Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Rarity Indeed

Cable television hasn't come into my humble abode since June 2005. But from time to time I stray from a steady regimine of LA Times and Netflix and flip on the ole' tube. Tonight was one such occasion and as usual I stumbled upon PBS first and foremost and caught some quality HD programming of Antiques Roadshow.

One item that they reviewed (combined with a thought for the last 6 months that I really oughta be blogging more) seemed blog-worthy. It was a collection of signatures from aviation pioneers. Seems pretty damn boring, I know. But 990 signatures from the days of balloons to astronauts in space capsules is a pretty monumental achievement.

Think about it. In this day and age we're lucky if we get past celebrity gossip long enough to have a single hero. And here's a collection of almost 1000 of them. Genuine pioneers. Amelia Erhart, John Glenn, etc. I've never been a real fan of pilots or astronauts enough to want to collect memorabilia. But that's not the point. It's that somebody was inspired enough to type out letters to individuals during a time in which individuals, famous or not, had genuine understanding of who they were and who the people that supported them were... enough to write back! Try that with P-Diddy. Or President Bush.

Sure you can collect autographs now if that's your thing. And a few genuine individuals would probably sign on the dotted line with some semblance of belief that their autograph would do somebody some good. But as a general rule even the 21st century heroes like Cal Ripken will most likely end up on eBay with cash-in-hand used for a cheap XBox 360 Virtual Baseball 2010 game.

There are few selfless pioneers anymore. Fewer still collections of them. And that's what made me appreciate this collection all the more. Thanks PBS.

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