Flavour Revolution – Apricot

Cautious Cuisine

Despite the deliciousness, popularity, and versatility of apricots, it should be noted that the fruit’s pits (or kernels) are actually poisonous and can produce a form of cyanide. Here are some other foods that are alarmingly poisonous and potentially dangerous to your health:

Mushrooms

This one is too easy… I mean, come on, it’s defined as a fungus. That said, mushrooms can be many things, from delicious to deadly, healing to hallucinogenic. With regards to poisonous mushrooms, flat caps are a huge giveaway and toxic shrooms come with names such as death caps, destroying angels and dapperlings. Scarily, it is feared that many European mushrooms may be contaminated thanks to the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

chances-with-mushroom

Nuts – Almonds, Cashews, Peanuts

Sure, many folks out there have severe allergies to nuts, particularly peanuts, but other types, when eaten raw, can be dangerous. Raw almonds, also known as bitter almonds, contain cyanide and can be fatal when consumed in large doses. Regardless, they are still sold in some stores, with risk being handed over to the customer to decide how cautious they want to be. Other countries have outright banned the nuts from being available.

Fruit – Apples, Cherries, Tomatoes

The seeds in apples and pits in cherry, contain cyanide. Cherries have resulted in other deaths non-edible deaths. Lucullus, a Roman general, committed suicide in 56BC, upon learning that he was running out of cherries, a crop he had introduced to Europe years before. Tomatoes were once thought to be poisonous by Europeans who didn’t trust the delicious fruit. It took some time for those fears to dissipate and now there’s only the odd salmonella outbreak.

Tuna

The issue with tuna, other than the facts that it smells horrible and doesn’t taste that great either (yes, this is solely according to the Sip Advisor), is that levels of mercury absorbed by the fish before it is caught and killed can be passed on to the consumer. This has given me pause for thought about how much the Sip Family kitties love getting served tuna water. Man, they love that stuff and go nuts whenever the can opener is used!

just-add-tuna

Potatoes

Potatoes are such an integral part of people’s diets that it’s a little scary how dangerous, albeit rare, their consumption can be. My first thought was that someone from the popcorn lobby made this accusation up to spoil the potato chip industry, but I have since learned the charges are true. Basically, what you have to watch out for is when a potato turns green, which if eaten, can result in weakness, coma, and even death.

Blowfish

Consuming blowfish (fugu) can be like playing a round of Russian roulette.  Unless prepared to perfection, it can be very poisonous. As a result, the emperor of Japan is barred from eating the fish, despite it being a cultural delicacy. One famous incident involved kabuki actor Bandō Mitsugorō VIII, who believed he could tolerate the poison… he was wrong. There is also an episode of The Simpsons where Homer eats Fugu and is told he only has 24 hours to live.

Flavour Revolution: Virgin’s Kiss

  • 1.25 oz Dark Rum
  • 0.5 oz Apricot Brandy
  • 0.5 oz Galliano
  • Top with Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Sour Mix
  • Garnish with an Apricot Slice

This list could also include rhubarb, elderberry, raw meat and eggs, and even underprepared honey. I’ll stick to my artery-clogging potato chips , thank you very much, which will only get me in the long run!

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December 19 – Dirty Christmas Tree

Christmas Cringe

Christmas is right around the corner and these are some of the gifts you wouldn’t want to find under your tree. In most cases, the thought is there, but the results just don’t pan out. Let’s see what will be sent to donation in the very near future:

#5: Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge – The Simpsons

All Bart wanted for Christmas was the violent video game Bonestorm, going so far as to steal a copy from the local Try-N-Save department store. Of course, he gets caught, breaking his mom’s heart. After making amends for ruining the family holiday photo, Marge says that she has found the perfect gift for Bart. When it’s video game-shaped, he quickly unwraps the package to reveal… Lee Carvallo’s Putting Challenge. It’s not what he wanted, but having his mom’s love again is all he really needs.

Bonestorm Games

#4: Old Radio Tapes – NewsRadio

While the rest of the WNYX staff receive sports cars – after complaining about their original gifts of repurposed baseball hats from station owner and eccentric billionaire Jimmy James – Matthew is left out, receiving only a set of Fibber McGee and Molly tapes. Not only does he miss out on a car because Mr. James tried to get personal gifts for the staff after his first misfire (before resorting to the expensive cars), but Matthew’s favourite old time radio show is Jack Benny.

