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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

absurdity

A Brief Rant about Old Folks

Today’s paper carries a so-called story about the college at which I taught for the last 15 years of my academic career. Said college is not the #1 school in the country, but it is a fine institution, with a well-deserved reputation for its beautiful campus, for its tradition of teaching students to give back for the privileges they have received, for its innovative programs, its first-class faculty, its amazing athletic teams who all manage to carry high grade point averages without special attention from hired tutors. I could go on, but you get the idea. It’s a great school, and I’m proud of it.

So what have they done to capture the attention of the local paper this time? It seems they have announced that they are going to make changes in their adult education program. For thirty years or more they have invited people from the community to attend short classes taught by the faculty. They have offered the courses simply for the benefit of those who want to engage with fascinating people about interesting topics.

Now the college says they will be making some changes to integrate these courses more closely with programs that are happening on campus — lecture series, community roundtables, guest speakers of national reputation. They also intend to use emerging technologies to expand access to these programs nationwide. Did you realize what I wrote? They are going to CHANGE things.  (I’ll wait while you all gasp in unison.)

The bulk of the article consists of interviews with current partakers of this feast of information. I recognize most of the names.  And I know that most of them are old. (I’m allowed to say that  since I freely admit to being old myself. At 76, I can say what I like, although I do my best not to sound like an absolute idiot.) They’ve been attending these classes for thirty years, and “THAT’S THE WAY WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE IT!” 

Apparently no one has yet released the details of the new plan, but these folks already know that it’s not going to work. “We’re going to lose everything,” one cries dramatically. Another says, “Well, it’s certainly not good for me, so how can it be good for the college?” Doesn’t that just make you want to shake him and scream, “It’s not about you!”

I’m still trying to decide whether I’m more upset with the complainers or with the newspaper for giving them most of the article to vent their silly gripes. The college spokesperson gets the last word, but it’s only one sentence long.

Whatever happened to the idea that old age imparts wisdom and dignity? This morning, all I saw in this article was a bunch of old geezers who don’t want anybody to take their toys away. Maybe those adult education courses didn’t work so well after all.

Taking an Attitude Adjustment Break

This may be my only blog post for the next few days. it's a rough week.  A horrible, terrible stinky bad week.

As many of you recognized by sending greetings via Facebook, today is my birthday, and I'm feeling pretty old.  it was bad enough hitting the 3/4 of a century last year. Today I move beyond that, and the view is not pretty.  Of course plans have changed since my husband died in January.  We had booked a trip for this week.  We won a contest for couples who had met while in school at Kent State.  The prize: a night in the presidential suite of the university hotel, dinner in the hotel restaurant and chocolates and champagne at bed-turn-down. Not happening, of course.  I was able to pass the prize on to a family member, but my Lean Cuisine lunch was something of a come-down.  Then I spent the rest of the day doing paperwork, getting names changed on the house title and our Sam's card. Neither one was easy, but Sam's clearly won the bureaucracy award.

And it doesn't get better from here. This is the weekend of the Tennessee Lions' State Convention, starting Friday. I'm not going, of course, because it's on the other side of the world's widest state, and there's no one else going from here  -- so too far for me to drive by myself with only partial vision.  And that means I'm missing the state necrology service, where they will retire Floyd's Lions pin and put it on display for the coming year.  And finally, Sunday is Mother's Day -- a holiday I quit observing in 2000, when my only child died of cancer. 

So it's a horrible week, and I hope you'll forgive the lack of postings until the sun comes back out from behind this black cloud hanging over my disposition.  I think I'll go scrub the bathroom.  Might as well take advantage of a bad mood to get something useful accomplished.

If You Want to Avoid Jail, You Need to Check the City Codes, Too.

As for silly laws that apply to just one city in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach wins the prize for the longest list. And I guarantee you these are not April Fool jokes. They are still on the books.

