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

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Gravy be damned!

My mum likes cooking, but not enough to do it sober. That’s why, when Auntie H called to ask what she should bring for dinner, Mum said wine. Auntie H was hesitant; she said she didn’t know anything about wine, so I got on the phone and coached her through it. Well, actually I sat beside the phone gesturing madly while my mum claimed to be just joking about requesting wine. Dammit, we needed that wine, no matter what crazy bottle Auntie H and Uncle B might choose.

real de aragonWe especially needed wine because Mum had committed her annual profligate crime—she’d poured a bottle of LANGA REAL DE ARAGON over the turkey, torturing any liquids-only folk and animals (okay, just me) to suffer the sizzle of quickly evaporating alcohol off the browning poultry as whatever angels inhabit the LBHQ oven greedily guzzled their supposed share. It was horrible, people, but of course you know I’m getting used to it. Apparently it makes good gravy, but that doesn’t make it forgivable.

We did snatch one glass of LANGA REAL DE ARAGON, noting the 90-point Robert Parker accolade it wore around its neck before the cork got popped. Not bad for $13.99—could it be true, or was Parker just hammered when he made the call?

Don't let my mother do this to you, my fellow inebriates!

Don’t let my mother do this to you, my fellow inebriates!

It was true. OMG, my fellow inebriates, it was true. LANGA REAL DE ARAGON is crisp and subtle, wafting bright orchard goodness and biscuit notes. Fresh and lively on the palate, this Spanish bubbly deserved to be drunk, not sacrificed to the turkey. Gravy be damned!

Once the sparkling wine was gone I felt very morose. But luckily Auntie H and Uncle B arrived with their two monkeys and not one but TWO, count ‘em, two bottles of wine. Check it out:

Gnarly Head Zin 2011

Now, if I can only get the bottles open…

Six more weeks of winter? How about “no more weeks” for you, groundhog?

My Fellow Inebriates,

I had nothing to do with this. I don’t eat solids, especially fellow mammalian pests. But if one of those pesky vermin is going to prognosticate more winter, it might as well put a target on its furry back.

Groundhog Stew

  • 2 lbs groundhog, preferably one that’s seen its shadow
  • 4-5 cups  vegetable stock (do not be tempted to use wine)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • Potatoes
  • Bunch parsley
  • 1 bouillon cube
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tsp thyme/rosemary/whatever
  • Ketchup if it still doesn’t taste right
  • More broth if it’s too thick

groundhog in saucepanOkay, so you solid-foods eaters know how to make a stew, right? Chop up all the vegetables and fry them in oil or butter. Then add your “wild game.” This is a good day to find groundhogs. If you see a local news van, they probably have one still hanging around after their annual “soft news” Groundhog Day feature. They’ll probably just give it to you. After all, they can get a new one next year, and they’re not that cute.

It may seem really wrong to cook up a groundhog, but chances are you’ve eaten all kinds of fellow mammals. Be really quick, and use a sharp knife so it doesn’t suffer. (OMG, that’s hard to really write—blame my evil typist.) Remember to get a groundhog, not a bear (my friend Scarybear looks sort of like a groundhog). And…hey…enjoy yourself.

Oh wait, I forgot the most important part!

You need wine.

Groundhog meat is red and sort of gamey. Choose a big, bold red with lots of tannins. This is the time to bust out a good Cab or Zin—maybe even a Shiraz with some sort of marsupial on the label.