Part 1: Classic, Military, Technology, Love, Sex , Misc. A B C D
Part 2: Misc. E F G H I J K L M Part 3: Misc. N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z
E
Economists' Laws:
What men learn from history is that men do not learn from history.
If on an actuarial basis there is a 50-50 chance that something will go wrong, it will actually go wrong nine times out of ten.
Edington's Theory:
The number of different hypotheses erected to explain a given biological phenomenon is inversely proportional to the available knowledge.
Law of Editorial Correction:
Anyone nit-picking enough to write a letter of correction to an editor doubtless deserves the error that provoked it.
Ehrlich's Rule:
The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts.
Ehrman's Commentary
Things will get worse before they will get better. Who said things would get better?
Eliot's Observation:
Nothing is so good as it seems beforehand.
Ellenberg's Theory:
One good turn gets most of the blanket.
Emerson's Insight:
That which we call sin in others is experiment for us.
Old Engineer's Law:
The larger the project or job, the less time there is to do it.
The "Enough Already" Law:
The more you run over a dead cat, the flatter it gets.
Extended Epstein-Heisenberg Principle:
In an R & D orbit, only 2 of the existing 3 parameters can be defined simultaneously. The parameters are: task, time, and resources ($). 1) If one knows what the task is, and there is a time limit allowed for the completion of the task, then one cannot guess how much it will cost. 2) If the time and resources ($) are clearly defined, then it is impossible to know what part of the R & D task will be performed. 3) If you are given a clearly defined R & D goal and a definte amount of money which has been calculated to be necessary for the completion of the task, one cannot predict if and when the goal will be reached. 4) If one is lucky enough to be able to accurately define all three parameters, then what one is dealing with is not in the realm of R & D.
Epstein's Law:
If you think the problem is bad now, just wait until we've solved it.
Ettorre's Observation:
The other line moves faster.
Corollary: Don't try to change lines. The other line -- the one you were in originally -- will then move faster.
Evans's Law:
Nothing worth a damn is ever done as a matter of principle. (If it is worth doing, it is done because it is worth doing. If it is not, it's done as a matter of principle.)
Evans's Law of Politics:
When team members are finally in a position to help the team, it turns out they have quit the team.
Evelyn's Rules for Bureaucratic Survival:
A bureaucrat's castle is his desk . . . and parking place. Proceed cautiously when changing either.
On the theory that one should never take anything for granted, follow up on everything, but especially those items varying from the norm. The greater the divergence from normal routine and/or the greater the number of offices potentially involved, the better the chance a never-to-be-discovered person will file the problem away in a drawer specifically designed for items requiring a decision.
Never say without qualification that your activity has sufficient space, money, staff, etc.
Always distrust offices not under your jurisdiction which say that they are there to serve you. "Support" offices in a bureaucracy tend to grow in size and make demands on you out of proportion to their service, and in the end require more effort on your part than their service is worth.
Corollary: Support organizations can always prove success by showing service to someone . . . not necessarily you.
Incompetents often hire able assistants.
Everitt's Form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics:
Confusion (entropy) is always increasing in society. Only if someone or something works extremely hard can this confusion be reduced to order in a limited region. Nevertheless, this effort will stil result in an increase in the total confusion of society at large.
Eve's Discovery:
At a bargain sale, the only suit or dress that you like best and that fits is the one not on sale.
Adam's Corollary: It's easy to tell when you've got a bargain -- it doesn't fit.
Nonreciprocal Laws of Expectations:
Negative expectations yield negative results.
Positive expectations yield negative results.
First Law of Expert Advice:
Don't ask the barber whether you need a haircut.
F
Faber's Laws:
If there isn't a law, there will be.
The number of errors in any piece of writing rises in proportion to the writer's reliance on secondary sources.
Fairfax's Law:
Any facts which, when included in the argument, give the desired result, are fair facts for the argument.
Falkland's Rule:
When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision.
Farber's First Law:
Give him an inch and he'll screw you.
Farber's Second Law:
A hand in the bush is worth two anywhere else.
Farber's Third Law:
We're all going down the same road in different directions.
Farber's Fourth Law:
Necessity is the mother of strange bedfellows.
Farnsdick's corollary
After things have gone from bad to worse, the cycle will repeat itself.
Farrow's Finding:
If God had intended for us to go to concerts, He would have given us tickets.
Law of Fashion:
Any given dress is: indecent 10 years before its time, daring 1 year before its time, chic in its time, dowdy 3 years after its time, hideous 20 years after its time, amusing 30 years after its time, romantic 100 years after its time, and beautiful 150 years after its time.
Rule of Feline Frustration:
When your cat has fallen asleep on your lap and looks utterly content and adorable, you will suddenly have to go to the bathroom.
Fetridge's Law:
Important things that are supposed to happen do not happen, especially when people are looking.
Fett's Law of the Lab:
Never replicate a successful experiment.
The Fifth Rule:
You have taken yourself too seriously.
Finagle's Creed:
Science is Truth. Don't be misled by fact.
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 according 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.
Corollaries:
No one whom you ask for help will see it.
Everyone who stops by with unsought advice will see it immediately.
Finagle's Fourth Law:
Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it only makes it worse.
Finagle's Law According to Niven:
The perversity of the universe tends to a maximum.
Finagle's Laws of Information:
The information you have is not what you want.
The information you want is not what you need.
The information you need is not what you can obtain.
The information you can obtain costs more than you want to pay.
Finagle's Rules:
Ever since the first scientific experiment, man has been plagued by the increasing antagonism of nature. It seems only right that nature should be logical and neat, but experience has shown that this is not the case. A further series of rules has been formulated, designed to help man accept the pigheadedness of nature.
To study a subject best, understand it thoroughly before you start.
Always keep a record of data. It indicates you've been working.
Always draw your curves, then plot the reading.
In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
Experiments should be reproducible. They should all fail in the same way.
When you don't know what you are doing, do it NEATLY.
Teamwork is essential; it allows you to blame someone else.
