Saturday, April 20, 2013

Top 10 Wacky Driving Laws

Last week my blog was about weird and wacky laws in general…the type that should have been taken off the books decades ago.  This time I'm looking at wacky driving laws that probably should have been removed from the books quite a while ago.

Basic driving laws are the same everywhere.  Green lights mean go and red lights mean stop.  Pedestrians in crosswalks have the right of way.  You aren't allowed to drive faster than the posted speed limit.  That's pretty straight forward and simple.

However, individual states have some peculiar driving laws of their own that don't make any sense.  Perhaps there was a valid reason for them at the time the law was passed, but in today's society they're totally out of sync with reality.

Here are a selection of 10 such laws, in no particular order.

In Arkansas it's illegal to blast your car horn after 9pm where ice cold beverages or sandwiches are being served.

In Dublin, Georgia, it is illegal to drive through playgrounds.

In Connecticut and Tennessee hunting from cars is illegal, unless it's whale hunting.  Whereas Connecticut does border the ocean and even has a whaling history, it does make you wonder just where in Tennessee you would go to hunt whales.

In Illinois all cars must be driven with the steering wheel.  Hmm…I wonder how many other options are available.

In Almosa, Colorado, it's illegal to throw missiles at cars.  It really makes you wonder what would have prompted that type of legislation…unless, of course, the term missile relates to any type of projectile as in anything that would be thrown.

In San Francisco it's illegal to wipe your car with used underwear.  It's probably best to not dwell on that one.

In Florida if an elephant is tied to a parking meter, you must put money into the meter same as if you were parking your car.  My guess is that this law is a result of Ringling Brothers circus making their winter headquarters in Sarasota, Florida.  I can't think of another reason for someone having an elephant tied to a parking meter. :)

In Alabama it is illegal for a person to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle.  How strange…no blindfolded driving allowed.

In Tennessee it's illegal to drive while sleeping.  But no mention of a blindfold.  :)  If for some reason you end up driving a car while asleep, my guess is getting a ticket for breaking that particular law will be the least of your worries.

And finally…

In Hilton Head, South Carolina it is illegal to store trash in your car.  However, it seems to me that you shouldn't need a law for that.

Any weird driving laws where you live?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

10 Weird and Wacky Laws

There is no question that many weird and wacky laws exist out there.  You can only scratch your head and wonder what the various state legislatures were thinking about when they actually took the time to pass these strange ideas into law.  And to take it a step farther, you can only wonder how some of these laws could possibly be enforced.

Many of these weird and wacky laws have subsequently been taken off the books, however just as many of them are still laws but obviously not being enforced.  It would be interesting to know what the penalty would be if convicted of breaking these laws.

Here is a sampling of ten such laws that caught my attention (and tickled my funny bone).

In TEXAS, an anti-crime law requires criminals to give their victims notice—verbal or written—twenty-four hours in advance of the crime they're planning to commit and the nature of that crime.

In WAYNESBORO, VIRGINIA, it was once illegal for a woman to drive a car up Main Street unless her husband walked in front of the car waving a red flag.

In the state of WASHINGTON, it is mandatory for a motorist with criminal intentions to stop at the city limits and telephone the local chief of police before entering the town.

In IOWA, one-armed piano players who perform must to it for free.

In ALABAMA, it's illegal to wear a funny fake mustache to church.

In NEW HAMPSHIRE, you may not tap your feet, nod your head or in any way keep time with the music played in a tavern, restaurant or café.

In CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, it is forbidden to fish while sitting on a giraffe's neck.

In FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA, a person can be jailed for wearing a hat while dancing or wearing a hat to an event where dancing is taking place.

In MINNESOTA, no one is allowed to cross the line into the state with a duck on his/her head.

In DENVER, COLORADO, next door neighbors may not lend each other vacuum cleaners.

And here's a bonus offering that truly boggles the mind:
In MICHIGAN, beavers can be fined up to $10,000 per day for building unlicensed dams, according to a letter the state once sent certain beavers in Grand Rapids.  This actually happened!  After complaints about flooding on neighboring property, the state sent a letter to the land owner ordering him to remove unauthorized wood debris dams.  The reply sent by the landowner was widely circulated around the internet as he pointed out that the "wood debris dams" belonged to beavers and he was not responsible for it.  Eventually the matter was dropped and it seems unlikely that this would actually happen again.

