Texas – Texas Margarita

Each week, the Sip Advisor will alphabetically travel the United States, discovering the best each state has to offer in a variety of subjects. I’ve been forewarned, don’t mess with Texas and today we explore the Lone Star State. Let’s see if, in fact, everything is bigger in Texas:

Motto: “Friendship” – Short and sweet… so much for everything being bigger!

Food: Texas is responsible for a number of culinary creations, highlighted by items such as Hamburgers, Corn Dogs, Fajitas and Sopapillas. Lesser known dishes, such as King Ranch Casserole (chicken, cream of mushroom and chicken soups, cheese and tortilla chips), Texas Caviar (black-eyed peas, corn, avocado and mango) and Chicken Fried Bacon also originated in the state.

Drink: A favourite mixer of the Sip Advisor, Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885 by pharmacist Charles Alderton. The drink gained national attention when it was exhibited at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. The recipe for the soda is kept top secret, split in half and stored in two safety deposit boxes across two Dallas banks. Waco is home to the Dr Pepper Museum, inside a former bottling plant.

Dr Pepper

Site to See: Space Center Houston is among the top tourist attractions in Texas. Visitors can learn about the history and future of the NASA space program, through replicas of a space shuttle and space station, among other exhibits. The adjacent Johnson Space Center and Mission Control can also be toured, making for quite a day of space exploration inside earth’s atmosphere.

Street: Sixth Street in Austin is a historic district of the capital city. Formerly named Pecan Street, the Pecan Street Festival occurs every spring and fall, highlighting local food, art and music. The route is affectionately referred to as Dirty Sixth, thanks to its many entertainment options, including music and film festivals, as well as biker rallies.

TV Show: Two shows created by Mike Judge are set in Texas, King of the Hill and Beavis and Butt-Head. I’m a fan of both shows, while Mrs. Sip can’t stand either. Of the two, I like King of the Hill better, thanks to its well-rounded cast of characters. King of the Hill aired for 13 seasons and 259 episodes, while Beavis and Butt-Head ran for eight seasons and 222 episodes.

Movie: Office Space (also from Mike Judge), starring Ron Livingston and Jennifer Aniston, is a fantastic movie and all the more enjoyable if you’ve ever worked in an office. The cult film sees programmer Peter Gibbons grow tired of his mundane job and life, pushing him into an embezzlement scheme against his employer. The movie made red staplers a must-have supply.

Office Space

Book/Author: The Lonesome Dove series by Larry McMurtry consists of four western novels about a group of Texas Rangers during the formative years of the Republic of Texas. The books have been adapted into five TV miniseries and two TV series. Also, children’s novel Old Yeller by Fred Gipson is set in the fictional town of Salt Licks. It was adapted into a live-action Disney film.

Fictional Character: While I’d like to give this category to Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, I have to go with a character that will scare the hell out of most, Leatherface from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise. Face hidden by a mask made of the stitched together skin of his victims and wielding a constantly-revving chainsaw, is there a more intimidating horror baddie?

Fictional City: Once again, we go to Mike Judge’s two cartoon comedies, King of the Hill and Beavis and Butt-Head, which are set in Arlen and Highland, respectively. Arlen is based on a combination of Dallas-Fort Worth towns, such as Garland, Arlington and Allen. Highland is thought to be located near the Texas-New Mexico border. Perhaps we’ll learn more in the upcoming series revival.

Actor/Actress: So many Hollywood A-listers are from Texas, making this a tough category to narrow down. These stars include Jamie Foxx, Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey, Tommy Lee Jones, Owen Wilson, Renée Zellweger, Jennifer Garner, Jim Parsons, Patrick Swayze, and Steve Martin. Many of them have worked with one another over their careers.

Leatherface

Song: Deep in the Heart of Texas was written by June Hershey and Don Swander has become an anthem for the state. When it was originally released, five recordings by different artists appeared on the Billboard charts. It was also the title song of the 1942 movie of the same name. The tune’s most memorable version may be by Gene Autry (the Singing Cowboy), who was a Texan.

Band/Musician: The Queen Bey, Beyoncé, headlines a list of popular performers, including Willie Nelson, Buddy Holly, Janis Joplin, Meat Loaf, Roy Orbison, Kenny Rogers, and Barry White. Beyoncé began her career in the girl group Destiny’s Child, before going solo. Now married to rapper Jay-Z, the two comprise one of the music industry’s most powerful couples.

