“Ask Brett” – History Of Oktoberfest… Kinda – Sept. 22

On September 20, N.S. wrote:

Happy 1st day of Oktoberfest 2014! Do you have any historical insight regarding this party?

Dear N.S.

First and foremost, yes.  I do have historical insights regarding this celebration.  For those who don’t know, Oktoberfest is a German/Bavarian beer fueled festival that is sandwiched between two less popular festivals: Sekstempberfest and Nokemberfest.  The latter being a month long festival celebrating unique and often elaborate hangover remedies, the former being self explanatory.

The origin of Oktoberfest dates back to 1810 and was originally a festival celebrating the marriage of two German royals.  Over the years, the celebration evolved (let’s face it, ideas always get more elaborate after a few beers) into the 16 day celebration it is today.  Historically, the Oktoberfest celebration would conclude on the first Sunday of Oktober, but in 1994 the rules changed so that the earliest the celebration could end is October 3rd, which is Germany’s “Unity Day”, the day in which they celebrate East and West Germany being reunited.  What you probably don’t know is that “Unity Day” also celebrates the reunification of North and South Germany after a brief (four hour) civil war erupted in 1992 over who loved David Hasselhoff more.  This is why if the last day of Oktoberfest lands exactly on October 3rd, it is customary for all participants to wear bright red swim trunks and fake chest hair; thus proving once and for all that, in the words of the great news caster Norm Macdonald, “Germans LOVE David Hasselhoff”.

Hope this helps.


“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!


“Ask Brett” – Wedding Dilemma – Aug. 14

On Aug 9, “”J.C.” Asked Brett:

” I have a dilemma. My future sister in-law decided to have a wedding 4 months after announcing it. I can’t get time off of work. What’s best way to break the news to the family?”
Hello J.C.
First and foremost, my opinion of what you should do in this situation will depend greatly on your answer to following question.  Is this wedding a destination wedding in the Caribbean, at an all inclusive resort, paid for by the bride’s dad?  If the answer to this question is “yes”, then I would say it may be worth trying to find another job upon your return.  If the answer is “no”, I have a few suggested techniques to solve your problem:
1. Compromise:  Present the bride with the option of holding her wedding at your place of employment instead of her current venue.  This will allow you to attend work AND the wedding. Everyone wins.  Strengthen your argument by telling her that any venue she has found with availability within four months is probably crap anyway.
2. Guilt/Victimization: Tell the bride/your family that you have tried to get out of work, but you were told you would be fired if you took the time off.  If this is not enough, show them a picture of fuzzy puppies and tell them that your boss has threatened to harm the fuzzy puppies if you take the time off.
*Disclaimer – If this does not work, please do not actually harm the puppies.
3. Technology:  With today’s technology, there is no reason you can not attend work AND the wedding.  Simply Skype yourself into the wedding ceremony from work.  You’ll probably want to request that the receiving computer be set up on a stool right next to the minister, so that you don’t miss anything.  Also, you may want to bring your own booze to work, so you can still have a good time at the reception.
I hope some of these suggestions work for you.  I don’t know how they couldn’t.  You’ll have to keep us all informed of how it goes.  Especially, if the bride goes all “bridezilla” on you.
Thank you for you question!

“Just Ask Brett” Response – July 11, 2014

On July 11, 2014, reader “T.R.” asked:

“It is said that “you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose …but you cannot pick your Friend’s nose” …. Does this apply to politicians that also pick your pocket ?   Hmmmmm”

Dear T.R.

First and foremost, I think we need to address the initial portion of this question, which is the notion that you cannot pick your Friend’s nose.  I firmly believe this to be false.  I think it is EXTREMELY possible to pick your Friend’s nose, though more often then not it is against their will and often requires a third friend to restrain them.  Furthermore, there have been numerous studies done by highly respected anthropological organizations that conclusively prove that in many subcultures around the world, picking a friends nose is a sign of mutual respect (see the article ,”Toddler Daycare Subcultures”, Anthropology Gazette, Sept. 2013 Issue).

Finally, concerning pick pocket politicians, I will answer your question with another question.  If politicians pick our pockets and we pick our politicians, are we in fact picking our own pockets?

Since I find it irritating when people answer MY questions with more questions, I will answer my own question.  “Yes.”

Thank you for you inquiry,