Indonesia – Born to be Wild

Beast from the East

Indonesia is home to the fearsome Komodo Dragon, found on a few of the country’s 18,000 islands, including – of all places! – Komodo Island. They are the largest reptiles in the world and are classified as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Endangered Species list, due to declining population. Let’s take a careful, but closer look at these mysterious beasts:

Komodo Dragons were considered mythological creatures until 1910, when Lieutenant van Steyn van Hensbroek of the Netherlands discovered them. An early expedition to Komodo Island, in 1926, to track down these illusive lizards was the inspiration for the 1933 classic film, King Kong. The leader of that expedition, W. Douglas Burden, is credited with naming the animal.

Komodo Kitty

Although once called “land crocodiles,” they are good swimmers. Hell, they can even climb trees and reach speeds of 14-18 km/h. Komodo Dragons can be cannibalistic, eating older and younger lizards that are unable to protect themselves. The Smithsonian National Zoological Park was the first place to publicly display a Komodo Dragon, in 1934. Because the reptile is the national animal of Indonesia, only the President can authorize one to be removed from the country.

On average, Komodo Dragons measure 8-10 feet and weigh 150-250 pounds, with a tail that is as long as its body. They can live anywhere from 30-50 years. The female Komodo Dragon lays eggs (anywhere from 15 to 30 in each batch) that take about nine months to hatch. The lovable beasts maintain a single mate throughout their life, meaning we’ll never see them on Maury going through lie detector or paternity tests!

You probably wouldn’t want to bring one of these monsters home with you, as there is some debate as to whether Komodo Dragons are venomous or not. Their saliva – which is coloured red – is thought to be poisonous because of septic bacteria, but glands have also been discovered in the animal’s jaw, that contain venom-like secretions that cause quick swelling, issues with blood clotting, shooting pain, and muscle paralysis.

Komodo Big Bird

There have been reports of Komodo Dragon attacks on humans, including fatalities. In 2007, an eight-year-old boy was killed, while playing near a village on Komodo Island. Two years later, a 31-year-old man met his end, while picking fruit and falling from a tree, into the waiting mouths of two lizards. Between those two incidents, a group of SCUBA divers were swept away from their boat and onto Rinca Island, where they spent the next two days avoiding assaults, before being rescued.

Actress Sharon Stone’s husband, Phil Bronstein, was attacked by a Komodo Dragon, while on a private tour of the Los Angeles Zoo. Bronstein had removed his white running shoes, so as not to confuse the reptiles, who are fed white rats. It was reported that Bronstein, an editor for the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, was only saved by Stone seductively uncrossing her legs – a la Basic Instinct – allowing the man to escape. He needed surgery to repair damaged tendons and a crushed big toe.

Like vultures, Komodo Dragons don’t mind their meat rotten and their prey includes snakes, fish, pigs, deer and the odd water buffalo. Much like snakes, the lizards use a forked tongue to smell dead animals, which they can sense up to 4km away. In one meal, a Komodo Dragon can eat 80% of its body weight, using shark-like teeth. As a result, the Komodo Dragon may only eat once per month and still not have to reach for midnight snacks like potato chips and cookies!

Indonesia: Born to be Wild

Born to be Wild Cocktail

  • 0.75 oz Pisang Ambon
  • 0.75 oz Tequila
  • 0.75 oz Vodka
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Splash of Limeade
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

As if Komodo Dragons weren’t bad enough, when Mrs. Sip and I were in Indonesia, the Sip Advisor was attacked by monkeys. One ended up on my back only to be chased off by a more dominant primate, who in turn, was chased off by another brute, with all the action occurring on a hunched over Sip Advisor, fearing for his life!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This was a very good cocktail, which I made a few times after the first sampling. It is pretty potent, despite the light alcohol content of the Pisang Ambon, so imbibe at your own risk. This is basically a really awesome alternative to the delicious Long Island Iced Tea!

