This here new service doesn’t go through the effort of reporting upon safety issues, but we recently came across a notice concerning a little reported safety issue regarding the dangers of children being injured from television receives falling upon them.
     According to a report filed by NBC news, as well as from a published report in the professional journal Pediatrics, the whole number of those aged 18 and younger that have been hurt by the collapse of TV sets falling upon them has doubled within the last twenty years. From 1990 thorough 2011 (the last complete year where dada is available), some 17.000 cases of TV related injuries were reported from hospital emergency rooms. This number breaks down to about one child admitted in an ER room every thirty minutes, according to the study. In the first eleven years of the 2000’s, about 215 cases of death were filed from falls of these devices.
     The report continues to note that due to the nature of flat screens being a lot lighter and thus, easier of move comparing to the standard boxy tube sets, many of these falls are from kids climbing upon furniture (mostly, bedroom dressers or armores where nearly half of the reported falls occur), and having the screens topping over. These kinds of sets based upon their shape as well as where they are placed, makes it a lot easier for those with minimal strength to have a set collapse.
     Although this kind of report might appear to be slightly amusing, this element of home injuries is no laughing matter! Back in the days of not so long ago. (i.e. the 20th century), television sets were considered as square (and heavy) furniture that held a load of electronics and sat in the living room section of a home. The sets were stand along devices that were rectangular in shape and were propped upon on four legs. Some sets extended its vertical length where the wood grain would hit the floor, not allowing anything to be placed under it. (Most bigger sized sets manufactured before 1980 were encased in wood or related material, although smaller portable sets were encased in plastic. This wood enclosure would continue on bigger set well into the 1980’s).
     When the first flat screen devices came around at the start of the millennium, these receivers were rather heavy for what they were, fashioned to be affixed upon a wall-very much like a picture frame. Unless the installation was done rather poorly, these sets stayed upon a wall setting, but were capable of falling off the wall and thus, injuring anyone within its falling pattern. It would cause serious injury to a small child, with the good chance of even death.
     As set were made as stand along devices (a flat stand affixed on the base of the screen area) these receivers would be plopped upon any flat surface that was at least three feet in length, usually having the screen area become longer than the surface the set sat upon. And since these set were encased in a plastic -type material or in a lighter metal, they gave the look of these devices appearing as a giant knickknack: easy to move and of course, easier to tip over.
      The study this news service received only focused upon injuries for those 18 and younger. We don’t have immediate stats of those of adult age being injured and possibly killed by falling TV receivers, but they do occur.
     As falling prices allow those to replace their “old school” TV sets with newer and slicker looking receivers, many homes are loading up on these units, keeping a flat screen in nearly every room where viewing video content is appealing. The living room/den/family room area of a home holds the biggest set of them all–around 48” and up. The bedroom has the second sized set-48” or less. The other rooms to host a set (additional bedrooms, kitchen area, and even garage), will also have a set 48” and under. Most of these receivers will be sitting upon a counter, piece of furniture, or on a dedicated stand. Not many will be plastered upon a wall due to the fact that installation is a bit tricky and no longer makes the set portable.
     In spite of how people keep their new(er) TV devices, injury or even death of a child from a falling receiver is something to take note with. It’s always recommended to place a set on a surface that is at least 75% as long as the screen length. If placing a set on a shorter surface, use some kind of grip hold on the base. (Check your local hardware outlet to find such kind of sticky tape, usually used to hold objects in place in case of ground movement a.k.a. earthquake). And most importantly, make sure a parent or its equivalent inform their kids to stay off the sets. It may look like a toy and be used as a toy, but its not anything to physically play with. Common sense is what one uses to keep everyone within a household at bay!
      As to being safe from what one sees through these TV sets–That is, the entertainment quality of what’s viewed? As we always comment, that is indeed a topic for another time, and another article!
     REBECCA’S GAMBLE, Art Shulman & Robert Begam’s drama of a medical professional’s act that is challenged by the legal system, deciding upon what she performed was a deed of humanity or as a hideous motive, makes its world premier at the Theatrecraft Playhouse in Hollywood.
     Diane Linder is Rebecca Adler, a physician based in Phoenix, Arizona who is involved in cryonics–the element of freezing a human body in hope of perhaps reviving the body in a method that wasn’t available at time of death. Here, when she was taking care of a younger man dying of an incurable illness, she injects the body with some drug to end its life in order to place the body in some kind of deep freeze. This act causes Rebecca to face legal charges of a form of murder. She summons her defense attorney Joe Purcell (Randy Vasquez) as her defense, facing the DA Scott Novak (Jerry Weil) where he attempts to prove that Rebecca’s fulfillment was not one of placing the departed in a state of animation to one day cure him, but was a function of a crime. Upon going through the many witnesses, from clergy, experts in the field, and even the victim’s mother, Rebecca faces the summons through the judge and the jury if she is indeed a saint in medical science, or a sinner in the eyes of the law.
     This courtroom drama, as most of what takes place within this production is in a courtroom, give multitude faces of a medical breakthrough that is been heard of upon many by way of the media from articles in Popular Science to documentaries once found on The Learning Channel, but isn’t necessarily understood as a whole. The pacing of this play is intense as the drama unfolds through Rebecca’s reactions from her personal defense to the people’s (legal) side of the story. Art Shulman, a playwright best known for his string of light and charming comedies, co wrote this production with Robert Begam, a practicing attorney who had penned a novel entitled Long Life? Shulman adapted this work into a stage play that focuses upon a number of issues and asks questions but doesn’t offer any defined answers, outside of the fact to show if she is indeed guilty or innocent. (And if guilty, what level of taking one’s life is fitting?)
     Getting back to the play, Diane Linder as the titled character shows her portrayal as a person that is confident of what she did was an act of humankind rather than a grisly action. Randy Vasquez as Joe Purcell shows himself as a barrister that is just as confident, although he is aware that his case might be an uphill climb. Jerry Weil as DA Steve Novice is as sure that he can make his mark in the name of the people,
     In addition to the above players, a roster of performers appear, including Joyce B. Ferrer as Brook Perez, part of the DA’s team, Henry Holden as Judge Dale Fox, Diane Frank as Susan Eastman, mother of the deceased, Steve Shaw as the court bailiff, and as the witnesses in the trail; Skip Pipo, Kevin Masterson, Ellen Bienefeld, Dominick Morra, and Mindee de Lacy.
     Directed by Rick Walters, REBECCA’S GAMBLE is a theater piece that doesn’t take sides of a matter upon what’s acceptable nor negative in terms of life or death. It’s just a very well created drama about one’s person’s personal action for another person’s sake. And will Rebecca be set free or become commended? That fate will be placed within the hands of the jury–selected members of the theater audience–that will choose the final decision!

