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Beyond the Twinkie: 5 Other Hostess Products We're Losing

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The corporate future of Hostess Brands is hanging by a mere thread, and the Internet is all a-Twitter with Twinkie talk. But there’s more than just a golden snack cake at risk here. Here are five other Hostess products that could vanish forever.

1. Wonder Bread


Taggart Baking vice president Elmer Cline was doubly inspired when he attended the International Balloon Race at the Indianapolis Speedway in 1921. His company was about to launch a new loaf of bread and it needed a name. He was filled with a sense of wonder as he saw the multi-colored balloons floating above him, and both a name and a logo were born.

In the early part of the 20th century, a disease called beriberi—along with rickets, pellagra and other afflictions caused by vitamin deficiency—afflicted millions of Americans. In 1940, the U.S. government announced a plan to enrich wheat flour with B and D vitamins, but participation by commercial bakeries was strictly voluntary. In 1941, Wonder Bread became the first national bread to sell vitamin-enriched bread (“builds strong bodies [eventually] 12 ways”) and after encouraging results other brands followed suit and beriberi was soon relegated to mentions on Gilligan’s Island.

2. Ding-Dongs


Wikimedia Commons/Larry D. Moore

The popular foil-wrapped cream-filled chocolate hockey pucks have been known by a variety of names over the years, prompting savvy consumers to ask: What is the difference between a Ding-Dong, a Big Wheel and a King Don? When Hostess first debuted the frosted cake in 1967 they christened it “Ding-Dong” and used a ringing bell as an audio “logo” in TV commercials. However, competitor Drake’s Cakes already had a similar product for sale on the East Coast called a Ring Ding. So, to avoid confusion, the Hostess Ding-Dong was labeled “Big Wheel” in certain markets east of the Mississippi.

Drake’s Cakes and Hostess merged for a time in the 1980s and the snacks became universally known as Ding-Dong. Alas, the harmony was short-lived, and when the two companies parted ways, Hostess chose to use the sound-alike name King Don (instead of the previous Big Wheel) to let consumers know it was the same ol’ Ding-Dong they knew and loved.

3. Fruit Pies

During the 1970s, actress Ann Blyth served as the spokeswoman for Hostess Snack Cakes. One TV commercial showed her carrying a large silver platter filled with snack cakes (including Twinkies and Ding Dongs) and fruit pies during a lavish dinner party, offering them to her “movie star” friends. In case the name Ann Blyth doesn’t ring a bell, we’ll let Designing Women's Charlene explain:

4. Sno Balls


Wikimedia Commons/Evan-Amos
Those furry little mounds of sugar called Sno Balls weren’t always uniformly pink. Hostess introduced this confection in 1947, and its immediate success was attributed partly to America’s post-WWII indulgence in sugar after it was no longer rationed. (It had been a long time since consumers had tasted marshmallow!) For a while, packages of Sno Balls featured one white, as Nature intended coconut to be, and one dyed pink as a novelty. When feedback indicated that customers much preferred the pretty pink cakes, that color became standard. Today you’ll only find differently-colored Sno Balls around certain holidays—white for Winter, orange for Halloween, etc.

5. Hostess Cupcakes


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Hostess employee D.R. Rice was charged with updating the company’s cupcake to make it stand out from other similar snacks on retail display racks. He not only implemented the cream filling in 1950 (using the same injector system employed on the Twinkie assembly line), but also added the squiggle of white icing across the top of each cake. Hostess states that the “perfect” cupcake has seven loops in the squiggle—so if you ever find one with more or less loops, you might want to save it as a rare misprint. If the starting bid on a Twinkie on eBay is $8000, imagine how much cash you'd get for that cupcake!

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Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station Are Throwing a Party for Pride Month
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Employees at Antarctica's McMurdo Station are gearing up to celebrate Pride month in one of the world's harshest environments. On Saturday, June 9, the station will host what Hannah Valian, who deals with the center's recycling efforts, calls "one of the larger parties ever thrown" at the station.

McMurdo Station is an Antarctic research facility owned and operated by the United States. The station is more sparsely populated during Antarctica's colder autumn and winter seasons (which run from March to September), but employees tell us there's still a decent-sized LGBTQ scene to celebrate this June.

About 10 of the 133 people currently at McMurdo identify as LGBTQ, says Rachel Bowens-Rubin, a station laboratory assistant. Valian said the idea for a Pride celebration came up in May at one of the station's regular LGBTQ socials.

"Everyone got really excited about it," she tells Mental Floss via email. "So we ran with it."

Ten individuals are wearing coats while holding a rainbow-colored Pride flag. They are standing in snow with mountains in the distance.
"I hope when people see this photo they'll be reminded that LGBTQ people aren't limited to a place, a culture, or a climate," McMurdo's Evan Townsend tells Mental Floss. "We are important and valuable members of every community, even at the bottom of the world."
Courtesy of Shawn Waldron

Despite reports that this is the continent's first Pride party, none of the event's organizers are convinced this is the first Pride celebration Antarctica has seen. Sous chef Zach Morgan tells us he's been attending LGBTQ socials at McMurdo since 2009.

"The notion is certainly not new here," he says.

To Evan Townsend, a steward at the station, this weekend's Pride event is less a milestone and more a reflection of the history of queer acceptance in Antarctica.

"If anything," Townsend says, "recognition belongs to those who came to Antarctica as open members of the LGBTQ community during much less welcoming times in the recent past."

This week, though, McMurdo's employees only had positive things to say about the station's acceptance of LGBTQ people.

"I have always felt like a valued member of the community here," Morgan tells us in an email. "Most people I've met here have been open and supportive. I've never felt the need to hide myself here, and that's one of the reasons I love working here."

Saturday's celebration will feature a dance floor, photo booth, lip sync battles, live music, and a short skit explaining the history of Pride, Valian says.

"At the very least, I hope the attention our Pride celebration has garnered has inspired someone to go out and explore the world, even if they might feel different or afraid they might not fit in," Morgan says. "'Cause even on the most inhospitable place on Earth, there's still people who will love and respect you no matter who you are."

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New Nap Pods—Complete with Alarm Clocks and Netflix—Set for A Trial Run at Airports This Summer
Courtesy of Airpod
Courtesy of Airpod

Sleepy travelers in Europe can soon be on the lookout for Airpods, self-contained capsules designed to help passengers relax in privacy.

For 15 euros per hour (roughly $18), travelers can charge their phones, store their luggage, and, yes, nap on a chair that reclines into a bed. The Airpods are also equipped with television screens and free streaming on Netflix, Travel + Leisure reports.

To keep things clean between uses, each Airpod uses LED lights to disinfect the space and a scent machine to manage any unfortunate odors.

The company's two Slovenian founders, Mihael Meolic and Grega Mrgole, expect to conduct a trial run of the service by placing 10 pods in EU airports late this summer. By early 2019, they expect to have 100 Airpods installed in airports around the world, though the company hasn't yet announced which EU airports will receive the first Airpods.

The company eventually plans to introduce an element of cryptocurrency to its service. Once 1000 Airpods are installed (which the company expects to happen by late 2019), customers can opt in to a "Partnership Program." With this program, participants can become sponsors of one specific Airpod unit and earn up to 80 percent of the profits it generates each month. The company's cryptocurrency—called an APOD token—is already on sale through the Airpod website.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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