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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Tom Brady Vs Time & Other Outer Limits

DATELINE: Twilight Zone Time

Tom vs Time

If you ever wanted a reality series/science fiction /sports movie with Siddhartha overtones, you are about to get your wish.

Tom Brady has filmed a six-part documentary about his life.

Deepak Chopra’s son (Gotham???) is a long-time fan and directs the episodes that apparently trace Tom’s life along the lines of growing spirituality—and love for the esoterica of life.

Tom battles the clock and time in general like some character out of a Dorian Gray novel. You may see Tom in the Time Machine, or just in the astral plane. It’s definitely a competition between Tom and the clock. Since Tom wins every game he plays, we think he will beat the clock too.

Not since Ponce de Leon have we had a character so determined to make Father Time crawl to the finish line.

The operative terms for this series are “digital only” and “rare glimpse.”

This means Tom will control the vertical. Tom will control the horizontal. He can make the picture a soft blur, or turn it into crystal clarity. Sit back because you will lose control of your device and maybe your mind.

There is nothing wrong with your device. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. Tom Brady is controlling transmission.

You are about to participate in a great adventure. For the next six hours, sit quietly. You are about experience the awe and mystery that reaches from the inner mind of Tom Brady to its outer limits, which may mean we will end up in a Julian Edelman video.

You are about to learn that football comes before family for Patriots GOAT, Brady.

Tom believes it is cool to show his fans another side of midnight. He trusts he director Gotham Chopak more than Alex Guerrero, which is a mountain of trust indeed. Tom says, “Gotham is a great story-teller,” which makes us wonder where the truth will lie.

The show will not air until the Patriots’ season is done, which looks like mid-February after they have another duck boat parade down the streets of Boston.

Lagina Brother Will Always Have Paris

DATELINE:  Oak Island S5 Provides Rest Area

 Paris Sites?

If you are a big fan of the Curse of Oak Island, you probably love the idea of the past few weeks that it’s gone 75 minutes for each episode. They’ve done this by having extended previews after the “initial episode”.

You might even say finally there is too much of a good thing. The two longest episodes of the season so far have been the dullest. They have struggled for any newsworthy item.

Gone are the days in which brother Marty complained about the expense of conducting the treasure hunt and saying there was only so much money they had to allocate.

Now they have money to burn. That’s what big TV ratings do for your bank account.

It also allows you the luxury of having what in politics we call a “junket.”  That’s an all-expenses paid trip to some exotic location on somebody else’s nickel. On Season 5 Rick Lagina took his two nephews Alex and Peter to Paris, looking for clues about Knights Templar and the French nobility. We did not see them take in the Folies-Bergère.

.

Now there were two problems with this luxury trip to Paris. First, nobody in his right mind wants to go to Paris with Rick Lagina. And two, the results of the research trip could’ve been accomplished by WiFi. They learned one word on a map had been mistranslated, and they found graffiti on the wall that could’ve been photographed and sent to them in a text message.

A nickel well spent? Hardly. Maybe History Channel can get its money back.

We are happy the Lagina nephews got to go to Paris. As for the rest of us, we must wait while the equipment bores down 150 feet, which probably will take another week. The boring part is taking its toll on the audience.

Season 3 Episode 1 Looking in All the Wrong Places

DATELINE:  Reich or Wrong?

baer & kennedy Looking Askance

If you learned anything from the first episode of the new series, Hunting Hitler: The Final Evidence, it’s that the search from the first two seasons was off-base and out-of-country.

Yep, instead of South America, Bob Baer and his crackerjack team start looking back at the old Fuhrerbunker to see if they missed something.

Sure enough, they did.

It now appears that Hitler left his Berlin hole in the wall two weeks before the purported suicide—and Einsenhower even had such reports secretly delivered.

Baer is now wearing glasses (not sure if it’s attitude or real glass), all the better to find clues on his big computer screen. And, he ditched UN Researcher John Cincech, who is now demoted to the Tracking Oswald show. So, the ‘yes, man’ is now replaced with a ‘yes, woman.’

