Nebraska – The Nebraskan

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. Today, we journey to Nebraska, where the farming is as good as it gets. This had bred nicknames such as Cornhusker State and Beef State, which sounds like the makings of a good meal. Let’s start exploring:

Motto: “Equality before the law” – How’s that working out for you?

Food: The Reuben Sandwich was invented at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha. Comprised of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian/Thousand Island dressing, between slices of rye bread, the meal has become a favourite of the Sip Advisor. Some origin stories have the sandwich being created in New York, but I’ll give this one to Nebraska.

Drink: Bringing smiles to children everywhere for nearly 100 years, Kool-Aid was invented in Nebraska by Edwin Perkins in 1927. Originally available in six flavours (cherry, grape, lemon-lime, orange, raspberry, and strawberry), it has become the State Soft Drink. The Hastings Museum has a permanent exhibit called Kool-Aid: Discover the Dream.

Kool-Aid

Site to See: One of Nebraska’s most notable attractions is Carhenge, a duplication of England’s Stonehenge, but using American vehicles to replicate the infamous stones. Other car-based art installments are also viewable at the site. Created by Jim Reinders, the work is highlighted in the documentary, Carhenge: Genius or Junk?

Street: The Old Market Historic District, in Omaha, is notable for its brick-paved streets, which are still used by horse-drawn carriages. Restaurants, art galleries and shopping options make up the tenancy of the area. In 2016, a ruptured gas line caused an explosion in the Old Market, destroying a 100-year-old building and injuring numerous people.

TV Show: Most TV shows set in Nebraska haven’t faired well. One, Bless This Mess, did last two seasons, before being cancelled this past May. The series starred Dax Shepard and Lake Bell in a modern take on Green Acres, with a couple moving from New York to a farm in fictional Bucksnort, after inheriting the property and deciding to stay.

Movie: Films have done better when set in Nebraska, including one of the Sip Advisor’s all-time favourites. Caddyshack, the goofy golf classic, starring legends like Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, Bill Murray, and Chevy Chase, has the Bushwood Country Club based in the state. While the sequel was a flop, the original has so many quotable lines and memorable scenes.

Caddyshack

Book/Author: Writer Nicholas Sparks was born in Omaha. His works, of the romantic drama genre, include The Notebook, A Walk to Remember, Message in a Bottle, and Dear John. A total of 11 of his books have been adapted into films, raking in hundreds of millions of dollars. Sparks has had 15 novels top the New York Times Best Sellers list.

Fictional Character: Penny Hofstadter, the across-the-hall hottie from The Big Bang Theory, is originally from Nebraska. Giving hope to nerds everywhere, she eventually dates and marries uber nerd Leonard. Played by Kaley Cuoco, Penny moves to California with dreams of becoming an actress. She may not have found the career she wanted, but she did find love.

Fictional City: Stephen King’s Children of the Corn (short story and film series) takes place in the town of Gatlin, a place you wouldn’t really want to find yourself, particularly if you’re an adult. Under the guidance of “He Who Walks Behind the Rows,” the children begin ritualistically sacrificing adults, hoping for a bountiful corn harvest.

Actor/Actress: Movie legends Marlon Brando and Henry Fonda were born in Omaha and Grand Island, respectively. Connecting the two, Brando’s mother gave Fonda acting lessons at the Omaha Community Playhouse. Other notable stars from the state include Fred Astaire, Nick Nolte and Hilary Swank.

Nicholas Sparks

Song: Bruce Springsteen has a song and album called Nebraska, but the song is about a spree killer sentenced to death, while the album is full of tracks about characters with not much to live for. Therefore, we’ll go with State Song, Beautiful Nebraska, for this category. Lyrics include, “We are so proud of this state where we live, There is no place that has so much to give.”

Band/Musician: The consensus seems to be that the best band from Nebraska is Bright Eyes, although I’ve never heard of the indie rock group. Formed in Omaha, 2004 was a big year for the band, touring with Bruce Springsteen and R.E.M., and filling the top two spots on the Billboard Hot 100 Single Sales chart, with songs Lua and Take It Easy (Love Nothing).

People: Nebraska was the birthplace for a future president and vice-president, as well as the founder of a religion. President Gerald Ford and VP Dick Cheney were born in Omaha and Lincoln, respectively, while Church of Scientology forefather L. Ron Hubbard hailed from Tilden.

