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Peeps make for Internet fun on Easter

Every newspaper column needs a little fluff -- especially when it's the marshmallow kind that lends itself to microwave experiments.

In addition to bonnets and baskets, Easter is just as much defined by heated debates over the merits of Peeps.

If you've been living in a jelly bean-fueled universe of denial, I'm talking about those sugary marshmallow candies. This time of year, they're shaped like little birds and Easter bunnies.

In the "love them" or "hate them" debate, I generally fall into the "love them" category -- with a few disclaimers. I max out at 10 peeps per year. Anything beyond that is shameful indulgence.

I'm also a Peeps Purist. I think the candy should be confined to Easter. No, I do not want Valentine Peeps. Or Christmas Peeps. Or Bastille Day Peeps.

The candies scream "quirkiness," and the Internet is happy to support that goal. Please join me on my annual tour of an Internet obsession with Peeps.

My first stop: the official Peeps website (marshmallowpeeps.com), where Disneyland-inspired music greets me upon clicking on the "about" tab. Unfortunately, I forget to mute my office computer. Awkward.

After a brief detour in Peepstropolis, I learn that the candies celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2003. Yellow is the most popular Peeps color, followed by pink. Each Peeps chick has 28 calories and zero grams of fat.

Ultimately, my desire for a job at the Peeps Gazette -- a real stop in Peepstropolis -- gets too strong and it's time to move on. After all, there are more than 200 unofficial websites dedicated to Peeps, according to the candy's official site.

It's time to check out the annual Washington Post Peeps Diorama Contest online. Yes, this is just as spectacular as the name suggests. Online photos of the dioramas include images of Peeps acting out scenes like the Occupy protest and the Royal Wedding. The Chicago Tribune offers a similar contest.

Let's not forget about Peep Research (peepresearch.org), where you can learn the effects of smoking and alcohol on Peep health.

My online perusal of Peeps resources wouldn't be complete without a trip to YouTube. That's where I find a clip that's attracted more than 3 million views. The title: "Peep Microwave Disaster."

The research was fun. But when I start contemplating Peeps as a pizza topping -- yes, that's a real obsession -- I know I've gone too far.

Sonya Sorich can be reached at ssorich@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8516. Visit ledger-enquirer.com/sonya to read her columns.

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