Drunk ‘n Stuffed Museum Tour
by Mad Dog
It’s not a great
sign that the founders think visitors need shots of seven different
vodkas to enjoy the museum to its fullest, though I have to admit I
think any museum is more fun after seven shots of vodka.
country needs something to be proud of. While some nationalistic
accomplishments are dubious, like the Scots inventing haggis, Italy
spawning Fabio, and Afghanistan changing their country’s motto from
“The Land Time Forgot” to “Got bin Laden?”, if you’ve created
something good you should flaunt it. That’s why it’s nice to see
that some Russians have taken pride in their national beverage and
opened the Vodka Museum. This is the Absolut truth.
why shouldn’t they? After all, France has a cognac museum, Ireland has
a whiskey museum, and Wisconsin has the Old Milwaukee Museum of Lame
American Beer for People With a Budget To Match Their Taste Buds.
Besides, vodka is the national pastime—I mean, drink—of Russia. Each
year the average Russian man drinks 180 bottles of the stuff, which is
one every two days, or just the right amount to forget about the long
bread lines, horrible weather, Yakov Smirnoff, and Mir.
The museum is small—only two
rooms in fact—but they’re packed full of vodka bottles, glasses,
advertising posters, and a display of a Russian monk distilling the
first shot way back in the mid-1400’s. It shouldn’t come as a
surprise that vodka has religious origins. After all, the Benedictine
Monks invented the liqueur which bears their name and the Little Sisters
of the Poor created Blue Nun. Just kidding. Actually they created the
Flying Nun, which is even more embarrassing. Especially to Sally Field.
One of the high points of the
museum is the vodka tasting. It’s not a great sign that the founders
think visitors need shots of seven different vodkas to enjoy the museum
to its fullest, though I have to admit I think any museum is more fun
after seven shots of vodka. Even the newly opened SPAM museum in Austin,
Minnesota. Or maybe that should be ‘especially.’
In some parts of
the world—okay, in South Korea, anyway—SPAM is considered a gourmet
delicacy. This isn’t surprising when you realize that the ad campaign
there touts SPAM as “The other dog meat.”
Amazingly there’s never been a SPAM museum until now. This has
been a major national embarrassment since there’s a Ramen noodle
museum in Japan, a Cadbury chocolate museum in England, and even a
Jell-O museum in LeRoy, NY. Luckily SPAM’s maker, Hormel Animal Parts
Recycling, saw the hole in the museum market and plugged it.
museum is a lot larger than two rooms—it’s 16,500 square feet to be
exact. To put this in perspective, you could lay 2,845 Russians who have
passed out after drinking seven shots of vodka on the floor side-by-side
and still have room for a few cases of bootleg caviar. Right, like any
self-respecting Russian would pass out after imbibing their usual
lunchtime vodka ration, not to mention leaving free caviar sitting there
museum features SPAM advertising, a production line which probably
won’t take any mystery out of the mystery meat, and even a video of
Monty Python’s famous skit. No, not the dead parrot skit, the SPAM
museum should do well. After all, SPAM is very popular. Over the past 64
years they’ve sold nearly six billion—that’s billion with a
‘b’—cans of the stuff. That’s nearly 94 million cans a year, or
one for every man, woman, and child who doesn’t question what they put
in their mouth.
could drop the cans from airplanes onto terrorist camps —they’d be
deadly falling from 10,000 feet. Plus, if they accidentally opened and
ate any of it they’d be in for a surprise.
parts of the world—okay, in South Korea, anyway—SPAM is considered a
gourmet delicacy. This isn’t surprising when you realize that the ad
campaign there touts SPAM as “The other dog meat.” Of course it
helps to remember that this is South Korea, the home of the Kimchi
Museum. Kimchi, in case you haven’t felt like burning off your taste
buds lately, is the fiery cabbage salad Koreans eat with every meal.
They also use it to cauterize wounds, teach children never to utter
naughty words again, and as entertainment. Face it, there aren’t many
things that are more fun than watching a Westerner jump and scream after
mistaking kimchi for cole slaw.
The SPAM Museum has an interactive game show (“I’ll take Food
My Starving Cat Refuses to Eat for 500, Alex.”), a display of 4,752
cans of SPAM from around the world (“Best when eaten after drinking
seven shots of vodka.”), and a gift shop with 255 different SPAM items
(“Do you have that SPAM stomach pump in blue?”). They also have a
display showing the role SPAM played in World War II.
haven’t made it to the museum to see just what that role was, but if
it worked then I’m sure it can work now. I think President Bush should
recruit SPAM and send it into battle. We could drop the cans from
airplanes onto terrorist camps—they’d be deadly falling from 10,000
feet. Plus, if they accidentally opened and ate any of it they’d be in
for a surprise when they read the leaflets we dumped the next day with
the Arabic translation of the ingredients. As soon as they discovered it
contains pork they’d realize there was no way they were getting into
heaven no matter how many terrorist attacks they made mistakenly
thinking it would buy them a “Get Into Heaven Free” card in
help explain why the Russians had such a hard time in
Afghanistan—dropping bottles of vodka just wouldn’t have had the
same effect. It also points out another reason America is such a great
nation: we have SPAM. So support America and check out the museum.
Though it might not be a bad idea to pretend you’re at the Russian
Vodka Museum first and have those seven shots before you go.
©2001 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them while standing in line at the museum.