A Proposition

Candidate Amethyst Rock Replacement

Dear beach bums—I have a proposition for you. I propose that we substitute the old Amethyst Rock down at the Doelle end of the beach, with the above bauble. You can’t really tell by the photo, but they are about the same size. Now I understand that in its current form, it would be a bit difficult to stand on, at least barefoot. Its sharp crystals would surely hurt, but hear me out. We can leave the original Amethyst Rock where it is and you, “traditionalists”, can continue to march down the beach and commune with it, as you always have. In the meantime, we’ll just set this new one up in front of the cabin. I figure that in a few years, wind, wave and water will smooth its exterior to the smoothest finish of purple beach glass that you have ever seen. And because it will be right in front of the cabin, when were all old and doddering, it will still be accessible, as they say. Are you on board with this plan? Good!

Now there is just one little teensy-weensy other thing. This Amethyst Rock is currently located in the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, in its Minerals and Gems gallery. Woah there, it’s not like it is in the same room as the Hope Diamond, so don’t get your panties all in a bunch. I’m sure that it’s not that well-guarded. With your help, I’m sure that we could pull this little caper off. I know what you are thinking. He goes off to DC, without any adult supervision and this is what he comes up with. While that may be true, it is not entirely my own idea. Before I went to Natural History, I was in the National Archive. Have you ever seen the movie, National Treasure?

In this movie, Nichols Cage steals the Declaration on Independence. It is all part of an elaborate scavenger hunt. He is trying to find the treasure of the Knights Templar, who the Founding Fathers hid, because they were all Free Masons. Clear? Anyway, he has to steal the Declaration on Independence, because the next set of clues are secretly written on its back. Once stolen, he then has to Q-tip lemon juice on to it to make the invisible ink reappear. I guess by now, I should have told you to suspend your disbelief at the door. Anyway, it all works out, he finds the treasure, get the girl and the document in question is not too worse for wear. Except when I viewed it today, it looked horrible. About all that you could still read is, “In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776”, “The unanimous Declaration […] States of America,” and “John Hancock”. I don’t think Nick Cage is all that responsible for this deterioration.

As I was waiting in line to get in, I got to eavesdrop on the spiel of a private tour guide that the family in line before me had hired. He was good and apparently our forefathers were not. Or at least they were none too kind to the Declaration on Independence. In 1823 President John Quincy Adams ordered 200 copies of the document to be printed. The printer used a wet-ink transfer process, where the surface of the document was moistened, and some of the original ink transferred to the surface of a copper plate, which was then etched so that copies could be run off the plate on a press. Then for 35 years the original document was displayed on a wall in the Patent Office, where it was exposed to sunlight and Washington’s horridly humid summers. If faded badly and now is unreadable, as are the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. So, it’s no wonder that Trump behaves as if there is no Constitution—Now, where was I going again?

Tribeca

Blow the Man Down

Is there a body in that box? The release of this first still coincides with the new announcement that Blow the Man Down will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival later this month. This is the film that Dan worked, a year ago February in Maine.

Directed by Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy this movie tells the story of the Connolly Sisters (pictured Sophie Lowe and Morgan Saylor) who are in mourning, but between a dead stranger in the ocean, a missing murder weapon, and the increasingly shady behavior of their recently deceased mom’s friends, they’ve barely had a chance to register their loss. While grieving for this loss, the Connolly Sisters suddenly find they have a crime to cover up, leading them deep into the underbelly of their salty Maine fishing village.

It had been rumored to debut last year at Sundance, before eventually landing in NYC this month. Dan asked for a comp ticket, but the producers are holding on to their cache, while hunting for paying customers. They’re still looking to sell it to a distributor. The film has yet to get any official release date. Whenever it comes out, he should be in the credits, since he is already credited in IMDB. If it goes direct to streaming, I know that I will first fast forward to the credits.

Dan did set dressing for this independent film on location. Now he is doing that kind of work as a studio job in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which has long since left naval jurisdiction. This is a union job, as opposed to an independent one. It pays better, but offers less artistic freedom.

Death and Taxes

British Museum Crystal Skull

This quartz skull is on display in the British Museum. Its past is murky and its authenticity is in doubt. Legend holds that this skull possesses special powers and is an ancient Aztec artifact. Its like was featured in the last Indiana Jones chronicle. The Smithsonian believes that it was manufactured in 19th-century Germany. Its material precludes carbon dating, but microscopic abrasion patterns indicate its machined origin.

Aztec Turquoise Mosaic Mask

This is not the only such skull. Enough of them were made so that its origin can be tracked to a particular town in Germany. Turquoise masks, like the one pictured are authentic Aztec and could have inspired these skulls. What I find interesting is the question of why George Lucas and Steven Spielberg chose an archeological hoax as the basis for their film. This iteration of the Indiana Jones franchise performed poorly, compared to its predecessors. So, choosing a hoax as its focus maybe isn’t all that remarkable, but is indicative of the now worn state of this once great series.

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In other news, I got our taxes done. We couldn’t itemize, what with the new much larger standard deduction. Still, we came out a little better than last year. We should get money back from the Feds, eventually. With another looming government shutdown, the timing on when that will occur is questionable. We owe the state. So, there is no rush with them. I got a scare when I printed out a copy of the forms. the state’s payment forms had a watermark on them that said, “Do Not FileForms Not Final”. I had just filed our taxes. Further investigation uncovered that the state was the culprit here and not me. The offending forms are scheduled to be updated next week. Like I said there is no real rush here.