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Authors: Bathroom Readers Institute

Uncle John’s Unstoppable Bathroom Reader (47 page)

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“Fabric colors are also made up of bonds, so if you add bleach to clothes that aren’t colorfast—you’ll notice that the colors you liked might also become invisible.” (From
More How Do They Do That?,
by Caroline Sutton and Kevin Markey)


Why do our palms sweat when we get nervous?

“Palms sweat very easily—they contain more sweat glands than other parts of the body. The reason may go back to the days when our ancestors climbed trees to escape danger. Fear of the danger activated the sweat glands, making the palms moist, and this moisture provided our ancestors with a better climbing grip. As in the case of goose bumps and body hair, sweaty palms no longer serve the same purpose but are still with us even after millions of years of evolution.” (From
Ever Wonder Why?
, by Douglas Smith)

Q: What percent of a dime is silver? A: 0%


Question: What looks like a chicken, squawks like a chicken, and walks like a chicken? Don’t know? Answer: a chicken. (And we thought the
was dumb.


What do you do when a hen won’t lay eggs? Try acupuncture! That’s what researchers in Taiwan have been doing to hens who have turned “broody” (which means they would rather hatch an egg than lay another). A needle is inserted between the nostrils of the hen’s beak, and left there for two days. Apparently the treatment works—it “cures” the hen of the desire to hatch her eggs.


“Battery” (egg-laying) hens get depressed and angry. Who can blame them—they spend their entire lives in tiny cages, where they’re expected to lay 300 eggs a year. Researchers in Scotland decided to look for a way to make these hens’ lives happier. So did they let the birds roam free? No. Scientists at the Roslin Institute introduced the hens to TV. Now they’re addicted. Whenever the television is turned on, they sit, mesmerized. Their favorite viewing: screen-saver images of flying toasters and schools of fish that move slowly across the screen.


A rural New Zealand woman and her friend were waiting for their dinner to finish cooking when they heard something that sounded like a chicken squawking. They looked around outside, but there wasn’t a fowl in sight. They suddenly realized the noise was coming from
the house. They followed the cries into the woman’s kitchen. The noise was coming from the oven. When she looked inside, she saw that steam was pouring out of the roasting chicken’s neck. The chicken was long dead, but as the steam passed over the bird’s intact vocal chords, it caused them to vibrate. The woman and her friend turned off the oven and became vegetarians for the night, having cheese and lettuce sandwiches for dinner.

Rah-rah-rah! In 1898 all cheerleaders were male. Now 3% are.


More funny lines from funny people.

“I don’t see the point of testing cosmetics on rabbits, because they’re already cute.”

Rich Hall

“My wife’s an earth sign. I’m a water sign. Together we make mud.”

Henny Youngman

“When authorities warn you of the sinfulness of sex, there is an important lesson to be learned: Do not have sex with the authorities.”

Matt Groening

“How come if you mix flour and water together you get glue? And when you add eggs and sugar, you get a cake? Where does the glue go?”

Rita Rudner

“Contraceptives should be used on every conceivable occasion.”

Spike Milligan

“My wife asked for plastic surgery; I cut up her credit cards.”

Rodney Dangerfield

“Never moon a werewolf.”

Mike Binder

“Mario Andretti has retired from racecar driving. He’s getting old. He ran his entire last race with his left blinker on.”

Jon Stewart

“I buy books on suicide at bookstores. You can’t get them at the library, because people don’t return them.”

Kevin Nealon

“My mother breast-fed me with powdered milk. It was my first do-it-yourself project.”

Buzz Nutley

“I like to leave a message before the beep.”

Steven Wright

“Of course we need firearms. You never know when some nut is going to come up to you and say something like, ‘You’re fired.’ You gotta be ready.”

Dave Attell

“I wonder if the Buddha was married…his wife would say, ‘Are you just going to sit around like that all day?’ ”

Garry Shandling

Napoleon Bonaparte’s emblem was the bumblebee.


No kidding—this recipe is real. The next time your dinner party guests ask where you got your recipe for a large rodent with quills, tell them you found it…in the bathroom.


1 porcupine

1 stalk of celery

1 medium yellow onion, sliced

2 medium carrots, sliced

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 tsp salt

1 bay leaf


Find, catch, kill, skin, and
the porcupine. (Dress means clean the animal by removing the guts). Good luck! Watch out for the quills, and be sure to wear gloves—game animals carry
a fever-causing disease that can be spread to humans.

Hang the porcupine in a cool, dry place for 48 hours, preferably in your garage or someplace where you won’t mind the smell.

Place the porcupine in a bath of salted water. Soak in the refrigerator overnight.

Bring water and porcupine to a boil. Discard water. Immerse porcupine in fresh, cool water, bring to boil again. Discard water again.

Remove meat from porcupine. Chop into small pieces and place in a large pot or dutch oven. Add 3 cups of water or porcupine stock, celery, onions, carrots, pepper, salt, and bay leaf. Simmer until the meat is tender, 2-1/2 hours if the porcupine is young, longer if it is older. Be sure the meat is cooked through—game animals can also harbor the parasitic disease

Remove bay leaf.

Serves 4-6

: In
Uncle John’s Ahh-Inspiring Bathroom Reader
we brought you a recipe for shrunken heads. This year, it’s porcupines. Who knows what we’ll cook up next year?

Hard heads: There are more than 600 stone statues on Easter Island.


