Part Two of Nessie, In Search Of…

DATELINE: Sticking Your Neck Out?

 No Pencil Neck Geeks!

 All wrong, Nessie!

When you have a good one, you beat that horse to death—again. Or, in this case, that Nessie. In Search of…continues its highly impressive probe into the depths of an idyllic loch of Scotland.

Again, Zachary Quinto is around as a narrator, but does no visit to the site.

However, there is now no doubt after the second part that this may be the best, most revealing documentary ever made on the Loch Ness Monster. In fact, the careful building of a profile, in an FBI mode, turns out to show the creature does not have a long neck and may have gills, accounting for so few sightings.

On top of that, they find a similar creature washed up on an island near Scotland in 1808—around the time a canal was built alongside a shallow riverway leading to the Loch. This means the creature had now a highway to follow salmon into the loch.

A scientist disproves the notion that this monster has a neck that can break the surface: it may be more akin to a sturgeon or shark in shape.

It means the migratory pattern of going from Sweden to Scotland is enhanced. It also indicates the creature’s cyclical appearances mean it is not thee annually but may come with a decade lapse.

They have visited the loch in a good year—and armed with new information, go under the frigid surface, 150 feet below to meet up fleetingly with something.

If you are curious or are a Nessie fan, there can be no more heavenly dive than Quinto’s two-part show.

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Cooke: Lady You Just Shot Me!

DATELINE: Why Was Sam Cooke Killed?

 You Still Send Me!

How long ago it was! Sam Cooke was a budding, all-American giant of music, but even more amazing, he was the boy next door who was African-American. The film is Lady You Shot Me!, a frightful documentary about the life and death of Sam.

He was murdered, executed, or shot under mysterious circumstances. A religious gospel singer, it seemed unfathomable back than that Cooke was in a “seedy” motel room with some street-walker.

Of course, we know nowadays this may be more often the norm. Yet, with Sam Cooke it seemed improbable. He was lumped in with Muhammad Ali and Martin Luther King as the three titans of Civil Rights.

You probably never hear much about Sam because his music is owned by Allen Klein and his associates: and some theorize they had something to do with stealing his profits and doing him in. Klein died in 2009, but he and his followers have stopped many a documentary about Sam from being made without their control.

So, this latest is also one without the most compelling part of Cook’s legacy: you will not hear his music. It isn’t allowed. He wrote “Wonderful Life,” ironically enough, “Cupid,” “You Send Me,” and “Another Saturday Night,” another delightful ditty about being alone. Now you seldom hear his music.

And you certainly don’t often hear the horror and tragedy of what happened to this talent. An inquest quickly dispatched his death, ruling justifiable homicide to a motel manager who shot naked man who had no weapon. She testified in dark glasses and had no attorney. She didn’t need one; the fix was in.

A few of his nephews contribute to the storyline—and also have done what they could to keep Klein’s company out of their lives. The documentary consults noted coroner and lawyer Cyril Wecht who examines the evidence but cannot sign on to a conspiracy of murder.

However, there are enough legal mumbo-jumbo moves by Allen Klein to take over Cooke’s music estate and run with all the profits to think he, at least, took advantage of an untimely death. Of course, it’s not the first time that an uppity black man was put down.

Fair or not, it is a strong backbone to the story of a man killed fifty years ago in a senseless action in Los Angeles. It was more than black America’s loss, it was the loss of a generation of music he would have created for everyone.

In Search of Nessie, Part One!

DATELINE: Zachary Quinto & Loch Ness

The return of Zachary Quinto’s series In Search Of... is a welcome sight!

With spectacular new photographs of the Loch Ness and with an assembly of rare and remarkable historical documentary footage, you could have in a two-parter, the most thorough and entertaining investigation yet. In Search of..is back with even better production values.

There is the colorful background provided for a full report: over 1400 years ago, it was thought to be a dragon—which certainly transformed the artistic depictions and sent them in a popular direction.

If there is a drawback to the episode, it is that Zachary Quinto is seen standing in front of a screen image of the Scotland territory. He did not make the trip. Unlike the previous episodes that put him central to the action, he is here merely a voice-over with an occasional image.

