Category Archives: People

Who was the Red Baron?


It was a century ago when famed World War I German fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen was fatally shot out of the sky. Yet, his nickname – “Red Baron” – remains part of American vernacular. Charles Schulz’s comic strip character Snoopy famously took on the Red Baron in his imaginary air battles aboard his doghouse, often yelling “Curse you, Red Baron!” […]

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Forgotten Heroes: The Accidental Farmer


The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Bob Fletcher was an agricultural inspector working in California’s Central Valley in the early 1940s. He might have stayed one, too, had the outbreak of World War II not changed everything. INFAMY Shortly before 8:00 a.m. on the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese military forces attacked the U.S. naval […]

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On The Far Side


For 15 years, Gary Larson took millions of readers over to the “Far Side.” Using anamorphic animals, chubby teenagers, universal emotions, a simple drawing style and a really bizarre, morbid sense of humor, The Far Side became one of the most successful – and praised – comic strips of all time. But like many cartoonists, Larson has remained rather elusive. […]

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Saddam Speaks


The following is an article from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was big news from the 1980s through the 2000s. But it wasn’t until years after his death that the world got to hear his story in his own words. DEBRIEFING THE DICTATOR Saddam Hussein (1937–2006) became the president and dictator of Iraq in 1979—a position he […]

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What Ever Happened to Miss Cleo the TV Psychic?


Felix H. asks: Where did Miss Cleo disappear to? For those unfamiliar, around the turn of the century no psychic was more famous than the purportedly Jamaican-born Miss Cleo (née Youree Dell Harris) representing the Psychic Readers Network (PRN). Appearing on late-night infomercials, Miss Cleo hooked her audience with a combination of charisma, Tarot card readings, concerned looks, and imperatives […]

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A $25 Bonus- H. Tracy Hall and the Invention of the Synthetic Diamond


As you may know, naturally created diamonds are formed from carbon subjected to extreme pressure (725,000 pounds per square inch or so) and heat (1,650 to 2,370 °F) some 90-120 miles down. The world’s natural diamond supply (that has come to the surface) was formed in this way some 1-3 billion years ago. However, scientists only realized that diamonds are […]

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The Man Who Put the Chicle in Chiclets


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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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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Yadav and the Param Vir Chakra


The Param Vir Chakra (roughly, the “Wheel of the Ultimate Brave”) is India’s highest military decoration for gallantry during battle and is “awarded for rarest of the rare gallantry which is beyond the call of duty and which in normal life is considered impossible to do”. The medal is known for having one of the most stringent selection process of […]

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The Two Graves of Mad 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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