Belgium – Moon Drops

Comic Creations

While Get Fuzzy is the Sip Advisor’s favourite comic and he doesn’t stray too far from that strip (although he loves him the occasional Garfield story), Belgium is known for a few animated legends that have recently been turned into feature film franchises. Let’s take a closer look at these works:

The Adventures of Tintin

First published in 1929, Tintin was created by the artist simply known as Hergé (real name Georges Remi) as part of a newspaper supplement. Tintin books have gone on to become big business, selling more than 350 million copies in over 80 different languages. The character is often described as a native son of Belgium, which is pretty good praise for someone whose best friends are a dog and an oft-drunk sea captain.

Have you ever wondered where the name Tintin came from? The character’s first name is actually Martin and Tintin is a common nickname for people named Martin in French-speaking countries. His dog Snowy is actually called Milou in the French comics, while the detective duo of Thompson and Thomson are named Dupont and Dupond.

Tintin Age

Tintin, a teenage journalist and detective, has travelled the world and even beyond it. He’s had adventures in the Congo, the Soviet Union, China, and even on the moon. If you wish to keep up with his globetrotting, you may be out of luck. Some of the regions he’s visited are completely made up, such as Khemed, Borduria, Syldavia, and Nuevo Rico.

The 2011 film release, involving movie moguls Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, sees Hergé actually appear in the opening scene as the street artist. A Tintin theatrical release had been in the works since the 1980’s, when Spielberg first crafted a script for the Belgian icon. There has also been a Tintin TV cartoon (the Sip Advisor’s first introduction to Tintin adventures), BBC radio show, two French live-action films, stage shows, and publicity stunts.

Belgium Balls

The Smurfs

Created in 1958 by artist Peyo (what’s with all these Belgian comic creators going by a singular name), also known as Pierre Culliford, the Smurfs are branded as Les Schtroumpfs, in French. Peyo came up with the word ‘schtroumpfs’ when he forgot the word for salt at a dinner party and made something up on the spot. Smurf is simply the Dutch translation of the word.

The Smurfs, thanks to their North American TV cartoon, become a pop culture hit in the 1980’s (Smurfmania had already hit the U.K. in the 70’s), spawning their own cereal (including a commercial starring a 13-year-old Jack Black), video games, songs, dance craze, theme park attractions, Ice Capades show, and, of course, lines of toys and other merchandise that kids just had to have.

bring-me-a-smurf

In the beginning, there was only 99 Smurf characters, but that number has risen over the years. Despite the growth in population, there are only three female Smurfs: Smurfette, Sassette, and Nanny Smurf… talk about a sausage party! Some Smurfs from the original comics never made the crossover to TV and film. These characters include Alchemist Smurf, Timid Smurf, Enamored Smurf, Finance Smurf, Lumberjack Smurf, and Navigator Smurf.

The Smurfs helped create modern zombies, thanks to a 1959 comic called ‘The Black Smurfs’ (‘The Purple Smurfs’ in North America). The story was about a Smurf being bitten by an insect, before going around and biting other Smurfs, turning them into aggressive, living-dead beings. This comic was released years before George A. Romero’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and featured the birth of Grouchy Smurf, the patient zero who never regained his full Smurf senses following the outbreak.

Belgium: Moon Drops

Moon Drops Cocktail

Belgium has been dubbed ‘Home of the Comic Strip’ and these panels are considered to be an important part of Belgian life. Next time the Sip Advisor is visiting, he will certainly sit down with a Tintin or Smurfs anthology and give it a read. Some Belgian beer will help with the language barrier!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This cocktail was simple, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The drops of Sherry floated on top of the drink, gave the brew a unique taste and made it look neat with that hazy red colour. Stella is a clean, crisp and easy to drink beer.

November 1 – Teddy Bear

Full of Stuffing

There are some great stuffed animals that have appeared in media over the years. Friends of our favourite characters who just don’t get the attention they deserve. Well, that’s going to change right now. Here are the Top 5 stuffed animals:

#5: Larry the Leopard – The Cleveland Show

Larry the Leopard is Cleveland Brown Jr.’s imaginary friend. With a relationship bordering on the creepy (ie. Larry is sometimes portrayed as Junior’s spouse), Larry is an important part of his owner’s life. Junior practically has a nervous breakdown when Larry is put through the washer and dryer, taking away his essence or as it is more filthily known, his stank. Cleveland Sr. is not a fan of the stuffed animal and its effect on Junior, who takes advice from the inanimate object.