That logistical concern may be overlooked when it comes to careful assessment of evidence and no-holds punches that we have come to expect in the series. Alas, part of the charm of the show is seeing Quinto on location, actually interviewing people who appear.

One new piece of info features a similar creature in a Swedish cold-water lake, which is reachable by the North Sea from Scotland. Their histories and descriptions are identical. The Loch Ness monster may well be a migratory fish or some sort.

Ending the first part is the theory that a 30-foot Atlantic or Baluga Sturgeon may be an armored version of Nessie.

Truer than Truth: Shakespeare

DATELINE: Who is the Bard?

Shake-Vere?

Once again, a list of notable Shakespearean actors (Derek Jacobi among them) takes on the question of whether William Shakespeare was the man he claimed to be.

The film is called Nothing is Truer than Truth.

One theory continues to be pushed: Shakespeare was a pseudonym for Edward de Vere, a foppish bisexual Elizabethan favorite.

How could a country bumpkin who never left England write 40 plays about royal courts in Venice, Rome, and Greece? How could a man who did not have access to the greatest libraries of English nobility have done his research? As usual, the likelihood of genius never enters the equation. Even a genius needs a little knowledge (unless he is psychic).

One man fits the bill Shake-speare quite well. Edward de Vere.

With the use of mostly American experts, the documentary takes on a decidedly different tone than most of the British interpretations of the Shakespeare controversy.

Indeed, this approach takes De Vere on his travels to Venice, Palermo, Cyprus, and Milan, all spots with highly personal character references in the Shakespeare plays. De Vere met with Cervantes and Titian, and details about these men were not in libraries or generally known in England: but they appear in Shakespeare’s wortks.

So, the ultimate connection is whether Shakespeare and De Vere knew each other—had a literary and personal relationship that might account for the authorship being joint.

So many incidents are based on problems in De Vere’s life: from an unfaithful wife—to his odd bisexual hints in characters. His travels gave him insights into poison poured into a king’s ear and a noble with a younger male whispering in his ear.

De Vere had the attention of Queen Elizabeth (whom some hint) was a man in drag. He had married badly into the Lord Cecil family, but it didn’t stop him from burning through the equivalent of a million dollars in a year.

This excellent film ends asking us whether we have praised the wrong man for 400 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ancient Aliens: Second Half 14thSeason

 Rock Carving or UFO?

 

DATELINE: Stardate, 14.15

Coming back after a short hiatus, the Ancient Aliens series picks up by giving another of its regular cast members a vacation trip.

This time it is William (Don’t Call Me Bill) Henry, stalwart reporter, who takes time to visit Italy during a glorious summertime trip.

We don’t know if he saw Naples, took in Rome, or went on a paddle down the streets of Venice, but he surely examined Turin in depth.

Who knew it was a hotspot of extraterrestrial history, superseding even the Romans and the Etruscans?

The ostensible opening gambit is ley lines, those straight lines points around the globe that seem to indicate some deeper power of magnetism or mineral-laden waters. There is a line going directly from Ireland to Italy, and you don’t have to join Ancestry.com to find it.

You might cry out, “Macaroni,” but the series is claiming that the Italian Alps are the embassies of the UFO visitors. The other comment to raise your eyebrow is that conjunctivitis is caused by radiation.

In any respect, the Mt. Musine area near Turin is highly active. The show notes how important Turin is in history and economic terms without ever mentioning the Shroud of Turin.

This was the place where Emperor Constantine saw something in the sky that converted him and his men to Christianity, making this one of the earliest UFO encounters on record. There’s more: Turin is a smorgasbord of activity, ranging from stone carving and geoglyphs to dragon stories, fiery chariots, missing time abductees, and UFO chases by the Italian Air Force.

It seems there may be underground bases here along the Italian Alps: skiers are hereby warned.

Chasing but not Chaste Michael Jackson!

DATELINE: Defensive Defense

 No More, Please!!!

A documentary to defend Michael Jackson against child molestation charges proves to be highly defensive in itself.

Chasing Michael Jackson is an odd bird, and not because the dead subject is a dodo bird who cannot defend himself, but because we can’t really figure out what the real motive is. Yes, there are some extremely close friends and relatives of Jackson who participate to discredit his accusers.

