Unedited Transcripts

Mail! with Nika Thought-Werk (Unedited)

Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Fraulein Bookworm, would you do the rules, bitte?
Bookworm Hienrichs nods.
Bookworm Hienrichs shuffles for her notebook.
Bookworm Hienrichs: Welcome to this month’s Aether Salon! Today, Miss Nika Thought-werk discusses the history, purpose and mystery of the mail, and the people that have made it possible.
Bookworm Hienrichs: Before we proceed, some housekeeping reminders:
Bookworm Hienrichs: 1) To ensure you can hear the speaker, stand or sit on the patterned carpet.
Bookworm Hienrichs: 2) If you do not have a wearable chair and wish one, please contact Baron Wulfenbach.
Bookworm Hienrichs: 3) Please remove all lag-feeding whats-its you might be wearing.
Bookworm Hienrichs: 4) A tip jar is out for our speaker. Do please show your appreciation!
Bookworm Hienrichs gestures to her left at the jar.
Bookworm Hienrichs: 5) Any tips to help support the establishment will also be welcome – just click on one of the support signs, or on the floating dirigible!
Bookworm Hienrichs: 6) If you’re not a member of the AEther Salon group, there are signs that will let you join up. You’ll be most heartily welcome!
Bookworm Hienrichs: 7) Edited and unedited transcripts of these proceedings will be posted at aethersalon.blogspot.com.
Bookworm Hienrichs: And now, to introduce our speaker, here is Baron Klaus Wulfenbach.
Jimmy Branagh applauds
Bookworm Hienrichs smiles.
Golem 38 Marabana : ok i wuv u byby!!
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Fraulein Thought-werk has spoken here before, but today she will be discussing a particular duty and passion of hers – the mail. Whether it be on foot, by train or by air, the mail must go through.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Fraulein Nika?
Nika Thought-werk: Hello one and all.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach applauds
Zantabraxus applauds
Jimmy Branagh applauds
Bookworm Hienrichs applauds.
Nika Thought-werk curtsies.
Jimmy Branagh: Yay Miss Nika!
Tristizia Demonista applauds
ElaraGloriana: APPLAUSE!!!!
Nika Thought-werk: So, first, if I may … I do not speak well … I will try to leave time for questions …
Nika Thought-werk: But, please know I cannot process words of more than two sounds.
Nika Thought-werk curtsies “Where to begin … the mail …”
Nika Thought-werk: When you think of letters – and by letters, I do not mean simple symbols that strung in lines can make words – I mean pages written by hand and tucked neatly into env’lopes – what do you think of?
Jimmy Branagh: Bills.
Dollianna (annamated): “You’re fired”
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Heh.
Dollianna (annamated): Gotten a few of those…
Bookworm Hienrichs: Pen pals.
Tristizia Demonista blushes
Nika Thought-werk looks around and takes a neatly folded stack of papers from her pocket.
Nika Thought-werk nods.
Nika Thought-werk: All of these are valid, but … letters and the mail are much, much more …
Nika Thought-werk: Letters need a system to carry them to us. We often refer to said system as ‘the mail.’
Hally Xiang had been thinking ‘Someone somewhere needs help.’
Nika Thought-werk chokes up a bit.
Nika Thought-werk: I love the mail very much. It is my purpose. The mail is one of the most needed el’ments of modern life, without which, nations as we know them could not function. How could a softie-pinksie not love the mail? How did the mail start? Who made the mail? What does the mail give us? All of these questions and more I hope to address in this address … for shouldn’t the mail not have a proper address? I say ‘yes.’
Jimmy Branagh nods
Nika Thought-werk: The mail as we know it is said to begin in the crossroads between East and West. We do not know where, to be exact, but the most well-known early postal system was in Persia during the sixth century before the Christ. This system was much like the later Pony Express. It relied on men and horses to carry parcels and letters over the vast expanse of Persia’s Royal Road. The Royal Road stretched some 2,500,000 meters, a distance akin to the distance between the cities of Wash’ton D.C. and Phoenix in the southwest of the ‘nited States.
Bookworm Hienrichs whistles.
Jimmy Branagh: Poor horseys
Nika Thought-werk: The Persian mail carr’yers were known as chapars. Unlike mail today, the chapars just carried mail for the King of Persia. Each cour’yer would carry a needed parcel between the stations on his route. The stations were known as the chapar khaneh. When he reached the next station from his home station, the chapar would give the king’s letters to the rider at that station, and the new rider would carry it to the next station. This would happen again and again until the mail reached its target.