#3: A Pebble – A Muppet Family Christmas

Don’t get me wrong, this Christmas special is beloved by the Sip Advisor and the entire Sip Kingdom, but a pebble as a present is a horrible idea. You can tell it’s bad because after the Fraggles give the rock to Robin the Frog (complete with song trying to justify why such an awful offering has occured), he quickly flips it, re-gift style, to Grover. I never really got the whole Fraggle Rock crew and am glad they spent most of this momentous Christmas celebration underground.

Fear and Loathing Fraggle Rock

#2: Frame and Hook – Mr. Bean

As Mr. Bean and his girlfriend are shopping for Christmas gifts, they walk by a jewellery store, where she drops hints that she’d like a ring. Of course, Mr. Bean completely gets the wrong message and thinks she wants the photo frame that sits nearby the jewellery. So, a frame and hook for that frame is what she receives, causing her to flee his apartment in tears. Mr. Bean does treat his stuffed bear better, though, replacing the button eyes Teddy was in need of.

#1: Coal – Rugrats

Okay, the bratty Angelica ends up getting exactly what she wants for Christmas (a Deluxe Cynthia Beach House), even after she has been a total terror… but Santa might have left a little something to strike some fear in the girl’s black heart, when opening the house’s garage door reveals some coal residue. I guess she did try to remedy all of her bad behaviour upon warning from Grandpa Lou about what wicked kids can expect from Santa as far as gifts go.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Dirty Christmas Tree

  • 0.25 oz Melon Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.25 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 0.25 oz Sour Mix
  • Drop of Grenadine

Researching these TV articles was not an easy task and so if I’ve missed any of the worst gifts given in small screen history, please let me know. Merry Christmas, my little sippers!

December 12 – Yellow Snow

Gift Receipt Required

Last week, we opened the Super Saturday Shot Day Christmas season with a look at some of the best gifts given and received in movie history. Today, we see the flipside of that, with the worst presents to be exchanged. These should have definitely been returned to the sender:

#5: Necklace – Love, Actually

I know what you’re saying: “You’re crazy, Sip Advisor… all that boozing has finally damaged your brain!” Now, before you exhile me from this site and the internet altogether, hear me out. The necklace given in this case is a bad gift because it was to be given to the wrong person. Karen (Emma Thompson) is ecstatic when she believes she’ll be receiving an expensive necklace from her husband (Alan Rickman). When all she gets is a Joni Mitchell CD, she knows something is up and confronts her partner. Rickman can’t seem to get Christmas right, given this and his turn as Hans Gruber in Die Hard!

love actually snape

#4: Lingerie – Elf

Giving your partner some sexy lingerie might be the most selfish gift in history (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). I mean, who’s it really for!? That said, it gets even worse when you’re a middle-aged elf, giving your long-lost father a sexy teddy. With so much sugar running through his veins, Buddy was bound to make some mistakes in his first visit to the world away from the North Pole. And what a confusing place to start, as he must travel to New York City to reunite a father who didn’t even know he existed.

#3: Bunny Pajamas – A Christmas Story

Most of us have been there at some point in our lives, when a gift from a distant relative just doesn’t jive with our wants and desires. Poor Ralphie not only gets a set of bunny pajamas (complete with floppy ears and cottontail) from his aunt Clara, but to add insult to injury, the sleepwear is pink because aunt Clara mistakes Ralphie for being a girl… not a strapping young lad capable of wielding a Red Ryder BB Gun. After showing his new jammies off to his mom, dad, and brother (who can’t help but laugh at the ridiculous outfit), Ralphie is allowed to change and get back to his present opening.

A-Christmas-Story-pink nightmare

#2: Jelly of the Month Club – Christmas Vacation

Looking to cut costs, Frank Shirley enrols his employees in a Jelly of the Month Club, rather than reward them with their annual Christmas bonus, as has been tradition. Aside from the loss of cash money, I have to ask: Is there really that many good jellies to fill up the calendar? As Clark Griswold says, with his boss held hostage in their home, people rely on that money and when they don’t get it, that’s just rotten. Mr. Shirley learns his lesson and promises to bring the bonuses back, even adding an extra 20% to Clark’s. If it had been a Beer of the Month Club, would all be alright!?

