How to fix the big and small postal service

After Bloomberg Business Week’s cover story, The End of Mail, the popular website Freakonomics is asking readers to vote on ways to save the USPS from complete economic collapse. After reading these articles, I watched my cheerful and lovely mailman roll his mail cart up to my building with a better understanding of just how bad things are. And then when I opened my mailbox to retrieve some completely not interesting bills and junk, my heart sank knowing that this crap is what’s paying my mailman’s salary. According to Bloomberg Business Week, in 2005 junk mail surpassed first class mail in volume. The USPS needs 3 pieces of junk mail to replace the profit made from one piece of real mail with a first class stamp. Blech.

In more adorable news, remember the World’s Smallest Post Service? Lea from Leafcutter Designs has joined forces with Chronicle Books to sell a World’s Smallest Post Service home kit! How great is that? Maybe we can all buy them and send mail with 44 dollar postage stamps, no 444 dollar postage stamps, and turn this thing around! What da ya say?


P.O. Box!

I finally have a p.o. box, despite the fact that my local post office, made famous from this youtube video, lost my application. As you know, I am really routing for the USPS but this post office has at times, made me feel like I’m off my meds too. However the postal employee, Richie, who reset the combination lock on box number 23 for me was very helpful, as was Lloyd, the man who assigned me the box. So we are good to go! To all the lovely readers who have posted comments for which I have not properly responded, I apologize. I am still finding my way in this digital format but if you send me an email with your mailing address I would like to send you some proper paper mail, as penance and for fun. I will look just like this when I mail it to you, not at all like Mr. Off his Meds.



Ray Johnson 2.

Just dug out my copy of “How to Draw a Bunny“, a documentary about Ray Johnson. I haven’t seen it in years and am going to watch it tonight for inspiration. When I went to do a google search about the movie, I started to type the title but had only put in “how to” when this list of suggestions appeared.

how to tie a tie

how to make it in America

how to take screenshots on a mac

how to lose weight fast

how to draw

how to lose weight

how to hard boil eggs

how to boil an egg

how to download youtube videos

how to write a resume


I think Ray Johnson would have had a field day with this list.



Ray Johnson

There is an exhibition and event series at Esopus Magazine’s Gallery in Manhattan called “Ray and Bob Box” and its made up of correspondence between Ray Johnson and his friend, Bob Warner. Ray Johnson was a multi-media artist who started the New York Correspondence School, a network of people who sent each other stuff in the mail. Johnson, the father of Mail Art, is one of my heroes, for sure, except for the suicide part. Warner will appear at the gallery to open 13 boxes of mail he received from Johnson over the years. The show is up until June 30th and the box opening schedule is here.

If you aren’t in the New York City area, get your hands on the current copy of Esopus Magazine, in which there is an interview with Bob Warner and some very convincing pullout reproductions of mail sent to Warner by Johnson. The magazine comes out twice a year and is absolutely gorgeous. You can look up where to find Esopus magazine here and after you buy the Ray Johnson issue, consider becoming a subscriber. I’m gonna!


Bee Swarm

So before I had kids I was a film-maker. Call me a film-maker on hiatus. I made a film called “Grandpa’s Apartment: A Grand Street Story” about my grandfather’s neighborhood on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I also made a short film about a rooftop beekeeper in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. And as you know, the new focus of my attention is paper mail. So this post on Gawker about a honeybee swarm on a mailbox on Grand Street in Lower Manhattan feels a little bit like various interests of mine getting all intimate. I think maybe I made this story up. But alas, it really happened.

Thanks to  Leili Towfigh and Raina Moore for the heads up about this story.

Image from Gawker via INF.