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.

History Channel Loses It Again with Amelia Earhart

DATELINE:  Much Interesting Evidence Remains

boyish Earhart

The hue and cry has begun that the History Channel’s latest documentary is a fraud. Alas, Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence has much to recommend it—and one glaring issue.

A linchpin photo, said to be of Earhart and Fred Noonan, captured by the Japanese, may be of the two pilots in an earlier time, according to researchers. Not fake, but misleading.

History Channel is vacillating, of course.

They have produced another of those series in the Bob Baer mode, with Shawn Henry, a flak from the FBI who jumps to conclusions faster than you can say “Russian connection.”

Among the best features of the one-episode documentary are the collection of film clips of Earhart, charming and charismatic. Even 80 years after her death, you can see why she remains fascinating. And, we are spared an endless series of investigations over hours.

Yet, the investigation is quick to blame conspiracy, rather than negligence and incompetence of the United States forces. She sent the number 281 as a radio message, which the US search teams presumed meant miles, not latitudes.

Interviews with witnesses, including one 90-year old woman who clarifies the mistaken story of decades that she saw Earhart executed, set the record straight.

However in shows like this, one incorrect fact can doom the quality. And, strange details, like missing bones once thought to be hers, add to the mystery.

Shawn Henry, host and investigator, is quick to jump on the most sensational conclusion when the moderate one strengthens his case.

Should you skip it as another unreliable History Channel dubious documentary? Certainly not. We hung on its intriguing evidence.

Shot Down by History Channel

DATELINE:  Disinvited and Unvisited

Not faked

Just two weeks after airing the first episodes of their series JFK Declassified, the reprehensible History channel has pulled the show. It’s the ultimate political shell game.

That essentially means it has gone into hiatus limbo.

Though the show was mercilessly criticized for a variety of reasons, not the least was dubious history, and most often cited as having the most egomaniacal host, Bob Baer, the show has gone, disappeared like the gunman on the grassy knoll.

Okay, okay, we were in that chorus of boohoo despisers of the fake news that the CIA is feeding us fifty years after the death of the murdered president.

Yet, there is something unseemly about the way this has been handled.

History has killed the show leaving four unaired episodes. When they will appear may be as certain as the trajectory of a magic bullet.

They could show up in a month, or a year. Or never.

Leave to History to shaft their viewers. A few may have enjoyed seeing another theory, no matter how half-baked or made to order to exonerate the CIA.  Now, they will not have any satisfaction.

Perhaps it is better to be infuriated and disappointed than to have nothing. It is an appalling mistreatment of the audience and viewers of that cable lightweight, History.

Single handedly they have gone for broke on destroying anything legitimately resembling documentary.

If you want to know who killed Cock Robin, or even JFK, you might look to the people who have killed history for a profit. They run the History channel.