Friday, August 29, 2014

I guess I like him because he has that translucent skin, but very dark brown hair. and I like him because he has very broad shoulders, and sweet wide lats. And I like him because those furry, furry legs in those cut-off shorts just drive me crazy wild with lust. And I like him because, even though he's extremely boyish, he's displaying a heck of a lot of masculinity. Sexual masculinity.

Brainiac vs. Superman.


"I probably blame the English..."

So, the season premier of Doctor Who is over, and there have been some strong criticisms of the episode as too talky. The villain didn't really do anything, the one fight scene was poorly choreographed and filmed on the cheap, and the action was light. Nor does Strax work as comic relief.

Light spoilers below, so.............

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I miss Francois Papillon. I wonder what became of him?

He was born Antoin Dijon in Paris, France, on December 9, 1958. He worked in film from 1983 to 1994. So much of his work was excellent, and his wife (Kascha Papillon) worked exclusively with him. Throughout much of his career, this bisexual Frenchman did solo work in gay adult film, and in a few cases did more (allegedly).

He was as sweet as pie, and everyone thought him a nice person.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I finished my new article (which is why I haven't posted much in a week). It's about Holmead's Burying Ground.

Anthony Holmead arrived in America in 1750. His uncle, also named Anthony Holmead, had owned a lot of property in D.C. -- most of it along Rock Creek from the State Department north to the U.S. Naval Observatory. It extended eastward to about 17th Street. The young Holmead (he was just 22 yeas old) purchased even more land on the Georgetown side of things. When the District of Columbia was established in 1791, Holmead was one of the "Original Patentees", those 20 or so landowners whose property was seized by the federal government (and properly compensated) to created the new "Federal City" of Washington.

Holmead was kind of civic minded, however, and in 1791 he came up with the idea of a public cemetery on a plot of land just south of what is today the Washington Hilton Hotel. Its location is the yellow patch on the map to the right. Holmead needed to repurchase his land from the government, however. That sale didn't go through until 1796, because the government took a long time to lay out the city blocks and streets and ensure everything was surveyed correctly. Nonetheless, Holmead knew pretty much where 19th Street was going to be, and he began burials on the site in 1794. The city finally approved his repurchase of the land in 1796.

By then, Holmead's idea had caught on. In 1798, the city declared the whole of Square 109 (Holmead's property, plus the rest -- marked in green on the map) to be a public cemetery, to be called the Western Burial Ground. (Yes, there was an Eastern Burial Ground, too.) The city did not have the legal right to seize that property, which was still held by the federal government. But no one seemed to care, as what little there was of Washington, D.C., was mostly clustered around Pennsylvania Avenue and Georgetown.

* * * * * *

Think about cemeteries for a moment: For most of human history, people buried their loved ones wherever they fell. If you were a farmer, maybe you buried Grandma a hundred feet from the house under that old oak tree. But for the most part, cemeteries just didn't exist. They started to exist when people began living in villages or towns. Human corpses don't decompose easily. Underground, where there's little oxygen for bacteria to feed on, a corpse's soft organs can take up to 25 years to decompose -- and longer if the soil is moist. Bones last for a minimum of 75 years. The human body is full of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa -- most of which you could care less about, because your immunse system keeps it all at bay. But once death sets in, the human body generates a massive amount of highly deadly pathogens...and a lot of fluid. These pathogens can remain alive for a hundred years.

Now, people naturally want Grandma and Little Joey buried close by, so they can occasionally visit the grave and say hello. But they don't want their rotting corpses so close that Little Joey's decomposing bodily fluids make the family sick and add extensively to the burial plot. Additionally, religious beliefs often dictate where a person may be buried, and how.

These factors, at least in Europe, usually came together to create a burying ground (the word "cemetery" didn't come into use until the 1850s) next to the church. (Or in a plot outside the village if you were Jewish.) Churchyard burying grounds were usually on the south side, where there was lots of sun. The darker north side was for the sinners (adulterers and the like) who died outside the comfort and forgiveness of the church, and for criminals. Over time, churchyards became crowded, and expanded to the east and then the west. But they stuck close to the church. Nearby housing and other development often limited the size of the churchyard, too, and over time the churchyard became very, very, very crowded. Sextons (the person hired by the church to maintain the burying ground, bury people, and so on) were cramming new burials into teensy, tiny spaces. Only the very rich were permitted to have above-ground memorials or monuments. Most people had to make do with a foot-high wooden slab, and if they were lucky the slab was engraved (not painted). Middle-class folks might afford a sandstone or limestone headstone three or four feet high.

Over time, churchyards took on a chaotic look as burials were shoved into the cracks and crevices of the yard. There was little incentive to maintain the churchyard, since most people were buried there free of charge (they belonged to the church), and headstones leaned like drunken sailors hither and yon. Weeds and tall grass grew everywhere. Most families died out soon enough, and the church had no incentive to keep things looking nice.

Some churchyards compensated by adding two or three feet of soil to the top of the graveyard every few years. That way, they could "bury" more bodies. Most churchyards also buried three or four coffins in each grave. People were buried in cloth shrouds (not wood coffins) to speed decomposition. But even so, a body needed to be at least six feet down in order to stop the pathogens, stench, and fluids from reaching the living. Churchyards quickly became unsanitary as they filled beyond capacity and bodies were buried only five, four, three... sometimes just two feet down.

In the 1700s, many cities founded "urban cemeteries" to take the pressure off churchyards. These were owned by the city or a nonprofit cemetery association chartered by the city, and were usually secular. They tended to be much larger than churchyards, often taking up an entire city block. Furthermore, urban cemeteries were laid out in a grid, to avoid the chaotic look of churchyards, and contained straight pathways to provide easy access for mourners. Because they were in the middle of urban neighborhoods (to allow mourners to visit their departed loved ones easily), they often were surrounded by high walls -- both to mark their sacredness but also to prevent vandals, grave robbers, and "resurrectionists" (body-snatchers who stole corpses for medical schools) from disturbing the dead.

But urban cemeteries soon suffered from the same problems of overcrowding that churchyards did. To attract customers, urban cemeteries often kept the price of burial plots low. But this left no money for establishment of a perpetual trust to pay for the cemetery's upkeep. While urban cemeteries were better able to cater to the emerging desire for elaborately carved headstones, memorials, statuary, and other funerary monuments, over time they became so crowded and featured such an eccentric and diverse number of styles that they looked downright ugly. Soon, even urban cemeteries were putting three or four coffins in graves. Soon, even urban cemeteries were adding layer upon layer of soil to the top to permit more burials. (Highgate Cemtery in the middle of London is nearly 20 feet above the surface of the surrounding roads!) Massive retaining walls were built around the cemetery to keep the burying ground from bursting and scattering corpses onto the street. Cemeteries took on the look of fortresses, unwelcoming and increasingly unvisited. The stench, the noxious fluids, the disease of urban cemeteries become notorious. In some cases, receiving vaults and chapels had to be aired out before use -- because the bacteria from decomposing corpses used up all the oxygen in them.

