Last week, I mentioned we had a spot of car trouble.

We’ve since purchased a more modern car, and life moves on.

Now, it’s more modern, but it’s not ‘new’, as in ‘I’m the first owner’ new. It was owned by a rental agency first and doubtless rode hard by the renters, but it’s only a year and a half old, and it certainly looks and feels new, thanks to having been well maintained and serviced.

It looks shiny and new and modern, and it is very cool. I love this freaking car. 

It’s a 2010 Hyundai Elantra, a nice combination of inexpensive fuel-efficient compact and interior comfort with techie toys.

It also fits a 6′ big bear butt comfortably with tons of headroom, not an easy feat.

My favorite thing? The stereo has a USB port and plays mp3s. You can, and I have, put your mp3s in different folders on a USB flash drive, or just all loose, and plug it in the USB port. It instantly sees the drive and you can browse the folders, whose file names are visible, play the mp3s, it’s fully and smoothly integrated.

No more CDs or CD cases in the car. Ever. EVER. Want to add a new favorite song to your favorite driving collection? Don’t burn a whole new CD, just put it in the folder on your flash drive. And of course, you can plug in your mp3 player via an auxiliary audio port, but I am captivated by the USB input. I can now have 4 gig of music sorted and organised and ready to go.

I can have a folder with ALL my Tim Malloys songs on it, instead of across three CDs.

As you can probably tell, I’m quite captivated that technology installed in cars has finally caught up to what I wanted ten years ago. And I has one!

Did I mention no more burning bloody-be-damned CDs?

So yes, I like the new car.

I like it clean and neat and sparkling.

But I am a big bear butt, and I must have some customization. I must show my whimsical spirit.

As Cassie and Alex and I drove back from the dealership, I remarked that I was going to keep it exactly the way it was…

But I must add some fuzzy dice dangling from the rearview mirror.

Cassie was quick to point out that I can’t. I’m not allowed.

Oh, it’s not Cassie that would deny me fuzzy dice. Oh no. She’d simply remark on my utter lack of taste, or in this case my essential poor white trash redneck sense of taste, and shake her head in sorrow.

No, it’s the guv’mint that forbids me from expressing myself by putting fuzzy dice dangling on my rearview mirror.

No, seriously. Check this out, my friends.

Sgt. Mark Baker

Minnesota State Patrol

Q: My friend says having anything hanging from the rearview mirror is illegal. Is that true? And if so — would I really get pulled over just because of that?

A: Ah, the things people like to hang from their rearview mirrors! And suspended objects seem no longer to be limited to fuzzy dice, air fresheners, graduation tassels and garters.

Unfortunately for those who like to hang things from their rearview mirrors, all of it is illegal. Minnesota State Statute 169.71 subdivision 1 addresses suspended objects between the driver and the windshield. This statute states “no person shall drive or operate any motor vehicle with a windshield cracked or discolored to an extent to limit or obstruct proper vision, or (except for law enforcement vehicles) with any objects suspended between the driver and the windshield, other than the sun visors and rear-vision mirrors.” (The exception for law enforcement vehicles provides for necessary speed detection equipment as well as video and other equipment).

Because this is a vision obstruction and illegal, people commonly are pulled over for this violation alone. Many of the crashes officers investigate are due to a driver not seeing another vehicle, bicycle or pedestrian. We have many visual obstructions in the vehicles we drive already, such as the support pillars and rearview mirrors. Any that we can eliminate makes everyone safer on our roads.

Now, before we move on, let me add the link to the statute / law. Just so we can get any doubt out of the way as to whether or not I am shitting you.

No shit. In the state of Minnesota, if you put anything, anything at all, dangling from your rearview mirror you are in violation and if the cop is feeling cranky and needs to make ticket quota, you WILL be pulled over and ticketed for it.

They say suspended in the statute because they don’t have the balls to say something as risque as dangling.

I could put Fuzzy Dice on my rearview mirror, but they would be Illegal Fuzzy Dice.

Illegal. Fuzzy. Dice.

Think about that. Illegal Fuzzy Dice. Three words that capture so much meaning.

Cassie and I started talking about illegal fuzzy dice, and Alex started laughing his butt off. I’ve got him now to the point that he loses it and dissolves into giggles at just the barest mention of illegal fuzzy dice.