Always verify your witchcraft.
Be sure to obtain meteorological data before leaving on vacation.
Do not believe in miracles. Rely on them.
Fishbein's Conclusion:
The tire is only flat on the bottom.
Fitz-Gibbon's Law:
Creativity varies inversely with the number of cooks involved with the broth.
Flap's Law:
Any inanimate object, regardless of its composition or configuration, may be expected to perform at any time in a totally unexpected manner for reasons that are either entirely obscure or completely mysterious.
Ford Pinto Rule:
Never buy a car that has a wick.
Fortis's Three Great Lies of Life:
Money isn't everything.
It's great to be a Negro.
I'm only going to put it in a little way.
Three Lies According to Playboy:
The check's in the mail.
Anticipation is half the fun.
I promise I won't come in your mouth.
Hare's Additional Lie: This will hurt me more than it hurts you.
Lowry's Additional Lie: I've never done this before.
Foster's Law:
If you cover a congressional committee on a regular basis, they will report the bill on your day off.
Fowler's Law:
In a bureaucracy, accomplishment is inversely proportional to the volume of paper used.
Fowler's Note:
The only imperfect thing in nature is the human race.
Frankel's Law:
Whatever happens in government could have happened differently, and it usually would have been better if it had.
Corollary: Once things have happened, no matter how accidentally, they will be regarded as manifestations of an unchangeable Higher Reason.
Franklin's Observation:
He that lives upon Hope dies farting.
Franklin's Rule:
Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall not be disappointed.
Freeman's Law:
Nothing is so simple it cannot be misunderstood.
Freemon's Rule:
Circumstances can force a generalized incompetent to become competent, at least in a specialized field.
Fried's Law:
Ideas endure and prosper in inverse proportion to their soundness and validity.
Laws of the Frisbee:
The most powerful force in the world is that of a disc straining to land under a car, just beyond reach. (The technical term for this force is "car suck".)
The higher the quality of a catch or the comment it receives, the greater the probability of a crummy return throw. ("Good catch. . . Bad throw.")
One must never precede any maneuver by a comment more predictive than, "Watch this!" (Keep 'em guessing.)
The higher the costs of hitting any object, the greater the certainty it will be struck. (Remember: The disk is positive; cops and old ladies are clearly negative.)
The best catches are never seen. ("Did you see that?" "See what?")
The greatest single aid to distance is for the disc to be going in a direction you did not want. (Wrong way = long way.)
The most powerful hex words in the sport are: "I really have this down -- watch." (Know it? Blow it!)
In any crowd of spectators at least one will suggest that razor blades could be attached to the disc. ("You could maim and kill with that thing.")
The greater your need to make a good catch, the greater the probability your partner will deliver his worst throw. (If you can't touch it, you can't trick it.)
The single most difficult move with a disc is to put it down. ("Just one more!")
Frisch's Law:
You cannot have a baby in one month by getting nine women pregnant.
Frothingham's Fallacy:
Time is money.
Fudd's First Law of Opposition:
If you push something hard enough, it will fall over.
Teslacle's Deviant to Fudd's Law:
It goes in -- it must come out.
Funkhouser's Law of the Power of the Press:
The quality of legislation passed to deal with a problem is inversely proportional to the volume of media clamor that brought it on.
Futility Factor (Carson's Consolation):
No experiment is ever a complete failure -- it can always serve as a bad example, or the exception that proves the rule (but only if it is the first experiment in the series).
Fyffe's Axiom:
The problem-solving process will always break down at the point at which it is possible to determine who caused the problem.
G
Gadarene Swine Law:
Merely because the group is in formation does not mean that the group is on the right course.
Galbraith's Law of Political Wisdom:
Anyone who says he isn't going to resign, four times, definitely will.
Galbraith's Law of Prominence:
Getting on the cover of "Time" guarantees the existence of opposition in the future.
Gallois's Revelation:
If you put tomfoolery into a computer, nothing comes out but tomfoolery. But this tomfoolery, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled, and no one dares to criticize it.
Corollary: An expert is a person who avoids the small errors while sweeping on to the Grand Fallacy.
Laws of Gardening:
Other people's tools work only in other people's yards.
Fancy gizmos don't work.
If nobody uses it, there's a reason.
You get the most of what you need the least.
Gardner's Rule of Society:
The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.
Gell-Mann's Dictum: Whatever isn't forbidden is required.
Corollary: If there's no reason why something shouldn't exist, then it must exist.
Law of Generalizations: All generalizations are false.
Gerrold's Fundamental Truth
It's a good thing money can't buy happiness. We couldn't stand the commercials.
Gerrold's Law
A little ignorance can go a long way.
(Lyall's Addendum: ...in the direction of maximum harm.)
Gerrold's Pronouncement
The difference between a politician and a snail is that a snail leaves its slime behind.
Gerrold's Laws of Infernal Dynamics
An object in motion will be heading in the wrong direction.
An object at rest will be in the wrong place.
Gerrold's Laws of Infernal Dynamics:
An object in motion will always be headed in the wrong direction.
An object at rest will always be in the wrong place.
The energy required to change either one of the states will always be more than you wish to expend, but never so much as to make the task totally impossible.
Getty's Reminder:
The meek shall inherit the earth, but NOT its mineral rights.
Gibb's Law
Infinity is one lawyer waiting for another.
Gilb's Laws of Unreliability (see also Troutman's Laws of Computer Programming):
Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable.
Corollary: At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.
Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable.
The only difference between the fool and the criminal who attacks a system is that the fool attacks unpredictably and on a broader front.
A system tends to grow in terms of complexity rather than of simplification, until the resulting unreliability becomes intolerable.
Self-checking systems tend to have a complexity in proportion to the inherent unreliability of the system in which they are used.
The error-detection and correction capabilities of any system will serve as the key to understanding the type of errors which they cannot handle.
Undetectable errors are infinite in variety, in contrast to detectable errors, which by definition are limited.
All real programs contain errors until proved otherwise -- which is impossible.
