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Rexodus
Deck the Malls


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I'm sure a lot of these are bunk, and I'm sure some have been discredited on the boards before (I searched for a few, but didn't exhaustively search for every item.) But they're an entertaining read, nonetheless.

Arkansas:
1. A man can legally beat his wife, but no more than once a month.

California:
1. In, LA, a man may legally beat his wife with a leather strap, as long as it is less than 2 inches wide, or she gives him permission to use a wider strap.
2. It is a misdemeanor to shoot any kind of game from a moving vehicle, unless the target is a whale.

Florida:
1. Unmarried women who parachute on Sunday's will be jailed.

Georgia:
1. In Quitman, it is illegal for a chicken to cross the road.
2. In Columbus, it is illegal to sit on one's porch in an indecent position.

Indiana:
1. Monkey's are forbidden to smoke cigarettes in South Bend.

Illinois:
1. In Chicago, it is illegal to take a french poodle to the Opera.
2. According to state law, it is illegal to speak English. The officially recognized language is "American."
3. In Joliet, it is illegal to mispronounce the name Joliet HeyWoodey.

Massachusetts:
1. It is illegal to wear a goatee without a license.
2. North Andover prohibits its citizens from carrying "space guns."
3. In 1659, the state outlawed Christmas.

Minnesota:
1. It is illegal to tease skunks.
2. Every man in Brainerd is required by law to grow a beard.

Michigan:
1. A State law stipulates that a woman's hair legally belongs to her husband.
2. Under State law, dentists are officially classified as "mechanics."

Montana:
1. In Whitehall, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with ice picks attached to the wheels.
2. It is a felony for a wife to open her husband's mail.

Nebraska:
1. If a child burps during a church service in Omaha, his or her parents may be arrested.
2. It is illegal for a mother to give her daughter a perm without a state license

New York:
1. On Staten Island, it is illegal for a father to call his son a faggot or queer in an effort to curb girlie behavior.
2. In NYC, "it is disorderly conduct for one man to greet another on the street by placing the end of his thumb against the tip of his nose and wiggling the extended fingers of that hand."

North Carolina:
1. It is illegal to make love on the floor of a hotel room between two double beds.

Oklahoma:
1. Whale hunting is strictly forbidden.
2. People who make "ugly faces" at dogs may be fined and/or jailed.

Ohio:
1. In Columbus, it is illegal for stores to sell corn flakes on Sunday.
2. In Oxford, it is illegal for a woman to disrobe in front of a man's picture.
3. In Youngstown, it is illegal to run out of gas.

Oregon:
1. The town of Hood River prohibits the act of juggling without a license.

Pennsylvania:
1. "Any motorist who sights a team of horses coming toward him must pull well off the road, cover his car with a blanket or canvas that blends with the countryside, and let the horses pass. If the horses appear skittish, the motorist must take his car apart piece by piece, and hide it under the nearest bushes."

Rhode Island:
1. It is illegal to throw pickle juice on a trolley.

Tennessee:
1. It is illegal to use a lasso to catch a fish.
2. In Dyersburg, it is illegal for a woman to call a man for a date.
3. In Memphis, it is illegal for a woman to drive by herself; "a man must walk or run in front of the vehicle, waving a red flag in order to warn approaching pedestrians and motorists."

Texas:
1. The entire Encyclopedia Britannica is banned because it contains a formula for making beer at home.
2. It is illegal to milk another person's cow.

Utah:
1. A husband is responsible for every criminal act committed by his wife in his presence.

Virginia:
1. In Richmond, it is illegal to flip a coin in any eating establishment to determine who buys a cup of coffee.
2. In Lebanon, it is illegal to kick your wife out of bed.

Vermont:
1. It is illegal to deny the existence of God.
2. It is illegal to whistle underwater.
3. Women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth.

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"Your name is Thurmon Mermon?"

