STARK RAVING RED—Warranted for four reasons

In the bathtub this morning: the most massive silverfish ever witnessed at LBHQ.

Only slightly larger than this morning's silverfish. More cuddly? Only Stephen Harper knows.

A well-known screenwriting technique for making a character more likable is “SAVE THE CAT.” Early in the story, the character rescues something—maybe a cat. Maybe Stephen Harper rescued this cat from a tailings pond. Maybe?

I wanted to put it in a cat carrier and send it to Stephen Harper as a pet, but instead my mother took a shower with it. So immense and robust was the silverfish, she reported, that it would not be nudged by mere water down the drain. Instead it filibustered by the hole until she aimed the showerhead right at it.

Now, ordinarily I would prefer not to have a play-by-play of any of my mother’s nude activities. But I like to monitor our silverfish situation—for a while, you may recall, I thought Fluffy Bear was summoning the creatures from some nearby Hell Mouth. He seemed to be marshalling them for some sort of arthropodic assault, an insect-amplified grief cry for our deceased Granny, whose bear he was before he came to live with us.

But then my dad sprinkled some white powder (instructing me not to even think about snorting it) around the baseboards, and the silverfish disappeared. For the most part. Those that survived his poisoning emerged larger, stronger, and more apt to wrestle you in the shower.

I think you’ll agree, my fellow inebriates, that the foregoing ramble warrants wine on at least four counts:

  • Encountering a silverfish the size of a cat is traumatic.
  • The mere notion of my mother in the shower is doubly so.
  • Should Fluffy choose to summon armies of silverfish again, they will be formidable.
  • Stephen Harper is still the prime minister of Canada.

stark raving red with LBKnowing that Stephen Harper probably wouldn’t think to reward us with, say, a bottle from the cellar at 24 Sussex Drive, I don’t feel so bad about failing to wrangle him a creepy new pet. Nor do I feel bad about busting the screwtop off a bottle of STARK RAVING RED. A big, jammy blend of Tannat, Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet, and Petit Syrah, STARK RAVING RED is gonzo with plums and cherries, filling the mouth with sweet, somewhat cloyingly boozy fruit. It’s not disciplined in the least, MFI, it’s in-your-face, as bold as a silverfish on steroids, but without scales or antennae. I liked it even though there wasn’t a chance of taming it, decanter or not.

Would I send a bottle to Stephen Harper? Not on your life. He probably drinks $100 wine every night. Nope…if I ever send him anything, it’ll be a cat-sized silverfish, and he can stroke it.

stephen harper with silverfish copy

The Fluffy files—exorcism after exercise (Olympic exercise)

My Fellow Inebriates,

I almost forgot to mention I received a reply from the exorcism people. So nice, too, so helpful. I really didn’t expect it.

If you weren’t around that day (I’ve no idea what day it was), here’s my initial query:

They were really prompt!

I felt really bad that I’d missed the message and did my best to explain why.

So the Fluffy situation is progressing, peeps. But we might have to wait until the Olympics are over.

Take that, Fluffy!
The Olympic Cross being blessed by Fr. Simon, with youth leaders from the Joshua Camp.
Credit: The Catholic Church in England and Wales.


She’s heeeere

An eerie feeling has been creeping up on me …someone might be around. Someone who isn’t with us any more.

The general policy around LBHQ is to be skeptical about paranormal activity. Things get weird enough when your brain cells spend the percentage of time marinating in tequila that mine do. It’s already a sufficient struggle to keep track of the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny without entertaining the notion that my deceased Granny might be haunting us.

BUT. Weird Things Have Happened.

If you missed my last reports about Granny, here are the facts:

  • Granny was my mum’s mother. She was part of the liquor-store shopping expedition during which I was purchased in 2005.
  • Granny was one of those people who understands bears. She even had her own bear, which my mum sent to her seven years ago, and which resided with her in Ireland.
  • Granny and I enjoyed a glass of chardonnay together from time to time when she visited Canada.  
  • Granny died in November.

