My Christmas ham is spam

My Fellow Inebriates,

‘Tis the season for manger scenes. I haven’t posted one since last year, but a friendly spammer visited to tell me she’d seen one featuring liquor bottles. And get this—the whole thing was an ad for Liquorstore Bear. OMG!

I saw an ad for liquorstore bear for this Christmas season, I found it to be in very poor taste!! The ad had liquor bottles placed to create a nativity seen, including one in a manger to represent my Savior!! I found this to be extremely distasteful and offensive! There are just so many other things you could have done in order to advertise for this season! If you need help in your advertising department, feel free to contact me! I assure you I can do much better than that for any season! Extending you wishes for a very Merry Christmas, and of course, a Happy New Year!

I don’t run any ads, people. The enterprise just isn’t that large. But last year I did run the pic Teena is talking about.

I have no idea where this Liquor Nativity came from. Someone posted the pic to my Facebook wall. Anyone who wants to take credit, maybe you can talk to Teena (and she can sell you some advertising).

I have no idea where this Liquor Nativity came from. Someone posted the pic to my Facebook wall. Anyone who wants to take credit, maybe you can talk to Teena (and she can sell you some advertising).

As heartening as it is to be pitched on advertising and chastened for blasphemy in the same missive, Teena’s objections to the Liquor Nativity seemed a little automatic and underexamined. And since I hadn’t drunk anything interesting to write about, I was happy to find myself with a topic.

What makes an alcohol nativity scene offensive as opposed to one made of clay, wood, plastic, or glass? What assumptions could Teena be bringing to the table (or stable)? Does the medium used to create the artwork carry connotations, and if so, are those connotations incompatible with piety?

The media in this case are bottles of Absolut, Jagermeister, Cutty Sark, Jack Daniel’s, etc. None of these products had been invented in the year 0, although Jesus Christ notably made wine from water at a wedding in Cana.

navitity2One of our neighbors’ lawns has a manger set-up with inflatable figures that glow in the dark. These undoubtedly were invented well after the year 0, and not until last century did blow-up figures develop their own arguably irreverent connotations. The neighbor’s display is okay, right? Or should I email him saying his lawn ornaments remind me of inflatable sex dolls? Or that I’m worried about the Lord being detached by vandals and punted around the yard?

As for other artistic media, if someone fashioned a nativity scene out of clay, and the clay turned out to be not clay but fecal matter, but you couldn’t tell…well—is the end product offensive?

Teena might well argue that intention is everything, but how can she know what the artist’s intention really is?

  • To draw an association between Jesus Christ and alcohol?
  • To draw an association between Jesus Christ and heavily marketed products—i.e., consumerism? (Doesn’t Teena work in advertising?)
  • To make a statement about an access of reverence in any situation, particularly in a modern world where products such as Jim Beam are more readily visible than, say, fishing nets and chalices?
  • To get people talking about the nativity?
  • To poke fun at people who think they know what God approves and disapproves of?

I’d venture that person who constructed the Liquor Nativity scene was probably not indifferent to religion. This was surely a person who wanted to make a statement about it. Can Teena be fully confident of what that statement was?

As I mentioned to her, if I ever encountered such a scene, it would quickly be short a wise man or a shepherd 😉

But seriously, being offended is a choice. It is Teena’s choice to be offended, especially since the offence depends upon assumptions about the artist’s intent as well as, puzzlingly, the notion that God condemns the consumption of alcohol. Has Teena even thought about what she objects to exactly?

I would have let her comment be, but she wasn’t just commenting on the manger; she was trying to sell me advertising. LBHQ is a live-and-let-live outfit, with room for all beliefs—but the over-punctuated gist of Teena’s note was to plug her own services, all the while objecting that her Savior was not being respected. Unless Teena believes there are multiple Saviors (do you think she believes that, MFI?), Teena believes those who do not embrace her Savior are not saved. That they will suffer everlasting hellfire. Maybe I should be offended by that.

I don’t expect to hear from Teena again; someone else will buy her advertising help and they can rap about religion to their hearts’ content. Being a bit of a furry asshole, though, I left her with a postscript:

All world cultures with access to grain and reasonably abundant water have made alcohol. That’s far more cultures than worship Jesus Christ.

HOPARAZZI LAGER—Battling the apocalypse, nutjob neighbors, and restricted access to your balls

Balls facebook discussion

Thus was my mother shamed into making a batch of whisky balls. Creeping on my Facebook page, she saw my tattle to Christine and decided there were worse things she could do with half a cup of Wisers.

DSCN2683Scary and I were both involved, satisfying related motivations of gluttony and hedonism. He accidentally got himself punched in the nose by the pastry blender—luckily not the motorized kind or he’d have had no nose left.

