Too Many Long Boxes!
   
   

End of Summer
 

101 Pumpkin Uses For the Holidays

by Cliff Roberts

TV Guide:

9:00 AM - WGTV - Martha Stewart Living [CC]

101 Pumpkin Uses For the Holidays

A garland of orange pumpkins drapes across the set, connecting to the scrollwork shelves and doorways like spider webbing. Handmade crepe paper pumpkins festoon the studio, and in the center of the decorations, like a waiting black widow, stands an attractive, slightly older-than-middle-aged blonde, who looks about half her age. The Sounds Of Halloween's eerie groans, scary moans and evil cackles can be lightly heard.

The overhead studio lights are unusually dim, but the entire area radiates with candles and Christmas-type lights, all blazing from hand-dipped pumpkin candles, miniature pumpkin votive candle holders, white-skinned lumina pumpkin lanterns, celestial pumpkin lanterns filled with Christmas lights, lace-pattern pumpkin lamps, translucent monogrammed pumpkins, "stacked jacks" using stacks of pumpkins, gourds, and squashes and a pumpkin chandelier made from a grapevine wreath unadorned with six illuminated miniature Jack Be Little pumpkins, and colorful leaves and berries.

"Hello and Welcome." The hostess smiles in what seems to be a cool, slightly forced gesture of sincerity. "Today we will be discussing the multitude of uses for the very versatile vegetable commonly called the pumpkin."

"Please stay tuned."

The scene cuts to the opening credits with a montage of Martha Stewart pictures and a subdued theme song, then fades back to the studio.

As Martha Stewart starts talking about the varied uses of the plump orange vegetable, the camera pans over the cornucopia on top of the long table draped with pumpkin-embroidered, black table cloth. There is an array of pumpkin-embossed party invitations surrounding a pumpkin vase arrangement of lady's mantle, dahlias, maple leaves, and hypericum berries.

"Suggested Halloween treats consist of toasted pumpkin seed candy served in black candy cups and wrapped in Halloween-orange cellophane, tied with decorative floral wire." She motions towards the dishes like Vanna White. "Here we have sweet-and-spicy pumpkin seeds, jack-o'-lantern popcorn balls, and pumpkin lollipop wrappers." She immediately shows how to make each thing, as creative editing removes the tedious details and speeds her along the way. The camera switches from long shots to face shots to close-ups of her impeccably manicured hands, as she steadily creates her various designer treats.

The camera cuts to commercials.

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"This portion of Martha Stewart Living is brought to you in part by LexCorp. Lex Corp: We have it under control"

Waterfront Crystal,

Dock A Imports,

Bludhaven Pest Control.

____________

After the pleas to materialism, consumerism and the American way, the main courses are elegantly arranged, consisting of corn bread and pumpkin callah stuffing with dried fruit, pumpkin bread pudding with rum sauce, rum-roasted pumpkin soup in scraped-out pumpkin soup bowls, bowls of pumpkin puree, pumpkin gratin, pumpkin souffles, pumpkin in a tofu sauce, pumpkin pot pie topped with a flaky pate brisée crust and turkey with pumpkin seed glaze.

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Both Dr. Leslie Thompkins for the Free Clinic and Gotham Mercy Hospital thank the public for their generous blood donations.

"Need help with your business? Call the Lucius Fox Consulting Group."

The Gotham Gargoyles hawk their Football season ticket deal.

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* Baking segment.

"And of course the holidays can't be complete without desserts!" The domestic diva continues cataloging and illustrating the preparation of the mind-numbing pumpkin abundance in a dizzy arrangement of utensils. She proves the steel cookie sheets metal with a refrigerator magnet, shows how the spring form pans work, and compliments the decorative, nonstick aluminum bundt pan.

Present are a plethora of diabetic self-assisted-suicide dishes from her New York magazine test kitchens: Halloween pumpkin spice cookies, tartlets, pumpkin molasses pie made from a classic pumpkin-pie recipe, sweetened with both honey and molasses, pumpkin mousse pie, ginger pumpkin pudding cakes, and pumpkin cake with brown butter icing.

