PHILLIPS LONGBOAT CHOCOLATE PORTER—Chocolate art

Dan Lacey—Male Nude with Madchen

Today this Dan Lacey painting’s ebay price exceeded the funds in my PayPal account, at which point my dad said, “Why that one?”

I said I like the way the cat is staring directly out from the painting, the way cats do—sort of accusingly. I wouldn’t mind having a cat like that, except the whole household would be wheezing with allergies.

Despite my dad’s obvious discomfort about having a nude self-portrait of the artist with his cat on our wall, he’s made some progress toward appreciating Dan Lacey. Out of the blue one day he said something backhanded, like “He actually captures a good likeness,” or “I actually like some of Dan Lacey’s paintings.” He always qualifies with the word “actually,” as if to say the majority of Lacey art is not his thing.

But why?

Take this painting of Mitt Romney, the bidding on which has climbed to $76.00 following a plug by Jimmy Fallon.

Dan Lacey—Mitt Romney and Jimmy Fallon Engaged In A Game Of Nude Beer Pong: The Painting

Even though Mitt Romney’s not Canada’s problem, I like to keep an eye on him, so this painting could grow on me—but not my dad! My dad says it’s all wrong.

Luckily for him, I have less than $5 in my PayPal account.

My dad recoiled from this one too.

Dan Lacey—Mitt Romney in the Nude

Again it’s just my dad’s luck I have so little money—the bidding’s at $122 and climbing. The eyes are creepy, as though Romney’s considering who the biggest possible whackjob might be for a running mate. The way he stares out like that cat, he’s almost asking, Are you crazy enough? Because I need your vote.

My dad may be unwilling to invest in my art collection, but he did spring for a few onesies in the beer aisle a while back, including the almost unmentionable FRÜLI and—fortunately—several other better choices. Slightly on the weird side but not unacceptably so, PHILLIPS LONGBOAT CHOCOLATE PORTER caught his attention. In fact, he’d been looking for it since he tasted it (without me) on tap at a restaurant.

Chocolate porters are springing up everywhere these days and even being drunk by people who don’t usually like beer. Much the way people who avoid James Bond’s idea of a martini will down a chocolate one, those who dislike hoppy beers are sometimes amenable to rich, chocolatey beers that almost bridge the gap between flavored mixed drinks and straight beer. Almost.

If you are a fan of hops and malt, tastes like chocolate and espresso can be unwelcome. As a beer fan, you’re part of a choir that doesn’t need preaching to—you enjoy the standard spectrum of beer flavors and, while you might also enjoy a morning latte, you don’t necessarily feel compelled to combine the two drinks. I always thought my parents fell into this camp, but lately my dad’s been getting more open-minded.

We split the 650mL bottle between two Reidel glasses (egregious but true: I don’t ever get my own glass; I have to sip from one or both of my parents’). Lovely dark cola brown with an opaque white head, LONGBOAT CHOCOLATE PORTER makes no bones about being chocolatey—dark chocolate notes predominate overwhelmingly on both the nose and the palate. The mouthfeel is rich and creamy without being cloying and ends with just a hint of bitterness.

I see why my dad sought LONGBOAT CHOCOLATE PORTER out after trying it on tap. It’s nicely balanced and offers some unusual but still harmonious flavors. My mum (because she is boring) wasn’t taken with it, which was great, because I found myself with my own glass after she abandoned it. This is how things should be at LBHQ—me and my dad sitting around knocking back beers, heedless of his wife’s criticisms about chocolate having no place in beer. Yeah! I got my own glass and it was awesome.

LONGBOAT CHOCOLATE PORTER is only 5.2% alcohol, but when a small bear consumes 300mL of it, that small bear passes out. I got annihilated. And that’s why I ended up looking at paintings of Mitt Romney this morning—I thought it would help me throw up.

But as is usual with Dan Lacey’s art, his mastery overcomes the subject matter. Rather than yakking all over the floor, I found myself online trying to acquire another painting. Sadly for me, these ones are out of my financial reach, people, so you might have to get on ebay yourselves if you want any of them.

LINDEMAN’S CAWARRA CABERNET MERLOT (2011)—Helping you avoid santorum

My Fellow Inebriates,

Photograph: Charlie Riedel/AP

As a Canadian bear I lack a thorough understanding of American politics and find myself a bit lost as I watch from the Northern sidelines. With all due respect, the US political scene is far more of a freak show than you find up here. The personalities are bigger, more extreme, more misogynistic, more openly devout, and more hatin’ when it comes to perceived sexual deviance. To say it’s interesting is an understatement.

But I don’t know what to do.