BRI stalwart Rhys Rounds often challenges us to some friendly “contests of skill”…and he beats us every time. So for revenge, we’re passing along a few of his secrets.

“I can make you say the word ‘black.’”

Start asking your mark the colors of various objects in the room, making sure that none of them are black or blue. After three or four objects, ask “What are the colors of the American flag?”

When they respond, “Red, white, and blue,” you say, “I win! I told you I could make you say ‘blue’!” Nine times out of ten they’ll come back with, “You didn’t say
, you said
.” Then you say, “Now I really do win!”

“I can make you say what I want you to.”

When the other person agrees to the bet, tell them to say “multifarious verbiage.”

When they say that they won’t or that they don’t know what that means, you’ve won the bet. Why? To say multifarious verbiage means to say a variety of words…which they’ve just done.

“I can roll the cue ball underneath a cue stick without holding it and without the ball touching the stick.”

To demonstrate the difficulty, place the cue stick over the two long side rails of the pool table. Then have the sucker try to roll the cue ball underneath the stick, which they won’t be able to do—the space between the stick and the tabletop is too small.

can do it. Pick up the cue ball, put it on the floor under the table, and roll it underneath the table so it passes below the cue stick above. It will never touch the stick.

“You can’t lift my hand off the top of my head.”

Put your palm on the top of your head and instruct the person to try to remove it by pushing up on your forearm. It works best when a smaller person challenges a bigger, stronger person.

They won’t be able to. We’re not sure why; it’s one of those freaks of nature (not you, the trick).

What term did Matisse coin in 1908 as an insult of another painter’s work? Cubism.

“I can remove this quarter from underneath this napkin without touching the napkin or blowing on it.”

Put a quarter under a napkin. After you’ve set up the trick, discreetly put another quarter into your hand. Then put that hand underneath the table, say some magical incantations, and after a moment, reveal that the quarter is magically in your hand!

The person will most likely go straight for the napkin to prove you wrong. When they remove it, pick up the quarter and you’ve won the bet.

“You can’t taste the difference between an apple and a raw potato if you close your eyes and plug your nose.”

The best way to ensure success with this one is to make them try it three times. Just once is a 50/50 guess. Three times puts the odds in your favor.

It’s not really a trick. According to experts, smell and sight are more important in tasting things than most people realize. Without those two senses, the tastebuds don’t have enough info to send to the brain.

“You can’t eat eight saltines in 60 seconds.”

Make sure that you stipulate the person isn’t allowed to wash them down with anything—and that they have to eat them one by one.

Because of the saltiness of the crackers, most people will get “cotton mouth” and not be able to eat more than five or six. Don’t wager too much, though, because there is the occasional big mouth that can pull this one off. But at least you’ve gotten them to make a fool of themselves.

“I can jump higher than this house.”

Just jump up in the air six inches or so.

You’ve just jumped higher than any house ever could.

Kangaroos can’t walk.


The worst decision in history? A bold claim, especially when you consider how many bad decisions people make every day (except Uncle John). Still, have you driven a Daisy lately? No, and you never will, either. Here’s why.


In the early 1880s, a Plymouth, Michigan, watch repairman named Clarence J. Hamilton came up with the idea of making windmills from metal instead of wood. Farmers used windmills to pump water for crop irrigation, and in those days most of them built the windmills themselves. Hamilton thought that if he could design a better, sturdier windmill made from iron and sell it at a low enough price, farmers would line up to buy them. So in 1882 the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company opened for business.

It turns out Hamilton was wrong—farmers in the 1880s were loathe to spend money on anything they could make themselves, even if his iron windmills were better. After six years in business, the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company was still struggling, so Hamilton invented something else that he thought would help boost windmill sales: a toy rifle that used compressed air to shoot industrial ball bearings —“BBs” for short—instead of bullets. It wasn’t the first BB gun ever invented, but this one was made of metal, which made it sturdier and a better shot than competing guns, which were made of wood. His idea was to give a free BB gun to every farmer who bought a windmill.


Hamilton showed the air rifle to the company’s general manager, Lewis Cass Hough, who shot at the trash can in his office and then went outside and shot an old shingle from 10 feet away. “Boy!” he said. “That’s a daisy!” The name stuck…but Hamilton’s idea of giving away free BB guns with every windmill didn’t—farmers wanted the guns, not the windmills. So the Plymouth Iron Windmill Co. changed its name to the Daisy Manufacturing Co. and started making BB guns full time.

The city of Tsuenchen, China, was designed to resemble a carp when viewed from above.


In 1891 Lewis Hough hired his nephew Charles Bennett and made him Daisy’s first salesman. Smart move. Thanks to Bennett’s hard work, by the turn of the century, Daisy was manufacturing 250,000 air rifles a year.

By 1903 Bennett was president of the company and a pillar of the Plymouth business community. To celebrate his success, that spring he made a trip into nearby Detroit to buy an Oldsmobile, the hottest-selling car in the country.

But before he took his test drive, Bennett happened to stop at a tailor shop to buy a suit, and while there he mentioned he was going to buy a car. A man named Frank Malcomson happened to overhear him, and as Bennett was leaving, Malcomson introduced himself. He explained that his cousin, coal merchant Alex Malcomson, had started his own auto company with the help of a business partner. So far they’d managed to build only one test car, but Malcomson told Bennett that he should really take a ride in his cousin’s car before he signed the papers on the Oldsmobile. Bennett agreed to go for a ride that very afternoon.

BOOK: Uncle John’s Unstoppable Bathroom Reader
6.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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