I’ve changed the front page for August to reuse an image from back in September 2008 (as you can see from the gallery). It’s one I’ve always liked of visitors coming thru the lobby in the East Wing.
Category Archives: Uncategorized
No front page change
No front page change this month. I’m on vacation.
Helen Thomas retires
White House Press Corps stalwart Helen Thomas has announced her retirement in the wake of the controversy around her recent comments about Israel. Thomas, 89, has been a part of the press corps since the early 1960s and traditionally ended all presidential press conferences by saying, “Thank you, Mr. President.”
The Special Relationship and Thirteen Days
I caught the beginning of The Special Relationship on HBO last night. It purports to document the relationship between Bill Clinton and Tony Blair in the 1990s (and the US and the UK in general). It stars Michael Sheen as Blair and Dennis Quaid as a passable Clinton. Blair is the protagonist, more or less, so the story focuses on him, often contrasting the pomp and luxury of the White House with the simplicity of Blair’s life, especially before he became PM.
I was very disappointed in the White House scenes. This is the first film I know of that has used the WHM as a resource—I was contacted during pre-production and exchanged several e-mails—but the interiors are not convincing. From what I saw of the first 30 minutes or so, there was a good North Portico, a passable Entrance Hall, and a good Oval Office. But the more private rooms were nothing like the real thing and often rather silly. The film depicts Clinton inviting Blair into a large, sofa-strewn sitting room just off the Oval Office in the space we know to be occupied by a little corridor, lavatory, a tiny study, and a private dining room. The Master Bedroom is depicted with a nod to the Reagans’ Chinese wallpaper, but not much else.
I imagine that the movie did not have a large budget and so they spent their pennies on the UK sets that were more central to the action and on the Oval Office.
By contrast, I happened to catch the end of Thirteen Days on TV earlier in the weekend and found its reproduction of the White House as faithful as one could hope, as Pete Sharkey’s write-up attested.
New front page: Clinton Music Room
I’ve changed the front page to a new one: the Music Room that Hilary created for Bill in the late ’90s. It’s the room the Truman plans refer to as the “Play Room” and which was used as a bedroom by Jack Ford.
Big update today, with nearly two dozen new photos, mostly recent ones of the Obamas from the official Flickr feed. The photos are from all over, but most from the West Wing.
New front page: West Sitting Hall c.1937
I’ve changed the front page for May to the second Roosevelts’ West Sitting Hall.
Roosevelt Room flags
I got a note today asking about the flags in the Roosevelt Room. The question focuses on the numerous streamers on the flags, wondering if they represent individual battles for each of the branches, if the Battle of Wounded Knee is included, and who decides which battles to include. I’ve never heard of such a thing. Anybody else?
Barbara Bush hospitalized
Former First Lady Barbara Bush has been hospitalized in Texas for tests after feeling ill for some days. Best wishes to her and her family.
The White House photostream has put up some photos of the Christmas decor and events. There are some wonderful images of performers, guests, and ornaments for the holidays.
Also, I just noticed an image of the president getting a vaccination in the White House doctor’s clinic, a space we haven’t seen for quite a long time.
New Flickr photos
The White House has released some more new photos over the last several days, but there aren’t many that show interesting details of the mansion or wings. One that show the Resolute desk could have been nice, but the depth of field is so short that the president is in focus but the front of the desk isn’t.
The summer time of the first year of an administration is a natural period of a lot of travel. I suspect the first family will settle down soon as the holidays approach, and we’ll see some more interesting photos come out.
I’ve added a few new photos from the White House photostream and one from Time showing a new rug in the Diplomatic Reception Room. I’ll be adding some more from the NBC Inside the Obama White House special.
Thanks to everyone who sent notes or commented with tips!
News: no news
WaPo looks at the Obama transition and their technology problems.
Some insight in to West West technology from Fox and the WhiteHouse.gov admin.
Gizmodo’s take both mocks and sympathizes.
Moving into the White House
CNN article on the behind-the-scenes production required to move one family out and another in in a few hours.
