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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October 26 – Bazooka Joe

Tales from the Candy-keeper

There are numerous urban legends based on candy. Here are some of the juicier tales out there:

Recharge on Mars

Rockers sure know how to party. That’s why this legend involving Rolling Stones front man Mick Jagger, singer Marianne Faithfull, and a Mars chocolate bar persisted for so long. When a party at guitarist Keith Richards’ home was broken up by police, rumours began flying that Jagger was interrupted while eating a Mars bar that was inside Ms. Faithfull (I’ll let your imaginations put that one together). The story was entirely untrue, but I bet Mars bar sales skyrocketed, with deprived lovers looking to spice up their sex life!

Mick Jagger

You’re right, Mick! It is a pretty funny story!

Pop Rock N’ Roll

As the story goes, if you mix Pop Rocks with Cola, this diabolic concoction would cause you to explode. The legend was enhanced when people claimed that Mikey, the Life Cereal ad campaign kid (you know, “Hey, Mikey likes it!”) was an original victim of the blast. A similar tale has recently surrounded Mentos and Cola, because the two products do combine to create fizz and can launch a bottle into orbit. The cute Pepsi girl of the 90’s was said to be a casualty. In both cases, no one has actually died from ingesting the two items together.

Hole-in-One

Creator Clarence Crane was said to have designed Life Savers with a hold in the middle after his daughter tragically died choking on a candy. The hole was to allow oxygen to pass through a person’s body, even if stuck in one’s throat. The reality, however, is quite a bit different. Crane fashioned his new invention after the floatable inner tubes that were becoming all the rage following the Titanic disaster in 1912.

All Wrapped Up

Legend had it, that if you found an image of Indian, complete with bow and arrow, on your Tootsie Roll or Pop wrapper, you would be the recipient of any number of prizes, ranging from Tootsie treats for life to a new bicycle to unimaginable wealth and celebrity (I added that last one myself!). I would have loved to have found that Indian, as I very much enjoy the Tootsie products. Sadly, the story is completely fabricated.

tootsie pop wrapper

Jaw Dropper

It’s hard to believe this one is actually true, but it has been verified by the fine folks at MythBusters. If you place one of those massive jawbreakers in the microwave it will explode. Why someone would ever put a jawbreaker into the microwave is a yet-to-be answered question, but here’s my theory: why not. Those jawbreakers are a pain in the ass (or more aptly, mouth) to get through and perhaps someone tried to accelerate the process.

Spider Yum

When Bubble Yum gum hit the market and became quite popular, stories began to circulate that the gum contained such grossities as spider eggs, spider legs, or spider webbing. These were all probably started by a rival gum company in hopes of curtailing the popularity of the world’s first soft gum. Bubble Yum’s parent company fought these rumours publicly with full-page newspaper ads ensuring people of the quality of their product. Most people actually listened and Bubble Yum lived on.

Bubble Yum Spiders

Razor’s Edge

Remember when we were all wee little sippers and when we returned home our parents sifted through our well-earned Halloween stash (probably contemplating which treats they’d take for themselves) to make sure there was no evidence of tampering? Good thing they did. In 2000, James Joseph Smith stuck needles into Snickers bars he planned to hand out and one boy bit into the chocolate bar. Smith was arrested and charged with adulterating a substance with the intent to cause harm… asshole!

Pick Your Poison

Similarly, the threat of poisoned candy given out at Halloween has always existed, but the only evidence of this occurring happened when some sick bastards poisoned their own children, including one loser who laced his kid’s Pixy Stix with cyanide to collect a $20,000 life insurance policy. Most cases were just overeating by the public (no surprise there) and not waiting to hear the actual results of why someone became sick.

Drink #299: Bazooka Joe

Bazooka Joe Shooter

  • Rim glass with Bubble Gum
  • 0.5 oz Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Banana Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Blue Curacao

Are there any candy urban legends you’d like to pass my way? I’m a skeptical one, but I’ll give it a chance!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I liked this shooter and always have. Truth be known, when I was taken out on my 19th birthday for my first legal drinks, this was the first shot that was ever ordered for me. I still marvel at how these three ingredients combine to fake the taste of bubble gum, but somehow it all comes together.