Ancient Aliens Between Rock & Hard Place

DATELINE:  Geo Giorgio! 

Ramy  Ramy!

Episode 13.5 of Ancient Aliens dealt with 10,000 year old geoglyphs, or large (we mean big) desert drawings.

You thought the Nazcar lines were the ultimate, but they are merely the tip of the rock berg. With satellite photos now mapping the world in detail, you can find these no-longer unique stones all around the world from South America to the United States to the Middle East.

Iraqi walls extend from Syria to Saudi Arabia, hundreds of geometric shapes made 10,000 years ago. There are 400 at last count, but the onerous narrator intones that this is “astonishing” not moments after mentioning that some of these are about 10,000 years old. Ancient Aliens always has its cake and its plenty too.

The big geoglyphs are king-size versions of petroglyphs, swirling designs on smaller boulders. They now are finding even more of these creations by using HD cameras.

Of course, one of the over-excitable guests insists these were made by ancient alien civilizations to alert us of an important connection. Apparently, they could not leave the message on a CD.

They locate one design called the Cosmic Egg, which may be a code like semaphore. Those giant aliens felt we needed simple, cartoon-like messages or we may miss the message.

Ancient Aliens also points out that there is a rocky parrot design on the surface of Mars, matching a particular dirty bird on Earth in 17 points.

This week’s heart throb is Ramy Romany, who makes Giorgio look like Rocky the Flying Squirrel.

 

World’s Most Extraordinary Residences?

DATELINE:  Homeward Bound

 Piers & Caroline Your Presenters!

A house is not a home.

If you trust Netflix’s tasteful British hosts of the series The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes, you might think ostentation is often mistaken for beauty, but money is never mistaken for misspent.

This is another in a series of series about how people spend money to create their “dream home.” With two charming and informative British hosts, Caroline Quentin, billed as an actress and property enthusiast (whatever that is), and Piers Taylor, billed as an architect, you have a Netflix-produced TV show.

These unexpected and unusual hosts are called “presenters,” like award ceremony walk-on hosts. They are more like your odd-ball, gallivanting aunt and uncle.

We liked them almost as much as the outre residences they take in—or that takes them in. However, after seeing the homes, we wonder what our hosts really think. Well, it beats staying at a Motel 6.

Caroline and Piers are not cookie-cutter TV stars, but are middle-aged, dumpy, and are thoroughly intelligent and fun. They have a great job: traveling around the world together and staying in unusual, secluded, weird, and extraordinary homes people have built as getaway camps and exile retreats, which used to be called a hole in the wall by western outlaws.

Our presenters seem to like every style and every quirk. They don’t always ask pertinent questions, like where do you get the electricity in a secluded mountain house that is only accessible by cable car? They do ask, “How much was spent to build these vanity projects?” but are nice about it.

Why quibble? The settings for the houses they visit are usually breath-taking and delightful, even if the houses are giant barns of ugly eccentricity. When you have money to burn, you can build anything, even a pyramid. History has taught us that much.

They praise owners for building houses out of jet airplane wings, or for anchoring some hideous creation to a mountainside, or for making a mammoth tree-house that is garish, if not woolly.

It’s billed as a “limited” series, and indeed there are no plans for them to continue their travels, which is a shame, but how much opulence can you take when you visit a home that looks like the physical representation of insanity.

It’s entertainment via romper rooms.

Civil War Gold De-Railed

 

Drayton

DATELINE:  More Gary Drayton Please!

In the second episode of The Curse of Civil War Gold, we learn what it’s like to conduct a treasure hunt on the cheap in a show called “Right on Track.” Not even the narrative voice of Robert Clotworthy can save this mess.

Because Marty Lagina has not come through with funding, the alleged treasure hunters continue their amateur hour shenanigans. We presume Marty will cough up some bucks or this show will not be on much longer, or would not be on TV at all.

This series is apparently an exercise in what happens when people over-extend their reach. Without trust in real experts, these hunters make bonehead decisions—and seem to be lucky beyond belief. It’s anti-intellectualism in America writ big.

Of course, maybe the unwashed public loves this kind of fraud: High school teachers gone amok, and President Trump gone bonkers.

Kevin Dykstra is the leader with his brother, in a blatant imitation of the Lagina brothers, and he assembles a group of family and friends to excavate a beach along Lake Michigan in a truly ridiculous effort. Without real knowledge or safety, they begin digging in the sand. Most nitwits know this is a recipe for disaster. Dykstra’s minions cannot overcome the leakage into the pits they dig.

