June 7 – Theme Songs

Musical Interlude

On one episode of Big Bang Theory, Sheldon reveals his favourite TV theme songs to be Inspector Gadget, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Spider-Man. While these are all fine selections in their own right, it got me thinking about which TV title tracks are really the greatest. That list is as follows!

#5: Disney Afternoon

Like Sheldon, I have a great fondness for my childhood. When I discussed this article with Mrs. Sip, she was quick to point out some absolutely spectacular music I had neglected, particularly entries from the Disney block of afternoon cartoons, including DuckTales, Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, and Goof Troop. Songwriter Mark Mueller was responsible for both DuckTales and Rescue Rangers and the others hold their own as memorable bits of my youth.

#4: Good Times

This theme song really speaks to anyone out there who tries to keep a bright outlook and smile on their face despite any hardships they may be wading through. “Temporary layoffs… Good Times. Easy credit rip offs… Good Times. Scratchin’ and surviving… Good Times.” There’s an episode of Chappelle Show which sees Dave Chappelle quiz various participants about the lyrics of this song, showing its true meaning to pop culture. “Ain’t we lucky we got ’em… Good Times!”

#3: Golden Girls

Thank you for being a friend, indeed. Such an awesome show deserves an equally epic theme. You really have to admire the work of everyone who touched this project, as they made elderly women an entertaining subject. The one lyric I disagree with is the one about the biggest gift being from that friend because there’s nothing wrong with presents that come in small packages: rings, earrings, necklaces… aren’t these really the presents women want!?

#2: TGIF Shows

We’re talking about the ditties from Full House (Everywhere You Look), Family Matters (As Days Go By), and Step by Step (Second Time Around), all written and performed by Jesse Frederick. The songs can sometimes be interchangeable, as I will often be humming one and it will transition right into another family sitcom classic. If you play them for a TGIF rookie, they will often confuse them for being the start to another show and I only give that person crap for the rest of our existence knowing one another, as a result of their tragic blunder.

#1: Growing Pains

I love to get under Mrs. Sip’s skin by blasting this tune at the highest of volumes and belting out the lyrics as shrilly as my voice can get. I even tried to get it added to our wedding playlist, arguing that it was “my jam,” but apparently that doesn’t hold the weight I wish it did. The only difficulty with the song is trying to cover both the male and female portions of the duet. It’s tricky, but if done properly, you can bet your previously intimate night will be no more… trust me!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Theme Songs

Theme Songs Shot

  • 1 oz Tattoo Rum
  • Dash of Ice Cream
  • Garnish with Sprinkles

Some of my proudest geek moments have been playing TV theme song trivia quizzes on cruise ships. Nothing says nerd of the highest variety than scoring 39 out of 40 and walking away with a little trophy for your years of sitting in front of the tube effort! Honourable mentions to Night Court, the 1960’s Batman, Benny Hill, Odd Couple, Saved by the Bell, and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air… great songs I just couldn’t wedge into this post.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I used Drinkify.org to find this recipe. The site suggests which drink to pair with whatever music you’re listening to. I searched for “TV Themes” and this came up. It specified 8 oz of Rum and 8 oz of Ice Cream, which is a little insane, so I condensed the recipe down to shot form. In fact, all of the site’s measurements seem a little out of whack and in many cases, it’s suggested to just drink straight liquor, but it’s still a neat idea in principle. As for the shooter itself, it was good. I’d been saving some Captain Morgan Tattoo Rum for a while and this was the perfect recipe for it.

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Mexico – Sea of Cortez

Lucha Libre Lunacy

Wrestling and especially masked wrestlers are a huge hit in Mexico… perhaps more so than anywhere else in the world. The mask adds a dash of mystery to each character and also provides them a colourful outfit and persona. The fast-paced, high-flying in-ring style of the luchadores is mesmerizing for fans and has been captivating spectators for close to a century. Let’s take a look at some of the personalities and history of the genre:

Mask Manufacturing

Don Antonio Martinez is credited with creating some of the earliest lucha libre masks, moving to the face veneers from a successful leather boot business. As the story goes, Martinez employed a set of 17 facial measurements (a trade secret to this day) to help make the masks feel snug for the grapplers using them. Some of Mexico’s greatest wrestling stars would go on to wear a Martinez mask, taking the sport to unimaginable heights.