Animal: While mammoth fossils have been found all across Nebraska, the largest and most famous was uncovered in Lincoln, in 1922. Nicknamed Archie, the skeleton can be seen at the University of Nebraska State Museum. Mammoths are the State Fossil of Nebraska and a bronze statue of Archie is located on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Hubbard

Invention: Two of Nebraska’s greatest creations allow users to cut corners. TV Dinners, first made commercially successful by Nebraskan company, Swanson, helps folks avoid having to cook full meals for themselves and others. Meanwhile, CliffsNotes, developed by Clifton Hillegass of the Nebraska Book Company, allows students to prepare for tests without completing the source material.

Crime: Charlie Starkweather was only 19 when he went on a murder spree, killing 10 people in Nebraska and Wyoming. He was accompanied by his 14-year-old girlfriend Caril Fugate. Starkweather was sentenced to death for his crimes and was executed by electric chair. Fugate served a 17-year sentence, despite claiming she was a hostage. The spree inspired movies such as Kalifornia and Natural Born Killers.

Law: In Omaha, sneezing in church is illegal, while across the state, if a child burps during a service, their parent(s) could be arrested. A rebellious teenager could cause a lot of trouble with a simple bodily function.

Sports Team: With no professional teams to support, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cornhuskers are the top game in the state. In fact, home football games make the stadium the third largest population in Nebraska. Omaha has also been home to the College World Series for NCAA baseball since 1950.

TV Dinners

Athlete: Professional wrestler, Gorgeous George (real name George Wagner), is my pick here, not for his athletic abilities, but for his influence on sports and athletes to come after him. Wagner was born in Butte and revolutionized the wrestling industry as the first villainous character. George would be influential to many athletes and entertainers, Muhammad Ali, Bob Dylan and James Brown among them.

Famous Home: Scout’s Rest Ranch is the former home of William ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody, who first promoted his Wild West Shows in Nebraska, beginning in 1883. These shows would later feature such celebrities as Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane. The ranch can be found at the Buffalo Bill State Historical Park in North Platte, which functions as a living history museum.

Urban Legend: Hatchet House (formerly Portal School) can be found in Papillion. The story goes that a teacher one day snapped and decapitated her entire class, leaving their heads on their desks. She then took their hearts to what is now known as Heartbeat Bridge, throwing them into the water below. Driving over the bridgeboards makes sounds that resemble beating hearts.

Museum: The National Museum of Roller Skating, in Lincoln, has a massive collection of skates, wheels and other items, dating back to 1819. Exhibits include Inline Skating, Artistic Skating, Roller Hockey, Speed Skating, and Roller Derby. Admission is free, but memberships with special perks are also available.

roller-skating

Firsts: Arbor Day was first celebrated in Nebraska City, on April 10, 1872. The brainchild of J. Sterling Morton, it’s estimated that one million trees were planted across Nebraska that day. This earned the state the nickname Tree Planter’s State for some time. The holiday was later spread to other parts of the world by Birdsey Northrop of the American Forestry Association.

Company: Berkshire Hathaway is headquartered in Omaha, founded by Nebraskan Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest people in the world and among the most savvy investors. The conglomerate owns brands such as GEICO, Duracell, and Dairy Queen, while also investing heavily in Kraft Heinz, American Express, Coca-Cola, and Apple, among other businesses.

Events: Also headquartered in Omaha is the Union Pacific Railroad, which was founded in 1862. From this home base, the railroad connected the country through miles and miles of tracks, becoming the first transcontinental line in America. Today, grain, corn, sand, fertilizer, and coal are among the top items shipped into and out of the state.

Miscellaneous: Despite being a landlocked state, Nebraska has its own navy. The state has had some fun with the concept, appointing admirals such as Queen Elizabeth II, Bill Gates, Big Bird, Bill Murray, and many others to the position for promoting the “good life of the state of Nebraska.”

The Nebraskan

The Nebraskan

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Top with Ginger Beer
  • Splash of Sweet Corn Milk
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of Black Pepper

Given its association with the state, I wanted to go with a Kool-Aid-based cocktail, but the most notable one has already appeared on this site. So, I went with The Nebraskan, which is quite the interesting blend of ingredients, highlighted by corn, perfect for the Cornhusker State.

China – Flying Tiger

Zodiac Zenith

The Sip Advisor’s Chinese Zodiac animal is the pig and I’d like to think I’m more Babe: Pig in the City (you know, an inspiration) than anything else. Putting on my astrological reading glasses, here’s what your Chinese Zodiac sign says about you, according to some of the celebrities and historical figures who fall under them:

Rat – Antonio Banderas, Cameron Diaz

Regardless of gender, you have been seen as a sex symbol at some point in your career and life. Remember, every person has a type. It should also be noted that your voice talents may lend themselves to the adventures of an animated ogre and you may find yourself immersed in a world of fairy tales… of the fractured variety, of course.

