The t-shirt that truly sums up who you are

My fellow inebriates!

A small announcement.

For a few years I’ve been struggling to get some merchandise happening. Not that you’ll want it—you’d best save your money for beer, wine and vodka—but if you have any left over and it’s not earmarked for the mortgage, check out the new LB merch!

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Yes! Liquorstore Bear has teamed up with WreckSpex, the premier purveyor of affordable designer sunglasses, to produce these AWESOME astrological t-shirts. They feature abusive zodiac-related messaging about YOUR star sign, key advice about WHAT YOU SHOULD DRINK, and other non-life-affirming nonsense related to excessive alcohol consumption. You should totally buy one!

My thanks to WreckSpex, whose mission is to provide the best sunglasses in the coolest varieties at the most awesome prices! WreckSpex has partnered with yours truly to make LB swag available to everyone! They are awesome, they sell the best sunglasses, and you should get some today!

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Rest in peace, Granny (please)

My granny died one year ago today. She was cremated, and then the cremains were buried, which is kind of like doing things twice and costs about twice as much. Not that anyone begrudges Granny; she had a tough life and a slow death.

Cremation is great for people who are afraid of being accidentally buried alive. My long-dead Granddad had a big fear of this and probably should have been cremated; but in 1985 Catholics still hesitated to cremate their deceased, so into the ground he went, although the medics did ransack his body for salvageable organs (just eyes, it turned out—his esophageal cancer had metastasized everywhere, disqualifying any other organs for donation).

Of course your relatives still might put you in a bacon casket.

Burial is great if you’re concerned about your dignity and the possibility that your survivors may do frivolous things with your ashes, such as use them for artwork, put them in the kids’ sandbox, or consume them in some sort of ritual. Vouchsafing your corpse into the ground is the best bet if your relatives have any whackjob tendencies, although all bets are off at the wake.

Whether Granny harbored either of these paranoias is unclear. What I imagine is that she—always one to say yes—agreed to both cremation and burial while talking deliriously to two different relations, who then compared notes and felt she’d specified both. Or who knows—maybe she did want both.

The greater point in all this is: You’d think, by opting for both cremation and burial, that you’d be doubly sure of making yourself gone after death. What no one thought of checking was whether the soul—that 28-gram essence that once untethered seems to be able to do whatever the hell it likes—had a nearby vessel to scoot into when Granny’s heart stopped beating. Did anyone notice Fluffy sitting on her dresser drawer???

This thought occurred anew last night when—promptly at midnight—something in the house went THUMP! Not a little bump like the settling of a 1980s-era house, but the sort of big-ass THUMP that makes you think your dad may have slain that garbage-scavenging raccoon and started hurling its carcass gratuitously against the outside wall of the house. But there was just one THUMP! At midnight. On the anniversary of Granny’s death.

My dad wasn’t home yet, so there was no chance he could be outside braining a raccoon. I sat up in the dark with my fur on end. Fluffy, two bears away on the couch where we’d been tucked in under a pink blanket, was evidently playing dead. I heard my mum shuffle out of bed and rustle the window blinds, then wander around investigating. Beeps on a cellphone keypad. A drowsy conversation. Then quiet.

She knew she could go back to sleep because it was just Fluffy. He may look like nothing more than one of Chuck Testa’s less successful taxidermic experiments, but he’s the vessel. He’s the vessel Granny jumped into when she died. And the two of them, bear and 71-year-old cancer victim, decided to announce themselves at midnight.

We wouldn’t have this problem if it weren’t for the scourge called cancer. First Granddad in 1985: esophagus, lymph, liver, the works. Then Granny: lungs, back, liver, lymph…riddled. Months of hopeless treatment…surgery, chemotherapy, radiation…it made them suffer. Cancer treatment sucks.

So if all these Movember staches haven’t reminded you yet, why not head over to the doctor’s office for that overdue prostate probing? If you don’t have a prostate, scooch down in the stirrups for your yearly check-up. And while you’re there, get your doctor to check any other cancer hot spots. When you get your clean bill of health you can drink a toast. And I’ll drink one with you. (I’d join you for the physical too, but I don’t have an anal cavity.)

I never knew my granddad, but I miss my granny. She was very soft-spoken and gentle, and she was the kind of person who talked to bears.

I think I hear her telling me to have some Chardonnay.

Keeping the dream alive? Or feeding the Cancer Machine? Scary weighs in…

My Fellow Inebriates,

Once again the bears were left to their own devices yesterday. The Terry Fox Run was on, and parents were invited to accompany the primary kids (Miss P) as they “ran” a 15-minute course. (For some reason the littlest kids, Miss V’s kindergarten cohort, were confined to the school’s track and exhorted to run five laps, instructions they took literally, sprinting the entire 1.5 K while the older grades shambled leisurely around the neighborhood.)

Before the family left the house there was the usual charity shakedown for donation money, with both parents scrambling to find enough nickels and dimes to create a sufficiently jangly and weighty package for each of the kids’ contributions. There wasn’t much left for Terry’s legacy; the school had already hit us up for Fun Lunch (Hot Lunch) money, Scholastic Reading money, school-supply fees, and fieldtrip fees, on top of which they tried to flog us an Entertainment Book full of coupons that would cost $5,000 in babysitting money to take proper advantage of. Terry Fox ended up getting pennies and nickels with some lint mixed in.

My dad said this was just as well; we didn’t need to fuel the Cancer Machine. He was leaving, so I didn’t get to clarify this cynical (facetious?) remark, but luckily Scarybear was there to explain.

Scary says cancer is a multi-zillion-dollar industry for Big Pharma—so lucrative that, even though most cancers have already-discovered cures consisting of simple and inexpensive herbal treatments, Big Pharma is suppressing all such knowledge so it can keep the Cancer Machine rolling.

If I have two brain cells, Scary has maybe one, and I happened to be sober, so I decided to look into this. After all, if five-year-old V was out giving herself shin splints (“Terry Fox was a hero, Mummy! We have to keep the dream alive!”), not to mention an easy bedtime for all concerned, it made sense that she was doing it for a good cause.

According to Scary, “some dude” [Royal Raymond Rife] learned how to bombard organisms with just the right audio or radio frequency to kill them. But when the head of the American Medical Association [Morris Fishbein] tried to get a piece of the action, Rife, not trusting Fishbein’s ethics, refused to sell. So Fishbein effectively destroyed Rife, withholding research money and discrediting him publicly. Rife became disheartened and started drinking.

So was Rife a crackpot? Would his cure have worked? According to author Barry Lynes, in a 1934 study, 16 terminally ill cancer patients received Rife therapy. For little more than the cost of electricity, they were all cured.

I have no idea how Scary even learned about this story. He doesn’t read books if he can help it. He’s probably never going to get cancer. But he’s Scarybear, and if you mentioned Occam’s Razor to him he’d be familiar with it from watching a million hours of science fiction, but really, Occam’s Razor is the antithesis of what Scary’s about. Scary says “that dude” [Rife] is just one example of a guy who’s cured cancer only to be railroaded by powerful medical interests.

I asked Scary if Rife had destroyed himself by turning to alcohol after his invention was vilified. Scary said of course not, alcohol isn’t really addictive; it’s just that “powerful medical interests have put a secret substance into it that hooks the brain’s pleasure centers on it so that Big Pharma can make money treating alcohol-related diseases.”

“Oh,” I said. “So my behavior isn’t my fault.”

Said Scary: “Of course it’s your fault. You’re a total douche.”