People: Eccentric businessman Howard Hughes was born in Humble. Hughes dabbled in many industries, including aviation, Hollywood films, engineering and Las Vegas hotels and casinos. He was also known for his obsessive-compulsive disorder, which led to him being reclusive in his later years. Hughes’ life was documented in the 2004 movie The Aviator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Animal: Bevo the Texas Longhorn steer is the University of Texas at Austin live mascot. The team has had a steer as mascot since 1916 and is currently on the fifteenth version of Bevo. The steer’s head and horns has provided the school with a hand symbol and chant, known as Hook’em Horns. Bevo has been called “the toughest-looking animal mascot in sports”.

Beyonce

Invention: The temptation to select Silicone Breast Implants for this category is quite… titillating, but I will go with the Microchip, which has evolved to allow folks to have personal computers, smartphones and other devices. This was possible thanks to Texas Instruments electrical engineer Jack Kilby inventing the integrated circuit in 1958. In 2000, Kilby was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Crime: Among a long list of candidates, the assassination of John F. Kennedy was one of those moments where people remember where they were when they heard the news. On November 22, 1963, Kennedy was shot in the head as his motorcade went through Dallas’ Dealey Plaza. His killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, was also murdered two days later by Jack Ruby. Conspiracy theories persist to this day on the subject.

Law: In Texas, it’s illegal to graffiti another person’s cow… but with your own, go nuts! Sticking with cattle, if you steal any, it’s a hangable offense.

Sports Team: Texas is well-represented across the state, in each of the Big 4 sports leagues. Dallas is home to the Cowboys (NFL), Mavericks (NBA), Stars (NHL) and Texas Rangers (MLB), while Houston has the Texans (NFL), Rockets (NBA) and Astros (MLB). There’s also the San Antonio Spurs (NBA) to round things out. Texas is football mad, so college and even high school programs are well attended.

Football

Athlete: Texas seems to be a hotbed for professional wrestlers, including international superstars The Undertaker, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, and Booker T, as well as horde of famous grappling families such as the Guerreros, Von Erichs, Rhodes’ and Funks. Texas-based World Class Championship Wrestling was a major promotion, peaking in the mid 1980’s.

Famous Home: Woodland, in Huntsville, was home to Sam Houston, a key figure in the Texas Revolution and first president of the Republic of Texas. The one-room log cabin can be found on the grounds of Sam Houston State University, with free tours available. The city of Houston (once the capital), the largest city in the state, is named after him.

Urban Legend: Given its proximity and history with Mexico, much of Latin culture is intertwined in Texas, including its legends. These include La Llorona (The Weeping Woman), El Muerto (Headless Horseman) and Chupacabra (Goat-Sucker). There’s also the mystery of what happened to Debbie from Debbie Does Dallas, but that’s a story for another day.

Museum: The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum is located in Waco. The Texas Rangers, the oldest law enforcement agency in North America, has been involved in thwarting assassination attempts and pursuing notorious outlaws, such as Bonnie and Clyde. Honourary Texas Rangers include John Wayne, Will Rogers, Chuck Norris and George H.W. Bush.

Chuck Norris

Firsts: A number of things that can now be found around the world, originated in Texas. This includes the first drive-in restaurant Kirby’s Pig Stand, serving up sandwiches and sides starting in 1921; shopping center (a group of stores with shared parking lot) Highland Park Village, established in 1930; and domed stadium the Astrodome, opened in 1965.

Company: Entertainment is important to Texans, with companies such as Dave & Buster’s, Chuck E. Cheese and Six Flags all headquartered in the state. While not affiliated, Dave & Buster’s and Chuck E. Cheese share many similarities, while being geared toward adult and child audiences, respectively. Six Flags was named for the six national flags that have flown over Texas.

Events: The Texas Revolution (October 1835-April 1836) against Mexico, led to the infamous Battle of the Alamo, where legendary figures such as Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie perished in an outnumbered fight. Although a tactical loss, the event inspired many to take up arms for Texas independence. Today, the Alamo is a top tourist attraction in Texas and the country.

Miscellaneous: In 2005, the small town of Clark (population 201, as of the 2010 census) agreed to change its name to DISH, in honour of satellite TV provider Dish Network. Part of the deal saw every home receive 10 years of free basic TV service and a digital video recorder (DVR) from Dish Network. That’s an arrangement the Sip Advisor can get down with.

Texas Margarita

Texas Margarita

  • Rim glass with Salt
  • 2 oz Tequila
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

The addition of Orange Juice is what turns a Margarita into a Texas Margarita. You could do this Margarita in a frozen blend, to salute the Frozen Margarita Machine being invented in Dallas in 1971 by Mariano Martinez. That early machine now sits in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

September 27 – Spinal Tap

I’m With the Band

For those about to rock… we salute you! And we also salute these fictional bands, some of which turned into real-life touring acts. Those which didn’t, should have. Hell, if the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had a music tour at the height of their popularity in the early 90s, why can’t we see Faith+1 or Fingerbang around the world!?

