April 23, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Neither Snow Nor Rain…Well, Maybe Catalogs:

Minutes before starting to write this piece, I opened some e-mail from a friend.  It contained a clip from the “Tonight Show” in which Larry the Cable Guy describes shopping at a Home Depot store, needing to use a bathroom, and being too stupid to realize that the toilets on display in the store were not hooked up to plumbing.

That’s all I want to say right now about the “advantages” of e-mail.

Not that “snail mail” or “hard copy” mail doesn’t deliver items that are equally pointless.   Like clockwork, I receive ad mail from Verizon encouraging me to sign up for their DSL service.  That’s great, except that I’ve got Verizon DSL service and have for more than two years now.

Santa Monica residents have been experiencing frustration with their postal service lately, and, like me, you probably wrote it off to the increased volume in holiday mail.    However it turns out that there are other real problems related to late mail, especially on our side of Los Angeles.   A large mail processing center near Marina del Rey closed last summer, forcing most of our mail for to be sorted in South Los Angeles.  From there, it travels by truck on our freeways… those free flowing, speedy rivers of transportation.

The hardships fall on mail carriers as well, who must attempt to read addresses in the dark and have been dropping off mail and packages as late as 11 p.m. in some areas.

Postal officials are promising to adjust start times for carriers and train additional supervisors, and will soon open a new processing facility in Santa Monica.   But I think we need to look at the overall volume of postal mail.  Does it occur to anyone that we could heat and light our city by burning the junk mail Santa Monica residents throw into the trash?   

Our President tells us, over and over, that we love liberty and freedom.  And for now, that includes the right of merchants and credit card companies to stuff our mailbox.   Because I love getting mail and believe that a personal handwritten note sent by mail is one of the great remaining simple pleasures of life, I’m offering some modest proposals that might help to improve postal service.  The post office can have these for 37 cents, but beginning next month they will cost two cents more.

 Peel Off Junk Mail

Despite the lower cost of e-mail, there is still an avalanche of “direct mail” or junk mail in our mailboxes.   Couldn’t a separate division of the U.S. Postal Service handle that mail so that it’s processed through its own dedicated channels?  Then, citizens might be able to click off delivery of any and all items identified as “junk” mail in the same way we now add our names to the “No Call” phone solicitation list. 

Standardize Envelopes

Now that the price of sending a letter has gone up, could there be a discount for the general public’s use of a standardized letter envelope?  One that placed Zip codes or bar code information in a spot that speeded automated sorting.  The envelope would lack charm, but you could still use your Sponge Bob or Hello Kitty stationery inside. 

 Love Your Carrier

It seems reasonable to assume that good morale makes for efficiency.  At the very least, it makes life more pleasant.  I honestly don’t know why the lines are long and slow at the Post Offices in our city.  I do know that when I get to the window, I receive friendly and thorough service.  Say thank you to the personnel behind the counters, and don’t gripe about the wait while you’re standing in line.   Let’s all pull together and maybe my copy of “Modern Luddite” will arrive sooner.

 This Week’s “Know Your News” Quiz

 1) Bush warned Iran about


    (a) its nuclear program.

    (b) to chew gum in class.

    (c) rampant construction of go-

    kart tracks.

 2) After two weeks of the new

    Medicare program

    (a) people are moving to Canada.

    (b) patients aren’t getting vital


    (c) FEMA is looking better.

 3) Eco-terrorists were arrested for

    plotting to

    (a) blow up phone and power


    (b) “recycle” Dick Cheney.

    (c) march with penguins.

 Answer Key

 1) (a)  “They can’t go ‘nucular’!”

2) (b)  “See the word ‘care’ in


3) (a)  “Which would make them


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