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"Every man should be capable of all ideas, and I believe that in the future, he will be."
—The Argentine National Poultry and Rabbit Inspector's Little Book of Shitty Aphorisms
For your Consideration, The Firms of Dutton & Riverhead Books of New York City, Publishers of Ken Follett, Darin Strauss, David Rees, and the RZA, Present in the English Language: A Further Compendium of Complete World Knowledge in "The Areas of My Expertise" Assembled and Illumined by Me, John Hodgman, A Famous Minor Television Personality*, Offering More Information Than You Require On subjects as Diverse As: The Past (As There Is Always More of It), The Future (As There is Still Some Left), All of the Presidents of the United States, The Secrets of Hollywood, Gambling, The Sport of the Asthmatic Man (Including Hermit-Crab Racing), Strange Encounters with Aliens, How to Buy a Computer, How to Cook an Owl, And Most Other Subjects, Plus: Answers To Your Questions Posed via Electronic Mail, And: 700 Mole-Man Names, Including Their Occupations.
*Formerly a Former Professional Literary Agent and Professional Writer, AKA "The Deranged Millionaire"
Yes, there is a footnote in the title.
The second installment of the Complete World Knowledge trilogy, following The Areas of My Expertise and succeeded by That Is All. Not quite sequel to The Areas of My Expertise so much as it is a continuation. The difference is that if it were a sequel, it would start on page 1, rather than 237. Very similar to the first book in many regards.
Includes some actually true material dealing with Hodgman's life, including reflections on the considerable success he had achieved since the previous book in the saga was published.
Not to be confused with Too Much Information.
This book provides examples of, and parodies, the following tropes:
- Ancient Conspiracy: The Secret World Government, the Freemasons.
- Beam Me Up, Scotty ("They Never Said It!")
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy - Maybe he was, but Sally Hemmings, Nick Nolte, and Larry the neighbor from Three's Company were mole-men, among many others. WERE YOU AWARE OF IT?
- Beneath the Earth - The Mole-Men
- Big Eater - William Howard Taft, complete with Jabba Table Manners
- Brown Note - Do not look at an axolotl for too long, or you will become one.
- Call Back - One of the Mole-Men, "Sssssss the Hisser", is said to have traveled to the surface and become a hobo.
- Cool Airship - After the resounding success of The Areas of My Expertise, John Hodgman rides around in a zeppelin called the Hubris, which he bought from Emo Phillips
- The Hubris is also one of the first signs we're entering into a strange new world.
- Crossover Punchline - Many of the footnotes redirect the reader to The Areas of My Expertise".
- Crystal Dragon Jesus - The Century Toad
- Deadpan Snarker
- Engaging Conversation - His response to a female reader's very detailed question about Morrowind is "Will you marry me?" Tellingly, he gives a spot-on explanation of skooma in a clarification footnote.
- Escalating War - the increasingly bizarre weather reports coming out of Richmond and Milwaukee.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Explosive Decompression: Occurred to Napoleon's lunar cavalry. In a rare tactical misstep by Emperor Bonaparte, he neglected to get protective suits for the horses.
- Everything Is Even Worse With Sharks - The brain sharks
- Freud Was Right - "Several Sexually Suggestive Christmas Songs", including "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear", "The Nutcracker Suite", and "Deck The Halls (With Boughs of Penis)".
- Footnote Fever
- Fun with Acronyms - "
Juries Often Hate NegroesJohn Or Hodgman Name".
- Good Scars, Evil Scars - The Secrets Of Your Past (And How You Got That Horrible Scar)
- Historical In-Joke
- Homage, including:
- Blade Runner - If you find replicants hiding in the floorboards, while you can try some commercial products, the only real solution is to hire a professional blade runner.
- Doctor Who - Martin Van Buren was a Time Lord. Colin Baker is thanked at the end.
- The Lord of the Rings - The two eponymous cities of A Tale of Two Cities are Cirith Ungol and Orthanc.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Lists "Odo (the 'Shapeshifter')" as a forgotten Marx Brother
- Star Wars - A picture of Chewbacca is labelled as Aaron Burr
- Tron - Do not install a Master Control Program on your computer
- Watership Down - "Bright Eyes" was the best-selling single off of Art Garfunkle's Songs About Dead or Dying Rabbits album
- Fraggle Rock - The Fraggles are all listed as Mole-Men
- The Princess Bride - Hodgman claims to have poisoned Wallace Shawn using iocaine powder.
