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Uncle John's Lists That Make You Go Hmmm...

Uncle John's Lists That Make You Go Hmmm...

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Uncle John's Lists That Make You Go Hmmm...

3/5 (3 ratings)
453 pages
4 hours
May 1, 2015


A list of five words to describe Uncle John's Lists That Make You Go Hmmm...: 1. Funny; 2. Fact-filled; 3. Surprising; 4. Unique; 5. Essential.

Uncle John's Lists That Make You Go Hmmm... puts a whole new spin on Uncle John’s unique brand of trivia. Readers will be treated to 288 pages of irresistible easy-to-digest lists featuring short facts, fascinating history, and weird news--plus lists about science, sports, quotes, wordplay, showbiz, and random oddities. Some examples: “4 Yellow Things (and Why They’re Yellow”), “5 Dumb Crooks Who Led the Cops Right To Them,” “The 6 Smartest Dog Breeds,” “7 Lists of 7s” (on page 77), “Hollywood’s 8 Stupidest Science Goofs,” “9 Celebrity Marriages that Didn’t Outlast Milk,” and “The 10 Commandments (and 10 Politicians Who Broke Them).”
May 1, 2015

About the author

The Bathroom Readers' Institute is a tight-knit group of loyal and skilled writers, researchers, and editors who have been working as a team for years. The BRI understands the habits of a very special market—Throne Sitters—and devotes itself to providing amazing facts and conversation pieces.

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Uncle John's Lists That Make You Go Hmmm... - Bathroom Readers' Institute!

1 Batman v. Commissioner

2 Easter Seals Society for Crippled Children v. Playboy Enterprises

3 United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola

4 Demosthenes v. Baal

5 The California Coalition of Undressed Performers v. Spearmint Rhino

6 United States v. Forty-three Gallons of Whisky

7 Death v. Graves

8 United States v. Ninety-five Barrels (More or Less) Alleged Apple Cider Vinegar

9 One 1958 Plymouth Sedan v. Pennsylvania

10 United States v. 12 200-Foot Reels of Super 8MM Film

11 Schmuck v. United States

12 South Dakota v. Fifteen Impounded Cats

13 United States v. 11¼ Dozen Packages of Articles Labeled in Part Mrs. Moffat’s Shoo-Fly Powders for Drunkenness

14 Robin Hood v. United States

15 Association of Irritated Residents v. United States Environmental Protection Agency

16 Terrible v. Terrible

17 Nebraska v. One 1970 2-Door Sedan Rambler (Gremlin)

18 Wang v. Poon

19 United States v. Approximately 64,695 Pounds of Shark Fins

20 United States v. Article Consisting of 50,000 Cardboard Boxes More or Less, Each Containing One Pair of Clacker Balls

21 Juicy Whip v. Orange Bang

After This Is Spinal Tap, Marshall started making amplifiers that go up to 11.


1 Wash early and often with soap and hot water.

2 Do not roll on the grass of the parks. It will come off black on your dress.

3 Never eat penny buns, oysters, periwinkles, or peppermints on the top of a bus. It annoys the passengers.

4 Be kind to policemen. You never know when you may be taken up.

5 Never stop a motor bus with your foot. It is not a croquet ball.

6 Do not attempt to take pictures off the wall of the National Gallery or remove cases of butterflies from the National History Museum. You will be noticed if you do.

7 Avoid late hours, pickled salmon, public meetings, crowded crossings, gutters, water-carts, and over-eating.


Things to worry about:

1 Worry about courage.

2 Worry about cleanliness.

3 Worry about efficiency.

4 Worry about horsemanship.

Things not to worry about:

1 Don’t worry about popular opinion.

2 Don’t worry about dolls.

3 Don’t worry about the past.

4 Don’t worry about the future.

5 Don’t worry about growing up.

6 Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you.

7 Don’t worry about triumph.

8 Don’t worry about failure unless it is your own fault.

9 Don’t worry about mosquitoes.

10 Don’t worry about flies.

11 Don’t worry about insects in general.

How many men have walked on the Moon? 12 (so far).

