Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Now Possess Complete World Knowledge

Faithful readers of the weblog know that I recently read a book that compiled fictional diseases. This, while very informative, was hardly adequate. What I sought was a volume that would provide me with complete world knowledge, a compendium of the most important and useful facts possible, facts that are entirely made up. Where could I turn for such a thing? I immediately thought of the guy who plays the PC in those Mac vs. PC commercials. He looked like a fellow who might just be able to create an almanac of invented facts that would satisfy my requirement. I was, needless to say, correct.

When John Hodgman isn't shilling for Apple Corporation he is busy as a noted wordsmith, correspondent for the Daily Show, and all around witty person. He has, for the benefit of you and me, brought together a remarkable collection of knowledge in the areas of his expertise that he has titled, appropriately, The Areas of My Expertise. The areas that he refers to is, of course, complete world knowledge of facts that are his invention. I can say, without hesitation, that John Hodgman is the world's leading authority on facts made up by John Hodgman. It is for this reason that I recommend this book on the subject and no other.

Why, you may ask, would you want to learn facts that are wholly fictional? Would you not be better off learning facts that are, in fact, factual? Don't be foolish. Factual facts are boring, pedantic, pedestrian things. Fictional facts are scintillating, interesting, and other attractive adjectives. A standard almanac can tell you when the moon will be in its various phases. Mr. Hodgman can tell you how these phases will affect different types of were-beings. A standard book on deportment might tell you how much to tip a bellman, but this book can tell you how much to tip the hotel phrenologist. Milady's Standard textbook may help you get through barber college, but wouldn't you rather learn about discredited hair styles like the Napoleon Hat or the Spitting Cobra. Of course you'd like to learn the dark secrets of professional actuaries. The revealed history of hobos will open your eyes to a history that has existed too long in the shadows. And I think any reader would benefit from the book's collection of interesting information about our fifty-one states.

Here are two facts that are not made up: John Hodgman is an extraordinarily amusing writer, and I just put the sequel to this book on my very long to-be-read list.

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