July 12 – Three Strikes

Anything Can Happen

Oddly enough, summer is the time when I like to get into sports movies. Perhaps that makes sense, given it’s the off-season for most of the leagues out there. There were so many films I wanted to include on this list, that I’ve decided to split them over two articles, with one being family-friendly movies and the other to do with adult-themed releases. This week, we’ll check out the family options, while next week we’ll get a little raunchier and surpass the PG rating:

#5: Cool Runnings

How could you not get behind this ragtag group of Jamaicans as they try to compete in a sport they really have no business participating in and go on to earn the respect and admiration of their fellow athletes. While the film depicts the team being scoffed at in the beginning, in actuality, they were welcomed by their adversaries and were even lent a sled that helped them qualify. Creative liberties are okay, though. The casting of Doug E. Doug was a particularly brilliant choice, as the comedian-actor was popular at the time and broke up all the sports seriousness. Anything with John Candy is also worth a view.

Watched Cool Runnings

#4: Bad News Bears

This was your prototypical group of misfits coming together in the name of sports premise, before the genre ever existed. Some of the kids that make up the Bad News Bears are reason enough to never have children and the film should be used as a planned parenting advert. Walter Matthau as Morris Buttermaker was a great casting choice. He’s perfect for roles as a grouchy slob, who would rather drink a beer and catch a nap in a comfy recliner than do anything else in the world. That’s probably why he’s one of my favourite actors of all-time! Surprisingly, I’ve never seen either of the sequels to this classic and not the remake either.

#3: A League of Their Own

The story of women’s baseball and how it helped fill the sporting void left by men being shipped off to battle during World War II is so much better than it sounds on paper. Just kidding all you feminist sippers out there. Seriously, this is a fantastic movie, following a pair of sisters as the league tries to gain credibility during one of the roughest times in human history. With Tom Hanks playing the team’s oft-drunk manager and having to handle the issues of a girls’ team for the first time in his coaching career (there’s no crying in baseball… unless a modern male pitcher has a hangnail!), I can even forgive the casting of Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell.

league of their own

#2: The Sandlot

This is such a great movie, pushing folks to look back fondly on their days of neighbourhood sports. Every kid who ever played street hockey, or met at the nearest baseball diamond for a game of ball can relate to this film, which goes back in time to follow the adventures of the new kid in town as he gains friends and experiences the joys of childhood freedom. Roger Ebert compared the movie to a summertime version of A Christmas Story, which is high praise, as far as the Sip Advisor is concerned. The film has become a cult favourite and that’s exactly what it should be.

#1: Mighty Ducks

While the third installment might as well have been direct-to-video, the first two movies are childhood classics. As a young hockey player, it was inspiring to see a group of bad players be transformed into a skilled team… the downside was the mounting number of times we tried to execute the Flying-V play to little success. As if Emilio Estevez wasn’t a legend already, this series made his aura grow exponentially and no player out there didn’t want to have Gordon Bombay behind their bench. Disney even turned the success of the movie into its own NHL franchise, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (now just the Ducks), although they sold the team in 2005.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Three Strikes

Three Strikes Shot

  • 0.5 oz Cinnamon Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Jagermeister
  • 0.5 oz Yukon Jack Perma Frost
  • Garnish with Big League Chew

I have to say that for some reason, I love baseball movies. I’m a steadfast non-supporter of the actual sport, but I love me a good baseball flick. Stay tuned next week for our look at the best adult sports movies and even more ball and bat goodness!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I’ve wanted to garnish a drink with Big League Chew for some time now and this was the perfect opportunity to finally do so, melding baseball and childhood all in one. Did I mention that the Big League Chew flavour was Ground Ball Grape! The actual name for this recipe is “Three Strikes, You’re Out,” but I chose to cut the title in half. The shot is quite strong with competing flavours of cinnamon, peppermint and other spices. It’s not bad, but it’s one that will sit in your gut for some time.

Austria – Green Tear

Not Just a Band

When Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated on June 28, 1914, he had absolutely no clue what his murder would instigate. Despite being the major catalyst for the first World War, this Austrian ruler is a largely forgotten footnote in history. Thankfully, the Sip Advisor is here to teach and while sipping a glass of the country’s fine schnaps, here is a little information on ol’ ‘Double F’ and the tragedy that would change the world!

First World War Problems

Growing Up

Ferdinand and his family lived by the motto: “Good Habsburgs (his family lineage), Good Catholics, and Good Austrians”… that just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “A Lannister always pays their debts.”

At the age of 11, Ferdinand found himself one of the wealthiest men in Austria, after his cousin Duke Francis V died and named Franz his heir on the condition that he add the name Este to his own. Hell, to become one of the wealthiest men in Austria, I’d tattoo the name Este on my member! Rumour has it Ferdinand also had to spend one night in a haunted house, but many are skeptical of this account.

Ferdinand may have never found himself the heir to the Austria-Hungary throne had it not been for his cousin Prince Rudolf (aged 30) committing suicide with his 17-year-old mistress in 1889. Karl Ludwig, Ferdinand’s father, became second in line behind Franz Josef, but quickly renounced the position and passed the rights down to his son.