Lucha_libre_máscaras

The Saint

It takes some dedication to wear your wrestling mask at all times, inside and outside the ring. El Santo became one of Mexico’s cultural icons, appearing in countless movies, comic books, and other media. He only revealed his face to the world late in his life. Appearing on a talk show more than a year after his final match (at the age of 65, no less!), without warning El Santo removed his mask. One week later, the star passed away after suffering a heart attack. The grappler was buried donning his trademark silver disguise. His funeral was one of the biggest in Mexico’s history.

Legendary Lineage

Another hugely popular lucha libre fixture was Mil Mascaras. Hell, the guy even appeared on three different Mexican stamps. Mascaras competed all around the world and is considered one of the most influential wrestlers of all-time. A ban on masked wrestlers appearing at Madison Square Gardens was even lifted specifically so Mascaras could work for the then World Wrestling Federation. His legend lives on today through his nephew and current WWE superstar Alberto Del Rio. While Mascaras has never been unmasked during his lengthy career, Del Rio wrestles sans cover.

Dancing with the Demon

Blue Demon rounds out lucha libres first “Big Three” group of stars (also including El Santo and Mil Mascaras). Much like his fellow “Big Three” alums, Demon starred in numerous feature films, even leading a group of masked wrestlers on the big screen. Together they were dubbed The Champions of Justice and gave other legendary super groups such as the Justice League and Avengers a run for their money. Okay, I made that part up, but they were definitely more proficient when it came to cartwheels and somersaults!

misterioenlasbermudas

I guess the “big three” were kind of like the Rat Pack… yup, Frank, Dean and Sammy were replaced by El Santo, Mil Mascaras and Blue Demon!

For Sale

I nearly every market around Mexico, a traveler can find wrestling masks of varying quality to be purchased. The disguises include replicas for some of the biggest stars of Mexico, as well as those for competitors who have gained popularity abroad. You can even pick up the odd comic superhero façade, such as Spider-Man and Captain America.

Something to Lose

It is humiliating for a wrestler to be unmasked and therefore one of the most exciting and highly-anticipated contests in Mexico is the Mask Match (aka Luchas de Apuestas, which translates to “gambling fights”), where the loser has to reveal their face to the viewing audience. If the masked wrestler’s opponent doesn’t wear a mask, they often put their hair on the line in return. When a wrestler loses and is unmasked, it is common for his personal information to finally be recognized and published. That star is often no longer allowed to compete as that character, a further humiliation heaped on top of the original loss.

Big Time

In 1994, Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) joined forces with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) to co-promote a pay-per-view event entitled When Worlds Collide. The show launched the careers of many Mexico-based stars, including Rey Mysterio, Jr., La Parka, Eddie Guerrero, and Konnan. Thanks to this platform, the grapplers started being signed to contracts with bigger American promotions like Extreme Championship Wrestling and the aforementioned WCW.

Mexico Wrestlers

No Respect

Throughout the mid to late 1990’s, more and more wrestlers from Mexico exploded onto the scene in the U.S., exciting fans with their speed, agility, and aerial offense. Things started off pretty well for the imports, but soon turned sour as the roster became flooded with foreign talent, most of whom weren’t featured much and found themselves buried underneath the bigger American grapplers. A number of stars were stripped of their mask in matches that had little to no meaning. Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerra, and Psicosis all found themselves without their familiar covering and despite revealing themselves to fans, saw little improvement to their position in the pecking order.

Return to Glory

In 2002, pint-sized phenom Rey Mysterio (nee Jr.) debuted with the world’s largest wrestling company WWE, returning to wearing the mask that once brought him such great popularity. Bursting onto the scene by defeating some of WWE’s top stars, a renaissance of masked competitors seemed on the horizon. Sure enough, in 2006, Mysterio captured the World Heavyweight Title. No small feat (pun intended) for the 5’6” ultimate underdog!

Mexico: Sea of Cortez

Sea of Cortez Cocktail

 

  • Rim glass with Salt, Sugar and Chili Flakes
  • 1 oz Tequila
  • 0.5 oz Chipotle Spirit
  • 0.5 oz Triple Sec
  • Top with Grapefruit Soda
  • Splash of Sweet & Sour Mix
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

The luchadores comprise the Sip Advisor’s favourite style of wrestling. I just love seeing these smaller guys steal the show from the larger, hulking bodies with their crazy, high-risk action-packed contests. Perhaps it’s the cruiserweight in me or maybe it’s just the thrill of watching people fly through the air with complete disregard to their own safety. Either way, I thank them for their contributions to my entertainment.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
This recipe provided one of my first chances to use the Chipotle Spirit I picked up a couple months back at Rogue Distillery in Portland, Oregon. On that trip, myself and Ma and Pa Sip ate at Gustav’s Pub, where I found this recipe. My favourite aspect is the rim, complete with Chili Flakes, which take a margarita recipe and make it that much better. I went with Grapefruit Soda instead of Juice and may have found a new mixer to advocate for. I love my drinks that have a bit of a bite to them and this was certainly no different!

