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May 30, 2024 51 mins

If you grew up in the 70s and 80s in America, you probably have the image of your tattered Guinness Book of Records. The book was ubiquitous then, but is still thriving today in despite the internet. 

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
Welcome to Stuff you Should Know, a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:11):
Hey, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh. There's Chuck
Jerry's here too, and that makes this Stuff you Should Know,
which holds the record for the longest running podcast in
the history of the world as far as I know.

Speaker 1 (00:24):
Hey, buddy, before we get going, I wanted to mention
with your permission, of course, Granted, I was recently a
guest on a very awesome podcast. We don't guess on
a lot of shows much anymore, but actor Paul Giamatti
has a podcast with his buddy, who is a philosophy
professor named Steven Asthma. It's called Chin Wag, and I

(00:45):
saw these guys live at sketch Fest and it was great,
and I think Stuff you Should Know people will really
not only enjoyed my guest appearance, but really love Chin Wag.

Speaker 2 (00:55):
Yeah, from what you told me, it sounds pretty awesome.
I haven't listened quite yet, but I think I'm going
to make my first episode your episode.

Speaker 1 (01:02):
It's great. I appreciate that, and you should get on it.
I told you that, I'm sure they'd love to have you.
But Steven is super smart and mister Paul Giamatti is
amazingly smart and just a really well read, cool guy.
And the title says it all. A chin Wag is
just sort of a free flowing chat, and that's what
it is. We you know, the idea was that we're

(01:24):
going to talk about the Silurian hypothesis, which they didn't
know about yet, and we had just done a thing
on so I was like, what a great opportunity. But
we ended up talking about nuclear semiotics and the anti CAA,
THEEA mechanism, and ghost and religion and monkey intercourse and
it's just a really cool talk and I think stuff

(01:44):
you should know. People would really dig it. So it's
out now at the chin Wag.

Speaker 2 (01:49):
Nice Chuck, congrats. I can't wait to listen.

Speaker 1 (01:52):
All right, thanks man, And you should be on. Should
we get on with the show?

Speaker 2 (01:56):
H yeah, let's.

Speaker 1 (01:58):
Well, you know what we get to do now in
our our typical two episode percession way that is stuff
you should know, is we get to wash the stank
of Unit seven thirty one off of us talking about
a very fun thing, which is the Guinness Book of
World's Records or the Guinness World Records. I feel like

(02:21):
when I was a kid, it was called the Guinness
Book of World Records in the United States. I imagine
that we are similar and that you probably had a
copy of this in your house. No, oh, you didn't.

Speaker 2 (02:33):
No, we weren't all Lotti dah. I had to get
from the school library.

Speaker 1 (02:38):
We had a copy of the Guinness Book. I think
it probably got it as like a Christmas skipt one
year and.

Speaker 2 (02:43):
Lifted it from his school library. He brought it.

Speaker 1 (02:46):
Oh, he may have property of red in elementary school.
So I remember very distinctly, though, pouring through this thing
as a kid, and just like it was such a
big book. It was so thick, and the type was
so small, and the pictures weren't great, but like I
just like I poured over every page of this thing

(03:09):
like it was my Bible or something. I was so
into it. I thought it was so cool. Like this
may have been my uncle John's bathroom reader for you.

Speaker 2 (03:18):
Uh no, I yeah, okay, I got ye both. No no, no,
Uncle John's bathroom Reader definitely trumped it, for sure, But
at the I was still very much a fan of
the Guinness Book of World Records for sure.

Speaker 1 (03:30):
Do you remember some of those pictures from the classic edition.

Speaker 2 (03:34):
Oh yeah, the guy with the longest fingernails also had
a really long beard if I remember correctly. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (03:40):
And the two guys, those two heavy twins on the motorbikes.

Speaker 2 (03:44):
Yeah, I think the McCrary brothers.

Speaker 1 (03:46):
Yeah, the tall guy, that big giant, tall guy tall
and the tall lady.

Speaker 2 (03:53):
Oh yeah, that's right. I forgot about them. Yeah, that's crazy.
We both grew up on the same pictures and they
helped shape us that neat.

Speaker 1 (04:00):
Yeah, I mean, they're just burned into my brain. I
don't remember some of the names. I want to say
that guy's name was Robert Wadlow, But that's just literally
digging out from my, you know, nine year old lizard brain.

Speaker 2 (04:11):
That would be pretty impressive if you just did that.

Speaker 1 (04:13):
Will you pull the brothers out of your keyster?

Speaker 2 (04:16):
I looked him up. Okay, I'm not walking around with
their name in my head. Unfortunately, I'm not that good anyway.

Speaker 1 (04:24):
That's what we're talking about, is this this great book
that is still going strong at about a million copies
a year, And we're going to talk about all about
the Guinness Book right now.

Speaker 2 (04:33):
Yeah. Let's but before we do, Chuck, let's give a
shout out to listener Mallory Stafford, who's the one who
suggested that we do an episode on the Guinness Book
of World Records. So thanks a lot, Mallory. Yeah, okay,
So yes, let's go back, Chuck, way back to the
nineteen forties, technically nineteen fifty, but we'll check in in
nineteen forty five with a guy named Sir Hugh Beaver.

(04:56):
This excuse me, Sir Hugh Beaver. Oh okay, and this
was before he was a knight. I believe he was knighted,
probably because of his work with the Guinness Book of
World Records. That has to be guessing here at this point,
but I think it's pretty safe bet, although completely superfluous
and an unnecessary one. But he ended up going to

(05:17):
work for Guinness and Son, the beer company. So if
you've ever wondered if the Guinness Book of World Records
is actually connected to the Guinness Beer Company, my friend, yes,
they absolutely are. The guy who was the managing director
of Guinness Son and Company Limited, the Guinness Beer Company,

(05:37):
was also the guy responsible for coming up with the
Guinness Book of World Records.