Over in France, they were unhappy with urban cemeteries. The French Revolution had also broken the power of the Roman Catholic Church (for a time), and the French Assembly was determined to build a new, modern, "scientific" cemetery free from all the Catholic symbols of death, sin, and so on. In 1804, the city of Paris opened a brand new cemetery: Père Lachaise. Père Lachaise was on the outskirts of town, gigantic (110 acres), and beautifully landscaped. It had winding (not straight) paths, and plenty of benches, ponds, meadows, and other areas attractively designed and strategically located. The goal was to make the cemetery a place of beauty, one where people wouldn't feel sad about death but happy about the hereafter. People were encouraged to visit, picnic, and even go boating and have parties at Père Lachaise.

Père Lachaise was a new type of cemetery -- the "rural" or "garden" cemetery.

* * * * * * * *

So back to Holmead's.... Anthony Holmead laid out his little cemetery like a churchyard. The city laid out the Western Burial Ground like an urban cemetery. In 1820, the city asked the Holmeads to donate their little burying ground to the city, so it could be added to the Western Burial Ground. The Holmeads (who by this time had sold most of their nearby property and weren't interested in running a public cemetery anymore) agreed.

Although the name "Western Burial Ground" was used for a while, most people called the entire, unified cemetery after the original name: Holmead's.

Holmead's Burying Ground began to fill. The northeast corner (the original Holmead's) was used for burying whites. The southeast corner was used for burying white soldiers. And the southwest corner, which was cut off from the rest by a little ravine (and, later, a hedge of thorn bushes) was used for blacks. A solid wooden fence was built around the entire block. There was a sexton's house, and night watchman, and a few wealthier families placed memorials or monuments on their family plots and ringed them with wrought-iron fences. But most people used four-foot-high sandstone slabs, and Holmead's began to take on the traditional look of a traditional urban cemetery.

Until the 1850s, Holmead's was one of the most prominent cemeteries in the city.

That changed.

The rapidly growing city needed more cemeteries, and as these were built they competed with Holmead's. These new cemeteries included the Presbyterian Burying Ground in 1802 (which drew wealthy and middle class whites from the Georgetown neighborhood), the large 35-acre Congressional Cemetery in 1807, the Roman Catholic Holy Rood Cemetery in 1832, the landscaped and luxuriously designed 22-acre Oak Hill Cemetery in 1848 (also in Georgetown), the landscaped and massive 90-acre Glenwood Cemetery in 1854, the gigantic 85-acre Roman Catholic Mount Olivet Cemetery in 1858 (which largely replaced Holy Rood), and 15-acre Lutheran Prospect Hill Cemetery in 1858. There was even competition for African American burials, as new blacks-only cemeteries such as Mount Zion Cemetery (1808), the Harmoneon (1829), the Female Union Band Cemetery (1842), and Columbian Harmony Cemetery (which replaced the Harmoneon in 1859) were constructed. Fewer and fewer whites people were interred at Holmead's, and most of the burials which occurred came from the city's African American population. The lack of activity at Holmead's attracted vandals, who knocked over monuments and desecrated graves there. The situation became so serious that the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department began patrolling the grounds in the 1850s.

Burials continued at Holmead's, however. But as the cemetery deteriorated, poor people saw their opportunity. If you couldn't afford to buy a burial plot, just sneak onto the grounds and night and bury your spouse surreptitiously. It was a common solution, especially among poverty-stricken African Americans. Maybe you had a few bucks, but not enough to buy a burial plot. Use the money to bribe the sexton at Holmead's to allow an "unofficial" burial. If you could afford a plot, you were probably a working-poor white family -- who could affrod to bury, but not afford to mark the burial site.

By 1870, there were 10,000 bodies at Holmead's -- but only about 9,000 of them were official burials. The cemetery was bursting. Four or five coffins lay in each grave. Graves were jammed right next to the walls, the sidewalks, next to other plots. On the southern end of the site, the water table was just three or four feet down. Graves could be only two feet deep... and when the rains came, coffins were washed out of the graves. The city graded Florida Avenue in 1870, lowering it by nearly eight feet. This left an embankment on the northern boundary of the cemetery. But no retaining wall was built. When the rains came, coffins were exposed -- and some washed into the street, where they were hit by carriages, bones and body parts splashing (along the decomposition fluids) all over the pavement.

The city tried to close Holmead's in 1871, but the "no more burials" order was ignored. In December 1873, some "resurrectionists" were found walking down Connecticut Avenue NW with a large sack. The police arrested them for drunk-and-disorderly, and discovered that they'd plundered a recent burial from Holmead's. This forced a new attempt to close the cemetery in March 1874, and this time the city was successful in preventing new burials. Families began moving their loved ones out of the cemetery in 1874, anticipating its closure. A city-funded round of disinterments occurred in 1878. A federally-funded effort came in 1880, and again in 1882.

About this time, the city learned -- to no one's suprise -- that it had illegally seized Square 109 way back in 1789. Not only did the city not have the right bury bodies on the land, it had no right to sell burial plots. Furthermore, now that it had put bodies there, it had no right to remove them! Congess was forced to act in 1879, giving the city title to the property. This law, however, did not clearly give the city the right to sell the property once it had title. So Congress acted again in 1884 to give the right of sale to the city, provided the proceeds were used to fund the city school system. The city anticipated a big income from this land sale, so it spent another $4,000 to remove another 3,000 bodies from Holmead's.

The city sold the entirety of Square 109 in December 1884 to John Roll Mclean, the publisher of the Washington Post for $52,000.

Playing the "numbers game" is kind of hard. Just how many bodies were removed from Holmead's? By one estimate, families removed about just under 1,000 bodies, while the city removed another 3,000. That would have left a whopping 6,000 corpses beneath the ground. If one assumes that it cost about $2,000 to remove 1,000, then the expenditures of the federal government and the city account for closer to 5,500 disinterments, with families removing another 985. So that left just 3,500 bodies beneath the ground -- and it is legitimate to assume that many of these had decomposed into dust, minerals, and other chemical components by 1885.

