July 25 – Lipstick Lesbian

Coming Out

With Pride weekend upon us, I thought it would be a good opportunity to look at the greatest LGBT characters… and there are a lot of them, making this list very hard to narrow down. Somehow, the Sip Advisor was able to thin the herd, so let’s get to it!

#5: Daffyd Thomas – Little Britain

While he claims to be the only gay in the village, Daffyd takes exception when he’s not being recognized for his sexuality and while he feels he’s turning heads and making a statement, everyone else is totally cool with his lifestyle. In fact, many of the townspeople are also members of the LGBT community. Ironically, when others reveal their sexual orientation, Daffyd is prone to homophobic outbursts.

Daffyd Thomas - Little Britain

#4: Lafayette Reynolds – True Blood

The heavy make-up wearing, eyelash extension rocking short order cook makes the world of Bon Temps go round, in his own unique way.  Interestingly, Lafayette is killed off very early in The Southern Vampire Mysteries books, but the TV series took a different approach, as the character proved to be so popular with audiences. In a world full of horny, indiscriminate vampires, anything and everything can happen.

#3: Mr./Mrs. Garrison – South Park

Garrison has been everything from a straight male, to a gay male, to a transgendered straight female, to finally a transgendered lesbian female. Covering the entire gamut, Garrison is one of the show’s funniest characters and would make for a fascinating teacher. We have to remember that this is a universe where Satan also identifies as gay, having been in a relationship with Saddam Hussein of all people!

Mr. Garrison

#2: Waylon Smithers – The Simpsons

Poor Mr. Smithers… all he wants is to be loved and respected by his boss, Mr. Burns, who barely acknowledges his existence and hard work. The writers of The Simpsons joke that Mr. Smithers is “Burns-sexual,” although he is regularly seen as a fixed member of the Springfield LGBT community and social scene. Hopefully Mr. Smithers finds happiness, whether with or without Mr. Burns.

#1: Cam & Mitchell – Modern Family

Cam and Mitchell put the “modern” in Modern Family more so than any of the other characters. Over the course of the show, we’ve seen Cam and Mitchell’s relationship grow to include the adoption of a daughter and tying the knot. Throughout it all, the rest of the family has been incredibly supportive, even Mitchell’s old school father Jay, who while he doesn’t always show it, is very proud of his son.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Lipstick Lesbian

  • Wrap glass with Rainbow Candy
  • 0.5 oz Watermelon Pucker
  • 0.5 oz Raspberry Vodka
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • Dash of Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Some honourable mentions go to Lt. Jim Dangle (Reno 911), Dean Craig Pelton (Community), Lloyd Lee (Entourage), Oscar Martinez (The Office), Mr. Humphries (Are You Being Served?), Ray Gillette (Archer), Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and – allegedly! – Bert and Ernie (Sesame Street). Have I missed anyone? Feel free to let me know below!

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May 16 – Astro Pop

Diversity Dominance

This coming Thursday (May 21) marks World Day for Cultural Diversity and I figured what better occasion to look at some of the most diverse groups ever assembled. I decided not to include any superhero collections, as they are naturally made up of very diverse individuals, from all walks of life. On with the list:

#5: Ghostwriter

This mystery solving team was made up of kids from various walks of life and even a ghost. Together, they used their puzzle solving skills to put the kibosh on evildoers… until funding for the public broadcast series ran dry. The origin story for Ghostwriter, of being a murdered Civil War slave, will make you think differently about your childhood. It also blows my mind that Samuel L. Jackson was once a character on this children’s show, given his propensity for dropping copious amounts of F-bombs in his films.

samuel-l-jackson

#4: Recess

With the Recess crew, you have the everyman leader (T.J.), star athlete (Vince), science nerd (Gretchen), tough as nails tomboy (Spinelli), gentle giant (Mikey), and army brat (Gus). With such a multi-talented group, their success and survival through games of All the Balls and issues with the playground’s elite ruling class, is completely understandable. My crew during elementary school was nothing like this, consisting of a few good-for-nothing youngsters trying to figure the world out.

#3: Guardians of the Galaxy

Let’s see, we had one genetically-modified raccoon, a basically mute tree, a warrior beast, an alien assassin… and some white guy with an awesome mixed tape! Although their coming together was pretty rocky – most of them wanted to harm, steal from, or kill one of the others – they eventually gelled into a squad capable of saving the universe. Who knows where their next adventure will take them, but it will surely showcase the group’s diverse skillset, to a wonderful soundtrack.

