Light Crap, petpeeve

Replacing Unpleasant Dementia with Sweet, Sweet Memories

Reader be wary: Andy Rooney-esque diatribe ahead.

I subscribe to the Confectionery News. It’s an industry rag that caters to the the folks who make your treats. It’s not actually a rag. It is a website. Each day my inbox receives a hearty helping  of news on the wonderful advances in the confectionery world, untold promises, and exposés of sweets research. Here is a sample of headlines:

Remember when you boiled down all that fruit into syrup and then pressed it back into fruit form?

One particular headline stood out recently:

Nostalgic candy wrappers help dementia sufferers bring back the memories: Nestlé

According to the article, “Nestlé UK has put together a collection of historical packaging and posters of its Rowntree brand designed to help patients diagnosed with dementia bring back happy memories.”

At first blush, this sounds really great. A unique way to help dementia patients flex their mind muscles. Just pull those old ads out and watch forgetful folks remember  when they used to buy delicious Rowntree Fruit Clear Gums for a nickel a box.

Then on second thought it sounds creepy as hell. Continue reading

Light Crap

A bit o’ nut roll

This is a candy bar that makes your mouth happy.

This is a post started a long time ago, but this was a happy day:”St. Paul’s Pearson Candy Co. acquires Bit-O-Honey.”

Of course we all know this means the grand unification of two of the finest candy bars in the history of the world.

Some of you may remember the post where I wrote to Dudley P. Nut, the official mascot of Pearson’s Salted Nut Roll.  He wrote me a letter back. He even sent me a package of candy.

Looks like I better loosen up the old writing hand. It’s time to write another fine letter to the geniuses at Pearson’s extolling their virtuous climb up that ladder of sweet delight.


Germany, Light Crap

Way to go, Germany, Pt. II

There is a massive backlog of things occupying my mind I’ve been meaning to unload. Some are more recent, some are from long ago, but all require your immediate attention.

In addition to my previous post, Way to go, Germany!, here is a place you should go.

The Walther Collection outside of Ulm, Germany, is just one more chapter in that age old story of ‘son-leaves-town-becomes-partner-at-Goldman-Sachs-leaves-it-to-become-big-fancy-art-collector-accumulates-a-pile-of-amazing-African-photography-decides-to-turn-house-where-he-grew-up-in-middle-of-nowhere-into-world-class-art-space.’


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Germany, Light Crap

Heiliger shitstorm!

In the tunnels beneath Köln

A shitstorm is brewing in the tunnels beneath Köln

The first shitstorm hit me when Vicky passed me a flyer in German for an upcoming social media conference in Köln featuring one of those tag clouds that everyone was crazy about 2-3 years ago (before everyone went crazy for infographics and totally forgot about tag clouds). It had all sorts of words associated with social media – ‘strategy’, ‘sharing’, ‘reach’, ‘like’, ‘connectedness’ and there in the middle in big letters was ‘shitstorm‘.

We laughed about it that day. It’s a treat to see what English words make it into popular parlance in German. Since my German language skills are still severely lacking, any English word that pops up in the morning news on the radio gives me whiplash piping meaning directly into my squishy brain.

And so it was with shitstorm.

After seeing it in that flyer, it began to appear with greater frequency. An article here, a radio program there. And always in the context of social media. It seems the Swiss had even invented a scale to measure the relative shittiness of a social media shitstorm.

Our chief financial officer approached me one day regarding a potential social media consultant he had sent my way, “You know, I was just thinking, they might be able to help when you’re having a shitstorm or something.”

We hadn’t really confronted any full blown social media shitstorms yet, plenty of regular media shitstorms, but not so many of the social variety. But it was comforting to know that when a shitstorm rears its ugly head, we will be at the ready.

I asked friends why people don’t  just translate the word into German – der Scheißesturm – and they looked at me as if crazy. Like a literal storm composed of shit? No, you would never ever say that. But ‘der Shitstorm’  is okay? Yes.

There were times when I felt like I was just noticing it because I was tuned into it. Like when I bought my first Subaru and noted every Subaru on the street thinking I had never seen so many before. But it was just because my perception had been tuned to Subaru. Was I now cursed to consciously note every occurrence of the word shitstorm?

And so it was with great relief when I saw an article in the Guardian noting that shitstorm was among 5,000 words that officially entered the German lexicon this year as of late June. It states that the word shitstorm was first noted in 2010 – coincidentally the same year I arrived. Perhaps my arrival was the tip of the proverbial shitstorm turtlehead? Or maybe just a drop in the bucket. I don’t if we could ever be sure.

But just in case, I am eager to try introducing new English words into the German phrasebook. If you have any clever ideas, please place them in the comment bucket below.

And without further ado, here is the word cloud to accompany this post thanks to the good folks at Wordle where you too can create beautiful word clouds.


drinking, Germany, Light Crap

Enter the Schlager

Dirty Laundry

Dirty Laundry

Pulling my jeans out of the laundry one summer day, I found this. I had carried Dieter Thomas Kuhn for nearly two weeks in my pants to remind me to do a bit of research. His mystical glower, page boy hair, mascara-scarred eyes, and unrepentant chest hair layered into a sequined vest reminded me of Bobby Conn*, whose song ‘Winners‘ is one of the triumphs of modern man.

And so it was my lucky day when Ms. Alina popped up on the Skype chat.

“So there are two tickets here to see Dieter Thomas Kuhn. Want to go?”

“But do you really want to see a schlager show?” I asked.

Schlager, loosely translated as ‘hits’, from the word schlagen or to hit or knock, is the pop music du jour in much of Germany inspiring loathing as much as delight. It is a divider of people. There’s not much middle ground on it, either you’re a lover or a hater. Alina tended toward the latter.

“Well, no one else entered the office raffle, so why not,” came the reply with smiley emoticon.

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