Postcards and Notes
Volkswagen buses meet on Old Route 66

Postcards and Notes

Summer and fall are excellent times for vacation, and there is no better way to share those experiences than by sending postcards and notes by mail. It’s quick, it’s easy, and there are beautiful options to represent those good times. But more to the point, postcards and notes are a great way to communicate, anytime and any place. “Having a great time in (fill in the blank). Wish you were here.” This is a standard cliché about messages on postcards, that they are rote and say very little. But nothing could be further from the truth.…

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Off the Grid

Increasingly, my reading and research are dependent on electrical power and our cable infrastructure. I check my devices, a smart phone, tablet and laptop, regularly to catch up on email and social media, and to see what is happening in the news. I often wonder how we managed before the Internet, when things were off the grid. When our country was first settled, mail service was spotty and intermittent. The methods of delivery improved only because the British wanted to keep tabs on the colonies, and, most importantly, to collect taxes. Back then, people warmed themselves…

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Fake News

Although fake news was barely a blip on the screen prior to 2016, it already existed in abundance. Following the November election, many questions have been raised about the influence of fake news. Not only had an important election been at stake, but also the credibility of what we read and how we perceive it. Fake news has now become a major topic of discussion. Not a day goes by that mainstream media does not shine light on a questionable statement, including “alternative facts.” The President and his team refer to the mainstream media as “dishonest.”…

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A Post-Truth World

Actions throughout the world, as reported in the daily news, are disturbing. War, famine, violence, aggression and poverty are ongoing staples in the news cycle. Unfortunately, a significant new victim has emerged in recent times:  the truth. We now live in a post-truth world, at least in the political sense. Most of us grew up, I believe, with the admonition by our parents and teachers to always tell the truth. The truth would always win out, and things would go worse for us should we be caught in a lie. Perhaps the fear of being caught…

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The Missing Postmarks

When did the postmark on our letters go missing? By postmark, I refer to the round circle that once included the date, time of receipt and location of the post office. Generally, the circle was stamped to the left of the cancellation, those wavy or straight lines that partially cover the stamp(s) to indicate that the stamp has been used. I was reminded of this absence recently by the marketing efforts of a certain coffee company promoting a new first edition blend, using a version of the classic circle. Although our first class, stamped mail still…

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The Post Office and the PPIE
Abundance Night.

The Post Office and the PPIE

Post offices and exhibitions go hand in hand. Imagine a World’s Fair and Exposition that covered 635 acres, much of it sitting on land that once was covered with water. That is what happened 100 years ago in San Francisco, when the city built the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE). This event took place in what is now San Francisco’s Marina District, a stately neighborhood with elegant homes and thriving businesses, popular with singles, young families and seniors, to celebrate both the completion of the Panama Canal and the city’s recovery from the great earthquake and fire…

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Mail Trucks: Next Generation

Mail trucks now roam the streets of San Francisco and other towns and cities in the U.S. on Sundays. In fact, this past Sunday, a mail truck drove right up to the front of my house, where the postal carrier hopped out and slid a package under the gate. But don’t expect to receive a birthday card from your best friend or a letter from your cousin on a Sunday anytime soon, as this new delivery service is limited only to packages from Amazon. The U.S. Postal service delivers mail and packages to every address in…

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Letters in the New Year

Welcome to 2015. Holiday cards and letters have been filed away, wrong sizes or colors have been exchanged, and now we must play catch up - pay bills, mind our New Year’s resolutions, and most likely, watch our waistlines, after some good holiday eating. Each new year, I vow to be more on top of things, but somehow, the late year holiday frenzy always gets in the way. But I am happy to report that I hand wrote, stamped and mailed all of my year-end greetings this year, even though Social Correspondence suffered. After all, the…

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What’s in the News

Letter writing may be on the wane, but each week, stories turn up from around the globe on letter writing, the postal service, handwriting and other related topics, both as features and as news stories. Here is a sampling of what's in the news, published in September and October 2014. Amazon Fresh Orders Soon to Arrive from the Post Office A market test in San Francisco, approved by the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission, would allow the USPS to deliver groceries from AmazonFresh to individual households between the hours of 3 a.m. – 7 a.m., effective in…

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Social Correspondence @Twitter

Can 140 character messages be a real form of correspondence? Does Twitter have personal communications value beyond news and marketing? Curious as to what role it can play in social correspondence, I recently became a registered subscriber, ready to explore this social networking and microblogging site. Twitter is one of my workplace neighbors. In what is known as the mid-Market area of San Francisco, near the Civic Center, significant change has taken place in recent years, change that continues to transform a neighborhood. This once blighted area, victim of a now defunct freeway constructed over six…

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