Speaker 1 (05:42):
That's right, It was a Guinness product in fact, and
we'll get to all that. But that to me is
right out of the gate. You got one of the
facts of the podcast. If people, next time you're in
a bar and someone draws up a Guinness, just say, hey,
you know the Guinness Book of World Record is started
out because of the Guinness beer. And if they say no,
you just smash their face on the bar, dump that

(06:05):
Guinness all over their head.

Speaker 2 (06:08):
Knowing me, in my luck, I would say that and
they'd be like, oh really, you won't think everybody know that? Right,
That's what I would be met with, and then I'd
smash their face on the bar.

Speaker 1 (06:17):
Right. So there's a pretty good story here that kind
of is the seed of this whole idea, and it
goes as follows. In nineteen fifty, as you promised, Sir
Hugh Beaver was hunting with some friends in Ireland and
missed a shot and boy just seemed to really get

(06:38):
at this guy. He missed a shot of a golden
plover or plover bird and was like, hey, did you
see that? How fast that thing was? Like, nobody could
shoot that thing. That's got to be the fastest game
bird in Europe. And they were like, ah, you kidding me,
that thing's not that fast. There's no way you just
miss franquilizers. Yeah, you just missed the shot. My friend,

(06:59):
that's not the fastest game bird. And he was like, oh,
I got to find an answer to this, and he
could not find it in a reference book. So I said,
this really bothered the guy. And this is how I
know is that four years later he's still thinking about
missing that shot and he's like, oh, you know what

(07:20):
we need as a book that says stuff like this.

Speaker 2 (07:23):
Yeah, that was the origin of the Guinness Book of
World Records. That missed shot, that golden plover that lived.
Had it not lived, maybe this whole thing would have
never happened.

Speaker 1 (07:34):
Seriously, had he shot that bird, we may not have
gotten those twins on the motorbike.

Speaker 2 (07:38):
No, and it's a good thing that that golden plover
lived for a couple of reasons, not the least of
which is that the golden plover got to live, but
because it stuck with Sir Hugh Beaver for so long,
for four years that he finally was like it morphed.
I can't imagine how many times he chewed it over
before it finally became the idea for a book that

(08:00):
actually has facts like what's the fastest game bird in
all of Europe? And so he went to the people
that he worked for at Guinness as the managing director
is like, I got this great idea. We can put
together a book of facts that can settle the kind
of like arguments and disputes that arise at a pub,
and we'll give them as free Guinness giveaways at pubs.

(08:22):
And we're even gonna make the cover waterproof so that
if you still beer on it, so it'll be fine.
Every pub in all of England's going to have one
of these things, and anytime there's an argument at a pub,
they're going to pull this thing out. That was the
original idea for the Guinness Book of World Records, and
it's a genius.

Speaker 1 (08:38):
Idea, yeah, and just fun, Like I just love the
whole spirit behind it. That very first version has a
forward that said that the hope was that it could
resolve arguments and turn heat into light. So you know,
just the very idea of the pub argument is just
sort of fun to think about. I think, period for sure.
And now you have an actual water proof covered book

(09:01):
that they're given out with that Guinness name on it
is pretty pretty brilliant.

Speaker 2 (09:05):
Yeah. So Hugh Beaver, though, was like, Hugh Beaver, Okay,
there's different ways to say it. Hugh Beaver. Sure, I
mean I know what you're getting at. I'm just being playful.

Speaker 1 (09:18):
I'm not getting at anything, buddy. Oh you face on
the bar.

Speaker 2 (09:23):
So Hugh Beaver, I said. Hugh Beaver, by the way, okay,
he was not one to go around and like make books.
He was kind of like an idea guy rather than
a book making guy. So he turned to two guys
who were this was just right up their alley. They
were identical twins named Norris and Ross McWhorter, and they
ran an agency that essentially was a fact checking and

(09:44):
fact providing well agency for newspapers and things like that,
media outlets.

Speaker 1 (09:51):
Like fun stuff though if.

Speaker 2 (09:52):
They yeah, but it was also I think if you
had a fact you wanted to confirm, you'd call them
and they would turn to their encyclopedias and be like,
h yes, off the top of my head, I know
that that's correct, right, That's what the mcquarters did. And
so it was a great idea to reach out to
these guys and be like, hey, what if you take
your entire profession and make it a book, but just

(10:13):
select the most interesting stuff and put it into a book.
And that's what we're going to make. And they said,
let's do it.

Speaker 1 (10:19):
That's right. They formed their own company based in London
called Guinness Superlatives, and they spent about four months with
just the sort of sourcing of what would go in
the book. It took about a year to get the
book the first to dish out, but they spent about
four months just sending you know, this is nineteen fifty four,

(10:39):
so they're sending letters to experts. They're sending letters to
people all over the world saying, you know, what's the
biggest thing, what's the smallest, this, what's the fastest that?
Just like thousands and thousands of juries. And they were
pretty serious, you know, they wanted this to be a legitimate,
like factual book. So they were from the from the get.

(11:00):
They were very fastidious in their research, and they found
that even experts sometimes it would either get things wrong
or exaggerate stuff. What Lvia found this great thing. She
put together a really good bass article for this one,
and she said one of the things that they found
was one expert said that there was a fly that

(11:21):
broke the speed of sound that flew at eight hundred
and twenty miles per hour. So they were like, all right,
we have to do more work, even though we're getting
in touch with experts.

Speaker 2 (11:29):
Yeah, that was all the way back in nineteen twenty six.
So for decades people have been walking around thinking that
that fly, that there was a fly that could do that.
Did these guys wind right? These guys were the kind
who would just come along and be like, that's not true. So,
like the Guinness Book of World Records, Long had and
starting out of the gate, Long had this reputation for

(11:50):
like being just accurate and correct, Like they really did
their research and they really double checked, and the people
that they were siting and polling and going to were
experts in their field, and not even crackpot experts in
their field.