Nika Thought-werk: Many early mail systems like the ones in Rome and India … and even Old Cathay … were like this. They relied on men and an’mals to carry letters and parcels between two points. Most of the time, the mail system was maintained by the gov’ment. And, the mail was used only by the gov’ment … or very rich people.
Nika Thought-werk reaches into her pocket, grabs a wad of dried grass, stuffs it into her mouth, chews, and keeps going.
Nika Thought-werk: One of the first changes from this was the English stage-system. English stage coach comp’nies began to carry mail for common peoples sometime before the seventeenth century after the Christ. The mail had rates that varied almost by the day, and the rates weren’t always posted. To add insult to injury, the people the letters went to often had to pay the postage.
Bookworm Hienrichs nods.
Dollianna (annamated): Not a good way to send bills
Tristizia Demonista raises an eyebrow
Nika Thought-werk: Can any of you see a problem with such a system?
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Hence the word post-age.
Tristizia Demonista chuckles
Nika Thought-werk smiles at the Baron.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: I see possible ethical issues, Fraulein Nika.
Nika Thought-werk: Yes … and of most import …
Nika Thought-werk: The person could always refuse to pay.
Bookworm Hienrichs nods.
Nika Thought-werk: Because the person the mail was meant for paid for its shipment, one might imagine how much of an expense this would be to the mail service.
Nika Thought-werk: People countered this profit-making by the post office by coding secret messages into the address of a letter. How is this poss’ble? You see, at this time in the mail, mail did not go to houses like it does today. The stage-system would take the mail to taverns and pubs in the cities the coaches would visit.
Nika Thought-werk: When the coaches would arrive with the mail, they would read the names of the people they had letters for. A person in the crowd at the tavern might hear a name being read. That name would have a secret meaning. In this way, the person would hear the message they needed.
Bookworm Hienrichs: Huh.
Nika Thought-werk: No one would pay for the letter. And, the post office would lose money.
Jade: how interesting!
Jimmy Branagh: So Ephram Pettleswope would mean “The Beer is coming?”
Nika Thought-werk: Now the States, coming off the British … maybe.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: How would they know what code to use?
Nika Thought-werk: The code would oft have a preset cipher.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach nods
Nika Thought-werk: Now … the States came from the British system and had sim’lar problems.
Nika Thought-werk: I will talk of those in a moment.
Nika Thought-werk: As well, because the pricing system did depend on the person getting the letter, people could refuse to accept the letter or package. It was very hard for the mail in Britain to stay in business. Along with these troubles, a stage driver always faced the fear of robbers and brigands on the road. Because the stages carried the money they did collect for letters with them on their mail routes, they were pretty pigeons to be plucked for a ne’er-do-well, to be sure. Not even mail offices were secure. In fact, in 1758, a night-time theft of the Bull and Coach main office led to over 500 pounds-worth of mail being stolen by the vandals.
Nika Thought-werk: And that is pounds sterling.
Bookworm Hienrichs: Yikes!
Nika Thought-werk: In 1758, that was a princely sum.
Tristizia Demonista whistles
Nika Thought-werk: To counter the threat of theft, the Crown issued bounties of 200 pounds on people who attacked the mail, with 100 pounds more going on the head of those who attacked the mail within five miles of London.
Nika Thought-werk: The attacks kept going – crippling the British mail.
Nika Thought-werk: The mail in the States … my home … started much the same way, and under the same system. The first confirmed post office in the States was set up in Boston in 1639 in a tavern run by Richard Fairbanks. Like the British ciphers, these new post off’ces used newspapers to hide mess’ges.
Nika Thought-werk: Papers brought to the tavern post off’ces would have lines under the words. These words were set to ciphers.
Nika Thought-werk: If you had the cipher … you could read the paper, and get your message for free.
Jimmy Branagh: Pretty sneaky
Nika Thought-werk nods “The cheats!”
Jade: quite awesome
Jimmy Branagh chuckles
Nika Thought-werk: “By 1737, …”
Nika Thought-werk‘s gears seize up a bit as she smiles and closes her eyes.
Nika Thought-werk: “By 1737, Ben Franklin … began to work for the postal office in his home state. In his tenure, he helped set new roads for the Post Office, set up night and day routes, set up night and day routes, put a penny-post system in place, and gave order where there was none. In part, because of his good works with the mail, in 1757, he was invited to London to speak to the Crown on behalf of the mail and the soon-to-be-states.
