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Work in the media? Struggle with statistics? Stan's irreverent (and often irrelevant) review of the latest media reports, news and gossip may not help at all... Stan the Statistician

Stan # 91: Indonesian hand jobbers give head, Animal Farm may break French Penal Code, and more… April 2008

< You may have noticed that politicians are arrogant enough to think that they can run our lives better than we can and so they are on a Messianic Mission to control the minutiae of our existence. Here are a few of the laws that they have passed:

1. It is illegal for a cab in the City of London to carry rabid dogs or corpses.

Would this make it illegal to carry politicians and if so, under which heading or both?

2. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament.

So why have there been no prosecutions of our current crop? Where would the trials take place? Wherever that might be, taxis couldn’t carry the accused.

3. It is an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British monarch upside down.

Fortunately, the death penalty for treason was abolished in the UK but only in 1998 for treason and piracy with violence.

4. In France, it is forbidden to call a pig Napoleon.

But presumably it’s OK to call Napoleon, a pig.

5. Under the UK’s Tax Avoidance Schemes Regulations 2006, it is illegal not to tell the taxman anything you don’t want him to know, though you don’t have to tell him anything you don’t mind him knowing.

But how do you know what you don’t want him to know and what he would be relaxed about knowing? I think I will claim that I don’t mind him knowing everything but not tell him anything. That should solve the problem.

6. In Alabama, it is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while driving a vehicle.

Obviously, there must have been an epidmic of blindfolded driving in Alabama. At least I know I’ll be protected now from blindfolded drivers if I visit the State. Such a relief.

7. In Ohio, it is against state law to get a fish drunk.

Those fishing trips will never be the same.

8. Royal Navy ships that enter the Port of London must provide a barrel of rum to the Constable of the Tower of London.

Constable must be a rum job then.

9. In the UK, a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants – even, if she so requests, in a policeman’s helmet.

This should be made widely known.

10. In Lancashire, no person is permitted after being asked to stop by a constable on the seashore to incite a dog to bark.

Those inclined to incite their dogs to bark on Lancashire beaches will not be over-concerned about being asked to stop as constables have not been seen on Lancashire beaches for many years. In fact, constables have not been seen in most places for many years. If you want to spot this rare breed, I’ve heard that the police canteen at brew time will reveal large herds of them. Health and Safety regulations now prevent them from catching criminals I understand.

11. In Miami, Florida, it is illegal to skateboard in a police station.

Or CSI will find atomic particles of some rare blue substance embedded in the paintwork which would prove that you were bullied at school and it was this that caused you to use a rare South American poison to kill a penguin in Tenerife’s Loro Parque in 1982.

12. In Indonesia, the penalty for masturbation is decapitation.

I thought it was blindness or hairs on the palm of your hand.

13. In England, all men over the age of 14 must carry out two hours of longbow practice a day.

I tried to comply with this law in my local park, but was arrested for carrying an offence weapon in a public place.

14. In London, Freemen are allowed to take a flock of sheep across London Bridge without being charged a toll; they are also allowed to drive geese down Cheapside.

I tried both of these but was arrested for causing an obstruction but then I’m not a Freeman or indeed a free man.

15. In San Salvador, drunk drivers can be punished by death before a firing squad.

The Labour Government in the UK have consider this punishment for speeding and parking but decided it would only be introduced if they could also add the confiscation of all the offender’s assets. This idea was first used in the Salem Witch Trials and indeed was the real purpose of the Trials.

16. In the UK, a man who feels compelled to urinate in public can do so only if he aims for his rear wheel and keeps his right hand on his vehicle.

For the benfit of my female readers: this is trickier than it sounds if you are right handed.

17. In Florida, unmarried women who parachute on Sundays can be jailed.

Why only Sunday?

18. In Kentucky, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon more than six-feet long.

I would be envious of anyone who is capable of breaking this law.

19. In Chester, Welshmen are banned from entering the city before sunrise and from staying after sunset.

Why are they not banned in daylight hours as well?

20. In the city of York, it is legal to murder a Scotsman within the ancient city walls, but only if he is carrying a bow and arrow.

A vendor at the City gates was recently closed down for offering free bows and arrows to men in kilts.

21. In Boulder, Colorado, it is illegal to kill a bird within the city limits and also to "own" a pet – the town’s citizens, legally speaking, are merely "pet minders".

Any cat could have told you that.

22. In Vermont, women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth.

I’m sure a number of my readers will have their theories as to why this law was passed.

23. In London, it is illegal to flag down a taxi if you have the plague.

Will taxi drivers be required to have medical training so they can spot transgressors? Will this law be extended to those who look a little peeky, to be on the safe side?

24. In Bahrain, a male doctor may legally examine a woman’s genitals but is forbidden from looking directly at them during the examination; he may only see their reflection in a mirror.

I heard male Bahrainie doctors were also complaining about their mirrors misting up too quickly.

25. The head of any dead whale found on the British coast is legally the property of the King; the tail, on the other hand, belongs to the Queen - in case she needs the bones for her corset.

Now you know what to get the Queen and Duke for Christmas. Chrissy prezzy problem solved for another year.

Check in again at my desk soon!
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