For those that keep track on these things, on December 24th, the U.S. Postal Service passed a 4.3 percent exacting rate increasing the cost of mailing a letter. Effective on January 26th-one week before the Super Bowl, it will now cost 49 cents to mail a first class letter. The Postal Regulatory Commission voted for this increase on top of the annual postal rate that is capped by the consumer price index, making this increase the largest hike in more than ten years. For those that send out bulk mail a.k.a. “junk” mail, as well as for sending out hard copies of magazines and related matter, that increase will go up some six percent.
The USPS suggested to the PRC to make this increase as fixed for at least two years, as this period of time may be enough to recoup the losses the USPS has been encountering for some time.
The reason why this bit of news is “news” is the fact that for many folks, this tick in price for sending off a letter may be seen as trivial. Depending on the person and of course, depending on the person’s age, sending a letter (or anything) through the mail might be as odd as using a pay phone or ANY phone that is connected to a physical wire!
According to the PRC, the so-called “great recession” is to blame for this increase. Maybe so, but everyone who knows their salt is aware of the fact that technology has been the culprit in order for those to send and receive words in a message that is read and understood!
Starting out in the 1990’s, taking off through the 00’s, and expanding through the 10’s, the way that people send messages to one another has moved from print to electronically generated text, from e-mail, instant messaging, and by way of text messages via a cell phone. The reason for this can be described in just three words: Smaller. Faster. Cheaper!
Once upon a time, if one wanted to write a letter to somebody they know, know of, or to a source that written communication is the key, the way to conduct such communication was through a letter that was created either by hand or through a typewriter. Then that message, affixed on a sheet of paper, was folded and stuffed inside of an envelope. After sealing the envelope, one placed an address on the front of the envelope to where it’s suppose to go to, and affixed a postage stamp (or stamps) that tallied the proper amount of postage. Finally, the letter was placed inside of a mailbox. Depending on where it was going to, and what time period the letter was mailed, it would take anywhere from a day to a week to get the letter to its assigned destination. If the other party wanted to reply to the letter by way of another letter, the process would begin again, this time from the opposite side. If one was hot of the trail, one can have some decent back and forth communication within a month’s time. Its only cost (outside of the price for the paper and envelope), was whatever postage it would take to send each letter off.
As noted, that is how it was done in the “good old days”. Today, one can communicate through e-mail and/or phone texting, where the message(s) can be sent off within seconds. And not counting any fees set by the services carriers for sending/receiving texts, the total cost for this form of communication is nothing! For the same amount of messages one used to have to create within a month period, one can accomplish this feat in twenty minutes, depending on how much text is transmitted, and how long it takes for one to type those same words!
Because it’s faster and easier to send off these notes, what used to be standard fare sent through the mail had nearly disappeared! During the Christmas holidays, we here at Accessibly Live Off-Line used to receive an average number of some thirty cards, a mix from companies we work with, firms we occasionally do some kind of business, a few that we never did anything with, along with a number of people (individuals and families) that we personally know and know of. Last month, we received a grand total of ten cards, mostly form those that we personally know that still insist on sending us a greeting for the season the old fashioned (and best) way! The rest of the group? We received countless messages through e-mail in the form of text notes and jpeg generated “cards” ! (In spite of how odd this may read, this writer has yet to get a smart phone in order to receive text messages, as well as having enough apps to beat the band! So text messages don’t and won’t count!)
It’s somewhat sad to see the print letter that’s been around since the human race started to create the written word become a relic. A personal letter makes up the part on the history of the domestic way of living and being. From love letters exchanged by those in love (duh!), letters written to and from solders that are involved in war battles (or even just in military life), pen pals noted by kids that speak about anything and everything, to the classic “what-I-did-the-previous-year” letter that was a fixture found stuck within Christmas cards, these notes speak about how one was feeling at the moment, expressing what the other party had to know about. Many of these letters were saved, presenting a rather candid and honest way to journal the times on hand. Although these kind of letters are still written, the question remains. Does anyone save a letter sent by way of e-mail or text? Perhaps, but most likely, no! After they are read, they are erased, never to be seen or remembered about again!
