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Candy corn: Threat — or menace?

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Our country is deeply divided and polarized. And the reason? It comes to a head today.

No, the issue isn't Trump, deficit spending or political tribalism. 

It's candy corn. You either love it or hate it. There's no middle ground on this important national issue.

Candy corn, I assert, is the lima beans of candy. It's usually the last thing left in many trick-or-treaters' bags every year, and much of it gets tossed. I cannot stand even the sight of those cursed little isosceles triangles, let alone their gooey taste and the cheap and overpowering sugar rush they impart. 

But hey, that's just me.

I hated that stuff as a kid, even though I like both candy and corn. But surprisingly, candy corn, at least judging by Twitter, has many defenders (#candycorn) as well as, of course, millions of us haters. 

Volcanic comedian Lewis Black even asserts, "Nothing proves just how dumb we are collectively as a people as candy corn." (Well, maybe not everything). 

So, in the interest of informing the debate, here are:

 

Five things you didn't know about candy corn

1. The CIA has been using it for years as an "enhanced interrogation technique."

Among the many classified documents leaked by Wikileaks was a largely overlooked report detailing the CIA's forced feeding of candy corn to suspected Al Qaeda prisoners. The documents reveal it proved far more effective in getting sensitive information than waterboarding ever did.

2. Dentists and their staffs loathe candy corn.

You may be surprised, however, by the reason. The little buggers are loaded with sugar and many people keep their dentists on speed dial around Halloween. It's good for dentists’ business. But normal dental tools and office air compressors won't get the stuff completely off patients' teeth. 

Many dental hygienists are assigned to use industrial power washers to effectively remove all of it from patients' sucrose-encrusted choppers. It's an unwieldy process usually performed in dentists’ parking lots.

3. There are landfills devoted entirely to surplus candy corn. It's non-biodegradable, and most waste-management companies won't touch the stuff. It must be carefully sorted and then trucked to a few special sites around the country in remote areas — e.g., the secret one at the federal nuclear storage site out in Hanford. 

EPA officials say they're as worried about candy-corn leakage into the aquifers as they are about nuclear-waste seepage.

4. Almost all candy corn was manufactured in 1917. 

Candy corn is the unwanted byproduct of a failed wartime manufacturing experiment that extruded a food-like substance to make flotation devices for U.S. troops. (But there was a war on, and few noticed this failed experiment). 

The Defense Department literally was stuck with tons of excess sugary material. It was briefly used as ballast for the U.S. Navy during World War II, but when the sugary substance began rotting the hulls of warships, the government quietly sold its stockpiles of the yellow-and-white goo to candy purveyors, who didn't care about its unlimited shelf life. 

Candy companies now sell their extra inventory to Third World countries, who use it to pave roads.

5. It's not really made of corn!

 

Port Townsend resident Bill Mann has written a humor column for USA Today and CBS MarketWatch. He's always looking for funny items and people. Newsmann9@gmail.com

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