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!

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Denmark – Cloudberry Dream

Playtime Pleasures

Mrs. Sip and I recently viewed The LEGO Movie, which the Sip Advisor believes is a must-see attraction for young and old alike. It was the final piece, if you will, that cemented LEGO being a topic discussed while we visit Denmark as part of the Around the World liquor showcase. This fascinating product has a rich history and one that should be shared with all you little sippers:

Humble Beginnings

Ole Kirk Christiansen started LEGO when his carpentry business was faltering in 1932. Christiansen chose the name by combining the Danish words LEG and GODT, which means “play well” together. In Latin, LEGO means “I put together”. He used the excess lumber he had to make wooden toys, which he sold locally. The LEGO blocks we know and love today were the result of Christiansen buying the rights to Kiddicraft blocks after the inventor committed suicide. A patent for LEGO’s ‘toy building brick’ came in 1961, which improved on the Kiddicraft design and the rest is history.

Backwards Compatible

Statistically Speaking

560 billion LEGO pieces have been manufactured as of 2013 and only 18 of every million bricks come out defective. Seven LEGO sets are sold every second around the world. LEGO produces more tires than companies like Goodyear and Bridgestone. In fact, they make 381 million each year… sure they’re miniature, but that’s a lot of rubber! If this ever helps a reader with a pub trivia night, you owe me a Coke.

Across the Universe

While you can build just about anything using your imagination (porn theatre, strip club, grow-op, meth lab, etc.), LEGO collections allow kids to travel anywhere from floating through space, to sailing the seas with pirates, to battling dragons and defending castles. 13 LEGO sets have actually been brought to the International Space Station to see how the pieces react in gravity.

Good Company

While today, LEGO has licensing deals with a number of commodities (Batman, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, etc.), it all began in 1999 when the toy company partnered with Star Wars. Along with the previously mentioned sets, the likes of Santa Claus, Spider-Man, and even Steven Spielberg have been immortalized as LEGO mini figures.

lego-piece-missing

Home Sweet Home

A life-size LEGO house was built in 2009 by James May, for his Toy Stories TV series. With the help of 1,200 volunteers, the two-floor, four bedroom abode was constructed using 3.3 million bricks and also had a wooden support structure. May spent one night in the home, and ironically said he slept like a brick. The house was demolished after an agreement to have it sent to LEGOLAND fell through because of costs. The pieces were donated to charity, however.

Theme Party

Sticking with LEGOLAND, there are six LEGO theme parks around the globe, including resorts in Billund, Denmark (home of the first factory); Windsor, United Kingdom; Günzburg, Germany; San Diego, USA; Winter Haven, USA; and Nusajaya, Malaysia. There is also a chain of LEGOLAND Discovery Centres with five in the U.S., two in Germany, and one each in the U.K., Japan, and Canada (stupid Ontario gets all the cool attractions!).

Work of Art

Nathan Sawaya has gained a cult following as a block artist – wouldn’t it be considered an offshoot of cubism!? – using LEGO bricks to make renowned pieces of art. Sawaya quit his job as a lawyer (perhaps this is also in Mrs. Sip’s future!) in 2001 to dedicate his life to LEGO art and it’s worked out pretty well for him. His show ‘The Art of the Brick’ is touring museums across the United States. He’s even made a life-sized Stephen Colbert.

Stepping on Lego

Creation Theory

Speaking of using LEGO for art, starting in 2001 (that seems to be the year men around the world went nuts for the toy), Brendan Powell Smith began creating illustrations from the Bible, using LEGO. His website, The Brick Testament contains nearly 4,000 images telling more than 300 stories. Perhaps this will inspire the Sip Advisor to take up religion… no, I think I’ll pass.

Honourable Mention

LEGO was named Toy of the Century in 2000, narrowly beating out the Teddy Bear, Barbie Doll, and Action Man. The three runners up went on to form an alliance, looking to overthrow LEGO from its lofty perch through propaganda, a smear campaign, and other dirty tactics. Then, Barbie Doll and Action Man had an affair that upset Teddy Bear and caused a irreparable rift within the coalition!

Denmark: Cloudberry Dream

Cloudberry Dream Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Cloudberry Liqueur
  • 1 oz Akvavit
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Cranberries

I was huge into LEGO as a youngster and one of the few things I’m looking forward to as a future father is bringing home my kid’s first LEGO set… then ignoring my duties as a dad and husband, playing with children’s toys for hours on end!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
An invention as great as LEGO deserves to be partnered with a drink this delicious! It has me looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Akvavit. The Cloudberry Liqueur was as wonderful as it has been in the past and throw in all the citrus elements and everything’s coming together perfectly!