Her name is nothing that matters:  Nada Bakos, some kind of CIA profiler who tells Bob he is right every time.

The team now figures Hitler went south with the snowbirds and discover he had a 3-mile island of tunnels under his hometown hideaway. Leave it to Tim Kennedy to go through mucky holes and dive into heavy water U-boats.

And Gerrard Williams challenges the fashion police by continuing to wear an untied ascot.

Baer is using the same supercomputer that helped his track down Oswald’s movements, and they do have some quite intriguing discoveries along the way. The result appears to be the same: Hitler escaped and gave the world the air.

We love this stuff, but continue to be a bit uneasy that the Fourth Reich was, and is, still out there.

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.

Hunting Hitler: Season Three Preview

DATELINE: Historical Adventures Continue

 hitler logo

Back again, Bob Baer starts off his final, third season of the true fate of Adolph Hitler with a special episode. Hunting Hitler is another jewel in the crown of detective mystery reality shows.

History Channel apparently cannot get enough of Baer. So, he has re-assembled his team of Tim Kennedy, Gerrard Williams, Mike Simpson, and John Cencich, many of whom have been trying to find Lee Harvey Oswald over the past few weeks on another series.

This time Baer is presenting an anatomy of a manhunt. In other words, he is providing an opportunity to catch up, or recall, what happened over the past two seasons. If you are new to the chase, it is a quick overview of the successes of the series. This time he allows his team to have some of the limelight.

Baer calls his technique ‘asset mapping’ and once again tells us that his CIA background will make him more successful as a privateer than a half-dozen government agencies that have failed to deliver the goods.

The methods of the series are pure detective 101, but give us proven results. The team has found how Hitler fled the bunker before the Russians arrived—and perhaps faked Hitler’s death, or perhaps a few others too.

With help from Franco of Spain and Peron of Argentina, Nazis were able to re-create their homeland with impunity.

We presume the trail is not cold yet after 70 years—as aging children of witnesses give testimony to their parents’ dubious behaviors.

All this is fascinating, and even if it is bunk from the bunker; it is mind-boggling history revised. The series begins in earnest next week, and we’ll be there. It’s right after we deal with pirates on Oak Island.

Baer Finds His Goldlocks in Oswald

DATELINE:  Tracking Oswald

oswald Can there be more to him?

Former CIA investigator Bob Baer was back on History Channel with updates on his Kennedy Assassination theories. Updating his shows, Baer offers us JFK Declassified: Tracking Oswald.

Last year History Channel unceremoniously dumped the series after two episodes and never offered a word of explanation. Now, with the release of the remainder of the secret files on the Kennedy Assassination, History has decided to update and re-release Baer’s now-affirmed mini-series in six episodes.

Baer prefers a cold case that is not too hot and not too cold, but somewhere in between. His Goldilocks is Lee Harvey Oswald, the man who slept in every political bed.

With the recent release of documents under seal for 50 years, Baer called in his anonymous and unseen friends who were former CIA and FBI agents to annotate the discrete files that seem unrelated with new evidence. They find more treasure than you might dig up at Oak Island.

He neatly tied together that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone. Of course, the bottom line is that Oswald remains the prime suspect, now hints coming forth that he was trained in Louisiana in improved shooting techniques by his friends from Cuba.

Baer suggests that rogue elements of the CIA may have used pro-communists to advance their anti-communist agenda. Oswald neatly fits into both camps as some kind of bizarre double agent, or double patsy.

Though Baer comes across as a CIA apologist on the order of Gerald Posner, he has been lumping the agency into the mix of rogue enablers. His complete assessment is welcome, for that reason alone. The miniseries is worth more than a cursory reconsideration.

Oak Island Confounds and Taunts Its Treasure Hunters

DATELINE:  Season 5 Puzzles

affluenza sufferer  Move over, Greed

History buffs had a night to confound and impress with the latest fifth season episodes of The Curse of Oak Island.

Every wild theory found more evidence for its support and together all the most shocking hints combined to create a true treasure trove.

