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Tag Archives: amusement

Ongeadresseerd reklamedrukwerk (a study in irony)

Municipal elections are coming up. I’m not paying much attention, but an amusing piece of self-assured advertising pushed itself under my nose this evening. There’s a smart initiative here, issuing stickers for on your mailbox that say “No unaddressed advertising, no house-to-house newsletters” (or no to one but yes to the other). They’re nationwide and […]

Discipline in the classroom (a cautionary tale)

A funny thing happened to me the other day: one of my students called me a monkey.

Stupidity, scissors, and glue

Here are some handy hints I can offer to UvA PhD students in the late phases of dissertation preparation. Make sure you spell the name of the Rector Magnificus correctly, where it appears prominently on your title page (part of the boilerplate that “So-and-so has been awarded the degree of doctor…”). They’re picky about this: […]

Steps in Greek

At the restaurant the other night, I had a genuine spontaneous conversation in Greek. It went like this (while I was sitting with some folks playing music): Μια κοπέλα με ρώτησε κάτι που δεν κατάλαβα. Είπα, “Δεν είμαι Έλληνας.” Είπε αυτή, “Δεν είσαι Έλληνας και παίζεις μπαγλαμά;” Εγώ: “Δεν είναι μπαγλαμάς! Τζουράς είναι!” Είπε “Συγνώμη”… […]

Some recent writing

“Bo,” said Jack, “I’m not sure we should be eating the Professor’s allergy medicine. There might be all kinds of side effects.” Bo popped a last pill in her mouth: “I assumed we would be ok,” she said, and chewed thoughtfully. “Now that you mention it, I wonder. . . ” She munched a moment […]

Cthulhu bathos

From the wikipedia entry for The King in Yellow: In Lovecraft’s cycle of horror sonnets, Fungi from Yuggoth, … And then his fans wonder why nobody takes them seriously…

Tips for keeping the brain limber

This one comes from flatmate Ella, it happened to a friend of hers (not deliberately). Choose a nice complicated mystery novel you haven’t read before. One where you’ll have to keep track of lots and lots of clues and remember who knows what when and so on. Buy it as an audio book, with chapters […]

Minor delays

Our institute is about to move to a new location. We all have to pack our books and papers into crates to be taken to the new building, where we will unpack them again (if they arrive intact, or at all). Of course that means going through old files deciding if they should be packed […]

More on coffee

Ooer. As counterpoint to the coffee-madness song-and-animation I posted about recently, here’s Early Modern Whale with a pamphlet from 1674: For the continual sipping of this pitiful drink is enough to bewitch Men of two and twenty, and tie up the Codpiece-point without a Charm. It renders them that use it as Lean as Famine, […]

Babbage and busking

Oh dear. Charles Babbage, of difference engine fame, apparently had a hatred for buskers: “[N]o man having a brain ever listened to street musicians.” The context of that quote is even better, and can be found at Futility Closet.