Beyond Murphy's Law

Everyone's heard of Murphy's Law, but not many know the other so-called laws as identified and defined by other experts in various fields.

Here are a few other "laws" you might find amusing if not interesting. Sprinkle a few into the conversation at your next party.

First, let me officially define Murphy's Law.

If anything can go wrong, it will.

That's Murphy's Law, named after Capt. Edward A. Murphy, an engineer working on Air Force Project MX981 at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949. The project was to see how much sudden deceleration a person can stand in a crash. *shudder* I can imagine how that project gave birth to Capt. Murphy's Law.

Dunbar's Number

The size of the human brain limits the number of stable relationships that one human being can maintain to about 150.

Created by English anthropologist Robin Dunbar in 1992, this means you can have about 150 good friends. This is roughly the average size of tribes, villages, and even military units in every country.

The Ben Franklin Effect

He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged. 

From 1791, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. This says that it's easier to make a friend by asking for a favor than by giving a favor. (This seems odd to me. I would think if you'd done a favor for someone, that person would be more likely to help you than someone who has done a favor for you without reciprocation.)

Dunning-Kruger Effect

If you're incompetent, you can't know you're incompetent. 

Defined by American social psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, this means that incompetent people overestimate their skills.

Humphrey's Law

Paying too close attention to a normally automatic or unconscious activity hampers your ability to do it well.

Named for English psychologist George Humphrey, this means don't overthink something.

Takeaway Truth

Don't break Humphrey's Law; just enjoy this post!

Saturday Recipe Share: Cheesy Zucchini Casserole

Do you love potatoes au gratin, but you don't eat this tasty dish because you're avoiding potatoes, you'll love this alternative.

A lot of people avoid "white" potatoes because they're high in starchy carbs. Others avoid potatoes because they're trying to eliminate nightshade plants from their diet.

The creamy baked goodness of Cheesy Zucchini Casserole is a nice substitute for scalloped potatoes, but it can also stand up as a meatless entree for a simple supper.

This dish serves 6 to 8 and is so easy to throw together at the end of a busy day. It's delicious and easy. With a salad and some French or Italian bread, it's all you need for a family-friendly meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (I always use olive oil)
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 large zucchini (or yellow squash), washed, stemmed, and cubed to a 1 inch size (If you're in a big hurry, slice the zucchini uniformly and it will cook faster than the cubes.)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk, warmed
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (get the regular stuff, not fat-free)
  • 1/2 cup crushed Ritz Crackers
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese (That's the best kind for au gratin of any variety, but you can use cheddar if you're economizing or don't have the Gruyere. My husband's grandmother used Parmesan sometimes. My husband always thinks the cheesier, the merrier so I use a little more than 1/3 cup.)
Instructions
  • Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until lightly brown--don't burn it!
  • Add cubed zucchini, salt, and pepper and saute until the squash is browned. Don't overcook it. You want it just barely soft, not mushy. Takes about 5 to 8 minutes.
  • Sprinkle in the flour and stir constantly until the vegetables are coated. Pour in the warmed milk and keep stirring until the mixture thickens. (Congrats! You just used the flour, fat, and warmed milk to make a Bechamel Sauce. Common name is white sauce.)
  • Remove from heat, stir in the mayo.
  • Spray a large baking dish with Pam or something similar and pour the mixture in it.
  • In a Ziplok bag, combine the crackers and Gruyere. Crush with a a rolling pin or flat bottom of a sauce pan or your hands. Shake bag to mix well.
  • Sprinkled the cracker crumb mixture over the casserole.
  • Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
Takeaway Truth

I really think you'll like this. Let me know if you do. Have a great Saturday.

7 Good Health Tips Within Your Power

Everyone always wants to know simple things one can do for good health. The only problem is that simple often doesn't mean easy.

Here are 7 things that are simple and easy. Best of all these 7 things are totally within your power to do every single day. They pay big benefits for your short term and long term health.

No pills, potions, or injections needed.

No supplements--weird or common--no gym memberships, or money needed.

7 Good Health Tips

1. When you get up each morning, drink a glass of water. That's so easy. That gets your digestive system primed and ready to go. Plus, it hydrates you and gets you ready for the day.

2. While you're drinking that water, take a few minutes to think about your day. Focus on what's important to do and what you can do for fun or to please yourself.

3. While you shower, take a couple of minutes to visualize yourself being happy, healthy, and successful. Create a mental image that reflects that. Do this visualization often during the day. This will grow an optimistic attitude within you.

4. All day long if you see people you know, smile. If you see people you don't know, smile. Smiles are contagious plus the act of smiling releases endorphins in your brain that lift your mood. That will increase your optimism and diminish pessimism.

