Australia – Stormy Weather

Criminal Crunch

Not many countries start off as another nation’s penal colony. Australia is by far the most recognized of these lands and somehow, the British castoffs sent there turned Australia into one of the most wonderful places in the world to visit, live, and love. Let’s take a look at some of the more notable convicts to be shipped down under and how they helped build the great nation of Australia:

Australia Cell Blocks

William Bland

While I believe government to be largely useless, it is a necessary evil when building a new society. Bland was a former naval surgeon who found himself in Australia because he killed a man in a duel… seems like a fair and completely reasonable way to settle an argument. Bland eventually held a seat in Australia’s legislative assembly, an early example of government criminality.

William Henry Groom

Groom followed a path similar to Bland, going from prisoner to member of the inaugural Australian Parliament. I guess you can’t fault a penal colony for having members of its government being former convicts. Sadly, Groom died shortly after his appointment and never got to fully enjoy the perks of being an elected official (money, power, drugs… the Rob Ford special!).

James Squire

Now, here’s a guy who deserves massive recognition for his contributions to early Australia society. Squire was one of the original convicts to come over to Australia and being first was a recurrent theme for him. He later became the country’s first brewer and brands like Tooheys and Victoria Bitter have him to thank their legacy. Showing the importance of alcohol in any society, Squire’s death in 1822 spawned the biggest funeral held in the colony days.

VB Kangaroo

Jørgen Jørgensen

Not many folks can claim to be the ruler of Iceland, but Jørgensen was one of those peeps. He arrested the Danish Governor (almost as bad as The Walking Dead’s Governor), with intentions of giving Iceland their freedom, but that was squashed by Denmark. The eccentric adventurer, as Jørgensen’s been described, was a spy for a spell for the UK, translating documents and working throughout France and Germany. He wound up a convict in Australia and upon his release explored Tasmania.

William Chopin

This fella kind of went full circle, as he flourished working in a prison hospital and went into chemistry after receiving his ticket of leave. Unfotunately, his skills as a chemist landed him back in jail later, as he went into the illegal abortion business. He was the ‘chemist gone bad’ centuries before Breaking Bad ever aired.

John Kelly

Sometimes it takes a generation to make your mark on society, as is the case for John Kelly, whose son Ned gained notoriety as a Robin Hood-type folk hero, battling the establishment with his band of not-so-merry men (colloquially referred to as Kelly’s gang, but that’s such a harsh term) and becoming an outlaw in the process. Ned Kelly was later executed for his crimes, but his legend has grown thanks to movies starring Mick Jagger and Heath Ledger. He’s even featured on an Irish stamp.

Ned Kelly

John Davies

As a writer, I believe information (as well as entertainment) is essential in getting a nation rolling. After his release from prison, Davies co-founded The Mercury newspaper in 1854. The daily publication, servicing Hobart, Tasmania, still exists to this day. The company remained in the Davies family until 1988 when it was taken over by what is now News Corp Australia.

James Ruse

Without food, we’re all screwed… well, except perhaps Ghandi. Anyway, Ruse was responsible for the first successful wheat harvest in New South Wales (where the first convict ships landed to settle). Today, an Agricultural High School (the Aussies really push you to choose your career path early) is named after him and students spend their days riding tractors and shucking corn.

Henry Kable

While the world is always becoming more litigious, to have dropped the first lawsuit on a nation is quite the feat. Kable’s civil suit was over a parcel of goods to be given to he and his wife upon arrival at the Australian penal colony, but it was stolen en route. Kable successfully sued the ship’s captain for £15, even more impressive given prisoners were considered dead by law at the time and had no rights. It’s no surprise then, that Kable later became a wealthy businessman, probably turning his legal windfall into a fortune.

Lawsuit

Robert Sidaway

What is a society without entertainment? Sidaway opened Australia’s first theatre (and we’re not talking about one of those talking pictures types), in Sydney, in 1796. Back then, you could pay for seats using money, flour, meat, or alcohol. If alcohol was a currency nowadays, I’d be filthy rich (instead of just filthy!). The theatre featured performances of Shakespearean and other English works, but was shut down by authorities in 1800, as it was deemed a corrupting influence.

Mary Wade

Wade was the youngest female convict shipped away, leaving the UK for Australia at only 11 years old. By the time she passed away at age 82, she had 21 children and more than 300 descendants, leaving a family tree that now adds up to tens of thousands and includes former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Now that, my little sippers, is a legacy.