Speaker 1 (12:04):
Like the fly guy, the fly Jeff Goldlum, No.

Speaker 2 (12:09):
The guy who said the expert who said that the
deer bot fly could fly faster than the speed of sound.
I was kidding, you know, Oh, I thought you'd forgotten already.

Speaker 1 (12:19):
No, no, no, or maybe it was Jeff goldlum For
all we know, it could have been. So in August
August twenty seventh, in fact. Nineteen fifty five, the very
first edition came out. It was titled Guinness Book of Records,
close to two hundred pages, one hundred and ninety eight
pages that had about initially four thousand just factual entries,

(12:41):
and then just a collection not too many, but about
eighteen pages of some photographs, black and white pictures, a
few pen and ink drawings, and it was pretty successful.
They were like, let's print fifty thousand of these, give
them out at pubs. But they realized very very quickly.
I mean it came out August twenty seven. Then they
were like, we can actually sell these things. So they

(13:03):
started selling that fall, just a couple of months later,
and by Christmas had sold one hundred and eighty seven
thousand of these.

Speaker 2 (13:11):
Yeah. Supposedly, since then it's sold about one hundred and
fifty million copies worldwide. Wow, which is just astronomical. That's
just such a crazy amount of books and just out
of the gate, like they clearly tapped into something that
people love. People love that kind of thing. They created
the internet and book form before anyone even thought of
the internet or computers.

Speaker 1 (13:31):
Yeah, yeah, totally.

Speaker 2 (13:33):
So they were like, well, this is great, let's start
churning out more and more of these, and they started
putting out the first American edition that came out the
next year, country specific editions and the years that followed.
And even while they were doing this, even while they
were cranking these things out, the mcquorters were like, we're
not going to sacrifice accuracy or factualness, like that is

(13:58):
like the pinnacle of what we're doing has to be accurate,
and yeah, it can be super interesting, but also we
need to kind of keep it family friendly. And there
was a famous quote from Norris, who was apparently like
the heart and soul of the book Norris was. He
said that ours is the kind of book maiden aunts
give to their nieces, basically saying like, we can't have

(14:21):
smut in there. Probably the word that Norris would have
used with smut.

Speaker 1 (14:24):
Yeah, like us, you know, with I mean they were
g rated. We're probably PG.

Speaker 2 (14:30):
Oh yeah, sometimes PG thirteen.

Speaker 1 (14:32):
Frankly, yeah, I mean, we are the kind of guys
that'll sit around and make jokes about Sir Hugh Beaver.
So while they're researching, they do finally, and this is
just a side note, they get to the bottom of
this fastest European game bird that plover was sixty two
miles an hour, and apparently the spur wing Goose is
eighty eight. But now apparently on the website there's a

(14:55):
red breasted Merganzer that can go I guess that's ninety
one miles hour.

Speaker 2 (15:00):
No, I think that the spur wing Goose's record of
eighty eight is so thoroughly debated that they can't say
for certain that it's the fastest European game bird, the
one that Yeah, that's what I've gotten from it. Okay,
So there's like a horrible twist to all this. Yeah,
suddenly that happened well twenty five years after the first

(15:22):
book came out, Like they've been churning out editions every year,
multiple editions a year, and so in the midst of
all this, Ross and Norris are just still doing their job,
but they've gotten kind of wealthy along the way. And
apparently Ross was not very happy that the IRA was
bombing places in Britain, in England in particular, and he

(15:45):
offered a fifty thousand pound reward. This is back in
nineteen seventy five. I didn't do the conversion. So let's
just say I could buy you a lot of Big
Macs today a fifty thousand pound reward for any information
that would help convict IRA bombers. And I guess he
thought that this was going to be effective, and it
was not at all effective. It actually turned out to

(16:07):
be a terrible move for him.

Speaker 1 (16:09):
Yeah. Ross was a fairly controversial political activist in addition
to his job, and the IRA did not cot into that.
So on November twenty seventh of nineteen seventy five, Harry
Duggan and Hugh Doherty of the Balcom Street Gang shot
him point blank in the head and chest with a

(16:29):
three fifty seven outside of his house and killed him dead.
And so Ross was what was gone, and I'm sure
Norris was devastated, but kept on as the editor. Norris
did until nineteen eighty six and then for another decade
as an advisor to the project.

Speaker 2 (16:50):
Yes, eventually, Guinness the Beer Company was like, this has
been a pretty good run. We've been doing this for
over half a century now, and they eventually sold the
Guinness World Records gw R is what it's usually referred
to to. Another company, a company called Gulane, which was
a production company for children's television shows including Thomas the

(17:14):
tank engine, and I guess the head of Gulaane sobered
up a couple of days later and was like, what
am I going to do with this? And ended up
selling it to the Jim Pattison Group, which is owned
by a Canadian billionaire named Jim Pattison and bears more
than a small resemblance to the shinehart Wig Company, and
that they have their hands in like everything they owned Peterbilt,

(17:37):
they owned the Great Wolf Lodges, they own Associated Grossers,
they own everything, including the Guinness Book of World Records
as well as Ripley Entertainment, and so over time they've
kind of added to what the Guinness World Records does.
It's the reason one of the reasons why you don't
say the Guinness Book of World Records is because they've
definitely expanded beyond the book.

Speaker 1 (18:00):
Now, Yeah, I think Ripley sort of laid the mold,
as in having like a Ripley Museum of Curiosity is
that kind of thing. There are now Guinness Museums and
stuff like that, and it's kind of become an attraction
here in different cities. I don't I know, I've never
been to one. I'm trying to think where I've even
seen one. Maybe maybe Hollywood has one. I don't know

(18:23):
they've got they've got a ripley. But yeah, they've become
a part part tourist attraction as well, and maybe that's
a good place to break.