Oh, there were the usual dead ends:  finding a large square of earth that hinted at a treasure chest was immediately set upon by the hunters—only to reveal a big hole with nothing in it. The conclusion of the treasure seekers was that something was there once, but had been dug up and removed back in the distant past. They suggest it was black American expatriate Sam Ball who died in 1846 after becoming wealthy.

Adding to the general weirdness was another historian who revealed that Sir Francis Drake might be buried on Oak Island in a metal coffin filled with preservative mercury. The remains of the privateer of the first Queen Elizabeth has never been found. Might the metal pieces discovered belong to his casket?

On top of that, so to speak, is the shoe leather, later revealed through microscopic examination to be bookbinding. Did Drake’s close associate, Francis Bacon, bury secret and unknown Shakespearean manuscripts on Oak Island? That too is now in play.

Two distinct and separate human bones discovered at 160 feet below the ground in the same place were from two different men: one European—and one from the Middle East, according to DNA.  Middle Eastern body parts suggest Knights Templar and the long lost Ark of the Covenant—and perhaps other relics of the New Testament, which would alter history.

All these weird details hint at a treasure trove of unmitigated mystery coming closer to solution and discovery.

This leaves greedy sorts who want only gold of the Aztecs on the periphery of the treasure hunt.

Of course, everything is in shards and tatters, perhaps destroyed by hunting techniques that have left them unprotected two hundred feet below the surface.

We shall see if history is about to be upended.

Fincher’s Movie Zodiac in Contrast to History TV

DATELINE:  Docudrama Versus Reality TV

 Fincher style Gyllenhaal & Downey Play Detectives

The new series on History inspired us to go back to 2007 and see what David Fincher did in his big budget, all-star movie called Zodiac.

Suffice it to say, there is some overlap: and the series claims to have discovered an earlier killing by Zodiac at UCLA that was shown ten years earlier in the Fincher film version.

Of course, Fincher uses poetic license to personalize victims and their final conversations; we have no idea what was really said, but his version is fairly likely.

The movie uses big stars in rotating coverage: the newspaper cynical reporter is Robert Downey, Jr., who calls Zodiac a latent homosexual—and then fears for his life that he will be a target.

Mark Ruffalo is the San Francisco detective in full 1960s fashion mode, and quite amusing. Brian Cox steals every scene playing flamboyant attorney Melvin Belli.

The most important character is Jake Gyllenhaal’s Chronicle cartoonist who is an amateur sleuth and is equal to the trivia that Zodiac was fond of using. He notes that Richard Connell story, “Most Dangerous Game” that Zodiac admires—but the movie never did its homework. The story was a short story, not a book.

You may well wonder at the enormous stupidity of everyone at the newspaper, passing around evidence and ruining fingerprints, etc., with nary a thought. And you may wonder why a cartoonist is at the high-level meetings. Described as a “retard” and “Boy Scout,” throughout the film, Gyllenhaal looks like he is auditioning for his next role as a gay cowboy.

If you haven’t had your fill of demented serial killers (called mass murderer in the movie), then you might want to annotate the TV series with a first-rate movie.

Hunting for Zodiac Killer: History (s1) for Openers

DATELINE: Armchair Detectives

 zodiac killer Purported Zodiac Killer

Whether you’re hunting for Hitler or cursing Oak Island, you know you must have clicked onto the streaming History channel.

Their first season of Hunt for the Zodiac Killer delivers exactly what you come to expect from the cable TV’s pop history purveyors. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you like your reality stars always self-congratulating each other for their brilliant detective skills.

If The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer sounds like one of those fake news documentaries, you probably would be right. Yet, it is a cold case and being insoluable should not mean it is not ripe for re-examination.

Fifty years after the legendary1960s serial murderer unofficially killed 37 innocent people and left a calling card of cryptological taunts with a unbreakable code, the network has assembled a reality show with a formula that can’t miss entertaining fans of psycho monsters running amok.

These researchers give Zodiac his due—and find even more victims to offer History Channel and history buffs.

When you put two retired homicide detectives in the field doing legwork like Sam spade and Philip Marlowe, then match them with a couple of cryptographical scientists and nerds with computers, you stir deliberately.