Investment in reliability will increase until it exceeds the probable cost of errors, or somebody insists on getting some useful work done.
Gilmer's Motto for Political Leadership:
Look over your shoulder now and then to be sure someone's following you.
Ginsberg's Theorem (Generalized Laws of Thermodynamics):
You can't win.
You can't break even.
You can't even quit the game.
Ehrman's Commentary on Ginberg's Theorem:
Things will get worse before they get better.
Who said things would get better?
Freeman's Commentary on Ginberg's Theorem:
Every major philosophy that attempts to make life seem meaningful is based on the negation of one part of Ginsberg's Theorem. To wit:
Capitalism is based on the assumption that you can win.
Socialism is based on the assumption that you can break even.
Mysticism is based on the assumption that you can quit the game.
Glatum's Law of Materialistic Acquisitiveness:
The perceived usefulness of an article is inversely proportional to its actual usefulness once bought and paid for.
Godin's Law:
Generalizedness of incompetence is directly proportional to highestness in hierarchy.
Golden Principle:
Nothing will be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.
The Golden Rule of Arts and Sciences:
Whoever has the gold makes the rules.
Gold's Law
If the shoe fits, it's ugly.
(Bill) Gold's Law:
A column about errors will contain errors.
(Vic) Gold's Law:
The candidate who is expected to do well because of experience and reputation (Douglas, Nixon) must do BETTER than well, while the candidate expected to fare poorly (Lincoln, Kennedy) can put points on the media board simply by surviving.
Goldwyn's Law of Contracts:
A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.
Golub's Laws of Computerdom:
Fuzzy project objectives are used to avoid the embarrassment of estimating the corresponding costs.
A carelessly planned project takes three times longer to complete than expected; a carefully planned project takes only twice as long.
The effort requires to correct course increases geometrically with time.
Project teams detest weekly progress reporting because it so vividly manifests their lack of progress.
The 19 Rules for good Riting:
Each pronoun agrees with their antecedent.
Just between you and I, case is important.
Verbs has to agree with their subject.
Watch out for irregular verbs which has cropped up into our language.
Don't use no double negatives.
A writer mustn't shift your point of view.
When dangling, don't use participles.
Join clauses good like a conjunction should.
And don't use conjunctions to start sentences.
Don't use a run-on sentence you got to punctuate it.
About sentence fragments.
In letters themes reports articles and stuff like that we use commas to keep strings apart.
Don't use commas, which aren't necessary.
Its important to use apostrophe's right.
Don't abbrev.
Check to see if you any words out.
In my opinion I think that the author when he is writing should not get into the habit of making use of too many unnecessary words which he does not really need.
Then, of course, there's that old one: Never use a preposition to end a sentence with.
Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
Goodfader's Law:
Under any system, a few sharpies will beat the rest of us.
Goodin's Law of Conversions
The new hardware will break down as soon as the old is disconnected and out.
Gordon's First Law:
If a research project is not worth doing, it is not worth doing well.
Professor Gordon's Rule of Evolving Bryophytic Systems:
While bryophytic plants are typically encountered in substrata of earthy or mineral matter in concreted state, discrete substrata elements occasionally display a roughly spherical configuration which, in presence of suitable gravitational and other effects, lends itself to combined translatory and rotational motion. One notices in such cases an absence of the otherwise typical accretion of bryophyta. We conclude therefore that a rolling stone gathers no moss.
Corollary (Rutgers): Generally the subjective value assignable to avian lifeforms, when encountered and considered within the confines of certain orders of woody plants lacking true meristematic dominance, as compared to a possible valuation of these same lifeforms when in the grasp of -- and subject to control by -- the manipulative bone/muscle/nerve complex typically terminating the forelimb of a member of the species homo sapiens (and possibly direct precursors thereof) is approximately five times ten to the minus first power.
Goulden's Axiom of the Bouncing Can:
If you drop a full can of beer, and remember to rap the top sharply with your knuckle prior to opening, the ensuing gush of foam will be between 89 and 94 percent of the volume that would splatter you if you didn't do a damned thing and went ahead and pulled the top immediately.
Goulden's Law of Jury Watching:
If a jury in a criminal trial stays out for more than 24 hours, it is certain to vote acquittal, save in those instances when it votes guilty.
Graditor's Laws:
If it can break, it will, but only after the warranty expires.
A necessary item goes on sale only after you have purchased it at the regular price.
Gray's Law of Bilateral Asymmetry in Networks:
Information flows efficiently through organizations, except that bad news encounters high impedance in flowing upward.
Gray's Law of Programming:
n+1 trivial tasks are expected to be accomplished in the same time as n trivial tasks.
Logg's Rebuttal to Gray's Law of Programming: n+1 trivial tasks take twice as long as n trivial tasks.
Rule of the Great:
When someone you greatly admire and respect appears to be thinking deep thoughts, they are probably thinking about lunch.
Greenberg's First Law of Influence:
Usefulness is inversely proportional to reputation for being useful.
Greener's Law:
Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.
Greenhaus's Summation:
I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous.
Gresham's Law:
Trivial matters are handled promptly; important matters are never resolved.
Grosch's Law:
Computing power increases as the square of the cost. If you want to do it twice as cheaply, you have to do it four times slower.
Gross's Law:
When two people meet to decide how to spend a third person's money, fraud will result.
Grossman's Misquote
Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers.
Gummidge's Law:
The amount of expertise varies in inverse proportion to the number of statements understood by the general public.
Gumperson's Law:
The probability of anything happening is in inverse ratio to its desirability.
Corollaries:
After a salary raise, you will have less money at the end of the month than you had before.
The more a recruit knows about a given subject, the better chance he has of being assigned to something else.
You can throw a burnt match out the window of your car and start a forest fire, but you can use two boxes of matches and a whole edition of the Sunday paper without being able to start a fire under the dry logs in your fireplace.
Children have more energy after a hard day of play than they do after a good night's sleep.
