LINDEMAN’S BIN 50 SHIRAZ (2010)—Good enough for me, but is it good enough for Fluffy and the devil?

My Fellow Inebriates,

Should I be comforted or worried that my parents have opened up a joint bank account? They’ve gone nine years without sharing finances, but now that my dad’s closed up his business and taken a corporate job, they’re getting busy at the bank.

Does a shared bank account imply that a shift in control over household (and more importantly, liquor) spending is in the offing? More pointedly, is some sort of financial coup taking place, and does my mum have despotic plans?

I’m worried because, of the two of them, my mum is the frugal one. And if she gets even one rein over the banking, I’m concerned that she will draw up a budget of that might be more sensible than I’d prefer. She would totally do that.

I asked her if she is planning a takeover, and what sort of empire she envisions. She did not quite laugh at that. It seems we’ve been doing what much of North America has been doing over the last decade—racking up debt, living off credit, and biting our nails worrying.

Holy crap, I had no idea! I thought my parents were just jerks about keeping my inventory supplied. I thought they just didn’t care about my happiness. I had no idea they were actually tight on funds and considered liquor a secondary expenditure—a luxury even. And even now that my dad’s joined the corporate dark side, even with more regular money on the horizon, apparently we are in “emergency mode” for the foreseeable future. That’s what my mum said, at least, and she didn’t say it with a flashlight under her chin to freak me out. She really meant it!

This doesn’t really sit well. I’ve never heard my dad talk about emergency modes or budgeting or bookkeeping or any of that stuff. My dad is awesome.

But here’s my mum, two minutes after getting her mitts on a joint bank account, talking about ratcheting back the booze spending so we can—what? Save up for the end of the Mayan calendar? OMG! My mum is definitely not my favorite parent.

If you’ve been following, you know our liquor cabinet is crying out for Southern Comfort, Kraken Black, PAMA, Jagermeister, Kahlua, Kilo Kai, Bombay Sapphire, Grand Marnier and Bacardi 151. It’s imperative that we acquire these items, which means we need creative accounting, not the practical accounting my mum is proposing. If we cut back on luxuries such as rain boots, vitamins, Q-tips, dentistry, and similar useless items, we can have a kick-ass bar within a few months.

The other thing we need ASAP is a Ouija board. I need to find out if the new bear, Fluffy, is indeed possessed by the spirit of my deceased Granny.

Have you ever used a Ouija board?

It kind of freaks me out. But Rachel, who gave me the idea, says everybody used to own a Ouija board—at least until The Exorcist came out. In fact, you can get a Hasbro glow-in-the-dark one at Toys R Us for $11.99.

Okay, so let’s say I con my dad into buying a Ouija board. He might, because he’s unafraid of paranormal activity and because he likes shopping. But then again, he might decide to use the $12 to buy another bottle of LINDEMAN’S BIN 50 SHIRAZ (2010). Which I would applaud.

But if I could get him to buy both, what things could we ask the Ouija board? And what would it say?

Are there any spirits around?


Is Granny present?


Is Granny in Fluffy?


Are we going to win the lottery?


Will Dolly stay with Fluffy?


Would Toshiko Shek ever make a handbag out of Fluffy’s head?


Should we drink the LINDEMAN’S BIN 50 SHIRAZ now?


Is it a good wine for the price point?


Are there plums and ripe blackberries on the nose?


Is it medium-bodied with mellow tannins and subtle oak?


Does it have lingering spices and a moderately long finish?


Is one bottle enough?


Is it a good idea for my parents to share a bank account?


Will they ever put me in the washing machine?



Maybe it’s not such a good idea to mess with the occult. Here’s what some consumers have to say about toy stores selling Ouija boards:

“yuck we dont want our kids having these and ruining there mental health”

First of all, even the devil won’t know what the hell you’re talking about if you don’t make yourself understandable. Feel free to use punctuation marks and differentiate between “there” and “their.”

“Only evil comes from Ouija boards. Only those ignorant of the spiritual world would expose themselves to such devices. Children are innocent and deserve our protection. This is not a toy for children! The CEOs of all retail stores need to ban such devices from their stores.”

I like the relationship between ignorance and innocence here. Only ignorance would allow you to dabble in the occult. But it’s important to preserve children’s innocence, by keeping them ignorant of Ouija boards.

“These are not toys and shouldn’t be treated as so!! Even being Pagan I wont allow a Ouija board in my house they are trouble!!”

Wow, I thought pagans were better at grammar.