You have suddenly a fascinating show.

The gum shoes and the nerds play ping-pong with the clues. We keep telling ourselves that a supercomputer that has been programmed to think and act like a serial killer is not a good idea.

We keep wondering when the computer will turn into the Forbin Project supercomputer  or HAL from 2001. Then again, the Zodiac maniac seems even brighter than Carmel, the computerized serial killer finder.

Before you know it, you may be hooked on the revelations. Several police departments refused to cooperate, at their own peril. They look like impediments to the crime solving.

By turning the zodiac killer into a mad genius, the show has a winning formula – and a frightening one.

 

Among the Missing on Oak Island

 DATELINE:  Treasure Near?

Oak Island treasure?

 

If anyone is missing around Episode 6 during this new season of Curse of Oak Island, we would become alarmed. You might not see your “favorite” treasure hunters. This week we looked in vain for Dan Blankenship, Alex Lagina, and even Gary Drayton, our Australian metal detective. They are not present.

We did not expect to find the leader of the show, Rick Lagina, calling in sick. Described as a man who had not visited a doctor in 50 years, he came down with some mysterious illness. Heaven forefend that it reminded us of the Curse of King Tut taking down Lord Carnarvon.

Marty Lagina was suitably distraught that his brother did not show up at the dig site for an important event. It appeared he was suffering egregiously from headache and a variety of issues, related to a bull’s eye rash on his back.

You guessed it: the outdoorsman who spends most of his time traipsing through the Nova Scotian woods on Oak Island seemed to be bitten by a lyme disease tick.

Under medication and forbidden to expose himself to sunlight, he was notably absent. However, he returned under medication to reveal the first step of testing to odd objects located at 165 feet into the latest dig spot:  they have found human bone that belonged to two, count’em, two different people.

As one bone still had skin and hair attached, it is hoped that DNA will reveal a great deal about who and when.

Additional instruments from another scientist indicated that they were near some strange place where book parchment, yes, old leather, like on a Shakespearean manuscript has been located.

 

 

 

 

Galapagos Affair: 1930s Murder Mystery

DATELINE:  Add a Fake Baroness to a Gilligan’s Island Scenario

 Galapagos Affair

Dora & Dr. Ritter, suspects or victims?

When the film uses the tag: “Darwin meets Hitchcock…,” we are totally hooked instantly. Yes, this is a true 1930s murder mystery that would shock Hercule Poirot and confound Sherlock Holmes.

In 1929, Floreanana, Galapagos, was an uninhabited island where B. Traven, Greta Garbo, and J.D. Salinger would have been happy. A German doctor, Friedrich Ritter and his lover Dore Strauch settled there 60 miles from another human being. This is what Herman Melville called the Enchanted Islands, but where ancient tortoises put a curse on visitors.

Within a few years the island was colonized by a middle-class German family named Wittner—and then a colorful woman who called herself a Baroness Eloise von Wagner with her “two husbands.” She claimed imperiously that she planned to build a hotel on the island for American millionaires—which did not go over well with the other four adult residents. No one owned any of it, but the territorial governor gave the Baroness miles of prime land for her project.

When these people took up life in the Edenic locale, they went slightly mad (or likely were already). This documentary uses extraordinary footage—and the brilliant voice-over of Cate Blanchett—to show how the alleged Baroness chose to become queen of her domain, to the point of killing anyone who trespassed on her personal paradise.

She even made a ridiculous movie on location in 1934, which gives this documentary some wildly odd footage of all involved.

With the unwieldy title of The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden, you have a startling and hypnotic documentary about lunacy in the world that Charles Darwin found a pristine lab of genetic development.

Newspaper headlines and docu-footage make this film a marvel of truth and sensational history. Who killed whom?  Everyone has a theory, but the Baroness and one husband disappeared, another husband met a foul end, and Dr. Ritter seems to have been poisoned.

Within a few years the original group was cut down by 2/3 by suspicious deaths. Who done it?  We defy you to figure it out from this marvelous documentary.

What Gives on Oak Island?

 DATELINE: Yo-ho-ho and a Bottle of Rum

avast there, matey! 