Speaker 2 (18:32):
Oh yeah, let's do that.

Speaker 1 (18:34):
Yeah, we can find out where one of these is
and we'll go and then we'll come back.

Speaker 2 (18:37):
Okay, Chuck, that was a fantastic road trip. I've never

(19:08):
drank so much coke zero in my entire life.

Speaker 1 (19:11):
Oh man, I've been drinking Guinness. Glad you were driving.

Speaker 2 (19:14):
I know I've been driving. Well anyway, getting back to
Guinness the World Records, not all the beer you've been
drinking on our road trip. They are even though they're
owned by the Jim Pattison Group, they still are their
own company doing their own thing. And they're headquartered in London,
but they also have offices in Dubai, Tokyo, New York, Beijing,
and there's like four hundred people that work for Guinness

(19:36):
World Records around the world.

Speaker 1 (19:39):
Yeah, amazing on the book. Just you know, let's go
to the stats. You mentioned over one hundred and fifty
million total copies I believe I said, still about a
million a year. It's been translated into forty different languages.
When you open up one of those books, you're going
to find a couple of different things. Well you'll find
tons of things, but kind of a couple of different categories.

(20:01):
One is all that stuff we were talking about, like
the fastest bird, the tallest this or that, like the
tallest skyscraper, just sort of things that have hit a superlative.
You're also going to find a lot of firsts, like
the first person to do this, the first person to
complete this. And then you're going to find a bunch
of kind of goofy fun records, which is the whole

(20:25):
category where people are like, I want to get in
that book, and so I can either break a record
that's in there, or I can think of my own,
like hula hooping or well, I'm sure that's in there,
but you know, the longest under underwater tea party. That's
probably in there for all I know, but I just
made that up. But stuff like.

Speaker 2 (20:45):
That, Yeah, no, that's I'm sure that's in there. I
know there's like the most number of magic tricks performed underwater,
like if it's to be done underwater, and the reason
that there are so many records because apparently tens of
thousands of people every single year. I think the number
that I saw back in two thousand and eight on

(21:07):
a Freakonomics interview with the current editor in chief, a
guy named Craig Glenday, he put it at about fifty
thousand applicants per year, people who are like, I'm I
either just I think I just did break a record,
or I'm going to attempt to break a record. So
let's go. Let's do this. Fifty thousand people a year.

(21:31):
Try to do that.

Speaker 1 (21:33):
I would. I wonder how many morning pictures of a
toilet they get every year where someone's like, I think
I just broke a record.

Speaker 2 (21:41):
No gross PG, that's PG.

Speaker 1 (21:46):
Yeah, But you know, I bet people do it. Fifty
thousand entries they're. What you do is so you apply
again to either break a record or create a new thing,
and you log. You get a you know, a log
into the system as an official applicant. When you are
part of that process, you can then search their own
private database. There is a public facing database, but the

(22:09):
real goal all the stuff is in that private database
where you can just look through all those records see
if there's anything you think you can break and then
look at all the guidelines and this is where apparently
about half the people drop out is when they see
like all the stuff that you have to do to
make it an official like legit submitted record.

Speaker 2 (22:31):
Yeah, because the guidelines can reach into the dozens of
pages sometimes, like they're so specific in detailed about what
constitutes a record, what specifically you have to do, a
lot about what you can't do. And I read an
interview with Craig glenday by Imaging west Nights in The Guardian.

(22:55):
If she doesn't sound like a Guardian writer, I don't
know who does. Yeah, but she she said that she
tried to break the record for standing on one leg blindfolded.
Apparently it's like thirty something minutes and she got to
like thirty seconds I think, on her three tries. But
she said that it had six pages of guidelines just that. Yes. Yeah,

(23:19):
So the more detail, the more intricate the actual record is,
the longer the guidelines are going to be. So, like
you said, about half the people are like nuts to this,
I don't care that much about this, and that really
kind of separates a lot of the posers out, which
you have left for the real deal record breaker people.

Speaker 1 (23:41):
I'm sure a lot of people are like, I probably
just have to click a thing and upload a video.

Speaker 2 (23:46):
I think a lot of people think that, Yeah.

Speaker 1 (23:48):
You know, yeah, not again, wrong, wrong, wrong.

Speaker 2 (23:52):
All right.

Speaker 1 (23:53):
So here's just a few things. If you want to
qualify for a title, a record has to be the following.
Has to be measurable easy. It has to be breakable
unless it's a quote significant first like first person to
do something. It has to be something that someone else
can try to do and break.

Speaker 2 (24:11):
Check.

Speaker 1 (24:12):
It has to be standardizable, which is anyone all over
the world could try and do this thing.

Speaker 2 (24:19):
I think that's great. That's very inclusive.

Speaker 1 (24:21):
Yeah, I like it too. It has to be verifiable, ibby.

Speaker 2 (24:24):
Like, you can't be the person with the most ghosts
haunting them.

Speaker 1 (24:28):
No, right, exactly, most haunted person. Right, this one is interesting.
It has to involve a single variable. So you could
be like the longest underwater tea party. But if there
is that record, you can't be like, well, I'm the
longest underwater tea party wearing it too too.

Speaker 2 (24:47):
Right, Yeah, for sure, they definitely. The guy explained in
that a Freakonomics interview that if you open it up
like that. It just it's gonna just grow exponentially in
it's just dumb. He's like, no underwater tea party, longest
underwater tea party, that's interesting. Who cares if you're wearing
A two two or not. Frankly, you should be wearing

(25:08):
a too two If you have an underwater tea party,
that should be you know, it should go without saying.

