September 26 – Capital Punishment

Special Scribes

As we continue to celebrate the gloriousness that is the Sip Advisor (with my recent birthday and all), today we will look at the greatest writers out there in the land of fiction. Write-on my brothers and sisters!

#5: Jack Torrance – The Shining

It seemed like a good idea for writer Jack Torrance to take a job as a caretaker, looking after the massive Overlook Hotel estate in the Colorado mountains over the winter off-season… especially when he could use the solitude to get down to work. Only problem is the silence and seclusion turned an already damaged man into a complete psychopath, set on hunting down his own wife and son. Remember, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!”

jack torrance

#4: Brian Griffin – Family Guy

This often pretentious dog considers himself a future legendary scribe, except for the fact that for the longest time, he only talked about writing the great American novel, never sitting down to actually pen it. When he finally does, Faster Than the Speed of Love, is shredded by critics. His follow-up self-help title Wish It, Want It, Do It becomes a best seller, but the fame and fortune for Brian is fleeting, as he lets it all go to his head and alienates those that love him.

#3: Paul Sheldon – Misery

I would never expect my work to get me into trouble (unless I give a liquor company a bad review and they boycott serving me!), but that’s exactly what happens to Paul Sheldon, after he decides to end his popular series of romance novels. He just so happens to also be in the custody of his ‘number one fan’ Annie Wilkes, when this conclusion is published and that leads to a whirlwind of pain, instead of being nursed back to health by the former medical professional.

misery hammer

#2: Jessica Fletcher – Murder, She Wrote

It’s pretty easy to get ideas for your best-selling mystery novels when real-life murders seem to follow you around like you’re death personified. Jessica Fletcher may reside in the sleepy, rural town of Cabot Cove (where there’s an out-of-proportion murder rate), but thanks to her success as an author, she often travels the world and… you guessed it, comes across even more brutality. At least she’s always able to solve the crime, outwitting bumbling police officers everywhere.

#1: Dr. Watson – Sherlock Holmes

Along with being a sidekick and companion, Dr. John Watson also took it upon himself to record the extensive case files of Sherlock Holmes. As a fan of a good mystery, I wonder where we would be without the writings of Dr. Watson (who was originally to be named ‘Ormond Sacker’). Dr. Watson becomes a biographer of sorts for Holmes, largely because he can’t stand others taking and receiving credit for the solving of high-profile crimes.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Capital Punishment

  • Rim glass with Crushed Nuts
  • 0.5 oz Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz Amaretto

Some honourable mentions go to poets Mikey Blumberg (Recess) and Diane Chambers (Cheers), journalists Paul Hennessy (8 Simple Rules) and Ray Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond), crime novelist Richard Castle (Castle), columnist Carrie Bradshaw (Sex and the City), and TV writer Rob Petrie (Dick Van Dyke Show). May the words flow freely from your minds!

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May 16 – Astro Pop

Diversity Dominance

This coming Thursday (May 21) marks World Day for Cultural Diversity and I figured what better occasion to look at some of the most diverse groups ever assembled. I decided not to include any superhero collections, as they are naturally made up of very diverse individuals, from all walks of life. On with the list:

#5: Ghostwriter

This mystery solving team was made up of kids from various walks of life and even a ghost. Together, they used their puzzle solving skills to put the kibosh on evildoers… until funding for the public broadcast series ran dry. The origin story for Ghostwriter, of being a murdered Civil War slave, will make you think differently about your childhood. It also blows my mind that Samuel L. Jackson was once a character on this children’s show, given his propensity for dropping copious amounts of F-bombs in his films.

samuel-l-jackson

#4: Recess

With the Recess crew, you have the everyman leader (T.J.), star athlete (Vince), science nerd (Gretchen), tough as nails tomboy (Spinelli), gentle giant (Mikey), and army brat (Gus). With such a multi-talented group, their success and survival through games of All the Balls and issues with the playground’s elite ruling class, is completely understandable. My crew during elementary school was nothing like this, consisting of a few good-for-nothing youngsters trying to figure the world out.

#3: Guardians of the Galaxy

Let’s see, we had one genetically-modified raccoon, a basically mute tree, a warrior beast, an alien assassin… and some white guy with an awesome mixed tape! Although their coming together was pretty rocky – most of them wanted to harm, steal from, or kill one of the others – they eventually gelled into a squad capable of saving the universe. Who knows where their next adventure will take them, but it will surely showcase the group’s diverse skillset, to a wonderful soundtrack.

