Trigger warning: The export of small people to be enslaved is similar to the export of British children to Australia from the 1940s to the early 1970s. Children who were orphaned, in trouble, or just plain kidnapped and told their parents had died, were sent to Australia. The program was advertised with slogans like Sunshine And Oranges, implying a paradise of healthy living. The truth was that the children were enslaved, starved, and for example, forced to carry bricks to build impressive buildings for the Catholic Church. Google for "Oranges and Sunshine", a new film by British director Jim Loach that explores the lie of child migration from Britain to Australia from the 1940s up until 1970. A social worker from Nottingham, Margaret Humphreys, began to explore this miscarriage of justice in the 1980s when some of the children returned to England trying to find their family. She found the still-living parents of two of them who had been told their parents were dead. She investigated further. Some of the 150,000 children were sent to South Africa, New Zealand and Zimbabwe.
"Skull ring, remember?"
Incidentally, Pratchett had, and wore, a large skull ring.
The "well-heeled" customer is wearing very expensive boots. Pratchett!
The wizards were surprised by the vase, and had no intention of doing anything sports-related. I don't think they had anything to do with the vase's reappearance. The shining golden lady holding a ball over her head is far more likely to have had something to do with it. Then there's that footnote about things coming out of the darkness: "Sometimes they just can't take it any more." Maybe foot-the-ball's time has come.
Maybe, but to me the significant part is "To not be alone!" Nutt has been very alone, apparently all his life, and is desperate to fit in somewhere. Glenda and the others express the need, from whatever cause, to be part of a group, at least for safety from other groups. Sports teams are thus a kind of unifying influence, but not necessarily a good one. You have a point: the IQ of a mob is said to be its least intelligent member divided by the number of people.
The hospital where "Not Everybody Dies" reminds me of a 1991 Erica Neely album, with her song "It must be cheerful, not everybody dies". She wrote a lot of not-so-cheerful songs and finally wrote one in which someone survived, hence the title.
Rincewind's mother ran away before he was born. Is Rincewind an Omnian?
According to Wisegeek, the term goes back to the 1830s in England and probably Europe. Supposedly it meant that the person would outlive their spouse; for a woman, that usually meant poverty, because of the inheritance laws of that time and place. That made it a sign of impending misfortune. (Some people think it may be related to a popular hat style of the 1500s, but there's no firm evidence of that. There was never a traditional widow's hood--that is a misunderstanding of the term "widowhood" for the condition of being a widow, which is like "womanhood" for being a woman.)
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, there was a misguided belief that hair growing low on the forehead meant the person was animal-like. Then Hollywood and television began using it as a symbol for a character's being a werewolf, which added the "evil" connotation.
There's a belief - I don't know if it's a myth or not - that a direct blow to the breastbone endangers the heart, by shocking it. It's the reverse of pounding on someone's chest to restart a heart stopped by some other trauma. Kipling used it in one of his 19th century British army short stories - two boys test their strength by hitting each other on the breastbone, and surviving it supposedly meant they were strong enough to become drummerboys. That gang is a bunch of big, beefy guys, built like US football linebackers. The use of a club adds extra force to the blow. I can believe such a blow would kill a normal person. At the very least it would break bones.
"He read it so fast that his eyes should have left trails on the paper." Pratchett was in science fiction fandom from an early age, and there was a long-standing joke in fandom about the act of reading a book leaving "eyetracks" on the page. That's why even once-read books look different from unread ones.