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PROBE: Oct. 2, 2001

October 02, 2001

NO CLONING ALLOWED — While I was looking for the old code that permits a bar owner to eject an unruly customer, I found some interesting state laws you may pass on to your readers. Since I am a veteran, it was comforting to know if I need extra income, I can become a peddler without paying a license fee. That's covered in section 16001.5 of the California code.

You are protected because 16004 means the Imperial Valley Press can't clone you and put you out of work. Section (a) says a violation of section 24185 of the Health and Safety code relating to human cloning will result in the loss of the firm's business license. — Protector, Seeley

Good. Ever since this cloning issue came up, we've been sweating over the specter of having to compete with us, even a very young us.

We know IVP is not going to take a chance on losing its business license even for the opportunity to have two PROBE writers.

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Let's go into the peddling issue. The law says any veteran living in California who served before Feb. 1, 1955, and after Aug. 5, 1964, and is physically unable to do manual labor may distribute flyers or sell or peddle any product owned by him except intoxicating liquors, without paying a city, county or state license fees.

You may notice those dates cover veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf.

THE WATERED WHISKEY — I was a bartender for 17 years. The term "86" for dealing with unruly bar customers originated in the Old West.

Westerners preferred strong booze. In those days 100 proof whiskey was 50 percent alcohol and 50 percent water. That's strong.

When a customer got too rowdy the bartender would switch him to "86 proof" or the watered-down whiskey. The wayward drunk could keep tossing ‘em down but he would be swilling lighter stuff. — Retired Bartender, Imperial

In Mexico the drunks suspected alcohol purveyors watered the mescal. That's how the tradition of putting a worm in the bottle evolved.

The worm is a test of the liquor's quality. Good tequila will preserve the worm. In watered tequila, the worm will fall apart.

ANOTHER 86 STORY — A lot of people know the answer to why bartenders invoke the number 86 when they cut off a drinker or eject him from the bar. They won't tell you and you won't find it in the dictionary. The 8 and the 6 stand for male genitalia. — Drinker, Voice Mail

Thank goodness. It wasn't easy cleaning up your description.

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