My Holy Book; Isla’s Religious Experience

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Due to our aforementioned shelf cleaning, we came across our 2000 edition of the Guinness Book.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Guinness Book – a book so famous, it has earned it’s own spot within the book – but let me give you my brief history with the book.

In the fall of 1987, I was once again given a book order form from school. I always enjoyed browsing through the books for sale and, on this particular occasion, I opted to purchase the Guinness Book.

When it arrived a couple of weeks later, I couldn’t put it down. I carried it with me to friends’ homes, and I brought it to school to read whenever I had the opportunity. After a month or so, my teacher couldn’t believe that the book on my desk was the same one he had just handed me weeks earlier – it was already so worn and tattered.

I absolutely loved reading about all the records. Though it was 800+ pages, I read it several times, each time astounded at the extreme nature of the records. I mean, I knew the extremes between the largest and smallest nations, and between the largest and smallest planets, but I had no idea that someone was ever that tall, or that someone had held their breath that long, or eaten that many bananas in a minute.

Of course, while Jupiter may be secure in its place as the largest planet in our solar system, other records change quickly. In fact, the final 12 pages of the book contained new and updated records that the editors had to insert last-minute before publishing.

So, of course, I bought 1988’s edition. And 1989’s. My mom bought me a full-color splashy edition in 1991, and I even bought a copy for my girlfriend in 1995 (it worked, too – she married me).

Then, in the summer 0f 2004, while walking around our neighborhood, Jennifer and I stopped at a garage sale. There, she noticed the 2000 “millennium edition” of the Guinness Book. It was only a buck, so I bought it.

But it was different than the others. There seemed to be less information in my favorite sections (science, human extremes, government), and lots of superfluous ‘records’ in other areas, such as in sports and music. Some pages were taken up almost entirely by large photos of sexy famous people, and – I swear – some of the records seemed tailor made just to fit in certain facts.

For example, one ‘record’ was “Highest paid action star to become governor.” Um…is there even any competition there besides Schwarzeneggar (I suppose Venture)? Let’s face it, that ‘record’ was just an excuse to show the Governator. Another record was something like “Highest sales for a single written and performed by a female under 20 years old,” an obvious ploy to find a way to shoehorn in a photo of Britney Spears. I could go on.


A quick look at Wikipedia shows that Norris McWhirter was ousted from the book he started and grew into an empire, and the copyright has changed hands from the esteemed beer brewery to stupid entertainment conglomerates.

Wikipedia says:

The group was owned by Guinness Brewery and subsequently Diageo until 2001, when it was purchased by Gullane Entertainment. Gullane was itself purchased by HiT Entertainment in 2002. In 2006, Apax Partners purchased HiT and subsequently sold Guinness World Records in early 2008 to the Jim Pattison Group, which is also the parent company of Ripley Entertainment, which is licensed to operate Guinness World Records’ Attractions. With offices in New York City and Tokyo, Guinness World Records global headquarters remain in London, while its museum attractions are based at Ripley headquarters in Orlando, Florida.

(There are no references here, so take this info lightly, though it does jive with what I’ve observed.)

Essentially, then, The Guinness Book is dead. Newer versions are just glorified celebrity magazines, and older versions are out of date – easily a third of the records from my 1987 edition are no longer current.

RIP Guinness – and thanks for the memories…

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Here’s is a video of Isla having a religious experience: CLICK THIS!

We’re not sure what it is about Owen’s mobile, but she gets excited as soon as she sees it. It’s true, if she’s drowsily resting on my shoulder, and I walk into Owen’s room, she perks right up and practically starts hyperventilating as she looks at the mobile.

Also – take a look at the videos YouTube suggests you might like (the column on the right). What a riot.

And here’s another video we uploaded today: NOW CLICK THIS!

Isla has figured out how to play peek-a-boo without any help from anyone else. This is quite funny, as she will be quietly playing on the floor and suddenly decide to roll over and grab a nearby blanket/bib/burp rag and haphazardly drape it over her face. She then starts waving her arms frantically as she slips into a slight panic attack. The first time she did this, we ran to her aid immediately and pulled the cloth off her face. But she just began smiling – almost to the point of laughing – and repeated the process. It appears she has figured out that the adrenaline rush of panic (from having her face covered) is worth the pay-off of playing peek-a-boo.

She’s gonna love roller coasters.

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