Paging Professor UJ

Back when UJ used to write for this blog, he added a tag for “happiness” because he wrote a number of posts about it.  I regret to admit that, since UJ stopped his scrivening, it’s probably the least-used tag on the blog.  In fact, this post is likely the first one with a happiness tag in months, if not years.  I consider myself a happy person, but I just don’t write much it.

Apparently, Yale students also need help with happiness.  This semester Yale is offering Psych 157, a course called “Psychology and the Good Life.”  It tries to instruct students on how to be happier — and it has quickly become the most popular undergraduate course Yale has ever offered.  1,200 students, which is about 25 percent of the entire undergraduate student population, is taking the course.  The professor posits that Yale students are flocking to take the course because “they had to deprioritize their happiness to gain admission to the school” and in the process adopted “harmful life habits.”  If you read the article linked above, you’ll conclude that Yalies are a pretty sad, stressed bunch.

14344198_1067434466644984_673868475086152520_n copyWhen I was going to college, lack of happiness and “deprioritizing” personal happiness and fulfillment was not a problem.  If anything, Ohio State students of the ’70s tended to overprioritize their dedicated, incessant, deep-seated, Frodo Baggins-like quest for happiness.  The notion that fresh-faced students, still possessing the bloom of youth and newly freed from the constant supervision and irksome rules of Mom and Dad, need to take a college class to learn how to be happier would have been totally alien to the undergrads of my era.  And it’s really kind of depressing to think that, in any era, college students would need to sit in a lecture hall to get tips on how to be happier.  College must have become a grim, hellish place indeed!

But this is where UJ comes in.  He’s always got a happy grin on his face, a positive outlook, and a firm belief that “life is good.”  Sure, he’s retired, but his youthful attitude should allow him to connect with the legions of sad, beleaguered, put-upon Yalies who just don’t know where to find happiness in their soulless, barren college lives.

Hey, UJ!  Time to call that Psych 157 prof and offer a few pointers!

The Random Restaurant Tour (X)

Yesterday Dr. Science and I visited Andes Bar & Grill, one of the very newest restaurants in downtown Columbus. It’s located on Fourth Street, next to the YWCA, in a spot previously occupied by Hae-Paul’s Korean-American eatery.

Andes offers home-cooked meals of Bolivian comfort food.  At our waitress’ suggestion, Dr. Science and I both went for the chicken and rice plate, and we also split some empanadas.  The chicken was a good-sized leg and thigh that had been slow-cooked.  It was awesomely juicy and tender, making it easy to use knife and fork to extricate every last ounce of succulent meat off the bone.  The chicken was served in a kind of rich gravy, and I gladly mixed the meat and gravy with the rice, added a few dashes from a bottle of Cholula hot sauce on the table, and went at it.  The empanadas also were quite good, crisp and crunchy on the outside and moist and hot on the inside.  Dr. Science, recalling his days handling test tubes and Bunsen burners, deftly used his empanada as a kind of fence to allow his fork to retrieve every last grain of rice.

The chicken was served at a mild spice level, and after we finished our food the friendly proprietor came by to ask how we liked the food and to clear our plates.  When he saw that we had both cleaned our plates and left only a few well-picked bones behind, he beamed.  He also happens to be the cook, and we asked about the available options if you’re looking for a little additional kick with your meal.  He said that traditionally Bolivian food is served at a very mild spice level, and people can then tailor the heat of their dish to their specific taste by adding sauces that are served separately.  He said that Andes has two homemade sauces that you can use for that purpose, one that is at a moderate spice level and one that goes in, all guns blazing.

The chance to eat that home-cooked food with a fiery sauce will definitely cause me to spring on the back of my llama and head back to the Andes.