It is hard to know where the “journalist” behind this film comes from: he insists in his on-camera and extensive interviews that he is digging for the truth. He also takes great pains to discredit one “victim” for claiming he was molested in a part of the Jackson estate that was not built until three years after. Pictures prove that point, but never explain the other possible reasons for the discrepancy. We do hear charges that the victim is a perjurer who swore Jackson never touched him a decade earlier at trial.

One of the other key personalities is Mark Lester, the former child star (from Oliver!) and friend of Jackson as a contemporary. He too claims the victim and family were greedy and vindictive. Lester never mentions that he has since claimed to be the sperm donor for one, or more, of Jackson’s children.

The documentary takes aim at the “Me Too” movement, walking a tightrope about victim rights while trampling on selected victims.

One thing is right: this is all about money. Everyone is on the gravy train, cashing in on Jackson long after his premature death.

 

 

 

Studio 54: Celebrity Watchers

DATELINE: Time Capsule to Disco World

 Roy Cohn with Schrager & Rubell

For less than three years, a couple of Brooklyn entrepreneurs managed to create and to put on a 1970s theatrical experience called a disco club. It was Studio 54, on the heels of downbeat Watergate. Dance and music was where and when diversity became a fad lifestyle of Manhattan life.

Now a documentary gives us a horror story wrapped in glitterati and cheap sequins.

Studio 54, as a documentary, is a fairy tale with a sledgehammer of social cautions and moral outrage.

Steve Rubell was the more recognizable name: and his partner in business was Ian Schrager. After researching gay, black, traditional nightclubs, they decided to make a dilapidated old CBS studio where Captain Kangarooonce romped, into the disco generation’s celebrity baptismal.

Studio 54 was the place where you found throngs and mobs of stunning beautiful young men: Cartloads more than you might ever suspect could be found in a swarm.

Glitz and chintz made a spot for beauty and money to become a lifestyle passport. In six-weeks they put on a show where a balcony gave patrons with lorgnettes a chance to ogle Warhol, Jagger, Paul Newman, Sinatra, Liz, Liza, Liberace, Cher, Cary, Bianca, Truman, Halston, Barishnikov, Michael Jackson, and every name of the era in one hopped-up setting.

You put the best-looking man out front as the doorman, and you watched a happening happen.

Director Matt Tyrnauer puts together a Zeitgeist film to capture spirit, energy, and history, as a spot where glamour had its last stand. Movie stars, musician superstars, and ordinary beauty, cavorted together with freaks to pulsating lights, music, and—gulp, drugs.

There were floor shows like Las Vegas fantasies with performers who transcended their roles with the patrons.

It was America’s Fall of the Roman Empire: the god-awful punishment awaited, pestilence and plague on all your houses: AIDS. Rubell was the epitome of the age, a gay man in massive denial about his identity and living out his suicidal excesses until the roof caved in. He went in the first wave of incurable and shunned AIDS victims of the late 1980s.

His partner’s father was one of Meyer Lansky’s mouthpieces, though Ian Schrager knew nothing about it.

As if a fall from grace was ever possible without some satanic majesty, one of the biggest frequenters and closet queens of the age, the evil Roy Cohn became the attorney for the club (and later for Donald Trump). It underscores the tale and takes it into the realm of hallucinogenic socio-political shock. No liquor license? Arrested? Schrager and Rubell called Cohn.

Downfalls are good for the soul and bad for the soulless.

 

 

 

World’s “Best” Commercials?

DATELINE: From Wine to Cigarettes

‘Swedish’ lady sells coffee!

We now interrupt your viewing pleasure for a word from many, many sponsors from the alleged Golden Age of Advertising. For you more historically-minded, but young readers, that’s apparently the 1960s when this documentary collection of old black and white commercials dominated the airwaves.

The World’s Best Commercials is a misnomer at best. It was surely the Era of Advertising.

Your favorite TV show or movie was at the mercy of two or three minutes of sales pitches with a curve ball—or maybe that’s a screwball.

Yes, you may have the mad impulse to turn the channel, but you are facing 90 minutes of unrelenting, idiotic, culturally-altering advertisements, often lasting a minute in length. You will see rare cigarette and wine commercials, complete with marching cigarettes (after all, LS/MFT).

