From the monthly archives:

November 2012

Not that Twinkie is on its death bed. If anything, the Twinkie brand is probably the winner in this sad story of labor struggle, failed business and the eventual undoing of the 18,500 underpaid, overworked factory workers.

In the past week Twinkies have been the center of the public reminiscence because Hostess was said to file bankruptcy. I held my breath as the good news that Hostess and its workers were to start earnest negotiations came and then went. Sadly, it was announced an hour ago that Hostess has won the court approval to start selling its assets and more importantly, to start laying off its 18,500 workers.

We have all joked about how “Twinkies are forever”. Well, in this case, because of the sudden surge of attentions being paid to Twinkies, esp. in the social media sphere – now the arbitrator of brand marketability,  I do believe that some VC will quickly swoop in and pick up the venerable Twinkie Brand. In contrast, the workers will be left jobless and most likely fall into the life style of sustaining on cheap, unhealthy food such as Twinkies. The irony is alarming.

I was not going to jump on the wagon and eulogizing Twinkies exactly because I do not believe in its imminent demise. It will live. However, I came across this video posted by my good friend Ry

 

And it reminded me that I have written about the cultural obsession with Twinkies before. The following is from my 2009 post “Twinkies got a bad rep ’cause we find the name irresistible”.

 

In the American Pop culture conscious, there is this curious obsession with Twinkies.  One of the new exhibits at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago is about Twinkies.  Putting our obsession with this oddity on view.

CIMG7562

A Twinkie was born

For once, let’s scientifically study the myth that Twinkies will never die.  Observe and report.  (I will visit MSI later again to check on the Twinkie that is on view there).

Of course, Twinkies are not the only food that are believed to be evil-incarnate.  Why such revilement?

My theory is that half of that ill-begotten fame came from the name, Twinkie.  What’s in a name? If it were called “Hostess Cream-filled Yellow Cake”, or, let’s say, Snow Puff, it would not have become such a legend, warts and all. Kudos to the marketing team that came up with this name that is now a major part of American pop culture.

Upon further investigation, I learned that the name Twinkie came from a chance encounter with a billboard:

In 1933, James Dewar, a baker at Continental Baking Company in Indiana, was inspired and came up with this name when driving by a billboard advertising shoes from the “Twinkle Toe Shoe Company”.

This is serendipity!  In our collective consciousness for food, Twinkies share a significant space with the shoe in Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush…  Ok. Maybe it is proven once again that I am easily amused. TOO easily.

 

Ode to Twinkies

‘Tis but thy name that makes thou irresistible;

Thou art thyself, though not a Twinkie.

What’s Twinkie? it is nor Monoglycerides nor diglycerides

Nor Polysorbate 60, nor Hydrogenated shortening, nor any other part

Belonging to proper CAKE. O, be some other name!

What’s in a name? that which we call a Twinkie

By any other name would induce as much grimace??

So Twinkie would, were it not Twinkie call’d,

Retain that dear longevity which it owes

Without that title. Twinkie, doff thy name,

And for that name which is no part of thee

Take all the cream.

This March (March 2012), I did go back to check on the Twinkie at MSI, and surprise surprise, it has not aged one bit. Sigh. Perhaps we should start putting Twinkie on our faces?

Twinkie on display (since October 2009) at MSI Chicago as of March 2012

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My parents taught me well: never gloat. Never rub it in.

So I will simply put these up with no comments added.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now… In case you are worried that we are all going to get a big head and become complacent and start subscribing to this false belief of a perfect world and have blind faith in the American people, NO WORRIES! There was (and still is?) a trending hashtag on Twitter “VoteWhite”… Yup. I saw a few of them and it’s just as sickening as you’d imagine. In fact, I could not have imagined some of the things that people actually tweeted to the public. They’re not concerned that everybody could see how much of a backwood racist they are? Including their employers? I assume these people are all gainfully employed since unlike the democrats, they do NOT need government assistance being so self-reliant “We built all this” and all. Anyway, keep this in your back pocket and show it to anyone that says, “There is no more racism.”

Thank you to “crazy things racists say openly in the 21st century” for keeping us on our toes.

Peace out.

 

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It’s always better late than never, right?

Confession: I did not realize how massive the impact Hurricane Sandy had on the lives of people in New York City and New Jersey until I came across the pictures.

 

 

In my ignorance, I had thought in the very beginning, “How bad could it be? This is New York City we’re talking about.” Somehow I was enough of an idiot to assume that NATURE would have nothing to claim in NYC, the pulsing URBAN center of the universe. I know it does not make any sense to you. It shouldn’t since these were assumptions made by an idiot, moi. 

I was waiting for reports on the dire situations to stop, waiting for the “All Clear!” news item showing people patting each other on the back for “disasters divertes”, for “a good job done”.  Certainly this is New York City and New Jersey we’re talking about. These people know people and have people. Things should go back to normal soon.

But it didn’t.

On the contrary, more and more images and stories showing the devastations surfaced. Reports on how “far flung” [relatively] communities were still waiting for adequate assistance finally caught our attention: Reuters just published a news article on the dire situation now in Far Rockaway. For starters, many areas are still without power, and that means no heat as temperature drops to the 30s. Here is a video from Democracy Now.

 

 

 

Thanks to a good friend of mine who has been posting the latest updates and the most relevant information on Facebook throughout, I was able to quickly bring myself up to speed on what’s happening and how to help, regardless of how little I could do in the face of such devastation. I thought I’d share the information I’ve collected, thanks to the lovely Sue:

Red Cross is a great org, but at times like this, some grassroots orgs are better at reaching smaller, more remote areas that are not getting enough attention. I am not accusing FEMA or Red Cross: the needs are simply too overwhelming now as the communities in need are so widespread. If you would like to donate and help, consider some of the other orgs, such as AmeriCare and World Cares Center. (The links take you directly to the organizations’ donation pages – If I could, I prefer to donate directly rather than going through 3rd party sites. Just my personal preference…)

World Cares have volunteers on the ground in places such as Far Rockaway that are still waiting for the arrival of help in proportion to the needs. Follow World Cares on Twitter for live updates and also on how you could volunteer on the ground.

For more ideas on how to make an impact, read 8 Ways to Help Hurricane Sandy Victims Beyond Donating to the Red Cross for more organizations that are on the ground delivering tangential helps right now.

The Occupy movement reemerged as Occupy Sandy, a community-based relief organization mastering social media and crowd-sourcing to coordinate and distribute assistance on the ground. Check out their Facebook page full of updates from folks who are offering to help, such as an offer of industrial pumps to pump out the water free of charge. It really is amazing. They have also cleverly set up a “wedding registry” on Amazon for blankets, flashlights, etc. to be delivered directly to Church of St Luke and St Matthew.

 

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