Actor Robert Newton as Your Standard Pirate in Treasure Island

Curse of Oak Island began to tantalize in strange and mysterious ways in the fifth episode of the fifth season.

If something has to give eventually, and secrets are the least valuable something buried by someone, we are about to have an epiphany this season.

Our favorite Australian metal seeker used one of his most powerful tools to uncover a 17th century spike on an odd stretch of beach on the island: the consensus concluded that it was used on a wharf or docking platform on the clear stretch of shore. By whom and why, we do not yet know.

Though hampered by dangerous equipment failure previously, the new safety measures allowed resumption of deep digging. White-gloved in a library dig, Alex Lagina and Charles Barkhouse dug into historical documents that indicated a different direction of the early tunnel system—which caused modifications in the dredging scheme.

The upshot of the search on this week’s show was that something significant was coming up from depths unheard of in previous searches.

At nearly 200 feet, pieces of pottery or porcelain was found. Though they joked it was a smashed teapot, the fact puzzled archeologist Niven who placed it, off-hand, in late 1700s—somewhat before the earliest treasure hunts.

Further compounding the importance of discoveries, pieces of something dense was located: presumed to be human bone at 165 feet. It is a rather deep plot for a burial. If you consider the old myths of putting a dead man with a buried treasure, you may have an imaginative conclusion that defies fanciful.

Can it be that our long, impatient process may yield something to sate greed and curiosity both?

Okay, we are more hooked than ever on our vicarious, armchair treasure hunt.

 

 

 

Directed by John Ford, Updated

DATELINE:  America’s Master Director

Johns Wayne & Ford

Johns Wayne & Ford

A documentary on the career of American film master John Ford really came about shortly before he died in 1971. A few years ago, Turner Classic Movies produced an update with newer interviews to go along with the original insights into Hollywood contrarian Ford.

This is one of those documentaries that will send you scurrying to watch the classics of the past: Directed by John Ford.

The result is to bring back Peter Bogdanovich decades later, with other modern masters like Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorcese, and Steven Spielberg, noting the importance of Ford to history.

The original narrator was Orson Welles—and his voiceovers continue with some amusing anecdotes added by Bogdanovich.

The heart of the film is always the clips of an endless 140-movie filmography of sheer brilliance, legendarily American.

We could fill the page with notable titles to remind you of what you have missed or should see again. If John Wayne, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda, are not enough, you might also ask Maureen O’Hara, another staple of his movie stock company of actors.

Use of musical motifs transcend his films whether set in Ireland or the Old West. His panoramas and vistas show invariably minor characters against the progression of history. And, Ford covered it all: from Revolutionary War, Old West, to World War II, as settings.

His films have composition that give peace and still-life of painting with deep emotional wallops. Color movies only gave his canvas more depth, but black and white looks documentarian.

Spielberg, among others, give more than cursory interviews. You have here insights into what challenge there was working with a genius of the first order: the belligerent, irascible curmudgeon who was John Ford.

New Book of Movie & TV Reviews

 “A compendium of enormous balderdash and overwrought and underthought insights!”

Mal Tempo, Long Time Ago book consultant

                                                    kindleredcarpet

If you enjoy Ossurworld’s movie and television reviews, with their unique and odd insights into what’s really happening in your favorite movies, then you are in luck! 

Red Carpet Tickets: Movie & TV Reviews collects the best of the blog reports in one place for easy access and reading.

The books is available for smarter readers, both in e-book and print formats, from Amazon.

If you want the perfect time-killer, Red Carpet Tickets is your ticket to ride. 

Ossurworld’s blogs on movies (& TV streams) select only films that you can and should devote time to watching. Bad films are rarely considered for examination. Bloated budgets, ridiculous acting, and skimpy budgets, will not hurt a film’s chances if something intelligent is presented. Ossurworld will let you know.

You can find Ossurworld’s new book online by simply clicking on this blue highlight!

Red Carpet Tickets: Movie & TV Reviews.  (This blog is a self-serving, commercial, and otherwise blatant attempt to win your appreciation of our mini-labors of Hercules.)