Speaker 1 (25:13):
Yeah. The last two things are it has to be universal,
so like, because they sell this book all over the world,
that has to be something that everyone can kind of
see and understand and enjoy. Very inclusive again, yeah, very
much inclusive. And then finally it has to be substantially
different than a current record.

Speaker 2 (25:31):
Yeah, which ties into that underwater tea party two two thing.

Speaker 1 (25:34):
Yeah a little bit.

Speaker 2 (25:35):
I think so about fifty thousand applications a year, like
we said, and I think something like every year two
thousand new records are added to the Guinness War Records database.
So say twenty five thousand give it a try, two
thousand are successful. That's what between five and ten percent

(25:58):
I think of attempts are successful. It's actually not too bad.
And this database just keeps growing and growing apparently, there's
like forty thousand records, and if you're trying to set
a record, you have access to all forty thousand because
you need to. But if you're just hanging out on
the website and just looking up stuff for fun, so
you can still see fifteen thousand different records, but only

(26:20):
four thousand records are put into the book every year,
and a lot of those are like classics, Like I
think at least half are like classic ones that have
been in there for years and years and years that
people just want to see that weren't necessarily broken in
the past year.

Speaker 1 (26:36):
Yeah, I tried to find new entries in the book
each year, and I couldn't find that number. But I
mean it's not a lot, so less than five percent
even get that world record. So out of fifty thousand people,
you have a very very slim chance of making it
in that book. If that's what you're and that's kind
of what everyone's goal is, you want to be in the.

Speaker 2 (26:55):
Book, you do, because that's the thing. Even if you
set a record, you're not necessarily going to be in
the book. Like you said, that's actually a slim You
have a slim chance of being in the book. Even
if you break a record, the thing you can definitely
be guaranteed to get is a certificate saying that you
are the official record holder and you'll be in that

(27:16):
giant database.

Speaker 1 (27:18):
Yeah. Should we tell the story of our our friend
and a guy who designed our.

Speaker 2 (27:22):
Website, the webmaster.

Speaker 1 (27:25):
Yeah, our buddy Brandon. I mean you should tell the
story because you understand more about this. I guess that
you knew that Brandon had briefly held againness record. Is
that right? And you emailed about it?

Speaker 2 (27:37):
Yes, he and a friend. So apparently Brandon was one
of those people who will kind of touch on later
on in the show. But he's one of those people
who just had like a lifelong ambition. It was on
his life list, as he put it, to break a
world record, to be a world record holder. So just
wanted to do it. Yeah, so he said he looked
into all sorts of different stuff. I think one of
them is like fastest moonwalk in one hundred meters, longest

(27:59):
distance travel like a bouncy ball, And he finally came
up with fastest four hundred meter piggyback ride. Okay, and
he and friend trained for that for a while. From
what I remember, and they finally did it. They broke
the record, and apparently the record he chose was just
randomly not the record he should have chosen, because they

(28:22):
had their record broken by somebody else so quickly that
he wasn't even able to get a certificate, so that
he got an email saying, like, you, actually your record
was broken, but for a very brief time, you were
the world record holder on the four hundred meter piggyback ride.
Oh man, I know, I know, but he's got that
to carry around with him. He was. He achieved his

(28:44):
life goal because I mean, think about it. He could
have trained for years and still never broken the record,
but he did.

Speaker 1 (28:51):
Do you know if he was the piggybacker or piggybacky.

Speaker 2 (28:55):
I believe he was the Well, which one's which one?

Speaker 1 (28:58):
I honestly don't know.

Speaker 2 (28:59):
Okay, So here's the guy carrying the piggy as far
as I remember.

Speaker 1 (29:03):
Okay, I think that would be the piggybacker. Oh no,
maybe the piggybacky.

Speaker 2 (29:09):
Yeah, I would say the piggybacky is probably what that
would be.

Speaker 1 (29:12):
Let's go to the polls, okay, all right, so we
talked a little bit about they what you have to
do to get a record or what qualifies they do
exclude here's here's what you can't do. You can't do
something that's dangerous to other people if you're a grown
adult and you want to try something you know reasonably dangerous,

(29:35):
like a skydive or something. I think Olivia found the
example of a Bonzie skydive. That's when I'd never heard
of this. That's when you throw your parachute out of
the plane. Then you jump out and you wait as
long as you can before like grabbing hold of this
thing and deploying it. So you can do something like

(29:55):
that if you're a grown adult and decide that you
want to undertake that danger. What you can't do is
put someone else in danger.

Speaker 2 (30:02):
Right, And there's some other stuff too that that they
they're like, we're not doing this anymore, like anything that
has to do with pets that involves that they could
be dangerous to them like they used to do like
the heaviest pet thing. And then they were like, you know,
just having a record out there constitutes a dare to

(30:24):
some people. Some things we shouldn't do, and encouraging people
to overfeed their pet so that they can become the
world record holders, as that's just one we should avoid
excessive eating for people as well, like humans as well.

Speaker 1 (30:38):
Yeah, for sure, what else anything involving drinking funny kind
of forgeinness, but they're like, yeah, I mean I get
the spirit, but you can't try and set the record
for you know, funneling Jack Daniels.

Speaker 2 (30:54):
Just maybe nauseated man.

Speaker 1 (30:57):
Anything illegal obviously is not allowed. And and anything involving
kids under sixteen that they deem unsuitable. If you're between
sixteen and eighteen and it is suitable, you have to
still have to have a parent or guardian sort of
sign up with you.

Speaker 2 (31:14):
Yeah. That. Craig Glenday, the editor in chief, is like,
you know, we actually don't trust parents to not give
their kids steroids to break someone's record, So we're just
not gonna do that at all. Some of the other ones,
they used to do longest kiss, but like you have
to keep kissing, and people would kiss for literally days
and it's just dangerous. Dance marathon, same thing. Yeah, and

(31:34):
then invasive surgery, Chuck. They used to have stuff for
invasive surgery, and now they're like people will actually go
get surgery just to be a record holder. So we
should stop stop doing that as well.

