Wisconsin Federation of Stamp Clubs (WFSC)
Across the Fence Post Newsletter
1999 Shaughnessy Takes On... columns

         This page includes Shaughnessy Takes On... columns from the 1999 issues of Across the Fence Post.

January issue

By Howard Shaughnessy, Lake County (IL) Philatelic Society

As Ed McMahon used to say, "H a a r r r ' s B u n n y!" With all the rabbits in next year's U.S. Postal Service philatelic offerings, it's no wonder there are so many stamps!

One hundred forty-two face different issues planned for 1999! And Lord knows how many definitives will accompany these. Pity the poor first-day cover cachet makers. Of all the Daffy ideas ...say, doesn't that duck appear next year? Note that pals Bugs and Tweety appear as postage on the envelopes in Daffy's mailbox.

Since I can't take on all 142 in one article, this is round one.

1999 gets a running start with the Year of the Hare "33" - a vintage year as I recall. For topical collectors, 1999 will be the vintage year Age of the Aquariums with a reef for those interested in saltwater varieties. Maybe next year the freshwater buffs will have a matching set. Did you want fish food too?

It's maybe A Bug's Life, but I sure hope the Insects and Spiders minisheet is self-adhesive. Would you want your wife, mother or sister to lick the reverse of these'?

Arctic Animals - don't you just love these faces? It might be a cool idea to release them on a hot summer day.

To be handled very gingerly is the minisheet of American Glass - full blown, of course. Next year the Plastics Council is pushing for a sheet of their own products.

Probably the most popular 1999 stamps will be the Victorian Love pair. While die-cut to shape, I'm disappointed that they're not embossed as well.

They just don't write songs like that anymore. So, the USPS has promised us that the last of the songwriters will be on postal paper next year. Excellent choice, not a hip-hop or rapper among them!

Extreme Games? Come on. How much did ESPN-2 pay to have snowboarders and inline skaters included among the block of four'? This is a sure winner for the least needed issue of 1999 and may even beat out the 1948 Chicken stamp in this category.

Most important stamp for next year'.' Prostrate Cancer Awareness. Take it from a survivor that if you are of the male gender of a certain age group, the three most important letters may be PSA - the test for determination. Caught early it can be brat and you'll have more years to play with your stamps!

February issue

By Howard Shaughnessy, Lake County (IL) Philatelic Society

Round two of the U.S. Postal Service 1999 philatelic emissions

Can't you just hear Jimmy Cagney (who is this year's "Legend of Hollywood") saying to Azeezaly S. Jaffer, "You rat, you dirty rat... putting me in the company of Daffy Duck, spiders and insects. Where is that half of grapefruit when I really need it'?"

Who in the hall is Bascom on die University of Wisconsin postal card? Might make more sense to honor a Great Dayne who ran through opposing football teams with little opposition. Maybe he's inside Bascum studying NFL playbooks.

Of the three other postal cards, one honors Redwood, the oldest of libraries and the first to lend publications. Located in Newport, RI, where folks could not afford to purchase books.

Our first president figures into the two remaining cards, one honoring Mt. Vernon, his home and where he died 200 years ago. The other, the university that bears his name (along with Robert E. Lee) - Washington and Lee. When was the last time they played in the Rose Bowl'? As close as they will come is to use the upcoming Coral Rose stamp on their alumni fund letters.

And what is this with roses'? Red, yellow, pink, coral...wonder what other color inks the USPS bought at closeout for upcoming rose varieties? Now if only they gave out their scent I would not complain.

Those Who Served are honored with a postal cancellation and then only the wavy portion. Or maybe this stamp is for waiters and bartenders - " Hi, my name is Azeezaly and I'll be your server this year "

Since the Packers will have their philatelic moment, why not the Forty Niners? The rush for gold at the Super Bowl. Funny, none of those depicted look like Steve Young or Jerry Rice.

Atlas Shrugged, and so does the philatelic community with the appearance of postal paper to honor Ayn Rand. Buy this one so when the Legends of Hollywood series honors Gary Cooper you have enough additional postage for the rate increase at that time.

As we collectors add on the years, the USPS thinks about us. Stamps for Hospice Care and Prostate Cancer Awareness remind us that 1999 makes us another year wiser, at least for some of us.

How many of you went for the encyclopedia to learn who John and William Bartram and Frederick Law Olmstead were? Those who live in the areas where these men did their magic -- the Bartrams were botanists and old Fred was a landscape architect - knew the answers right off. We tend to dismiss these types but we all enjoy their parks and plants.

The Irish are known for their wit. Seems several of them were looking at gravestones at night using their flashlights to read tile inscriptions. Each called out the age of the deceased while trying to top the others with their finds, Finally Paddy says. "My gush, here's one who lived to be 200! He's Miles from Dublin." So when the USPS honors us Irishers with our stamp we're all miles from Dublin, etc.

Finally, 1 could not let the misspelling of "Endeavour" on the recent space shuttle stamp pass without comment, When did the USPS hire Dan Quayle? . Actually, I thought the caption for this stamp should be, "Not tonight dear I have a headache ".

