"This bizarre little book manages to be both totally useless and nearly indespensable." -- Telegraph, 24th November 2002
"it's a wonderful book" -- Harry Hill
"the best little book of trivia going." -- The Bookseller, 30th August, 2002, Kes Nielsen afrom WHSmith
'The best-ever collection of essential trivia. Everyone I know ought to get one for Christmas.' -- Stephen Fry
An all-purpose present solver and cultural signifier. -- Guardian
It is a masterpiece of compression. -- Daily Mail
It stands out for its intelligent comic absurdity. A treasure-trove of trivia. -- Financial Times
Probably the best collection of essential trivia ever published. -- Belfast Telegraph
This bizarre little book manages to be both totally useless and nearly indispensable. -- Daily Telegraph
From the Publisher
"I'm going to get this for a lot of people - it's fantastic"
"if you were trapped in a lift with someone this is the kind of book you'd pray they didn't have with them"
"a gift and a half"
"it looks like its been published for years and we didn't know about it"
From the Author
Because Schotts Original makes very few claims to be exhaustive, authoritative, or even practical it was the ideal book to research. If, after a long search through the stacks of the British Library, accurate and interesting information on a subject could not be found the subject was unceremoniously abandoned. And, if an entry looked like it might get out of hand, it was pared down to its most salient (and amusing) facts. By this method, for example, the entire history of Burma was reduced to the curious deaths of some of its more unlikely monarchs.
In libraries, the book just to the left of book required always seems to be far more interesting. Schotts Original Miscellany championed this random, Zen-like technique of investigation, meandering through libraries in search of overlooked gems. In this way, many wonderful facts were unearthed: variations in shoe-lace lengths; the 33-degrees of Freemasonry; the last first-class menu served on The Titanic; the official specification of rope for use in tugs-of-war, and so on.
Unusual methods of research were employed in the collection of some Miscellany entries. For example, it is very hard to find written sources for how to say I Love You in various languages. Consequently, the author telephoned a host of cultural associations, embassies, restaurants, translation services, and airlines pretending that his girlfriend was Polish/Greek/Swedish, or whatever. The switchboard operators, their hearts melted by a plea for help, dutifully went and found someone who could translate I love you into the appropriate language.
About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
George Washington $1
Thomas Jefferson $2
Abraham Lincoln $5
Alexander Hamilton $10
Andrew Jackson $20
Ulysses S. Grant $50
Benjamin Franklin $100
Greenwich Foot Tunnel
Devised by James Watt (1736-1819), horsepower is the power required to life 550 pounds by 1 foot in 1 second: 33,000 foot-pounds per minute. 1 Horsepower = 745.7 watts; or 2,545 BTUs (British Thermal Units) per hour.
BOB - Burnt Out But Opulent
BUPPIE - Black Upwardly-mobile Professional
DINKIE - Dual Income, No Kids
DINKY - Dual Income, No Kids (Yet)
DUMP - Destitute Unemployed Mature Professional
GUPPIE - Golden Oldie, Lives Dangerously
LOMBARD - Lots of Money But A Right Dickhead
NIMBY - Not In My Back Yeard
OINK - One Income, No Kids
PIPPIE - Person Inheriting Parents Property
PUPPIE - Poncy Upwardly-mobile Professional
SCUM - Self-Centred Urban Male
SILKY - Single Income Loads of Kids
SINBAD - Single Income, No Boyfriend Absolutely Desperate
SINK - Single, Independent, No Kids
SITCOM - Single Income, Two Children, Outrageous Mortgage
WOOPIE - Well-Off Older Person
YAPPIE - Young Affluent Parent
YUPPIE - Young Upwardly-mobile Professional Person
BRITISH PASSPORT WORDING
"Her Majestys Principal Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs requests and requires in the name of Her majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary"