Tag Archives: 20th Century

A baby to Playtex Customer Service, March 4, 1996

Trust me, that baby is like "ugh, this again."

Trust me, that baby is like “ugh, this again.”

Dear Mr. McGillicuddy,

I am a three-month old baby of discerning tastes. I am writing in regards to the nipples on the bottles your company has been selling. As a baby, I can say with absolute certainty that they in no way resemble “mother’s breast,” as promised by Playtex. At least not my mother’s breasts. And I’ve been checking out my friend’s mothers’ breasts too.

Here’s the problem. 1) Texture. Have you worn a pair of latex gloves lately? It feels weird. That’s because latex isn’t like skin. It’s stickier, and kind of squishy under the gums. Think outside the box in terms of materials. 2) Shape. Go ahead and get out one of your bottles. I’ll wait. Now grab a breast. Do those look the same to you? I didn’t think so. And they don’t feel the same on the tongue either.

I hope you’ll take my recommendations under consideration. If you wish to compensate me for my trouble, send free milk to wherever I am. I have no idea. I was born in like December.

Best wishes,

Mason

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Shigeru Miyamoto to Gunpei Yokoi, 1983

And lo, the great hero did meet his foe and vanquish him, but alas! The princess was to be found in another castle.

My dear sir:

I believe I’ve unlocked the secret of our new game. Currently, the hero is not well-developed as a character. People need a hero they can relate to, and a collection of colored blobs on top of another blob of a different color is simply not relatable to people, who are by and large NOT piles of colored blobs. In order to move the art form of video games forward, we need to create an epic tale that will elevate storytelling to a new level. This is why I am proposing we make our main character a heroic Italian plumber named Mario.

Like the great epics of the past, our plumber should have to go on a quest, wherein he learns important truths about the world, humanity, and most importantly, himself. Like the Aeneid of Virgil, Mario will find himself in a strange foreign land, where he will have to save a good and just princess from an evil king. It’s a timeless tale. Please see the attached design documents. And just as in Homer’s Iliad, the bad guys will be entirely turtles, and the evil king will be a dragon turtle with a spiky shell. Heroic Mario will need to use all his wits and skills to rescue the kingdom, which is populated entirely by anthropomorphic mushrooms. A more human tale has never been told.

I’m picturing an entire series. Mario can go into a dream world where he throws vegetables at evil frogs. He can ride around on a pet dinosaur that has a long tongue and eats everything. Maybe he can even fly around space, jumping from planet to planet like a Roman god. Most importantly, Mario, his friends, and his rivals can all put aside their differences and race around in go-karts. This will capture the hearts of children and adults alike. Who among us cannot relate?

Also, I seem to have run out of LSD. Please send.

Yours,

Miyamoto

Analysis:

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Invitation to the Submarine Enthusiasts Fair, May 5, 1938

The party-goers in the submarine where the dancing is happening are going to have a blast!

The party-goers in the submarine where the dancing is happening are going to have a blast!

Dear Submarine Enthusiast,

You’re invited to the fourth annual Submarine Enthusiasts Fair![i] We are so excited for all of the entertainment and treats that we have prepared for our fellow submarine lovers this year.

Here is the pertinent information:

When: Saturday, May 21, 1938

Where: 200 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of North Carolina.

Who: All you submarine enthusiasts in the Mid-Atlantic chapter[ii]

Why: Because it’s fun![iii]

Here’s what you have to look forward to:

–       An entertainment sub—with music and sketches, viewable through the portholes of your own sub

–       Sub history sub—visit the sub history sub for information about submarine history (visitors must come on board before we descend)[iv]

–       Food submarine!—picnic fare will be served to anyone who happens to be in the dining sub

We certainly hope you’ll join us![v]

Sincerely,

Edward Branson

National President, Submarine Enthusiasts of America


[i] The first-ever fair was actually planned for 1929 but had to be canceled because it seemed inappropriate to celebrate submarines in the wake of the stock market crash.

[ii] At the time, there were eight members.

[iii] Invitation writers in modern times no longer promise anything of the sort on their invitations for fear of being sued.