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Ulkomaalainen
Jingle Bell Hock


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General talk, not bout this list in particular:

I have seen lots of lists like those and I always though it would be an entertaining site which would cover "silly laws" just like snopes covers ULs. I have, as you may understand, no idea of US-American (or any other American) laws, but in my experience it's basically 5 possibilities:

(a) a totally made up law

(b) a true law

(c) a formerly true law which contrary to the claim has been abandoned quite a few years ago

(d) a special case of an actual law of either type (b) or (c), which makes it sound silly while the general law isn't.

Example: In Germany it is forbidden to go faster than 100km/h (roughly 60mph) with your bike on so called "Landstraßen" ("country roads" [Wink] ). This is true as stated - it's just that it is forbidden for any vehicle, thus for bicycles, too, though not stated in the law expressis verbis.

(e) a thing which is generally true as stated, but not a law as such, but a result of more than one law, each one very sensible, which combined get a result when seen as a single instance is freaky and makes you wonder about your country's sanity.

Example: In Pinneberg (close to Hamburg, Germany) some take out eatery had to take care of no customer eating any of it's products within a certain range (it's been 5m I think, but it doesn't really matter). This apparently has been true thanks to some definitions of what constitues an "eatery", a "public area" and some other stuff about hygiene, which all really made sense, but in this one special case (where the eatery was technically a camper on some company's parking lot) they all combined to a strange result. This has to happen, making laws is a little like making computer programmes in this respect: if this than that and if this than that, and suddenly some variable gets a value you never thought it could.

Unfortunately those lists seem to be made mostly of made up, some (few) very outdated, sometimes some of the (very annoying) type (d), and hardly any of (a) or (e), which I personally prefer a lot.

Edit: make the letters of the types appear in the order a, b, c, d, e

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Movie characters never make typing mistakes.

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Ulkomaalainen
Jingle Bell Hock


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Now for the special cases, I have only seen one while reading diagonally:

quote:
Originally posted by Rexodus:
3. In Memphis, it is illegal for a woman to drive by herself; "a man must walk or run in front of the vehicle, waving a red flag in order to warn approaching pedestrians and motorists."

This one I've seen way too often, but attributed to Denmark. So I'm pretty sure this is UL stuff. Well, some of the others of course are too. No cites though.

Ulko "in the web it is illegal to not donate me money" maalainen

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Movie characters never make typing mistakes.

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candycane from strangers
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I've read a few times that in Champaign, IL (my place of birth) it's illegal to urinate in your neighbor's mouth.

If there is such a law (which I have my suspicions about) how did it come about? Was there a lot of this going on? Is it still illegal if both parties consent? and, most importantly, can I go across town and pee in someone's mouth there, since they aren't my neighbor?

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A: "You contributed to the deliquency of a minor in drag!"
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God Re-Animate Green Pork Bush

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Banquo's Ghost
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Being a staff attorney for an appellate judge here in the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania I have the dubious pleasure of dealing with the Pa. motor vehicle code (Title 75 of the Pa. Consolidated Statutes) which is where the alleged Pa. statute would be found. I sure have never seen such law still on the books and cannot imagine that the quoted "law" was ever on the books. Take your car apart piece by piece? I don't think a person could take a bicycle apart piece by piece in the amount of time it takes for team of horses to pass. (Now watch - someone will find an ancient Pa. statute and prove to me once again the folly of shooting one's mouth off before conducting research.)

Some of the wacky laws may have some basis in fact, but are phrased in a specific way to make them sound particularly goofy. Can't bring your french poodle to the opera house in Chicago? There might be a local ordinance prohibiting bringing animals into such public places (guide animals exempted) which may be for health and safety reasons (one doesn't want the animal relieving itself in the grocery store, for example). Generically, the law makes sense, but when specifically phrased as forbidding a poodle in the opera house (technically a correct interpretation of the law) it sounds very silly. Similarly, I would not be allowed to bring an armidillo to a professional baseball game.

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I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent...

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Major D. Saster
The First USA Noel


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Hey, these corny laws sound too good to be true.

Let's give it a try :

"In the half-canton of Niedwalden, Switzerland, it is illegal to bring a platypus to a burial".


...


Hey, look ,I just invented one !

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Desperate, but not serious.