Samsung Guardians Galaxy

#2: Power Rangers

All the colours of the rainbow – physically and racially – make up this team of world defenders. With the original line-up, you had teens decked out in red, blue, black, yellow, and pink suits (with green soon to come). The squad was made up of a jock, a nerd, a party guy, an environmentalist, and a cheerleader. Racially, you had a few Caucasians, an African-American, and an Asian. Put them all together, like when their Zords combined to make the powerful Megazord and you have one formidable team.

#1: Captain Planet

The Planeteers literally came for across the globe, united by their passion for eliminating pollution, quelling natural disasters, and capturing eco-criminals.The team was made up of Gi (from Asia), Kwame (from Africa), Linka (from Europe), Ma-Ti (from South America), and Wheeler (from North America). The rogues gallery for this series was just as diverse (including some awesome names), with villains such as Hoggish Greedly, Verminous Skumm, Duke Nukem, Looten Plunder, and Sly Sludge.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Astro Pop

  • 0.25 oz Midori
  • 0.25 oz Blue Curacao
  • 0.25 oz Goldschlager
  • 0.25 oz Cinnamon Schnapps
  • 0.25 oz Rumple Minze
  • 0.25 oz Jagermeister

Some honourable mentions include the crews of Star Trek, Undergrads, Big Hero 6, Community, Saved by the Bell, and The Breakfast Club. Let’s keep coming together as people and being good to one another… saving the universe, one day at a time!

November 22 – Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Reunification

Earlier this year, the online world became abuzz, when a poster was released, teasing a Friends reunion for this Thanksgiving. It turned out to all be a hoax, but that got me thinking of shows where I’d love to see a reunion episode or some other gathering of the cast/characters, injecting new life into the stories many of us grew up on. Here is the cream of the crop of those I’d love to see one more time!

#5: Recess

Perhaps in a similar vein to All Grown Up, the Rugrats re-launch, it would be great to find out whatever happened to the Recess kids – T.J. Detweiler, Vince LaSalle, Ashley Spinelli, Gretchen Grundler, Mikey Blumberg, and Gus Griswald – and where they lives led after their fourth grade adventures at Third Street Elementary School. Did any of the kids ever hook-up (my bet’s on Mikey and Gus!)? The new story could be set in any time period, whether it be high school, college, adulthood, old age, etc. If a more adult network took the reins of the show, instead of Disney, we might get some very interesting and scandalous (thank you The Ashley’s) stories!

Recess Grown Up

#4: That 70’s Show

When we last left Point Place, Wisconsin, the 1970’s rolled over into a new decade. Therefore, the most pressing question to be answered, is how did the gang find life in the 80’s? Hell, for that matter, how did their 90’s and 2000’s go? I guess you can’t go too far ahead or you might lose the participation of the parents, Red, Kitty, and Bob, which would be too bad. I’d love to find out if Eric and Donna finally managed to stay together. What about Hyde, Kelso, Fez, and Jackie? What became of Kelso’s child? Was he as dumb as dear ol’ dad!? These are the kinds of questions that keep the Sip Advisor up at night… it’s tough being me!

#3: Full House

The Tanner clan was sent off into the television abyss with the show’s typical nice, neat wrap up. Since then, a lot has changed for the cast and would make for some crazy storylines, should there ever be a reunion episode. Would they incorporate Jodie Sweeten’s real-life meth addiction into the storyline ala the classic “On a very special episode…” trope. How would they handle Bob Saget’s departure from the squeaky clean image that made him neat freak single father Danny Tanner, as well as host of America’s Funniest Home Videos. And you just know there’s some juicy yarns out there, should the Olsen twins elect to participate.

Full House Reunion

#2: Cheers

There was the odd mini-reunion on the Cheers spinoff, Frasier (which would also be a decent series for a reunion), but I’d love to see everyone all together again at the classic bar set, enjoying a mug of fine brew and reconnecting. With Cheers being such an ensemble cast, many of which have gone on to thriving careers, it may be hard to get them all back onto the same page, but at least you know Norm Peterson and Cliff Clavin would be present, as their butts have been stapled to those bar stools since the series finale in 1993. You’d have to imagine that at least one of the bar regulars would now be suffering from cirrhosis, but it should make for good viewing!