#1: Various – The Nightmare Before Christmas

While his heart is in the right place – wait, does Jack Skellington even have a heart? – any gift coming from Sandy Claws is probably one you shouldn’t bother opening. In his attempt to become the new face of Christmas, Jack delivers shrunken heads, Christmas tree-eating snakes, pumpkin jack-in-the-boxes, vampire teddy bears, toy ducks with sharp teeth, and living wreaths to the children of the world, causing dismay and chaos on Christmas morning. Jack really sounds more like a Christmas-themed mercenary than the bearer of great gifts.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Yellow Snow

While The Gift of the Magi presents are incredibly thoughtful, they’re poorly planned and communicated: Jim sells his watch to buy Della a comb for her hair, while Della sells her hair to buy Jim a chain for his watch. Definitely a couple that needed to focus a little more and buy a mutually awesome gift together!

December 5 – Santa’s Coming

The Gift of Giving

All this month, for Super Saturday Shot Day, we’ll be looking at the best Christmas gifts exchanged in movies and on TV. To get everyone into the Christmas spirit, let’s start with the greatest gifts in movies:

#5: Red Ryder BB Gun – A Christmas Story

While I’m far from a gun guy and little Ralphie did end up injuring himself shooting the Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle (just as everyone told him he would), this gift makes the best list because every one of us, growing up, had that one dream item that we wanted more than anything else in the world. And when it showed up under the tree on Christmas morning, you truly believed in the spirit of the season.

A-Christmas-Story-bb gun

#4: Pool – Christmas Vacation

Having grown up with a pool, I can totally appreciate how awesome it would be to be told your dad was installing one. Of course, with Clark Griswold’s Christmas bonus waiting in the wings, he’s not even sure he’ll be able to deliver on his promise of scorching hot days spent poolside, refreshed and relaxed. Just as Clark makes his big announcement, he discover his bonus isn’t what he thought it would be, but I’ll  have more on that next week.

#3: Gizmo – Gremlins

Mogwai’s seem pretty cool. That is, until they get fed after midnight, come into contact with water, or are exposed to sunlight. At least Gizmo stays cute and cuddly throughout, despite the fact it is the reason for all the mayhem that ensues. When a mogwai goes bad, it turns into a gremlin and then you really have to be careful, as these deranged creatures have been known to kill. In the end, the town is saved and Gizmo can return to normal… until its next late night feeding.

gremlins nicki minaj

#2: Lady – Lady and the Tramp

Is there a better gift to have lying under your tree than a cute little puppy. I’d say a kitten, but I’ll give them a pass here! Lady comes into her family’s life as an energetic pup; a Christmas gift given from Jim Dear to his wife Darling. After growing up, getting into mishaps and adventures, and finding love, the story sticks with the Christmas theme to show that Tramp has joined the family fray as has a litter of pups, the next generation of the household.

#1: Invisibility Cloak – Harry Potter

Everyone out there has fantasized at some point or another about being invisible. Well, Harry Potter is the one who actually gets the chance and really, the poor guy deserves it after all the years he’s spent as a slave to his extended family and guardians. If the Sip Advisor had an invisibility cloak, I would get up to all kinds of mischief… some of which I probably shouldn’t even share. To give you a hint, there would be a lot of pranking on Mrs. Sip!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Santa’s Coming

  • 0.5 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.5 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 0.5 oz Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with a Cranberry

I also have to include the bell from The Polar Express here, as the tiny trinket (gifted by Santa, himself) provided years of joy for a young boy and his little sister, allowing them to enjoy the spirit of Christmas throughout the years, so long as they truly believed.

Flavour Revolution – Coffee

Just Add Water

Let’s be straight: coffee is basically ground beans with the addition of water. Yup, that’s what you’re forking over good money to buy from places like Starbucks and their competitors. Admittedly, some things are just better with a splash of the wet stuff. Here are the best items where a little water goes a long way!

Tea/Coffee/Hot Chocolate

Of those three options, I’m more of a hot chocolate man, but I must admit that I don’t really like hot beverages much at all. I think one of the simplest pleasures in life is a cold drink… with lots of ice! It often blows my mind how expensive these drinks can be, given they’re usually comprised of something cheap (a tea bag or hot chocolate packet), simply joined by hot water.

hot drinks devil's temperature

Kool-Aid

I grew up on Kool-Aid, and the product really provided the first lessons in mixology that I ever learned. So much so, that I worked hard to perfect the right level of sugar to include in my pitchers of the juice. I had a few favourites over the years, including Blue Raspberry Lemonade, Strawberry Kiwi, and old-fashioned Lemon-Lime.

Ramen Noodles

Joining Kool-Aid, noodles were an essential part of my college diet. It’s amazing what one little flavour packet can do to improve your disposition in life! Okay, so the noodles probably aren’t that good for you, but they’re cheap and effective in quashing those hunger pains. Research has come along that says these noodles will lead to heart attacks and diabetes. It might be worth it!

Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s funny that a push was made through the new millennium to add more chicken, vegetables, and noodles to this classic soup, which works quite well as a cold and flu remedy. It has been my experience that people are mostly in it for the broth anyway, but if you prefer your soup to be loaded with other ingredients – let’s call them flavour enhancers – then that’s cool with the Sip Advisor.

chicken noodle soup

Pool/Hot Tub

Growing up with a backyard pool was amazing. I always wished I could have a hot tub, though, as that would be the best way to get Mrs. Sip in her bikini during the winter months! For other outdoor water fun, you could also throw together a classic Slip N’ Slide or load up a Super Soaker and get a little trigger happy!

Chia Pet

Cha-cha-cha Chia… with that innocent little jingle, the world was introduced to these potted plants. All you had to do was spread some seed (sounds dirty, eh) around the animal body, add water and before you knew it, you had a plant of your very own. Later, Chia Pets capitalized on popular characters, such as Scooby Doo and Garfield. There’s even a Barack Obama variation.

Theme Park Ride

Is there anything better than an amusement park ride that splashes down into a range of water… unless it’s the middle of winter and getting soaked is the last thing on your mind? During hot, humid days, though, these attractions can be a godsend. Some of my favourite water rides are Disney’s Splash Mountain and Grizzly River Rapids, Universal’s Jurassic Park, and Knott’s Perilous Plunge.

Flavour Revolution: Fall at Dusk

  • 1 oz Patron XO Café Liqueur
  • 1 oz Elderflower Liqueur
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Dash of Basil Syrup
  • Top with Soda Water
  • Garnish with a Pineapple Wedge

I have to disclose that I am in no way a fan of coffee, unless it comes in booze form. If you are, I forgive you for your sins. Testify, my little sippers!

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!

July 11 – Scorpion’s Tail

A Movie of Their Own

With the Minions (more on them later) getting their own movie, out in theatres this weekend, the Sip Advisor thought it would be a good time to look at other characters that proved so popular that they earned their own film(s). Kind of like how Mrs. Sip keeps trying to break away from me and launch her own brand… too bad for her, she’s under contract for years to come!

#5: The Scorpion King

After a brief appearance in The Mummy Returns (in one of the worst CGI effects of all-time), wrestling star The Rock launched his Hollywood career with his own film, as the titular Scorpion King. While it wasn’t going to garner any Oscar consideration, the action in this movie was great and the story pretty good, too. Three additional movies have joined the franchise, although The Rock vacated the role.

scorpions

#4: Machete

It’s funny that the ultraviolent Machete first appeared in the children’s movie franchise Spy Kids, before branching out on his own vigilante activities. Played to badass perfection by Danny Trejo (a former prison inmate before turning to acting), the Machete character has enjoyed two film installments to date, featuring massive deadly weapons, beautiful women, and a lot of creative kills.

#3: Puss in Boots

This suave little kitty stole out hearts, starting with Shrek 2, en route to his own movie and Netflix TV series. Puss in Boots may have existed since 1697, but he has never been more popular than when he sliced and purred his way through various enemies in the DreamWorks films. Voiced by Antonio Banderas, Puss is based on the classic character Zorro, another role tackled by Banderas.

puss in boots

#2: Inspector Jacques Clouseau

This bumbling detective character is a favourite of the Sip Family, as is star Peter Sellers. Just a side character in the first film of the franchise, The Pink Panther, Sellers stole the show away from lead David Niven and never looked back. As Clouseau, a number of additional movies were made under the Pink Panther banner, up until Sellers died in 1980, at the age of only 54.

#1: The Minions

I love these little yellow guys, despite the fact I can’t understand most of what they say. The trailer for this movie is pure gold, with the Minions switching from one evildoer to another, after accidentally killing their masters throughout the ages, including an Egyptian pharaoh, Dracula, Napoleon, and others.  I can’t wait to check out the movie and I know I’m not alone in that desire!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Scorpion’s Tail

  • 0.5 oz Coconut Rum
  • 0.5 oz Banana Liqueur
  • Top with Cranberry Juice
  • Splash of Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish with a Pineapple Wedge

Honourable mentions include Jay and Silent Bob, the Penguins of Madagascar, and Aldous Snow (Get Him to the Greek). I wasn’t sure how to handle comic characters, such as Wolverine and Elektra, as they are their own entities, so I’ll leave them in this section. Hate if you want, but let’s all just relax and have a drink!