Newsweek photo set in the White House before and after the inauguration.
NYT somewhat odd diagrams of the White House at various times in history.
(Thanks to Jeff.)
A Red, White, and Blue Christmas
Annual koshering of the kitchen with a twist I haven’t seen before: covering the hanging pots.
The president’s rather casual portrait for the National Portrait Gallery (not his official White House portrait, which will be painted later).
Jack sent along a link to Winterthur Magazine, which has a Q&A with Laura Bush.
I happened upon Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work this afternoon on public television and found episode 1 to include the queen’s visit to the White House. Here are some tidbits:
- WH staff is shown touching up the paint, using Duron Exterior Alkyd/Oil Gloss labeled “Whisper – 248”.
- Miss Beazley got into the white paint the day of the queen’s state dinner.
- The queen’s visit was the occasion of the first (and, I think, only) white tie event during the Bush 2 administration.
- Buckingham Palace is waaaay fancier than the WH, but some of the corridors are very narrow.
- Bush 2 met the queen when she visited the WH during the Bush 1 time, 16 years earlier.
- Barney likes to steal the president’s ball when he is practicing on the putting green and is very good at pulling golf balls out of the hole.
- The president had a good joke about how he was concerned at how Barney would behave toward the queen, given that he is Scottish.
- The Bush 1s stay in the Queens’ Bedroom when they visit the Bush 2 WH, as the Bush 2s did when they visited the Bush 1 WH.
- Some of the queen’s house staff are what Mrs. Slocombe would have called “dead common”.
- The queen’s lunch was held in the Yellow Oval Room.
It was photo day again at the White House. Look for this to be more and more common as the administration winds down. It must just drive the staff nuts to have to move all those priceless antiques out of the state floor rooms for these events (not to mention dragging in risers for the larger groups). And I always wonder whose idea it is for everybody to be photographed throwing gang signs.
I’ve upgraded my hosting plan with GoDaddy to allow for more concurrent users, which is what is causing the slow-down. Doubling the concurrent users should ease the traffic jam.
PS Can you tell I haven’t have a whole lot to do at work today?
Best wishes to the future first family: Barack, Michelle, Malia Ann, and Sasha (and puppy-to-be-named-later). Here’s hoping that the showers are strong enough, the furniture is comfortable enough, and the ghosts are friendly enough.
I’ve been remiss in not wishing Nancy Reagan a speedy recovery from her fall in which she fractured her pelvis. She is out of the hospital now and making a gradual—but expected full—recovery.
Thanks to Mike B for commenting previously.
Happy Anniversary ! (belated that is)
As a regular visitor and infrequent contributor, I would like to wish Derek all the best on the 2nd anniversary of the White House Museum website and to express my thanks for this refuge for we White House “fanatics” . Technically this blog, and perhaps ceremonially the White House Museum website officially got going on July 22, 2006. So this anniversary greeting is somewhat belated.
Derek has shown terrific leadership in attracting many White House enthusiasts and encouraging them to contribute in many ways, doing so with a tremendous amount of grace and willingness to hear constructive criticism.
The White House museum has been a wonderful place for me to view my favorite building/home. And I have also learned a significant amount of new information by what has been shared. And to top it off, the website itself is structured so well and just-plain looks terrific . . . a true compliment to the class and modest elegance that is The White House.
Derek, Thank You!
Jenna gets hitched
CNN has pics of the lovely outdoor wedding and tent reception. WH.gov has some too. Seems like the White House would have been a nice setting too…. I’m just saying….
No word on whether the president calls his new son-in-law “Hanky Panky” or “Hager the Horrible,” but you know it has to be one of those.
Pope Benedict visited the White House today. It is his birthday, no less. I hope the president bought him Prada…..
Nancy Reagan hospitalized
86-year-old Nancy Reagan was hospitalized after a fall in her home. She attended the funeral of Merv Griffin last year and seems to otherwise be in good health. Best wishes to her and her family.