), but today they would be worth a History channel bonanza.

The Hardy boys do the Laginas one better by bringing in a girl detective to liven up the action. The Laginas have no women in their war room powwows, but Frank and Joe Hardy have Iola. True enough, Joe throttles her now and then and is somewhat short-tempered and abusive, but it was a different time.

All the kid protagonists do battle with some interesting adult characters: standouts include Florenz Ames as the irascible and slightly nuts Silas Applegate, Robert Foulk as the handyman, and Arthur Shields (Barry Fitzgerald’s brother no less) as the mysterious villain interloper.

Only old Dan Blankenship trumps them all on Oak Island.

Auntie Gertrude Hardy is there, stalwart and obtuse, to take on anyone who crosses her boys. She even takes on her brother, Fenton, the Hardy boys’ father.

You could not ask for a more charming TV show about treasure hunting and boyhood adventure.

 

 

 

Twin Peaks at a Crossroad, or at a Dead End?

DATELINE:  What Year Indeed

If Trump were president of Twin Peaks, and not David Lynch, we think all of those dead characters would’ve been sent back to purgatory tout suite. There is no place in this world for Dreamers, unless it is the sunny side of the Twilight Zone.

Most of the final episode is spent in Purgatory, or driving on desolate roads through Texas. We couldn’t tell them apart.

We saved our best for last. Unfortunately, David Lynch did not. So, we have watched the final episode, and there is less to report than usual. There is, however, more than meets the eye.

We love an aimless road trip. Call us a sucker for Waiting for Godot. We still are waiting. Now we have been joined by Laura Palmer and Agent Cooper.

Call us sympathetic: we understand that Agent Cooper and his assistant Diane have not seen each other in 25 years, and it is only natural that they spend a good portion of the last episode in bed having sex. However, based on her final reaction, it was unsatisfactory to her too.

This left Agent Cooper in a quandary, not to mention all the long-suffering viewers. He walked fast between those long red curtains to visit a one-armed man, Leland Palmer, and trees with a talking head.  Therefore, it’s only natural that Cooper and Laura, end up together, driving to nowheresville fast. It’s a dream couple.

In an effort to save Laura Palmer, who now has amnesia to go with her middle-age, she and Cooper end up in an unrecognizable Twin Peaks.  Cooper tells Laura that it’s in Washington state, not D.C.

As the clock winds down, Agent Cooper now is as befuddled as the rest of us. He asks Laura Palmer what year it is. Her response is out of the Fay Wray school of screaming responses.

Is it lights out finally? Will we have to wait 25 more years to find out that everyone is dead and no one cares much anymore?

We love Twin Peaks.  Next time we will bring a picnic basket.

Penultimate Twin Peaks

DATELINE: Down to the Finish Line

peaked

We’re going round the bend, literally, and figuratively, on the new David Lynch marathon in surreality, Twin Peaks.

For sixteen hours we have seen Dead People, People from Another Dimension, Weirdos, and maddening loose ends as well as standard plot holes. That’s the bargain with Lynch.

The recent show has started to blow up loose ends and loose characters, thankfully not waiting until ten minutes before denouement to drive the entire cast off one of the twin peaks of the title. So, Kyle MacLachlan has snapped out of his doldrum-idiot Doppleganger Dougie, and evil D.B. Cooper has dispatched his illegitimate son with electrifying alacrity.

In the meantime, Lynch has discovered a new star, Eamon Farren. Let’s hope he fares better than Dana Ashbrook or James Marshall in the next 25 years.

What more can be expected? Oh, Cooper’s assistant, long lost Diane turns out to be some kind of spirit from beyond, her connection to Dougie’s wife, Naomi Watts, now ignored in a puff of smoke and gunfire.

We saw Don Murray, formerly the leading man for Marilyn Monroe in Bus Stop, looking spry as he pushes 90 and thanked by Cooper for lending his old Hollywood fame to the tale.

There was a shoot-out in one of those foreclosed Las Vegas communities that didn’t make much sense. But, we never expect much sense.