12 Don’t worry about parents.

13 Don’t worry about boys.

14 Don’t worry about disappointments.

15 Don’t worry about pleasures.

16 Don’t worry about satisfactions.

Things to think about:

1 What am I really aiming at?

2 How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:

• Scholarship

• Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?

• Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?


1 Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

2 Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

3 Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.

4 Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

5 Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; waste nothing.

6 Industry. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.

7 Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8 Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9 Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10 Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.

11 Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles or accidents common or unavoidable.

12 Chastity. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

13 Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

World’s largest gallstone: 13 pounds (removed from an 80-year-old woman).

1 Truman Capote belittles playwright Tennessee Williams:

Here’s a dumpy little guy with a dramatic mind who, like one of his adrift heroines, seeks attention and sympathy by serving up half-believed lies to total strangers.

2 Noel Gallagher describes fellow rocker Jack White:

He looks like Zorro on doughnuts.

3 Joan Rivers tweets about Lindsay Lohan’s legal troubles:

She said she wouldn’t mind being under oath because she thought Oath was a Norwegian ski instructor.

4 Bette Midler feels bad for Princess Anne:

She loves nature in spite of what it did to her.

5 How much does Robert Smith of the Cure (a vegetarian) hate the singer Morrissey?

If Morrissey says not to eat meat, then I’ll eat meat—that’s how much I hate Morrissey.

6 Dorothy Parker, when told that former president Calvin Silent Cal Coolidge was dead, asked:

How can they tell?

7 Kathy Griffin uses hindsight to describe Angelina Jolie:

Her lips look like an inflamed anus.

Pillbugs (also called potato bugs and roly-polies) have 14 legs.

1 CHINA, INDIA, AND AFGHANISTAN. These three countries don’t adhere to the clean plate club. Finishing everything on your plate means you weren’t given enough food in China (and could be insulting), while in India and Afghanistan, an empty plate signals that you want another helping.

2 GERMANY AND KENYA. On the other hand, if you don’t finish everything on your plate in these two countries, your hosts may feel insulted that you didn’t enjoy the dish.

3 GERMANY. Americans tend to smile a lot, even at strangers, but Germans primarily use their smiles to show affection to those close to them. So if you’re attending a business meeting in Germany, keep things on the serious side. If you laugh during a meeting, they may frown even more.

4 SAUDI ARABIA. The men there stand much closer to one another than Americans do. Although it might feel like they’re invading your personal space, close proximity is the social norm for Saudis, so try not to back away.

5 GREECE. If you’re invited to a dinner party, don’t show up empty-handed. A small gift of flowers or wine is expected.

6 AUSTRALIA. Don’t try to speak Australian to an Australian. G’day, mate won’t go over well. A simple hello there will do. And don’t mention that Australia was founded as a penal colony; that’s how only a few immigrants arrived there.

Paul McCartney wrote When I’m 64 when he was 15.

7 CANADA. When discussing the indigenous population, avoid the terms Indian, Eskimo, and tribe. Each is considered offensive. Instead, say First Nations, Inuit, and bands or nations for specific tribes.

8 MEXICO. Don’t be insulted if you show up on time for a meeting and it takes an hour for everyone else to get there. Meeting times are approximate. For parties, however, you’re expected to be punctual.

9 CHINA. If a Chinese businessman gives you his business card, you are expected to give yours in return. That holds true even if a group of them gives you their cards. They should all get one in return. So bring plenty.

10 JAPAN. Apologize frequently during conversation, even if you have nothing to apologize for.

11 MALAYSIA. Pointing your index finger at someone is considered rude. Instead, point with your right thumb, with the other fingers folded into your palm.

12 INDIA. Cows are considered sacred, so leave your leather at home. And don’t make light of this custom (such as joking about how great cheeseburgers taste).

13 THAILAND. Thais consider the head to be the sacred seat of the soul, so unless you’re a monk or a family member, don’t touch anyone’s head—especially a child’s.

14 BELGIUM. A standard greeting is three kisses on the cheeks, alternating from one cheek to the other.

15 ITALY. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Every NFL football has exactly 16 lace holes (and one lace).