He wants to make a WoW character named IllegalFuzzyDice, and he was crushed that it would be too many letters. He’d like to see a guild named Illegal Fuzzy Dice, though.

So would I.

Illegal Fuzzy Dice.

We are at the point where, if something can be described, it WILL have a law detailing what is or is not permissable. And the justification used, as with so much else, is “If it will result in the saving of just one life, than isn’t it worth it? Who among us is so evil as to object to the saving of a human life?”

It makes sense, when phrased that way. If you suspend your damned sense for a minute, anyway.

The reality is, that justification can be used, if followed to it’s logical conclusion, to restrict all humanity to remain within their homes with the doors locked, and robots to make sure that we continue to wear bubble-wrap on our bodies at all times to protect from falls, all devices that create sound banned to preserve our hearing, lighting rigidly controlled to prevent eyestrain, food metered out in recommended doses to keep us from getting fat, etc, etc.

What the hell does that describe? What else is managed to that extent? Oh yeah. Cattle.

What a statute like that on the books, actually enforced by law enforcement officers, represents is a belief that it is better to regulate and control through legislation rather than leave the issue up for personal judgment or responsibility and then hold people accountable for their actions.

Boiling it down, if one person would dangle something big from their rearview mirror that blocks their view, gets into an accident and says it wasn’t his fault because nobody stopped him from doing it, then the obvious way to prevent similar accidents in the future is to forbid ANYONE from dangling shit from their mirror, blocking their view.

And then ticket anyone you see doing it.

Now, me being myself, I’d think the logical thing to do instead is hold people responsible for their own actions. Have something dangling if you’d like, but if you get into an accident where visibility to the front was determined as being part of the cause by an acident investigator, and you had stuff dangling, then you get in trouble for unsafe driving. A catch-all.

Of course, that would take effort on the part of someone using judgment on investigating a cause, rather than making some blanket “if you do this you’re breaking the law, breaking the law.”

Freedom includes the freedom to accept the consequences, and if you block your view in an unsafe way, then it’s your ass. Why should everyone else suffer?

I believe in freedom. I believe in personal responsibility. And I believe in holding people accountable for their own actions rather than pre-emptive legislation.

I believe that legislation like this rear-iew mirror stuff is ludicrous and offensive.

It says “I don’t think you low-class idiots are capable of taking care of yourselves or making your own decisions, so we’re going to tell you what you can or cannot do, and to what extent. Morons.”

Illegal Fuzzy Dice.

ILLEGAL FUZZY DICE.

I can drive down the road, in a car I purchased myself with money saved through the labor of my own hands, earnings that were heavily taxed, and I can be driving under the speed limit, using caution when appropriate for the conditions of the road, lights on, music low, paying attention for idiots that are swerving violently in and out of traffic, and if I have illegal fuzzzy dice dangling from my rear-view mirror, cute little white fuzzy dice, I will be an outlaw.

A dastardly desperado, dangling dice like forbidden fruit, taunting The Man.

Illegal Fuzzy Dice.

Welcome to the real world.

Is it any wonder I love World of Warcraft so much? 

Oh yeah, and Happy Thanksgiving. :)

32 Responses to “Fuzzy What Now?”
  1. Pawzy says:

    Grats on the new car! And I giggled at the mention of fuzzy dice. I think I’m too easily amused. ;)
    My family tends to buy our “new” cars from the dealership’s rental fleet. Nice looking car but less of a bite out of the budget. I got a new-to-me 2009 Hyundai Sonata from the dealer’s fleet a few weeks ago and have been loving it!

  2. Thereddeath says:

    Well…I for one would put those ‘Illegal Fuzzy Dice’ (snicker) on the mirror anyway. Be unique and break the chains holding in the cattle!!
    “Illegal …..Fuzzy …..Dice!” AHAHAHA!!

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I swear, if I hadn’t JUST done a freaking contest a week ago, I’d start a new one. People would have to send me pictures of them in a vehicle pointing proudly to something dangling from a rearview mirror, and I’d put all the pictures on a single page titled “Breaking the Law”

  3. Laralsong says:

    “ILLEGAL FUZZY DICE” should really be the title of my next album…and, of course, that would mean the follow-up b-sides collection would have to be called “Dastardly Dangling Dice Desperado”.