John Roll McLean built a park on the square, and called it Holmead Park. In 1905, he built the huge Cordova Apartments (now the President Madison Apartments) on the northwest corner of the site. The rest of the land was eventually subdivided and the park destroyed. Small apartment buildings and large townhouses were constructed on the 19th Street side of the old cemetery, and smaller rowhouses on the S Street section (where the blacks and soldiers were buried). The National Italian American Foundation building and a row of brick townhouses sit where once white people were buried.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My future husband:  African American; very short; good, long braids; extremely broad shoulders; incredible lats; high, tight, well-formed pectorals.  I could care less about the abs; he'll have to start eating and drinking to cure that.  He'll try to work off the calories by fucking me three times a day with his long, thick, uncut, veiny penis.  It won't work.  He'll only end up draining his furry, large balls and enjoying life.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Little rumbles of thunder... a light drizzly rain... cars susurussing by on the street... big umbrellas hurrying along the streets.

I love the rain.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Web site ran an article today about how former NFL punter (and heterosexual) Chris Kluwe used his legal settlement with the Minnesota Vikings to fund some LGBTQ charities.

They used my photo for their article! YAY!

Chris Kluwe 02 - DC Capital Pride - 2014-06-07

As you may be aware, Kluwe played for the Minnesota Vikings for years. When he publicly supported gay marriage, the Vikings coaching staff made public comments disparaging him and his views, and making extreme homophobic statements. The team then fired Kluwe -- not for being a bad punter, but for supporting gay marriage. He sued, and an out-of-court settlement was reached.

Kluwe has donated the results of this settlement to gay charities.

Monday, August 18, 2014

This is Carlo Festa.

He went by Carlo Festa in nearly all his adult films, although twice he used the name "Kyle". In magazine layouts, he almost always used the name Carlo Kovarik, also sometimes he went by Antoine Vega, Samuel Herman, and once just by "Carlo". He was born in either 1982 or 1984 in the Czech Republic, and was getting into bodybuilding when he made his adult film debut. In the film Czech Up #1 and Boys of Prague: Wrestling Plus #1 (both directed by William Higgins), he was paired with his "brother" is Lukas Festa. Lukas' real name is Lukas Osladil, and Osladil used his real name at least once in adult pornography. Osladil was the guy who got Festa into bodybuilding, and Osladil continues to compete professionally in Europe and has won several minor titles. Carlo got Lukas into gay porn, however.

Carlo Festa began his adult film career in 2001. Higgins works only with straight men (that's his fetish), so one assumes that Carlo Festa is gay-for-pay. Nearly all his films, his live performances on the Higgins' Web sites ( as well as, and his photo shoots were done in 2001 and early 2002. One film, Boy Ride, was actually photographed in 2003 but not released until 2006. Festa returned to adult film in 2005, with some significant hair loss, and made a single film. Then he went back to his private life.

Festa was always described as a nice person, but a bit of a prima donna. He was also very interested in prostitution. He knew that was where the money lay, and if he could snag a rich American husband -- well, he could come to America, where there were even more fantastically wealthy men willing to pay top dollar to keep a very short, very cute, very muscular, nicely hung, bottoming, cumshot-like-a-firehose-on-full boytoy in the luxury to which he wanted to become accustomed.

Carlo Festa filmography
A Wank in the Woods (Paladin Video, 2001; masturbation only (as Carlo Festa)
Boys of Prague: Wrestling Plus #1 (William Higgins Productions, 2001) (as Carlo Festa)
Carlo and Friends (William Higgins/Paladin, 2001) (as Carlo Festa)
Meltdown (Studio 2000, 2001) (as Carlo Kovarik)
Wank Party #3: Merry Xmas (William Higgins Productions, 20010; masturbation only (as Carlo Festa)
Czech Up #1 (William Higgins Productions, 2002) (as Carlo Festa)
Helping Hands #1 (William Higgins/Paladin, 2002); masturbation only (as Carlo Festa)
Boy Struck (Channel 1 Releasing, 2005) (as "Kyle")
Boy Ride (Channel 1 Releasing, 2006) (as "Kyle")

Festa was an extremely photogenic young performer. The still camera loved him, and he knew exactly how to smile, turn his head, and pose to make things look superb. His penis was magnificently thick and had a heavy, long foreskin when flaccid which made him look very handsome between his legs. When fully erect, his knob was gigantic and turned a purplish blue with the sheer power of the erection. His penis was eye-poppingly thick, and rather long for his body. As a top in adult film, his penis was too short to allow him to be an effective top. But in still photography, he looked well-hung and magnificent. Like a thoroughbred horse.

Most of Festa's photography was done by the William Higgins house photographers.

Carlo Festa magazine layouts
Freshmen January 2002 (as Samuel Herman)
Playguy January 2002
Torso May 2002
Freshmen June 2002
Mandate February 2003
Freshmen Annaul Calendar 2004 (as Samuel Herman)
It's as if Microstink never heard of beta-testing. What a slipshod, gimcrack, piece of crap company that is!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I'm sick as can be with a summer cold. Very stuffy, severe sinus pressure, can't sleep (even with medication), the works.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hebes Chasma on Mars.

Hebes Chasma is a depression just north of the enormous Valles Marineris canyon. Inside Hebes Chasma is Hebes Mensa, a 3-mile-high mesa that appears to have undergone an unusual partial collapse.

This image, taken by the Mars Express spacecraft, shows that material from the mesa appears to have flowed onto the floor of the chasm, while a possible dark layer appears to have pooled like ink on a downslope landing. A recent hypothesis holds that salty rock composes some lower layers in Hebes Chasma, with the salt dissolving in melted ice flows that drained through holes into an underground aquifer.
Alien life? No.

The Pyrostremma spinosum, or pyrosome, is a sea creature so rare it was dubbed the "unicorn of the sea". It can grow up to 90 feet long -- the equivalent of two buses laid end-to-end.

Its hollow, translucent, cylindrical body is made up of thousands of tiny clones called zooids that pull water through its tubes and feed on plankton before pushing the filtered water back out.

Goodnight, sweet Betty. May your beloved Bogie greet you at the door of Eternity with open arms.

This is a serious article. No, really.

"But, in reality, you can’t protect a corpse from itself. While you’re insulating grandma from the outside air, she could be stewing in her own fluids, turning into a slurry from the work of anaerobic bacteria. When the weather turns warm, in some cases, that sealed casket becomes a pressure cooker and bursts from accumulated gases and fluids of the decomposing body. The next time relatives visit grandma, they could find her rotting remains oozing from her tomb in the form of a nauseating thick fluid."

Bryan McEntegart, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Brooklyn, was buried in a crypt in Huntington, Long Island, in 1968. His casket exploded one day and blew the front of the vault all over the crypt.

When Henry VIII of England was being transported to Windsor Castle for burial, his casket lay overnight at Syon Monastery in west London. His casket also exploded, allegedly fulfilling a prophecy made some 12 years earlier by a disaffected monk. Dogs ate a portion of the remains.