At first glance, this may look like a typical list of classic books, but look closer—they’re food puns! Not only that, but these are actual dishes that chefs have entered into the annual Edible Book Festival. So have a good read and…bon appétit!

1 Anne of Green Bagels

2 Call of the Wild Rice

3 Olive R Twist

4 Chivanhoe

5 Chronicles of Naania

6 Grilled with a Dragon Tattoo

7 The Age of Raisin

8 The DaVinci Cod

9 Lord of the Fries

10 Lord of the Onion Rings

11 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Marzipan

12 The Communist Can-of-Pesto

13 As I Lay Frying

14 Bridge over the River Chai

15 Cauliflowers for Algernon

16 The Decline and Fall of the Ramen Empire

17 Remembrance of Things Pasta

18 The Invisible Manwich

19 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Pie

20 Alice in Wonderbread

21 For Hummus the Bell Pepper Tolls

22 Kon Twinkie

23 Jurassic Tart

24 The Bundt for Red October

25 Treasure Pieland

26 A SweeTart Named Desire

27 Fifty Shades of Grape

First reported gold find in the New World: a 17-lb nugget (N.C. 1799).

1 Ketos. Better known as the Kraken from Clash of the Titans, it was going to eat Andromeda (chained to a rock as a sacrifice) until Perseus saved her.

2 Python. Guarded the Oracle of Delphi’s shrine, killed by Apollo.

3 Hesperios. The guard dragon of the Golden Apples. After Heracles slew it, the gods placed it in the heavens to become the constellation Draco.

4 Drakones of Medea. Two flying dragons that pulled the witch Medea’s chariot.

5 Chimera. A lion’s body with a dragon’s tail and a goat head on its back, slain by Bellerophon.

6 Campe. This winged serpent was a woman from the waist up. Her feet were 1,000 vipers, and the heads of 50 animals protruded from her waist. Guarded the prison pit of Tartaros.

7 Kholkikos. This unsleeping dragon guarded the Golden Fleece until it was slain by the hero Jason.

8 Thespiakos. To save his city, Menestratos wore a breastplate covered in hooks and let Thespiakos eat him; the hooks slew the beast from within.

9 Kykhreides. Terrorized the island of Salamis until Kykhreus drove it away. Then it fled to the goddess Demeter and became her companion.

10 Hydra. When Heracles tried to remove her nine heads, two more popped up for every one he chopped off. So he cauterized the neck stumps so they couldn’t regenerate and kept hack, hack, hacking away until Hydra was dead.

Bob Hope hosted the Academy Awards a record 18 times.

In 1974 President Richard Nixon resigned after he was implicated in a burglary of the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate Hotel. Ever since then, when the news media really wants to milk a scandal for ratings, they throw a gate at the end of it.


Gate Open: Camillagate May Keep Charles Off Throne wrote the LA Times in 1992 after the fairy tale marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana imploded. Why? British tabloids had leaked the transcript of a sexually explicit phone call between Charles and his mistress Camilla Parker-Bowles. The British public—who loved Diana—turned on Camilla (but a subsequent leak revealed that Diana had a lover of her own).

Gate Closed: The troubled royal marriage ended in divorce in 1996. Diana died a year later. Charles finally married Camilla in 2005, and to this day some Brits still dislike her.


Gate Open: Even if you don’t remember who played in 2004’s Super Bowl (the Patriots beat the Panthers in a nail-biter), you probably remember Nipplegate. During the MTV-produced halftime show, Justin Timberlake yanked on Janet Jackson’s top, and her breast (adorned with a decorative nipple shield) spilled out on live TV for 9/16ths of a second. Timberlake said it was an unplanned wardrobe malfunction.

Gate Closed: The NFL booted MTV from future halftime shows, and FCC chairman Michael Powell fined everyone involved a lot of money. Jackson’s career never rebounded. Ten years later, Powell admitted, I had to put my best version of outrage on that I could put on. It was surreal. (Footnote: Jawed Karim, who worked at PayPal, tried to view Nipplegate online, but he couldn’t find it, so he invented YouTube.)