Shrek Kitty

Ox – Adolf Hitler, Napoleon

You have serious issues with people of certain creeds and your militaristic side always shines through. Your thirst for land and power cannot be quenched and it seems like you have a chip on your shoulder for whatever reason. Some serious counselling should be pursued before you are added to the list of worst people EVER!

Tiger – Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood

You’re natural in front of a camera, but have your vices. You are pursued by numerous gentlemen callers and your beauty is undeniable. Sadly, you’re a starlet who will leave this world too soon and your death will be surrounded by mystique and intrigue. Conspiracy theories, debate and investigations abound, but the truth may never be known.

Rabbit – John Cleese, Robin Williams

You’re a comedian, sometimes manic, but always hilarious. You will go to extreme lengths to get a chuckle and while some of your humour may be hard to absorb, the effort with which you try to draw in an audience is always appreciated. In later years, you may calm a little and accept a different type of role, but the comedy always finds a way to shine through.

Dragon – John Lennon, Ringo Starr

Going out on a bit of a limb here, but are you possibly a Beatle? You will go on to revolutionize your industry and leave a lasting mark on the world. You work best with a group of like-minded talents, but even on your own, there is a catalogue of decent offerings. Your hard work will serve you well later as fans continue to thirst for anything to do with the group.

Real Music

Snake – John F. Kennedy, Dick Cheney

You thrive in a position of power and are not afraid to stick to your guns to get your way. You are cool under pressure and use your many contacts to ensure success in all your endeavours. Tread lightly though, as accidents seem to happen when you’re near firearms and one thing is for sure: You should avoid riding in convertibles at all costs.

Horse – Mike Tyson, Kobe Bryant

You are a top athlete in your sport, but bad decisions can come back to haunt you. Perhaps you were given too much, too soon. It’s an awful lot of pressure to still be a teenager and have worldwide success and the fame that goes with that. Despite the negative hype, fans still love you and championships seem like a natural fit.

Goat – John Wayne, Robert De Niro

Your style is so infamous and distinguishable that you’ve become a parody of yourself as your career has entered its twilight. While many wish to remember you at your finest, you keep trucking along, piling up the credits and cash. Nothing wrong with that. Anyone in a similar position would do the same, riding into the sunset with a boatload of money.

Monkey – Leonardo Da Vinci, Julius Caesar

You appear in many history textbooks and have played a great role in shaping the world, although your impact may not be fully appreciated until later. Movies and TV series’ will be made in your honour, posthumously of course. That’s not to say you didn’t have a decent existence while you were living. Beware of turncoats… that will allow you to prosper longer.

monalisa_smile

Rooster – Beyonce, Britney Spears, P Diddy

All you want to do is sing and the term diva could apply. Diddy, I’m looking at you! Your talents may range and you enjoy dabbling in a number of different business ventures from record labels to fragrances to clothing lines. Yuck, I just found out that Yoko Ono is also a Rooster and that makes me disgusted with the whole lot of roosters… bunch of cocks!

Dog – Harry Houdini, Michael Jackson

You have a fascination with the mysteries of the universe and are considered… well, quirky, to put it nicely. You are worshipped by some, but trashed and disregarded by others. Either way, you will be remembered for your showmanship and talent. Who let the dogs out? You did… you did.

Pig – Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King

You prefer to explore the dark side of the human psyche. You are capable of causing people to fear everything from birds to clowns and may have even been offered the title ‘Master of Horror’. Apparently, you like to cameo in your own works when they are adapted for film and television… if that’s the case, I can’t wait for The Sip Advisor film to be shopped!

China: Flying Tiger

Apr 3

  • 1.5 oz Chu Yeh Ching Chiew
  • 0.5 oz Gin
  • Splash of Grenadine
  • Dash of Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Although many of us believe we fall under one animal only, Chinese astrology assigns animals not only based of birth year, but also by month (inner animals), by day (true animals) and by hour (secret animals). This makes the Sip Advisor some sort of pig, rooster, rat/pig (Thursdays have two animals), dog hybrid. And here I was hoping to be the elusive man-bear-pig from South Park!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Thanks to this drink, I finally placed what Chiew reminds me of… Absinthe. It has those medicinal/herbal flavours and that can cause issues for some. Luckily, I like Absinthe and therefore had no problem with this cocktail. The one complaint I could throw its way is that it wasn’t fizzy and lacked a citrus taste that could have helped.