Walking in Memphis, towards the border, FAST!

Written by Daniel Browne

When we think of Tennessee we think of the greats: Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash. We think of the Great Smoky Mountains, a place that Google-images has proven to be also quite… great. Those schooled in American history might call to mind Davy Crockett, folk hero and politician, who met his maker in the Battle of the Alamo. And those of us who like a drink will no doubt have been thinking about Jack Daniel’s this whole time. Country music, picturesque landscapes, American heroes and tasty liquor; sounds like a pretty nice place to live. Or does it?

For starters, in Tennessee, I can’t post an image online that causes “emotional distress”. So there goes my Facebook profile picture, with it the 99% of my other photos that also show my face. Fought in any duels lately? That’ll see you unable to hold any political position. And daring your kid to purchase alcohol is a definite no-no, but tattooing him is only a misdemeanour.


An emotionally distressing image to say the least, courtesy of the Ten Network.

Saddest of all, although unenforceable, within the Tennessee State Constitution lies a passage that states that ‘the intermarriage of white persons with negroes…or…descended from a negro to the third generation… in this State is prohibited.’ In this instance I’ll forgo an attempt at wit and just let the ridiculous quotation speak for itself.  It’s a shame really, I was quite looking forward to cut price whiskey straight from the source.


Read the fine print before you fly

Written by Sally Naylor-Hampson

Planning a trip abroad any time soon? Well, from a legislator’s standpoint, you might want to pay Alaska a visit. Not only does the state have the highest peak in North America, or some of the best whale watching on the planet, but it seems you might also be guaranteed an emergency-free holiday. Yep, you might want to save your pennies on that expensive travel insurance, because according to Alaskan law, “emergencies are held to a minimum and are rarely found to exist” (Read the full policy here).

Yet how do authorities patrol or even implement such a law? Can they really control natural disasters?  Who is punished in the event of an emergency? Either way, the Alaska Emergency Response Guide doesn’t seem too concerned with the legal implications of such a law, as the document openly states, “Every year Alaskan communities face a multitude of emergency situations” (Read the full guide here). So is this policy just a hopeful outcome for the welfare of the State’s inhabitants?

Emergency or no emergency, you might want to dwell on some legal research before your next jet setting adventure. Because unless you want to spend your holiday exploring the interior of a jail cell, I wouldn’t recommend using a pogo stick on a city bus in Fairfax County, Virginia. And don’t think about getting drunk while playing Bingo in Kern County, California. Or if you’re thinking about stopping over in Honolulu, you shouldn’t while away the time by annoying any birds. That’s right, they’re all illegal. (Read these ‘dumb laws’ and more in this book).

One of the rarely found emergencies in Alaska?

How many law breakers does it take to change a light bulb?

Written by Jordan Fay.
Week 1: Wacky Laws

On the Internet the question is always answerable and the answer is always questionable. This is what I’d call a Google Proverb. If it isn’t written alongside those rules of the Internet that already exist it should be. The reason Wikipedia isn’t a creditable academic reference is because a guy at my old high school replaced the contents of over twenty pages with the simple exclamation “I AM IRON MAN!” But I don’t want to get into the contradictions and wastefulness of large social structures like the Internet, the government or major religion. But in the spirit of this blog’s purpose I want to let you know that questionable government laws exist (see the last line of the Victoria paragraph), but not all of those that walk up to you with open arms in a Google-search are trustworthy. Many are moochers who claim to be relatives without government-granted birth certificates. Some are delusional and lack intelligence. That seedy guy who claims to be your long lost Uncle “It’s-Illegal-To-Change-Light-Bulbs-Without-A-Electrical-Liscence” isn’t true-blue. He’s tried to con many and has the ability to replicate himself across the land in different html appearances. This shonky disguise complete with its “the fine for abusing this law is ten pounds” gives it away. The Victorian Electricity Safety Act of 1998 expresses no regulation over the installation of light bulbs and an online guide to knowing when you need an electrician explicitly states, “the most work you’re really allowed to do without the proper qualifications is to change a light bulb”. But even if it was a true law buried in the dusty piles of the Australian Law Reform Commission offices who would act by it anyway?

Sometimes stupidity knows no regulated boundary

Killer canines and ugly mugs

Written by Zoe Blain
Week 1: Wacky Laws

In Oklahoma pulling an ugly face at a dog will land you in jail. On a quick stroll ‘round the net for strange laws this gem reared its criminally repulsive head on almost every site I hit. I chuckled and forgot about it until the drive home from university. In my boyfriend’s passenger seat my V fueled brain started to mull it over. Why would such a law be made? How could it possibly be enforced? What purpose does it serve?  To protect canine feelings? A (somewhat) recent study has likened the intelligence of dogs to that of a two year old child. Every two year old I’ve ever encountered has giggled and frothed hysterically at my face molding antics. So what differentiates toddlers from terriers? Well I’ve never heard of an infant mauling anybody to death. Ever. So is it possible that dogs find unsightly human expressions insulting? Could it provoke them to attack? As a child I loved enraging fenced dogs by glaring at them. Once a poodle even threw itself at a barbed wire fence after a heated staring contest.


In my boyfriend’s green Subaru I suddenly realized that perhaps OK was onto something. The state suffered only one dog attack fatality in 2011.  But then there were only 31 deaths country wide, thus statistically indicating that dog violence in Oklahoma is high. Although I have decided to deem this law wacky, I can’t help but wonder if the OK victim had perhaps flashed the Pit-bull an unsightly grin before the attack…

A truly frightening clip. Perhaps Oklahoma is onto something after all…

Welcome wrong-doers!

Welcome to Illegally Blog; a criminally fabulous page where a quartet of young creative writing students contemplate the thrills and spills of the law. To celebrate our opening week we will be discussing (what we believe) are some of the wackiest rules in the world. Enjoy!