Attention spans were greater back then, or sponsors fewer.

In any respect, you will shock your sensibilities to learn about the Swing-Ding in which kids give themselves a self-propelled concussion with a tie-on toy. You wil meet again the “Swedish” Mrs. Olson who hucksters Folger’s coffee. You will learn that Miami is a hotspot as America’s Riviera.

And, without any organizing principle, or narrator, you simply sit back and are hit repeatedly with an endless barrage of products, many that are now gone (we think) or evolved into something else. We saw Baggies in three sizes. They were all the suburban rage back then, when you could pour silver dollars into them—and they would not rip or shred.

Several times we were moved to get up and go to the bathroom.

This compendium has nothing to do with quality, but likely what was readily available to the producers of this collection. Were we the only masochists who would force this stuff upon ourselves? If you are a student of sociology, marketing, or sociological marketing history, this film will thrill you.

This stuff is campy and may have even been humorous in its day.

You clearly see what was on the minds of the people controlling the purse-strings in those days:  suburban Mom. Kids, husbands, pets, all were at her whim to purchase or allow such items into the home. If you want to know who the big powers of the era were, this little ad ditties will tell you.

Pay TV reportedly was to end this blight on America’s vast wasteland of free TV.

A Tale of Two Titanic Survivors

DATELINE: Never Told Story?

Emilio Portaluppi.    &     Charles Joughlin

One of the segments of the recent TV series UnXplained featured the mysterious survival story of Charles Joughlin, the chief baker on the Titanic. It went so far as to suggest that supernatural forces were at work when it came to this man’s miraculous escape from death.

The story of Joughlin was made famous, or infamous, on the movie A Night to Rememberwhen notable character actor George Rose played him for comic relief. When he discovered the ship was sinking, baker Joughlin started drinking heavily and was totally drunk as the ship went under.

He spent his last minutes aboard ship, in his chef’s white smock, throwing objects into the ocean for those in the cold water to hold as buoyant rafts. He himself went into the frigid waters that killed people after ten minutes. Only he did not die.

After a short time in the North Atlantic among chunks of ice, he was pulled aboard the lifeboat of Officer Lighttoller and lived.

How miraculous was that?

Not quite as amazing as the story of Emilio Portaluppi, a second-class passenger who lived in Milford, New Hampshire, and worked there as a stonemason. He too was tossed into the ocean as Titanic sank, and he too survived being in the frigid waters that killed so many so quickly. Yet, his story has not really been told.

What’s the difference?

Perhaps, the key ingredient was nationality: Joughlin could readily speak to journalists and told a tale that bemused even other survivors. Portaluppi was an Italian immigrant who moved to Milford, New Hampshire, likely spoke poor English and returned to a small New England town and lived unobtrusively for years. No movie character ever depicted his intriguing story.

Joughlin was older by eight years, and he was in his mid-30s, married with two children, when he was chief baker on the White Star Lines. Portaluppi had no listed famiy in America. In fact, he was on a holiday in Italy to see his parents when he booked passage on Titanic in France to return to America.

Both men lived years after Titanic became folklore, but Joughlin was British and managed to find his tale in Walter Lord’s famous book, A Night to Remember.Portaluppi, by that time, had left New Hampshire to work in Brooklyn for a contracting company. Though Joughlin died in the 1950s, Portaluppi lived until 1974—and was available to talk to anyone interested in Titanic.

Apparently, he never did. The few news stories about him seem to offer details and dismissive skepticism. He said he was in the water for about two to four hours, and he floated among dead bodies until a rescue vessel came by after dawn and found him. He was one of four still alive in the waters. This superseded Joughlin by many hours!

How did Portaluppi survive the hypothermia? There are no tales of his drunkenness being the root cause. The officer who led the rescue claimed he never spoke to those whom he saved, and they never spoke to him even after being fished out of the water. No thanks, and no explanations. One could presume they were half-dead, in shock, and perhaps Portaluppi knew little enough English.

Thus, Portaluppi’s tale was truly supernatural, but for over fifty years, he lived quietly, even as films were made and TV specials passed him by. Perhaps he blacked out and did not recall what happened. Perhaps he suffered from post-traumatic syndrome and never wanted to discuss it. He went into a kind of seclusion usually afforded New Yorkers like Greta Garbo. He was in the biggest metropolis of media for 35 years, and when he died, his body was sent to Italy for burial.

