I’ve deleted my Facebook account

I haven’t used my Facebook account to get to the Facebook White House Fanatics pages in a long time, largely because I really never liked Facebook. I’ve never used my account for anything else, and I’ve become annoyed recently at being contacted by

  • People I haven’t known for 30 years adding me as a friend
  • The way I’ve unintentionally authorized access to my Facebook account information when commenting on other Websites
  • The long history of Facebook privacy scandals (most recently the one in which founder Mark Zuckerberg’s own private photos were accessed)

If you get a message saying I’ve “defriended” you or deleted my account or whatever, rest assured it isn’t personal. I don’t hate you.

I just hate Facebook.

Tennis/B-ball court

I think this is our first look at the tennis court with basketball hoops added so the president can play full court. The old basketball court is only half court. Lincoln’s basketball court was only a quarter court. And Hoban’s original basketball court was only an eighth court–totally unsuitable for modern basketball.*

* Would I steer you wrong?

Time‘s 100 Days series. Great photos inside the mansion and West Wing. Thanks, Colton and also Barry and Antonio!

UPDATE: Added some of these and also another pic of the court from the UConn girl’s team visit.


Having only just rid the White House of an infestation of sweetener-producing fauna, the Obamas now find themselves beset with an infestation of cuteness-producing fauna. This one is a Portuguese water dog that goes by the name of “Bo”.

Please stop e-mailing me that that’s Eleanor Roosevelt with JFK in the Life pictures

I’ve gotten multiple blog comments and several e-mails confidently guessing that it’s ER walking with JFK in a some of the new photos.

While I personally think its Eisenhower in disguise,  returning to his lair, I’ll add some notation about ER later, but right now Dreamweaver has gone goofy and keeps crashing.* I’ll have to reinstall it this weekend (for those who don’t know: 90% of the time, I’m out of town 100% of the time).

Thank you for your patience.

* If only there were something that could help me to forget today’s pain, fly me high thru the starry skies, maybe to an astral plane.

New Lincoln photo

LincolnVisitor Seth passed along an interesting article on a newly-discovered photograph of Abraham Lincoln standing in front of the WH, found in the personal album of US Grant. It’s probably the last photo taken of him alive, but just as important it shows us exactly how Lincoln looked from 200 feet away and slightly blurry.

It also suggests that Lincoln was a bit of a braggart, having erected a red post on the north lawn labeled with his 6′ 4″ height. I’m glad this didn’t become a tradition or we would have them scattered all over the grounds by now (and you know Taft would have added a hoop to his to indicate girth).

New photo clutch

I’ve added a number of photos in the last couple of days, mostly from the 1960s and 70s and mostly in the West Wing. In the process, I came across this one of Jim Varney from 1986, which I won’t add to the Press Briefing Room page because it doesn’t really illustrate anything other than that the Reagan administration had a pretty bizarre sense of humor—know wut I mean, Vern?

Pottery Barn Decor

Us magazine is reporting that Michelle Obama and Michael Smith will decorate the family quarters with items from Pottery Barn. Now, maybe I’m stupid, but how much pottery can the first family need?

The article also mentions that the first kids will have to do “chores like pouring milk on their own cereal.” I don’t think pouring milk qualifies as a chore if it doesn’t first involve milking a cow.

Presidential television

The History channel is running various president-related programs in the next 24 hours, including:

  • The White House: Behind Closed Doors
  • The Presidents (a series)
  • Modern Marvels: presidential transportation
  • Secret Access: Air Force 1
  • Civil War Journal
  • A Presidency Revealed (a series including JFK and FDR)
  • UFO Files (Cleveland was abducted by aliens)
  • Star Wars Tech (presumably about Reagan)
  • Batman Unmasked (Harding fought crime in a black cloak and cowl and became the inspiration for Batman; the “playboy president” persona was a ruse).

UPDATE: At 8 AM and 2 PM on Thu, they’re also rerunning their excellent doco on Fort Knox. The history and architecture of the bullion depository is really fascinating.

Just in time for the inauguration….

In the immortal words of Stephen Sondheim, “somethin’s comin’, somethin’ good,” only this time it’s not a shooting death in a vacant lot at the hands of a vengeful Puerto Rican street tough. It’s a set of brand new contemporary floor plans in three dimensions and living color by Pete Sharkey.

I’ve added the draft versions of the new plans to the mirror site only for the ground, second, and third floors so far. I stress that these are drafts and may look a little funny. I think I will have to make them smaller eventually when I get the wings, since the wings are wider and may end up too wide to fit on screen.

Not coincidentally, I hereby award Peter Sharkey the Lorenzo Winslow Beauty in Precision Award (the “Winnie”).

Jack Ford

I’ve posted some of the photos from the 1976 Rolling Stone with Jack Ford. And I updated the mirror site.

Also, I received the 1968 Life with juicy oblique cutaways of the West Wing as well as the WH and East Wing we used to create the current East Wing floor plans.

There’s also a really neat showcase of houses each president was born in (including Johnson), which together make about the ugliest neighborhood I’ve ever seen.* It sort of starts out as Genteel Town, proceeds to Poverty Row, then on to Middleclass Muddle, with brief jaunts up Old Money Lane. I have a feeling that continuing the trend would look like a tour of Old Money Lane.

