Looking back, it’s hard for me to pick a favorite column I’ve written, from my Harry Potter anagrams to the completely true stories of the havoc in my kitchen. I’ve enjoyed all of it.
But at this point, I think I have no stories left to tell, so I don’t mind being done. It has been an absolute joy writing this column for the past few years, but I have been informed that my time here is finished.
Those who enjoy my humor can still catch me at the Main Street Stage’s first and third Friday comedy nights. Meanwhile, I hope you will enjoy the sage advice of my replacement, as I have always had great respect for the Norwegian people.
Editor’s note: We believe that the newspaper is a place for serious journalism. As part of a spring cleaning initiative, we are removing columns that we feel are inappropriate to the tone of a professional publication. As such, Mr. Brown’s "humor" column will no longer run on Fridays and will be replaced by Mr. Loof Lirpa’s advice column. We hope you will appreciate the international perspective.
Here is a brief sample of what you can expect in the coming weeks:
Truth from Loof
Dear Loof: I am organizing a koldtbord for my daughter’s wedding and wanted your advice on a few different matters: 1) What is the appropriate amount to spend on a bridal koldtbord? She is an only child, if this matters.
3) Are there any types of herring traditionally considered bad luck or good luck on a wedding day? Thanks.
-- Overjoyed in Oslo
Dear OiO: Congratulations on the wedding of your daughter! A wedding is a joyous occasion, and doubly so when celebrated with an appropriate bridal koldtbord. As we are appearing in some new papers this week, I will mention for our non-Scandanavian readers that a koldtbord is a traditional "cold buffet," appropriate for any occasion but especially for celebrations.
Now, to answer your questions: 1) A bridal koldtbord is generally considered to serve in place of the dowry, so you should spend enough to do your daughter proud. The exact amount is not important, but keep in mind that your new in-laws will remember this koldtbord for many years, and you do not want to seem cheap.
2) This is why we do not put specific dollar amounts on a bridal koldtbord. As you know, Americans do not consume nearly as much herring as Norwegians. But this is not a reason to skimp on varieties; rather, you should still get at least 11 varieties of herring, but limit yourself to five pounds per variety rather than 10 (with one exception, detailed in the next point).
3) White creamed herring with onions is traditional for a first marriage, and all guests are expected to partake of a glass. You should have a full 10 pounds of white creamed with onions on hand. There is no "bad luck" type of herring per se, but it is generally considered good wisdom to avoid tomato-based herring, as the coloration may give some people the idea that your endeavor is not being undertaken with full seriousness.
Loof Lirpa is a Norwegian advice columnist and herring expert. His book, "Fish of the Month," is available at bookstores nationwide. Former columnist Seth Brown of North Adams is an impromptu performer of parlor antics.