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Sunday, October 5, 2014

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE GREAT PUMPKIN?


The Great Pumpkin reminds me of other mythical figures...Santa Claus...the Easter Bunny...God.  First contemplated by Linus van Pelt in 1959, he faithfully waited on Halloween night in a pumpkin patch for the appearance of his hero.  The Great Pumpkin never showed, so, unlike many of those other imaginary personages, even Linus never revealed how it looked.  He was awaiting toys:


After repeated failures, Linus was quoted to say:

  There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people:  religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin.

If I just remember this lesson, I would minimize my aggravation of dinner companions.  I have long identified with the dreams of Linus, fantasies of Calvin and attitude of Sheldon (The Big Bang Theory).  Of course, I equally co-existed with Snoopy (above), Hobbes (especially) and Opus (here, he saves Santa Claus).

Here is Linus on clouds:


I highly recommend that you click on that strip, so you can read the discussion, for it reveals the essence of my admiration of Linus.

Now, why did I pick such a silly subject for this Sunday?  Well, it's October, Halloween is soon to come and Thanksgiving is next month, both closely linked to pumpkins.  I was mostly inspired by an article from the morning paper on the Illinois town of Morton, which claims to be the Pumpkin Capital of the World.  Up to 85% of all the canned pumpkins consumed in the USA comes from a Nestle company in this location.  Sixteen miles away, Eureka also likes to be known for pumpkins.

A very special type of pumpkin is grown and canned:  Dickensons, which only grow up to 40 pounds.  A larger one is sure to yet come, but in 2012 the largest pumpkin won $15,500 for Ron Wallace of Rhode Island, all of 2009 pounds, the first ever measured to be heavier than a ton.

Hawaii might have had the largest spam musubi in the world at 286 pounds, but the largest pumpkin pie comes from Ohio at 3699 pounds:


But how's this for utter disappointment, and maybe, danger.  Starbucks PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE has no pumpkin.  


Worse, the caramel contains 4-methylimidazole, which increases the risk of developing lung cancer and leukemia.  Starbucks has sold 200 million cups of this beverage, which should be re-appearing around now.

Why would Starbucks save a few pennies by being so idiotic, when they could gain a higher price by using real pumpkin and touting that this seasonal coffee offering provides natural omega 3 fatty acids, high protein, beta-carotene and vitamin E.  Further, there are are powerful antioxidants, with anti diabetic and anticancer properties.  PUMPKIN IS A SUPER FOOD!!!  There must be something to this vegetable, for we get it all the time at 15 Craigside.

So what happened to the Great Pumpkin?  Linus would be around 65 today.  Would he have matured, as many do, to outgrow any real confidence in Santa Claus and those other childhood myths?  Yet, most continue to believe that there is a God, so, perhaps, Linus, as he heads towards retirement, still spends his Halloween in some pumpkin patch.  Come to think of it, I just passed one run by Aloun Farms on my way home from a recent golf tournament I attended in Kapolei.  Hmm...what am I doing on October 31?


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Once Super Typhoon Phanfone is just at this posting losing hurricane strength, with the eye in the Pacific just west of Tokyo, but causing problems with wind, rain, airline flight and train schedule cancellations and a messy Monday morning.   However, right on the heels of Phanfone is Typhoon Vongfong, now at 105 MPH, but destined to attain Category 4 strength. 


Current models show Vongfong turning further east off Japan than Phanfone.  But, you never know for sure.

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