Author Archives: Uncle John's Bathroom Reader

The Man Who Put the Chicle in Chiclets

chewing-gum2

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader CHEWING THROUGH HISTORY People have been chewing gum (and gumlike substances) since ancient times. The Greeks chewed mastiche, made from the resin of the mastic tree. The ancient Mayans first chewed chicle, the sap of the sapodilla tree, over 1,000 years ago. American Indians chewed the sap from spruce trees, […]

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Secrets of the Avocado

Peacock Avocado

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Inside that textured green skin, it’s ripe with mystery. It’s an “evolutionary anachronism.” It’s not a vegetable, and not exactly your typical fruit. It’s an acquired taste that most Americans still resist. Meet the avocado. HAVING A BALL The avocado came from South America, so it’s not too surprising that […]

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The Fascinating Family Feud that Led to Adidas and Puma, and Allowed Nike to Dominate the Market

adidas

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Here’s the strange story of a family-owned business so dysfunctional that business schools teach it as a lesson in how not to run a company. FOOT SOLDIER Not long after the end of World War I in 1918, an 18-year-old German soldier named Adolf Dassler returned to his hometown of […]

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The Strange Fate Of Benito Mussolini Jr.

Benito Albino Mussolini

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Bad news: We have no control over who our parents are. Good news: Most of us did a lot better than Benito Mussolini Jr. did. OUT OF WORK In 1912, a 20-year-old political activist named Benito Mussolini became the editor of Avanti! (“Forward!”), the Italian Socialist Party’s newspaper. He held […]

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The Spirits of Lily Dale

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Since 1879, residents of a quaint town in upstate New York have mediated conversations between loved ones—parents and children, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters. What’s so special about that? These mediators connect the living…with the dead. TRAPPED IN TIME Pastel-painted Victorian homes line the streets of Lily Dale, New […]

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The Space Shuttle Discovery and Its Toilet

shuttle-launch

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader A while back we told you the story of the WWII submarine that was lost due to a malfunctioning toilet. It turns out that a similar incident threatened the space shuttle Discovery in 1989… TOP SECRET On November 22, 1989, the space shuttle Discovery blasted off from the launchpad at […]

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Discovering the Caves of Xanadu

caves

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader THE SCENE One Saturday in 1974, two young men affiliated with Southern Arizona Grotto, a spelunking, or “caving,” group based in Tuscon, Arizona, were out exploring, looking for new caves near the Whetsone Mountains. Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen traveled about an hour outside of Tucson, where they were roommates […]

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The Two Graves of Mad Anthony Wayne

Gen._Anthony_Wayne

The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Historians tell many stories about heroes who are so beloved that everyone wants a piece of them. In the case of this man, they mean it literally. WHAT’S IN A NAME Great generals frequently earn descriptive nicknames: “Blood and Guts” Patton, “Black Jack” Pershing, and “Stonewall” Jackson, to name a […]

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