September 6 – ABC

A Good Read

With school coming back into session for many little sippers out there (although not here in B.C., where it looks like we might have the makings of a long teacher’s strike), it might be time to snatch some good reading material. While I would never classify myself as an avid reader, there have been some books I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. Mrs. Sip would love to see me sit down more often with a book, but TV’s warm loving embrace is just too much to break. Here are my favourite books/series throughout life:

#5: Goosebumps Series by R.L. Stein

One of the only things I enjoyed about elementary school (save for gym, recess, and spelling tests… what can I say, I was born to write) was the monthly Scholastic book catalogue that came out, providing me an opportunity to grow my Goosebumps collection, which sits to this day in a drawer at Ma and Pa Sip’s home. I still fondly remember some of these stories, such as Attack of the Mutants, A Night in Terror Tower, and The Phantom of the Auditorium. The covers on these novels alone were enough to chill your blood and get you pumped for your next classroom quiet time. There were 62 releases in the original series and a TV show followed, but when it came to screen screams, I was more of an Are You Afraid of the Dark fan.

goosebumps report

#4: The Rebel League: World Hockey Association by Ed Willes

The World Hockey Association had a brief life, but it changed the landscape of professional hockey and in some circumstances, the entire sports world. Journalist Ed Willes takes the reader through the league’s tumultuous existence from conception to absorption by the NHL, right through a mess of teams going out of business or being relocated. The dichotomy of the league, with its highly-skilled players meshing with fight-filled contests, is just one aspect of a mesmerizing story. Willes captures all the sordid tales and behind-the-scenes dealings that made the WHA such a fascinating flash in the pan. Largely based on this book, I was able to rank the WHA #1 on my list of top defunct sports leagues. I only wish I had been able to experience some of the action in-person.

#3: Get Fuzzy Treasuries by Darby Conley

I never really got into comic books as a youngster, fancying my superheroes on the screen, as opposed to in my hands (save for some of the sexy female heroines). That said, I do prefer to look at brightly coloured pictures, rather than printed words, and that can come in the form of some lighter entertainment. My hands down favourite daily funny is Get Fuzzy, which focuses on the interactions of human Rob Wilco with his pets/roommates Bucky Katt and Satchel Pooch. Bucky is a little terror, who is constantly trying to run (scratch that, ruin) the household, while Satchel is a sweet and gentle pup, happy to have a chew toy and a quiet place to nap. Rob just gets stuck in the middle, just like your typical real world pet owner.

GF

#2: Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers by Bathroom Readers’ Institute

I really enjoy learning unknown tidbits about subjects I’m interested in and this series is perfect for exactly that. Thanks to these books, I’m an integral member of any trivia team I’m invited to join (aside from my wonderful personality!) and the lesser known facts my brain is able to absorb have garnered me a fair bit of free booze! The best thing about Bathroom Readers is that you can read one piece or a selection of articles… I guess it depends on how long you’ll be in the bathroom. I personally prefer to not have a book in my hands while I’m on the pot, but admittedly, that is what these releases were meant for. My favourites from the Uncle John library include TV, Movies, and Hockey.

#1: Have a Nice Day by Mick Foley

While my favourite books are sports-related, Mick Foley’s wrestling autobiography is a no-brainer to top this list. And I’m not alone in my fondness for this story. Books released by wrestlers exploded after the success of Mick Foley’s first attempt and the string of publications is going strong to this day. In Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, Foley guides us through the earliest days of his life and career with a wit and warmth that makes it extremely hard to put the book down… even for a non-reader such as myself. I have yet to check out Foley’s other two non-fiction releases, but have heard good things about both and should really take the time to pick them up.

Super Saturday Shot Day: ABC

ABC Shot

  • 0.5 oz Amaretto
  • 0.5 oz Bailey’s Irish Crème
  • 0.5 oz Cognac
  • Garnish with Orange Wedge

Given my penchant for wrestling reads, I would also recommend autobiographies by Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, and Chris Jericho, as well as the book WrestleCrap: The Very Worst of Pro Wrestling. There are a number of others I would endorse, but it’s time to get back to the library and go silent!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
You layer the ingredients in A-B-C order and that allowed me to finally use the layering tool I received a few months back. It worked out really well and looks great, am I right!? The shot tasted fantastic, especially when the Irish Crème kicked in following the two liquors, which move a little quicker. Too bad I couldn’t think of a D-garnish to continue the ABC theme.

