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The Sharecropper's Daughter Who Became a Millionaire

If you’ve never heard of Madam C.J. Walker, you’ve missed a story of one of the titans of industry. The former Sarah Breedlove was born in 1867 and rose from the plantations of Louisiana and built her own hair care business, with products designed for black women, through sheer hard work and tenacity.  

At a time when black citizens were kept in poverty through violent intimidation and segregation, Walker’s success was built on the strength of social networks, word-of-mouth testimonials, and products designed for an acutely underserved population. In many ways, Madam Walker’s story is a classic rags-to-riches tale, wherein a poor orphaned girl pulls herself up through sheer determination and willpower, forming a business that becomes an industry giant and the envy of others. But Walker’s story is also one of repeated frustration—that her various husbands took more from her than they gave in return; that her accomplishments were challenged or overlooked by others in the black community; that she barely lived long enough to enjoy her hard-earned prosperity.

Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles, wrote her biography, On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker. She talked to Collectors Weekly about Madam Walker and her unusual rise to wealth and fame.

(Image credit: ©Madam Walker Family Archives/A’Lelia Bundles)

This Minion Body Wash Has One Horrifying Flaw

The Minions are drawn, modeled and rendered to be utterly adorable, but the one flaw in their character design is they still look horrifying when they bleed.

'If that blood is flowing out of an orifice the horror level increases, and seeing a Minion bleeding out of its eyes is something that's sure to stay with a child until well after they've started seeing a shrink.

Twitter user @AlsBoy, aka filmmaker and strong swimmer Ash Warner spotted this gruesome flaw in the Minions 3-in-1 Body Wash bottle design while soaping up in the shower, but at least the "blood" is strawberry banana scented!

-Via Metro UK

Men Go Fishing, Catch Kittens

Jason Frost and Brandon Key went fishing on the Black Warrior River in Alabama on Saturday. They didn’t expect to see kittens swimming toward them as if desperate for a boat ride.

(YouTube link)

Frost posted the video to Facebook, where he said,

I really don't know how to describe this video, but the Warrior River never fails to surprise me......this puts a new spin on the term "catfishing"

Both kittens already have a new home together. -via Time

Wire Cutters

Two robots are mining a distant planet. It’s a lonely job, until they run into each other. No, it’s nothing like Wall-E, even though these robots are cute, too.   

(vimeo link)

Jack Anderson made this award-winning animated short film by himself. He said this took about a year of rendering. -via Boing Boing

The World's Largest Container Ship Plays the Star Wars Theme on Its Horn

(Video Link)

At 432 yards long, the newly-launched MSC Zoe is the Death Star of the transoceanic shipping business. It's no moon, but a fully operational station capable of moving the equivalent of 19,224 20-foot cargo containers. Appropriately, while in Hamburg, Germany, the ship's horn system played the title theme from Star Wars.

-via Jalopnik

A House for Cats

(YouTube link)

Peter Cohen is a home builder, so he can fix his house any way he wants to. What he wanted was to make his cats safe, healthy, and happy. One thing led to another, and now he has 15 cats and a house custom-designed for their pleasure. There are catwalks, tunnels, staircases, beds, a koi pond, ventilated litter box closets, and Roombas. So far, he’s spent almost $40,000. These cats have it made! -via Tastefully Offensive

Old Man vs. Robber

(Video Link)

Old Tricks is a delightful short film about a disabled old man who lives alone. He looks like the perfect prey for a robber. He's confined to a wheelchair and has to use an oxygen tank. So he's helpless, right?

The old man is played by Joe Spano, an actor you may remember as Det. Henry Goldblume on Hill Street Blues and FBI Agent T.C. Fornell on NCIS.

-via Kuriositas

Left at the Altar, What This Bride Did to Her Wedding Dress Was Amazing!

Photo: Elizabeth Hoard Photography

Shelby Swink, 23, met the love of her life in college and got engaged. The couple started planning for their wedding ...

"I poured my heart and soul into the wedding plans to try and make it the best day it could be. It was going to be a celebration of our love and commitment ot each other, so I wanted it to be absolutely amazing. A few weeks before the wedding I had everything planned out to a T and was so excited for our big day," Swink said to Offbeat Bride.

And that's when the unthinkable happened. Just five days before the wedding day, Swink's fiance told her that he was not in love with her and did not want to go through with the wedding.

"Bam. My dreams of marrying and having kids with what I thought was the man I would spend the rest of my life vanished," Swink told Buzzfeed. The next couple of days was filled with frantic calls to calling guests and to cancel services, but thankfully Swink's friends and family rallied around her.

But what of the dress? Swink said that a few people brough up the idea of trashing the wedding dress. "My mother spent so much money on the dress and alterations, so I was nervous to even think about destroying it ... but after thinking about it, I knew that doing something to mark the occasion was the perfect thing for me. I was not going to let my ex-fiance's mistake of letting me go take away my happiness."

On what was supposed to be her wedding day, Swink and her friends and family had a different kind of ceremony - all captured in photos by Elizabeth Hoard:

"The moment the paint hit my dress ... I was free. All the disappointment, all the hurt ... I just felt it leave me. I can't even describe how liberating and cathartic the experience was for me. I let go of all the hurt and became myself again," Swink said.

