“We are the Hollow men …”

    — T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland”


Finally, something useful to help you deal with Post-Halloween
Traumatic Stress Syndrome: what to do with those leftover holiday
pumpkins besides make disgusting videos of the inevitable decay setting
in. I am here to report now there’s exciting new computer software
enabling you to carve your pumpkin in your own — or anyone else’s —
image. So far, no one I know has gotten it … yet. But America needs
this product badly, and soon, to expand the grass-roots scope of
participatory populist democracy. Lately, you must have noticed,
presidential politics seem hollow, tricky, flickering, with soooo few
substantial treats in store for the electorate. We fear the razor blade
inside the jack-o-lantern, as it were.

With good reason.

Millennial times call for drastic beginnings. Forget Democrats,
Republicans, the Reform Party, the Halloween Party, just obliterate them
from your consciousness this instant.

Instead, consider the year-round possibilities of political

Many of us, I suspect — like Linus from Charles Schultz’s
“Peanuts” — are in chronic denial about our desperate search for the
Great Pumpkin.
Ungrammatically speaking, these ain’t it!

The Donald Trumpkinhead: Smirking, with bad hair-plugs,
surrounded by historic deco high-rises he’s gutted, garish casinos he’s
built. Swaggeringly poised to buy the election. Adoring and adorable
interchangeable pumpkinette arm pieces at his side.

The Al Gore Pumpkin, a.k.a. Al Gourd: A two-headed version,
one inside another, the alpha male snarling, the beta male sweetly
grinning — the voter, confused. Created in conjunction with the
Naomi Wolfe Campaign Strategist Pumpkin with a huge post-feminist
purse to hold her stupendous Gore election consulting fees, whispering
outlandish tactics to make him more male … but not too …
testosteronic. Sample wisdom: “Announce you invented Gore-Tex, the
successor to Teflon! No, don’t come out with an exercise tape of Al
Gore’s Hot Yoga. Muscles are good but stretches are … stretching it.
Sorry, too beta.”
Alas, close associates are afraid to tell Gore if
it was authentic feminist input he wanted, he should have gotten Clara
Pinkola Estes, the author of “Women Who Run With The Wolves,” but some
Washington insiders were afraid her middle name sounded too …
socialistic. Nevertheless, “Gore Who Runs With The
has a
certain positively presidential ring to it. Imagine him doing a photo op
jogging Columbus Circle ahead of a pack of wolf-dogs. Zat “alpha dog”
enough for ya?

The George W. Bush Pumpkin: Painted green, slid into the
political arena on Daddy Pumpkin’s coattails, his mouth an asymmetrical
simper carved in the shape of a crooked “Dubya.” How can he run your
country when he can’t even name three out of four world leaders of
foreign hotspots? Can you imagine him negotiating a treaty? This Yale
grad — who scored a grade of 73 in Poli-Sci Intro to the American
Political System and 71 in Introduction to International Relations —
gives new meaning to Gentleman’s C. They let him graduate? Has the Ivy
League strangled on its own arrogance? Duh. Give him a sports team. Oh,
sorry, he has one already. Be afraid, very afraid.

The Bill Bradley Pumpkin: Long and tall, wears a mortar-board
to symbolize its intelligence but has a bland, blank un-carved face so
you can’t see the light within; book-ended by hero pumpkins Mao, Mickey
Mouse, Wilt Chamberlain and Dick Clark.

The Pat Buchanan Pumpkin: Beatifically smiling out of one side
of his mouth, on a platform of well-oiled wheels so he can switch
parties and elude his critics whenever he makes another controversial,
uh, remark.

The Jesse Ventura Pumpkin: Grimacing menacingly while
borrowing the next WWF gimmick of brandishing a headless, armless Barbie
to make a pithy point about women. Comes complete with disposable
Venus de Barbie Pumpkin.

The Steve Forbes Pumpkin: Has coins affixed where its eyes,
nose, and mouth would be. Counterfeit. Boasts its family fortune could
buy and sell all the other Pumpkins three times over.

The Warren Beatty Pumpkin: Blow-dryer in one hand,
Tele-Prompter in the other, surrounded by a fleet of miniature
Hallowood Wannabee-Pumpkins like Cybil Shepherd, etc.

The Bill Clinton Pumpkin: His nose grown
long like Pinocchio. You know why.

The Hillary Clinton Pumpkin: ALL EARS! for her much-vaunted
New York State Senator Listening Tours.

The Roseanne Pumpkin: Or is it
can’t be sure; they are looking more and more alike: paired with the
Jerry Springer Pumpkin, this bunch is ALL MOUTH!

The Clinton Mansion Pumpkin: Over-priced and under-funded New
York State Dream House, complete with incredibly shrinking mortgage
guarantor, getting smaller and smaller every day.

The Oprah Pumpkin: Dual Reubenesque and svelte versions, has a
built-in sound chip and TFT video screen giving you endless commercial
station breaks surrounded by mindless babble, and that fiancee guy whose
name you — and she — can’t quite remember hovering in the background.

The John McCain Pumpkin: Spray-painted fire-engine red for
another bad-temper day, alongside his press-secretary pumpkin which has
an endlessly apologetic tape loop extolling his “plucky, feisty” boss.

The Liddy Dole Pumpkin: On roller blades outta here, her
blue-hued skin a potent testimonial to her husband’s continuing
fascination with Viagra, which has clearly injected, er, infected her
with his, uh, enthusiasm.

The Philadelphia Mayoral Election Pumpkins: Clueless
candidates Sam Katz and John Street as Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dummer.
Guess which one won?

The Ed Rendell Pumpkin-Cell-Phone Combo: “America’s
Mayor-cum-New Democratic National Committee Chief,” ready to take off in
a toy hot-air balloon, a foot-shaped hoagie in its mouth.

The Wind-Up Rudy Giulani Pumpkin: festooned with a Hitler
mustache — painted on by his activist artist-nemesis Robert
Lederman Pumpkin
the free-speech advocate and Malathion antagonist — while Rudy’s
spraying Manhattan with deadly chemicals and gutting a pumpkin replica
of the Brooklyn Museum.

The Mumia’s Brother Pumpkin: Carved without a mouth, and
suspiciously mum. Why, when death-row cause celebre and
martyr-in-the-making Mumia — convicted of killing a Philadelphia cop
that collared his brother in a bad trial from a biased judge in a city
rife with police corruption — faces imminent execution, has his own
brother never stepped forward to testify what really happened that

The Vince Foster Pumpkin: Still dead. But, like Bruce Willis
in “The Sixth Sense,” doesn’t know it. Suspicious bullet-hole spewing
seeds all over the pavement.

Just think: you could even apply for a federal grant and call it

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