Missouri may decriminalize margarine

An 1895 law restricts the “sale, possession or shipment of imitation butter and bans yellow-tinted varieties. Those dealing contraband dairy products can be fined up to $100 and jailed for up to a month.

And if you’re caught selling with 100 feet of a school? Death penalty.

Could not come up with a “When things are outlawed” headline for this. “When margarine is decriminalized, only criminals will have margarine”? Too slippery


Aussies cancel Czech’s bananas

A 56-year-old Czech woman was detained by authorities at the Sydney airport when they found she “was concealing three live banana plants in her underwear.” Like a lot of places, the Aussies have an agricultural quarantine to protect the local flora. I want to know what she said to customs officers? “Oh, so that’s where I left them!”

Headline possibilities abound:

  • Always Czech for bananas
  • Czech-ed for bananas
  • Czech slips on bananas
  • Czech bounced over banana
  • Yes, we allow no bananas
  • Smuggler busted with bananas under where?
  • When putting bananas in your underwear is outlawed, only outlaws will put bananas in their underwear (and we’ll know they’re not just glad to see us)

When barbecueing on school grounds is outlawed, only outlaws will barbecue (at school)

Some 28 students at Middleton, CT, high school were suspended after they attempted a pre-school birthday celebration for Mike Aronne, one of the teens involved.

“We didn’t have beer, we didn’t have weed, we had bacon,” said Eddie Mangini, who along with the others did not anticipate the two-day suspension.

No beer or pot? What were they going to use to flavor the omlettes?

Germany protects children from chocolate egg threat

Despite being a massive hit with children and adults alike, German lawmakers want to ban Kinder surprise eggs on safety grounds. … Millions of the chocolate eggs with a toy inside are sold every year in Europe’s biggest economy, but according to a parliamentary health commission it is dangerous to combine food and toys in one product.

The toys aren’t edible? Man, that explains more about my digestive system than you really wanted to know.

Massachusetts safe from the threat of pet rental

The  Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed a bill that would protect all of us voters from a looming danger — PET RENTAL!

The bill, filed by Representative Paul K. Frost, Republican of Auburn, outlaws pet-rental companies because of what he called “public health, public safety, consumer concerns, and ethical issues.”

“I’m very pleased we were able to get it passed today and engrossed in the House,” Frost said. “It’s a kind of business model that fosters disposable pets.”

Earlier this month, Boston city councilors voted to ban the Flex Petz pet-rental company from opening a Boston branch because of similar concerns, said Frost.

Flex Petz, founded by Marlena Cervantes in 2007, currently operates in New York, Los Angeles, and London. It has been recently criticized by many animal activist organizations.

This is probably the greatest piece of legislation since it tried to ban Marshmallow Fluff two years ago. I know I feel better knowing that this important issue has been dealt with. I can only hope that the Senate and the governor understand the urgency of the threat poised by a company THAT DOESN’T EVEN OPERATE IN THE STATE. I hope the US government and the UN will also act as this is a international issue. Two months ago
we reported on the disturbing trend of Dog rental companies taking off in Tokyo! (Please ignore any comments I made about wanting to start a franchise here as a way to get more dogs in to my life. I misspoke or quoted myself out of context or something.)

I turned to an expert source for more informed opinion on this issue, my Office Manager (right). She said, and this is a verbatim quote, “Snort snuffle snort snort snuffle.”

Remember: When renting pets is outlawed only outlaws will rent pets!

When helium balloons are outlawed, only outlaws will have helium balloons

California state Sen. Jack Scott doesn’t want your kids to have fun at their birthday parties! OK, so that’s not really the point of his bill to ban foil helium balloons but that sure is a better lead than he wants to prevent power outages caused when the damn things fly into power lines. There were 800 of those last year in the Golden State.

However — and I’m stealing the pun from the WSJournal here — he didn’t expect the issue to blow up in his face.

Last month, at a pro-balloon rally in a Pasadena park, protesters cheered as a group of children pounced on an effigy of Mr. Scott — made entirely of balloons. … Wedding planners, party organizers and balloon artists all rallied to the cause. The industry body, the Balloon Council, set up a Web site — www.savetheballoons.com — that urges people to contact their state representatives. Members began a grass-roots campaign to garner support.

There’s an industry group for this, who knew? What’s their magazine called, The Gas Bag?

You really should read the whole story. It’s filled (and not in a puff piece sort of way — ouch) with gems like this:

Others complained that balloon-sellers were an easy mark for legislators. “To them, we’re just the balloon people. We’ve got the big noses and the floppy shoes,” said Treb Heining, a balloon artist who began his career at 15 selling balloons at Disneyland and has since created installations for the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. “We’re the Rodney Dangerfield of the professional-events services.”