Information tells them that the stolen steam engine from 1869 is buried there, derailed after unloading Confederate gold into the lake. It may be feasible, but with plans like those excavation ideas, no one will find much of anything.

In the meantime, kingpin Marty Lagina sits in his palace with a checkbook, demanding more proof. If you love this kind of thing, you may be in your element.

A new style of colorized Civil War photos starts to look like comic book illustrations, also used recently on the Oak Island series. We are in familiar territory here. We doubt that can stretch this into a five-year plan, but History Channel works in mysterious ways.

We still say, give Gary Drayton, metal detective, his own show.

Tom Brady’s End Game

DATELINE:  End of the Time Bomb

smashing mirror

A month later, Tom Brady scraps his final TV episode to surge into a new phase of life: he makes a blitzkrieg of appearances on New York live TV interviews.

After discarding the previously filmed episode of Tom Versus Time which had Tom winning the Super Bowl, the Chopra re-telling has been re-mixed for a re-do.

It seems everyone was a tad overly optimistic, like treasure hunters on Oak Island.

Episode 6 in the saga of the oldest MVP quarterback in NFL history is more than the remains of the day. However, Tom is playing it like the last scene of Sunset Boulevard, ready for his closeup.

Everything is fine, if you don’t confuse Tom with Tom of Finland. They have the same interest in big men, but from different perspectives.

Let the parsing begin.

The bittersweet final episode of the sixpart series called modestly Tom Versus Time was short and bitter. You can slice it up any way you want, but it looks like Tom is considering whether he still has convictions to prove in football.

One of the first calls he receives is not from his wife that from Gronk. Perhaps they are both contemplating retirement to the WWE. Perhaps, too, we might see them his buddies in an action adventure movie. Tom is ready made for the movies and has already appeared in one of those Ted puppet movies with Gronk.

As for the finished series, Tom has suddenly taken to making appearances to plug the video audition tape. He chugged a beer with Stephen Colbert on late night. And he appeared on the Good Morning America show with show biz producer-partner Michael Strahan.

He and Gronk shared a laugh about Danny Amendola, which shows how close Tom and his tight end are. Within 24 hours Amendola was gone in free agency to the Dolphins, where Wes Welker began.

Gronk and Tom may want to go out in retirement, hand-in-hand, on to the Hall of Fame together. Or, maybe they will play one more season together.

Brady admits he’s closer to the end than to the beginning. This episode was a re-do because he really thought he would win another Super Bowl, which would’ve greased the skids into retirement.

 

Tom asks in the show: why are we doing this? He has no answer. All through the series, he has been sophomorically philosophical. He also admits that losing one’s conviction means you should look for another job.

 

Is Tom looking for another job? His wife, Gisele Bündchen, clearly admits the past two years have been difficult. She wants him to spend more time with the family. And, she holds all the cards—and all the money too.

Penultimate Digging, Season 5 on Oak Island

DATELINE:  Coming Down to the Finish

 fake ruby  fake ruby?

A twelve-facet ruby that could be half-a-millenium old? Is it part of the long-lost jewels of Marie Antoinette, decapitated queen of old France? Robert Clothworthy’s voice remains so memorable from Curse of Oak Island as narrator.

Under poor conditions with no historical value, it might render only a pittance of $20,000, but with the allure of Oak Island and a queen’s ransom, the sky is the limit.

However, carbon dating of wood objects now seems to eliminate the Templars as the originators of the building process.  No one wanted to go there among the show’s hunters.

Well, that would be enough to satisfy a season of tedium. Thanks again to Gary Drayton, the Australian metal detective, with his uncanny ability to look in unlikely places for unlikely treasures, the series Curse of Oak Island rendered up more mystery as the fifth season draw to a close.

Other events include finding wood structures buried near the beach that 94-year old Dan Blankenship excavated forty years ago to no avail. Is it part of a French or Spanish galleon? Again, we are left holding our collective breaths.

The series may be reaping its rewards at long last with the arrival of a diver to find out what kind of metal plate is covering what kind of chamber nearly 80 feet below the surface in the area of mysterious vaults.

We don’t seem anywhere near losing another treasure hunter in the process of excavation, which may mean we are facing a long winter of the waiting game yet again.

Marty Lagina has been notoriously absent for many important moments this season, and now it becomes clear that he has moved on to another treasure hunt—and a new series to start on the heels of this season’s cliff-hanger. Yes, we will be lured into the trap of hunting for Civil War gold under Lake Michigan and won’t have time to think about what’s still missing on Oak Island.