     REBECCA’S GAMBLE, presented by and performs at the Theatrecraft Playhouse, 7445A Sunset Blvd. (located in the gangway just east of Gardner), Hollywood, until September 1st. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (818) 465-3213, or via online at
     NICKEL AND DIMED, Joan Holden’s play about a well off writer to takes an investigative journey to the level of the working class discovering what is working and what’s not, opens at Hollywood’s Hudson Mainstage Theatre.
     Zachary Barton is Barbara. She is a college educated writer that takes upon a rather difficult assignment. She accept positions as being a waitress, a maid for a commercial cleaning company, as well as a staff member for the nation’s largest retailer, and finds out if anyone can survive within these jobs for the salary earned. As a waitress for a coffee shop franchise, she is worked doing various tasks. She waits on tables, performs cleaning duties, and other related assignments that are dull and mundane, but must be kept busy at all times! As a maid working for a cleaning company a la ‘maid for hire’, she also performs tasks by cleaning households with harsh chemicals while straining herself in the process to make a dwelling place a bit cleaner than before. Finally, as a staff person for a mart that is indeed wall to wall, her job isn’t any better! She is just as over worked and yes–underpaid, and forget receiving any “benefits”! Upon noting what her coworkers are earning, what they are getting out from their jobs, as well as how they are thriving, Barbara sees that this form of “middle class” is slipping far below a middle, and coming toward a bottom!
     This play is based upon Barbara Ehrenreich’s non fiction investigative book Nickel And Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, one of the first post modern exposers of the domestic working poor class that performs a needed service only to earn next to nothing while falling father behind in life rather than progressing remotely ahead. In this play, Zachary Barton as Barbara, the writer based in New York who is paid rather well for her occupation, (and is over 50-somewhat “old” in terms of hirable preference), learns that these kind of folks who she encounters every day are living within squaller, even if such squaller means to take another job and/or living off the dole just to stay afloat. The ensemble cast of players perform multiple roles of plain ol’ folks that dwell within Barbara’s journey of middle American life, featuring Veronica Alicino, Jackie Joniec, Kathleen Ingle, Carmen Lexeth Suarez, Johnnie Torres, and Matthew Warther. They are all part of this working society that doesn’t seem to fit in; Not because of something that they did, but just being in a wrong place in a wrong time. Richard Kilroy directs this stage play that is more of a reality check than an entertaining part of smaller regional theater. Of course, there is some comic relief depicted, but most of the comedy shown is more geared toward the expense of the characters imaged, rather that showing off their charm and witty sense of being. Director Kilroy also performs double duty (moonlighting?) as the set designer, supplying the simple description of the coffee show (here called “Kenny’s”), the semi setting of the maid service company (where interesting enough, everyone speaks near perfect English), and the “Mall-Mart,” the retail outlet that states in their ads where one can live better while saving money–assuming one doing the better living and saving the money isn’t working at one of their many stores!
     Stating that NICKEL AND DIMES is a production that is “ripped from today’s headlines” may be a bit dramatic. However, this is where fictional drama and harsh reality might hit a crossroad. It’ might even be called a scary tale that isn’t related to anything gory or horrible! However, the real scary part is that the book was released right before the turn of the 21st century, an era in the USA when the economy was booming and high tech was going to save the nation–if not the world! Thanks to the so-called Great Recession that hit (slammed?) within the first decade of the new millennium, the ninety nine percent became a parasite among a massive crowd. The post recession era (i.e. “the present”) has bright back new jobs that replaced the ones that were wiped out during the economic downturn. Now more folks are working the coffee shops, maid services, and don’t forget that retailer that’s wall-ed! This is why America is the place to be–assuming one can afford it!

     NICKEL AND DIMED, presented by Bright Eyes Productions, and performs at The Hudson Mainstage Theatre, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd. (between Hudson and Wilcox in  “Theatre Row”), Hollywood, until August 25th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 3:00 PM. For further information and for ticket reservations, call (323) 960-5770, or via
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
   Editor’s note: Most (if not all) of Tiffi’s Facebook friend’s “comments” were links to news reports that reported upon human interest stories (“dog saves kitten trapped in air duct”) or from those that spoke upon issues or opinions regarding current events, as well as plenty of self promotion from authors plugging their latest book titles. Because of these entries, Tiffi’s “friends” have nothing to say this week!
     However, as of July 22nd, Tiffi has 1,732 Facebook “friends” and counting!
is a presentation of Linear Cycle Productions

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All rights reserved. The views and opinions are those of the writers, and not necessarily of the staff and management. ‘Nuff said!      



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