Myrtle Beach

  • It is illegal to urinate in the waters of any park.
  • Persons may not change clothes in a gas station without permission of the owner.
  • Sleeping on public beach after 9:00 p.m. prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to sleep on the beach within the city between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and sunrise.
  • Dogs:
  • (a) It shall be unlawful to allow any dog to be on the public beaches or boardwalks of the municipality from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the period from May 15 through September 15 of each year, except for assistance animals and law enforcement dogs. Owners shall be subject to arrest and the dogs may be impounded.
  •  (b) It shall be unlawful for an owner or keeper of any animal to take or permit the animal onto the right of way of Ocean Boulevard between 21st Ave. North and 13th Ave. South during the period from March 1st to September 30th of each year, except for the purpose of direct and expeditious crossing of the right of way. Owners shall be subject to arrest and the animal may be impounded.

Charleston

  • The Fire Department may blow up your house. Readers of "Damned Yankee" will understand the need for this law.
  • It is against the law to drive a motorized vehicle on King Street.

Clemson

  • Lifeguards must be present at apartment complex pools, but only after 11:00 PM. -

Fountain Inn

  • Horses are to wear pants at all times.

Greenville

  • The drinking age on Furman University campus is 60 years old. I'm guessing they have a lot of old faculty members there.

Lancaster County

  • It is illegal to dance in public in Lancaster
  • Eating watermelons in the Magnolia Street cemetery is forbidden.  


You Can Lead a Horse to Water, but You Can't Make Him Take a Bath

I've been deeply engaged in research  about 19th-century marriage  customs all day today, and my head is swimming. So instead of offering  you something pithy and meaningful, or coming up with an elaborate hoax for April Fool's Day, how about settling for a few more weird laws from the State of South Carolina.


  • Horses may not be kept in bathtubs.
  • It is illegal to sell any alcoholic beverages on Sunday, unless you own a private club.
  • A permit must be obtained to fire a missile.
  • It is illegal to give or receive oral sex in South Carolina.
  • When approaching a four way or blind intersection in a non-horse driven vehicle you must stop 100 ft from the intersection and discharge a firearm into the air to warn horse traffic.
  • It is perfectly legal to beat your wife on the court house steps on Sundays.
  • Every adult male must bring a rifle to church on Sunday in order to ward off Indian attacks.
  • It is a capital offense to inadvertently kill someone while attempting suicide.
  • A person must be eighteen years old to play a pinball machine.





  • Be Careful What You Do in South Carolina

    I have too many irons in the fire this week. Meetings scheduled: Katzenhaus accountant on taxes, financial advisers, an LCI pilot project (started by husband; passed down to me); two lunches with friends. Chores: a closet to clean out, groceries, post office, bank. And hanging over my head-- a book contest to enter, four book chapters outlined and ready to be written, and the pressure to keep up with occasional blog entries. 

    Being busy is good; it keeps me from feeling sorry for myself. But there's supposed to be some time in there for me to relax. Until I find it, I'm going to fill  up this blog space with some silly stuff about my literary favorite state, courtesy of various websites luring tourists to South Carolina.

    Here are some of my favorite South Carolina laws that remain on the books. I used to point out to students that people do not pass laws unless the proscribed behavior is already so widespread as to cause a nuisance. You might want to try your hand at guessing what prompted some southern lawmakers to pass the following:


  • It is illegal to display a confederate flag on a courthouse.
  • By law, if a man promises to marry an unmarried woman, the marriage must take place.
  • Railroad companies may be held liable in some instances for scaring horses.
  • A railroad my not remove itself from a town of more than five hundred people.
  • Fortune tellers are required to obtain a special permit from the state.
  • Dance halls may not operate on Sundays.
  • No work may be done on Sunday.
  • Musical instruments may not be sold on Sunday.
  • Performing a U-turn within 1,000 feet of an intersection is illegal.
  • It is considered an offense to get a tattoo.


  • Read more: