Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny: Book Review: "Out of Order"

Is this where I put in key words such as sex, lesbians, vampires, Christopher Lloyd and others things to which this blog do not pertain, but by putting them here, I may get hits from all the Christoper Lloyd lesbian vampire fans (and you know who you are)? This is the primarily humorous and occasionally rambling writings of Leon Tchaikovsky, humor writer. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Book Review: "Out of Order"

Tchaikovsky Sounds Funny

Billed as "the very unofficial Vermont State House Archives", it is good to see that someone has finally compiled a book that describes what really happens in a state legislature. We learn how legislator vote against their own motions, or argue against their own positions, or in the instance of Rep. Daniel DeBonis, even submit himself to interrogation on the House floor from himself. Readers see positives in the Vermont legislature: the Republican Caucus failed to elect a Republican as Speaker four straight times even though Republicans held a majority of legislative seats.

Great words of wisdom have emerged from the debates of the Vermont legislature. Such as "you three guys sure make a pair." We further discover that "there’s a rotten egg in every barrel of apples."

The Vermont legislature debated a proposal that would dock legislators their pay when absent. Rep. Reid LeFevre argued "Mr. Speaker, there are members of the House who serve most generously when they are absent from this chamber."

Rep. LeFevre was a circus owner. He donated one of his circus signs to the Vermont Capitol. Thus, a sign over the House chambers read "This way to the Monkey House."

A fair employment practices legislative debate led one member to ask the following question: "I hire men and women to milk my herd. Suppose a woman employee were to get pregnant and get kicked by a cow she was milking. Am I, as her employer, responsible for her condition?"

Some legislative debates were better than others. Rep. Hugh Moffett once rose and complained, "Mr. Speaker, I have a terrible hearing problem-I heard every bit of this long debate."

A bill concerning "an act relating to hunting bears with dogs" was misprinted "an act relating to hunting bare with dogs." Sen. John McClaughry offered an amendment that "no person, clothed or bare, shall pursue bear with the aid of dogs."

Sen. Gilbert Godnick offered an argument that "the polls don’t count. What counts is what happens when the voters go behind the iron curtain." Sen. Godnick further once delayed discussion of an issue, noting "we’ll burn that bridge when we get to it."

One member once described another member as having "an insufficiency disguised as incompetence."

Lt. Gov. Tom Hayes once stated that House Speaker John Burgess was "so slow that if he had been presiding at the Last Supper, our Lord would be with us today."

Legislative members of the House Ways and Means Committee used to post a Witness Evaluation List. They rated people testifying before them according to the following scale: "a.) scrupulously honest, b.) decently accurate, c.) an inadvertent omission, d.) a slip here or there, e.) disrespectful of the facts, f.) sleigh of mouth, g.) verisimilitudinous is too kind, h.) prevaricated, i.) a sleazy rip-off, and j.) the dog at my testimony." During the hearings, a few members would flash signs reading "Jargon Alert" at some people testifying.

We learn the rigors of campaigning door to door. Rep. Lloyd Selby was chased off a property and into his car by a vicious dog. A neighbor came out and told the legislator "you’re lucky. Wait till you meet the lady who owns him."

Rep. Jack Candon probably did not endure himself to his constituents when he proclaimed that ‘in my town of Norwich, people think a snowmobile is a Volvo with four tires."

Campaigning can become a mental drain. On the 20th consecutive day of campaigning, a Senator introduced himself to a woman who replied with "I know, I’m your wife."

In ancient cultures, animals were actually elected to office. Rep. Peter Allendorf admired those times, noting "the Romans…on occasion elected horses. How fortunate were the Roman citizens; at least they were represented by the entire horse."

How fortunate we are to have this book providing us peeks into the Vermont legislature.


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