Uncle johns bathroom rea.., p.1

Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Plunges into Pennsylvania, page 1


Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Plunges into Pennsylvania

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Uncle John's Bathroom Reader Plunges into Pennsylvania

  Bathroom Readers’ Institute

  Ashland, Oregon

  San Diego, California

  Our “Regular” Readers Rave!

  “Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader has added a new dimension to my bathroom visits. Thank you.”


  “I would just like to thank you for making me laugh. Since discovering your great series, I find myself visiting my bathroom more often. There is need of a new invention: Armrests in the toilet!”


  “I think these books are the best in the world. I take them to school and show all my friends. Thank you for making my visits to the bathroom fun.”


  “Today my friend was asking me who my best teacher was. I said ‘Uncle John.’ He was confused and asked me if I was home-schooled. My response? No. I was bathroom-schooled. He went out and bought a copy. Thanks for the education!”


  “Just thought I’d let you know what a great job you’re doing. My whole family enjoys your books and our tradition has been to buy one, then two books at Christmastime for reading the next year. You’ve become so popular that we now have at least three new books in the bathroom, and it’s only June!”


  “I absolutely love your books. But oddly, I’ve never read them in the bathroom. As soon as I get one, I have to read it cover to cover. Keep up the good work!”


  “I just wanted to say how wonderful I have found the Bathroom Readers. I have bought several for friends and family, and they are truly addicted now. Everyone seems to spend an extra 10 minutes in the bathroom in order to read.”


  “You guys are the funniest I’ve ever read!”


  “Keep ’em coming! I am totally addicted to your books, currently owning 14. I was a teacher for 30 years, and am now a reference librarian. I suggested to my supervisor that we order your books for our local library collection, as they are the most consistently fascinating series on facts and trivia that I have ever come across. I have sung your praises to our librarian patrons on numerous occasions, so hopefully I have helped spawn a new generation of BR fanatics!”


  “I love your books and have read and reread and reread the Bathroom Readers I have. My wife tells me I am a warehouse of useless information, thanks in part to you guys.”


  “I have many of your books and enjoy reading them at work. By the way, my job is making toilet paper.”


  Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader

  Plunges into Pennsylvania

  Copyright ©2009 by Portable Press. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

  “Bathroom Reader,” “Portable Press,” and “Bathroom Readers’ Institute” are registered trademarks of Baker & Taylor, Inc. All rights reserved.

  Some material was reprinted from the following titles: Uncle John’s Ahh-Inspiring Bathroom Reader, Uncle John’s All-Purpose Extra Strength Bathroom Reader, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges into Great Lives, Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges into National Parks, and Uncle John’s Supremely Satisfying Bathroom Reader.

  For information, write The Bathroom Readers’ Institute

  P.O. Box 1117, Ashland, OR 97520

  e-mail: [email protected]

  ISBN-13: 978-1-60710-661-6

  E-book edition: May 2012


  Long Live the Revolution

  Rebel with a Cause

  Meet the Continental Congress

  Washington’s War

  Let Freedom Ring

  Capital One

  The Fight for the Wyoming Valley

  Down in the Valley

  Gustatory Glory

  “Whiz Wit”

  Food, Glorious Food

  Grapes of Wealth

  Counter Culture


  The Rolling Rock Story

  Roll Out the Barrels

  Pennsylvania Papers

  Revolutionary Documents: Common Sense

  Revolutionary Documents:

  The Declaration of Independence

  Revolutionary Documents: The U.S. Constitution

  Born to Be Wild

  The Weather Prophet

  It’s a Zoo Out There

  It’s a Zoo, Too

  Titans and Tycoons

  Man of Steel

  Man of Steel, Part II

  Ghosts of Business Past

  The Ketchup King

  U.S. Steel: Then and Now

  Ghosts of Business Past, Part II

  The Sweet Life of Milton Hershey

  Speaking Pennsylvanian

  Pennsylvania-isms: The Basics

  Pennsylvania-isms, Part II

  Name That Town

  A Capital City

  An Oil-American City

  Must-see Muscletown

  An Erie Feeling

  The City of Brotherly Love

  Pretzel City

  Jim Thorpe

  Prison to Peeps

  The Pitts


  Meet Me in Coupon

  Getting in Toon

  Stars of Sport

  Make Way for the Black and Gold

  An Insider’s Guide to Reggie Jackson

  “Broad Street Bullies”

  Batter Up!

