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Kafka display at Main Street Books

David Garden's tribute to author Franz Kafka is on display in the front window of Main Street Books.

I can’t think of a better way to open my column than by quoting one of the finest opening lines in literature. One English translation runs “Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams to find himself transformed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.” Franz Kafka, who wrote the enigmatic, scary, funny and profoundly sad “The Metamorphosis,” would have turned 136 on July 3. David Garden, who shares the same birthday, and Main Street Books marked the occasion with a glorious display in the store’s front window. Well done, David.

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Why are bubbles so fascinating? What’s the physics behind them? What’s the biggest bubble of all time? I can’t promise that you’ll get answers to those questions, but you’ll surely have a great time at BubbleMania, a fun and educational show at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 18, at the St. Helena Public Library.

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Rebecca Bell will give a talk on how to face the fear of wildfires at 10:30 a.m., Sunday, July 21 in the Newton Room at St. Helena’s Grace Episcopal Church. Bell’s timely talk is entitled, “From Fear to Fortitude: Some simple ways to calm your fears of the fire season.” All are welcome.

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The St. Helena Police Department’s next “Cup with a Cop” is from 8 to 10 a.m. Thursday, July 18, at the Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company. It’s a great opportunity to get to know our police force without being asked “License and registration please.”

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Congratulations to John Preston of St. Helena for earning a Bachelor of Science Management from the A.B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University. The May 18 commencement ceremony was held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans and featured a keynote address from no less than Apple CEO Tim Cook. Good luck in your career, John.

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In other academic news, Carolina Villasenor of St. Helena was awarded Faculty Honors for the spring semester at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. That means she had a GPA of at least 3.667. Keep up the good work, Carolina.

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Charlotte Smith is yet another academic high-achiever. She just finished her sophomore year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo having been on the Dean’s Honors List for all six quarters of her first two years. That, in turn, places her on the President’s List for both years. All the best to Charlotte, who’s majoring in agricultural business.

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This event is a little far afield, but it’s for a great cause we can appreciate locally. Rebuild Wine Country, a volunteer effort aimed at raising $5 million for Northern California Habitat for Humanities affiliates, is organizing a Summer Symphony Benefit Concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, at the Sonoma Country Day School in Santa Rosa. The show features the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, sponsored by the Eastman School of Music. There will be Napa and Sonoma wines and – it almost goes without saying – wonderful music.

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News of the Napa Valley Wine Train’s July 24 Tequila Train put me in the mood for a margarita. Any recommendations? Where can I find the best margarita in St. Helena? Traditional or frozen? Drop me a line at the Star office, Dear Readers.

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