Raw Capitalism, Part 1 – Booze

I enjoy many responsibilities here at Choosy Beggars Heavy Manufacturing Concern & Content Production Facility Inc. LLC, many of which are rather a good time.  For example, did you know that along with being generally tasked with understanding how this internet-webtron technology works, I am also responsible for cleaning up both all of the pots and all of the pans that Tina uses over the course of making a bowl of cereal (insider’s tip:  it can be up to seven!)?

Or that in testing the recipes that Tina prepares, which often serve six to eight people but always need to be eaten the night they’re made, the portions I consume can be measured both horizontally and vertically?

Or that, despite how often I insist that it is violently against my preference, I am often made to consume tofu for your collective entertainment?

Or that self-pity is a really great way to kick off a Friday article?

It’s all true!

But sometimes I am asked to turn to the tedious business of keeping the lights on around here, and ensuring that our little enterprise continues to delight the palettes and expand the waistlines of all our dear readers.  So I figure that as we enter into our second year, we expand into the raw creative enterprise that will help us:

  1. take the website to the next level
  2. bring a whole new fun experience to our growing cult of loyal readers
  3. help us to sell some stuff and defer the massive expenses I incur every time I “research” some “beverages” at the “liquor store.”

So to that end, thanks to our fabulously talented designer Chris, I’ll be slowly introducing some designs of potential accessories, garb and print items that we’re considering putting into production.  I only ask for your honest feedback in the comments, to see whether this is something you’d consider offering up your beautiful, beautiful dollars to have.  Then we can get on with making sure that it’s the kind of incredibly awesome thing that, when people stop you in the street after seeing you with it and demand high-fives to share in the joy, you can feel proud of.

And since it’s Friday, which is traditionally a booze-related day around here… I figured I might as well stick with the theme and offer our first series of liquor-themed shirts:

Shiny Unicorn


We’ve all had those nights.

It’s raining outside, and there’s laundry that needs doing.  Somehow at the end of the last meeting, in the last hour, on the last day of work this week, everything went from being carefully-ordered to a complete shit show.  You stepped in a mud puddle with one foot, and on your cat’s tail with the other.  The only things in the fridge are some ketchup and what is a jar of either roasted red peppers, or maraschino cherries that have turned to evil.

The martini shaker is in your hands before you know it.  And back again, just in time for the marathon of a show you’ve never before seen on TLC, but is now the only way you can imagine spending the rest of your night.  And back still a few more times, when you come snuffling back to the kitchen for more supplies.

At some point, everything is beautiful and sad and excellent and awful at the same time — it doesn’t matter, they’re all the same, as though you’re balanced on one toe on top of a pyramid… and then you see it.  A mythical creature, emerging from the mists of your clouded vision, glittering magnificently at you and nodding its mystical horn, promising adventure and grand times.  Is it nodding its head at your glass, noting with equine sorrow that you have somehow let it stand empty?  Is it exhorting you to refill it, as though somehow the olive has grown lonely?  Or is it just that you took your contacts out and that’s actually the cat?

Better have another one, just to be safe.

Canadian Beer Critic


It’s ironic that a Canadian is responsible for the institution of the Peacekeepers, soldiers whose duty is to maintain peace rather than perpetuate conflict.  This is because our nation is also heavily responsible the world’s supply of Beer Snobs, who seem dedicated on exactly the opposite — though we are not the greatest consumers of beer in the world by far, you would never know it by the way we talk about it.

Beer pervades every aspect of Canadian culture, from film to music to multimedia.  Even in basic industry, beer seems to have cornered the market before anyone else could figure it out — for example, when Ontario’s liquor board wanted to introduce the concept of returning wine and liquor bottles for a deposit, they actually just started directing consumers towards the Beer Store to do it.  Why?  Aside from the fact that the Beer Store was recycling glass bottles long before Captain Planet ever told us it was a good idea, it was simply assumed that:

  1. Every Ontario town and city has several accessible Beer Stores
  2. and everyone knows where they are.

And this, in fact, is largely true.

So when we Canadians venture out onto the international stage, it’s hardly any wonder that we’re challenged to talk about our passion for beer.  What makes us such great critics of the beverage?  How can we say which is better than what?  On what basis can we claim to be such experts?