She moves from one dessert to another, putting the raw ingredients into a 'Martha Stewart Everyday' pan, slipping the pan into the oven and pulling out a baked, finished version, which she sets on a rack to let the air cool from the bottom as well.

"Good luck," she smirks, "and stay tuned."

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From Gotham City's Mayor: " In response to the recent tragedies, sifting through the rubble, we've picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and ultimately we will be a stronger people. On behalf of the City of Gotham we send our most heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Jim Gordon, the Gotham City Police Department, the fire fighters, paramedics, nurses and doctors, the rescue teams, and the countless volunteers involved in the cleanup efforts. You are all Gotham's finest. You are the true heroes of this world and we all mourn your losses."

Six Flags Over Texas ad

Ad for a future episode of Martha Stewart Living, focusing on Thanksgiving.

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* Basics segment.

Neatly labeled canning jars of pumpkin seeds share the shelves with antique and modern Halloween trick-or-treat pumpkins and jack-o'-lanterns in a variety of tin, ceramics, paper mache, wicker and plastic, filling the naturally stained Colonial hutch behind the entertainment empress.

On the back table, between Martha and the hutch, are bowls of Halloween crunch mix with roasted pumpkin seeds, a party pumpkin with tooth-picked hors d'oeuvres inserted all around it like a skewered porcupine, a pumpkin punch bowl, Autumn salad with pumpkin seeds, curried pumpkin soup, Jell-O pumpkin Jigglers, pumpkin raisin muffins, pumpkin crackle custard, harvest pumpkin pie, and pumpkin seed pie.

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Wayne Foundation: "Someone Cares."

The National Inquisitor: "When You Need To Know."

Gotham City Botanic Gardens: "Where Gotham comes to Life".

___________________

* Crafts segment

When Martha Stewart says 101 pumpkins she means it. She is already wrist-deep in orange felt at the time the show resumes. Around her are pumpkins wearing elegant feathered and bejeweled Mardi Gras-type masks, a jack-o'-lantern-headed scarecrow, a precious, wide eyed little boy with a painted green face and hair, in an orange pumpkin costume, and pumpkin-decorated backpacks, book covers, jackets, quilts and pillows. The sharp eye can even spot pumpkin seeds marked with divination runes as a party game.

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Closed Captioning for this program is made possible by S.T.A.R. Laboratories: The Future ... Today!

Diet Coke: "Just for the taste of it! Diet Coke!"

OnStar: Safety, Security, Convenience

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* Field Trip segment

"Now, the premiere star of the season is Jack."

With a quick flip of her wrist she unrolls a leather pouch of hardware, which looks more like tools of torture, ready to vivisect poor "Jack."

"Here we have the Ultimate Pumpkin Carving Kit to turn that plain pumpkin into a Halloween celebrity. It contains a keyhole saw, scraper, double melon-ball scooper, chip carving knife, hole-cutters in three sizes, linoleum-cutter, needle tool, eight sheets of colorful glassine paper for decorating in four colors: two sheets each, six reusable template designs containing faces, leaves, stars, and moons, two battery-operated mini-lights to illuminate carved pumpkins, and a detailed, full-color instruction booklet. This is available for purchase for only $75." She quickly holds up a pack of Halloween designs. "We also have additional pumpkin carving templates for $14.00."

Martha smoothes out the surface before her, and looks into the camera most seriously. "Now, to properly carve this jack-o'-lantern, you will also need a large tarp to lay over everything, a drill for electric light-hole designs, cookie cutters for whimsical nontraditional designs, a hammer to tap the cookie cutter into the pumpkin, pliers to remove the cookie cutters from the pumpkin, a large bowl filled with water for the seeds, pencils for stenciling, masking tape to accurately make an even lid line, pushpins to perforate the stenciled design into the pumpkin, flour to highlight the design, paper towels to clean up the string and pulp, a bowl to save the pulp for later recipes, a garbage bag to put the remaining mess in, votive candle to light the traditional-type jack-o'-lantern, a votive holder for the candle's safety, long matches to light the candle, and a handy fire extinguisher just in case. Make sure the fire extinguisher has been checked and charged by the Fire Marshal and all family members and neighbors are educated in its use, along with the number to the hospital's emergency room, the fire department, the family's attending physician, their medical history, medical insurance, next of kin, and funeral home and lawyer along with the number and key placement of the safety deposit box and Will. I also suggest some comfortable work clothes such as coveralls, preferably pumpkin colored to minimize any possible stains. Also get a pair of goggles just in case. A miner's helmet with an adjustable light to help you see would also be ideal."

