Hey, there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning here in Lithia, Florida, on Friday, January 7, 2022. It is a cool Florida “winter” day. Currently, the temperature is 75˚F (24˚C) under sunny skies. With the wind blowing from the north-northwest (with emphasis on “north”) at 6 MPH (10 KM/H) and humidity at 72%, the wind-chill factor is 73˚F (23˚C). Today’s forecast calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 79˚F (26˚C). Tonight, skies will be partly cloudy; the low will be 56˚F (13˚C).
I don’t have much to report today: I’ve started reading Mark Bowden and Matthew Teague’s new book The Steal: The Attempt to Overturn the 2020 Election and the People Who Stopped It. I got The Steal for several reasons, including a deep and abiding interest in the topic, as well as a need to get into the mindset of Trump supporters and their belief system so I can internalize it enough for my stalled script.
I must admit that I have only skimmed through The Steal since my copy was delivered on Tuesday; my room is not ideal for reading, and I have yet to find the perfect place for reading in this house. The Caregiver is not a constant reader, so none of the rooms where I would read (the living room and the family room by the kitchenette) are laid out or lit in a way that is conducive to reading. So when I read a book it’s in dribs and drabs, which means I now take far longer to read anything than when I lived in Miami.
Still, one of the points made in Bowden and Teague’s The Steal that sticks the most in my mind is this paragraph from one of the last chapters in the book:
Distrust. If there was anything like genius in Donald Trump’s methodology, this was it. Democracy depends on that modicum of trust it takes to bring competing parties together after an election to govern. Without it, there can be no majority rule. With the vote itself discredited, the will of the people is sacrificed to a mob of self-styled “patriots” who have decided that they and only they speak for everyone – the opposite of democracy. From the day he entered public life, Trump had chipped away at the vote, that cornerstone. He sowed and planted and nurtured widespread distrust of many things, of government, of institutional and academic expertise of any kind, of mainstream media, of judges, of whole industries, but most important and most insistently, he chipped away at trust in elections. And when he lost, he mobilized that distrust to try to stay in power.
I like Mark Bowden’s reporting. I have four other books that he wrote: Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War; Killing Pablo: The Hunt for the World’s Greatest Outlaw, Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America’s War with Militant Islam, The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden, and Hue 1968. So when I decided to buy a book about the events that led to the Capitol siege on January 6, 2021, I chose The Steal because Bowden was involved. And from what I’ve read so far, The Steal is pretty good.
Now, if only I had an optimum place to read it….
I have a few more Internet purchases “in the pipeline” that are due to arrive here next week.
One is the Kino Lorber reissue in 4K Blu-ray of 1963’s The Great Escape, John Sturges fictionalized account of the Stalag Luft III mass escape attempt of 24/25 March 1944, in which 76 (out of 220) British Commonwealth prisoners of war tunneled out of a German Luftwaffe POW camp near Sagan, Lower Silesia. In 1944, Sagan was part of Germany proper but was incorporated into Poland to compensate for the Soviet Union’s absorption of eastern Poland at the end of World War II.
I have The Great Escape on both DVD and high-definition Blu-ray, but because it’s one of my favorite films of all time, I’m willing to triple-dip and get it on 4K UHD, too.
Here’s what I am told by the fine folks at Blu-ray.com about this reissue:
DISC ONE: 4K BLU-RAY
- PREVIOUSLY COMPLETED 4K RESTORATION OF THE FILM (2020)
- NEW Audio Commentary by Filmmaker/Historian Steve Mitchell and Combat Films: American Realism Author Steven Jay Rubin
- Audio Commentary with Director John Sturges, Actors James Garner, James Coburn, Donald Pleasence, David McCallum, Jud Taylor and Many other Crew Members – Moderated by Steven Jay Rubin
- Audio: 5.1 Surround & Original 2.0 Mono
- Optional English Subtitles
DISC TWO: BLU-RAY
- Return to The Great Escape: Making of the Classic with the Cast and Crew (24:09)
- The Great Escape: Bringing Fact to Fiction – Narrated by Burt Reynolds (12:21)
- The Great Escape: Preparations for Freedom – Narrated by Burt Reynolds (19:50)
- The Great Escape: The Flight to Freedom – Narrated by Burt Reynolds (9:22)
- The Great Escape: A Standing Ovation – Narrated by Burt Reynolds (5:58)
- The Great Escape: A Man Called Jones – Narrated by James Coburn (25:01)
- The Great Escape: The Untold Story – Documentary by Steven Clarke (50:47)
- The Great Escape: The Untold Story – Additional Interviews (9:35)
- Theatrical Trailer (2:42)
I pre-ordered The Great Escape back in November. I briefly considered canceling the order – it is, after all, a non-essential item – but I changed my mind. After all, I don’t have much of a life here these days, so if I can treat myself to something that gives me some joy, why not, right?
Finally, I’m also expecting a rare order from La-La Land Records in California – Star Trek II – The Wrath of Khan: Limited Edition (2-CD Set). Co-produced by La-Land Records, Paramount Pictures, and Atlantic Records, this is a remastered limited edition (10,000 copies) that, per La-La Land Records’ website, “showcases this masterwork sounding better-than-ever and expanded with previously unreleased alternate tracks. Disc One features the score presentation, while Disc Two presents the re-mastered 1982 Original Soundtrack Album and additional music.”
Again, because I do live on a fixed income and have to pay rent here, I had an internal debate about getting another “non-essential” item. However, I don’t have much of a social life here and no love life at all, so if I’m not irresponsible and pay my share of the bills here, why not get an album that I’ll regret not buying later?
Well, Dear Reader, I don’t have any more news to share, so I’ll close for now. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.