The Lighter Side of Law

Bath Law

The next Dewey category in my read through library project pertains to law–which can be serious or hysterical (and often both at the same time).  I plan to split “Law” into two posts, so here is the lighter side. These are actual laws in the United States unless otherwise noted. It is strongly advised that you do not take a drink of anything while reading through these!

Being a bit of a Bigfoot fan, I was attracted to this first book for reasons which should be obvious.

Emergency Sasquatch

This is actually a very interesting book and of all of the books I encountered in this category, it’s the only one that came with a test to indicate if it needed to be read. There was only one test question which I will copy below.

Which of these statements is false?

  • The earliest surviving written law code mentions beer.
  • The ancient Greeks had strip searches, but the one who searched was the one who stripped.
  • It’s illegal to import skunks into Tennessee.
  • It is legal to mail someone a live scorpion.
  • A Florida town’s ordinances contain a 249 word definition of “buttocks.”
  • Tibetan lamas must get a permit before reincarnating.

If you can identify the false statement above, you may skip this book and move on to the next one. If however you can not say with 100% accuracy which statement is false, you really need to read this book.

The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance is laid out into types of law: ancient, the US, States, Cities, and US Territories. I found this a very interesting read.

The next book I want to share is Wacky Laws, Weird Decisions & Strange Statutes.  This is a fun book not just because of the funny laws, but you can also turn the information in this book into a team game or an individual game. The rules and scoring for the game are explained at the back of the book, but essentially you hear an actual case and then try to figure out what the court ruled. There are various points awarded if you win your case either in lower court or on appeal. When I played this game, it seems I had a talent as an appeal court judge!

Wacky Laws

I will share some of the laws from this book below.

  • Taking a bath during the winter months is against the law in Indiana.
  • Each driver on a country road in Omaha, Nebraska is required to send up a skyrocket every 150 yards, wait eight minutes for the road to clear, and then drive cautiously, blowing the horn while shooting off Roman candles.
  • A parent in Indiana cannot drink beer if a child is in the same room.
  • In Vermont you could be fined $200 if you denied the existence of God.
  • There was an ordinance in Belhaven, North Carolina permitting a sewer service charge of “$2 per month, per stool.” That has recently been revised to read “per toilet.”
  • One cannot attend the theater in Gary, Indiana within 4 hours of eating garlic.
  • Any man who constantly kisses “human beings” is forbidden to have a moustache if he lives in Indiana.
  • It is necessary to document any services performed by a jackass in Baltimore.
  • Speaking English in the state of Illinois is illegal. In 1919 author H.L. Mencken had a statute revised establishing “American” as the official language.
  • A law in Maine calls for a legal hunting season on attorneys.

I found more humor in You May Not Tie an Alligator to a Fire Hydrant 101 Real Dumb Laws by Jeff Koon and Andy Powell.

Dumb Laws

The laws I read in this book can speak for themselves.

  • In Alabama it is illegal to pretend to be a nun.
  • In Belton, Missouri it is illegal to have a snowball fight.
  • It is illegal to intentionally burp in church in Nevada.
  • In Conyers, Georgia no one may get the attention of any student in school without official permission.
  • You may beat up anyone who says really nasty things to you in Georgia.
  • Eavesdropping on your own conversation is a felony in Illinois.
  • In early May all US citizens should recognize the importance of the transportation system.
  • In North Dakota no one can be arrested on the Fourth of July.
  • In Indiana one can avoid paying for a dependent’s medical care through prayer.
  • Anyone under eighteen playing pool in Kentucky must have a note from his or her mom or dad.
  • In Tennessee children may not play games on Sunday without a license.
  • In Tennessee it is illegal for an atheist to hold any public office.
  • In Indiana it is illegal to color a bird.
  • By Alaskan law the entire state rarely has emergencies.
  • In Oklahoma hamburgers purchased on Sunday can only be eaten in the restaurant.
  • It is illegal to reproach Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost in Massachusetts.
  • In Salt Lake City, Utah a person can be imprisoned for one month for not returning a library book.
  • In Oregon it is illegal to pump your own gas unless you own the dispensing device and are properly trained.
  • In South Carolina only fruit may be sold by itinerants within a half mile of a church.
  • You may not affix the US flag to a bar of soap that is for sale

Yes folks, these laws represent your tax dollars at work. There are many, many more of these laws. I would be interested in any funny laws you would like to share in the comments section.

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Economics

WorkingPoorCover

Continuing on through the nonfiction books of the Fulton County Public Library, I arrived in the Economics section. This category encompasses broad topics such as labor economics, financial economics, economics of land and energy, cooperatives, socialism, public finance, production, and macroeconomics. Since there is no way I could possibly cover all of those topics in one blog post I’ve chosen to concentrate on the first two-labor economics and financial economics.

