Statistics Saturday: US Vice-Presidential Name Lengths Over Time


Chart showing, in blue, the length of the names of all US Vice-Presidents in order. In blue is the less fluttery chart of five-Vice-President running averages. The average length rose slightly from Colfax through Coolidge and has mostly declined since then.
I know what you’re thinking: wait, there was a vice-president named ‘Johnson’ before Dallas and King? I know, I was shocked too. Turns out the United States has had THREE vice-presidents named Johnson. George Clinton and John C Calhoun are counted only the once because while they each served parts of two terms, for different presidents, their times in office were continuous.

Reference: Keeping Watch: A History of American Time, Michael O’Malley.

In Which I Continue My Journey Of Self-Discovery


So I learned that Garret Augustus Hobart, to date the only Rutgers alumnus to serve as Vice-President of the United States, grew up in the same part of Monmouth County, New Jersey, that I lived in as a teenager. Indeed, it’s quite plausible that he was tromping around on streets not one mile down the road from where I went to middle school, albeit a century earlier. And Hobart isn’t one of those mere footnote Vice-Presidents. He affected the course of history what with his bold decision to die in office in 1899, after all. I was all ready to call my dad and ask if he knew this exciting fact about one of the estimated forty 19th century United States vice-presidents to have died in office. And then I remembered, oh yeah, that’s why everyone treated me like that in middle school. Hm. Yeah. I hate to admit but they had a point.

Statistics Saturday: Vice-Presidents of the United States Serving Two Full Terms, By Century


A note about methodology: Thomas Jefferson is counted as an 18th-century Vice-President and wouldn’t affect the count either way. Garret Hobart is counted as a 19th-century Vice-President but that hardly matters since he was dead at the time of the 20th century. Al Gore is counted as a 20th-century Vice-President and he would’ve affected the count one way or the other. Future Disgraced Former Vice-President Mike Pence is not counted as it’s too soon to tell when he’ll leave office. David Rice Atchison is not counted as Vice-President for good reason. John Adams is counted as having a full term despite the 1789-1793 Presidential administration being that far short of four full years. Ditto John Nance Garner although for the 1933-1937 term. Also hey, Daniel D Tompkins, good job pulling that off. I completely forgot about you so I’m glad I looked it up. Shut up, you’re the person who knows an unsettling amount about 19th-century United States Vice-Presidents for someone who isn’t a 19th-century United States Vice-Presidential historian.

18th Century: 1. 19th Century: 1. 20th Century: 5. 21st Century: 2.
Further note on methodology: While presented as a spot of whimsy the whole of it is factual and the only apparent comic value is in staring hard at Vice-Presidents of the United States. While there is some whimsy involved in that, it all amounts to things like Henry (1873-1875) Wilson’s servant not knowing he was Vice-President, or Thomas (1913-1921) Marshall’s working a side job roasting the uselessness of his office. None of this is on display here. Although it’s a little freaky the 19th century had such a lousy time keeping a Vice-President around, isn’t it? They had 23 of them, compared to 21 for the 20th century and hey, you know, if he were still alive Gerald Ford would be 103 years old. That’s something to make you go “huh”, isn’t it? Well, maybe it should be. Wait, so everyone agrees Dallas County, Texas, was named for George (1845-1849) Dallas, but there’s dispute about whether the city of Dallas, Texas, was? The heck, even for Texas?

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose by nine points today after a good look at the weather forecase and how nice it was looking and we really need it after the week we just had, don’t you all agree?

127

Statistics Saturday: The Days On Which United States Vice-Presidents Have Died Most Often


Rank Date Vice-Presidents Dead On That Day
1 July 4 John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Hannibal Hamlin
2 January 13 Schuyler Colfax, Hubert Humphrey
2 (tied) June 4 William A Wheeler, Charles W Fairbanks
2 (tied) November 18 Chester A Arthur, Henry A Wallace
2 (tied) December 26 Harry Truman, Gerald Ford
6 January 5 Calvin Coolidge
6 (tied) January 6 Theodore Roosevelt
6 (tied) January 18 John Tyler
6 (tied) January 22 Lyndon B Johnson
6 (tied) January 26 Nelson A Rockefeller
6 (tied) February 8 Charles Curtis
6 (tied) March 8 Millard Fillmore
6 (tied) March 31 John C Calhoun
6 (tied) April 18 William R King
6 (tied) April 20 George Clinton
6 (tied) April 22 Richard Nixon
6 (tied) April 23 Charles G Dawes
6 (tied) April 30 Alben W Barkley
6 (tied) May 16 Levi P Morton
6 (tied) May 17 John C Breckinridge
6 (tied) June 1 Thomas R Marshall
6 (tied) June 11 Daniel D Tompkins
6 (tied) June 14 Adlai E Stevenson
6 (tied) July 24 Martin Van Buren
6 (tied) July 31 Andrew Johnson
6 (tied) September 14 Aaron Burr
6 (tied) September 17 Spiro Agnew
6 (tied) October 30 James S Sherman
6 (tied) November 7 John Nance Garner
6 (tied) November 19 Richard Mentor Johnson
6 (tied) November 21 Garret Hobart
6 (tied) November 22 Henry Wilson
6 (tied) November 23 Elbridge Gerry
6 (tied) November 25 Thomas A Hendricks
6 (tied) December 31 George M Dallas
36 All Other Days

If we learn anything from this, it is: don’t be a Vice-President in November. It doesn’t work out well for you. But August is surprisingly safe.

Statistics Saturday: The Most Rage-Inducing Things You Can Say To A Fan Of Something


  1. “I never heard of that. Is it any good?”
    Why it is rage-inducing:
    Obviously you have heard of it or you wouldn’t be talking to a fan of it, so you’re a fibber and if there’s one thing we can’t take on the Internet it’s deadpan humor, but fibbers are also trouble.
  2. “I loved the movie they made based on that!”
    Why it is rage-inducing:
    Nobody’s made a lovable movie based on anything since 1989’s The Dream Team was made based on the idea that Stephen Furst and James Remar should spend some time in a movie together.
  3. “Oh yeah. I loved whenever that guy turned up on Science Theater Mystery 2000.”
    Why it is rage-inducing:
    Get the title right at least. It’s Science Theater Mystery 4000.
  4. “You know one-seventh of all the people to serve two full terms as Vice-President of the United States were Richard Nixon?”
    Why it is rage-inducing:
    There isn’t any context in which this isn’t a weird thing to say. Even gatherings of fans of the Vice-Presidency swapping trivia about the Vice-Presidency is the wrong place for it. Just avoid bringing it up.
  5. “Does it have a web site?”
    Why it is rage-inducing:
    What is this, 1997, when Star Trek first appeared on the Internet? There are whole web sites devoted to nothing but things that don’t have web sites. You sound like you’re trying to make a badly programmed robot’s head explode.
  6. “I know it, I just don’t like it.”
    Why it is rage-inducing:
    Yet you are presumably allowed to vote, and possess rutabagas, and give your own opinion about how gigantic a kangaroo you would have to be to be satisfied with your gigantic kangaroo nature, and throw around trivia about the Vice-Presidency.
  7. “I remember that thing. It looked pretty good but I just never got into it for some reason.”
    Why it is rage-inducing:
    Well, obviously. Anyway, there’s really nothing you can do to sufficiently apologize for saying something like that. It’s probably best if after this you end the friendship, possibly by moving to a new city, in a different country, on another continent.