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1. The big story of the week is the closing down of the Hostess bakery. No more Twinkies, Ho Ho’s or Ding Dongs. No more green cupcakes on St. Patrick’s day.

I must admit that in these latter years my Twinkie consumption has lessened as I noticed a measurable decline in Twinkie tastiness. The sponge cake was too grainy and the cream had lost its fresh gooiness. The cupcakes likewise had a coarser cake and the frosting was leather-like. Though never a Ding Dong fan I dipped into the occasional Ho Ho.

Even as I write this I hear that community outrage has prompted the re-opening of arbitration. Who knows where this will all end. The big question is will the Twinkie defense now be a footnote in legal history?

2. I watched the original Star Trek on TV when it first came out in the 60’s and William Shatner has always been an interesting figure to me. A while back I watched a documentary he made in which he interviewed all of the Star Trek captains and then the other night I saw another called “Get a Life” about the Trekkie conventions and meetings. No, he did not mock them as the title suggests.

The documentary gave an interesting look at the people who attend Star Trek conventions and how the series touched a mythological nerve in the cultural psyche (as did Star Wars). Lots of people came dressed as ST characters, complete with elaborate hand-made costumes. For many, individual characters became life role models.

It set me to thinking who I might like to be. Data? Q? Ohura? Spock? Deanna Troi? Ryeker, Picard? So many great characters and great stories. I think I’ll vote for Deanna’s mother. One of my favorite stories was “Who Mourns for Adonais?” Who would you like to be? What story is your favorite?

3. From the Opinionated Reader: I don’t think I’ve ever gathered a more disappointing selection of books than I did at the library last week. Almost all without exception let me down. The mysteries, in particular, were a fiasco. I hate ‘cute’ settings and characters. I don’t like animals who are the detectives. I don’t want a lesson in Amish culture, I don’t want to read about middle-aged women who sleuth on the side while baking cookies. It makes me appreciated Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy Sayers all the more. Ok, I am leaving out some really good ones, I know.

The spy book I had turned out, not to be short stories, but ‘ excerpts’ of great spy stories. So I was given enough story  to be intrigued but there was no denouement. It was the mashed potatoes without the gravy, the turkey without the cranberries.

One book did shine. It was “One of Our Own” by Willa Cather, a Pulitzer Prize winner. I have become a Cather fan in the last few months. I love her prose, her description of life on the great western prairies at the end of the 19th century, her sensitive eye. She had a great sense of environment and the setting is frequently a powerful but silent character – it reminds me of Dickens in that respect.

I’m going to give “The Book of Sand” by Borges another try. He has such an international reputation that I entered the book predisposed to like it but… he plays too much with time, dreams, illusions, etc. for me. I am easily confused and look for sign posts and direction in life which Borges is not inclined to give.

Meanwhile, I picked up an ancient paperback at my son’s yesterday and while the turkey was cooking delved deeply into “The Princess of Mars,” a John Carter adventure by Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan. What a hero! It is very well-written for an adventure story, fast paced and imaginative – a perfect boy’s adventure.

The library is closed today but I shall stop by on Saturday for a new supply of reading matter. If you happened to have read any on the list, drop a comment.

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