Flashing incessantly across the bottom of the television screen is the disclaimer:

"Martha Stewart and this television station cannot be held accountable for any property loss or injuries due to accident or fire."

"Once you have all your tools ready, you need to invite the star of the occasion. We will be right back after this message from our sponsors"

______________________

Martha Stewart Living magazine ad

1-800 number

Visa and Mastercard logos emblazoned across the bottom of the screen

Pine Sol,

Claritin Syrup.

_______________________

The world-famous good housekeeping guru is now in a huge field of pumpkins. The sky looks like a picturesque autumn watercolor of various shades of pregnant blues and grays.

"Every year, hundreds of pumpkin growers from all over the East Coast travel to Gotham City, to compete in the Gargantuan Pumpkin Weigh-Off, one of the main attractions at the century-old fair. Grown from a variety aptly named "Gotham Gargantuan," the competitors aren't just big, they're titans, most weighing in at more than nine hundred pounds."

"'We are now at Patches' Pumpkin Farm, just outside of Gotham City." Patches is a scarecrow of a person, tall and gaunt, wearing a wide-brim straw hat, a long sleeve, plaid, button-up shirt, denim coveralls with red patches at both knees, and brown hiking boots. Patches' sex is indeterminate. "We are about to pick our pumpkin to transform into a jack-o'-lantern." Martha walks between the rows of endless orange orbs, letting her guest talk.

"The Latin name is Cucurbita pepo or 'Rouge Vif d'Etampes' , also known as 'Cinderella.' This heirloom pumpkin was brought to America in the 1880s from France. It has pronounced lobes with moderately sweet custard-like flesh, which makes excellent soup stocks and pies."

"Various species of Cucurbita have been dietary staples on this continent since the pre-Columbian era, most likely since they are such good keepers. Archaeologists have discovered that these American favorites may, in fact, be the oldest garden vegetables grown."

"This plant type is a vineing vegetable which needs full sun and spreads up to eight feet. It needs moist, rich, fertile, well drained soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH, 6.5 to 7. Foliage is medium green with orange fruit."

"To grow these pumpkins you need to mound soil into hills three feet apart, in rows four to six feet apart. Plant five to six seeds per hill, one inch deep each. You can also start indoors three weeks before transplanting; sow in peat pots. If trellising, do so when seeds are sown or at transplant."

"Thin the young plants to one or two per hill. Mulch to retain moisture and keep weeds at bay. Black plastic may be used to provide a few extra degrees of soil heat."

"Fertilize every two to three weeks with compost tea, seaweed extract, or balanced fertilizer, following package directions. Water about an inch per week, especially during bloom and fruit set."

"Direct sow two to three weeks after the last frost, when soil has lost its chill."

"Allow pumpkins to ripen fully. It usually take about one hundred and ten days to maturity. Harvest when stem begins to shrivel and the skin has hardened so that your thumbnail doesn't leave an imprint. It's best to leave two to three inches of stem on pumpkins."

"After harvesting, cure pumpkins by leaving them in a warm spot in the garden for a week. Afterward, they may be stored in a root cellar or other cool area for months."

"Thank you Patches," Martha says, taking back the spotlight. Suddenly she kneels at a large, seemingly perfect, specimen.