Denmark – Cloudberry Dream

Playtime Pleasures

Mrs. Sip and I recently viewed The LEGO Movie, which the Sip Advisor believes is a must-see attraction for young and old alike. It was the final piece, if you will, that cemented LEGO being a topic discussed while we visit Denmark as part of the Around the World liquor showcase. This fascinating product has a rich history and one that should be shared with all you little sippers:

Humble Beginnings

Ole Kirk Christiansen started LEGO when his carpentry business was faltering in 1932. Christiansen chose the name by combining the Danish words LEG and GODT, which means “play well” together. In Latin, LEGO means “I put together”. He used the excess lumber he had to make wooden toys, which he sold locally. The LEGO blocks we know and love today were the result of Christiansen buying the rights to Kiddicraft blocks after the inventor committed suicide. A patent for LEGO’s ‘toy building brick’ came in 1961, which improved on the Kiddicraft design and the rest is history.

Backwards Compatible

Statistically Speaking

560 billion LEGO pieces have been manufactured as of 2013 and only 18 of every million bricks come out defective. Seven LEGO sets are sold every second around the world. LEGO produces more tires than companies like Goodyear and Bridgestone. In fact, they make 381 million each year… sure they’re miniature, but that’s a lot of rubber! If this ever helps a reader with a pub trivia night, you owe me a Coke.

Across the Universe

While you can build just about anything using your imagination (porn theatre, strip club, grow-op, meth lab, etc.), LEGO collections allow kids to travel anywhere from floating through space, to sailing the seas with pirates, to battling dragons and defending castles. 13 LEGO sets have actually been brought to the International Space Station to see how the pieces react in gravity.

Good Company

While today, LEGO has licensing deals with a number of commodities (Batman, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, etc.), it all began in 1999 when the toy company partnered with Star Wars. Along with the previously mentioned sets, the likes of Santa Claus, Spider-Man, and even Steven Spielberg have been immortalized as LEGO mini figures.

lego-piece-missing

Home Sweet Home

A life-size LEGO house was built in 2009 by James May, for his Toy Stories TV series. With the help of 1,200 volunteers, the two-floor, four bedroom abode was constructed using 3.3 million bricks and also had a wooden support structure. May spent one night in the home, and ironically said he slept like a brick. The house was demolished after an agreement to have it sent to LEGOLAND fell through because of costs. The pieces were donated to charity, however.

Theme Party

Sticking with LEGOLAND, there are six LEGO theme parks around the globe, including resorts in Billund, Denmark (home of the first factory); Windsor, United Kingdom; Günzburg, Germany; San Diego, USA; Winter Haven, USA; and Nusajaya, Malaysia. There is also a chain of LEGOLAND Discovery Centres with five in the U.S., two in Germany, and one each in the U.K., Japan, and Canada (stupid Ontario gets all the cool attractions!).

Work of Art

Nathan Sawaya has gained a cult following as a block artist – wouldn’t it be considered an offshoot of cubism!? – using LEGO bricks to make renowned pieces of art. Sawaya quit his job as a lawyer (perhaps this is also in Mrs. Sip’s future!) in 2001 to dedicate his life to LEGO art and it’s worked out pretty well for him. His show ‘The Art of the Brick’ is touring museums across the United States. He’s even made a life-sized Stephen Colbert.

Stepping on Lego

Creation Theory

Speaking of using LEGO for art, starting in 2001 (that seems to be the year men around the world went nuts for the toy), Brendan Powell Smith began creating illustrations from the Bible, using LEGO. His website, The Brick Testament contains nearly 4,000 images telling more than 300 stories. Perhaps this will inspire the Sip Advisor to take up religion… no, I think I’ll pass.

Honourable Mention

LEGO was named Toy of the Century in 2000, narrowly beating out the Teddy Bear, Barbie Doll, and Action Man. The three runners up went on to form an alliance, looking to overthrow LEGO from its lofty perch through propaganda, a smear campaign, and other dirty tactics. Then, Barbie Doll and Action Man had an affair that upset Teddy Bear and caused a irreparable rift within the coalition!

