It's Friday, which means its time to kick it in the front seat while chillin' in the back seat!
It's your weekly edition of the Hollywood Outsider, twodaymag's weekly look at the word of news and pop culture as told by a crotchety, old ignoramus.
The Outsider apologizes for his absence last week due to a death in the family (Grandma Outsider has moved on to what we all hope is a more interesting endeavor).
This week is all about snakes, some real, some allegorical, all are a pain in the ass.
One of the more popular movements these days is the one unofficially titled, "You're too fucking stupid to feed yourself." The latest chapter in this saga comes on the heels of last week's large soda ban in NYC (which the Outsider is not going to comment further on because the whole thing is worthless), and comes from a company built by a talking rodent.
The Walt Disney Company has announced that it will no longer allow advertisements for "junk foods" on its networks during children's programming. The company has set certain standards as far as sugar and sodium per calorie, and any food - such as Capri Sun and Goldfish (the crackers, not the animal. The animal might actually be considered OK) - that doesn't conform to those standards will be banned from those advertising spots.
The networks affected will be the ABC Saturday morning block and most of the programming on the Disney Channel, which is strange because the Outsider has never seen a commercial on the Disney Channel that wasn't an advertisement for another show on the Disney Channel; just one of many reasons he found the Disney Channel to be creepy.
Initial projections indicate that Disney could lose approximately $7 million in ad revenue by doing this, but hey it looks like Disney is taking a stand against childhood obesity, right? The company is sending a clear message that if you are trying to lure children into eating something unhealthy you are not welcome.
So, where does a kid go if he wants to drink soda and eat a fried turkey leg? How about the happiest place on earth!
Walt Disney World is filled with restaurants that will be more than happy to sell your child all kinds of foods that would otherwise be banned from the Disney Channel.
To Disney's credit, when you buy your child a 1/3 lb cheeseburger at the Main Street Cafe you do have the option to substitute fries with apple chips, which are not only awful, but taste way worse than just eating an actual apple. Seriously, apples taste good so why would anyone want to ruin them by making them into chips?
In the interest of full disclosure, when The Outsider was younger he was employed by Walt Disney World for a short amount of time (buy him a few beers and he'd be happy to tell you that story), but while he was there, he was required to watch a training video where a child asked for an extra pickle with his meal.
The video instructed employees to "just give him the pickle" rather than deny the child and try to save the company money. The pickle was an allegory for service in general; if there was something you could do that was inexpensive and would make the guest happy, it was worth the small expense to the company.
The irony now is the Outsider doesn't think Disney would allow pickles to be advertised on its networks. He's not sure what the sodium limit is, but it's a safe assumption that the "metric ton" found in pickles would be a no-no.
There's an argument to be made that doing something is better than doing nothing and Disney is a private sector company and it's free to advertise what it wants. So all criticism aside, it's nice to see a company like Disney take a stand against junk food... That isn't sold by Disney.
Here's something that should seem obvious to most people: If you deal with dangerous animals, there's a reasonably good chance you're going to get hurt really badly. Just ask Roy Horn, Steve Irwin and Elmer Fudd (those wascalwy wabbits are more dangerous than you'd think).
The latest example comes from Pentecostal Preacher, Randy "Mack" Wolford, who died a little over a week ago from a snake bite during a church service. "What's the preacher doing with a venomous snake during a church service?" you ask? Great question!
It turns out that this particular sect of Christianity believes in a very literal interpretation of the Bible and one verse - Mark 16:17-18 says, "And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well (NIV)."
Wolford believed very strongly in his faith and had handled venomous snakes on many occasions without getting hurt. It's easy to see that in his mind, the verse in Mark was correct and he could not be harmed by poison. If only he had some kind of example that no matter how strong your faith is, poison from a snake bite could still kill you. If only someone like his father were around to tell him that this was a bad idea.
It turns out, his father died when Mack was only 15, and died of...wait for it...a venomous snake bite!
If the proclivity to handle dangerous animals was a genetic trait, one would think it would have been bred out of the gene pool by now, but the Wolfords have found a way to circumvent evolutionary forces; by dying of the stupid dangerous thing AFTER you reproduce.
The 44-year-old Mack was bitten by the snake during the service and died several hours later in a home surrounded by family and friends.
Now the Outsider knows what you're thinking (he has fooled people into thinking he has psychic powers before), "Wait, a home? This isn't 1823, snake bites are not usually lethal if treated." And you would be correct in that thought. The other part of Wolford's religion does not allow for medical treatment of these types of wounds.
Apparently, it was more important for Wolford to be true to the letter of his faith than to be there for his family for however may more years he'd be on Earth (again, he was only 44). The Outsider is not judging Mack's decision, merely interpreting it. Who knows, he could have had a perfectly legit reason for wanting to permanently separate himself from his family.
There is something admirable about faith to that level, even if it's put in something so foolish as the LORD supernaturally protecting you from venomous snakes (if He didn't want them to poison you, He wouldn't have created them that way) and tested in an even more foolish manner, as if publicly daring the LORD keep that promise even after he has shown on multiple occasions that he won't.
The episode has inspired the Outsider to have a similar faith, but his faith will be placed in the guy who said, "Don't piss off a rattlesnake!"
twoday magazine wants to know: Which story seemed more insane to you? Disney actually removing junk food from its advertising line up, or a preacher taking his faith to the edge...and not living to tell the tale? Share with us on our Facebook page. (We promise, no venomous snakes required.)
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