Shit Happens

was the plan.

And then came the assumptions,
and the assumptions were without form,
and the plan was completely without substance,
and the darkness was upon the face of the workers,
and they spoke among themselves, saying
“It is a crock of shit, and it stinketh.”

And the workers went unto the supervisors and sayeth,
“It is a pail of dung, and none may abide the odor thereof.”

And the supervisors went unto the managers and sayeth unto them,
“It is a container of excrement, and it is very strong,
such that none may abide it.”

And the managers went unto the directors and sayeth,
“It is a vessel of fertiliser, and none may abide its strength.”

And the directors spoke among themselves, saying one to another
“It contains that which aids plant growth, and it is very strong.”

And the directors went unto the Vice Presidents,
and sayeth unto them,
“It promotes growth, and it is very powerful.”

And the Vice Presidents went unto the President,
and sayeth unto him,
“This new plan will actively promote growth and efficiency
of this company, and these areas in particular.”

And the President looked upon the Plan,
and saw that it was good.  And the plan became Policy.

Ladies and gentlemen,
This is how shit happens!


Is that confusion which is created when one’s mind overrides the body’s basic desire to choke the living shit out of some Asshole who desperately needs it.

This concludes our words of wit and wisdom for today.  We now return you to your work-life, already in progress.

Obey The Law

The following are some of the laws that the universe operates under.  Get used to the idea of following them.  No-one living has found a way to get around them.


Murphy’s 1st Law

The general law on why things go wrong – “If anything can go wrong, it will.”

Murphy’s 2nd Law

If it can be assembled wrong, it will.

Murphy’s 3rd Law

If it can be operated wrong, it will.

Murphy’s 4th Law

All failures will occur at the most inaccessible location.

Murphy’s 5th Law

Everything costs more than the estimate.

Murphy’s 6th Law

Every task takes longer than you think it will.

Murphy’s 7th Law

Nothing is as easy as it looks.

Murphy’s 8th Law

If you tinker with or try to improve something long enough, eventually it will break.

O’Toole’s Law

Murphy was an optimist!

Dude’s Law of  Duality

(A special case of Murphy’s 1st law)

Of two possible outcomes, only the undesired one will occur.

Gumperson’s Law

(Incorporates the concept of desirability into a general law.)

The probability of a given event occurring is inversely proportional to its desirability.

Flap’s Law of the Perversity of Inanimate Objects

Any inanimate object regardless of its position or configuration, may be expected to perform at any time, in a totally unexpected manner, for reasons which are either entirely obscure, or else completely mysterious.

Mule’s Law: The Universal Field Theory of Perversity

The probability of an event’s occurring varies directly with the perversity of the inanimate object involved, and inversely with the product of its desirability and the effort expended to produce it.

The Theorem of the Dynamic Application of the Law of Adversity and Perversity

Some events are more likely to occur in Los Angeles or New York, rather than Miami or Chicago.

Parkinson’s Law

Work expands to fill the time available for its completion.

McGurk’s Law

Any improbable event, which would create maximum confusion if it did occur, will occur.

Weiler’s Law

Nothing is impossible, for the man who doesn’t have to do it.


Chisolm’s First Law:  The Law of Human Interaction

Any time things seem to be getting better, you have overlooked something.

Chisolm’s Second Law

If you explain so clearly that nobody can possibly misunderstand, somebody will.

Chisolm’s Third Law

If you do something which you are sure will meet with everyone’s approval, somebody won’t like it.

Chisolm’s Fourth Law

All procedures devised to implement the purpose won’t quite work.

Miller’s Law

He who tooteth his own horn, maketh sure his own horn has been tootethed.

Zymurgy’s First Law of Evolving System Dynamica

Once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a larger can.

(Old worms never die, they just worm their way into larger cans.)

Rudin’s Law

In a crisis which forces a choice to be made among alternative courses of action, most people will choose the worst possible one.

Shaw’s Principle

Build a system that even a fool can use, and only a fool will want to use it.

McNaughton’s Rule

Any argument worth making within a bureaucracy must be capable of being expressed in a simple declarative sentence that is obviously true, once stated.

Parker’s Law of Political Statements

The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its credibility, and vice versa.

Law of Superiority

The first example of a superior principle is always inferior to the developed example of an inferior principle.

Katz’s Law

Men and nations will act rationally, when all other possibilities have been exhausted.

The Law Of Perversity Of Nature

(Mrs. Murphy’s Corollary)

You cannot determine beforehand, which side of the bread to butter.

Weaver’s Law

When several reporters share a cab on an assignment, the reporter in the front seat pays for all.

Doyle’s Corollary to Weaver’s Law

No matter how many reporters share a cab, and no matter who pays, each puts the full fare on his own expense account.

Westheimer’s Rule

To estimate the time it will take to perform a task, double the initial estimate and change the unit of measure up to the next highest unit.  Thus you need to allocate two days to complete a one hour task.

The Reno Rule

A Smith & Wesson beats four aces.

Peckham’s Law

Beauty times brains, equals a constant.

Merrill’s First Corollary

There are no winners in life, only survivors.

Merrill’s Second Corollary

On the highway of life, the average happening is of about as much true significance as a dead skunk in the middle of the road.

Oesser’s Law

There is a tendency for the person in the most powerful position in an organization to spend all his time serving on committees and signing letters.

Potter’s Law

The amount of flak received on any subject is inversely proportional to the subject’s true value.

Kitman’s Law

Pure drivel tends to drive ordinary drivel off the TV screen.

Goof’s Law

(As propounded by Inglesbe)

The insignificance of the error is inversely proportional to the intensity of the resulting castigation – or, the smaller the slip, the bigger the lip.