#5: The Blues Brothers – The Blues Brothers/Blues Brothers 2000

When Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd took to the Saturday Night Live stage to perform as Jake and Elwood Blues, nobody knew how musically-gifted the two actually were. The sketches were turned into a feature film and the SNL alum even toured together, performing live on stage. With the unfortunate death of Jim Belushi, his brother John has filled in at times (as Zee Blues), as well as John Goodman, who joined Aykroyd as ‘Mighty’ Mack McTeer for the sequel Blues Brothers 2000. Aykroyd’s love of blues music has even resulted in his owning a percentage of the House of Blues restaurant and live performance chain.

Blues Brothers

#4: The Dale Gribble Bluegrass Experience – King of the Hill

The Experience consisted of the back alley crew (Hank, Dale, Bill and Boomhauer) with young Connie Psupnesphone on her violin – or as it’s referred to in blue grass, a fiddle. Boomhauer’s unintelligible southern drawl speech is perfect for bluegrass and the troupe made it all the way to performing at the Bluegrass Festival in Branson, Missouri, before Connie’s overbearing father Con interfered. Their cover of ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’ sounded pretty good and they even talked country legend Charlie Daniels into filling in on the fiddle when Connie disappeared. Despite all their efforts, though, they did not win the festival competition.

#3: Spinal Tap – This is Spinal Tap

The greatest fake rock band to become a real rock band EVER! Made up of David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean), Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest), and Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) and filmed mockumentary style, this film covered Spinal Tap’s journey to the top of the music world. Spinal Tap later appeared on The Simpsons, thanks to Shearer’s voice work on the series, forever cementing their status as a great fictional band, although the group actually tours and performs. This is one act you wouldn’t want to be a drummer for, though, as each prospective percussionist has died from bizarre accidents and under mysterious circumstances.

Spinal Tap

#2: The Be-Sharps – The Simpsons

Homer, Principal Skinner, Apu, Chief Wiggum and later Barney Gumble (replacing Wiggum) made up this little quartet. With a Grammy Award winning and number one hit ‘Baby On Board,’ the group seemed destined for superstardom, but in a case eerily similar to The Beatles, creative differences and an Asian woman forced the band to split and remain a one-hit wonder. The Simpsons has also featured other fictional groups and musicians, including Bleeding Gums Murphy, Lurleen Lumpkin, the Party Posse, Captain Bart and the Tequila Mockingbirds, Sadgasm, and even Kirk Van Houten.

#1: Fingerbang & Faith+1 – South Park

Both of these bands are driven by the genius mind of Eric Cartman. First, he created Fingerbang, an attempt at capitalizing on the boy band craze. The death of Kenny – crushed by an elevator during a concert at the local mall – thwarted them in the end. They did gain one fan, but promptly split up, realizing that such fame doesn’t allow for a normal life. Years later, Cartman splits from the boys garage band Moop, to form the Christian Rock-based Faith+1 with Butters and Token. Faith+1 goes on to be a hit, receiving a Mir album distinction. Cartman, expecting a gold record to win a bet with Kyle, goes on a profanity-laced tirade, ruining the band’s innocent image.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Spinal Tap

Spinal Tap Shot

  • 0.5 oz Vodka (I used Finlandia)
  • 0.5 oz Peach Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Crème de Cacao
  • Garnish with a Guitar Pick

As usual, this list was extremely difficult to pare down. I would have loved to include groups like Jesse and the Rippers (Full House), the Zack Attack (Saved by the Bell), and The Electric Mayhem (The Muppets), among others. I did manage to sneak a sixth band into the post by doubling up the South Park entry, so consider yourself extra special today!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I’m unsure of if this shooter has anything to do with the mockumentary band or if it’s more to do with the medical procedure… either way, I’m using it! And it is delicious. You get varying notes of Peach Schnapps and Crème de Cacao and both taste so good. Had I used a flavoured Vodka, I wonder if things would have got better or worse. Would a whole new flavour emerge, or would there be too many competing notes? The questions that keep the Sip Advisor up at night!