  Five Things You Should Know About Joe Montana

  Batter Up, Part II

  The Little Team that Could

  March of the Penguins

  The Phillies By the Numbers

  The Sixers By the Numbers

  Fly Like an Eagle

  Quotable Notables

  Poor Richard

  From Paterno’s Playbook

  Quotable Cosby

  Puzzle These Out

  Welcome to “Penn State”

  Colonial Philly

  The Pittsburgh Pirates Quiz

  A Penn-y for Your Thoughts

  Oh, the Symbolism

  The Joy of Sects: A Pop Quiz

  Keystoners on the Big Screen

  Keystone Quiz

  Let Us Entertain You

  Rocky Road

  Behind the Hits


  Ex-Stream Architecture

  PA on TV

  On the Radio

  Philadelphia Triple Feature

  The Gettysburg Cyclorama

  Native Son: A Mario Lanza Quiz

  Bandstand Boogie!

  Historical Heroics

  The Birth of “Clean Air”

  The Great Innovator

  The Pittsburgh Vaccine

  Environmental Crusader

  The Johnstown Flood

  The Lattimer Massacre

  All Aboard!

  Just for Fun

  You Know You’re a Pennsylvanian When . . .

  You Can’t Do That Here!

  King of Malls

  Dumb Crooks

  Pennsylvania By the Letters

  Highway Haunts

  Museums of the Strange

  On the Road

  Good Scares

  On the Road (Again)

  Mixed Bag

  It Happened in 1787

  James Buchanan Gets No Respect

  The Stall of Fame

  Queen of the Jail

  Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon

  Around Town

bsp; Dynasty, Philadelphia Style

  Seven Things You Should Know About Quakers

  The Fire that Won’t Die

  State Stats

  Just the Facts

  Fly That Flag

  The “Commonwealth” Thing

  Pennsylvania Evens

  Only in PA

  Fabulous Firsts

  Pennsylvania Odds

  Hallowed Halls

  Prank-More College

  The U Penn Quiz


  Quote Me

  “Nowhere in this country, from sea to sea, does nature comfort us with such assurance of plenty, such rich and tranquil beauty as in those unsung, unpainted hills of Pennsylvania.”

  —Rebecca Harding Davis, author

  Thank You!

  The Bathroom Readers’ Institute thanks the following people whose hard work, advice, and assistance made this book possible.

  Gordon Javna

  JoAnn Padgett

  Melinda Allman

  Amy Miller

  Jeff Altemus

  Brian Boone

  Thom Little

  Michael Brunsfeld

  Julia Papps

  Dan Mansfield

  Susan Steiner

  Lea Markson

  Vickey Kalambakal

  John Scalzi

  Debbie K. Hardin

  Gabriela Toth

  Myles Callum

  Jenness I. Crawford

  Ryan Murphy

  Scott Tharler

  Julie, Elise, and


  J. Carroll

  Debbie Pawlak

  Kathryn Grogman

  Kathryn Senior

  Megan Kern

  Jay Newman

  John Dollison

  Stuart Smoller

  Toney Lee

  Angela Kern

  Bonnie Vandewater

  Lisa Meyers

  Amy Ly

  Monica Maestas

  Kait Fairchild

  Sydney Stanley

  Cynthia Francisco

  Ginger Winters

  Jennifer Frederick

  Tom Mustard

  Sophie, Bea, and Porter

  the Wonder Dog


  Welcome to Pennsylvania—the second state in the Union, the birthplace of commercial radio, and the leading U.S. producer of mushrooms. With credentials like these, it’s no wonder we chose the Keystone State as the subject of our latest Bathroom Reader. We recruited a group of Pennsylvania aficionados to put together this collection of the most interesting stories the state has to offer. Read all about . . .

  History: When we thought of Pennsylvania, the first thing that came to mind was history—few states have a closer link to the American Revolution. Philadelphia, of course, is home to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and a whole lot more, but the rest of the state played an important role too: The winter that George Washington’s army spent at Valley Forge was one of the colonists’ greatest challenges, and the bitter dispute between Pennsylvania and Connecticut for the Wyoming Valley helped to define the states’ current borders.

  Sports: Whether you prefer hockey, baseball, or football, you’ll find your team in these pages.

  Business: Pennsylvania has been home to major businesses for more than a century. Whether they are building bridges, making ketchup, drilling for oil, or developing more efficient ways to make steel, Pennsylvanians are masters of innovation.

  Hometowns: If you want to ride one of America’s first roller coasters, travel the country’s first major toll road, or see where marshmallow Peeps are made, you can do it in Pennsylvania.

  Say What?

  We also asked around and found answers to some of the public’s most burning Pennsylvania-related questions:

  •Who invented Little League?

  •Why do Swarthmore students run naked through their school at exam time?

  •What’s a Moravian Love Feast?

  •Who was Pennsylvania’s “Father of the Underground Railroad”?

  •Where can you see a corpse made of lye soap and the thorax of John Wilkes Booth?

  •Who named Philadelphia?

  •How big is the King of Prussia mall?

  •What town on the Monongahela River helped to inspire the Clean Air Act of 1970?