5. All day long, wherever you walk, walk briskly, standing straight, and breathing deeply.

6. Remember to say thank you with a smile. Do an experiment. When a cashier asks the required: "How are you today?" Smile and reply: "I'm good. How are you?" Often, they'll look surprised. Sometimes, your answer and attitude will make them pause and perk up. Optimism begets optimism.

Writer's Journal Design by Joan Reeves
7. Get a jump on tomorrow by planning tomorrow. Use a calendar, a Day Planner, or a blank book. Make a list of what you want to do so you'll be on track as soon as you get up.

Shown at left is my journal design available on my CafePress shop.

Bonus Tip

Write in a journal about an hour before bedtime. Dump all your worries, cares, anxieties, and fears onto paper. Get all that black bile negativity our of your head and onto paper then forget about it.

Some do this on looseleaf paper then shred the page full of crap. Others put it in a journal. Writing down all the woes of life can have a cathartic effect. Once you've dumped it on paper, it actually frees your mind from thinking of them all the time.

Takeaway Truth

These are all really simple and easy to do each day, but if you're the type that's overwhelmed by change, just take it one tip per day at a time. Seven tips; seven days. Build up to doing all these. I think you'll find that your day runs smoother and you work more effectively.

Happy Valentine's Day

I'm traveling, but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Valentine's Day.

Be sure and take advantage of the many Valentine Romance box sets.

There are posts scheduled until I return to the office.

Takeaway Truth

See you next Monday.

High Cost of Home Repair

Today is one of those days you don't want. The furnace and air conditioning system were replaced in our house in Houston. What a way to blow major bucks.

I guess it's not really blown since we do need heat in the winter. Not to mention air conditioning in the long hot summers.  Even though I grew up without air conditioning, I'm used to it so it seems a necessity.

Two crews showed up bright and early. The plumber first at 7:30. The old heating system was electric. The new one is gas so we had to have a plumber run the gas line and install a vent in the roof. That translated into more expense.

The air conditioning/heating installers arrived at 9:30. They left at 8:30 tonight. We spent the day without heat and listening to all kinds of banging around from the attic. The noise alone was disconcerting. There's a lot of technical stuff that goes into modern heating and air conditioning systems including an electronic brain.

The temperature outside was 39 when they started. We spent the day spent trying to stay warm. I worked on the laptop and tried to focus on my manuscript.

By the time the crew started testing the new furnace, the temperature in the house had dropped to 60. Bearable, yes. But I was glad when the new furnace quickly raised the temp to 70.

The difference between heat produced by a gas furnace and that produced by an electric furnace is truly amazing. For the first time, the house feels uniformly warm. How wonderful.

The good news is that we have a brand new heat/AC system. The bad news is that the plumber identified problems with the water heater and some of the connectors to the copper pipes. So he'll be visiting us again in about a month. *groan*

The other bad news is that the AC installer head honcho identified a problem in the electrical panel box. Our electrician will be visiting up in a couple of weeks. *another loud groan*

Takeaway Truth

I hope I sell a boatload of books. That will help pay for today and the upcoming visits from the plumber and electrician. Seriously, I'm in the wrong business. I should have been either a plumber or electrician. I could already be retired to a hilltop villa in Tuscany! *g*

Review: Quest Multicast TV Network

In my local area, Quest, a new TV network, debuted on January 28, 2018.

This American network is described as a digital multicast television network, and it's owned by Cooper Media which also owns the Justice Network.

Quest, self-described as entertaining "viewers with exhilarating adventure programming, is broadcast nationwide via OTA digital television. In other words, you can watch it via an HD antenna, no cable or satellite required. I must say it lives up to its programming description.

The target audience? Adults between the ages of 25 and 54.

Love Documentaries?

If you're a documentary fan, you'll love Quest because it specializes in travel, historical, science and adventure-focused documentary. They also show some of the more interesting reality series like Modern Marvels, Storm Chasers, IRT Deadliest Roads, and Auction Kings.

They also shows like Life After People which is an interesting blend of imagination and science with a heavy dose of post-apocalyptic solemnity. 

If you're an armchair military historian, you'll really like all the shows about the various wars.

According to Wikipedia, Quest has "pending affiliation agreements with television stations in 36 media markets (including 24 of the top 30) encompassing 24 states..."

I do love good documentaries so I've been watching the ones of WWII battles using computer graphics to "reenact" the battles which really gives an interesting perspective to these historical events.

Takeaway Truth

Documentaries not only entertain, but they are a rich source of ideas for authors. Two of my books were inspired by documentaries. So if you're in need of inspiration, watch a few documentaries.