Do any of you have weird laws in your state or country that have long ago outlived their original purpose but are still on the books?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Useless Information—Part 3 of 3

This is the final week of my three trivia blogs featuring bits and pieces from The Book Of Useless Information, an official publication of The Useless Information Society with a copyright of 2006.  I'm picking some items at random from the last few sections of the book.  And there is one fact that jumped out at me as being absolutely wrong…I have attributed it to a typo that was missed by an editor rather than misinformation.  I'll share this with you in a little while.

For now…I'll pick up here where I left off last week.

AMAZING DISCOVERIES:  Construction workers' hard hats were invented and first used in the construction of Hoover Dam in 1933.  Thomas Edison, inventor of the light bulb, was afraid of the dark.  A normal raindrop falls at about seven miles an hour.  An inch of snow falling evenly on one acre of ground is equivalent to about 2,715 gallons of water.  A cubic mile of fog is made up of less than a gallon of water.  Meteorologists claim they're right 85 percent of the time.  Buzz Aldrin's mother's maiden name was Moon.  The Apollo 11 had only twenty seconds of fuel left when it landed.  A manned rocket can reach the moon in less time than it took a stagecoach to travel the length of England.  Stars come in different colors—hot stars give off blue light and the cooler ones give off red light.  Earth is traveling through space at 660,000 miles per hour.  By weight, the sun is 70 percent hydrogen, 28 percent helium, 1.5 percent carbon-nitrogen-oxygen, and 0.5 percent all other elements.  A bolt of lightning can strike the earth with the equivalent of one hundred million volts and generate temperatures five times hotter than those found on the sun's surface.  In 1949 Popular Mechanics said computers of the future would weigh no more than five tons.  The shortest commercial intercontinental flight in the world is from Gibraltar in Europe to Tangier in Africa, a distance of thirty-four miles and flight time of twenty minutes.  A large flawless emerald is worth more than a similarly large flawless diamond.  A jiffy is an actual unit of time the equivalent of one-hundredth of a second.

WILD KINGDOM:  A baby blue whale is twenty-five feet long at birth.  In 1859 twenty-four rabbits were released in Australia and within six years the population grew to two million.  Human beings and the two-toed sloth are the only land animals that typically mate face to face.  An estimated 80 percent of all creatures on Earth have six legs.  A square mile of fertile earth has thirty-two million earthworms in it.  The original name for butterfly was the flutterby.  Grasshoppers have white blood.  A single strand from the golden spider's web is as strong as a steel wire of the same size.  Contrary to common belief, reptiles are never slimy, their scales have few glands and are usually silky to the touch.  The gecko lizard can run on the ceiling without falling because its toes have flaps of skin that act like suction cups.  Alligators cannot move backward.  The only continent without reptiles or snakes is Antarctica.  A group of frogs is called an army.  A group of kangaroos is called a mob.  Male monkeys lose the hair on their heads in the same manner men do.  It is physically impossible for pigs to look up at the sky.  Bats are the only mammals that can fly.  Time and erosion have erased 99 percent of all dinosaur footprints.  Reindeer like to eat bananas.  Moose have very poor vision, some have even tried to mate with cars.  The night vision of tigers is six times better than that of humans.  Jaguars are scared of dogs.  Walking catfish of Florida can stay out of the water for eighty days.  Sharks' fossil records date back more than twice as far as those of the dinosaurs.  Sea otters have the world's densest fur—a million hairs per square inch.

STATISTICS:  It would take more than 150 years to drive a car to the sun.  More than 10 percent of all the salt produced annually in the world is used to de-ice American roads.  Most fatal car accidents happen on a Saturday.  The world record for carrying a milk bottle on your head is twenty-four miles.  You're more likely to be killed by a champagne cork than a poisonous spider.  About 6 percent of murdered American men are killed by either their wife or girlfriend…or their wife who caught them with their girlfriend.  Experienced waitresses say that married men tip better than unmarried men.  You are more likely to get attacked by a cow than a shark. 

And on the last page of the book it says:  approximately 97 percent of all statistics are made up.  :)

And that error I said I caught?  It was in the first section of HALL OF FAME.  It said, "In 1812, after being shot in the chest, Theodore Roosevelt finished a speech he was delivering before he accepted any medical help."  The incident is true, but Teddy Roosevelt wasn't even born until 1858.  The reality is that it happened on October 14, 1912, a century later.  As I said, certainly a typo that an editor missed.