Dear Annie: My parents split up 20 years ago, and my dad has never stayed in great contact. I'm now engaged, and my fiance and I are designing the invitations. He thinks we should follow the standard wedding invitation wording, with my parents' names listed at the top: "Mr. and Mrs. X would like you to celebrate the marriage," etc. Well, first off, they have two different last names, so it would have to be "Mr. X and Ms. Y." But secondly, it all just seems so formal and stuffy to me. We've agreed we want our wedding to be a more down-to-earth celebration. What do you think? — Modern Bride
Dear Modern: Following the trend in recent years toward less formal weddings, it's fairly common for invitations to simply state "Please join us to celebrate the marriage of (bride) and (groom)," without mentioning parents at all. You can find examples of that style online. Best wishes to you both.
Dear Annie: I read with interest a letter you recently published about hearing loss. The letter writer suggested contacting the Hearing Loss Association of America for more information. I am a senior citizen with substantial high-frequency hearing loss, for which I have used hearing aids for several years. With the aging of the population, such hearing loss can be expected to become more common.
When I watch TV, the aids help some, and a wireless speaker by my chair helps some more. However, there are programs with which the speakers are not comprehensible. News programs, on which it's usually the case that one person speaks directly to the audience, are no problem, but talk shows, on which it's common for several speakers to try to speak at once, and dramatic programs on which the actors mumble to sound "natural" and there is considerable background noise are difficult to understand. Even my wife, who has normal hearing, sometimes asks, "What did they say?"
TV shows and movies have ratings and awards for the best and worst show in a variety of categories. I would like to suggest that they be rated for their audibility. Such ratings should encourage producers to pay more attention to how well the speech in their programs can be understood. Perhaps you, your readers and the Hearing Loss Association of America could promote the development of such ratings. — Could You Repeat That?
Dear Repeat: I agree that it's frustrating when multiple people talk at once, an annoying trend on modern talk shows. Do you use closed captioning? According to the Federal Communications Commission, "Congress requires video programming distributors — cable operators, broadcasters, satellite distributors and other multi-channel video programming distributors — to close caption their TV programs." Look for the option on your TV remote, or call your cable provider for assistance.
Dear Annie: Recently, you published a letter from a gentleman who does not like servers asking him whether he wants change. A few days later, I was in a restaurant, and a woman at the next table was settling her bill. When the server came back to get her payment — and before the server said anything — the woman handed the server the check and her cash and, with a big smile, said to the server, "No need to bring any change." What a remarkably simple way to handle this!
Conversely, if the diner does want change, he can hand the server his money and say, "Please bring me change." Sometimes being a little proactive can make a world of difference.
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