July 4 – Stars and Stripes

American Made

While my neighbours to the south celebrate their Independence Day, I’d like to salute the most steadfast American patriots… well, at least of the fictional variety. And no, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter doesn’t count! On with the list:

#5: Sam the Eagle

This Muppet is a staunch advocate for the good ol’ U-S-of-A, while also being a straight-laced defender of decency and high culture. He certainly doesn’t fit in with many of his fellow Muppets, who rely on slapstick routines and lower-brow entertainment. Perhaps Sam’s biggest role was in the recent Muppets Most Wanted film, where he, as a CIA agent, teamed with an Interpol agent to clear the good name of Kermit the Frog and save the entire Muppets troupe, in the process.

Sam the Eagle

#4: Wrestling

The wrestling world is rife with American patriotism, featuring countless battles between red, white, and blue clad heroes versus villainous foreign foes. It’s hard to pinpoint one grappler in particular, but these are a few of the many who have fought in defense of Old Glory, capitalism, and the American way: Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger, Kurt Angle, The Patriot, Sgt. Slaughter, ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan, Jack Swagger, Dusty Rhodes, Corporal Kirchner, and the American Express. U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A!

#3: G.I. Joes

This line of Hasbro action figures was first released in 1964, representing four divisions of the United States’ armed forces: the army, navy, air force, and marines. In fact, the releases were the first to ever receive the designation “action figures”. A cartoon later came in 1985, which saw the Joes battle the evil terrorist group Cobra. Two films, in 2009 and 2013 (with one to come in 2016) have also been released for the franchise. Good will always triumph over evil!

GI Joes

#2: Uncle Sam

Used as a major symbol for propaganda, particularly during war times, Uncle Sam (who coincidentally has the initials, U.S.) has existed for approximately 200 years. Many believe that Uncle Sam was based on Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who helped provide soldiers with rations during the War of 1812. Regardless, if you see Uncle Sam, he probably wants you to fight for the country, joining one of the branches of U.S. armed forces.

#1: Captain America

Battling evil forces, the likes of which include the Red Skull, Barons Helmut and Heinrich Zero, Flag Smasher, and even Adolf Hitler, himself, Captain America is the ultimate defender and avenger (see what I did there!) of the United States against oppressors from other evil nations. With his trusty red, white, and blue shield, Captain America will be protecting the country (and world) for years to come. And to think, he was originally rejected as a member of the army, before going super soldier.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Stars and Stripes

I was surprised at how difficult this article was to put together. I figured there would be so many more glaring examples of fictional American patriots, but many weren’t so obvious. Perhaps I’ve just missed a number of folks that should have made this list. Let me know if I’m guilty of neglect!

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Mexico – Sea of Cortez

Lucha Libre Lunacy

Wrestling and especially masked wrestlers are a huge hit in Mexico… perhaps more so than anywhere else in the world. The mask adds a dash of mystery to each character and also provides them a colourful outfit and persona. The fast-paced, high-flying in-ring style of the luchadores is mesmerizing for fans and has been captivating spectators for close to a century. Let’s take a look at some of the personalities and history of the genre:

Mask Manufacturing

Don Antonio Martinez is credited with creating some of the earliest lucha libre masks, moving to the face veneers from a successful leather boot business. As the story goes, Martinez employed a set of 17 facial measurements (a trade secret to this day) to help make the masks feel snug for the grapplers using them. Some of Mexico’s greatest wrestling stars would go on to wear a Martinez mask, taking the sport to unimaginable heights.

Lucha_libre_máscaras

The Saint

It takes some dedication to wear your wrestling mask at all times, inside and outside the ring. El Santo became one of Mexico’s cultural icons, appearing in countless movies, comic books, and other media. He only revealed his face to the world late in his life. Appearing on a talk show more than a year after his final match (at the age of 65, no less!), without warning El Santo removed his mask. One week later, the star passed away after suffering a heart attack. The grappler was buried donning his trademark silver disguise. His funeral was one of the biggest in Mexico’s history.

