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Modern Families

A comic from The Oatmeal illustrates how we're missing the mark on happiness.

I do the things that are meaningful to me, even if they don't make me "happy."

oatmeal comics, matthew inman, comedy
By Matthew Inman/The Oatmeal. Used with permission.

How to Be Perfectly Happy


Matthew Inman is the Eisner Award-winning author of The Oatmeal. He's published six books, including New York Times Best-Sellers such as "How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You"and "The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances."He enjoys running marathons, writing comics, and eating cake.

You can read more of Matthew's comics here.




Comic by Matthew Inman/The Oatmeal. Used with permission.

























More comics from The Oatmeal:When your house is burning down, you should brush your teeth.



My dog: the paradox



It's going to be okay.

More comics from The Oatmeal:

It's going to be okay.


This article originally appeared on 12.02.16

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

Pop Culture

Here’s a paycheck for a McDonald’s worker. And here's my jaw dropping to the floor.

So we've all heard the numbers, but what does that mean in reality? Here's one year's wages — yes, *full-time* wages. Woo.

Making a little over 10,000 for a yearly salary.


I've written tons of things about minimum wage, backed up by fact-checkers and economists and scholarly studies. All of them point to raising the minimum wage as a solution to lifting people out of poverty and getting folks off of public assistance. It's slowly happening, and there's much more to be done.

But when it comes right down to it, where the rubber meets the road is what it means for everyday workers who have to live with those wages. I honestly don't know how they do it.


Ask yourself: Could I live on this small of a full-time paycheck? I know what my answer is.

(And note that the minimum wage in many parts of the county is STILL $7.25, so it would be even less than this).

paychecks, McDonalds, corporate power, broken system

One year of work at McDonalds grossed this worker $13,811.18.

assets.rebelmouse.io

This story was written by Brandon Weber and was originally appeared on 02.26.15

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Education

The 'world's most livable city' has a proven, 100-year-old approach to affordable housing

More than 60% of this city of 1.9 million people lives in government-subsidized housing.

Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

Vienna, Austria, is the "world's most livable city."

My family recently spent a week exploring Vienna, Austria, getting a first-hand look at why it's been named "the world's most livable city" for 8 out of the past 10 years. As we enjoyed the efficient public transportation system and meandered the picturesque streets filled with gorgeous architecture, we did find ourselves thinking, "Yeah, we could live here."

Part of that feeling was prompted by the beauty of the place, but as we spent hours walking through the historic heart of the city, something else struck me. Unlike every other big city I've visited in recent years, I didn't see anyone sleeping on the sidewalk. No tents as makeshift homes set up anywhere. It was so striking, I kept wondering, "Where were all the homeless people?"

Vienna is home to 1.9 million people—more than twice the population of Seattle or Boston, where you can't walk for 5 minutes through downtown without seeing multiple people experiencing homelessness. I began to wonder if perhaps Vienna was a case of homelessness being shoved out of view into slums or something. But after digging a bit, I learned that Vienna does have some homeless population. It just doesn't have the numbers or the homelessnessproblem that most modern large cities do, thanks to its 100-year-old approach to affordable housing.


In the late 19th century, Vienna faced a huge housing and economic crisis. It was bad, even contributing to a tragically young life expectancy in 1900.

To address the problem, from 1919 to 1934, the city poured tax revenue into public housing—but not like any public housing most of us have ever seen. Known as as Volkswohnungspaläste, or “people’s apartment palaces," the homes that were built were multi-story apartment blocks built with quality materials and beautified architectural details. They included green spaces and playgrounds and were built with easy access to medical facilities, schools, libraries, post offices and theater spaces.

The ideas was that government housing should be conducive to a good quality of life for all. And this novel concept has been at the heart of the approach to housing in Vienna ever since. Today, more than 60% of the Viennese population lives in government-subsidized housing and nearly nearly half of the housing market is city-owned flats or cooperative apartments. There is no stigma attached to public housing, which is interspersed throughout the city.

While other European cities began to privatize and commodify housing in the 1980s and 90s, Vienna held the course, viewing housing as a human right. And now it's being named the "world's most livable city" almost every year. Go figure.

In the fall of 2022, a delegation of 50 American tenant and homeless leaders, organizers, researchers, and elected officials visited Vienna to learn more about their social housing programs. Here were a few of their impressions they shared with "The Nation":

"The attitude there is so different than what we have in the United States. We have it ingrained that public things are supposed to be nasty, supposed to be the lowest of the low. But to see what we saw in Vienna, it was like, wow, it is achievable to have housing that is government-owned, for the people, and beautiful." – Julie Cohon, lead housing organizer at Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition

"I work hard. And, I still don’t have a safe place to live. In Vienna, we saw regular people who had not only safe but beautiful spaces. [When we were touring Sonnwendviertel, a 5,500 apartment social housing development not far from the city’s main train station], I kept noticing a lot of kids. And we saw how space was really designed for them: lots of day care centers and beautiful, car-free streets. What we saw is when the profit motive is taken out of housing, it’s a game changer." – Dorca Reynoso, board member of the Met Council Action

"My main reflections from Vienna was how long the culture of housing for all has been in existence. The quality of social housing was also interesting: the Viennese government chose maintaining well-constructed buildings, rather than demolishing and rebuilding every 30 to 50 years. The very first municipal complex was built in 1924 and is still fully occupied today." – India Walton, senior adviser at the Working Families Party

Is it possible to apply what has been learned in Vienna over the past century to other places? Why not? Considering the unaffordability of housing in so many cities, it seems worth a try. Housing isn't the only thing that makes Vienna a highly livable city, but it definitely plays a huge role. When housing is reasonably desirable at every price point and people aren't worried about affording a nice roof over their heads, it's easier to address the other things that make life good. It at least seems like a good place to start.


