Americana: Happy Birthday!

The declaration of war was one of those "comic" greeting cards. Over the years, the war escalated. Sam Matar, a car dealer in Monterey, Calif., shipped off 25 such cards to his brother John, making fun of John's being seven years older. Sam got back 50 cards making fun of his weight.

Sam hired two models in bikinis to stroll into the Chicago printing plant where John worked to sing him a happy birthday. Belly dancers appeared at Sam's auto business to perform. A plane hired by Sam streamed greetings past John's house. A...

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