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Damian
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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quote:
Originally posted by Major D. Saster:
"In the half-canton of Niedwalden, Switzerland, it is illegal to bring a platypus to a burial".

But other monotremes are permissable.

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"I always tell the truth. Even when I lie." - Tony Montana

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Chimera
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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"1. In Quitman, it is illegal for a chicken to cross the road."

Posibly an ordinance against allowing livestock to roam free.

"2. It is illegal for a mother to give her daughter a perm without a state license "

Perhaps, there are chemicals and things involved... it would be no stupider than not allowing people to pump their own gas

"1. The town of Hood River prohibits the act of juggling without a license. "

Most likely true. Many cities require license for street performers. Of course this refers only to the passing the hat folk and I doubt anyone, anywhere is going to care what you throw about your own home.

"1. On Staten Island, it is illegal for a father to call his son a faggot or queer in an effort to curb girlie behavior. "

Again I would say posible. It could be seen as verbal abuse.

"1. It is illegal to throw pickle juice on a trolley."

I would hope so. I don't like being asulted by pickle juice.

"1. It is illegal to use a lasso to catch a fish."

Again I think this is a believable posibility. Many places have all kinds of regulations on fishing from only using live bait to not being allowed to catch fish in nets.

"2. It is illegal to milk another person's cow."

Well if it was without permission I sure would hope so. I also hope its illegal to pick apples off someone else's trees or to take their car.

"2. It is illegal to whistle underwater."

I would say its closer to damn near imposible. Actually if they are talking about the underwater emergency whistles then I could see regulations against using them in non-emergency situations.

"1. "Any motorist who sights a team of horses coming toward him must pull well off the road, cover his car with a blanket or canvas that blends with the countryside, and let the horses pass. If the horses appear skittish, the motorist must take his car apart piece by piece, and hide it under the nearest bushes." "

lol... I don't believe this for a minute but I sure the hell would love to see someone try to comply with it.

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"The question for joining the protected forum for real magicians should be:

What is the use of women?"
Steve W. from JREF's 'This is no fun'

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Ieuan ab Arthur
The First USA Noel


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Hi All:

Many, many years ago, there was a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation TV series called "This Is The Law." The show consisted of watching a short segment of the a man (Paul Soles) doing what appeared to be normal activities only to be arrested by a policeman. The panel then had to guess what law had been broken.

The reason for some of the "arrests" were fairly obvious. For example, in one episode, Paul Soles was running the "Parliament Barber Shop" and it's illegal to use the word "parliament" in advertising (as it gives the impression that the business is part of the government).

However, Paul Soles also fell afoul of several "silly" laws. For example, Paul was arrested for carrying a wheelbarrow across a sidewalk (which, IIRC, was prohibited in some town in New Brunswick) in one episode.

Though I was in my pre-salad days when the show was on TV, I always loved tring to guess what law was broken.

Ta ra 'wan,

Ieuan "This is the law" ab Arthur

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"I e-mail or I don't e-mail. The magic just happens" - From OP in We've Got Mail

Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd

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DadOf3
Jingle Bell Hock


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Ieuan ab Arthur, I loved that show as a kid. Many times you'd think you knew what was wrong, but then you'd find out that there was an obscure law that had nothing to do with what you thought.

Austin Willis, the host of the show, was a celebrity guest judge at one of local "just for fun" barbershop competitions. He seemed to enjoy himself. As I recall, the female quartets got higher marks from him than the male quartets did. Understandable, I suppose, since he was just scoring based on how entertained he was by the quartet in question.

(Hey, look - my 100th post!)

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Anyte
Jingle Bell Hock


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It is a misdemeanor to shoot any kind of game from a moving vehicle, unless the target is a whale.
I assume that a boat is classified as a moving vehicle and it'd be pretty difficult to shoot a whale from land.

In Columbus, it is illegal to sit on one's porch in an indecent position.
Sure, indecent exposure. This law may be specifying that one's porch is considered a --what do I want to say? -- public viewing area, rather than part of your private residence. Much like the lawn, if you're on the porch you aren't considered to be ing the privacy of your own home.

