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Letters: Weissenberg Remembrance; Twinkies


It's time now for Letters.


CORNISH: Earlier this week, we remembered the pianist Alexis Weissenberg, who died Sunday at the age of 82. He was known for the precision of his playing. One critic even called it chillingly scientific. But pianist Kirill Gerstein, who knew him well, told us that Weissenberg was just the opposite.

KIRILL GERSTEIN: I think he was not at all cold, neither as a person nor as a musician. I think there was a burning intensity that you could always sense.


Well, Scott Watkins, a professor of piano at Jacksonville University in Florida, couldn't agree more. He writes this. I had the great honor of a lesson with Mr. Weissenberg in the 1990s. He immediately put me at ease, although I was scared to death. After what seemed like three hours of intense work, I glanced at my wristwatch. Forty minutes had passed and it seemed as if we had covered all of the music. It was an experience that I will never forget and from which I draw inspiration and courage. His artistry was exceptional, equal only to his humanity.

CORNISH: Now, to something light or, as Richard Knox, our medical correspondent here at NPR, put it...

RICHARD KNOX, BYLINE: Fluffy, light. It's just kind of luscious.

BLOCK: We are, of course, talking about the Twinkie. Yesterday, after we learned that the Twinkies maker, Hostess brands, had filed for bankruptcy, our science desk decided to run an experiment.

JULIE ROVNER, BYLINE: I want to know if you put a Twinkie into Mountain Dew, will it dissolve?

BLOCK: That's NPR health policy correspondent Julie Rovner.

CORNISH: And, for the record, the Twinkie did not dissolve. It floated.

BLOCK: Well, our little experiment inspired James Wells(ph) of Cincinnati to send us this story. He is the youngest of seven kids and writes, it was rare that a box of Twinkies went unmolested in my household, so much so that my mom started to hide them in unusual places. Needless to say, game on. My brothers and sisters and I found Twinkies in the dryer, under the couch, even in my mom's underwear drawer. All is fair in love and Twinkie war. However, my mom found the ultimate hiding spot, so much so that she forgot where she hit them.

CORNISH: Wells goes on to say, it was not until we retired our 19-inch black and white TV that we found the Twinkie graveyard. There, behind the TV, was a Twinkie box with one lone survivor. Now, only carbon dating would have been able to tell us how long that Twinkie had sat behind the TV. The TV had been host to shows ranging from "Ed Sullivan" to "M.A.S.H." So we decided that there was really only one thing to do and it was delicious.

BLOCK: And so was your letter, Mr. Wells. Thanks for writing. To write to us, just go to and click on Contact Us at the bottom of the page.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV COMMERCIAL) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.