Murphy's Laws B


Babcock's Law
If it can be borrowed and it can be broken, you will borrow it and you will break it.

Baer's Quartet
What's good politics is bad economics; what's bad politics is good economics; what's good
economics is bad politics; what's bad economics is good politics.

Bagdikian's Law of Editor's Speeches
The splendor of an editor's speech and the splendor of his newspaper are inversely related to the
distance between the city in which he makes his speech and the city in which he publishes his

Baker's Byroad
When you are over the hill, you pick up speed.

Baker's Law
Misery no longer loves company. Nowadays it insists on it.

Baldy's Law
Some of it plus the rest of it is all of it.

The Banana Principle
If you buy bananas or avocados before they are ripe, there won't be any left by the time they are
ripe. If you buy them ripe, they rot before they are eaten.

Bankers Axiom
In order to get a loan you must first prove you don't need it.

Bankers Lament
Nothing in the known universe travels faster than a bad check

Law of Banks
The other line always moves faster. In order to get a loan you must first prove that you don't need it.

Barber's Laws of Backpacking
1.The integral of the gravitational potential taken around any loop trail you choose to hike always
comes out positive.
2.Any stone in your boot always migrates against the pressure gradient to exactly the point of most
3.The weight of your pack increases in direct proportion to the amount of food you consume from it. If
you run out of food, the pack weight goes on increasing anyway.
4.The number of stones in your boot is directly proportional to the number of hours you have been on
the trail.
5.The difficulty of finding any given trail marker is directly proportional to the importance of the
consequences of failing to find it.
6.The size of each of the stones in your boot is directly proportional to the number of hours you have
been on the trail.
7.The remaining distance to your chosen campsite remains constant as twilight approaches.
8.The net weight of your boots is proportional to the cube of the number of hours you have been on the
9.When you arrive at your chosen campsite, it is full.
10.If you take your boots off, you'll never get them back on again.
11.The local density of mosquitos is inversely proportional to your remaining repellent.

Barr's Comment on Domestic Tranquillity
On a beautiful day like this it's hard to believe anyone can be unhappy -- but we'll work on it.

Barrett's Laws of Driving
1.You can get ANYWHERE in ten minutes if you go fast enough.
2.Speed bumps are of negligible effect when the vehicle exceeds triple the desired restraining speed.
3.The vehicle in front of you is traveling slower than you are.
4.This lane ends in 500 feet.

Barth's Distinction (Benchley's Law of Distinction)
There are two classes of people: those who divide people into two classes, and those who don't.

Bartz's Law of Hokey Horsepuckery
The more ridiculous a belief system, the higher the probability of its success.

Baruch's Observation
If all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

Baruch's Rule for Determining Old Age
Old age is always fifteen years older than I am.

Barzun's Laws of Learning
1.The simple but difficult arts of paying attention, copying accurately, following an argument, detecting
an ambiguity or a false inference, testing guesses by summoning up contrary instances, organizing
one's time and one's thought for study - all these arts - cannot be taught in the air but only through the
difficulties of a defined subject. They cannot be taught in one course or one year, but must be
acquired gradually in dozens of connections.
2.The analogy to athletics must be pressed until all recognize that in the exercise of Intellect those who
lack the muscles, coordination, and will power can claim no place at the training table, let alone on
the playing field.
Forthoffer's Cynical Summary of Barzun's Laws
1.That which has not yet been taught directly can never be taught directly.
2.If at first you don't succeed, you will never succeed.

Basic Baggage Principle
Whichever carousel you stand near, your baggage will arrive on another one.

Law of Basic Money Dynamics
A surprise monetary windfall will be accompanied by an unexpected expense of the same amount.

Baxter's First Law (Baxter's Free Market Laws)
Government intervention in the free market always leads to a lower national standard of living.
Baxter's Second Law
The adoption of fractional gold reserves in a currency system always leads to depreciation,
devaluation, demonetization and, ultimately, to complete destruction of that currency.
Baxter's Third Law
In a free market good money always drives bad money out of circulation.

Beard's addendum to interstate travel
The palatability index of any food is inversely proportional to the distance and number of times the
restaurant advertises prior to the designated stop.

Beardsley's Warning to Lawyers
Beware of and eschew pompous prolixity.

Beauregard's First Law
When you're up to your nose in it, keep your mouth shut.

Beauregard's Second Law
All people are cremated equal.

Becker's Law
It is much harder to find a job than to keep one.

Beckhap's Law
Beauty times brains equals a constant.

Beifeld's Principle
The probability of a young man meeting a desirable and receptive young female increases by
pyramidal progression when he is already in the company of (1) a date, (2) his wife, and (3) a better
looking and richer male friend.

Belle's Constant
The ratio of time involved in work to time available for work is usually about 0.6.