The recession that hit around 2008-2010 affected many middle class families causing hardship. Many were forced into underemployment or unemployment. Of those who were able to return to work many were unable to get a full time position or a job that paid anything but poverty wages. Most lost insurance and other job related benefits such as retirement packages. Millions of Americans now fall into a category known as the Working Poor. In 2013 this is what that looked like:

working poor 2013

Although there have been some improvements in the economy in the last 3 years, many former middle class families still can’t make ends meet. Even with minimum wages increasing in some areas (and minimum wage going up at least $1 since the graph was made),  millions of full time, hard working Americans with families still find themselves living at or below poverty level wages.

working poor pictogram

Often people are forced into working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Many of the books I read in the Economics section focused on this issue. Even more alarming are the number of households headed by women raising children alone and the number of married women who are the main bread winners in their families but still making considerably less money than men doing the same job. The work world tends to discriminate against women with children. Particularly noteworthy books that I read dealing with these subjects follow.

The Betrayal of Work

 

This book, The Betrayal of Work by Beth Shulman, does an excellent job of describing the dead end cycle that many American families find themselves caught in. Shulman follows several full time, hard working people and describes the sorts of conditions they must deal with on a daily basis.

Selling Women Short Selling Women Short by Lisa Featherstone is a book detailing reasons for a class action lawsuit (Dukes v. WalMart ) which exposes many labor and ethical violations in the retail sector. After reading this book,  the reader will have a new appreciation for the need for change in the American workforce.

Overwhelmed Brigid Schulte does a remarkable job in Overwhelmed Work, Love, and Play  When No One  Has the Time of exploring the balance (or lack thereof) that many people (mostly women) experience between work and leisure time. This is especially an important work when one considers that in many cases women must work extra hours just to make up pay differences or split shifts due to needing to take care of children. Although a rather long read, this book has many important points to make and is well worth the time.

About the time I was reading these books, I was handed the following new addendum at work; author unknown.

Employee Handbook

Sick Days

We will no longer accept a doctor’s statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

Personal Days

Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturday & Sunday.

Lunch Break

Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch as they need to eat more so that they can look healthy. Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure. Fat people get 5 minutes for lunch because that’s all the time needed to drink a Slim Fast.

Dress Code

It is advised you come to work dressed according to your salary. If we see you wearing $350 Prada sneakers and carrying a $600 Gucci bag, we assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise.

If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better so that you may buy nicer clothes and therefore you do not need a raise.

If you dress in-between, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.

Bereavement Leave

There is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives, or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend to the arrangements. In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early.

Restroom Use

Entirely too much time is being spent in the restroom. There is now a strict 3 minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper will retract, the stall door will open and a picture will be taken. After your second offense, your picture will be posted on the company bulletin board under the “Chronic Offenders” category.

Thank you for your loyalty to our great company.

We are here to provide a positive employment experience.

 

Although I read many books pertaining to financial economics there is one that I favor above all others. It is The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

The Total Money Makeover

Dave Ramsey has a common sense, no nonsense approach to money that will benefit anyone.  As he says in his book, it doesn’t matter if you make $20,000 or $200,000 a year this plan will work for you. My husband and I have taken on this particular challenge and we are seeing immediate results. Mr. Ramsey first attacks some financial myths and then redirects areas of thinking. He lays out a basic plan in which participants work their way through 7 baby steps. In my opinion this should be required reading for everyone. Dave Ramsey has literally helped thousands of people improve their financial situations.

 

 

Reference & Information Window

Reference Department 002

The next resource in the Reference Department is the Reference & Information window, sometimes affectionately referred to as the drive through window by the staff. Flanked on both sides by informational booklets, this window provides access to  Greta Grasshopper

Greta Grasshopper

and one on one assistance.

Any patron can come to the window to ask any question. In general, however,

 Ricki Racoon fields many questions from Grant Station and refers more in depth questions to Greta Grasshopper.

Greta Grasshopper

 Typical questions that might be handled in this area involve actual reference questions that have to be looked up, genealogy questions, and questions pertaining to tax forms to mention a few. A patron may not know how to download e-books on their smart devices or e-readers so Greta helps them through the process. Some patrons need to have tests proctured. This is a service that the Fulton County Public Library offers free of charge. Greta is usually the staff member responsible for providing this service. When Greta isn’t working with an in person patron, she may be working with patrons on the telephone.

Much of the library’s “behind the scenes” work happens through the Reference Department. In addition to the responsibilities mentioned, Greta orders all of the books for the  Adult and Teenage collections. She processes Interlibrary Loan (ILL) requests for books and movies and requests for new library books. Book donations are given to the Reference Department where Greta makes collection development decisions for the adult and teen collections. (Children’s book donations are handled by the Children’s Department.) Some books are sent to Technical Services to be cataloged for the library. Other books may be designated for the Friends of the Library monthly book sale, outreach programs, or even be used by various library programs. Hard copy reference books and the Indiana Room are also part of Greta’s responsibility.

