Monthly Archives: September 2012

Wacky Candy Day, Here at Last!

Dateline: Basel, Switzerland. Last Saturday in September.

Children, the young at heart, and anybody with a sense of joy, wonder, and happiness  … or in need of it…  open your windows today and smile and shout.  Embrace all that is good and amazing. It is the last Saturday in September…  it is Wacky Candy Day!

Wacky Candy Day has been celebrated for centuries, a truly global holiday embraced by everyone, everywhere. Whether it’s pine cones dipped in melted sugar, honey over ice, salted licorice, taffy, jelly beans, gummi bears, sumba-sumba, pezywezy, callwowwow, dezlecious stixx, licklick or any of the other thousands of candy treats, it all translates as fun!

Sharing Happiness

As any adult can tell you, having learned it themselves as children, Wacky Candy Day is about joy, silliness, fun, imagination, creation and sharing. It’s about amplifying and embracing the sweetness outside and within.

People from different countries and cultures and individual families all celebrate Wacky Candy Day — always the last Saturday in September — in many different ways.

How We Celebrate

Here’s our family’s tradition. Perhaps you’ll share yours?

1. Wacky candy is selected. Each family member selects one type/package of wacky candy. This can be done ahead of time, or as an exciting day-of family outing.

2. The day begins with the broadcast of Gene Wilder singing “Pure Imagination” from the album Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. We use this to gently wake the children up.

3. This is followed by the broadcast of “The Candy Man” sung by Aubrey Woods from the same album.

4. The entire album is played throughout the day.

5. Dad dances to the album throughout the day. Children’s screams and pleas of “stop” go unheeded.

6. At the right moment of the day, generally following lunch, wacky candy is opened, enjoyed and shared.

7. Dad preforms the “Yum” dance. Mom joins in.

8. Home-made candy making may take place.

9. The game Candy Land is played. With real candy!

10. Joy permeates the house. A movie is often watched.

11. No dessert tonight. Because the entire meal is dessert!

12. At bedtime, “Pure Imagination” sung by Gene Wilder is replayed, lulling the children to sleep.

Happy Wacky Candy Day to All!!!

Happy Wacky Candy Day! We got our wacky candy in France this year.

A Bagel Grows in Basel

Yom Kippur was approaching and we were having friends over for break fast. Lox and cream cheese would be procured from France. Smoked fish, orange juice, onions and cucumbers from Switzerland. But what about bagels?

A good bagel could not be had for thousands of miles. Bagel-like, sure. But we were raised on bagels from New Jersey and New York. Bagel-like would not do. The Wilan Bagel Works was born.

I experimented with different flours, boil times and baking time and temperatures. By sundown on Yom Kippur, success. I had a working recipe, rolling technique and baking approach. Soon there were delicious, chewy, crusty and warm bagels — plain, salt and garlic — in Basel.

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More Man Smag

The man-smagging good Copenhagen hotdog treat not only pokes out of its creamy little hole, but also comes with bacon! And it looks nothing like a stimulated dog penis. Absolutely nothing like it.

Have a smag. You know you want to. With that cream ring, who can resist?

Not a dog penis.

Man Smag

Posters for the below-pictured hotdog product are plastered all over Copenhagen and carry the tag line: ” … man har vel smag.”

“Smag” is the Danish word for “taste” and a rough translation of the tag line is “try a taste.”

Given the ad’s visual punch, I think the campaign would be better served by making the tag line just “man smag.”

Mmmm, Man Smag.

Man Smag: One handful is more than a mouthful.

Man-Smagging Good!

Smag It.

Identify the City, Win a Prize

Where in the world?

The Promise of the Train Station

I still get a thrill when in a European train station. There is a proximity to possibility that you cannot get at an airport. The trains, heavy and powerful, move right next to you. Metal wheels grind and squeal against the tracks. You can look at a single departure board and choose a location. And within minutes, buy a ticket and get on a train.

When you arrive — Paris, London, Nice, Budapest, Rome, Madrid — you leave the train and emerge onto the platform in a clot of humans who begin to break off into groups and individuals to go to their own lives’ destinations.

There are new smells and languages in the station. People dress differently. The stores have unfamiliar names.

You pass through the station doors and there you are, suddenly and thrillingly, in the center of a new city.

Warm Blanket

We had parent-teacher conferences this morning, which meant getting up at 6:15 am for the before-school meetings. I was cranky from the early hour and anticipating a longish day because of some work deadlines. As we sat in the classroom with Jack’s teacher, a book caught my eye: The Retired Kid. The title and cover art were very soothing.

Between conferences I thumbed through the book. It is about a kid who is not happy about all the work at school, after-school chores and homework, so his parents send him to live with his retired grandparents in Florida. At first, life is fun, but the routine of shuffleboard, yoga and early meals soon becomes boring, and the boy eagerly returns to his life. I’m with the boy, but in the early morning the initial promise of the book felt like a nice warm blanket.

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Boys with a Jeff Koons at Foundation Beyeler, Switzerland

SKY/REPOSE foundation beyeler aug ’12

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Art Basel the Cat

Adam poses with a Jeff Koons at Foundation Beyeler, Switzerland