Archive for category comedy
I was recently at a party where some students were smoking. I’ve become quite a believer in the futility of telling people why they should not smoke. Sometimes, as I see people smoking, some of these arguments come unbidden, and I can’t help but indulge in the futile practice.
On this night, however, I was sorely tempted to say, “Don’t you know that if you take out life insurance, you will be paying smoking rates, even if you’re only a casual smoker.” But of course, these people were years away from caring about life insurance premiums.
I kept quiet. Clearly too much actuarial science has an adverse effect on the brain. Perhaps I should consider quitting actuarial science, maybe become a beekeeper, and try not to think about whether beekeepers have higher disability insurance premiums.
Friends of mine recently got married. One of them has a background in actuarial science and computer science and the other has a masters degree in music. I thought it would be fun to write them a poem that needed both these backgrounds to appreciate fully, and thus I came up with the following:
Love is like a symphony, a Beethoven symphony (no 7 of course) its present value cannot be determined (no hypothecation allowed ) it has more power than compound interest able to decipher even the most inscrutable VB code love can make life feel like a stroll through country gardens but sometimes, one must face nights on a bare mountain or even the isle of the dead but love is a commitment a contract writ before God it is a long-term investment, that rides out short-term fluctuations (it beats any human benchmark) with not even death as a decrement
Here are the specific references if you want to look them up. Actuarial science: hypothecation, decrement, contract. Finance: compound interest, present value, long-term investment, short-term fluctuations. Programming: VB. Music: Beethoven symphony, country gardens, isle of the dead, night on the bare the mountain.
Ironic self-aggrandisement is a peculiar form of humour. I use it all the time, but it may be quite irritating to tell everyone how wonderful you are, even if you do so in an ironic tone, because, just maybe, a little part of you believes what you say.
By rights the world should worship me I saved it just the other day but of course I’m too humble to admit it
I’m actually a very charming person but I’m afraid my charm only works on intelligent people
I have many good characteristics a razor-sharp wit, for one and I’m really good in the sack
when I rule the world you can be in my harem you should be honoured many other people will die
everyone should just do what I say the world would be a better place why not go into politics? no, no, politics is for people with superiority complexes
I’ll make you my queen you could rule the world with an iron hand or the household at least I’ll rule the world
god and I are buddies he asks Me for advice sometimes the rain of fire that destroyed the world my idea, or was that the previous world?
If you live in Amsterdam, you will get to know the laws of biking. Ignore these laws at your peril. If you think you will not cycle in Amsterdam (I did) you are wrong. You will cycle, and you will like it, and you will complain whenever you are forced to use public transport because it is expensive and slow. Biking is awesome (except when the weather is really horrible, for instance when it snows, and even then “real” Amsterdammers will bike) and good for you and the environment. You are not really an Amsterdammer before you regularly go around on your bike.
The laws of biking in Amsterdam
- You will bike in Amsterdam.
- Murphy’s law of biking: The wind is always against you.
- Corollary to law 2: The wind will be against you no matter which way you turn.
- Trams are designed to lure unsuspecting bikers onto their tracks, and then tram-ple them.
- Red lights do not apply to Dutch cyclists.
- Foreigners who think law 5 also applies to them may get tram-pled.
- Your bike will get stolen.
- Corollary to law 7: an expensive lock is better than an expensive bike.
- You will lose the keys to your bike lock and have to cut it off.
- You will forget where you left your bike, among thousands of other bikes in the area.
- Take OV (public transport) and be late. Take the bike and be on time.
I am not a photographer. However, I find myself with a few photos of things in Amsterdam that I felt like photographing at that moment. They’re not all peculiarly Amsterdammish, but I think now is the time to share them. These pictures were mostly taken in winter, so with Spring nearing (it’s still too cold to say winter is over) I feel like I should say goodbye to this winter and all the misery it caused me.
First up is a picture of a bike in a peculiar position. In a city with more bicycles than people (yes, there really are more bicycles than people) bikes get up to all kinds of naughty things. In Afrikaans we have a saying “op die paal”, but that has nothing to do with poles or bicycles.
Next, bicycles covered in snow (mine is the one right in front). It snows in lots of places I know, but I come from a warm place with no snow. Snow and bicycles are an unhappy combination.
Some dirty brown snow. I have mentioned in a previous post that snow is rarely white and pretty for long. It becomes brown, dirty and trampled soon enough. I am not the only person who thinks snow is overrated. There is one other Dutch person who also thinks so. One person could be mistaken but two never are.
In Amsterdam there is graffiti everywhere. Not a single open space next to a train or metro track is unadorned. Here is some graffiti inside a metro which I found amusing. It’s so adorable the way they misspelt “rebel.”
A three-wheeled car like the one driven by Mr Bean’s enemy. Did you ever think you would see one of those in real life? I almost felt like doing something nasty to it. But then I thought, that would make me Mr Bean, so I just took a photo. (Actually I did not think any of this, but I did think it would sound cool if I said so).
A dog in a chair at Waterlooplein. Amsterdammers love their dogs. It is a cute dog.
I sometimes feel like the only person on Earth that hates snow. It is snowing outside right now, whereas my family is currently experiencing a heat wave in another part of the world. Having been through a heat wave, I can honestly say, I would rather have the heat wave.
Advantages of snow
- It is white and (somewhat) pretty – for a little while.
Disadvantages of snow
- It is cold
- It is not fun to cycle in the snow – it burns your eyes.
- It is not fun to drive in the snow (I assume)
- It is not fun to cycle or drive after it has snowed – snow that has thawed a little and frozen again is slippery and dangerous.
- It is not white and pretty for very long. Soon it becomes brown and dirty and ugly as people and cars trample through it.
- It delays all the trains (at least it does in the Netherlands where the train service are perpetually surprised when it snows in winter)
- It is cold
I omit snowmen and snowballs from this list since these involve interaction with the cold snow, which can obviously not be an advantage. Also, for those people who don’t yet know: snow is cold.