This past Wednesday, after finishing up the Democrat pages, I started cleaning out some file folders and the in-and-out baskets on my desk, basically because the stack of stuff was threatening to avalanche over top of my phone and onto the floor. Of course, while going through scribbled notes and sheets I'd printed out over topics that had caught my eye or attention of late, I created another little pile of stuff - Hence, the title of this column.
So, in the spirit of moment, here are just a couple of the tidbits that I re-discovered. I share them with you because in some cases, I really can't remember why I'd singled them out.and that kind of concerns me.
This first item happened to be a "This Day in History" piece for Wednesday
On Aug. 29, 1952, 4'33" ("Four Minutes, Thirty-three Seconds"), a three-movement composition by avant-garde composer John Cage, had its premiere in Woodstock, N.Y., as pianist David Tudor sat at a piano and, for a total of four minutes and 33 seconds, played... nothing. (According to Cage, the "music" consisted of the setting's background noises, including the sounds of the increasingly restive audience.)
Now, here's the stuff that left me wondering why government is so hopelessly deadlocked on about every issue.
The following are actual laws that, as of 2007, were still found on the books in various states. Read a few, and realize that some lawmakers are completely beyond hope for letting these pieces of idiocy remain on the books.
- If you ever find yourself driving at night through rural parts of Pennsylvania, state law requires that if you see a skittish team of horses coming toward you, you must disassemble your car, piece by piece, and hide it under the nearest bush -unless you want to be in violation of state law.
- In Missouri for example, you can't drive down the highway with an uncaged bear in your car. If you park your pet elephant at a meter in Orlando Florida, be sure to deposit the same amount of change as you would for a regular motor vehicle. And if you stop for a beer in North Dakota, don't expect to get any pretzels with your beverage. It's against the law in that state to serve beer and pretzels at the same time.
But wait, it gets better!
- If you visit Normal, Oklahoma, don't tease a dog by making ugly faces. Such inflammatory behavior is against the law.
- Unmarried women in Florida cannot parachute on Sundays.
- In Memphis, Tennessee, women can't drive a car unless there is a man with a red flag in front of the car warning the other people on the road.
But here's the best one of all
Sadly, our own state is not exempt from the foolishness. The following are all still found in the Code of Iowa.
- One-armed piano players must perform for free.
- Kisses may last for no more than five minutes.
- Ministers must obtain a permit to carry their liquor across state lines.
- Doctors who treat a person with gonorrhea must report this to the local board of health and include the disease's "probable origin".
But wait there are a few cities in our fair state that have some loser laws, too.
In Dubuque, any hotel in the city limits must have a water bucket and a hitching post in front of the building.
In Fort Madison, the fire department is required to practice fire fighting for fifteen minutes before attending a fire.
Down in Marshalltown, horses are forbidden to eat fire hydrants.
Mount Vernon's city code requires the written permission from the City Council before a person can throw bricks into a highway.
Let's hear it for Democracy!