Making good Mondays is like making coffee -

The week is before us - like the coffee pot - waiting to brew. Making it good is a matter of choice, luck, creativity, patience and acceptance of the outcome.

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Active elements on this page: Occasionally I will publish a new blog post, but I write mostly at other sites.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Murphy's Law

Three decades ago -- During the mid 1970s I was enrolled in a community college in a technical specialization program. It focused on educational media technology. That is where I learned how to produce slide presentations, as we called them. And my college classroom is where I also learned "Murphy's Law: 'Everything that can possibly go wrong will go wrong.'" (See Murphy's Laws website). To quote from Wikipedia:

Murphy's law emerged in its modern form no later than 1952, as an epigraph to a mountaineering book by Jack Sack, who described it as an "ancient mountaineering adage":

Anything that can possibly go wrong, does.[4]

Yale Book of Quotations editor Fred R. Shapiro has shown that it was also in 1952 that the adage first was called "Murphy's law," in a book by Anne Roe, quoting an unnamed physicist:

There were a number of particularly delightful incidents. There is, for example, the physicist who introduced me to one of my favorite "laws," which he described as "Murphy's law or the fourth law of thermodynamics" (actually there were only three last I heard) which states: "If anything can go wrong it will."[5]

Disappointment -- How many times have you attended a workshop, a conference, a classroom's guest speaker's talk, or a lecture where the presenter included a slide show? And how many times has the slide part not gone well? Murphy's Law and slide presentations are very well acquainted old friends. They often meet in the auditorium or the classroom.

These insidious incidents can include such things as a slide being in upside-down or backwards, the slides and voice track being out of sync, or the slides refusing to show themselves at all. Perhaps the slide projector is not there as ordered. Or the slide tray could have been accidentally left at the office or at home. Other mishaps might include the room being to brightly lit from uncovered windows, the audience coming back from lunch surfeited and drowsy. I get anxious just thinking about Murphy's law and slide shows.

Murphy's laws and corollaries of technology include these Top 10 that apply. To quote:

  1. Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand. (4)
  2. The attention span of a computer [slide projector] is only as long as it electrical cord. (7)
  3. A meeting is an event at which the minutes are kept and the hours are lost. (14)
  4. A failure will not appear till a unit has passed final inspection. (16)
  5. A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works. (30)
  6. Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity, and other variables the organism [audiovisual] will do as it damn well pleases. (34)
  7. When all else fails, read the instructions. (44)
  8. If there is a possibility of several things going wrong the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong. (45)
  9. Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it. (49)
  10. The degree of technical competence is inversely proportional to the level of management. (50)

The next century -- Now we have "slide shows" on the Internet. They are a lot of fun to put together and not nearly as subject to Murphy's Law as when I was first learning. Blogger recently introduced their version of one for us to use in our blogs: "Show off your photos with the new SlideShow." My post on the subject, "Eye Candy: Slide Shows," has gotten a lot of interest from readers.

SlideShow -- My Making Good Mondays blog has its own SlideShows. In the upper left corner of the page is, "Life Is Good." At the bottom of this column is one titled "Spacey Shots;" it originated from my Picasa web albums. They still seem to be working, amazingly well. Enjoy!

Cross-posted at Southwest Blogger

My topical post today at South by Southwest and The Reaction is about politics.

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References on Spirituality -- Favorites from my old collection

  • "A Return To Love: Reflections On the Principles Of a Course In Miracles" by Marianne Williamson. Harper Collins, 1992
  • "A World Waiting To Be Born: Civility Rediscovered" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1993
  • "Chicken Soup For the Unsinkable Soul" by Canfield, Hansen and McNamara. Health Communications, 1999
  • "Compassion in Action: Setting Out On the Path of Service" by Ram Dass and Mirabai Bush. Bell Tower Pub., 1992
  • "Creative Visualization" by Shakti Gawain. MIF Books, 1978
  • "Finding Values That Work: The Search For Fulfillment" by Brian O'Connell. Walker & Co., 1978
  • "Fire in the Soul" by Joan Borysenko. Warner Books, 1993
  • "Further Along the Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1993
  • "Guilt Is the Teacher, Love Is the Lesson" by Joan Borysenko. Warner Books, 1990
  • "Inner Simplicity: 100 Ways To Regain Peace and Nourish the Soul" by Elaine St. James. Hyperion, 1995
  • "Insearch:Psychology and Religion" by James Hillman. Spring Pub. 1994
  • "Man's Search For Himself" by Rollo May. Signet Books, 1953
  • "Mythologies" by William Butler Yeats. Macmillan, 1959
  • "Myths, Dreams and Religion" by Joseph Campbell. Spring Pub. 1988
  • "Passion for Life: Psychology and the Human Spirit" by John and Muriel James. Penguin Books, 1991
  • "Peace Is Every Step" by Thich Nhat Hahn. Bantam Books , 1991
  • "The Heroine's Journey" by Mureen Murdock. Random House, 1990
  • "The Hope For Healing Human Evil" by M. Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1983
  • "The House of Belonging" poems by David Whyte. Many Rivers Press, 2004
  • "The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth" by M.Scott Peck. Simon and Schuster, 1978
  • "The Soul's Code: In Search Of Character and Calling" by James Hillman. Random House, 1996
  • "The World Treasury of Modern Religious Thought" by Jaroslav Pelikan. Little, Brown & Co., 1990
  • "Unconditional Life" by Deepak Chopra. Bantam Books, 1992
  • "Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation" by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Hyperion, 1994
  • "Zen Keys: A Guide to Zen Practice" by Thich Nhat Hahn. Doubleday Dell Pub. Group, 1974

About Me

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A retired counselor, I am equal parts Techie and Artist. I am a Democrat who came to the Southwest to attend college. I married, had kids and have lived here all my adult life.