Even Swink's mom and dad got in on it!

See More Photos

This Luxurious Toilet Is At, Of All Places, A Gas Station

(Video Link)

YouTube user bigsmilenoteeth is really worked up at the beginning of the video as he introduces the most amazing toilet ever discovered at a gas station. My first thought was "He's found one that's actually clean" because that's extremely rare in the world of gas station toilets. Where I live, if you can avoid involuntarily retching, then you've found a good gas station toilet.

But no: he has actually found a luxury-level restroom worthy of a 5-star hotel in the back of a Shell gas station in Bohol, the Philippines.

-via 22 Words

The Hobbit Song: I Will Show You

(YouTube link)

Glover produced “The Hobbit Song” by remixing sounds, effects, and dialogue samples from The Hobbit trilogy using Logic Pro X. The accompanying video is a visual feast from the three films. This video may prove to be an earworm. -via Geeks Are Sexy 

North Korea, South Korea: A Photographic Juxtaposition

Universities in North Korea (top photo) and South Korea 

North Korea and South Korea may be close geographically, but politically and culturally they are worlds apart. The communist, oppressive North Korea is marred by poverty, secrecy and stagnation. According to this BBC profile,

"Aid agencies have estimated that up to two million people have died since the mid-1990s because of acute food shortages caused by natural disasters and economic mismanagement. The country relies on foreign aid to feed millions of its people.

The totalitarian state also stands accused of systematic human rights abuses. Reports of torture, public executions, slave labour, and forced abortions and infanticides in prison camps have emerged. Amnesty International estimates that hundreds of thousands of people are held in detention facilities, in which it says that torture is rampant and execution commonplace." 

In stark contrast, South Korea is a wealthy, thriving capitalist society. German photographer Dieter Leistner's photo series, a juxtaposition of images of the two countries, illustrates the striking disparities between them. Leistner's photos well represent the old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words."

See more photos from this collection in this article. Leistner's series, entitled "Korea--Korea," can be purchased in book form here.

Road leading outside Pyongyang, North Korean capital
Road leading outside Seoul, South Korea

Boy Scouts Rescue Pilot Who Crashed into River

(Photo: Boy Scout Troop 597)

Last Saturday, a single engine plane crashed into the Congaree River in Calhoun County, South Carolina. It promptly sank completely underwater. Boy Scouts in Troop #597 from Dacula, Georgia were paddling canoes in the area. They spotted the pilot swimming away from it. The scouts took him to a riverbank. It was quite cold and the pilot was in risk of dying of hypothermia, so the scouts lit a fire and wrapped him in a blanket.

They then summoned rescue workers. Unfortunately, the ambulance was on the opposite side of the river, so the scouts put the pilot into a canoe and took him across. The pilot went to the hospital and is in good health.

-via Jalopnik

Now, THAT’s a Christmas Gift!

(YouTube link)

Today is the day we get to see what people got for Christmas gifts. Some are hysterical, some are funny, and some are downright tragic. But the best gift I’ve seen so far is the one Joey Trombone got for his parents. You can see their reactions in this video, but to find out what he got them, you’ll have to see the picture of the envelope contents at his Facebook page. -via 22 Words

The Teletubbies Sun Baby Revealed

The baby whose face became the sun on the TV show Teletubbies has spilled her secret. Jess Smith was just nine months old when she was recorded giggling, laughing, and looking. She’s now 19 and a student at Canterbury Christ Church University. Smith said students were encouraged to tell each other something no one knew, and her TV role came out. She later posted it on her Facebook page for her friends.  

In 1996, her mother, Anji Smith, 44, took her to Edenbridge Hospital to be weighed and a health visitor, who had been asked by Ragdoll Productions to find smiley babies, put Jess's name forward.

Mrs Smith said it was never intended to be a big thing: "It was just something a bit different to do and we didn't expect it to be as big as it was.

"They just sat her in front of a camera and she just laughed and smiled at her dad.

"We didn't hear anything until we got a letter when she was 18 months old saying she'd been picked.

"It was really weird seeing her on television."     

You can read more of Smith’s story at The Telegraph. -via reddit

(Image credit: BBC/SWNS)

Robin Williams and Ben Stiller Helped Costar Get Prom Date

YouTube Link

During the shoot for Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb in May, actor Skyler Gisondo, who played Ben Stiller's son, was missing the time of year at his school when his friends were asking girls to the prom. Gisondo enlisted the help of costars Stiller and Robin Williams to shoot a video proposal to his intended prom date. Williams and Stiller loved the idea. Gisondo told the Hollywood Reporter,

“All morning, Robin was pitching more ideas. He was saying ‘Can I say this? Would it be appropriate to say this?’ You’re Robin Williams. You can say whatever you want! It turned into this three-minute, ridiculous thing. A prom-posal.

I realized that was the most awesome three minutes of my life and I’ve accepted it will go downhill from there.”

Gisondo, who called Robin Williams “a bottomless reservoir of kindness and hilarity,” said of his time working with the late actor,

“It was just so special to work so closely with this guy whose movies I’ve grown up with and watch his preparedness and his kindness.”

-Via Uproxx


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