Legendary Lineage

Another hugely popular lucha libre fixture was Mil Mascaras. Hell, the guy even appeared on three different Mexican stamps. Mascaras competed all around the world and is considered one of the most influential wrestlers of all-time. A ban on masked wrestlers appearing at Madison Square Gardens was even lifted specifically so Mascaras could work for the then World Wrestling Federation. His legend lives on today through his nephew and current WWE superstar Alberto Del Rio. While Mascaras has never been unmasked during his lengthy career, Del Rio wrestles sans cover.

Dancing with the Demon

Blue Demon rounds out lucha libres first “Big Three” group of stars (also including El Santo and Mil Mascaras). Much like his fellow “Big Three” alums, Demon starred in numerous feature films, even leading a group of masked wrestlers on the big screen. Together they were dubbed The Champions of Justice and gave other legendary super groups such as the Justice League and Avengers a run for their money. Okay, I made that part up, but they were definitely more proficient when it came to cartwheels and somersaults!

misterioenlasbermudas

I guess the “big three” were kind of like the Rat Pack… yup, Frank, Dean and Sammy were replaced by El Santo, Mil Mascaras and Blue Demon!

For Sale

I nearly every market around Mexico, a traveler can find wrestling masks of varying quality to be purchased. The disguises include replicas for some of the biggest stars of Mexico, as well as those for competitors who have gained popularity abroad. You can even pick up the odd comic superhero façade, such as Spider-Man and Captain America.

Something to Lose

It is humiliating for a wrestler to be unmasked and therefore one of the most exciting and highly-anticipated contests in Mexico is the Mask Match (aka Luchas de Apuestas, which translates to “gambling fights”), where the loser has to reveal their face to the viewing audience. If the masked wrestler’s opponent doesn’t wear a mask, they often put their hair on the line in return. When a wrestler loses and is unmasked, it is common for his personal information to finally be recognized and published. That star is often no longer allowed to compete as that character, a further humiliation heaped on top of the original loss.

Big Time

In 1994, Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) joined forces with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) to co-promote a pay-per-view event entitled When Worlds Collide. The show launched the careers of many Mexico-based stars, including Rey Mysterio, Jr., La Parka, Eddie Guerrero, and Konnan. Thanks to this platform, the grapplers started being signed to contracts with bigger American promotions like Extreme Championship Wrestling and the aforementioned WCW.

Mexico Wrestlers

No Respect

Throughout the mid to late 1990’s, more and more wrestlers from Mexico exploded onto the scene in the U.S., exciting fans with their speed, agility, and aerial offense. Things started off pretty well for the imports, but soon turned sour as the roster became flooded with foreign talent, most of whom weren’t featured much and found themselves buried underneath the bigger American grapplers. A number of stars were stripped of their mask in matches that had little to no meaning. Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerra, and Psicosis all found themselves without their familiar covering and despite revealing themselves to fans, saw little improvement to their position in the pecking order.

Return to Glory

In 2002, pint-sized phenom Rey Mysterio (nee Jr.) debuted with the world’s largest wrestling company WWE, returning to wearing the mask that once brought him such great popularity. Bursting onto the scene by defeating some of WWE’s top stars, a renaissance of masked competitors seemed on the horizon. Sure enough, in 2006, Mysterio captured the World Heavyweight Title. No small feat (pun intended) for the 5’6” ultimate underdog!

