“Ask Brett” – Hooah Bars and Rip Its – Aug. 21

On August 10, O.E. Wrote::

Dearest Colleague and War-Pal,

It would be a great pleasure to read your thoughts on the Army’s former use of the hooah bar and the famed ripits (sic) and the impact these nutritional/energy aids had on increasing the probability of both IED strikes and negligent discharges.

Additionally, aside from being Tinker Bell’s fairy sister, what are you thoughts on, Periwinkle, the color of course and not the flower.

Dear O.E.

First and foremost, I feel I must explain to my “civilian” readers, what “Hooah Bars” and “Rip Its” are. Both are “energy aids” provided by the Army to our U.S. Soldiers in current combat theaters. The Hooah Bar is a compacted mixture of sugar, whey protein, cow dung, sawdust and sadness (and occasionally dipped in chocolate). Its texture and taste were similar to that of composite decking materials. The Rip It is a goat pee based energy drink, which is served in incredibly small cans to promote maximum aluminum waste. As for your original inquiry, I do not believe either item increased the probability of IED strikes, but the violent spasms these invoke have definitely led to a fair amount of negligent discharges (the Army’s term for the accidental firing of one’s rifle, pistol, grenade launcher, canon, TOW missel, etc…).

Finally, on Periwinkle. I’m glad you clarified between the color and the flower. I don’t think anyone wants to hear another one of my tirades on Periwinkle the flower. As for the color, I’m more of a Lavender guy, but what do I know…

Thank you for your inquiry!



“Do… or do not.  Care less, I could not.”

-Yoda, excerpt from the original draft of the Star Wars: Episode V script, circa 1978; The part of Yoda was originally earmarked to be played by an aging Marlon Brando, but after multiple readings George Lucas decided it was too gritty a take on this crucial character.  To fill the role, Lucas approached his puppeteers asking for a cross between Brando and Kermit the Frog.  I think you’ll agree they hit the nail on the head.

August 16, 1896 – What Would You Do For A Klondike… Nugget?

On August 16, 1896, George Carmack sparked the last great gold rush in the America’s when he discovered a large nugget of the metal while salmon fishing in Rabbit Creek in the Yukon Territory in Canada.  Despite the lack of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even MySpace, word of Carmack’s discovery went viral.  Over the next two years, it is estimated that over 100,000 people ventured to the Klondike to seek their fortune.  Most who were fortunate enough to return home after the rush, did so with nothing more to show from their trip than frostbitten limbs and an assortment of venereal diseases.   

For George Carmack, also known as “Lyin’ George” by his Native American companions due to his exaggerated claims, life would never be the same.  Returning to his native California at the end of the Rush with over $1 million to his name, Carmack found it difficult to lead a modest life (ironically while living in Modesto, California).  It wasn’t long before Carmack left his Native American wife and ran off with some floozy to Seattle (Seattle was apparently considered very exotic at the end of the 19th Century).  Expanding his wealth further through real estate ventures, Carmack’s lavish lifestyle became that of legend.  

It is said that shortly after the turn of the century, Carmack began insisting all visitors to his home refer to him as “King Midas”, after the legendary Greek king who could turn anything to gold with his touch.  He is also said to have created the first set of gold teeth covers (or “grills”), though the trend would not catch on for another century.  Most historians credit George Carmack for setting the example of lavish living that modern pop artists still try to emulate today.  

Even with his excessive wealth, George Carmack was never truly happy.  For years he continued to prospect for gold, hoping to recreate the excitement of the major discovery from his youth.  In June of 1922, while prospecting a new claim in the Cascade Mountains, historians believe that Carmack finally finished reading Jack London’s, Call Of The Wild, dropped everything, ran off with a pack of wolves, and was never heard from again.


Sir Isaac Newton

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.  If I have moved faster than others, it is by sitting on the backs of unicorns.  If I end up living longer than others, it is because I’ve boobi-trapped the underside of my bed against boogie-men.”

-Sir Isaac Newton, in a letter to friend, Robert Hooke, February 15, 1676; Though a brilliant scientific mind, Sir Isaac Newton was a staunch believer in all kinds of mythical creatures.  His absurd claims annoyed his more envious friends, and he often attributed his discoveries to these outlandish encounters.  For example, Newton claimed to have thought of his First Law of Motion when he was thrown from the back of a minotaur because it stopped too quickly.  His family made up the thing about the apple falling from a tree after his death as a means of saving face.