So there you have it! Another increase in price to send anything through “snail mail”! And as long as postage rates goes up and smart phones become faster and smarter, that love letter, that eyewitness war report, those silly notes that “tweeners” write about, and the roundup of what a family did between January 1st through early December will become long forgotten! Then again, one can savor these notes here reminding you that this writer warned you about this dilemma, or you can just hit “delete”! ‘Nuff said!
NEWS AND REVIEWS
Continuing its run at North Hollywood’s Secret Rose Theatre is WAITING FOR JOHNNY DEPP, a musical tale of an actress gaining toward her movie role of a lifetime, while gaining and losing a few other notions in between.
Deedee O’Malley is Rita Donatella, one of the many actresses in New York that dreams for the ideal role. In this case, it’s a part playing opposite Hollywood heart throb Johnny Depp is some spy thriller. Her “day” job is a lab assistant, but nearly gaining this part of a lifetime has her taking her real job to place on the back burner, if not “shoving it”! But before the receives the part, she must get herself in gear, such as giving up her love of chocolate (she must shed twenty pounds for the role), and must survive financially by selling her worldly possessions via Craigslist long before the contracts are signed and the check(s) start rolling in! But Rita does receives some perks along her way, such as meeting a man named Phoenix, and enhancing sibling bonding with her brother Tony who she loves like, well, a brother! She lives her own life more as a soap opera than an action pic when the trails and tribulations begin to settle in, shifting Rita into a different mode. Will this starlet of tomorrow get that breakout role, or will she become one of those burnt out light bulbs on a marquee representing another broken heart?
This musical with book and lyrics by Janet Cole Valdez and Deedee O’Malley, and music by O’Malley, Valdez, and Bettie Ross (with additional score by Tom Valdez), is comical, witty, quirky, and has a generous helping of bittersweet somberness rolled into one program. Deedee O’Malley as Rita possesses lots of potency throughout this show. She keeps an energy level that would be more fitting to a kid ushered in a candy shore with unlimited access, except she is an adult that yearns in on a meaty role in some action adventure vehicle with some guy that once appeared on 21 Jump Street a generation before! The song selection speaks about her nearly grabbing that part while she nearly grabs on for dear life. As to the production, it’s Deedee as Rita all the way, making this program a solo performance that isn’t just somebody speaking in monologue form. Bettie Ross provides the music arrangement on the keyboards, making this a two person variety act.
On the technical side of things, Michael O’Malley’s set design consists of the illusion of Rita’s flat, with post modern type furnishings decked out in bright colors that would never make the splash pages of Architectural Digest! (The prop masters behind these setting are provided by Tom and Annie DiCandia: Rita’s mom ‘n dad, making this presentation all in the family so to speak!) Zonnie Bauer provides the choreography that adds the zing to Deedee’s high flalooting concepts. And rounding up some of the crew behind it all are the stagehands Colin Campell and Zach Banks that move stuff between acts.
Also appearing in this showcase is Michael Duff as the transcribed singing voice of Tony.
According to co-playwright Janet Cole Valdez, WAITING FOR JOHNNY DEPP is somewhat based on a true story–with a bit of creative license thrown in! Be it fact or fiction, the show itself is one of the choice unique musicals that speak for those actors (either gender) looking for that big break without the obligatory glitz and glitter that makes a stage bridesmaid-to-bride saga appear as hokey and stupid. Deedee got her part because she’s the real star here. It’s not known if any casting couches were involved, unless that couch was one of the many items sold on Craigslist!
WAITING FOR JOHNNY DEPP, presented by Sabrina Goodall in association with K.I.S.S. Theatricals, performs at the Secret Rose Theatre, 11246 Magnolia Blvd. (one block west of Lankershim), North Hollywood, until January 26th. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (323) 960-7788, or online at http://www.plays411.com/JohnnyDepp
The Victory Theatre in Burbank present the return engagement of Kos Kostmayer’s ON THE MONEY, a dramatic comedy about a group of workers at a pub who plan to arrange a robbery at their employment in order to make financial ends meet.