Monkey's are forbidden to smoke cigarettes in South Bend.
Sadly, no law about the misuse of apostrophe's. [Razz]

North Andover prohibits its citizens from carrying "space guns."
Concealed or otherwise, with or without a license.

It is illegal to tease skunks.
Not to mention unwise.

It is a felony for a wife to open her husband's mail.
Well, sure, isn't it a felony to open any mail that isn't your own?

Now, as a Nebraskan, these two made me chuckle.
Nebraska:
1. If a child burps during a church service in Omaha, his or her parents may be arrested.
2. It is illegal for a mother to give her daughter a perm without a state license

Well, my parents never took me to church, though my mother and my grandmother together permed both my sister's and my hair. It was the 1980s! :imagines cops bursting into her grandmother's kitchen, guns drawn: I'd imagine if there were any truth to that one, you wouldn't be able to purchase a home perm kit without a license.

A husband is responsible for every criminal act committed by his wife in his presence.
Well, I imagine he could be charged as an accessory (or aiding and abeting) if he did nothing to stop her.

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Too broke to pay attention

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LeaflessMapleTree
The twelve shopping days 'til Christmas


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quote:
A husband is responsible for every criminal act committed by his wife in his presence.
Well, I imagine he could be charged as an accessory (or aiding and abeting) if he did nothing to stop her.


Well, actually a wife was once considered her husband's property, and so he would be responsible for her conduct, as he was for that of his children, slaves, and animals.

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"For me, religion is like a rhinoceros: I don't have one, and I'd really prefer not to be trampled by yours. But it is impressive, and even beautiful, and, to be honest, the world would be slightly worse off if there weren't any."
-Silas Sparkhammer

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BringTheNoise
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by Ulkomaalainen:
Now for the special cases, I have only seen one while reading diagonally:

quote:
Originally posted by Rexodus:
3. In Memphis, it is illegal for a woman to drive by herself; "a man must walk or run in front of the vehicle, waving a red flag in order to warn approaching pedestrians and motorists."

This one I've seen way too often, but attributed to Denmark. So I'm pretty sure this is UL stuff. Well, some of the others of course are too. No cites though.

Ulko "in the web it is illegal to not donate me money" maalainen

Could be a take off of the Locomotive Act 1865(amended 1878) which restricted the speed of horse-less vehicles to 4mph in open country and 2 mph in towns. Act required three drivers for each vehicle - 2 to travel in the vehicle and one to walk ahead carrying a red flag. This applied to all drivers, not just women.

http://www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/dcsc/factfigs/redflag.htm#

ETA: Link to DVLA site: http://www.dvla.gov.uk/histm_l/earlyday.htm

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"The United States Government: significantly less cruel and sadistic than the Taliban." - Dara

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Rexodus
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by Anyte:
Monkey's are forbidden to smoke cigarettes in South Bend.
Sadly, no law about the misuse of apostrophe's. [Razz]

I plead "Not Guilty" on the grounds that I copied the text verbatim the way I received it and pasted it onto the board.

Embarrassingly edited to correct spelling. [fish]

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"Your name is Thurmon Mermon?"

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Towknie
We Three Blings


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Can I cite the impossible to decipher Texas liquor laws as being wacky?

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Towknie: Ryda-certified as wonderful, enlighted, and rational.

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Unknown Soldier
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
Originally posted by Towknie:
Can I cite the impossible to decipher Texas liquor laws as being wacky?

Please do. [Smile]

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Clickity Click!

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moonfall86
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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I would imagine the "weird" California law allowing the shooting of whales from a moving vehicle refers to harpooning whales from a boat.

A couple of these, like the Massachusetts law banning Christmas and the Vermont law banning denial of God's existance appear to be colonial-era laws that have never been repealed. Puritans did, in fact, outlaw Christmas celebrations.

My guess about the Nebraska law banning home perms is that it's illegal to run unlicensed hair salons.

