March 7 – Grey Mouse

Rodent Rascals

Despite the fear these animals cause for many people, the following entries are loveable rats, mice, chipmunks, etc. It might help that they’re all animated (or at least began their existences that way) as that’s just how you can get the most cuteness out of what could otherwise be considered vermin. Here are the Top 5 rodents:

#5: Remy – Ratatouille

This rat may be one of the few Parisians I actually like! The fact that Remy is voiced by Patton Oswalt is simply a bonus. Interestingly, Oswalt was cast in the movie based off of his food-based stand-up routine. Want some more Ratatouille trivia? Did you know that a wine branded with the name of the film was supposed to be released in a joint venture between Disney, Pixar and Costco, but was pulled because the label featured the animated Remy, something the California Wine Institute was not pleased with, arguing that it encouraged underage drinking.

Remy Ratatouille

Remy certainly has some swagger!

#4: Rescue Rangers

Chip, Dale, Monterrey Jack, and the voluptuous Gadget (the only member of the team forced to wear pants!) may be the world’s smallest crime fighters, but they are thorns in the side of villains like Professor Norton Nimnul, Fat Cat, and Rat Capone. Sadly, little Zipper can’t be included in this entry because he’s not a rodent… sorry, buddy. Back to the team, we will get to see them again in the coming years, as Disney has announced plans for a live-action/CGI animation movie. As long as they keep the wicked opening theme song in some capacity, fans everywhere will rejoice!

#3: Pinky & The Brain – Animaniacs

These two made trying to take over the world fashionable… sure, their zany plans regularly go awry, but that doesn’t mean a strategy won’t ever work and we’ll all become the slaves of genetically-enhanced lab mice! The duo proved so popular that they were given their own series, sadly invaded by Elmyra from Tiny Toon Adventures. There’s a great theory out there that Pinky is actually the intelligent mouse, while The Brain is the insane one out of the two. That would explain why he’s hell bent on escaping his cage and ruling the earth.

Pinky and the Brain

#2: Splinter – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The wise sensei and father figure of the teen turtles may be a rodent of advanced age, but he can still fight when pushed to do so, often defending his shelled family. The one thing that pisses me off about Splinter is how his origin story changes from time to time. In some projects, he was a human turned into a rat, while other times, he was always a rat, who transformed thanks to the mutagen. He’s at his most awesome in the original Turtles movie, when he battles and defeats The Shredder, sending him crashing from a high-rise rooftop into the back of a garbage truck.

#1: Mickey Mouse

While I’ve never been a huge fan of Mickey, some of my favourite things in this world wouldn’t exist without him. Think about it: I met Mrs. Sip in Disneyland, which was only possible thanks to the success of early Mickey cartoons, leading to more animated gems from Walt Disney and company. With those facts, you just have to respect Mickey and everything he’s done in the name of entertainment. As Walt himself famously said, “I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”

Super Saturday Shot Day: Grey Mouse

Grey Mouse Shot

  • 1 oz Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Black Sambuca
  • Garnish with a Gummy Mouse

Honourable mentions go to Bernard and Bianca (The Rescuers); Jerry Mouse (Tom & Jerry); and the trio of Alvin, Simon and Theodore Seville (Alvin & The Chipmunks). I really wish I could have included The Chipmunks, who got the Sip Advisor through some tough times with their upbeat music!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
The shot was one thing (it was what you’d expect from mixing Irish Creme and Sambuca), but I think my choice to garnish the shooter with a Gummy Mouse was spectacular. Thankfully, Ma Sip had a few on hand, which I was more than happy to use in the production.

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November 29 – Three’s Company

Three of a Kind

With Horrible Bosses 2 arriving in theatres, I thought it was the perfect time to look back on some of my favourite comedic trios. They say that three is a crowd, but in these cases, it couldn’t be more comfortable:

#5: Nick, Dale & Kurt – Horrible Bosses

I really enjoyed this movie, which sees a trio of friends decide to kill their respective bosses. Of course, things don’t go as planned and they become embroiled in a web of infidelity, break and enter, and homicide. The sequel sees the cast reunite with Nick, Dale and Kurt starting their own business and having to take drastic measures when competition comes along, trying to crush their operation. Best of all, Jennifer Aniston is back for another spin as the nympho dentist!

Horrible-Bosses-Trio

#4: Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Made up of Frylock, Master Shake, and Meatwad, these three food items started life as crime fighters, but evolved into lazy degenerates. I’m particularly fond of Master Shake and Meatwad, who are complete polar opposites. Master Shake is always looking to con his way into money and babes, while Meatwad is a sweet and caring lad. The do share a low level of intelligence, but that makes things all the more interesting. One thing is for sure, I would hate to be their neighbour Carl.

#3: Yakko, Wakko & Dot – Animaniacs

This madcap trio of hellraisers were shut away in the Warner Bros. studio lot vault for decades and upon being released, unleashed their manic brand of humour on the world… whether the world was ready for it or not. Interestingly, the Warner siblings were intended to be ducks, but were changed to dog-like beings in early production. The Warner’s stuck around for 99 episodes of chaotic fun, before disappearing back into their water tower home and leaving the world at peace.

