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The Best Book of Useless Information Ever
By Noel Botham
John Blake Publishing LtdCopyright © 2007 Noel Botham
All rights reserved.
People and Places
The state of Alaska has the most people per population that walk to work in the whole of the United States.
The busiest stretch of highway in the US is New York's George Washington Bridge.
Ropesville, Lariat and Loop are all towns in Texas.
Venetian blinds were invented in Japan.
In Venice, Venetian blinds are known as 'Persian blinds'.
If you head directly south from Detroit, the first foreign country you will enter is Canada.
One in every three people in Israel uses a mobile phone.
Sixty per cent of the country of Liechtenstein's GDP is generated from the sale of false teeth.
In the US, 166,875,000,000 pieces of mail are delivered each year.
Oklahoma is the US state with the highest population of Native Americans. It has no Indian Reservations.
The Statue of Liberty's fingernails weigh about 100lb apiece.
In Kenya, they don't drive on the right or left side of the street in particular, just on whichever side is smoother.
The state of Maryland has no natural lakes.
JELL-O [jelly] was declared the 'official state snack' of Utah in January 2001.
Scandinavian folklore records that trolls only come out at night because sunlight would turn them to stone.
1,525,000,000 miles of telephone wire are strung across the Unites States.
Wyoming Valley is so difficult to find because it is in Pennsylvania.
After Canada and Mexico, Russia is the nearest neighbour to the United States. Siberia's easternmost point is just 56 miles from Alaska. In fact, in the middle of the Bering Strait, Russia's Big Diomede Island and the US's Little Diomede Island are only two miles apart.
The parents of the groom pay for the weddings in Thailand.
One US state no longer exists. In 1784, the US had a state called Franklin, named after Benjamin Franklin. But four years later, it was incorporated into Tennessee.
In Tibet, there is actually a practice called 'polyandry' where many men, usually brothers, marry a single woman.
The coastline around Lake Sakawea in North Dakota is longer than the California coastline along the Pacific Ocean
Brooklyn is the Dutch name for 'broken valley'.
Danishes are called Vienna cakes in Denmark, and Spanish rice is unknown in Spain.
Birkenhead Park was the inspiration for New York's Central Park as it was the world's first urban park.
The city of Nottingham was the first city to have Braille signs in the UK.
Minnesota has 99 lakes named Mud Lake.
At the turn of the century, the New Brighton Tower (located atop the tower ballroom) was higher than the Blackpool Tower. The steel tower was taken down between 1919 and 1921.
Fort Worth Texas was never a fort.
Legend has it that, when Burmese women are making beer, they need to avoid having sex or the beer will be bitter.
Kitsap County, Washington, was originally called Slaughter County, and the first hotel there was called the Slaughter House.
Saunas outnumber cars in Finland.
Although Argentina's name means 'Land of Silver', there is actually very little silver there. It was misnamed by explorers who thought they saw veins of the metal there.
The state of California raises the most turkeys in the US.
America's first stock exchange was the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, established in 1791.
Bagpipes, although identified with Scotland, are actually a very ancient instrument, introduced into the British Isles by the Romans.
Antarctica is visited by over 10,000 tourists a year.
The Pony Express, one of the most famous chapters in US history, only lasted one year, from 1860 to 1861.
There are four states where the first letter of the capital city is the same letter as the first letter of the state: Dover, Delaware; Honolulu, Hawaii; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Andorra, a tiny country on the border between France and Spain, has the longest average lifespan: 83.49 years.
Oregon has the most ghost towns of any state.
Construction of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Strasbourg started in 1015, but it was not until 1439 that the spire was completed.
There are more Rolls-Royces in Hong Kong than anywhere else in the world.
Japan has 130 times more people per square mile than the state of Montana.
The most expensive commercial real estate in the world is in Tokyo. The second most expensive is 57th Street in New York City.
Mt. Everest grows about 4mm a year: the two tectonic plates of Asia and India, which collided millions of years ago to form the Himalayas, continue to press against each other, causing the Himalayan peaks to grow slightly each year.
The Norman Baron Eudo Dapifer built Colchester Castle, 1075–1080, around the podium of the Roman temple of Claudius, creating the largest Norman keep in Britain.
Japanese rickshaws were invented by an American, Reverend Jonathan Scobie, who visited Okinawa in 1869.
In Tokyo, to buy a three-line classified ad in the newspaper costs £1,800 per day.
Antarctica has only one ATM machine.
Hawaiian lore teaches that the earth mother Papa mated with the sky father Wakea to give birth to the Hawaiian Islands.
There are many kremlins in the Soviet Union. Kremlin just means the centre of government, which can be applied to the government buildings in any town.
The per capita use of soap in Great Britain is 40 ounces per year. In France, it is only 22.6 ounces per year.
