Food is one of the only things that unites us all. Gathering together on special occasions and preparing ritualistic dishes – the turkey on Christmas, the roast beef on Sunday – is present in nearly all cultures. Yet, in an increasingly connected world not all of these culturally significant feasts are deemed to be appropriate. I’m talking, of course, about the annual dog-eating festival that takes place in Yulin, China. This festival has been garnering a great deal of Western media attention lately. Solely, it seems, for the reason that the idea of eating a dog is severely disturbing to our pet-loving nations. We put puppies on our toilet roll, not our plates.
The Humane Society International, an animal protection organization, has been particularly vocal about trying to get this event shut down. ‘Kidnapped pets, destined for slaughter’ reads an article on their website. However, I was surprised to learn that while the Humane Society does encourage the adoption of a vegetarian diet it does so in very laid back terms. In fact, they call it being a ‘flexitarian’.
No, this doesn’t mean that eating is now replaced by yoga. According to their website being a flexitarian means ‘waking up every day and trying to be more vegetarian’. It promotes things such as ‘meatless Mondays’ and avoiding products like battery-farmed eggs. Eating meat, while not encouraged, is most certainly not condemned. In other words, the chicken you buy from a Western supermarket is no cause for outrage.
Now, it’s not that there is anything wrong with being a ‘flexitarian’ (apart from the terrible name). It’s just, if you compare the Yulin dog-eating festival to our own summer barbecues, the only real difference is what’s on the menu. How can one be so fundamentally wrong and the other completely acceptable? Rationally it makes no sense.
Obviously, to Westerners, eating a pig is hugely different from eating a dog. People eat pork everyday. We have reconciled ourselves with the fact that for us to enjoy bacon sandwiches then we must slaughter pigs, on mass. But when it comes to types of meat we are not morally prepared to consume – say dogs, cats or as the horse meat scandal in the UK proves, horses – then anyone who does not conform to Western dietary habits is condemned as a monster. Even celebrities like Ricky Gervais have stepped in to call for people to help stop the Yulin festival. ‘No animal deserves to be treated like this’ he states on his Facebook page.
And yet, animals are treated like this; and it’s not just dogs. Gervais, to be fair, is an avid animal welfare campaigner and proud vegetarian. He’s perfectly aware of the strange hypocrisy of our society; one that glorifies micro-pigs while having pork chops for dinner. Of the facts circulating the internet the one that seems to be repeated most is the number of dogs killed annually during the festival: 10,000. Which, when compared to other statistics – say the fact that 25,000 piglets are slaughtered every day in Denmark alone – is utterly negligible in terms of the total amount of animal suffering that occurs on our planet. The fact is that we’re being very species specific when it comes to what animal cruelty offends us.
HSI are clearly attempting to promote higher animal-welfare in realistic terms. After all, it’s a nonprofit organization founded in America – the country that consumes the second largest amount of meat per person in the world (second only to Luxembourg). If they started asking all Americans to turn vegetarian immediately they would get nowhere. It would literally be like asking a cowboy to swap his steak for a vegetarian sausage.
But, then again, isn’t that what Westerners are saying to the people Yulin? If India vocally objected to America’s insatiable taste for beef, Bill O’Reilly would openly mock the country on Fox News. And yet, when it comes to eating dog-meat, international organizations are attempting to mediate what the people of the Guangxi region of China should and should not eat. Even if it has been a traditional part of their diet for millennia (that’s not to say all Chinese people condone eating dog, thousands protest against the Yulin festival and others like it).
Any meat-eater who believes the Yulin festival is morally abhorrent should, perhaps, take a look at their own diet before condemning the traditional food of another culture. And, if they truly believe the Yulin festival should be banned then extend that same logic to Western society. Protect animals globally, regardless of species. Ban pig-farms. Ban abattoirs. Ban Nando’s. And anyone who is claiming to disagree with the Yulin festival purely because of the way in which the animals are killed (reportedly being boiled and skinned while still alive) should really educate themselves about the realities of modern farming. Type farrowing crates into Google and you’ll see what I mean.
If Western society really cared about animals we wouldn’t treat the vast majority of them the way we do. We care about dogs, but not pigs. We love cats, but not chickens. Animal rights should be like human rights, extended to everyone regardless of race. Suffering is suffering no matter what genus you belong to.
