We live in a country with way too many laws, many of them completely unnecessary. Today, our hosts go down a list of some of the most absurd laws across the country.
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Connor: Hey, Brittany.
Brittany: Hey, Connor.
Connor: You know, it’s no surprise to anyone listening that we think the government does a lot of ridiculous things some of the time, or maybe even most of the time. But today I thought it’d be fun to discuss some silly laws that are on the books right now, and laws that I think prove just how absurd the government can sometimes be. I’ll start with one. So, in Virginia, hunting on Sundays is forbidden unless you kill a raccoon. And that means you can’t kill a bird or any other nuisance species. But apparently, raccoons are okay. Why? Well, you know, I don’t know that anyone really knows, and frankly, I know how laws are made and these things aren’t always thought through. Well, all the time. So, silly law.
Brittany: So someone in Virginia really hated raccoons at one point, I guess, which is funny because I live here and I’ve never seen a raccoon so maybe that’s right.
Connor: We’re all exterminated.
Brittany: They’ve all been exterminated. All right, so my next one, mine comes from Vermont, which is Bernie Sanders’ state. And we don’t really love, but so there, and this one is so silly, and so Vermont, it’s illegal to prohibit clothes, lines for drying your clothes. And most of our listening listeners probably don’t even know what that is because nobody uses them anymore. But before washers and dryers, people would, were dryer specifically, people would hang their clothes out to dry. Right? There would be like a line between two poles and you’d hang your clothes out to dry. Well, for some reason, I think it’s because Vermont is trying to go green. Like they’re trying to, like, they want people to not use things that make their lives a million times easier. So they’ve decided that you can’t ban clotheslines because that will prevent people from using dryers and then the environment will be saved.
Connor: So someone was trying to ban clotheslines?
Brittany: No, that’s the thing. Like no one was trying to ban clotheslines but somebody decided the clotheslines needed a spokesperson, like someone needed to defend the clotheslines. Wow. And so there you go.
Connor: The Clothesline caucus, of player. So, okay, I’ve got a silly one and it comes from my state. We did one from your state, Virginia. So now it’s Utah’s turn. So maybe I’ve shared this before on the podcast. I don’t actually remember, but I’m a beekeeper and I’ve had this hobby for about six or seven years, and I love it. It’s so fun. I mean, it’s.
Brittany: Is that in your backyard? Just in your backyard?
Connor: Yep. Yeah. I’ve got, on any given year, I’ve got between like three to five hives, which, makes more than enough honey for our family. We end up always selling a bunch and giving some away as gifts. So it’s a lot of fun. And it’s like the one hobby I have outside of work. So I keep it. And, it’s a tasty hobby, so it’s a lot of fun. And bees are just super, super fascinating. Well, maybe from like old cartoons or something, some of the kids out there have, I don’t even know if kids these days watch old cartoons. I guess they just watch the latest
Brittany: Cartoons. They’ve all been canceled now. I
Connor: Think they’ve all been canceled on the memory hole. so anyways, there’s this type of beehive that you see in like cartoons and drawings and stuff like that. And it’s kind of like a traditional beehive. Like when you go to the store and you buy a jar of honey and they’ll have like a little drawing on there, right? it’s kind of like the ha what do you even call it? Like a basket? with, I’m trying to like describe.
Brittany: It’s like the typical be-like, it’s what you think of when you think of honey,
Connor: right? Yeah, It’s like an up, like an upside-down basket. Like a kind of like a half-circle. Yeah. You know, that comes to a top, maybe has a little handle at the top. It’s just a very traditional-looking beehive. Like you say, when you think beehive, it’s what comes to mind. So this type of beehive is called a Skep. That’s the name of it.
Brittany: How do you spell that?
Connor: S k e p. Sure. Okay. And this is how beehives used to, you know, be used. That is why that kind of became the image of beehives is cuz that’s what beehives were. Now the problem with this type of beehive is has a little entrance and the bees can go in and out and, so if you know how like honeycomb works and, or like you’ve seen, beehive maybe in a YouTube video or something, you know, that the beehives build their little wax, kind of frames in this long line. And sometimes they’ll kind of go in little patterns and deviate and stuff. But it’s all like in this line of cells wax cells that the bees will build either to put their little baby bees in for the queen’s eggs, or they’ll store their nectar in there to turn it into honey or they’ll store pollen in there. And so when you are in a Skep when all the bees are in a Skep, they’re building out all this wax wherever they want. Sometimes they’re straight lines, sometimes they go crazy, but the whole thing is full of wax. And in between all of these rows of wax is what’s called bee space, which I believe is about three-eighths of an inch. It’s just enough for bees to kind of go in between and maneuver. But other than they pack it tight. And so think of yourself as a beekeeper, Hey, it’s time to harvest your honey. and so let’s go to the Skep and you lift it up and the whole thing comes up. How the heck do you get honey out of there? or even before you wanna get the honey. If you just wanna check on the health of your bees, how do you get in there? Everything is just tight. You can’t, you have to destroy the hive, right? If you wanna like, tear anything out for honey or if you wanna inspect things, like, it’s just not a good way of doing things. So there was this guy with the last name Langstroth, who I don’t even remember. it was at least a century ago, he invented a new hive. So if you’ve seen like the beehives, which are boxes, like stacked boxes, right? Which is like 99.
