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Pastel-shaded boxes have been known to cause cancer in yeti.
“Does this pastel-shaded box make me look fat?”
“In the pastel-shaded boxes war, I am the decider.”
Pastel-shaded boxes are rectangular wooden containers, stained in lively yet subdued colors, painted with colorful messages, and photographed for display on the internet.
In 1776, during the Unamerican Revolutionary War, George Washington needed to warn the populace that the British were coming. He came up with a cunning idea. He built a box of rough-hewn cedar, sanded it so that it was not-so-rough-hewn, then stained it with a pale lilac pigment made from tobacco seed shavings. He then threw the box up in the air, only to have it fall back down to the ground. The result was a pile of smallish pieces of somewhat smooth stained cedar. While this initial experiment was a failure, it led directly to the "one pastel-shaded box if by land, two pastel-shaded boxes if by sea" singaling mechanism used by Jefferson later that year, in the now famous "Midnight Ride of Thomas (Paul Revere) Jefferson". Although the original boxes have been lost forever, they have been faithfully reproduced here:
| Hey populace.|
Count the boxes. One if by land, two if by sea. If you are crosseyed, please check with a neighbor before making any particular plans.
| Hey populace.|
Here's that second box I told you about. Sorry it came up so late after the first one. I hope nobody thinks it's a land invasion.
Unfortunately, the boxes neither glowed nor could be read at any distance, so none of the people in the towns really knew what to do. Fortunately, the sound of gunshots reigning down upon the countryside by the invading British helped tip off the populace to the attack.
By 1812, the US Army had become entirely dependent on the use of pastel-shaded boxes for communication. All forms of official communication both within the armed forces and with prostitutes was through the use of this new invention. The oldest surviving pastel-shaded box now sits in the Smithsonian. It is pictured below:
| Excuse me, sir.|
I need to use the bathroom before we invade Canada. Do you have the key to the wash closet?
After the War of 1812, the use of pastel-shaded boxes faded for well over a century, largely owing to industrialization and the increased used of carrier pigeons and wireless handheld PDAs starting in the 1820s and 1830s.
As with many things that had fallen out of fashion, the 1960s and 1970s rediscovered pastel-shaded boxes, but this time as an art form and/or contraceptive device. Famous modernists such as Smoot and Jeez seemed to reinvent the modern pastel-shaded box overnight, through such provocative works as "Important Message For You", and "Submit To The Power of the Pastel-Shaded Box." Combining the structural redistributionism of a young generation poised for change in a world of trepidation, the pastel-shaded box had truly become an icon. Or, at least, it frequently contains an icon.
With the invention of the internet, the inevitable commercialization of the pastel-shaded box became apparent. Services like gopher, telnet, ftp, and other easily-accessible visualization domains proved the main impetus behind the upsurge in popularity of these boxes. Combine that with the advent of inexpensive scanners and digital cameras, and everyone was soon making wooden boxes, staining them, painting them with warnings and messages, digitizing them, uploading them to web servers, editing html and/or some other markup language that allows the inline referencing of images, previewing, testing, and easily sharing these important boxes online.