I threw down the hairy paw (read: gauntlet) this morning in a challenge toward the only human in the mostly estrogenic LBHQ capable of taking it on.

“Dude, you have less than two weeks to get your stache on.”

I was addressing my dad of course. Despite the ongoing flirtation peri-menopause is having with my mother, a decent moustache is well out of reach for her…this year. So it’s up to my dad and me to be Bloggers for Movember.

Poor Dad. Only rarely has he ever tried to grow a stache—each time a failure! Some guys look great with facial hair, and my dad can pull off five o’clock shadow, but an honest-to-goodness moustache? Ha! My dad looks like a tool with a moustache, which I suspect is why he said it’s “not gonna happen” this November.

He even cited his work regulations—apparently the very large company he works for regulates facial hair. OMG!

If you’re wondering why I’m so confident about winning this would-be throwdown against my dad, consider that I already have a moustache. I just have to shave 95% of myself and leave a bit of fur under my nose. Voilà!

This was pretty much my path today. The razors were in the bathroom. It’s much easier to get that little plastic tab off a Daisy razor head than it is to open a bottle of wine, let me tell you. There I was, poised to sculpt my latent moustache, when three little girls came screaming into the bathroom wearing Disney princess dresses. The youngest immediately dropped drawers to deposit solids in the toilet. The others went into a flurry of clothing exchange, obscuring Miss V’s plops with their 4-KHz exuberance. My ears exploded and the razor skittered off into the sink, from which my mother sternly retrieved it. There would be no bear shaving on her watch, she said, particularly in front of her two daughters and their playdate witness.

“P and V are used to shit like this,” I remonstrated. “They like it.”

“No they don’t,” she said. “They’d rather put makeup on you, which would be almost as difficult to undo, so make yourself scarce.”

“But I need a moustache. I’ve already committed to Bloggers for Movember. I’ve liked the Facebook page already. And I have only recently garnered the attention of Le Clown, whose charitable fundraising effort this is. If you thwart my moustache you’re basically endorsing prostate cancer. You’re telling prostate cancer to go forth and multiply.”

“That’s a bit strong, LB.”

“Speaking of strong, do you recall the alcohol percentage of LOST SOULS CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN PORTER?” (This is what is called a gratuitous segue.) “I think it was 6.5%. Do you remember?”


“Because at a respectable ABV it would address my DTs in short order, and one could settle for drinking it slowly; moreover, with its moderate level of fine carbonation it wouldn’t interfere too much with one’s moustache. Assuming one was allowed to groom oneself a moustache.”

I don’t recall my mother ever calling any of her other children a douchebag.

Fact is, and I’m not even going to save this for the final punch, LOST SOULS CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN PORTER is the best beer I’ve had all year. With its comic-book-style Grim Reaper label and scary moniker, it’s freaky not just for its Halloween theme but because—holy crap, people—it won’t be here for very long. In fact, when we returned a second time to the liquor store for more, it was all sold out.

Let’s break it down, my fellow inebriates:

LOST SOULS is an inky cola color with a tan head. Across the room you might take it for a Guinness, but then you’d be surprised by its snappy carbonation. Aromas of sweet malt, espresso-touched chocolate, subtle spices and just-perceptible pumpkin waft from the glass. On the palate LOST SOULS delivers a rich baker’s-chocolate wave of toasty malt and mild pumpkin, reaching into you like a succubus and stealing your very soul. Yes, guard your soul, people, if you’re lucky enough to sample this Parallel 49 product before it evaporates into post-Halloween nonexistence. With its bewitching flavor palate and satisfying viscosity, LOST SOULS will own you. (Maybe eternally.) I would sell my soul for another, people. And don’t tell Le Clown, but I would probably sell my nascent moustache for it too. Except I won’t; damn it, I’m growing that fucker.

Visit Le Clown for full details (click the picture).

Choose your charity wisely—the not-so-secret SA anti-gay agenda

My Fellow Inebriates,

‘Tis the season for charity, and at no other time is the need more visible. Whether through altruism or guilt, desire for salvation or pursuit of tax write-offs, people reach into their pockets in the festive season and find something for the less fortunate.

But should you give your money to that bell-ringing elf with the twitchy eye?

Guilt is a big driver for donors, and a jangly noise outside a store draws attention not only to the sketchy character wielding it, but to the harried shopper either walking quickly past or sheepishly digging in his/her pockets for small change. There’s something about being caught out publicly in an act of non-charity that causes us to pause and hunt for some coins to absolve ourselves of parsimony.

But who the hell is that elf?

If it’s a Salvation Army bell-ringer, it’s cool, right? The Sally Anne goes way back; its pedigree is solid enough to warrant forking over some bus money. But wait a sec. Visit the SA web page and you’ll see your charitable absolution comes with a price tag.

Agendas are sometimes surprising

Fund Sally, and you fund a gay-intolerant agenda. Sure, they’re generous enough not to condone “vilification” of gays and lesbians, but they’re sticking by their biblical standards of “chastity outside of heterosexual marriage.” So if you happen to think it’s okay to be gay, maybe you want to find a different donation bin.

What if the elf is from the food bank? There’s no question food banks do good and necessary work. But the good deeds come with a party line. To quote my local (non-government-affiliated) food bank, “We give thanks and praise to the Lord Jesus Christ for His love which finds a visible and tangible expression in this building and those who work here. We give thanks and praise to the Holy Spirit for empowering God’s people with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ and the message of salvation through faith in Christ’s death and resurrection.” Booyah!

"Is that merlot? I said cab, Jesus..."

The Bible condemns a lot of practices in which I regularly engage, such as sloth, drunkenness, and bestiality, plus I have some gay friends (OMG!), some non-Christian friends and some (are you ready?) atheist friends. I even have network-marketing friends, and they are surely going to hell along with the rest of us. (I hear all the drinks down there are made with Jagermeister and tequila.)

Salvation from sin

The charity-religion connection is too often a bit of a power trip. There’s no everyday situation in which I (or most people) would feel entitled to lecture about morality, but a person who needs something, who needs charity—well! Sit down for the lecture.

What if you just want to give some money to somebody who needs it, but you don’t want to fund a church-driven agenda?

My favorite

It means doing your homework. It means shutting out that ringing bell (if you want to) and giving your money to something you believe in.

Long story short: I’m going to choose a charity that doesn’t dispense its bounty along with lashings of religiosity. Because people who need money or food just need it, they don’t feel good having to accept charity, and trotting out a code of biblical morality alongside the groceries further erodes their dignity.