Patrons may be interested in reading the Fulton County Public Library’s policy for book and media donations. If so, just click this:

http://fulco.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/105826791/Book%20and%20Media%20Donation%20Policy.pdf

All of the above is quite a bit of work and on extremely busy days, it can get rather crazy. The Reference Department employees show their collective sense of humor by posting this sign.

Insane Asylum 003

No asylum would be complete without it’s own resident shrink which explains the presence of the bobble headed Sigmund Freud.

Insane Asylum 001

It’s unclear if the staff want to give counsel or receive it. The patron should evaluate this on an individual basis.

Meanwhile Back at the Lily Pad

slide projector

As noted in my previous post I had hopped on the decluttering wagon. While tidying up around the lily pad, I came across old slides that belonged to my husband. He wasn’t sure what was on them. I remembered that the library has audio visual equipment (both old and new)  that can be checked out for just such situations. I began to formulate a plan. My library project is to read my way through the library and to take advantage of the many services offered, I decided that now was the time to do some exploring of the equipment that could be checked out. I had checked out old overheads in the past, but I had never checked out the slide projector. By viewing the slides, I would be able to appropriately put the “keepers” into some kind of logical order and be able to know what was on them.

Since my husband was back in college at the time, we had to make our own entertainment. I decided that we would do an old fashioned slide show complete with popcorn and drinks for our date night. This somewhat reminded me of old fashioned home movie night back in the day. It was exciting since we didn’t know what our “show” was going to be about.. I teased my husband asking him if he had anything to confess before we viewed the slides. I’m not sure he always appreciates my sense of humor. Approaching the big date night, I checked out the slide projector  and an extra carousel. A few days later I also checked out a large movie screen on a tripod stand. I purchased our drinks and popcorn from a local store. Both carousels were loaded with slides. The night of the big date finally arrived. All that was left to do was pop the popcorn and set up the screen and the projector.

Though this wasn’t the most romantic date night, it did turn out to be rather comical. In the first place I had never used a slide projector and didn’t even know how to load one. While I was popping the popcorn, my helpful husband was setting up the projector. This went well until he picked up the carousels I had loaded. Who knew that slides can only be loaded from one direction? Needless to say when he picked up the carousels, all of the slides fell out all over the floor. We’re talking about a lot of slides! We got a good laugh out of that. Determined, I patiently reloaded the slides from the correct side this time and the carousel was set in place. My husband had previously had to use slide projectors for former jobs. We decided he would be the projector operator. Lights went out and the “show” had begun.

Our “show” was quite interesting since apparently not only do the slides have to be loaded from the top of the carousel, it seems that they also have to be loaded forward and right side up! So, some of the slides looked right, some were presented in mirror image, some were sideways or upside down. We were certainly getting practice in spatial relations! The slides themselves turned out to be a mixture of former college days, nature pictures, various airplanes, and Germany. Many of the slides had to be narrated by my husband so I would know what I was looking at. I learned a lot about him that night that I didn’t know before. A few of the slides were of friends my husband had before I met him. This prompted him to tell me stories of his life I hadn’t heard before.

Overall I would say it was a good date night with moments of comic relief. I loved learning more about my husband. I also loved being able to get the slides organized into general catefories and stored correctly. I’m grateful to the Fulton County Public Library for use of equipment, making a memorable night with my husband possible.

Believe It or Not

Koko and Mr. Rodgers

I’ve been happily reading my way through the Dewey system from 000-100. This category was a rather fun section containing all sorts of things to do on the internet, tons of trivia, world records, and various freaky bits of information by Ripley’s Believe It or Not! In addition to all of this information, I digested several quotes from both famous and infamous people and read about the inventions of bubblegum and hula hoops.

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Shelf Browsing Leads To Memory Lane

crashsite

In the Dewey Decimal system, nonfiction books are divided into 10 broad classifications. Class 000 is Computer Science, Information, and General Works. At the time of this writing the first book on the shelf in this category is called Eureka!: 81 Key Ideas Explained. This is where I started. In general, I started with this book and browsed the shelf until I had approximately 5 books chosen to check out. Some of the titles I found myself confronted with were:

1001 Ways To Make More Money as a Speaker, Consultant, or Trainer,

Uncle John’s Slightly Irregular Bathroom Reader, and

UFO’s, JFK, and Elvis Conspiracies You Don’t Have to Be Crazy to Believe. 

While all of these titles made me smile, it was the latter one that provoked a memory.

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