Medieval torture device. A pear is composed of a central screw with a handle surrounded on one side by segments shaped similar to the fruit. As the handle is turned, the segment expands. Often, the end of the segments are tipped with sharp prongs.

The device comes in three flavors: oral pear, rectal pear and vaginal pear. Shoved into the mouth, rectum or vagina, the handle is turned until the segments are fully expanded, mutilating the afflicted orifice. Although the damage was sometimes fatal, it had the advantage of being largely concealed, allowing interrogators to claim that confessions were obtained without torture.

I think pears are my favorite fruit
you can eat all of a pear
you start around the outside like an apple.
Because you got to know apples first
before pears entered your life
so you eat it like an apple
until you have a stereotypical chewed apple shape
then you say... but there is so much left
and you bite lower and lower
avoiding the little nub at the bottom.
But, there is still so much more.
So you bite closer, and closer,
and then you look from side to side.
Is anyone watching?

You bite off the bottom,
little nub and all,
glance from side to side.
You got away with it.
But there is still so much left.
you hold onto the stem and dangle it into your mouth, like a mouse into a cat, in the cartoons,
and you BITE.
The core is not hard... not tasteless
It chews and goes down easily....

Can it be true?
You look about.
How can this be?
Head tilted back once more... the mouse dangles again....
and again you BITE!

no there should be seeds...
there should be hardness, and "core", and things not for chewing.
But... there is still more.
The stem now strong enough to support it at any angle,
you look at it.

What have you done?
How can this be?
Not all of it,
but there is still more, and again you bite,
stem between teeth, like a piece of steak reluctant to leave the fork... you pullllllllllll
and are left with only a stem,
fingers and chin juicy and wet.
Is it really this good?

Thanks wuukiee

The Pear
A nutritional and culinary history.

Pyrus communis, P. sinensis

While it is the duty of an apple
to be crisp and crunchable,
a pear should have such a texture
as leads to silent consumption.

Edward Bunyard, 1920.

Etymology: Middle English pere (A.D. 1139), from Old English peru, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin pira, from Latin, plural of pirum

A Fleshy pome fruit from a tree (genus Pyrus, especially Pyrus communis) of the rose family that is usually larger at the apical end. Their color depends on the variety but they can range from yellow, green with russet shades (Anjou and Round Comice pears), clear gold (Bartlett) with a reddish blush and sweet, juicy flesh; pure russet (Boscs).

In cooking pears, the flavor can be intensified by the introduction of red wine, almonds, and vanilla. Pears achieve a marvelous unity when eaten with chocolate. An Italian recipe calls for the combination of pears with parmesan and pecorino cheese - a good marriage of flavors.

Story of The Pear

Originating in the Caucasus region (Southeastern Europe between the Black and Caspian seas), Indo-European tribes spread the pear as they migrated into European and Northern India. After widespread interbreeding with other native pears of Europe and Asia, the original wild pear has now developed into over one thousand varieties.

Despite this abundance, there are two distinct types of pear that are worth looking into: the Pyrus pyrifolia (common name: Asian-, nashi-, apple-, salad pear) with their crisp, crunchy texture and pleasant aftertaste; and the Pyrus ussuriensis (Chinese white pear or Harbin pear) with the more typical oblong shape and sweet, pleasantly mushy texture.

Ancient Times. Before the Middle Ages, the pear had been considered a superior fruit to the apple. By the end of the Sung Dynasty (China, AD 1279), over one hundred varieties of pear existed while there was but one apple. This preference for the pear carried over to Greece and Rome as well. A discussion of fruit growth by the Greek writer Theophrastus included grafting and cross-pollination techniques for pears alone; in Rome, Pliny the Elder described 41 varieties of pear, while only three types of apple were noted.

During the The Middle Ages, the center of the pear's popularity became Italy, while Britain imported their stock from France. Cistercian monks in Bedfordshire (Southeastern area of England, curr. pop. 514,200), however, developed the still-popular Wardens pear, and was for centuries the most popular pear in the world.