Bravo to writer Amy Kaufman and the WSJ for this. Not only does the WSJ consistently produce some of the best serious journalism there is, they also produce some of the best intentionally funny journalism.

When assaulting people with M&Ms is outlawed, only outlaws will have to worry about their weapons melting in their mouth not their hand

Apparently things are so dull in Iowa that throwing candy can get you busted.

A Drake University security guard was questioning Sean McGuire’s friend regarding a hit-and-run when the guard “noticed the colored candies falling on the ground around the officer. When the officer turned around, an M&M hit his shoulder, according to a police report.” McGuire said he was launching the chocolatey treats as a way of standing up for his friend. McGuire was released on a $1000 bond. And he was lucky. Had he been arrested for assaulting an officer with a peanut M&M there would have been no end to the puns.

Iran blames Barbie for undermining traditional values

The top prosecutor for the Iranian Republic says that Barbie, Batman, Spiderman and Harry Potter are all conspiring to subvert the youth of today.

Ghorban Ali Dori Najafabad said Iran was the world’s third biggest importer of toys and suggested this posed a threat to the “personality and identity” of the new generation. “The unrestrained entry of this sort of imported toys … will bring destructive cultural and social consequences in their wake,” he wrote. He added many toys were smuggled into Iran and accused importers of concentrating on profits at the expense of cultural values.

Man, this puts me in a bind. While I am certainly down with Bats, Spidey and Mr. Potter, I have always been troubled by Barbie. While the original (right) was a human shape and had a fairly sassy look in her eyes, later models became the absurd and subservient creature we all know today. However compared to more recent hyper-sexualized dolls like Bratz, she is positively demure and the personification of feminism. (Feminism (noun), a set of beliefs predicated on the notion that women are people too.)

Given that I guess I’m cool with Barbie doing a little subverting of one gender stereotype by displaying another one. It kind of reminds me of Slavenka Draculic’s wonderful book How We Survived Communism And Even Laughed. In it she writes about her feminist friends in the West would be shocked when Draculic, a Yugoslavian back when that meant something, would visit them and wear lipstick and frou-frou clothes. They saw this as acquiescing to a stereotype. For Draculic it was just the opposite. These things allowed her to assert her individuality while living in a nation that was trying to eliminate the individual. I suspect Ms. Draculic would (or does) approve of Barbie as revolutionary.

And, can I just say that if your belief system can be subverted by Barbie et al., then it really doesn’t have much of grasp on its audience.

I love the fact that this came from the Iran’s top prosecutor. How absurd is that? I mean can you imagine the US attorney general doing something similar? Like covering the breasts of a statue of blind justice because of its threat to the nations morals? Oh wait, never mind …

Florida also wants to ban putting enlarged plastic genitalia on trailer hitches

The war against replica bull balls is expanding.

Senators in the Sunshine State have followed the lead of Maryland and Virginia and “voted to ban the fake bull testicles that dangle from the trailer hitches of many trucks and cars throughout the state.

Republican Sen. Cary Baker, a gun shop owner from Eustis, Florida, called the adornments offensive and proposed the ban. Motorists would be fined $60 for displaying the novelty items.

This is getting serious folks. Maybe we ought to consider an amendment to the constitution. I am tempted to put a trailer hitch on my 2000 Volvo S40 just so I can piss someone off. I do see them periodically up here on the wrong side of the Mason Dixon and I just think they’re funny.

I think the people at YourNutz.com and other vendors should really make a campaign contribution to Sen. Baker et al., as a way of saying thank you for the free PR.

French law would jail those who “incite thinness”

The French parliament’s lower house adopted a groundbreaking bill Tuesday that would make it illegal for anyone — including fashion magazines, advertisers and Web sites — to publicly incite extreme thinness. … It would give judges the power to imprison and fine offenders up to $47,000 if found guilty of “inciting others to deprive themselves of food” to an “excessive” degree, said [Valery Boyer, a Conservative!!! lawmaker and author of the law].

  • Let’s just hope that it makes more sense in the original French. But somehow, I doubt it.
  • Who gets to decide what’s excessive? Jenny Craig?
  • Can you incite mental illness? The law seems to posit that ads can cause or trigger or exacerbate anorexia. Can they do the same with alcoholism or obsessive-compulsive disorder? Where’s the line here? Anorexia is a very real problem and this is a very real PR move that won’t actually help the issue. “Her bill has mainly brought focus to pro-anorexic Web sites that give advice on how to eat an apple a day — and nothing else.
  • It seems that in France Conservative = Democrat.

When serving cake to kids in school is outlawed, only outlaws will serve cake (making them much more popular with the kids)

WELLINGTON (AFP) – A New Zealand school is to ban children sharing birthday cake as the government introduces new guidelines to restrict unhealthy food being sold to pupils. Oteha Valley School in Auckland has told parents not to allow their children to bring birthday cakes to school for friends to share, The New Zealand Herald reported Friday.

