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Dumb and Dumber

Wear a fake mustache; go to jail

By Tai Moses

DON'T EVEN think of owning Silly String in Lodi. Or failing to give the right of way to a peacock in Arcadia. It's the law.

Hundreds of such questionable uses of legislative power, current and obsolete, are categorized by city, state and country at www.dumblaws.com. Thinking of taking a trip to Alabama to visit relatives? Just don't wear a fake mustache that causes people to snicker in church. In Vermont you can guzzle maple syrup till the cows come home, but whistling underwater is a fineable offense. And in the broadminded city of Los Angeles, it is still illegal to drive more than 2,000 sheep down Hollywood Boulevard at one time.

Lest you think only American lawmakers work overtime thinking up ridiculous laws, check out some of the doozies in other countries. Australia does not permit its citizens to dress like cat burglars (black clothes, blackened face) and the Swiss have wisely banned the heathen practice of hanging clothes out to dry on Sundays.

Come to think of it, not all the laws are so dumb, even if they may seem bizarre by our standards. In Singapore, those convicted of littering three times in a row must clean up streets on Sundays while wearing a bib that says, "I am a litterer."

There's a law that gets my vote.

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From the April 4-11, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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