  4. Tesh says:

    I’m still pissed off that I got pulled over for having an expired registration, and that I got nailed for forgetting to renew my driver’s license. Apparently, victimless paper crimes are more important to enforce than, y’know, *real* crime or something actually dangerous. (I have no moving violations over 15 years of driving, and will probably never get one.)

    Funny that we’ve gone from the apocryphal Pilgrims and their quest for religious freedom to a friggin’ pre-Orwellian nanny state. Funny like “bad milk smells funny”, not so much “Illegal Fuzzy Dice” funny. :)

  5. ursiheil says:

    Perhaps you are just upset that you couldn’t get your pandaran name that you wanted :)

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I only came up with the name “Fuzznuts” for a pandaren druid after the illegal fuzzy dice conversation. It wasn’t a serious idea. I just wanted to see if I could make a character with the name.

      I far prefer “Bouncybutt” for my pandaren druid.

      What scares me is that there is already a “Fuzznuts” AND a “Fuzzynuts” and a “Furballs” for character names.

      • ursiheil says:

        I wont put much credence to it, but it is possible that blizzard took those names off the list already, because they are obvious testicular references… they can’t get them all of course… but those are pretty obvious.

        Bouncybutt is a much cooler name :)

  6. Bristal says:

    Seriously? Your need to dangle cliched fuzzy dice despite the potential to hinder your view of humans near the roadway warrants a post? And woe is me, I got pulled over for an expired registration, AND I forgot to renew my drivers license.

    I’m becoming less and less impressed with the 99 percent.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      I… I don’t understand your comment. Was this a dig? I’m so confused. Am I part of the 99% then? Or not? Was it a good thing you got pulled over for breaking the law, or not? What did it have to do with the topic?

      • Anuillae says:

        I think he’s saying that it’s a bad thing that he forgot to renew his license, and because he forgot to renew his registration, and that it was also a bad thing that he got pulled over for this.

        From this, he makes the frankly astounding logical leap to the idea that your post concerning the ridiculousness of the pettiness of the law is ridiculously petty in itself. And that nobody could possibly care about the fact that you’re not allowed to have cute dice, but we all should care about the fact that he isn’t allowed to drive without a driving license. Or without a legal car, apparently.

        As for the 99% bit, what can I say? I think maybe he just wanted to put it out there… Or maybe it’s, like, his forum signature which he puts on all this blog comments as well? Because it makes absolutely no sense in the context of the rest of his comment.

        Myself, I completely agree with this post. Did you know, there are beaches in Italy where you’re not allowed to build sandcastles; they’re a dangerous hazard for pedestrians. Did you know that, in England, it’s illegal for an MP to wear armour in Parliament?

        *Sighs*

        • bigbearbutt says:

          Wait, back the train the heck up.

          Did you… did you just say there are beaches where it is illegal to build sandcastles due to being a pedestrian walking hazard?

          /feint

          You win. You win for nailing the whole point of the post, and providing a far, far better example of what I was trying to get at than I did.

          *Illegal Sand Castle*. Just, wtf people.

  7. Reaper says:

    Totally agreed.
    Lack of personal responsibility has become an epidemic problem.
    If something bad happens to you because you did something stupid, its still a shame that it happened, but you’re also undeniably (partly) responsible for it.

  8. Solitha says:

    “Freedom includes the freedom to accept the consequences, and if you block your view in an unsafe way, then it’s your ass. Why should everyone else suffer?”

    The problem is, the most likely person to suffer from allowing a driver to block their own view is someone else that the driver doesn’t see (and hits). So someone else is most likely to suffer no matter what you do.

    Add in that if it’s a problem, the state knows it’s a problem, and the state doesn’t do anything about it, the state is liable.

    Screw dice though. So, so these: http://store.valvesoftware.com/product.php?i=S0103

    • theanorak says:

      Yeah, Mr B, while I’m right with you on the general principle of “you don’t need a law covering every damn possibility” and “take some personal accountability, whydontcha”, Solitha is right. The person crossing the road you didn’t see, the driver of the car you failed to spot — hell, the owner of the mailbox you reversed into — they’re also affected. And while you might be able to take personal responsibility for replacing that busted mailbox, there’s not much you can do about the broken arms and worse that can happen other than say “sorry”.

