" Though a man be wise, it is no shame for him to live and learn. "

Back in the day



The holiday of Festivus, celebrated on December 23, was popularized by an episode of the 1990s TV show Seinfeld. Unfulfilled by the year-end holidays, character Frank Costanza invents Festivus "for the rest of us." The centerpiece of Festivus is a plain, unadorned aluminum pole placed in a bucket of cement. One by one, attendees grab the pole and air their grievances, detailing how other people have disappointed them in the past year. What happens after this gripe session?



The Carson Mansion

The word "mansion" does not do justice to the castle-like Carson Mansion in Eureka, California. Completed in 1886 and considered one of the highest executions of American Queen Anne architecture, it is perhaps the most photographed Victorian building in the US. The stately residence was built for failed-gold-miner-turned-lumber-baron William Carson, who came to the US from Canada seeking his fortune and, after some initial missteps, found it. What has been housed in the residence since 1950?

Born on a day like today


Madam C.J. Walker

Thought to be America's first black female millionaire, this daughter of ex-slaves was orphaned at 7, working at 10, married at 14, and a widow with an infant at 20. She worked as a domestic and laundress and in her scant spare time developed a treatment system to stop hair loss in African-American women and create smooth, shiny coiffures. She soon expanded her product line, and by 1917, her cosmetics empire was the largest black-owned business in the US. What did she do with her riches?

Last updated on Monday, 23rd December 2013

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