The French actor Louis Garrel and his father, Philippe Garrel, just finished directing Jealousy together. It is their fifth collaboration.

I can only say that I thought Louis Garrel was awesome naked in the director's cut of Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers. I also enjoyed Michael Pitt's tumesence in the same film.
Arlene Martel - RIP 1936-2014

Arlene Martel is best known for her performance as T'Pring in the 1967 Star Trek episode "Amok Time" and as Consuelo Biros in the 1964 The Outer Limits episode "Demon with a Glass Hand".

She also made appearances as the French Underground agent Tiger in five episodes of Hogan's Heroes.

Martel's acting career largely ended in the early 1970s after just a few short years, as she retired from the profession to raise her three children -- Adam, Avra, and Jod -- from her second marriage (to soap opera actor Jerry Douglas).

Martel suffered a heart attack in early 2014. She died on August 12, 2014, of heart disease. Until just a week or two ago, she had maintained a healthy scheduled of public appearances, most of them connected with Star Trek.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 12, 1898 - Spain and the United States sign an armistice, the "Protocol of Peace", ending the Spanish-American War.

The same day, the U.S. Army routs Spanish Army resistance in the Asomante Hills near Aibonito, Cuba. That night, and during August 13, the U.S. Navy fights the "Fourth Battle of Manzanillo", in which the protected cruiser USS Newark, the auxiliary cruisers USS Hist and USS Suwanee, the gunboat USS Alvarado, and the armed tugboat USS Osceola bombard the Cuban port of Manzanillo and capture it. On August 13, the "Battle of Manila" in the Philippines occurs, and Manila surrenders. Governor General Jáudenes, fearing Spanish troops will be massacred by the Filipinos, agreed to surrender the city after token resistance if U.S. General Wesley Merritt excludes Filipino troops from the battle. Merritt agrees. After a brief naval bombardment, the 1st Brigade attacked from the south while the 2d Brigade attacked from the north. There is brief Spanish resistance to MacArthur's advance after large groups of Filipinos ignore American orders to stay behind and rush the Spanish lines. Governor General Jáudenes surrenders at 11:20 A.M. after a battle lasting two hours. In Puerto Rico, the U.S. Army encounters Spanish Army resistance near the town of Las Marías. Word of the armistice has not yet reached Puerto Rico, and a brief skirmish ensues. It is the last battle of the war in Puerto Rico.

The Paris Peace Conference began in Paris, France, on October 1. Originally, President William McKinley only sought U.S. possession of Guam, Puerto Rico, and the island of Luzon (not the entire Philippines). But on October 24, McKinley has a dream in which he claims God told him that the United States should seize the entire Philippines.

The Treaty of Paris was signed in Paris on December 10. Spain ceded Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States, while the U.S. paid Spain $20 million for the Philippines. American law barred the U.S. from annexing Cuba, but Spain turned administration of the island over to the United States until such time as Cuba could establish its own independent government (that happened in 1902).

The United States Senate ratified the Treaty of Paris on February 6, 1899, by a close vote of 57 to 27. (A two-thirds majority, or 56 votes, was needed to ratify.) An amendment requiring the United States to give the Philippines its independence fails after Vice President Garret Hobart cast the deciding vote against it. The Senate might have declined to ratify the treaty, but the outbreak of hostilities in Manila turns the tide of feeling in the treaty's favor. The U.S. would fight a bitter guerrilla war in the Philippines for the next 20 years, during which time more than 250,000 Filipinos would die (most fo them civilians).

On March 19, exercising her right to "fulfil the crown's constitutional obligations and serve the national interest" by peacefully resolving political tension, Maria Cristina, Queen Regent of Spain, signed the Treaty of Paris personally. The Cortes (the Spanish national legislature) was deeply divided over the terms of the treaty, and deadlocked over its ratification. With ratification in jeopardy and some beginning to say that Spain should continue to fight, the deeply alarmed Queen Regent dissolved the Cortes and exercised her imperial privilege — ratifying the treaty herself.

Washington, D.C., isn't built on a swamp. However, much of the National Mall and the southern part of downtown to about Pennsylvania Avenue NW is in a floodplain. After an exceptionally severe flood in 1881, the federal government decided to dredge the Potomac River down to bedrock to provide a deeper channel for floodwaters. They piled the recovered soil against the shore. There was so much of it, that vast amounts of new land was created ("reclaimed", in the parlance): Everything of the National Mall south of Constitution Avenue and west of the Washington Monument; all of West Potomac Park; all of East Potomac Park; and the Tidal Basin.

The new land was six feet higher than the old. Berms were created along Constitution Avenue and around the Washington Monument to help hold back any floodwaters that did make up over the shoreline.

In 2006, a major study showed that the flood danger due to climate change would overwhelm the 1900 defenses. The Army Corps of Engineers has spent the last three years building giant underground cisterns to help catch these stormwaters. New, six-foot-high flood retaining walls are now being built, and soon dirt will be back-filled against them.

Because there are some major north-south running streets, the new flood walls are designed to have a big metal plate slid into them -- blocking off these streets, and keeping the floodwaters back.
17th Street NW was blocked off today for construction of these new walls. Check it out!

Frankly, the cisterns are too small to hold back the Potomac. They're really there to drain water away from Federal Triangle -- where the basements are full of water, due to the existence of Tiber Creek under Constitution Avenue.

The flooding of the Federal Triangle is NOT due to hurricanes or massive thunderstorms, but rather due to the existence of Tiber Creek -- half of which is currently buried in a sewer tunnel beneath Constitution Avenue and half of which is still flowing through the surrounding earth north of Constitution Avenue. In fact, the basement levels of most of the buildings on the south side of Federal Triangle leak: Every day, eight buildings -- including the Commerce Department and the FBI -- collectively pump 1.7 million gallons of groundwater from their basements because of submerged Tiber Creek. The east wing of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History is pulling away from the main building because Tiber Creek is beneath it. Stormwater floods these basements even more -- not because the city sewer system cannot handle the runoff. It can: There is an overflow system that dumps stormwater directly into the Potomac River (a massive problem, BTW). The problem is the existence of Tiber Creek, which leaves the ground below and north of Constitution Avenue so saturated that any large amount of rainwater floods the basements of the Federal Triangle buildings.

The cisterns are designed to help stop that. (Remember, the 2006 flooding in Commerce's basement left five feet of water down there, and it cost $15 million to repair it and the three other buildings that got flooded.)
"Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards." - Vladimir Nabokov

Monday, August 11, 2014

Grave of Herbert J. Fahy in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Washington, D.C., in the United States.

