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You Can Get Arrested for That: 2 Guys, 25…

You Can Get Arrested for That: 2 Guys, 25 Dumb Laws, 1 Absurd American…

by Rich Smith

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Wish there was less talk about their vacation, their nights out drinking and the landmarks they saw (although I probably found it boring because I've seen most of them, and the book was originally published in G.B. - so exciting for Europeans maybe) and more about the actual laws they broke. Additionally, Smith even admits that some of the laws may not actually be "real" - he relies on a published book for the laws rather than the actual legal text. But still, trying to find a kite to fly in Washington DC (and ending up making one from stuff bought at WalMart) because it's illegal to fly anything in the airspace there was pretty funny. ( )
  elle-kay | Jan 27, 2016 |
Not enough mayhem. ( )
  paperloverevolution | Mar 30, 2013 |
During a Christmas holiday with his family, Cornish journalist Rich Smith was playing a trivia game and asked the question “What is illegal for a divorced woman to do in Florida on Sundays?” The answer, to everyone’s astonishment was: parachuting. After that, he wanted to find out what other silly acts were illegal in the US. Once the plan was in mind, he hoodwinked his buddy Bateman into driving him around for the summer and the race was on.

As for the writing and the attitude, it’s a little disjointed. The writing’s fun and quick, but Smith and Bateman are easily discouraged at times. It seems at times just to be a vacation where they drink a lot and just happen to break some laws in the meantime. There’s a sense of laziness that pervades the excursion. For instance, with just a little bit of planning they could have easily notched a few more victories. Also, many of the laws aren’t explained very well. But, if you’ve got a free afternoon, this will pass the time pretty well as a combination travelogue/bar story.

http://lifelongdewey.wordpress.com/2012/12/08/349-you-can-get-arrested-for-that-... ( )
  NielsenGW | Dec 8, 2012 |
Who would have thought that a simple round of Balderdash would lead to one of the strangest crime sprees in America? But that's exactly what happened according to British writer Rich Smith in his book "You Can Get Arrested for That: 2 Guys, 25 Dumb Laws, 1 Absurd American Crime Spree". After a rousing game on Christmas Day in 2004, Smith was helping to put the game away when he spied a question on one of the cards and asked everyone "what activity was illegal for divorced women in Florida to do on Sundays". The answer -- skydiving -- made no sense to Smith, but it did pique his interest, challenging him to uncover other bizarre laws in the United States. His researched produced a surprising amount of such laws, and he wondered if he could get away with breaking them.

Months later, and with much British media attention, Smith and his buddy Bateman set out from England to the United States with the goal of breaking as many of the laws as they could. They began in San Francisco and drove their way East, through the Mojave Desert, crossing the Mississippi, and winding their way to New York, breaking -- or attempting to break -- as many laws as they could. Laws such as: it's illegal to peel an orange in a motel room in California; you can't play cards on the street with a Native American in Globe, Arizona; you can't fish while wearing pajamas in Chicago, Illinois; it's illegal to drive around the town square more than 100 times in a single session in Oxford, Mississippi.

Along the way they meet an interesting cast of characters, from a fortune teller in Long Beach, California, to Arden Deloris the Native American with whom they played cards in Arizona, and the residents of Mineral Point, Wisconsin -- the sister city to Smith and Bateman's hometown of Redruth. And that's where I think this book shines -- giving an outsider's glimpse at life in America thanks to the everyday people you meet on the street. People are friendlier and more willing to help than we give them credit for, and much of this travelog points that out.

I would have made an even more interesting story if Smith had been able to incorporate some history about the laws themselves, why a law banning someone from riding a bicycle in a pool in Baldwin Park or falling asleep in a cheese factory in South Dakota was necessary. Perhaps that's for another book? ( )
  ocgreg34 | Jan 10, 2012 |
This is one of those books that makes you want to hit yourself in the forehead and say, "Why didn't I think of that?" We've all see lists of stupid laws such as "It's illegal to fish in Chicago while wearing pajamas" or "It's against the law to fall asleep in a cheese factory in South Dakota", shaken our heads and wondered how such laws came about or why they're still on the books. But how many of us have thought of a way to make a buck or two while breaking these laws and writing about it? And getting a vacation to boot?

Englishmen Rich Smith and his buddy Luke Bateman (well they're actually from Cornwall) set out on trip across America with the sole purpose of breaking 20 to 30 laws selected from those described on the web site Dumblaws.com. Along the way they find that it isn't as easy as it might appear (finding a tub to cart across a Longmeadow, Massachusetts town green, for example, or a kite to fly on the National Mall in Washington, DC) but manage to break enough laws that they consider the venture worthy of a small, easily read book. Pulitzer Prize material this isn't. But it is a fun read if for no other reason than to chuckle at how the English speak English and what things they think are funny in America. ( )
  arnoldvl | Apr 30, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307339424, Paperback)

Two Englishmen on a crime spree break American laws!

Stupid, unreasonable, and long-forgotten laws—but laws just the same.

In 1787 the wise framers of the U.S. Constitution laid out the laws of the land. Since then, things have gone awry, and a few laws even the far-sighted framers couldn’t have imagined have worked their way onto the books in towns and cities across the country.

Did you know that in the United States it’s illegal to:

• Fish while wearing pajamas in Chicago, Illinois?

• Enter a theater within three hours of eating garlic in Indianapolis?

• Offer cigarettes or whiskey to zoo animals in New Jersey?

• Fall asleep in a cheese factory in South Dakota?

Englishman Rich Smith discovered these little-known laws during a great American crime spree that took him from coast to coast in search of girls to kiss (it’s illegal to kiss for longer than five minutes at a time in Kansas), oranges to peel (which the law says shouldn’t be done in hotel rooms in California), and whales to hunt (unlawful in Utah).

What inspired a perfectly law abiding, mild-mannered Englishman to come to America and take on the law? He simply wanted to know why. How did these “only in America” laws come to be, do the police know they exist, and would they care if he broke them? So with his best mate, Bateman, by his side—and at the ready should bail be required—Smith set out to break the law in the United States.

Part road trip, part chronicle of the absurdity of human behavior, part search for the ultimate in roadkill, You Can Get Arrested for That follows Smith and Bateman on their not quite Bonnie and Clyde adventure.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:53 -0400)

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