Larry the Leopard

#4: Teddy – Mr. Bean

It seems at times as if Teddy is the only person Mr. Bean cares for… although Bean’s use of Teddy in his palns often results in punishment to the bear. The two exchange Christmas gifts, Mr. Bean makes sure Teddy is safely buckled in while driving, and the bear is given its own bed. Teddy became such a popular character in the series, that Ty (makers of Beanie Babies) produced a replica, so fans of the series could have their own adventures with the stuffed bear.

#3: Clyde Frog, Rumper Tumpskin, etc. – South Park

Cartman has a whole collection of stuffed toys that become his imaginary friends (also including Polly Prissypants, Peter Panda, and Muscle Man Marc), joining him for tea parties and otherwise filling in for Cartman’s lack of a father. When Cartman is finally ready to grow up and leave behind his plush friends, they are all murdered in a twisted, schizophrenic fashion with Cartman as the culprit and his childhood toys as the victims.

Cartman Stuffed Animals

#2: Rupert – Family Guy

While Rupert seems like an innocent enough stuffed bear, when Stewie imagines the two of them cavorting together in his fantasy world, Rupert becomes a muscled man (save for his teddy bear head) is skimpy speedo shorts. There are many other insinuations that Rupert is gay, likely playing off of Stewie’s own ambiguous sexuality. Stewie losing Rupert or moving on from the toy has been used in a couple of episodes, but the bear always winds up back in the crib.

#1: Hobbes – Calvin and Hobbes

Like the other stuffed animals on this list, Hobbes becomes an imaginary friend to his owner, in this case Calvin. The two get up to all sorts of trouble together with Hobbes trying to be the voice of reason, but often being ignored. Artist Bill Watterson blurs the lines of how real Hobbes may be with events like Hobbes being regularly tossed in the washing machine, which are baths that the tiger is forced to deal with.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear Shot

  • Rim glass with Chocolate Syrup
  • 0.25 oz Kahlua
  • 0.25 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • 0.25 oz Cola
  • 0.25 oz Milk

Honourable mentions go to Winnie the Pooh, Ted, Pookie (Garfield), Smacky (Get Fuzzy), Mr. Bear (Full House), and Bobo (The Simpsons). What’s your favourite stuffed animal from the entertainment world? It’s time to get cuddly!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shot was pretty good, reminding me of a Cola float… and how could you go wrong with that! The Chocolate Syrup rim took me back to the days of stuffed animals with early morning cartoons and chocolate milk. You know, the good ol’ days!

March 29 – Mad Dog

Dog’s Breakfast

They are often called man’s best friend, but I’ll be the judge of that. While I’m not the most comfortable around dogs, especially bigger breeds, I do have a fondness for Golden Retrievers and a few other varieties. Well, this one’s for the dogs as here are the top five puppies in history:

#5: Wilfred – Wilfred

Wilfred is a marijuana-smoking, beer-drinking, potty-mouthed pup. To Ryan, his owner’s neighbour, Wilfred is a human in a dog costume. To everyone else he’s just a canine. Either way, Wilfred is as misbehaving as they come and often pushes Ryan to do things he normally never would. Wilfred’s best moments come when he’s trying to be like a true dog, like making friends with the popular pooches, destroying a house when kept inside, or sneaking treats from Ryan’s co-workers.

Wilfred Sandwich

#4: Snoopy – Peanuts

Whether as Charlie Brown’s not-so-faithful dog or battling the legendary Red Baron in the skies, Snoopy is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Lucy knows this first hand, as she has been victim to Snoopy’s wet dog kisses on a frequent basis. Let’s not forget Snoopy’s symbiotic relationship with Woodstock the bird, as well as the critically-acclaimed Snoopy Dance, which has swept the nation for many years.

#3: Satchel – Get Fuzzy

Poor Satchel Pooch, always having to deal with the megalomaniac stylings of Bucky Katt. Somehow, Satchel’s kind, gentle nature always shines through even in the face of cats being cats. Satchel has a bunch of friends, including other neighbourhood dogs who are part of his playgroup and ferret neighbour Fungo Squiggly. Best of all, Satchel is Canadian (all the good ones are!), his roots being traced back to Cheticamp, Nova Scotia.

Satchel

#2: Santa’s Little Helper – The Simpsons

This mutt has more lives than a cat. Many episodes have centered on SLH’s bad behaviour and he keeps being invited back into the Simpsons home with open arms. Through various misdeeds, SLH has been sent to obedience school, found himself in the possession of Mr. Burns as an attack dog, been sent to live with Officer Lou, and abandoned at an ostrich farm. Every time, though, the dog returns to his family and they are happy to have him back.

#1: Scooby Doo – Scooby Doo, Where Are You?