Spock’s Law

What mother tells daughter she wouldn’t understand, usually results in daughter doing things that mother wouldn’t understand.

Barth’s Law of Distinction

There are two types of people: those who divide people into two types, and those who don’t.

Friedman’s Reiteration of Crane’s Law

There is no free lunch.


Finagle’s General Law of Adversity

Once a good thing is fouled up, anything done to improve it only makes it worse.

Finagle’s First Law

If an experiment works, something has gone wrong.

Finagle’s Second Law

No matter what result is anticipated, there will always be someone eager to (a) misinterpret it, (b) fake it, or (c) believe it happened to his own pet theory.

Finagle’s Third Law

In any collection of data, the figure most obviously correct, beyond all need of checking, is the mistake.

Corollary 1

No-one whom you ask for help will see it.

Corollary 2

Everyone who stops by with unsought advice will see it immediately.

Gummidge’s Law

The amount of expertise varies in direct proportion to the number of statements understood by the general public.

Hartley’s First Law

You can lead a horse to water, but if you can get him to float on his back, you’ve really got something.

Simon’s Law

Everything put together, sooner or later falls apart.

Diogenes’ Second Dictum

If a taxpayer thinks he can safely cheat, he probably will.

9/11 Redux

I read BrainRants’ once-a-week, daily post two days ago, and realized that 9/11 had sneaked by me, not because it wasn’t important, but because time seems to slip past me so quickly now.  When I was a kid, the summer vacation seemed to last a whole year.  Now that I’m retired, a whole year seems to slip past in a week.

When I worked, I could measure the passage of time by the disappearance of cans of Pepsi.  I took one to the plant every day I worked.  A case of 24 got me through just over a month, and I had the feeling of accomplishing something.  Nowadays I mark time by the disappearance of anti-histamine pills from a blister pack, and helping the wife and I stay healthy is about as productive as it gets.

My memory is poor, but who could forget 9/11?  We got the news on the line at work from supervisors and QC managers.  I went straight home after work and was watching TV when the towers collapsed.  Suddenly, the embassy bombing, the attack on the Cole, and the previous internal attempt to blow the Trade Center all meshed.  I knew that everything was about to change.

It changed for us about a month and a half later.  We had planned to drive a second time to Charleston, SC, for a week’s vacation.  The previous year we had crossed the border at Detroit.   A couple of perfunctory questions, and we were waved through.  This time, we crossed over at Buffalo.  There were twice the number of border guards, some of them wearing pistols, some of them leading dogs, some of them with articulated poles with mirrors on the ends.

The questions were hard and tight.  Who were we?  Where were we from?  Why did we want to get into the US?  Where were we going?  How long would we be there?  All the while, the guy with the dog circled the car in one direction, and the guy with the mirror inspected my exhaust and oil pan from the other.

I was driving a station-wagon at that time, and I knew that they would want a look inside, so I pushed the hatch unlock button.  Unlike vans, the hatch did not rise on its own; it had to be raised by hand.  The wife told me to stay with the car, and she would open it when they asked.  Soon the command came, and it was a command, not a request, to open the back.  Two things happened almost simultaneously.  We almost had two guns pointed at us.  When the hatch didn’t immediately pop open, the officer on my side of the car must have thought I was ignoring him, and shouted the command again, adding the word, now!

On the wife’s side of the car, she was getting out to raise the lid, and the guard on her side suddenly jumped back and grabbed for his side-arm.  I explained to my guy that someone had to raise the hatch, and, since he wasn’t doing it, my wife would.  Things calmed down, a little.  They started pawing through our stuff, which had been clearly visible through the windows.  We had taken our Koolatron portable refrigerator, but were using it just as a box to hold various items.  The power rectifier/cord was in a small wicker basket with some other things, so that it wouldn’t get lost.  When they came upon that, all Hell broke loose!

What was this infernal electric/electronic device?  Was it a controller for a bomb?  Could we bring down airplanes with it?  Even after we explained its use, they still wanted to know why it wasn’t with/in the Koolatron.  That’s full!  You just looked in it!

The entire feel of the country was different from previous trips.  When we got to Charleston, we found that there had been rules enacted to prevent anyone from fishing within twenty yards of any bridge abutment, despite the fact that, some of the best fishing is in the shadow of the bridges.

America had lost her virginity.  Not that the 3000+ lives lost in the twin-towers holocaust weren’t important, but three thousand out of three hundred million is a mere pinprick.  It was the pinprick, however, which let the air out of the USA’s carefree isolation.  The Japanese were stopped at Pearl Harbor.  These rats had got right into the pantry.

People questioned our going down to the States, “Where they’re having all that trouble.” But the day before we left, there had been a bomb report phoned in at the company the wife worked for.  There ultimately was no bomb, but the prank caller got his money’s worth.  He emptied out the head-office building, and three local branch office buildings.  A couple of weeks previously, I noticed a church deacon wandering around the balcony where we were seated, during the sermon.  The service was cut short and we were asked to vacate the building because someone had called in a bomb threat….to a church!  A week after we got back, an aerosol recycling plant almost no-one knew existed, had an explosion, significant enough to close a section of the city.  We just think we’re safe.

Eleven years later, things are still changing.  Some restrictions are relaxing; others are still tightening up.  In just over a week, we will be taking a weekend trip to metro Detroit.  This will be our first border crossing in three years, and the first time we will need to provide passports.  You’re not allowed to smile for passport photos.  Dealing with bureaucracy is not conducive to smiling anyway.

I once read a book called The Wasp, where an agent created havoc in an enemy country through minor actions.  Forty years later, the wasps have arrived, and ruined our innocence.  I remember and mourn those who needlessly died that unforgettable day, and I salute and respect those like BrainRants, who strive to give back what freedom and peace of mind we can hold.