The United Nations has just issued a report naming Norway the happiest country in the world — for now. A year ago, Denmark was in first place. The United States dropped from 13th place to 14th. First, we'll review the facts, then a bit of analysis is in order. The top 10 happiest countries are Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Finland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Sweden.
Feeling worthless. Those two words describe me this afternoon − physically, mentally and emotionally. The request that I move so Eartha can vacuum around me got me off my butt so that I could write this true confession.
NOTE: Lynn Hummel is in the hospital getting a new knee this week. The following is a reprint of an earlier article about a conversation that took place when Eartha was still named Raquel. Raquel came back from the January clearance sale with a package under her arm and a huge smile on her face. I've learned that political correctness, like charity, starts at home, so I thought I'd ask all the correct questions and make all the correct comments at least this once. "Well now, what did you find today?" I asked with profound interest and politeness.
I just learned there is a school in London called the School of Life. It was founded in 2008 by a philosopher named Alain de Botton as an educational company focused on how to live wisely and well. It has branches in Antwerp, Amsterdam, Berlin, Istanbul, Melbourne, Paris, Sao Paulo, Sydney, Seoul and Tel Aviv. None, apparently in the United States. Is that because we already live wisely and well here or that we just don't care?
We'll call him Ali, though that's not his real name. Makes no difference for this true story. The young man's parents were born in one Middle Eastern country, and Ali was born in another Middle Eastern country, (both Muslim-majority countries) after his parents moved there. Today he lives alone in Fargo. Ali was not considered a citizen in the country where he grew up, because his parents weren't born there and were considered foreigners. For this reason, Ali could not get an education at home.
The day America stopped drinking coffee was one of the biggest national disasters since The Day the World Ran Out of Denim, which I told you about in this column and in a book by that name years ago. The denim panic accelerated when denim was faded, denim outfits had to have little patches, and dresses and suits of denim hit the markets. Suddenly, denim disappeared except what the hoarders had hidden away and what little could be found on the what was called the "blue market." It was ugly and I won't repeat it now. Obviously, we survived and came out of it.
Every year about this time, the Motion Picture Academy makes a major production out of awarding Oscars to the best actors, actresses, movies, music, sound effects (24 categories) of the motion pictures for this past year. This year was the 89th year. The ceremony goes on and on for hours and it's pure glitz — the ultimate in expensive shoes, dresses and jewelry, the ultimate in plunging necklines, bald egos and long speeches — almost nothing that ordinary folks can relate to.
Remember the panic of Y2K? As the calendar turned toward the end of the 20th century, many believed that our computers would not make the transition from 1999 to 2000. As a result, the computers controlling our banking systems, our hospitals, and our air control system would fail at midnight on December 31, 1999, and our bank accounts would be wiped out, our life support systems would come to a halt and patients would die on the operating table and airliners flying at midnight would crash because air controllers would be unable to communicate with pilots.
I was in this waiting room waiting for my appointment. The magazines were mostly out of date and on subjects that weren't of much interest to me — autos, diabetes, cooking and big game hunting. Taking the least disinteresting, I selected the big game hunting magazine and was flipping through the pages.
Is it possible to break a federal law while watching a Little League baseball game? Yes, and you can break the same law before a junior varsity, varsity, World Series, Rose Bowl or Super Bowl game. And if you watch carefully, you will see the law being broken on national television, witnessed by millions, just before the Super Bowl game on Feb. 5.