Benchley's Distinction
There are two types of people: those who divide people into two types, and those who don't.

Benchley's Law
Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at that

Berkeley's Laws
1.The world is more complicated than most of our theories make it out to be.
2.Ignorance is no excuse.
3.Never decide to buy something while listening to the salesman.
4.Information which is true meets a great many different tests very well.
5.Most problems have either many answers or no answer. Only a few problems have a single answer.
6.An answer may be wrong, right, both, or neither. Most answers are partly right and partly wrong.
7.A chain of reasoning is no stronger than its weakest link.
8.A statement may be true independently of illogical reasoning.
9.Most general statements are false, including this one.
10.An exception TESTS a rule; it NEVER PROVES it.
11.The moment you have worked out an answer, start checking it -- it probably isn't right.
12.If there is an opportunity to make a mistake, sooner or later the mistake will be made.
13.Being sure mistakes will occur is a good frame of mind for catching them.
14.Check the answer you have worked out once more -- before you tell it to anybody.
15.Estimating a figure may be enough to catch an error.
16.Figures calculated in a rush are very hot; they should be allowed to cool off a little before being
used; thus we will have a reasonable time to think about the figures and catch mistakes.
17.A great many problems do not have accurate answers, but do have approximate answers, from
which sensible decisions can be made.

Bernstein's First Law
Buttered bread tends to fall with the buttered side down.

Bernstein's Second Law
A falling body always rolls to the most inaccessible spot.

Berra's Law
You can observe a lot just by watching.

Berson's Corollary of Inverse Distances
The farther away from the entrance that you have to park, the closer the space vacated by the car
that pulls away as you walk up to the door.

Bicycle Law
All bicycles weigh 50 pounds:
A 30-pound bicycle needs a 20-pound lock and chain.
A 40-pound bicycle needs a 10-pound lock and chain.
A 50-pound bicycle needs no lock or chain.

First Law of Bicycling
No matter which way you ride, it's uphill and against the wind.

The Billings Phenomenon
The conclusions of most good operations research studies are obvious.

Billings's Law
Live within your income, even if you have to borrow to do so.

Blanchard's Newspaper Obituary Law
If you want your name spelled wrong, die.

Blauw's Law
Established technology tends to persist in spite of new technology.

Law of Blissful Ignorance
What you don't know will always hurt you.

Bok's Law
If you think education is expensive -- try ignorance.

Boling's Postulate
If you're feeling good, don't worry. You'll get over it.

Bolton's Law of Ascending Budgets
Under current practices, both expenditures and revenues rise to meet each other, no matter which
one may be in excess.

Bombeck's Rule of Medicine
Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.

Bonafede's Revelation
The conventional wisdom is that power is an aphrodisiac. In truth, it's exhausting.

Boob's Law
You always find something in the last place you look.

Booker's Law
An ounce of application is worth a ton of abstraction.

Boozer's Revision
A bird in the hand is dead.

Boren's Laws of the Bureaucracy
1.When in doubt, mumble.
2.When in trouble, delegate.
3.When in charge, ponder.

Borkowski's Law
You can't guard against the arbitrary.

Borstelmann's Rule
If everything seems to be coming your way, you're probably in the wrong lane.

Boston's Irreversible Law of Clutter
In any household, junk accumulates to fill the space available for its storage.

Boultbee's Criterion
If the converse of a statement is absurd, the original statement is an insult to the intelligence and
should never have been said.

Bove's Theorem
The remaining work to finish in order to reach your goal increases as the deadline approaches.

Boyle's Laws
1.The success of any venture will be helped by prayer, even in the wrong denomination.
2.When things are going well, someone will inevitably experiment detrimentally.
3.The deficiency will never show itself during the dry runs.
4.Information travels more surely to those with a lesser need to know.
5.An original idea can never emerge from committee in the original.
6.When the product is destined to fail, the delivery system will perform perfectly.
7.The crucial memorandum will be snared in the out-basket by the paper clip of the overlying
correspondence and go to file.
8.Success can be insured only by devising a defense against failure of the contingency plan.
9.Performance is directly affected by the perversity of inanimate objects.
10.If not controlled, work will flow to the competent man until he submerges.
11.The lagging activity in a project will invariably be found in the area where the highest overtime rates
lie waiting.
12.Talent in staff work or sales will recurringly be interpreted as managerial ability.
13.The "think positive" leader tends to listen to his subordinates' premonitions only during the
14.Clearly stated instructions will consistently produce multiple interpretations.
15.On successive charts of the same organization the number of boxes will never decrease.

Boyle's Observation
A welfare state is one that assumes responsibility for the health, happiness, and general well
being of all its citizens except the taxpayers.