"Indiana-Monkeys are forbidden to smoke cigarettes in South Bend": This one is possibly an animal cruelty law. In the past, it wasn't uncommon to teach chimpanzees and other primates to smoke as part of shows performed at zoos.

"Minnesota-It is illegal to tease skunks": Possibly a law against harassing wildlife (which is illegal in general), or maybe just a common-sense thing.

"Michigan-A State law stipulates that a woman's hair legally belongs to her husband."- This is probably from a time when women could not legally own property. Maybe the law was created to prevent women from selling their hair to wig-makers without their husbands' consent?

"New York-In NYC, "it is disorderly conduct for one man to greet another on the street by placing the end of his thumb against the tip of his nose and wiggling the extended fingers of that hand."

That gesture could be considered a taunt. Maybe they're trying to prevent fights.

"Oklahoma-People who make "ugly faces" at dogs may be fined and/or jailed." This is probably an attempt to either stop animal harassment or to keep people from provoking dogs into biting them.

"Texas:
1. The entire Encyclopedia Britannica is banned because it contains a formula for making beer at home."
This sounds more like one school board's ridiculous decision than a state law.
"
2. It is illegal to milk another person's cow."
Presumably, taking milk from someone else's cow is considered stealing.


"Virginia:In Richmond, it is illegal to flip a coin in any eating establishment to determine who buys a cup of coffee."
It's a bit of a stretch, but this could be considered gambling. Does Richmond have anti-gambling laws?

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Pogue Ma-humbug
Happy Christmas (Malls are Open)


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As I said in an other thread, any of these "weird law" sites could gain instant credibility by citing the actual laws. Most -- if not all -- states have their legal code on the web.

Unless I see such a specific cite, I will disbelieve any such claim.

Pogue

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Let's drink to the causes in your life:
Your family, your friends, the union, your wife.

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FC
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
On Staten Island, it is illegal for a father to call his son a faggot or queer in an effort to curb girlie behavior.
As far as I can tell, Staten Island, as a borough of New York City, does not have its own government or ordinances.
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Senior
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Staten Island does have its own government. Here's the Borough President's website.

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Pogue Ma-humbug
Happy Christmas (Malls are Open)


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Yes, but I don't believe boroughs have authority to pass legislation independent of the New York City Council.

Pogue

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Let's drink to the causes in your life:
Your family, your friends, the union, your wife.

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Nion
We Three Blings


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Ah, irony of ironies! Whilst going through our piles of . . . stuff, I came upon a particular book. The title? "Donkeys Can't Sleep in Bathtubs and other crazy laws" by Susan Dach. It dates back to 1980, a year before I was born! [Eek!]

It states in the beginning: "All the laws in this book are real. But they are not all enforced." It goes on to give an example, something about requiring a license to hang laundry in New York state, and even gives the reason why this law was put into practice.

There are no cites for any of the laws, including the first one. The excuse given is ". . . there is not the space." Ha. The book is 96 pages long, and is printed in a grotesquely large font. Either printing presses used in the year 1980 could only produce size 24 fonts, or someone needed a convenient excuse not to give cites. [Roll Eyes]

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It can't rain all the time.

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Rexodus
Deck the Malls


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Here's a cite debunking at least one of the laws. I looked up "domestic battery" in the Arkansas state legal code and came up with this excerpt from Title 5, Chapter 26, Subchapter 3:

5-26-305. Domestic battering in the third degree.

(a) A person commits domestic battering in the third degree if:
(1) With the purpose of causing physical injury to a family or household member, a person causes physical injury to a family or household member


There is nothing anywhere else in subchapter 3 that states or implies that "physical injury" is not sustained if it occurs only once a month. It's a Class A misdemeanor, so yes, it is illegal. (Domestic battery in the first & second degrees are felonies.)

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StewPot
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
3. In 1659, the state outlawed Christmas.

Huh? Massachusetts was a state in 1659? IIRC, it wasn't even considered a colony until 1788!

quote:

Some of the wacky laws may have some basis in fact, but are phrased in a specific way to make them sound particularly goofy.

I agree, this explanation probably accounts for most of these "silly laws."