 

 

 

 

 

Not Springtime for Hitler

 DATELINE:  Ultimately Superb

 hitler & edward

Unlike other History Channel series, the Hunting Hitler: Final Evidence show has gone by quickly and been chock full of suspense and intrigue on a cold-case 70 years old.

The cast of detectives are perfectly off-kilter types that find witnesses too that might be casting gems, if they were not real. We came to appreciate the various duos when they cross-teamed to do their specialty.

We bid adieu to the third season with this episode, presuming it will return to dig up bones where and when necessary.

You know it’s the end of this segment of shows when Bob Baer, host and orchestra leader, leaves his high-rise Los Angeles comfy office to take credit on the big picture. He wants to go to the FBI with his team’s findings.

We would have thought INTER-POL a more apt choice, but former CIA operative Baer goes where the ratings lead him. And he goes alone, because he is the only ‘I” in team. To top it off, he goes to a retired FBI agent. Hunh?

The findings of the show were distressing: uncovering Hitler’s microfilm will in Chile, a concentration-style camp under Pinochet run by escaped Nazis, and remote fortifications in Paraguay.

Baer thinks they were planning a Fourth Reich, but more likely they were hiding, like cowards, from execution in empty luxury at mountainous hideaways.

Next season, if it comes, will hunt for Hitler’s bones.

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

Oak Island, Season Five Continues…

DATELINE: More Delays on Oak Island, S5 e12

march of time news

You know you are becoming a hardened veteran of the series Curse of Oak Island when you expect nothing to occur and your frustration level to be enhanced.

We could dispute every decision made by the Lagina brothers as being a tactic to string out the series for another lucrative episode, not in terms of treasure, but in terms of ratings. We presume the delaying strategy is part of the way to enhance ratings by keeping us in suspense and willing to tune in again next time for another chapter.

Once again Rick Lagina brought his fascinating cross to an “expert” researcher. This one, some woman on the phone, tells him that it is Phoenician and from 1200 BC. It’s not Christian, which seems to eliminate the Templars. Even Rick Lagina realizes this bad news in terms of a big payoff.

Told he has the find of the century, Rick Lagina still has not brought the physical object to a real expert. So much for clarifications.

Also, their boring drilling remains boring drilling. This time, however, they hit some oddly-placed hard surface that started breaking the teeth of their bore machine. It takes quite a while to decide to send a camera down to see what the matter is.

Wait till next week on that point.

They also go to the swamp on the Nolan property, now having permission after five years, to find another surveyor post that indicates the swamp was made by men to hide something.

That too will cause you to wait another week for results.

The season is drawing to a close, and you can bet your treasure pants you will be told to come back next summer. However, the next episode will be held back AGAIN for two weeks—just to increase your frustration.

Tom Brady’s Bunch Home Movies

DATELINE:  Time for Episode 4

sumo day  In China

If your neighbor, the best CPA in the world, insisted on showing you his home movies of how his job interferes with raising his children, you’d run for the exits—or a caffeinated drink.

Instead, this is Tom Brady’s home movies: and millions are clamoring to watch.

“The Emotional Game” is the moniker slapped on the fourth show of the personal philosophy series of Tom Brady, called Tom Versus Time.

Beginning with a trip to China (not mentioned is that it is a promotional trip for one of his products), Brady provides some intriguing looks as he and his son Jack climb up to the Great Wall on a lift, and take the toboggan down.

His son shows what you expect, some physical talents, catching a football on the Great Wall. Tom continues to be politically correct, noting the great culture and place he has been given a chance to visit. He also takes in the Sumo wrestlers with his son.

Back home, we see his visit with his parents and mother who had been sick for over a sick and unable to attend games, until the Super Bowl. Because of her attendance, Robert Kraft appears on a smartphone of Tom’s to have him present her with a ring given to coaches and players.

Tom’s father has a shrine to his son’s career—and Brady gives them credit for uncompromising support all his life. He enjoys having his children, wife, and siblings with parents all in the luxury box at Gillette to watch him play.

Once again, the narrative jumps from Super Bowls to final games against the Dolphins.

Perhaps most intriguing is to see Brady explain that he must learn new techniques to his son as his watches videotape. Even the boy knows this is the secret to success.

Middle-class values are at the heart of his parenting. His wife, supermodel Giselle, notes that for six or seven months, he is a rare commodity in family life: as Brady notes, he is running a marathon during the season and cannot really stop to smell the roses, but his children do seem to keep him balanced.

As personal documentaries go on living subjects, this series is a milk shake frappe served up in a luxury home theater.