Herbert John "Hub" Fahy was born December 3, 1898 -- not in 1900, as his headstone mistakenly reports. His parents were John Joseph and Bertha (Landgraf) Fahy, and he had two siblings: a younger brother, Francis, and a younger sister, Margaret. He attended the Grant School and other D.C. public schools. His love of flying began in 1908 when he witnessed the Wright Brothers demonstrating the first airplane at Fort Myer, Virginia (next to Arlington National Cemetery). When the Army purchased the Wright Flyer for military use and established an airfield near College Park, Maryland, Fahy (just 11 years old) took a job as a mechanic at his uncle's nearby machine shop just so he could be near the planes.

When World War I broke out, Fahy joined the Signal Corps, the branch of the Army which operated airplanes for the military. He flew at nearly every Army airfield in the United States, and when the war ended was commissioned a 2d Lieutenant in the Army Air Reserve Corps.

Fahy was considered one of the best test pilots in the United States -- and a hot-shot. During the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial on May 30, 1922, Fahy buzzed the crowd at a height of just 200 feet. Although he'd been told not to fly over the Memorial until at least 5 PM (the risk of crashing was a real one at the time), Fahy couldn't resist barnstorming over the heads of President Warren G. Harding and former Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln. An outraged Harding ordered Fahy's commission in the Army Air Reserve stripped just a week later.

Fahy suffered a major crash on July 25. He'd just finished repairing an aircraft, and went aloft with passenger Lewis Swan. The engine conked out, and the plane crashed. Even though they were at relatively low altitude Swan was killed. Fahy was severely injured. Today, pilots cannot take passengers aloft in a newly overhauled aircraft; they have to test-fly it first to ensure the aircraft performs up to spec.

Fahy worked as an aircraft designer and test pilot for the Detroit Aircraft Company and later for Lockheed. Fahy's fame was such that he was named Chief Pilot for Lockheed.

In 1927, Fahy helped co-found Washington Airport -- the second airfield at the nation's capital. Hoover Airport (the site of the Pentagon today) was small and unsafe (huge radio antenna towers were near the end of the runway, and a major city road crossed the landing strip). Washington Airport opened without fanfare in late 1927 as a field for sight-seeing planes (then a major industry). It was located just north of Hoover Airport, literally across the road. Fahy partnered with Robert E. Funkhouser (an investor and officer in several small airlines in the mid-Atlantic region) and other investors to build the field. They quickly added more acreage and improved the airfield's facilities, and in February 1928 Funkhouser, Fahy and the others formed Seaboard Airways -- one of the nation's first passenger airlines. Seaboard's base of operations was Washington Airport.

Washington Airport was dramatically enlarged (and the coastline of the Potomac River altered) in April 1928 when the airfield contracted to receive tens of thousands of cubic yards of earth, dug during the construction of the Federal Triangle complex of buildings in the District of Columbia. It used this earth to fill in the sides and ends of the field. The expansion and land reclamation increased the size of the airport six-fold to 97.31 acres. However, the expansion led to a lawsuit which ended up in the U.S. Supreme Court! In September 1929, Smoot Sand and Gravel Corp. began erecting a rock retaining wall along the high-water mark of the Potomac River to support the construction of the George Washington Memorial Parkway. Washington Airport claimed that since title to the land extended to the low-water mark, the wall was being built on its property. Two years later, the Supreme Court held in Smoot Sand & Gravel Corp. v. Washington Airport, Inc., 283 U.S. 348 (1931) that the proper boundary of the state of Virginia was the high-water mark -- meaning that the rock wall was on land owned by the District of Coumbia.

On May 29, 1929, Fahy broke the world's record for non-refueled endurance flying when he remained aloft in a Lockheed Vega for 36 hours, 56 minutes, and 36 seconds.

In June 1929, Fahy attempted to set a coast-to-coast flight time record (Los Angeles-to-New York City) in a P&W Hornet-powered Lockheed Air Express. But he developed oil system problems over Kansas which splattered lubricant all over the sides of his plane. He landed at Kiowa, Kansas, and ended the attempt.

Fahy flew from Detroit to D.C. on April 20 in just three hours, a near-record. The next day, he attended his sister's wedding to Owen Raynor, Jr., at Concordia Lutheran Church in the city.

On April 25, 1930, Herb Fahy and his wife Claire Adams Fahy (also a noted pilot) flew a new Lockheed Sirius from Detroit to a grass strip in Roscommon, Michigan. The Roscommon airfield was owned by Cliff Durant, son of William Durant (the founder of General Motors), and he was thinking of buying the plane if it could handle the grass landing strip. The Fahys landed just fine. But during takeoff a few hours later, one of the plane's wheels hit a partially hidden stump which had not been removed from the runway. The plane flipped over, and Fahy suffered a fractured skull and a severe concussion. Claire survived uninjured. Fahy died just hours later, early on April 27, 1930, without regaining consciousness.
I know this photo's appeal is due to the trick of foreshortening. And that they used a 21-year-old model who looks perpetually 16. But still....

Those are damn amazing legs.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Why did the universe place within me the desire for this, and then deny me the means to procure it?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Where were you at 2:30 a.m. on June 17, 1972?

That is the exact time and date at which the Watergate burglars were caught in the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate hotel and office complex in Washington, D.C.

Over the next two years, citizens of the United States would learn that their President had attempted to undermine and subvert democracy by rigging elections, bribery, entrapping or framing political opponents in embarrassing or illegal situations, planned the fire-bombing of opponents' offices, engaged in wiretapping, ordered the national police agencies of the American government to spy on those who opposed his policies.

And when this attempt at facism was exposed, the American people would learn that their President and almost all of his senior staff would then perjure themselves, lie, bribe, steal, destroy evidence, obstruct justice and engage in bank and wire fraud in an attempt to cover up what they had done.

President Richard M. Nixon then resigned on August 8, 1974.  He resisted resignation right until the end, obstructing justice and declaring the President was above the law.

Watergate was the single worst Constitutional crisis of the American republic since the Civil War.

Don't believe me?

Richard M. Nixon was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from California in 1946, winning office for his tough anti-Communist views and no-holds-barred campaigning. In 1948, Nixon led a House subcommittee investigation into whether Alger Hiss, a liberal intellectual and bureaucrat, was a Communist spy. Whittaker Chambers, a senior editor from Time magazine, exposed Hiss in dramatic, televised testimony. Hiss was sent to prison, Chambers wrote his memoirs and became a famous conservative icon, and Nixon was on his way to the U.S. Senate. In 1950, Nixon was elected to the U.S. Senate, defeating Sen. Helen Gahagan Douglas (D), a former actress. Nixon viciously attacked her during the course of the campaign, accusing her of having Communist sympathies.

