Ireland – The Emerald

Pot of Gold

The leprechaun has long been associated with Ireland and is an important figure of Irish folklore. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will always be portrayed in the best of lights elsewhere. Here are some of the famous leprechauns we can learn from:

Lucky the Leprechaun – Lucky Charms

Also known as Sir Charms and L.C. Leprechaun (monikers he invented to avoid creditors who were after his Lucky Charms!), this imp was introduced in the 1960’s, shortly after the cereal hit store shelves. Originally, the breakfast option only contained four different marshmallow shapes, but over time that number grew to eight permanent charms. Lucky was briefly replaced by Waldo the Wizard in 1975, but it wasn’t long before the leprechaun was back with the brand. Some say he bought his way back into the picture with his pot o’ gold riches!

lucky-charms-marshmallows

O’Reilly – The Simpsons

This little hellraiser appears in a number of Simpsons episodes, most notably one of the Treehouse of Horror segments where Homer has drawn the ire of a gypsy and has been cursed. Looking to reverse his fortune, he traps a leprechaun (using Lucky Charms as bait), but O’Reilly just causes havoc in the Simpson home. When Homer takes the leprechaun to battle the gypsy, the two fall in love and are married in a ceremony performed by Yoda of Star Wars fame. O’Reilly is also an imaginary vision for Ralph Wiggum, telling the youngster to burn things.

Braun the Leprechaun – World Championship Wrestling

Leave it to professional wrestling to have a leprechaun running around the ring and causing havoc. Braun briefly appeared with the Dungeon of Doom stable, a group of dark and sometimes mythological characters, including The Yeti (although he was dressed like a mummy… no, seriously) and Loch Ness (a 600-plus pound monster of a man, billed from the Scottish Highlands). Portrayed by the grappler (real name DeWayne Bruce) that would eventually become perennial loser Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, he is most recognized for his work training future stars, particularly Bill Goldberg.

Hornswoggle – World Wrestling Entertainment

Sticking with professional wrestling, years after Braun, another shot was taken at the character, this time using a little person. Originally named Little Bastard, the character soon evolved into Hornswoggle (which means to cheat, swindle, hoodwink, or hoax), helping Irish bruiser Finlay score a number of underhanded victories. Hornswoggle has gone on to become a fan favourite, while enjoying high-profile roles such as joining D-Generation X as their mascot, being the illegitimate son of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, winning the Cruiserweight Title, and holding the position of anonymous General Manager of Monday Night Raw.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish/Boston Celtics Leprechauns

These famous logos and mascots have helped define both squads. For Notre Dame, the team had gone through a number of nicknames (Catholics, Hoosiers, Rockmen, Bulldogs) before settling on the Fighting Irish. This was done because a leprechaun joined the cheerleading squad and has remained on the team’s sideline ever since. As for the Celtics, their mascot Lucky was designed by the brother of legendary coach Red Auerbach. Complete with shillelagh and shamrock-adorned attire, it just doesn’t get much more Irish… although Lucky lacks the red locks we usually associate with leprechauns.

The Leprechaun – Leprechaun Movies

Played by little person Warwick Davis (of Willow and Harry Potter fame), The Leprechaun horror movie franchise has spawned six films and is due for a reboot with the aforementioned Hornswoggle (real name Dylan Postl) taking over the lead role. Falling in line with recent movie trends, the new film will be an origin story. Back to the original series, premises ranged from The Leprechaun tracking down his stolen gold, to searching for a bride, and even rampages through Las Vegas, space, and Compton, California (in the ghetto!). The first installment even featured a young and unknown Jennifer Aniston… she ended up doing pretty well for herself!

leprechaun-back2thahood

Seriously, they did not one, but two Leprechaun films set in “Tha Hood”!

Brian Connors – Darby O’Gill and the Little People

This Disney live action movie features a horde of leprechauns led by Brian Connors, the ‘King of the Leprechauns’. Connors and O’Gill are friendly adversaries, each trying to outsmart the other. O’Gill, an elderly groundskeeper is trying to capture Connors and be granted three wishes, hoping to set his daughter up for a happy life. Conners was played by Jimmy O’Dea, an Irish comedian and songwriter. Sean Connery is also in the film and he even sings! Legend has it that his role as Michael McBride, the daughter’s eventual love interest, led to him being cast as James Bond.

