Bar builds maze to get around zoning laws

Originally published at:


Me trying to get out after last call.


I love India.


When I first read about this, I thought, “Surely this won’t work, because legally they must mean the distance as the crow flies.” But no, the law measures the distance on foot, so it totally works. Which means you can have properties next door to one another that are legally miles apart, which I rather like.


Fortunately, it’s Kerala, so probably not this. But it might serve as a way to prevent drunk drivers as they might just stumble around until they sober up.


Hiranyakaship says, O my lord, O best of the givers of benediction, if you will kindly grant me the benediction I desire, please let me not meet death from any of the living entities created by you.

Grant me that I not die within any residence or outside any residence, during the daytime or at night, nor on the ground or in the sky. Grant me that my death not be brought by any being other than those created by you, nor by any weapon, nor by any human being or animal.

Grant me that I not meet death from any entity, living or nonliving.

Vishnu has chosen here to appear in the form of Narasimha in order to be able to kill Hiranyakashipu without violating the boon given by Brahma. Hiranyakashipu cannot be killed by human, deva or animal, but Narasimha is none of these, as he is a form of Vishnu (a deva) incarnate as part human, part animal. He comes upon Hiranyakashipu at twilight (when it is neither day nor night) on the threshold of a courtyard (neither indoors nor out), and puts the demon on his thighs (neither earth nor space). Using his nails (neither animate nor inanimate) as weapons, he disembowels and kills the demon.

cue: sad trombone


By this logic, can I install a huge treadmill as a driveway and proclaim my establishment is infinite miles from the freeway?
Does that change which county I’m in?
What are the tax consequences?
How drunk am I right now?


Probably not much of a maze, since every branch-point increases the cost while also confusing the drunks. Probably just a zig-zag.


Bar builds labyrinth to get around zoning laws. Mazes branch; a labyrinth is just a path that folds in on itself.

adjusts fedora

And it’s not a fedora, it’s a trilby.

adjusts trilby


They aren’t interested in preventing drunk driving.

One, a moral argument that alcohol is against temperance values.


Think back to all the arguments against “the demon drink” that caused social reformers to lose their minds.

I have a little sympathy for old-timey prohibitionists before we got a good hard systemic look at what Prohibition meant in practice. They weren’t imagining the massive, MASSIVE problems they attributed to alcohol–much worse than what we see today. You’re not especially likely to stumble into your factory job today blind drunk, and if you do they’ll probably send you home or fire you, and if they don’t the heavy machinery you operate is probably a lot less inherently likely to take your arm off. But that was a pretty common story back in the day.

I’m not saying they had the right solution (they absolutely didn’t!), and I’m not saying I love the attitude a lot of them took, but the way drinking worked in practice for most of the 19th century was legitimately scary.


"So stop me if you’ve heard this one, a crow flies into a bar. . . "


Also there was a large overlap between suffragists and temperance groups because besides not being able to vote, a major problem women had (and still have, unfortunately) was domestic abuse by their husbands. There was something to the observation that a lot of men only did this after they’d been drinking, even if the majority of men who drank didn’t beat their wives.


Needing a drink is the mother of invention.


Is it just me, or does the Supreme Court of India have a lot more power than non-Indians are used to?

…and contains a Minotaur as part of an Eteocretan religious ceremony.

You left out the best part!


Well actually…




  1. an intricate combination of paths or passages in which it is difficult to find one’s way or to reach the exit.
    Synonyms: maze, network, web.
  1. a maze of paths bordered by high hedges, as in a park or garden, for the amusement of those who search for a way out.
  1. a complicated or tortuous arrangement, as of streets or buildings.
    Synonyms: warren, maze, jungle, snarl, tangle, knot.

any confusingly intricate state of things or events; a bewildering complex: His papers were lost in an hellish bureaucratic labyrinth.
After the death of her daughter, she wandered in a labyrinth of sorrow for what seemed like a decade.
Synonyms: wilderness, jungle, forest; morass.

  1. (initial capital letter) Classical Mythology. a vast maze built in Crete by Daedalus, at the command of King Minos, to house the Minotaur.
  1. Anatomy.
    the internal ear, consisting of a bony portion (bony labyrinth) and a membranous portion (membranous labyrinth)
    the aggregate of air chambers in the ethmoid bone, between the eye and the upper part of the nose.
  1. a mazelike pattern inlaid in the pavement of a church.

A labyrinth is a maze and a maze is a labyrinth unless it has David Bowie and then it’s just awesome.


This “hack” has a lot of potential for cannabis dispensaries in places where they are legal but highly restricted by zoning. Unfortunately, many cities in CA have “crow flies” zoning laws that prevent a dispensary from opening up withing 500 or 1000 linear feet from a school, for instance, even if there’s a highway between the school and the potential site. But if they specify “walking” distance then a labyrinth might be just the thing.*

  • Assuming those stoners can figure out how to get through the labyrinth, ba dum bum. There, I said it, so you don’t have to.

You live to give.


Just as well. Otherwise it would only be a matter of time before some convicted sex offender realized he could buy a house across the street from an elementary school as long as he put a fun-looking labyrinth in the front yard.