Another example, I could say that in Utah "It is illegal to eat Cool Ranch Doritos in a houseboat."

Technically true I think, because anti-chumming fishing regulations specify no corn can be allowed on a boat.

(Disclaimer: I'm not completely sure this is an actual law, but it serves well for the illustration.)

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One of my favorite philosophical tenets is that people will agree with you only if they already agree with you. You do not change people's minds.
-Frank Zappa

Posts: 135 | From: Utah | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Gale
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by StewPot:
quote:
3. In 1659, the state outlawed Christmas.

Huh? Massachusetts was a state in 1659? IIRC, it wasn't even considered a colony until 1788!


It's still not a state, but a commonwealth.

Massachusetts was originally founded by Puritans who didn't believe in celbrating religious holidays. By 1659, the place was growing and spreading and there were a few non-Puritans around. So I find it quite believable that the staunch Puritans of 1659 would pass a law to keep everyone in their settlements in line with their beliefs and values.

Odd. This has a fairly familiar ring to it....

Posts: 4811 | From: Austin, TX | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Once upon a time, my hometown had an ordinance that made it illegal to eat fried chicken with a fork.

Of course, we also have a monument to the noble chicken, so perhaps that's understandable. Or perhaps not. Either way, I don't understand.

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"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
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Posts: 7581 | From: Gainesville, Georgia | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jason Threadslayer
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Brad from Georgia:
Of course, we also have a monument to the noble chicken, so perhaps that's understandable.

Marietta has a better monument to the noble fowl.

Here's another law for the list:

"In the United States, it is required to list the ingredients of water."

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All posts foretold by Nostradamus.

Turing test failures: 6

Posts: 5481 | From: Decatur, GA | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Jason Threadslayer:
Marietta has a better monument to the noble fowl.

....

Au contraire, mon frere. Marietta's "Big Chicken" is the paltry poultry remnant of a chicken restaurant, later taken over by Col. Sanders. It is still a working foodstuff emporium and as such does not qualify as a public work. We is serious 'bout chickens in these hyar parts.

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"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
Hear what you're missing: ARTC podcasts! http://artcpodcast.org/

Posts: 7581 | From: Gainesville, Georgia | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Geeto67
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by Pogue Mahone:
Yes, but I don't believe boroughs have authority to pass legislation independent of the New York City Council.

Pogue

All the the five boroughs have the ability to pass laws restricted to that borough. Usually this deals with administrative issues and occasionally local building codes, fire code enforcement, enviornmental controls, civil disputes, etc. There are City ordinances that apply to all the boroughs as well, and the boroughs cannot legislate wider than those only narrower, but the majority of those statutes deal with things common to all the five boroughs like police departments, fire departments, sanitation, taxes, fund allocation etc. The rest of the ordinances are state imposed. Think of New York city as a collection of counties within New York state under the overarchign city government.

Since each of the boroughs is actually considered a county with their own courts, it would not be unreasonable for them to draft their own laws specific to their geographic situation. Brooklyn is actually Kings County, Queens is Queens County, Manhattan is New York County, Staten Island is Richmond County, and The Bronx is Bronx County.

A great example of how the NYC government interacts with the county government is to look a the traffic laws. New York state traffic laws prohibit right turns on red in New York city unless where indicated by sign. It is then the City's charge to decide where the signs get placed and any other exemptions that may be allowed. Then it is the county's responsibility to handle the parking aspect on certain streets and the physical signage.


In the late 1800's there used to be a law against carrying concealed ice cream cones. This law was rushed into session because the Ice cream cone was invented at the New York Worlds Fair (not the 1960's one) and there was such a demand for it that people were stealing the cones right out of the booth and bringing them to other ice cream vendors to either fill or buy. I used to have a cite for this obscure piece of legislature, but it s usefullness was surplanted by many state criminal statutes over the years although it was never officially repealed in session.

Don't foget, some of these crazy laws are not actually the laws themselves but are extrapolations of judges opinions and interpretations in the case law (judicial decisions).

Posts: 163 | From: NYC | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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