Date: Thu, 11 Sep 1997 21:05:00 -0400 From: "Barry A. Popik" Subject: Great Wigwam; Murphy's and Rawson's UNWRITTEN LAWS GREAT WIGWAM (WASHINGTON, D. C.) Boston is Beantown, Philadelphia is Quaker Town (gosh, they need a new one), New York is the Big Apple, Chicago is the Windy City, Atlanta is Hotlanta, Washington D. C. is... This is from the Hampden Federalist (Springfield, Mass.), 30 November 1815, pg. 1, col. 5: >From the Philadelphia Aurora, Nov. 13. _Smoke in the Wigwam_.--Smoke, they say, is an excellent means to catch rats--it is reported that some rats from _Ghent_, in Flanders, been lately making a sad bustle in the _Great Wigwam_, and that it has ended in _smoking out the Old Rat_. (...) (Notes at bottom--ed.) Great Wigwam=Washington. Old Rat=Galatin. Today, I suppose "the great wigwam" is Janet Reno's hair. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ --------------------------------------------- MURPHY'S AND RAWSON'S "UNWRITTEN LAWS" Hugh Rawson, the author of WICKED WORDS, DEVIOUS DERIVATIONS, RAWSON'S DICTIONARY OF EUPHEMISM & OTHER DOUBLETALK, and the AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN QUOTATIONS, has come out with: UNWRITTEN LAWS: THE UNOFFICIAL RULES OF LIFE AS HANDED DOWN BY MURPHY AND OTHER SAGES (290 pages, $22, Crown Publishers, 1997). I was going to review it, but let's just say it's an O. K rehash of books that have already been written. In 1978, Paul Dickson wrote THE OFFICIAL RULES. In 1979, Harold Faber wrote THE BOOK OF LAWS. Also in 1979, John Peers wrote 1001 LOGICAL LAWS, ACCURATE AXIOMS, PROFOUND PRINCIPLES, TRUSTY TRUISMS, HOMEY HOMILIES, COLORFUL COROLLARIES, QUOTABLE QUOTES, AND RAMBUNCTIOUS RUMINATIONS FOR ALL WALKS OF LIFE. Give Rawson credit for at least acknowledging these books on page 269. The only law I'm interested in is Murphy's Law. We discussed it earlier this year, and I'm still not convinced. The U. S. Navy's MURPHY'S LAW training film in 1957 is clear, but the 1949 story puzzles me. Supposedly, Captain Edward A. Murphy, Jr. worked under Colonel John P. Stapp at Edwards Air Force Base; Murphy screwed in things the wrong way. The original law was that if there are two ways of doing something (right and wrong), someone will do it the wrong way. Check the HDAS H-O 1957 citation from the Tamony Collection. Peter Tamony (in nearby San Francisco) was a master at collecting Americanisms. How could "Murphy's Law" have completely escaped him for eight years? And why is the Edward A. Murphy, Jr. story coming out as late as 1978?? If "Murphy's Law" was used in manufacturers' ads--WHERE ARE THOSE ADS?? I tried to check sportswriter Jack Murphy of the San Diego Union, who gave his name to Jack Murphy Stadium. The Library of Congress started getting the San Diego newspaper in 1958. When I asked why, the LOC librarian replied "state capital and two major cities" (Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles). San Diego has a football team, a baseball team, a major military installation--I can't explain the LOC!! When I checked Murphy's column in 1958, I did NOT find a Murphy's Law in the title nor in the copy. Until I find an earlier citation, the 1949 story remains an unsupported hypothesis.