In 1952, Republican presidential nominee Dwight D. Eisenhower named Nixon his vice-presidential running mate. In August 1952, Democrats claimed that Nixon had received $18,000 from a "slush fund" that had functioned as a secret source of income for Nixon. To counter these charges, Nixon made a dramatic speech to the nation on September 23, 1952. Nixon listed his family assets, and outright denied the Democratic charges except in one case. Nixon admitted to a single gift -- a cocker spaniel dog named Checkers, which he gave to his two young daughters. The "Checkers speech" was a success and saved Nixon's political career.

In 1960, Nixon ran for the presidency against John F. Kennedy. Nixon lost by only 118,574 votes. The election was probably much closer; widespread Democratic vote fraud in Illinois may have cost Nixon the election. In 1962, Nixon ran for governor of California and was soundly defeated by Pat Brown (father of Jerry Brown). Afterward, a bitter Nixon uttered a famous phrase to reporters: "You won't have Richard Nixon to kick around any more."

In 1968, Nixon ran for president again, declaring himself "tanned, rested and ready." Nixon claimed to have a "secret plan" to get America out of Vietnam. He was lying. But the ruse worked. Nixon won the presidency in a squeaker (by 510,314 votes) over Vice President and former senator Hubert M. Humphrey. Democratic Alabama governor George Wallace, a notorious racist, ran as an independent and cut heavily into Humphrey's support in the South, garnering more than 9.9 million votes (13.5 percent of votes cast).

Richard M. Nixon was sworn in as the 39th president of the United States on January 20, 1969. His chief of staff is H.R. Haldeman, a former advertising executive with the J. Walter Thompson agency in California. Haldeman brought with him fellow ad-man Dwight Chapin, and appointed him special assistant to the president (responsible for scheduling and appointments).

The day Nixon was sworn in, his campaign illegally hid $1.4 million in leftover funds from the 1968 presidential campaign for use as a "slush-fund" in the 1972 re-election campaign. The funds were to be used as a way of evading a new election law -- due to take effect in 1971 -- which would force candidates to reveal the sources of their donations. At the same time, the Nixon team set up "The Committee to Re-Elect the President." The unfortunate acronym was spelled and pronounced "CREEP."

Nixon's entire history as a politician led him to believe in conspiracies, that he was victimized by his enemies, that politics was governed by dirty tricks and cheating, and that he needed to respond in kind or he would fail to win office. Nixon immediately began to break the law in order to win re-election. On May 19, 1969, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover met with Dr. Henry Kissinger, Nixon's national security advisor. Kissinger approved illegal phone taps on his staff and Hoover agreed to keep logs of the taps a separate, secret file so that they could be kept away from the courts.

In May, 1970, John Ehrlichman, a lawyer and chief domestic policy advisor to Nixon, hired two former New York City policemen to begin collecting intelligence on potential Democratic candidates for president. The two men reported directly to John Dean, chief counsel to President Nixon. The two illegally impersonated police detectives and reporters in an investigation of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).

On June 5, 1970, Richard Nixon ordered Tom Huston, an ultra-right-wing college student who had been chairman of Young Americans for Freedom and now a minor Nixon speechwriter, to lead a working group of intelligence agency heads (CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, FBI, etc.) to investigate left-wing anti-war groups. Huston told the group that they should use illegal bugging, burglary and agent-provocateurs to destabilize the anti-war movement. The career bureaucrats were appalled, and demanded Nixon's approval before they went forward with these plans. On July 14, 1970, Nixon approved the "Huston plan" and ordered it to go into effect on August 1, 1972. This was the first time Richard Nixon broke the law.

On July 18, 1970, Huston wrote a memo to H.R. Haldeman, Nixon's chief of staff, advocating that the White House hire a team of burglars to break into the Brookings Institution, steal documents, and then firebomb the building to cover up evidence of the burglary.

On July 28, 1970, Hoover went to John Mitchell, U.S. Attorney General and a close Nixon friend, to demand that Nixon withdraw approval for the "Huston plan." Mitchell did so, and Nixon withdrew his approval for the plan.

In November, 1970, Nixon hired Charles Colson, a Republican political operative from Massachusetts who had worked for Sen. Leverett Saltonstall (R-Mass.), as special White House counsel. Colson was the liaison to organized, influential lobbying groups, and oversaw special projects (such as lobbying for the ABM Treaty, generating lists of possible political appointees, and writing legal briefs). Colson reported directly to the president, although in practice he had to go through chief of staff Haldeman.

In February, 1971, Nixon ordered that an automatic taping system be installed in the Oval Office.

In the spring of 1971, White House chief of staff Haldeman installed Jeb Stuart Magruder, a cosmetics company executive and White House communications director, to be director of CREEP.

On May 5, 1971, Nixon and Haldeman conspired to have the Teamsters union send thugs into crowds of students (then protesting the war in Vietnam and threatening to block all bridges leading into D.C.), attacking them and brutally beating hundreds of them. The plan was never carried out because Haldeman feared exposure.

In early June, 1971, special counsel Chuck Colson hired E. Howard Hunt, a former CIA agent, as a security consultant to ensure that Colson's projects were kept secret. Hunt reported directly to Colson. The same month, Nixon appointments and scheduling aide Dwight Chapin contacted a former college classmate turned lawyer, Donald Segretti, and asked him to help destabilize the American political system through the use of "dirty tricks" to help ensure Nixon's re-election. Segretti, who had a long history of subverting elections (he called this "ratfucking"), agreed to help.

Later that month, Colson's ex-cops proposed a new dirty tricks effort, titled "Operation Sandwedge." "Operation Sandwedge" would set up a phony security firm to provide "security services" to Republican corporate donors, who in turn would "pay for services" (e.g., make donations). This money would be used to fund illegal espionage and dirty tricks against the Democrats in the 1972 presidential campaign. Among Operation Sandwedge's tactics: Penetrate Democratic headquarters with a mole; burglarize Democratic offices and steal or photograph documents; conduct illegal surveillance of Democratic meetings; and undertake a disinformation campaign to undermine the political process.

On June 13, 1971, the New York Times began publishing "the Pentagon Papers." Commissioned in 1967, the 47-volume, top-secret study by the RAND Corporation (a defense contactor) covered America's involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to May 1968. Only 15 copies of the study were made. The Pentagon Papers were leaked by Daniel Ellsberg, a RAND Corp. and Defense Dept. analyst who was disenchanted with the war in Vietnam. Ellsberg gave the Pentagon Papers to New York Times reporter Neil Sheehan.