On average, world-class gymnasts retire by age 19.


Gate Open: In 2002 three off-duty San Francisco cops confronted two men, one of whom was carrying a mysterious paper bag. The officers ordered the man to hand over the bag. He refused…and then suffered a beatdown by the cops. What was in the bag? Steak fajitas. So the press, of course, called the scandal Fajitagate.

Gate Closed: The officers were acquitted of criminal charges (they said they had probable cause to search the bag). But they later lost a civil suit and had to pay $41,000 in damages.


Gate Open: Toallagate (as it was called in Mexico) rocked President Vicente Fox’s administration in 2001 after reports surfaced that the presidential mansion underwent a $400,000 overhaul that included $400 monogrammed towels and $1,000 bedsheets. The dirty laundry didn’t bode well for Fox, who had promised impoverished Mexicans he would put an end to government kickbacks. He denied any knowledge of the extravagances and apologized profusely. If the towels have caused offense, he said, I’ll pay for them out of my own pocket.

Gate Closed: Three government officials resigned, and three others were suspended. (No word if Fox bought the towels.)


Gate Open: Early in his first term in 1993, President Bill Clinton was hammered by the press for a haircut he got on Air Force One while it was parked on a runway at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport). Reports said that approaching planes had to circle the airport for an hour while Clinton got a $200 trim from a stylist named Cristophe. Hairgate dominated the headlines, causing headaches for Clinton’s PR team.

Gate Closed: The reports were false…mostly. Clinton did get a haircut, but the FAA said that it caused no delays at LAX.

In the next 20 minutes, one million links will be shared on Facebook.


Gate Open: Quebec law dictates that businesses cannot use another language more than French. So in 2013 the Office Québecois de la Langue Française (Office of the Language Minister) sent the owner of an Italian restaurant an official notice to stop using the words pasta and antipasto on the menu.

Gate Closed: Pastagate went viral and embarrassed the government so much that the head of the office resigned.


Gate Open: Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist keeps an electric fan at the base of his podium during debates, but the venue rules at an October 2014 debate against incumbent Republican Rick Scott forbade their use. Crist’s team plugged one in anyway; Scott refused to go on. The debate aired live, so viewers saw an empty stage for six minutes. Then Crist went to his podium to complain about Scott: Are we really going to debate about a fan? Or are we going to talk about education and the environment and the future of our state? I mean, really. Scott hurried to his podium, and the two opponents traded barbs for an hour. Of course, the next day, all the press could talk about was Fangate.

Gate Closed: Scott’s image was tarnished by his refusal to take the podium, but he had enough fans to win reelection.


Gate Open: British MP Andrew Mitchell tried to ride his bike through the main gate at his Downing Street office, but the guard told him to use the pedestrian gate instead. Mitchell unleashed an expletive-laced tirade and called the guard a pleb.

Gate Closed: Mitchell resigned from his post as chief whip.

Sweet then sour: Boston’s Great Molasses Flood of 1919 killed 21 people.

Michael Crichton wrote in his novel Jurassic Park, The history of evolution is that life escapes all barriers. Life breaks free. Life expands to new territories. Painfully, perhaps even dangerously. But life finds a way. As this list shows, he wasn’t kidding.


In the 1950s, scientists experimented with a new technique of sterilization: They pelted cans of meat with gamma radiation. To their amazement, the bacteria Deinococcus radiodurans not only survived the process but were thriving inside the cans.


Another place D. radiodurans lives: the Hanford Nuclear Reserve in Washington state, where 53 million gallons of radioactive waste left over from World War II weapons production are being stored in tanks…that leaked. In 2004 scientists studying the area discovered the bacteria living in what microbial ecologist Fred Brockman called the most radioactive soil that’s ever been looked at for microorganisms.


Spain’s Rio Tinto is called the River of Fire for both its red color and the acidity of the water—it has a pH level between 1.5 and 3.1 (about the same as the acid in your stomach). Despite those extreme conditions, microorganisms called acidophiles thrive there. Scientists once thought nearby mines were making the river acidic, but the acidophiles themselves are the culprits; so many live in the water that they’ve changed its pH. Because similar conditions exist on Jupiter’s moon Europa, astrobiologists are very interested in the Rio Tinto.

