Hey, there, Dear Reader. It’s early afternoon here in New Hometown, Florida on Thursday, June 10, 2021. Currently, the temperature is 88˚F (31˚C) under partly sunny skies. With humidity at 45% and the wind blowing from the southwest at 5 MPH (8 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 92˚F (33˚C). Today’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 93˚F (34˚C). Tonight, skies will be mostly clear, and the low will be 74˚F (24˚C). The Air Quality Index (AQI) is 29 or Good.
Today’s post is going to be a mix of good news and bad news.
First, the good.
As you know, in March I ordered Paramount’s 4K UHD Blu-ray boxset, Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection, which was released on Tuesday in advance of the 40th Anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark. I expected it to be shipped on Monday, as my 11-disc set of Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns was, but it was not.
Apparently, the COVID-19 pandemic created an unexpected demand for content on physical media at a time when the general consensus was “streaming is in, discs are dying out”; Blu-rays (and DVDs) are still sought out because with so many people online trying to watch stuff on Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Apple TV, Paramount+, and HBO Max via PCs, smart TVs, and smart Blu-ray players, the Wi-Fi capacity in some areas is strained and often it is impossible to watch stuff on this no-disc medium.
The only easy workaround to broadband issues is simple: use physical media. But since demand for Blu-rays (both the “old-school” 2K HD type and the newer, snazzier 4K UHD ones) was dropping, Paramount underestimated the demand for the Indy 4K UHDs and didn’t take into account that the replication facilities that manufacture the discs are straining to keep up with the demand for Blu-rays.
Now, if I had pre-ordered the pricier steelbook set from Best Buy instead of the less pricey “pressboard” packaged set, there’s a good chance that I’d have received my Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection set and some of my recent posts would have been about other subjects. But I didn’t want to shell out $99.99 (plus Florida and county sales taxes), knowing full well that I’d also be getting the Baseball set on the same “street” date.
When I last checked my Amazon order last night before switching off my computer and watching some of the extras in my Baseball Blu-ray set, the status message read “Shipment date unknown.”
Today, those of us who pre-ordered the Indiana Jones: 4-Movie Collection 4K UHD set in March and were disappointed by the delay in the shipment received an encouraging email from Amazon:
We have an updated delivery estimate for your Amazon order. As soon as your items ship, we’ll send you an email confirmation. To view the status of your order or make changes, please go to Your Orders.
The email showed me a thumbnail of the box set’s art and a new delivery window:
New estimated delivery date:
Saturday, June 19, 2021 – Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Of course, Amazon can’t give customers an exact date or a narrower delivery window; everything depends on how well Paramount Home Media Distribution can coordinate with the replication facilities to fulfill the pre-orders and send stock to brick-and-mortar stores and online emporiums such as Deep Discount, Amazon, and other sellers. Hopefully, this snafu will get sorted out and I’ll receive my Indy box set a bit later than I expected, but better late than never.
Okay. That’s the good news.
Now, for the bad news.
A few days ago – Monday, I think it was, I found out that one of my favorite historians, James D. Hornfischer, died on June 2 at the age of 55. He had been ill for some time, but he managed to complete his last three books before his death.
I did not know Hornfischer, but I have three of his books The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal, and The Fleet at High Tide: America at Total War in the Pacific 1944-1945. I bought Neptune’s Inferno when it was published in 2011 and reviewed it on Epinions shortly after I – admittedly – skimmed through it while taking care of my mom back in Miami.
The narrative is incredibly detailed; Hornfischer’s accounts of the various engagements are so vividly descriptive that the reader can see the flashes of a cruiser’s eight-inch main battery flash against the darkness of a night in the South Pacific or the splashes of shells “straddling” their targets, smell the sickening scent of burning flesh, oil and blood, feel the heat of the tropic sun or the bone-jarring concussion of torpedoes striking a ship’s hull, hear the klaxon sounding the call to “General Quarters” and know the many intimate details of life aboard a warship in 1942 and 1943.From my 2011 review of Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal
Here’s an excerpt from that review, as it now appears in my Blogger blog, A Certain Point of View:
The narrative is incredibly detailed; Hornfischer’s accounts of the various engagements are so vividly descriptive that the reader can see the flashes of a cruiser’s eight-inch main battery flash against the darkness of a night in the South Pacific or the splashes of shells “straddling” their targets, smell the sickening scent of burning flesh, oil and blood, feel the heat of the tropic sun or the bone-jarring concussion of torpedoes striking a ship’s hull, hear the klaxon sounding the call to “General Quarters” and know the many intimate details of life aboard a warship in 1942 and 1943.
No men on a ship were wiser to the way things worked than the sailors who stood invisibly in the wardroom’s midst. The white-jacketed mess attendants and cooks – a lowly caste within S Division, which saw to the supply and sustenance of the crew – mostly were black enlistees. Like all enlisted men, they cultivated what scraps of control and power were left to them. The ladder of ranks and ratings had its peculiarities, with voids on middle rungs and true power residing at the bottom and the top.
Battleships and carriers had separate dining facilities for junior and senior officers. On cruisers, all the officers dined together except for the captain, who had his own cabin. When he was in command of the San Francisco, (Admiral Daniel) Callaghan made a practice of eating with his men. He used the wardroom to break down barriers and accelerate the growth of his young officers. The mess attendants and cooks had as good a view of the goings-on as anyone.
Although I can’t say for certain, I think the author might have seen my review, because one of the 24 followers I have on my original blog is James D. Hornfischer’s literary agency. (Before he wrote The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors, his first book, Hornfischer was a respected book editor and agent.
Even though I never met him, I feel sad about Hornfischer’s passing, and I will definitely keep a lookout for his last three books about American naval history.
Anyway, that’s it for today. I don’t have any news – exciting or otherwise – besides what I already told you, so I now will go off, take my shower, change into street clothes (even if I don’t go out, you know, on the street, then rest for a bit before writing some more.
So, until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.
 This, as well as the fact that I still have to pay for my new laptop and pay my rent here, is why I didn’t hit Cancel My Order on Amazon and order the steelbook from Best Buy, either for in-home delivery or curbside pickup. I’m not destitute – so long as I stay put here, anyway – and I could probably afford the steelbook set. But I don’t want to spend $99.99 when I can get the same content for $79.99. Especially when you add in the Baseball set and the $300 credit card payment I owe for my laptop…..