Speaker 1 (31:44):
Holy boy. All right, so let's take another break and
we'll talk about how these things are judged or you know,
kind of the oversight. I guess right after this sweat
shop stop. All right, so we promised talk of oversight.

(32:25):
Very exciting stuff. But you can't just willy nilly, send
in a video and say all right, I've done my job.
They employ what's what are called adjudicators either adjudicator that's right.
They're about ninety of them that travel all over the
world and in pre you know, sort of digital age.

(32:46):
This is the only way to do it. You would
have an adjudicator come to you.

Speaker 2 (32:51):
Uh.

Speaker 1 (32:51):
The adjudicators apparently have to. It's sort of like mission impossible.
You agree to you know, like hey, I got to
go to Singapore and then you find out what record
that you're agreeing to oversee, which is interesting. What else,
what's this business about a jacket?

Speaker 2 (33:10):
Oh well, you have to wear the officially approved outerwear,
a jacket that has like the Guinness World Records logo
on it. You also there's other rules too. You can't
socialize with the record attempters or there are people after
hours to be a very professional. Yeah, no fraightnization. You

(33:31):
can't eat or drink during the whole thing. Like you're
just meant to be an impartial business like professional. Yeah,
that's what your job is. No matter how wacky or nuts,
what the person is trying to do is you're taking
it seriously. They're trying to break a record. That's your
job as an adjudicator. And like you said, they travel

(33:52):
the world. Apparently there's a huge emphasis on speaking to
the media because that's a big role for Guinness World Record.
It's there a media company that's extraordinarily media savvy, so
they make sure that they're ninety adjudicators are savvy as well.

Speaker 1 (34:09):
Yeah, and you know, you go through about a week
of training and part of that is media training and
just simple stuff like how to work a measuring tape
or how to measure whatever you need to measure. You
mentioned that they have to take it seriously, even if
it's dumb. You also have to have the very you know,
your face with a very tough job of telling someone

(34:31):
sometimes a small child is trying to break a record
that they failed and that they didn't get it. So
you have to be able to break the news to
people in a in a way that I would assume
is has some compassion, a note of compassion, and then
sometimes you might be in a situation that you need
to get out of, like Glen Day was talking about this.

(34:52):
One adjudicator was or maybe Glen Day was, I think
it was him.

Speaker 2 (34:55):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (34:55):
Yeah, it's a Moscow or attempt to an attempt to
break the largest concrete pouring. The engineers learned that they
couldn't make it possible due to weather the weather conditions,
said they were going to try and fake it. So
he's there in Moscow. These guys are trying to fake
this thing, and the idea that they came up with

(35:16):
was which was officially sanctioned, and I guess this is
probably a rule, is like, hey, if you're in a
scary situation like that, just tell them they got the
record and get out of there and we'll revoke it
the next day.

Speaker 2 (35:29):
Yeah, that's what he did. He was worried about standing
on the edge of a massive hole with the kind
of people who would try to break a concrete pouring record. Yeah,
and be upset when you told them that they didn't
break the record. He's like, Nah, I'm just gonna go
ahead and say yes, congratulations, and then the next day
text them sorry after revoke it.

Speaker 1 (35:47):
Lol. Yeah, they come with that certificate frame certificate. If
they fail, they shred it. I was gonna say, right
in front of their face.

Speaker 2 (35:58):
I was gonna say, hopefully not in front of them.

Speaker 1 (36:01):
They shred it to make sure it's not stolen from somebody.

Speaker 2 (36:05):
They shred it and then they make the attempter eat
the shredded paper.

Speaker 1 (36:10):
This is marinera. But these days, you know, obviously, even
when ninety adjudicators there are fifty thousand entries, even if
half of those drop out, you still can't send these
people all over the world that much. So now in
the digital age, most of this stuff is remote, but
there are lots of strict rules and hoops you have

(36:31):
to jump through to prove that you're not faking. Again
just some video that you've deep faked or something.

Speaker 2 (36:39):
Yeah, I mean they take this quite seriously, like you
can't send a video that shows it and just that
like you just did it yourself. You set up a
camera on a tripod and you may very well have
broken the record, but that doesn't cut it. You have
to have actual live witnesses who are not family members
who are not even friends necessarily. There's a lot, Like

(37:03):
there's a lot, right, there's a lot you want to
do ahead of time to understand and make sure that
you're doing everything correctly, which is why they have those guidelines,
which again is why a lot of people drop out,
because they think, I just need to set up a
phone on like one of those right tabletop mounts and
you know, hula hoop for eighteen days in front of
it and then do that.

Speaker 1 (37:25):
Yeah, you can, though you know I mentioned the adjudicators
obviously can't go to that many places. It seems like
they're pretty much reserved these days for paid appearances. So
you can fast track. If you've got six thousand pounds
or almost seventy five hundred American US dollars, you can
fast track your record and get that adjudicator to come out.

(37:49):
It's a lot of money to drop on a world record,
but if you're into that, then you can spend that.

Speaker 2 (37:54):
My friend, you think that's a lot of money, Imagine
eleven thousand pounds to get an adjudicator to come out.
And what is that, Well, that is actually like a
separate wing of Guinness World Records GWR. Consultancy, and it's
a controversial new revenue stream, as the HR would put it,

(38:17):
where if you're a company, you're a brand again, as
HR would put it, you can go to GWR Consultancy
and say like, hey, I'm not getting a lot of
play on Instagram these days? How can I get my
brand out there in a really eye popping way? And
GWR Consultancy says, well, let's figure out a record you
can break that may or may not be tied to

(38:39):
your business, but either way, we're gonna make a big
deal out of it, and you will get some media
exposure even if you don't break the record, but you're
gonna have to pay us some money first. And everything
that they're doing is above the boards. It like when
you when the company tries to break the record of
supposedly like a quarter of them don't do it. Even
though this is like almost tailor are made for their company,

(39:01):
they still don't necessarily succeed and none of them make
it in the book. It's a money making side, but
they're still legitimately setting or breaking records.