  •How many pretzels do Pennsylvanians eat in a year?

  From William Penn’s Holy Experiment to heroes of the American Revolution to abolition and beyond, Pennsylvania’s history is sweeter than all the chocolate at Hershey Park. So head over to South Philly for a cheesesteak, kick back with a bottle of Rolling Rock, and pull on that Penn State sweatshirt. It’s going to be an awesome ride.

  As always, go with the flow . . .

  —Uncle John and the BRI staff

  Museums of the Strange

  From preserved livers to ceramic elephants, Pennsylvania’s got one of the most bizarre collections of museums we’ve ever seen.

  Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum (Orrtanna)

  If you’ve ever wondered where you could be surrounded by more than 6,000 elephants, this is the place. The owner, who goes only by “Mister Ed,” has been collecting elephant-related things since 1967, when he got an elephant figurine as a wedding present. By 1975, his pachyderm menagerie had gotten so big that it was taking up too much space in his house, so he decided to put them in a museum. Highlights: an elephant potty chair, a ceramic head with elephants coming out of it, and a nine-foot-tall talking elephant named Miss Ellie.

  Choo Choo Barn (Strasburg)

  Strasburg native George Groff opened the Choo Choo Barn in 1961 as a way to raise money for his sons’ college educations. He’d been collecting model trains since 1945 and thought there might be some money in displaying them. So he rented an old building on Route 741, set up his trains, and hoped people would come. They did: locals and tourists to Strasburg (in the heart of Lancaster County) visited in droves. Originally just 600 square feet, the museum has since expanded to its current 1,700 square feet. The animated displays are its most impressive asset. Set up to resemble Lancaster County, there’s an Amish barn raising, a Ferris wheel, a ski lodge with ice-skaters, and a three-minute-long fire scene in which a group of (miniature) firemen put out a real (miniature) house fire.

  Mütter Museum (Philadelphia)

  When it comes to weird museums, this one wins by . . . a bone. In 1858, local physician and professor Thomas Dent Mütter left $30,000 and a 1,700-piece collection of bones, plaster casts, and other medical-related items to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia to start a museum. The original museum opened in 1863 at the corner of Locust and 13th streets, but in 1908, when the displays outgrew their space, the college moved them to their current location on South 22nd Street. Today’s exhibits showcase more than 20,000 objects, including a collection of brains, an Iron Lung, the “soap woman” (the body of a woman who died in the 19th century and was buried in soil containing chemicals that turned her remains into lye soap), and a plaster cast of history’s most famous Siamese twins, Chang and Eng Bunker. But our vote for the weirdest? It’s a tie: a cancerous growth removed from U.S. president Grover Cleveland’s upper jaw, and the thorax of assassin John Wilkes Booth.

  The Museum of Mourning Art (Drexel Hill)

  In Drexel Hill’s Arlington Cemetery—a century-old resting place for war veterans, local celebrities, and even a Titanic survivor—is a structure built to look like George Washington’s Mount Vernon home. Inside is the Museum of Mourning Art is a collection of funerary items from history—everything from a 17th-century book with instructions of how to get to heaven, to an 18th-century cemetery gun that was rigged to fire when grave robbers tripped it. (It shot anyone who set it off, though, not just grave robbers, so the gun was quickly outlawed in England and the American colonies.)

  Stoogeum (Spring House)

  Off a small street that doesn’t even show up on most maps is the Stoogeum, a museum dedicated to the Three Stooges. Gary Lassin open
ed the place in 2004 and likes to keep the business low-key. He doesn’t have a staff or regular hours—anyone who wants to visit has to e-mail him for directions and to set up an appointment. But he does have one of the most impressive collections of Stooges memorabilia around today: nearly 100,000 artifacts. The three-story Stoogeum also houses a research library, a film storage vault, and a theater, and serves as the official headquarters of the Three Stooges Fan Club.

  Insectarium (Philadelphia)

  If you like creepy-crawlies, the Insectarium is for you. The museum opened in 1992 and today houses hundreds of thousands of insects (many live), including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, human face stinkbugs, velvet ants, and a foot-long walking stick. There’s even a man-made spiderweb for kids to play on and a simulated kitchen infested with thousands of swarming cockroaches.

  Did You Know?

  On November 28, 1984, Ronald Reagan issued Presidential Proclamation 5284, which declared William Penn an honorary citizen of the United States. (Since Penn had been born in England, he never had “official” citizenship.)

  Just the Facts

  Here’s a quick look at Pennsylvania.

  Population (2008): 12,440,621

  Capital: Harrisburg

  State motto: “Virtue, liberty, and independence”

  Nickname: The Keystone State

  Land area: 44,816.61 square miles

  Length: 283 miles

  Width: 160 miles

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