The person who buys the most raffle tickets has the least chance of winning.
Good parking places are always on the other side of the street.
Gumperson's Proof:
The most undesirable things are the most certain (death and taxes).
Guthman's Law of Media:
Thirty seconds on the evening news is worth a front page headline in every newspaper in the world.
H
Hacker's Law:
The belief that enhanced understanding will necessarily stir a nation or an organization to action is one of mankind's oldest illusions.
Hacker's Law of Personnel:
Anyone having supervisory responsibility for the completion of a task will invariably protest that more resources are needed.
Hagerty's Law:
If you lose your temper at a newspaper columnist, he'll get rich or famous or both.
Haldane's Law:
The Universe is not only queerer than we imagine, it is queerer than we CAN imagine.
Hale's Rule:
The sumptuousnss of a company's annual report is in inverse proportion to its profitability that year.
Hall's Law:
There is a statistical correlation between the number of initials in an Englishman's name and his social class (the upper class having significantly more than three names, while members of the lower class average 2.6).
Halpern's Observation:
That tendency to err that programmers have been noticed to share with other human beings has often been treated as if it were an awkwardness attendant upon programming's adolescence, which like acne would disappear with the craft's coming of age. It has proved otherwise.
Harden's Law:
Every time you come up with a terrific idea, you find that someone else thought of it first.
Hardin's Law:
You can never do merely one thing.
Harper's Magazine's Law:
You never find an article until you replace it.
Harris's Lament:
All the good ones are taken.
Harris's Law:
Any philosophy that can be put "in a nutshell" belongs there.
Harris's Restaurant Paradox:
One of the greatest unsolved riddles of restaurant eating is that the customer usually gets faster service when the retaurant is crowded than when it is half empty; it seems that the less the staff has to do, the slower they do it.
Harrison's Postulate
For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism.
Hartig's How Is Good Old Bill? We're Divorced Law:
If there is a wrong thing to say, one will.
Hartig's Sleeve in the Cup, Thumb in the Butter Law:
When one is trying to be elegant and sophisticated, one won't.
Hartley's Law:
You can lead a horse to water, but if you can get him to float on his back you've got something.
Hartley's Second Law
Never go to bed with anybody crazier than you are.
Hartman's Automotive Laws:
Nothing minor ever happens to a car on the weekend.
Nothing minor ever happens to a car on a trip.
Nothing minor ever happens to a car.
Hart's Law:
In a country as big as the United States, you can find fifty examples of anything.
Harvard Law:
Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity, and other variables, any experimental organism will do as it damn well pleases.
Harver's Law
A drunken man's words are a sober man's thoughts.
Hawkin's Theory of Progress
Progress does not consist of replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is right. It consists of replacing a theory that is wrong with one that is more subtly wrong.
Hein's Law:
Problems worthy of attack prove their worth by hitting back.
Heller's Myths of Management:
The first myth of management is that it exists. The second myth of management is that success equals skill.
Corollary (Johnson): Nobody really knows what is going on anywhere within your organization.
Hellrung's Law
If you wait, it will go away. (Shevelson's Extension: ... having done its damage.)
[Grelb's Addition: ... if it was bad, it will be back.]
Hendrickson's Law:
If a problem causes many meetings, the meetings eventually become more important than the problem.
Herblock's Law:
If it's good, they'll stop making it.
Herrnstein's Law:
The total attention paid to an instructor is a constant regardless of the size of the class.
Hersh's Law:
Biochemistry expands to fill the space and time available for its completion and publication.
Hildebrand's Law:
The quality of a department is inversely proportional to the number of courses it lists in its catalogue.
Historian's Rule:
Any event, once it has occurred, can be made to appear inevitable by a competent historian.
Hoare's Law of Large Programs:
Inside every large program is a small program struggling to get out.
Hogg's Law of Station Wagons:
The amount of junk is in direct proportion to the amount of space available.
Baggage Corollary: If you go on a trip taking two bags with you, one containing everything you need for the trip and the other containing absolutely nothing, the second bag will be completely filled with junk acquired on the trip when you return.
Horner's Five Thumb Postulate:
Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.
Horngren's Observation: (generalized)
The real world is a special case.
Horowitz's Rule:
A computer makes as many mistakes in two seconds as 20 men working 20 years.
Howard's First Law of Theater:
Use it.
Howe's Law:
Every man has a scheme that will not work.
Hull's Theorem:
The combined pull of several patrons is the sum of their separate pulls multiplied by the number of patrons.
Hull's Warning:
Never insult an alligator until after you have crossed the river.
I
IBM Pollyanna Principle
Machines should work. People should think.
Idea Formula:
One man's brain plus one other will produce about one half as many ideas as one man would have produced alone. These two plus two more will produce half again as many ideas. These four plus four more begin to represent a creative meeting, and the ratio changes to one quarter as many.
The Ike Tautology:
Things are more like they are now than they have ever been before.
Corollary: Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
Iles's Law:
There is an easier way to do it.
Corollaries:
When looking directly at the easier way, especially for long periods, you will not see it.
Neither will Iles.
Imhoff's Law:
The organization of any bureaucracy is very much like a septic tank -- the REALLY big chunks always rise to the top.
Index of Development:
The degree of a country's development is measured by the ratio of the price of an automobile to the cost of a haircut. The lower the ratio, the higher the degree of development.
Law of the Individual:
Nobody really cares or understands what anyone else is doing.
Laws of Institutional Food:
Everything is cold except what should be.
Everything, including the corn flakes, is greasy.
Law of Institutions:
The opulence of the front office decor varies inversely with the fundamental solvency of the firm.
Iron Law of Distribution:
Them what has -- gets. Wakefield's Refutation of the Iron Law of Distribution:
Them what gets -- has.
Issawi's Law of Aggression:
At any given moment, a society contains a certain amount of accumulated and accruing aggressiveness. If more than 21 years elapse without this aggressiveness being directed outward, in a popular war against other countries, it turns inward, in social unrest, civil disturbances, and political disruption.
