Wednesday, August 15, 2007


So, like I do every day, I went to Wikipedia to check on the date for any good "Today In History" post ideas. I noticed that today was the day that the treacherous Basques bushwhacked the army of Chuck the Main at Roncevaux Pass, killing one Roland. It turns out that "Roland" was just the nom de legend of one Hruodlandus, who had the job title of Brittannici limitis praefectus, or Guy In Charge Of The Border With Brittany.

One of the interesting bits of terrain in the area that the now-deceased Hruodlandus was in charge of was the island of Mont Tombe, or as it later came to be called, Mont Saint-Michel. Mont Saint-Michel has become distinctly less islandy as the surrounding bay has silted up, but French taxpayers are going to fix that by taking it in the shorts to the tune of a hojillion Francs or Euros or whatever the hell they're using for money over there this week.

Anyhow, Wikipedia notes that a movie, entitled Mindwalk, was filmed on this island. I remember my dad speaking pretty highly of this flick some years back and it looked to be right up my alley, since I loved What The Bleep Do We Know? and The Turning Point. Only it's not available in DVD and old VHS tapes are priced like imported sin. (I saw some going for over a C-note in my searching.) Le sigh. Hopefully it will have a DVD release before too long.

...and that was my Wikiwandering for the morning. :)


BryanP said...

While I'm not an advocate of casual movie piracy, as far as I'm concerned anything that is OOP is fair game. The caveat being that when it becomes available legitimately I'll buy it.

After waiting patiently for years to see The Frisco Kid come out on DVD I finally gave in and spent too much money on a decaying VHS tape. Three months later they announced a DVD release for about 1/4 of what I paid for the tape.

Anonymous said...

Mindwalk is certainly worth seeing, although it's sorely lacking in car chases and explosions. It's mostly people talking.

Hmm....I wonder why it wasn't a blockbuster?

It's on my top ten list, for sure. You'll probably like it too.

Tam said...

I wonder why it wasn't a blockbuster?

Because the average person could lose a spelling bee to an oak stump?

Anonymous said...

Mindwalk was good. My wife & I watched it on our first date. No DVD sucks, though, since we no longer have a VHS player. Don't know if we still have the tape (I'd have saved it for sentimental value, but my wife is more practical than I). It was a good show, though.


Anonymous said...

"Mont Saint-Michel has become distinctly less islandy as the surrounding bay has silted up"

Err, not quite, in the roman era, the area around Mt St. M was a forest ( the now bay was a forest covered swampy area) a couple of violent storms demolished ( we think) the sand bars that protected the mouth of the now bay from minor storms. A couple of decades of the local heavy channel tides did the rest.

This is analagous to the medieval North Sea storm flooding of NE Friesia/SW Denmark which flooded huge areas and killed 10,000's of people and literally wiped whole areas out to sea.

comatus said...

anon, you don't mean to say that during recorded history there has been..."climate change"? OMG what if the MSM hears about this?

phlegmfatale said...

I have to chime in, here. From the early 19th century, foundries on Mont St. Michel were highly regarded, and they have continued in that ancient craft into the present day. Gourmands worldwide regard this as some of the finest copper cookware to be had. If you ever travel there, do yourself a favor and blow your souvenir wad on their immaculate local copperware, which can be found in many shops throughout the island. You may also pay to have your cookware shipped home, so you don't have to wrestle it into your rucksack. That's your shopping tip for the day.

Tam said...

"Err, not quite, in the roman era,"

We're talking about a time over three centuries after the Roman Era.

Anonymous said...

The "increased" silting hasn't really been noticeable until the building of the causeway, which is modern and only around the island.

It's been a miserable silty bay that gets exposed and covered at every tide, since it became a bay.

That's why the Mont has been much an excellent fortress / monastery: It's a huge pain to bring up the medieval artillery that can knock down the walls (i.e it can't be done, the defenders are sitting on the rock with guns too) and big ships can't get near to do the same, but you can still sneak in food in small boats and collect water.

BTW: It's one of the very coolest tourist sites I've ever been to visit, just get there first thing before the dozens of tourist buses arrive.

Anonymous said...

I haven't bought anything there, but the "Sweet Movie Memories" site has Mindwalk listed for $17.99 + $4.00 S&H. They use paypal, for what it's worth.
Direct link:


Anonymous said...

Sorry, the link wasn't truncated in the preview.

I visited Mont Saint-Michel in 1982. It's a must see if you're in the area, and by the area I mean Western Europe. The town below the church has got to be the worlds oldest tourst trap, and is actually kinda fun if you keep that in mind. The view from the top is outstanding. I had an added bonus of seeing three fighter jets fly past in formation about a mile from the island and well below me, probably only a hundred feet off the surface of thee bay.
Very cool for a twenty year old.

The other interesting spot I saw on that tour was Verdun. I'd just read The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 about a month before and knowing the history and walking into Ft Doumount was unreal. Second only to Gettyburg on my list of best battlefields.