Ten Things Old Toys Teach Us

Melville purposefully distorted and misrepresented
the character of what was, in fact, a truly terrific white whale.

The ultimate “Prairie House” was designed not by Frank,
but his son John.

In 1959, a drive-in theater could show TV reruns and Terrytoons
and still get at least one carload of people to show up.

The 1950’s were not kind to Mickey Rooney.

It took months to correct the confusion created by
The Batman Modeling Team’s
contribution to Urology Awareness Week.

Social skills atrophied quickly
when an obsessive passion for coloring
developed in six-year-old Ted Nugent.

Hitchcock’s main source of income in the 1950’s was UK merchandising.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control estimates
that robots who quit smoking add an
average 14.2 hours of battery life.
Depression-Era “Bankrupt Donald Duck,”
considered “topical toy” in 1932,
might just be poised for a big comeback.

Tragedy has all the elements necessary for “family fun.”

You can’t help but wonder what horrifying board games
might be on store shelves today if The Ideal Toy Corporation
of Hollis, New York were still around.

The Sinking of the Titanic Game featured a
“new 3 piece movable game board”:

Actual Excerpts From the rules:

THE OBJECT of the game is to be the first player to board the RESCUE SHIP – with at least two passengers, two water tokens and two food tokens. The Titanic starts to sink after each player has taken his first turn.

When desired, a player may abandon his current stateroom assignment and proceed by the roll of the dice to a lifeboat. Should an assigned stateroom sink under the water line before the player gets to it, his Passenger Card is returned to the bottom of the deck.

A player forced to move to the lifeboat launching area without a lifeboat loses all his passengers, food & water. A player who leaves the lifeboat launching area without a lifeboat is considered to be “swimming.”

And from the box lid:

You have to be ready to repel your fellow players’ attempts to board your lifeboat and take your food and water. It’s a merciless struggle, especially when the rescue ship heaves into sight – because the first player who reaches it with at least two passengers, two food and two water tokens is the winner. And what about the others? Well, you might say they’ve lost at sea.

And speaking of being repelled…

The New Game Across The Atlantic
“From Liverpool to New York without touching icebergs”
… came out three weeks after the Titanic sunk.

Some things never change.
That’s what old toys teach us.

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There’s A Word For That – "Saudade"

Certain words and phrases in many of the world’s languages have no direct English equivalents.

What’s a nakhur? It’s a Persian word that identifies camels which will not give milk until their noses are tickled. We’re doing OK without that one.

The Japanese expression katahara itai means laughing so hard for so long that one side of your abdomen hurts. English is the native language of Larry David and Sarah Silverman, so we could use a phrase like that.

Uitwaaien is Dutch for “walking in windy weather just for the hell of it.”

Tingo is a word in the Pascuense language that means “to steal objects from your neighbor’s house one by one until there is nothing left.”

The English word Nostalgia was created from two Greek root words: one that means “returning home” and one that means “pain,” a suffix you know about if you’ve ever suffered from neuralgia (nerve pain), myalgia (muscle pain), otalgia (ear pain), or bussosalgia, a word I just made up using the Greek root for “bottom,” i.e., a pain in the ass.

While there may well be pain or longing associated with some forms of nostalgia, in everyday usage, nostalgia is not considered unpleasant.

The Portuguese to our rescue!

Saudade describes “a mixture of happy and sad feelings focused on days gone by.” Saudade also includes a dash of hope that whatever is “missing” or “longed for” …might one day return. And actually, in one form or another, a lot of stuff has returned.

Say, for example, that you loved the music of The Beatles, but the 301 officially released songs are starting to wear a bit thin. I find that The Spongetones CD I purchased from Not Lame effectively transforms painful nostalgia into Portuguese saudade. Beach Boys fans who miss their baseball cards should apply to Jeffery Foskett, another musical artist that Not Lame can tell you about. You can buy reproductions of those baseball cards. And you can listen to those old kiddie records you miss.

Others who help relieve achy nostalgia and replace it with the far more agreeable saudade are Gemstone Comics, Candy You Ate as a Kid, Superballs.com, Retrocola (since we all know soda pop tastes better coming out of longneck glass bottles), Fizzies, and a rivet-perfect 50’s robot that blows powder from his mouth. Seriously.

Of course, if what you’re actually suffering from is Sehnsucht, the German word for “the inconsolable longing in the human heart for we know not what,” I recommend finding a yogi or a pharmacist. Trust me, Moxie and modern reproductions of old baseball cards are far less expensive and much more fun.

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