Samsung Guardians Galaxy

#2: Power Rangers

All the colours of the rainbow – physically and racially – make up this team of world defenders. With the original line-up, you had teens decked out in red, blue, black, yellow, and pink suits (with green soon to come). The squad was made up of a jock, a nerd, a party guy, an environmentalist, and a cheerleader. Racially, you had a few Caucasians, an African-American, and an Asian. Put them all together, like when their Zords combined to make the powerful Megazord and you have one formidable team.

#1: Captain Planet

The Planeteers literally came for across the globe, united by their passion for eliminating pollution, quelling natural disasters, and capturing eco-criminals.The team was made up of Gi (from Asia), Kwame (from Africa), Linka (from Europe), Ma-Ti (from South America), and Wheeler (from North America). The rogues gallery for this series was just as diverse (including some awesome names), with villains such as Hoggish Greedly, Verminous Skumm, Duke Nukem, Looten Plunder, and Sly Sludge.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Astro Pop

  • 0.25 oz Midori
  • 0.25 oz Blue Curacao
  • 0.25 oz Goldschlager
  • 0.25 oz Cinnamon Schnapps
  • 0.25 oz Rumple Minze
  • 0.25 oz Jagermeister

Some honourable mentions include the crews of Star Trek, Undergrads, Big Hero 6, Community, Saved by the Bell, and The Breakfast Club. Let’s keep coming together as people and being good to one another… saving the universe, one day at a time!

January 3 – Pink Starburst

It’s Gonna Be Great

Each new year, provides time for reflection and an opportunity to plan for the future. With that in mind, here are the Top 5 things the Sip Advisor is looking forward to in 2015:

#5: New Opportunities

I have a feeling that 2015 will bring about some new adventures in the Sip Advisor’s life… all for the better, of course. Then again, I feel that way every time the calendar turns and while some years don’t hold the developments that others do, I refuse to not look at things with a positive and hopeful outlook. Not to steal a line from the Christmas season, but I hope every little sipper out there gets everything they want out of 2015.

Optimism Glasses

#4: Movies

There are some great theatrical releases in the 2015 pipeline. Regardless of what you’re into, there seems to be something out there for everyone. The films the Sip Advisor is looking forward to most, include The Avengers: Age of Ultron; Minions; Ted 2; and Deadpool. While I have absolutely no interest in it, it should be noted that Fifty Shades of Grey will finally hit theatres, so one can expect a spike in vibrator sales across the globe, following its debut!

#3: TV Shows

Returning to the small screen early this year are a host of great comedies, including Archer; Parks and Recreation (for its seventh and final season); and Community, the show that keeps on kicking. It’s hard to pick one out of those three that I’m anticipating the most, but I think the edge would have to go to Archer. Better Call Saul will also debut in 2015, for those looking to fill their Breaking Bad void!

Archer Astronaut

#2: Vacations

Already on the travel calendar for 2015 are jaunts to Disneyland, perhaps twice (once for a Sip Alliance member’s birthday scavenger hunt and later for the resort’s 60th anniversary); Portland for the Spring Beer and Wine Festival; and a likely trip to Las Vegas sometime during the summer. Mrs. Sip also has the wild idea of us going to South Africa in September, where the Sip Advisor will have to deal with his fear of snakes, Ebola, and hostile tribes, all at once!

#1: Flavour Revolution

Of course, one of the most enjoyable elements of the upcoming year will be the Sip Advisor’s Flavour Revolution Project, which will be rocking the world throughout 2015. I’m also really excited about adding some more personal coverage to the site with the “Out and About with the Sip Advisor” feature… it’s about time I combine all the fun I’m having with this wonderful site!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Pink Starburst

Pink Starburst Shot

  • 0.5 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • 0.25 oz Watermelon Pucker
  • Splash of Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Pink Starburst

We need to enjoy 2015 to the max because 2016 will be inundated with a nearly full year of political coverage in the U.S., as they approach their presidential election. That’s one thing the Sip Advisor certainly isn’t looking forward to in the future.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
The recipe for this shooter seems incredibly out of proportion, asking the maker to combine four ounces of liquid… that’s enough to fill at least three shot glasses. I’ve tried my best to bring the measurements down to an acceptable number, but that may throw the taste out of whack. In fact, the Vanilla Vodka provides a different aftertaste than you are used to from the actual candy, but it’s still relatively tasty.

