36 for 36: Here are 36 Weird, Wonderful Facts to Celebrate Uncle John’s 36th Annual Bathroom Reader

August 30, 2023

Uncle John’s Weird, Wonderful Bathroom Reader is officially out now. Get a taste of the new edition with this round-up of fun facts we saved just for you, loyal Portable Press blog reader.

When people tell us they love the Bathroom Reader (thank you, by the way), they say that one of their favorite things are “those little facts on the bottom of the page.” You won’t find those in most other trivia books, because those are an original innovation from Uncle John. And here’s a little bit of insider knowledge. The in-house term for those is “running feet.” We think they’re a great way to pack even more fun information into a book already packed with information. Not wanting to mess with perfection, our latest and 36th edition, Uncle John’s Weird, Wonderful Bathroom Reader, features running feet. But as a special treat, here are 36 brand-new and exclusive running feet, the kind of thing you’ll find in Uncle John’s Weird, Wonderful Bathroom Reader, particularly because they’re fun, interesting, and cover an immense array of subjects.

SPORTS: Only Major League Baseball team that plays in a stadium on a street named after a player: The San Francisco Giants, whose Oracle Park sits on Willie Mays Plaza.

WORDPLAY: The longest word found in most standard dictionaries is the 45-letter pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. (It’s a lung disease.)

FOOD: Two-thirds of an Oreo’s calories come from its creme filling.

FOUNDING FATHERS: George Washington left the American colonies only one time — in 1751, he went to Barbados with his brother.

SCIENCE: There’s so much gold in the ocean that if it was collected and distributed, everyone on the planet would get nine pounds.

HISTORY: Austrian-born Hitler became a citizen of Germany one year before he took over its government.

MATH: Only number whose square (4,761) and cube (328,509) use every digit just once: 69.

FADS: 1700s fashion fad in Europe — wearing stickers on one’s face.

NATURE: Albinism can be diagnosed in trees.

ANIMALS: Giraffes don’t have horns. Those little bumps on their heads are called ossicones.

VIDEO GAMES: Rarest Atari game — Extra Terrestrials. Some unauthorized programmers in Ontario made it and sold 100 of them door to door.

GEOGRAPHY: Country with the lowest obesity rate: Vietnam (2.1%). Country the highest rate: Nauru (61%).

MEDICINE: About 3,000 Americans sever a finger every year. The two biggest causes: power tools and doors.

SPACE: Pluto isn’t the furthest planetary body in the solar system. There’s a more distant dwarf planet called Gongong.

NAMES: Who was Vlad the Impaler’s brother? Radu the Handsome.

ORIGINS: When did building with reenforced concrete get popular in the U.S.? Just after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

CARS: In the early 1900s, Ford issued the first-ever automotive recall. Reason: Bugs got into the moss used as seat padding.

OOPS: Clyde Barrow (of Bonnie and Clyde) self-amputated two toes to get out of prison labor… a week before he was surprisingly released.

MUSIC: Neil Young wrote four of his best known songs in one day when he was ill with a fever: “Cowgirl in the Sand,” “Down by the River,” “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere,” and “Cinnamon Girl.”

RELIGION: Judaism is the second-most observed faith in New York City, and there are more Jewish people in NYC than in Israel’s two biggest cities combined.

LANGUAGE: What’s the difference between Persian and Farsi? Nothing.

DEATH: The most common cause of death at the Grand Canyon is helicopter and airplane crashes (379 altogether).

MONEY: The most circulated bills in the U.S., in order: the $100, the $1, the $20, and the $5.

BOOKS: In the 21st century, only two bestselling books were written above a ninth-grade reading level. 

PRESIDENTS: Only post-WWII president with a negative approval rating who served two terms — Dwight Eisenhower.

HUMAN BODY: Weird cure for sleep apnea — losing weight in the tongue.

TECHNOLOGY: Each day, Americans throw away 400,000 smartphones.

LAW AND ORDER: Until 2017, it was legal to kill your spouse in Uruguay if you caught them in the act of cheating.

TELEVISION: Only British broadcaster to not air Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in 2022: Channel 5. (It played The Emoji Movie.)

BUSINESS: Only 7 percent of the world’s soy crop goes into making food items for humans.

AVIATION: An airplane oxygen mask will last for 10 to 14 minutes.

GAMES: Playing-card Jacks used to be called Knaves.

AMERICANA: Last American TV station to switch from black-and-white to color: Pittsburgh public TV station WQEX, in 1986.

CANADA: During World War II, the first country to declare war on Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor wasn’t the U.S. — it was Canada.

MOVIES: Scrap metal value of an Academy Award statuette: around $600.

WEIRD: The largest snowman of all time was constructed in Maine in 2008 (122 feet, 7 inches).

Uncle John’s Weird, Wonderful World Bathroom Reader: Scanning the Globe for Strange Stories and Fantastic Facts. Add it to your shelf (or that stack on the back of your toilet) today!

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