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April 5 – Body Slammer

Showcase of the Immortals

WWE WrestleMania has featured countless wrestlers, as well as a host of celebrities in its 30-year history. While the glitz and glamour make WrestleMania the company’s biggest show of the year, it’s the performances of the grapplers that are remembered the most by fans all around the world. Here are the top five performers in WrestleMania’s illustrious history:

#5: Triple H

Given his WrestleMania debut, it was hard to imagine that Triple H (or Hunter Hearst Helmsley as he was known back in 1996) would ever make a list of this type. Then, he was defeated in mere minutes by a returning Ultimate Warrior. Nearly two decades later, Triple H finds himself married to the boss’ daughter and holding an Executive Vice President role within WWE. Triple H became a top draw for the company in 1999 and rode his success to numerous WrestleMania main events, usually defending the World Championship. To this day, he stills appears on the annual card, in one of the prime spots, despite his semi-retirement.

#4: Bret Hart

If you wanted to throw out a lame analogy, you could say that ‘The Hitman’ was the Hart and soul of WrestleMania, especially in its second decade of existence. The Canadian grappler wrestled at each event from 1986-97 and also returned for a one-time battle against WWE owner Vince McMahon at WrestleMania XXVI. During his prime years, Hart’s performances often stole the show, including wrestling two matches at the 10th event, defending the World Title in a 60-minute Iron Man match at the 12th show, and his epic brawl with Steve Austin at the 13th rendition.

#3: Hulk Hogan

The Hulkster participated or played some role in the WrestleMania main event for the show’s first nine broadcasts. He returned to WWE in 2002 and battled The Rock at WrestleMania XVIII, in a confrontation between two of the sport’s greatest icons. The next year, Hogan gained some long-simmering revenge over boss Vince McMahon – the two men who can be most credited with the success of the WrestleMania concept. At six different WrestleMania events, Hogan either defended the World Title or challenged for it. For WrestleMania XXX, Hogan returned from five years away from WWE to host the spectacle.

#2: Shawn Michaels

Dubbed ‘Mr. WrestleMania’, Shawn Michaels always seems to shine the brightest come the big event. While Michaels first WrestleMania appearance was all the way back in 1989, it wasn’t until 1994 when he became a top-level player with his hightlight reel ladder match versus Razor Ramon. Despite losing the contest, the ‘Showstopper’s’ career was launched and two years later, he captured the World Championship at WrestleMania XII. After a four-year hiatus from the ring, Michaels returned to put on a number of classic, show-stealing performances, working with a new generation of stars, like Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, and John Cena.

#1: The Undertaker

Riding a winning streak of 21-0 at the annual event, the Undertaker continues to thrill audiences nearly a quarter of a decade after he debuted. He has only missed two of the last 23 WrestleMania cards and during that time, has battled every monster possible at WWE’s biggest show of the year, including Giant Gonzales, King Kong Bundy, Sycho Sid, and Kane. He’s also defeated some of the industry’s top names as he’s piled up the wins. Legends like Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kevin Nash, Jake Roberts, Jimmy Snuka, and others have all fallen to ‘The Deadman’. With each passing year, the streak has become a more integral part of the WrestleMania hype.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Body Slammer

Apr 5

The ‘Showcase of the Immortals’, as they call it, used to be a pretty big deal for the Sip Advisor. While I don’t follow wrestling as religiously as I once did, it is still on my bucket list to one day attend a WrestleMania show. Perhaps The Sip Advisor will grow to the point where I’m even offered a spot on the show and can get my greedy paws on a couple of the WWE Divas!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This shot was really good and I certainly didn’t feel like I’d just been body slammed. I used Fireball Whiskey to go along with the Goldschlager and that just heightened the cinnamon flavour. I used my cowboy boot shot glass, as it closely resembled a wrestling boot. Thankfully, I still had some mini wrestling figures lying around at Ma and Pa Sip’s house to go along with my diorama and here we see ol’ Stone Cold Steve Austin delivering his trademark stunner to Kane, while The Undertaker prepares to chokeslam The Rock straight to hell!

July 4 – Firework Fizz

Home of the Brave

Today, we salute our neighbours to the south (unless you’re from the UK… why would you salute the French!? Oh okay, they do make a fine guillotine…article to come on July 14th!) as they celebrate their Independence Day (no, not the movie, you knucklehead). Here are the pearls of wisdom I learned about American patriotism from watching years of professional wrestling, where many of life’s great lessons can be learned!

#1) You want to be a good guy? Wear the red, white and blue.

A countless number of wrestlers, including Lex Luger, ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan, the Patriot, and Hulk Hogan (as his Mr. America character), have donned the American colours as part of their wardrobe. I have to ask, though, is it really being patriotic to have the American flag cradling your junk? Regardless of whether this is actually more damaging or not to the country’s shades, it’s an instant identifier that you are, in fact, to be cheered.

Torrie-Wilson

I’m okay with this kind of patriotism!

#2) The flag must never be desecrated.