July 5 – Too Cool for School

Teacher’s Pet

I have never felt comfortable in a teacher or trainer position and while these folks only play the role on TV and in movies, they do a pretty damn good job of it. I tip my metaphorical hat and give them my full attention. Here are the top five educators in media:

#5: Mr. Feeny – Boy Meets World

Guide and neighbour to the young, impressionable Cory Matthews, Mr. Feeny will always be remembered as the voice of Knight Rider… I mean as the voice of reason when Cory was facing a dilemma at school or in his personal life. As the kids moved from grade school to high school to college, Feeny came along with them, jumping from teacher to administrator to professor to pedo… no, he never went that far. When you really think about it, though, how awful would it be to live next door to your teacher/principal/professor? He’d always know what you were up to and there’d be no separation of school and not school.

What Would Mr. Feeny Do

#4: Mr. Belding – Saved by the Bell

Mr. Belding is the authority figure children of the 80’s most identify with, as a school disciplinarian. His many run-ins with Zack Morris and the gang led to many of our fondest childhood memories and without him, we probably wouldn’t realize that principals actually do have a heart and are, in fact, real people. Belding was not without his faults, though. His relationship with his students bordered on creepy. He had a guy’s night with Zack, Slater and Screech, eating pizza and talking philosophically with the boys in Zack’s bedroom. What kind of absentee parents would allow this to happen under their own roof?

#3: Mr. Garrison – South Park

Mr. Garrison, has gone from Mr. to Mrs. and back to Mr. again. He’s been straight, gay, lesbian and even hat-sexual. While dealing with the potty-mouthed children at South Park Elementary, Garrison is just as likely to be caught cursing up a storm and acting as childishly as his students. His antics have resulted in his being fired or suspended on a few occasions and he seems to suffer from a number of mental health issues. Whether it be Mr. or Mrs. or something completely different, Garrison is one of the funniest recurring characters on the show and being in his classroom would be a very unique experience.

Mr. Garrison

#2: Dean Pelton – Community

Much like Belding, Dean Pelton has an odd affiliation with his student body, particularly that of Jeff Winger, unofficial leader of everyone’s favourite study group. While he just wants to better the image of his school, he goes about it in all the wrong ways, often leading to mass chaos on the campus. For example, end-of-the-year paintball tournaments have turned the community college into a post-apocalyptic warzone. If that is enough to make you want to enrol at the school, which for the Sip Advisor it is, then well done Dean… mission accomplished!

#1: Principal Skinner – The Simpsons

Perhaps the longest running school official and therefore, the most famous on this list, Skinner has a tough job, trying to operate Springfield Elementary on a shoestring budget and dealing with delinquents like Bart Simpson and below-average intelligence pupils, such as Ralph Wiggum. When he’s not challenged by the student body, he has to deal with Superintendent Chalmers breathing down his neck. And did you know that he’s not even the real principal Skinner??? Oh wait, we were supposed to completely forget that ever happened. My bad.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Too Cool for School

Too Cool for School Shot

  • Rim glass with Coconut Shavings
  • 0.3 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.3 oz Mango Rum
  • 0.3 oz Blue Curacao
  • 0.3 oz Orange Juice
  • 0.3 oz Pineapple Juice

Honourable mentions include Gabe Kotter (Welcome Back Kotter), Peggy Hill (King of the Hill), and anything Ben Stein does (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off/The Wonder Years). I only include them so as to avoid the omnipotent threat of detention!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
Yet another cocktail I had to convert into a shot for my own purposes… what is this world coming to!? The shot was heavy with tropical juices, but it was nice to have the Mango and Coconut Rums come in with the aftertaste. This shooter provided my first opportunity to use the Bols Blue Curacao foam I picked up in Europe and I think I’ll have a lot of fun playing with this neat product in the future!

March 8 – Pop Quiz

Learning Curve

While I’m happy to be done with school (although it may one day pull me back, kicking and screaming), there are a number of fictional institutes of learning that I haven’t minded attending on a weekly basis. Here are the top five schools of fine learning:

#5: Bayside High School – Saved by the Bell

It seems like the inmates run the asylum at Bayside. Mr. Belding can easily be wrapped around anyone’s finger and the collection of oddball teachers seem to have more fun making friends with their pupils than actually teaching them. Need a break from the stresses of teenage life? Why not hit up The Max for a bite to eat and a respite from the classroom. Upon graduation, you’d could even follow the gang to California University for some post-secondary tutelage.

SBTB

It truly was a perfect world!

