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Vice Admiral and Mrs. William H.P. Blandy cut a mushroom-cloud cake as Rear Admiral Frank J. Lowry looks on; November 5, 1946 at the Army War College in Washington, DC.

Via io9.


*No, there aren’t. I just couldn’t resist.

There’s a transition between memory and history that happens as events stop being personal experiences and start being records. As the generation that experienced a certain era (World War II, the Cuban Missile Crisis, 9/11), begins to disappear from the scene, that era becomes “historical” in a way that it wasn’t before. OLYMPIA.jpg
So, too, when the remnants of an era begin to disappear:

My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

This process can be fast. My first year students this semester were 10-11 years old when 9/11 happened, and they remember it much less distinctly than I do.

It can be slow. The flagship of Admiral George Dewey’s Asiatic Fleet from the Spanish-American War, the USS Olympia is still open for public viewing on the Philadelphia waterfront. Not for long, though. The Olympia has not been dry-docked since it arrived in Philadelphia in the 1940s and is rotting away in the water:

The waterline is marked with scores of patches, and sections of the mazelike lower hull are so corroded that sunlight shines through. Above deck, water sneaks past the concrete and rubberized surface layers, past the rotting fir deck underneath, and onto the handsomely appointed officers’ quarters below.

The ship is likely to be scrapped in the next year or so, leaving behind only the record of its existence and the history of its achievements.

As a followup to this post, I randomly encountered a Google Ad from the Appomattox Court House tourist board:

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Too perfect.

I feel unmoored when this sort of thing happens.

Entrance to Balmy Alley

In lieu of a real post (and in celebration of moving back to the Mission): tour San Francisco’s Balmy Alley.

Photo by Flickr user dogwelder used under a Creative Commons license.

Updated: of course, with bonus Sendak.

Oh, no.  Not the stimulus package.  Battlestar Galactica.  I thought Zarek’s actions were out of character, and designed to ensure that they could wrap up the coup in two episodes, ensuring the audience knew who they were supposed to back.

Key evidence:  The Quorum are wimps.   More discussion (with spoilers*) after the jump.

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(Yes, that’s what you think it is.)

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