May 10 – Blushing Lady

Motherly Love

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and every single little sipper out there in Sip Nation better be doing something special for their mom. I, personally know the way to Ma Sip’s heart is paved with wine… know your audience, am I right!? To show each and every one of you just how awesome your mom probably is, here are the top five worst mothers:

#5: Lois Wilkerson – Malcolm in the Middle

She’s driven one child to reform school and the three others that still live at home (with a fifth child eventually joining the fray) are wilder than a pack of hyenas. It’s a miracle that Malcolm emerged as a gifted student, although a couple of his other brothers are also intelligent, but use their smarts in other realms. It was rare to see Lois not shouting at the kids or disciplining them. An interesting tidbit about Malcolm in the Middle is that the writers worked very hard to conceal the family’s surname throughout the series, going so far as to have Francis drop his nametag at one point and for the audience to see it say “Nolastname.”

Lois Fate

#4: Cersei Lannister – Game of Thrones

Parents are often punished for the crimes of their children and anyone who can produce such an awful, sadomasochistic spawn, such as Joffrey Baratheon, has to have their own issues… like, I don’t know, being in an incestuous relationship with your brother. Oddly, her other son Tommen is the complete opposite to Joffrey, so perhaps he was just a bad apple (there’s one in every bunch). Cersei is certainly a wicked woman, not entirely surprising given her father’s actions and child rearing skills, which include demoralizing his brood every chance he gets and running their lives through power and intimidation.

#3: Peggy Bundy – Married with Children

Peggy’s greatest crime as a mother is that she just doesn’t care about her offspring and is too pre-occupied with spending all of the family’s money on treats for herself, rather than groceries, clothes, and the other needs of her husband and children. Her lack of a job throughout a vast majority of the show’s long run and preference for staying at home and watching Oprah while chowing down on bonbons shows just how lazy she is. Add in her disdain for cooking and cleaning and you have a mom who isn’t really paying her dues for the family.

Peg Bundy

#2: Malory Archer – Archer

Sterling Archer spent most of his life being raised by Woodhouse, his live-in caretaker, and being sent to boarding school, while his mother’s career as an international operative flourished. Malory even left Sterling stranded in a train station one Christmas Eve, as he was trying to make his way home from school for the holidays. In a case fit for the Maury Show, Malory is unsure of who Sterling’s father is and with a couple of options, made up a fictionalized dad, complete with backstory and naval honours. Despite her lack of affection for her son, Malory has made sure that Sterling has been dependent on her for most of his adult life.

#1: Lucille Bluth – Arrested Development

Lucille is really only loved by one of her children and even Buster has his moments where he can’t stand the nasty, alcoholic matriarch of the Bluth family. She is quick to criticize all of her kin (also including Gob, Lindsay, and Michael) and also has a habit of turning them against each other. Most of the messes the Bluth family wind up in is caused by Lucille, particularly her pilfering of the family company’s funds to support her lavish lifestyle. Played by Jessica Walters, who also provides the voice for Malory Archer, it would seem this lady has the market cornered on awful mother characters… bet she’s nice in real life, though.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Blushing Lady

Blushing Lady Shot

  • Rim glass with Sugar
  • 0.5 oz Vodka
  • 0.5 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  • Splash of Grapefruit Juice
  • Garnish with a Strawberry Slice

Perhaps next year, we’ll take a look at the flip side of this coin, the warm and loving mothers (your Marge Simpson’s, Kitty Forman’s, etc. of the world) to further provide examples of how to be a great mom. Either that, or we’ll examine the reality TV “real life” moms out there that are cringe worthy with every act they commit. Happy Mother’s Day to all the lovely ladies out there that deserve the title!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Yet another cocktail I’ve had to convert into a shot… clearly there are some noticeable voids in the mixology world that the Sip Advisor will have to fill! This shot was pretty good with a bitter aftertaste from the Grapefruit Juice. That’s what kind of takes the rating down a little.