Denmark: Cloudberry Dream

Cloudberry Dream Drink Recipe

  • 2 oz Cloudberry Liqueur
  • 1 oz Akvavit
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with Cranberries

I was huge into LEGO as a youngster and one of the few things I’m looking forward to as a future father is bringing home my kid’s first LEGO set… then ignoring my duties as a dad and husband, playing with children’s toys for hours on end!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
An invention as great as LEGO deserves to be partnered with a drink this delicious! It has me looking forward to a long and prosperous relationship with Akvavit. The Cloudberry Liqueur was as wonderful as it has been in the past and throw in all the citrus elements and everything’s coming together perfectly!

January 11 – The Joker

Bad to the Bone

I’ve always had a fascination with villains and what drives them to become evil? Generally, they’re just so much more interesting than heroes. It’s hard to narrow a list down of the greatest super villains, but I’m the man drunk enough to try. Just a heads up before we start the list, that I’m not a comic book guy by any means, so a character’s villainy will be judged by their more mainstream examples of mischief!

#5: Shredder

Just think of the things the Shredder could have accomplished if he wasn’t so preoccupied by those meddling Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Turtles were like the mutant version of the Scooby Doo Gang, constantly interfering with Shredder’s scheming. While the Turtles may battle other foes, the Shredder (aka Oroku Saki) was a constant presence on their mind, frequently causing havoc across New York City. Shredder was bad enough… do we even need to bring up the actions of the Super Shredder!?

Shredder

#4: Two-Face

You have to be pretty deranged to base all of your decisions on the flip of a coin. This is why NFL referees are so reviled! Two-Face (aka Harvey Dent) went from young, handsome, successful, and respected to a beast of a creature that is deformed and feared. He now hates the civil order he once enforced and is hell bent on destroying the Gotham City he previously protected. Harvey Dent still resides somewhere in Two-Face’s psyche, making for an interesting duality between good and evil, all fought within one man.

#3: Kingpin

It seemed like the Kingpin was always front and center, stirring the pot, when trouble was brewing. One of the best things about the crime boss is that he very rarely got his own hands dirty. Kingpin preferred to employ a series of henchman to do his bidding, while maintaining the public image of a successful businessman. That’s not to say that Wilson Fisk, as he’s known to most of the world, can’t handle his own wars. He’s portrayed as being incredibly strong, while battling the likes of Spider-Man, Daredevil, and the Punisher.

Kingpin

#2: Magneto

While he has sometimes crossed the line into good guy territory, Magneto’s end goal of a brotherhood of mutants that is no longer held back by humans (humans which Magneto would rather see eradicated from the world) drives him to perform all his misdeeds. His on-again, off-again friendship with Professor Charles Xavier is perhaps the only thing that keeps humanity alive within Magneto’s soul. It’s not surprising the mutant has suffered some psychological damage after surviving the Holocaust during World War II.

#1: Joker

Given Batman’s rogue gallery, it takes a pretty disturbed individual to take the mantle of the caped crusader’s arch nemesis. Pair him with the equally insane Harley Quinn and you have quite the deranged tandem. The Joker’s troubling reign of terror has spanned over 70 years. Whether portrayed by Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, or even Mark Hamill (that’s right, Luke Skywalker voiced the evil jester in the Animated Series), the Joker is equal parts fascinating and haunting… just the way we like him.

Super Saturday Shot Day: The Joker

The Joker Shooter

  • Rim glass with Sprinkles
  • 0.75 oz Gin (I used Bombay Sapphire)
  • 0.75 oz Whiskey
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

Do you agree with the list? Clearly, my selections will ruffle the feathers of some super geek out there. I welcome the chirps. Bring it on! And by the way, the results of my ‘Which Super Villain Are You?’ (which I’ve linked at the top of this post) say that I’m Venom because strength, disguise and adrenaline are my greatest weapons!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
While I’m not sure if this recipe is actually meant to salute the infamous Joker, I’ve designed elements of it to better represent the Clown Prince of Crime. The Sprinkles, of course, represent all the wild colours he dons, as well as give a sense of the festive nature he would provide if he was a normal entertainer and not a psychotic villain. The Maraschino Cherry is the plush clown nose most entertainers adorn themselves with. As for the shooter, it wasn’t bad. I blended Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey with Bombay Sapphire East Gin. The Gin came in with its juniper taste at the end of the shot and while strong, was kind of tasty.

