A friend of mine turned 40 in late September, and late September is when millions of Germans celebrate Oktoberfest for 2 weeks, so I felt compelled to attend my 3rd such festival.  And perhaps even more compelling was the chance to see a new country, Belgium, and to sample the sweet sweet beer there, as is recommended in the 1000 Places to See Before You Die book I consult any time I’m considering going anywhere new (the chocolate and the frites were also recommended). I flew over alone…

Sometimes a man needs to hop on a plane to attend a party with over 6 million people.  Science and psychology tell us this is the best way to spend our discretionary funds, but I’d do it even if they didn’t. The idea for last week’s trip was actually hatched more than a decade ago, when I was deployed to Iraq in austere and dangerous conditions for the summer of 2003. My constant companion and “battle buddy” during my first overseas deployment was Shane.  Sometimes when we were…