At the Black River Cafe, a humble yet quaint drinking and eating establishment in New York, one finds Jack (Jonathan Kells Phillips) an actor by trade taking upon a real job tending bar. Nancy (Maria Tomas) is a waitress and a single mom supporting her family. Benny (David Fraioli) keeps this place going, yet is deep in debt taking out loans he can’t pay back. Vincent Guastraferro is Candy, a man who owns the place, as well as running other small storefront businesses. He himself is overworked, yet is financially well off. But the trio of employees isn’t within the same status. They work hard, but are struggling to get by. They must deal with unruly customers, and undergo the stress working long days that spill into longer evenings. But Benny proposes an idea to his coworkers. What if he arranges a robbery to take place at the bar, hiring a “gun for hire” to do the work, and they would receive the proceeds? Benny feels that “everybody” is cheating on some source from income taxes to insurance claims, so why not on their boss? It’s the saga on a hard lesson on how to get by in life, even if the procedure isn’t for profit, but for financial survival!
This is a theater piece that focuses upon the trails of the battle between those working (poor) for a living, and the dramatic turn toward devious activity just to get by! The dialogue within its script is sharp, its characters are all too real, and its plot point make a dramatic twist inside its second act. (Does the heist go off as expected?) And, as irony dictates, its theme is just as timely in today’s working world as it was when this play was first performed at The Victory in the early 1980’s when the nation was undergoing a rather deep (for the time) recession, when people were making mad scrambles of keeping their heads above monetary water. Three decades later, times may be improving but not efficient enough, so this play hasn’t dated much in all, unless one counts when some character utilize landline phones! Tom Ormeny, co artistic director of The Victory Theatre, directs this stage piece that has as much drama within as it holds a dose of nervous comedy. The cast of players, that also include Cara Manuele, Jeff Kober, Tony Maggio, Robert Dominick Jones, Luca Rodrigues, and Michael Filpowich, all make up this setting that has the assembly of workers doing their part at a charming bar while retaining more errant intentions in mind.
And speaking of settings, D. Martyn Bookwater’s set design of the Black River Cafe is very inviting, with plenty of wood finishing on its walls, a cozy bar area, along with a juke box on the side, creating a sense of allure that would want to have one desire to make this place the friendly neighborhood tap. (Bookwater was the same set designer for this play’s first appearance at The Victory some thirtysome years before!)
ON THE MONEY’s title speak for what this play is! It’s very “on the money” when it comes to what a group of people will do just to save their hides. It isn’t necessarily a political statement at work, nor it’s a notion of things to be. It’s just a quality stage piece that presents itself within the intimate confines of one of east San Fernando Valley’s theater showcases. This play, viewed in better economic times or otherwise, is worth a look!
ON THE MONEY, presented by The Victory Theatre Center performs at the (big) Victory Theatre, 3326 West Victory Blvd. (one block east of Hollywood Way), Burbank, until March 2nd. Showtimes are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM, and Sunday matinees at 4:00 PM. For ticket reservations, call (818) 841-5421, or online at http://www.TheVictoryTheatreCenter.org
TIFFI’S FRIENDS SAY…
(As posted on her Facebook “wall”)
Davis and I watch Big Bang (we aren’t current but watch them on Netflix CDs) and I am a Downton Abbey fan. What’s your must watch show?
I ate kale/raisin salad today with a homemade dressing. WHO AM I? It was pretty good. Thank you Amy
I do not know why Bohemian Rhapsody showed up in my Pandora Broadway mix, but I’ll take it. (she says, baltering around the living room singing at the top of her lungs)
I’m finding an interesting trend. Decades ago, “Superwoman Syndrome” hit, when women thought they had to be able to do it all, and do it well. I guess the male version of it was to over-achieve and for all, multi-tasking was key to get it all done. Now, the message seems to be to simplify life, slow it down, do a few things well and say “no” more than you say “yes.” It also means sorting out the clutter, whether it’s belongings or other stuff/issues that complicate life. What do you think of this trend? And if you’re a fan of it, what one thing are you doing LESS of these days or sorting out of your life?
I’m so outta season…REO song stuck in my head!!
As of January 27th, Tiffi has 2,013 Fabebook “friends” and counting!
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