Mexico: Sea of Cortez

Sea of Cortez Cocktail

 

  • Rim glass with Salt, Sugar and Chili Flakes
  • 1 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Chipotle Spirit
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

The luchadores comprise the Sip Advisor’s favourite style of wrestling. I just love seeing these smaller guys steal the show from the larger, hulking bodies with their crazy, high-risk action-packed contests. Perhaps it’s the cruiserweight in me or maybe it’s just the thrill of watching people fly through the air with complete disregard to their own safety. Either way, I thank them for their contributions to my entertainment.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
This recipe provided one of my first chances to use the Chipotle Spirit I picked up a couple months back at Rogue Distillery in Portland, Oregon. On that trip, myself and Ma and Pa Sip ate at Gustav’s Pub, where I found this recipe. My favourite aspect is the rim, complete with Chili Flakes, which take a margarita recipe and make it that much better. I went with Grapefruit Soda instead of Juice and may have found a new mixer to advocate for. I love my drinks that have a bit of a bite to them and this was certainly no different!

April 14 – Captain Aaron

Oh Captain, My Captain

There is only one man I trust to steer any ship I’m aboard… that’s my man, Captain Aaron! These are some other options I’d consider, even if most of them are nowhere near remotely real:

Captain Morgan

How could any Sip Advisor list in which an alcohol icon was a possible candidate, not lead off with said subject? Naturally, it can’t be any other way. While I’m more of a Sailor Jerry’s fan in the spiced rum category, Captain Morgan isn’t too shabby an alternative and I love the company’s ad campaigns.

Jesus Christ, the Cap`n gets a lot of sweet tail!

Sweet Jesus, the Cap`n sure gets a lot of sweet tail!

Captain Jack Sparrow

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirates life for me! Captain Jack Sparrow is a pretty resourceful guy. He can pretty much get himself out of any sticky situation, is pretty good at hunting long, lost treasure and is not too shabby with the ladies. More importantly, he’s a fan of the bottle and knows where to find hidden stashes of rum on deserted islands.

Captain Crunch

While Cap’n Crunch was far from my favourite cereal growing up, it was on the list of acceptable breakfast options I provided to Mama Sip as a youngster. Like any high profile athlete, my agent and I devised a list of demands that had to be met and cereal selection was chief among them.

Captain Kirk

Captain’s log, stardate 1077.69: I’ve never really been a science fiction nut, but I do have to give some respect to all the Trekkies out there, who show us what being passionate about something really should entail. Captain Kirk never has to buy a drink for himself as long as a geek is close by.

Captain Kirk

Captain America

While I’m more of a Tony Stark/Iron Man fan, Captain America is a strong leader, who I would be happy to follow into battle. Can you imagine a Canadian version of Captain America, who is light on crime and tries to help bad guys reform rather than punish them? Silly Captain Canada…

Captain Hook

I personally wouldn’t mind seeing Captain Hook get his hands on… oops! sorry, sensitive subject, I know, let me rephrase… get his hand and hook on Peter Pan. Maybe Hook can throw the little brat to the crocodile that’s always hounding him and use the time while the lizard is chowing down on some Pan to get some distance between himself and his pursuer.

Captain Hook

Captain McCallister

You might be wondering who this captain even is. Well, I have one word for you: Yarrrrr! Okay, I know all pirates are known to say this, so I’ll just give you the answer. It’s the resident Sea Captain from The Simpsons. Often seen with a corncob pipe and tapping his glass eye, Captain McCallister is not only delightfully incompetent, but gets bonus points for being created by comedian, writer, and late show host Conan O’Brien.

Captain Stubing

While Mrs. Sip and I were on our honeymoon cruise, we were able to watch a few episodes of The Love Boat and quickly fell in love with how laugh-track cheesy the show is. Captain Stubing played a large role in our fondness for the sitcom as he tried to control his band of misfit employees.

Drink #104: Captain Aaron (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Captain Aaron Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Kraken Black Spiced Rum
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Splash of Lemonade
  • Garnish with a Captain’s Hat (If you happen to have one just lying around!)

In the interest of full disclosure, while this is an original recipe, it has been borrowed from the man, the myth, the legend, Captain Aaron himself. Happy birthday, buddy!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
The Cap’n and I love using Ginger Ale as a mixer and I really enjoyed his touch of adding Lemonade to the blend. The Spiced Rum works well with both ingredients, so the whole group comes together quite nicely.