Meet The Real Walter White
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The summer months conjure images of sunny beaches, coconut drinks and Caribbean themed parties. One of the great Caribbean party tropes is the simple but extremely difficult game Limbo. The game involves players bending backwards to get low enough to pass under a horizontal pole. It is one of the staple games of any luau, but the origins of the limbo come from a much different kind of party… funerals.
The limbo was invented in the Caribbean late 1800’s as a fresh take on an ancient African dance called the legba which was performed at funerals. The limbo was originally performed at funerals in Trinidad and Tobago to represent the cycle of life and the inevitability of death. The limbo stick represented death and players of the game struggled to narrowly avoid the stick only to feel relieved once they emerged on the other side. The stick got lower and lower as the game went on to symbolize death getting closer until no one is able to make it passed the stick. The game may seem morbid, but it was intended to celebrate every day that death doesn’t get us rather than obsess over our mortality.
In the 1950’s, American soldiers stationed in the Caribbean witnessed Trinidadians playing limbo and joined in. The game eventually became popular in the US and grew into the party game that we know and love today.
Next time you find yourself staring down a limbo stick, GO LOW! It’s a matter of life or death!
Film & Television
If your childhood took place at anytime in the 90’s then you probably grew up on one of the greatest television channels of all time, Nickelodeon. The popular kids channel known for cartoons, children’s sitcoms, and wacky game shows captured the hearts of 90’s kids but the channel owes its popularity to much more adult television shows.
A 1992 study from the American Psychological Association found that children that regularly watched network television would witness nearly 8,000 murders and 100,000 violent acts by the age of 10. This study sparked fears across the country of how children might react to all the violent stimulus they saw on television. In response, congress approved a 1993 bill to expand the oversight of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to give the agency more ability to monitor/limit violent television programs.
Around the same time, Nickelodeon was just beginning to gain popularity due to its flagship gameshow double dare. As public outcry against violent television grew, the wholesome and kid-oriented programing of nickelodeon became one of the only channels that parents would allow their kids to watch. By 1994, nickelodeon had greatly increased the number of programs that it was producing and focused heavily on gameshows played by kids. Soon after parents steered their kids toward Nickelodeon, the network became the most popular television channel amount kids and stole ratings away from the major networks of ABC, NBC and CBS.
Not to take anything away from the brilliance of Nickelodeon but if it weren’t for gritty, violent network dramas, the world may never had such classics as All THAT!, Kenan and Kel, or Rugrats. Some of our childhoods would be drastically altered if it weren’t for Nickelodeon’s slime-filled, wholesome entertainment. If you were one of the kids that watched Disney channel or Cartoon network over Nickelodeon… you missed out.
Crime & Punishment
Breaking Bad is one of the greatest television series of all time staring an amazing anti-hero, Walter White, and his low-life drug dealer sidekick, Jesse Pinkman. For 5 seasons, the former high school chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin captivated audiences with one of the most interesting and exciting stories ever shown on the small screen. But what most diehard Heisenberg fans know is that Breaking Bad and the adventures of Walter White are based on a true story.
A real life average-Joe turned drug lord named Walter White lives in rural Alabama. For most of his life Walter lived a simple country life supporting his family by working as a carpenter in his hometown of Bessemer, AL. In his small town in Alabama, he raised his children, coached little league, and was a well-respected member of his community but in 1998, Walter and a friend were introduced to methamphetamine and began a part time business.
Walter and his friend Sammy, a drug dealer, brought a small trailer in a neighboring town to begin cooking and distributing meth. Unlike AMC’s Walter White, the real Walter did not cook meth in the mobile home but rather he cooked in a shed behind the trailer. The two men would work at construction sites during the day and cook meth all night after work.
Similar to the AMC show, the real Walter Whites meth was of the highest quality. He was introduced to a meth cooking process that used Iodine crystals to create the purest form of meth possible. After establishing a steady supply of iodine crystals, Walter and Sammy began producing the highest quality meth in Alabama and their product became known throughout the entire state. Unlike the TV show, their pure meth was white rather than the distinct blue meth featured in the show.
For 10 years Walter White cooked meth, eventually quitting his construction job to focus on drug dealing full time. In order to stay anonymous, Walter relied on Sammy to distribute the drugs and arrange drop offs with their network of dealers. Walter’s name was never to be mentioned just like his TV show counterpart used the codename Heisenberg to disguise his true identity. He even had a sketchy but reliable lawyer who helped him avoid conviction and launder the money much like Saul Goodman.
At his peak, Walter was making incredible amounts of money and producing insane quantities of drugs. His newfound wealth went to his head and he began spending thousands of dollars a day and partying late into the night every day of the week. He began using the drugs that he was creating to feed his partying habits and eventually became an addict himself.
Eventually the law caught up to Walter’s partner Sammy who was arrested and charged with drug trafficking and racketeering and sentenced to two life sentences in prison. Walter was arrested soon after Sammy for drug trafficking and his bond was set for over $2 million.
An Alabama judge decided to take pity on Walter and sentenced him to receive drug treatment and undergo a rehabilitation program. The possibility of facing life in prison showed Walter the error of his ways and he completed the rehab program, became an active member in his local church, and is now active in supporting others who are in the rehab program.
Unlike the show (SPOILERS), the real Walter White’s story has a happy ending with him being rehabilitated and becoming a positive influence on his community. He now spends time with his son and grandkids and is no longer the biggest and most prominent drug dealer in the state of Alabama.
This Week in History
On this week in 1911, the ancient Incan settlement of Machu Picchu was discovered by American archeologist Hiram Bingham. Since the Peruvian natives were aware of the ruins, the American did not really discover but rather popularize the settlement. The ancient settlement that is carved into the mountain near Cuzco is believed to have been the summer retreat for the leaders of the Incan Empire before the culture was wiped out by Spanish settlers. Today the settlement is one of the most popular and remote tourist and cultural destinations in the world.
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