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Authors: Bathroom Readers Institute

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The Hairtaker
Los Angeles

Great Buns
bakery, Las Vegas

Bye Bye Bifocals
optician, Dallas

Franks A Lot
restaurant, Kansas City, MO


Mary Rhoda Duck

Wavva White Flag

Janet Isadore Bell

Diana Brown Beard

Mary Hat Box

Eartha Quake

Dorothy May Grow

Alvin Will Pop

Very punny: Who won the 1995 Procrastinator of the Year award? Congressman Tom Delay.


In the 1960s, some miners put a phone booth in the middle of the Mojave Desert. Long after they left, the booth remained…waiting for someone to call

Miles from the nearest town, the old phone booth stood at the junction of two dirt roads. Its windows were shot out; the overhead light was gone. Yet the phone lines on the endless rows of poles still popped and clicked in anticipation—just as they’d been doing for nearly 30 years. Finally, in 1997, it rang.

A guy named Deuce had read about the booth and called the number…and continued to call until a desert dweller named Lorene answered. Deuce wrote a story about his call to nowhere, posted it on his website…and the word spread through cyberspace. Someone else called. Then another person, and another—just to see if someone would answer. And quite often someone did. Only accessible by four wheel drive, the lonely phone booth soon became a destination. Travelers drove for hours just to answer the phone. One Texas man camped there for 32 days…and answered more than 500 calls.


Someone posted a call log in the booth to record where people were calling from: as close as Los Angeles and as far away as New Zealand and Kosovo. Why’d they call? Some liked the idea of two people who’ve never met—and probably never will—talking to each other. Just sending a call out into the Great Void and having someone answer was reward enough for most.

Unfortunately, in 2000 the National Park Service and Pacific Bell tore down the famous Mojave phone booth. Reason? It was getting too many calls. The traffic (20 to 30 visitors a day) was starting to have a negative impact on the fragile desert environment.

The old stop sign at the cattle grate still swings in the wind. And the phone lines still pop and click in anticipation. But all that’s left of the loneliest phone on Earth is a ghost ring.

So if the urge strikes you to dial (760) 733-9969, be prepared to wait a very, very long time for someone to answer.

Polite tip from etiquette experts: If no one answers the phone after 6 rings, hang up.


Some interesting facts about gold and gemstones

Where was the first U.S. Gold Rush? Not California—North Carolina, in 1803. (Started when a boy found a 17-pound nugget on his father’s farm.) It supplied all the gold for the nation’s mints until 1829.

It is estimated that only about 100,000 tons of gold have been mined during all of recorded history.

The word
comes from the Latin word for “pomegranate” (garnets were thought to resemble pomegranate seeds)

Legend says that one day Cupid cut Venus’ fingernails while she was sleeping and left the clippings scattered on the ground. So that no part of Venus would ever disappear, the Fates turned them into stone. The stone: onyx, Greek for “fingernail.”

The chemical formula for lapis lazuli:
). The chemical formula for diamond:

The name “turquoise” comes from the fact that it was first brought to Europe from the Mediterranean by Levantine traders, also known as…Turks.

The California Gold Rush yielded 125 million ounces of gold from 1850 to 1875—more than had been in the previous 350 years and worth more than $50 billion today.

From 330 B.C. to 1237 A.D., most of the world’s emeralds came from “Cleopatra’s Mine” in Egypt.

Organic gems:

• Amber (petrified tree sap, at least 30 million years old)

• Coral (exoskeletons of sea creatures—
coral polyps—
used as a gem since the Iron Age)

• Pearl (from oysters)

• Ivory (elephant tusks)

• Tagua nut (very hard, small blue-white nut of the tagua palm—a substitute for ivory)

Ancient Greeks named amber from the word “electron,” because rubbing amber gives off static electricity.

Rarest gem: Painite, discovered in Burma. Fewer than 10 specimens exist in the world.

Gold is recycled. Result: jewelry purchased today may contain gold mined in prehistoric times.

Pearl of wisdom: A baby oyster is called a


Everybody enjoys reading about somebody else’s blunders. So go ahead and feel superior for a few minutes


Jean Baptiste de Chateaubrun (1685–1775) spent 40 years polishing and refining two plays, virtually his life’s work, only to discover that his housekeeper had carelessly used the pages as wrapping paper, losing them forever.”

The Best of the Worst


“A deceased Seattle Mariners fan’s last wishes went awry when the bag containing his cremated remains failed to open as a plane attempted to scatter them over Safeco Field, the Mariners’ home stadium. Instead, the entire bag of ashes fell onto the closed roof of the stadium in one piece, bursting into a puff of gray smoke as it hit. A startled eyewitness called 911, and officials ordered the stadium to be evacuated.

“It took more than an hour for sheriff’s deputies to trace the tail number of the plane and determine that the mysterious substance on the stadium roof was the ashes of a Mariners fan, not anthrax or some other kind of terrorist attack.”

Seattle Times


“A Russian criminal who tried to flee from Western Ukraine to Slovakia using another person’s identity papers was unmasked when the fake ears he had used for a disguise fell off at passport control. They had been attached with cheap Russian medical glue.”

