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Purchase at AmazonThe Little Know-How Book (Crown, 1993)

Incorporated in suitable places throughout are some of the fundamental dynamic-world principles that to most how-to-do-it professionals are just bizarre, but to the rest of us are as real as a cold, rainy day. For example:

The First Law of American Geography: No matter how long an American stares at a map, in the mind's eye certain areas of world blur into mush.

Unfortunately we are confronted immediately with The Second Law of American Geography: No matter how obviously easy it is to learn the names of four neighboring countries and their approximate location on a map, if you are an American this is impossible.

The Law of Barbecued Chicken Pieces: "They're not done yet."

The Great Law of Undoing: To fix an object, open it up, do something to it, then close it up by putting things back in the reverse order in which you took them out.

The Great Universal Law of Unscrewing: The first micro-movement or creak of a turning screw signifies ultimate triumph.

The Law of Manufactured Things: All manufactured items possess an unreasonable power of self-preservation that discourages you and me from simply adjusting them or (God forbid) looking inside.

The Law of Baking Soda: Baking soda happens to work on everything, in everything, and for everything, which makes it unfair to other perfectly decent products. Baking Soda is the Leonardo Da Vinci of materials.

Let us face the Law of Constellations: No matter how many times you gaze at the night sky or look in Constellation books or have a Constellation expert explain where the various configurations are that you should memorize--after all this, you know only:
(1) the BIG DIPPER,

(2) the LITTLE DIPPER or CASSIOPEIA (rarely both), and

(3) ORION (often only his belt--how would you like it if they remembered you only for your belt?).

The Law of Constellations reveals that the most important physical entities in the universe (that's right, the stars) are generally unremembered and ignored, except by specialists.

The Law of Stars: The only star you are certain of is Polaris (The North Star).

The Law of Craft: Try to do something well without thinking about sex or dinner.

The Law of Newspapers: Without newspapers, modern people would be almost helpless since nobody could pack anything for mailing, clean up spills, or train dogs.

The Anti-Law of Mathematical Word Problems: Tyler is methodical, obsessively neat, and can do a job in half a day. Morgan is sloppy, obsessed by the big picture, and has a large parrot. He does the same job in one and a half days. How long will it take if they do the job together?

The Law of Pool (or Bridge): Unless you acquire some new knowledge, you will never play beyond the upper level of the lowest plateau.

The Law of Saucers: Almost nothing works without the wonderful necessity of intermediate elements - e.g., saucers, ligaments, the yoke of a shirt, window sills, and ante rooms.

These in-between elements perform the very important jobs of transitioning, and help make the world sensitive and harmonious and subtle and, in fact, possible.

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