Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Oldest Pet Cemeteries in America

Hartsdale Pet Cemetery

America’s oldest pet cemetery was established in Hartsdale, New York, in 1896.  A veterinarian converted his apple orchard into a final resting place for dogs.  Today the cemetery, known as “The Peaceable Kingdom” is the final resting place for more than 80,000 pets of every kind.  Some of the pet mausoleums are spectacular, including a fifty ton above-ground mausoleum for two spaniels, the first and largest of its kind in the world. The famous War Dog Memorial, dedicated after World War I, was the first public tribute to honor military canines for their bravery and sacrifice.  The cost of a burial plot, casket and interment runs some $1,800 for small pets.

The Aspin Hill Memorial Park, established in 1921 in Aspen Hill, Maryland, a suburb of Washington D.C., is believed to be the second-oldest pet cemetery in the nation, and is the final resting place for various animal celebrities, including stars of movies and television, pets of U.S. politicians and heroes of foreign wars, as well as more than 50,000 other beloved pets.  Notable pets buried in the cemetery include seven dogs that belonged to J. Edgar Hoover, and Rags, the mascot of the First Division on World War I, “who risked life and limb in the Meuse-Argonne when he crossed enemy liens to deliver a not to Allied Forces.” President Lyndon Johnson’s dogs were cremated at Aspin Hill and the remains sent to Texas.  There also are 17 horses and hundreds of pet rabbits, monkeys, parrots, turkeys, goats, hamsters, guinea pigs, frogs, goldfish, turtles and snakes buried at Aspin Hill, as well as thirteen humans who chose to be buried close to their pets.



Reality is no respecter of delusions, except perhaps in Del Boca, a model American community, struggling to be heard above the din. The days are fully packed as the good people of Del Boca deal with such problems as elitism, education reform, celebrity culture, political correctness, free speech, science, and politics. A social satire about life in our times.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Margaret Sanger on Preventing a Permanent Criminal Underclass


In her book, The Pivot of Civilization, Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood offered this prescription for eliminating the permanent criminal underclass:

There is but one practical and feasible program in handling the great problem of the feeble-minded. That is, as the best authorities are agreed, to prevent the birth of those who would transmit imbecility to their descendants. Feeble-mindedness as investigations and statistics from every country indicate, is invariably associated with an abnormally high rate of fertility. Modern conditions of civilization, as we are continually being reminded, furnish the most favorable breeding-ground for the mental defective, the moron, the imbecile. "We protect the members of a weak strain," says Davenport, "up to the period of reproduction, and then let them free upon the community, and encourage them to leave a large progeny of `feeble-minded': which in turn, protected from mortality and carefully nurtured up to the reproductive period, are again set free to reproduce, and so the stupid work goes on of preserving and increasing our socially unfit strains."

The philosophy of Birth Control points out that as long as civilized communities encourage unrestrained fecundity in the "normal" members of the population—always of course under the cloak of decency and morality—and penalize every attempt to introduce the principle of discrimination and responsibility in parenthood, they will be faced with the ever-increasing problem of feeble-mindedness, that fertile parent of degeneracy, crime, and pauperism. Small as the percentage of the imbecile and half-witted may seem in comparison with the normal members of the community, it should always be remembered that feeble-mindedness is not an unrelated expression of modern civilization. Its roots strike deep into the social fabric. Modern studies indicate that insanity, epilepsy, criminality, prostitution, pauperism, and mental defect, are all organically bound up together and that the least intelligent and the thoroughly degenerate classes in every community are the most prolific. Feeble-mindedness in one generation becomes pauperism or insanity in the next. There is every indication that feeble-mindedness in its protean forms is on the increase, that it has leaped the barriers, and that there is truly, as some of the scientific eugenists have pointed out, a feeble-minded peril to future generations—unless the feeble-minded are prevented from reproducing their kind. To meet this emergency is the immediate and peremptory duty of every State and of all communities. 




We think we know the Victorians, but do we? The same passions, strengths and weaknesses that exist now, existed then, but people organized themselves very differently.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Presidential Anthem: Hail to the Chief

The official presidential anthem, Hail to the Chief , was first played in Boston to commemorate the birthday of George Washington, on February 22, 1815.  The tune did not formally become associated with the presidency until the administration of John Tyler (1841-1845), when the Marine band was instructed to play the air whenever the president appeared. 

The words of the song come from an 1810 poem written by Sir Walter Scott:
       Hail to the Chief who in
     triumph advances!
       Honour’d and bless’d be the
     evergreen pine!        
       Long may the tree in his
     banner that glances
       Flourish, the shelter and grace
     Of our line!


Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America, used Hail to the Chief, as his presidential anthem.





     In 1933 the man who subverted American democracy pronounced, “The fact is, the English are soft. Britain is like a frightened, flabby old woman. The whole empire is just rotted through and through. Kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will collapse.” He would soon drag America into a two ocean war, with Canada as the prize.
     Sticking as closely as possible to the real history of the period, making no radical leaps in terms of behavior, logic, or technology, the author paints a stunning picture of how the history of the world could have been radically different.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Major Archibald Butt and the Sinking of the Titanic


Archibald Butt was the military aide to both Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft.  Butt and his housemate (some say lover), the painter Francis Davis Millet, died during the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912.  Butt was universally recognized for his heroic conduct during the tragedy. His body was never recovered.  President Taft who had come to regard Major Butt, “as a son or a brother”, praised him as a Christian gentleman and the perfect soldier.  Taft wrote, I knew that he would certainly remain on the ship's deck until every duty had been performed and every sacrifice made that properly fell on one charged, as he would feel himself charged, with responsibility for the rescue of others.”  At a May 5 ceremony, Taft broke down weeping, bringing his eulogy to an abrupt end.


As the Titanic sank, the crew prepared the lifeboats and Major Butt helped in the rescue efforts.  One survivor described him as calm and collected, “Major Butt helped…frightened people so wonderfully, tenderly, and yet with such cool and manly firmness.  He was a soldier to the last.”  A cenotaph was erected in the summer of 1913 by his brothers in Section 3 of Arlington National Cemetery at a point that Major Butt had previously selected as his gravesite.  The Butt-Millet Memorial Fountain, a private memorial fountain, located in the President’s Park, adjacent to the White House, was dedicated in October 1913.  Powerful friends argued that Butt (who was an aide to the president) and Millet (who was vice chair of the United States Commission of Fine Arts at the time of his death) were both public servants who deserved to be memorialized separately from private citizens who died in the Titanic disaster. 


Major Archibald Butt