Hostess With The Mostest

The story begins in 1919, when the world was introduced to what is now known as the Hostess® Cup Cake, at the bargain price of two for 5 cents. It was the beginning of a revolution, right up there with the Toll House and Oreo cookie. No longer did anyone have to ferret out a bakery or crank up the oven for a snack attack. Six years later, the Continental Baking Company, who had struck gold with their packaged white Wonder® bread, named their new creations Hostess and they were a hit. In 1930 an employee named Jimmy Dewar came up with a sponge cake named Twinkies®. and they surpassed cupcakes by a mile. Twinkies are an American icon, with half a billion sold each year.But it wasn’t until 1947 when a machine was invented that injected creme filling into the cupcakes and Twinkies, captivating its customers by providing not only an individually wrapped confection, but one crammed with creamy filing. What an idea. As other products were added to their repertoire, including fried fruit pies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, the snack cake category was secured with no end in sight. Currently a staggering 11,000 cakes are produced every hour, so joke all you want, but Hostess is smiling from ear to ear.

Although the ownership has turned over several times in its history, and faced bankruptcy, those snack cakes keep coming and their popularity continues to this day, proving Americans with that artificial creme filling and the convenience of grabbing a snack cake. Deep-fried Twinkies are a popular item at many regional and state fairs each summer, as Americans line up for this high-fat treat, alongside booths selling deep-fried funnel cakes. Featured in numerous films and cookbooks, the Twinkie continues to reign despite comedian’s jokes and celebrity chefs’ sneers. (One has to wonder if there are secret fans who indulge privately.)Even though preservatives are used for prolonged shelf life, the company insists that Twinkies are scrapped from your local grocer after 10 days, making way for more “fresh” ones. Here is the current Hostess snack cakes hit parade:1) Ho Ho’s – top seller, basically a rolled version of Ding Dongs2) Twinkies – the butt of endless jokes, it still ranks high on the list3) Sno Balls – marshmallow coated chocolate cake rolled in flaked coconut4) Ding Dongs – shaped like hockey pucks and covered in chocolate5) Suzy Qs – unfrosted cake with creme filling6) Cherry Pies – fried and easy to eat by hand7) Vanilla Zingers – creme-filled oblong cakes, vanilla reigns8) Chocolate or Orange Cupcakes – the classic, complete with white squiggle on top9) Crunch Donettes – people of all ages begin their day with these mini-treats (easily eaten while driving)

10) Mini Muffins – not exactly bakery quality but still popularCurrently, top competitor Little Debbie brand, started by the McKee family during the 1930s and still a privately held corporation, occupies the lion’s share of space on the snack cake aisle, which once was dominated by Hostess. Their Oatmeal Creme Pie remains the flagship product, followed by Swiss Cake Rolls and Nutty Bars® Wafers. Dozens of additions have been added since 1960, when the company took off nationwide, racking up a staggering 157 billion snack cakes sold, which totals 1.4 billion dollars in annual sales, followed by Hostess at 670 million dollars.Perhaps actress Ann Blyth just did it for the money, or maybe she really did feed her own children snack cakes, but either way, those sweet packaged goodies are cranked out so fast they probably are pretty fresh. Any way you slice it, when it comes to our sweet tooth, we’re all still kids at heart.

Fiction: An Exercise in Various Beginnings

I love to exercise, not in a gym, but in fiction writing. Since I’ll be exercising, I’ll start stretching with a few beginnings.

Nobody knows more about the importance of beginnings than fiction writers, because the beginning of any narrative is the part that hooks the reader from the start. Not each beginning is suitable for any one piece, and some beginnings become passé after decades of overuse; nevertheless, it is a good idea to take a look at the few types of beginnings used in fiction.

At this time, applying the same storyline, I’d like to write a few exercises. Each exercise will be for a different type of a beginning.