Shado – Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law

Known as Shado the Brain Thief because he possesses telepathic abilities, this leprechaun lawyer uses his powers to mess with opposing counsel and juries and manipulate them for his own gains. If Mrs. Sip (also a lawyer) was capable of telepathy, she’d be even more of a legend than she already is… which is due largely in part to her association with the Sip Advisor. Anyhoo, Shado is voiced by Toby Huss, who provided the dialogue for a number of characters on King of the Hill, including Cotton Hill, Kahn Souphanousinphone, Joe Jack, and M.F. Thatherton.

Ireland: The Emerald

Mar 20

  • 2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Garnish with Orange Zest

I hope everyone finds their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow… that is, unless you have to battle a deranged leprechaun to get at your cash money. My advice is to wait until the little guys tucker themselves out before achieving your treasure. Kind of like I do with my desire to high-five monkeys!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
This is basically a Manhattan variation and it was decent. Whenever I make a drink with Orange Bitters, I go a little crazy with the dashes and that’s not a bad thing. I thought the Orange Zest bits looked pretty darn good, if I don’t say so myself. Party on!

November 13 – Warp Pipe

Game Genie

Today we continue our look into the Sip Advisor’s favourite vidya games. This isn’t an article about the greatest games of all-time, just my top picks from childhood to adulthood, where that inner-child just never really went away. I’m not a massive video game guy, but I’ve always played this or that along the way!

Super Mario Bros.

This is one of the games that really boosted the video game industry and made Nintendo a household name. I’d say my favourite Mario game was Super Mario World (SNES), but I have also enjoyed all the original NES titles, as well as releases for Gameboy, N64, and Wii. The Wii version was great because you could play along with your friends all at the same time, although it usually ended up with us “accidentally” killing each other. One thing is certain: the games were far superior to the ill-advised movie!

money-power-woman

Wrestling Games

As I’ve admitted before, I was a huge wrestling fan in my pre-teen and teenage years. Some of the best wrestling classics came out during this period, especially the games made by THQ in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. The company had the WCW license first and then switched over to WWE, putting out one amazing offering after another. My friends and I spent countless hours fighting our issues out in battle royals. The best part was, if you were eliminated, you had another chance with the next entering character.

GoldenEye 007

Similar to the wrestling games, thousands of hours were wasted maiming each other in this N64 classic. Even those who weren’t gamers in the slightest knew about GoldenEye and had probably played at some point. While the single player missions were spectacular, the multiplayer killfests were even better. Our group would play where any damage killed you and would alternate between remote mines and rocket launchers being the feature weapon.

Plants vs. Zombies

While I’m not the biggest fan of tower defense games, this entry, which has you defending your home against an invading horde of zombies, using plants with their own special powers is a total delight. A sequel has been released, but as of yet, it’s only available to losers with iPhones (sorry, I’m a little bitter it’s not available on computers like the original or even for Android users… that misses a lot of the market). I’m sure it will eventually be in my possession, but the waiting is the hardest part (thanks, Tom Petty!).

plants-vs-zombies

Donkey Kong Country

Oh man, I love these games so much, particularly the Super Nintendo trilogy. The re-launch of the series on the Wii was also a spectacular offering for the eyes and the ears (the fingers not so much, as they had to do all the work!). The thing that’s so amazing about these games is that they’re so visually beautiful with rich colours and the music is fantastic. Combine that with smooth gameplay and wonderful level layouts and this is one of the best 2-D side-scrollers to ever exist.

Rollercoaster Tycoon

I love amusement parks and all the rides they contain. Therefore, when these games were released, I was an early adopter. It was so much fun to build your own parks and achieve whatever tasks were outlined. I didn’t play around too much with rollercoaster design except to launch unsuspecting riders off of a dangerously built ride and send them flying through the air to a fiery death!

Tetris

There’s just something about Tetris that is so addicting. I especially enjoyed the N64 edition (The New Tetris), which Broski Sip, Cousin Sip, and I used to play a lot, challenging each other to see who could last the longest without dying. The more lines you made, the faster you were able to build the world’s greatest landmarks. Much like Donkey Kong Country, the music in this franchise has always been top notch and keeps you wanting to play the game.

Drink #317: Warp Pipe

Warp Pipe Drink Recipe

That wraps up our look at my favourite video games of all-time. What are some of your favourite electronic pastimes? Perhaps you’ll steer me towards a new addiction, you pusher!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Once again, we go to The Drunken Moogle for this recipe, as they seem to have the market cornered on awesome video game-themed drinks. I used the split-sized glasses to help accentuate that image of the pipes in Super Mario Bros. This backfired on me a little when I went to split them up for Mrs. Sip and myself and she decided to nap instead, leaving me with two cocktails to down. Luckily, they were pretty light and tasty and I enjoyed the double treat!

