September 12 – Life Flight

Frenzied Flights

As Mrs. Sip and I prepare for a 36-hour flight itinerary from Vancouver, Canada to Livingstone, Zambia, I am reminded of the many plane rides from hell that have entertained us over the years. Hopefully the two of us won’t have to deal with any convicts, terrorists, or venomous snakes, among other obstacles, and the journey is nothing but smooth sailings. These folks weren’t so lucky!

#5: Airplane!

Food on flights is pretty awful a majority of the time and mass food poisoning is only one of the many mishaps the passengers of Flight #209 had to deal with. Even their pilot was stricken by the illness. Personally, I’m still hesitant to touch airline meals after getting sick following our flight from Morocco to London last year and it’s not like I ever craved the barely-passable-as-food substances anyway.

airplane-boop

#4: Snakes on a Plane

While I’m fascinated by snakes, I’m also terrified of the creatures. If I was aboard a flight where dozens of the poisonous reptiles were unleashed (and stimulated to attack), the Sip Advisor would be hysterical and yes, there would be just as much cursing coming from my mouth as Samuel L. Jackson’s. You know, just minus the heroic courage and quotable punchlines!

#3: Con Air

As if snakes weren’t bad enough, imagine a plane full of violent criminals. That’s certainly not pleasant, but on the upside, you’re the one wrongly-convicted dude amongst them and you’ve served your time and just want to get home to your woman and baby girl. Of course, things don’t go according to plan and not even the worst southern accent in the history of film will help you!

first-class-passengers

#2: Air Force One

The concept of terrorists aboard an airliner became all too real, thanks to the 9/11 attacks. Back in 1997, though, it was largely Hollywood action fodder. So, Indiana Jones… er, I mean President James Marshall (played by Harrison Ford), finds himself aboard the Commander-in-Chief’s private plane, except he’s not alone. He’s joined by members of a Russian terrorist group and they’re looking for a bargaining chip.

#1: Twilight Zone

One of the worst aspects of air travel is your fellow passengers. They can be rude, smelly, anxious, obnoxious, and inconsiderate. I’ve even been on a few flights where passengers have nearly come to blows. What would be even worse, would be a passenger complaining about a monster being on the wing of your plane… especially if you’re trying to grab a little shuteye. The crazy part is the guy was actually right – dun dun dun!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Life Flight

It should also be noted that Launchpad McQuack of DuckTales and Darkwing Duck fame has one of the worst pilot records in history. Sure, once he’s up in the air, he’s a deft pilot. Problem is, he’s never met a landing that he liked, making for a white-knuckle ride every time!

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!

May 31 – False Start

Legendary Leagues

Most leagues fail within their first year of operation. If they survive long enough to hand out their inaugural championship, then they usually face other elements of strife, such as low attendance, trouble landing a TV broadcasting deal, and teams folding or relocating. The waters are rough, but if a leagues treads long enough, it just may endure. Here are the top 5 defunct sports leagues and their intriguing stories:

#5: X Football League

Because the NFL just wasn’t fun enough, along came the XFL from World Wrestling Entertainment mogul Vince McMahon. Ironically, while most believe the ‘X’ stood for eXtreme, this is not actually the case and the ‘X’ was never defined. In partnership with NBC, the league only lasted one season. With a few rule changes that were meant to spice up pro football, the eight-team league was dogged by the stigma attached to professional wrestling and what many thought was an inferior quality of play. Ratings were initially strong, but dropped in half from week one to week two and continued to decline over the course of the year. The XFL fizzled out following the season-ending Million Dollar Game and closed up shop on May 10, 2001. Both McMahon and NBC reportedly lost $35 million each in the joint venture.

XFL

#4: SlamBall

A sport with trampolines and full body contact… sounds like a recipe for success to the Sip Advisor and the one time in my life I was mildly interested in the sport of basketball. When TNN (now Spike TV) was making strides to change its image from a country music station to a network geared towards male viewers, one of their early experiments was SlamBall. Unfortunately, the league only ran seasons in 2002, 2003 and 2008, but did hold an international tournament in 2012, in China. Created by Mason Gordon, SlamBall grew from six to eight teams for the 2003 season, but a disagreement between Gordon and Warner Bros. ended with the league being dissolved. The 2008 season returned to a six-team format and the winning coach was Samuel L. Jackson… er, I mean Coach (Ken) Carter.

#3: Roller Hockey International

The early 90’s were a wonderful time and part of that amazing period was the advent and popularity of rollerblades. So, along comes the RHI, hoping to capitalize on that fad. Games were even broadcast on ESPN2 during the early years, showing the potential popularity the sport could have harnessed. The high-scoring (RHI averaged 16.7 goals per game, compared to the NHL’s seven at the time) league played from 1993-97 and also in 1999. Played 4-on-4, a number of NHL alum also strapped on the blades, including Hall of Famer Bryan Trottier. Unfortunately, a planned Super Nintendo video game never materialized, although that fact probably saved me hours in front of the TV and instead, I was outside playing roller hockey! RHI folded operations for good in 2001, despite some of the best team names ever seen in sport.

RHI SNES

Sadly, it never came to be!

#2: United States Football League

Looking to compete with the NFL and offer fans an alternative to fill their growing football needs, the USFL may not have succeeded, but many of the innovations they brought to the game, as well as markets they used for franchises, would eventually be adopted by the NFL juggernaut. Backed by Donald Trump and others with deep pockets, the league produced a number of stars who also enjoyed success in the NFL, as well as two future wrestling World Champions in Lex Luger and Ron Simmons. The crushing blow to the USFL came when they filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, claiming it had established a monopoly. Despite expecting a substantial windfall, the USFL was awarded $1 (that’s not a typo). Heavily in debt, the league ceased operations. The ESPN’s 30-for-30 documentary Who Killed the USFL? examines the league’s brief existence.