March issue No column this issue

April issue

By Howard Shaughnessy. Lake County (IL) Philatelic Society

The eighties -

After seeing voting choices for the Celebrate the Century issue of the past decade, perhaps NO'1'A (none of the above) might be the best vote-

People and Events

Horowitz Concert -- Vladinur missed out on the musician series, but does one concert deserve a stamp'.'

Fall of the Berlin Wall - When the Berlin Wall fell so did Communism, as we knew it. Worth commemorating'? You bet!

Arms Reduction Treaty - Venus de Milo once again on a stamp.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial - Already has its own. Why not commemorate the neighboring memorials?

American Hostages Freed - Do we really want to recall this sad chapter of our history?

Arts and Entertainment

"ET. The Extra-Terrestrial" - E.T. phone home using I-800 collect and a Primeco cell phone as most aliens do.

Hip-hop Culture - We already have bunny rabbits, and what kind of culture is this"

Country Music - "My C&W Stamp Can Lick Your C&W Stamp, But Only If Yours Is Self-Adhesive."

"The Bonfire of the Vanities" - Burn this one quickly along with the rest of the bathroom appliances.

"Cats" - I'm a canine guy myself.

"The Cosby Show" - Which one? Old Bill seems to have been all over TV screens.


NCAA March Madness - Cries out for Dick Vitale. Unfortunately, his mouth is still alive. Figure Skating - If this stamp portrays Kath Witt in her Playboy pose, I'm voting for this one.

Senior PGA Tour - The Jack and Arnie se-tenant set.

Lakers vs. Celtics - Without depicting Larry and Kareem how can the Lakers-Celtics game be a viable stamp?

San Francisco 49ers -- First the Packers, then the Bears, could the 49-niners not be recognized without their picks and shovels?

Beach Volleyball - Son of Brach Volley Ball is the K-Guy. Kick some sand in this one's eves.

Science and Technology

Personal Computers - Only question being whether it's Macs or PCs and MS or Netscape. AIDS Awareness - Deja vu First Aids but not second Aids.

Space Shuttle Program - Not another John Glenn stamp!

Compact Discs - Wonder how DVD and DVDXs feel about this aging technology.

Cable TV - Get the cable guy out there installing dishes or phone lines to cover all bases.

Gene Mapping - I remember this guy. He was the one who invented the atlas.


Video Games - Oh, we really need this one

Aerobics - Not only can we lose a few pounds, but also this idea.

Minivans - Soccer moms will vote for this one.

Mountain Biking - This is a major sport? Oh, really. Shouldn't this be Mountain Hiking? Cabbage Patch Kids - Put this one on a stamp and can Beanie Babies and Furbies be far behind'?

Camcorders - Depends upon who or what has been caught on tape.

Talk Show's -- Two words. "hot air -"

May/June issue No column this issue

.July/August issue No column this issue

September issue No column this issue

October  issue No column this issue

November issue

By Howard Shaughnessy Lake County (IL) Philatelic Society

National Stamp Collecting Month and what was the featured centerpiece" Insects and Spiders. Spiders are arachnids, Beetles, ants, flies, etc., all have proper names as well, but to me I would have labeled this sheet "BUGS," and I don't mean rabbits The U S Postal Service has indicated that if you wish to purchase a single bug stamp, you can't. You can, however, go to your local VW dealer and buy just one bug.

Did someone say McDonalds's'? Turn a 1970s Celebrate the Century stamp sideways and the "33" suddenly becomes the golden arches.

One of the most popular of topicals is trains on stamps. The USPS went one better with stamps on trains a la the CTC Express, which recently ended its cross-country railroading in Richmond, VA.

"Fill Fibro Ard" is how I read the heading on the All Aboard! Minisheet commemorating those iron horses of the past. I realize the type font is retro, but English it's not. The engine stamps are first rate; so realistic you can almost hear their whistles. Amtrack, eat your heart out.

Do you get the feeling as I do that the holiday contemporary Deer stamp design was taken from holiday wrapping paper.)

Let's see, how many more Italian artists are in line to have their Madonna and Child masterpieces reproduced as traditional holiday stamps nee - Christmas issues? Meanwhile, the Hanukkah and Kwanzaa issues just keep being recycled.

Of the 189 countries that are members of the Universal Postal Union, I'm willing to wager that our feeble issue will rank toward the bottom as for popularity and design. I believe that having Beijing as the first-day city indicates just how ashamed the USPS is of it. Did you want noodles with that FDC!

Fifty years of NATO. Now this stamp is nicely designed and printed. I just hope that it doesn't mean that NATO troops will he in Kosovo for 50 years

"Hi, my name is Jaffer and I will he your server for this issue." Honoring Those Who Served was a great idea but somewhere between the idea and the printed product we have a stamp that only pleases those postal clerks who cancel our stamps

If I were Frederick Law Olmsted, having a stamp issued in my honor would be about as likely as having a person named AzeezaIy. Jaffer as the one who oversees our postal paper. Does this mean Martha Stewart is penciled in for a stamp in the next millie?

As this century closes out let's give thanks for the engravers and designers of the stamps that were issued during the first part of it sadly, their likes, will not pass this way again

December issue No column this issue

Latest update: June 14, 2005 

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