I mean, even if I’m Canadian, I want to root for somebody. But the contest seems to feature multiple strains of crazy and not much else. Whatever homophobic freak ends up winning the GOP leadership—I don’t want that guy to keep going and take the whole prize. (It makes me anxious when Stephen Harper has a philosophical bum-buddy in the White House.) So is it smarter to root for the most extreme, most batshit-crazy Republican wingnut in hopes that the US citizenry will slap his ass down? Or is that just dangerous? Is it possible that the most batshit-crazy motherf#cker is in fact what the country wants????!! OMG!

A disclaimer: I honestly don’t know what I’m talking about. I’m (a) a bear, (b) Canadian, and (c) perpetually wasted. I learned about santorum before I learned about Rick Santorum, if that gives you any idea how informed I am, or where I get my information. Some would argue I have no business even peeking at the American process. But what happens to the South matters to the Great White North, especially in the context of our purportedly small-c Conservative majority government. The more freaking weirdos running the circus down there, the more I fear the erosion of (you’d think) basic human entitlements such as medical care up here. Monkey see, monkey do—even if the monkeys in question don’t believe they’re related to monkeys.

What amazes me is how unhindered Rick Santorum has been by his name. Surely most of North America if not the English-speaking world has been exposed to the de facto definition of santorum: “that frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.” And yet Rick Santorum has surged, has come from behind, has frothed into the political limelight. Does it speak to the openmindedness of America that so many Republicans don’t mind mouthing the word santorum in their prayers to Jesus Christ on his behalf? Or is the Mitt Romney magic-underpants alternative just too weird compared to Santorum’s quotidian women hating and gay bashing?

What’s bizarre to me is the extent to which the battle has revolved around sexuality and reproduction. These crazy fundamentalists have thrown actual politics aside to hammer it out on issues that belong between private citizens in the bedroom. And no mistake about it—the discourse is discriminatory. Basically, if you are a person who, during sex, might perform a blowjob, you are second-class. If you are a woman or a gay man, your private life is very important to Mitt, Rick, and all their f#cked-up cronies. (Lesbians too—no dick action necessary to claim your share of oppression.)

But do they know how to avoid santorum? Not Rick Santorum, whom they apparently like quite a bit, but actual santorum, that frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex? It’s important to know, because even if you are an ultra-conservative whackjob, you might favor the back door occasionally, or at least fantasize about it.

Is it just me, or isn’t politics supposed to be about the regulation of public affairs? Isn’t it supposed to apply mostly to economics and extend to public aspects of law, infrastructure, and international affairs? That’s why politics always seems so boring to kids, right? Because it’s basically too bureaucratic to capture a kid’s attention span. But it’s not just kids who have trouble focusing—adults seem uninterested in the banalities of politics. Better dial up the sex—that way people will tune in to the debates, thinking the debates are the debates when they’re a prurient aside. There’s a whole nation of people who are terrified of homosexuality, nodding their heads as Rick Santorum equates gay relationships with “child rape and dog fucking.” And they will vote for conservative nutjobs.

The important thing is to realize that santorum is not inevitable. If you are doing anal correctly, Dan Savage writes, there needn’t be any fecal frothiness.

So how do you do anal correctly?

I don’t have an operational anus, peeps, so I defer to anal-savvy friends for advice on proper assplay:

  • Know your body. Be aware how it feels inside when you have the all-clear.
  • Be hygienic. Don’t be afraid to probe in the shower.
  • If you’re absolutely worried, have an enema, but don’t overdo it because it will detract from your natural lubrication.
  • Be safe. Use a condom.
  • Use lots of lubrication.
  • Relax. Go slowly.
  • Practice, practice, practice. If you’re hetero-curious about assplay, try a dildo. They come in all sorts of designs and orientations, and for staunch Republicans who’d like to experience Something in the Ass as long as it does not resemble a male penis, it’s as easy as shopping.

BONUS ADVICE! Stay relatively sober. Any kind of sex gets sloppy when you can’t even stand. If you’re a back-door neophyte, you’ll probably want to relax but maintain that all-important body awareness.

Mediocre wines are perfect for attaining this degree of relaxation. The desire to finish a so-so wine is far less acute than with a high-quality wine, so consider purchasing in the $9 range. For instance, you might want to purchase LINDEMAN’S CAWARRA CABERNET MERLOT (2011) to preface your first anal adventure.

Perhaps it’s unfair to judge this very young wine on its current merits, but it’s a little unrefined. We’ve been on a bit of a LINDEMAN’S kick lately because my parents have gone on a strict budget and LINDEMAN’S fits their price point. The product selection is massive, ranging from $8.99 to 12.99 at our government booze shop, and so far each pick has been a good value. This latest cabernet merlot, however, is at the very bottom end of the price range, and it’s apparent.