On June 14, Attorney General John Mitchell ordered the New York Times to cease publication of the Pentagon Papers. The Times refused. On June 15, the Justice Dept. obtained an injunction from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York forcing the Times to cease publication of the Pentagon Papers. On June 18, the Washington Post also began publishing the Pentagon Papers. The government also ordered the Post to stop publishing the Pentagon Papers, but the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia refused to grant the government's injunction. On June 19, 1972, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York overturned the district court's injunction against the New York Times. The same day, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia refused to overturn the district court's ruling and grant an injunction against the Washington Post. On June 24, 1971, the New York Times asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal. On June 30, 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in "New York Times Co. v. United States" (403 U.S. 713) -- one of the most important free speech cases ever handed down -- that the injunction against the New York Times constituted "prior restraint of the press" and was an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.

In response to the publication of the Pentagon Papers, an outraged Nixon set up an "enemies list" of people who opposed Nixon and who Nixon felt were "out to get him." Initially limited to only 20 or so names, it expanded over the summer to more than 100 people and organizations.

On July 1, 1971, Gordon Strachan, chief aide to Haldeman and Haldeman's liaison to CREEP, received permission from Haldeman to set up "Operation Sandwedge."

On July 2, 1971, Nixon told chief of staff Haldeman to establish a "plumbers" unit to plug "leaks" in the administration. Haldeman's chief aide, Egil "Bud" Krogh, headed the "Plumbers." Krogh had worked for Ehrlichman's law firm and had been Nixon's drug czar before becoming an aide to Ehrlichman. Working under Krogh were E. Howard Hunt, G. Gordon Liddy and David Young. G. Gordon Liddy, an attorney, was an aide to Ehrlichman. David Young, a former appointments secretary to Kissinger at the National Security Council, was a domestic policy aide to Ehrlichman. The Plumbers reported through Krogh to Ehrlichman.

On several occasions, the Plumbers received assistance from Robert Mardian, Assistant Attorney General for Internal Security at the Justice Department. Mardian illegally used his office to obtain wiretaps and evidence about news leaks that the Plumbers could use against Nixon's political foes.

On August 5, 1971, Krogh and Young proposed burglarizing the offices of California psychiatrist Lewis Fielding, who was Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist. Ehrlichman approved the plan a week later. The week Ehrlichman approved the plan, Colson aide E. Howard Hunt traveled to Miami to meet an old CIA friend, Bernard Barker. Hunt recruited Barker and several other anti-Castro Cubans to work for the Plumbers.

On September 9, 1971, the Plumbers burglarized Fielding's office, looking for evidence that would discredit or ruin Ellsberg. They found nothing.

On September 18, 1971, Haldeman ordered that more money be budgeted for "Operation Sandwedge." Attorney General Mitchell was barred by law from acting as head of CREEP until he left public service. But in fact, Mitchell was already CREEP chairman in all but name. Mitchell approved the transfer of $50,000 ($257,000 in 2007 dollars) for use in "Operation Sandwedge." The money went through Herb Kalmbach, Nixon's personal attorney and CREEP's deputy finance chairman.

On December 6, 1971, G. Gordon Liddy resigned as Erhlichman's aide and was hired by CREEP as its general counsel. But Liddy's real duties were to to offer fake "security services" to corporations and to have them "pay for these services" (e.g., make illegal campaign contributions), and to funnel these funds to "Operation Sandwedge."

On January 1, 1972, James McCord, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force and formerly in charge of physical security at the CIA, was hired to work on "Operation Sandwedge." Officially, though, McCord worked under Liddy as CREEP's security coordinator.

Some time in early 1972, Maurice Stans, Nixon's former Commerce Secretary and now finance chairman of CREEP, set up a money-laundering operation with a Mexican attorney named Manuel Ogarrio Daguerre. Stans encouraged conservative Democrats, corporations (which were barred by law from donating to political campaigns), businessmen or labor leaders having regulatory problems, special-interest groups and underground sources (such as the mafia, mob-dominated labor unions, casinos and others) to donate to the Nixon campaign before the new campaign finance law went into effect on April 7, 1972. The money would be laundered through Ogarrio's bank account in Mexico (where the bank records were beyond the reach of American subpoenas), and then Ogarrio would write checks to the Nixon campaign.

On January 27, 1972, CREEP general counsel Liddy met with Attorney General Mitchell. Liddy proposed a $1 million operation called "Operation Gemstone." Burglary-and-bugging operations against Democratic headquarters and the campaign offices of Democratic presidential contenders; kidnapping of anti-war leaders, drugging them and holding them in Mexico; bugging the bedrooms of Democratic leaders; hiring prostitutes to sleep with Democratic candidates for president and then exposing the affairs on television; hiring a chase plan to bug the Democratic presidential campaign plane; hiring Cuban terrorists to sabotage the Democratic National Convention hotel and hall; hiring drug users, hippies and pedophiles to stage mass demonstrations in "support" of the Democrats; funding radical Democratic candidates for president in order to force the party to repudiate its liberal wing -- all this and more was part of "Gemstone." Appalled at the plan's cost (but not the plan's illegal activities), Mitchell ordered Liddy to come up with something different.

On February 4, 1972, Liddy scaled back "Operation Gemstone" to $500,000 ($2.5 million in 2007 dollars). While most of the egregious aspects of the plan were dropped, the bugging operations were retained. John Dean obtained approval for "Operation Gemstone" from White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman.

On March 30, 1972, "Operation Gemstone" was scaled back even further. Mitchell, accompanied by his chief advisor, Fred LaRue, met with Colson and CREEP director Jeb Stuart Magruder. Mitchell felt the plan was still too costly, and ordered that it be scaled back to $250,000 ($1.25 million in 2007 dollars). Colson argued that the chief target of the bugging plan should be Democratic Party national chairman Lawrence O'Brien. Thus, the decision was made to bug the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters.

On May 28, 1972, "Operation Gemstone" went into action. G. Gordon Liddy and three others installed bugging equipment at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate hotel and office complex in Washington, D.C. But the equipment failed to function properly, and a second operation was planned.

On June 17, 1972, five burglars -- Bernard Barker, James McCord, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, and Frank Sturgis -- were arrested at 2:30 a.m. during a break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate hotel and office complex in Washington, D.C.

On June 18, 1972, the Associated Press reported that McCord was the security director for CREEP. The name of E. Howard Hunt was also in the notebook of both Eugenio Martinez and McCord.