Issawi's Laws of Committo-Dynamics:
Comitas comitatum, omnia comitas.
The less you enjoy serving on committees, the more likely you are to be pressed to do so.
Issawi's Law of the Conservation of Evil:
The total amount of evil in any system remains constant. Hence, any diminution in one direction -- for instance, a reduction in poverty or unemployment -- is accompanied by an increase in another, e.g., crime or air pollution.
Issawi's Law of Consumption Patterns:
Other people's patterns of expenditure and consumption are highly irrational and slightly immoral.
Issawi's Law of Cynics:
Cynics are right nine times out of ten; what undoes them is their belief that they are right ten times out of ten.
Issawi's Law of Dogmatism:
When we call others dogmatic, what we really object to is their holding dogmas that are different from our own.
Issawi's Law of Estimation of Error:
Experts in advanced countries underestimate by a factor of 2 to 4 the ability of people in underdeveloped countries to do anything technical.
Issawi's Law of Frustration:
One cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs -- but it is amazing how many eggs one can break without making a decent omelette.
Issawi's Laws of Progress:
The Course of Progress: Most things get steadily worse.
The Path of Progress: A shortcut is the longest distance between two points.
The Dialectics of Progress: Direct action produces direct reaction.
The Pace of Progress: Society is a mule, not a car . . . If pressed too hard, it will kick and throw off its rider.
Issawi's Law of the Social Sciences:
By the time a social science theory is formulated in such a way that it can be tested, changing circumstances have already made it obsolete.
Issawi's Observation on the Consumption of Paper:
Each system has its own way of consuming vast amounts of paper: in socialist societies by filling large forms in quadruplicate, in capitalist societies by putting up huge posters and wrapping every article in four layers of cardboard.
First Postulate of Isomurphism
Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.
Italian Proverb:
She who is silent consents.
J
Jacquin's Postulate on Democratic Governments:
No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.
Jake's Law:
Anything hit with a big enough hammer will fall apart.
Jaroslovsky's Law:
The distance you have to park from your apartment increases in proportion to the weight of packages you are carrying.
Jay's Laws of Leadership:
Changing things is central to leadership, and changing them before anyone else is creativity.
To build something that endures, it is of the greatest important to have a long tenure in office -- to rule for many years. You can achieve a quick success in a year or two, but nearly all of the great tycoons have continued their building much longer.
Jenkinson's Law:
It won't work.
Jinny's Law:
There is no such thing as a short beer. (As in, "I'm going to stop off at Joe's for a short beer before on the way home.")
John's Axiom:
When your opponent is down, kick him.
John's Collateral Corollary:
In order to get a loan you must first prove you don't need it.
Johnson's First Law:
When any mechanical contrivance fails, it will do so at the most inconvenient possible time.
Johnson's Second Law:
If, in the course of several months, only three worthwhile social events take place, they will all fall on the same evening.
Johnson's Third Law:
If you miss one issue of any magazine, it will be the issue containing the article, story, or installment you were most anxious to read.
Corollary: All of your friends either missed it, lost it, or threw it out.
Johnson's First Law of Auto Repair:
Any tool dropped while repairing an automobile will roll under the car to the vehicle's exact geographic center.
Johnson-Laird's Law:
Toothache tends to start on Saturday night.
Jones's Law:
The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone he can blame it on.
Jones's Motto:
Friends may come and go, but enemies accumulate.
McClaughry's Codicil on Jones's Motto: To make an enemy, do someone a favor.
Jones's Principle:
Needs are a function of what other people have.
Juhani's Law:
The compromise will always be more expensive than either of the suggestions it's compromising.
K
Kafka's Law:
In the fight between you and the world, back the world.
Kamin's First Law:
All currencies will decrease in value and purchasing power over the long term, unless they are freely and fully convertable into gold and that gold is traded freely without restrictions of any kind.
Kamin's Second Law:
Threat of capital controls accelerates marginal capital outflows.
Kamin's Third Law:
Combined total taxation from all levels of government will always increase (until the government is replaced by war or revolution).
Kamin's Fourth Law:
Government inflation is always worse than statistics indicate: central bankers are biased toward inflation when the money unit is non-convertible, and without gold or silver backing.
Kamin's Fifth Law:
Purchasing power of currency is always lost far more rapidly than ever regained. (Those who expect even fluctuations in both directions play a losing game.)
Kamin's Sixth Law:
When attempting to predict and forecast macro-economic moves or economic legislation by a politician, never be misled by what he says; instead watch what he does.
Kamin's Seventh Law:
Politicians will always inflate when given the opportunity.
Kaplan's Law of the Instrument:
Give a small boy a hammer and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding.
Katz's Law:
Men and nations will act rationally when all other possibilities have been exhausted.
Katz's Maxims:
Where are the calculations that go with the calculated risk?
Inventing is easy for staff outfits. Stating a problem is much harder. Instead of stating problems, people like to pass out half- accurate statements together with half-available solutions which they can't finish and which they want you to finish.
Every organization is self-perpetuating. Don't ever ask an outfit to justify itself, or you'll be covered with facts, figures, and fancy. The criterion should rather be, "What will happen if the outfit stops doing what it's doing?" The value of an organization is more easily determined this way.
Try to find out who's doing the work, not who's writing about it, controlling it, or summarizing it.
Watch out for formal briefings; they often produce an avalanche (a high-level snow job of massive and overwhelming proportions).
The difficulty of the coordination task often blinds one to the fact that a fully coordinated piece of paper is not supposed to be either the major or the final product of the organization, but it often turns out that way.
Most organizations can't hold more than one idea at a time. Thus complementary ideas are always regarded as competetive. Further, like a quantized pendulum, an organization can jump from one extreme to the other, without ever going through the middle.
Try to find the real tense of the report you are reading: Was it done, is it being done, or is it something to be done? Reports are now written in four tenses: past tense, present tense, future tense, and pretense. Watch for novel uses of "contractor grammar", defined by the imperfect past, the insufficient present, and the absolutely perfect future.
