February 28 – A Very Cosby Breakfast

Cultural Comedies

While Black History Month has come and gone, we should celebrate our African American friends all-year round. With that in mind, there have been a number of great black families in the history of TV, many of which, I could see myself moving in with. Here are the Top 5 families, leaving a space on the couch open for the Sip Advisor!

#5: The Winslow’s – Family Matters

To be in such a loving household, is something many can only dream of (or TGIF writers could compose!). My family life was awesome, so I can kind of understand a sitcom family’s charms. The Winslow clan was incredibly tight knit and affectionate, led by father Carl. Sure you would have to deal with the constant visits by neighbour Steve Urkel, but even that’s not so bad. He only caused millions of dollars in damages during the tenure of the series. Luckily, Carl had a decent paying job as a cop and he must have invested wisely in household insurance!

FAMILY MATTERS

#4: The Brown’s – Cleveland Show

The animated adventures of Cleveland Brown and family showed that true love will eventually be worked out by the universe (both Cleveland and wife Donna were divorcees, reuniting later in life to give their relationship a second chance) and that blended families can work. I love almost every character in this series, but the Brown/Tubbs family is the focal point, making to town of Stoolbend seem like a nice place to settle. Sadly, the Cleveland Show only lasted four seasons before the Brown family were merged back into the Family Guy universe.

#3: The Evans’ – Good Times

In good times and bad, families need to stick together and no show proved that more than Good Times. The series centered on the Evans family, who lived in a Chicago projects development. Viewers everywhere learned of the struggle of a hardworking black family, trying to overcome the odds. The character of J.J. (aka Kid Dy-no-mite!) made the show a smash success, while stories about gang violence and “keeping your head above water” in tough economic times made Good Times an everyman show, not just one meant for a particular race.

goodtimes

#2: The Huxtable’s – Cosby Show

In the 1980’s, the sweater-clad Bill Cosby did his best to change the perception of black families. Of course, it helped that he was playing a doctor, married to a lawyer, but the point was that the comedian was trying to show the rest of North America that black family shows didn’t need to always be set in the ghetto – although it worked for Good Times. Sadly, Cosby’s legacy has taken a pounding (that might not be the best word) recently, with numerous rape allegations coming to light. It’s too bad, because the show was pretty awesome and still held up decades later.

#1: The Banks’ – Fresh Prince of Belair

The Sip Advisor still watches episodes of Fresh Prince of Belair to this day. It provides such a good combo of humour and touching stories that you can’t help but want to live in the Banks’ family mansion… yes, money always helps when choosing a family to crash with. Philip Banks was an awesome father figure, taking young Willy from Philly into his family, when all he did was get into one little fight (and his mom got scared!), providing him with every opportunity to succeed. Even uptight Carlton grew on you, especially when dancing to his favourite crooner, Tom Jones!

Super Saturday Shot Day: A Very Cosby Breakfast

A Very Cosby Breakfast Shot

Of course, this list solely looks at TV families. If you ventured into the movie realm, at the top would have to be the Klumps, where every dinner is an adventure! In an interesting note, three of the five shows listed in this article were spinoffs of another series, while the Cosby Show inspired its own offshoot with A Different World.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
While this shooter isn’t an original one, I made the decision to rim the shot glass with Pudding, in honour of Bill Cosby’s product endorsement contributions. The recipe called for Grapefruit Schnapps/Vodka, but I substituted Grapefruit Soda, instead. The blend of chocolate and grapefruit was unique and pretty good. The Pudding was the icing (or pudding) on the cake and it had been years since I enjoyed a snack pack!

Advertisements

June 7 – Theme Songs

Musical Interlude

On one episode of Big Bang Theory, Sheldon reveals his favourite TV theme songs to be Inspector Gadget, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Spider-Man. While these are all fine selections in their own right, it got me thinking about which TV title tracks are really the greatest. That list is as follows!

#5: Disney Afternoon

Like Sheldon, I have a great fondness for my childhood. When I discussed this article with Mrs. Sip, she was quick to point out some absolutely spectacular music I had neglected, particularly entries from the Disney block of afternoon cartoons, including DuckTales, Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, and Goof Troop. Songwriter Mark Mueller was responsible for both DuckTales and Rescue Rangers and the others hold their own as memorable bits of my youth.