Brittany: There’s like drawers in them, right?
Connor: Sort of, they’re not actually drawers. You lift the frames out. So it’s like a big box, like a box, like the walls. And there’s little frames inside that are removable. Oh, ok. And so the bees build all their wax, onto these frames. And you can remove the frames, you can reorder them, you can take them outta one box, put them in another. And so you can kind of control the growth of all of this wax. And then of course what goes in the wax with these removable frames, they’re amazing. And, so everyone uses ’em today because it just makes sense. Why would you ever use, you know, this Skep basket method if you have to like destroy your hive to do anything with it? And so these removable hives are amazing and they’re good for two reasons. well many. But one is like, you can extract the honey super easy and then you can put everything back in the hive and they can keep using all the wax. Like it’s just really good when you wanna pull the honey out. But then also when you want to check for like bead diseases, there’s like pests mites and diseases and things like that. And you wanna check on your hive. You wanna, you know, make sure, do I need to give them any treatments? Are they healthy? And so that’s why it’s super helpful. You can just pull out the frames and do a little visual inspection and hey, how are things looking? Okay, so all of that leads me to Utah, which is the beehive state. Yes. Right? That’s kind of the nickname, your former state. Yep. And, the symbol of the state of Utah is a Skep, right? Cuz it’s the beehive state. So it makes sense. Let’s have a beehive. And if you look at the state flag, it’s got a Skep right in the middle of it, right where the beehive states. So of course we would do that. Okay. Here’s the silly law. This is a very long-winded way of me sharing the silly law with him.
Brittany: He loves bees.
Connor: The silly law is that skeps are illegal in Utah, the beehive state bans, beehives, right? The old school beehives, like literally as a beekeeper, it is illegal for you to use these skeps. Now the argument behind the, you know, the bureaucrats and the Department of agriculture is, well if people use skeps then we can’t get in and inspect for bee diseases and then they might be contagious and spread other hives. And I’m like, are you kidding me? Like, I get it right? We all want healthy bees. but you’re gonna criminalize people for letting bees use a basket like they used for centuries and centuries and centuries. So that’s my contribution to the silly Law Utah. The beehive state bands skip beehives.
Brittany: So this next one is one of my favorites. So in Tennessee, you are not allowed to hold public office if you have participated in a dual.
Connor: What’s a dual?
Brittany: So we’re gonna get into this. So back in the day, if someone insulted Your Honor in some way, or even just like publicly insulted you, like Connor, if I went up to you and people were around and I said I don’t like your hair, people would be like, oh my goodness, you know, he was insulted and I might, or you might challenge me to a duel. Now for most of like history, these were actually illegal. So you would have to meet up in the early morning, like before the sun was up and basically you’d take like, I think it was like 10, you’d walk 10 paces. So 10 steps turn around and shoot each other. Like it’s the dumbest thing ever. And like if you were lucky, you just got shot in the shoulder and like you went home and it was like, all right, well now I’m not mad at you anymore. But a lot of people died. That’s how Alexander Hamilton died, right? It was a duel. So either way this was never taken off the books. And the reason this is so funny is because nobody duels anymore. I don’t think you can find I mean I’m sure there’s someone in Florida cuz like Florida man, right? Right. Cause you probably dueled but nobody’s dueling. So you’ve gotta wonder like why is this,
Connor: So I wonder if they define dual, like if you’re in a, like a professional boxing match or something, would that be considered a dual?
Brittany: No, like it’s actual old-school revolver, whatever. It’s like, wow. Yeah.
Connor: Wow. You know, part of the reason these laws are so silly is cuz they’re so like self-evident as, we’ve mentioned before, we all know it’s wrong to hurt people or steal their stuff. We don’t need any weird laws telling us this, you know? But in Rhode Island, so here in Rhode Island, the government wants it known that if you bite off someone’s limb or like a finger you could get up to 20 years in prison.
Brittany: Was there like an epidemic of the like people but just going around biting off limbs all over.
Connor: I don’t know. I mean, who knows? But you think this would be something you just know not to do, right? And so, you know, Pennsylvania might have a law that’s even sillier than the dueling law. It’s illegal there to barter your baby. And I think all the kids already know from our Tuttle twin’s books, barter means to trade something for something else. You know, Hey, I’ll give you an apple for that sandwich or whatever. Kids do it in the lunchroom at school all the time. And so if you live in Pennsylvania and we’re thinking about, you know, trading your newborn baby for a new pair of shoes or something, you may want to think again cuz the government won’t let you.
Brittany: That’s so silly. So now I know a lot of you parents might be tempted to drive blindfolded while you’re listening to this podcast, but if you find yourself in Alabama, you might wanna think twice because it could cost you. And again, like this is one of the things where I’m like, I don’t know why the government needs to tell you this, but you are not allowed to drive blindfolded in Alabama. So now you know.
