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Story pick: The great Weingarten's Great Zucchini

Now that the great Gene Weingarten has bagged his second well-deserved Pulitzer for a feature in The Post's Sunday Magazine -- one for a harrowing portrait of parents who accidentally kill their babies by leaving them in overheated cars, and one for the delightfully high-concept gimmick of staging the world's best violinist as a Metro busker -- I'd like to dredge up a lesser Weingarten that is my favorite of his long features. "The Peekaboo Paradox," from 2006 is a much more conventional profile than either of his recent Big Prize winners, but it is a delightful model of the form, capturing something essential about a young man making an odd (and lucrative!) living as a quirky children's-party entertainer known as the Great Zucchini. It's also a slightly discomforting look at suburban excess and an analysis of humor itself.

But mostly it's jewelry-box crammed with lines like this: "Emboldened by a glass or three of party beaujolais, moms have been known to playfully inquire of the Great Zucchini whether there is any particular reason he merits that nickname."

You won't read that in his Pulitzer stuff!

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By Steve Hendrix  | April 15, 2010; 11:22 AM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  | Tags:  Gene Weingarten, Great Zucchini, Pulitzer Prize, Washington Post  
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