Ireland – The Emerald

Pot of Gold

The leprechaun has long been associated with Ireland and is an important figure of Irish folklore. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will always be portrayed in the best of lights elsewhere. Here are some of the famous leprechauns we can learn from:

Lucky the Leprechaun – Lucky Charms

Also known as Sir Charms and L.C. Leprechaun (monikers he invented to avoid creditors who were after his Lucky Charms!), this imp was introduced in the 1960’s, shortly after the cereal hit store shelves. Originally, the breakfast option only contained four different marshmallow shapes, but over time that number grew to eight permanent charms. Lucky was briefly replaced by Waldo the Wizard in 1975, but it wasn’t long before the leprechaun was back with the brand. Some say he bought his way back into the picture with his pot o’ gold riches!

lucky-charms-marshmallows

O’Reilly – The Simpsons

This little hellraiser appears in a number of Simpsons episodes, most notably one of the Treehouse of Horror segments where Homer has drawn the ire of a gypsy and has been cursed. Looking to reverse his fortune, he traps a leprechaun (using Lucky Charms as bait), but O’Reilly just causes havoc in the Simpson home. When Homer takes the leprechaun to battle the gypsy, the two fall in love and are married in a ceremony performed by Yoda of Star Wars fame. O’Reilly is also an imaginary vision for Ralph Wiggum, telling the youngster to burn things.

Braun the Leprechaun – World Championship Wrestling

Leave it to professional wrestling to have a leprechaun running around the ring and causing havoc. Braun briefly appeared with the Dungeon of Doom stable, a group of dark and sometimes mythological characters, including The Yeti (although he was dressed like a mummy… no, seriously) and Loch Ness (a 600-plus pound monster of a man, billed from the Scottish Highlands). Portrayed by the grappler (real name DeWayne Bruce) that would eventually become perennial loser Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, he is most recognized for his work training future stars, particularly Bill Goldberg.

Hornswoggle – World Wrestling Entertainment

Sticking with professional wrestling, years after Braun, another shot was taken at the character, this time using a little person. Originally named Little Bastard, the character soon evolved into Hornswoggle (which means to cheat, swindle, hoodwink, or hoax), helping Irish bruiser Finlay score a number of underhanded victories. Hornswoggle has gone on to become a fan favourite, while enjoying high-profile roles such as joining D-Generation X as their mascot, being the illegitimate son of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, winning the Cruiserweight Title, and holding the position of anonymous General Manager of Monday Night Raw.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish/Boston Celtics Leprechauns

These famous logos and mascots have helped define both squads. For Notre Dame, the team had gone through a number of nicknames (Catholics, Hoosiers, Rockmen, Bulldogs) before settling on the Fighting Irish. This was done because a leprechaun joined the cheerleading squad and has remained on the team’s sideline ever since. As for the Celtics, their mascot Lucky was designed by the brother of legendary coach Red Auerbach. Complete with shillelagh and shamrock-adorned attire, it just doesn’t get much more Irish… although Lucky lacks the red locks we usually associate with leprechauns.

The Leprechaun – Leprechaun Movies

Played by little person Warwick Davis (of Willow and Harry Potter fame), The Leprechaun horror movie franchise has spawned six films and is due for a reboot with the aforementioned Hornswoggle (real name Dylan Postl) taking over the lead role. Falling in line with recent movie trends, the new film will be an origin story. Back to the original series, premises ranged from The Leprechaun tracking down his stolen gold, to searching for a bride, and even rampages through Las Vegas, space, and Compton, California (in the ghetto!). The first installment even featured a young and unknown Jennifer Aniston… she ended up doing pretty well for herself!

leprechaun-back2thahood

Seriously, they did not one, but two Leprechaun films set in “Tha Hood”!

Brian Connors – Darby O’Gill and the Little People

This Disney live action movie features a horde of leprechauns led by Brian Connors, the ‘King of the Leprechauns’. Connors and O’Gill are friendly adversaries, each trying to outsmart the other. O’Gill, an elderly groundskeeper is trying to capture Connors and be granted three wishes, hoping to set his daughter up for a happy life. Conners was played by Jimmy O’Dea, an Irish comedian and songwriter. Sean Connery is also in the film and he even sings! Legend has it that his role as Michael McBride, the daughter’s eventual love interest, led to him being cast as James Bond.

Shado – Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law

Known as Shado the Brain Thief because he possesses telepathic abilities, this leprechaun lawyer uses his powers to mess with opposing counsel and juries and manipulate them for his own gains. If Mrs. Sip (also a lawyer) was capable of telepathy, she’d be even more of a legend than she already is… which is due largely in part to her association with the Sip Advisor. Anyhoo, Shado is voiced by Toby Huss, who provided the dialogue for a number of characters on King of the Hill, including Cotton Hill, Kahn Souphanousinphone, Joe Jack, and M.F. Thatherton.

Ireland: The Emerald

Mar 20

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

I hope everyone finds their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow… that is, unless you have to battle a deranged leprechaun to get at your cash money. My advice is to wait until the little guys tucker themselves out before achieving your treasure. Kind of like I do with my desire to high-five monkeys!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This is basically a Manhattan variation and it was decent. Whenever I make a drink with Orange Bitters, I go a little crazy with the dashes and that’s not a bad thing. I thought the Orange Zest bits looked pretty darn good, if I don’t say so myself. Party on!