Hally Xiang head tilts
Nika Thought-werk: He held this position until 1774, when the Crown removed him from his post with the Post. In 1775, the Congress of the Soon-to-be-States made him the Post-master up and down the East Coast. He would serve in this post until the next year, but he got the mail on a sound footing. My country will always be in his debt for this.
Thaddeus Nadeau: Good ol’ Ben.
Jade: huh!
Nika Thought-werk smiles and nods.
Jimmy Branagh: Here’s ta Ben!
Nika Thought-werk: Now, by the mid-1800s, the mail in Britain was in dire need of a new way forward. The mail was losing money badly. The modern British mail came at the hands of Sir Rowland Hill, starting in 1837. Three of his most noted reforms were pre-payment of mailing letters, standard shipping rates that were based on weight – rather than distance, and the use of postage stamps to show the payment of the shipping. His reforms had an effect not only on the British mail, but that of the States as well.
Nika Thought-werk: The stamp had begun as a receipt for tax payments … but its use helped usher in a modern mail system … that made money.
Nika Thought-werk: Now, the mail in the States by the mid-1800s was starting to go through problems of its own. By 1847, the United States Congress passed an act to start the use of postage stamps as well. Postal rates were lowered to five cents for sending letters up to 300 miles, and ten cents for sending a letter over 300 miles. Even with the reforms, the U.S. Post Office faced mounting problems with money due to the size of the country. Congress acted against the wishes of the Post-master General to reduce rates further by 1851 to three cents for a half-ounce letter going less than three thousand miles, and six cents for a letter going three thousand miles or more.
Nika Thought-werk: One of the other problems faced by the mail in the States at this time was the use of new tools – some of which cost the Postal Service more than they were worth. Among these was the paddle-wheel steamship as a mail transport. This method of shipment was very, very costly, and it was prone to breakdown. Because of the many small river towns and cities in the Southern United States, the South liked the steamship, and the Post Office’s desire to stop steamship service helped spur on the start of the ‘nited States Civil War. The mail helped tear my country apart.”
Jimmy Branagh waves to Tepic
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Hmm.
Wildstar Beaumont apologies and rushes back to Winterfell .. griefer attack under way
Nika Thought-werk stops a moment, looks at a small pin on her lapel and shakes her head.
Tristizia Demonista: interresting !
Jimmy Branagh: Destroy them!
Bookworm Hienrichs: ((Oh, dear!))
Nika Thought-werk: If any wish, there is a very good, new book on this …
Nika Thought-werk: May I share the title?
Bookworm Hienrichs nods.
Nika Thought-werk goes searching a moment …
Nika Thought-werk: Secess …
Nika Thought-werk: Secess …
Nika Thought-werk looks at her notes, then to Miss Book.
Bookworm Hienrichs: Secession.
Nika Thought-werk: … and the U.S. Mail.
Jimmy Branagh smiles
Nika Thought-werk: It is by Conrad Kalm-bacher.
Nika Thought-werk: “After the war,” the doll continues unsteadily with a distant look in her eyes “many post systems changed in ways to help people. To give a short rundown of these changes …
Nika Thought-werk: Throughout our century, the mail went from an inept, sage system … to a modern movement machine, precise and borne by science …
Nika Thought-werk: In 1830, the first use of the railroad to carry letters was noted in Great Britain. The United States followed in 1831.
Max Islay: and they’re still trying to get it delivered! giggle
Nika Thought-werk: Throughout the 1850s to 1890s, most countries brought about postal reforms like in Britain. Like stamps.
Nika Thought-werk: In 1858, the tell-graph was used to link Europe and the States. This system, though very fast to send a message, broke down by year’s end. The system was not restored until 1865.
ElaraGloriana giggles at max’s comment
Max Islay: ((sorry but come on, who can resist a poke at the postal system lol))
Nika Thought-werk: In 1860, the Pony Express sought to create a fast mail route to the frontier of the ‘nited States. It linked the town of Saint Joseph, near Saint Louis, to Sacra … Sacra … the cap’tal of the Gold Rush place. It could carry mail along its route from start to finish in ten days. Like the tell-graph linking Europe and the States in 1858, the Express did not last long. It was closed by 1861.
Tristizia Demonista waves to Max
Max Islay: sacramento?
Max Islay waves
Nika Thought-werk: In 1870, the Uni-lalalalalala …. Uni-lalalalalalala …. Uni-lalalalalalalalala …”
Tepic Harlequin: just one year? blimey….
Canergak: United States?