Speaker 1 (39:12):
Yeah, I'm trying not to like knock it too much.
About half their revenue comes from that companies. You know,
companies need to make money, but it almost just feels like, hey,
if you want to pay for this official stamp, then
you can do.

Speaker 2 (39:28):
So, like the Better Business Bureau, like you can pay
to get a higher rating, yeah, which is like, well
what's the point of the Better Business Bureau. That doesn't
quite rise to that with Guinness World Records, because they're
still saying like, yes, they paid to get you know,
their thing fast tracked and getting adjudicator out there to
work with them about figuring it, like we worked with them,

(39:49):
but they're actually doing this actual thing and they may
or may not succeed, so it is legitimate. It is
very like I said, it's controversial and a lot of
people like you don't like it. They're there are some
that have been way more controversial than others. Guinness got
itself in a little bit of international hot water because
apparently Turkmenistan's dictator Gribon Ghuli Birdie Muhemenoff he I practiced

(40:16):
that so much, Chuck, and I still didn't get it
quite right. I'm gonna try to again. Gribon Guli Birded Muhemedov,
I think that's right. So I found his name from
John Yeah, John Oliver on last week tonight.

Speaker 1 (40:32):
Oh you didn't say it with the British accent, No,
And he's.

Speaker 2 (40:36):
Like, not to be confused with the gribon Guli Birdie
Muhamedov that you went to high school. This is the
dictator from Turkmenistan and the reason that he was apparently
a fan of the Guinness World Records and so we
started like ordering his country to start breaking records, and
Guinness worked with him and took a lot of heat

(40:58):
for it.

Speaker 1 (40:58):
Yeah, I mean this record is so one of the
ones that was successful was highest density of buildings with
white marble cladding.

Speaker 2 (41:07):
Yes, but he didn't have that already and then called Guinness.
He ordered that to be built in one of the
cities in turk Menistan so that he like that turk
Menistan could have this record. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (41:19):
Well, because of stuff like this, some of the old
guard is they used to work there isn't too thrilled
with the direction the company's taken. There's a woman named
Anna Nicholas who was the head of PR in the
eighties and nineties. In a Guardian interview that was just saying, like,
you know, they've kind of lost their way they're more
sensationalists too, sensationalists now and Norris McWhorter's own son, Alistair

(41:43):
said they've lost the intellectual integrity that the twins.

Speaker 2 (41:47):
Had as well as that love and feeling.

Speaker 1 (41:50):
That's right. Should we talk about some fun records.

Speaker 2 (41:54):
Let's but real quick. I just wanted to kind of
put a bow on that whole thing. What we're talking
about is the Guinness Book of World Records not just
surviving but actually thriving in the Internet age. And that
is just amazing in and of itself that it's not
just like some brand that's on like its last leg
or something like that. It still sells a million books

(42:15):
a year. It still makes like international news. They're very
media savvy, like they'll tie world records to you know,
international news, and all of a sudden they're in the
international news cycle like they're still around. And one of
the reasons why is because they still adhere to like
the principles that Norris and Ross created, which is like
it has to be correct, it has to be accurate,

(42:37):
it has to be factual, it has to be legitimate,
and they try to do that as much as possible.
I think some people are like they're playing way too
fast and loose for that to be to be the case. Still,
but there's still like they're still doing it, and I say,
hats off. I'm really glad that the Guinness World Records are.

Speaker 1 (42:54):
Still around, totally absolutely.

Speaker 2 (42:56):
Okay, now we can talk about some funny records.

Speaker 1 (42:58):
Okay, good, We'll talk fingernails, because we mentioned that early
that was one of the just sort of legendary pictures
from those early books was that Chinese priest didn't even
have a name on this guy who had those curly
those you know, long curly fingernails twenty two and three
quarters inches. Today, the woman who owns that record is

(43:22):
a woman named Diana Armstrong. I believe she's from Minnesota,
and her total fingernail length is over forty two feet
close to forty three forty two feet ten point four inches,
and she this is very sad, but she hasn't cut

(43:42):
her nails since nineteen ninety seven when her sixteen year
old daughter died from an asthma attack in her sleep,
and her daughter apparently loved her mom's fingernails, helped her
do her nails. So Diana Armstrong was like him, never
cutting these and if you wonder what forty two feet
fingernails looks like.

Speaker 2 (44:01):
It's astounding.

Speaker 1 (44:02):
Yeah, Like she's there's there's pictures where she's holding her
hand about shoulder height and the fingernails reach all the
way down to the floor like a cane, and they
are just astounding looking. I don't I don't know how
she gets anything done.

Speaker 2 (44:20):
Yeah, and we also we have to like give credit
to the previous record holder, a woman named Lee Redman
who held the record before Diana Armstrong. And who I
guess is like, Okay, we're gonna lose it to somebody else.
Like that's a pretty good person to lose it to.

Speaker 1 (44:35):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (44:37):
So what about Evil Kniebel? I remember we mentioned this
in the Evil Knievel two parter, which I still can't
believe we did.

Speaker 1 (44:45):
Yeah, broken bones by a human.

Speaker 2 (44:47):
Yeah, four hundred and thirty three, as the story goes, Yeah, no,
not all at once. There's a guy named George Kaminski
who was serving a life sentence in Pennsylvania, and apparently
the prison yards in Pennsylvania were full of four leaf clovers,
and for a little while, Kaminski held the largest collection

(45:08):
of four leaf clovers at just under seventy three thousand
four leaf clovers that he collected while in prison, and
then they moved him to a prison with fewer four
leaf clovers in the prison yard, and he suddenly was
quickly he lost his record.