Animaniacs Trio

#2: Phil, Stu & Alan – The Hangover

Played by Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis, respectively, this movie franchise shows just what can happen when you have a crazy night out in Las Vegas, Bangkok, and just about anywhere in the world. I always felt bad for Doug that he never gets to be part of the adventure. In each of the three movies, he’s pushed to the sidelines… once, quite literally! In the end, these three guys, who were acquaintances before the franchise, became legit friends thanks to the whole experience.

#1: The Three Stooges

Comedy just wouldn’t be the same without Larry, Curly, and Moe. Sure, the recent reboot of this franchise might not be great, but the original troupe were legends and have been ripped off and spoofed for decades. The Three Stooges began their iconic career in 1925 as a vaudeville act, before moving onto feature films. Since appearing on TV for the first time in 1958, their shorts have remained a staple of the airwaves to this day, and will make audiences laugh for years to come.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Three’s Company

Three's Company Shot

  • 0.5 oz Cognac
  • 0.5 oz Grand Marnier
  • 0.5 oz Kahlua
  • Garnish with an Orange Slice

Myself and Mrs. Sip make up our own triple threat, using an interchangeable member that simply hangs on to the awesomeness of our coattails. Honourable mentions go to Alvin and The Chipmunks; Huey, Dewey, and Louie; the Workaholics; and many more. In researching this article, I had to be very careful not to use the search term “best threesomes”… but I used it anyway!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This shot tasted pretty good, largely thanks to the Grand Marnier’s delicious orange flavour. I’ll even throw some credit towards the Kahlua. The score was lowered because of the strong taste, something the decent flavours couldn’t make up for.

Austria – The Courtesan

Music to My Ears

Crossing the English Channel, we find ourselves in mainland Europe and there’s this wonderful sound that keeps pulling us to further investigate. Finally, we stop in Austria, home to a period of music that is enjoyed the world over: Viennese Classicism. During this time, composers like Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and Joseph Haydn compiled a catalogue of work that is performed and held in high regard to this day. Here are some examples of how each artist is recognized in today’s popular culture:

classical music

Ludwig van Beethoven

I’m not sure there would be A Clockwork Orange without the compositions of Beethoven. Alex, the deranged punk anti-hero, seems obsessed with the musician’s ninth symphony and uses it as the soundtrack to many of his heinous crimes. This is far from Beethoven’s only foray into the movie world. Aside from projects based on his life and work, his legendary melodies are featured in countless productions. Beethoven also appears in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, helping the duo with their history presentation, and is the inspiration for naming the big St. Bernard in the Beethoven series of family films. Finally, the piano playing Schroeder from The Peanuts references Beethoven as his favourite musician.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Amadeus Revenge, a video game released in 1988 for the Commodore 64, features Mozart battling his rivals to keep his Piano Concerto No. 25 from being destroyed. It was a pitch-based music game that surely wasn’t as enjoyable as the Mozart chocolate liqueurs named after the composer. In other interesting naming decisions, two mountain peaks in Antarctica are dedicated to Mozart’s work. Giovanni Peak is named after his opera Don Giovanni and Figaro Nunatak comes from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro. Mozart’s life story was turned into the feature movie Amadeus, and was also spoofed in The Simpsons episode ‘Margical History Tour,’ with Bart taking the role of Mozart, while Lisa subbed in for Antonio Salieri and Nelson Muntz became Beethoven.

classic pop

Franz Schubert

Franz Schubert may best be known for his ‘Unfinished Symphony’ and that has become the focal point of a few different cartoons. First, a Casper the Friednly Ghost short featured the titular ghost helping Schubert finish his composition. Similarly, a Fractured Fairytales segment also explored the subject with Peabody and Sherman going back in time to figure out why the symphony was never completed. Once again, on The Simpsons, when Homer attends Lisa’s band recital and hears they will be performing an ‘Unfinished Symphony,’ he believes the concert will be short. Perhaps most nefariously, Schubert’s work became the theme for Gargamel in The Smurfs cartoon.

Joseph Haydn

Called the ‘Father of the Symphony’ (so we all know who to blame when the ladies drag us out for a night of culture), Haydn composed the melodies to what is now Germany’s national anthem (Deutschlandlied), although it began as a nationalistic song in support of Roman Empire and later Austrian ruler Francis II. Haydn’s work has been featured in numerous media, most notably Sherlock Holmes, Catch Me If You Can, Minority Report, and Interview with the Vampire. Like many of his contemporaries, cartoons have capitalized on Haydn’s catalogue of music, with shows like Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, and even Ren & Stimpy featuring pieces constructed by the artist.

Austria: The Courtesan

The Courtesan Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Mata Hari Absinthe
  • 1 oz Southern Comfort
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wheel

It’s kind of fascinating to see how all of these composers and their music has been used since their deaths a very long time ago. When Mrs. Sip and I were in Vienna many moons ago, we attended a live classical music performance, featuring the works of the above artists. I remember having champagne and the rest of the night is a blur… must have been a good one!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (1.5 Sips out of 5):
Holy hell is this drink bitter. I hoped the Southern Comfort would add some sweetness to the recipe and the Lime Juice would provide some added flavour, but all that came through was the Absinthe. I’m not opposed to Absinthe in general, but you need other ingredients around it to soften the blow of the powerful booze.