Nika Thought-werk: Uni …
Bookworm Hienrichs checks the notes Nika passed her. “Universal.”
Nika Thought-werk: Many man … Yes!
Nika Thought-werk: “ … Postal Union, or UPU, was founded. The UPU linked the postal systems of the world and sought to ensure that a letter that started in one country could be taken safely to an other country.
Nika Thought-werk: Now … one of the other el’ments of the modern mail of which I am fond is the carr’yer pigeon. The UCPS, of which I am the head, hands, tail, and feet use them without questions. They have a long and storied history as mail carr’yers, going back to the time of Ancient Greece. They are of most import as mail carr’yers in times of war. But, their service is not without cost … they are attacked by hawks and falcons. This is most true in war-time.
Nika Thought-werk: In the Franco Prussian War, during the Siege of Paris, pigeons gave their life to carry news in and out of the city – against the might of Prussian snipers and war-hawks … who were really hawks. By war’s end, France’s Army pigeon post was reduced to but three scant birds.
Tepic Harlequin: pigeons taste good…..
Bookworm Hienrichs: Oh, dear.
Dollianna (annamated): Oh my…
Nika Thought-werk: The long and the short of it is, the mail is meant to serve all. Against the odds, and at a cost of both life and coin, mail-men, women, and birds believe that letters can bring us to gather. Through reaching out to one an other, we become more. We laugh. We love. We dream. We can be. To a mail man or woman or birds, I guess … that is enough to live for … and die for if duty calls. We are not perfect, but we do our best … and in the past hundred years, we have changed much … with an eye on fast and precise service.
Nika Thought-werk: Any questions? Please not the music box crate to my right.
Bookworm Hienrichs nods emphatically.
Bookworm Hienrichs applauds.
Tristizia Demonista applauds
Nika Thought-werk curtsies. No questions?
Dollianna (annamated): Excellent, Nika. Thank you
Nika Thought-werk: Welcome, welcome!
Canergak: I did have one, what ciphers were most popular in that time when they were used?
ElaraGloriana: how did you determine that the persians mail system should be presented first? did the earlier letters of the hittites not merit inclusion because of their exclusive use by royals and nobels?
Nika Thought-werk: In turn … the ciphers were many. Pop’lar is not a good term to use … for them … many were homemade, for if they were well-known, the stage drivers could figure out the letter was what it was.
Nika Thought-werk: Now … the Hittites did have such a system …
Nika Thought-werk: and the men of Ham-Robie
Jimmy Branagh: Ham Robie?
Bookworm Hienrichs: Hammurabi, perhaps?
Jimmy Branagh: Ahhhhh
Jimmy Branagh grins
Nika Thought-werk: But, I believe the Chapar Khaneh were the longest and largest of these early post systems.
Dollianna (annamated): Likely the longest, for sure
Nika Thought-werk: Really, though, the systems were not so different.
Nika Thought-werk: And prob’bly built one upon the other … like any good idea.
Nika Thought-werk: Any more questions?
ElaraGloriana: do you think the art of correspondence has been lost?
Dollianna (annamated): To some, evidently
Nika Thought-werk blinks and looks to Miss Bookworm for translation.
Nika Thought-werk: What?
Tepic Harlequin: are folks writin less?
Bookworm Hienrichs nods at Tepic.
Nika Thought-werk: They are – I think.
Dollianna (annamated): Effective communication via letter ((in modern times, at least))
Nika Thought-werk: I worry for the fate of the Post Office …
Nika Thought-werk: May I expound on that?
ElaraGloriana: just wondered if you had thoughts on that. thank you for another great presentation miss Thoughtwerk
ElaraGloriana: please do.
Bookworm Hienrichs nods at Nika.
Dollianna (annamated): Please do, Nika
Nika Thought-werk: Ok … so, people have pushed for ever-faster and more cheap mail.
ElaraGloriana nods
Nika Thought-werk: I think the day will come, when writing itself …
Nika Thought-werk: Becomes the chief time constraint to a letter … science has shown us this.
Nika Thought-werk: People hate to take their time for most things.
Tepic Harlequin: hehhee that’s true!
Nika Thought-werk: And writing a letter will be no different.
ElaraGloriana: ((i teach my kiddos to read and WRITE in cursive as the schools in this district no longer teach cursive))
Jimmy Branagh: (Good discipline)
Nika Thought-werk: In the days to come … I think writing of letters will die … because good letters take time.
Tepic Harlequin: used ter be able ter have a five letter conversation in London….
