July 4 – Stars and Stripes

American Made

While my neighbours to the south celebrate their Independence Day, I’d like to salute the most steadfast American patriots… well, at least of the fictional variety. And no, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter doesn’t count! On with the list:

#5: Sam the Eagle

This Muppet is a staunch advocate for the good ol’ U-S-of-A, while also being a straight-laced defender of decency and high culture. He certainly doesn’t fit in with many of his fellow Muppets, who rely on slapstick routines and lower-brow entertainment. Perhaps Sam’s biggest role was in the recent Muppets Most Wanted film, where he, as a CIA agent, teamed with an Interpol agent to clear the good name of Kermit the Frog and save the entire Muppets troupe, in the process.

Sam the Eagle

#4: Wrestling

The wrestling world is rife with American patriotism, featuring countless battles between red, white, and blue clad heroes versus villainous foreign foes. It’s hard to pinpoint one grappler in particular, but these are a few of the many who have fought in defense of Old Glory, capitalism, and the American way: Hulk Hogan, Lex Luger, Kurt Angle, The Patriot, Sgt. Slaughter, ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan, Jack Swagger, Dusty Rhodes, Corporal Kirchner, and the American Express. U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A!

#3: G.I. Joes

This line of Hasbro action figures was first released in 1964, representing four divisions of the United States’ armed forces: the army, navy, air force, and marines. In fact, the releases were the first to ever receive the designation “action figures”. A cartoon later came in 1985, which saw the Joes battle the evil terrorist group Cobra. Two films, in 2009 and 2013 (with one to come in 2016) have also been released for the franchise. Good will always triumph over evil!

GI Joes

#2: Uncle Sam

Used as a major symbol for propaganda, particularly during war times, Uncle Sam (who coincidentally has the initials, U.S.) has existed for approximately 200 years. Many believe that Uncle Sam was based on Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who helped provide soldiers with rations during the War of 1812. Regardless, if you see Uncle Sam, he probably wants you to fight for the country, joining one of the branches of U.S. armed forces.

#1: Captain America

Battling evil forces, the likes of which include the Red Skull, Barons Helmut and Heinrich Zero, Flag Smasher, and even Adolf Hitler, himself, Captain America is the ultimate defender and avenger (see what I did there!) of the United States against oppressors from other evil nations. With his trusty red, white, and blue shield, Captain America will be protecting the country (and world) for years to come. And to think, he was originally rejected as a member of the army, before going super soldier.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Stars and Stripes

I was surprised at how difficult this article was to put together. I figured there would be so many more glaring examples of fictional American patriots, but many weren’t so obvious. Perhaps I’ve just missed a number of folks that should have made this list. Let me know if I’m guilty of neglect!

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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!