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WEB WATCH

Long for trivia? Here's an extended supply

April 16, 2006|Christine N. Ziemba

GET out your measuring tape because the website -- the Longest List of the Longest Stuff at the Longest Domain Name at Long Last (www.thelongestlistofthelongeststuffatthelongestdomainnameatlonglast. com) -- is a veritable online spitting contest that delves into superlatives: the firsts, the longest and the most expensive, among other odds and ends.

An amalgam of facts and trivia, the site takes its cues from Ripley's Believe It or Not and the Guinness Book of World Records. Some of its tidbits are just plain strange, e.g., Vivian Wheeler of Illinois holds the record for "longest female beard" (11 inches); and Chicago resident Kim Goodman took the record for "longest eyeballs" when she puffed her eyeballs .43 inch out of their sockets in 1998 -- on purpose. (By the way, what's in that Illinois drinking water?)

Hidden among these lists is a kitschy "Banner Ad Museum," which includes early Web banners from Apple, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Sears as well as a few companies that have disappeared into cyberspace. The banners, like the first website (which, according to the site was symbolics.com, registered on March 15, 1985), are reminders of how far design and graphics have come -- unless you include craigslist.org in the mix.

But it's the pop culture trivia found on the Longest List that makes the best cocktail party fodder. Astound people with the knowledge that the title of "The World's Longest Concert" doesn't belong to Bruce "four-hour stadium show" Springsteen. That record belongs to a performance of composer John Cage's "As Slow as Possible," which began in 2001 and is scheduled to continue for 639 years. The Boss, however, does hold the honor of having the first CD pressed in the United States for commercial release, with the Aug. 21, 1984, debut of "Born in the U.S.A."

And really impress your friends by memorizing the entire 90-word poem title of Fiona Apple's 1999 "When the Pawn ..." CD, which the site dubs "The World's Longest Album Title."

You'll be almost as cool as the guy who can recite 83,431 digits of pi.

-- Christine N. Ziemba

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