In Search of …Zachary Quinto

 DATELINE:   Call him Zak, not Spock.

Zak “I am not Spock.”

Leave it to History Channel to take a clever idea and run with it.

The old Leonard Nimoy series about oddities in the world has been revived. There is new wine in old bottles. In Search of…  is back! Its first episode is called, “Aliens.”

Leonard Nimoy had won fame in the 1970s as Spock on Star Trek, so History went to the next generation: they have beamed up Zachary Quinto, the new Spock of Star Trek, to be narrator of the newly minted series. He will be far more hands-on and in person.

If you recall, Nimoy kept his face out of the old shows: relying on his marvelous voice. This new host will be in the picture.

For the first act of the first season: aliens.

Quinto is the executive producer of the series, which means he likely wanted to do interviews and try out various stunts. In the first show he goes to the top of a satellite dish and later is suspended by wires to parallel floating up into a spaceship.

Great stuff, but what hooked us were the interviews. The first man named Kyle claimed he was abducted by aliens since childhood.

Given a polygraph, he failed: he apologized, but this is not something you see. However, we were not impressed with this inarticulate and ungrammatical person. Why would aliens take him as an example of the human race?

The second person was a chemist with an implant he removed from his foot. He claimed it was made out of a meteorite, but testing was inconclusive. This also made the show a tad different shade of your usual ancient aliens on History Channel.

We’ll be back to see Zak, as he introduced himself to various people.

 

 

 

 

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Tesla Files: 1.2 in Colorado Springs

DATELINE: Tireless Wireless

 camera shy Eby    Camera Shy Drew Eby

The Tesla Files continue with a second episode trying to locate dozens of lost trunks of experiments and notes. One expert has already questioned the show’s veracity, as the stuff was supposedly taken from Nikola Tesla’s storage facility upon his death in 1943 by agents unknown.

Dr. Travis Taylor, beau hunk of academia, and star of other cable adventure shows, including Ancient Aliens, exerts his formidable ginger presence and scholarly credentials to dominate this series.

Few of us with doctorates have a website with adoring fans, effusing over a ten-year old photo. Indeed, we are noted for posting a picture with our head in a bag with an eye hole. We won’t be hosting any History Channel documentaries. Our former students are loath to watch or to listen to our pontifications.

Taylor surrounds his investigation with fellow boyish assistants who look like former students. At least one, Drew Eby, will likely give Alex Lagina a run for hot supporting character in a limited series. As the show’s Vanna White, he pushes electrical buttons and lets the charge rip.

A secondary journalist/investigator goes to a local museum to learn that Tesla’s possessions went up for auction in 1906 for failure to pay his electric bill. Talk about poetic justice.

Upon locating a copper ball that allegedly sent out vibrations to ancient aliens, he discovers it likely is not genuine. It’s the stock-in-trade of shows like this: whet your appetite and feed you to the critics.

Meanwhile, we are intrigued with leaked material from unnamed sources, and name-dropping of Trump connections.

There are many colorized pictures of young Tesla, which may be worth the price of historical History Channel viewing.

We will continue to watch the series and wireless experiments on our wireless smartphone, to keep in the spirit of Tesla.

Tesla Files: Missing in Action

DATELINE:  Death Rays & Shocking Details

Tesla & sparks Tesla Enjoys a Good Book!

Brought to you by the producers of Ancient Aliens, History Channel has jumped onto the hot topic of Nikola Tesla, soon to be subject of a docudrama with Nicholas Hoult and Benedict Cumberbatch (Current Wars), and endless stand-alone documentaries.

The series Tesla Files uses a formula near and dear to fans of History adventures: they team up some mesomorphic men who like to go hop-scotching across the globe on quests that would delight your average ten-year old boy.

Indeed, never a girl is seen among the researchers, hangers-on, or production forces. So be it here.

The series starts off with a bang: Tesla claimed to have 80 trunks of research material in storage at the time of his death. The US government catalogued only 30, and the Tesla Museum in Serbia claims to have 60 (nearly everything by their tabulation). Jumping to conclusions, they ask: “Who stole the trunks?”

Indeed, the American researchers are indignant at the cavalier treatment of the Serbian museum director who dismisses them as amateurs and refuses to show them even signatures for verification. It couldn’t be more delightful to deepen their suspicions and mystery.

