Bureaucrat Beat: Postal Miracles, Hawaiian Gaffe, Professor Marvel

How appropriate – postal miracles for Christmas. We have visions of a screenplay in our head. You know, like Jimmy Stewart and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” We’ve already gone through the depression and angst portion of the story – all of the returned and missing mail, delayed mail. Now, we’re ready for the miracle part.

Okay. Here it is. We can’t say, “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore” because this miracle sprung forth in Oberlin, Kansas. Seems a postcard featuring a color drawing of Santa Claus and a young girl was mailed in 1914. 93 years later, the card arrived in perfect condition! According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the card was dated December 23, 1914 and mailed to Ethel Martin of Oberlin, Kansas. Ethel passed away some time back, but Bernice Martin, Ethel’s sister-in-law received the card which came from somewhere in Illinois 93 years earlier. Wow. One can only imagine where the card has been. It turned up inside an envelope. The stamp on the old card? A 1 center.

Fast forward to a modern miracle. It’s a testimony to the excellent service from workers at the Bishop Post Office. Bob Todd received a Christmas card that was addressed “Bob Todd c/o KDAY, Bishop, CA 93546.” Now, some observant people at the Bishop Post Office, we are guessing, saw the name Bob Todd and knew darned well where Bob is most of the day – KSRW. Of course, technocrats could have just tossed it in the lost mail bin since there was no real address and the Mammoth Lakes zip code was used with Bishop, and the old call signs of KDAY were used, not KSRW.

High praises to the worker at the Bishop Post Office who used common sense and a care for good customer service to deliver Bob’s Christmas card from Wyoming. So, with these two postal miracles, we look forward to a new year of practical thinking and dedicated service. Thanks, Post Office!
Just for the record – an example of really, really, really bad customer service. A story told in the Business section of the LA Times. Seems a woman made reservations for plane tickets to Hawaii for herself, her mother and a friend. Sadly, her mom passed away before the trip. Now, get this. Hawaiian Airlines charged her $75 per ticket to cancel. All of the other services involved in the trip – Delta Air and the Hilton in Hawaii, gladly made cancellations and offered condolences. Bad form, Hawaiian Air. No excuses on this one.

One of our listeners passed on a warning. Not to open attachments on emails called “Merry Christmas”. Viruses reportedly aboard. Talk about Grinches, Scrooges and down right dirty tricks!

On an up note, some scientists have debunked the theory of holiday blues. For many years, mental health experts and the public at large have supported the idea that holiday times make many very sad and even suicidal. Now, some medical sources say it’s all a myth. Suicide rates do not go up, but what about how some people feel? Family tragedies bring poignant sadness at holiday times which most feel should be happy times. Okay if they want to toss out holiday blues; but if you feel them, we depressive types in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom will validate your experience.

Here’s a fabulous validation of what a free society can do for its people, particularly when the bureaucracy doesn’t. seems a physics professor from MIT, 71 year old Professor Walter Lewin, now offers his lectures on the internet – for free! People from all over the world listen to his physics courses. Comments in the New York Times range from one 17 year old who said to the professor, “Through your inspiring video lectures I have managed to see just how BEAUTIFUL Physics is, both astounding and simple.”

A 62 year old florist from San Diego wrote to Professor Lewin, “I walk with a new spring in my step and I look at life through physics-colored eyes.” You get the drift. People excited about learning since they have free and easy access to education. Wow! This sounds so much better than the angst with which eager students must approach the cost of college courses and the failure of government to support education.

So, at this holiday season and winter solstice- the time of year when Scrooge’s heart is flooded with love and the spirit of giving – let’s hail Professor Walter Lewin, who has offered the light of understanding about our universe and ourselves. Check him out on the internet.

With that, this is Benett Kessler signing off for Bureaucrat Beat where we await your word on our lives in the Eastern Sierra and beyond.

 
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