ELECTIC RANT:On the Virginia Beach Mass Shooting

Ralph E. Stone
Friday June 07, 2019 - 05:07:00 PM

I am saddened at the killing of 12 people in Virginia Beach by a disgruntled government employee who later died after a shootout with police. -more-

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Our Perspectives are Valid

Jack Bragen
Thursday June 06, 2019 - 12:36:00 PM

I've met psychiatrists who are very good at what they do, and who have been kind toward me. And I've met psychiatrists who presume. Specifically, they presume that those they treat for psychiatric illness are intrinsically inferior. Some of these have been rude, and others have kept the condescension milder. -more-

SMITHEREENS: Reflections on Bits & Pieces

Gar Smith
Friday June 07, 2019 - 05:09:00 PM

The Post Office on Steroids

Pausing to collect my mail at the Berkeley Main Post Office last week, I was approached by a USPS employee pitching a new postal product. "You can check your incoming mail anytime, anywhere," he explained, eagerly thrusting a flyer into my hand.

With "Informed Delivery," he told me, I could now turn on my home computer or check my Smartphone to see what mail—if any—was waiting for me in my post office box. Images of my incoming mail would now be posted online—in color, even!

I can only think of one reason why I would want advanced notice about what mail was coming my way: I would no longer need to search a parking spot to check your PO box only to come away empty-handed. But, hold your ponies. There's a catch: "You'll get an email every day with a preview of mail and status updates on packages scheduled to arrive soon."

Did you spot it? The key phrase is "to arrive soon." The system will take snapshots of your incoming mail at some point prior to delivery but that does not guarantee that the mail will actually have made it inside your PO box. Also, the service is only for "letter-sized" mailings, so apparently you won't know whether your next issue of The Nation, Wired, or The New Yorker is about to arrive.