Boyle's Other Law
The first pull on the cord ALWAYS sends the drapes in the wrong direction.

Branch's First Law of Crisis
The spirit of public service will rise, and the bureaucracy will multiply itself much faster, in time of
grave national concern.

First Law of Bridge
It's always the partner's fault.

Brien's First Law
At some time in the life cycle of virtually every organization, its ability to succeed in spite of itself
runs out.

Brigg's Law of Traffic
At any level of traffic, any delay is intolerable.

Brinks's Observation
No armored car loaded with bags of money ever turned over and spilled its load in the street, in a
good neighborhood.

Broder's Law
Anybody that wants the presidency so much that he'll spend two years organizing and campaigning
for it is not to be trusted with the office.

Brontosaurus Principle
Organizations can grow faster than their brains can manage them in relation to their environment
and to their own physiology; when this occurs, they are an endangered species.

Brook's Laws
If at first you don't succeed, transform your data set.
Adding manpower to late software makes it later.

Brooks' First Law
Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

Brooks' Second Law
Whenever a system becomes completely defined, someone discovers something which either
abolishes the system or expands it beyond recognition.

(Jerry) Brown's Law
Too often I find that the volume of paper expands to fill the available briefcases.

(Sam) Brown's Law
Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance.

(Tony) Brown's Law of Business Success
Our customer's paperwork is profit. Our own paperwork is loss.

Brownian Motion Rule of Bureaucracies
It is impossible to distinguish, from a distance, whether the bureaucrats associated with your project
are simply sitting on their hands, or frantically trying to cover their asses.
Heisenberg's Addendum to Brownian Bureaucracy: If you observe a bureaucrat closely
enough to make the distinction above, he will react to your observation by covering his ass.

Bruce-Briggs's Law of Traffic
At any level of traffic, any delay is intolerable.

Bryson's Law of Repairs
1.Anything you try to fix will take longer and cost more than you thought.
2.If you fool around with a thing for very long you will screw it up.

Buchwald's Law
As the economy gets better, everything else gets worse.

Bucy's Law
Nothing is ever accomplished by a reasonable man.

The Bumper To Bumper Theorem
Traffic congestion increases in proportion to the length of time the street is supervised by a traffic
control officer.

Bunuel's Law
Overdoing things is harmful in all cases, even when it comes to efficiency.

Law of Bureaucracy
When a problem goes away, the people working to solve it do not.

Bureaucratic Cop-Out #1
You should have seen it when *I* got it.

Burns's Balance
If the assumptions are wrong, the conclusions aren't likely to be very good.

Bus Transportation Laws
1.The bus that left the stop just before you got there is your bus.
2.The amount of time you have to wait for a bus is directly proportional to the inclemency of the
3.All buses heading in the opposite direction drive off the face of the earth and never return.
4.The last rush-hour express bus to your neighborhood leaves five minutes before you get off work.
5.Bus schedules are arranged so your bus will arrive at the transfer point precisely one minute after
the connecting bus has left.
6.Any bus that can be the wrong bus will be the wrong bus. All others are out of service or full.

Business Maxims
1.No matter how low you bid the job there is always an idiot out there willing to do it for less.
2.The more you cut your price to get business, the more likely you are to go out of business.
3.The more you try to compete on a price basis the lower your prices will go. Corollary: Your income
will follow.
4.The bigger your yellow pages ad , the more low priced calls from non-repeat customers you will get.
5.Increasing your ad size increases the percentage of low profit calls you get.
6.The prize for beating out all of your competitors for the biggest most expensive ad in all of the
different yellow pages books is bankruptcy.
7.The more you advertise that you have 24 hour service, the more security guards and insomniacs will
call you in the middle of the night with requests for price quotations.
8.Advertise as a 24 hour service and you will get angry calls from people who stopped by your shop at
four in the morning and you weren't there.
9.Your best apprentice will quit and open a shop across the street and cut your prices.
10.The one who is un-trainable will stay with you forever.

Bustlin' Billy's Bogus Beliefs
1.The organization of any program reflects the organization of the people who develop it.
2.There is no such thing as a "dirty capitalist", only a capitalist.
3.Anything is possible, but nothing is easy.
4.Capitalism can exist in one of only two states -- welfare or warfare.
5.I'd rather go whoring than warring.
6.History proves nothing.
7.There is nothing so unbecoming on the beach as a wet kilt.
8.A little humility is arrogance.
9.A lot of what appears to be progress is just so much technological rococo.

Butler's Law of Progress
All progress is based on a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its

Bye's First Law of Model Railroading
Anytime you wish to demonstrate something, the number of faults is proportional to the number of

Bye's Second Law of Model Railroading
The desire for modeling a prototype is inversely proportional to the decline of the prototype.

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