You mean no journalist found a story here worth telling?

Patrick Swayze Remembered!

DATELINE: Gone 10 Years!

 I am Patrick Swayze!

Has the Dirty Dancing Ghost star been gone for ten years?

The documentary put together by those who loved him (wife, brother, costars, friends, agents) is powerful its use of one word: “heart.” It seems to crop up regularly from a variety of people. He had it and he gave it.

The film description said he “challenged Hollywood’s notion of masculinity,” which perplexed us, as he seemed instead to epitomize it. He could play a cowboy, a dancer, a roadhouse thug, in action films where he did his own stunts. He was vibrant, and only handsome incidentally. He was an athlete or a ballet dancer, and from that root came everything else. This is one of a series of biographical films, this called I am Patrick Swayze.

His mother was the ultimate stage mother: she ran a Texas ballet school, and it was obvious Patrick Swayze would be part of that world. Knee reconstruction from football injuries put him in pain whenever he did those roles thereafter.

He did not want to be a teen idol, though his roller blading was stunning, and his dirty dancing made him internationally famous.

Friends talk of his soul of a poet, how well-rounded in arts he was. Rob Lowe and C. Thomas Howell were teammates, rivals, and friends, from the Coppola movie The Outsiders. He costars noted he was mild and dynamic at the same time.

We always found him watchable and curious about what he might do: sometimes he took on roles that did not interest everyone, but he was his own man in that regard. Then, he was sick with pancreatic cancer and gone abruptly. It now appears to be a grave injustice of the universe to take away a person who epitomized life.

He wanted to prove there was life beyond being a sex symbol, which led him to do sky-diving stunts in Point Break and brutal fight scenes. He was not wanted for one of his great roles, in Ghost.The director had to be convinced, but Patrick Swayze always convinced anyone who put his attentions on.

Like the proverbial meteor, he came, shined by in the firmament, and went away. Like many others, after seeing this film of his life, we miss him too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ancient Aliens Ends Part One Season

 Nick Pope

DATELINE:  Going Nuclear!

A month from now another seasonal series of episodes will rejoin the History Channel. This may be the most amazing extra-terrestrial act of the entire series history: it manages to break one season into two. Ancient Alienswill be out of commission for a month or so.

That being dismissed, the last of the shows before a month-long hiatus took an interesting opportunity to bring together some usually unidentified witnesses to notorious incidents of the 1960s This is “The Nuclear Agenda,” about how UFOs proliferated after atom bombs and military facilities became common.

Almost immediately, a rash of green orbs (UfOs) covered the skies.

The show sought out the old-timers who can bear witness. Now a bunch of aging, former military men, officers like Robert Salas, told of their experience at a military base when UFOs shut down a dozen nuclear missile silos.

This tale has been often recounted, but never did witnesses have a chance to show up personally to tell their tale: Giorgio Tsoukalos had the golden interview with the officer of one of these experiences: and even went out to a historical site, preserved in time as the base where the incident occurred.

You are able to wander around the site, look at the missile silo, and even go into a bunker deep within where a control center was manned by the officer. It is all enhanced by having the participant note that he had not been back here in years—and even the smell of the place came back to him. Utterly brilliant stuff.

The story is that a giant red orb showed up at the front gate in 1967—and guards were in a panic, calling the command center where they suddenly realized that some tremendous power was taking control of the missiles. They were all on independent systems and should not have been treated like ducks in a row.

The officers were later forced to sign non-disclosure documents that kept them silent for 30 years—but now they had no fears about talking. And, there were other incidents. Nick Pope, one of the former British defense people at another of these bases under UFO attack, claimed that the UFOs were mapping every nuclear base arsenal over decades.

Why they would need so much time to do this may be a fly in the ointment.

Yet, the theory is that the nuclear weapons may have dangers that go outside the realms of this dimension—and splitting atoms may cause problems in other places in an inter-connected universe. Thus, aliens must stop these pesky humans from destroying—not merely themselves—but other civilizations in other dimensions.