#4: Acme Looniversity – Tiny Toon Adventures

I can only imagine the sheer joy (and pain) I’d experience while being taught by my idols; Wile E. Coyote, Sylvester J. Cat, and Yosemite Sam. The course catalogue would be interesting to scan through and might include classes like “Navigating Acme Products”, “Treating Exploding Cigar Injuries” and “Dressing in Drag to Confuse Enemies”. Remember, the teaching staff’s been getting laughs since 1933!

#3: Third Street School – Recess

This school will take you back to your earliest days of learning. To a time of first friends, crushes, and recesses. Recess depicted a time in life when kids don’t have many cares and can just be kids. The only thing to keep in mind is what you’re going to do at break time. Are you going to join an intense game of All the Balls? Perhaps you’ll hit Old Rusty, the jungle gym, for a few good slides. Just pray that you’re not stuck inside on a rain day or suffering through a dreaded detention sentence.

Recess

#2: Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters

Also known as Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, the only pre-requisite you’d have to figure out before attending would be finding your super power. I don’t think fending off hangovers is a talent suitable for a mutant academy, so I’m at a loss for what I could bring to the table. Still, a staff that includes a dude that shoots lasers from his eyes, a woman that can harness the power of weather, and a couple that can read your mind, would make classes very interesting.

#1: Greendale Community College – Community

This would be a truly epic school to attend, so long as every day featured one of the educational institute’s wacky competitions or other shenanigans. From paintball wars to the floor is lava games, each day would bring many unique opportunities. The faculty is a whole other level of insanity from Dean Craig Pelton to instructors such as Señor Ben Chang. Attending Greendale would certainly make your life more exciting, even if your degree wasn’t worth much in the real world.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Pop Quiz (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Pop Quiz Shooter

  • Rim glass with Pop Rocks
  • 0.5 oz Root Beer Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Bubble Gum Vodka
  • Splash of Lemonade

There are so many other institutions of learning that could have made this list, from Springfield Elementary (The Simpsons) to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Harry Potter) and everything in between. Mrs. Sip would probably have loved to attend Breaker High, the school aboard a world-travelling cruise ship (not to mention Ryan Gosling would be a fellow student), while I could see myself excelling at Shiroiwa Junior High School, being shipped off to outlast my classmates Battle Royale style!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I had higher hopes for this original recipe (seven herbs and spices, of course!). It wasn’t bad, but it could have been better. When I think about it, Root Beer Schnapps and Bubble Gum Vodka have similar aftertastes and perhaps the two got lost in each other. Maybe a Bubble Gum Liqueur would have worked better than the Vodka version, but I don’t think that product exists yet.

January 4 – Lemon Drop

Around the Bend

Today marks a new beginning for the Super Saturday Shot Day page. After much pestering, I promised Mrs. Sip that each Shot Day post would include rankings rather than just lists. She thinks this will engage the reader more and we have a little bet running on that. Let’s see if I’ll end up owing her a Coke (her least favourite beverage!). Anyway, here are the top five things to look forward to in 2014, according to the Sip Advisor!

#5: Box Office Smash

2014 will see the release of a myriad of highly-anticipated films. Among the ones I’m looking forward to seeing are: X-Men: Days of Future Past; Dumb and Dumber To; How to Train Your Dragon 2; and The LEGO Movie. Sure, there are others that may eventually catch my attention, but there are also others I have no intention of checking out, such as Robo Cop (I was never a fan of the franchise) and Godzilla (I never got the appeal of all these monsters).

dumb-and-dumber

#4: Small Screen Gems

The TV schedule gets a boost of rejuvenation with the return of some great series early in the New Year. Archer, Community (premiered two days ago), and Sherlock all return within the first couple weeks of 2014, proving that shows with a one-word title are most appreciated. Add in all the other programming coming off their Christmas hiatus and your DVR player better have a ton of free space available.

#3: Blog-O-Sphere

I’m really looking forward to the new Sip Advisor project I’m starting on Jan. 6, as we traverse the globe and learn about a different nation’s top imports and celebrated alcohol each week. It will give me a great opportunity to delve into the collection of spirits I’ve built from around the world and share with all you little sippers a more international flavour than ever before.

Drinking Around the World

#2: Travel Tips

It looks like Mrs. Sip and I already have some crazy travel plans on the horizon, including tentative vacations to New York, the Dominican Republic, Iceland, Germany, and the U.K. already in the pipeline. On top of that, we’re sure to end up in Disneyland and Las Vegas at some point, as we do every year. With each journey, I’ll be checking out unique libations and visiting fine establishments all in the name a liquor education… can I claim a tax refund on that!?

