Upcoming Awards Show Predictions

We are just now entering the third week in February, getting towards the later parts of winter. As grammar fans, vegetable lovers, and nutritionists alike know, this is awards show season; specifically, three awards shows come around this time of year. These are, of course, the prestigious Vitamin Guild of America Awards (VGA’s), the ever-glamorous (Parenthetical) Awards, and the Veggies, the official awards show of the vegetable industry.

This year, the Veggies will be hosted by Kohl Rabi, and we have an advance copy of the list of nominees. We had predictions on some of the categories made by writer for the vegetable tabloid “Produce Weekly,” Hank Gullet (predictions below each list):

BEST FRUIT OFTEN CONSIDERED A VEGETABLE:

  • Tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Pumpkin
  • Avocado

“Tomato is clearly the favorite; most popularly known for this category, but avocados have received a lot of  press lately; could be an upset. I don’t see a lot of favor for pumpkin, I suspect it will be squashed by the bigger players.”

BEST UNPOPULAR VEGETABLE:

  • Lima Bean
  • Asparagus
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Spinach

“One of my favorite categories; always a toss up. My guess is Brussels Sprouts; my wife can’t cook them at all, but maybe others have had more luck.”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEAFY GREEN:

  • Spinach in “Quiche”
  • “Iceberg” Lettuce in “Tossed Salad”
  • Bok Choy in “Stir Fry II: This Time, It’s Tofu”
  • Kale in “Soup with White Beans”

“The clear favorite here is “Iceberg,” but I wouldn’t be surprised if they decided on another, considering that it is not a great fit for the category, and lacks in the “nutrition” category. Could even be disqualified, which would make for a great story. Leaf through Produce Weekly for updates on this shaky category.”

Next week is the awards show, so be sure to watch, next Thursday at eight, on PBT (plant-based television). Read Produce Weekly for more from Hank Gullet, including his spectacular expose on the seed found in a so-called “seedless” watermelon.

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Dental ImPlants

Yes, the title of this piece is misleading, but it could be the next step in Plantae Dentistry. Let’s start from the beginning, and explain from there.

Dionaea Muscipula, commonly known as the Venus Flytrap, is a popular plant, well known for its carnivorous habits. It triggers to shut when a fly (or other insect) steps inside of its “mouth,” and its long hairlike protrusions, or cilia, form a cage to trap the fly in, where it is digested in the mouth. Scientists alternate between calling this digestion process the “coolest thing ever” and the “grossest thing ever.”

These plants are usually only found naturally in North and South Carolina, but a group of particularly large (read: old) plants have navigated to Florida, which should come as no surprise to those knowledgeable about migration as it relates to Florida.

Much like in humans, these “cilia,” like our teeth, can fall out with old age. So, a group of humane plant dentists are trying to help these traps out, by pasting in plant dentures. We spoke to one of these dentists, Martha Green, DDS.

“We originally decided to do this to reduce the fly population, but we did eventually grow attached to the plants; we wanted to help them.”

The invasive fly species in question, the Moroccan Glue Fly, had indeed become a problem; they were out of hand, and people didn’t want to swat them for fear of getting their hand glued to whatever surface the fly landed on, as Glue Flies have a deposit of a super sticky substance in their abdomen that has a similar strength to conventional, household super glue. Green had this to say about the Glue Flies:

“This is some really sticky stuff. Our Stickometers measure the hold at a 6; this may not sound high, but you know that scene from A Christmas Story? That’s a 5.7.”

The one major issue with this dental work is the nature of the plants “mouths”: They don’t grip on to dentures well (ironic, since they are designed to be sticky), and don’t respond to normal glues or pastes. The only thing that works seems to be the glue from, you guessed it, the Moroccan Glue Fly, slowly being eradicated by the plants.

The plants, unfortunately, are eating their way to their deaths, when they run out of flies to keep the false teeth pasted in. Scientists are trying to find a synthetic substitute before time runs out, but its a sticky situation. They are also trying to train the plants to eat Green Bit Flies instead (using experimental technology, an advanced version of plant mind control device “The Moss Boss”), to conserve the sticky fly resources, but the Flytraps haven’t really been chomping at the Bit yet.

The Moss Boss

Mind control has been a desire of humans from the beginning of time, ever since famous caveman Ogg Gogor tried to use fire as a mind control device against Rogog Ggo. This, of course, failed (though Ggo was burned to death, which still accomplished Gogor’s goal of getting to play Ggo’s Sega Genesis). Through this point in time, mind control has been all but impossible, with few exceptions, and controlling the minds of plants has been especially difficult. This past week, however, has seen an amazing development: The Bryophyta Tuner, or the “Moss Boss.”

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The current prototype, “B-Tuner Mk III”

Mumble Labs have been working for years, in an effort to manipulate the minds of small plants. This marks their first success in this area, and Mumble’s press release had this to say about the Moss Boss:

“This is the first time that moss has been controlled in this way. Before, we could only have moss on the north side, or nothing. Now, we are getting moss to grow on east sides, or even west sides. It’s really incredible stuff.”

We were fortunate enough to get to speak to Mumble’s President and CEO, Haley Muff. She supervised this project personally, and worked closely with lead scientists to develop a usable, and powerful, new device. We sat down with her in a room literally filled with moss, where she had this to say about the implications of the Tuner:

“Currently, we are still testing the Bryophyta Tuner in practical situations; mosses exposed to the Tuner that don’t submit are often hostile, and try to attack our scientists. I say try, because, I mean, come on, it’s moss. What’s it gonna do, I mean, f$%^ing really.”

