Not all Canadians are clowns

Last week the WordPress community went berserk and a well-known Canadian blogger’s site imploded, taken down by another blogger under accusations of e-harassment. As usual I was late to the party and didn’t have a clue about what had happened until sometime after. I was a follower of Le Clown, albeit a half-hearted one, having hit the “follow” button as a gesture of reciprocity, only to decide later that his posts lacked a certain…kindness that I look for in a blog, whether it’s about beer, parenting, or whatever. And while I checked in with his blog occasionally, I had no sense of the WordPress politics brewing—and honestly, still don’t. I’m just a bear, and while I feel ardently that cyberbullying is not okay, I wasn’t following this blow-up and I don’t feel justified commenting on it.

What I must do, however, is redeem Canada for you, my fellow inebriates. Not all Canadian are clowns, and Canada has a lot going for it.

Case in point: Look at all the bears we have.

Bear collageLike, OMG, right?

And never mind bears. Look at all the beers up here.

Picture: Edmonton Journal

And then look at how nice Canadians are. No, really, my fellow inebriates. We actually don’t mind lining up. And our national pastime? Apologizing. Okay, sometimes we show off a little bit about health care, but then we apologize and tell you how long we had to line up for it. Right?

Is it freaking cold? Yes, it’s minus 4 at LBHQ, but that’s Celsius, so no biggie. If you haven’t tried Celsius, you might like it. Everything counts by tens, which is really great when you’re drunk, but not much good when you have two paws instead of ten fingers.

I will admit, we have Rob Ford, douchebag extraordinaire (but gift to comedians).


And PM Stephen Harper, who poses with cats just to get you to like him. He poses with beer just to get me to like him!

My parents say that if I can corral one of our cat-sized silverfish in the bathroom, they will pay the shipping to send it to Stephen Harper as a pet.

My parents say that if I can corral one of our cat-sized silverfish in the bathroom, they will pay the shipping to send it to Stephen Harper as a pet.

But still. There are some cool things here. Did you know that Alberta has a UFO landing pad? The Ministry of National Defense inaugurated it in 1967.

UFO landing pad


And the Shat? He came from here!

So did the Bloody Caesar… 😉

Okay, fine, Canada did give the world Justin Bieber, but we also pour a lot of SLEEMAN HONEY BROWN LAGER

What do you guys think about Canada?

SLEEMAN ORIGINAL DRAUGHT—Helping you achieve normalcy

My Fellow Inebriates,

After all that thought expended yesterday on networking-for-playdates, my mum still couldn’t do any better than this when the mother of V’s classmate N phoned:

N’s mum: Hi, I’m N’s mother. We haven’t met but we got your invitation to V’s birthday party. I’m sorry N can’t come.

Our mum: Oh, that’s okay. Thanks for letting me know.

N’s mum: It’s such a cute invitation. N is so sad she can’t go. It’s just that we’re away that week, otherwise we would.

Our mum: Aw, I’m sorry she’s sad. We’d love to have N there. V’s mentioned her before. I think they sit together.

N’s mum: She says V’s her best friend.

Our mum: Oh, that’s so cute!! Well, we’ll have to get them together another time.

N’s mum: That’d be great. As I say, we’re going away, but we can talk when we get back—

Our mum: What about tomorrow? N can come to our house. I can pick her up.

[Awkward pause as this hangs over the telephone line.]

N’s mum: Um, well, we like to meet the parents before we have a playdate. Just to get to know each other…

In playdate terms, Mum had jumped several levels on N’s mum—offering, without ever having met the woman or her husband, to pluck their precious five-year-old out of kindergarten and take her to an unknown house who-knows-where to play with a totally unfamiliar kid and a sibling of unknown age/gender.

It was the equivalent of offering a blowjob on the first date, and my mum realized it as soon as she made the offer.

Despite the gaffe, N’s parents made an effort the next morning to seek V and Mum out at the morning drop-off. Hands were shaken, eye contact made, lame jokes cracked. Whether a future playdate will happen after the customary time elapses…it’s up to the jury.

I thought my mum could use a drink after all that strain—perhaps the SLEEMAN ORIGINAL DRAUGHT languishing in the fridge since summer (i.e., since last week). The last remainder of the Summer Selections mixer pack, its 5% alcohol would surely assuage whatever palpitations early-morning social contact had caused my mother, and maybe I could get a buzz too.

But she said 8:45 a.m. was too early, my fellow inebriates. We had to wait until 5:00.

(Why 5:00? OMG! One day we’ll tackle that.) Five o’clock it must be before we cracked that frosty-cold beer with its light gold hue shining through the clear bottle nestled in the back of the fridge. Five bells, people! Why?

“Because it’s a social norm, LB.”


So how much credibility does this carry coming from a woman whose social sensibilities are so deficient that she figured V’s classmate’s mother would be okay with her simply grabbing the girl after school without so much as a prior introduction?