April 11 – Coco Bongo

Mind = Blown

As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of clubs. Give me a bar or a lounge any day over these glorified, noisy, cesspools.

That is, until I visited Coco Bongo. Before going to Mexico in 2012, someone (I really can’t remember who… perhaps we blame the concussions… perhaps the years of hard liquoring… perhaps I’m just not that intelligent) told me that at Coco Bongo’s a little person sometimes pours shots in people’s mouths. Well, my little sippers, this is something I had to experience for myself.

The day finally came. It was our last day in Cancun and we were dead set on hitting the Hotel Zone that night for some hardcore parkour… followed by some clubbing. Our group had been aiming to do this the entire trip, but various things – swimming in cenotes, climbing Mayan ruins, drinking beers on the beach, celebrating New Years in Playa, and other such annoyances – had stopped that from happening.

Prior to leaving for the evening, we had some pre-party tequila shots from our hosts’ fine bar selection. After all, what else are you supposed to do in Mexico? This is where Mrs. Sip and I fell in love with 1800 Añejo. After pounding back a few, we felt ready to get our freak on.

We were dropped off in the Hotel Zone and scouted out the details for getting into Coco Bongo’s (price, time, etc.). Some guy on the street who worked for the club hooked us up with our arm bands, which were both our ticket in and our open bar pass (Note: do the open bar thing, forget bottle service. You do NOT want to be stuck at a table in this venue!). Then we made our way to a bar across the street to keep our buzz going before we would tear shit down in the club. I don’t like to dance, but this white boy has some moves and a trick or two up his sleeve!

Vanilla Ice

Yeah, that looks about right!

The bar we hit was okay, but I think we were all anticipating the main event on the card. Soon we were lining-up for Coco Bongo’s, which although previously empty outside, now showed a long line of patrons waiting to get into the show.

I am prone to refusing to pay cover charges, especially if I have to wait in line to get into a place that is going to rip me off. I believe our bands were $40 so I had high expectations. I  joined a line that would surely take some time to disappear, but was rewarded as servers began passing out tequila shots to those waiting. This wasn’t wonderful añejo quality, but by this point, who cared!?

Our line moved much quicker than expected and soon we were inside the building, but not in da club. This still did not faze me, as tequila shots and some unidentifiable pink stuff were continually being served like they were going out of style… and I kept drinking them.

Finally we were ushered into the main staging area and this place was crazy! There was a massive stage with ample lighting and decorations. Seating set up all around the building, with people filling the rafters. The floor area was packed, but it was easy to move around and drinks came by frequently.

Top 40, this was not, thank god (… who may have also made an appearance at one point). The show element started up and it was one of the wildest things I’ve ever seen as gorgeous ladies came out dancing to Chicago’s “All that Jazz”, followed by appearances of Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Captain America. The lights went out and when they came back on, Spider-Man had dropped down from the ceiling to party with us and fight off the Green Goblin. The Mask was doing his thing as confetti was streaming down all around, which is such an awesome effect – even if my shoes were stained pink by the tickertapes.

Coco Bongo Confetti

I was totally grooving, so much so that as Mrs. Sip and another girl in our group danced on the bar (they were the hot ones picked out of the crowd… I wonder why I wasn’t chosen!?) I decided to reach behind the bar and grab a massive beer for myself. Sure I only got a couple sips in before it was taken back, but it was a wonderful, hazy memory.

That’s when I saw it, Beetlejuice, in miniature, with a bottle of tequila. While the little bastard never got to me, Mrs. Sip was the recipient of the experience of a lifetime, as she got a shot of this dude’s potion (don’t get any wise ideas, my little sippers).

We celebrated her achievement with more passion than any of our graduations. When the rest of the group wanted to leave around 4am I was the one who wasn’t ready to call it a night (yes, I, the one who hates clubs).

It was a wonderful night, finished with a slice of cold pizza (what every great night should be capped with). I hereby dedicate this drink to that awesome place. As Arnold Schwazenegger once said, “It is not a tumour”… wait, that’s not it… ah, here it is, “I’ll be back!”

Drink #101: Coco Bongo

Coco Bongo Drink recipe

  • Rim glass with Coconut Shavings
  • 1.5 oz Malibu Rum
  • Top with half Coconut Water and half Pineapple Juice

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (5 Sips out of 5):
This drink should be on every alcohol fan’s short list menu. The Pineapple Juice was fantastic – not sure I’ve ever been able to say that before – and the Coconut Shavings always add a special something to any cocktail. A great way to start the 100-series beverages.