There is a monastery in Ethiopia that can be entered only by climbing up a rope dropped over the edge of a cliff.
In Turkey, when someone is in mourning, they wear purple clothing, not black.
The desert country of Saudi Arabia must import sand from other countries. This is because their desert sand is not suitable for building construction.
In Tibet, some women have special metal instruments used for picking their noses.
There is a chemical waste dump in the Soviet Union that is twice as big as the whole state of Vermont.
Nights in the tropics are warm because moist air retains heat well. Desert nights get cold rapidly because dry air does not hold heat to the same degree.
Deep in the jungles of South America, a tribe of primitive people was discovered. Everyone had forgotten how to make fire and therefore they carefully guarded piles of burning embers. If all their fires went out, they would have been doomed to existence without fire.
The largest Gothic cathedral is not in Rome or Paris, but on Amsterdam Avenue in New York City.
The smallest church in the world is in Kentucky. There is room inside for three people.
Only 8.5% of all Alaskans are Eskimos.
Reno, Nevada, is further west than Los Angeles, California.
Twenty-four per cent of Los Angeles, California, is road and parking lots for cars.
There is a house in Margate, New Jersey, that is made in the shape of an elephant. A home in Norman, Oklahoma is shaped like a chicken.
There is a house in Massachusetts which is made entirely from newspapers. The floors, walls and even the furniture is made from newspaper.
Another house, this one in Canada, is made of 18,000 discarded glass bottles.
The Greek word for brotherly love is Philadelphia.
The worst American city to live in, from the viewpoint of air pollution, is St Louis, Missouri.
Over half of all Americans travel more than a million miles in their lifetimes.
American drivers average about 8,200 miles a year.CHAPTER 2
Things Celebrities Say
'I can't really remember the names of the clubs that we went to.'
Shaquille O'Neal, basketball player, on whether e had visited the Parthenon during his visit to Greece
'It's nice, it gives you a feeling of security so that if something breaks we know we can always call a guy over and he'll bring a drill or something.'
Brooke Shields, on why it was good to live in a co-ed dormitory when she was in college
'You don't have to be the Dalai Lama to tell people that life's about change.'
'Hearthrob are a dime a dozen.'
'My weaknesses have always been food and men – in that order.'
'I just want to conquer people and their souls.'
'After doing One Fine Day and playing a pediatrician on ER, I'll never have kids. I'm going to have a vasectomy.'
'Alex Ferguson is the best manager I've ever had at this level. Well, he's the only manager I've actually had at this level. But he's the best manager I've ever had.'
'Once you've been really "bad"' in a movie, there's a certain kind of fearlessness you develop.'
'I carried my Oscar to bed with me. My first and only three- way happened that night.'
'No one is more enslaved than a slave who doesn't think they're enslaved.'
'I'd like to put on buckskins and a ponytail and go underwater with a reed, hiding from the Indians ... To me, that's sexy!'
'Hugh Grant and I both laugh and cringe at the same things, worship the same books, eat the same food, hate central heating and sleep with the window open. I thought these things were vital, but being two peas in a pod ended up not being enough.'
'I don't have a boyfriend right now. I'm looking for anyone with a job that I don't have to support.'
Anna Nicole Smith
'I've never had a problem with drugs. I've had problems with the police.'
'Men cheat for the same reason that dogs lick their balls ... because they can.'
'I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human.'
'You don't realise how useful a therapist is until you see one yourself and discover you have more problems than you ever dreamed of.'
'Through years of experience I have found that air offers less resistance than dirt.'
'You mean they've scheduled Yom Kippur opposite Charlie's Angels?'
Fred Silverman, TV programmer, when told that Yom Kippur would fall on a Wednesday
'I don't think I'm too thin at all. I understand when people say, "Well, your face gets gaunt," but, to get your bottom half to be the right size, your face might have to be a little gaunt. You choose your battles.'
'Well the joke is, of course, there is no British Empire left, is there? So I'm dame of a great big zero.'
Helen Mirren, on receiving a Royal honour
'My biggest nightmare is I'm driving home and get sick and go to hospital. I say, "Please help me." And the people say, "Hey, you look like ..."And I'm dying while they're wondering whether I'm Barbra Streisand.'
'What's the point of doing something good if nobody's watching?'
'I'm in trouble because I'm normal and slightly arrogant. A lot of people don't like themselves and I happen to be totally in love with myself.'
'I do have big tits. Always had 'em – pushed 'em up, whacked 'em around. Why not make fun of 'em? I've made a fortune with 'em.'
'I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father.'
'I have to be careful to get out before I become the grotesque caricature of a hatchet-faced woman with big knockers.'
Jamie Lee Curtis
'The biggest misconception people have about me is that I'm stupid.'