While few can stand his nephew Scrappy Doo, Scooby Doo is one of the most beloved hounds in history. The scaredy dog doesn’t want to deal with the mysteries his human friends stumble upon and would rather be in hot pursuit of Scooby Snacks. With his best pal Shaggy by his side, these two do everything they can to avoid being chased by a fiendish specter, but always seem to end up on the wrong end of that equation, leading to the capture of various spooks.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Mad Dog

Mad Dog Shot

  • Rim glass with Whip Cream
  • 0.75 oz Vodka
  • 0.25 oz Raspberry Liqueur
  • Drops of Hot Sauce

So, which dogs should have made this list? There were certainly many I had to cut from my preliminary research, so I’m sure to have missed something. Perhaps we’ll put Scooby Doo on the case of the upset reader!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I used the Whip Cream rim to give an impression of a rabid dog, foaming at the mouth. It also helped cool down some of the heat from the Hot Sauce in the shooter. Physically and visually pleasant… reminds me of myself. All in all, this was a pretty good shot and I’d suggest not going crazy with the Hot Sauce and using a Vodka that goes well with the Raspberry Liqueur.

March 22 – Fat Cat

Cat Scratch Fever

They don’t need our love, but we shower them with adoration anyway. I’ve always been a cat guy and find them to be a great pet for someone as lazy as myself. They’re pretty self-sufficient (don’t need to be walked or washed) and will be entirely happy with a dish full of food, warm laundry to nap on, and the odd catnip toy for a little buzz and exercise. Here are the top five greatest felines in history:

#5: Puss in Boots – Shrek

The little kitty is clever and cunning. He lures his foes in with his deep, dark, sad eyes and once they are mesmerized, out comes the sword and the fight is on. Puss is a furry version of Zorro and not coincidentally is voiced by Antonio Banderas, who played the iconic swordsman in recent times. Whether he’s teaming with Shrek, Donkey and the rest of the gang or enjoying his own adventure, Puss is sure to leave his mark (hopefully not literally) on history.

puss-in-boots

#4: Tom – Tom & Jerry

Poor, poor Tom. No matter how hard he tries, Jerry always manages to elude him and Tom usually winds up with a boo-boo. Therefore, I always liked it best when Tom and Jerry teamed up. After all, the two have been around since the 1940’s, which is a long time to be continually chasing one another. The duo’s long standing rivalry has had an influence on other media. Even Jackass star Johnny Knoxville credits the tandem for inspiring some of the stunts the troupe attempt.

#3: Bucky – Get Fuzzy

Bucky isn’t as well-known as some of the other felines on this list, but he’s above and beyond, one of the funniest. Bucky is a terror to his owner Rob and roommate Satchel (a Sharpie-Labrador cross). A lot of the humour in Get Fuzzy comes from the pets’ misunderstanding of human words and actions and Bucky is a master of the misinterpretation. He’s also constantly scheming for money, food or domination over the apartment, which often results in his being grounded in his closet.

Bucky Katt

#2: Garfield – Garfield & Friends, etc.

What’s great about Garfield is that he just doesn’t care. He only has room for a few loves in his world and that void is quickly filled by food (particularly lasagna), his blankie, and stuffed bear. Sure, he’s occasionally nice to John and Odie, but that’s only for holiday specials like Christmas and Halloween. For this cat, it’s all about the luxuries in life. Garfield is so lazy, he can’t even be bothered to form meaningful relationship with other cats.

#1: Sylvester – Looney Tunes

Sure, Sylvester’s not the smartest animal on the block, but he gets an ‘A’ for effort, every time out. If he ever caught that infernal Tweety Bird, the world would rejoice in a congregation more massive than the Olympic opening ceremony parade. Sylvester’s son and wife also appear in some animated shorts, with his son often declaring “Mother, get the bandages,” after his father gets roughed up by any number of adversaries.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Fat Cat

Fat Cat Shooter

  • 1 oz Irish Crème
  • 0.25 oz Amaretto
  • 0.25 oz Crème de Banane

I’m sure I’ve made some choices with this ranking that has upset some of you. Send your best cat claws my way and make me regret my decisions. If I don’t hear any criticism, I will assume that my picks are good as gold and all free thinking will henceforth be left up to the Sip Advisor… you’re welcome!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Okay, this one is going to take some explaining. Sure it doesn’t look like your typical shooter, but this is how a cat would drink it. I wanted to present the shot in a saucer type dish to go along with the name and theme of the recipe. It’s a pretty good shot, but the Crème de Banane gets buried and you taste the Amaretto the most. Drink up, my little kitties!