With the jury still out on the crotch cover issue, one thing is for sure: the American flag is off limits. You can’t even break the pole holding the flag in half or your life is in serious jeopardy. If you lay the flag over a fallen foe, that is practically sacrilegious. Wrestlers have threatened to stage a live burning of the stars and stripes, only to be attacked en masse. Other flags can be defiled without issue, such as when Shawn Michaels stuffed the Canadian maple leaf up his nose during the early D-Generation X days.

#3) Every foreigner is a bad guy.

Well, we all knew this! The easiest way to draw heat onto a heel in wrestling is to make him a foreigner. They don’t even have to despise the good ol’ U.S. of A. at first, as long as they eventually get there. Even if the foreign character is simply being as patriotic towards their own country as any American hero would be towards his nation, the crowd will turn on them in a heartbeat. The ironic thing is that many of the greatest foreign heels were actually played by Americans. Nelson Simpson from Minnesota portrayed Nikita Koloff, who marched to the ring wearing the U.S.S.R. colours and competed in Russian Chain matches. The dastardly Yokozuna, a Japanese sumo wrestler, was depicted by Samoan-American Rodney Anoa’i. And the list goes on and on!

yokozuna

#4) If that foreigner converts, they become lovable.

When Nikita Koloff joined forces with longtime foe, ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes, he became one of the company’s most popular stars in an instant. Similarly, as the Berlin Wall fell to the ground and the Cold War ended, Nikolai Volkoff went from U.S.S.R. anthem singing baddie to a man who embraced the coming together of the two rival countries, even wearing a jacket that featured both nation’s flags.

#5) Turncoats are worse than foreign bad guys.

When Sgt. Slaughter began empathizing with Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi side of the Gulf War, he was hated so much that WrestleMania VII had to be moved from the outdoor Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to the indoor L.A. Sports Arena because of security worries, including death threats against the former G.I. Joe character (although most insiders contend that poor ticket sales were really to blame). Other Benedict Arnold’s, if you will, include staunch American flag waver Jim Duggan, who joined a Team Canada faction for a time and looked out of place flapping the Canadian maple leaf and wearing a red and white tracksuit, sans the blue.

#6) Canadians are anti-American.

It has been done countless times in wrestling, where a group of Canadians have banded together to take on the entire and overwhelming American roster. A Team Canada unit existed in both WCW and TNA, while WWE hosted the pro-Canadian Hart Foundation and the Un-Americans. While I’m all for Canadian patriotism myself, it is usually only seen in the realm of hockey. I have to give credit to the Canadian mat stars that align together in the name of our country… sadly, they always wind up on the losing end of things.

Lance Storm

#7) Politics makes strange bedfellows.

When there aren’t enough members of one nationality challenging an American troupe, odd groupings can result. At the 1993 Survivor Series, the team of Japanese monster Yokozuna, Finnish strongman Ludvig Borga, and Canadian tag team The Quebecers, did battle with the All-Americans, putting to end a number of feuds that had lasted throughout the year.

#8) The “U-S-A, U-S-A” chant is devastating to foreigners.

This seems to be a foreign heel’s kryptonite. They can take ample amounts of physical punishment from their opponent, but if the crowd revs up and starts chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A” it sends the bad guy into a panicked rage, searching for relief by manically covering his ears, violently shaking his head, and searching for all ways to relieve the stress of being chanted at. Ironically, I’ve even heard the U-S-A chant directed at a bad guy while he was facing a Canadian grappler.

#9) Forgive and forget.

I have to give credit to the Americans, when a wrestler wants to make amends for his evil deeds and return to his patriotic roots, he is accepted back into the fold without hesitation. For example, after his Iraqi sympathizer stint, Sgt. Slaughter was featured in a series of vignettes, demanding his country back. Similarly, turncoat Jim Duggan has gone back to his flag waving ways and shouting “U-S-A,” sending crowds into a frenzy of patriotism, as they eat up the decades old act, once again.

Drink #185: Firework Fizz

Firework Fizz Drink Recipe

  • Muddled Peeled Ginger and Blackberries
  • 1.5 oz Vodka (I used Bols, infused with grape powder)
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • Top with Ginger Ale
  • Garnish with Ginger-Wrapped Blackberry

The most patriotic Americans seem to be wrestlers. There was even a wrestler named The Patriot, who wore an American flag-themed mask and tights, wrestled as part of a tag team dubbed Stars and Strpes, and incorporated finishing maneuvers like the Uncle Slam and Patriot Missile. Only in the world of wrestling!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
The Muddled Ginger is certainly an interesting flavour to have in a cocktail. The blend of Ginger and Blackberries is good and Ginger Ale has still yet to fail me. The original recipe calls for Grape Vodka, but personally I have been unable to find it in any of the liqour stores in Canada. Despite this fault, the Grape Powder Infused Vodka worked pretty well, if I don’t say so myself!