"Take your time choosing pumpkins for carving. Search through patches for specimens of the right size and shape, whose expressions inspire you. Since the face we are going to carve will use the stem as a natural nose, the best candidates are wide and squat, rather than tall and narrow. A nose that is slightly bent or curly is desirable, as it adds character to the pumpkin's expression. The life lines of the pumpkin, the natural creases in the flesh, also can dictate the character of the face. Often, the lines are strong and angled in toward the nose, creating an angry countenance; a naturally happy face is much more difficult to come by and not usually preferred for a Halloween pumpkin bust.

"I wouldn't cut that if I was you."

"All right, cut! Dammit. Who is that?"

"Well it certainly isn't the Great Pumpkin"

Martha eyes the diminutive redhead, standing, hand on hips, before her. The millionairess appraises the situation. She is obviously taller than this weed and has a few more pounds on her than the miserable little twig, despite the two ripe cantaloupes filling out the leafy green bodice.

"And what is it with that herbal jumpsuit? I've heard of natural fibers before but this is just too much." she thought

"I will not let you grow richer from this botanical genocide."

Suddenly vines grow and spiral with new life, like its Cinderella namesake, under the controlling spell of a demented fairy godmother. The vines twist and coil around the legs and arms of the astonished Martha Stewart, immobilizing her in its leafy green embrace.

"I didn't used to have anything against money, but perhaps it is the root of all evil. Look at you. Look at what sins you're perpetuating. You've sold your soul to Satan, Martha Stewart, and now, there's Hell to pay."

"No, please! You can't do this. You can't place the life of a human over plants," she said incredulously, fear replacing her usual plastic calm composure.

"Two years ago, 25 year old Julia '"Butterfly" Hill saved the life of Luna, a 200 foot redwood, and an additional surrounding 200-foot buffer zone of old-growth forest, at the cost of sitting in Luna's branches for 738 days, withstanding ordeals such as logger's blaring air horns while she tried to sleep and 80 mile-per-hour El Nino winds, and all manner of other inclimate weather, not to mention the $50,000.00 in fines to Pacific Lumber Company and an injunction forbidding her to wander freely on Pacific Lumber's land."

"Since Black Monday I have become caretaker of Robinson Park, the food producer for Gotham's starving refugee's and guardian of the Cataclysm orphans."

"I have come to the revelation that not all humans need to be destroyed. Unfortunately for you, you and others are not worth saving."

"You can't do this, someone stop her, please!" Martha looks around the pumpkin farm for a sympathetic face.

"Don't expect Gotham's Dark Knight to come to your rescue. You are no fair damsel. And I am fully aware that he has his barbed gloves quite full elsewhere. "

The lovesick cameramen keep the cameras rolling, as Poison Ivy has commanded them to, as the vines begin to slowly strangle the life out of the show's star and leave her, arms spread and grimacing with wide eyes like the scarecrow back on the set.

It is muttered by one of the mind-controlled techs, how nicely Martha's purple coloring contrasts with her orange ensemble.

Slowly the camera pans over to Poison Ivy as she holds a pumpkin aloft.

"Can't bear to carve these beautiful defenseless lovelies?" Ivy begins reading the advertisement from the teleprompter, "Buy Fun-kins(TM) carvable and everlasting polyurethane pumpkins, molded from actual pumpkins. The outer surface is beautifully realistic in both color and texture. These hand-painted polyurethane pumpkins are hollow and can be carved into jack-o'-lanterns. They can be reused year after year, so your creative carving wont be lost once the holiday is over. You can even use some of the supplies in the late Martha Stewart's Pumpkin Carving Kit. For use indoors and out. These pumpkins should not be used with candles. Exclusive to Martha by Mail. Choose from the Round, which is 13'' high and 13'' diameter, or the Oval, 15'' high by 11'' diameter; only $34 each."

"And no one will need to get hurt." Ivy's eyes flash an intense green.

The end title and credits rapidly scroll across Martha's picture.

"On Thursday's episode of Martha Stewart ..." the voice-over suddenly dies and the image goes black.

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Come to Charon Cemetery for all of your internment needs

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This piece is © 2001 by Cliff Roberts.
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