On June 19, 1972, Mitchell -- whose long-planned resignation as Attorney General had finally take effect and was now chairman of CREEP -- denied any link to the burglary operation. The odd thing is, no one had asked Mitchell for a statement... The same day, President Nixon ordered the CIA to "hinder" the FBI's investigation of the Watergate burglary, telling CIA director Richard Helms that the burglary involved "national security." Mass destruction and shredding of campaign documents occurred at CREEP headquarters as campaign officials sought to destroy any record of involvement with the Watergate burglary.

And so it began.
Agatha Christie, for all her faults...

Monday, August 4, 2014

Solid, liquid, gas, plasma: Now a new state of matter is discovered!!

There was a time when states of matter were simple: Solid, liquid, gas. Then came plasma, Bose-Einstein condensate, supercritical fluid, and more. Now the list has grown by one more, with the unexpected discovery of a new state dubbed "dropletons" that bear some resemblance to liquids but occur under very different circumstances.

The discovery occurred when a team at the University of Colorado Joint Institute for Lab Astrophysics were focusing laser light on gallium arsenide to create excitons.

Excitons are formed when a photon strikes a material, particularly a semiconductor. If an electron is excited, or knocked loose, it leaves what is called an "electron hole" behind. If the forces of other charges nearby keep the electron close enough to the hole to feel an attraction, they become bound together in a state that is known as an exciton. Excitons are called quasiparticles because the electrons and holes behave as if they were a single particle.

This is a big deal, because solar panels are semiconductors, and a better understanding of how excitons form and behave could produce ways to harvest sunlight more efficiently.

Graduate student Andrew Almand-Hunter was forming biexcitons -- two excitons that behave like a molecule. A laser was used to create the hole, and the laser was left on for shorter and shorter fractions of a second.

When the pulses were lasting less than 100 millionths of a second, biexciton density reached a critical threshold. Almand-Hunter expected to see the energy of the biexcitons increase as the laser generated more holes. But the energy actually decreased!

The team realized they had created something other than biexcitons.

Physics theorists at Philipps University in Marburg, Germany, suggested that the Colorado team had created droplets of four, five, or six biexcitons. They called them "dropletons".

When the density of biexcitons reached a certain threshold, the biexcitons dissolved and the electrons and holes arranged themselves in a new formation. It looks and acts like a particle (e.g., it obeys the laws of quantum mechanics). But it isn't a particle: Inside the well-defined droplet-shaped space, the electrons and holes flow around one another like particles in a droplet of liquid.

Dropletons are big, too: They are 10 times larger than a biexciton and about as big as some of the smallest bacteria.

Interestingly, dropletons exist only inside matter; they don't exist outside it and can't be separated from the matter from which they were created.
August 4, 1914 - The United Kingdom declares war on Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

This is the Canadian Cross of Sacrifice in Section 46 of Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, in the United States.

The First World War introduced killing on such a mass scale that few nations (except the United States, which buried mass numbers of dead during its Civil War) knew how to deal with it. Unlike today, repatriation of remains was not usually demanded by the public. In France, where most of the fighting occurred, municipal cemeteries soon overflowed with dead. Huge military cemeteries were established instead. Fabian Ware, a director of the Rio Tinto mining company, toured some battlefields in as part of a Red Cross mission in late 1914 and was appalled at the poor quality of British graves -- wooden crosses haphazardly placed, names illegibly written in pencil, and graves so shallow that a little rain would expose the corpse. Ware successfully petititoned the British government to establish the Graves Registration Commission in May 1915. The idea was to identify the location of each Commonwealth citizen's grave by location, and photograph it. When the public learned of its work, demand for information about graves became overwhelming. The commission was restructured as the Directorate of Graves Registration and Enquiries in the spring of 1916 to include responding to public requests.

As the war neared its end, it was clear that devastated France would not be capable of maintaining the vast Commonwealth military cemeteries on its territory. There was also growing public demand to commemorate those who had died. To this end, the Imperial War Graves Commission (IWGC) was created on May 21, 1917, to purchase Commonwealth military cemeteries, enclosed them, emplace suitable headstones, and build appropriate memorials and chapels on them. The design committee was led by Sir Edward Luytens and included Sir Herbert Baker, Sir Reginald Blomfield, and Charles Holden. The IWGC established a committee, led by Frederic Kenyon (Director of the British Museum) to study the cemetery issue. The Kenyon committee presented a report to the IWGC in November 1918 recommending that each cemetery be similar in layout and look to reduce cost as well as suppress class distinction. Although Parliament came close to rejecting the report on May 4, 1920, it did not do so -- allowing the IWGC to move forward under the Kenyon Report guidelines.

After visiting several military and civilian cemeteries in the United Kingdom and France, Kenyon suggested that a medieval or Celtic cross be used. Blomfield, however, wanted a more modern, abstract form to avoid any suggestion of Gothic sentimentality. Blomfield subsequently designed a Latin cross of grey granite with a bronze sword on its face. (Some feature a sword on the rear face as well.) The cross stood on an octagonal base capable of carrying an inscription. The height of the cross could be raised by placing the base on one or two octagonal plinths (larger in cross-section than the base). The proportions of the cross (1:3) were more like those of a Celtic cross than a traditional crucifix (whose proportions mimic those of the human body). The cross came in heights of 14, 18, 20, and 24 feet, depending on the neeed. The cross was intended to be granite, but limestone and cement were also used.

The arms are actually a single piece of stone, fastened by two bronze dowels to the shaft. The shaft is set into the pedestal block by a six inch stone joggle and a bronze dowel. The shaft tapers from the base to the top to create entasis. (A straight column, seen from below, creates the optical illusion that it is wider at the top, and thus looms alarmingly over those below. To avoid this, tapering of the column -- entasis -- was developed by the ancient Greeks as a means of forcing a more "normal" perspective on the viewer.)

The cross eventually garnered the name "Cross of Sacrifice". Its design was completed very swiftly, and first used in three experimental IWGC cemeteries at the beginning of 1920. It was used in all Commonwealth war cemeteries with more than 40 graves (except those of Chinese or Indian troops).

In 1925, MacKenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada, proposed that Canada donate a memorial to the cemetery to honor the large number of Americans who died while in the the service of the Canadian Armed Forces during World War I. President Calvin Coolidge approved the memorial on June 12, 1925. The inscription originally only honored those Americans who served Canada during World War I. Additional inscriptions honoring Americans who served in the Canadian Armed Forces in World War II and the Korean War were added later.

The Canadian Cross of Sacrifice is located about 400 feet northwest of the western entrance to Memorial Amphitheater. The Iran Rescue Mission Memorial, Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial, Space Shuttle Columbia Memorial, and 3rd Infantry (the Old Guard) Memorial are nearby. The Memorial Amphitheater, Canadian Cross of Sacrifice, and the USS Maine Mast Memorial to the southwest form an isoceles triangle.