When Cooper regains his wits, he is able to say, “I am the FBI,” with all the swagger fans of the show wanted to hear. Perhaps Sheriff Michael Ontkean will make an appearance in the final show.

Whatever will the final two-hour monstrosity of this TV Guernica give us? We know that Sherilyn Fenn has a revelation while looking in the mirror.

Twenty-five years passing will do that.

 

 

 

So-So-Soviet Solaris

DATELINE:  Solaris (1972, Russian version)

solaris  Breughel painting

The original Andrei Tarkovsky film called Solaris has been hailed by many sci-fi fans as the greatest fiction ever made. This is the Soviet version of 2001: A Space Odyssey, according to many.  It was remade with George Clooney in recent years to great jeers.

This Soviet three-hour epic drama of dreams and memories takes place mostly in a space ship orbiting a mysterious planet called Solaris. There an ocean of living mass can take human minds and create ghosts or hallucinations of flesh and blood to haunt the three cosmonauts.

We must be losing our touch because, though the film deals with quantum physics and string theory decades before they were discovered, the Soviet film is largely a snooze-fest.

Parts of the film are intriguing, and much of it is highly cerebral. However, there is a 90-minute movie lurking among the ponderous and pointless scenes of traffic jams and nature walks.

Made before computers changed the landscape, the film manages to ignore the Kubrick innovations with computers, a film made several years earlier. Both films share an existential crisis or two, and puzzling moments of metaphysics, if that’s your thing.

One might laugh at the notion of shooting thousands of books into outer space nowadays. The payload must have been a killer. There is quite a library aboard the Russian spaceship.

Our favorite scene must be the three-minute sequence that lingers silently on one of our favorite paintings by Breughel, ‘Hunters in the Snow’, which hangs in the Soviet ship as some kind of commentary on the difficulty of survival. We have a copy in our library and ponder it now and then.

The payoff of the film is hardly Twilight Zone worthy and may not satisfy the previous exposition. Yet, maybe you are among those who will see this as a great movie. We, alas, are standing in the other line, waiting for Godot.

 

Back in Time Movies: Final Countdown Wins

DATELINE: Past Tense

 kirk-douglas-counts-down

A couple of time travel movies caught our eye for the Turkey Day film festival, and only one turned out to be a turkey.

We went back in time to see 11/22/63, based on the Stephen King novel about a time traveler who intends to stop Lee Harvey Oswald from killing President JFK, and in The Final Countdown, a modern aircraft carrier is transported back to Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Both films debate the conundrum and moral dilemma of changing the past—but actually both films are ersatz Twilight Zone episodes. One is about nine hours and the other is about 90 minutes. Can you guess which one has more suspense?

James Franco, looking worse for the wear, is the history teacher who finds a time portal in a diner that returns him (repeatedly, it seems) to a day in 1960. We can say the cars used in all those scenes of the early 60s were stunning. And, if the best you can say is that the old cars made the movie interesting, you have a problem.

Without knowing all the minute details of the Kennedy conspiracy, you might be a bit lost. To top it off, most of the film forces us to bear a tiresome love story that is supposed to give us a poignant ending.

And, time in 11/22/63 looks like it learned its fateful tricks that the past does not want to be changed—and resists. Of course, the USS Nimitz learns the same lesson about changing the past. Both stars (Douglas and Franco) used their production companies to make the movies.

The better movie of 1980 features Kirk Douglas, with fresh face lift, Martin Sheen, and Charles Durning as a troublesome senator from the past who causes most of the problems. Lucky for the script, there is an amateur historian on the ship who knows all the details about the Pearl Harbor attack and can fill us in to move the story along.

Nonetheless, the Final Countdown is a pleasure to watch—nothing out of date really, except the concept. The movie about one day drags on for three years and endless episodes, including the usual odd antics of Franco and his male costar.

Countdown seems to have been overshadowed by The Philadelphia Experiment in the time travel sweepstakes, but don’t count your chickens before they jump off the bridge of time. Kirk Douglas on the Nimitz beats Michael Pare on the Eldridge every time.