Kelley's Law:
Last guys don't finish nice.
Kelly's Law:
An executive will always return to work from lunch early if no one takes him.
Kennedy's Law:
Excessive official restraints on information are inevitably self-defeating and productive of headaches for the officials concerned.
Kent's Law:
The only way a reporter should look at a politician is down.
Kerr-Martin Law:
In dealing with their OWN problems, faculty members are the most extreme conservatives.
In dealing with OTHER people's problems, they are the world's most extreme liberals.
Kettering's Laws:
If you want to kill any idea in the world today, get a committee working on it.
If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.
Key to Status:
S = D/K. S is the status of a person in an organization, D is the number of doors he must open to perform his job, and K is the number of keys he carries. A higher number denotes higher status. Thus the janitor needs to open 20 doors and has 20 keys (S = 1), a secretary has to open two doors with one key (S = 2), but the president never has to carry any keys since there is always someone around to open doors for him (with K = 0 and a high D, his S reaches infinity).
Kharasch's Institutional Imperative:
Every action or decision of an institution must be intended to keep the institution machinery working.
Corollary: The expert judgment of an institution, when the matter involved concerns continuation of the institution's operations, is totally predictable, and hence the finding is totally worthless.
Kirkland's Law:
The usefulness of any meeting is in inverse proportion to the attendance.
Kitman's Law:
On the TV screen, pure drivel tends to drive off ordinary drivel.
Klipstein's Lament
All warranty and guarantee clauses are voided by payment of the invoice.
Klipstein's Observation
Any product cut to length will be too short.
Klipstein's Law of Specifications:
In specifications, Murphy's Law supersedes Ohm's.
Klipstein's Laws:
Applied to General Engineering:
A patent application will be preceded by one week by a similar application made by an independent worker.
Firmness of delivery dates is inversely proportional to the tightness of the schedule.
Dimensions will always be expressed in the least usable term. Velocity, for example, will be expressed in furlongs per fortnight.
Any wire cut to length will be too short.
Applied to Prototyping and Production:
Tolerances will accumulate unidirectionally toward maximum difficulty to assemble.
If a project requires n components, there will be n-1 units in stock.
A motor will rotate in the wrong direction.
A failsafe circuit will destroy others.
A transistor protected by a fast-acting fuse will protect the fuse by blowing first.
A failure will not appear until a unit has passed final inspection.
A purchased component or instrument will meet its specs long enough, and only long enough, to pass incoming inspection.
After the last of 16 mounting screws has been removed from an access cover, it will be discovered that the wrong access cover has been removed.
After an access cover has been secured by 16 hold-down screws, it will be discovered that the gasket has been omitted.
After an instrument has been assembled, extra components will be found on the bench.
Knight's Law
Life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.
Knoll's Law of Media Accuracy:
Everything you read in the newspapers is absolutely true except for that rare story of which you happen to have firsthand knowledge.
Knowles's Law of Legislative Deliberation:
The length of debate varies inversely with the complexity of the issue.
Corollary: When the issue is trivial, and everyone understands it, debate is almost interminable.
Kohn's Second Law:
Any experiment is reproducible until another laboratory tries to repeat it.
Koppett's Law:
Whatever creates the greatest inconvenience for the largest number must happen.
Korman's conclusion
The trouble with resisting temptation is it may never come your way again.
Kristol's Law:
Being frustrated is disagreeable, but the real disasters in life begin when you get what you want.
Krueger's Observation
A taxpayer is someone who does not have to take a civil service exam in order to work for the government.
L
Labor Law
A disagreeable law is its own reward.
First Law of Laboratory Work
Hot glass looks exactly the same as cold glass.
LaCombe's Rule of Percentages
The incidence of anything worthwhile is either 15-25 percent or 80-90 percent.
Corollary (Dudenhoefer)
An answer of 50 percent will suffice for the 40-60 range.
Langin's Law
If things were left to chance, they'd be better.
Langsam's Law
Everything depends.
Lani's Principles of Economics
Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed.
$100 placed at 7% interest compounded quarterly for 200 years will increase to more than $100,000,000 by which time it will be worth nothing.
In God we trust; all others pay cash.
La Rochefoucauld's Law
It is more shameful to distrust one's friends than to be deceived by them.
Larrimer's Constant
What this world needs is a damned good plague.
Law of Late-Comers
Those who have the shortest distance to travel invariably arrive latest.
Laura's Law
No child throws up in the bathroom.
Lawyer's Rule
When the law is against you, argue the facts. When the facts are against you, argue the law. When both are against you, call the other lawyer names.
Leahy's Law
If a thing is done wrong often enough, it becomes right.
Corollary: Volume is a defense to error.
Le Chatelier's Law
If some stress is brought to bear on a system in equilibrium, the equilibrium is displaced in the direction which tends to undo the effect of the stress.
Lenin's Law
Whenever the cause of the people is entrusted to professors, it is lost.
Le Pelley's Law
The bigger the man, the less likely he is to object to caricature.
Les Miserables Metalaw
All laws, whether good, bad, or indifferent, must be obeyed to the letter.
Levy's Ten Laws of the Disillusionment of the True Liberal
Large numbers of things are determined, and therefore not subject to change.
Anticipated events never live up to expectations.
That segment of the community with which one has the greatest sympathy as a liberal inevitably turns out to be one of the most narrow-minded and bigoted segments of the community.
Always pray that your opposition be wicked. In wickedness there is a strong strain toward rationality. Therefore there is always the possibility, in theory, of handling the wicked by outthinking them.
Corollary 1: Good intentions randomize behavior.
Corollary 2: Good intentions are far more difficult to cope with than malicious intent.
Corollary 3: If good intentions are combined with stupidity, it is impossible to outthink them.
Corollary 4: Any discovery is more likely to be exploited by the wicked than applied by the virtuous.
In unanimity there is cowardice and uncritical thinking.
To have a sense of humor is to be a tragic figure.