To which we, as Canadians, say:  Buy us a pint and we’ll show you.  Go on, we’ll wait.  Preferably something on tap, if that’s all right.

And if you keep ’em coming, we’ll be happy to talk about beer all night.

Vodka for the People

flavor-decadentThe Russians know a thing or two about a thing or two, there’s no doubt.

Land war during wintertime?  You betcha; training sexy tennis players to emit throaty vocal grunts?  Absolutely; cornering the market on mail order brides?  Don’t even get me started.

But more than anything, the Russians know how to make vodka — and have perfected it to the point where it is not only an excellent liquor, but a moral and political argument.  Oh sure, there may be other nations who claim a variety of liquor as their own, but they are all steeped in the blood of colonialism and monarchy.

Rum?  Enjoy the lingering flavor of perpetuating the slave trade and the subjugation of the Caribbean, if you can.  (Preferably with lime and a light cola.)

Gin?  How does the suicidal alcoholism of a hundred thousand working class Londoners taste, anyway?  (Especially if it’s with a twist of lime and soda, served at just over zero celcius on a hot day.)

No, the Russians will take a liquor whose very object is the total denial of flavor, thank you all the same.  Why dally with the burned sugar of a rum or the juniper-jaw-clenching of a gin, when you can focus your energy on the purest delivery of refined liquor?  Why pretend that how it tastes is the object of alcohol, when it is a mere distraction from the true purpose of staying warm, loosening up and having a really good time while waiting six months for the sun to come up?

Flavor is decadent.  Vodka is for the people.

Tell us what you think

…by sharing your feedback in the comments.  Different designs?  Different colors?  What would you like to see from us, and would these tickle your fancy?

  • Stephanie

    That Shiny Unicorn one is gonna be MINE, ALL MINE!!! Hurry up.

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Mike

      Do you care if I move the words around a little?

      • Stephanie

        Where are they going to go?

        • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Mike

          Probably above and below. I will put the final designs up before we take actual orders.

          • Stephanie

            Mmmm. I’d have to see it first.

  • http://thespitefulchef.blogspot.com kristie

    I want a unicorn one, too! You can tell that it’s the one for the ladeeeez. Chris maybe would wear the Canadian Beer Critic one, since he wishes we lived in Canada.

    Did you design these all by your lonesome? Are you a graphic artist?

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Mike

      There are other ladies’s’s designs out there, I just thought these three went really well together.

      And heavens no, I have zero talent graphically. These are all the work of my brother-in-law and long-time friend Chris, whose talent I am harvesting to my nefarious ends.

  • Melinda

    Oh yes, the unicorn and the vodka t-shirts are must haves.

  • Lita

    I need the martini and vodka ones! Hurry!

    I would also enjoy a gin themed shirt if you were so inclined…

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Mike

      Ooooh, I had one based on the Gin Lane engraving, but I had thought it might be in bad taste.


  • Karen

    I have been successfully sucked into your blog this Friday afternoon and I have but two comments. One because I’m irritatingly anal about Canadian English, and two because I’m a time pressed part-time single full-time working mom of two monsters.
    1. Please put a “u” in flavour.
    2. Is there any way of sorting your recipes into “speedy” vs. “dinner party for the queen-worthy”??
    ILastly, congratulations!!!! I love you guys. Your site is soooo entertaining. When are you coming up for some island time in the north? (We’re having our annual big blast in mid-late September)

    • Stephanie

      I thought Chris did both a Canadian and an American version.

      • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Mike

        There are indeed both American and Canadian versions of each… we have about 60% of our traffic come from the U S of A, so I tend to pander to them.

        HOWEVER, all will be available.

    • http://www.choosy-beggars.com Mike

      It’s all speedy and worthy of monarchy, Karen!

      Seriously though, that’s a good idea. I’m sure we can do a little re-categorization to split things out between the quick-to-make and the kick-everyone-out-this-takes-work.

  • kate

    I love the unicorn and vodka shirts, but I know about a dozen guys who would fall all over themselves over the beer shirt. So I’d say you’re on the right track.

    I too would be tempted to move the type around on the unicorn shirt.