DIY Bathroom Repairs Everyone Should Know
They say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but if something is stuck or clogged, one should be on the know-how. Reaching almost a year since quarantine began, people have been spending longer than average locked inside their homes. With this, homes may have experienced more wear and tear than usual, especially bathrooms.
It can be frustrating to feel helpless when dealing with something as tedious as a leaky faucet, a broken toilet, or a clogged drain. Considering this, small do-it-yourself remedies may be resourceful.
That began said, if challenges are too drastic, larger renovations may be in order. If that is the case, consider commercial bathroom renovations instead.
For the meantime, these are some nice and easy-to-do remedies than can offer your bathroom a quick fix.
Uncloging a Bathroom Drain
When taking a shower or washing your hands, having water rise from the drain is the least you would want. Slow bathroom drains are often caused by a build-up of soap-scum and hair. Many resort to using chemical drain cleansers to remedy this; however, these products carry toxic chemicals and can be ineffective at times.
Instead, use a plastic hair snake. This product resembles a long zip-tie which can bend inside pipes to snag the accumulated gunk.
To begin, remove the drain stopper before inserting the wand. This will require unscrewing and disconnecting the stopper’s horizontal and vertical rods. After doing this, you may finally insert the snake. Once the cleaning process begins, beware: it’ll get gross. As a tip, try to girate or make sweeping motions with the snake in order to grab as much gunk as possible.
Fixing a Broken Toilet
Dealing with a broken toilet can be a common issue.
If the toilet won’t flush, check inside the it’s tank. To do so, remove the toilet’s rectangular lid; the lid can be found behind the toilet seat. Look for the chain which connects the flush lever to the plug at the bottom of the tank; the plug is also known as the flapper. If a toilet isn’t flushing, the likeliest answer is that the chain is disconnected from the lever. To resolve this, simply reattach the chain.
Meanwhile, if water keeps on filling your toilet, it most likely means your toilet is flushing by itself. This isn’t good as it is wasteful. The likeliest reason would be that the toilet has a leaky flapper. To fix this, turn off the water valve from behind/ underneath your toilet. Flush your toilet until emptied. Check the flapper’s size and purchase another flapper. Brands do not matter as long as they match in size. Replace the old flapper with a new one, and voila!
Replacing a Leaky Faucet
Fixing a leaky faucet often requires replacing the parts inside the handles. To do so, first turn off the hot and cold water valves. Doing this will help prevent any unwanted water geysers from jumping out of the faucet or handles.
Once you’ve turned off the water valves, check if water is still trickling down. If so, rather than replacing the handles, this means your faucet is in need of a plumber. If it isn’t leaking, you may proceed.
Pry off the handles and loosen the screws underneath. Once both items are removed, remove the top with an adjustable wrench and pull out all the parts. The best tip is to use needle nose pliers to do this. Head to a home improvement store and ask for help in searching for new replacements. To reassemble, repeat the steps in reverse and test the faucet.
The 8 Best Christmas Movies to Watch with Your Family
Christmas is the perfect time of year to get together with family and friends and spend as much time as possible with them, but it’s also a time to curl up on the couch and watch those Christmas movies we’ve seen a thousand times. Don’t know which one to choose, though? To inspire you over the next few days, we’ve created a top 8 Christmas movies list to watch with your loved ones during the incoming Christmas holidays. You can easily find them all online in platforms such as movie 4k, Netflix, Hulu or HBO.
One of the most romantic movies of recent times is also one of the most adorable Christmas films, so why not watch or the billionth time? In this movie, director Richard Curtis mixes 10 small love stories that at the beginning do not seem to have anywhing in common, but end up intertwined at the end. Apparently, as he didn’t have them all developed enough to make their own movies, he just left them as optimistic pills. They are very different stories -some euphoric, others tender, others surprising- but all of them to make you grab the handkerchief and want to wish Merry Christmas to the first person you come across.
Some may think that this is one of the most cheesy films in the history of cinema, but there is no denying that the chemistry between Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack is enormous. Serendipity’ is related to chance and the possibility of two people meeting over time and that’s what happens to Jonathan and Sara. The two meet in a department store while looking at a pair of wool gloves; they will connect in such a way that they are going to have a drink and skate to Central Park. When that ‘casual date’ is over, doubts will arise: to exchange the phone or not? To reveal their true identity or not? Destiny will play a key role in them.