We try to be very fact-oriented around here, but with two little girls under six ruling the household, things get unavoidably fanciful.

And those girls have been ardently wishing for Granny to come back.

Do they know what they’re asking? OMG! I don’t think they do. You see, my parents haven’t shown them any zombie movies or documentaries about the Shroud of Turin, nor do they read William Peter Blatty books to them at bedtime. Thus the kids have no points of reference vis-à-vis resurrection, the undead, or even poltergeists. So when they wish for Granny to return, they’re expressing an innocent hope without tapping into the arsenal of pop-cultural paranoia to which we older types have ready access.

HOWEVER. There Are These Weird Things.

Exhibit A

Cold spots. If you’ve seen The Sixth Sense you know things get cold when there are ghosts present. Well, our house has been freaking cold! In fact, only when my dad fixed the furnace did it get warmer. You be the judge.

Exhibit B

Noises. When my mum had her birthday last month, my dad took the kids out for a few hours. The house became uncharacteristically silent, and she started doing my typing. Then, suddenly (!) there was a loud crash from another room. Something had fallen. All by itself. Now…was it the precarious pile of toys in the living room simply conceding to gravity, or was it Granny wishing Mum a happy birthday?

Exhibit C

The kids are terrified of going upstairs. When Granny died in November, the whole family talked about it without any reference to the possibility of an afterlife, ghosts, spirits, haunting—any of that stuff—and certainly without any ideas about the dead coming back or watching us or trying to communicate. And, despite some sadness over Granny’s death, the girls bounced back quickly to their normal selves—and had no reason to be afraid of roaming the house. UNTIL…

Exhibit D

Fluffy. The weirdest thing has been the arrival of Fluffy, the bear that, years ago, my mum sent to Granny in Ireland, and which was returned to us after her death.

Shortly after Mum’s brother brought Fluffy back to us from the funeral, the girls became afraid. First the four-year-old refused to go upstairs alone, then the six-year-old (never previously afraid) became anxious too. Now neither will go upstairs without the other. When questioned, they don’t produce a reason, but something has changed.

Fluffy remains uncommunicative, his brain seemingly damaged by the long soak in detergent and fabric softener he was subjected to before his trans-Atlantic flight. Catatonic as he is, Fluffy has still captured the affections of my bear-fetishizing once-upon-a-time girlfriend Dolly (perhaps she digs catatonia too).

Getting jilted isn’t the weird part, though. The weird part is Fluffy’s impassive, expressionless yet overwhelming presence. Oh, we regular bears have tried to get to know him. He even sleeps in the bear bed with us, his sheer fluffiness taking up half the bed. But he doesn’t respond, even when I grind up against him obnoxiously just to elicit a reaction. Nothing. And yet, he is. Fluffy is here.

I don’t know if Granny ever talked to Fluffy while he lived in her room. She was very solitary; she used to stay in, reading and smoking (Fluffy has probably been in nicotine withdrawal the last couple of months).


Streakers. As you know, I spend a lot of time staring—just staring—and the almost-things I see are just in my peripheral vision. And there are more of them since Fluffy arrived! My mum says this comes from drinking wormy mescale. You be the judge.

▪ ▪ ▪

Okay, so Fluffy’s not friendly, but is he possessed?

My mum says it’s just jealousy and mescale talking, but I think so.

Has Fluffy permanently stolen my girlfriend?

Yes. Fleecy is to Dolly what Axe body spray is to teenage girls, and I can’t compete with his outrageous floral aroma.

Is Fluffy going to compete with me for liquor?

We’ll see. I don’t mind if he helps open bottles, but he isn’t any more equipped with thumbs than he is with a vocabulary.

Is Fluffy harboring Granny’s ghost, and is she gathering strength so she can reveal herself to us? OMG! I don’t even have any chardonnay to offer her.

Granny was my mum’s mother, so I asked her if she thinks Granny’s here. She says she doesn’t know, but she’s going to tighten the cap on the mescale.