Bernie Block: Who’s The Best

Do you know the best-selling copyrighted book series of all time and the one most frequently stolen from public libraries in the United States?

I thought you said the “Bible.”

Wrong !

It is a reference book published annually containing a collection of world records, both human achievements and the extremes of the natural world; and the book holds the above records all by itself.

Yep, it’s “The Guinness Book of Records.” Formerly called “Guinness World Records,” and in previous U.S. editions as “The Guinness Book of World Records.” The book has become the primary international authority on the cataloging and verification of a huge number of world records.

How was it conceived? From history reported in Wikipedia, on May 4, 1951, Sir Hugh Beaver, then the managing director of the Guinness Breweries, went on a shooting party and became involved in an argument over which was the fastest game bird in Europe, the koshin golden plover or the grouse…and he realized it was impossible to confirm in reference books whether or not which bird was the correct answer.

Student twins Norris and Ross McWhirter, who had been running a fact-finding agency in London, were hired to compile what became The “Guinness Book of Records” in August 1954, with 1,000 copies printed and given out as part of a marketing give-away plan.

The first edition, published August 27, was 197 pages and went to the top of the British bestseller list by Christmas. The following year it was launched in the U.S., and it sold 70,000 copies.

Various companies owned the publication until it was finally bought by Jim Pattison Group in 2006, which is also the parent company of Ripley Entertainment.

So now there was a reference book that focused on record feats by human competitors. Such obvious things as weight-lifting to the longest egg-tossing distance, or for the longest time spent playing Grand Theft Auto IV, or the number of hot dogs that can be consumed in ten minutes, are (or were but not listed anymore) in the book.
Besides records about competitions, it contains such facts as the heaviest tumor, the most poisonous plant, the shortest river, the longest-running dramas, and lots more. Many records relate to the youngest person to visit all nations of the world: all listings must be on something that will be repeated.

Every so-called record is not accepted. The list of records is constantly changing; records may be added and also removed for various reasons. The public is invited to submit applications for records, which can be either the bettering of existing records or substantial achievements which could constitute a new record.

In fact, on December 2010, the publication discontinued its new “dreadlock” category after investigation of its first and only female title holder, Asha Mandela, determining it was impossible to judge this record accurately.
The 2015 edition had an estimated 4,000 records, and countless facts. One fact is that at least 75% of the content is brand new, i.e., a record has been broken or a new category added. There are around 1,000 photographs including new exclusive images.

The record book is about to get a new listing. I have been sitting in my bathtub full of water for the past six months because of an illness I have. The doctor said a week in the water would be good for me. After a week, I felt much better, so I decided to stay a little longer. My wife didn’t like the idea, but I said eventually I would stay in the bathtub long enough to get into the World Book of Records.

Will I make it?

Get the next edition and find out… I’m not telling!!!
————————————————————————————————————————— Report
Memory changes; Withdraw from usual activities; Disorientation to time or place; Visual-spatial difficulties; Decrease in written or verbal communication ability; Challenges in problem-solving and planning; Personality and mood changes; Misplacing items frequently; Decline in judgment; Difficulty performing familiar tasks–
ONE LINE SENIOR JOKES: I’m the life of the party…even when it lasts to 8pm!

Bernie is a real person who resides in one of our Brookdale communities. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Brookdale Senior Living.

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