The film follows the story of an abandoned baby who manages to slip into Santa’s sack and ends up at the North Pole. There, he will become one of the elves who help Santa make toys all year round. However, as soon as he learns that he is human, he will go to New York to look for his father. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s definitely hilarious.
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
A classic among Christmas movies starring 90’s TV stars such as Connie Sellecca, Corbin Bersnen and Cole and Dylan Sprouse. The film shows how little Justin sees his mother kissing Santa Claus -and doesn’t recognize his father in the costume-, and he beleives that his mother’s affair is the prelude to their parents divorce, so he tries to keep Santa far away from the house with his bad behavior.
While you were sleeping
A classic romantic comedy that tells how Lucy, a subway ticket vendor, is in love with a man that she sees every morning catching a train. One day, he accidentlly falls on the track; she rescues him and, for some reason, she ends up pretending to be his girlfriend to his whole family. Everyone receives her with much affection except the brother of the victim, who did not buy her story.
A good dose of Bridget Jones never hurts anyone, not even at Christmas, and especially if you choose the first movie of the saga -since the second one wasn’t as good and the third and last wasn’t successful at all. Renée Zellwegger brings to life the most clumsy journalist in history who struggles between two men: Daniel Cleaver or Mark Darcy, an old friend of her family who seems a dull, boring guy, but also charming and caring.
Just in case you missed the huge cultural phenomenon that was John Hughes’ big Christmas movie, it needed to be on this list. Starring Macauly Culkin, it tells the story of a young boy who is forgotten at home when his family leaves to Paris to spend the holidays. While the parents try to come back for him, the boy ends up having to defend his home from thieves who are determined to celebrate their own Christmas party by robbing everything in the house.
It’s a wonderful life
Only a director as skilled as Frank Capra could turn a film about a suicidal man into a Christmas classic. Jimmy Stewart leads the cast as George Bailey, a guy who plans to end it all until an angel named Clarence shows him what his life (and that of all his neighbours in Bedford Falls) would be like without him. In a story taken directly from Dickens, it turns out that George has a much bigger impact than he thought.
Try These Tips out to Simplify Your Everyday Life
Everyday life naturally has a way of getting complicated, and spiralling out of control in one way or another.
Especially if you are an ambitious person and want to achieve the most you possibly can in your professional life, while also having a lively and uplifting personal life, it can be very difficult to avoid the experience of being drowned in excessive complexity from time to time.
The thing is, there are many downsides to excessive complexity in your everyday life, ranging from significantly increased stress levels, to a real difficulty with regards to being able to effectively juggle assorted projects and responsibilities.
Try these tips to simplify your everyday life.
Declutter your home and make sure everything has a place
A lot of excess complexity can sneak into your life via a cluttered home, where things just naturally feel overwhelming because of the fact that your mind and attention are constantly drawn to the chaotic nature of your living environment.
There are many different potential benefits to decluttering your home, but one of the key benefits that various home tidying gurus and productivity experts praise about the act of decluttering, is that it helps promote a state of mental tranquillity, focus, and an overall reduced sense of complexity.
So, do what you can to declutter your home and make sure that everything has a place. Contact e-waste recyclers, load bags of clothes to donate to charity shops, and do whatever else you need to do in order to begin simplifying your life and your mindset by simplifying your home environment.
Identify one or two big goals to work towards, and put the rest aside for later
Most of us have all sorts of different dreams, projects, and potential goals that we would hypothetically like to explore and devote our time and attention to, at some point or another over the course of our lives.
Unfortunately, however, trying to juggle too many goals at once is usually a recipe for stress and failure – not to mention a sense of overwhelming complexity, as we are constantly trying to figure out the best way to allocate our time and energy to the various projects we want to make headway on.
One of the best ways of simplifying your life and of focusing your energy, is to identify just one or two big goals to work towards at any given time, and put the rest aside for later.
Do your most important tasks at the start of each day
“Analysis paralysis” is a very real phenomenon, and it tends to occur when we have too many different options at our disposal, and have to try and figure out how best to juggle a variety of factors – such as where to fit in the different tasks and chores that we are committed to each day.
A great simplicity-boosting exercise here is to always do your most important task at the start of each day. That way, everything else is more or less a nice optional extra, and stress decreases dramatically.
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