Speaker 1 (45:26):
All right, I would like to mention Ashrita Furman, because
if you're wondering if someone wanted to hold like the
record for Guinness Records, then that of course has happened.
This is a dude in New York City. He has
the record for the most world records and he's been
doing this for forty years plus. He was a kid

(45:49):
just like us that was sort of obsessed with this book,
and in the late nineteen seventies was like, all right,
here's my deal. I want to get in that book
more than anyone else by doing stuff like jumping jacks
and farthest distance treked on while balancing a bike on
a chin, hula, hooping underwater. These are the sort of little,

(46:11):
just funny, odd human feats that Ashrida has made over
the years. And you know how many records?

Speaker 2 (46:18):
Is it?

Speaker 1 (46:19):
Seven hundred plus seven hundred plus?

Speaker 2 (46:23):
Yeah? I mean, he just said it's his life's work
to hold as many records as he possibly could. And
he holds the record for the most records, right.

Speaker 1 (46:34):
Yeah, Yeah, that's what I'm saying.

Speaker 2 (46:35):
That's just amazing, man, I love that.

Speaker 1 (46:37):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (46:38):
He's apparently a really good guy too, Like he helps
other people who are like him figure out, you know,
what records to go after, because he's like a jack
of all trades. Yeah, and I've noticed. I think there's
an economy of scale to it. So, for example, he
holds the record for longest distance I guess walked or
whatever with a bicycle balanced on your chin. He also

(47:01):
holds the record for the most pine classes balanced on
your chin eighty one. That's a lot of pine classes,
glass pine classes.

Speaker 1 (47:08):
You gotta get it balancing things on his gin.

Speaker 2 (47:10):
Yeah, So I think that's what he'll do. He'll like
dedicate himself to learning something and then you can break
a bunch of different records by doing similar things, right,
like balancing stuff on your chin. But he's all over
the place, like most arrow's broken with your neck in
one minute shu, like hula hooping underwater. Like he's like
he's not a one trick pony, He's a multiple trick pony.

(47:32):
I guess is the best way to put it.

Speaker 1 (47:33):
Hey, you gotta be if you want to set the
record for records exactly.

Speaker 2 (47:38):
That's exactly right, John. Yeah, there's so much more I
want to say, but it will never come up with
a better ending for this episode than that, So let's.

Speaker 1 (47:46):
Leave it at that, agreed.

Speaker 2 (47:48):
If you want to know more about Guinness World Records
than friends, there are some great ones out there that
you can delight and amuse yourself and you're friends with.
Just go all over the internet, or even better, go
buy a copy of Guinness Book of World Records. Comes
out every year. And since I said it comes out
every year, that's triggered listener mail.

Speaker 1 (48:09):
Well, I'm gonna call this wind power in Texas. We've
heard from quite a few Texans. This from Ben and Denton, Texas. Hey, guys,
it's fun to hear you talk about the great ways
that we bolstered our wind and solar over the years.
A lot of people don't realize that Texas has its
own grid. And another thing people don't realize is that
there are many municipally owned utility companies here and Denton

(48:32):
is one of the City of Denton owns and manages
utilities for its citizens. I was actually a member of
the Public Utilities Board for a couple of years, which
is a board made just of citizens to have oversight
of the city's utility operations. And I really learned a lot,
namely that Denton has pushed to source our electricity supply
exclusively from renewable resources for many years now. Denton also

(48:57):
has a huge push for other renewable energy efficient options
for its citizens, from discounts on solar panels and smart
thermostats to free trees for your property.

Speaker 2 (49:06):
Nice.

Speaker 1 (49:07):
While we're talking about Texas, Denton is the home to
one of the largest universities in Texas, University of North Texas.
Oh I didn't meant to look at their mascot, failed
to do so, which makes it a little bit of
a liberal leaning town in a lot of ways. But
much of Texas obviously is still hyper conservative. It's a
real shame how many politicians here seem to be arbitrarily

(49:29):
pushing it to shut down solar and wind farms. There's
no logical reason for it. Sure, it doesn't grow the
oil industry, but it does grow our supply in total,
which is what we need, and it's sustainable, which is
a win win in my book. Anyways, as always, I
appreciate what you guys do, what you say and how
you say it, and I'd always agree. But that's life.

(49:51):
That is from Ben Jumper.

Speaker 2 (49:54):
Very nice, Thanks a lot, Ben.

Speaker 1 (49:57):
What are they? Did you look it up?

Speaker 2 (49:58):
Do you want me to look at us? It's the
the University of North Texas?

Speaker 1 (50:01):
Right, uh yeah, sure?

Speaker 2 (50:04):
Can you hear me going be b b b boop.
I'm looking at that.

Speaker 1 (50:08):
I've got it right here. Scrappy the Eagle.

Speaker 2 (50:11):
I would have never come up with that.

Speaker 1 (50:12):
That's their mascot. They say they're the mean Green Nation. Okay,
so yeah, they're the North Texas mean Green. There you go,
so go mean Green.

Speaker 2 (50:22):
Yes, and go wind Energy. Who is that from? Again?

Speaker 1 (50:25):
That was from Ben Jumper.

Speaker 2 (50:27):
Thanks a lot, Ben. That's wonderful. Glad you're doing great
work out there. Keep it up, buddy. And if you
want to be like Ben and tell us about some
great work your town, or your region, or your country
or your universe is doing, we want to hear about it.
You can send it via email to Stuff podcast at
iHeartRadio dot com.

Speaker 1 (50:47):
Stuff you Should Know is a production of iHeartRadio. For
more podcasts my heart Radio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple podcasts,
or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

Speaker 2 (51:00):
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