An Official Unofficial Creed

Unless you live or work in Manhattan, odds are that you don’t know the official name of the main United States Postal Service building in New York City. No need for Google or Siri: It’s the James A. Farley Building.

Named after America’s 53rd Postmaster General, the Farley Building sits along 8th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets and is accessed by a wide flight of steps that rises toward a series of stately columns. The colonnaded facade is imposing, but, for me, its real claim to fame is the inscription it bears:

“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

The words are taken from a longer quote by the Greek historian Herotodus, and though he was referring to “couriers” of the ancient Persian Empire, the inscription has been synonymous with America’s letter carriers since the Farley Building opened in 1914.

But those twenty-one words aren’t just synonymous with America’s letter carriers; they’re the official creed of the United States Postal Service.

Right?

Well . . . like snail mail, not so fast.

In fact, those twenty-one words are officially just an inscription and nothing more.

Again, no need for Google or Siri: Its a fact, according to the USPS.

Did you know that?

I didn’t . . . until recently, when my local post office went to “war”–it was really more of a “talk-of-the-neighborhood to-do”–with the management of my apartment complex over doggy stations located next to cluster mailboxes.

Here are a wide shot of one of the battlefields and a close-up of one of the paper shots that started the “war”:

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After a brief cease-fire, during which time the containers were regularly emptied, the paper shots flew again:

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The doggy stations were moved soon after, quieting the guns and ending the “war.” All hail the victorious USPS!

Thankfully, I wasn’t was one of the tenants whose snail mail became a refugee–or was it a prisoner?–during the “war.” What I took away from it all were a few irony-induced chuckles and digital proof that the USPS’s official unofficial creed is indeed a load of crap (pun intended). Thank goodness I’ve become enlightened to that fact. Otherwise, I’d still be living in snowy, rainy, hot, gloomy ignorance.

A Spectral Pooch

Our first ghost tour was chilly—Asheville, North Carolina, still digging out from a heavy snow, nighttime, a few days before Christmas 2010. The tour was also predictable—tall (and short) tales, strange happenings with a “ghost meter” and a pair of divining rods, and digital photos containing orbs of various colors and sizes. When the tour was over, we thanked our guide and headed back to the hotel to thaw our frozen and dubious smiles and to click through the photos.

Still unsure what to believe, the next day we printed the photos of the orbs, which caused a stir with friends and family when we got home to Virginia: “Those are camera artifacts”…“I see a face in that one”…“You know you’re crazy, right?”

I didn’t give much thought to the other photos until after the holidays, when, studying the pics on my laptop, I found something, well, extraordinary. What it is was a matter of debate when the photo made the rounds on the Internet nearly six years ago, but several facts are indisputable: (1) my wife took two photos of the spot (and nearly every spot, at the suggestion of the tour guide) for comparison, and the “ghost dog” appears in only one of them; (2) there was no living, breathing dog at the location; (3) we did not alter, enhance, etc., the photos in any way; and (4) the spot was memorable to us as “dog people” because the tour guide believed that a pet was buried under the nearby tree.

Here are the two photos. You decide.

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Food for Thought That May Cause Choking: Volume 1

(Your feedback is welcome.)

 

Americans are arrogant, impatient, wasteful, and violent.

At the heart of every issue are money, sex, and religion in varying degrees.

24-hour news and sports networks do more harm than good.

Imagination has died, and no one seems to care.

Your parents probably did the best they could, so stop blaming them for everything.

Bridges to your family are the first things to burn when you set the world on fire.

Until 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that states could maintain militias for their defense, not grant “an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.” (District of Columbia et al v. Heller, No. 07-290, Argued March 18, 2008—Decided June 26, 2008)

An “I Voted” sticker is a badge of delusion that perpetuates a broken system populated by local, state, and federal representatives who do not care about those who elected them.

That pets are considered property in the eyes of the law is ridiculous.

Using Windows 10’s Automatic Update is like doing a prostate self exam with a thick, dry thumb with an unclipped fingernail. My next laptop will be a Mac.