“Is that Irish cream?” Miss V asked as Mum poured the whisky.

“Close,” said Mum.

By the time she’s six, V will be able to distinguish vodka from gin from 30 paces, unless Child Services gets her first. “Can I smell?” she asked.

“Of course,” said Mum.

“Mmmmmm,” said my little kindergartner friend. “But they’re just for grown-ups, right?”


“That means I can have two peanut butter cookies instead then.”

No such negotiation had taken place, but who could argue with such lawyerly logic?

This is how we ended up making our whisky balls:

  • Two-thirds of an overbaked marble cake we’d forgotten about in the freezer, bashed into crumbs with a pastry blender
  • Some pecans, also bashed
  • Some milk chocolate chips, melted with a tablespoon of whisky and two tablespoons of corn syrup (the recipe called for three, but we were affected by The Omnivore’s Dilemma, so we used only two)
  • ½ cup icing sugar, more or less
  • ¼ cup cocoa plus some that fell on the counter
  • ½ cup whisky minus the tbsp cooked with the chocolate

From somewhere Mum produced a melon baller, used it, cursed it, and abandoned it, then hand-rolled a bunch of cute little balls.


It was immediately apparent we hadn’t used enough Wisers; fresh whisky balls should set your fur on fire their first day, and these were only slightly redolent. Then again, maybe the smell lacked intensity simply because we’d used a cleaner spirit than rum.


Nah…they needed more booze. But it would have been foolish to use more; we need that Wisers for drinking.

Meanwhile the neighborhood has gone apeshit with Christmas decorations. Light shows, sleighs, Santas, Grinches, Scrooges, Bumbles, Rudolphs—you name it and its inflatable likeness is swaying in one of our neighbors’ yards (and lying flaccid on the lawn in the morning, when the kids actually pass by).

Amid all this relatively secular mayhem is a house with a large manger scene out front—Mary and Joseph gazing downward at the infant Jesus, who looks freaking cold in his loincloth. Speaking of Child Services, such nudity may be comfortable in the Middle East, but Langley is at latitude 49.10348. Holy or not, that kid needs some swaddling clothes.

That aside, I felt bad when the family came home from school today and mentioned they’d seen a police officer visiting the owner of that house. We have no idea why, but my first guess would be that someone messed with the nativity display and the owner called the police. Which makes me sad, because obviously, if you’re going to put an overtly religious scene in your yard, it means something to you. And it’s really not cool for someone to vandalize it.

Crazy christmas lights

Not our neighbor’s house…but similar

Then again, my guess about the police visit could be totally off-base. Maybe the manger-scene dude called the police about the light show across the street from him, which features so much nutjob ornamentation that the owners must need to rent a storage locker during off-season. A giant Grinch, a family of snowpeople, a hundred candy canes, gingerbread men, all blazing with lights. We can only hope they turn it off before midnight so the neighbors can sleep without having flashbacks of sordid motel overnighters. I could picture a war breaking out between these two neighbors. Maybe Manger Dude asked North-Pole Dude to tone it down a little. Maybe North-Pole Dude ran across the road and put a flashing, sequined baby blanket on the Savior. Who knows? Maybe this has been going on for 20 years. One thing’s for sure—the new LBHQ is situated in interesting territory.

hoparazzi_bottlesScary and I can’t get at our balls right now, so we’re staring out the window psychoanalyzing the neighbors. Between us is a HOPARAZZI lager from Parallel 49, a curious choice on the part of my dad, especially with winter so close. (Scary says winter won’t come, ever.) My dad never buys IPA for its own sake. It might ride along in a sampler pack, but generally he doesn’t like a fierce hop shitkicking, and neither does my mum. Dad makes an exception when the hop factor is nuanced and citrusy, as it is in HOPARAZZI. Pale gold and sparkling with fizz, the Pacific West Coast hops’ berserker potential is mitigated by crystal malt, resulting in a well-behaved almost-IPA with an incredibly full mouthfeel and refreshing summery kick. Weighing in at 6% alcohol and 50 IBU, HOPARAZZI isn’t a misnomer; to enjoy it, you have to like hops, although you might not like all hops brewed by all breweries. HOPARAZZI doesn’t kick your ass with hops—it just taunts you a little. Sort of like hanging out with Scary all day when he’s too hungry to make a hostile move.

He is talking apocalypse, though, and with only 16 days remaining, his current theory is volcanism. Yes, my fellow inebriates, Scary figures we’re overdue for a cataclysmic eruption like the one that happened in India 65 million years ago, busting out a quarter-million cubic miles of lava and wiping us out the way he says it did the dinosaurs. The amount of chlorine-bearing compounds unleashed on the ozone layer will turn our little blue marble into a hothouse. We’ll need refreshments. Better stock up on HOPARAZZI.