Man, what a weird black market that will create. “Hey, Bobby… what will you give me for a big piece of chocolate with chocolate frosting AND one of the flowers?”

In other odd Down Under news: An Australian member of parliament wants to his state of Queensland to enact Kill A Toad Day.

“Basically we need … a special day that Queenslanders, especially children, could all play their part, very similar to Clean Up Australia (Day),” MP Shane Knuth said. “The toad is probably the greatest environmental vermin and probably the most disgusting creature known to man.”

Except for man himself, that is. In fairness to Mr. Knuth, the object of his wrath is the cane toad — an alien and invasive species to the continent. However, one has to question the MP’s obsession with the little green things.

Participants would be encouraged to put the toads in their fridge before euthanasing them in the freezer. They would then be disposed of at a specially set up centre. Mr Knuth, who last year proposed a 40-cent-per-toad bounty, said both state and federal governments had to seriously consider such a payment as part of any toad hunt.

BTW, did you know that a group of toads is referred to as a knot of toads? LOVE IT. Great list of collective names for animals can be found here. Some of my favorites:

  • a crash of rhinos
  • a dole of turtles
  • a charm of goldfinches
  • a leap of leopards
  • a watch of nightingales
  • a sloth of bears (is there also a bear of sloths?)
  • a wedge of swans
  • a clowder of cats

I have long felt that we should refer to a group of bystanders as a slaughter. No one else has followed my lead on this for some reason.

When serving food to fat people is outlawed, only outlaws will be fat UPDATED

Mississippi legislators are considering a bill that would make it illegal for restaurants to serve food to fat people. Any restaurant found guilty of giving food to someone defined by the state department of health as obese risks losing its license.

No word on whether their will be exemptions if you are “big boned” or have “a thyroid condition.”

I want the state to issue Body Mass Index calipers for waiters to use before taking someone’s order. I also want a bill that bans idiots from proposing laws.

UPDATE: Turns out that this bill would cause fiscal chaos in M eye double S eye double S eye double P eye.

Preventing obesity and smoking can save lives, but it doesn’t save money, researchers reported Monday. It costs more to care for healthy people who live years longer, according to a Dutch study that counters the common perception that preventing obesity would save governments millions of dollars.

One wonders why the state is not already awash in saved dollars.

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Another state wants to ban putting enlarged plastic genitalia on trailer hitches

Virginia followed Maryland’s lead into the land of inane government restrictions yesterday when State Delegate Lionel Spruill introduced a bill to ban displaying replicas of human genitalia on vehicles, calling it a safety issue because it could distract other drivers.

Loyal readers will of course recall that it was nearly a year ago that a Maryland legislator introduced a similar measure. Surprisingly, it never got out of committee.

A key piece of information for Delegate Spruill: They are bull testicles, not human testicles which could make for an interesting defense in court.

“Your honor we ask that you dismiss the charges on the grounds that the testicles the defendant was displaying were clearly not those of a human.”

The folks at BumperNuts, YourNutz & BullsBalls and the other companies in the trailer hitch bull testicle industry must be ecstatic over the free PR. (YourNutz bills itself as “Your Source For The Original Car Nutz Bull Balls Truck Nuts on the Net!” Must make a great T-shirt. Not to be outdone, BullsBalls offers “testes-monials” from satisfied customers.)

Perhaps the best part of the story is where Spruill explains why he decided to tackle this issue. The idea came from a constituent who was embarrassed when his young daughter spotted said thing and asked him to explain it.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I said, ‘Sir, I’m going to be a laughingstock, but I’m going to do it,'” Spruill explained.

No doubt if the constituent had been embarrassed by trying to explain something like oh, homelessness or educational inequality, Delegate Spruill would have been just as fast to jump into action.

UPDATE: Got a great comment (below) from one Greg Phelps. This is someone who knows from decorating cars. See more pics of this car and its successor by clicking here.

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When swearing in bars is outlawed, only outlaws will swear in bars gosh darnit

ST. CHARLES, Mo. – A St. Louis-area town is considering a bill that would ban swearing in bars, along with table-dancing, drinking contests and profane music. City officials contend the bill is needed to keep rowdy crowds under control because the historic downtown area gets a little too lively on some nights. City Councilman Richard Veit said he was prompted to propose the bill after complaints about bad bar behavior.

There is another name for a bar that doesn’t have swearing, table-dancing, drinking contests and profane music … church.

Tigger socks, board games, Crocs and chearing at graduation: Some things people tried to ban during 2007

When (fill in the blank) is outlawed, only outlaws will (fill in the blank)

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