I was a spectator at the starting line of the Boston Marathon this morning. Within the last hour there have been at least two explosions at the finish line, one of which blew up the Marathon Sports store. At least six injuries are being reported by WBZ, and now there are reports of deaths.
Annette Funicello’s popularity as a Disney girl was so great that to this day all you have to say is “Annette” and everybody knows who you’re talking about. Sadly, the inevitable has happened and Multiple Sclerosis has claimed Annette.
Doreen Tracey, Annette Funicello, Shelley Fabares
I’m too young to have been an Annette fan in the original run of The Mickey Mouse Club, and when watching re-runs as a kid I was a Cheryl Holdridge fan, but I certainly appreciate why Annette was such a hit. Annette’s best friend forever is Shelley Fabares, who was also on the Disney payroll for a time.
After she grew up, Annette was in the Beach Party movies for American International, of course, but she also returned to work for Disney, as seen here with the Beach Boys, singing a song by the Sherman brothers, who wrote the music for Mary Poppins. How great is that??
My venerable and beloved Acer Aspire netbook (my Sony 32XBR100 TV is likewise venerable and beloved) with Windows XP is now four years old. With Acer announcing that it would no longer make netbooks, and with a tablet not being right for what I need, and with Windows XP fading into the sunset over the next year, and Windows 8 having such an awful user interface, I went looking for a new netbook with these specs:
Windows 7 64-bit
4 GB memory
$300 or less
The particular CPU and the size of the drive didn’t matter to me so much. The problem was finding Windows 7. There were 64-bit Acer netbooks with 4 gig and a 11.6″ screen for under $300, but they had Windows 8. Just as I have never had Vista on a Windows system at home, I shall never have a Windows 8 system at home.
So I looked and I looked, and I waited and waited, and found nothing. I feared the cupboard was bare, and I was beginning to regret my bottom-feeding ways, when a curious pre-order listing appeared on Amazon for this item:
It was a curious pre-order offer because it was for a discontinued model. At the moment the listing says “Only 18 left in stock.” Anyway, I ordered one and I’m using it now. It was manufactured back in June, so it took a couple of hours to get caught up on all of the Windows updates. There are some quirks that I’ll have to get used to, but the overall performance is so much better than the old 9″ Acer Aspire that I’d say it’s more like a small laptop without an optical drive. This is, I assume, the last of the Windows 7 netbooks, and I’m glad I was able to snag one.
In 2011 BBC Radio 4 presented Brian Sibley’s superb radio drama adaptation of Mervyn Peake’s fantasy saga, The History of Titus Groan. The series is available from Amazon as an Audible book. It makes for particularly good listening on headphones.
Radio 4 now has another outstanding adaptation, with Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. The series features James McAvoy, who is known to comic book fans as Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class, and Natalie Dorman.
Natalie Dormer in “The Tudors”
Neverwhere is available through this week, until March 29. The first episode is an hour long, and for convenience I’ve put it on the audio player. Parts 2-6 are 30 minutes and they’re on the BBC iPlayer.
Legendary comic book artist Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man and the creator of Dr. Strange, has long been an adherent of Ayn Rand’s so-called Objectivism. I read both Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead in college, while studying for my B.A. in Economics, and I think Rand’s ideas are ludicrous, but I enthusiastically support Ditko’s work.
The Ditko Public Service Package on Kickstarter, run by Robin Snyder, Ditko’s publisher, is reprinting an unusual book that came out over twenty years ago. The campaign has two more weeks to go, and I am very pleased that the fund has more than the $4900 that’s needed for the project. I contributed $106, with the extra six bucks for shipping.