Throne of Games

As a youngster, Ferdinand spent very little time in Austria, often travelling the world searching for cures to his never-ending stream of illnesses.

Ferdinand’s relationship with the citizens of Austria was always strained due to his lack of time spent within the country’s borders and the feeling that he was an outsider. And not one of those cool greaser outsiders like Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, or Matt Dillon. He still managed to somehow stay gold, though.

An avid hunter, Ferdinand always made sure to schedule at least one hunting trip as part of any official travel for the Empire. He kept a running tab of his hunting exploits and stories state that he killed 2140 birds in one day. My belief is that he wanted to assemble an army of undead animals to do his bidding.

Ferdinand was passionate about landscaping outdoors and interior design inside and was constantly on the lookout for a property in need of fixing up. He could be considered one of the world’s first home flippers. Ferdinand’s eclectic tastes also helped him build a great antique collection, which included 3750 pieces of St. George and the Dragon. Clearly, he had a thing for slaying mythical beasts.

slain da dragon

Finding Love

Women always have a way of muddling things up and that was no different for Ferdinand. His wife Sophie was from a lower social class and even though Franz Josef stated he would not consent to Franz and Sophie’s marriage, the two wed on June 28, 1900. The catch was that Sophie could never receive an official royal title and their children could not succeed Ferdinand as ruler. As a result, Sophie rarely appeared in public beside her husband.

Franz and Sophie had three children: Sophie (I guess you’d call her junior), Maximilian (a name which I hope to bring back to present day popularity), and Ernst (a name which I have no joke to deploy upon).

Sophie was finally allowed to accompany Franz on official business for the empire for his trip to Bosnia in June 1914. The end of the visit would also mark their 14th wedding anniversary. The couple arrived in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, which is also St. Vitus Day, commemorating the Battle of Kosovo in 1389.

cat-battle

Surprise Attack

The Battle of Kosovo made a martyr out of Milos Obilic, who snuck into the Ottoman Sultan’s tent and killed him before receiving the same fate himself.

Serbians viewed the Austria-Hungary Empire as their new oppressors and there had been other attempted attacks on high-ranking Austria-Hungary members before Ferdinand’s death.

The Black Hand (must have caught a case of gangrene), which carried out the assassination of Franz and Sophie were also responsible for the murders of King Alexander and Queen Draga of Serbia. This act of treachery was committed while the two were together in bed… what a way to go!

Death Sting

First, a grenade was hurled at Ferdinand’s procession by Nedlejko Cabrinovic, but it detonated behind his vehicle and he was not harmed. While any normal person would halt their little parade there, Ferdinand was urged to continue by General Oskar Potiorek who asked, “What, do you think my city is full of assassins?”

Ferdinand insisted that if the trip continued, only major routes should be used and no side streets… unfortunately his own driver was never delivered this message. When the driver took the first schedule turn, there was assassin Gavrilo Princip, waiting for him. Princip had earlier tried to get a shot in at Ferdinand and when he couldn’t retreated to the side street in dejection.

Princip fired only two shots, one into Franz’s neck, the other into Sophie’s stomach. Both proved to be fatal. Ferdinand’s final words to his wife were “’Don’t die! Stay alive for our children!”

Assassination

The Aftermath

Princip and his fellow assassins were rounded up and put on trial. Because he was under the age of 20, Princip did not receive the death penalty and was instead sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. Princip died in his jail cell on April 28, 1918 from tuberculosis. His illness was so bad that his right arm was amputated before his death.

Upon Franz’s assassination, the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, etc.) declared war on Serbia, drawing Serbia’s allies (the UK, Russia, France, etc.) into the fray and creating the first World War.

The 1911 Gräf & Stift Double Phaeton automobile, which carried Franz and Sophie during their fateful procession, is now displayed at the Museum of Military History in Vienna. It’s no Batmobile, but it has its own place in history. The pistol used by Princip, as well as the clothing Ferdinand died in are also displayed at the museum.

Future Museums

The bullet that killed Ferdinand, sometimes referred to as “the bullet that started World War I” is part of an exhibit at Konopiště Castle in the Czech Republic.

Franz and Sophie are buried at Arstetten Castle in Austria. In memoriam, Austria-Hungary released a commemorative stamp featuring the couple. One day there will be a Sip Advisor stamp tribute that will taste like schnaps with each lick!

Austria: Green Tear

Green Tear Cocktail

  • 1 oz Mata Hari Absinthe
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Tonic Water
  • Garnish with a Lemon Slice

Well, that wraps up our stay here in Austria. It should be noted that the country can also claim to be home to famous world citizens like Sigmund Freud, Adolf Hitler, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. That would be an interesting table to sit at for a dinner party!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
Well, as you can see, the drink is certainly not green. On the plus side, this was a really decent Absinthe cocktail. I think the combo of Cranberry Juice and Tonic Water is perfect to go along with the very bitter Absinthe. If you’re weary of the hallucinogenic spirit, give this recipe a try and your mind may be changed for the long run!