8 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Walt Disney

8 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Walt Disney

He had a real-life villain.
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Walt Disney: the man behind many of our beloved childhood movies. He didn't have it as easy as people may think, and he went through many struggles on his road to fame. When he would start getting successful results with audiences, he would hit another bump in the road. However, he remained hardworking and driven while on this roller coaster of successes and letdowns, and produced many whimsical films we still enjoy today. If you are curious about learning more about him, here are some things you may not have known about the one and only Walt Disney.

1. He adopted a love for art at a very young age.

He once got in trouble with his mom because he drew a horse on the side of his house. If his mom had known he would grow up to be this famous, she probably wouldn't have been that mad. He was also a cartoonist for his high-school newspaper.

2. He went to war when he was 16.

With World War II going on, young Walt wanted to do something to help, but he was rejected because he was too young. Of course, the only solution for him was to lie about his age -- and they believed him! Either he applied to different people who didn't remember him from the first time, or he had a really good mustache disguise to pass for an adult.

3. He had his own villain.

Walt Disney had the spotlight stolen from him by a greedy man named Charles Mintz. Mintz hired all of Disney's workers and they all accepted the offer, except for Walt's good pal Ub Iwerks. Appropriately, the villain in the movie "Up" was based on Mintz. This man was so bad in fact that he even took over his wife's animation company because he believed the place for all women in life was to raise children and be a homemaker. I know, right? Euch. In the end, Walt Disney Studios obviously surpassed the company that Mintz owned, because Walt Disney Studios is still around producing quality content, and I haven't heard anything from a Charles Mintz, have you? Didn't think so.

4. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was his first famous character.

Before Mickey Mouse was even an idea, Walt and Iwerks created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. This was the first animated character for Universal Pictures. Walt Disney created 26 animated Oswald features that eventually lead to the creation of other popular animated characters, such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

5. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was the first Disney movie.

And also the world's first animated feature film. It was highly successful and led to the production of "Pinocchio," "Bambi" and "Fantasia."

6. He had a real-life mouse friend.

While he was struggling with bankruptcies, Walt lived in his office, which also happened to be the home of a little mouse. He and the mouse become best pals, and it is thought that this mouse gave him the inspiration for the character we all know as Mickey Mouse.

7. Mickey Mouse was Walt's alter ego.

It is said that Disney doodled Mickey Mouse on the back of an envelope on a train, and he would often describe Mickey as his alter ego. Mickey is everywhere now, so in a way, they are keeping the spirit of Walt alive in the form of Mickey.

8. The last movie he approved was "Aristocats."

My all-time favorite movie just happens to be the last movie he approved the production of and the first Disney movie to be produced after his death. Some people believe that the movie lost something because of the absence of Walt's input. Could that movie have been even better if Walt had helped produce it? Possibly, but I suppose that is something we shall never find out.

If you enjoy Disney movies, hopefully you also enjoyed learning some more about the man behind them.

Cover Image Credit: Entertainment Weekly

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Addiction: The Importance of Connection in Recovery

Addictions fill the need for relationships of the afflicted when those relationships are unfulfilling, and addiction in the context of "Howl" means giving everything to the Moloch of capitalist American institutions that fail us unapologetically.

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"Hold back the edges of your gowns, Ladies, we are going through hell," William Carlos Williams once said of Allen Ginsberg's "Howl". Ginsberg's most famous poem depicts the beauty and suffering in the lives of addicts, alcoholics, and the generally mental ill, and uses the poem to discuss how addicts are at the mercy of Moloch, the Canaanite God of sacrifice. Ginsberg refers to addiction in "Howl" not only in the sense of drug addiction, but also in society's addiction to materialism, consumerism, and capitalism, and by extension, Moloch is a God of American institutions that has largely failed its most vulnerable residents.

Like "Howl," "The Wire" is also a show about how Baltimore's dysfunctional institutions, like the Police Department, political system, local newspaper, and public school system failed its neediest residents. "The Wire" is also a story of addiction for the majority of its characters: cops and dock workers are addicted to alcohol, drug lords are addicted power, and politicians are addicted to climbing the career ladder. It is in one character that we see the story of addiction of "Howl" represented in "The Wire" most clearly: the story of heroin addict, Bubbles, who is a victim of the institution of the police department and its efforts to exploit him as a confidential informant on the war on drugs. Bubbles notes that the tumultuous nature of his environment is a "thin line 'tween heaven and hell."

Although approximately 50 years apart, the two inspirational works depict the agony, pain, and hope of drug addiction in contemporarily accurate and agonizing ways. The first several lines of "Howl" dive immediately into addiction, of the "best minds of [Ginsberg's] generation...looking for an angry fix." He notes that these minds are "angelheaded" and well-intentioned in that they're looking for a transcendent, heavenly experience. The imagery of the angry fix in "Howl" suggests that these minds would stop at nothing to get their drugs, and that is how we're first presented with the character of Bubbles in "The Wire," who uses fake money in an attempt to purchase heroin from drug dealers.