* Insert your own “Then you haven’t seen wherever” joke.

Replacement WH exercise

This is an interesting video done, apparently, as an architecture-school exercise in replacing the WH with a new structure. In this case, the structure chosen was a couple of elevator shafts and a staircase, I guess.

This related site is about open-source (brick-and-mortar) architecture but uses a new WH as its central exercise. (Pete, you may be interested in the SketchUp model of the area around the WH.)

This calls to mind a thought experiment. Since the capital was not moved to Cincinnati after the 1814 fire, we have a capital that sits at the extreme east of the nation. Some presidents have maintained a “Little White House” or “Western White House,” primarily as vacation getaways, but do we need a genuine “Western White House” for the president to sometimes work out of and what would it look like?

New presidential limo

Jalopnik is reporting that GM is working on a new limousine for the president, a version of the GMC Topkick disguised as a giant Cadillac DTS. Since the DTS is a bigger STS, which is a bigger CTS, You would think they’d call this the LTS (for limo) or maybe even PTS.

I’ve always wanted the limo fleet controlled by the Army so the president’s car can be called Army 1 to match the names Air Force 1 and Marine 1, but that’s just my natural neurosis for parallelism.

Planeta Fascinante

The latest issue of my favorite Spanish-language magazine, Planeta Fascinante, is on the stands, and I naturally rushed out to get it. So there I am, reading “Se pueden leer los pensamientos?” (“Have you lost your thoughts of Mentos?”*) and I turn the page to find none other than Peter Sharkey’s 3-D White House diagrams!

The article concerns the security of the White House and its anti-bomber defenses. Unfortunately, the editors seem to have taken the liberty of moving the Despacho Oval from the Ala Del Oeste to the Salon Amarillo, for some reason. But the images look great, don’t they?

Congratulations, Pete!

* My Spanish, she is a little rusty.

Got it!

I got a copy (two, actually) of AD at O’Hare while traveling today. The photos are beautiful, altho I wish we’d seen one or two of the private rooms (even the Family Kitchen!). The Green Room looks great and the Lincoln Bedroom is marvelous, but the Queens’ Bedroom is as frumpy as ever. You’d think that first families would be more adventurous with the lesser known guest room. The Vermeil Room is somehow still boring, despite the goldware. It’s nice to see the Palm Room, tho.

Also, I must say, the Porsche advertising insert was very persuasive. It fairly convinced me that I want a Porsche. But what is with that ad on page 35? Are they selling Isabella Rosselini? As much as I admire her beauty and talent, I won’t be a part of the illicit film star trade.

Architectural Digest

I still haven’t had a chance to pick up the new Architectural Digest with pics of the Bush redecoration. I’ve looked for it locally, but couldn’t find it. I didn’t want to go all the way to Barnes & Noble or Borders because I knew I’d be passing thru O’Hare airport Monday and it would certainly be there. Cue the severe weather flight delays…. and I had to rush to catch my connection.

This week I’m in Sacramento. Surely these people are civilized. The weather certainly is.

Welcome, Nick Cage fans

I saw National Treasure: Book of Secrets this past weekend. The titular book is a diary passed from president to president that holds all their deepest secrets. Given the vagaries of politics, that seems unlikely (Carter wouldn’t release Nixon’s missing 18-minute tape?), but the point of it is that the book contains a photo of a wooden plaque that was formerly concealed in a secret compartment of the Resolute desk—one half of a treasure map that has something to do with the Queen of England. Her Resolute desk (the feminine fraternal twin to our president’s) contains the other half. Naturally, Nick Cage must sneak into the Queen’s private office and the Oval Office (it looks just like GWB’s) to get the information that he needs, only it’s not there, and he has to ransack the Library of Congress. Unfortunately for him, the president’s secret book is one of the 17 million items I purloined from the Library of Congress a few months ago and the movie ends with him being nonplussed, chagrined, arrested, indicted, arraigned, and other French terms. The End.

Anyway, as a result, Resolute Desk” is now the top term that brings visitors to the White House Museum. Welcome!

Cheese it! The fuzz!

The president has been posing with groups again. One is of a delegation of state police in full uniform. I find it interesting in this great union of states how the uniforms of state troopers vary so widely, with inspiration that seems to come from Canadian mounties, the US Army, forest rangers, Old West sheriffs, and beat cops from the 1940s. None of them seem interested in those pointy helmets the British bobbies wear, tho….

And who’s for changing the draperies in the State Dining Room? The current ones are so busy they seem to have three small children and a second job.

Open post: Nothing new

I went looking for new things to add to the site or to blog about and got off track looking at a political blog which distracted me with an old speech by Bill Clinton where he uses the phrase “Yore Kippur,” so I went searching for it and found a small number of reliable sources that also used it but no explanation, so I put a note on the talk page of “Yom Kippur” article in Wikipedia.

Sometimes I hate the Internet.

OOPDATE: It’s apparently just a typo, altho why it appeared in a presidential speech in multiple places, I don’t know. You know who’s responsible for this? Some schmendrick, I bet. Possibly a fakakta schmendrick.