East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Companions on the Road: Thor Heyerdahl and Kon-Tiki (2)

fAzNB5khHyD7Yx2ZnVlQcwyQPJzv4WH0HxcxYMEpTDmgAnd after the documentary, the dramatized movie.

There is a moment, ninety minutes in Ronning & Sanberg’s 2012 movie Kon-Tiki, in which the camera backs away from the raft, lost in the middle of the pacific, and climbs up through the clouds and the atmosphere, catches a glimpse of the sun beyond the curve of the planet, pans across the Milky Way, catches the moon hanging in space and then plunges back towards the ocean and the Kon-Tiki.
It’s a perfect synthesis, to me, of what the Kon-Tiki expedition meant to those men that lived it – and a lot of us, in the years that followed. Continue reading

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Companions on the road: Thor Heyerdahl and Kon-Tiki (1)

41c0B1WjHhL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_This is the first part of a two-part special.
catching up on my movies, I finally got around to watch the 2012 Kon-Tiki, about the 1947 Heyerdahl expedition across the Pacific Ocean, from Peru tu Polinesia.
The movie had been high on my to-view list, but had somehow slipped my memory.
What had not slipped my memory, though, was the 1950 documentary, written and produced by Heyerdahl himself, and that had caught my imagination when I was a kid .
And so I thought – why not watch the two back-to back?
And then blog about it.
It would be personal, but fun.

So, here’s the first post – tonight movie is Kon-Tiki, the 1950 documentary written, produced and filmend by Thor Heyerdahl.
The film won an Oscar for best documentary presentation in 1951. Continue reading

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Ancient Masters – Peter Kolosimo

KOLOSIMOMy generation was primed for adventure by Thor Heyerdahl and Folco Quilici, for space exploration by Carl Sagan and yes, for mystery and deep time by Peter Kolosimo.
We were the lucky ones.

So I thought I’ll do a series of posts on these maitres a’ penser of our own.
Books fitting in a pulp hero’s library.

And I’ll start with Peter Kolosimo.
I miss Peter Kolosimo. Continue reading


On my TV – Sanctuary

Sanctuary - Saison 4I was rather unconvinced, when I first saw the earlier episodes of Sanctuary, the Canadian TV series starring Amanda Tapping.
I think it was the rather clunky (?) CGI sets.
And yet, today – as the fourth series is being aired here in Italy – I’m a fan.
I actually like it a lot better than, say, Eureka (which bores me to death) or Battlestar Galactica.

After all, a series featuring a science team investigating cryptozoology to protect the cryptids, featuring a sasquatch as a character, involving much (computer-generated) globetrotting, an ancient race of Twilight-free vampires, a hollow earth setting, references to ancient mysteries and whatnot…?
With Jack the Ripper as one of the good guys?
And a descendant of Thor Heyerdahl as a member of the cast?
Together with that woman from Stargate SG-1?

C’mon – it’s obvious that my interest for the series should border on the fetish.
Add the slightly steampunkish feel of some episodes and of part of the premises, and I’m sold. Continue reading


Hunting sunken treasures

The first comment I got when I shouted “Wow! This is just great!” was along the lines of “Sounds like the sort of junk Clive Cussler writes.”
Talk about feeling alienated.
But let’s proceed with order.

1111bigOne of the few perks of living smack in the middle of Southern Piedmont is, in two hours I can be on the Cote d’Azure.
The sun, the sea, acres and acres of nubile, scantly clad young women stretching on the beaches…
And I normally end up in some antiquarian bookstore.
They even publish (or used to) a map of antiquarian bookshops in the Nice area.

So a few years back I was browsing the stalls of one such small Alladin caves of librarian wonder, and I caught me the three volumes of the Born Free series, first edition, and to round up the bill, I threw in a weird little book called Treasure Diving Holidays, by Jane and Barney Crile.
The book – a 1954 first edition – once bought and brought home, was placed on a high shelf together with other sea-oriented books, and soon forgotten.
Which is all right – I’m quite convinced books should be read at the right moment, so sometimes forgetting them on a high shelf is just what’s needed.
Then, when the time comes… I need some color and information for some seafaring stories I’m planning, and I go and rediscover this hidden gem.

What’s it all about? Continue reading