As an undergraduate, my psychology professor, Dr. Darryl Neill, once noted a friend who has tried almost every drug safely, but there was one exception: heroin. He tried heroin once, and then dropped it because he couldn't do it anymore. It was "too good." Emmett Rensin, essayist and recovering heroin addict, once noted that "heroin is the best you'll ever feel...then it becomes part of who you are." These minds of Ginsberg suffer from "junk-withdrawal in Newark's bleak furnished room," suggestive of the heroin withdrawal addicts undergo. In the second part of "Howl," Ginsberg notes that addicts give up everything to Moloch, their idol, that "they broke their backs lifting Moloch to Heaven...lifting the city of Heaven which exists and is everywhere about us!"

We see Bubbles experience this in "The Wire," suffering severe physical and emotional withdrawal only days without his fix. Most addicts have a "rock bottom" period of their paths, and that point comes in Bubbles's life near the end of season 4, when his friend, a middle-schooler named Sherrod who Bubbles cares for, dies because after shooting up a contaminated heroin sample from Bubbles. The next day, so tormented with shame at his unintentional killing of Sherrod, Bubbles proceeds to turn himself into the police station for murder. Moloch, in "The Wire," is the shame that Bubbles feels here. "You have to lock me up," he tells the officers. "Because I killed that child." After he vomits from physical withdrawal, the officers leave the room to get paper towels, and return to see that Bubbles's neck in a noose, the table kicked over, and the two officers save his life, choose not to charge Bubbles with murder and send him to a psychiatric facility. Because of the two officers, Landsman and Norris, Bubbles is alive, and Landsman sends back the murder because Bubbles "is carrying more weight than we'll ever put on him."

"Howl" similarly reveals the life-saving power of solidarity. It is dedicated to Carl Solomon, a friend of Ginsberg in the psychiatric hospital. "Carl Solomon! I'm with you in Rockland/ where you're madder than I am." Although Ginsberg and Solomon were not addicts, just mentally ill, their redemptive narratives come forth through solidarity, connection, and companionship. The sense of being "with you" helps Ginsberg empathizes a sacred bond between members of the Beat Generation, many of them addicts.

In "The Wire", Bubbles achieves redemption through the help of his Narcotics Anonymous (NA) sponsor, Walon, and the rest of his NA community. Shortly after Sherrod's death and Bubbles' suicide attempt, Walon visits him and finds him catatonically staring into space while sitting in a chair, motionless and numb. Walon hugs Bubbles, and Bubbles weeps and shakes, telling him "I don't want to feel this way no more." For the entire next year, he doesn't talk about Sherrod, much to the dismay of Walon's pleading. But one day, he finally opens up about Sherrod in an NA meeting, revealing the pain he feels when he thinks of him. Shaking and sobbing, he lets go of his consuming grief for just a little bit, and tells the crowd: "ain't no shame in holding onto grief, as long as you make room for other things, too."

"Howl" similarly shows that redemption comes through community. "I'm with you in Rockland/ where fifty more shocks will never return to your soul to its body again," Ginsberg notes about Solomon. He seems to suggest, here, that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) did not work for Solomon: he needed something deeper to redeem himself. What both men needed in Rockland was "twenty five thousand comrades all singing together," connections where "imaginary walls collapse." In the increasingly materialist and consumerist world of Moloch, these walls and lack of connection were strong, and it seems like the relationship and "with"-ness allows Ginsberg to transfigure the evil and suffering of serving Moloch into hope.

In 2018, journalist Johann Hari wrote a book about addiction where he concluded that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety - it is connection. The breathtaking and performative nature of "Howl" suggests that it is a poem meant for connection. Bubbles's ability to open up in "The Wire" gives us a glimpse into the power of connection to redeem the ills of addiction: at the end of the show, living in the basement of his estranged sister's house, he is finally invited upstairs to have dinner with her and her son. Addictions fill the need for relationships of the afflicted when those relationships are unfulfilling, and addiction in the context of "Howl" means giving everything to the Moloch of capitalist American institutions that fail us unapologetically.

As Williams Carlos Williams noted of "Howl," it is a poem that allows readers to venture through hell, and "The Wire" is the modern form, nearly 50 years later, of watching our beloved characters also undertaking that painful journey. But in "Howl" and "The Wire", Ginsberg, Solomon, and Bubbles come out of hell through "with"-ness and connection, and both works give us an invitation and community into that suffering and redemption. These works echo the message told in Robert Frost's "The Pasture": "you come, too."

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