#1: World Hockey Association

Launching in 1972 with 12 teams, the WHA made an immediate big splash with the signing of NHL star Bobby Hull to a 10-year, $2.7 million contract. In all, 67 players jumped ship from the NHL to the WHA for the inaugural season. Sadly, the league was plagued with difficulties, including financial struggles, arena issues, teams relocating, and franchises folding. Four WHA franchises still exist in today’s NHL: the Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets (moved to Phoenix), Quebec Nordiques (moved to Colorado), and Hartford Whalers (moved to Carolina). The league’s legacy also lives on via European stars coming to North America, higher salaries, and a lower draft age. For an in-depth look at the WHA’s seven tumultuous seasons, check out Ed Willes book, The Rebel League: The Short and Unruly Life of the World Hockey Association.

Super Saturday Shot Day: False Start

False Start Shot

  • 0.4 oz Cider
  • 0.4 oz Bourbon
  • 0.4 oz Brandy
  • Splash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with an Apple Slice

Honourable mentions include the American Basketball Association, which was loosely spoofed in the Will Ferrell film Semi-Pro, and the Arena Football League, which cancelled their 2009 season, but has since been resurrected under new ownership. Which defunct sports league do you miss?

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
This shooter went down very easy and was fun thanks to the bubbles of the Cider. The Bourbon and Brandy flavours do play a role, but not too aggressively. That makes for a couple good Cider recipes for me in the last little while and I might be experiencing a change of heart as far as the beverage goes!

December 28 – Broken Down Golf Cart

Surviving the Season

There are a number of things you just can’t do during the winter. Golf, for example, is pretty hard to play and enjoy if you live anywhere that experiences snow storms or other inclement weather. I’ve searched around for advice on how to beat the winter blues (not that I’m necessarily down myself) and while I agree with some suggestions, others have me perplexed and even angry. Here are some of those recommendations:

Relax/Catch up on Sleep

Mrs. Sip tends to burn the candle at both ends year round, but I feel run down the most at Christmas. With all the social gatherings on top of the usual pattern of work and activities, it can all be quite exhausting. Add to that the whole Christmas shopping mess and you’re in for a rough holiday ride. It’s also a time to be thoroughly enjoyed, so hibernating through the cold stretch isn’t desirable either. Find a perfect balance between rest and play and you’ll do fine.

Hibernation

Don’t Binge Drink

You little sippers know even before I launch into an obscenity-laced tirade that I’m not going to agree with this notion. I think the best part of trying to cope with winter is getting blitzed in your wonderfully warm abode while watching ancient episodes of Family Matters and Full House and longing for a simpler time in life. If you want to binge drink, by all means, go for it… and have a grand ol’ time while doing so.

Embrace the Season

I largely believe in celebrating whichever time of year you’re currently living through. Winter is no different. The season provides ample opportunity to do things you can’t most of the rest of the year, like ski, snowboard, ice skate, have snowball fights, build a snowman and so on. You should also treasure the time provided to be with family and friends over the holidays because you never really know how much of it you’ll have.

Treat Yourself

I love on Parks and Recreation how Tom and Donna celebrate ‘Treat Yo Self Day’ and apparently I’m not alone. The official day of this amazing holiday, as per its own Facebook page is Oct. 13. How you decide to Treat Yo Self is entirely up to you. It’s also a good idea to treat someone else really well and your efforts may come back as rewards in the future, doubling your positive results.

Exercise/Healthy Diet

I’m totally down with the exercise part, but the healthy diet doesn’t jive. Christmas is all about the cookies, chocolate, and other treats. I subscribe to the theory of the ‘Guy-et’ where as I work out for the sole purpose of balancing out all the bad habits I have. If you do it well enough, you’ll even begin seeing gains, but the point of the program is to at least hold off any losses.

Find Some Sun

Whether this is achieved through travel or something as simple as hitting the tanning salon, you have to find a way that works for you to warm up and get some vitamin-D coursing through your veins. Most years, Mrs. Sip and I seem to be able to get away to a warmer climate during the winter and I wholeheartedly advise others to do the same. It’s good to bring the swimsuit and sunglasses out in December and January.

Improve Yourself

Remember those resolutions you laid out at the start of the year? With only days or weeks left on the calendar, it might be time to finally cross off some of your tasks. While Mrs. Sip and I sit down each January 1st and discuss our goals for the year, the only one I maintain is the one Samuel L. Jackson once outlined as guest host of Saturday Night Live: “Continue to kick ass!”

Drink #362: Broken Down Golf Cart

Broken Down Golf Cart Shooter

  • 0.25 oz Vodka (I used Lychee)
  • 0.25 oz Melon Liqueur
  • 0.25 oz Amaretto
  • 0.25 oz Cranberry Juice
  • Garnish with Candies

Do you have any other suggestions for surviving winter? Please share for all the little sippers out there that might be struggling through the season!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
The Lychee Vodka made this shooter a little more interesting than it might have been normally. It worked well with all the other ingredients and I still can’t really describe the liquors complex taste. You can’t really go wrong with Melon Liqueur, Amaretto, and Cranberry Juice, so the Vodka was simply the icing on the cake!