As you might expect, the Freedom of Information Act has allowed the American government to lie over the years, The researchers believe in a particle beam or death ray invented by Tesla, but serious scholars dismiss it as legend.

One of the highlights of the first episode is the revelation that President Trump’s uncle John Trump was the main investigator at the death of Tesla—and catalogued the files in his safe to reveal there was “nothing of…value.” So much for the purported Death Ray or Particle Beam he claimed to invent.

The show’s hosts want to fall all over themselves to announce that mendacity seems to be a family trait of the Trumps.

Tesla, a naturalized American citizen, was treated as an alien whose property was seized in 1943 by the government; an illegal action.

The series whets enough appetite for cover-ups, crimes against humanity, experimenting with Tesla’s inventions, and top secrets, that future episodes can run on the “electrifying” and “shocking” fumes of the inventor’s life.

You have to love a show that can use the word “electrifying” both literally and figuratively.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God Squad Code

DATELINE:  The Bible Tells Us So…

god code Not Recommended!

History Channel has added another pilot for a series, using the usual formula, this time seeking the Ark of the Covenant through a Bible code. It is called God Code, just to be different.

You may have seen a half-dozen documentaries over the years about some rabbis who discovered this code in the Torah. These were secret predictive messages found by counting an equidistant number of letters on a grid of quotes from the Bible.

Now a man with no discernible credentials or degrees has written a book and called the Bible code by a revised name, God Code. He ignores the recognition of past discoveries and leaves the impression he is the first one to learn about the hidden codes.

His name is Timothy Smith, which is about as far as you can get from rabbinical scholars. Oh, his brother is a cryptographer and his family owned a construction business that worked for presidents and senators. He never states he is a freemason.

Well, he keeps wanting a perfect and early version of the Torah to make sure his bon mot predictions are mostly accurate. He starts by connecting one quote to the date of “September 11, 2001,” though the Bible attributes the terror to a Nazi organization (small matter, error ignored).

Smith wants the original text, and learns it is hidden in the Ark of the Covenant, and the text tells him where it is. So, the show takes us to Israel where he learns that the Dead Sea Scrolls are unreliable, and the actual Temple of Solomon is not where everyone thinks.

Not to disappoint conspiracy theorists, he blames the ubiquitous freemasons for not being forthcoming about what they know. He even visits an abandoned Masonic Lodge in Brooklyn for proof they know something. Hunh?

He brings along a Jewish guy to help him with cultural morays in Jerusalem, but this is strictly a goyim operation.

If you expect to find the Ark in the pilot, you are not a student of History Channel. Smith wants a series and will drop a code per week on those of us who stick with his cockamamie search.

Reputable scholars are avoiding him. This is another anti-intellectual show where non-experts know all. Smith even suggests he is on a par with Sir Isaac Newton, but actually is smarter because he cracked the code.

If you want cracks, we can provide them if this crap-shoot becomes a new series.

 

 

Coast-to-Coast Empire: Men Who Built America

Nathan Stevens as Kit   Nathan Stevens as Kit Carson

DATELINE:  On the American Frontier

The final installment of the History Channel epic in four parts, The Men Who Built America: Frontiersmen, satisfied on all fronts.

With an opening focus on the death of Davy Crockett in Texas, we found his arch-enemy, Andrew Jackson, had no use for the frontier hero in life, but certainly discovered his use in death. The annexation of Texas was another piece in the Jackson destiny for America.

However, his term was up—and his handpicked successor in politics was James K. Polk. He would finish the job by appointing another politically savvy man with ambition, John C. Fremont, to find a way to the Pacific through Oregon. Fremont needed someone in the ilk of Boone and Crockett to achieve his end: he found another in a line of homicidal wild men in the person of the pipsqueak Kit Carson.

Standing a shade over 5 feet tall, he was a dangerous and brave overage juvenile delinquent. You couldn’t ask for a man better suited to open up the pristine empire of America for settlers, a family friend of Daniel Boone.

Given over to Carson’s astounding abilities and achievements, the show rests heavily on the shoulders of another young actor, Nathan Stevens, who acquits himself mostly with a face that speaks volumes.

If the series has any stirring quality, it is the discovery of two new faces—Robert I. Mesa as Tecumseh, and now in the final episode, of Nathan Stevens as Kit Carson. They make the stories of myth and courage compelling adventure tales.