To know thyself is the ultimate form of aggression.
No amount of genius can overcome a preoccupation with detail.
Only God can make a random selection.
Eternal boredom is the price of constant vigilance.
Lewis's Laws
People will buy anything that's one to a customer.
No matter how long or how hard you shop for an item, after you've bought it it will be on sale somewhere cheaper.
Liebling's Law
If you just try long enough and hard enough, you can always manage to boot yourself in the posterior.
Lilly's Metalaw
All laws are simulations of reality.
Lloyd-Jones's Law of Leftovers:
The amount of litter on the street is proportional to the local rate of unemployment.
Law of Local Anesthesia
Never say "oops" in the operating room.
(F)law of Long-Range Planning
The longer ahead you plan a special event, and the more special it is, the more likely it is to go wrong.
Long's Notes
Always store beer in a dark place.
Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win.
Any priest or shaman must be presumed guilty until proved innocent.
Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it.
If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion.
It has long been known that one horse can run faster than another -- but which one? Differences are crucial.
A fake fortuneteller can be tolerated. But an authentic soothsayer should be shot on sight. Cassandra did not get half the kicking around she deserved.
Delusions are often functional. A mother's opinions about her children's beauty, intelligence, goodness, et cetera ad nauseam, keep her from drowning them at birth.
A generation which ignores history has no past -- and no future.
A poet who reads his verse in public may have other nasty habits.
Small change can often be found under seat cushions.
History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.
It's amazing how much "mature wisdom" resembles being too tired.
Of all the strange "crimes" that human beings have legislated out of nothing, "blasphemy" is the most amazing -- with "obscenity" and "indecent exposure" fighting it out for second and third place.
It's better to copulate than never.
Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.
It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier.
Never appeal to a man's "better nature". He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.
Little girls, like butterflies, need no excuse.
Avoid making irrevocable decisions while tired or hungry.
An elephant: A mouse built to government specifications.
A zygote is a gamete's way of producing more gametes. This may be the purpose of the universe.
Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity is not a sin; the victim can't help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.
God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent. It says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks, please. Cash and in small bills.
Beware of altruism. It is based on self-deception, the root of all evil.
The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universe, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.
The second most preposterous notion is that copulation is inherently sinful.
Everybody lies about sex.
Rub her feet.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
Always tell her she is beautiful, especially if she is not.
In a family argument, if it turns out you are right, apologize at once.
To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability to unlearn old falsehoods.
Does history record any case in which the majority was right?
Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny.
The greatest productive force is human selfishness.
Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors -- and miss.
Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields. But experts often think so. The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely they are to think so.
Never try to outstubborn a cat.
Tilting at windmills hurts you more than the windmills.
Yield to temptation; it may not pass your way again.
Waking a person unnecessarily should not be considered a capital crime. For a first offense, that is.
The correct way to punctuate a sentence that starts: "Of course it's none of my business, but . . . " is to place a period after the word "but". Don't use excessive force in supplying such a moron with a period. Cutting his throat is only a momentary pleasure and is bound to get you talked about.
A skunk is better company than a person who prides himself on being "frank".
Natural laws have no pity.
You can go wrong by being too skeptical as readily as by being too trusting.
Anything free is worth what you pay for it.
Climate is what we expect; weather is what we get.
Pessimist by policy, optimist by temperament -- it is possible to be both. How? By never taking an unnecessary chance and by minimizing risks you can't avoid. This permits you to play out the game happily, untroubled by the certainty of the outcome.
"I came, I saw, SHE conquered." (The original Latin seems to have been garbled.)
A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain.
Don't try to have the last word. You might get it.
Los Angeles Dodgers Law Wait till last year.
Law of the Lost Inch
In designing any type of construction, no overall dimension can be totalled correctly after 4:40 p.m. on Friday.
Corollaries:
Under the same conditions, if any minor dimensions are given to sixteenths of an inch, they cannot be totalled at all.
The correct total will become self-evident at 9:01 a.m. on Monday.
Lowrey's Law
If it jams, force it. If it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.
Lowrey's Law of Expertise
Just when you get really good at something, you don't need to do it any more.
Lubarsky's Law of Cybernetic Entomology
There's always one more bug.
Lubin's Law
If another scientist thought your research was more important than his, he would drop what he is doing and do what you are doing.
Luce's Law
No good deed goes unpunished.
Lucy's Law
The alternative to getting old is depressing.
Luten's Laws
When properly administered, vacations do not diminish productivity: for every week you're away and get nothing done, there's another week when your boss is away and you get twice as much done.
It's not so hard to lift yourself by your bootstraps once you're off the ground.
Lyall's Conjecture:
If a computer cable has one end, then it has another.
Lyall's Fundamental Observation:
The most important leg of a three legged stool is the one that's missing.
Lynch's Law:
When the going gets tough, everybody leaves.
Lyon's Law of Hesitation:
He who hesitates is last.
M
Madison's Question:
If you have to travel on a Titanic, why not go first-class?
Rev. Mahaffy's Observation:
There's no such thing as a large whiskey.
Maier's Law:
If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.
Corollaries:
The bigger the theory, the better.
The experiment may be considered a success if no more than 50% of the observed measurements must be discarded to obtain a correspondence with the theory. (Compensation Corollary)
Malek's Law:
Any simple idea will be worded in the most complicated way.
Malinowski's Law:
Looking from far above, from our high places of safety in the developed civilization, it is easy to see all the crudity and irrelevance of magic.
Malloy's Maxim:
The fact that monkeys have hands should give us pause.
The first Myth of Management
It exists.
Truths of Management:
Think before you act; it's not your money.
All good management is the expression of one great idea.
No executive devotes effort to proving himself wrong.
Cash in must exceed cash out.
Management capability is always less than the organization actually needs.
Either an executive can do his job or he can't.
If sophisticated calculations are needed to justify an action, don't do it.
If you are doing something wrong, you will do it badly.
If you are attempting the impossible, you will fail.
The easiest way of making money is to stop losing it.