April 15 – Whiskey Sick Day

Under the Weather

Recently, your faithful Sip Advisor contracted a flu which knocked me for a loop and caused me to miss my very first days of work due to illness. During my three-day sabbatical, I worked diligently to document my ordeal and I hope to share those notes with you, my little sippers, today. Don’t worry, all the gross stuff has been removed unless you find under-garnished hamburgers as disgusting as I do!

The first day I wasn’t feeling well I still dragged my butt to work and even played soccer, part of a rotating sports league I’m a member of. For some reason, I’ve always played well when ill. While this wasn’t the seven goals I sniped a few weeks back in ice hockey while playing with a cold, it was a half decent performance. Afterwards is when I really started feeling grungy, though.

Sickness

The next morning I woke up and decided to pull the plug on my iron-man streak. I grabbed a spot in front of the TV and searched for some suitable entertainment… quickly learning that there’s not much out there.

When I myself was just a little sipper and was home from school sick, The Price is Right was a favourite viewing pleasure of mine. Bob Barker and his crusade to get your pets spayed and neutered was something all viewers could get behind… plus Plinko was pretty awesome!

The first thing I noticed when watching the show last week is that it now employs a male prize model. The strapping young man is hard not to notice among the horde of attractive women. I wonder if Bob Barker’s sexual harassment allegations would have been any different with less of Barker’s Beauties around. Rod Roddy, on the other hand, would have certainly found himself in hot water with all the males running about.

Barkerfail

The funniest thing is seeing male contestants win a prize and go to hug all the ladies, only to double clutch when approaching the guy and go for the ol’ handshake-hug-reacharound.

My TV viewing pleasures didn’t stop there as I tuned into the Maury Show for some paternity results. Not the best idea to try and catch a nap while moms are screaming about babies having the same eyebrows as prospective daddies and these fine gents are denying they’re fathers with more passion than they’ve ever put into, well… anything!

One case in particular caught my attention as a guy, who was denying his daughter, kept bringing up that he had bought his girlfriend a $900 engagement ring. It was mentioned like 10 times, no exaggeration. Did he follow up the proposal by treating her a two-can-dine for $9.99 meal at Mickie D’s!?

Maury

Later on during my sickness, I had a massive craving for salt and grease. In my mind, I knew that a quick jaunt to McDonalds was the only way to appease these desires. Without Mrs. Sip around to take care of me and explain to me that McDonalds is not recovery food – she was off gallivanting around town, selling my secret recipes to unscrupulous barkeeps… or so my delirious mind told me – I had to venture out into the rain, umbrella-less and forage for food. While at the restaurant, and figuring I didn’t want to make the brief trip again, should the urge arise a second time, I ordered four hamburgers.

Sadly, I was only able to stomach one (and that was a challenge… damn, I hate it when Mrs. Sip is right!) before throwing the other three in the fridge for a later date with destiny. Those other meals were massive disappointments, with two of the three sandwiches only containing one pickle… and tiny slices at that. This has been a longstanding issue between myself and Ronald McDonalds’ peeps. I’ve complained before, something I’m rarely charged enough to do, but the results of my pleas have not been satisfactory.

Lastly, I largely stayed away from alcoholic bevvies during my recovery, save for my work on this site. However, I felt best – and this could be a disturbing sign – after I had a couple of drinks nearly a week after I was first sick. Alcohol: it cures what ails you!

Drink #105: Whiskey Sick Day

April 15

  • 0.75 oz Whiskey (I used Wiser’s Spiced)
  • 0.75 oz Bailey’s Irish Crème
  • Top with Hot Chocolate (I used Rolo Cocoa Powder)
  • Garnish with Whip Cream and Chocolate Sprinkles

My final observation of the week is that being sick absolutely sucks. You think it won’t be so bad being away from work and lazing around, but it’s horribly lonely, boring and tedious. At least I had sweet lady liquor and this little gem to keep me company!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
An impromptu drink to “celebrate” my recent illness, this was quite tasty, although totally messy… not that there’s anything wrong with that! The whip cream runneth over the glass, but it is forgiven because of how well it mixed with the hot chocolate based concoction on the inside of the glass. I never mind getting a little sticky for the sake of discovery!