It is a wild theory, but not beyond para-physics—as our knowledge of the worlds and dimensions around us seem less than nil.

The show then tied in Pakistani nuclear explosions discovered in 1922 that likely happened tens of thousands of years ago, wiping out a city where bodies were calcified in attitudes of death when discovered in the 20thcentury. The show went on to suggest either there were previous civilizations in the world with nuclear weapons, or aliens came here to fight their battles in prehistorical times. The concepts are not new, but were given full attention in the show that raises serious issues that cannot be dismissed, yet pop culture also exudes its own nuclear wipeout quality.

 

 

 

 

 

UnXplained Ends Too Soon?

 DATELINE:  Shatner Show Sort of Ends…

 Survivor Mysteries!

For the first batch of the UnXplained series, Shatner hosted a bunch of tales of survival and unusual, perhaps supernatural, abilities that caused people to overcome the worst odds. Now, the most extraordinary of these survival oments came when a commercial interrupted the series, and William Shatner himself promised us that the series is not done, after all, and will return “soon.”

Such a threat actually became a delight.

The series brought its limited run to another intriguing close with an episode that again brought disparate episodes into a kind of cohesive pattern.

We saw a six-year old boy, lost in wilderness, who walked 18 miles overnight to find a road to safety. He felt something was following him: coyotes, or something else. How he chose to make the right turns is something inexplicable all right. But he did it.

One of the hosts ofAncient Aliens recounted his boyhood experience, also unusual, when time stood still and he was able to rescue a 13-year old friend from going over a waterfall to certain death.

Another tale, close to our heart and chilling to our personal experience, related to a Titanic survivor, one of the bakers, whose story is often recounted in movies as an episode that many would call fictionalized. The wonderful scenes are from A Night to Remember!

Yet, the baker who was soused, inebriated, managed to survive in below freezing water for two hours when most others who fell into the Atlantic died, of hypothermia, in ten minutes.How did it happen? Why? No one can explain.

There was the tale of the man whose parachute did not open, and he fell three mile—defying all physical laws to end up with a broken spine (that also miraculously healed) and he was able to walk away from what should have been sure death.

And, one of the other tales told a weird, extra-sensory experience about a British woman, Clare Henry, whose avoidance of a foggy car crash that should have killed her was owed to a casual friend who had recently died in a car crash.

Yes, that friend was Princess Diana who appeared before Clare and directed her to pull off the road before she would have been killed in multi-car pileup.

 

The moments gathered together all featured some rising above physical laws and physics to areas of puzzling survival. There are hints of guardian angels and directive spirits, protective forces, and other dimensions, yet as some of the experts note:  these things have not been studied by science enough to figure out if there are forces in the universe that transcend our world.

 

Yes, we want old bill Shatner’s show to return.

 

 

 

 

 

Shatner Show Tackles Remote Viewing

DATELINE: Brain on the Download

  

If irony lives, it is in the form of William Shatner hosting, forty years after Leonard Nimoy, a TV series about the unexplainable. It’s called inexplicably, The Un-Xplained.

In this week’s intriguing episode, Shatner asks about the capability of the human mind, and one of the concepts is “remote viewing,” or what we may have called the medium’s channel: séance.

Science has christened séance as a purely scientific endeavor, not paranormal.

Taking it out of the supernatural realm, the notion of remote views tells us that the mind—and gifted people—can see other places, other times, and collect data that is both historical and futuristic. We are aboard, Captain Kirk. Let’s go where no man has gone before.

We have been postulating the theory that we are not reincarnations of trans-dimensional beings, but that trans-dimensional beings channel us to see the world they once knew and receive updates on the human condition. It is one step beyond being a zoo specimen for those of us who are the orbs of another world.

Among the brain issues examined during this intriguing hour episode, we discover acquired savant syndrome—in which a man received a bump on the head, soon becoming a concert pianist without ever showing interest previously.

Remote viewing was shown to work in solving crimes by Los Angeles police, and used by the Pentagon first during the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979. It was a means to identify people and their treatment while in captivity. Nothing was drawn to parallel séance—except to note that remote views have occurred in certain individuals for thousands of years, giving them an ability to see what happened at great distances at greater times. Soothsaying by another name?