We’re jealous: Koalas spend two hours a day eating and the other 22 sleeping.


Another Europa-like site that has scientists buzzing is Lake Whillans. This liquid water lake is located underneath the ice sheet in West Antarctica. Sunlight hasn’t reached these waters in thousands of years. The first time we went to Antarctica, and the first place we selected to drill a hole, we found life, boasted researcher Brent Christner in 2013. His team drilled through nearly half a mile of ice to sample the water and found 3,900 different types of microorganisms living there. Christner said, So it’s not much of a stretch that in similar conditions, like on the icy moon of Europa, life could exist there.


Three miles beneath the surface of the Caribbean Sea lies the otherworldly Piccard vent field. Shifting tectonic plates there eject massive plumes of superheated water through vents in the seafloor. Water temperatures can reach an incredible 750°F. In spite of the depth and the heat, an expedition to the vent field in 2012 found a thriving ecosystem of fish, shrimp, crabs, snails, anemones, starfish, and tubeworms.


Chile’s Atacama Desert receives an average rainfall of 0.0004 inch per year. Some years it doesn’t rain at all. In fact, there hasn’t been a significant rainfall there in 400 years. In the Atacama’s central region—the driest place in the world—biologists searched for but couldn’t find any sign of life, animal or plant. But then, in 2004, a team decided to dig 8 to 12 inches below the desert’s surface and take soil samples. Once back in the lab, the specimens were soaked in water and then spread on a Petri dish to grow. Result: Every sample turned out to contain bacteria. The microorganisms had survived without water for at least four centuries. The Atacama findings suggest that there might be life in the form of bacteria on another extremely arid place—Mars. And the search there has only just begun.

The 23 enigma is the belief that all events are connected to the number 23.

Think the dressing-room demands of today’s stars are weird? Well, no brown M&M’s is nothing compared to illusionist Harry Houdini’s demands for a performance in the early 1900s. This list couldn’t have made the theater manager happy.

1 As I leave stage soaking wet in bathing suit, I require two dressing rooms nearest stage (6 in company). Couch in dressing room.

2 Small trap in center of stage, not less than 8″, 2′ feet in rear of front cloth.

3 Use of fire hose to reach from side of stage, about 3′ past center stage, used in view of audience.

4 Please see to it that the water in hose is run off. It must be clear, so that audience can see through it.

5 100 gallons of boiling water (must be boiling).

6 We carry four brass tubs to hold this water, which must be filled ready on stage before each performance.

7 Prepare a chute for 250 gallons of water, from the small 8x8′ trap to most convenient spot under stage. The outlet in our water cloth is 6 in diameter."

8 Water carpet must be flied after each show.

9 Two small occasional tables (gold if possible, and four gold chairs) and 18 Bentwood Chairs.

10 A run or stair case, so that committee from audience can come over footlights onto stage.

11 A small, clean looking (mahogany colored if possible) step ladder about 3 feet 6 inches high.


In 1969 the cost to see 32 acts at the 3-day Woodstock festival: $24.

We receive so much from our lunar neighbor—the tides, a light at night—that it’s only fair we give something back. So in addition to the 70 spacecraft and satellites that were intentionally left or crashed on the Moon, future spacefarers will also find…

1 Several bags of urine

2 Several bags of feces

3 Several bags of vomit

4 Defecation Collection Device

5 American flags

6 Golf balls

7 TV cameras

8 Still cameras

9 Backpacks

10 Falcon feather (used in an experiment to see if it would fall faster than a hammer)

11 Hammer

12 Wet wipes

13 Towels

14 Javelins

15 Personal hygiene kits

16 Boots

17 Blankets

18 Space food packages

19 Three lunar rovers

20 Two mirrors that NASA uses to calculate the distance to the Moon

21 A photo of astronaut Charles Duke’s family

22 A silver pin

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