- The Lottery - See the nested Page-A-Day calender entry for June 27.
- Rocky- A baby born with the eyes of a tiger will grow up to be a famous boxer. Or the antichrist.
- "Eye of the Tiger" was actually Edgar Allen Poe's literary theme song before being appropriated by Sylvester Stallone.
- Rain Man- Casinos generally provide patrons with an autistic man to help you count cards.
- Horse of a Different Colour - The hideous steeds of the mole-men. There is also a reference to the hideous steeds of the presidents.
- Hypocritical Humour - The section on William Howard Taft repeatedly asks us to stop making fat jokes about him, while making some extremely cruel ones of its own.
- Ironic Nursery Tune
- It's Been Done - The long-awaited sequel to The Catcher in The Rye turns out to have the same plot as Harry Potter
- Kill It with Fire - If your house in infested with rats, tides, or Scottie dogs. With Replicants, you're just going to have to call in a Blade Runner.
- Long List - 700 Mole-man names, and an entire chapter entitled "Some Lists I Confess to Compiling". Also subverted in that Hodgman refuses to list all 230 mole-man words for darkness, listing only 12.
- Our Presidents Are Different: Extremely different. Quite a few had hooks for hands (though George W. Bush traded his for a chainsaw to appeal to the average voter). Very few presidents were black or women.
- Overly Long Name - No less than 152 words including the footnote; more if you count the hyphenated words as two separate words and/or expand "RZA" and "AKA" into the words they stand for.
- Meaningless Meaningful Words - The Shitty Aphorisms.
- Mondegreen - Tom Waits sings in werewolf language, so you can pretend he's singing about whatever you like
- Owl Be Damned - Not to worry, you can cook them. But first you need to dominate them with your stare and remove their clockwork innards.
- Product Placement - Parodied when Hodgman described his purchase of an iPod cable at great length. And in the section on buying a computer, he insists on avoiding the term "PC".
- Raised by Wolves - Jonathan Coulton, most prominently, but others include Rudy Giuliani and Werner Herzog.
- Running Gag - Literally everywhere, including subjects such as Masturbation (still), eels, turkeys, Benjamin Franklin, shitty aphorisms, Yale University's controversial Feline Studies, unusual precipitation, Emo Phillips, ponytails, Percocet (a powerful narcotic), and falconry.
- Secret Legacy - Esperantans vs. the Bush dynasty
- Self-Deprecation - "I am married. Wait, it gets better."
- Shout-Out (The Acknowledgements at the end. Included are John Flansburgh and John Linnell, Jon Stewart, Justin Long (a Mac), Colin Baker, Sarah Vowell, Ira Glass, Ricky Gervais, and others.
- Shown Their Work (Ironically enough)
- Slurpasaur - Parodied. The mole-men ride on giant iguanas that they think are dinosaurs
- Strawman Political - An argument with someone who insists that mole-men were created by the Century Toad, while it's been scientifically proven that they evolved from mole-apes. In an interesting twist, however, this person is portrayed as quite a polite debater, if very very incorrect.
- Actually, it's the author who comes off as dismissive and closeminded, refusing to dignify any of the pseodo-creationist's knowledgeable arguments with reasoned responses, and the "mole-ape" theory seems pretty flimsy.
- Stupid Sexy Kurt Russell, whose eye has grown back after he escaped from New York.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial - Hodgman most definitely does not have circus elephant's brain pickled in a jar
- Tagline- New ferret, same old con.
- Take That - Jonathan Coulton remains a target, and has now upgraded to killing cats. Nick Nolte is now listed as one of the mole-men, and Benjamin Franklin remains a figure of derision.
- Unstuck in Time - Hodgman reveals that one presidential candidate would become (unstuck in time during the (at the time) upcoming 2008 election cycle.
- The paperback reveals that this was John Mccain, who transported back to Prehistoria.
- Wonderful Life - Prince Albert, disliked by England for being too German, is seriously contemplating suicide, but then a second-class druid who has yet to earn his golden sickle shows Albert the true meaning of the pagan Yuletide festival. Albert successfully gets Rescued From the Scrappy Heap and becomes a Funny Foreigner.
- Xanatos Roulette - "How I Did It." Involved are clones with no genitals.
- WERE YOU EVEN AWARE OF IT? This is an actual quote from "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote" by Jorge Luis Borges. It might help to read this book with Google handy.
- Not literally.