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The Geography of Bliss December 1, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Happiness, People.
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Mickey-LoungingIf you’re looking for Nirvana, Utopia, Paradise in your pursuit of happiness, you won’t find it between the covers of The Geography of Bliss ~ One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World.

Instead, if you follow my recommendation as I did Andra’s, you will join Eric Weiner (pronounced “whiner”) as he visits 9 countries on a global quest to learn what makes some places happier than others.

The countries visited?  The Netherlands, Switzerland, Bhutan, Qatar, Iceland,  Moldova, Thailand, Great Britain, and India.

In Switzerland, consuming chocolate adds to the net happiness ~ as do the clean toilets.  In Moldova, everything but the fresh fruits and vegetables adds to the populace’s misery.

grumpy_thinkingMoldovans are a decidedly unhappy people.  An unhappiness that is readily absorbed by Peace Corps volunteers and other visitors, including the author.  He couldn’t wait to leave.

If you have “Visit Moldova” on your Bucket List, you might want to cross it off.

In the Epilogue, Weiner, a self-proclaimed mope, sums up his findings without attempting to proscribe  THE exact precise one-size-fits-all formula for happiness:

Money matters, but less than we think and not in the way that we think.  Family is important.  So are friends.  Envy is toxic.  So is excessive thinking.  Beaches are optional.  Trust is not.  Neither is gratitude.

To venture any further, though, is to enter treacherous waters.  A slippery seal, happiness is.  On the road, I encountered bushels of inconsistencies.  The Swiss are uptight and happy.  The Thais are laid back and happy.  Icelanders find joy in their binge drinking.  Moldovans only misery. 

Maybe an Indian mind can digest these contradictions but mine can’t.  Exasperated, I call one of the leading happiness researchers, John Helliwell.  Perhaps he has some answers.

“It’s simple,” he says.  “There’s more than one path to happiness.”

Of course.  How could I have missed it?  Tolstoy turned on his head.  All miserable countries are alike; happy ones are happy in their own ways.

One destination, many paths.  Makes sense.  After all, life is not a game of Follow the Leader or Monkey See, Monkey Do.

In the last chapter, Weiner returns home to the United States ~ wiser, more content perhaps, but not necessarily happier:

Have I found happiness? . . . I do experience happy moments.  I’m learning, as W.H. Auden counseled, to “dance while you can.”

Woodstock-&-Snoopy2Exactly the right approach to the pursuit of happiness.  We can only live happily ever after on a moment by moment basis.

On with the dance!  Let joy be unconfined.  ~ Lord Byron.

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Talking Frog & Other Engineering Jokes December 1, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, People, Word Play.
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My dad, brothers, and sister all have engineering degrees.  I’m the only lawyer in the bunch.  I’m also the only blonde. 

Over the years, I’ve heard my share of lawyer jokes.  And dumb blonde jokes.   Engineering jokes are harder to come by.  

A few weeks ago, Granny sent me an e-mail filled with engineering jokes.  Thanks,  Granny

Here are my 7 favorites:

(1) Two engineering students are walking across a university campus when one says, “Where did you get such a great bike?”

 The second replies, “I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, “Take what you want.”

The first nods, “Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn’t have fit you, anyway.”

(2) To the optimist, the glass is half-full.
 To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty.

To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

(3) What is the difference between mechanical engineers and civil engineers?

Mechanical engineers build weapons. 
Civil engineers build targets. 

(4) A priest, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.  The engineer fumed, “What’s with those guys?  We must have been waiting for fifteen minutes!”

The doctor chimed in, “I don’t know, but I’ve never seen such inept golf!”

The priest said, “Here comes the groundskeeper.  Let’s have a word with him . . . George, what’s wrong with that group ahead of us?  They’re rather slow, aren’t they?”

“Oh, yes.  That’s a group of blind firemen.  They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we let them play for free anytime.”

The group fell silent for a moment.

The priest said, “That’s sad.  I will say a special prayer for them tonight.”

The doctor said, “Good idea.  I’m going to contact my ophthalmologist colleague and see if there’s anything he can do for them.”

The engineer said, “Why can’t they play at night?” 

(5) Three engineering students were gathered together discussing who must have designed the human body.

“It was a mechanical engineer. Just look at all the joints.”

“No, it was an electrical engineer. The nervous system has thousands of electrical connections.” 

“No, it had to have been a civil engineer.  Who else would run a toxic waste pipeline through a recreational area?” 

(6) Normal people believe that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  Engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet. 
(7) As an engineer crossed the road, a frog called out and said, “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess.”  The engineer picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.

The frog cried out, “If you kiss me and turn me into a princess, I’ll stay with you for a week and do ANYTHING you want.”

The engineer took the frog out, smiled at it, and put it back into his pocket.

Puzzled, the frog asked, “What is the matter?  I’ve told you I’m a beautiful princess and that I’ll stay with you for one week and do anything you want.  Why won’t you kiss me?”

The engineer said, “I’m an engineer.  I don’t have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that’s cool.”

Aah . . . that’s better!