Fans of strange facts and weird records can get the latest on the longest, the biggest and the fastest with today's publication of the 1989 edition of the Guinness Book of Records.
The annual edition is published early each year to catch early Christmas sales.The latest 312-page volume lists milestones in sports, business, science, nature and the arts. But the items that lure trivia buffs to the book often fall into the more subjective category of the bizarre.
For example, among this year's landmarks are the longest distance traveled while sleepwalking - 100 miles. The honor goes to 12-year-old Michael Dixon of Danville, Ill., who hopped a freight train to Peru, Indiana. He was found barefoot in his pajamas wandering near a railroad track.
Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson, who fell from grace because of drug abuse at the Olympics, is listed the world's fastest man with his 100-meter run of his time of 9.83 seconds at the World Championships in Rome on Aug. 30, 1987.
World records at the Sept. 17-Oct. 2 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, came too late to be included, and will go into the 1990 edition "subject to them not being beaten," said Guinness Book of Records' sports compiler Stewart Newport.
However, he said, Johnson's world-record breaking 100-meter win in Seoul will be reduced to a footnote that reads: "Ben Johnson ran 100 meters in 9.79 seconds at Seoul, South Korea, on Sept. 24, 1988, but was subsequently disqualified on a positive drugs test for steroids."
The book lists the rarest breed of dog as the American hairless terrier. At the last count in March, 68 of the known 70 specimens were owned by Willie and Edwin Scott of Trout, La.
An even rarer species was "Super Frosty," the world's largest snowman, built over two weeks last spring by a team in Anchorage, Alaska. The snow giant stood 63.56 feet.
If musically inclined, Super Frosty would probably want to play the world's largest - and presumably loudest - guitar at 14 feet, 3 inches tall and weighing 309 pounds. It was built by Joe Kovacic of Ontario, Canada.
Other bits of information include the oldest sheep, 28 years; the longest conga dance line, 119,986 people; most hands shaken, 19,592 in eight hours; the best best man, 408 marriages; and the tallest woman, 7 feet 7 inches.
The Guinness Book of Records was first compiled in 1955 by twins Ross and Norris McWhirter as a depository of fact to become the final arbiter in all arguments. By 1988, worldwide sales had reached nearly 60 million in 262 editions in 31 languages.