In the 16th century, significant pear growth is indicated in two manuscripts detailing the fruits served at the table of the vegetarian Grand Duke Cosimo III of Florence, Italy; there were 232 listed varieties in that region alone. From 1640 to 1842, the number of varieties in Britain grew from 64 to 700. Louis XVI's interest in fruit and vegetable development coupled with the introduction of espaliered trees -- whose fruit ripened more evenly due to heavy trunks which forbid excessive wind to knock the fruit off branches -- helped to promote the growing of fine pears in the Paris region.

The most famous of 18th century pear-growers include Belgians Nicholas Hardenpont of Mons, who bred the juicy, soft pears known as Beurre (butter); and Dr van Mons who nurtured and further developed this strain, which remains among the finest pears in the world.

The Massachusetts Company introduced the pear to North America in 1629 when they ordered pear seeds from Britain. Many fine American strains arose because the first seeds brought over do not breed true to variety.

In the 19th century, a phenomenon known as Pearmania swept New England. Written accounts (see Jackson, 1995) suggest that the world has not seen such extraordinary enthusiasm for the pear since ancient times.

Current varieties:

  • Abbé French, greenish brown with red blush, a dessert pear
  • Anjou, same as Beurre below
  • Bartlett, American variety of Williams
  • Beurré, soft, juicy, aromatic
  • Clapp favorite, grainy, American dessert of moderate quality
  • Comice, broad, blunt pear greenish yellow, for dessert can be served alone, one of the highest quality pears
  • Eau d'vie, expensive variety which may come in a bottle (thank you, Ouroboros)
  • Glou Morceau, 18th Century French pear
  • Jargonelle, French pear from 1600 for dessert or cooking with a distinctive aroma used in the British 'pear drops' (flavor from Amyl acetate)
  • Josephine de Malines, a uniquely pink-fleshed, 19th century pear of Belgian origin
  • Kaiser, a loathsome, offensive pear, fit for the gutter's mouth, not yours
  • Louise Bonne De Jersey, a "painted, varnished hue
  • the red must be shining red, and the greener portion must be turning yellow" (Brooke)
  • Olivier de Serres, Southern European pear for dessert
  • Passe crasanne, late winter pear for cooking found in Southern Europe
  • Seckle, American pear with an unusual, pleasantly spicy flavor, though having a granular texture (1765)
  • Wardens
  • Williams, a pleasantly musky flavor (esp. the Poire Williams variety)
  • Winter Nelis, excellent spicy flavor, though it ripens a bit fast.

    Nutritional Content

    The pear contains high levels of dietary fiber (3.98 grams in the average pear), with insoluble cellulose in the skin; lignin in the tiny gritty particles in the fruit flesh; and soluble pectins. Vitamin C (6.64 mg: 11% of RDA) and sugar content is medium to medium-high, concentrated in the skin. The most fundamental nutrient found in pears is potassium (207.5 mg; similar to one-half cup orange juice).

    Purchase and Storage

    Look for firm, ripe pears with bright and luminous skin. Pectin enzymes cause most fruits and vegetables to soften after they are picked because the enzyme diminishes cell walls. Tree-ripened pears sometimes taste and feel mushy; the most tasty pear has been picked a short time before maturation and is allowed to ripen as it travels.

    Davidson, Alan. The Oxford Companion To Food. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.
    Jackson, Ian. "Fragments of the History of the Pear" Petits Propos Culinaries (English), 1995.

  • PHP Extension and Application Repository (PEAR)

    In short, PEAR is a project designed to raise the bar for PHP developers and make everyone's life easier. In many ways PEAR for PHP is analogous to CPAN for Perl, although philosophical differences between PHP and Perl result in significantly different manifestations. The PEAR Web site ( defines its contributions to the PHP community as follows:

    1. A structured library of open-sourced code for PHP users
    2. A system for code distribution and package maintenance
    3. A standard style for code written in PHP
    4. The PHP Foundation Classes (PFC)
    5. The PHP Extension Code Library (PECL)
    6. A web site, mailing lists and download mirrors to support the PHP/PEAR community

    PHP vs. CPAN

    At first glance, it looks like many other script repositories, but PEAR provides greater value by enforcing numerous standards on its submissions. This is where PEAR really differentiates itself from projects like CPAN. The desire for standards fits nicely with PHP's niche as a Web scripting language. Perl provides an extremely flexible core language, whereas PHP uses a more basic core language in favor of a huge number of built-in functions to perform common tasks. So while Perl users can benefit quickly from a large selection of modules, PHP users already have most of the building blocks they need, and benefit more by standardizing methods of completing common but sophisticated tasks.