August 7, 1959 – COL Ivan Bananapants

On August 7, 1959, the unmanned spacecraft, Explorer 6, is launched into orbit from the Atlantic Missile Range in Cape Canaveral, Florida.  Taking over 40 minutes, from a height of 17,000 miles, and at speeds in excess of 20,000 miles per hour, Explorer 6’s photocell scanners transmit back a crude picture of the planet Earth.  This photograph by a U.S. satellite is commonly regarded as the first “planetary selfie” though it was so crude it really could have been anything.

First_satellite_photo_-_Explorer_VI * First “planetary selfie”.

Not to be outdone, the then U.S.S.R. launched their new monkey piloted spacecraft, Oppression 7, a month later on the same mission.  Due to pressure from the Kremlin, Russian scientists did not have time to mount photocell scanners to their spacecraft, but instead hastily taught their monkey pilot, COL Ivan Bananapants, how to operate a common personal camera.  Upon his return to earth, COL Bananapants’ photos were reviewed, but all were found to be unusable.  Only two photographs were of the planet Earth, but Mars had photobombed both.  The remainder of the film roll were selfies of COL Bananapants making annoying duck lips.

Though initially welcomed back to the U.S.S.R. as a hero, COL Bananapants was shunned by the public and soon descended into alcoholism.  Four months later the KGB picked him up under suspicions of espionage and he spent his remaining years delousing the inmates of a Siberian hard labor camp.  Stories among inmates of the camp claim that he was haunted to his last days by his failed mission and on clear nights he would venture into the camp courtyard and throw his feces at the moon.

COL Ivan Bananapants *Only known photo of COL Bananapants.  His space selfies were destroyed to avoid humiliation.


Nathan Hale

“I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.  Were I a cat, I would have nine, and I’d give them all for my country.  How cooleth would that be?”

-Nathan Hale, September 22, 1776; Nathan Hale, American hero, spoke these words moments before being hanged by the British for espionage during the Revolutionary War.  Hale was survived by his brother Enoch and his 28 cats.  He had disturbing amount of cats.  This quote originally appeared in the “Patriot Cats” December 1776 issue of Cat Fancy magazine.

Hogwash Nature: Arctic Vampire-Bat

Scary Penguin

This, my friends, is not a penguin as some might think.  It is actually a rare Artic Vampire-Bat and even more rare is that they appear to have captured it on film mid yawn.  When this specific type of bat yawns it produces a frequency of sound-wave that will stop a human heart and scramble signals to the brain.  Tragically, the camera man who took this picture most likely did not survive his encounter.  The Arctic Vampire-Bat feeds primarily on Arctic Vampire-Mice, Arctic Vampire-Grasshoppers, and an assortment of Arctic Vampire-fruit.  They will not eat anything not of the Arctic Vampire family… except the occasional Mr. Goodbar which seems to be their guilty pleasure.  If you are ever cornered by a roving gang of Arctic Vampire-Bats (yes, they travel in gangs… and they rove instead of fly) put a mirror in front of them.  Unlike most Vampire species, the Arctic Vampire-Bat can indeed see its own reflection and is quite vain.

(Circa 2006)

July 29th, 1976 – Son Of Sam’s Dog Still At Large

On July 29, 1976, the Son of Sam killer, David Berkowitz, began his terrorization of New York City, when he shot two women sitting in a car in the Bronx.  Over the next year, Berkowitz struck five more times, before an unpaid parking ticket finally led to his arrest on July 31, 1977.   After his arrest, Berkowitz claimed that his neighbor’s dog, Harvey, was to blame, as it was possessed by an ancient demon and had instructed him to commit the murders.  While Berkowitz was sentenced to 25 years to life for each of his murders, Harvey the dog got off scot-free because at the time it was still impossible to prosecute a dog in the U.S. judicial system (this was prior to “Fluffy vs. The State of California”of 1981).  Veterinary records show that Harvey continued to instruct people to commit murders over the remainder of his life, but after so much publicity no one took him seriously.

Here are a few more animal inspired crimes:

October 8, 1871 – The Great Chicago Fire; Mrs. O’leary claims a cow kicked over a lantern in the barn starting the fire.  In actuality, Mrs. O’leary had always been a bit of a pyro and the cow had just convince her that starting the fire was a good idea.

June 21, 1933 – John Dillinger robs his first bank at the insistence of his neighbors canary, Franklin.  When Franklin did not receive his promised cut of the “take” from the bank he became enraged and staged a plan to turn Dillinger in to the authorities.  Dillinger learned of the plan in advance and ate Franklin.  This is where the phrase “singing like a canary” comes from, in reference to confessing criminals.  This was left out of the historically inaccurate Johnny Depp film of 2009.

January 5, 1991 – Well before production, George Lucas’ cat, Mr. Pickles, convinced the famous Star Wars director that the character Jar Jar Binks would be a good addition to his prequels.