'When I was in prison, I was wrapped up in all those deep books. That Tolstoy crap – people shouldn't read that stuff.'
'Just let the wardrobe do the acting.'
'Big girls need big diamonds.'
'Nothing irritates me more than chronic laziness in others. Mind you, it's only mental sloth I object to. Physical sloth can be heavenly.'
'I think in 20 years I'll be looked at like Bob Hope. Doing those president jokes and golf shit. It scares me.'
'If you talk bad about country music, it's like saying bad things about my momma. Them's fightin' words.'
'Real freedom is having nothing. I was freer when I didn't have a cent.'
'From an early age I was aware of what America meant, and how the Marines at Camp Pendleton were ready to defend us at a moment's notice. I also remember what fabulous bodies those troops had.'
'Now I can wear heels.'
Nicole Kidman, on divorcing Tom Cruise
'I could serve coffee using my rear as a ledge.'
'I just don't like the idea of her singing my songs. Who the hell does she thinks she is? The world doesn't need another Streisand!'
Barbra Streisand, on Diana Ross
'I never thought I was wasted, but I probably was.'
'Golf is a better game played downhill.'
'I will wear whatever and blow whomever I want as long as I can breathe and kneel.'
'There are so many people out there taking the p*ss out of me that if I can't take the p*ss out of myself there's something going wrong.'
'There are two types of actors: those who say they want to be famous and those who are liars.'
'I'm only two years older than Brad Pitt, but I look a lot older, which used to greatly frustrate me. It doesn't any more. I don't have to fit into that category and get trounced by Tom Cruise and Brad.'
'If I can get you to laugh with me, you like me better, which makes you more open to my ideas. And, if I can persuade you to laugh at the particular point I make, by laughing at it you acknowledge its truth.'
'I used to do drugs, but don't tell anyone or it will ruin my image.'
'I think that everyone should get married at least once, so you can see what a silly, outdated institution it is.'
'I never diet. I smoke. I drink now and then. I never work out. I work very hard, and I am worth every cent.'
'I have a love interest in every one of my films – a gun.'
'Just standing around looking beautiful is so boring.'
'I know there are nights when I have power, when I could put on something and walk in somewhere, and if there is a man who doesn't look at me, it's because he's gay.'
'If you're going to kick authority in the teeth, you might as well use two feet.'
'I paid a worker at New York's zoo to reopen it just for me and Robin [Tyson's ex-wife]. When we got to the gorilla cage, there was one big silverback gorilla there just bullying all the other gorillas. They were so powerful but their eyes were like an innocent infant. I offered the attendant $10,000 to open the cage and let me smash that silverback's snotbox! He declined.'
'It's been seven years since I've had sex.'
Anna Nicole Smith
'There's no drugs, no Tom in a dress, no psychiatrists.'
'Women don't want to hear what you think. Women want to hear what they think – in a deeper voice.'
'I don't want to ever, ever do something in life that isn't fun. Ever.'
Jennifer Love Hewitt
'I found my inner bitch and ran with her.'
'I don't want people to know what I'm actually like. It's not good for an actor.'
'I have got little feet because nothing grows in the shade.'
'Mr Right's coming, but he's in Africa, and he's walking.'
'I don't always wear underwear. When I'm in the heat, especially, I can't wear it. Like, if I'm wearing a flower dress, why do I have to wear underwear?'
'I hated singing. I wanted to be an actress. But I don't think I'd have made it any other way.'
'I'm afraid to be alone, I'm afraid not to be alone. I'm afraid of what I am, what I'm not, what I might become, what I might never become. I don't want to stay at my job for the rest of my life, but I'm afraid to leave. And I'm just tired, you know? I'm just so tired of being afraid.'
'Children always understand. They have open minds. They have built-in shit detectors.'
'How people keep correcting us when we are young! There is always some bad habit or other they tell us we ought to get over. Yet most bad habits are tools to help us through life.'
'I definitely want Brooklyn to be christened, but I don't know into what religion yet.'
'I always listen to *NSYNC's "Tearin' Up My Heart". It reminds me to wear a bra.'
'He who laughs most learns best.'
'Everyone probably thinks that I'm a raving nymphomaniac, that I have an insatiable sexual appetite, when the truth is I'd rather read a book.'
'I'm not a woman, I'm a force of nature.'
'A word to the wise ain't necessary, it's the stupid ones who need the advice.'
'I feel safe in white because, deep down inside, I'm an angel.'
Sean 'P Diddy' Combs
'I'm staggered by the question of what it's like to be a multimillionaire. I always have to remind myself that I am.'
Excerpted from The Best Book of Useless Information Ever by Noel Botham. Copyright © 2007 Noel Botham. Excerpted by permission of John Blake Publishing Ltd.
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