Quickly moving toward the concept of downloading brain information, the show glossed over moral issues and whether a computer version of your brain would have consciousness.

Indeed, there seemed to be an opinion that the brain was wired to outside forces, like an Internet of the universe, tied to wormholes and other dimensions.

We have pondered whether remote viewing is a two-way street. Can the conscious entities of the past (trans-dimensionals) be looking at the world through us.Are we the channel for them?

Perhaps they see us as a spirit orb in their dimension, just the way we see them here and now.

 

 

 

 

Astrology Over Astronomy for Ancient Aliens

DATELINE: Return to Oak Island

   Crossover Taylor!

It’s Labor Day weekend, and Ancient Aliens is about to wrap Season 14 with its 13thepisode on how a “Constellation Code,” may prove that aliens gave secret information to humans through messages in the stars. This also is another misleading episode, differing from  the one advertised for showing all week.

For several weeks Ancient Aliens has engaged in some bait-and-switch tactics when it comes to keeping the contents of the new release private. Again this week, the episode is not what they claimed it would be:  why? The series may be more secretive than the National Security Council of the Trump Administration.

Well, if Ancient Alien theorists are to be believed, our academic intelligentsia is about as dumb as the rocks they cannot turn over. Though many scientists debunk the fortune-telling that comes from reading the stars to predict the future, Ancient Aliens revels in it.

Now, they say the mirror effect that puts star constellations as part petroglyph buildings and monuments is proof that aliens gave early culture a heads up about who they were and where they came from: two places seem to be the most frequently copied on earth as ground-level star maps—and these could be the origins of alien life that seeded earth.

They even trot out Travis Taylor’s visit earlier this year to Oak Island (featuring the Lagina brothers) where he showed how the island is actually a place with key stones aligned that are stars in the heavens. What does it all mean? Why is this evident? He has no idea.

Robert Clotworthy’s voice-over is on familiar ground this week. He almost seems to be doing a promo for the upcoming season of Curse of Oak Island.

Giorgio visits Italy to look at monuments that again seem to indicate constellations in the night sky. The only reason for this, the theorists insist, is to show that ancient people knew their gods were actually space creatures. They even go one step beyond this twilight zone to say 90% of people know their zodiac sign, more proof that the message “we are not alone” is writ big in the sky.

Every Act of Life: Terrence McNally

DATELINE: Surviving Show Business

 Terry McNally & Eddie Albee back when….

In all my connections to Broadway writers, Terrence McNally never came up much.

Now James Kirkwood would talk about everyone in show biz! We gossiped about them all. Yet, there is no memory of him mentioning McNally.

Oh, they knew of each other: gay writers winning friends in great theater. Kirkwood certainly knew Edward Albee who was McNally’s first important boyfriend, but McNally may have been too openly gay for Jim Kirkwood. It’s the only conclusion to make.

Every Act of Lifeis a documentary on the life of McNally who worked with every actor imaginable since the death of Jim Kirkwood in 1989, and that may be the survival of your reputation in show business. Richard Thomas, Nathan Lane, Rita Moreno, F. Murray Abraham, Angela Lansbury, all share memories of their careers and personal ties to McNally and his funny and varied plays.

All Jim’s closest actor friends, like Sal Mineo, are long gone. One young writer once said to me: “Wow, I didn’t think any of Kirkwood’s friends were still alive.”

McNally survived, though people like Robert Drivas, his tempestuous and exotic actor boyfriend after Albee, died of AIDS in 1985 in the first wave of notable show business deaths. Drivas was a closet case, and yet it was open and flamboyant McNally who still lives nearly forty years later.

There is no accounting for survival, but you have to admire it when it shows up at your door. The film on the life of McNally is likely a tonic and a fizz for gay people who need superior role models. If you die too soon, you can’t be much of a mentor. If Jim Kirkwood were here, I might say you should never have told me to write your autobiography and play coy about your gay life. Yet, he did.

McNally, had I known him, would never have said such a thing, but those plays and characters never quite grabbed like Jim Kirkwood’s creations.

Oh, it’s too late now to do much about it, but we can celebrate the life of Terrence McNally, albeit a tad on the late side.

 

Dr. William Russo wrote Riding James Kirkwood’s Pony, available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.