[iv] Though we applaud the attempt to inject some historical education into the event, the sub history sub was poorly researched.

[v] Branson prudently left out mention of the $500 cost of attendance and the requirement to bring your own sub.

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Letter to the Editor of the New York Times, June 1974

File:NehruY.gif

The first Prime Minister of India, wrapped around some guy

Dear Sirs[i]:

As a widower, veteran, and amateur stamp collector[ii], I feel I have some insight into the world of international politics. I must take issue with your article last week on the end of Nehru (“A Jacket’s Final Throes”, Style Section, D3, June 1st). The move from colonial rule to self-government is a long and tricky process, and one that Mr. Nehru helped handle quite admirably in India. No recent developments on the subcontinent suggest India is moving away from the course he set. I am also not quite sure it is “the end of an era,” since the fellow died ten years ago.

I’m no bleeding-heart hippie type[iii], but describing the former minister as “comfortable, but rebellious, a symbol of the ‘mod’ culture first popularized by the Beatles” smacks of disrespect, as he was fighting for independence when the Beatles were still crawling around in the gutter in whatever godforsaken English town they spawned from[iv]. Also, bluntly saying he had “six to seven buttons, some of which were deliberately left open” is unfair. Let’s leave the man’s private life[v] alone and concentrate on his civic accomplishments.[vi]

Sincerely,

Biff Kleghorn

Oneida, NY


[i] At the time, the post of “Editor-in-Chief” was held by two very in-sync twins.

[ii] Kleghorn is being modest here. In fact, he was paid to collect stamps professional by the Rockefeller Foundation.

[iii] The author kept his hair clipped short and ignored the latest fashions.

[iv] Liverpool.

[v] A related article focused entirely on Nehru’s underwear.

[vi] Dal Makhani for all.

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Betty Friedan’s agent to W.W. Norton editor, October 1962

Hoo boy she's a looker.

Hoo boy she’s a looker.

Hank,

How’s it hangin’? How’s Marjorie and the kids?

Listen now, I want you to stop whatever you’re doing because boy, do I got the book for you! It’s called The Feminine Mystique. Doesn’t that sound like a winner? It’s a sweet book by a real pretty lady. Let me tell ya, she’ll make for a great author photo on the back flap, not like that Virginia Woolf or whoever. Her name’s Betty and she wants to write about kitchens and ladies and what not. College-educated gal, but I don’t think she’ll give you too much trouble with her fee. I haven’t read the whole thing, but I flipped through and I just know the housewife market is going to be going goo-ga for it.

Anyway, take a look or just trust me and publish the dang thing! You won’t regret it.

Best,

Earl

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Pre-Seamless Web dinner order, 1915

Please provide plastic forks and paper plates for a pic-nic style dinner.

Dear Mrs. Russoni of Russoni’s Italian Eatery,[i]

I would like to place an order to be delivered to our house in Somerset in several weeks. Though we are not Italians ourselves, we want to show our unity in the war[ii] by eating food from your fine establishment. It would be unheard of to be seen at such a place, but we do enjoy your homemade pastas.[iii] Therefore, we would like to purchase one dinner special with vegetable lasagna and a soda water[iv], and for the appetizer breaded mozzarella. We’d also like to get an order of eggplant parmigiana but not the dinner special, just on its own.[v] Please deliver this dinner to the back door of the house (see hand-drawn map on back of this page)[vi] on the evening of the 20th. We’d like the breaded mozzarella well-done.

I hope my handwriting is clear.

With thanks in advance for a delicious meal,

John Morrison and family


[i] Russoni’s Italian Eatery is still an unpopular restaurant in Somerset, New Jersey. The service has not improved.

[ii] The little-known Italian-American-Brazilian War Of 1915.

[iii] Made with eggs shipped in annually from Italy.

[iv] This suggests the Morrisons were extremely well-to-do.

[v] The dinner special was really a much better deal.

[vi] In the days before GPS, a dinner order might be lost for days, during which the family would snack on bread until, by the time the food arrived, they were no longer hungry.

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