I don’t know which zillionaire it was who ‘cornered’ the market in pumpkin, but it sounds like they got themselves into a bind, like Milo Minderbinder getting stuck with all that Egyptian cotton. Informed readers will recall the good Lt Minderbinder finally had to cut a deal with the Nazis, where we bombed our own air base, if they would take some cotton off the syndicate’s hands. The same readers will also remember, Minderbinder’s first brainstorm was to try to make the cotton edible.
But stuck they were, and a conspiracy was hatched: ram pumpkin down America’s throat, literally, whether we liked it or not. All the sudden it was everywhere, offered to us in cakes and coffees and teas, in burgers, even ice cream: Children’s Ice Cream!
The marketing push appears to rely on our collective sense of seasonal obligation, or our lack of experience with most pumpkin related products and extracts, it relies on anything but the taste. For good reason. Pumpkin has no taste.
We all know, or at least I feel I can speak for the entire secular community on this, that pumpkins are not food. Nor are they a condiment. No mortal parent, and hopefully no God, would be so cruel as to foist bland, bitter, borderline inedible gourd flesh on their Children or His as a legit food source or a delicious sprinkle on par with minced Reese’s peanut butter cups or crushed M & Ms. Sure, they play a role in some pies, a role normally reserved for items that actually belong in pie, like fruit or chocolate. But that’s only because the slippery pumpkin chunks are watered down with enough pastry, cream and sugary goodness to almost overcome the objectionable underlying taste. A bland, slimy taste, at best, with a foul after taste that dutifully follows the taster wherever they go, like wet on a dog, for hours.
Pumpkins have a venerated history to be sure. They are to be carved, lit, and a few smashed during the week of Halloween. Survivors can be hurled by Rube Goldberg contraptions for sport. As such they remain the superstar of vegetables in the mind of trick or treating children everywhere, enjoying top celebrity status; there’s even a minor deity, the Great Pumpkin, named after them. That notoriety may not be in quite the nutritious vein we wish vegetables were seen by the young, but at least they’re there, symbolically. That’s not bad for a so-called food that turns the stomachs of nine out of ten starving homeless people.
Speaking of which, if you enjoy having gross pumpkin spice tossed willy-nilly on everything in your line of sight, you’re gonna love the opponents of net neutrality. Because, just like Starbucks, they know the ISPs know best about what you really want on the Internet, or cable TV, or coming live by robot voice through your modem-attached land-line. Naturally, a certain Texas Senator also knows best:
President Obama on Monday came out with a full-throated defense of so-called net neutrality, advocating for new rules that would keep the Internet free from the influence of broadband companies seeking to control customers’ speed and access. But not everyone is a fan of Obama’s stand.
“ ‘Net Neutrality’ is Obamacare for the Internet,” Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted Monday in response to the president’s announcement. “The Internet should not operate at the speed of government.”
But of course it is.