Guinness reviewed

Guinness World Records 2010

After picking up my discounted copy at Kmart during the hysterical post-Christmas sales, I felt a welcome adrenalin rush. Tell me – how many books come with a warning?

“Attempting to break records or set new records can be dangerous,” I’m informed. “Appropriate advice should be taken first and all record attempts are undertaken at the participant’s risk.”

What’s so amazing about the Guinness World Records 2010 edition? For hair-raising facts the text is a screamer – and the book of the decade according to, well, the Guinness World Records 2010. (Fact: “124 million: copies sold, to date, of Guinness World Records – making it the world’s best-selling copyright book.”)

But what I respect is the marketing because – in my view – it breaks the world record for kitsch. Really. Who doesn’t appreciate a genuinely loud-green cover with silver Microgramma typeface, from the 1950s?

Inside there’s plenty of good news too:

Countess Elizabeth Báthory’s 399-year-old record still stands. She was the world’s most prolific murderess. Apparently, the Hungarian monster killed 600 virgins.

Lucia Xarate (1863-89) still holds her “lightest person” record in death. At 17, the emaciated ateleiotic dwarf weighed a pitiful 2.13 kg (4.7 lb), and Miranda Kerr can jealously cry if she wants to.

Conservatives – especially Southerners – will be happy to learn that, after taking inflation into account, 1939’s politically incorrect Gone with the Wind is still the top-grossing movie ever.

 More importantly, pro-life Sarah Palin wins the most-searched-for person beating pro-abortion Barack Obama, for the top spot. As I type, her book sales are breaking new records.

I also congratulate Jay Sloot. The Australian’s tongue measured 7.9cm (3.1 in), the widest on record.

“The greatest reliable age recorded for a dog is 29 years 5 months [1910-1939] for an Australian cattle-dog named Bluey, owned by Les Hall of Rochester, Victoria, Australia.” He was not a redhead.

Most hilariously, though, the American Chihuahua, Heaven Sent Brandy, wins the smallest living dog (by length) category: 15.2 cm (6 in). I imagine she’s a tyrannical housebound princess.

Of course, nothing beats Lutheran pastor Reverend Fast of Canada for sheer manpower, because, after all, who can honestly move a heavy vehicle near a level 100-ft (30.48-m) course? The Samson-like figure “pulled a truck weighing 57,243 kg (126,200 lb) over that distance,” and wears a huge heavy-metal cross.

Beating Hitler’s record (my guess) Austria’s butch Oliver Gratzer (religion unknown) took the art of domestic-appliance-throwing too far, however. He tossed 24 different household appliances in one minute. Apparently, it felt very therapeutic.

Australia’s Bill Lyndon though is my hero for managing to toss a washing-machine the farthest. Weight: 45.3 kg (99 lb). Distance: 3.36 m (11ft 0.24 in). It’s a massive win for the men’s movement.

And the heaviest weight pulled with eye sockets? Why Chayne Hultgren of Australia. I’m guessing that our punk works hard at keeping his lacrimal bones (underneath his eyes) in good shape. In so doing, Hultgren revealed yet another use for fishhooks by pulling 411.65 kg (907 lb).

Also, Britain’s precocious schoolboys can legitimately boast that, Paul Hunn (UK) burped the loudest, on 24 September, 2008.

As for the media’s designated religion of peace, left-wingers will be ecstatic to learn that Maged Elmalke of Saudi Arabia peacefully held 22 scorpions in his mouth (for at least 10 seconds). Still, as a devout Muslim, his lips will never – never! – touch an infidel’s pork sausage. Or Tim Blair.

On a related note, the largest-reward for counter-terrorism goes to…Osama bin Laden (also of Saudi Arabia). Translation: $50 million for the dark one. Dead or alive.

Certainly Australia isn’t a major polluter. But black-armband environmentalists are vain creatures who picture Mother Earth with a calculator. Some even make the preposterous claim that we’re the worst per person polluters. Which begs the question: Who are the largest producers of carbon dioxide per capita?

Turns out, “Citizens of Qatar were responsible for the emissions of 51.17 tonnes (56.40 tons) of carbon dioxide per person in 2004.”

New Zealand’s record breakers, though, will infuriate the meteorologist/geologist/physicist Cate Blanchett. “The record for filling a 508-kg (0.5-ton) hopper with coal using a banjo shovel by a team of two is 14.8 seconds” thanks to Kiwis Brian Coghlan and Piet Groot.  

Alas. Not all hair-raising records are without controversy. So, the statement, “A NASA report from January 2008 reveals that 2005 was the planet’s warmest year on record,” is likely to be challenged.

As will this: “The report also revealed that Earth’s 14 warmest years have all occurred since 1990.”

Even after ignoring thousands of before-the-record years, one revised list of recorded hottest years places 1934 at number one, followed by 1998, 1921, 1931, 2006, 1999, 1953, 1990, 1938 and 1939.

With more scientifically-sound evidence though, the Guinness World Records 2010 states: “The Dutch are the world’s tallest citizens, with the average male measuring 184 cm (6ft) tall.”

Furthermore: “Studies show that by 2012, Dutch men will average 186cm (6ft 1 in) and Dutch women 172 cm (5 ft 7 in).” I blame my Oma’s soups, early nights, and Holland’s penchant for extra-creamy dairy products. Or cheese-centric towns like Edam and Gouda.

And speaking of tall Europeans, Sean Connery (6ft 2ish) and Roger Moore (6ft 1ish) remain equal first for “most appearances as James Bond.”

But for completely desperate lovers of titillatingly trivia (aka “most milk extracted from a cow”), Germany’s Gunther Wahl bravely squeezed 2 litres.

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