      Hang ‘em from the gearstick or somesuch instead ;)

  9. Solitha says:

    As soon as I posted that, I thought… There must be!

    And sure enough, there is… http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/car/7ccc/

    • Mugician13 says:

      Damn, Solitha, you beat me to it. I’d seen those before, and was going to prove my infinite “geek chic” by posting those… then again, you did save me the time of figuring out exactly WHERE I’d seen ‘em….

      And yeah, we live in such a litigious society that if there aren’t specific laws made because someone did something stupid, the products themselves have to carry disclaimers and warnings. F’rinstance, a few years ago, I bought my sister some glass plates for Christmas. There was a warning sticker on them which included, among other things, “Do not use for popping corn.” Which meant that at some point, some flippin’ idiot put some oil on one of those plates, placed it on their stove burner, and added popcorn. Naturally, that would have resulted in shards of glass flying, hot oil spattering, and quite likely a grease fire, after which said moron sued the manufacturer for injuries/damages.

      • bigbearbutt says:

        I love love love the fuzzy companion cubes! But realistically, I’d hang the d20s up, and probably get them tattooed on my shoulder.

  10. Bigguss says:

    Hi BBB,

    You only think this way because you probably havent been effect by the consequences of someone’s vision being blocked. Say for instance someone you know and loved was injured in an accident caused by this, i’m betting your attitude would be different.

    Sometimes laws are created to remove the chance of the consequences, especially if the consequences are so severe.

    Bigg

  11. Digit says:

    Maybe I’m crazy, and well, it wouldn’t be the first time people have said that. But I’ve seen a lot of people even in the comments being like ‘well if you hit somebody you’d feel bad!’ But….we’re not talking about some massive opaque object that gives you like 10% view, we’re talking about fuzzy dice, that do not hinder the rear-view mirror at all, and depending on height/angle very very very very little at an upward right angle.

    Cars have blind spots, some car designs minimize blind spots, they’re usually rear left and rear right and can make merging or changing lanes painful if you’re not completely and fully aware of them. The fuzzy dice blind spot is a very minor one that can be easily seen through but you also know it’s -there.-

    I think before you outlaw whimsical fancy with dice. Car manufacturers should somehow make cars without blind spots. I should never have issues with parking lots or signs blocking sight, and towns should work even harder at making sure that every corner is easy to see around well before they do this stupid law as those are all far more hazardous and blocking.

    Priorities people, priorities, if a man left leg has his arterie gushing wound, we don’t put a band-aid on the paper-cut on his fingertip and say ‘well it made it a little better.’

    • Reaper says:

      I was thinking along the same lines… “What kind of hellish fuzzy dice do you guys have in your cars?”
      I find it very hard to believe someone would hit a person that they would not have otherwise hit, because of this.

      • Solitha says:

        People hang ungodly huge and pendulous things from their mirrors. CDs, beads, etc. I’ve been there/done that myself, although I don’t recall getting too carried away with it.

        They swing and move as the car does and if long enough can even interfere with the driver. People really do put that much crap up there.

        It’s a heck of a lot easier to ban everything than to find a “safe and reasonable limit” and then try to police that limit.

    • Kemonojin says:

      I’m 6’3″. The only accident I’ve ever been in happened because the car I was sitting in, with the mirror adjusted properly, gave me a reflection of ‘clear road’ behind me but was in my line of sight, so it looked like clear road ahead in the ‘just came in from bright sunlight outside to parking garage semi-darkness’. Maybe it was just the design of that car (Mid 90′s LeMans (generally referred to by the rest of the Avis drivers I worked with as LeMons), but I never saw the other car until the loud noise happened.

      Especially for tall people, there really isn’t that much open windshield. Don’t think of it as ‘the windshield is three feet tall and seven feet wide’. Think of it in percentages. How much of your field of view is the crap hanging from the rearview blocking when you’re sitting in driving position?

      Not to mention shiny crap that makes it even worse.. .I’ve seen people with CDs, (and apparently there are blank CDs with printed labels sold for the sole purpose of) hanging from their rearview, spinning and wobbling back and forth, flashing reflected light everywhere. Back when fuzzy dice were new, cars were HUGE, and a set of three inch or so fuzzy dice would hang out of one’s field of view, or at least not obscure most of it… but now, cars are too small to get away with it.