 

 

History’s Hunt for Hitler, S3 e6

DATELINE: Rousing Cold Case

Untitled  Historian James Holland

Zipping along at a brisk pace, the hunters for the escaped Nazis have found plenty who could have taken a route out of Norway, or headed south to Austria where they found the Vatican more than a little friendly.

Bob Baer’s team is busy in Europe again, while he sits in Los Angeles with the computer and tells us that his theory from last season that Hitler escaped on a U-boat may have sunk when Tim Kennedy found a prize in a fjord in Norway.

It seems a seaplane and a U-boat were sunk within yards of each other, and Kennedy’s dive gave a green light to Baer’s new theory.

He now contends that the U-boats were used as gas stations in the Atlantic Ocean where a seaplane with Hitler as passenger could re-fuel before coming to Buenos Aires.

The other side of the coin fairly much rehashes the guilt of the Vatican in supplying passports to Nazis who had gold at dead drops in Austria before finding supportive priests who baptized them with new names. Digging deep is Dr. Mike Simpson and historian James Holland.

Though this is not a new theory, the team manages to interview descendants of the witnesses. In one case, a woman has her mother’s love letters from a high-ranking Nazi who tells her mostly the entire escape route. It held for Eichmann and probably Mengele too.

The issue of whether Hitler took either one of these depots on his trek to Bariloche and the German community there is tied in with the development of an atom bomb for the Fourth Reich.

There is much to digest in these little episodes, but they use the best technology (like Li-Dar mounted on drones) to convince us.

There is likely to be a fairly interesting pay-off in the next few weeks.

Pay Dirt Hard to Find on Oak Island

DATELINE: S5, E12, Continues to Wait

 Dan  94-year-old Dan Blankenship

As episode 12 of season 5 hits the history books, we may knock History Channel again for giving us repetitive non-moments. As usual on Curse of Oak Island, the same info is repeated four or five times within minutes, usually after what is a break in the action, as if we have the memories of a goldfish.

Suffice it to say, if a glacier landed on Oak Island we’d have to wait a thousand years to see it move an inch. That’s about the size of the Lagina glacier.

After three episodes, they finally decided to show 94-year-old Dan Blankenship the unusual lead cross discovered on the beach by Australian Gary Drayton. The old hunter was wide-eyed at the sight of the cross. That may have been a high-point of the show. Dave Blankenship has been left out of the “War Room” several times lately. Interesting exclusion.

Once again, the Lagina brothers went digging in a trench as their bore holes are coming up empty. They found more shards of pottery, without their alleged required archeologist present.

Alex Lagina and Jack Begley went off to talk to a conservation expert on bookbinding, who revealed that a purple piece of wood is actually a book cover for a religious or sacred object, and may be quite old. Once again, the show fails to go right to a carbon dater to learn what they have.

The cross too still has not been accurately dated, though it might be more than a thousand years old. We expect to hear the Ancient Romans were on Oak Island before the season is over.

In the meantime, we wait like commuters in a snowstorm for the next bus to arrive.

 

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.

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.

Running in Place at Oak Island, Again, During Season 5

 DATELINE:  Oak Island Without Pity is the Pits

Wayne Herschel map Author Wayne Herschel’s map

Episode 4 of the fifth season of The Curse of Oak Island covered a two-week lull in treasure hunting.

This development came about after one of the power hoses, dredging at 200 feet exploded, injuring one of the drill company employees. It gave the Lagina brothers a chance to insist that safety comes before treasure.

Almost simultaneously, the metal detector expert, Gary Drayton, out looking for objects with the younger generation of searchers, came across a boy’s cap gun from the 1950s.

Not much detective work was needed to come to the conclusion that only one child was on the desolate island during that era. His name was Ricky Restall, younger son of one of the casualties of the hunt.

In 1965, modern searching came to an ugly conclusion with the death of four men: Robert Restall and his teenage son, and two others who tried to rescue them. The cause of death was asphyxiation from gases seeping from their shafts into the so-called Money Pit.

Though doubtful that the booby traps on Oak Island would include sophisticated gas leaks, we are not so sure it was not part of the grand scheme to keep the treasure, or whatever is down there, from being excavated.

Decades later, the younger son Richard Restall returned to the Island, as much for cleansing his spirit of the horrors as any other reason. He was rewarded with a reunion with his lost childhood toy gun.

The episode held us in place while awaiting with less and less patience for something to happen in terms of uncovering the mystery. If anything seemed settled, it was that the Island was not exactly friendly, or willing to share its mystery.

After hundreds of years of frustrating searches, this is not news. Perhaps the personification of Oak Island’s resistance, near stubbornness, convinces us that some larger force is indeed at work in Nova Scotia’s strange island.