#1: Saved by the Bell

As a child of the 80’s and early 90’s, you could never say that you didn’t have at least some fondness for this show. While we got a decent finale with the wedding in Vegas movie, a whole generation thirsts for more. Did Zack and Kelly survive to rigors of getting married young? How about the kids that surely came along (I mean, who wouldn’t want to tap the former Miss Kapowski!?). If they did relaunch this series, they could do something similar to what Boy Meets World did, where they brought back Cory and Topanga as parents to a teenage girl. Jimmy Fallon (among others) tried to get the whole crew back together, but all efforts have failed thus far.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Shot

  • 0.5 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • 0.5 oz Pineapple Juice
  • Splash of Grenadine
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Sadly, the TV reunion just isn’t done as much anymore, compared to the past where shows like Gilligan’s Island, The Andy Griffith Show, and even Growing Pains all got together again to update viewers on the status of their favourite characters. And that’s all too bad, as there are so many series I’d love to see a follow-up from. Honourable mentions go to basically any TGIF show and let’s throw Beavis and Butt-head in there, as well, just to irritate Mrs. Sip!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2.5 Sips out of 5):
I chose this shot to go with this article because it (the cake) seemed like the kind of thing that might be served at an actual family reunion. As you can see by the measurements, there’s very little booze in this shooter, so you’re basically just getting Pineapple Juice and Grenadine. My suggestion is to up the alcohol and have some real fun!

March 8 – Pop Quiz

Learning Curve

While I’m happy to be done with school (although it may one day pull me back, kicking and screaming), there are a number of fictional institutes of learning that I haven’t minded attending on a weekly basis. Here are the top five schools of fine learning:

#5: Bayside High School – Saved by the Bell

It seems like the inmates run the asylum at Bayside. Mr. Belding can easily be wrapped around anyone’s finger and the collection of oddball teachers seem to have more fun making friends with their pupils than actually teaching them. Need a break from the stresses of teenage life? Why not hit up The Max for a bite to eat and a respite from the classroom. Upon graduation, you’d could even follow the gang to California University for some post-secondary tutelage.

SBTB

It truly was a perfect world!

#4: Acme Looniversity – Tiny Toon Adventures

I can only imagine the sheer joy (and pain) I’d experience while being taught by my idols; Wile E. Coyote, Sylvester J. Cat, and Yosemite Sam. The course catalogue would be interesting to scan through and might include classes like “Navigating Acme Products”, “Treating Exploding Cigar Injuries” and “Dressing in Drag to Confuse Enemies”. Remember, the teaching staff’s been getting laughs since 1933!

#3: Third Street School – Recess

This school will take you back to your earliest days of learning. To a time of first friends, crushes, and recesses. Recess depicted a time in life when kids don’t have many cares and can just be kids. The only thing to keep in mind is what you’re going to do at break time. Are you going to join an intense game of All the Balls? Perhaps you’ll hit Old Rusty, the jungle gym, for a few good slides. Just pray that you’re not stuck inside on a rain day or suffering through a dreaded detention sentence.

Recess

#2: Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters

Also known as Xavier Institute for Higher Learning, the only pre-requisite you’d have to figure out before attending would be finding your super power. I don’t think fending off hangovers is a talent suitable for a mutant academy, so I’m at a loss for what I could bring to the table. Still, a staff that includes a dude that shoots lasers from his eyes, a woman that can harness the power of weather, and a couple that can read your mind, would make classes very interesting.

#1: Greendale Community College – Community

This would be a truly epic school to attend, so long as every day featured one of the educational institute’s wacky competitions or other shenanigans. From paintball wars to the floor is lava games, each day would bring many unique opportunities. The faculty is a whole other level of insanity from Dean Craig Pelton to instructors such as Señor Ben Chang. Attending Greendale would certainly make your life more exciting, even if your degree wasn’t worth much in the real world.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Pop Quiz (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Pop Quiz Shooter

  • Rim glass with Pop Rocks
  • 0.5 oz Root Beer Schnapps
  • 0.5 oz Bubble Gum Vodka
  • Splash of Lemonade

There are so many other institutions of learning that could have made this list, from Springfield Elementary (The Simpsons) to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Harry Potter) and everything in between. Mrs. Sip would probably have loved to attend Breaker High, the school aboard a world-travelling cruise ship (not to mention Ryan Gosling would be a fellow student), while I could see myself excelling at Shiroiwa Junior High School, being shipped off to outlast my classmates Battle Royale style!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
I had higher hopes for this original recipe (seven herbs and spices, of course!). It wasn’t bad, but it could have been better. When I think about it, Root Beer Schnapps and Bubble Gum Vodka have similar aftertastes and perhaps the two got lost in each other. Maybe a Bubble Gum Liqueur would have worked better than the Vodka version, but I don’t think that product exists yet.