  12. mannyac says:

    Is that for 6-sided only or does it include polyhedral dice?

  13. Targeter says:

    Welcome to the Hyundai family! I own one, my parents have owned 3, and I’m an avid Hyundai enthusiast. I’m currently drooling over the new Veloster. Great cars, great prices, great mileage, and great reliability!

  14. Riegnman says:

    This falls along the same lines as states forcing motorcyclist to wear a helmet or motorists to wear seatbelts. Granted, it’s stupid not to and I would never ride a motorcycle without a helmet but since when is it the governments resposibility to FORCE me to wear a helmet or a seatbelt? I have never, nor will I ever, ride in a car without having a seatbelt on; but it is not the government’s place to force me, by law, to do so. I am a consenting adult of sound mind (there is a little argument there from my wife) so it is not the government’s job to keep me safe from myself.

    It would not bother me to have a law on the books that says that if you’re under 18 you must wear a seatbelt or helmet. I have no problems with child restraint laws because I know that there are parents that don’t put their kid’s safety above their own, but to force me; a gainfully employed, tax-paying, responsible, non-felon, law-abiding citizen to wear a seatbelt is very (and I hate to throw this word around) socialistic.

    That is not a slight or a jab at the current administration or any administration because these laws were put on the books and kept on the books by all different flavors of politicians.

    • Solitha says:

      You have a point about seat belts/helmets because the primary victim of not using those things is the person at whom the law is targeted. In my home state, motorcyclists can choose to wear a helmet or get a permit that basically states they’ve proven financially able to handle the consequences.

      Who’s the most common victim of a driver’s limited visual field? The other person that gets run into.

      It’s no more “along the same lines” as murder and suicide are to each other.

  15. Barry B says:

    Hmmm, Question. How many people in MN get pulled over and get a ticket for GPS’?
    Or do you guys hold them in your hands and peek at them once and a while? :).

  16. Tsudrats says:

    The week after I picked up my shiny new motorbike I motored up my own lane and moved up past this lady I charitably refer to as ‘the bimbo’. On reaching along side ‘the bimbo’s’ front right wheel she decided, while adjusting dangly thing (rosary beads) on her rear vision mirror, to change lanes while also accelerating. I’m in Australia so the front right is the driver’s side of the car so she was looking to her left to adjust something that was distracting her while deciding to move to her right … on to me. A quick bit of evasion on my behalf minimised damage by producing one broken wing mirror on her car, bent clutch lever and gear shift on bike and a busted foot. I’m still not sure how I managed to stay upright and keep the bike under control.

    Fuzzy dice may be cute and it may suck to be told that we have to do something but to be honest, I’d quite cheerfully wrap that darn dangly thing around her neck until she appreciates just how dangerous she was that day.

    Don’t even get me started on LOS issues … I swear I can loose a bus behind the rear pillar of my car!

    • Riegnman says:

      The fuzzy dice (or roseary beads) were not the problem. It was the driver’s inability to keepr her attention on the road. Removing the beads wouldn’t help that. It would just be the radio or her lipstick or whatever next time. As Ron White said, “you can’t fix stupid”. On the same note, you can’t legislate away stupid, either.
      In your scenario, the beads did not obstruct view at all. It was her inability to keep her attention pointed in the right direction that caused your ills. While as bad, not the same. This does, however, fall into BBB’s other point about how people should be held responsible for their own stupidity; uhhh, I mean, mistakes. She should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law; whatever that is.

      • Tsudrats says:

        The point is however that the reality is that the ‘full extent of the law’ is somewhat limited when the victim of poor driving behaviour often carries a greater consequence of someone else’s behaviour than the person whose actions cause the problem in the first place.

        The dice … or in my case … the rosary beads are not the problem … but driving with something that knowingly adds to the distractions and los issues associated with driving is the problem. Being a driver is not about accessorising, its about taking responsibility for minimising the risk of your actions in a way that everyone can enjoy driving or riding.

        If you arn’t going to look at the thing you’ve hung in your car then why hang it in the first place?

  17. [...] Bear Butt had an interesting post up; ‘Fuzzy What Now?‘. If you haven’t read that post, go read it now. I’ll [...]

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