#4: Good Times

This theme song really speaks to anyone out there who tries to keep a bright outlook and smile on their face despite any hardships they may be wading through. “Temporary layoffs… Good Times. Easy credit rip offs… Good Times. Scratchin’ and surviving… Good Times.” There’s an episode of Chappelle Show which sees Dave Chappelle quiz various participants about the lyrics of this song, showing its true meaning to pop culture. “Ain’t we lucky we got ’em… Good Times!”

#3: Golden Girls

Thank you for being a friend, indeed. Such an awesome show deserves an equally epic theme. You really have to admire the work of everyone who touched this project, as they made elderly women an entertaining subject. The one lyric I disagree with is the one about the biggest gift being from that friend because there’s nothing wrong with presents that come in small packages: rings, earrings, necklaces… aren’t these really the presents women want!?

#2: TGIF Shows

We’re talking about the ditties from Full House (Everywhere You Look), Family Matters (As Days Go By), and Step by Step (Second Time Around), all written and performed by Jesse Frederick. The songs can sometimes be interchangeable, as I will often be humming one and it will transition right into another family sitcom classic. If you play them for a TGIF rookie, they will often confuse them for being the start to another show and I only give that person crap for the rest of our existence knowing one another, as a result of their tragic blunder.

#1: Growing Pains

I love to get under Mrs. Sip’s skin by blasting this tune at the highest of volumes and belting out the lyrics as shrilly as my voice can get. I even tried to get it added to our wedding playlist, arguing that it was “my jam,” but apparently that doesn’t hold the weight I wish it did. The only difficulty with the song is trying to cover both the male and female portions of the duet. It’s tricky, but if done properly, you can bet your previously intimate night will be no more… trust me!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Theme Songs

Theme Songs Shot

  • 1 oz Tattoo Rum
  • Dash of Ice Cream
  • Garnish with Sprinkles

Some of my proudest geek moments have been playing TV theme song trivia quizzes on cruise ships. Nothing says nerd of the highest variety than scoring 39 out of 40 and walking away with a little trophy for your years of sitting in front of the tube effort! Honourable mentions to Night Court, the 1960’s Batman, Benny Hill, Odd Couple, Saved by the Bell, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air… great songs I just couldn’t wedge into this post.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I used Drinkify.org to find this recipe. The site suggests which drink to pair with whatever music you’re listening to. I searched for “TV Themes” and this came up. It specified 8 oz of Rum and 8 oz of Ice Cream, which is a little insane, so I condensed the recipe down to shot form. In fact, all of the site’s measurements seem a little out of whack and in many cases, it’s suggested to just drink straight liquor, but it’s still a neat idea in principle. As for the shooter itself, it was good. I’d been saving some Captain Morgan Tattoo Rum for a while and this was the perfect recipe for it.

May 24 – Crackhouse

There Goes the Neighbourhood

Last week we took a look at some of the best neighbourly relationships ever, which means this week, it’s time to do an about face and examine the worst neighbours you could ever find yourself living next door to. Prepare to see the neighbourhood go down the tubes:

#5: Homer Simpson & Ned Flanders – The Simpsons

Ned is the consummate neighbour (or neighbourino as he would prefer to put it) and has an almost infinite well of patience for Homer. Despite that, Homer can’t stand stupid sexy Flanders and always seems to be at odds with the mustachioed one. With the way the two treat each other, you’d figure Ned would be the one to be short and rude with Homer and not the other way around. For example, half of Ned’s possessions have found their way into the Simpson home, as Homer seems to borrow items with no return date and Homer is jealous of the Flanders superior lifestyle.

homersimpsonzombie

#4: Jerry Seinfeld & Cosmo Kramer – Seinfeld

These two may actually be friends, but Kramer’s penchant for using Jerry’s apartment as an offsite location for himself would grate on any person. Kramer’s constant raiding of the fridge, use of the telephone, and occupation of Jerry’s couch would drive me crazy. Worst of all, Kramer is friends with Jerry’s sworn enemy, Newman, and often brings him around to the apartment. Add in Kramer’s string of bizarre adventures, get-rich-quick schemes, and other outlandish behaviour and you’re in for a bumpy ride, whether you like it or not.

#3: Winslow Family & Steve Urkel – Family Matters

Sure, by the end of each episode whoever Steve had upset within the Winslow family had made peace with the uber nerd, but that kid brought some serious tough times to the household. Steve’s clumsiness caused an untold number of repairs to be necessary to the home and because his own parents were so absent in his life, Steve practically lived with the Winslow’s. The threat of a surprise visit from the suspender-clad dork would cause great tension for myself, even though I love the guy. I just don’t think I could take the destruction that follows Steve like a cursed shadow.

