By Ray Lesser
In Texas, a recently passed anticrime law requires criminals to give their victims 24 hours notice, either orally or in writing, and to explain the nature of the crime to be committed. And the entire Encyclopedia Britannica is banned in Texas because it contains a formula for making beer at home.
In Michigan, a woman isn’t legally allowed to cut her own hair without her husband’s permission and couples are banned from making love in an automobile unless the act takes place while the vehicle is parked on the couple’s own property.
All rules are made for a reason. Usually something happens that causes someone in authority “trouble,” and they come up with a rule “to make sure it doesn’t ever happen again, by God, at least not if I have anything to say about it!” For example, in Clemson, South Carolina, they made a law that lifeguards must be present at apartment complex pools, but only after 11:00 p.m. Obviously whoever caused the original unguarded trouble there was staying up late. Meanwhile in Alabama, the State legislature passed a law making it illegal to wear a fake moustache that causes laughter in church. That first moustache wearer probably deserves a spot on the Letterman show. He (or she) must have really cracked up their congregation to have caused an anti-moustache bill to rise to the top of the crowded legislative agenda.
Mustaches have also caused problems in Indiana, where they are now illegal if the bearer has a tendency to habitually kiss other humans. So in Indianapolis, it was a mustachioed serial-kisser that set the legislature in motion. But keep in mind that this is the same legislature that passed a law banning smoking in the state legislature building, except when the legislature is in session. Just for good measure, at the end of their session the Indianans passed a law that pedestrians crossing the highway at night are prohibited from wearing tail lights.
Legislatures aren’t the only ones making rules. Let’s not forget all the trouble college students cause on campus, especially at the University of Delaware dorms where:
- Moving University furniture from assigned areas to other areas of the building is prohibited.
- Using inverted beds (turning beds upside down) is prohibited.
- Playing athletic games such as floor hockey, Frisbee, football, etc. or using athletic equipment such as skateboards, bicycles, rollerblades or spikes inside a building are prohibited.
- Individuals should not be present in bathrooms intended for the opposite gender.
- Possession and/or use of firecrackers and/or fireworks is prohibited. Violations of this rule include, but are not limited to: discharging, or in any way attempting to discharge, any type of manufactured or homemade fireworks including cannons, in, out of, or adjacent to a residence hall.
- Throwing or dropping objects out of windows or down stairwells is prohibited. Violations of this rule include: throwing objects out of windows and throwing, dropping, or disposing of liquid through the window.
Before these students ever got the chance to trash a college dorm, they had to prove they were college material. Many first showed their potential talent at the Intel High School Science Fair, which has its own extremely detailed set of rules including:
- Students are prohibited from administering prescription drugs to human subjects.
- Production of consumable ethyl alcohol is prohibited for anyone under the age of 18.
- A “potato gun” is not a firearm unless it is intended to be used as a weapon. A “potato” gun used in a science fair project should be treated as a hazardous device.
- A fully assembled rocket motor, reload kit or propellant modules containing more than 62.5 grams of propellant are subject to the permitting, storage and other requirements of federal explosive laws and regulations.
- The use of potentially hazardous microorganisms (including bacteria, viruses, viroids, prions, rickettsia, fungi, and parasites), recombinant DNA (rDNA) technologies or human or animal fresh tissues, blood, or body fluids is allowable.
- Experimentation with potentially hazardous biological agents is prohibited in a home environment. However, specimens are allowed to be collected at home as long as they are immediately transported to a laboratory with the appropriate level of biosafety containment.
- Studies of human body fluids, where the sample can be identified with a specific person, must have IRB review and informed consent. Students using their own body fluids are exempt from this requirement.
- Informed Consent May Be Waived.
And in case you’re planning a trip to the Science Fair, or anyplace else, here is a detailed list of items now banned from all carry-on luggage:
- All creams and lotions including Neosporin or first-aid creams and ointments, topical or rash creams and ointments, suntan lotions, moisturizers, etc. are prohibited.
- All beverages, soup, sauces, peanut butter, jelly, pressurized cheese, duty free alcohol, gel-based sports supplements, Jello, pudding, whipped cream, and yogurt are prohibited.
- Bubble bath balls, bath oils or moisturizers, bug and mosquito sprays and repellents, deodorants, hair styling gels and spray of all kinds, hair straightener or detangler, lip gels such as Carmex or Blistex, lip glosses, bubble bath, spray perfumes and colognes, mouthwash, toothpaste, shampoos and conditioners are prohibited.
- Box cutters, ice axes/ice picks, meat cleavers, sabers, swords, machetes, baseball bats, bows and arrows, cricket bats, golf clubs, hockey sticks, pool cues, ski poles, spear guns, axes and hatchets, cattle prods, crowbars, hammers, drills, saws, tools greater than seven inches in length, billy clubs, black jacks, brass knuckles, kubatons, mace, pepper spray (note: one 118 ml or 4 Fl. oz. container of mace or pepper spray is permitted in checked baggage), night sticks, nunchakus, stun guns/shocking devices, throwing stars, blasting caps, dynamite, fireworks, flares, hand grenades, plastic explosives, gasoline, gas torches, lighters, lighter fluid, strike anywhere matches, turpentine, chlorine for pools and spas, liquid bleach, spray paint and tear gas are prohibited.
- Ammunition, bb guns, flare guns, pellet guns, gun lighters, gun powder, starter pistols, bazookas, shoulder launched missiles, and all thermo-nuclear warheads are prohibited.