Illiterate and monosyllabic, Kit Carson was a man made for opening an empire. Though Polk wanted Fremont to galvanize the Americans living in California to revolt against Mexico, he was a tad too early: nature would take its course within a few years with the Gold Rush.

Nothing better suits American destiny than the clamoring crowds looking for a get-rich scheme.

Whether its accuracy is total or not, the series provides an entertaining and unvarnished look at American pioneer spirit.

Civil War Gold: In Plain Wrapper

DATELINE:  History Channel’s Lack of Glitter

Those amateur gold diggers are still trying to impress Marty Lagina, no easy mark when it comes to wheedling his money out of his winery, on Curse of the Civil War Gold. The hapless hunters of the new series insist that Jeff Davis’s stash of gold was stolen and dumped in Lake Michigan.

Now, if only someone would believe them!

The latest episode, number 3, is called “In Plain Sight,” but nothing is obvious, except the lack of logic in the entire gold hunt operation.

Leader Dykstra never really tells us where his ideas come from: just old research. So, it’s hard to know why he is so convinced that there is a tunnel under a street connecting two banks, or why he mistrusts a 19th century Michigan philanthropist, accusing him of money-laundering, receiving stolen goods, and deceiving everyone.

When Mr. Dykstra gathers his amateur crew to take down a foundation wall under the old bank where he contends the gold was hidden, it nearly falls on them. Talk about idiocy. Marty Lagina has a moral obligation to either give them money, or have them locked up.

Oh, there was no evidence in the bank vault—and it didn’t belong to Al Capone either. Those who don’t remember Geraldo Rivera are doomed to repeat history.

We enjoyed Marty Lagina saying that the new cast reminds him of his own Oak Island searches. The big difference is that they are broke, and he has a gold business in grapes. Yep, Marty already has his millions and seems unwilling to cough up the moolah for these alleged researchers.

Of course, the old standby comes into play: yes, it’s those pesky Masons who have taken the Confederate gold, and left all kinds of symbols in the town architecture for treasure hunters where they hid the gold. These guys find a giant X right in the center of town.

We are exasperated with blaming the Masons for everything from Oak Island to ancient aliens. If our great Uncle John was still with us, we’d put his 33rd degree Masonic feet to the fire to see what he knew about this stuff.

Frontiersmen of America, Episode 2

 DATELINE: Never Surrender

 Robert I. Mesa   Robert I. Mesa as Tecumseh

History Channel and Leonardo DiCaprio present the second documentary in the series, Men Who Built America: The Frontiersman.

This time, they take two storylines and entangle them for their parallels: Tecumseh (played by hottie Robert I. Mesa) starts off as a young man whose tribe is wiped out largely by smallpox, brought on by the American settlers flowing into the Ohio and Indiana territories after the Revolution.

The twin sides of the story feature Meriwether Lewis and William Clark being saved by their guide Sacajawea, who meets a long-lost brother and intervenes on behalf of her friends. Jefferson’s plan to have a peaceful settlement soon meets the reality of the greed of American settlers.

On the other hand, Tecumseh’s brother is a visionary who helps the Native American bring together tribes into a united nation. To that end, Tecumseh creates Prophetsville, a symbol of Pan-Indian unification.

The stories diverge from there. Lewis ended up committing suicide and Tecumseh’s village is wiped out in a genocidal attack by Tippecanoe Harrison himself, who parlayed the vile sneak attack into political capitol.

Tecumseh never trusted the British who tried to curry his favor, but the Americans were worse, convinced of their destiny to drive out the natives to settle the land from coast to coast.

The episode manages to bring the highs and lows of American roots into one trail, both of tears and joy. You cannot blame Tecumseh for wanting revenge whose power was enhanced the the New Madrid earthquakes—and an alliance with the British in 1812.

Yet, Tecumseh knew the quality of mercy is never strained. He wanted a diplomatic settlement to the war.

 

 

One Last Gasp from Oak Island for Season 5

DATELINE: Not Exactly a Cliff-hanger

pexels-photo-220994.jpeg Nothing here

Lacking the sonorous tones of Robert Clotworthy as narrator, another “clone” ersatz episode of The Curse of Oak Island came out of the ever-greedy History Channel.

A summary show about Digging Deeper had little of importance to add to the hunt, which is over for this season, but did not let series producers stop them from adding another hour of rehash and recap to the proceedings.