September 10 – Homeward Bound

Welcome Back

Some players just don’t look right in jerseys that differ from the one they’ve worn for years. In most of the big leagues, athletes can sign one-day contracts so that they may retire as a member of the team that made their career. Other times, a trade brings that star back into the fold. Then, there’s always returning from retirement. Here is some of the greatest returns home in sports history.

Trevor Linden – Vancouver Canucks (NHL)

Trevor Linden, captain of the Vancouver Canucks was traded to the New York Islanders in 1998. After bouncing around to a couple other teams, the Canucks reacquired the heart and soul leader of their last championship appearance team. In Linden’s first game back (which I attended with the Sip Family), he notched a couple points and was named the second star of the game, allowing fans to dedicate all their energy specifically to one of the team’s most legendary figures. A few years later, Linden left the game the right way, serenaded by the fans who adored him for so many years, and making a final trip around the ice surface that hosted so many memories for all involved.

Doug Gilmour – Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL)

Growing up, for some bizarre reason that I may never be able to explain, I was a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Please collect your jaws from the floor… sadly, it’s true. My favourite player was Doug Gilmour, a gritty and talented player, who nearly led the team to their first Stanley Cup since 1967. Gilmour was traded to New Jersey in 1997, but would return to the Leafs at the 2003 trade deadline, causing fans to rejoice. Sadly, in just his second shift back with the team, he collided knee-on-knee with Calgary’s Dave Lowry and was done for the season, later calling it a career that summer.

Hulk Hogan – World Wrestling Entertainment

In the 1980’s, Hulk Hogan’s symbiotic relationship with the then World Wrestling Federation launched both entities into the stratosphere. Working together, Hogan became one of the most popular wrestlers of all-time, while the WWF became the first promotion to enjoy national mainstream exposure and success. Hogan left the company in 1993 to perform in World Championship Wrestling and didn’t return to the soon-to-be-renamed WWE until 2002. He originally returned as a bad guy, but fans would not have any of that, cheering for Hogan to once again become the “Real American” character most had grown up with. They got their wish and fans feverishly ate up the nostalgia act.

Ken Griffey, Jr. – Seattle Mariners (MLB)

Ken Griffey, Jr. grew up in the Seattle Mariners organization, debuting in 1989 and even playing alongside his father, Ken Griffey, Sr. Griffey became the face of the franchise and even the entire league, adorning video games, posters, t-shirts, and other merchandise. The slugger was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2000, as he wished to play closer to home and be more involved in the lives of his children. Griffey’s numbers declined following the trade, but petitions were signed by Seattle fans to bring him back. Finally, in 2009, Griffey returned to the Mariners. His second tenure had its issues, like Griffey being accused of napping in the clubhouse during games, but he was honoured into the team’s Hall of Fame in August 2013.

Ken Griffey, Jr.

Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls (NBA)

After winning three straight NBA titles in the early 90’s, there was nothing left for Michael Jordan to accomplish. When his father was murdered that summer, Jordan retired from basketball and decided to try his hand at professional baseball, hoping to realize his father’s dream of him playing in the Majors. When his baseball dream fizzled out, it was back to the hard court and the Bulls for Jordan. Another three NBA Championships followed before Jordan left the game again in 1999. His last return to basketball was with the Washington Wizards, a team he had part-ownership with and had been President of Basketball Operations.

Mario Lemieux – Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)

Like Jordan, Mario Lemieux kept returning to the game he loved after time away from the rink proved he still had too much passion for the sport to watch from the sidelines. Super Mario returned from cancer and a retirement to put up all-star level numbers and pad his legacy as one of the game’s greatest players. While he never won another Stanley Cup, he was an integral member of Canada’s gold medal victory at the 2002 Winter Olympics and also saved the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise as owner of the team, ushering in the Sidney Crosby era.

Drink #253: Homeward Bound

Sept 10

  • 1.5 oz Spiced Rum (I used Sailor Jerry’s)
  • Top with Lemonade
  • Garnish with Lemon Wheel

What was your favourite return home? As above, it can be an athlete, an actor, or hell, it could be Ron Jeremy’s long-awaited return to the world of pornography!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (3.5 Sips out of 5):
This was a simple, but very enjoyable cocktail. I love the name about as much as I adore Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum and the moment I saw this recipe advertised at a local bar, I knew I’d be making it when I went home. The caramel-flavour of the Spiced Rum works nicely with the tart Lemonade and makes for one fine drink!