Please do not fish from horseback or howl at ladies within city limits


THE US: Capitalising on the runaway success of their website, two high school students in Columbus, Georgia, have just published their first book, You May Not Tie an Alligator to a Fire Hydrant - 101 Real Dumb Laws.

With some 500,000 visiting their website (www.dumblaws. com) every week, 18-year-olds Jeff Koon and Andy Powell have used their hobby collecting the more arcane laws on state, city, and national statute books to turn a buck. There's probably a law against it somewhere, but they haven't found it.

But in Tennessee there is still a law preventing atheists from holding public office, while, the book reveals, heads of household in Kennesaw, Georgia, are required to own a gun.

They could have a field day with forbidden sex acts but steer clear of the issue, except to note that in Utah a law allows first cousins to marry "but only after they are over 65 years of age," while in South Carolina it is "illegal to speak suggestively to your girlfriend."

In New York, a fine of $25 can be levied for flirting, according to the website. This old law specifically prohibits men from turning around on any city street and looking "at a woman in that way". In Mobile, Alabama, it is illegal to howl at ladies within the city limits, an ordinance necessitated apparently by local practice.

A city ordinance in Belvedere, California, states: "No dog shall be in a public place without its master on a leash." Animals certainly feature prominently in legislators' concerns. It is illegal to walk a camel down Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, between the hours of 4 and 6 p.m. Oklahoma bans whaling (and sex before marriage). In Utah it is against the law to fish from horseback.

In Fairbanks, Alaska, feeding alcoholic beverages to a moose is prohibited. North Dakota allows one to shoot an Indian on horseback, if you are in a covered wagon. In Vermont women must obtain written permission from their husbands to wear false teeth. And no one may deny the existence of God.In France it is apparently illegal to kiss on the railways or to call one's pig "Napoleon".