Connor: I just wonder if lawmakers like to take themselves seriously as they work on these things. right? Like I can’t even this next one. Okay, in Arizona it’s illegal to let your donkey sleep in your bathtub.
Brittany: Makes sense.
Connor: Now to be fair, I read this on the internet so you know, may maybe they’ve since repealed the law, hopefully so, but you know, you’re donkey in your bathtub so you’re have to find ’em another bed, or May maybe they repealed the law, you know, in the past few years. And so now donkeys can be in bathtubs, hopefully, donkey freedom,
Brittany: There’ll be links at the bottom. So we can see, I think actually thought these were all laws that were still on the books. So like these are things that like just somebody forgot to remove. Wow. Which is even shows the incompetence of the government even more. But so in Arkansas, this one is, I want to know the backstory behind this one. So badly, if you’re driving through Arkansas after 9:00 PM and you happen to drive past a sandwich shop, let’s say you’re driving past subway, you better not honk your horn because doing so could get you in a lot of trouble with the law. Wow. And I, again, I want to know the backstory here cuz it’s just so silly cuz you could honk your horn in front of subway at 8 59, but if it’s nine, you’re in for some real trouble.
Connor: Well, and there’s so many like local governments that have weird laws too, I know in my city for a while, I think they actually changed us a few years ago, but spitting on the sidewalk was illegal.
Brittany: Yeah, I’ve heard that. Yeah.
Connor: And playing with hoops like old school, like kids used to have like a little hoop with a stick and they’d kind of like run down the street and like, you know, keep hitting the hoop. You see like maybe pioneer kids or something like you know, whatever you, anyways playing with a hoop was, was legal. Of course, I live in Lehigh, which for the parents, Lehigh, Utah was kind of the scene where they filmed Footloose.
Brittany: That’s right.
Connor: Right when you had, Kevin Bacon, you know, in the church and.
Brittany: Dancing for freedom.
Connor: Dancing for freedom. So, you get a lot of these like local government laws, like in California, apparently, there’s, maybe it’s a local city law. I don’t know that it’s statewide, but you know, let’s say you lose your pet bird, but for some reason, you know, guess you have a pet bird, some people have but you know, you are, un allowed. You are, prohibited from whistling for your lost bird. Like, let’s say you’re trying to, you know, come on, come on back, right? If it’s before 7:00 AM you can’t whistle. And you know, I like my morning sleep as much as anyone else, but how many times has someone whistled before 7:00 AM to the degree where a neighbor had to like complain to the government to get a law like this passed? I dunno.
Brittany: That’s what’s so funny to me. So this next one, I love this next one so much. I hate pickles a lot. They gross me out. They just, they’re disgusting to me. So that’s why this one stood out to me in Connecticut. if your pickle does not bounce, then it is deemed unfit for human consumption and you cannot sell your pickle. So this, and here’s the backstory. I actually had to go find the backstory of this cuz I was like, wait, what? So there were two men arrested. Once after, like the authorities, they were selling pickles and somebody got mad at them. And so these two men were picked up and the police were like, all right, if these pickles don’t bounce, then we’re, we’re taking you to jail. Like, you’re gonna be arrested. And the pickles did not bounce.
Connor: Oh my heavens, this reminds me just the other day I saw on Twitter, there’s this account, crime a day. Yes, they’re good. and they post every single day on Twitter, a federal crime. And these are so absurd. I mean, you wanna know silly laws just, you know, have your mom or dad or you know, whatever you go look up on Twitter, the account is called Crime a day, all one word. And there’s so many crazy examples. And I bring this up now because they were posting just another day about how the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration in the federal government is exploring the idea about changing some of its cherry tart regulations and they were considering.
Brittany: Like the pastry.
Connor: Yes. Like filling. They were saying, you know, there’s apparently regulations about how much cherries have to be in cherry tart filling in order to, call it cherry. it’s a frozen cherry tart is what it was, you know, well, they had a few different examples, but like, if your frozen cherry tart is more than four inches in diameter, right? Four inches wide, you may not legally call it a cherry tart. Ridiculous. And not as the government telling you, right? Like they, you have to call it a frozen cherry pie. So if it’s four and a half inches, the federal government, the founding fathers fought Britain to create now wants you to know that it has to be a frozen cherry pie. I mean, we could go through these lists for hours, right? There’s so many ridiculous laws on the books. And, so we’ll put on the show notes page, some of the links Britney mentioned. We’ll link to the crime a day, yes. Account as well. Plenty of examples there. The point is that you know, the government is constantly going around and making laws that are supposed to be for our own protection. Some of these laws are just like silly, right? Like the pickles and some like not biting off fingers that are rather obvious. But you have to wonder like how dumb the government thinks we are. Individuals don’t need, the government telling us what to do.
Brittany: No. And I mean, again, you should definitely not be trading your baby for pickles that don’t bounce. We know that, but again, they’re just self-evident.
Connor: thank you for the reminder, Brittany. We’ll end on that note. No trading babies for pickles. Until next time, Brittany, we’ll talk to you later.
Brittany: Talk to you later.