The Fortean Times


WATERTOWN, Conn., August 2002—“Mario Orsini, 73, faces assault charges for shooting and wounding his brother, Donato, 66, after mistaking him for a woodchuck, police said.”

USA Today

Earliest use of the flashback in Western literature: Homer’s


“A Philadelphia television weatherman whose dire predictions convinced countless viewers to take a snow day off work in March 2001, was inundated with hate mail and death threats after his ‘Storm of the Decade’ turned out to be a teapot-sized tempest. John Bolaris’ heavily promoted forecasts, complete with graphics and theme music, did not envision the possibility that the storm would change course, which it did. An avalanche of angry e-mails and phone messages, which included such warnings as ‘If I owned a gun, there would be one less person to worry about,’ started almost immediately. Said Mr. Bolaris, ‘I felt like leaving town.’”

The National Post


“A Long Island woman accidentally squeezed a drop of glue in her daughter’s eye, thinking she was holding a tube of prescription eye drops. Christine Giglio of Massapequa, New York, reached for the drops, a treatment for nine-year-old Nikki’s pinkeye, but instead grabbed a tube of fingernail glue. When she realized what she had done, she called for emergency help. Giglio said she made the mistake because the two tubes looked very similar. Fortunately, the eye’s protective mechanisms of blinking and tearing often prevents any lasting damage, said Dr. Richard Bagdonas, the attending emergency room surgeon. (Nikki made a full recovery.)”

Associated Press


“Dean Sims, 26, was left unable to use the toilet after undergoing an operation at Woolwich Hospital to remove an abscess from his left buttock. The former factory worker returned home and was amazed to find that his buttocks had been taped together with surgical tape. Said Mr. Sims, ‘How disgusting is that?’ Sims phoned the hospital, only to be told he’d have to wait until the next day to have the bandage removed by a nurse. ‘I’ve got to let them do it—I don’t want it to get infected,’ he added. ‘Gangrene could set in.’

“His mum, Rita, said, ‘He’s in agony and getting cramps—he wants to go to the loo badly but can’t.’ A hospital spokesman said the bandaging was a mistake. Sims is demanding an apology.”

News Shopper

How about you? The average person owns 25 T-shirts.


If you’re worried that the really important things in life aren’t being researched by our scientists, keep worrying

• Researchers at Georgetown University found that caterpillars can “shoot” their feces a distance of 40 times their body length.

• A 2002 study in Saudi Arabia concluded that women were responsible for 50% of the car accidents in the country. (Women aren’t allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia.)

• In 2003 researchers at Plymouth University in England studied primate intelligence by giving macaque monkeys a computer. They reported that the monkeys attacked the machine, threw feces at it, and, contrary to their hopes, failed to produce a single word.

• Psychologists at the University of Texas conducted a study in 1996 to determine if calling children “boys” or “girls” is harmful.

• In 2001 scientists at Cambridge University studied kinetic energy, centrifugal force, and the coefficient of friction…to determine the least messy way to eat spaghetti.

• In 2002 food industry researchers reported that when children were told they couldn’t have junk food, they wanted it even more. Industry spokespeople said that the study showed that children should decide for themselves how much junk food they should eat.

• Researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois used their federal grant money to study female sexuality…by paying female students to watch pornographic films ($75 per film).

• A 2001 study found that 60% of men in the Czech Republic do not buy their own underwear.

• According to a
British Medical Journal
report in 2003, Korean researchers have proven that karaoke is bad for your health.

• A 2002 study by the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Vermont found that studies are often misleading.

Q: What is the most nutritious “food” in the world? A: Blood.


What’s the difference between good and evil? Maybe just a little grammar. The following are excerpts from real church bulletins

“Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10:00. All are invited to lunch in the Fellowship after the B.S. is done.”

“Evening Massage—6 p.m.”

“The pastor would appreciate if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for pancake breakfast next Sunday.”

“For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.”

“The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing ‘Break Forth Into Joy.’”

“Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack’s sermons.”

“Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.” “Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Methodist. Come hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.”

“The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been cancelled due to a conflict.”

“The Lutheran Men’s Group will meet at 6:00 p.m. Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread, and dessert will be served for a nominal feel.”

“Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.”

“The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.”

“This evening at 7 p.m. there will be a hymn sing in the park across from the church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.”

“Mrs. Johnson will be entering the hospital this week for testes.”

Shortest verse in the Bible: John 11:35. (“Jesus wept.”)


Everyone’s got a question they’d like answered—basic stuff, like “Why is the sky blue?” Here are a few questions, with answers from the nation’s top trivia experts

Are brown sugar, raw sugar, molasses, and honey healthier than refined white sugar?

“Nutritionists agree that there is no significant amount of vitamins or minerals in any of these alternative sweeteners. So you can’t ease your guilty sweet tooth with the justification that you’re using ‘health foods.’ Honey has an additional problem in that it can cause botulism toxin to grow in the intestinal tracts of infants. It should
be given to children under one year old.

BOOK: Uncle John’s Unstoppable Bathroom Reader
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