Thursday, October 16, 2008

from The Hill
Yes we can … have civilized pumpkin carving Three old friends who met while working for a Seattle record label launched the nationwide Obama pumpkin extravaganza last week. Josh Horton, 29, lives in Memphis, Tenn.; Jason Powers, 31, lives in Manhattan; and Josh Jeter, 25, mans the carving operation in Chicago.

It’s not your typical pumpkin-carving affair — these pumpkins will have candidates’ - actually one candidate- Obama-heads carved into them.

It’s civilized pumpkin carving, so no smashing pumpkins and “no attack pumpkins,” assures Powers. “We’re not going to allow any bashing on our site.”

Here’s how it works: The site offers creative Obama stencils for pumpkin carvers to meet up for carving parties around the nation. The page showcases photographs of the carvers with their Obama pumpkins.

Horton said he came up with the idea while lying in bed with his wife. The couple was discussing, of all things, pumpkin carving and began conjuring silly Obama pumpkin phrases such as the “Barackolantern” and the “Obumpkin.” The next day he bought the domain name and phoned his friends.

One thing agreed upon early on was that the site should not be overtly political, despite the fact that all three are Obama supporters. There are rules: no negative stenciling, and no carving McCain’s head into a pumpkin with a large red X through it.

Mainly, the creators just wanted something different. “Everyone has a yard sign,” Horton said. “There’s nothing personal about that. There’s something expected about that.”
Jeter, who enjoys pumpkin carving in his off time from the University of Chicago Law School (where Obama taught), thinks of it as the “organic version of lawn signs.” He’s also looking forward to BYOP (last letter stands for “pumpkin”) parties. “I was thinking maybe we’d restore civil discourse one pumpkin at a time,” he said.

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