July 6 – Bert and Ernie

All Grown Up

No matter my age, I will always love cartoons. Of course, there is a large selection of animated comedies for an adult audience (The Simpsons, South Park, Family Guy, Archer, among them), but there is also a special cross section of shows meant for children that have subtle adult themes and so can be enjoyed by young and old alike. Here are some of the best:

Fillmore

This is a very clever show that spoofs the 1980’s crime shows and movies like Miami Vice and the Lethal Weapon franchise. Instead of episodes involving drug trafficking, the case may be about tartar sauce smuggling, while stolen cars are replaced by scooter theft. Unfortunately, Fillmore’s crime solving only lasted a couple seasons and now the creator does work for The Walking Dead. Yeah, kids show to zombie apocalypse drama… that seems like a totally obvious creative jump!

Fillmore!

Recess

I watched a lot of Recess during my college years, as it had a nice timeslot around the time I was back home from classes and prepping for the odd nap. The series provided a great reminder of years gone by and the fun enjoyed during elementary school, running around with your buddies and getting up to trouble during recess and lunch breaks. I still get up to trouble on my work lunches, but without any recess, the number of sticky situations I’m involved in has drastically dropped.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I vowed to never watch any TMNT revival show. I mean, how could it ever compare to the legendary original while I was growing up? As Mrs. Sip and I lazily got ready for a day in Las Vegas (aka as Mrs. Sip refused to get out of bed until her hangover subsided), we stumbled upon a Saturday morning cartoon block and ended up half watching an episode of the newest relaunch series. It actually had a few laughs and earned a second episode opportunity (that or we were being really, um…slothful), which was also enjoyable.

TMNT2012

SpongeBob SquarePants

I’ve only seen a few episodes of this surreal series, but I can see why both kids and adults could appreciate SpongeBob SquarePants together, at significantly different levels. I don’t even think you have to be stoned (if you’re an adult, of course) to enjoy many of the themes and jokes each episode contains.

Looney Tunes

I have always been a fan of Looney Tunes, since I was a little sipper all the way up to being a Sip Advisor. With all the delicious and gratuitous cartoon violence, it’s hard to fathom that these shows have a target audience of young children. The same can be said for Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, and any other series that involves the Looney Tunes franchise characters.

Looney-tunes-logo

The Muppet Show

Puppets are pretty great and The Muppet Show has provided some of my favourite fabricated-Americans. While Kermit the Frog and the gang lure in the younger audience with slapstick comedy and heartfelt songs, there is also some real zingers flying about, especially when the likes of Statler and Waldorf get their screen time.

Sesame Street

Similar to The Muppet Show, I think the adult appeal with Sesame Street, is all about the characters. Characters we’ve all grown up watching and enjoying. I mean, you have the Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch getting laughs with their love of cookies and trash, respectively, and you also have a Big Bird and a Snuffleupagus, whatever the hell that is. Plus Bert and Ernie’s questionable relationship is groundbreaking. Speaking of the duo…

Drink #187: Bert and Ernie (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Bert and Ernie Drink Recipe

  • 0.5 oz Jagermeister
  • 0.5 oz Creme de Banane
  • 0.5 oz Orange Soda
  • Pair with a Rubber Ducky

There have been many search attempts for a Bert and Ernie shot, which have led people to this site. Since that drink doesn’t seem to exist in the liquor world, I decided to create one, so these wonderful people won’t go home unhappy any longer!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
For months I searched for a rubber ducky for this shot and on the day I finally found and bought one, I found one at Ma and Pa Sip’s place. The Creme de Banane is the first thing you smell and taste and probably the most predominant flavour, until the Jager almost seemingly hidden under the surface, hits you and gives the shot that little something extra.