Urkel Damage

#2: Bundy Family & D’Arcy Family – Married with Children

While most of them are reasonably amiable with one another, Al and Marcy have been feuding for years and things get even more tense when Marcy’s women’s group clashes with Al’s NO MA’AM organization. Admittedly, it would be tough existing next door to the Bundy clan and their unique way of living. From the always scheming Bud, to dim-witted Kelly, to parents Al and Peg, who are always taking advantage of the more well-off D’Arcy’s, it would be exhausting to come home. Then again, you can’t feel too bad, given they don’t seem to even like each other, let alone their neighbours.

#1: John Gustafson, Jr. & Max Goldman – Grumpy Old Men

The way these two curmudgeons prank each other comes from years of being rivals. John and Max have grown up together and even competed over girls during their younger days. That set off a lifelong animosity between the two neighbours, one that flares up when an attractive woman moves into the town and both grumps end up fawning over the lady. In the end, the joke is all on John and Max, though, as their kids end up married to one another, meaning the two will forever be linked. Something could also be said for the two old men needing each other, whether they realize it or not.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Crackhouse

May 24

  • 1 oz Blackcurrant Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Peach Schnapps
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Cranberries

All that’s left is to decide which one of you has to put up the ‘For Sale’ sign. Either that, or continue to battle forever, passing the torch on to future generations. Sometimes you just have to stand your ground and hope for the best!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I liked this shot. It could have been too sweet, but the Cranberry Juice neutralizes that. For some reason, I really love chewing on Cranberries when the shooter is done. Yeah, I’d probably be one of those neighbours you hate with vehement passion!

December 28 – Broken Down Golf Cart

Surviving the Season

There are a number of things you just can’t do during the winter. Golf, for example, is pretty hard to play and enjoy if you live anywhere that experiences snow storms or other inclement weather. I’ve searched around for advice on how to beat the winter blues (not that I’m necessarily down myself) and while I agree with some suggestions, others have me perplexed and even angry. Here are some of those recommendations:

Relax/Catch up on Sleep

Mrs. Sip tends to burn the candle at both ends year round, but I feel run down the most at Christmas. With all the social gatherings on top of the usual pattern of work and activities, it can all be quite exhausting. Add to that the whole Christmas shopping mess and you’re in for a rough holiday ride. It’s also a time to be thoroughly enjoyed, so hibernating through the cold stretch isn’t desirable either. Find a perfect balance between rest and play and you’ll do fine.

Hibernation

Don’t Binge Drink

You little sippers know even before I launch into an obscenity-laced tirade that I’m not going to agree with this notion. I think the best part of trying to cope with winter is getting blitzed in your wonderfully warm abode while watching ancient episodes of Family Matters and Full House and longing for a simpler time in life. If you want to binge drink, by all means, go for it… and have a grand ol’ time while doing so.

Embrace the Season

I largely believe in celebrating whichever time of year you’re currently living through. Winter is no different. The season provides ample opportunity to do things you can’t most of the rest of the year, like ski, snowboard, ice skate, have snowball fights, build a snowman and so on. You should also treasure the time provided to be with family and friends over the holidays because you never really know how much of it you’ll have.

Treat Yourself

I love on Parks and Recreation how Tom and Donna celebrate ‘Treat Yo Self Day’ and apparently I’m not alone. The official day of this amazing holiday, as per its own Facebook page is Oct. 13. How you decide to Treat Yo Self is entirely up to you. It’s also a good idea to treat someone else really well and your efforts may come back as rewards in the future, doubling your positive results.

Exercise/Healthy Diet

I’m totally down with the exercise part, but the healthy diet doesn’t jive. Christmas is all about the cookies, chocolate, and other treats. I subscribe to the theory of the ‘Guy-et’ where as I work out for the sole purpose of balancing out all the bad habits I have. If you do it well enough, you’ll even begin seeing gains, but the point of the program is to at least hold off any losses.

Find Some Sun

Whether this is achieved through travel or something as simple as hitting the tanning salon, you have to find a way that works for you to warm up and get some vitamin-D coursing through your veins. Most years, Mrs. Sip and I seem to be able to get away to a warmer climate during the winter and I wholeheartedly advise others to do the same. It’s good to bring the swimsuit and sunglasses out in December and January.

