December 8 – Naughty List

Christmas Crazes

It seems that every year there is a couple hot toys that parents just must have. That’s right, I said parents and not kids. In most cases, I believe it is the parents who want to grab that special something for their child more than it being the kid who absolutely needs that item. Call me crazy (I’m sure you have), but kids are pretty stupid and if you just occupy their little minds with something else, they’ll forget all about the craze going on. Here are some of the most notorious toys that caused so much chaos:

Tickle Me Elmo (1996)

Man, I hate Elmo. He takes attention away from the real treasures of Sesame Street: Bert and Ernie, Snuffleupagus, the Count, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, and Cookie Monster. Tyco, the makers of the Tickle Me Elmo did one great example of marketing and sent the toys to talk show host Rosie O’Donnell. When she threw them out to her audience, her obsessive fan following flipped their shit and went into hyper overdrive trying to track down one of the products for themselves. Had Tyco sent the dolls to Oprah, Elmo would now be master and ruler of the world by now. At the height of the craze, buyers were forced to shell out thousands of dollars to get their hand on the vibrating doll… at least it had adult appeal, as well!

taser_me_elmo

Teddy Ruxpin (1985)

Mrs. Sip owned one of these stuffed bears that would read you stories when you put a tape inside them… that means I have ol’ Mr. Ruxpin to blame for all the times she’s rather read than be amorous with the Sip Advisor… stupid bear. Then they gave Teddy his own TV series, which thankfully doesn’t cause Mrs. Sip to stay up late watching old reruns, while I work to warm the bed all by my lonesome. Well, Teddy Ruxpin may have won some battles, but I will have the last laugh in my ongoing war with the bear. While the toy was last produced in 2005, I’m still around and kicking. Now I just need to eliminate that book, TV, movie, music, and phone competition!

Cabbage Patch Kids (1983)

Ah, the year of my birth… when all was right in the world and a new savior had arrived to quell the fears of the masses. Only I was too little to stop the chaos of that Christmas shopping season when Cabbage Patch Kids hit the market and turned parents into psycho shoppers. The dolls sold like hotcakes and demand rose sharply with the lack of supplies. One notable case saw a woman in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, take over a Toys ‘R’ Us location with weaponry that included a BB gun and a freakin’ spork! I mean, how awesome were the 80’s? We didn’t need real weapons to get what we wanted. Parents today should be ashamed of themselves.

Furby (1998)

Mrs. Sip’s sister received one of these abominations last year and it was funny for about 30 seconds before we all wanted to destroy the demonic object. More than a decade earlier, the Furby was the hottest toy on the market (before cell phones and tablets, of course). Parents fell over themselves trying to get one to babysit their children and resale prices soared from a retail value of $35 to $300, in some cases. Internet scams were also prevalent as toys were advertised for sale, but never arrived for the buyer. Due to a lack of Furby’s produced, supplies ran out, driving up demand for the bizarre little robot.

Furby

Beanie Babies (1995)

It’s hard to believe, but there are many tales out there of folks snatching up these collectibles because they thought they could later retire to a life of luxury, living off of the proceeds from re-selling these toys. Sadly, the market they hoped for never materialized, despite the designers work to make Beanie Babies a collectors dream by retiring old designs and flooding the market with new characters regularly. There are stories of people buying McDonald’s Happy Meals to get the Beanie Baby sold with it, only to throw away the food (huge party foul) and a number of robberies took place at collectible stores for the stuffed animals.

Zhu Zhu Pets (2009)

If you believe the urban legends, these robotic hamster toys have to be a favourite of one Richard Gere! I can attest that Mrs. Sip and myself tracked a few of these down for her little cousin back then, but perhaps with the advancement of internet shopping and people preferring to be shut-ins and never leave their home, we didn’t have any issues finding them at stores. You’re asking, is it really a craze then? Well, prices for the $8 toy jumped $35-$40 on eBay when up for auction. The availability was more likely due to conflicting reports of the hamsters being poisonous (one group said they had high levels of antimony, while another said the level was acceptable) and adequate supplies being shipped by the company.

Drink #342: Naughty List

Naughty List Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Amaretto (I used Disaronno)
  • 1 oz Gin
  • 1 oz Crème de Banane
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Splash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Honourable mentions go to Pogs, Razor Scooters, the Rubix Cube, and basically every video game system to be released. While I appreciate any efforts my parents made to get me any of these iconic toys, I have to say that I will not do the same for my unborn kin. I’ll leave that for Mrs. Sip!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I think there’s too much going on in this cocktail. The Crème de Banane taste comes through the strongest and then you get hit with the competing flavours of Amaretto, Gin, Lemons, Limes, Grenadine, etc. My goal with the garnish was to give the impression of having a naughty and a nice list. Which one is which, is totally up to you little sippers!

February 17 – Voodoo

Randomness

Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day, one of the most underappreciated days of the year. I’ve already won a lifetime achievement award from the Centre of Kindness, although my distinction was not in the area of Random Acts. Here, though, are some of my noteworthy achievements in the field of randomocity:

I once held a door open for people coming in and out of a building for a world record (yet not Canadian record) time.

Door Opener

I educate kids about the magic of the 1980’s – and I’m not just talking about the excess – from a Transformers franchise that Michael Bay had yet to ruin to professional wrestling still being sold as a legitimate competition. I even do a special lecture detailing the wonders of Sir Teddy Ruxpin.

I’ve frequently eaten at McDonalds restaurants over the years. Someone has to keep these struggling enterprises afloat.

Selflessly, I’ve given cats a lap to nap on for many, many years. To their benefit, I’m just about as lazy as they are.

cat lap

I’ve donated thousands of Mrs. Sip’s books to local bookmobiles (and all without bothering her about it or telling her). It’s not like I had any intention of reading them and I’m tired of her keeping me up at night when she’s really into a series. Plus, clearing them out leaves more shelf space for liquor. Problem is, those books are promptly returned to me when youngsters realize they can’t get these paperbacks transferred onto their E-readers, cell phones or portable gaming devices.

I’ve watched countless hours of pornography as crucial research to help women feel good about their bodies.

Finally, here’s my most recent (and last ever) act of kindness: I made this drink for all of you to enjoy… seriously, if you hold a straw up to whatever device you’re viewing this on, you can have a taste. It’s the greatest advancement since the scratch-and-sniff.

Drink #48: Voodoo

Vodoo Cocktail

  • 1 oz Malibu Rum
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • 1 oz Butterscotch schnapps
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Coconut Shavings or Chocolate

Since it’s Random Act of Kindness Day, I got this recipe from webtender.com, through their random drink generator. There are other sites out there that include the random recipe feature, including one that gets bonus points for having cats as mixologist mascots. Give them a shot sometime and let me know what they came up with for you!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
One word can quickly sum up this drink: delicious! The Butterscotch Schnapps, Kahlua, and Malibu Rum offer three very different flavours that all just seem to meld together well. Any drink with Coconut Shavings is going to get high marks from me!