This article originally appeared on 12.9.23

A woman looking at her phone while sitting on the toilet.

One of the most popular health trends over the last few years has been staying as hydrated as possible, evidenced by the massive popularity of 40-oz Stanely Quencher cups. The theory among those who obsess over hydration is that, when you pee clear, you’ve removed all the waste in your body and are enjoying the incredible benefits of being 100% hydrated. Congratulations.

However, according to Dr. Sermed Mezher, an NHS doctor in the UK, peeing clear isn’t always a sign of being healthy.


“If you’re peeing clear, that means you’re having more than 2.5 liters (85 ounces) of fluid per day, which means your kidneys are working overdrive to keep that water off your brain,” Dr. Mezher said. He goes on to add that when kidneys can't keep up with their water intake, it can cause water intoxication, which can lead to dangerous, even lethal, brain swelling.

Stop Trying to Get Your Pee Completely Clear #hydration. 

@drsermedmezher

Visit TikTok to discover videos!

According to Dr. Mezher, it's all about finding balance when it comes to hydration and the goal shouldn't be to pee clear all the time. "Of course, like most things in life, too much is not great, and too little isn't either," he continued. Two liters (68 ounces) [of water] is good for a healthy adult, and babies under six months shouldn't be given any water at all."

The news came as a bit of a shock to some folks in the comments. "One minute it's not enough water, the next it's too much... I'm tired," Tiyana wrote. "I always thought the goal was clear," Mountain Witch added.

If you have concerns about the color of your urine, please consult a doctor.


This article originally appeared on 3.26.24

Pop Culture

One moment in history shot Tracy Chapman to music stardom. Watch it now.

She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.

Imagine being in the crowd and hearing "Fast Car" for the first time

While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.

So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?

For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.


The year was 1988. Seventy-two thousand people gathered—along with 600 million more watching along on their televisions—to see headliner Stevie Wonder as part of Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday tribute concert.

However, technical difficulties (or perhaps some divine timing) rendered Wonder unable to perform his act. Chapman had already played a three-song set earlier in the afternoon, and yet she agreed to step up to the microphone.

Armed with nothing but herself and a guitar, the shy and stoic Chapman captivated everyone to silence. And the rest is history.

Watch:

Using just a simple story, “Fast Car” conveyed a million different themes—the challenges of class and poverty, seeking escape from a small town and yearning for freedom and new opportunity. It’s easy to see why some find the song heartbreaking, while others find it hopeful.

After the Mandela gig, the song became a worldwide hit, earning Chapman Grammy awards and shooting her to stardom. What’s more, she introduced a new wave of socially-conscious music filled with gentle, yet brutally truthful introspection. Since that fateful day, her name is forever synonymous with a quiet revolution. We are quite lucky to get to experience it so many years later.


This article originally appeared on 2.2.23

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.


In a TikTok that's been viewed over 17 million times, the Gardiner Brothers don cowboy hats while they step in time to "Texas Hold 'Em," much to the delight of viewers everywhere.

Watch:

@gardinerbrothers

Beyoncé 🤝 Irish dancing #beyonce #countrymusic

Michael and Matthew Gardiner are professional Irish-American stepdancers and choreographers who have gained international fame with their award-winning performances. They've also built a following of millions on social media with videos like this one, where they dance to popular songs, usually in an outdoor environment.

The melding of Irish dance with country music sung by a Black American female artist may seem unlikely, but it could be viewed merely as country music coming back to its roots. After all, country music has its roots in the ballad tradition of the Irish, English and Scottish settlers in the Appalachian region of the U.S. And despite modern country music's struggle to break free from "music for white people" stereotypes, it has roots in African-American traditions as well. For instance, the banjo, which has long been used in bluegrass and country music, was created by enslaved Africans and their descendents during the colonial era, according to The Smithsonian.

People are loving the blending of genres and culture that the TikTok exemplifies.

"Never thought I’d see Irish step dancing while Beyoncé sings country," wrote on commenter. "My life is complete. ♥️"

"So happy Beyoncé dropped this song and exposed my timeline to diversified talent 👏🏽👏🏽," wrote another.

"Beyoncé brought the world together with this song 😭," offered another person.

"Ayeeee Irish Dancing has entered the BeyHive chatroom… WELCOME!! 🔥🔥🔥" exclaimed another.

"I don’t think I can explain how many of my interests are intersecting here," wrote one commenter, reflecting what several others shared as well.

The Beyoncé/Gardiner Brothers combo and the reactions to it are a good reminder that none of us fit into one box of interest or identity. We're all an eclectic mix of tastes and styles, so we can almost always find a way to connect with others over something we enjoy. What better way to be reminded of that fact than through an unexpected mashup that blends the magic of music with the delight of dance? Truly, the arts are a powerful uniting force we should utilize more often.

And for an extra bit of fun, the Gardiner Brothers also shared their bloopers from filming the video. Turns out stepping in the rain isn't as easy as they make it look.

Beyoncé Bloopers #texasholdem #gardinerbrothers

@gardinerbrothers

Beyoncé Bloopers #texasholdem #gardinerbrothers

This article originally appeared on 2.26.24