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6 Alternatives to Paying for Cable

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6 Alternatives to Paying for Cable

“Over 500 channels and nothing’s on.” How many times have you echoed that sentiment in the past couple years?

Realistically, most cable network packages come with at least 200 channels nowadays. But who really watches all of them? I’m pretty sure if someone snuck into my apartment and blocked 95% of the channels I get, the only way I would notice is if I couldn’t watch reruns of Seinfeld while I eat dinner.

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Regardless of the fact that most of us probably only really watch five to ten of the hundreds of channels at our disposal, we’re still charged the full amount for the package by the cable company. There has to be a better way, right? Well, there is. Maybe it’s time you cut the cord, and check out some of the following options.

1. YouTube

Okay, so you’re not going to get full-length movies or TV shows on YouTube. But the popular streaming site does have more than just ridiculous cat videos. There are documentaries, educational resources, and recreational activities for people of all interests. You might have to tweak your idea of what “watching TV” really means, but you can get just as much out of the free services YouTube provides as you would with cable.

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2. Sling TV

Like I said before, you probably pay for hundreds of channels, but only watch a handful of them. For $20 a month, you can use Sling TV to stream some of the most-watched channels around, while leaving the ones you don’t care about behind. ESPN, AMC, Cartoon Network, and TNT are just some of the channels included in the main package. You can also purchase additional packages (including sports and kids-based shows) for $5 extra per month. No more paying for Lifetime just because you have to!

3. Netflix

You probably don’t need me to tell you that Netflix is a pretty sweet alternative to cable TV. While it’s movie selection is usually fairly lacking (oddly enough, considering it’s what the service was initially built around in the first place), the collection of quality TV shows makes Netflix completely worth the $8 a month subscription. How else can you watch 12 episodes of a single show in one sitting without having to go through one commercial break?

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4. Hulu

Hulu is pretty similar to Netflix, but there are a few differences between the two. With Hulu, you’ll unfortunately be stuck watching the same commercials every ten to fifteen minutes – even if you pay for the premium service. However, unlike Netflix, Hulu offers much more recent episodes of popular shows almost immediately. Think of it like this: You can either wait months and months for a new season of a show to be released on Netflix, or you can sit through two minutes of commercials on Hulu. Pick your poison!

5. Libraries

I remember my old town library used to have a small section of outdated VHS tapes collecting dust in some backroom. But that was during the Blockbuster days of the 90s. Nowadays, many libraries have a pretty up-to-date selection of DVDs to choose from. And they’re usually pretty lax on due dates, so you won’t end up getting slammed by late fees if you can’t get around to watching a movie til the weekend.

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6. Live Streaming Sites

The Internet offers plenty of sites to watch free live tv on that don’t require payment or a subscription of any sort. Many of these sites offer regionally-based programming, whether by city, state, or even country. If you’ve moved across the country but want to follow your hometown sports team, there are sites that can help you out without having to pay the extraordinary price your cable company will charge for a single extra channel. The same goes for locally-based news and other programming. If you’re feeling homesick and you know some hometown TV will help out, there are many places you can go on the Internet to find what you need.

Featured photo credit: Watching TV 2 / Jinho Jung / Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

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Last Updated on January 27, 2022

5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

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5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

Food is a universal necessity.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

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Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

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The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

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Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

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So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

Featured photo credit: Young Shih via unsplash.com

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