Improve Yourself

Remember those resolutions you laid out at the start of the year? With only days or weeks left on the calendar, it might be time to finally cross off some of your tasks. While Mrs. Sip and I sit down each January 1st and discuss our goals for the year, the only one I maintain is the one Samuel L. Jackson once outlined as guest host of Saturday Night Live: “Continue to kick ass!”

Drink #362: Broken Down Golf Cart

Broken Down Golf Cart Shooter

  • 0.25 oz Vodka (I used Lychee)
  • 0.25 oz Melon Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Amaretto
  • 0.25 oz Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Candies

Do you have any other suggestions for surviving winter? Please share for all the little sippers out there that might be struggling through the season!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
The Lychee Vodka made this shooter a little more interesting than it might have been normally. It worked well with all the other ingredients and I still can’t really describe the liquors complex taste. You can’t really go wrong with Melon Liqueur, Amaretto, and Cranberry Juice, so the Vodka was simply the icing on the cake!

 

December 2 – Poinsettia

The Most Wonderful Time

Well, my little sippers, with December finally here, we have to decide how we’re going to spend the month. There’s more to do than you would think. Here are a couple of ideas:

Advent Calendar

This is the third year that I’ll be doing an advent calendar for Mrs. Sip, providing her with a treat each day until Christmas finally arrives… then the treats stop and we spend the big day in separate rooms, Mrs. Sip reading one of her nauseating books, the Sip Advisor seeing how drunk he can get before noon. It really is a wonderful time of year. In all seriousness, this is a fun idea and it scores you some serious brownie points!

redneck-advent-calendar

Santa Claus Parade

I only offer this as a suggestion because frankly, I don’t like being out in the cold for hours watching marching bands, as much as the next heat seeker. It’s a great event for kids, I guess. They at least hold out hope until Santa finally shows up atop the main event float. As for myself, I’ll be inside my warm little apartment, snuggled under a mess of blankies, sipping on (not gin and juice) spiked hot cocoa, and pestering Mrs. Sip to lose her clothes and entertain me!

Christmas Train

This option might be available to all you little sippers, but whether you live near a Christmas Train or some other Christmas Wonderland, you should definitely make a point of visiting once. It’s an annual tradition among the Family Sip. We meet at Stanley Park, ride the train, check out the lights and then head off to our favourite restaurant White Spot for a healthy dose of burgers, beer, and other merriment!

Snowball Fight/Build a Snowman

If you live where snow actually falls, then this is a great idea. If you don’t get the white stuff, you should probably avoid this idea, as you’ll just be playing with dirt. I can only remember a couple White Christmases (damn Vancouver’s mild temperatures) and you can bet when those happened, we were messing about in the snow and not all sheltered inside, afraid to go out into the open air as today’s little ones seem to be.

not-coming-to-work

Ice Skating

I look majestic when on the ice… except for that one time in the U.K. when all you could rent was figure skates and having spent my entire life in a hockey boot, I wasn’t used to the toe picks and wound up introducing my face to a sheet of ice! Luckily, I wasn’t much to look at before my accident… some say the accident actually resulted in a slight improvement. To be fair, my knees took the entire brunt of the fall, keeping my mind intact to be ruined by alcohol!

Christmas Parties

While I normally shun social gatherings with vehement disgust, I do find a way to fake it through the Christmas season. Mrs. Sip had to attend like nine parties last year. I matched her in nights I just sat on the couch and got blasted, but with her being so busy, we didn’t even have a chance to watch the Family Matters Christmas episodes I tracked down. I have a need for Urkel and that has yet to be satisfied.

Secret Santa/Gift Exchange

This is the only reason to have friends, am I right!? Hell, they don’t even have to be friends; they just have to be rich! I’ve written before about how we pull out our Roulette Shot Wheel and dole out shooters during our gift exchange. Usually we make the person who’s stealing a gift have to take a shot, but we usually end up ramping it up and also punishing the person who has just been stolen from… that’s the reality of life, my little sippers!

Drink #336: Poinsettia

Poinsettia Drink Recipe

  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • Top with Champagne
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Mandarin Orange Piece

What suggestions do you have for the Sip Advisor on how to spend the Christmas holiday? Clearly, you can see I’m going to be busy, but I’ll try to fit your advice in!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This is a really simple recipe and a definite crowd pleaser. Before starting this project, I bartended one of Ma and Pa Sip’s Christmas parties and this drink was the hit of the evening. A Mandarin Orange Piece is the perfect garnish this time of the year and works well with a champagne flute.