Their cheerleader is the same overactive and overeager puppy that has won the Lagina hearts over the past few years as the in-house and resident documentary interviewer. There’s nothing like having your own toady throw cream-puff questions to you and your friends. It sounds rehearsed because it is.

He is not part of the field crew, and never shows up for anything except to serve as a public relations tool. When Marty Lagina showed him an important “archeological find” that he was unable to explain during the slow season past because of “time constraints,” the host interviewer accepted the shocking information with cheery obtuseness.

He was literally dropped into a cordoned-off and filled-in shaft that may go back to the original digging in 1795. Why was this deemed too unimportant for the regular season incidents?

Where was the on-site expert, Laird somebody, the government forced upon the Lagina brothers? How did they find this and why did he not offer any insights? And why did they not continue to excavate the spot that first inspired treasure hunters?

This serious bit of history was shunted aside with red tape.

You won’t find answers here in this addendum episode. This clown narrator/interviewer declines to press on whether there will be an explanation ever.

You know that it is the insurance policy for another season.

It’s called a “teaser” in show business for those disgruntled fans who feel like they have been strung along for another year.

Steely Resolve on Oak Island

DATELINE:  Not Rock Bottom

oak-island

As we finish up one of the longest seasons of the five in the can on Curse of Oak Island, there is a sense again that we’re going nowhere fast.

However, more flooding in shafts and tunnels shows the doom of history repeating itself. Once again, a search effort has been thwarted by the lesson of the past: booby trap is thy name. This time the discovery seems to transcend all previous searches.

The Oak Island Lagina Brothers have found a steel plate 70-feet below the surface, preventing their dig.

Who put an iron cap over whatever is below, and why?

We suspect that the Knights Templar were indeed time travelers if they were able to create such engineering marvels on an obscure little island off the coast of Nova Scotia 800 years ago.

There can only be one more dive into the murky silt of the latest hole to find out what kind of steel plating is making a ceiling or a floor over history.

The latest episode also put forth the theory that the Templar gang was smuggling gold out of Europe under the disguise of a lead coating. If that holds true too, then metallurgy was alive and well in the time of Medieval knights. Gary Drayton, Oak Island’s resident metal detective, has his work cut out.

We can likely predict that any treasure or notable discovery of earth-shattering quality will require steel-shattering resolve. Another episode will follow, but we suspect we are going to be back here next season, probably in November, to hear the results of another summer of searching.

Another Day of Infamy in American School and Media

DATELINE:  Your Regular Massacre

Michigan J. Frog

The United States is now run by a bunch of singing and dancing toads.

While the History channel chose to show a series of violent TV episodes on Al Capone and gangsters like Bonnie & Clyde to celebrate Valentine’s Day, in Florida a real Valentine’s Day Massacre was going on in a Florida school.

Good call, History Channel. Set the tone for all of America.

In the real world, 17 students were killed by a gunman who once was expelled at the school for bad behavior. He learned his lesson, didn’t he?

President Lamebrain Trump offered empty prayers on Twitter, but lost interest when he found out the shooter was not an illegal immigrant.

Congressman Seth Moulton called on the President to get off his “fat ass” and do something about guns.

Donald  Trump, Jr., attacked a gay Olympic athlete for wanting to postpone meeting Vice President Mike Pence who advocates killing all gay people.

In Boston at an alleged sports news radio station, whose call letters are WEEI, but should be WDUMB, plan to have a day of sensitivity training for their yahoo staff of idiots.

This is the alleged sports news station that advocates attacking Tom Brady’s five-year-old daughter with insults, and offers Charlie Chan racial imitations of Tom Brady’s Asian lawyer.

This loathsome band of semi-talented buffoons typifies Boston sports, which typifies American politics, which likely spurred the Red Sox this week to call for action against the radio station.

Sponsors and advertisers are leaving in droves. On-air personalities are claiming they will be fired if ratings lag and are forced to act like fools for money.

Welcome to America in 2018. Happy Valentine’s Day.

 

 

Finding Hitler Series Pays Dividends

DATELINE: Hunting Hitler, S3 e8

 mengele  Josef/ Jose Mengele, circa 1955

Hunting Hitler: The Final Evidence on History Channel continues to amaze us with its discoveries.

Though Hitler is the primary subject, they have decided to seek out ancillary figures, like Dr. Josef Mengele. Though the Angel of Death of the concentration camps escaped, his exact travels have never been substantiated till now. The show’s researchers find a marriage registration from 1958.