“It is just card board and so are tarot cards. These things don’t not predict the future or talk to the dead. The devil just uses these things as tools.”

So are they okay then, or are they bad? The “tools” aren’t real, but the devil, who is apparently real, uses them. So confusing.

Dan Lacey: Michele Bachman eating a corndog. Tool of the devil? Michele certainly; the corndog perhaps.

“this is not appropriate! do we neeed another excorsist around? i mean really, do kids really want to talk to satan? this is a matter best left alone and i know what i’m talkin about. i had a ouija board and things terrorized my family for years. stop evil before it comes.”

Our kids totally want to talk to Satan. Especially the older one, who’s the more outgoing of the two.

“The problem is, is that it’s not a game, but the Devil’s doorway….They don’t seem to get that!”

Isn’t the devil banished to hell? He sure gets a lot of hall passes, doesn’t he?

“This game should be banned at once. These children are innocent and do not understand the lunacy of the devil and the consequences of using this board. I pray to God that This is taken care of ASAP!”

I knew the devil was bad-ass and all, but I didn’t know he was a lunatic. I just thought he used lunatics, such as Michele Bachmann, as his mouthpieces.

And finally, something intelligent. Here’s what Rachel, who used to sell Ouija boards, says about about them:

“I own one of the largest collections in the world; and the only creepy thing that has ever happened to me is my teenager.”

THE WOLFTRAP SYRAH MOURVEDRE VIOGNIER (2010)—Further proof of the Fluffy Problem

No matter what kinds of irresponsible shit I do, no matter how many hours I spend per day passed out or violating someone else’s personal space, my friends have my back.

I didn’t expect an outpouring of sympathy over my girlfriend Dolly’s defection to Fluffy, my deceased Granny’s teddy bear and probable golem. I failed Dolly in all sorts of ways—I even forgot about her for stretches. So I realize I deserved to get bounced.

But my friends rallied! Check it out, my fellow inebriates: my friend Scarybear, who doesn’t even really like me, had an idea.

OMG! Should I hit the “Like” button?

Except I really don’t hate Fluffy. He’s too out-to-lunch to warrant any antipathy. To give you an example of his coma state, the other night we were enjoying THE WOLFTRAP SYRAH/MOURVEDRE/VIOGNIER (2010), and I offered Fluffy some. He didn’t even move. What the hell?

A $15 Friday-night splurge, THE WOLFTRAP had caught my parents’ attention with its unusual blend of varietals, vinified separately and then combined as per South African winemaking law. Sixty-five percent syrah was the perfect answer to my fruit-forward jones, and the 32% mourvedre component promised to weigh in with earthy tannins and structure. And the bonus: 3% viognier for spice. The combo didn’t disappoint.

Although I never advocate cellaring anything unless you’re so made of money that you can afford other things to drink while your precious wines develop, I did find myself wondering what a year or two would do for THE WOLFTRAP. Yes, it was rich and heavy and leggy with generous black fruits, floral notes, spice, and it had a satisfying mellowness, but its oak ageing was quite conspicuous. I’d venture that—if one could handle waiting to crack this bottle—it would pay dividends in terms of maturity. Still, it didn’t lack for balance; it was an excellent casual sipper and a great find for the money.

If I were Fluffy and my new bear friend LB were offering me wine, I would have responded somehow—maybe nodded, advanced toward the glass, or something. But Fluffy was completely impassive.

AND YET. Since Fluffy arrived, Strange Things have been happening in the house. Noises. Cold spots. Girlfriend stealing.

I asked Dolly if it bothered her that Fluffy is probably possessed by Granny’s ghost. She said, “Isn’t he cuddly? He smells like Fleecy.” Punctuated with a giggle.

I think Dolly might be a sociopath. She is a known furvert (Type 4 furrie) whose fetish leads her to seek the sexual company of bears, but she nevertheless admires Toshiko Shek’s decapitated-bear purses. If there is a dichotomy here, Dolly is unaware of it.

Given Fluffy’s lack of response to Dolly’s affections and how undeterred she is, she might also be a necrophile. But I’ll stop right there because I don’t want to say anything bad about her.

I wish she’d come back. 😦

In the meantime, my friend Rachael had a tremendous idea:

I suggest trying a Ouija Board with Fluffy. Maybe you’ll be able to break through that catatonia and find the REAL reason that bear is so frighteningly quiet.

Would that work? We don’t have a Ouija board here at LBHQ; my mum has too much Catholic baggage to permit one in the house. So how can I get hold of one without her knowing???