Australia: Stormy Weather

Stormy Weather Drink Recipe

  • 1.5 oz Shiraz/Syrah Wine
  • 1.5 oz Dark Rum
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Dash of Simple Syrup
  • Float Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with a Strawberry Slice and Raspberry

Coming from a lineage of scoundrels and miscreants, that explains the likes of Mel Gibson and Russell Crowe, but not Steve Irwin, Crocodile Dundee, and others of that ilk. Australia, forever mystifying outside observers with their citizen’s contrasting personality traits… I think I just came up with a new tagline for the country!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Another good Shiraz/Syrah cocktail has me really enjoying the Little Penguin Wine. The Ginger Ale was solid, as usual, and of particular pleasure was the Appleton Rum I used. You could get a hint of it with each sip and it was an absolutely delicious touch to the rest of the recipe.

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January 11 – The Joker

Bad to the Bone

I’ve always had a fascination with villains and what drives them to become evil? Generally, they’re just so much more interesting than heroes. It’s hard to narrow a list down of the greatest super villains, but I’m the man drunk enough to try. Just a heads up before we start the list, that I’m not a comic book guy by any means, so a character’s villainy will be judged by their more mainstream examples of mischief!

#5: Shredder

Just think of the things the Shredder could have accomplished if he wasn’t so preoccupied by those meddling Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles were like the mutant version of the Scooby Doo Gang, constantly interfering with Shredder’s scheming. While the Turtles may battle other foes, the Shredder (aka Oroku Saki) was a constant presence on their mind, frequently causing havoc across New York City. Shredder was bad enough… do we even need to bring up the actions of the Super Shredder!?

Shredder

#4: Two-Face

You have to be pretty deranged to base all of your decisions on the flip of a coin. This is why NFL referees are so reviled! Two-Face (aka Harvey Dent) went from young, handsome, successful, and respected to a beast of a creature that is deformed and feared. He now hates the civil order he once enforced and is hell bent on destroying the Gotham City he previously protected. Harvey Dent still resides somewhere in Two-Face’s psyche, making for an interesting duality between good and evil, all fought within one man.

#3: Kingpin

It seemed like the Kingpin was always front and center, stirring the pot, when trouble was brewing. One of the best things about the crime boss is that he very rarely got his own hands dirty. Kingpin preferred to employ a series of henchman to do his bidding, while maintaining the public image of a successful businessman. That’s not to say that Wilson Fisk, as he’s known to most of the world, can’t handle his own wars. He’s portrayed as being incredibly strong, while battling the likes of Spider-Man, Daredevil, and the Punisher.

Kingpin

#2: Magneto

While he has sometimes crossed the line into good guy territory, Magneto’s end goal of a brotherhood of mutants that is no longer held back by humans (humans which Magneto would rather see eradicated from the world) drives him to perform all his misdeeds. His on-again, off-again friendship with Professor Charles Xavier is perhaps the only thing that keeps humanity alive within Magneto’s soul. It’s not surprising the mutant has suffered some psychological damage after surviving the Holocaust during World War II.

#1: Joker

Given Batman’s rogue gallery, it takes a pretty disturbed individual to take the mantle of the caped crusader’s arch nemesis. Pair him with the equally insane Harley Quinn and you have quite the deranged tandem. The Joker’s troubling reign of terror has spanned over 70 years. Whether portrayed by Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, or even Mark Hamill (that’s right, Luke Skywalker voiced the evil jester in the Animated Series), the Joker is equal parts fascinating and haunting… just the way we like him.

Super Saturday Shot Day: The Joker

The Joker Shooter

  • Rim glass with Sprinkles
  • 0.75 oz Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
  • 0.75 oz Whiskey
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Do you agree with the list? Clearly, my selections will ruffle the feathers of some super geek out there. I welcome the chirps. Bring it on! And by the way, the results of my ‘Which Super Villain Are You?’ (which I’ve linked at the top of this post) say that I’m Venom because strength, disguise and adrenaline are my greatest weapons!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
While I’m not sure if this recipe is actually meant to salute the infamous Joker, I’ve designed elements of it to better represent the Clown Prince of Crime. The Sprinkles, of course, represent all the wild colours he dons, as well as give a sense of the festive nature he would provide if he was a normal entertainer and not a psychotic villain. The Maraschino Cherry is the plush clown nose most entertainers adorn themselves with. As for the shooter, it wasn’t bad. I blended Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey with Bombay Sapphire East Gin. The Gin came in with its juniper taste at the end of the shot and while strong, was kind of tasty.