  • Beginning with the setting: The city of Bern snuggles into a U shaped arm of the river Aare, extending its reach to the other sides by historical bridges and railways. Surrounded by densely wooded areas and mountains, Bern is not a crowded city, except for tourists. At 1800 feet altitude, as the highlight of the Bernese-Oberland region, the city ticks to the tune of a modern civilization, although still cuddling its centuries-old astronomical clock tower at the east gate right around the marketplace where one can buy Swiss goods at a much lower price than at the imported price anywhere else.
  • Beginning by inserting characters into the setting: At the east gate of the city of Bern in the marketplace in a tidy corner, Rodolphe’s magasin de chocolat or Schokolade Speicher sits facing the setting sun, and across, Mireille’s Spielzeugspeicher boasts with all sizes of plush baby bears at its window. Rodolphe sees those brown and gray plush toys with a wary eye. He knows from behind that window, Mireille’s husband Karl is watching his every move.
  • Beginning with the thematic way, which is with a truism, a generalization, or a philosophical idea: Our greatest deeds we do unknowingly. Like love. Most of us fall in love unknowingly, and that is what exactly happened to Rodolphe in his chocolate store while he watched the plush toy bears from across the street and wondered if Mireille, the owner of the teddy bear store, was as cute and cuddly in bed.
  • Beginning the factual way; that is, a realistic no-nonsense opening derived from real events: In 1879, Rodolphe Lindt of Berne, Switzerland, produced chocolate that melted on the tongue, creating the fondant. Two centuries later in the same city, his namesake Rodolphe sat in his Schokolade Speicher that faced Mireille’s toy store, his neighbor across the street. As he rolled a soft sweet fondant in his mouth, Rodolphe thought of Mireille, her thin waist, her large green eyes, her overly made-up face, her cadenced walk, and her syrupy smile.
  • Considered to be the most successful by some, beginning through the emotional way, which is aiming for the heart and appealing directly to the reader’s emotions: In the middle of the street in Berne’s marketplace, a jealous Karl shot the unsuspecting Rodolphe with a hunting rifle as his traumatized wife Mireille ran about screaming. Rodolphe, the chocolatier, had the reputation of a saint to young and old alike; however, for Karl, Rodolphe was a scorpion who knelt in prayer while raising its tail to kill.
  • Beginning with action, that is, starting with any significant movement: Rodolphe, the chocolatier, cocked his head quizzically. Karl, his neighbor, was aiming at him with a rifle. “No!” With the sudden blast of the rifle, Rodolphe dropped to his knees, blotting his damp, chocolate-covered hands on his denim jeans. As Rodolphe’s body grew stiff, Mireille ran screaming toward the two men, but she too fell down like a folded cloth and heard nothing else except for the throbbing of the street to the thick, fast beat of her heart.
  • A medias res (in the middle of things) beginning, which has been in favor during the recent years: The blast from Karl’s rifle brought Rodolphe to his knees. As his blood created puddles on the cobblestone street, the last sound he heard was Mireille’s screams before he grew stiff and senseless.
  • Beginning with a dialogue: (Most readers respond to dialogue well, especially if they sense tension or foreshadowing in it.) “Karl is screwed up,” Mireille said. “This is going to be difficult. Are you sure you want to go ahead with this give and take?” “Yes,” Rodolphe nodded. “You need my fondants. I’m like moonlight on dark water for you.” Then, he looked away. “Are you still in shock from last night?” “It was routine,” Mireille shrugged, arranging her plush bears in the window in irregular rows. “Karl always gets like that. He is just jealous. It isn’t everyday that he sees me eating expensive fondants.”
  • Beginning with a character’s description: Rodolphe wiggled on the red leather-cushioned stool near the window of his chocolate store, watching the street and Mireille’s plush bears, because even at his age, he was still deeply interested in toys. Tall, fat, and ugly with a crooked nose and misshapen smile, Rodolphe was also generous and jolly, except when he espied Karl putting his arms around Mireille. Then, Rodolphe’s face pinched with pain and his mouth drew downwards, trembling. Still, all this was before Karl shot him and Rodolphe was pronounced dead by Mireille, though only for a short time. Afterwards, when the medics brought him to life, Rodolphe’s outlook changed.
  • Beginning with the author’s voice addressing the reader: Although this method of beginning can be appealing, confidential-sounding, and even effective, it is considered old fashioned and boring. Speaking for me, I hate it, but here it is anyway. If memory were a movie, dear reader, you would see the marketplace in Berne from above, and in a close-up you would see me, Joy Cagil–the author here, strolling in front of a chocolate store thinking of this poignant and funny story, since a tiny part of my life was spent in Berne. Then, you would have to take my word that in this very store, Rodolphe offered his delectable fondants to Mireille because he felt sorry for the plush bear that Karl, Mireille’s husband, had ripped apart.
  • Diary, epistolary (letter-writing), or reflective beginning: Dear Mireille, What would you say if you knew I have your diary? Yes, my dear one, yesterday, when I brought you the fondants, I couldn’t help myself to pick it up when I saw the diary near your cash register. At that moment, you had your back turned to me, for you were putting a teddy back on the shelf, which you had knocked down when you saw me enter. I took your diary like a common thief and put it under my vest. Am I sorry? No, believe me; I am not, although this is not a gentlemanly act. In fact, I am deliriously happy. I took your diary because I was curious about what went inside your pretty head, but oh what joy, I found out that you had feelings for me. Is it the chocolate that affects women to melt like cream over fire? Maybe, since I am never sure of my manly charms. But that doesn’t matter now, for you have given me a new life and a new brown plush teddy bear for my counter that I will cherish forever and ever. I am returning your diary so you can write more about me. Rodolphe
  • Beginning by asking a question: Where was Mireille? Spielzeugspeicher’s doors were still locked; although it was far later than the usual hour Mireille opened her shop. Had Karl hurt her feelings again by throwing out the fondants in the trash? Or worse yet, at this very moment, was Mireille being forced into Karl’s brusque embrace? Rodolphe tapped on the counter with his plumb fingers as he sat wiggling uneasily on the red leather-cushioned stool.