Tracing Nazis through living witnesses is impressive. One old man recalled Mengele staying with his family—and his mother warning him to avoid the “dangerous” man.

Combining jungle terrain marches with thumbing through archive documents is no easy match on adventure reality shows like this, but the series manages to do both with aplomb.

You still have the needless overtures of Bob Baer in his Los Angeles headquarters, allegedly giving orders, but it is the likes of Mike Simpson, Tim Kennedy, and Gerrard Williams, who do the leg work and find the results.

On the verge of ending their season, they may well be on to the estate in Paraguay where Hitler might have spent his last years.

The series has used slightly off-kilter searches (from nuclear weapons’ heavy water to airbases in Argentina) to spark the hunt, yet they all have a pay-off. It is astounding that the United States government appeared to know about the rumors, but did little about it.

The show does not explain how difficult it might have been to kidnap Adolph Eichmann out of German communities in South America, but you can see the powerful hidden Reich that was in place for decades after the fall of the Nazis in Germany.

 

 

Buried: Templars &/or Holy Grail

DATELINE: Friday, Oct. 13, 1307, D-Day

buried 

What? Another search-for-treasure reality show from History Channel?

Yes, indeed, but this one Buried: Knights Templar and the Holy Grail uses the formula of former military adventurers on a hunt for secrets to better effect than most.

If the show sounds like bad Monty Python, don’t be fooled. It’s far more fact-based than History’s series Knightfall, another show that’s no slouch at entertainment.

This miniseries of four hours promises a look at the Knights Templar and their technological prowess.

Since they figure big on shows like Curse of Oak Island, a condensed historical look at them is valuable. They purportedly had the relics known as the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail, among other historical treasures. How they may have hidden them and where is the subject of many conspiracy/reality shows in recent years.

So, it is refreshing to have an examination of who they were, where they went, and how they ended up in big trouble.

The approach for this series is that the Knights Templar were like special forces and a government army belonging to no government.

We have heard the stories that they were almost wiped out and turned into other secret groups like the Freemasons, the Rosicrucians, or the Illuminati. It may be possible, as they had great technical skill and tons of money back in Medieval times. Their tunnels, fortifications, and routes of subterfuge, are traced with LiDar and other technological marvels for the first time.

Even hardened archeologists are grateful for the expensive and free help the show provides by looking below the surface with ground penetrating radar tools.

The Templar Knights were monk warriors and great adventurers. They were also slightly crackpot in their obsession to protect the great relics of Christianity. They were destroyed for being heretics and falling off the Christian way by the Pope and a couple of French kings who had them all executed to gain control of the gold cache and miraculous relics.

The Templar leaders took their secrets to the grave when the end came on Friday the 13th. Or maybe they headed over to Oak Island. The series leaves open a chance to go in that direction– if ratings make for another season .

 

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.

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.

 

Curse of Oak Island: Season 5, Starting Gun

DATELINE: On the Money

oak island

Our cruel skepticism has been dumped on its head into the Nova Scotian Bay of Fundy. The Curse of Oak Island is back–and better than ever.

As Season Five opens with the death of young Drake Tester, off Oak Island of some unfair seizure, the pall of mortality hangs on everyone—from 94-year-old Dan Blankenship to the younger generation of treasure hunters. Young men of good character are not supposed to die before old, cynical adventurers.

Yet, this season on the show, there is finally something tangible and within grasp. We are still left with anguish over the enterprise that boasted a seventh person had to die to solve Oak Island’s mystery. The Lagina brothers never expected the youngest of their treasure hunters would be the one.

In the meantime, safety went to the forefront with the notion of sending a diver down 170 feet into a small shaft. With the bends and hypothermia likely dangers, the diver nearly exceeded his safety limits. It made for dramatic reality television, but also made obvious how the obsession for treasure is dangerous.

Metallurgist Gary Drayton, Australian expert, found another artifact that could be as much as 400 years old on an island no inhabited back then—making this season compelling television viewing.

The two-hour premiere seemed to be the most professional in the history of the search. This gives the quest some highly charged foreshadows.  However, at the end of the night, as it has for all their efforts, technology fails for reasons unknown. Call it a curse.

Whatever Oak Island is hiding, it has a deep and abiding reluctance to reveal itself to the nosy eyes of the camera—or to the adventuresome spirit of a team of adult “boys” as they call themselves.

We won’t miss an episode.