Tepic Harlequin: in one day!
Jedburgh Dagger: ((I used the old Palmer method book my Mom used in the 30s to teach mine))
Nika Thought-werk: And with the letters, the post office will die too.
ElaraGloriana: ((we have a book with mice on ice skates))
Dollianna (annamated): ((Privatization in Britain is speeding that along))
Nika Thought-werk looks down and sighs. “Any more questions?”
Tepic Harlequin: ((snacks on ice?))
Jimmy Branagh: ((I learned Palmer in Catholic school. My writing now looks like Martian))
Tristizia Demonista: welcome back, Herr Baron
ElaraGloriana: insightful as well as historical, thank you again miss Thoughtwerk 🙂
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Danke.
Jimmy Branagh applauds!
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach applauds
Jimmy Branagh: Thank you Miss Nika!
Jedburgh Dagger: ((I write like Joe Cocker having a siezure))
Jimmy Branagh: Great lecture!
Nika Thought-werk curtsies “Please get a music box, if you will?”
Bookworm Hienrichs: Any further questions – or tips – for Miss Nika?
Dollianna (annamated): ((XD))
Jimmy Branagh: Thank you!
Tepic Harlequin: the Pony Express… it only ran fer one year?
ElaraGloriana: Thank you much! 🙂
Nika Thought-werk: May I speak of that?
ElaraGloriana: the civil war interrupted its services, right?
Nika Thought-werk: It did … less than one. Know why?
Nika Thought-werk: Worse than that.
Bookworm Hienrichs: The telegraph, wasn’t it?
ElaraGloriana: do tell D:
Tepic Harlequin: they ate the ponys?
Dollianna (annamated): Telegraphy was a competitor
Jimmy Branagh chuckles
Nika Thought-werk: The Congress gave its contract to a lower bidder.
ElaraGloriana: ouch 😛
ElaraGloriana: cheaper ponies
Bookworm Hienrichs: Oooooh. Dear, dear, dear.
Nika Thought-werk: And so, the service lost to a stage-coach line.
ElaraGloriana: interesting.
Nika Thought-werk: It wasn’t until later in 1861 that the Civil War killed East-West mail routes.
Tepic Harlequin: ‘s sad that, Pony Express is sort of… high imagination an adventure…..
Jedburgh Dagger: Low bid versus speed and scales of efficiency
Nika Thought-werk: But Congress killed the Pony Express.
Dollianna (annamated): Where the term ‘riding shotgun’ comes from
Nika Thought-werk nods.
Jedburgh Dagger: The railroad helped kill it too
Nika Thought-werk: To a point.
Tepic Harlequin: least we got our Messengers!
Nika Thought-werk: But one must be mindful of when rail first spanned from the breadth of East to West.
Nika Thought-werk: True mail by rail to all points West came much later.
Nika Thought-werk: Sorry to keep you all.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Not at all, Fraulein Nika.
Jimmy Branagh: Not at awl Miss Nika. Very interstin’
Tristizia Demonista: not at all
Dollianna (annamated): Not at all. Fascinating, Nika ((:D))
Nika Thought-werk: I like the mail very much, you know?
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Are we ready to pick up the speaker’s tipjar?
Nika Thought-werk: Oh!
Nika Thought-werk: May I add one point?
Tepic Harlequin: ‘s funny, that’s what the lasses down the Blue Sparra say….
ElaraGloriana: thank you everyone, especially miss Thoughtwerk, enjoy the rest of your weekends, and have a fun safe holiday, those inthe states
Nika Thought-werk: Herr Baron … is Story Time tonight?
Jedburgh Dagger: No Tepic, they say ‘Faster, Faster’
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Nein, cancelled due to the holiday.
Nika Thought-werk: Oh!
Nika Thought-werk: Ok. Nothing more, then.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: It will be there again in a fortnight.
Bookworm Hienrichs chuckles.
ElaraGloriana: Tschuss! waves bye everyone! 🙂
Bookworm Hienrichs: Thank you, Miss Nika!
Jimmy Branagh: Byee
Nika Thought-werk curtsies and skips away “Thank you, one and all!”
Tristizia Demonista: waves to Elara
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Gute Nacht, those leaving.
Dollianna (annamated): ((:D))
Jimmy Branagh: Oy gotta run too. Thenks again Miss Nika!
ElaraGloriana: gute nacht und viel spass! 😀 waves and poofs
Jimmy Branagh waves to all
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach waves
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach chuckles at the clockwerk.

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