December 13 – Black Death

Better Luck Next Year

Last week, we took a look at the people/groups who are riding high in 2014, enjoying success in their chosen field. This week, we examine the people who suffered (some deservedly and others not) through a tough year and are hoping for better fortune in 2015:

#5: Donald Sterling

One minute, you’re the owner of a NBA franchise (the Los Angeles Clippers) and the next, you’re handed a lifetime ban and being forced to sell the team because you put your foot in your mouth and alienated the league’s players, coaches, and fan base with racist remarks. Sterling and his estranged wife did walk away with $2 billion from the sale, which will help in paying off his $2.5 million fine, levied by the NBA. Sterling is no stranger to controversy, as he’s been sued twice under sexual harassment allegations and been the subject of discrimination lawsuits even before this latest scandal.

donald-sterling

#4: Comedy Community

With the deaths of comedic legends Robin Williams and Joan Rivers coming under a month apart, a lot of laughter was lost this year. While I can’t say that I was a fan of Rivers (I do respect her trailblazing career), I certainly was a Robin Williams supporter. From his stand-up to roles as Mork (Mork & Mindy), Peter Pan (Hook), Alan Parrish (Jumanji), and the voice of the Genie (Aladdin), he had such a lasting presence. The man could even do dramatic roles, as seen in Good Will Hunting, which he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and Dead Poets Society. Sadly, the longtime voice of Shaggy (from Scooby Doo), Casey Casem also passed away in 2014.

#3: Roger Goodell & NFL

In the wake of domestic violence and child abuse scandals, the NFL was under intense pressure in 2014 to change a culture that it has let exist for years, with countless player arrests occurring throughout the league. Many groups called for commissioner Roger Goddell to step down from his post after the mishandling of the Ray Rice incident – first suspending the running back for only two games for beating up his now wife, only to extend the suspension indefinitely when a video showing the incident surfaced – and his role in trying to cover up the whole story. That said, business wise, the NFL is thriving and raking in the cash.

NFL Ratings

#2: Ebola Victims

West Africa has been hit hard this year with the potentially deadly Ebola Virus Disease. It must be really bad, because I remember learning that illnesses are either viruses or diseases and it looks like Ebola is covering both sides of that ledger. To this point, thousands have been infected, while close to half of those have died from the sickness. The scariest thing about Ebola is that nobody quite knows how to treat it yet. A vaccine is in development, but has yet to be approved. Mrs. Sip wants to travel to South Africa next September, but we’ll just see about that (as if I have any say!)…

#1: Malaysia Airlines

Despite being voted as having one of the best in-flight services in the industry, Malaysia Airlines has experienced some serious turbulence in 2014, starting with the disappearance of Flight 370, over the Gulf of Thailand. The plane, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, is assumed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean, killing all 239 people on board. Just months later, another Malaysia Airlines craft (Flight 17), was shot out of the air with a missile, crashing in the Ukraine and killing 298 passengers and crew. Following a drop in bookings, the airline was forced to cut 6,000 jobs, while other staff have chosen to leave the company.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Black Death

Black Death Shot

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • Splash of Soy Sauce
  • Garnish with a Kiwi Slice

There were others I considered (ie. Israel/Palestine), but in some cases, how is one year shittier than others when you’re constantly at war and such. Who do you think had a miserable 2014? Feel free to respond below.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (0.5 Sips out of 5):
In choosing this shooter, I scoured the internet for the worst recipes out there and this one, while some would immediately think is repulsive, I have an affinity for Soy Sauce, so wanted to give it a try. The only question left was which Vodka should I use, knowing full well that it would probably be wasted in this recipe. I went with my Absolut Texas (Serrano Chile and Cucumber) and that was the only good part of the shot (the lowest score I’ve ever handed out). The Soy Sauce was just way too salty and pushed me to the edge of madness. As for the Kiwi Slice as garnish, I figured why the hell not. No other reason than that!

December 6 – Oil Spill

What a Year!

With the arrival of December, it’s time to reflect on the year that was. While most stories only hit the mainstream when they’re of the negative variety, there are some groups and people that had amazing calendar years. Here are the folks that had the best 2014:

#5: Hockey Canada

The Canadian Men’s Olympic hockey team has the utmost pressure on them each and every Winter Games. While Russia, as event hosts, would have loved to walk away with the gold, hockey is Canada’s game and anything but a tournament victory would not have sat well with the entire country. Therefore, it was much more palatable to watch the gold medal game, starting at 4am Vancouver time, when the boys easily defeated Sweden 3-0. It should also be noted that the Canadian Women’s Olympic hockey team took home gold, as well, thanks to some last minute heroics.

Gold In Here

#4: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

It was the fad of the 2014 summer and it was about more than cooling off and finding relief from the heat. If you were nominated to participate, you typically had 24 hours to dump a bucket of water/ice on your melon, before challenging the next round of participants. Whether you completed the task or not, you were encouraged to donate to charity. While not everyone agreed with the movement – citing the lack of money that would actually go towards curing ALS, the waste of water, health issues the challenge could result in, etc. – the Ice Bucket Challenge certainly raised the profile of ALS around the world. Mission: Accomplished!

#3: Germany Football

Winners of the 2014 World Cup of Soccer (which I predicted from the start!), Germans will hold football bragging rights until at least the 2018 contest in Russia. Mario Götze, who scored the lone goal for Germany against Argentina, to clinch the title, will be a national icon for the country for the duration of his life, and likely, long after. Germany went undefeated through the World Cup, highlighted by a 7-1 drubbing of host county and competition favourites Brazil, in the semi-finals. At the same tournament, Costa Rica became underdog fan favourites with stunning defeats over Uruguay, Italy, and Greece, before bowing out to the Netherlands on penalty kicks.

meanwhile-in-germany

#2: John Oliver

Thanks to his HBO series, Last Week Tonight, John Oliver is quickly becoming the most trusted source in news. That’s pretty good standing, given he’s a comedian anchor and his show is largely centered on making fun of the news. Mrs. Sip and I have enjoyed Oliver’s segments on FIFA, Scottish independence, student debt, and Middle East translators, among others. Oliver’s HBO contract runs through 2015 with the option for more years. And to think, all of this largely came about because Oliver was the guest host of The Daily Show in the summer of 2013, leading to rave reviews and his own program.

#1: Chris Pratt

With two monster hit movies – The LEGO Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy (third and first, respectively, in highest grossing films of the year) – to go along with his role as goofy, loveable Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation, Chris Pratt is riding high in 2014 and the sky is the limits for this talented actor. Thanks to his success, Pratt was tapped to host the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, in September. 2015 could see his star continue to rise, as he will play the lead in Jurassic World, the next installment in the Jurassic Park franchise, as well as wrap up Parks and Recreation with a 13-episode seventh and final season.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Oil Spill

Oil Spill Shot

Of course, the Sip Advisor could have also topped this list after yet another rock n’ roll year, but I’ll let the others have the spotlight! Next week, we tackle those that had a horrendous time in 2014 and probably can’t wait to see the year come to an end.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Simply layer the Jagermeister on top of the Goldschalger and you have an oil find that would make Jed Clampett blush! I think this shooter turned out pretty well image wise… the taste wasn’t bad, to boot!