Billed as “approachable” and “fruity,” LINDEMAN’S CAWARRA CABERNET MERLOT smells yeasty up front with berries behind. It’s medium-bodied, perhaps even a little thin, and somewhat generic—the sort of plonk that would do just fine at a barbeque or party where the focus is on the company, not the wine. The first glass is inoffensive, which is almost surprising at the price point, but unfortunately it’s one of those wines that doesn’t benefit from opening up. Aeration unlocks some unharmonious flavors and, above all, draws attention to the youth of the wine. It might be worth putting it away for half a year to see if it settles.

You might initially feel enamored with LINDEMAN’S CAWARRA CABERNET MERLOT, having acquired it so cheaply and discovered it to be mostly harmless. The second glass is a different, less tasty story, which is what makes this LINDEMAN’S product perfect for first-time anal. Being able to cap the bottle after one glass without too much regret means you’ll reap its relaxing effect without getting wrecked—increasing your chances of non-sloppy anal penetration and decreasing the possibility of santorum appearing.

Not that santorum’s that much of a big deal. I’d much rather have santorum on the bed than Rick Santorum in the bedroom. Wouldn’t you?

7 Habits of Highly Inebriated People

It’s been a weird week getting used to my dad being out all day. When he was self-employed, my dad used to do a lot of work at home, and I would often sit beside him suggesting we mix a drink. But now he’s joined the Monday-to-Friday crowd and left me to my own devices.

No complaints, though, because I figure that along with that first regular paycheque, the liquor train will roll in as well. We are going to get wasted, people. I can’t imagine my dad wouldn’t take that cheque and blow it all at the liquor store.

But I kind of miss having my dad around. He’s pretty easy-going and he often finds interesting music. He found this, for instance.

But missing my dad is worth it if his new job will finance a fresh supply of TANQUERAY and BACARDI 151. I want him to succeed! But I wonder if he embodies the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? OMG, I don’t even know what they are! Have you heard of them, my fellow inebriates?

It’s hard for me to really figure out what things like this mean (I can’t stand right now), but I’ll do my best. I figure my dad’s got the habits…but do I???

  1. BE PROACTIVE. Yes! If BROKER’S GIN isn’t available at your liquor store, contact them and find out why not. Next thing you know, you’ll have struck up a delightful relationship with their Business Development Manager Julia Gale, and Martin Dawson will give you a reassuring phone call. Check.
  2. BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND. A couple of weeks ago my dad came home with a sampler set from Unibroue, the Quebeçois brewer of the famous TROIS PISTOLES. Of the four beers in the set, TROIS PISTOLES was the standout, whereas the others were a bit of a chore to get through. But we were committed to finishing it, even if it meant experiencing a weird fruity and slightly musky taste every single day. Check.

    Ever been to Utah?

  3. PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST. I hope my dad understands this one, because I don’t get it at all. What things are first? What things should be first? Should I start with the Malibu or the wormy mescale? Calm down, LB… Okay. We need to have lighter things first, then progress to the hard stuff. First something sparkly: STRONGBOW APPLE CIDER. Then something weightier: CALIFORNIA CULT CLASSICS CHARDONNAY (2010). But then we have a dilemma. It’s no problem moving up to a higher alcohol content. But we can’t backtrack to a wine that doesn’t measure up to the chardonnay. Let’s do ROLF BINDER HALES BAROSSA VALLEY SHIRAZ (2007). And before passing out, a wee dram: GLENFARCLAS 17. Ahhhh!!! Highly effective.
  4. THINK WIN-WIN. If I drink the whole bottle and you get none of it, well, you won’t bring another bottle over, will you? And Christine, if you’re reading this, you have a standing invitation to share your TALISKER 18. I’ll trade you some Malibu. You know I’m good for it. 😉
  5. SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD. Oh come on, what drunk ever grasped this concept? Next.
  6. SYNERGIZE. Two heads are better than one, especially when you don’t have any brain cells.
  7. SHARPEN THE SAW. Holy crap, what the hell does that mean?! OMG, Covey means take care of your body and mind! Eat healthfully! Rest! Socialize meaningfully! Expand your spiritual side! Yikes!

I don’t know about my dad, but this is where Covey and I part ways. He obviously doesn’t endorse a dissolute life, nor would he endorse single-minded pursuit of liquor. Who is this guy anyway?

Did you know he comes from Utah? Yes, peeps, he is one of the most famous and successful Mormons in history.

My favorite thing about Mormonism is the magic underwear. Maybe, if we all had magic underwear, we’d be better people.

Still, reading the 7 Habits has made me feel a little conflicted. I totally want my dad to succeed; we need that liquor money to keep flowing. But I don’t want to picture him in his ginch, magic or otherwise. So should I tell him about the 7 Habits?