The Moron's Daily Briefing

Jul. 10 - The first parking meter was installed in England on this date in 1958, along with the second through 625th. It took nearly two dozen years for the parking meter to travel across the Atlantic: the first American parking meter had been installed in Oklahoma City on July 16, 1935.

It was invented by Oklahoma City's Carl C. Magee, the head of that city's chamber of commerce, as part of an effort to free more parking spaces for daytime shoppers. Downtown parking spaces had typically been taken by office workers who left their cars parked on the street all day, making it difficult for shoppers to find open spaces and thereby causing incalculable pain and suffering. (Double-parking was not invented until 1963.)

The Moron's Almanac considers the parking meter one of the great instruments of totalitarian control, and cannot understand how conspiracy theorists who lose sleep over Roswell, the Masons, and black helicopters can walk blithely past dozens of parking meters every day.

Current estimates ("wild guesses") suggest there are now more than five million of these coercive devil machines deployed across the United States. They absorb millions of dollars in small change every day, and generate still more ill-gotten revenue by means of fines levied against persons who refuse to kneel before them.

The Moron's Almanac urges its readers to recall the words of Alexander Hamilton, who observed in the Federalist Papers that "no people are free who must pay for municipal parking."

The first concrete-paved street was built 110 years ago today in Bellefountaine, Ohio. Paved streets are good. The Moron's Almanac has no problem with paved streets, unless they're lined with parking meters.

Today is the birthday of Arlo Guthrie (1947), Arthur Ashe (1943), Fred Gwynne (1926), Jake LaMotta (1921), David Brinkley (1920), Saul Bellow (1915), and Marcel Proust (1871).

It's Independence Day in the Bahamas.

2002, The Moron's Almanac™

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