Monday 27 January 2014

Let's do it like they do in the Sentinel Islands.

The closest view anyone gets of North Sentinel Island.
As you know I have spent a lot of time railing against the Abbott government and so I thought I'd dispel the myth that builds when anyone criticises a government that they obviously vote for the other side.
Well I don't vote Labor, I have had at least one vitriolic go at the Gillard government and their lunatic attack on single parents.
These parents were already struggling already struggling desperately to keep their home intact when the Gillard government cut their benefit once their children started school.
The logic being that now that they didn't have to stay home all day and look after the children, they could go and get a job.
This specious piece of reasoning seem to overlook the fact that these parents, mostly women, therefore have to find a job close to their home that they can do between 9 and 3, so they can be home when the kids get there, otherwise they then have to spend all the money they earn on childcare, thus losing contact with their kids at a vital time in their life, working all day and still having no money left over.
So I'm not for one side or the other, and in the end was reminded of something the venerable Mrs Ashwood, the Ancient History teacher at my high school, once said.
Mrs Ashwood was a great teacher of this subject, and also a member of the local council.
As ever when you are discussing Ancient History, the talk often centres on the cradle of democracy that was ancient Greece, mainly Athens.
We were talking of this and the talk then moved slightly off-topic to Mrs Ashwood being a councillor.
I made comment about her being a Labor councillor, and she replied (most enlighteningly), "that she wasn't".
Somewhat taken aback, and thinking I had misread the election results, I said, "Oh, are you National Party then?"
To which she replied, "No, if I'm anything, I'm a democrat."
Note the lower case 'd', this as in the days before there was a party of that name.
She went on the clarify that she was a supporter of democracy itself, and the right, so hard won, for a woman to run for council and have a democratic voice.
And so I'd like to follow her lead and remark that I am lucky to be in a country where I can rail against the government and while I'm never heard, everyone ignores my questions, at least I can ask them without being thrown in the Lubianka for the rest of my life.
That being said, I would like to clarify, a la Mrs Ashwood, that I am neither a Labor, nor a Liberal, supporter, but simply a supporter of intelligent government, and will go as far as I can to support it.
Needless to say, I don't get much opportunity to support, or even see, intelligent government these days in Australia.
So what have the Sentinel Islanders got to do with all this?
Well the Sentinel Islanders don't like (to put it mildly) outside contact.
Whenever a government official tries to make contact, said official is greeted by a hail of rocks and spears.
The Sentinels are in the Bay of Bengal and as such are ruled by India, however the first peaceful contact was only made in 1991 (forty years after India became a sovereign nation), and all visits, government or otherwise, ceased just eight years later.
No doubt some put-upon civil servant finally got the message through to the higher ups that "if you want to know how many people live there, you go!"
There is a less amusing side to the Sentinel Islanders behavior, which is that they kill anyone shipwrecked on their reefs, this happened in 2006, when two fishermen perished at the islanders' hands after their engine broke down and their boat drifted too close, but in the end an island people who simply wish to be left free of the doubtful benefits of central government, and are prepared to make that point with spears and rocks is one I can heartily agree with.
I can assure you that if Julie Bishop (for one) ever wanders onto the forecourt of my tent, she can expect a ballistic response from me that the Sentinel Islanders would be proud of.

So naturally when we are discussing dumb government we come back to bizarre laws, I recently wrote about the illegality of having sex with a porcupine in Florida, and such was the response that I thought I would list some more.
You May Not Take a Picture of a Rabbit during the Month of June In Wyoming. 
(source: List25)

WTF? I have done a bit of looking, but cannot find any reason for this law. 
I should say, many of these laws, which seem odd to the point of weirdness to us today, often have some arcane significance which explains them being added to the statutes at the time of their writing.
But I have stretched the old mind and cannot conceive of a reason for this law.

Donkeys Cannot Sleep In Bathtubs In Arizona.

(source: List25)

Now here we can see some sense.
I can't tell you the amount of times I have come home and been driven to the point of distraction by someone putting their donkey in my bath.
I did try bathing with the donkey, but in the end found that there just wasn't enough room.

Likewise, this next law makes so much sense that we wonder why it had to be made into a law. 

Waking a Sleeping Bear for a Photo Opportunity Is Strictly Forbidden In Alaska.

(source: List25)


Next we come to a law that we have to wonder, as with porcupine sex, whether there was an incident that led to its writing.

Fishing While Sitting on a Giraffe’s Neck is Forbidden In Illinois.

 (source: List25)
Having said that, I think there may be more to this law.
There is a type of gantry used in movie making to allow the camera operator to get high above the actors, and this is called a 'giraffe'.
So I'm guessing it's possible that the giraffe in this law may not be the long-necked animal of Africa, but come form of metal structure used around the docks of Chicago.

No One May Cross Minnesota State Lines with a Duck On Top Of Their Head.

(source: List25)
As the witty writer at List25 points out, 'this just makes everybody look bad'.
I think this law may have something to do with hunting accidents, though why you are only at risk when crossing the border into Iowa, who can say?

I did look for bizarre laws in Australia, but most of ours make reasonable sense, or you can see the sense of them in their day.
For instance, it is still a legal requirement for pubs in some parts of the country to provide stabling and food for horses, an obvious relic of our horse-driven past, however I'm assuming if you rode your horse into the Royal George pub in Pitt St, Sydney and asked for some hay and and a bed for your steed you would be met with some bemused looks.
So there you have it for another week, dumb laws to go with dumb government.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go and remove all the ducks from my head before I leave Minnesota.

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