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.

Flavour Revolution – Sloe Berries

Slowing Things Down

Today, we experiment with Sloe Gin – a first for the Sip Advisor. I know “sloe” in this case is not spelt like “slow”, but all I can think of is things moving at a lengthier pace. Therefore, I bring to you the greatest slow-motion scenes in cinema history:

The Untouchables – Union Station Gunfight

While I’m 100% anti-prohibition, I suppose I’m also anti-illegal activity. Things come to a head between these two forces when Elliot Ness and his Untouchables enter into a full-scale gunfight with mobster Al Capone and his cronies, inside Chicago’s Union Station. Members of both factions are blown away by various weapons and upping the tension factor is the fact that a mother and her young child (in stroller) are caught in the crossfire.

Inception – Dream Catchers

To bring the reverse heisters back to the real world, a serious jolt is needed… like the type you get when you feel you’re falling in a dream. To achieve this, the crew decides that their vehicle needs to fall from a bridge into the water below. Because time moves differently in the various levels of consciousness, this descent is painfully slow and also affects the members caught in the different dream levels, throwing them into the ceiling or other obstacles of the realm they are in.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High – Leisurely Swim

Let’s move on to a lighter scene. In this teen comedy, high school senior Brad Hamilton watches his sister’s friend swim in the family pool and fantasizes about her slowly emerging from the water and dropping her bikini top all for his pleasure. This causes Brad (played by Judge Reinhold) to need some “release”… thankfully not also done in slow-mo. As we’ll find with many of these scenes, music plays a large role in the full effect, this time with the Cars ‘Moving in Stereo’ providing the soundtrack.

X-Men: Days of Future Past – Quicksilver Antics

This scene instantly made the character of Quicksilver popular with fans who didn’t know he even existed and demand to have him included in future X-men installments was passionate. Watching the young mutant run around the vault as time crawled to a halt, messing with guards and repositioning bullets was very entertaining. Only slow time will tell what other adventures Quicksilver gets up to in the future… and past!

The Matrix – Fight Fury

While I’m not a fan of the Matrix franchise, I have to admit that there are many great slow-mo scenes throughout the trilogy. Bullet Time, for example, was a jaw-dropping and revolutionary filming technique and similar processes were used for other fight scenes, such as the lobby shootout in the first installment and Neo’s battle with an unlimited number of Mr. Smiths in the sequel. I still don’t understand the damn thing, though.

Zombieland – Amazing Opening

Perfectly combined with Metallica’s ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’, this may be one of cinema’s greatest opening montages. In just a few brief scenes, the audiences is caught up to speed with the horrors of the apocalyptic zombie outbreak that has forced our hero from his cozy, shut-in life into a world of fear, mistrust, and always being vigilant. We even see a bride attack her new husband, which would have to make their nuptials the wedding of the year!

Anchorman 2 – RV Flip

With the Channel 4 news crew reunited and en route to new jobs for the launch of a 24-hour channel, all the guys have to do is survive a cross-country road trip aboard an RV driven by Ron Burgundy… who doesn’t really understand the concept of cruise control. This results in their RV swerving off the road and injuries to each journalist, including deep fryer oil to the face, a bowling ball to the skull, an even a scorpion attack. Why these items were ever aboard the RV remains an unsolved mystery.

Office Space – Printer Destruction

Almost all of us have been there: frustrated with a printer or other office device. These three disgruntled employees decide to take their venom out on the machine that has caused them the most angst, bringing it out into a desolate field and destroying it. With the song ‘Still’ by the Geto Boys fueling their destructive intentions, the trio makes the device unrecognizable, even going so far as to wield a baseball bat in their attack. Every office worker has dreamed of doing the same ever since!

Zoolander – Gas Fight

To cheer up their buddy Derek Zoolander, the male models go out for some Orange Mocha Frappuccinos. As they stop to fill up their Jeep with some gas, they decide to have a playful fight with the fuel and all is well until one of the models lights a cigarette, causing the station to explode into a ball of fire. Once again, the music selection is key here, as the Wham! Classic ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ deceives the audience of the tragedy that is about to unfold.

Flavour Revolution: Hopeless Case

The Chariots of Fire scene should really be included, given how many times it’s been parodied. There’s also an amazing scene in Ace Ventura where Jim Carrey performs a football play in both slow-mo and rewind. Courtenay Cox can barely keep a straight face throughout!

August 29 – After Work Special

Lame Labour

Admittedly, the Sip Advisor isn’t content with his current career. Apparently, I’m not alone, as there is a lot of literature out there about why people hate their occupation and what they should do about it. With Labour Day rapidly approaching, here are some other folks that really hated their job:

#5: Walter White – Breaking Bad

Before moving to a life of crime and meth production, Walter was a high school chemistry teacher. And it’s not that there’s anything wrong with that, but he had previously been on the cutting edge of the science world, before selling his share in an idea that would eventually become quite profitable. Walt is so underpaid as a teacher that he has to take a side job as a carwash cashier and when he’s diagnosed with cancer, he has to enter into the seedy world of drug manufacturing, in order to make enough cash to keep up his treatment.

making meth

#4: Peter Gibbons – Office Space

Out of all the entries on this list, I probably identify most with Peter, who is frustrated with his place in life and the lack of pleasure his mundane, dead end career brings him. His dealings with his boss are excruciating and he has no other option but to take all the crap. Flanked by his colleagues Michael and Samir, the trio try to take a small cut from each transaction coming through the company, only to have their program give them a much larger slice than they intended. At least they got to destroy the printer that was always breaking down.

#3: Jim Halpert – The Office

In a similar fashion to Peter from Office Space, Jim is young and talented, but stuck in a job that pays the bills, while not providing the satisfaction he’s really searching for. If it wasn’t for his attraction to receptionist Pam Beasley, he probably would have bolted years earlier. I gotta say, though, working closely with your girlfriend/wife and getting to see her at all hours is something I would love to do. I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s cool with the Sip Advisor. In time, Jim figures things out and begins to pursue an interest in a start-up sports marketing company.

Jim Halpert Try

#2: Homer Simpson – The Simpsons

While Homer has tackled numerous jobs (boxer, sports mascot, snow plow driver, voice actor, etc.) during the show’s long run, the one he has to attend day in, day out, is one he does not enjoy. Homer was able to break free once from the Nuclear Power Plant, but with another baby on the way, was forced to return and grovel for his job back. A sign now sits in his sector, which states: “Don’t Forget: You’re Here Forever.” Homer changed the sign with photos to read “Do It For Her” in reference to daughter Maggie, the reason he had to return.

#1: Al Bundy – Married with Children

Nearly every episode of this iconic show featured woman’s shoe salesman, Al Bundy, returning from a day of work in which he didn’t get paid very well, but was verbally and sometimes physically abused by the clientele. “So a fat woman walks into the store today,” is usually how the tale began and ended with an epic struggle to fit a woman’s foot (or hoof as Al often called it) into a shoe that was too many sizes smaller than needed. So much for a guy who once had dreams of playing pro football… all until he was married with children!

Super Saturday Shot Day: After Work Special

  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • 0.5 oz Coconut Rum
  • Splash of Orange Juice
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with Coconut Shavings

For those out there that are working in what they love to do (or at least what they went to school for), I am absolutely jelly of you. Sadly, the Sip Advisor has to save his passions for outside of work… and I don’t even get paid for my efforts. One day, my rainbow will come though. I just have to keep my head held high and reach for the sky!