    PEAR could be considered the saving grace of PHP because it allows the language to grow without bloating the core which is what has always been the greatest danger facing PHP's future development. Although the client application has only recently hit version 1.0, it already ships in the default PHP 4.3.0 installation. Acceptance of PEAR may be a challenge given the added complexity of writing to the standards, but PEAR has already found a niche among many serious PHP developers if not the casual hobbyist.

    Coding Standards

    PEAR standards are based around a class/object model, PHPDoc documentation, and some formatting/naming guidelines thrown in for consistency. The object-oriented approach is questionable since PHP does not provide very robust OOP support. This also runs the risk of adding unneeded complexity to simple tasks. Yet for large projects requiring many modules, it seems like a reasonable way to keep things clean and organized.

    Submitting Code

    Developers wishing to contribute must submit their classes for approval must be willing to conform to the coding standards, submit documentation, provide maintenance (bug fixes), and release under a freely distributable and extendable license. Once a package has been prepared, it must be submitted for approval to the PEAR developers mailing list, where at least 5 developers must give a thumbs up for it to be included.

    Foundation Classes and PECL

    The Foundation Classes should be considered the core of PEAR. These are high-quality, broadly useful, interoperable packages with fixed APIs that are the cream of PHP code. For the developer wishing to take advantage of PEAR, these are the safest packages to use. PECL stands for PHP Extension Code Library which are actually not PHP at all, but C modules meant to provide higher-performance functionality to PHP. Any module could theoretically be ported from PHP to C, but it is mostly useful when increased efficiency is needed.

    Using PEAR

    PEAR can be a bit intimidating to use with all it's dependencies and complex classes. PHP is so easy to learn that PEAR may seem unnecessarily difficult to the novice PHP developer who may give up in frustration. This is merely an unfortunate side-effect of PHP's ease of use.

    The good news is that for the PHP developer who wants to be taken seriously, PEAR offers the opportunity to reuse well-designed components and show that you are not just a scripting hack, but actually have what it takes to engineer quality software. If you're tired of being denegrated by Java and Perl programmers who think PHP is for script kiddies, this is your opportunity to use PHP's advantages to fullest extent. And if you maintain more than one site that use many similar but slightly different functions, PEAR may be able to offer you a lot of solid reusability. After using a few of the foundation classes, I promise you'll be hooked.

    Pear (?), n. [OE. pere, AS. peru, L. pirum: cf. F. poire. Cf. Perry.] Bot.

    The fleshy pome, or fruit, of a rosaceous tree (Pyrus communis), cultivated in many varieties in temperate climates; also, the tree which bears this fruit. See Pear family, below.

    Pear blight. (a) Bot. A name of two distinct diseases of pear trees, both causing a destruction of the branches, viz., that caused by a minute insect (Xyleborus pyri), and that caused by the freezing of the sap in winter. A. J. Downing. (b) Zool. A very small beetle (Xyleborus pyri) whose larvae bore in the twigs of pear trees and cause them to wither. -- Pear family Bot., a suborder of rosaceous plants (Pomeae), characterized by the calyx tube becoming fleshy in fruit, and, combined with the ovaries, forming a pome. It includes the apple, pear, quince, service berry, and hewthorn. -- Pear gauge Physics, a kind of gauge for measuring the exhaustion of an air-pump receiver; -- so called because consisting in part of a pear-shaped glass vessel. Pear shell Zool., any marine gastropod shell of the genus Pyrula, native of tropical seas; -- so called from the shape. -- Pear slug Zool., the larva of a sawfly which is very injurious to the foliage of the pear tree.

    <-- Illustr. of pear slug (Celandria cerasi) -->


    © Webster 1913.

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