Truth 5.1 of Management:
Organizations always have too many managers.
Manly's Maxim:
Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.
Mark's mark:
Love is a matter of chemistry; sex is a matter of physics.
Marshall's Generalized Iceberg Theorem:
Seven-eighths of everything can't be seen.
Marshall's Universal Laws of Perpetual Perceptual Obfuscation:
Nobody perceives anything with total accuracy.
No two people perceive the same thing identically.
Few perceive what difference it makes -- or care.
Martha's Maxim (and see Olum's Observation and Farrow's Finding):
If God had meant for us to travel tourist class, He would have made us narrower.
Dean Martin's Definition of Drunkenness:
You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on.
Martin-Berthelot Principle:
Of all possible committee reactions to any given agenda item, the reaction that will occur is the one which will liberate the greatest amount of hot air.
Martin's Laws of Academia:
The faculty expands its activity to fit whatever space is available, so that more space is always required.
Faculty purchases of equipment and supplies always increase to match the funds available, so these funds are never adequate.
The professional quality of the faculty tends to be inversely proportional to the importance it attaches to space and equipment.
Martin's Law of Committees:
All committee reports conclude that "it is not prudent to change the policy (or procedure, or organization, or whatever) at this time."
Martin's Exclusion: Committee reports dealing with wages, salaries, fringe benefits, facilities, computers, employee parking, libraries, coffee breaks, secretarial support, etc., always call for dramatic expenditure increases.
Martin's Law of Communication:
The inevitable result of improved and enlarged communication between different levels in a hierarchy is a vastly increased area of misunderstanding.
Martin's Minimax Maxim:
Everyone knows that the name of the game is to let the other guy have all of the little tats and to keep all of the big tits for yourself.
Matsch's Law:
It is better to have a horrible ending than to have horrors without end.
Matsch's Maxim:
A fool in a high station is like a man on the top of a small mountain: everything appears small to him and he appears small to everybody.
Matz's warning:
Beware of the physician who is great at getting out of trouble.
Maugham's Thought:
Only a mediocre person is always at his best.
May's Law:
The quality of the correlation is inversely proportional to the density of the control (the fewer the facts, the smoother the curves).
May's Mordant Maxim:
A university is a place where men of principle outnumber men of honor.
McCarthy's Law:
Being in politics is like being a football coach. You have to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it's important.
McClaughry's Law of Public Policy:
Politicians who vote huge expenditures to alleviate problems get re-elected; those who propose structural changes to prevent problems get early retirement.
McClaughry's Law of Zoning:
Where zoning is not needed, it will work perfectly; where it is desperately needed, it always breaks down.
McDonald's Second Law:
Consultants are mystical people who ask a company for a number and give it back to them.
McGoon's Law:
The probability of winning is inversely proportional to the amount of the wager.
McGovern's Law:
The longer the title, the less important the job.
McGurk's Law:
Any improbable event which would create maximum confusion if it did occur, will occur.
McKenna's Law:
When you are right, be logical. When you are wrong, be-fuddle.
McLaughlin's Law (and see Parson's Third Law):
The length of any meeting is inversely proportional to the length of the agenda for that meeting.
McLean's Maxim:
There are only two problems with people. One is that they don't think. The other is that they do.
McNaughton's Rule:
Any argument worth making within the bureaucracy must be capable of being expressed in a simple declarative sentence that is obviously true once stated.
Margaret Mead's Law of Human Migration:
At least fifty percent of the human race doesn't want their mother-in-law within walking distance.
Melcher's Law:
In a bureaucracy, every routing slip will expand until it contains the maximum number of names that can be typed in a single vertical column.
H. L. Mencken's Law:
Those who can -- do.
Those who cannot -- teach.
Those who cannot teach -- administrate. (Martin's Extension)
Mencken's Metalaw:
For every human problem, there is a neat, simple solution; and it is always wrong.
Merkin's Maxim:
When in doubt, predict that the present trend will continue.
Merrill's First Corollary:
There are no winners in life; only survivors.
Merrill's Second Corollary:
In the highway of life, the average happening is of about as much true significance as a dead skunk in the middle of the road.
Meskimen's Laws: 1) When they want it bad (in a rush), they get it bad. 2) There's never time to do it right, but always time to do it over.
Michehl's Theorem:
Less is more.
Pastore's Comment on Michehl's Theorem:
Nothing is ultimate.
Mickelson's Law of Falling Objects:
Any object that is accidentally dropped will hide under a larger object.
Miksch's Law:
If a string has one end, then it has another end.
Miller's Law:
You can't tell how deep a puddle is until you step into it.
Mills's Law of Transportation Logistics:
The distance to the gate from which your flight departs is inversely proportional to the time remaining before the scheduled departure of the flight.
Corollaries (Woods): 1) This remains true even as you rush to catch the flight. 2) From this it follows that you are invariably rushing the wrong way.
MIST Law (Man In The Street):
The number of people watching you is directly proportional to the stupidity of your action.
Mobil's Maxim:
Bad regulation begets worse regulation.
Moer's Truism:
The trouble with most jobs is the resemblance to being in a sled dog team. No one gets a change of scenery, except the lead dog.
Money Maxim:
Money isn't everything. (It isn't plentiful, for instance.)
Montagu's Maxim:
The idea is to die young as late as possible.
Morley's Conclusion:
No man is lonely while eating spaghetti.
Morton's Law:
If rats are experimented upon, they will develop cancer. ("What this country needs are some stronger white rats.")
Mosher's Law:
It's better to retire too soon than too late.
Munnecke's Law:
If you don't say it, they can't repeat it.
Murchison's Law of Money:
Money is like manure. If you spread it around, it does a lot of good. But if you pile it up in one place, it stinks like hell.
First part of Merphy's Laws Third part of Merphy's Laws
 
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This page was last updated   05.22.1999 .
Collection:Arthur Bloch (original), Don Woods (update, last Aug 18, 1979)
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Copyright 1998. All rights reserved.