“When you start drinking in the morning, something’s wrong, LB.”


My DTs were pretty bad today and, despite a few good happenings, which I’ll tell you about tomorrow, it was a tough slog till 5:00. I spent a long time looking at the People of Walmart. I pestered some alcohol manufacturers with random questions. I had a staring contest with Fluffy (he won). Finally the kids came home and wrapped me up in a black scarf like a hostage, then dangled me over a box of stuffed cats. By the time 5:00 came, that beer had ascended to mythic stature, glistening from the fridge.

When we finally poured it, SLEEMAN ORIGINAL DRAFT fizzed into the glass, its head foaming ephemerally then vanishing. The smell is nearly absent: pallid malt with some light grain. Carbonation-wise it’s a miniature Canadian fiesta on the tongue, crisp and snappy alongside a bready sweetness and mild hops. This is a summer beer all right—failing that, a hockey beer—with light refreshment and no demands on the tastebuds. There is no je ne sais quoi. There just isn’t. Which makes SLEEMAN ORIGINAL DRAFT awesome for when you’ve been tortured all afternoon by kids. The stuff is awesome for when you want something normal—failing that, for when you want to play at being normal. And goodness knows we need some practice at that around here.

SLEEMAN CREAM ALE—What would the Tooth Fairy pay for it?

My Fellow Inebriates,

Once upon a time, when a kid lost a tooth—or in Miss P’s case, yanked a tooth out and trailed blood from the rec room to the bathroom—parents knew the drill. Wait till the kid’s asleep, root under the pillow for it, and leave money. Voilà, the Tooth Fairy has visited.

But inevitably, the millennial Tooth Fairy has stepped things up. Not content to initiate a cascade of parental anxiety—Do we have cash? How much? Do we need to match the neighbors?—today’s Tooth Fairy adds a flourish: just before leaving the kid’s bedroom, she dips her frock into a glass of water, magically imparting color so the kid is surprised not just by hard cash under the pillow, but iridescent supporting evidence of the TF’s visit.

Luckily we learned of the Tooth Fairy’s job-description upgrade before P lost her first tooth. Being the youngest kid in class, she’d already oohed and aahed over countless tales of morning-after fairy water. Fairy of a thousand dresses, the TF had left P’s classmate Bailey yellow water, Paige blue, Colton green. That first time, last year, my mother stained her hand bright red with near-indelible food coloring and spent the next day hoping like hell P wouldn’t see it and divine the trick behind the shimmering pink fairy water on that morning’s nightstand.

A year later, P was so eager to invite the (pronounced incisorlessly) Toof Fairy, that she bloodied most of our house and sent the toof flying down the bathroom drain, requiring Dad to get a pipewrench and rescue it. Fortunately he was sober. I would have had some problems, being half-cut on SLEEMAN CREAM ALE.

I was more surprised at its hoppiness than I was at my mum’s arbitrary valuation of $3 for a central incisor. That’s 1.5 bottles of SLEEMAN CREAM ALE, depressingly or not. Was Mum being cheap or just wisely starting low? (Last year’s bottom incisors went for $2 each.) Like a high-diving judge, Mum might be saving the big numbers for more impressive, rear-mounted teeth in an incisor-canine-molar progression. And while the neighbors’ Tooth Fairies might bestow ten-dollar bills or Wii games, ours is frugal and withholding; she might equate two teeth with three beers, but at least she does the dress thing.

And behold…this morning P awoke to a brilliant aquamarine water glass, mocking (me) with Blue Curacao–likeness. What she thought of the three bucks under her pillow, who knows, but the blue Fairy Water was some serious shit. No one was allowed to throw it out. Indeed, she plans to take it to her first day of Grade Two tomorrow, where some slightly older and much more disingenuous little punk will probably disabuse her embarrassingly of the entire Tooth Fairy myth. (Holy crap, I hope not.)

With these sorts of worries, you need to keep a supply of beer in the house. SLEEMAN CREAM ALE gained entry to LBHQ in the Summer Selections mixer pack for two reasons: (1) it was one of few mixers that didn’t contain anything weird; and (2) one of its three constituents, HONEY BROWN LAGER, is my mum’s unimaginative go-to. While this latter is malty and mild, the CREAM ALE is crisper and more earthy, with light hops on the nose, medium body, and some faint fruitiness, along with a lingering hop-punch on the mid and rear palate. Refreshing and inoffensive, it’s just interesting enough to keep your gustatory centers busy, plus it has some zippy carbonation to make your twist-off effort worthwhile.

And it is worthwhile. A case of SLEEMAN CREAM ALE would be worth at least seven teeth—fewer if you included canines and molars.

In fact, we probably should have left a glass of it…unattended…for the Tooth Fairy. Or would it be a problem returning to the ToothCastle with a beer-stained frock?