Muff asked us not to publish that particular quote, but every other quote we had had at least 3 times as many curse words. This was the only usable quote we had.

We are currently awaiting a trial device, so that we may review the effectiveness. They are going into production soon, to be manufactured in Russia, near Mosscow (Incidentally, when Muff informed us of this, our correspondents reported actually hearing the moss in the room groaning).

 

History Sunday: A “Fruitful” Discovery

Benjamin Peary, in the time of the American Revolution, was pretty much unimportant. An apple farmer, he did not go to war, instead growing apples of a fairly miserable quality. After the war, apple sales went way down for Peary, as his apples were fantastically terrible. George Washington was quoted as saying “I would rather eat a clod of dirt than a Peary apple,” and as we know, he could not tell a lie.

Because of the dismal reaction to his apples, Peary decided to take action. In 1787, he took two of his best apples, cut them in half, stuck them together with a heavy-duty paste, and planted them in the ground, hoping to gain a hybrid apple out of this process. As we know now, this is ridiculous; when you plant two halves of apples in the ground, especially with cow-hoof glue, you get a pear. But, at the time, this was not a known fact. So, in a few years, expecting the greatest apples, Benjamin Peary instead invented the first pear. He immediately named it after himself: The Peary-Fruit.

Henry David Thoreau, the famous poet and nature lover, had this to say about this fruit in 1853:

Oh what wondrous splendor lies,

Inside this fruit, before my eyes,

A stranger shape I’ve never seen,

With small brown spots on back of green,

Beneath this tree, atop a root,

I sit, enjoying a Pear

It does seem, because of the lack of rhyme, that he meant to refer to it as a Peary-Fruit, but paper was expensive in those days, and in the original document, the word “Pear” goes right to the end of the page. Historians assume that he ran out of paper, and for whatever reason, published the poem regardless to his error. This popularized the little-known fruit, and gave it it’s new name.

Through many changes, however, one thing remains constant; the pear has always been uniquely American, from it’s invention in 1787, to it’s name change and popularization in 1853, to the present day. Now, the national fruit is a pear, and a pear is featured on every piece of American currency.

Deadly Flower is Irresistable to Lemurs

Madagascar is a land of beauty, a beauty which is sometimes deceptive. After all, it is an island home to the world’s most poisonous flower, Morticeae mortis, also known as the Quintuple Death Flower. It is given that name because it contains five distinct poisons:

  • Cyanide
  • A unique toxin called Morticide
  • Methanol
  • Anthrax
  • A chemical compound referred to colloquially as Concentrated Burning Hair Smell

Although the flower is beautiful, people know to avoid it, and animals rarely go near it, as they are well aware that it is poisonous. Recently, however, a massive outbreak has occured, resulting in the deaths of over fifty lemurs in one small area near Ankazobe. Scientists aren’t sure why this is happening, but it is clear that the lemurs are eating the flowers. We were able to speak with Lemur Nutritionist Abigail Muntz on the subject:

“All five deadly compounds will kill a lemur, so we don’t know why they choose to eat them now. The flowers grow in patches, and near each of the affected patches are the bodies of poisoned lemurs. You’d think the lemurs would take this as a sign, but they just keep eating them. We took some flowers back to the lab for tests, and found something strange; the flowers are literally coated in honey.”

Abigail also reported that, after smelling the particularly delicious honey, one of her lab employees couldn’t resist taking a lick, and is currently in intensive care. We hope for his speedy recovery.

Why would there be honey on a deadly flower? It seems like an unnatural occurence. What appears to be happening is the devilish work of some specially bred bees.

Aino Rakotomalala is a beekeeper in the affected area, and has specifically bred his bees to be extremely smart, and to hate lemurs.

“I not only raise bees, but I also farm fruit. When the lemurs eat my fruit, I lose money. So, I trained my bees to kill the lemurs. My bees are the best, and bred for passive-aggressive hatred.”

These bees, bred for a sadism gene, sacrifice their valuable honey to lure lemurs to eat the deadly flowers. While this is amazing work for bees, it is terrible for the lemurs. The honey, however, is supposed to be incredible, and irresistable (Dr. Muntz refused to send me a flower example, with fear I might try to eat it). Currently, some lucky lemurs are being proactively treated at a rehabilitation center, to resist the epidemic of honey addiction among lemurs. We have heard from some lemurs (who, for obvious reasons, wish to remain anonymous) that they can resist the urge, but might need to substitute with maple syrup.

Coffee, the Rejuvenator

The quest for youth is a common struggle of human beings, and a few particularly vain species of fruit-bearing plants. While we humans haven’t quite figured out how to reverse the clock on ourselves yet, we have been able to find a “cure for aging” for some tropical fruits. Just earlier this week, Scott Balto, a dock worker in New England, made an unlikely discovery. We got a few words of reaction from him on the subject:

“I was having a rough morning, so I brewed some extra strong coffee, and took it to work. We had just gotten in a shipment of bananas from Costa Rica, and we found that they were brown and bad. I was so shocked by how horribly rotten the bananas were, I threw my coffee all over them.”

Momentarily after, he looked at the bananas, and found them to be perfectly ripe. He was so shocked by this transformation, he spit out the coffee he still had in his mouth (resulting in a few green bananas).

Scientists believe this is an evolutionary advantage; bananas adapted this way so that those bananas who drink coffee can more easily attract an appealing banana mate, and pass their genes on to their banana baby. This occurrence, however natural, is still rare, because the coffee must have the proper strength, be brewed with hazelnut flavoring, and have 2 creams, 2 sugars.