#1: Milestones

Speaking of Mrs. Sip, the gorgeous goddess will celebrate her 30th birthday this year and you better believe we’ll be partying in style. 2014 will also see us enjoy our 12th dating anniversary and 2nd wedding anniversary. As for this natural wonder of a website, we’re rapidly approaching our 50,000th view. Sadly, I won’t be able to know exactly who that person is and award them a lifetime supply of free blog articles!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Lemon Drop

Lemon Drop Shooter

  • 0.75 oz Vodka (I used Smirnoff Blueberry)
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • 1 Sugar Cube
  • Garnish with a Lemon Wedge

What are you looking forward to in 2014? Perhaps you’ll give me other ideas of what I should be keeping an eye on in the next calendar year!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I can’t believe it took so long to get around to doing this shot, but it’s a great way to ring in 2014. The shooter is simple and delicious. You could probably achieve different tastes depending on which Vodka you choose to use. I thought the Smirnoff Blueberry and Lemon Juice blended together quite well. I left the Sugar Cube to dissolve on it’s own, rather than stir it into the recipe.

December 11 – The Woolly Mitten

Home for the Holidays

One of the best things to do at Christmas is watch cherished holiday episodes of your favourite TV shows, while getting warm and toasty by the fire. Here are some of my favourite shows and episodes for Christmas spirit.

Married… with Children

In ‘It’s a Bundy-ful Life’, the always down on his luck, Al Bundy, is shown what his family’s life would be like if he wasn’t around. In a twist on It’s a Wonderful Life, Al decides that his family is too happy and has such a better life without him that that’s reason enough to continue living. This hour-long episode featured late comedian Sam Kinison in the guardian angel role.

its-a-bundyful-life

South Park

The animated sensation has a bunch holiday episodes under its belt (even having its own DVD release of the collection) and in true South Park style, they use such absurdities as Mr. Hankey the Christmas Poo to get their message across. The boys have even travelled to the bizarre world of Canada for Christmas, with Cartman wanting desperately to get home to his presents.

Home Improvement

Tim ‘the Tool Man’ Taylor is a house’s worst nightmare. With all of his renovation schemes – most of which end in disaster – if a home had feelings, they would fear for their existence with Mr. Taylor around. Christmas time is no different, as Tim pulls out all the stops in his attempt to decorate his home and compete with neighbours over who has the best set-up.

Beavis and Butt-head Do Christmas

While their delinquent brand of humour might not be for everyone (it certainly isn’t for Mrs. Sip), this Christmas episode is incredibly funny. In the first segment, Beavis is head honcho at Burger World and is visited by three ghosts to learn the true meaning of Christmas. After a break for some Christmas music videos, the second installment follows Butt-head being shown that everyone’s lives would be better without him existing.

beavis_and_butt_head_do_christmas

The Simpsons

It’s no surprise that The Simpsons would land a spot on this list. While they haven’t offered a Christmas episode in each of their 25 seasons, the ones they have done are quite memorable. In the first Simpson’s Christmas airing (the first full-length episode actually!), the family found its dog, Santa’s Little Helper, a turned away ex-racing mutt. The family has also battled commercialism during the holidays with a war on the Funzo toy release.

Community

Each year, the Community folks have provided an interesting Christmas episode, similar to their efforts at Halloween. In the show’s second season, the holiday episode featured the cast turned into stop-motion animation, similar to the Rankin/Bass specials, as Abeb searches for the meaning of Christmas. I don’t think I’d do very well in a stop-motion animation world!

The Office

The annual office Christmas party provides ample opportunity for laughs. I only thank the heavens above that my company doesn’t really do the Christmas thing. Do you think I want to be around my colleagues any longer than I actually have to be? Anyway, the antics of this rag tag bunch always seem to ramp up around the holidays and each Christmas party has its own issues to be dealt with.

Drink #345: The Woolly Mitten

The Woolly Mitten Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Southern Comfort
  • 1.5 oz Bailey’s Irish Crème
  • 1 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • Top with Hot Chocolate
  • Garnish with Whipped Cream

There are far too many Christmas episodes out there in TV Land to get to them all, but if you have any specific suggestions for the Sip Advisor, I’m all ears!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
As I’ve written before, I’m not a huge fan of warm drinks, but I do make the occasional exception for Hot Chocolate. Where this drink was good is that all the liquors tasted good together and amongst the Hot Water and Cocoa Powder. Whip Cream is always fun to use and the Crushed Candy Canes sprinkled on top was one of my better ideas.