20 June 2007

The Pentagon and Roosevelt

Today, Slate Magazine has an interesting article on the role played by FDR in the siting and design of the Pentagon. The author takes the publishing of Steve Vogel's The Pentagon: A History as an opportunity to talk about the influence that various president have and didn't have on the architecture of DC and the US in general.

Some interesting Pentagon facts:
The Pentagon is still the largest office building in the world with 4 million square feet of floor space.
The project to build the Pentagon at the height of WWII was headed by Leslie Groves who later lead the Manhattan Project. The Pentagon was completed on time and under budget.
One original plan for the Pentagon called for the massive building to be turned into a records storage facility for the National Archives once the war was over.

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19 June 2007

Wiki Distractions

It has been too long since I have updated this all. My excuse is that I roped myself into building and maintaining a wiki for the bi-weekly GURPS WWII Supers RPG campaign I am in. I debated linking Doolittle's to that wiki, but most of the other players thought that it would be a boring read for you all.

In summary, it is now April 1943 and I am playing the character of a Polish cavalryman who has been turned into a perfect soldier ala Captain America through the use of a stolen Nazi serum. Now he is fighting the Axis alongside four American superheroes in North Africa, Palestine, Italy, and soon Germany! All in all, quite fun to take my historical knowledge and watch it bump up against the other players' comic-book based assumptions.

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04 June 2007

Trip to Washington D.C.

After a short family vacation to Washington D.C. it is time for that dreaded form of entertainment, the vacation slide-show!

I'll be nice and limit the photos to WWII-themed places I got shots of:

First comes the new WWII memorial on the Mall. My wife still thinks that it breaks-up the sight-line between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, but I feel it is a good addition.

While I had seen plenty of shots of the memorial, I had never noticed how it was designed to be handicapped and disabled friendly. Notice the gently curving ramps from the fountain level to the pavilions for each of the Theaters.

After visiting the Mall, we went out to the new Air & Space Museum Annex near Dulles Airport.
The star of this show, or at least the WWII section, is clearly the Enola Gay, the most well known delivery system for a WMD in the world. It was amazing to me how large and yet how small this bomber was in her shining aluminum.

And here's a little rarity, a Japanese balloon-bomb. It's the answer to the trivia question "What was the last military attack on the US mainland?" (I'm not counting 9/11 as military here).

And, the best thing about the Air & Space Annex? Room to grow. They're adding stuff all the time. That's my toddler daughter down at the end of the hanger in the space reserved for more flying wonders.

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