I had a lot of fun playing with these exercises, and you, too, have fun with a few beginnings of your own. Who knows, you may end up with a great beginning that will hold the attention of even the most reluctant reader.

Baby Steps To Begin Again

How do you make a new start? A new life for yourself? How do you pick yourself up again? How do you get yourself back after something’s happened? Or after something hasn’t happened for a while and you’re bored beyond belief with him/your job/your life/that way of being that hurts you?

Beginnings and endings. They have the power to make you twice the woman you are or leave you in a big bundled mess on the floor.

To weep or to whoop whoop? That is the question. That’s why it’s so important for you to be a big beautiful support to yourself, because you hold the power right now to completely and utterly inspire yourself with this new way of being.

Or not. You could fight it wishing it would all go back to the way it was. But it can’t. Dammit. New beginnings are here.

Have you ever wanted to feel absolutely amazing and powerful and strong when a new life is handed to you by the universe? But stress and doubt come creeping in? You’re worried about what will happen to you… Worried about how it will all be? You’ve likely come to the end of a life cycle. So to see you through so you feel good with glitter on top I’ve written this little guide for you:

7 Baby Steps to Begin Again so you move forward into your new life with ease, grace and fabulousness!

And what’s the first baby step?

1. Um… it’s exhaustion. First stage of newness. Might be speckled with euphoria in places. A new hair cut. A new juice you’ve just discovered for your mornings. And then, exhaustion. Feeling irritated. Unexplained bad mood. Your needs at this point are basic. Good food. Good sleep. Safety. Good people. Don’t try to reach for the stars right now. You’ll not be feeling it. If you skip this bit and lunge for No.2 and go all self-helpy you’ll slip back here to No.1, but then it will be No.1 + beating self up. So don’t bother. Give it a miss. Watch telly. Sleep. Cry. Just be.

2. Thinking time. Second stage of newness. You’re ready. Not for your new life yet. But you’re ready to think about it. Write it out. Say it to someone you trust. Dare to reach for the stars in your thoughts and on paper. You’ll feel better.

3. Energy time. Third stage of newness. Time to build your energy doing what you love. Start with your body. You won’t feel like it but do it anyway. Move it. In the only way that makes you happy. Dance to 3 tracks every morning before work. Sing your heart out in the shower. Hit the gym, yoga class, the whatever you fancy class. If you don’t energise your body you won’t have energy to create this new life you want. Skip this and you’ll falter start most days. Which will pull you back to No.1. No thank you.

4. Spirit time. Fourth stage of newness. Your spirit and soul are beginning to wake up. Listen to them. They’ll begin to send you the newness beginnings like little bird songs. Feed them what they need to lift you. What new delicious ritual would you look forward to every day? A meditation app to listen to on the way to work? Chakra dancing? Painting with your fingers? Tending to your flowers, drawing fragrant warm baths for yourself, you know what I’m saying here? This is where you tend to the gentler more sensitive part of your nature. Feed yourself your highest possibility here. Again, do it with a girlfriend if you keep messing this bit up. She’ll support you and you’ll not want to let her down. (Soul kismet.)

5. Why? Why do you want this? This is your fifth stage of newness. And it’s so, so needed. Write it on a piece of paper. There. That’s why. You need your why. It will pull you out of bed on a morning you’d really rather not. It will make you make that phone call to get help. It will make you take action when you’d rather slip into the old way of being. Your “why” is the reason why you’re doing this. Your “why” makes YOU more important than your excuses. Write it out and carry it with you. It’s your best friend for your new life. Look at it regularly. There, that’s why.

