Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Not Stampworthy

Ranting about Star Wars stamps as I did below made me think about the topic of who has and who hasn't been honored on a U.S. Postage Stamp. What group of people is guaranteed to be placed on a stamp?

Only deceased U.S. Presidents. Gerald Ford gets one in July. Clinton, Carter and the Bushes each get one after their time on Earth is done. It's tradition, so no kvelling about the appropriateness of honoring any certain president.

Few other national office-holders are according a commemoration. The most under-represented group in this regard is U.S. Vice presidents.
By my count, there are 31 deceased people who served as Vice President without later becoming President. Of these, only one has been singled out for stampage:

  • Hubert H. Humphrey (under LBJ). Humphrey's stamp wasn't even a commemorative; it was a regular issue 52-cent stamp for heavier letters.
    • Elbridge Gerry, who served under James Madison, was depicted, but not named, as he was one of the signatories to the Declaration of Independence and was thus shown in the John Trumbull painting, itself printed on a few stamps, …
      • …which was not of the actual signing of the Declaration, but its presentation by the drafting committee to the Contintal Congress; Trumbull just stuck in as many of the signers as he could. But I digress…
So for a Veep, getting honored isn't a slam dunk. Otherwise we'd be collecting stamps of scalawags like Aaron Burr or Spiro Agnew. Still one has to wonder why the Postal Service hasn't thought to just put out a sheet of all the Veeps. They've gone through all the Presidents more than a few times.

Many other historical people may be long overdue. I only count four Supreme Court justices, although several Supreme Court rulings have been commemorated. Only eight Cabinet Secretaries and nine U.S. Senators. There's still a lot of history to be explored.

Monday, April 02, 2007

What I Learned Today #2: Herbie Flowers

This comes from the fine radio show "Mint," which, regrettably, is being pulled from the BBC 6 schedule:

Herbie Flowers is someone you've heard, if you've heard classic rock at all. He's a session bass player who started out playing tuba on cruise ship bands in the early 60's, and began to pick up the jazz bass. During a stopover in New York he discovers the new trend of electric jazz, and starts out with the electric bass, which leads to a career as a session musician. Result: He created the two coolest bass lines of all 70's rock: David Essex' "Rock On" and Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side." He's also on David Bowie's "Space Oddity," though I suspect most people don't associate that song as much with its bass line. And on Jeff Wayne's double prog LP "War of the Worlds."

Just as extra filler for this space, we was in the classical pops group Sky, with guitarist John Williams.

Your nugget of stuff you never knew was connected for today.