20 Amazing Yard Sale Finds

Mental Floss via YouTube
Mental Floss via YouTube

If you've spent the past year bragging to everyone you know about the barely used bowling ball you picked up at a yard sale for a paltry $5, you may want to avoid swapping stories with the two people who have unknowingly purchased original copies of the Declaration of Independence (an estimated 26 of them remain, and are worth about $2.5 million apiece).

In this week's all-new edition of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is sharing 20 stories of yard sale and flea market finds that turned out to be worth a fortune. You can watch the full episode below. (And be sure to keep your eyes peeled the next time you find yourself sorting through someone else's junk.)

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You Can Take a Virtual Tour of Fallingwater and More of Frank Lloyd Wright's Most Famous Buildings

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.
Daderot, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

If you only know one architect by name, there’s a pretty good chance it’s Frank Lloyd Wright. The 20th-century visionary, whose most famous works include Fallingwater in Pennsylvania and New York’s Guggenheim Museum, ushered American architecture into a modern era that prized simplicity and natural beauty over Victorian ostentation.

Since most of his buildings are closed to visitors right now, the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and Unity Temple Restoration Foundation are working together to bring the buildings to visitors via virtual tours.

Smithsonian reports that every Thursday at 1 p.m. EST, participating sites will share a new video of a Wright-constructed property across various social media accounts with the hashtag “#WrightVirtualVisits.” Last week, for example, Minneapolis’s Malcolm Willey House shared a video on its Facebook page of the Seth Peterson Cottage in Mirror Lake, Wisconsin. This way, fans who follow a certain building on social media will get to learn about others.

The video tours, hosted by the property owners or directors of Wright-affiliated organizations, cover everything from specific architectural elements, like sloping ceilings and built-in seating, to general themes in Wright’s work, like his commitment to accentuating features of the natural landscape. Some even touch on the process of adding modern technology to the houses; the Willey House, which was built in 1934, was outfitted with air conditioning during the early 21st century (though modern trappings don't necessarily make the houses any easier to sell).

In short, the videos are a great way for newcomers to be introduced to Wright’s legacy and for longtime fans to pick up behind-the-scenes details about his buildings. So far, 17 properties have volunteered to take part in the initiative, including Wright’s own Wisconsin estate, Taliesin, and Fallingwater, a summer residence for department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann that Wright built on top of a waterfall in the mid-1930s.

You can discover the videos by searching for #WrightVirtualVisits on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or you can bookmark this page from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy’s website, which will be updated with new videos as they’re made public.

[h/t Smithsonian]

Explore the Fascinating History of Soul Food

Soul food. You've undoubtedly heard the phrase, but what exactly does it mean? Oddly, it didn't originate as a culinary term. The expression—or at least a variation of it (soul's food)—was coined by William Shakespeare in his play The Two Gentlemen of Verona, which is believed to have been written in the late 1500s. The phrase was also used in the Christian church as a term for spiritual nourishment. It wasn’t until the 1960s, around the time of the Black Power Movement, that soul food became tied to food.

In this episode of "Food History," we’ll look at the history of soul food in America and learn about the cuisine's pioneers, like Pamela Strobel, a.k.a. Princess Pamela. We'll also speak with experts Dr. Jessica B. Harris, who has spent years studying and writing about food and culture, along with former Top Chef cheftestant Chris Scott to gain a better understanding of this cuisine’s long history in the United States—and how it differs from Southern food.

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