I realize that simply mentioning this story underscores this blog's demonized propensity to wax lyrical about New Jersey, but screw it:
Members of [New Jersey's] Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee yesterday approved a measure designating the treasured Jersey tomato as the official state vegetable. A similar proposal is pending in a Senate committee, and has yet to be considered by the full membership of either chamber.
Sponsors of the measure get around the fact that the tomato is considered a fruit by using a century-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling that slapped a vegetable tariff on tomatoes, similar to the tax placed on cucumbers, squashes and beans. In squeezing tomatoes into the vegetable category, justices on the 1887 high court reasoned that if it's typically served with dinner, and not as a dessert, it must be a vegetable.
"Botanically, it's a fruit; legally, it's a vegetable," said Sen. Ellen Karcher (R., Monmouth), who is cosponsoring the Senate version of the bill. "Any of these bills that promote statewide pride is something we should embrace."
Fascinating that taxes play such a role. Whole thing here.
For Jerseyans of a particular age, this pathetic waste of legislative energy (similar to the attempt to make Brooce Springsteen's "Born to Run" the unofficial state song, whatever the fuck that means), brings to a close an era of mean Karen Ann Quinlain jokes.
We sail on into history, certain only of this: "When America was on its knees, either Russell Crowe's character in Cinderella Man or the actor who played Jethro on The Beverly Hillbillies brought us to our feet."