6. Pleasure time. Sixth stage of newness. Give yourself fun in abundance. You need fun and happiness and sparkles and gorgeous luscious pleasure dotted daintily throughout your day. A woman like you HAS to have something to look forward to, always. What turns you on?

7. Action time! Seventh stage of newness. Now you’ve got the energy to tackle that. Whatever that is. You’re ready to stop doing that thing, or to start doing that thing. You’re ready to begin your new life! This is outward action – calling up for a new job, putting your profile up on a dating website, asking for what you want, joining a course, calling someone to help you, making that move. Finally. Yes. You’re ready to put this new beginning into action! It will feel good. Frantic sometimes. Pace yourself. Do not give up energy time and spirit time.

There you have it. 7 baby steps to the new you, new life, new way of being. Here’s to new beginnings! YES! Let this time be a breath of fresh air for you – trust it – new beginnings suit you!

I’d love to hear in the comments below why you’re doing this for yourself – why you’re beginning your new life… do you deserve it? SHOUT IT TO ME!

Could There Have Been Previous Beginnings, Before The Accepted Beginning Of Our Universe?

Note — at this present moment in time, it is a pure assumption on my part that before the accepted beginning of our universe happened, the “force” that existed must have been a negative magnetic one that exhibited a direct influence over all of the emptiness that abounded.

“The beginning”, according to the guides set out in that book of books, the “bible”, starts its beginning chapter with “genesis”, or literally, the generation of this world and the encompassing heavens.

“Genesis” states, (and I quote) “In the beginning god created the “heaven” and the “earth” and the earth was without form, and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep and the spirit of god moved upon the face of the waters and god said, “let there be light”, and there was light”.

The first line of the quote shows that this entity called “god” existed before the heaven or the earth came into being.

The second line suggests that the earth was barren and unoccupied.

The third line states that darkness prevailed upon the part of the deep that faced the darkness.(Was this face the face of the waters?) If it was, then where did these waters come from? As it appears that god did not create them in genesis! It also appears as if they were in existence before god created the heaven and the earth! It also seems they consisted of an all-encompassing entity, before any of the reported “doings” of gods works happened in the creations of heaven and earth.

The fourth line says that the spirit, (presumably power) of god moved upon the face (presumably surface) of these waters. (Could this have possibly been wind?)

(The third and fourth lines begs the question of where these waters were situated.(Were they upon the earth or not?)

The fifth line states that god, only had to say, “let there be light” and lo and behold, light came into being in all its many glorious and magnificent forms of this great phenomena. Because our scientists tell us how light, manifestations or creations occur from differing sources of raw materials.

Anyway, the above tells us that there was no light before the beginning. It also tells us that it was dark, and that the heaven and the earth did not exist. It also tells us, that the waters existed before light existed. It also tells us, that god existed before the beginning of the “heaven” and the “earth”.

Summary –The heavens and the earth did not exist before the beginning. There was no light before the beginning. It was dark before the beginning, because light did not exist until after the beginning.

Water existed before light, because darkness shadowed the surface of the waters. so we have no choice but to accept that,

God existed before the beginning!

Scientists tell us that a “singularity” existed before the beginning, one that happened to contain everything in the universe. This singularity exploded in what they call “the big bang”. They state also, that it was this massive event that created the beginning, and of course the light too; (which as a matter of course, is always part of explosions, explosions also cause implosions to occur within their central cores.) They also tell us that everything else that exists in this universe now happened to be created at the same time. (how convenient for them) however, it so happens that they are somewhat correct in their theory, especially the explosion part, but not in the singularity that contained the “all” part.

The scientists are sort of correct here too, but their explanation of this event states that everything as we know it was highly compressed within the singularity. (Just like in their explanations of “black holes’)

If we as idiots are to believe this, then we must also conclusively come to the logical conclusion to believe, for the sake of our own sanity, that the universe had at some stage previously “mysteriously” collapsed in upon itself, condensing all its parts into this singularity point. If this were what happened, then it would have to have been an event which must have occurred before the scientists beginning, began!

If we are to accept the scientific explanation of the beginning, then there is a question begging to be asked — because if everything that exists in this universe today came from the singularity exploding.

Then where did all this previous stuff come from that was contained within the singularity, if the big bang created it in the beginning?

(To me, this explanation of events proves that there must have been another beginning that happened much earlier before this singularity point of compaction provided our explosive beginning,)

There is also the question of how many other times could this have happened before our scientifically stated beginning? Could the answer to this question be, “infinite”? This also raises another query — if god existed before the beginning as shown above, was this entity also contained within the singularity point.

Does the above raise some sort of conundrum?